Da Capo III

The season of the sakura starts once again…

Da Capo III is a 2012 game by Circus.

vndb EGS

Story

About 2o years after the events of DCII, the everlasting sakuras are now a thing from the past. Our new protagonist Yoshino Kiyotaka is member of the official newspaper club of Kazami Academy in Hatsune Island and his partners are (pics in link):

  • The club president and school idol Morizono Ricca. Good at studies and sports, is very popular at school, but she’s particularly fixated in Kiyotaka, since, following her words, they were lovers in a past life (that only she can remember), where they went together to a magic school, Kazamidori (Weather Vane). It’s not a popular idea among the club members.
  • Half blood cousin and number one onee-san character in school Yoshino Charles (she doesn’t mind the male name). Pretty aggressive in her skinship with Kiyotaka, likes to charge energy hugging him.
  • Neighbor, osananajimi and imouto character Katsuragi Himeno. Yamato Nadeshiko character (in public), cooks very well. Somewhat tsundere.
  • Same-class kouhai (she skipped two years) Rukawa Sara. Very diligent and hard working, doesn’t like the immoral contact between the opposite genders.
  • Number one imouto character in school Hinomoto Aoi. Yearns for a big brother, and considers Kiyotaka the ideal one. In contrast to her frail health is very energetic and hard working, holding several part-time jobs.

And against the official newspaper club stands the unofficial newspaper club (or maybe it’s the reverse), lead by the eternal Suginami, and including self proclaimed idol and handicap (Suginami’s words) Mikoto.

And so, to deal a decisive blow to the unofficial club and Suginami, they (and by they I mean Ricca) decide to make a special number on magic. And so they go to the familiar, now dead, big sakura tree, of which so many stories are told about. But when they all decide to touch the tree and make a wish, mostly as a play, something strange happens: the tree, and all the other sakuras, suddenly blossom, out of season; and a text message reaches their cell phones: “When the sakuras blossom, in the promised place-“, dated 1951.

Now with clearly a theme for their special edition, they start investigating. Meanwhile, there’s all kind of harem antics, with the girls after the incredibly oblivious Kiyotaka (no, really. I’ve seen some dense protagonists, but he’s something else). Kiyotaka also starts seeing some strange dreams, in which it seems he is attending some overseas school with Himeno (maybe a magic school?).

And when they finally return to the big sakura tree, they meet a mysterious woman, who seems to know them well, and who starts telling a story…

I wonder who this person could be

Review

All that is actually the prologue, and with the setting changing to Kazamidori the main story starts.

Though the magic level is higher, and more present, than in the previous games, this is very much a Da Capo game, for good or bad (you decide which). Besides familiar designs for Ricca, Charles and Himeno, many of previous games’ personality traits are also present here, if somewhat shuffled. The same happens with the routes, which have several plot elements familiar to those who have played the other DC games (not like the series was particularly original in the first place).

But lack of originality doesn’t mean lack of quality. And though the prologue was not very good (several girls madly in love with an ultra donkan MC didn’t make for a very interesting setting), the Kazamidori part, and especially the routes, are above average, in DC, and absolute, terms. They may not reach the level of my personal favorites, but they’re all nice, and well presented, with no diabolus ex machina or forced drama to generate tension, the particular problems steaming fundamentally from the character in question. Again, if you liked previous DC games you will probably like this.

The cast is also good (though the seiyuu cast for the heroines didn’t click much for me); charming heroines, and very amusing side characters (Shiki gets all the mentions here).

Kiyotaka has just awakened to the sense for zettai ryouiki

Maybe an aspect in which this doesn’t reach previous games’ highs is in emotional punch. But that may be because this installment focused in the plot in a much higher level than any other DC. After beating the other four heroines, you unlock Aoi route, and then the obligatory Da Capo segment (more substantial than in previous games), and between them they answer all the mysteries of the game (of which there were several), and the greatest one of DCII (in this respect, though DCII was pretty much standalone, DCIII would be considerably helped by having played the previous; at the very least, it would lose some of the punch otherwise). The routes build up and offer plenty foreshadowing for the resolution, which wraps up and ties neatly with the beginning, and with the previous games, returning to the beginning, like a Da Capo… (okay, I’ll stop now).

