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Saga Planets


Clephas

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As I've been playing Floral Flowlove, I've been recalling my experiences with Saga Planets.  This is one of a very small group of companies that has never produced a 'complete kusoge' in my experience, and they always manage to maintain a certain level of quality, though they do their best work in VNs with a strong protagonist.

Saga Planets is unusual amongst VN producers in that their games (at least in my experience) always maintain a certain baseline of quality... and in that they don't attempt to erase their protagonists' individuality.  In my opinion, this company's two best games are Natsuyume Nagisa and Hatsuyuki Sakura... and these two share elements that are common to Saga Planets' best works.  One is that they have stories with a certain 'ache of sorrow' to them.  Another is that the moe-like surface hides a more sorrowful, sometimes bitter experience that is generally not found in most games with a moege art style.  They follow a far older storytelling pattern, in that they don't try to eliminate bitter experiences and painful catharsis from the story, and this tends to benefit them immensely.

More recent works, like Hanasaki Work Spring and Karumaruka Circle, have been closer to what I call 'normal charage', save in that they have strong protagonists.  I'm not saying they were 'weak' (in fact, by normal charage/moege standards, they leave a bit too strong of an impression as a whole), but they do suffer in comparison to the other works I listed above.

Now, coming back to the topic at hand... there is one other quality that the best Saga Planets games share... and that is there is always at least one (sometimes two or three) heroine paths that are... abortive or just immensely weak in comparison to the others.  In Hatsuyuki, it was Shirokuma's path, and in Natsuyume Nagisa, it can be said that all paths other than the true one are abortions, considering the content of said path.

This is a nearly unavoidable aspect of what I sometimes refer to as a 'story-focused VN'.  For better or worse, there is almost always a true/main heroine in these games, and it is hers and the protagonist's story that are most important.  Other heroines are frequently given less of an impact or the true heroine has an immense impact even on other heroine paths, as she is just so central to the game as a whole.  This can be somewhat frustrating if you happen to like/love the heroine in question, but it is just one of the prices of reading a great story, sometimes. 

Edit: The above kind of ignores the 'side-trips' the company took into other genres early on, lol.

Edit2: As an example of a heroine that some of the people here might be familiar with whose impact on the other paths in the VN is pretty obvious, Kagome from Comyu is a rather obvious example, as is Suzu in Ayakashibito.  To be blunt, there is not a single path in either game where either of those heroines is separated from the protagonist, making it rather obvious to anyone who played any of the paths in the game who they were 'supposed to' love the most, hahaha. 

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