Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke o Series Review

Title of the series: Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke o
Original title: その花びらにくちづけを
Alias: SonoHana
Developer: Fuguriya
English publisher: SH1: Count Pacula (as a fan-patch)
                              SH2/3/4/5: AXYPB World (as a fan patch)
                              SH6/8: Petals' Garden (formerly AXYPB World) & Yuri Project (as a fan patch)
                              SH7: AXYPB World & Hanabira-kun (as a fan patch)

In my previous review of "Yuukuri Panic" I said that all-girl schools are the places for pure lesbian love to blossom and this time it is true. SonoHana series are known for their fluffy stories filled with girl-on-girl lovemaking. At the time of writing there already are 10 games in the series with more than half of them translated into English.

Title: Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke o
Original title: その花びらにくちづけを
Alias: A Kiss for the Petals
Release date: 2006-09-22 
English release date: 2010-02-14

The very first game in the series is dealing with two students of a Christian academy for rich girls. This is a nukige, so don't expect to see lots of plot or character development; after all that's not why Fuguriya created those games.
I want to have such delusions all day long.
The story starts with our unlucky protagonist Oda Nanami reminiscing that she has always wanted to attend St. Michael's Academy because they have the cutest uniforms (great reason, girl, I approve). As her bad luck may be, on the very first day her uniform rips and the Virgin Mary an upperclassman Matsubara Yuuna appears to mend it. Nanami is immediately stricken with her and joins the Environmental Protection Committee just to be closer to Yuuna, who is a chairman. Soon she learns that they share a mutual attraction and proceed to screw each other until the end of the game.

There are only two characters of note here: Yuuna and Nanami. Nanami is our protagonist and a resident cloud cuckoolander that frequently immerses herself into her dream world and don't even notice what is going on around her. I don't find this particular trait of hers endearing or moe; I'm in fact more annoyed by it. Luckily she doesn't have many instances to annoy me, because as a whole Nanami is more mature of the two. Despite her initial appearances Nanami is quite coolheaded and responsible - something that cannot be said about the other one.
Yeah, Yuuna is something else...
Yuuna is a second part of the duo. She acts like a dutiful and responsible ojou-sama, but that all is an act. Underneath her skin Yuuna or Onee-sama, as she wants to be called by Nanami, is childish, fickle and really naughty. She is the one that initially seduces our protagonist. Despite Nanami's pleas to be careful in public, Yuuna frequently showers affection on her in the presence of others.

The story and the character interactions are pure fluff with no serious drama happening and I personally think that is a good decision. The novel is linear with a single ending. There are four choices in total, but getting the wrong ones will end the VN prematurely, rather than giving a bad ending. If you really want to know what are the correct choices you have to make, check Count Pacula's FAQ.

I wasn't particularly fond of the "story" segments, which is to say, that the banter betwixt Yuuna and Nanami bored me and I eagerly awaited the next H-scene. There were a few instances of brilliance, like Nanami calling Yuuna "erotome" and later apologizing on her knees. However most of their other interactions made my hand to hover on the skip button. I have already said that I waited for the sex scenes, so, how do they fare...
Lingerie advertisement.
Considering this is a nukige, there is lots of sex crammed into the short length of the novel and for the most part they are hit or miss. Strangely I wasn't all that hot about all of them, despite being a fan of yuri. I particularly liked the first scene, scenes in the school courtyard, in the lingerie shop and the "Itadakimasu" one, but others sort of blended in and in essence didn't particularly titillate me.

Graphical aspect is also of varied level. I found backgrounds and sprites way too simplistic for my taste, however CGs were good. There were places for improvement even there, but overall I was pleased. What I really didn't like though, was a textbox, that was way too big, and there was no way to change it's size or transparency. Soundtrack was as forgettable as a yesteryear snow, but the voice acting was good and really brought the characters to life. Hell, even the personae that do not have "paper dolls" were given voices.
Some graphics are really beautiful looking.
Overall, this is a not bad yuri novel with lots of places for improvement. I hope that other entries in the series deliver on the premise.

Title: Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke o: Watashi no Ouji-sama
Original title: その花びらにくちづけを わたしの王子さま
Alias: A Kiss For The Petals - My Dear Prince
Release date: 2007-05-29
English release date: 2011-01-09

"My Dear Prince" is the second installment in the series and is also set in St. Michael's Girl Academy just like the previous one. This time we focus on two different heroines, though Yuuna from the previous installment does make a small appearance.
I would like to be greeted like that every day.
A new transfer student is about to start attending the academy and apparently she is a well known model. Our protagonist Kitajima Kaede couldn't care less. As a quiet shy meganekko she is not fond of masses of people and flashy behaviour, so imagine her surprise, when the new girl jumps on her and starts squeezing her in plain view while calling her Kaede-chan. Apparently she is Kitajima Sara - a long lost cousin of Kaede's.

