By William Haderlie / August 12th, 2016
|Title||Corona Blossom Volume 1 – Gift From the Galaxy|
|Release Date||July 27, 2016|
|Genre||Adult Visual Novel|
|Age Rating||Adults Only (with patch)|
There is no question that we here at Operation Rainfall have been excited for this release. The previous visual novel series from Frontwing, Grisaia, is very well regarded around here. Also this was a crowdfunded project on IndieGoGo that resulted in the game being released in the West without any delay from a Japanese release. That is a huge deal for we Visual Novel fans, because we usually have to wait several years between release and localization. Not only that, but this developer did not choose to go with a localization company already established here, they self published it. So it’s no wonder that we spent a week here at Operation Rainfall featuring interviews about this specific release.
I chose to review this title for a couple different reasons. The first reason is that The Fruit of Grisaia stands alone as my favorite Visual Novel of all time. There are several Visual Novels that have come close, such as Beat Blades Haruka and The House in Fata Morgana, but Grisaia is the proverbial cat’s meow for me. That being said, I wasn’t a backer for the IndieGoGo campaign (although I was sorely tempted to be one), and I didn’t contribute to any of the articles about this game posted to our website. In fact, I didn’t even read any of those articles until after I had already played this game. It’s not so much an ethical concern, anyone who knows me very well knows that money and popularity are the last things to sway me, it’s more that I just wanted to enter the experience as fresh as possible. I’m already inclined to enjoy it, however, due to their previous content and the fact that we are getting a simultaneous translation and release of the 18+ content. The lack of the 18+ content for The Labyrinth of Grisaia is what has kept me from even playing that one yet. So were my expectations met, or were they exceeded?
First I’ll introduce the main characters of Volume 1, A Gift from the Galaxy. The main character is named Keiji Osaki, a mechanic for (mostly) high end maintenance gears and robots. He doesn’t work on the designer sport models, so it’s not like he pulls in a lot of cash, but he definitely has valuable skills. Like most visual novel male protagonists, he is unvoiced and almost entirely unseen. About the only times you get any real look at him is in the super deformed form, like above. This is an understandable style, since this type of VN is aimed primarily at a heterosexual male demographic and they want those players to put themselves into the role as much as possible. However, not everything is sunshine and rainbows with Keiji, he has a rather tragic past and something keeps on interfering with his ability to perform his job with machines. It doesn’t take long to figure out that something is wrong, but it takes a good amount of time before you find out exactly what it is. Even at the end of Volume 1, there are still questions that will remain.
While not the next character that is introduced, or even the one that says the most, the next most important character to this story is R-ne. With a name like that you know that she is not your average person, even without seeing the cat ears. When you play enough Visual Novels (especially of the romantic or erotic kind) you will quickly discover that the lolitas are often the most interesting characters. They have become such a staple of the genre that the developers seem to spend a lot of time and effort defying your expectations. And R-ne is a very good example of this tactic. Without getting too much into spoilers I will say that she is not only an alien, but she is also not exactly organic. She seems to be biological though, so make of that what you will. The scientist in me actually perked it’s head up at any of the explanations of her origin and her mechanics. There is a rather rampant debate in the Xenobiology community, and has been going on for a while, as to how much we should rely on the H2O dependent organism model in the search for extraterrestrial life as our list of known Exoplanets grows ever larger. Maybe we can build a detector for lolita catgirls?
Keiji’s relationship with Shino Akune is very complicated. In some ways she is like a mother to him, in some ways she is a sister, and in other ways it is like they are married. She intentionally puts herself in those positions as well, this is not by happenstance. It seems that it was mostly the circumstances of the tragedies in his past that she has played the mother role, and their shared family history that she plays the sister role. But as they have both reached maturity and his need for those relationships has lessened she has wanted to substitute the previous relationships for the role of girlfriend. But at any opportunity, when Keiji needs her to be, she will quickly return to the role of mother or sibling. While they often don’t acknowledge the relationship themselves, pretty much everyone around them just treats them as a couple and assumes they will always be together.
In some ways Kumiko Kirishima is a bit of a mystery. While she definitely wears her personality and desires on her sleeve, there is honestly very little you learn of her background or how she ended up in that small town. She is a professional sport mech pilot who seems to have been grounded for a bit. She is highly skilled, but it’s possible that she was injured or something due to the medical checks that she has to routinely receive. Either way it is not discussed why she is not currently piloting and how exactly she came to that town. But she does seem to really like Keiji and treats him as her senior when it comes to mechanics. There is little doubt, though, that she would be open for anything else he had in mind. In fact her senpai has to frequently force her to wear more clothing than she wants to. Her taste in food ranges in the exotic, as well as what flips her ecchi switch, so even to the alien beings she is quite a strange character.
With a name like Lily Lucalusa Shamony you can guess two things about that person, they are either royalty or an alien. If you guessed either of those, you would be correct, because she is both. As the first character you meet in the story, she sets the tone for the whole affair. And that tone is decidedly comedic, although with a deeper well of meaning. Lily is a catgirl, she’s a maid, and she’s also a pirate. Apparently this is something fairly common to her people, from several outbursts which she engages in. But there is, thus far, little mystery to Lily and her motivations. Even when she is trying to be sneaky she is notoriously bad at it. Unlike the other two catgirls, she is a bit more like a cat both in behavior and in her verbal ticks. But it also tells you something about the tone of this VN that she has a bit of a complex about how small her chest is, when she has an E bust size.
One of the primary sources of that complex is Yunie Mariette Panini. Lily might be the boss of their pirate outfit in name, but there is little doubt that Yunie is holding the reigns. And it’s a good thing, or more than likely their ship would be a derelict in no time. While she may not be royalty, Yunie acts much more refined and responsible. But she does seem to have a thing for Chinese style dresses, and for saying wildly inappropriate things at random times. She also seems to have a thing for engines, and I do mean they get her motor revved.
The last member of the troupe of waifus that you meet is the mature beauty Kanade Hioki. She has such a small role in this first story that if she wasn’t given CG animation and a voice you would just think she’s a background character. She is also a bit of a mystery. Well, her personality quirk isn’t such a mystery, she spends much of her day drunk. But she does genuinely care about Keiji, even when she’s sloshed. She was sent in by the company his parents were a part of as a bereavement counselor. All things considered, that is actually a very grounded and realistic situation considering the circumstances. What is a little less reasonable is that she has remained with him for all the years since those events and just works at the family bathhouse while she keeps an eye on him. Even when not drunk out of her mind it seems like she would like to take his upkeep to a more physical place.
Pages: 1 218+Adult Visual Novelcorona blossomCorona Blossom Vol.1 A Gift from the GalaxyfrontwingPCSteam