Never stop!

Natsu-iro kami hikouki  is a story about some people, some paper airplanes, and 2 summers shared between them that they will never forget.

The art isn’t the greatest, the system isn’t luxurious (there is nothing aside from the most basic of configurations, and no CG/BGM recollection), and the story isn’t long by any means. Being a tag-long release for comicket by circus, I didn’t expect anything that was high budget, so that was fine. What surprised me, however, was the great quality of the music and the nature of the story.

The game has no voices or vocal songs, but the BGM was composed with care, fitting into the atmosphere beautifully. I think that it’s by the composer who composed Da capo II and some of Narcissu, although I can’t be sure. There was a lot of it for such a short story, and I would absolutely love to get the soundtrack, although I’m sure there is none.

Unlike just about every other VN out there, this story doesn’t involve romance between the heros and heroines. Instead, it focuses on weaving a beautiful environment and touching interactions between characters. The story was presented in third person, with no name tags for the “spoken” lines, making it sometimes hard to decipher who exactly is speaking, although I think that people (such as myself) who are too used to reading VNs are a bit pampered in that regard, and a change of pace is definitely not a bad thing. It’s not an epic tale, it’s not an edge-of-your-seat suspense and it’s not a world changing allegory for the darkest parts of human nature. But, it’s a sensitive look at what is a little bit of all of us. A dreamer, a runner, a wonderer, appreciating the beauty of a bright summer day.

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8 thoughts on “Never stop!

  1. From the sound of how you describe it, it seems like a good item you’d find at a comiket. Because of the short length and concision it seems efficient and simple enough to not be overbearing.

    Sometimes non-Da Capo stuff by Circus is intriguing. Or rather, you stated this was an otome game essentially, making the system format in another aspect (meaning it wouldn’t have similarities to other circus works).

    Do you think the story’s equation was influenced on what the otome game demographic aims at? I’m not sure if you’d call this one slice of life, but you sure emphasize on the atmosphere and simple stuff. In some ways, what I’m getting at is perhaps the low budget but simple system makes it a nice short read.

    (That or when I read high budget it’s got to do something with graphics or the 3D system and then whoops, other aspects of a game start to lack. I was implying gameplay but since we’re speaking of VNs high budget would perhaps be … animation or the VAs I suppose. Not sure.)

    The only irony I can see from reading this is that here in the California bay area, it’s been “the coldest summer in the last 40 years” or something to that degree. Thus, I hadn’t quite seen “the beauty of a bright summer day”, as it had been on average, colder than the usual and previous summers.

  2. Actually, that was a misunderstanding on my part. The girl is the protagonists and a bishi showed up, so I assumed that it was an otome game, but it wasn’t. I’d say that it’s really gender neutral in terms of everything. There’s no any fans service or first person narrative, so I can’t decipher anything from THAT either.

    I don’t think that the story is influenced by this kind of view though, rather, it felt like it was written without caring about the view at all. From what I can tell, the generic otome game is exactly the same as the generic eroge. The stupid fanservice, pointless plot, lack of atmosphere, it’s all the same. It even extends to other mediums. Take a more sensual shoujo manga, say… vampire knight, and compare the amount (not degree) of fanservice/nudity to, say… airgear. The fanservice to plot ratio, relatively speaking, when you count in the battles, should actually be pretty similar.

    Now that I think about it, actually, maybe it’s because this feels more like a doujin game that it’s like this. I don’t think that it’s because it’s non-dacapo stuff, rather that it’s not “what merchandise and how much money can we get out of this?” stuff. I mean, if someone said that Circus’s first priority isn’t money, they are either misinformed or delusional. And when it comes to budget, there’s a very interesting article here about it, which I would recommend you read (man, I would LOVE to make 800 bucks off of a single line art).

    Quite the opposite is happening here in Vancouver. It was 34 yesterday, which should be 93 in Fahrenheit? It’s like the weather forgets that this is a part of Canada or something.

  3. Okay so as you can tell I can only set an opinion based on the premise you state. Thus if you worded it wrong, I take that incorrectly as well. But the fact that the girl is the protagonist itself isn’t common.

    It still takes effort to produce it, so I suppose it ended up laid back. Since it was lower budget, I suppose anything going wrong isn’t concerning. Regards to otome games, I just vaguely remember that the da capo girls symphony was an interestingly different equation, and did not suck per se. Since I never ventured much on the shoujo genre, I didn’t quite notice this. Thanks for the heads up.

    Since I can’t read extensively, I can only run on first impressions, character design, and ambiance balance. Thus, I can get the wrong idea or look at a tree instead of the forest and miss the point.

    Yeah, I read the zepy article, but because of extensive hardships I don’t think about it too much (concluding that it’s hard to uh, make profit unless you hit the iron correctly like type-moon did.) [Sheesh, $800 off of lineart? You’d do lineart all day long for that probably and not be overburdened. Okay scratch that last part.]