Sara is an unrestrained type. She is bubbling with energy and affection and is not afraid to show both. Her behaviour sharply contrasts with that of Kaede and, despite being glad about the return of her relative, she finds herself disturbed by Sara's actions. Conflicting emotions start welling within Kaede, because while Sara says she loves her, Kaede doesn't have the same feelings... or so she says.
Yuuna and her sound advice.
In contrast to the first game which was almost pure fluff, MDP includes some drama and a bit more character interaction. Don't get me wrong - the purpose of the game is still to show you some girl on girl action, but the game might actually have a plot. I say might, because, frankly, I didn't care about it and the drama didn't really appeal to me. Though I must be fair and say that character interactions and Kaede's confusion were presented rather believably. On the other hand, the behaviour of the sprite-less girls of the academy were less believable. I have a nagging feeling, that in a situation like this they should be acting, umm... less nice.

Another very non-believable thing that stank of Hollywood, was the miraculous Kaede transformation in the end. The VN enforces an idea, that a "supposedly" plane looking girl can become a beauty queen just by taking off her glasses and unbraiding her hair. What is this? A sequel to "The Princess Diaries"? I was dejected to find such a clichéd idea in a Japanese game.
That's a biological impossibility, unless you're a giraffe.
The structure of the game is the same. Three choices and upon guessing correctly you get the true ending, otherwise the game ends prematurely. It came to my attention, that I would fail in a real lesbian relationship as it took me four tries to get the true ending or maybe the choices were really counter-intuitive. Anyway, for those of you that are as unlucky as I am, the correct sequence is this:
1. Thank you.
2. You can call me whatever you want.
3. Kiss her.

Graphically the game is absolutely the same as the first one. Actually the creator rehashes many of the materials, namely music and backgrounds. That makes sense as the VN is basically set in the same environment, but is disappointing nonetheless as that cheapens the experience. CGs however are really lovely.

She's taking lessons from Chris.
There are quite a few H-scenes in the game and from the technical side they are good looking, but sadly they are not that memorable (even less so than those of the first game). I have an intuition, that a month will pass and I won't recall a single one of them.

In the end, "My Dear Prince" is not a bad game and being a yuri game it gets bonus points from me, but it's not very memorable. I hope that subsequent installments from Fuguriya will give me a better experience.

Title: Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke o: Anata to Koibito Tsunagi 
Original title: その花びらにくちづけを あなたと恋人つなぎ
Alias: A Kiss For The Petals - Joined In Love With You
Release date: 2007-07-14 
English release date: 2011-03-16

By the third installment in the series it has become obvious, that St. Michael's Girl Academy's application form reads "Only filthy stinking rich dykes accepted. We make exceptions for very dyke-ish persons of lesser wealth."

"Joined In Love With You" follows the romance of our protagonist Sawaguchi Mai and a loli-ish tsundere ojou-sama Kawamura Reo. Only now did I notice that due to some inexplicable reason all our protagonists up until now were commoners that somehow ended up in a school for rich girls... but I digress.
Mai no baka!
This is the first game in the series, where I actually cared about a "plot" and not only the H-content as the interactions betwixt the lovers were realized very well. The plot is once again a comedic fluff with no drama and most of the comedy comes from Reo's tsundere antics. I'll admit, that I have a soft spot for tsunderes and that is exactly why I found the character interactions here so appealing, but Reo acts so over the top by employing all the clichés and tropes associated with her stereotype, that by the end I found that she was beginning to tire me. However, the game was too short for her to become really annoying and the seiyuu did an awesome job by really bringing hers (and Mai's) character to life.

