One of the most well-renowned visual novel companies, minori presents us with another great game to immerse ourselves in. As the company that brought in ef – a fairy tale of the two and eden*, Supipara – Chapter 1 Spring Has Come! will of course showcase a wonderful story in visual novel format. Despite it being a kinetic novel with no choices to decide from, the overall quality of the game makes it worth a buy.
Steam describes the game: Springtime, April: when the cherry trees come into full bloom. The protagonist Yukinari Sanada has returned to his hometown in Kanagawa Prefecture, Kamakura City, for the first time in seven years, and is greeted by his older cousin Sakura Narumi (complete with maid outfit). He wanted to live in peace, but his life at the academy placed on the coastlands becomes bustling and brilliant while surrounded by a lineup of girls with booming personalities like Hotaru Amano, the sharp tongued, half-Japanese beauty, and Alice Kamishiro, the lazy witch who loves modern-science and mail-orders.
Eventually, our protagonist is coaxed into joining the action committee for the academy’s traditional beauty contest by his close friend. He interacts with the heroines participating in this contest who are cute but each have an idiocyncrasy or two. Fun events (with their own difficulties) pop up again and again. Your story with “her” about smiles, peace, passion, and love, all while borrowing the power of a witch, is about to begin!
Seeing that this is only the first installment of a multi-part series, Supipara – Chapter 1 Spring Has Come! is not very long. But, it still has a good chunk of content and the quality of the series makes up for that shortcoming. Graphically, the game is stunning with moving sprites, lots of animated particles, and a great amount of CGs. For example, when the characters speak, the sprites are not static and instead move their mouths to coincide with their words while blinking on occasion. When walking, the sprites move in a way to visually simulate walking. When at a forest of sakura trees, petals flutter about. Not to mention the CGs too actually change and do not stay as a single image the whole time. The background scenery is stunning, uniquely differentiating themselves from other visual novel series that depict similar settings. The crowd in the background too are nice to look at, looking nothing like shapeless blobs.
As with the graphics, Supipara includes some familiar cast. Yuna Yamada, also known as Yumiko Nakajima, plays as Ange in the latest game. However, she may be better known for her roles in other minori works such as in eden* as Elica and ef as main heroine Yuuko Amamiya. Alice’s voice actress Mai Funahashi voiced characters in 12 no Tsuki no Eve, eden*, Natsuzora no Perseus, and Toki wo Tsumugu Yakusoku, which are all visual novel series by minori. Every characters’ voices in the series are distinctive and memorable as well as soothing to the ears, especially Mai Funahashi’s voice as Alice. The characters themselves are distinctive as well and all very likable as they have their own unique quirks and backstories. I found myself most partial towards Yukinari’s mother Ryouko due to her cracking funny jokes and responses every so often along with having a cheerful attitude unbefitting of her age.
Admittedly, the soundtrack is nothing notable, but it gets the job done when setting the mood properly. It probably is the weakest aspect of the game, but by no means is it bad. Moving on to the UI, I did enjoy how the menu is hidden when playing through the game, accessing it either with a right click or moving the cursor to the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. The options have pretty much everything visual novel readers need to customize the game to fit any preferences. To those worried about not being able to view bonus content such as CG and music, everything will be unlocked after the completion of the game.
This title was reviewed using a PC (Steam) review copy provided by MangaGamer. The game can be bought at their website and on Steam. The series currently has a fundraising project to localize more installments of the game.
Japan Curiosity has also interviewed minori founder nbkz.
Overall, I would definitely say this is a very solid game for minori. Although it may be lacking in the emotional impact compared to the company’s other installments, this is the first chapter of the Supipara series after all. Despite it being somewhat short, this kinetic novel is worth every penny due to the richness in storytelling and visuals.
As the first chapter ended with a very enjoyable cliffhanger, I look forward to the next release to experience more of Yukinari’s eventful life.