Haven’t been too active lately around the blog’osphere, but today I had some free time to laze around with. So I thought I’d check up on my blogroll, wondering if M3rry would ever finish his Corona play-through, and I found that aquaspirit38, a fellow eroge enthusiast that I actually know quite well through twitter and what not, has written a guest post on Aedes’ blog…about ‘&’ no less!
A little bit about aquaspirit38 that I think all of you should know is that he has…special tastes. And by that I mean hypnotism. So keep in mind that ‘&’ does not fall under his usual cup of tea, and if you want to hear about his real passion, you should comment “MOAR HYPNOTISM” on the post.
Anyways, as aqua has summarized quite nicely, ‘&’-空の向こうで咲きますように- is an eroge about nine children “adventuring”, solving mysteries, using magical items, and defeating bad guys. At a glance, it seems very childish (and I still think at its core it is very pure like that), but it does have places where I think it felt different than the usual eroge we play.
“Unfortunately ‘＆’-空の向こうで咲きますように- isn’t your usual Romance-Comedy エロゲ. The games touches on many different philosophies like friendship(友情), prayers/wishes(願い), Miracles(奇跡), Gods(神), and some pretty difficult topics” –Aquaspirit38 on themes of ‘&’
What exactly is ‘&’ about? If one has experience with Ruitomo series (and subsequent works by the Ruitomo team), one would know that it is usually not straightforward what the writer tries to convey. At one point, I thought ‘&’ was about supernatural phenomena and how the world is still at very much a mystery despite technological advances.
But then at other times I would be too enveloped by pondering about what exactly is a “wish” – a selfish desire or something greater. It still remains quite unclear even after I finished the game, and I think partially to blame was how different each route turned out, but there are elements that remained strong throughout.
One of which was the idea of “friendship”, or “childhood friends”. That wasn’t hard to deduce when the majority of the main characters are all friends of each other. Commu, the previous work to this, heavily focused on belonging to a group, a community. I felt this was a slightly weaker version of this: a group of childhood friends.
They are tied by “adventuring”. Adventure is a big key word for ‘&’. Without adventure, Urara’s group would not have formed in the first place. What exactly does the writer want us to do? He probably doesn’t want us to suddenly go train in the mountains I’m sure. What I think was the moral of story, is to keep an “adventuring spirit”. To be not afraid of unknowns, and just do it (insert check mark). How it got from this to giant plants invading cities, I do not know.
“Maki… Just like any ojousama(お嬢様) character, she has a very high pride and refuse to be dragged around. Big…between them (haa haa)…side is also pretty sweet in my opinion.” –Aquaspirit’s thoughts on Maki, one of the heroines.
I can’t believe Aqua missed out on the two more awesome characters in ‘&’ (shame on you!), though I don’t blame him since writing about characters can be very tedious. So here,
Ranked 7th and 3rd in the popularity poll, both are characters that time after time saves Kou from getting into deep troubles. The bottom is Yagii Kuichiro, the indoor muscle who has taught Kou (and I) the greatness of Rogue-like games. Despite being obviously left out by the writers (no items), he supports the group, offers to house Kou, and provides the much needed insightful advice to our protagonist. He is a hero in his own realm.
The top is Kourihama Juri, and I’ll let the voters in the popularity poll do the talking:
“I got really embarrassed from all the (厨二) sentences, I really enjoy the game especially the last two routes (Yae and Urara). In my opinion, the best part of this game is not about the characters or any particular route, it is about the game as a whole and the experiences that you go through to complete the game.” – Aquaspirit38’s impression on the game as a whole
Lastly, I agree with Aqua that as a whole, ‘&’ is one of those special titles that will sit awhile with me. It wasn’t the plot (since I am still confused what it was talking about), but rather a combination of the cohesive childhood group, an interesting exploration about the supernatural, and ofcourse being a sucker to Saeki Hokuto’s art means I thoroughly enjoyed the characters in game.
Anyways, quite a good review by Aquaspirit38, he’s even used advance techniques of bringing audio onto wordpress (something I struggle with greatly)! Keep up the good work.