Posted by: momochi | July 1, 2009

ここより、はるか-Surrounded sea in the world

Before we move onto the review, I’d like to say that I have finally returned to my blog. A huge thanks to those who have been waiting, I feel really grateful. Right now I’m thinking of new ideas of what to put on my blog so if anyone would like to give me some advice, please do so. Personally I’d like to write about some music as well as art (related to eroges).

Koko yori, Haruka released on 27th March is Pleats soft’s first title and for their first game I have to say that it is quite impressive for the story alone.

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Plot

The story begins with our protagonist Mitsui Junki being woken up in the classroom. When he opens his eyes, he finds out that the preson who woke him up was a girl with…… wings?! The girl introduces herself as Sakurakaze Urara and that she is his classmate however he does not seem to recognise her, not only that, he doesn’t seem to recognise his surroundings either. Even though he doesn’t know where he is, why he is here or who the people next to him are, he quickly adapts to his current life by making new friends and living
a peaceful school life.
As Junki continues his school life, he slowly starts to find out, bit by bit about the world which he is living in as well as his current situation which are both closely linked together.

Characters

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Sakurakaze Urara is the girl who woke you up in class. Skilled at cooking, friendly and kind, this makes her really popular amongst the class especially with the boys. She occasionally flies to school with her wings which results in her flashing her panties to everyone underneath lol.

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If you intend to play this, I strongly recommend you to go through Urara’s route first as Junki gets pretty angsty in this route when compared to the others. I remember going through her route first and shortly after the revelation struck me hard, the whole ride was then filled with tons of angst. The other routes still had a little angst but it was nothing compared to this. Anyway, I actually like angst (as long it’s not over the top cough*Vampire Knight comes to mind) as it helps develop characters and lets us see and how they mature and deal with problems. Urara’s route was good for the first route though. Another thing which I would like to mention is that there isn’t really any romance in this route so the H in this felt really unatural and out of place.

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In contrast to her route, she is a typical but bland character who later turned desperate for attention during her route which annoyed me. I mean Junki’s attitude in this route is unbearable for me already so I don’t feel that she needs to stir it up even more. I’ll forgive them since the route is actually good and Junki manages to redeem himself towards the end.

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Asanagi Konatsu is Urara’s best friend. Loud and lively but also dumb, she won’t think carefully before she does anything which causes a lot of trouble for everyone else. Also tends to appear at the worst times possible. However underneath her genki atmosphere she has an alter ego who she is not aware of.

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Out of all the three girls who you could aim for at the beginning I’d say that Konatsu’s route easily beat the the other two routes in terms of story and intense but it also seemed like the longest route in the game as well. In this route, you mainly interact with Konatsu’s alter ego rather than with konatsu herself. Not like as if it’s a bad thing as her alter ego was a much better character even if she may seem cold and tsun at first.

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I’d have to say that Konatsu never failed to annoy me everytime she made an appearance on my screen. I was actually feeling relieved when I found out that you don’t actually see much of her in her own route. At least her alter ego was a more interesting character even though she bored me greatly at first with her low, cold voice and monotone way of speech.

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Kirihito Konomi is your soft spoken classmate. Kind, gentle and a little shy but also afraid of the opposite sex. Due to this, Natsuki, her fairy friend asks you to spend more time with Konomi so that she can overcome her fear of men and to also build up her confidence. You’ll eventually befriend her and she starts to become more open to you.

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Out of all the routes, I have to sadly admit that her route was the weakest. It’s not bad, it’s actually quite well written and well paced if you compare it to the other routes but it just doesn’t feel like there’s as much impact. This route is also much shorter than the other routes as well.

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Anyway she is a likable character, she kept gaining confidence in her route which is something I like and appreciate but she also didn’t annoy me unlike the other two who I’ve already mentioned did.

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Umi is the mysterious main heroine of this long ride. She may seem cold and antisocial at first but as you interact with her more, she starts to open up to you. She’s also a tsundere as well but not violent which is a relief for me. She belongs in the same class as you and the others but doesn’t seem to attend class much, preferring to wander around the school grounds and sleep at forests. I love that scene where you discover her sleeping under the tree……so cute and peaceful ^_^

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As the hidden heroine of the game, Umi’s route contained all the answers to the mysteries which can also be found in the other routes however by going through her route you’ll learn all about it in more detail and you’ll also find out some other things which are unmentioned as well. This route also had a lot of cute scenes which made me feel all warm and fluffly inside, however it also holds some of the most tragic moments found in the whole game as well. This route is no doubt my favourite out of all the routes, the only thing I would complain about is the ending. NOOOOOO!!! T_T

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I have to admit that I didn’t like Umi much at first (though she had the best character design in the whole game) but as I progressed through her route, her character quickly grew on me and the actions she did towards the end of her route were admirable and brave. Now this is an example of what a good tsundere is like.

