“The long goodbye”
If it is clear weather tomorrow — Opening line
Publication Date: Feb. 24, 2006
The story of Moshiraba begins in the past, through the eyes of the protagonist, Hatoba Kazuki. Many years ago, two girls, his second cousins, came into his life, Nonosaki Akiho, and her younger sister, Tsubasa. They had just lost their parents in an accident, and Kazuki’s father had taken the girls in.
We learn also that Kazuki’s mother passed away long ago, and from that common bond, for the next 10 years, the three of them had been inseparable. Akiho somehow or other winding up in the same class as Kazuki without fail through the years. Finally, right before summer break, at the encouragement of Tsubasa, Kazuki finally confesses his love to Akiho, and the two begin to go out together.
However, a few short days after that confession, Akiho suddenly becomes sick, and, from complications over a cold, dies. The shining summer vacation that should have been awaiting Kazuki and Akiho suddenly became empty, and passes quietly.
Finally, as next semester begins, and Tsubasa and Kazuki are still struggling to pull themselves away from the shock of the void that Akiho’s death left, Kazuki starts seeing brief glimpses of Akiho, who has returned, as a ghost.
The central girl to the story, and one of the best characters I’ve ever come across in a game period. She’s selfish, but cute and sweet about it, forceful when necessary, cheery but humanly serious and jealous at times, plus… she’s dead. In general, she has such a strong personality that it’s no wonder that when she’s gone, Kazuki and Tsubasa are totally shell shocked by her death.
Because of her great personality, she’s probably one of the most loved characters in the game by everyone.
The sweet little imouto character of the game, and loves Akiho and Kazuki both very much. Member of the drama club, with Ayano as the leader. Generally a timid little crybaby type and tends to get dragged around by people of stronger personality like Akiho, or Ayano. If she gets worked up, her cooking takes rather interesting turns.
Tsubasa’s Kansai-ben speaking tsundere classmate. Specifically, Kobe-ben if my browsing into dialect features is close. Tamami’s my second favorite character close behind Akiho. She’s works at a shrine as a miko, carries and swings a katana around, is prone to violence and/or jealousy at times, and the accent grows on you.
The mysterious girl who walks around in old style wafuku. Voiced by the Maki Idumi and her unique lispy voice, Chihaya acts most of the time like a small woodland creature, and often apologizes up a storm for lots of things.
She’s also totally enamored by ice cream, and just playing the game, I want to lure her into a barrel with ice cream just so I could roll her down a hill to hear her shouting “Gomen-nasai-gomen-nasai-gomen-nasai!” all the way down.
If you played the game, you’d understand perfectly. If you know Maki Idumi’s voice, you probably can guess.
A sub-character in this game, she’s the class rep. and as usual, everyone calls her iincho. Despite being iincho, her grades aren’t the best in the world, and she could use some help studying. Also, because she’s the leader of the drama club, she’s always got a whistle around her neck.
It would’ve been nice if she had more screen time, but even then, for a sub-character, she plays important parts in the story here and there.
The homeroom teacher to the class. Always smiling, always gentle sounding, and if you’re not in your seat when she gets to the lectern, you’re marked late.
If it weren’t for the fact that I’ve been waiting for Muvluv Alternative for about 2 years and was immensely satisfied, Moshiraba would have been my favorite game for 2006. As it stands… maybe a tie?
Moshiraba’s story is the sort of story I can’t help but love. In the face of a tragic loss, the characters are given a chance to regain some happiness, but deep down, you know that things can’t last they way they are. Maybe it’s just me, but stories can pick up an extra touch of poignancy when you just know how things have to end, and the time limit is just rushing at you. It’s tricky to pull off without being cheesy about it, but NYAON, the scenario writer, does a wonderful job. Through each girl’s story, you see various ways that they deal with the game’s theme that is “nothing last forever.”
On top of it all, the story is well written, with bursts of side-splitting comedy interjected between the deep moments of seriousness, and not in a haphazardly interjected way that ruins some games that try to mix the two.
Even someone like me, who has trouble finishing every last girl in a game because there’s usually one or two girls that aren’t interesting enough, finished it all. The characters are well motived, and all their stories mesh together quite nicely.
What really surprised about Moshiraba, however, was the music! The game is graced with one of the most beautiful and melodic sound tracks that I’ve encountered just about anywhere, let alone a game. It sounds almost like a chamber music ensemble is playing the music, and the music literally sings in your ears as you play. I’m something of a sucker for beautiful violins I guess, but clarinets, horns, harps, pianos, bells, all make appearances. Tynwald Music did a wonderful job and I’m tempted to see what other games they get contracted for in the future just to hear more of their work.
For all those wondering whether to get this game or not, here’s the line that my friends used to convince me, “You love Gin’iro? then you’ll love this story, now go download the demo, give it a whirl, and then get your credit card out.”
[Occasional response to comments]
Mizuiro’s a school adv yes, and the stories in it are good too, but the stories aren’t as closely knit as Gin’iro and Moshiraba. Plus, general feel of the stories are different. shrug I just go by feel, since it’s no fun to break things down and analyze all the time.