INTERVIEW with Sol-Press Featuring Sakura Sakura

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

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Sakura SakuraPutting the Sol back into Localization

You can visit Sol Press, LLC at their website and also join their Discoid server. They are also currently running a Kickstarter for their latest visual novel localization game, Sakura Sakura, which concludes on September 19th, 2017 at 12:00 PM EDT.

Sakura Sakura | All the girls.Operation Rainfall: What kind of group is Sol Press, and what is the story behind your origin?

Michael Valdez [President of Sol Press, LLC]: Sol Press is a localization, design, and publishing company focused on Japanese style media. We originated in February of 2017 after being dissatisfied with the current quality and speed of translations. One of the things we disliked the most is when a title is announced but no time frames are given. There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing “Coming Soon” for six months or even longer.

“To us, having paid patches is the equivalent of day-one DLC


[S]o our mentality is ‘don’t charge extra for the complete product.’”

OR: Organizations often measure success in different ways. For Sol Press, what does success mean and what goals have you set as an organization?

MV: We measure our success based on how well we can provide for the community, our readers. Our goals focus on listening to community feedback and developing on it. We want to provide quick, high-quality translations with no delays while making sure that our work can provide everyone with the best experience possible.

Sakura Sakura | Boy lays in girl's lap.

Tohru Inaba lays in Nanako Sakura’s lap, who is one of the potential love interests for him in Sakura Sakura.

OR: Sol Press has sections for Light Novels and Manga listed on its site. What kinds of Light Novels and Manga are Sol Press fans of, and what kinds of Light Novels and Manga would you like to Kickstart in the future?

MV: Everyone has their own tastes. Personally, I am a big fan of romance titles. I’m also a big fan of medieval Europe and economics, if that gives any hints as to what my favorite series might be. In the future, I would love for us to begin localizing the less popular titles that still have a great story. There are plenty of wonderful stories out there that deserve a proper localization but may not get a chance otherwise due to not being hugely popular.

We are open to any and all suggestions! You can always submit recommendations to us through our Discord server and Contact Us page. We’ll be sure to look into series that are requested by our readers.

OR: In your ‘About Us’ section on Sol Press’ website you state “We don’t believe that customers should have to pay for patches or other content that was included with the original game.”. Why is this an important fundamental to you and what have you learned by watching other localizers in the Visual Novel industry?

MV: I have seen this become an increasingly confusing situation for readers. It can cause readers to not know where they should buy the game from, and in some cases, dissuade them from experiencing the game altogether. From a business perspective, the expenses of hosting these patches (which also depends on how they are developed) are usually very low. To us, having paid patches is the equivalent of day-one DLC. Basically, content that was originally in the game was removed in order to be sold, and that’s just not cool. Why should you pay extra for a part of the original game? You’d get the content free and clear if you purchased the untranslated version, so our mentality is “don’t charge extra for the complete product.”

Sakura Sakura | Girl in Uniform.

Sakura Kirishima poses in her uniform.

OR: Sol Press’ first project is a Visual Novel called Sakura Sakura. What about Sakura Sakura drew Sol Press to it above all other potential projects?

MV: Sakura Sakura is an older and lesser known visual novel, but when we first played it, everyone on the staff got a good laugh. Audible laughter is not something that happens often with a lot of people, and to get an entire team to laugh multiple times on their first playthrough was enough to get us thinking. This, combined with character designs that we all adored, pushed us to pursue licensing the title.

“We constantly look at feedback on forums and social media. If you post somewhere popular, chances are we’ve seen it.”

OR: Sakura Sakura stars Nanako Sakura and Sakura Kirishima who serve love interests for main character Tohru Inaba. What are Sol Press’ thoughts on the two characters and does the staff have a particular favorite?

MV: Both characters are very different, yet they’re so well developed and detailed. Each one has their own traits and quirks that makes them all the more enjoyable. As for favorites, there has been an internal waifu war going on for a while now because of this title. The Nanako army is strong, but the Sakura army has enough members to form a resistance.

OR: Sakura Sakura also features Akira Nitta and Kurumi Tachibana who are competing for the affections of Naoki Fuse. How do these three fit into the overall story of Sakura Sakura and what else can you tell us about them? 

MV: Naoki, Akira, and Kurumi are lovable side characters that support Tohru, Sakura, and Nanako as they figure things out. They end up taking center stage in their own story, which is an entire adventure in itself. It’s definitely an interesting read after originally observing their relationships and personalities, and then being thrown into the mix.

Sakura Sakura | Alt Text here

Nanako Sakura is beautiful.

OR: Physical goods tend to be very popular among Visual Novel fans and collectors. What kind of physical goods are you offering with the Sakura Sakura Kickstarter and where can readers go to find more information about the [K]ickstarter in general? 

MV: We have tons of physical goods available! We have body pillows, tapestries, and physical versions of the games. For collectors, we have a bunch of collectible items such as a signed figurine of Nanako, a signed art book, and even a shikishi of a character of your choice, hand-drawn and signed by one of the game’s character designers. [OR Note: A shikishi is a high-qualifty, stiff piece of paper that is often used for drawing and obtaining autographs on.]

You can find out more about the Kickstarter [at our Kickstarter page], and more details about the physical goods can be found [here].

Sakura Sakura | Alt text

Nanako Sakura is Total Waifu Material.

OR: Where can our readers and others go to provide feedback to Sol Press and learn about current and upcoming projects?

MV: We constantly look at feedback on forums and social media. If you post somewhere popular, chances are we’ve seen it. You can also submit feedback directly to us through our Discord server, our Contact Us page, Twitter, and most forums (since we try to look through them as much as possible).

As for updates on current and upcoming projects, we usually post our announcements on Twitter and Discord before they go anywhere else.

Thank you so much for the interview! We’re really excited about this project, and hope you are too! We’re going to be releasing the trial for the game very soon, so please be sure to check it out and share it!

All images were provided courtesy of Sol Press, LLC.

Leave us a comment below and let us know what you think about Sol-Press and their Sakura Sakura Kickstarter.

Special thanks to Benny and Quentin for helping me put this together.

About Steve Baltimore

Steve started with oprainfall not long after the campaign moved from the IGN forums to Facebook. Ever since, he has been fighting to give all non-mainstream RPGs a fair voice. As the site admin, he will continue to do this and even show there is value in what some would deem "pure ecchi." He loves niche games and anime more than anything... well, except maybe Neptune.