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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Hoshizora no Memoria Complete:

It took ten months, but I finally finished this visual novel.  The ending comes with a giant 'screw you,' though, because the english patched version of the game censors out all the money shots of Mare S. Ephemeral, instead replacing them with swimming blue dolphins and a shout out to the law codes of Australia.  Thanks, Australia, for ruining my Japanese game, which I'm reading in America.  There's supposedly some workaround but I couldn't figure out how to do it, so obviously it's not easy enough.  Like Koichoco, which inscrutably has a bug that censors Chisato's first bathing scene, while all the other ecchi scenes are left undisturbed, the outside world seemingly never gets the true version of the visual novels that Japanese people get to freely enjoy as a given. 

You had to play every other route to unlock Mare's route, date all these girls you didn't even like so that you could finally be with Mare, and then they censor Mare's route.  Go figure.

The plot relies too much on supernatural deus ex machinas.  The supernatural gets you into problems and the supernatural fixes them all.  None of it ever makes any sense.  As a result, I think Asuho's route is the best, simply because it avoids the supernatural the most.  Aoi's route is the worst, because no one in their right mind would ever date such an annoying girl.  But really, the best route is the common route, before you date any of the girls.  The humor is brilliant during this period, almost every girl pitches in with humorous and distinct character moments that gets you to warm up to them, and like with Nyamel in Grisaia, when Kaa-kun gets hurt during the battle with Kosame, Hoshizora reaches its most dramatic and tragic point.  None of the tragedies surrounding the girls proper ever approaches how bad you feel for that pet.

As a completionist, I could never take this advice myself, but it might actually be worthwhile to play Hoshizora no Memoria if you just went through the initial common route straight into Asuho's route, live happily after with her and then delete the game.  If the game had just restricted itself to that, I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more.  Since you can't end up with Mare no matter what you do, as all you get is giant swimming dolphins down her route, you may as well just stick with Asuho and forget the rest of the cast.

Hoshizora was made back in the dark days of pre-HD games, so your choice is to play only a small thumbnail version on your screen or a fullscreen but obviously fuzzy and jagged image which isn't appealing in the least.  This issue keeps cropping up even though Japanese visual novels switched to HD long ago because it takes a full ten years for visual novels to be translated.  It's a shame, because I really do enjoy the art style, very similar to No Game No Life's, which we'll be seeing again soon enough in Irotoridori no Sekai.  I don't think that game was in HD either, so the suffering will continue.

The next two targets on my visual novel list, which I'm already halfway through, are Idol Mahou Shoujo Chiru Chiru Michiru, the Grisaia spinoff, and Majikoi S, the Majikoi sequel.  I've been working on both of them all year too, but with Hoshizora out of the way new hope of real progress returns.

After Majikoi S there's Majikoi A.  Also waiting in the wings are Really? Really!, Shuffle's sequel, and Osananajimi wa Daitouryou's sequel Fandisc.  Dracu Riot and To Heart 2 are still waiting on more polished patches, so they can stay in reserve for now.  Wouldn't it be great if my VN backlog started shrinking instead of growing for once?  Though if Da Capo III ever comes out, all of these might have to take a back seat for a while.

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