Minori has some really popular visual novels under their belt, Supipara being their most ambitious title to date. Supipara is an all-ages episodic kinetic novel that promise to be their most ambitious title to date.
As of now minori only released the first chapter in Japan, which corresponds to chapters 1 and 2 in the west. For now, only the first chapter was localized and offers just a bit over 10 hours of content. If the stretch goals are met, MangaGamer will release chapters 3 through 5 in English before they make their way to Japanese audiences.
After years of moving from one family to another, our protagonist Yukinari Sanada is finally ready to settle down back in his old hometown. It was seven years since his father died and mother slipped into a coma, and it was not until now that she has awakened. However, both of them have lost memories from before and are slowly building their relationship as mother and son.
Despite how it may sound things are thankfully nowhere as depressing, and the tone of the game is far more upbeat. Generally the game is never too serious and more often than not humorous banter is just around the corner.
On his arrival he is first greeted by his way too intimate, peppy cousin of a cousin Sakura who is unexpectedly dressed up in a maid uniform. Out of the whole cast she has the most backstory in this chapter. You will slowly uncover her motivations, goals and feelings toward Yukinari.
While Sakura gets the spotlight, the other characters aren’t left out. It’s never too long before one of them come out of the woodwork to greet our protagonist. Momiji is an overly stingy Miko at the local shrine, with a bizarre split personality disorder. At night she is a refined shrine maiden, while during the day she is an energetic masochistic girl who begs our protagonist to reprimand her. Of course, what would a romcom be without the obligatory foreign student. Amano is a no-joke French girl, who seems to strike fear into everyone with just the mention of her name.
However, the main selling point of Supipara has to be the witch Alice. You heard that right, this rather straightforward romcom has a witch as one of the main heroines. While acting aloof she seems to be harboring an ulterior motive, à la the classic story Faust. She serves as a catalyst for the tale, offering Yukinari anything he may want for a small price; his happy memories. Depending on the wish he has to pay a random happy memory of the equivalent worth.
As a kinetic novel Supipara hits all the right notes. Each character gets enough screen time so everyone’s favorite is no more than 5 minutes away. The first chapter focuses on Yukinari’s new life and gets him tangled up with the school’s annual beauty contest, of which he ends up being the key organizer.
However, things do end up feeling a bit too uneventful, during its 10 or so hour duration. Supipara manages to have a strong opening and a great hook at the end, but the rest of it feels drawn out, with the majority of scenes feeling little more than padding. Still, if the other cult classics such as Muv-Luv and Higurashi are anything to go by, this chapter may very well be a slower introduction before the game truly swings into full gear.
From a technical standpoint Supipara is near flawless. Its colorful tones and beautiful artstyle make every scene a pleasure to look at. There is a total of 118 artworks each fully animated, with different facial expressions, lip syncing and even blinking. All this makes Supipara one fantastic looking game. The exceptional production quality doesn’t end there. Backgrounds are frequently animated, as characters stroll down the beach or stand in the rain of falling sakura petals. The music is your typical romcom trite with a huge variety of soundtracks, some of which will have you humming them obnoxiously hours on end. My only criticism goes out to the effects which can be nauseating. When the screen shakes it does so a bit to aggressively.
Supipara is a charming visual novel, through an through. Its high budget ultimately may not save it from falling prey to threading the tried and true old formula. Its cast members may end up falling into stereotypical roles and the plot has a few too many uneventful periods. Still it is enjoyable and paves way for the upcoming chapters, promising to have the plot finally running on all cylinders. For the affordable price of 14,99 there is little reason not to go out and grab a copy of the first chapter of Supipara and help release the rest of the game.