Da Capo

Other aspects are also you what would expect: appropriate BGM (with many themes reused from DCI and II), several nice vocal songs, meager interface (maybe even worse than in previously). And though branching was never very complicated (then again, I still don’t know the concrete requirements for the DCIIPC secret routes), there were always some tricky scenes, and it made for an interesting (though your mileage may vary, I guess) mini game to get 100% in the scenario recollection. Well, there’s nothing like that here.

Also, as most probably already know, ero is inexistent, this being an all-ages game. Personally, I have nothing against that, and I think the existence of that option at the moment of making a game is good: if every route needs a H scene, then it can (and indeed sometimes does) happen that they end up completely breaking the flow of the story. And if you don’t have the necessity of H scenes you can also make more interesting patterns than the usual trunk+route (then again, you can also do that with ero content). And in any case it’s not hard to imply some action even in all-ages games.

Is DCIII like that? Not really. There are several places where a H scene would fit perfectly (excluding maybe one route), and there’s at least one where I’m pretty sure there was actual action. Having finished the game I can imagine some reasons that would make the absence of H content preferable, but still, DCIII could work as a 18+ game without problems.

Though maybe as compensation, DCIII does have more fanservice, which was pretty light in DCI and II.

Overall, tough I’m very partial to DC and so may be somewhat biased, I found DCIII very enjoyable. It has a good balance between characters and over-arching plot, with satisfying individual routes and an even more satisfying grand finale (you do need to play to the last ending to fully appreciate the game); and even if it does build on the previous games, newcomers should still be able to enjoy this. And those who are already familiar with the franchise, and like it, will also really like this. Certainly deserving the name Da Capo, I have found this the best installment so far.

Yes, meet a blast from your past

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25 Responses to “Da Capo III”

  1. Does Otome play a role?

  2. Is it me or the music from D.C II is 46 and have increase to 65 in D.C III, well they have outdone them self (Quite a large number of music for a VN from my point of view @.@), even though they re-used some of it I admit.

    • I don’t remember how much of the music is reuse. It’s true that DC was always abundant in the BGM department.

      • I notice some theme also from DC but upgraded version, it sounded better lol,
        I still wonder why is not as emotional as DC II…
        That’s probably better if they do that(or just I’m a rock for not noticing some sad events due to seeing worse @.@)…
        As a loyalist to the DC series I only play, just to see Sakura (actually want hear her seiyu xD!) from DC -> DC III (Including all Sakura related games #_#).

  3. Hi, i just wanna know if will be any translate in the near future, if anyone know something and thanks in advance.

    • The most likely candidate would be Mangagamer, which has already translated DCI/II/IF/LoveExP. They haven’t said anything about it, but I think is not unlikely. Though even if they started translating as soon as the game was out there probably wouldn’t be any news for at least 1/1.5 years.

  4. Uhm, Are there already releases about da capo 3 translation? Thanks!

    • No, nothing is known yet. Mangagamer hasn’t said anything on the matter, and given that they are likely candidates to translate it it’s unlikely other groups will tackle it.
      Still, I’d bet on a Mangagamer translation, though probably not for at least one or two years more.

  5. kidlat020 Says:

    I’m thinking somewhere in the lines of:

    Since DC3 is released just recently, licensing cost for translating this game will be astronomical. MG is most butthurt there lol. We’re probably looking at somewhere like 3-4 years later here before license becomes cheaper before MG dives in..

  6. are there any translations yet?

  7. Who really is the main heroine at DCIII?

    I thought its Rikka, but some said its Aoi.
    Geez, i dont like that idea. 😦

    they advertise it as Rikka being the main heroine.
    i dont like being deceived like that.

