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2010-11-04 13:53

Impression of “Love Split~5番目の季節~”

English isn't my native language, still I tried my best when writing this. Constructive criticism is welcome. I hope to write more impressions or reviews in the future.

This is my impression after playing “Love Split~5番目の季節~” by [ rouge] This is a Japanese galgame (bishoujo game) created in 2003.

For me the most important thing in galgames is the romantic relationships with beautiful and interesting women. I'm not interested in school girls. Everyone who has played some galgames can probably tell the difference between a woman and a girl. Women are older and behave in mature way.

In “Love Split”, there are two heroines a girl Runa and a young woman Erena. Each of them has her own route, but I only played Erena's route. Actually this game has a love triangle between the two heroines and the main character, but I can't say anything about it.

Let's talk about the characters and the setting. The main character is an ordinary university student, who joins the bowling club at the university. Erena is the captain of the bowling team and there they meet for the first time. Erena is cold towards him at first, but the protagonist immediately takes a liking to Erena and starts pursuing her persistently. Will he win her heart? I think you know the answer already.

The guy is really not that interesting, although he isn't a moron. He is bold and makes Erena go with him on a date after their second meeting, even though she is acting cold towards him. He also isn't shy, although it is his first date and he has little experience with women. He is persistent and keeps going after Erena, when all his friends are against Erena and speak ill of her. Still I found the guy rather boring, just because he wasn't useless like many other guys in galgames, doesn't mean that he was interesting.

Erena is the best character in this game. I wished that all games had a character like this. She is a beautiful young woman, who is in her final year at university. She is intelligent, educated and has a strong personality. She is also the captain of the university bowling team. She takes bowling very seriously and is strict to other team members and scolds them sometimes. I thought she acted very appropriately as the team captain, but all the members thought otherwise. I'll talk about them later. When she meets the rival bowling team from another university, they act rude towards her and she answers them in the same rude way. When she is together with the main character she is kind to him and acts like a big sister. She sometimes scolds him with words like lecher (すけべ), calls him stupid (馬鹿 (ばか)) or threatens to hit him with the bowling ball. She does it in such a charming way, that it's impossible be angry with her. It actually sounds cute and funny.

Other galgames can really learn something here. Too often I see cardboard characters. Many galgames have a single woman, who has a very gentle and quiet personality. From the very beginning she will be kind to the male protagonist. She will immediately fall in love with the useless guy just because he is so kind. I don't like those unrealistic female characters.

Erena's behavior depends on the situation she is in. She can be kind, strict, rude or cute depending on the situation. I really enjoyed seeing such a real character.

What about the teammates? Even the side characters seem realistic. They all have their own personality. They also caused the strongest feelings, because I couldn't stand them. Basically they were assholes, who talked bad about Erena behind her back. If that wasn't bad enough. they also tried to prevent the relationship between the guy and Erena. That was very irritating. When they are bad-mouthing Erena behind her back, the player sees the game through through Erena's eyes and knows that she is actually a really good and lonely person. This makes the teammates even more irritating. Later it turns out that each of them had a personal reason to bad-mouth Erena. At this point I really wanted her teammates to die a horrible death. Seldom has a game caused such strong feelings of hatred in me.

The story is simple in this game. It's basically a story about a romantic relationship and bowling. First the couple experiences obstacles in the way of the their relationship. Mostly the teammates try to force them apart by bad-mouthing Erena behind her back. The guy stays persistent and wins her heart. They are also playing in a bowling tournament against an evil team from another university. Personally I found bowling boring and the teammates really irritated me, much more than the evil players from the rival university.

One dramatic moment really touched me because Erena was crying. The story is very well written and sometimes touching, but not much interesting stuff happens after the Erena and the protagonist come together. That is unless you find bowling interesting. Some of the story developments were supposed to be dramatic, but I they didn't work for me and they didn't touch me in any way. The story was hit and miss for me. Some things really touched me, but others didn't.

Some of the scenes in the game are seen from Erena's perspective. We learn about her feelings and thoughts, about the things, that she wouldn't tell anybody about. This was a very effective way to learn more about Erena's character. I wished all games would switch the perspective to the female characters, so that the player can learn more about them.

Ryukishi07 the author of “Higurashi” is a genius writer, who often employs this technique to a great effect. “Higurashi” is told from the perspective of many different characters. There are also long flashbacks telling about the past of a character from his own perspective. Sadly “Love Split” doesn't employ this technique enough. The supposedly tragic past of Erena is told in few sentences. Therefore it didn't have any impact on me. It would have been more effective if the player could experience her past in a flashback told from Erena's perspective.

The characters are nicely drawn, but found I think they could have drawn Erena's face better. She is supposed to be beautiful, but I feel that her picture seems a bit plain. All of the female characters, including Erena, have big breasts.

This is an eroge and there's “ero”. This is also a pure love game, but it still has lots of erotic scenes. I played Erena's path and there were approximately ten erotic scenes. Erena has big breasts, that's why the erotic scenes pay special attention to her breasts. I think you can imagine what this means. I found all the scenes to be tasteful. Except for two scenes in the train they were also tame.

The voice actors in general are very good in Japanese galgames. This one is no exception. I thought the voice acting was great. I loved Erena's voice, it was very fitting for the character and I could really feel all her different emotions. The voice actress made Erena come alive. Erena's moaning during the erotic scenes was really exciting. Erena often acts strict or even rude in the story (of course only to people who deserve it), but she moans in a very cute way during the erotic scenes. It makes the tame scenes much more exciting.

If like me, you like beautiful intelligent women with a strong personality, you will probably love this game. And if you don't, there's the other character, the girl Runa, and a love triangle. I haven't played Runa's route so I can't say anything about it.

I played the game in Japanese with "Furigana Inserter" (FI). My Japanese isn't good, but good enough to play a game like this with FI and a dictionary.

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