The supporting cast of spriteless students of the academy is laughably bad. I have already mentioned when talking about the previous game, that they should be acting less nice, but here their portrayal starts to verge on the parody. It's like everyone is a lesbian, wants to be a lesbian or endorses lesbians and petty human emotions like jealousy, selfishness, haughtiness and plain old close-mindedness never rear their ugly head here, which I frankly find unbelievable.
A crowning moment of heartwarming.
Where Reo is a childishly violent tsundere, Mai is a lovable pervert, that acts as an honour student (and mostly is one). Upon learning about Reo's crush on her, and realizing that she also loves the little rascal (with Yuuna's help, no less), she decides they should engage in lots of ecchi acts together. The game has the same amount of sex scenes as the previous one, but is longer overall, as there is much more time allotted for character development. Moreover, I don't know if the choices provided were indeed more obvious or am I becoming better at being a lesbian, but I got the true ending in a single try. The choices leading to it are these:
1. Thank you for what you did yesterday.
2. I-i see, thank you then.
3. Now you've done it, you airheaded girl!
4. Pick it with my lips.

I don't know if it is my imagination or really the truth, but I believe that Fuguriya really got better in the graphics department in those one and half months between MDP and JILWY... Nah, can't be... It must be the same, only slightly more detailed art.
Kissing the petals.
The sex scenes have become more memorable. Mai and Reo verbally interact during the lovemaking and really make the scenes alive and while writing might still be a little dry around the edges, it's a clear improvement over the previous SonoHana games. Sex is also not as random as it was previously, especially in the second installment, where H-content literally came out of nowhere.

Overall, I personally claim that this is the best entry out of the first three ones, with the greatest character chemistry and visually pleasing H-content. My only quibble would be, that the translation had quite a few grammatical mistakes - something that was absent from the previous games.

Title: Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke o: Itoshisa no Photograph
Original title: その花びらにくちづけを 愛しさのフォトグラフ
Alias: A Kiss For The Petals - Beloved Photograph
Release date: 2008-06-06
English release date: 2011-07-22

St. Michael - a patron saint of all lesbians once again shelters a pair of cute girls under his wings, but this time they are not new characters, but our old acquaintances Kaede and Sara.
If we are to believe this VN, model's work is a breeze.
Up to this moment the games followed the routine of introducing the characters and then following their developing relationship. As the introduction part has already been taken care of, the authors needed to introduce some drama to keep our interest in the "plot" and I think they didn't succeed as all the plot lines do not feel important and the drama comes up quickly and is solved in even quicker manner.

The "plot" of the game felt boring and underdeveloped. The first part of the VN introduces Sara's jealousy and shows stalker Sara watching Kaede like a hawk. That was something I certainly found poorly executed as Sara came across as a clingy girl that wants to steal Kaede and keep her in a gilded cage for her eyes only. Then this plot point suddenly disappears and we are left with a boring middle part that doesn't introduce any event of consequence and is basically so forgettable that I can't even recall what it was about, even though I finished the game ten minutes ago. Finally in the end we are forcefully fed a fake drama about Sara's problem at work, but the problem was so laughable, that I had a big trouble taking it seriously. Oh, and here's my other complaint: the game has many instances, where it tries to introduce humour, but fails miserably. SonoHana is not the best in that regard overall, but a "Kaede-Sara" pair delivers the most atrocious funny scenes.
A prince in red uniform.
The eponymous photograph of the title is the one taken by a photography club member when Kaede saved Sara from falling down the stairs. it resulted in not only Sara, but also the whole school calling her a "Prince", bridging this and the second game in the series. While the prince delusion is mentioned more rarely in this volume, it is also given a more serious treatment and Sara even talks about living together with Kaede as life partners.

The game is also slightly longer then the previous ones with more scenes, more CGs and even more choices needed to reach a good ending. The correct choices are as follows:
1. You were wonderful
2. My Lady
3. Try to look for her
4. Let's just leave it be.
5. Of course I do.

Graphically the game is identical to the second one and my observation about Fuguriya's art quality getting better while talking about the previous game, was probably a delusion. This time the creator's didn't have to worry not only about the backgrounds, but also about the sprites either, so basically only the new script needed to be made for a new game. The only change I notice is that the game changed the colour of a text box from green to orange, but the box itself is still too big and covers an uncomfortable stretch of the screen.
Meido is a lie!
H-scenes themselves are a standard fare and majority of them not really memorable, but the inclusion of a cosplay related sex really enlivened the ero aspect and made for some genuinely enjoying moments. However on the whole I'm starting to feel that Fuguriya is running out of ideas and am kind of worried about the following installments. Well, we'll see.

