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Random VN: Mirai Nostalgia


Clephas

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Mirai Nostalgia is the game that turned Purple Soft around.  After Ashita no Kimi to Au Tame ni, the company produced a number of middling and poor quality games, and it looked like Purple Software was going to fade into the background, like a lot of other companies that prospered during the 'Golden Age'.  Then, all of the sudden, they released this game...  and they regained the hearts of their followers, leading to a series of high quality releases, including Hapymaher, Amatsutsumi, and Aoi Tori.

Mirai Nostalgia follows an extensive cast of characters... a group of friends centering primarily around the protagonist Youichi and Uta (called Hime by the rest of the group).  Like most high quality VNs with a lot of SOL, the interactions with the friend characters and non-heroines are lively and vitally important to fleshing out the setting and characters as a group and as individuals. 

The Protagonist

Kudou Youichi- Youichi is a lazy young man who is utterly incompetent at all forms of housework.  He lives alone (at first) with the ancient bakeneko Kuro (who has apparently been alive for over a thousand years) and is a weak esper, possessing telekinesis and an unstable teleportation ability.  In obedience to his family traditions, he keeps his powers hidden from all but those few others around him that also possess powers.  Youichi is, by nature, a very calm, accepting individual who instinctively puts others first, often disregarding his own well-being if faced with the needs of others.  He is also generally on the lowest rung of the family ladder (even the cat is above him), and he spends a lot of his time accommodating the females in his life (Shizuku and his little sisters especially). 

The Heroines

Kasuga Iori- Iori is a traditional black-haired beauty and a miko... with an airgun and immensely powerful telekinetic abilities (think being able to erase someone from existence with pure kinetic force).  She is also constantly threatening Youichi's life, for reasons she declines to mention to him, and her temper is almost always sharp-edged.  She is definitely S by nature.  Despite this apparently violent nature, she also has a deep capacity for love and compassion, and she is quite capable of forgiving a lot from those she cares about (though Youichi apparently pushes her over the edge).

Hatori Uta- Youichi's osananajimi, the daughter of the CEO of a large electronics company, and the spiritual center of the group of friends that lies at the center of the story.  She definitely marches by her own drummer, living life as she wants to live it and ignoring inconvenient realities completely.  All of the group of friends can't help but love her, and she doesn't have a mean bone in her body.  She is a heavy gamer and loves nothing more than beating the shit out of Youichi in competitive gaming.

Kudou Nono- The older of Youichi's twin stepsisters, a genkikko who does the vault in track and field.  She loves to exercise, loves to eat, and loves her oniichan (not necessarily in that order, depending on her priorities at any given moment).  She always has a smile on her face and can make friends with just about anyone.

Kudou Hina- The younger of Youichi's twin stepsisters, a sharp-tongued beauty with glasses who rules the Kudou family with an iron fist.  A natural dictator, she openly states that her goal is to become the next student council president and enslave the student body to her will.  She adores her niisan, but she doesn't let that stop her from insulting him constantly and prodding him into doing what she wants him to do.  Where Nono is the type that wears her heart on her sleeve, Hina is the type that has quiet depths beneath the surface.

Anna- Anna is an esper who has traveled from the future to the past, in order to change the timeline she came from.  She states that the future Youichi denied her confession of love, and she also presents herself as the most powerful esper in existence.  She is generally a prankster, playful and easygoing, taking endless pleasure in teasing Youichi.  However, she is quite obviously hiding a lot of things from him...  She is also the true heroine.

The Other Characters

Hatori Ei- Uta's elder brother, a rootless wanderer who travels the world for years at a time.  His generally irresponsible nature makes him the butt of jokes for most of the group of friends, and he and Shizuku are rivals for the position of 'elder caretakers' in the group.

Hoshikawa Shizuku- The all-powerful student council president, Youichi's cousin, an immensely powerful clairvoyant, and the 'elder sister' of the group.  Most of the group's members have resigned themselves to being her slaves, and when the whim takes her, she drags them all into her schemes and plots.  She cares deeply about the other members of the group, but her position as an elder sister often puts her in the position of having to think of what is best for everyone.

Sanada Kanata- The waitress at a local cafe, one of Youichi's osananajimis, and an infamous dojikko.  She shines the most as the butt of jokes or when being dragged around by Shizuku or caught up in her schemes.  Everybody teases her, but they all love her, too. 

Kase Touya- An unfortunate young man who finds himself in the same position as Kanata most of the time (the butt of jokes and getting dragged into trouble by Shizuku).  While he is good-looking, because of his overly eager manner, most girls don't take him seriously, and he has yet to manage to get a girlfriend.  He and Youichi often commiserate about their treatment by the girls in the group.

Kuro- A thousand year old bakeneko (youkai cat) who has advised the Kudou family for generations and is one of the 'people' who raised Youichi.  Once an immensely powerful youkai, time has taken its toll, and now he only retains the ability to speak mentally to those who possess esper abilities.  Immensely dignified, wise, and gentle by nature, Youichi's trust in him as an advisor is absolute.  While Kuro will advise if asked or if he thinks it is truly needed, he doesn't believe in 'holding the student's hand' (figuratively speaking) and is perfectly willing to sit back and let Youichi make his own mistakes. 

Kasuga Haru- Iori's mother, an easygoing nurse and sometime coach to the track and field team, she is an immensely strong person (mentally and spiritually).  Her capacity for love is as deep and strong as her daughter's, and one can see the results in Iori's private interactions with her.  She does share Iori's S side though.

The story

Mirai Nostalgia's story begins with the protagonist's first contact with Anna, the supposed 'girl from the future' and the return of his twin imoutos, Nono and Hina after several years apart.  Soon after, he encounters Iori, and his peaceful life is suddenly overturned as a result.  This is a nakige, much like the other games Purple Soft has made since, but its style is more 'traditional' (closer to the format Key pioneered, albeit with a stronger central story).  My suggested play order for this game is Hina>Nono>Uta>Iori>Anna.  The reasons are pretty obvious if you play the game, but I'll go ahead and outline them here.  I basically put them in order from 'least relevant to the central story' to 'most relevant'.  Hina's path is by far the weakest of the five, which is probably inevitable in retrospect (Hina's character is hard to grasp as a heroine).  Nono is a bit stronger as a heroine, but the events leading up to the climax of the story felt forced in comparison to the events that led to her and Youichi becoming lovers.  Uta's path is a bit more fantastical in some ways, mostly because of an unexpected turn of events caused by Uta's dependent personality.  Iori's path... is emotionally powerful, not the least because it reveals the biggest reason why Anna returned to the past.  Anna's path... is a cryfest.  I cried through roughly a third of Anna's path both times I played this game, simply because it was just that good.

The audio

This game's music is slightly above the standard quality for commercial VNs, so it is noteworthy in that sense.  However, this was also the VN where Purple Soft began to seriously typecast the company's favored voice actors (Kazane in particular), and so you can pretty much tell the personality of a Purple Soft character by the sound of their voice, in a generalized sense, lol.

Visually

The first time Purple Soft used Koku for their visuals was in this game, and for those who have played Hapymaher or Chrono Clock, the style will be familiar by now.

Overall

This game is a nice nakige with a strong mix of humorous slice of life and powerful emotional moments.  If you want a good nakige to sit down and read through that is less moe-dependent than a Key VN, this is an excellent choice.

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4 hours ago, RedK said:

What's your favorite Purple game, Clephas?

Hapymaher... though I also like Aoi Tori and Amatsutsumi (despite the use of the ladder story structure, which says everything about how good they are). 

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