Random reference in the title aside, I will be doing two impressions at once since I jumped ship midway in my playthrough. I have recently finished Yao’s route in Strawberry Nauts and am currently approximately half way through the common route in Shunki Gentei Poco a Poco. What did I switch after just one route you ask? To put it bluntly, Strawberry Nauts is simply too much like Sugirly Wish but with a blue interface. On the other hand, Harupoco has managed to capture my attention so far, making me play it for far too long than I should have and neglecting other possibly more important things in the process, like working.
The story starts as our protagonist is starting a new semester at a school located on an artificial island and moving into what seems like the girl’s dormitory, since apparently the guy’s dormitory is full. But of course life can’t be that good for him, at least not yet, and so he is led into the empty building adjacent to it where he is to live in. I have to say, that is a huge house for a single person to live in; it can easily house an entire family with room to spare by the looks of it. I won’t complain though, since it is soon occupied by his harem of bishoujos. There he begins his hopefully peaceful school life, which we know will never going to happen for a protagonist with a bunch of girls constantly attached to him. Dude, forget the peacefulness, embrace the lust of the hungering bishoujos!
After the prologue that introduces the setting and the characters, I honestly cannot remember anything of significance happening in the common route, or in much of Yao’s route for that matter. The only meaningful trait the protagonist has is his ability to cook delicious food, which turns out to be rather useful in attracting every girl on the island around his age into madly falling in love with him. The drama in Yao’s route was so forced and predictable right from the beginning, I’d rather they stick to the raburabu scenes which are plenty and sufficiently sweet. Maybe I played a bad route and perhaps the other routes are better in terms of story. I’ll see about that once I finish Harupoco.
It would be nice if the protagonist actually has an imouto, but no. We’re instead treated to a fairly stereotypical cast of characters of a genki and popular classmate, an easily embarrassed tsundere osananajimi, a kind and perfect ojou-sama, a quiet loli, and a dojiko kouhai. However, don’t fall into despair quite yet; Oto Agumi voices the lead heroine Touko for those of you who are interested in her work. I know plenty of fanatics who will play this game just to hear her voice.
One last thing to note, I have not heard music this bad in a while; the music takes blandness to a whole new level. This is the first time I’m tempted to turn the game music off and play my own music in its place. Often the music does not complement the mood well, so the BGM seems to exist purely for the sake of there being one. Playing the same track during an ichaicha scene and an ordinary talking scene among friends is not a good idea. Surprisingly, despite all these mediocre music, the OP by Haruka Shimotsuki and the ED by Katakiri Rekka are two of the better songs I’ve heard lately. I wish their full versions would come out soon.
Tanpopo needs a route. Fan disk please!
Shunki Gentei Poco a Poco has been a much better experince, thanks in large part to bracon Ai who will be featured in an excessive amount of screenshots soon. I’ll even do the protagonist the honor of giving the him a name for his laudable quality of not being a total hetare/house husband. Kanata is a student in a musical academy with a talent for playing the cello, but has since given up playing it due to unfortunate circumstances. Threatened with a revoke of his scholarship since he hasn’t been playing the cello for a year now, he sets out to revive the legendary quartet with bracon imouto Ai, my-pace Sakura, and cool beauty Natsumi. This is the start of his quest to recover his scholarship, and more importantly, lost friendships and his love for music.
As you can tell from the synopsis above, this game has a lot more going as far as story is concerned compared to Strawberry Nauts. Kanata has a clear goal and is proactively working for it, and the other characters are there to support him accomplishing his goal instead of merely hanging around to leap at the first sight of a romantic opportunity. There is also a nice balance of drama and comedy; the drama isn’t too heavy to block out the comedy which in turn is entertaining yet doesn’t undermine the gravity of the drama.
The characters are a charming bunch. Ai is the super bracon viola player who says some of the most darnedest phrases ever uttered by an imouto. She shows no shame being a bracon, and proudly declares Kanata to be a siscon despite his protests. Underneath that, she is also deeply caring for Kanata and will do anything to help her onii-chan. Sakura is the my-pace genius violin player.She also says some pretty amusing lines, due to the fact that her brain is probably the sort that operates at a different wavelength than the others. Nasumi is the tsundere piano player that I haven’t quite taken a liking to. I’m hoping her character will develop more as time goes on. There is also the Kansai-ben speaking senpai Mana who is the granddaughter of the principal. The combination of her accent and her deviously playful demeanor made the absence of her route really disappointing – I want a Kansai-ben speaking heroine!
The music selection is fittingly better as a musical theme game. The tracks all fit the mood well and are generally a pleasure to listen to. The OP by Hazuki nails the atmosphere right on, and I have high expectations for the ED. Kiriya Hana, the seiyuu for Ai, deserves a special mention since she voices such awesome bracon imoutos.
On the topic of the musical theme, sometimes there are musical descriptions that flew right over my head as I know very little about music. But don’t worry if you are as musical inapt as me, these descriptions only occur rarely.
I shall continue playing Harupoco with lovely Ai after I flood this post with screenshots yet again. I will make sure you all know what a wonderful imouto Ai is. Siscon is culture!