…Oops, accidentally posted it without finishing by mistake. It’s finished now.
Sanarara is a collection of 4 short stories, each with different characters, but faced with the same problems. Take a bit of the mischievous male lead from Key’s games, a bit of the emotions of the tear jerking powers of insert-your-favorite-nakige-here, and a bit of that classical Nekoneko atmosphere, and you have the experience that is Sanarara.
A “guide” will find the next person to grant a wish to, and the wisher will be attracted to the guide. To make the wisher believe in the system, they’re given a “practice wish” whose effects only last one week. During the week that they’re a navigator, they cannot be noticed by ordinary humans save for the wisher. If a proper wish isn’t made within the week, the chance expires. If a wish is made, the wisher becomes the next navigator (for one week, unless they keep meeting wishers who do not make wishes). No matter what happens, a navigator will have all their memories of the events erased, and so would a wisher if they didn’t make a wish. This system seems to be very powerful, and most wishes can be granted save for the most extreme. That, and the wish to retain their week’s worth of memories.
The 4 main protagonists all have rather similar personalities (though different motivations), and they’re not the focus of the stories anyway, so I won’t go into them. However keep in mind that they ARE different people. Shiina Nozomi is an EXTREMELY shy girl who is the main focus of the first story, “Wish”. When I say she’s shy, I mean it. Being able to hold eye contact for 3 seconds with her father is considered to be an outstanding achievement on her part. However, she IS trying to interact more with people, even if there hasn’t been any successful results. She is the guide for this story.
Written by the person who penned Narcissu, Nozomi’s story was very good, and radiates that magic which I just can’t describe. However, the ending was very vague, and ended on a note that just didn’t feel right in my mind.
Her story, “sweet days, sour days” was the simplest story out of the four. I didn’t like it as much as the others, but it involved a time loop, so it was all good.
Mieno Ryou is a person who eagerly believes fairy tales. She goes to a prestigious girls school, but instead of being calm and proper she is very enthusiastic about everything and really enjoys life. She meets her guide (an old classmate) on the last day of the week, and only have a few hours before her time limit is up.
Okay, remember that last nakige/tear jerker you saw? This story, “sentimental amaretto negative” is as sad as that. Like that certain scene in air, or clannad, or the color purple, or whatever it was, her story forces you to cry. And still, it carries such a powerful message that guarantees you won’t be able to forget it anytime soon.
Yagami Yuriko is a stickler for the rules. For some reason, her “practice wish” involved her wishing that everybody was gone. Everybody as in the entire human population. Unlike her, her guide has no appreciation for rules. He would explain the situations for the people, give them their practice wish, then run away before they have the chance to make their true wish. He does this so he can continue his existence as a guide (not being noticed by other people does have its perks, such as free shopping), and moves on to the next person when the week is up. Fortunately, other guides will go in to make up for what he has done, so he has been living without a conscience for half a year until he met Yuriko.
This story, “summer holiday” is nothing like Cross channel (for those of you who are wondering). It is a very cute and sweet romance with just a bit of bittersweet mixed in. I thought that Yuriko sounded extremely familiar when I heard her, and turns out her seiyuu voices that other pink haired girl in D.C.II. Another little tidbit is that the writer for this secenario used to be a graphic designer, and had actually designed the parfait chocolat second brew logo.
This game has a very interesting premise which serves as an excellent basis for short stories. Every pair of people have their own motivations, their own wishes, their own choices, and the conditions of the wish (being ignored by everyone, losing their memories) were used to its full potential.The one theme that just resonates within the stories is hope. Of course, this involves the hopes being placed into people’s wishes, but it’s also the hopes that even supernatural powers cannot grant. Love, loss, life, death, hopes, dreams, even a couple of kiwis, these are all part of the great simplicity of being a human in this world.
It is a small slice of life. It is something that just might happen. It is 4 stories about 2 very simple people. And it is one of the best I have ever read.
Yeah, this is where most people just turn away and run. It is VERY, VERY lolish. When I saw that above image I wished that the person who drew the background characters actually drew the foreground characters. This is a game where the SCG looks better than the event CG (which is very inconsistent, due to there being 3 artists working together). However, the drawings DOES grow on you after a while, and you can tell there’s a lot of love put into it. The backgrounds are also surprisingly nice.
Godly. Elements garden, Barbarian on the groove, Ebi, we have here so many talented composers (most of which you may recognize from Narcissu), and they work together harmoniously. I can’t imagine it being better than this.
The voice acting was excellent too, though the girls are a little too squeaky for me to really like them.
Very basic, and familiar if you’ve played any other of Nekoneko’s games. Each story unlocks the next, and each story is in chapters which you have to click on. There’s the obligatory music/art/scene review sections, and finishing the game unlocks 2 extra h-scenes and 1 extra short story, along with staff comments (not unlike Utawarerumono).
Total: 85.5/100 A-
If you are sick and tired of giant robots, actually, scratch that, if you’re just plain sick and tired. Sit down with Sanarara, read something good. Relax, be touched, feel these characters, and live with the hope that they instill in you.