Sakura no Uta -Sakura no Mori no Ue o Mau-

sakuuta cover

Sakura no Uta (sakuuta for short) is a 2015 game written by SCA-DI with Asou Ei as sub-writer, and published by Makura (another imprint for KeroQ).

HP vndb EGS

Physical version: Getchu

DL version: DMM

Story

Spring. After the death of his father – a world-famous artist – left him without any living relatives, protagonist Kusanagi Naoya is put under the care of his friend Natsume Kei’s family. There, his homeroom teacher Natsume Ai, and Kei’s younger sister – the actress Natsume Shizuku – await him in turn. And with the arrival of the new school term, Misakura Rin – Naoya’s childhood friend who transferred long ago – reappears right before him.

Beyond the veil of cherry blossom petals blown by the wind – almost like their promised reunion —

Feelings pile up with the passage of time: once the torrent of emotions comes rushing down, what is the spectacle that awaits?

(shamelessly stolen from vndb)

Review

Sakura no Uta -Sakura no Mori no Ue o Mau- is a game 10 years in the making, after an original manga (The tear flows because of tenderness) and a trial (Haru no Yuki) from which it ended up differing considerably (allegedly; I haven’t actually read either).

It is also a game I admire more than I actually like.

The other big game of Sca-DI is Subarashiki Hibi, and though it does have similarities to it it is a very different beast.

Main of all, it is not a plot heavy story based on solving a central mystery. It is fair to say that it is character centered, and if anything it’s somewhat similar to Clannad in its main framework.

Though something that is does have in common to subahibi is its superb structure; most if not all of the scenes have a very explicit point in either characterization or plot, and foreshadowings that you didn’t know were such until you reread them abound. Like subahibi, this is a very finely crafted story.

However, unlike subahibi, here you will have a very long time during the which not a whole lot of anything happens.

The first chapter is uneventful and not so interesting and I think it was going for a more comedy-heavy story but the gags have more misses than hits (or rather, the gags are good but terribly overexplained, a problem admittedly somewhat general to Japanese media).

The second chapter is better and has a nice mystery (if somewhat low key) and a nice climax, but then in the first two routes again you have way too much text of nothing much happening, until Rin’s route ending at the earliest.

Subahibi’s Down the Rabbit Hole I is also lowkey but it only lasts a few hours; here you need to go through like half of an already very long game before getting to the “good stuff”.

I may sound quite negative with this, but I think this was the main reason I am not in love with the game (besides maybe expecting somewhat closer to subahibi); when I got to the later routes I had lost quite a bit of my enthusiasm and never really regained it.

This first part seems to be close to the original idea of the game. In the Visual Guidebook, Sca-DI says that he actually thought of rewriting it completely but didn’t want to just turn Odawara’s story to nothing. This may explain the slow pacing, and if so it’s, if understandable, kind of a pity.

On the other hand, I said that I admire this game, and it does have a lot good and great points.

As mentioned, the structure. Though it doesn’t have a central mystery it does have several mysteries, and they are intriguing and their foreshadowing incredibly well planned.

The emotional highs. I said in my subahibi review that it tried to show the whole of human experience, but really emotional moments was one thing that it didn’t really have. Sakuuta does have several scenes which by themselves could be the very best scene of any decent game. The whole Rina’s route is pretty unconventional for this kind of games, sidelining a bit the protagonist and putting the spotlight in the best character (spoiler: is Yuumi).

The characters are all well rounded and fun and the heroines all cute (and as mentioned Yuumi is the best).

boys

And who could forget boys A, B, C and D

The protagonist: Naoya is fun and very Good, and though he seems like a conventional (if pretty fun) idiot at first the depths of his character show eventually; Sca-DI says in the Visual Guidebook that he wanted to write a heroic character and in my opinion succeeds handily. Also quickly enough it’s made clear that most of the available stupidity was monopolized by best friend character Kei (who by the way ends up being pretty central to the overall story).

wataru

And Akashi got the remaining stupidity

The music.

And the last chapter goes into a fairly unusual direction, but one that afterwards seems like a natural progression of the story. So I said that Sakuuta is not that similar to Subahibi, but one aspect in which it does resemble it is in its themes.

Thematically, it kind of follows subahibi. If subahibi’s theme was “living happily” then sakuuta theme is “beyond the happiness”; if subahibi tried to show a wide range of experiences, then sakuuta is trying to show a more diachronic experience about what is happiness, how you can obtain it, and what happens next. In a way I feel that it is answering subahibi Ayana’s monologue about the “eternal happiness”.

There’s also a whole lot about the nature of artistic talent, which may resonate better with actual creators.

So would I recommend sakuuta? Sure; It’s solid at the very least and very good in parts, though do keep in mind that is very long so don’t get burned on it.

There’s also, like, a whole bunch about art history and ceramic and w/e, so if you like that go nuts.

lore

Come also for the worldbuilding

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