Due to certain real life circumstances, I can no longer look at romance stories like I used to… Sigh… Really, you think that certain lines are only uttered on screen, than certain situations only happen in fiction. It is honestly freaky when you notice it happening around you.
The basic premise of Hoshizora no memoria -wish upon a shooting star- is one that will definitely be familiar to eroge players. You Kogasaka and his younger sister are moving back into his hometown after several years. Once there, he meets a mysterious girl who resembles his childhood friend. However, she cannot possibly be his childhood friend, because she looks like she hasn’t aged a day since he left. The girl introduces herself as Mare, and stabs him with a scythe, claiming to be cutting away his nightmare…
There are very few ways to make the setting more cliched. The whole dead parents thing, moving back to hometown thing, blood related sister thing, and old childhood friend thing all remind me of Yosuga no Sora, and I’m sure that everyone has seen too many mysterious girl stories by now. On top of that, You belongs to and makes friends at the Astronomy club, which is short on members. Together, they must save it from being canceled. Sigh…
That said, I actually like the concept of Shinigamis. Add to that some really nice art and a few good reviews, and I had my hopes up for something fantastic. I can’t say that Hoshimemo is boring and awful, however, I have to admit that it’s not exactly fantastic either.
Now, the character introductions:
Not a bad protagonist. Straightforward, and not annoying. He’s also pretty funny at times and likes to tease the girls (which gave me some mixed feelings…) Anyway, he’s also a bit too serious for his own good at times, and has a hard time relying on others or asking for help. He’s also extremely protective of his younger sister, Chinami.
The genki and friendly iinchou who liked You since grade school (Sigh…) She seems to be the main girl kind of character, but ends up only playing a minor part in the overall story. She works at her family’s Cafe as a meido waitress and is very good at cooking. She also love stars and is the vice-president of the astronomy club, and immediately tries to get You to join due to their lack of members.
Her story’s mostly about her own insecurities and her relationship with her father.
The tsundere student council member who’s also a miko and my favorite character~ Hmm… I really do have a weakness for tsunderes…or something. Anyway, she’s really hard working and serious, and like You she tries her best to avoid causing trouble to others and has a hard time accepting help. Unlike Asuho, she really hates stars, so they don’t get along at all.
Her path involves her having recurring dreams about falling down and dying, along with how it connects to her past. It explains a lot of the back story to the overarching plot. I really liked it, despite guessing the biggest plot twist in there, it was still entertaining.
The somewhat haraguroi/sadistic/teasing younger twin sister of Komomo. Unlike her sister, she’s fine with stars and is a member of the astronomy club. There’s a lot of yuri(ish) fanservice between the two of them, and it’s pretty entertaining.
Her route is quite short and is only unlocked after completing that of Komomo. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I find her to be pretty interesting. Of all the characters, she’s probably the one with the worse secret to hide.
The kuudere who’s overprotective of her younger sister and has a tongue of poison. Her story’s about getting her to trust people again. And while I thought that her personality was pretty amusing early on, it got old fast. Her path worsens the problem, as the whole conflict is centered around her being narrow-minded. She ended up being the least interesting character in the game for me.
The… too energetic younger sister of You. Characters like this are really great as side characters. However, I spent a huge chunk of time at the beginning of the game listening to her going “ONII-CHAN ONII-CHAN ONII-CHAN” while doing incredibly stupid and annoying things accompanied by awful BGM, and it really did make me want to just kick her out of the game. Thankfully, the attention shifts away from her after a while, and she’s a much more likable character when the drama kicks in.
Chinami’s path can only be unlocked after Isuzu’s path has been completed. Unfortunately, I think that she’s less interesting in her own path than that of Isuzu’s. What’s more, her path is only half plot. The other half is long periods of exposition and meaningless scenes that the writers try to pass off as romance.
The mysterious girl that You meets at the observatory. She tries to not act like a loli, but ends up being the most childish character in the game. Kind of. You called her a shinigami, so she ends up calling herself one too.
The true heroine in this story is ****. Her path isn’t unlocked until the five heroines are all cleared. However, they hint at her path by showing a new scene after each run. It’s possible to figure out who she really is after one play through, but there’s not much of a point. Unlike series like Umineko, it’s better here to just let the answers come to you.
Anyway, after **** is cleared for the first time (kind of, there’s a Clannad/ Little buster-ish unlocking system going on here), you can access Mare’s path. However, there isn’t much plot in it. I seriously wonder about just how Mare’s path is legal. She’s pretty much seven years old. The true ending makes things worse, as Mare’s true identity… well, let’s just say it’s awkward and leave it at that.
As for ****, well, her path is definitely good and ties all the stories together, but I just couldn’t bring myself to like either her or the story for some reason.
Souhiro is Asuho’s dad. There’s nothing much interesting about him, but he used to be in the astronomy club along with Chinami and You’s parents.
Haruto is the weird president of the astronomy club. He’s a pretty funny comic relief character.
Mirai is the president of the paranormal club, and acts as a kind of a best friend character to You. His story is alluded to in the main story, but is only developed in the fandisc. I didn’t really care about him in the main story, but in the fandisc… for some reason, his voice was absolutely delicious and appealing in an odd way. …yeah, moving on
Suzuha is the younger Aoi sister. Again, only a minor supporting role.
Mayaks is the mother of Komomo and Kosame, and therefore the head of the local shrine. She was also a part of the astronomy club from years ago. She only plays a rold in the twin’s paths, but even then, it’s pretty minor.
Shino is You’s aunt and the sister of his mother. She works as an artist and is pretty much a laid-back night owl. She was also in the astronomy club with her sister when they were in highschool. She’s a pretty major character in Shinami’s path, and is part of one of the most touching moments in the entire game.
