This will be a rather short entry, because I didn’t bother with capping anything, nor do I feel like I have that much to say about the game. There was this disconnected feeling all throughout what I played, but I told myself I’d at least finish the first scenario before I decided whether I’d drop it or not. And after finishing the first scenario, as well as the first few minutes of the second, I decided that ultimately, this alleged classic won’t be going down in my history books.
Before any of the routes truly begin, there’s an introductory session. This gives us a glimpse into the life of the protagonist, Kouhei, and the motley crew he associates with. He lives with his parents and sister, Aya, at home. Although it turns out that he was adopted into their family. His parents are good-natured, and still pretty much adore each other. Aya appears to be roughly eleven/twelve years old, but despite the evident age gap Kouhei doesn’t care too much, and ticks her off on a regular basis. He randomly ‘confesses’ to her, purely based on him wanting to try speaking a line from an eroge he just played. Aya is clearly confused when it comes to Kouhei’s advances, and takes them seriously while Kouhei makes light of them. Ah yes, his type of character is now becoming evident.
He has a part-time job at a store, and gets along… considerably well with his co-worker, who happens to be gay and is obsessed with eroge, and often tries to make Kouhei play them. He lightly assaults him from time to time, but does offer him good advice. Kouhei, in a rather derogatory style of thinking, mentally calls him ‘the poof’, but then tells the reader that he has nothing against ‘those’ kinds of people. Then, why call him some name like that? It’s silly, and childish. What an ass.
His school life is much more colourful. He’s a considerably popular guy in class. He gets good grades (although he doesn’t exactly know why), and has his friends. The most popular girl (who Kouhei privately calls Antoinette) in the class has her eye on him, doggedly pursuing him. However, he shows no interest. Still in the introductory phase, there’s a girl in his class, Aeka, who’s the target for the popular girl’s bullying. She commands her friends to make the girl’s life hell, all due to her delinquent boyfriend hitting on her when she first transferred it. Aeka is tazed, has her desk taken from her along with her uniform, her books ripped, and even gets attacked on a regular basis. It seems that her one place of solace where she can retreat to is the roof, where she can leave the troublesome word behind and sleep. Kouhei is the only person besides her who goes up there, and is also the one person in the entire school who’ll talk to this isolated figure. Naturally, Aeka begins to develop a crush on him. They eventually strike a deal (under tense circumstances – Aeka is on the verge of jumping off the roof), where they begin going out. At the beginning, this relationship only involves him having sex with her, in exchange for protecting her, if only a little bit, from the bullies.
Her route mainly revolves around the bullying she’s subjected to. It’s not just childish bullying, but downright malicious. Antoinette goes to ridiculous near-cartoonish lengths to cause her misery. On a particularly bad day, Antoinette brandishes a pair of scissors at her, threatening to kill Aeka as her cronies hold her down. Aeka begins laughing and tells her to ‘just get it over with’. When Antoinette’s delinquent boyfriend comes back to class after a suspension, she gives him the green light for him to go ahead and rape Aeka, while she and their friends watch. Of course, Kouhei stops them just in time.
Aeka was a thoroughly unlikable, downright boring character despite this harrowing treatment. She put up with the bullying, and never told anyone. She accepts being the target. Did I feel sorry for her? Honestly, not really. Although nothing was her fault, I couldn’t feel any sympathy for her. She was the transfer student with the odd coloured hair (the white isn’t just stylization – characters comment on her hair colour) who just wanted to make friends, until the delinquent hit on her. She gets over the ostracizing quickly, quietly putting up with it, acting like a martyr. She also has a troubled home life, with her parents being poor, and her father being an alcoholic. At one point she says that a month of school fees is more than what her mother actually earns in a month, yet the fees still get paid. At one point, Antoinette and her friends even rip up the month’s fee.
I suppose that Aeka is one of those characters that was created to fill the player with the urge of wanting to protect her, stirring up maternal feelings in them. I didn’t feel like that at all, and is perhaps the reason why I felt so disconnected with her character. It didn’t help that Kouhei was a pretty unlikable guy. While he never bullies her, he doesn’t exactly help at the start, either, choosing to just sit by and ignore it (like the majority of the class). At one point, after Aeka is covered in wax and sent flying across the floor, she bumps into his desk. You then decide whether Kouhei helps or ignores her. I obviously chose ‘help her’, which she shyly brushes off. Kouhei’s anger reaches a boiling point when Antoinette aims the scissors at her, and interjects. Kouhei then starts to get bullied.
Aeka’s scenario has a satisfying, all too convenient ending which still didn’t win me over. Overall, it was a short enough route, which I think I was able to finish in about three/four hours. For something that apparently changed eroge forever, it didn’t make that much of an impact on me. Standard school story, and lackluster characters. The only character who even somewhat stirred my interest was the drugged up Nekoko, although I felt that her route wouldn’t be worth going through, either. I played the first few minutes of the student council president’s (the cliche alarm bells are loud and clear here) scenario, and that’s when I decided I had enough. I couldn’t take any more. I imagine that this was supposed to be the most touching route, which would stir up emotions in the reader, and make them question themselves if there were any similar situations around them.
Release Date; December 22nd, 2005