31
Aug
09

Kira Kira Review: Rock, Love, and Life!!!

Cover of Kira Kira

Cover of Kira Kira

I just finished the Visual Novel Kira Kira yesterday. I got the game free with my purchase of Shuffle from mangagamer’s site. I first got interested in the game when I saw it at AX 2009 at Mangagamer’s booth. I met the artist of the game and got a sketch of the main character (cost about $20); had I known I’d like the game so much I probably would’ve gotten a sketch of the rest of the cast. So let’s get to the review shall we?

Story:

The basic story is that you are a student at Oubi Academy and one day you happen to go to a concert with your co-worker/classmate and the idea of performing a live concert for the upcoming school festival comes up. The first half of the story (which is the same regardless of whichever route you choose) focuses on the formation of the band, the training, and the school festival performance. The second half of the story starts off with the band deciding to do a tour around Japan and this is where the story starts to diverge and the rest of the story depends on whose route you choose:

Shiino Kirari

Shiino Kirari

If you go by the spin-off story: Kira Kira: , Kirari is the main heroine. Her personality compared to the other heroines is quite simple, but this might simply be because she has a strong character to begin with. Her storyline is surprisingly dark and has two sides to it, similar to how Nagisa has 2 stories in CLANNAD (Those of you who get the reference undoubtedly understand what I mean by this). Her character is cheerful, naive, and a bit weird. Her route is different in the sense that rather than having her character develop, it focuses more on explaining why her character is the way it is. In terms of focus; I suppose you could say that Kirari’s is focusing on the band since if you take her route, the band gets really popular. I’ll also say that character wise I like Chie and Sarina better, Kirari’s story route (both of them) are the most touching ones in the game.

Kashiwara Sarina

Kashiwara Sarina

Sarina is the typical frail oujosama of the group, but she has her share of problems and it’s refreshing to see that those problems don’t involve money and her health problems play more of a background role. Her storyline has to deal more with “love” I suppose. Being the type of character that isolated, she rarely experiences things like boys and such. That being the case, by traveling with the band on the tour she falls in love with you, the main character. Her grandfather opposes the relationship and the rest of her story focuses on you trying to change his mind, with some depth added by the fact that a similar thing happened with Sarina’s father whom is now dead. I really liked Sarina’s character because when she first confesses to you I felt my heart skip a beat, it was set up perfectly and had the innocence and purity that a confession should have and the attachment you feel for the character only grows as her storyline goes on. Sarina also looks pretty damn irresistible in her band costume.

Isurugi Chie

Isurugi Chie

Chie is one year older than the rest of the heroines, but due to some family problems she has to repeat a year and is in the same grade as the rest of the main characters. She’s like the “big sister” type in both demeanor and attitude; If she were a little more pampering of the main character she’d be a “childhood friend” character too, though she is still a childhood friend of the main character. The main theme of Chie’s route is “family”; Chie’s family is currently in the middle of a divorce between her father and mother. Her story revolves around the transition of her family and herself around the new situation and the normal feelings of children who come from divorce families. I enjoyed her storyline because while she has feelings of anger towards her father, she also comes to accept that sometimes divorces happen when people aren’t happy with each other. I also like the surprising frailness of her character, despite her aura of reliability. How do I put it, it’s like while everyone else sees her a reliable big sister; in front of you she’s fragile, and you get the urge to protect her. She has a cute quality that makes you want to hold her, and the way she gets embarrassed at times makes her all the more cuter! Personally, she’s my favorite heroine (followed by Sarina, and I’m moved Kirari’s route but she’s last only because they’re 3 heroines).

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Verdict:

I can’t say I had high or low expectations when I started this game. It simply seemed like an interesting game, and it was certainly that. What got me the most was the storyline, there was so much depth with a surprising amount of rock trivia and references put in. Any complaints I have on the game involve the system. The way the text is displayed, is that they take the whole screen and display a tinted screen over the images with the test in display. It’s not so bad that you can’t see the on screen images, but it does divert your attention a little and at certain screens it’s a little hard to make out the text. I loved the bgm in the game, they’re catchy and give the scenes they’re used in a fitting mood. The story and characters are well thought our and have a “slice-of-life” feel to it. I’ve become a big fan of the game, and the seiyūs used are perfect for the characters they voiced. Overall I’d rand the game at a B+ to A-. It could be a perfect score if it weren’t for the whole text issue; that and on a personal note I would like to see the storylines for Sarina and Chie carried out as far as Kirari’s scenario was. If you play the game you’ll know what I mean, but I definitely feel the game was worth buying and at 36.96 Euro (about $52.91) it wasn’t exactly a bargain (unless you used that code that mangagamer gave out); though I’ll say that the quality of the game makes it barely worth it. At worst you’ll probably feel like you lost out on $5.00, but for a good game with story that can be on par with a key title and chock full of rock references it can certainly be thought of as “worth it”.

A Game about Rock, Love, and Life

A Game about Rock, Love, and Life

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