Title: Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke o: Anata o Suki na Shiawase
Original title: その花びらにくちづけを あなたを好きな幸せ
Alias: A Kiss For The Petals - The Joy Of Loving You
Release date: 2008-07-25
English release date: 2011-08-16

In the fifth installment of the series we return back to my favourite couple so far - Mai and Reo, and once again immerse ourselves into their antics. Reo is still as deliciously tsundere as ever and Mai is a pervert without equal. The game delivers a very promising start by plunging us directly into a sex scene, thus let's see how it fares after that.
Reo has a great fashion sense.
I love those two characters, but they are obviously not without flaws. Well, I have to consent, that Mai is almost perfect in her role. Reo's role of modern tsundere heroine and her love interest can and will get tiring after a while. I would go so far as to claim that this is the game that made me appreciate classic tsunderes as Reo's behaviour when she is already in a relationship is downright rude and disrespectful towards her sweetheart. Her jealous attitude doesn't help and comes across as obsessive and suffocating. Still, I like her a lot, not least because she has the best seiyuu in the series.
Mai's pet.
Fuguriya also made a real effort to actually give this game something vaguely resembling a plot and the drama introduced in the second part of the game is handled in a somewhat realistic manner. Mai and Reo have to overcome their trust issues and patch their straining relationship after a huge fight. The first half of the game is unfortunately peppered with slice-of-life scenes of no importance and is quite dull. In order to reach the end, you need to make the following choices:
1. I wasn't talking to them like how I talk to you.
2. I'm going to help you out.
3. Whoa, that sounds like fun!

Fuguriya is also not progressing their series beyond the template that worked so well for them up to until now and that leads to artistic, graphic and acoustic aspects of the game stagnating and not getting the so necessary upgrades. H-scenes also really suffered in this installment as they are not only the least numerous in quantity, but are also some of the most uninspiring and forgettable in the whole series.
A start of the game is very promising.
In the end its clear, that the series need a major makeover in order to hold my attention for much longer. I'm already getting fed with the same upon the same and even my love for yuri can't really force me to rate the games as anything but mediocre.

Title: Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke o: Kuchibiru to Kiss de Tsubuyaite 
Original title: その花びらにくちづけを 唇とキスで呟いて
Alias: A Kiss For The Petals - Whisper With A Kiss
Release date: 2008-12-05
English release date: 2012-12-17

This is the sixth VN in the series and it is a continuation of a Nanami-Yuuna affair from the first game. It isn't translated into English yet though, so I can't say anything positive or negative about it.
Rejoice (or not), as the sixth SonoHana game has been released and I obviously had to check it out. My impression: "Well, that was embarrassing to read". I can understand how it took so long to translate it.
We're so in love here...
The VN follows our very first pair Yuuna and Nanami. They are still their cute rabu rabu selves, always sexing each other and proclaiming undying love. The trouble is, absolutely nothing happens for the first 2/3rds of the game and I mean "Nothing" - not even a pretence at plot. Suddenly the last third tries to introduce a poorly placed drama, but instead what happens is that our couple takes a pair of Idiot Balls and goes to play with them. It wasn't dramatic, it wasn't cute, hell, it wasn't even laughable. It was so embarrassing, that I was facedesking every few minutes.

It is a really poor entry in the series (or I might just be jaded, as the whole SonoHana series follow the same pattern and  I was already tired of it when I played the translated entries last year).
Stairway to Heaven is really a safe place to have hot lesbian sex.
Of course "Sono Hanabira" is a nukige series, but there is not much to save the game there either. All the entries as a whole have already exhausted the supply of poses available for two women (or they just are really unimaginative). Probably the latter, because I was constantly thinking "I have already seen this" while playing the game. The only highlight is Yuuna's undiminished love for Nanami's urine that we could witness in the very first episode. I would suggest Fugurya to experiment with the formula as the current one is quickly becoming stale.

And of course the walkthrough, so that you wouldn't have to do a trial and error run:
1. Hug
2. No, you are a very dirty girl!
3. I want to read it...!
4. Ask directly
Nothing... I just buried her under a sakura tree.
As you can see from the guide, the novel also kindly provides us a Family-Unfriendly Aesop that it's OK to read someone's diary if they are not there to stop you. Way to go Fugurya... At this rate, I will be apprehensive to read the 8th part that has also been just released.

Title: Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke o: Amakute Hoshikute Torokeru Chuu 
Original title: その花びらにくちづけを あまくてほしくてとろけるちゅう
Alias: A Kiss For The Petals - Sweet Enchanting Kisses
Release date: 2009-12-11
English release date: 2011-11-22

I'm very glad to state, that this VN in the series changes some of the established things that I've complained about.

