Today I am going to write my thoughts after playing a untranslated VN called Koi x Shin Ai Kanojo, or koikake for short.
How I come to read this vn is one of a kind out of all the VN I’ve experienced so far. I’ve not only been spoiled of the key events in the true route, but also carefully read several detailed thoughts/reviews on this game. I wouldn’t recommend getting spoiled before playing the game, and would not repeat this experience if I can help it, but on the other hand, I don’t think I would have gotten the main point of the game had I not followed this path.
For the majority of this game, Koikake plays like a moege. That ended up being its biggest problem. The game more or less crams 4 heroines’ story in the common route, severely weakening the narrative. While this is fine for moege, the contents in the epilogue would surely anger most moe lovers. This is the state that koikake is left in. It is produced as a moege that ultimately would piss off moefags, and more serious readers would be alienated by its moege setup.
There is one decisive difference between most galgame and this one, though. While most galgame, like its name, focuses on heroines, koikake chose to focus on the male protagonist. I don’t say this with no evidence. Most galgame feel the need to “express” the heroines as much as possible, because that’s what the readers like to see. There are many ways to do this.
1. heroines can mumble quietly to utter lines that readers can hear but protag cannot.
2. impression of heroines’ mode can be conveyed by the drastic change of her appearance, of which protag usually can’t “see”
3. a brief other’s perspective
Koikake does none of this, at least when it concerns Sena, the true heroine. Instead, it focuses exclusively on the protagonist. The narrative is densely populated by Koutarou’s inner thoughts and feelings. Whenever key event happen, we know how Koutarou feels about it, but not Sena. She is a mystery. The most readers can immediately know is from Sena’s (somewhat lacking) facial expressions, whether she is in her normal mood, happy mode, or sad mode. But wait, that’s almost like… we are seeing things from a normal, introverted high school boy (salaryman)’s perspective?
Anyways, let’s talk about something else. For readers with different preference, there will be different opinions on this game. For most typical moege players, this game is a travesty. It created a false image of moeness that lured people in but awarded patient readers with three times the breakup conclusion that willl surely go down to kusoge history, along with Sena as the worst waifu. For people who read this to the next level, I’ve seen many people writing long and deep analysis, citing tons of evidence in game, that in its conclusion Sena surely came back to Koutarou, in an otherwise open ending.
The thing is, whether Sena came back at the end or not, it is my opinion that readers who dwell on this issue still don’t get the most important point of this game.
Even if for whatever reason Sena still choose to chase her unreachable dream instead of accepting Koutarou, his confessions will surely leave a lasting impression on her that will encourage her to persist through desperate times. As for Koutarou, the best times of youth he spent chasing his first love is definitely not a waste. Even if the relationship doesn’t work out, the happiness he had experience would become important treasures that will accompany him throughout his life. Hence, the title, “a love I am trying to convey”. At its root, this is a coming-of-age story of the protagonist learning that, sometimes, just doing one’s best to achieve something worth fighting for is in itself already rewarding, even if the results are not always as one wishes.
And who is the protagonist of this story? Is it Kunimi Koutarou, the book writer without talent nor luck to make it big, or is it just Niijima Yuu, writing this as the final confession to his first love?