By Benny Carrillo / December 16th, 2016
Aya and Ai are twin sisters who were raised separately. The story is told from Aya’s perspective, who has only been living with Ai again for the last year or so. Because Aya was brought up in a poor household she befriends Hazuki quickly, the two having similar outlooks on life. This doesn’t sit well with Ai though, who always fears someone is going to steal Aya away from her. While at first you may just think that Ai and Aya’s route is made please the “kissing sisters” crowd, there’s actually some really heavy emotion in their route.
Aya’s route has probably some of the best and smartest writing of The New Generation!, and it certainly made me tear up a few times. Thematically it really revolves around the fact they were “split from a single cell”, what it means to be incomplete, and what exactly love is. That last question, in particular, is very important not just for Aya and Ai’s relationship, but also for Aya and both her mothers; the one who birthed her and the one who raised her. Is one truer than the other because she gave them life? Is the other more valid because she raised Aya? It’s a very difficult question to pose and really makes you think. That’s not to say our last couple doesn’t have some deep moments. Nagisa and Rina just decided to ask a different set of questions.
Nagisa and Rina have been friends pretty much all their life, even attending kindergarten together. Nagisa, however, has always had a complex about standing out thanks to being half-Japanese and did not take the stress of being different well as a child. The opening bits of her route inform us that she ended up in the hospital from the stress of kindergarten and then on top of that, her father died in a car accident after visiting her one day in the hospital. Yeah, Nagisa has had it rough. Despite coming from a middle class family, her mother has been best friends with Rina’s mother and thus the two have been inseparable. While Nagisa still doesn’t like standing out, Rina, however, stands out so much it focuses attention on the both of them. This is where the main conflict between the two comes from; Rina’s aggressive personality, and Nagisa’s passive one.
Nagisa is certainly used to Rina’s overly-assertive personality, but what happens when Rina pushes too far? What happens when that lack of communication and honesty leads to not just a misunderstanding, but false assumptions? There’s a particular event that occurs during their route which I think is a very real fear all of us in relationships have felt at one point or another. It’s playing upon relatable fears and situations like this that makes the writing so good, and by contrast, Hazuki’s route so plain. With that, we’ve talked about the couples, but there’s one more character we need to talk about and that’s the school itself.
This is the only real misstep of trying to make a clean break from the continuity of the other games. We can always say the other characters are in a different part of the world to avoid having to know about them, but we still need to know about the world, or in this case the school itself. We know that St. Michael’s is a school for girls, and we know it’s a very prestigious one. But aside from the idea of “Best Couples”, which is a concept from the main campus, we really never learn anything about the school itself. It feels like, in their effort to form a clean break, the writers forgot to reintroduce us to the most important part of the world, the school itself. Heck, we don’t need to know much, but some backstory and history would help. Take Strawberry Panic! for example. That series revolves around three schools and each one feels unique. Here, I know there’s a statue of Mary in the courtyard. That’s about it. But what about the thing that A Kiss For The Petals is known for, yuri eroge?
The eroge scenes here are all very good. For the most part they are pretty vanilla, which I admit is my only complaint here. As much as I hate to keep poking poor Hazuki, there are some missed opportunities; in particular, with her delusions and the fact her computer plays such a pivotal role in her story. By contrast, I’d say Nagisa and Rina have my favorite scene, which involves a chair. As a whole the art is fantastic and the voice acting very well done. For comparison, Kindred Spirits on the Roof had these types of scenes in more to give emotional closure to a couple’s arc. In The New Generation!, these are far more physical and passionate encounters. I do however really appreciate the afterglow cuddling the girls do afterward. All too often in eroge it’s end-of-sex and then end-of-scene. This was a refreshing change. From here all that’s left to talk about are the graphics and sound and there’s not a whole to say there.
As you can see from screenshots in the review, the graphics are really good. Everything is nicely detailed and there are no mosaics for you eroge fans. My only complaint is that we still have not moved into the world of widescreen. I do realize that costs more money to make, but this was made in 2015. Embrace 16:9. It loves you and wants to make your games better. Sound-wise, I’m a little disappointed. It’s not bad, but nothing reached out and grabbed me. It felt just like background music to me. It certainly fit and there are some returning themes from Remembering How We Met. I just wish there was something with a little more punch like the intro song “New Generation”, but that’s just me. With all that said, let’s close this out with my final thoughts.
A Kiss For The Petals: The New Generation! is a great yuri visual novel. I can certainly see why many people adore this series. There’s complex writing, there are deep characters, and there is some very good eroge here. The problems I have with this one are nitpicks for the most part. The problem is those nitpicks are enough to hold it back from being a truly amazing title. Still, at $34.95 and lasting roughly 15 hours, it’s not a bad investment in the slightest, especially if you’re in the market for yuri eroge. I still say Kindred Spirits on the Roof is the better tale emotionally, but The New Generation! is no slouch. You will feel for these people and their struggle. If the price is a little high or you’re worried about my nitpicks, then wait for it to go on sale. I’ll say this, though. I’m more than happy to have spent the money on this one and I’d do it again for a physical release. I just hope this isn’t the last we hear from St. Michael’s and these girls in particular. It’s a large world out there and The New Generation! deserves to be a part of it.
Review copy purchased by reviewer
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