Sub-Characters

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As for the sub characters, unlike other eroge, every each of them play an important role in the story, some depending on whose route you go for. There’s Anna, your homeroom teacher who may seem and look childish, doesn’t teach the class properly and holds most of her lessons at the pool but is mature and dependable when the situation calls for it. Sakakibara Yui does a really good job voicing her as well. There’s the mysterious school nurse whose hairstyle looks like an ape (to me at least) called Sakie. She seems to know a lot about certain things and is the person who you look for to ask for advice. Natsuki is Konomi’s fairy friend who can always be found sitting on Konomi’s left shoulder. Cares about Konomi a lot, she is concerned about Konomi’s fear of men, thus she asks you to become closer to Konomi. Lastly, you have your male friend, Enomoto Kozue. He has a girly face and a gentle personality, due to this, he usually becomes victim to your teasing. He’s probably the most boring character in the whole game though I did feel sorry for him in Umi’s route.

Opening

Graphics

Two artists are in charge of the art and character designs in this game. One of the artists also worked on Sora no Organ while the other worked on Nettai Teikiatsu Shoujo not too long ago.
One of the best things about this game eroge along with the story is the art, the drawings of the characters are neat and clearly shows off their aura, the colours are sharp and bright which brings pleasure to our eyes. And did I mention that the shading of some of the backgrounds in the event CGs are gorgeous? I’m in love with the sunset….

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I can't post about kokoyori without an Umi CG!

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While the backgrounds look stunning on the event CGs, the backgounds used for the game’s interface are quite similiar to what you’ve just seen. I mean, just take a look below…..

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I love how the sky are drawn in these backgrounds, they look so simple but yet there’s something eye-catching about them.

Music/Sound

There is one thing which really annoyed me in this eroge.
I’VE COMPLETED ALL THE ROUTES IN THIS GAME ALREADY BUT WHERE IS THE BGM MODE. WHHHYYY, EVERY GAME HAS A BGM MODE WHICH CAN BE UNLOCKED SO WRRRRYYYY!!!!!??????
T_T Apparently, this game has no music mode which is a shame as this game contained some nice memorable tracks which fitted this eroge’s theme and atmosphere. The BGM mostly consisted of a mixture of piano, guitar and music box themes. I think there are a total 12-14 tracks in this eroge including the OP and ED. By the way, Kawashima Rino sings a good ED song for this.

System

Whenever you start the game, you are always greeted with one of the characters saying “Pleats Soft’ and ‘Koko yori Haruka” (so typical) which then fades to the title screen. I forgot to take screenshot of the menu but there isn’t really any need, is there? I mean if you want to know what the title screen looks like I’ll describe it as tacky-looking. *sign* if everything else in this game looks good, they should have just spent a bit more work on the title screen as well. >_<

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The textbox looks quite nice though, it’s clear which does not obstruct the screen, the text and the textbox itself are a good size. You have all your save, load and skip buttons at the bottom of the text box plus the feather gives a nice touch to the textbox. Oh, the characters mouths move as well when they speak even though they don’t match their mouths perfectly, I’d say the timing was a little too slow and off.

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This is an example of what decision points or choice options look like. Be sure to pick the right choices to win your favourite girl and get on her route lol.

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There are a total of 55 save slots including 3 quicksave slots. I personally don’t need to use that many save slots so it didn’t bother me….

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One you’ve completed at least one route, you’ll unlock the extra mode where you can view the event and background CGs as well as the H-scenes. MY BGM MOODDDEEE……>_<

H-scenes

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Each heroine has a total of 2 scenes with the exception of Umi who only gets one. Personally I felt that some of them were poorly placed such as Konatsu’s second scene, it felt like as if the scene were placed there cause it’s an eroge and there’s nowhere else to put it it……….
Aside from that the scenes were of a decent length with 2-4 positions which are all drawn in different angles so they wouldn’t look repetitive.

Conclusion

The best thing about this game to me was definitley the story with the art trailing not too far behind. It doesn’t take too long to complete either. I think each route only took me 3-6 hours while the prologue took me a bit longer.
Anyway, if you’ve completed all the eroges in you backlog and is left with nothing to play, I recommend you to give this a try for the story alone. Pleats Soft had certainly released a game which had exceeded my expectations for a debut game.

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Responses

  1. Welcome back momochi!

    The blog content doesn’t really matter so long as it’s what you want to write about.

    Review looks great. It seems like a really short game. “If you’ve completed all the eroge in your backlog”…. I guess I won’t be playing Kokoharu anytime soon…

  2. Well, it’s not really too short but still short when you compare it a lot of other eroges.
    “If you’ve completed all the eroge in your backlog”…..
    (lol at my poor attempt of a joke) personally I really liked the story of this but then while thinking back on it now, this type of story is actually really starting to become more common nowadays (I love tragic stories) and the characters were not really that interesting to be honest so I thought you may want to try out some better titles in your backlog before playing this though I assume that most people’s backlogs are nowhere as HUGE as ours ;_;

  3. Doesn’t look bad at all…. Though I got pretty –_–; at the angel wings and huge sword. Didn’t expect that. Doubt I will try this though, too many releases that are pushing me up to the wall.

  4. DAYUM! Those are some sweet CG’s! But I doubt I’ll be able to play this ’cause my backlog is freaking huge too.

    AND I APPROVE OF YOUR BANNER AND AVATAR!

  5. ugh even owarinakinatsu has no music mode Y_Y AND THE BGM IS THAT GOOD

  6. […] Anime Music Reviews Part 1 Back in the Kokoharu review, I mentioned that apart from rambling about eroge that I would like to talk about a few different […]


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