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Kami-sama no You na Kimi e

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Clephas

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Kami-sama no You na Kimi e is the latest game by Cube, and it is based in a near-future setting where AIs run just about every aspect of society.  In this society, people have gotten past that raw terror of AI horror stories and have pretty much accepted the the ease and luxury of having AI run most of the important things that make civilization possible.  

At the beginning of the story, the protagonist, Kaito, is hacking into Central AI, the AI based on the Moon that runs most of the world's infrastructure.  Triumphantly, he succeeds, essentially gaining control over the AI that rules the world... and the one thing he asks for before getting out of the system is for it to find his ideal girlfriend, which the system then says doesn't exist.  Kaito, quite naturally, is a bit down after this, but he goes to sleep more or less normally... only to answer the door in the morning to find his ideal girl standing outside.

Quite naturally, this ideal girl is Tsukuyomi, the game's flagship heroine and the embodiment of Central AI in girl form.  As requested, she is already completely deredere over him, and a great deal of the common route has him running from her excessively sexual approaches.  In the days after this, like dominoes falling in a row, he meets a number of attractive heroines, and he shows off the usual donkan protagonist routine almost constantly when it matters.

Now, just from this, you'd think this was your standard charage... but in actuality, it is a lot closer to a plotge in structure.  The heroines have real issues, the protagonist doesn't flake out or become less interesting as you proceed, and the paths actually have solid stories that involve most of the game's cast of characters.  For someone who wants an SOL plotge with some decent drama in a futuristic setting, this game is pure crack.

Tsukuyomi

I probably should have left her for last, but I played Tsukuyomi's path first.  Tsukuyomi is the game's obvious main heroine, the girl who is most prominent on the package and in the advertising, and in general is the one most central in the common route.  In most cases, I don't like 'no common sense' heroines, but Tsukuyomi manages to pull it off without it feeling excessively contrived, which is actually a feat, considering she is a robot heroine.  It is helped along by the fact that Kaito generally accepts that Tsukuyomi is what she is, has no illusions about her nature, and is perfectly fine with her being a different existence from himself.  

Her story is your usual deredere heroine romance at first, but it quickly goes dramatic about midway through, for reasons that should be fairly obvious.  While the templated turn of events in this path is not revolutionary, it is well-executed and interesting.  There is even a truly surprising and emotional moment near the end that had me crying.  That, in itself, makes this path a success.  My only real complaint is that this path lacked an epilogue to tie off the story.

Rein

Rein is the cold-hearted student council president, an honor student with a black heart and an overabundance of pride.  Her path branches off from Tsukuyomi's path and is a great deal weaker, at least in my opinion.  To be honest, this path was kind of 'meh' for me, since it never revealed anything important about the details of what was going on with Rein beyond the basics that were revealed in Tsukuyomi's path, which is a huge weakness in a plotge or a charage.  While the protagonist remains a cool and interesting character, the failures of this path are really glaring.

Worse, the same as Tsukuyomi's path, there is no real epilogue, meaning you don't get to find out what happened after.

Rana

Rana... Rana is the heroine on the cover dressed like Sherlock Holmes, a cosplay uniform she wears nearly constantly.  As it indicates, she is a private detective and extremely intelligent... but also fairly perverted (she has a thing for Kaito's butt).  Her path... let's just say it is surprising and diverges widely from the events in Tsukuyomi's path (I didn't really like how Tsukuyomi almost became a non-entity in her path, but meh...).  This path... is a bit depressing, to be honest.  Oh, if you choose the Rana-only good ending, it is actually pretty good and heart-warming at the end, but the process you go through to reach that point is pretty hard if you came to like Rana.

Sophia/Sophia & Rana

At first glance, Sophia seems like your standard 'yurufuwa oneesan', but she is actually a fairly intelligent adult (yes, she is the adult heroine in this game).  She is Rana's older sister and one of those involved in developing the S-CHIP, an AI chip designed to be implanted into the human brain as an aid to those who have brain diseases.  Sophia's 'path' diverges from Rana's during the darkest period of Rana's path, and... to be honest, while it is easy to understand why it happens, this path is fairly unusual/stand out for a modern VN for reasons I'm not going to spell out here.  

Anyway, toward the end of Sophia's path, you have to decide whether you want the protagonist to be with just Sophia or with both Sophia and Rana... of course, after a seriously awkward set of events.  Generally, I recommend the Sophia and Rana choice... the guilt-trip you get from choosing just Sophia is pretty awful.

Kirika

Kirika is the protagonist's fellow loner, a girl who accuses him of stalking her because they keep meeting whenever they are trying to find places to be alone.  Her secret comes out relatively early in the common route, but I'll keep it quiet since it is funnier if you don't know in advance.  Her path actually begins very much like a charage path.  It is only toward the end where it becomes as deadly serious as the other paths above.  Indeed, in some ways it is the grimmest and most shocking of the paths, even compared to the depressing aspects of Rana's path.  It is also the path where the other heroines showed the least amount of relevance, a fact that I have mixed feelings about, considering how powerful the characters are.

Similar to most of the paths above, this path's greatest weakness is the fact that while it does have a conclusion, it doesn't have an epilogue or after-story to tie off the last few loose ends.  For that reason, I'm pretty sure they are planning a fandisc, as I can't see them leaving things as is.

Airi

Airi has the dubious honor of having the single weakest path in the game.  She is a net idol that the protagonist meets in the course of interacting with Kirika, and her main focus in life is on her work, despite being the youngest heroine.  Unfortunately, she is also the least unusual personality in the group, meaning that her character is by far the weakest... and her path follows suit.  Where the other paths had somewhat grandiose episodes that showed off the darkest aspects of an over-connected society, Airi's path's drama feels like an extension of internet trolling, so I had trouble getting into it.  

Conclusion

A good game with a solid setting and characters, this is probably a good choice for those who want a decent near-future sci-fi plotge who have already played Komorebi no Nostalgica and Missing X-Link.  Tsukuyomi is an above-average AI heroine, though she falls short of the genius of Cinema and Fluorite from Komorebi or the raw emotions experienced with the AIs in Missing X-Link.  It's greatest flaw is how it handles the endings, a common flaw in modern VNs that seems to be born of the bad habits of the fandisc-loving charage companies.  It's greatest strength lies in the way it manages to keep the protagonist, the heroines, and the story interesting while balancing it with enough SOL to make them feel real in the first place.  

 

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