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2011-05-28

Kira Kira Review


Title: Kira☆Kira (キラ☆キラ)
Release date: 2007-11-22 (2009-06-24 in English)
Developer: Overdrive
English publisher: MangaGamer

Intro

Well, here is my first review of a pretty well known visual novel "Kira Kira". Since MangaGamer has released the novel back in 2009 it was hard to surf the net without someone gushing about how this game is the best thing since sliced bread and how it's an ideal first visual novel for those wanting to try this subgenre of games hailing from Japan. Considering this is one of the highest rated VNs on VNDB, I thought I might as well buy it - after all, you can't go wrong with something everyone likes... right? Right?

Kira Kira has many incarnations in the English market: first there is the original download edition of the erotic game, an all-ages download edition with the ero content removed, a physical edition of the all-ages version and the port of this version to iOS. Not knowing who would want to play this game without ero (as ero is so punk rock), I downloaded the original version in a bundle with its sequel/fandisc "Kira Kira Curtain Call" which I'll probably review later.

So, what is this VN about? The short answer is punk rock or at least that is what it wants to believe. Meet Maejima Shikanosuke, a slacker, who at the beginning of the game gets dumped by his long time girlfriend. Sucks to be him, but his moping due to a heartbreak doesn't last long if any and soon our non-hero gets dragged into forming of a punk rock band with 3 girls.

Analysis


Now the first part of the game is very promising. Shikanosuke works in a restaurant with a girl from his school - Kirari. After attempting to break a fight between some rockers and the customers of the restaurant, he is given two tickets to their concert for his troubles by the guitarist Tonoya Kenta of the aforementioned rock band. Shikanosuke and Kirari go to the concert and are entranced by the performance (well, at least Kirari is). The thing is, Kirari belong to the Second Literature Club together with Shikanosuke's osananajimi Isurugi Chie (or Chie-nee as he calls her) and a sickly rich girl Kashiwara Sarina. And the club is about to be closed. So the girls (that is Kirari) come up with the idea to go out with a bang and perform in the upcoming summer festival as a punk rock band and screw the fact
that none of them know anything about punk-rocking. So the company get Maejima's friend Murakami who's been a little obsessed with rock recently to teach them about rock and Tonoya Kenta to aftually teach them to play.

And this is the most interesting part of the game to me. From the inception of the band to the summer festival this loosely knit group actually becomes a band and provides some really funny scenes. For example Tonoya teaches the members to swear (because swearing is so punk rock). If you haven't seen a high class Japanese girl complimenting "a nice fucking cup of fucking tea", you haven't seen anything. That, or Shikanosuke forced to wear woman's clothes, because "this is an all girls band". But if you suspected that the game will end with the smash hit performance at the festival, you are about to be disappointed. Yes, disappointed.


The game goes steadily downhill as it drags on. Our motley band that expected to perform only in the festival decide to go to a tour; first stop Nagoya and after that the gods only know. Nagoya is still OK, but after the common route I steadily stopped caring about what is happening on screen and the main reason for that - a dreadful boredom set in. With a consternation I realized I don't care for any heroine as they are all boring and can't carry the plot on their shoulders to save their lives.

Heroines


Shiino Kirari. The first gal I played and the vocalist of the band. She is a genki cloud cuckoo lander that thinks with the stomach and the main heroine of the game as her good end is the true end of the game. Her tour is the worst as nothing of interest happens. However upon the return home shit hits the fan and the writer drops a diabolus ex machina. However, I consider her bad end epilogue the best of the available ones. however the true route is an exercise in boredom and frustration as everyone is acting like a moron and no one serves to slap some sense into them. Fail.


Isurugi Chie. The drummer, also the worst and the most boring of heroines. While her tour is fairly interesting and involves yakuzas, upon returning home some fake dorama is presented. The thing is, I couldn't care less about her plight and the writer probably felt the same as he just dropped a deus ex machina on us and the plot solved itself without any endeavour by the heroes.Blah. This whole route is people standing around doing nothing and things happening to them... On to the next route.


Kashiwara Sarina, the guitarist. I fully expected to hate this sickly ojou-sama stereotype, but surprisingly I liked her the best. Still not enough to salvage this wreck of a game, but close to bearable. It was obvious that her plight will be her guardian rejecting Shikanosuke as Sarina's boyfriend. However, where everyone acted braindead in the other routes, both Shikanosuke and Sarina are quite smart and likable here and manage to subvert the situation to their liking in a sensible manner.

All in all, the creators were better off cutting out the present heroines and making the side characters Midori, Aki and Tomo the main heroines. They were all more interesting and likable than any of the current ones... especially Tomo.



Ero

This is a plot oriented VN, so there are only a few sex scenes: two per route and one with Tomo. Most of the scenes are of an undistinguished type and quickly forgotten after the game finishes. The ones that stuck in my mind are the last Sarina scene in the train station and that one scene with Tomo (seriously, we need more scenes were a girls dominates a boy dressed as a girl O_o).

Summary

A game with funny and likable first half and unforgivingly bland, boring and unlikable heroines. In the end it's way too long and filled to the brim with filler material that only a true masochist would find worth reading. Also, WTF: they are a punk rock band but play J-pop? Well, I'll write that off to Japanese strangeness.

Links of interest

Visual novel database
Kira Kira Overdrive site
Buy the digital version of the game at MangaGamer
Buy a digital bundle of "Kira Kira" plus fan-disk at MangaGamer
Buy the physical version of the game (all-ages version) at: MangaGamer, J-list, Play-Asia, Rightstuf.
Free all-ages English trial

Final verdict: 56% 

5 comments:

  1. everyone has opinions, and i whole heartily disagree with this.

    none the less nice try X3

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous28/5/11 21:42

    >the worst and the most boring of heroines
    fucking lol

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous28/5/11 22:52

    "Isurugi Chie. The drummer, also the worst and the most boring of heroines."

    no...just no....very very very wrong

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous22/9/13 14:30

    Most of the what the reviewer said here is true. The best parts of the game occur at the beginning but then drags during the middle portion.

    The best ending by FAR is Kirari's NORMAL (not true) ending. All the routes contain eye rolling melodrama, though in the case of Kirari's NORMAL route, it's believable and the characters' behaviours and personalities are consistent. That and the writing is actually good.

    The other routes have their good parts here and there but a lot of the times the characters will act in ways that just don't make sense or are just plain stupid. Play the Kirari NORMAL route first to really raise your expectations so that they can be utterly crushed when you move on to the other routes.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous3/7/14 21:57

    I love this review, and can't agree enough with the it! This VN was a huge disappointment and one of the more boring ones I've ever read. Thanks for an awesome review.

    ReplyDelete