First of all "Sweet Enchanted Kisses" is the first game that has had a major art upgrade since the first title. A completely different art style was employed for sprites, backgrounds and CGs, and it is positively enchanting. Moreover, the previous games all rehashed the same background screens over and over again with little to no changes, where here all the environments (even the so familiar St. Michael's Girl Academy) were completely redesigned. On the other hand, the soundtrack still remains the same and portrays no improvements.
Yes, she's always like that.
The six games before this rotated the same three heroine pairs, but SEK finally introduces a different one and even breaks a routine by making one of them a teacher. Suminoe Takako is the said teacher and she is a really naïve, soft, even childish protagonist of the story, who graduated from St. Michael's Academy and returned to teach the elementary classes. Horaisen Runa is one of her students... Yes, you read that right, she is an elementary grade student, though she isn't portrayed as being so young. Runa is a haughty, confident and aggressive ojou-sama and frankly she is my favourite character in the whole series. Runa quickly develops a cult following at school with her brisk and forthcoming attitude and while having some tsundere-ish qualities, she never verges on the parody like Reo from 2/5th games.
Runa's harem.
Nonetheless, I cannot laud the plot as it still employs the same old strategy from the first three games of introducing the characters and engaging them in fluffy rabu-rabu slice-of-life scenes with nothing else much going on, though Runa's queenly attitude enlivens the game considerably. In order to reach the end of the game these choices need to be taken (a harder challenge as I needed three tries to get them correctly):
1. Let Horaisen-san introduce herself.
2. I don't really mind...
3. I'm sure you'll acquire a taste for it someday.
4. Lick.
Drink more milk!
The H-scenes (despite becoming even better looking due to the new art) are still bland and forgettable, mainly due to shamelessly reusing the same acts and positions from the previous VNs. The text box is still covering a third of the screen too. Interesting fact though - some screens from the game I saw on the net had a completely different transparent box that didn't obstruct the view, but I have no idea how that was done as there are no options for that in the menu. 

To sum up, the game is a definite improvement over the previous ones both in the art quality and in the characters, but I feel that for the series to really pick up, the creators need a new scriptwriter and a pervert for the advices on the sex scenes.

Title: Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke o: Tenshi no Hanabira Zome
Original title: その花びらにくちづけを 天使の花びら染め
Alias: A Kiss for the Petals - Dyed With An Angel's Petals
Release date: 2010-02-12
English release date: 2012-12-19

This is a temporary placeholder, until I get around to playing the eighth game.

On the whole, SonoHana series will be a real treat for the yuri lovers, but these games do not have much going on for common folk that are indifferent to the subject or, like me, like the subject, but expect more depth and attention to details. However, I have to own, that the lack of available translated material in the yuri genre assures that the series get the wide recognition, which they probably deserve. Nonetheless, at the end of the day I personally prefer "Yukkuri Panic" and "Sugar's Delight" games, that I have already reviewed on this blog.

P.S. I strangely have experienced some technical problems with the titles. All of them refused to run in fullscreen until I lowered my monitor refresh rate from 85 to 75 Hz (the problem disappeared after installing newest video drivers, but a 4 year old VN needing the newest software to run properly is a strange sight indeed). Nevermind the fact, that when I played the first game on my former XP machine a year or so ago, it constantly crashed, until I decided to run it in a virtual machine with Win98SE installed O_o (I had no such problem on Win 7).

Links of Interest

Visual Novel Database links for SH1, SH2, SH3, SH4, SH5, SH6, SH7, SH8, SH9, SH10
Official Japanese site
Translation for SH1
Buy SH1 at Dlsite
Translation for SH2
Buy SH2 at Dlsite
Translation for SH3
Buy SH3 at Dlsite
Translation for SH4
Buy SH4 at Dlsite
Translation for SH5
Buy SH5 at Dlsite
Translation for SH6
Buy SH6 at Dlsite
Translation for SH7
Buy SH7 at Dlsite
Translation for SH8
Buy SH8 at Dlsite

Final Verdict: SH1: 66%
                     SH2: 63%
                     SH3: 68%
                     SH4: 59%
                     SH5: 64%
                     SH6: 51%
                     SH7: 68%


  1. Indeed, the plot is not one of the strong points of these games. The ero is really nice, though.
    And on my part, I absolutely loathed Runa, and liked Takako only marginally more, so the 7th was not really one of my favorites.

  2. Anonymous28/1/12 16:18

    You are mentioned in this topic.

  3. Anonymous26/4/12 22:26

    can u help me insatll the game?

    1. Ummm... You extract the archive and that's it - you don't have to install anything, except for a translation patch. That applies to all SonoHana games.