To Heart 2 Promo

By bluemist on September 29th, 2005

To Heart 2

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Here we go! First look at the animation in action, and…

It’s not an impressive preview! Konomi in Comic Party Revolution looked a bit more refined. Nevertheless, I don’t want to remember my bad memories, and neither would Aquaplus, so I’m still hopeful that this will turn out nice overall.

Okay, so we won’t get the original game opening sequence and song. Instead, this song called Hello by Haruna Ikeda (also the one who sang the To Heart RMM ED) will be the OP theme. Konomi is mostly the one talking in the preview, while Tamaki spoke a line or two in the background. The preview also looks like it will cover Konomi’s introduction and her story of dealing with graduation from junior high.

So that’s it for now. To Heart 2 premiers this October. Hope you’ll watch it.

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This is a Summer of Bishoujo feature

To Heart 2: XRATED

By bluemist on September 23rd, 2005

and i thought it can only go borderline fanservice…

To Heart 2: XRATED

To Heart 2: XRATED is essentially the same game as the original To Heart 2 for the PS2, except that new scenes and features were added. You could still refer to my To Heart 2 project for details on each character, since nothing much has changed on each of their stories.

What has changed? If the word XRATED still didn’t give you a tip, I don’t know what will. Yes folks… in a seemingly different (but not so) move, a bishoujo game has turned from all-age to adult! Usually, when an adult-rated bishoujo game gets popular enough, it would be converted to all-age, cleaned-up versions on a console. To Heart 2: XRATED is the extreme reversal of that system. But since another major games maker (Key) has also done that recently (non-ero game Clannad having an ero-game sidestory called Tomoyo After), I wonder if it’s going to be a trend. Reportedly, TH2X is becoming a success on its move to… er… adulthood.

THE SPECIFICS
- The entire game in 800×600 glory (higher resolution than the PS2 version… not that it matters much.)
- Added H scenes for all characters.
- Some CG additions to Karin, the Himeyuri twins, and the first Ilfa CG. (semi-H)
- New character scenario (Sasara Kusugawa), also comes with new CG and background music of course.
- Two minigames.

NEW CHARACTER
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The new character that is introduced in To Heart 2: XRATED is named Sasara Kusugawa. She is the student council president, and is one schoolyear level higher than the male lead. More details to come when I finish playing her scenario. It’s kinda long by the way.

MINIGAMES
Super Sweets Scramble
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This one is a vertical-scrolling shooting game. You shoot cakes, chocolates, candies, and all kinds of sweets! There is a 3 or 6 minute timelimit, and you collect powerups for shooting upgrades. It’s quite fun while it lasts, and I recommend trying out all the various characters. Each of them have unique ability powerups, and some are so powerful it’s crazy.

Doki-Doki Panic Library
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This one is a puzzle game. The object of the game is to arrange books of the same color using your character to interchange each book. Once 3 or more books of the same color are near each other, it disappears tetris-style and you score points. Some special books are there too. There are many game options including a vs. mode.

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This is a Summer of Bishoujo feature

Air Movie

By bluemist on September 21st, 2005

Air

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It’s kinda hard to make an opinion when there are two versions of the same anime. Air, originally from a bishoujo game by Key, was to be made into two separate anime. One is a TV series, and the other is a movie. They have the same storyline to render, which is from the game. The TV version did a very straightforward approach, following the events of the game rather faithfully. This movie version took a different step, and in my opinion, it is a step that may have alienated the fans of the game.

Since a movie can only have extremely limited playtime as opposed to a television series, I guess the producers of the movie have some big problems to contend with. First and foremost, how can you compress an entire visual novel game into less than two hours of movie playtime? A daunting task. As a result, many stories were not told. Characters were also not used. Another problem, cutting corners will make the whole thing less cohesive, meaning that the material may not be as strong as it were before. So I think many themes were changed as well.

Specifically, secondary characters like Kano, Minagi and Michiru were not used, and were only seen in cameos. The story deviated a bit from their original source material, in terms of focusing more on the relationship of Yukito and Misuzu, rather than the mother-child theme of Misuzu and Haruko. This love relationship is mirrored by the ancient tale of Ryuuya and Kanna. The result is a movie that delivers a parallelism of the present events to past events. On that note, I think it did well overall.

However, the little things did annoy me a lot in this movie. First of all, it tries to be funny when it’s not supposed to be. I’m quite surprised everytime SD (superdeformed) style animation appears out of the blue. This takes away the general feel of the movie. It is supposed to be a mix of drama and comedy, but I didn’t think they did mix it well. Even near the climax, where it was supposed to be serious, they showed a short comedic scene… why?

Another gripe is the random animation styles. They tried to make this similar to an art film. Radical cinematography, watercolor painted scenes, random fading, multiple camera angles, and a whole lot of other effects which I may have missed. Frankly, they are there to annoy rather than to complement the contents of the movie.

Despite my annoyances, the movie is rather good overall. Animation is excellent in average. The backgrounds are drawn with artistic value. The music are remixed versions of the great Air soundtrack. And the voice actors delivered nice performances. The flow of the story, taking away the comedic parts that don’t fit, is endearing, mostly because the parallelism of the present and past stories blend well.

Maybe I’m disappointed with this movie because of the excellence that the TV series has brought to us. So I think we have to give credit to the producers of the movie who tried their best despite having the odds against them. I don’t know about making anime, but to make it basic, how do you fit a novel into a movie anyway? Even movie critics and fans complain when some novel is being made into a movie.

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This is a Summer of Bishoujo feature

To Heart 2: Sango and Ruri Himeyuri

By bluemist on September 19th, 2005

Generic disclaimer: Same basic rules apply as in my To Heart 2 project. Please do comment or contact me in case I have mistakes in describing each girl’s scenario.

Playing this scenario went off smoothly as well. The HMX maid robot stuff was incomprehensible to me though, but generally since this story is about the Himeyuri twins, it doesn’t get too much focus. It’s rather nice that some predominant To Heart references like Kurusugawa Electronics and HMX-12 come into play. And so without further delay…

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To Heart 2: Lucy Maria Misora

By bluemist on September 18th, 2005

Generic disclaimer: Same basic rules apply as in my To Heart 2 project. Please do comment or contact me in case I have mistakes in describing each girl’s scenario.

This wasn’t as confusing as I thought it would be. Although as usual details may be erratic, the general theme of this story is similar to those of typical alien-goes-to-earth anime or related stuff. A difference though… Lucy is the best of them all!

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To Heart 2: Yuki Kusakabe

By bluemist on September 16th, 2005

Generic disclaimer: Same basic rules apply as in my To Heart 2 project. Please do comment or contact me in case I have mistakes in describing each girl’s scenario.

This is the shortest scenario, but the most confusing so far to me! I really never knew the point of Yuki’s story, except that she is also of the childhood friend/promise type. In any case, I will try my very best in relaying to you whatever little I understood about Yuki.

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