  8. Sephallia Says:

    Hey, I’m not sure I’ll get a reply but I decided to try anyway. I got sick of waiting for a translation (it’s been YEARS) and am doing my best with ITH and Translation Aggregator (using Mecab and JParser, which suggest furigana) and rudimentry knowledge of Japanese. Progress is slow. Took me quite a while to complete the prologue, but since then, I feel like I’ve started to pick up pace. I decided to go with Ricca first and have been able to finish her Ch 1.

    Anyway, the question I want to ask is basically, how long are the paths? Are all of them the same amount of chapters? How many chapters are there each path?

    In Da Capo II, I don’t think they really distinguished “chapters” but I feel like each path was more or less divided into 2 chapters. Before the Christmas Party and after. But at the moment, it just feels like there’s a lot more content.

    (Spoiler alert? -) For example, from what I’ve seen there was that one dream that Kiyotaka accidentally stumbled into. It’s possible that’s a one-off event that just happened, but it feels important and intentional enough to have continuation. (Especially because there was a similar dream during the time spent in Hatsunejima.) Though it is possible that was just to introduce his ability to see dreams in preparation for the hotel event. Also Kiyotaka has an ulterior motive with some relation to his sister which seems to take importance even in other paths. Then there’s Sakura as well. If I compare this to Da Capo II, I feel like there were only 2 main tension points. One being the hardship that the girl is going through, and the other is the fact that Yoshiyuki starts to disappear. There seems to be much more volume in terms of content in Da Capo III

    Needless to say, I’m having a great time thus far despite the difficulty in language. Just asking in hopes of arriving at an estimate of how long this journey will actually take me.

    • I don’t know if this is what you are talking about, but (as you know) DCII had three parts: the first common route, with the map movement, and finishing with the Christmas party as you say; the second (semi)common route, with three variants (Koko-Nanaka, Minatsu-Anzu, Otome-Yume), which finished with the definitive heroine selection, and the character route. In contrast, after the present day prologue DCIII has three parts: the common route, again finishing in Christmas, and the character route.
      As a whole, DCIII may be somewhat longer than DCII, but not by much. By not having the second common route, and by having less heroines, each individual route may be longer, however. I don’t know that there were more tension points here; in the other routes the thing with Kiyotaka’s sister is basically just background, for example. The “main” plot (the equivalent to Yoshiyuki disappearing in DCII) *is* more voluminous here, though; the Da Capo segment is basically as long as any route, and it’s foreshadowed in the character routes (and one route in particular deals mainly with it). So yes, DCIII is more plot-heavy than DCII.
      As for how long will it take you… The character routes are all about the same length. So Prologue+Common route+Character route*6 (maybe 5.5 or so, taking Da Capo as somewhat shorter). As for the individual routes, as usual when the insert song plays the end is near.
      Enjoy.

      • Sephallia Says:

        Hey! Thanks for the reply. Yes. I suppose I had forgotten about the character route in DCII when I wrote that comment.

        I actually very recently just finished Ricca’s path! I can’t help but feel like too much was left unresolved though. As you say, the task entrusted to Kiyotaka by his father wasn’t explored, and that’s understandable. But nothing was particularly revealed about Sakura either. Although it turns out that (spoiler alert if someone else happens across this comment) that Kiyotaka’s original last name is Yoshino… Especially with Ricca having blue eyes and blonde hair, this opens up a large world of possibilities. Considering that Sakura is not actually a main heroine, it’s likely that her situation is explored more indepth in the “Da Capo” segment that you mention above. Probably unlocked by clearing the other routes. I’m excited for it.

        Anyway, as a question, how do I actually do Aoi’s path? Unlike the other girls, I can’t use the shell to call her, and if I recall correctly, she doesn’t really pop up as an option when during lunch break or after school when you have a choice. (Although during those times I was really only focused on choosing Ricca as an option, so I might have just not seen her.)

        Overall, really enjoying the novel so far. It appears as though this one might really tie it all together.

        • As you are guessing, everything will tie up later. These first 4 character routes (to no surprise, really) focus mostly on the heroine (and Ricca’s with the original DC).
          Re:Aoi: Indeed, once you finish your 4th character route you automatically enter Aoi’s route, so you don’t need to worry.

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