After I submitted my ‘＆’-空の向こうで咲きますように- review, I was surprised to see my gravatar appeared on the “The A team” side-widget. According to Aedes, it seems like the side-widget will automatically add anyone who has posted an article on this blog. With my gravatar stamped on every page of this site, I am seriously considering about staying as a permanent writer if both Aedes and Aero do not have any objection against the idea.
This time around, I will be reviewing a new game from SkyFish titled 九十九の奏～欠け月の夜想曲～ which coincidentally has very similar themes as ‘＆’-空の向こうで咲きますように-. Just like ‘＆’-空の向こうで咲きますように-, this game revolves mainly around Gods(九十九神), wishes(願い) and magical items(形代). Despite those similarities, 九十九の奏～欠け月の夜想曲～ is packaged and presented in a very different manner.
Warning: Due to the nature of this game, there are many old and difficult words which make it really hard for players without extensive vocabulary to understand the story properly.
Let us get started then, I hope everyone will be able to enjoy their stay here, お手柔らかにお願いします。
Game Name: 九十九の奏～欠け月の夜想曲～
Release date: 2012/09/28
Categories: Fiction, Romance, Horror.
The game starts with our main character Sarusuberi Hifumi(百日紅 一二三) who is a student in an art university(専門学校), working on his painting for an assignment. Hifumi has tried to hand in this painting before, however it got rejected because it was thought to be incomplete due to a white blank in the painting.
“Your Memorable Place”(思い出の場所) is the topic of this very simple assignment, however Hifumi is unable to recall who was supposed to be at that blank space. In fact, Hifumi does not even remember where is this place or the reason why he cherishes this place/person so much to a point where Hifumi stubbornly refuses to fill in the white spot on the painting.
As Hifumi decides to give up on completing his assignment, one of his classmates, Misumi Aina(三角愛那) recommends him to join a volunteer activity during summer vacation in order for him to earn some extra credits. At first, Hifumi considers rejecting her offer since he has promised to return to his hometown during summer vacation, but it turns out that the volunteer takes place at his hometown, so he decides to take up the offer.
All hell break loose on the first night of volunteer when Hifumi witnesses floating fireballs in a forest on his way home. Curious about the nature of those fireballs, he chases them until he arrives at the front of a big Japanese-style(和風) mansion where Hifumi is greeted by a girl whose whole body and face are wrapped in bandages. The bandages girl takes out a medicine pouch, introduces it as a tsukumogami Hakusyasei(白蛇精) and turns it into a giant white snake which attacks Hifumi.
It does not take long for Hakusyasei(白蛇精) to corner Hifumi and prepare to swallow him alive. However at that moment, a girl with an old handgun appears and saves our main character from his death.
The girl later introduces herself as Fusehime and her gun as tsukumogami Yatsufusa(八房). Tsukumogami(九十九神), spirits which dwell inside an old items and will grant their users with power in return for their memories and life span. Does it has anything to do with the hole in Hifumi’s memory? and who is this girl in bandages that tried to kill him?
My first impression of Hifumi is that he feel like another generic 鈍い and 鈍感 protagonist, however it is soon revealed that he is actually just pretending to be one. Even though he is aware about Aina’s feeling toward him, Hifumi has been unconsciously rejecting the notion of going out and falling in love with a girl. Somewhere deep in his heart, he feels as though there is already someone he loves, however Hifumi is unable to recall who is exactly this girl or even the fact that he has fallen in love before.
Fusehime was picked up by Hifumi’s elder sister (Sarusuberi Mei) in a condition of complete amnesia several days before Hifumi comes back home. Even though she does not remember anything at all, there is one promise that she remembers: She needs to protect a certain person, and Fusehime believes that person is Hifumi. Due to her memory loss, Fusehime’s personality is very pure and innocent, however when she holds her gun to protect Hifumi, her personality suddenly turn 180 degree to that of a cool beauty.
Despite of being the elder sister of Hifumi, Mei is a very shy and timid girl to the point where she hides behind Hifumi’s back every time someone tries to bully her. She is a shut-in(引篭もり) and displays a pretty serious sign of anthrophobia, yet whenever Hifumi is in danger, Mei has no problem putting her life on the line to get him out of the situation. Unfortunately, Mei does not have her own route but since she is an important side character that contributes throughout the story, I feel the need to include her in the character list.
Born with a weak and sickly body, Aina was predicted by doctors that she will not able to survive through her seventh(or eighth) birthday. Although her condition miraculously got better, her body is still weaker than normal people and fall sick easily. During her first-year of high school, Aina was again sick and was forced to repeat a year which automatically made her one year older than Hifumi despite of being a classmate. Rumors say that she is an ojousama(お嬢様) from an extremely old and wealthy family.
This blonde twintails in hadaka apron is none other than Hifumi’s cousin, Kujyou Karen. She is a type of girl which Japanese people often described as “predators” or “meat-eating” girls, though her prey is pretty much limited to Hifumi. Karen often treated Hifumi like her possession/toy and love to sexually harass him which result in at least one non-penetrative Hscene no matter whose route you are going to take. It is not surprising that Karen also has an extremely bossy attitude and often forces Hifumi to do all her chores for her, however she can be a very reliable ally in the time of need.
Mitsuki is the student council president of a local all-girl high school which also participate in the volunteer activity and an ojousama(お嬢様) from Omoto House(万年青家), the richest family in town. Due to her high pride and serious nature, she comes to hate Hifumi when they crash into each other which result in a ラッキーすけべ event, so she is your typical tsundere ojou character. Although Mitsuki does have her own route, unfortunately that route is a Bad End route for who knows what reason.
Unlike ‘＆’-空の向こうで咲きますように- where the mood of the game is mainly brought out by the music, in this game the mood is produced by outstanding and extremely creepy CGs. Below are three such CGs where the smile of the characters are more than enough to send chills down your spine:
I wonder how many of readers realize that ‘＆’-空の向こうで咲きますように- and this game actually has the same main artist, Saeki Hokuto. (￣▽￣) ニヤリ
Technically speaking, there are six non-shafted routes in this game including Mitsuki’s end, however these routes are actually one same route with different heroine events + heroine epilogues. This kind of route structuring automatically deal a lot of damage to the replay value of the game. In fact, I believe by going through just two routes, Fusehime and Aina routes, it should be more than enough to recover most stories and CGs.
Route structuring aside, this game has a pretty decent storyline which focus mainly on retrieving Hifumi’s memories and things that had happened in that town in the past. Even though most of the revelations are pretty predictable, they usually flavored with slight twists which prevent things from being too cliche. In all, it is a pretty enjoyable game which was accompanied by some freaky characters, although I am still severely disappointed by the absence of a distinct route for each heroine.
Overall: 70/100 (not a total)
I start to feel that the grading criterions used by Aedes and Aero are a little lacking in the ability to accurately convey the worth of a game. For 九十九の奏～欠け月の夜想曲～, I give this game an overall grade of 70 out of 100 to show that this is an average game, so if this genre of game is not your cup of tea, then I do not recommend this game at all.
I am very sorry for the terrible quality of this review since I was pretty much rushing through most of the sections. I promise I will try to do a better job next time if I am given the chance to write more in the future (´･ω･｀). Leaving that aside, just like in my previous review, I am going to close this review with my favorite CGs from the game: