So far, summer has been very generous toward me. With lesser stress and a few deferred responsibilities – not only have I been able to get in some extra time for RPG’s, but even a visual novel/eroge or two. However, before starting any new ones, I was resolute to finish up a few I had started years ago and first on that list was the SLG (more like RPG) Kanojo wa Sora ni Inoranai -quantum girlfriend- from Escu:de. It very roughly translates to: “The Girl Who Doesn’t Pray To The Heavens” and as such, centers itself very loosely around Japanese mythology complete with a few well-known deities and spirits engaged in combat. As someone who is an avid lover of mythology, RPG’s, and cute girls (hey, the last part doesn’t hurt), what could possible go wrong?
Title: Kanojo wa Sora ni Inoranai -quantum girlfriend- (aka Kanosora)
Genre: SLG/RPG, Visual Novel
Length: 35-40+ Hrs
Taking place in a certain fictional city in the Kansai region that is steeped in tradition and history, rumors of encountering gods and other oddities are commonplace. The protagonist of the story, high school student Ameno Wakahiko, a person that believes in logic and rational principle takes great skepticism to these rumors, especially after hearing one that circulates around school and decides to try it out for himself one night. Of course, things go horribly wrong as he attacked by a phantasmagorical entity and on the verge of death…that is until a celestial figure calling herself “Amaterasu” appears before him asking for his final prayers. Not wanting to die, Amaterasu receives this prayer and saves his life. The next day, he is surprise to see her attending his school along with her two associates, also goddesses. Wishing to get a hold of the situation around him as well as the power he is endowed with, Wakahiko lends the trio’s his assistance in order to discover what exactly is going on in his once peaceful town.
Starting moderately slow during the beginning, yet split evenly between comedy and action throughout, the story for Kanosora is very fairly easy to jump into. While the comedy is heavily pervasive – more so than the action scenes (to the point where most of the action sequences themselves get jovial), it doesn’t greatly impact the stories overall flow or performance. Sadly, since the game does consist of the RPG/SLG element, most non sequitur scenes you pick up from “Quest” (I’ll go into detail later about that) rarely add any pertinent information than it is for laughs and giggles. Regardless, most the storytelling and plot itself is very enjoyable once it starts to unravel and as you get through most of segmented portions.
Aside from the segmented bits, my only other gripe would be with how lazy, if not completely awkward the “H-scenes” are. It’s not like I expect them to be great, but the writers flat-out don’t even try to make them practical and fling them anywhere. For example: the protagonist (Wakahiko) and one the other goddess get ensnared in a barrier (that they assume is a trap) and five minuets later into the conversation an “H-scene” just pops out of nowhere with little eluding to it. Certainly, it shows that it isn’t the focal point of this particular title, but I was expecting it to be handled with more tact considering Escu:de track record. With all the routes accounted for and RPG legwork, the game averages around 35-40hrs in total, so it is something that you can easily conquer in a few days – even without the aid of a walkthrough, since most of the choices to get into specific routes happen near the end.
As aforementioned and as mythology dictates, Amaterasu is the Sun Goddess and one of the first deities that Wakahiko runs into that is also responsible for saving his life and the newfound abilities it comes with. Using one of the sacred treasures of heaven, the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi (Kusanagi Sword) she revives him and in return, Wakahiko lends her his aid. While she does come off as noble and elegant, around her pantheon she is known as the “Ultimate S Queen of Takamagahara”, a sadist that has no rival. Coupled with her sharp wit and remarkable beauty, she is both highly revered and feared amongst the other deities. Along side her two fellow companions, she enrolls at Wakahiko’s school under the name “Oogami Teruko” as a means to better investigate the recent rise of the “unclean” in the area. She uses the literature club as a base of operations as well as enlisting the other members help in gathering information.
Takemikazuchi “Goddess of Battle” is the 2nd pillar in the triad of goddess as well as the youngest. Know to be very energetic as she is competitive, she does also have a gentler side to her (as her route suggest) enjoying “cute things”, but afraid to show it. Around the circle of deities, she is also known for her extremely sensitive skin, with even the slightest touch able to make docile – a technique Wakahiko uses often to his advantage to quell her attitude. At first, her and Wakahiko do not get along, but as the story progresses, she comes to appreciate him. She enrolls under the name “Takeuchi Mizuki” at school.
Amenouzume “Goddess Of Entertainment” is the 3rd pillar in the triad of goddesses and another partner of Amaterasu. Known for her exhibitionist habits and voluptuous figure, she does have the issue of keeping herself clothed and commonly uses that as part of her “entertainment” repertoire. Despite that, she is very caring, but also somewhat of an airhead as she can be flirtatious. As her mantle suggest, she takes great enjoyment in the arts and music – wishing to see it flourish throughout the future. She also enrolls in Wakahiko’s school under the pseudonym “Uzume Ameno”.
Mikoto Takahime is the long time childhood friend to Wakahiko. Known for her gentle personality and average looks, she is described as an “average girl” according to Wakahiko. Picking up a love for reading at a young age, she is the club director of the literature club that Wakahiko is also apart of. Initially, left on the sidelines concerning her childhood friends other activities, she soon becomes close to the incidents first hand in an unexpected way…
Michizane is the goddess of learning and also the name of Wakahiko’s school. Following a rumor one night at the school, he discovers her along with fellow literature member, Hisanobe Ritsuka. Sharing the appearance of a child, she does tend to act like one, but hates being called out on it. Regardless of her looks, she does hold a unparallelled wealth of information and becomes somewhat of a source of advice to the three goddesses and Wakahiko. She becomes good friends with Ritsuka and tends to treat Wakahiko like an older brother.
During various parts of the story you will be required to take part in the simulation section of the game to move the story along and more reminiscent to an RPG with a few minuet differences. At the start of any given evening, you be forced into a “Purification Ritual” – a mini game, that entails you basically wiping out as many demons as you can as you choose set commands for each character and your attack partner out of the three goddesses. Depending on the action chosen and how well you did, all the characters will receive a permanent boost in status along with a chance to gain different skills. Afterwards, you taken to the world map where you will usual encounter three type of events: Character Events, Optional Battle Quest, and Story Line Events. You can only choose two during any given evening, but you will mostly likely be focusing heavily on Optional Quest, since they do reward you with extra valuable skills you might couldn’t unlock during Purification and the Storyline events will occur automatically, if you don’t choose them. Granted that most of the Storyline events are easy enough to do without the optional quest, some are helpful nonetheless and you will always have time to pick up character events along the way in later chapters.
Whether it be storyline or optional, combat is a turn-based affair and somewhat familiar to titles like Final Fantasy X, where your turn order is shown to side. During each turn, before you decided your actions, your characters DP (Divine Points) meter fills a little, a necessary resource for you to be able to use skills and Ultimate Attacks. Since certain skills require a specific amount of DP to be used based on their level, you do have to be somewhat strategic and decide is better to normally attack an enemy, use skills, skip your turn, or burn through DP all at once using your Ultimate Attacks. I didn’t find myself pondering those options very often and most battles are easy enough if you are properly equipped with the right skill load. After battle, instead of gaining experience points you get whatever skill was shown to you on the objective along with small status bonuses, if available. Arguably, while the purification system and opportunity earn additional skills keep you out the realm of failure, it is nearly difficult to be defeated in battle unless you poorly build your status or ignore picking up useful skills given the chance. That being said, the game does give you an opportunity to reorder your skills before combat starts in case a particular fight is giving you grief, yet helpful if you save on different slots in order to prevent yourself being locked into a fight you can’t win or don’t even have the means to.
Artwork and Music
Personally speaking, most of the artwork and CG art is very aesthetically pleasing, but also awkward looking at the same time. Much like a majority of eroge Escu:de has worked on, the background designs tend to be more elaborate than most and as result, often causes the static character images to appear more like cardboard cutouts. Amaterasu’s static school uniform design is one example of this where the outline along the hair and ribbon appears washed out in various backgrounds like it was cut and pasted by child. It isn’t a problem, but by far, one of the most noticeable visual flaws that the title contains and you probably will be making note of it often.
Were the artwork ranks off around average, I would have to say that the soundtrack is the real highlight and excellently done, especially for an eroge title. I would summarize that being an “RPG-equse” game would have much to do with it, but most of the tracks – ranging from rap to rock tie into the game seamlessly well as combat pieces and really do it justice setting the mood.The ambient and daily life tracks aren’t that bad either, but nowhere as unique or varied as the overworld map or combat themes respectively.
Considering that this the third Escu:de imprint that I finished (the second and third being Akatoki and Otome Renshin Prister, respectively) this one was by far the most entertaining. It definitely is one of the shortest considering it only took me 4 days to run through everything, but in terms of what I received via story – it was a more than fair trade-off. Although, speaking as someone who rarely gets around too many eroge or even has an opportunity to plod through one, all I wanted to do is finish title I started years ago not even expecting to like – and I did. Not everything was perfect and could have been better – yet, it did what I hoped for and all I can every ask for.
Pros: Great soundtrack, very strong written scenario, artwork, enjoyable combat system, well-written humor and action sequences.
Cons: Most artwork/character stills poorly rendered, weak writing concerning romance/H-scenes, RPG/SLG segments