Setsuna, a ghost member of the astronomy club. She also works as a miko at the Hisakaki family shrine. She’s a very cold but also very serious person. Also, she’s made of awesome.
…and that’s the end of my overly long character introductions….
Sometimes, you get a story that’s pretty engaging as it goes on but leaves you feeling unsatisfied. For me, this is one of them.
Romance definitely isn’t the focus here, instead, it’s about the characters and how they overcome their nightmares. Family is also a big focus. While this is pretty good for plot, it also means that a lot of the romantic elements are poorly incorporated. They really tried too hard to incorporate a number of h-scenes, and many of them are inappropriate, especially with Chinami and Mare.
Stars are also a major theme in this story, and there’s a lot of care put into it. By a lot of care, I mean some really nice looking shots of the sky (with variations for the seasons) and a lot of astronomy jargon. While I am pretty familiar with Greek mythology and all that, I have to admit that I skipped through most of the explanations involving the various astrological bodies.
The common route is long. Really, REALLY long. Unfortunately, to get to different paths, you have to start at pretty much at the beginning every time, which is very time consuming, as the skip function isn’t nearly fast enough to cope with the amount of script. Every time you complete a path, there is a new scene that will appear in the next play through, which was something that was very much complimented by the long common route. However, it really feels too tedious.
The writers tried to incorporate a lot of drama and tension to the story, but it didn’t work that well a lot of the time. Many scenes end on a dramatic note, but it always feels like a cliff hanger with no proper explanation or conclusion. Scenes feel disconnected with each other, especially where flashbacks are concerned. On the other hand, the scenes that aren’t from You’s perspective was pretty nicely done. It doesn’t fix the pacing problem though.
There is a lot of foreshadowing placed in the story, and the reveals are one of the best parts of the plot. The parts concerning You and Chinami’s parents were particularly well done.
However, like I said before, something about this story is wholly unsatisfying. Some plot twists in epilogues just seems too convenient and too easy. It’s almost as if the writers started to write a tragedy but a producer forced in a happier ending at the last minute. I also didn’t feel all that touched. Even during the most emotional of moments, I was no where near being brought to tears. That said, it’s still entertaining and funny.
The art gave fantastic first impressions, which led to awful second impressions. However, in the end I have to say that it’s good.
The coloring was done in a pretty minimalist style, but whoever did the coloring also had a hard time with the color green. There was quite a bit of variation between coloring style and quality between CGs. Setsuna’s ribbon, in particular, really bugged me.
But the vast majority of backgrounds are pretty blah. This kind of style also clashes with the character art style. For better for worse, the backgrounds are blurred most of the time so you won’t really look at it.
That’s really pretty. But or some reason, the artist threw in the panty shot. It’s not just for this CG either, there are a lot of these random mood-wrecking occurrences, and I really wish they weren’t there.
This not only represents the upskirt problem again (really, I seriously and completely do NOT want to look at a 10 year old girl’s thighs!), but also the fact that many CGs are colored in this feathered style. I think that it looks considerably worse than the normal style.
In some CGs, even if the characters are colored nicely, the background is this blurred looking thing. At this point, I’m thinking that that the company didn’t have the money to hire a decent background or coloring artist, and so kind of made do with what they had. For instance, the above image was supposed to be a sacred ceremony performed in a temple at night. Even if they didn’t want a background they could have at least made this clash with the story a little less…sigh…
There is a system implemented called FVP, or Favorite View Point system. This means that there is a lot of animation and moving going around. The most prominent feature of this system is the zoom function. During both normal scenes and event CGs, there is a smooth zoom effect at various times. This also means that the CGs are much bigger than normal. If you choose to, you can also allow the background to zoom out of focus. Since I didn’t like the backgrounds, I did just that.
There are also nice little details. For instance, the title screen turns from day time to night as you complete paths. After you clear a character, you can easily do it again because there will be little chibis besides choices to guide the way. After everything is completed, the bustshot mode is unlocked. It basically lets you choose whatever character pose or background you want. Ironically enough, you can’t zoom here.
There is a plethora of options in the option menu. You can pretty much customize to your heart’s content.
However, to ruin things, this game also has the most annoying system sounds I have ever heard in my entire life. For some reason, both Hoshimemo and EH had a bug, which started the system sounds at max volume every time I started, even if I turned it off before.
The music didn’t click with me at all. While there are a lot of tracks, the sheer length of the title guarantees that you’ll be sick of most of them before you complete the entire game. The voice acting was much better, especially with the male characters. However, Isuzu’s “emotional” voice and Chinami’s voice in general grates my ears to bleed.
Hoshizora no memoria -Eternal heart- is a fandisc to the original. There are 2 pretty long after stories in there, one for Mare and one for Yume. The rest of the heroine stories are pretty inconsequential and doesn’t add much other than an extra h-scene. I looked at this mainly because I wanted to find out about Ima, whose story was included in Mare’s after story.
Ima’s story was pretty much the only part of the fandisc I liked, since I’m not one to enjoy dere dere fluffy after stories or the pointless fanservice/h-scenes. That said, it wasn’t exactly fantastic either, and was much less interesting than the stories in the main game. It was also poorly incorporated into Mare’s story. The characters pretty much go “Hey, I think my life is in danger! You know what? It’ll be ok, let’s go buy swimsuits~”
But those who enjoy their fanservice and moe will definitely enjoy this though.
Total: 75.5/100 B-
Overall, Hoshizora no memoria was a nice ride, with good production values, interesting characters, and an engaging story. I would recommend it to people to people who like lots of plot and drama with their moe (especially in the case of the fandisc), but I really wish it could have been better.