    Canada’s supposed to be somewhat colder! That’s blazing hot relative to here. (So yes, weather is a bit odd here. At least it’s summer up there.)

  4. Sounds like an atmosphere-driven light novel converted directly into a VN… the textures reminds me of LN illustrations more than VN CGs more too. Quite an interesting concept, now if it was in English xD

  5. Hi there

    Nice article as always, you keep me informed just by following what you post alone. Now I won’t comment on how good the game is, for that I’d have to have a copy and go through it myself, but from the way you describe it, it sounds to me like LEAVES the vn, correct me it isn’t please, even though LEAVES has most of what you said “Never stop!” lacks.

    For the sound track and the CG, you already have it! take my word for it, since it’s packed and archived in the game’s files, all you need to do is unpack what you want, either the sound track or the CG or both, you just need the tools and I’ll tell you where to get them. for my part I never extract the CG before completing the game and all its routes, it’s no fun otherwise, Right? but for the sound track I guess it’s ok. now I’ll list a couple tools I use, these tools are the same as those used by people translating VNs. The first is “ExtractData.exe” a nice lightweight program that will unpack most archives that you encounter and it allows you to “rip” whatever data you want, it has a simple and straight forward GUI, so you can use it with no technical knowledge whatsoever, I don’t have a download link, but it’s lightweight as I said so I can mail it to you if you want (less than 1 MB), the second tool is called “crass” used by the group who translated Chaos;Head it supports nearly 1000 games, so it’s in my opinion the best packer/unpacker out there, the drawback however is that if you wanna use it to its full potential you’ve gotta go through the documentation and learn all that command line crap, even if it has a gui it’s not very sufficient, you can find this one among the patch files of the Chaos;Head game if you have it already, or you can download it here http://tieba.baidu.com/f?kw=crass, the site is in Chinese, but you can find your way, I know I did.

    so there you have it have fun

    • Thanks. This is quite different from leaves though, at least in my opinion. There’s no drugs or rape, and it’s just more light hearted in general.

      I usually get a CG pack before I play the game (why extract it if someone already did it for you, right?). I usually don’t look at it in detail if I know I’m going to play it though. Anyway, most eroge CGs won’t spoil much, so it’s not a major problem for me. It also makes things easier when I post.

      As for this game…the music files aren’t packed, but they’re pcm files, so it’s all the same anyway. I know I have crass on my computer SOMEWHERE… I can read Chinese (that’s how I played this game lol), so it’s no problem. That link is down, BTW, due to government regulations (why they’re so anal about this stuff, I’ll never understand). I didn’t know about ExtractData.exe, so thanks for that, it’s working nicely.

  6. I guess if it won’t be the same if it doesn’t contain a bit of rape and drugs, but that will make for a joyous read, which isn’t bad once in while.

    I laughed a lot at that SOMEWHERE bit you wrote, cause I know too well how stuffed my HDD is that I don’t have to download/buy most of what I need anymore.

    And you’re welcome even though you would have encountered those tools sooner or later since you read a lot of VNs. Oh and sorry for the dead link, but it was still working just a few days ago.

    last thing I wanna right about is that I forgot you can read Chinese, how I envy you! 😉 , those Chinese guys are so active when it comes to translating VNs even the most shallow crappiest ones that involve a protagonist and the usual cast of girls having sex for the heck of it. The english market be it fan translation or professional/official port of games include but a few good games. So I guess I’ll start learning Japanese soon since that is what I like and liked for more than 4 years now

    • When it comes to shallow games filled with sex, I think there’s more in English translations (by ratio, at least). The official Chinese translations are kind of split between all ages and a bit of sex (I don’t mean that the all the stories are good, just that in a lot of cases there’s enough of a plot to actually outweigh the sex), with some of stupid excuse for sex. The reverse seems to happen in Official English translations. I mean, “cosplay fetish academy”? “Bazooka cafe”? “sandwhiched between my wife and her sister”? Those are complete, whole games with entire scenarios which serve absolutely no purpose except to bring out h-scenes. Sure, Hirameki did all ages games, but most of them were based on nukiges anyway (Tea Society of a Witch, for instance), and mangagamer technically only ever did 1 all ages game, which is Higurashi.

      And for fan translations, there’s not much of a difference. Neither language has a lot of nukiges, and most of them are translated by that same handful of people. Most of translation teams in both languages focus on more plot oriented games. For instance, even if I say that Tayutama was stupid, I can’t quite say that it was a nukige, there’s too much plot in the way (well, in 1 of the paths anyway). Also, there’s a lot of those sex games translated into Chinese too, but unlike the official english market, most of these are short, with small amounts of translation needed.

      Really, if you cut out the short stories, all ages or otherwise, out of both languages, Chinese translations, even by ratio, outweigh the English in terms of plot.

      But I do think that the english translation scene is in a bit of a slump right now though. There’s been, what, 1 translation since February? Hopefully we can get more good stuff here.

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