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Yoru Meguru, Bokura no Maigo Kyoushitsu

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Clephas

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This game is the second project made by Samoyed Smile, a subsidiary of the same corporation that owns Softhouse-seal.  This is, incidentally, why the game has the really crappy lip-sync and sex animations so familiar from that company's works.  That said, this company is not a nukige company, despite the lateral relationship.

The game starts with a young teacher, Haruki, teaching a class of dropouts at a night school.  Haruki, having had horrible experiences at his first teaching job, has a poor attitude at first, primarily because he was lured by his estranged father with the promise of the equivalent of $4M in inheritance if he succeeded in graduating the last three students at the night school.

Haruki is unusual amongst VN protagonists for being an adult with at least some experience in life, and as a character, he is extremely well-written, his humanity laid bare for the reader to see.  The situation is also unusual, since VNs with the kind of atmosphere you start with in this game tend to end up as rape/despair spirals in most cases.  The heroines are all a bit loopy and the protagonist isn't much better, when it comes down to it (situation-wise). 

Common Route

However, the game's common route is actually fairly uplifting, once you get past the initial bumps in the road involved in the characters getting used to one another.  Haruki and the heroines slowly get to know one another and even form the beginnings of something like a bond of trust, which comes to a nice high point before the heroine routes split off.  I honestly felt that it was nicely orchestrated, though I did feel that they included an unnecessary number of choices, considering that the events in the common route don't change as a result.

Koshimizu Hayate

Hayate is a spiky tsundere who never fails to fulfill the best - as opposed to the worst - standards of the archetype.  She actually has justification for her attitude, for one thing... she came across her flaws honestly.  She is also, despite appearances, probably the most 'normal' of the heroines under the surface.  Hayate is a Japanese male name, which should give you at least some idea of why she hates having her name spoken or written. 

Hayate's problem, like the problems of many runaways, is with her parents.  I won't spoil it for you, but it is a pretty deep problem... it reminds me of Fumika from Semiramis no Tenbin, except Hayate is a lot more aggressive and less gentle, lol.  Her path is deeply touching, especially as she and the protagonist manage to get over or around their traumas and make peace with who they are.  The student-teacher relationship thing doesn't take its usual turns (probably because the night school itself is too intimate for that kind of social drama to occur), so you shouldn't expect the 'oh they got found out, so he  might lose his job!' crap you see with similar protagonist-heroine relationships in other VNs.

Kadokura Riko and Kadokura Ayako

I'm going to be clear about something... I hate real lolicon content in every way, shape, and form.  If this path had discarded the H content, I honestly would have loved it, but the h-scenes in this path ruin it.  This is one of the few cases where I honestly think that sexual content is an active barrier to enjoyment rather than a mere annoyance.  That said, this path is well written... 

Riko and Ayako are mother and daughter.  Ayako is a weak-mannered, weak-willed young woman who had Riko as a young teenager and is now serving as a single mother to her.  Riko, for her part, is a 'good girl' (think Sachi from Grisaia, though not quite that extreme).  However, there are lots of problems with those two... and the two biggest ones are Riko's 'illness' and Ayako's inability to see anything in a positive light.

This path is all about the nature of human weakness and it deals more with the protagonist's issues with his mother, as opposed to the ones with his father (which were dealt with in the previous path).  That said, he is far more pathetic in his 'down time' than he was in Hayate's path, so that was another reason why I honestly left this path with a bad taste in my mouth.  The main ending (Riko only) is happy, but the other one is obviously a bad ending, albeit one that is probably pleasant in the sensual sense of things.

Niijima Kina

Kina is a sweet-natured airhead.  I don't mean this as an insult... it is an accurate description.  She has a definite learning disability, and she is a natural airhead on top of that.  That said, she is also determined to learn and the first of the heroines to take a shine to the protagonist, partially because he actually takes the time to create a personalized curriculum for her and partially because he doesn't look down on her after a few initial bumps in their student-teacher relationsip (say what you like about him, but he has to force himself to act like an asshole in most of the cases where he does). 

Kina's path is about even with Hayate's for quality, overall... but when you find out the full reason why she's attending night school, I guarantee you will either wince or cry.  They go into specifics, and it is pretty nasty at times. 

Kina's path also shows off her best qualities as a character... such as her capacity for love and her empathy.  However, it also shows off some of her negative points... such as being consumed by hatred and being just a tad psychopathic at times, lol.  Unfortunately, despite rumors to the contrary, she isn't a yandere (I thought she would be, but meh), but she comes close to it sometimes.  Probably, if they had a bad ending for this path, she would have gone down that path, since she definitely has potential.

Overall

Overall, this game was a bumpy ride.  Is it good?  Yes.  Is it perfect?  About as far from it as possible while still being a good game.  Reading this game is a high-stress experience, and I actually found myself growing wistful for charage by the end.  Nonetheless, this game is of a type that is rarely seen these days, lining up with Yume Miru Kusuri for the heart-wounded heroines and screwy psychological twists.

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