Released on June 23, 2006 for the PC by Makura soft, H2O-footprints in the sand- has gained enough popularity to be adapted into a manga, an anime, a PS2 port, and a sequel, √after and another.
Moe moe fluffy plot moe moe h-scene h-scene h-scene something resembling plot end.
That’s pretty much H2O in a nutshell.
Okay, okay, if you want a proper summary: “H2O’s story revolves around Takuma Hirose, a blind young male junior-high school student, though the cause for his blindness is undetermined. After his mother died an unexpected death, it left a deep emotional scar on him, which caused him to become very lonely and reserved. Due to this, Takuma and his uncle move from the city out into a rural area and Takuma is enrolled into a new junior-high school. At his new school, he meets several new girls, though three of whom he gets to know the most out of anyone else. They are, the firm and obstinate Hayami Kohinata, the kind and obliging Hinata Kagura, and the cheerful and mysterious Otoha. As Takuma interacts with these girls, his medical condition gradually begins to heal.” (from Wikipedia)
Hirose Takuma is your average harem lead. He’s a bit perverted, he’s pretty much spineless at first, he’s excessively kind, and he has this uncanny ability to get women to fall in love with him. The only thing that’s not cliched is the fact that he’s a blind genius (a role uausally reserved for one of the girls). Alas, he’s actually incredibly girl when he’s young and supposedly becomes one of the most sought after bachelors in town after he grows up, because he’s supposedly handsome, smart, and comes from a wealthy and influential family (causing many guys who play this game to hate him from their cores). I don’t find him particularly interesting or annoying, but that’s just my opinion.
Kohinata Hayami is your tsundere for the game. She’s alienated from the people of the village, and has to survive off of other people’s garbage. Everyone seems to hate her, calling her a cockroach and physically abusing her. On the first day, Hayami tells Takuma that he should stay from her, as he is a “good child” and she is not. But of course, he doesn’t give up in making friends with her, causing a whole chain of events…
I don’t like her story much, but you HAVE to go through it to unlock the rest of the game. I’m warning you though, don’t enter her after story if you’re not into yuri.
Kagura Hinata is your demure ojousama moeblob. She’s is the grand daughter of the village elder, beloved by everyone in the village, and despite being cheerful 99% of the time, participates in the alienation of Hayami. She gets good grades, but is incredibly clumsy (falling down stairs, using 20 minutes to crack a single egg then burning 30 of them, etc etc). Of course, she also has a dark past, and there’s a reason that she seems to dislike Hayami so much…
Her path is better than Hayami’s story, and explains more of the setting, including Takuma’s past. Again, I’m warning you, if you don’t like weird 0_O endings, don’t go through her after story.
Yakumo Hamaji is a trap and therefore doesn’t get a proper story. However he is still full of awesome and one of the few characters I can name that can put “kyun Kyun” and “doki doki” within the sentence, AND have it sound perfectly natural.
Tabata Yui, or Yui-sama, as she demands to be called, is the OTHER tsundere in the story. She’s spoiled and bratty and acts like Hatsune Miku from world is mine, but when she cares about something she puts her heart and soul into it. She’s a major cause of Hayami’s misery and is features prominently in the after stories, though still not a full fledged heroine.
Well, that moe moe stuff at the beginning pretty much sums it up. Takuma goes to the village, there is 1 choice that decides which girl you end up with (unlocked in order), and they separate for some reason or another. Years later, Tatkuma becomes a hunk and they reunite for some h-scenes, then there’s another after story for more h-scenes.
There is a continuous plot that unravels itself through the 3 main stories, and there are some interesting plot twists, but I’d consider this to be more of a comedic moe filled story that would have been better off without the awkward drama. The comedy is choppy and doesn’t fit in well with the darker tone of the game overall, and most conflicts are resolved with an anticlimax or as an afterthought. So don’t go in expecting something deep just because the game starts with a somber scene about death, it’s nothing like tsukihime.
Fantastic. Of course, individual tastes may vary, but I find the simple style to be adorable and one of the best I’ve ever seen. The colors are brilliant and well placed, and the game’s blindness mode ensures that light balance is good and the art looks good even in monochrome (more on that later). The only problem I have is that there isn’t enough event CGs, especially in the original PC version, and the characters are really small after the time skip.
See how much smaller they are? I wish they kept the original porportions.
Great. Besides some of the techno pop stuff eroges usually have, H2O also has a fantastic selection of acoustic guitar, piano, and strings. I’m not a major fan of the opening, but the ending (the song above) is really nice and relaxing. I have to add that I wish the composer stuck to what he’s good at. The relaxing songs are like the Air anime compared the Air movie that the high tension tracks are.
Very basic. The options are pretty much minimal, although there are options to control each character’s voice. The text covers the entire screen (which is a shame, considering everything), and there aren’t any handy little buttons or shortcuts. However, it’s with the functions that most eroges don’t have that H2O really shines. The game is equipped with an emergency button, which one can press if someone happens to walk in during a bad time. However, it’s always a gamble, and it can be anything from a harmless picture of a horse to a giant moster stalking a city to a naked asian girl with the subtitles: “Girlfriends are for people who don’t know how to download porn” to muscle busters. It is very amusing to just keep clicking the emergency button and discover all the possibilities. Because the protagonist is blind, the game can also play in Blindness mode, where the saturation is turned down, creating an interesting effect.
This game could have been absolutely fantastic, but where its production values succeeded, its story failed. However, it’s still an entertaining (and short) read, and people who enjoy moe should enjoy this title very much.