- System : PS2 & PC
- Release Date : PS2: April 5, 2008 (Japan)
Microsoft Windows: November 21, 2008 (Japan)
- Developer : Success Corporation
- Publisher : Success Corporation (Japan)
Dominated by deep blue color, Aoishiro gives player Japanese nuances from the opening narrative with Japanese mythology. If I have to describe Aoishiro with only one sentence, it’s fantasy genre visual novel with girls love theme.
Below is the opening movie.
The Seijou Girls Academy’s Kendo Club go to Shoushinji for summer training camp. Near there is an island, Urashima, legend says it’s a place where demon extermination took place long ago. They arrive around the time of a festival which honors a god that is worshipped by the people of Urashima, it celebrates the onitaiji and ensures another year of health for the people. Around the time of the festival, the weather around Urashima worsens and storms will come.
A few days into their training Osanai Syouko finds a young girl washed up on the shores near the location of the training camp who cannot speak. Her origin is completely unknown.
Because main events of this visual novel take place at summer camp, expect some summer-like activities in Japan (for example swimming, telling ghost stories, courage test, etc). I found the story is really unique because the setting is in both modern real world and a mythical world. The storyline is quite dark and can be very sad and tragic because of many bad endings. Although there may be some conversations which I found complicated, overall I can say I was captivated by the story, the characters, and the setting.
Aoishiro greatly based upon the player’s decisions from multiple choices, which not only affect the flow of the story but also the ending the player receives, several of which suggest romantic feelings among the female characters. Because it has so many endings, Aoishiro has a built-in flowchart to help player monitor their current path.
In Aoishiro, it has the tendency important and meaningful events happened at night time. At daytime is mostly cheerful and a slice of life elements, along with a bit of comedy. The first two nights are usually calm. Then the main conflict starts to emerge.
The main protagonist of this game, a 2nd-year student at Seijou Academy. She takes on the role of captain after the former 3rd-year captain retires. Since she is the serious and hardworking type, she often gets teased and is on the receiving end of jokes.
The young girl who washes up on the shores near the location of the training camp. She looks to be around 10 to 12 years old. However, her real name and age are all unknown. When she wakes up from after being rescued by Yasumi and Syouko, she is found being unable to speak. However, despite this, she makes up for her inability to communicate verbally with animated facial expressions, giving her a cute, childlike appearance. She becomes particularly attached to Syouko and Yasumi.
A first-year student at Seijou Academy. Yasumi is a delicate girl who is the only manager of the kendo team. Although she doesn’t have any particular illness, she has much less stamina than normal people, so she finds it difficult to partake in any gruelling exercise. On the other hand, she’s extremely determined and diligent about her task as a team manager. She has a crush on Syouko and had been showing it throughout the game in which Momoko often makes fun of.
She’s around the same age as Syouko. At first glance, she looks just like a regular girl who have an easy-going personality. She stays over at Shoushinji, the location of the training camp. At first she said only staying for hot spring treatment, but actually she had another objective. She has a spiritual power, making her can see things that are unseen to others.
Former kendo team captain at Seijou Academy and the cousin of Syouko’s mother. She and Syouko start kendo for the same reason. Syouko had been looking up to her since she was a kid.
A mysterious person and also an oni. Kohaku’s left eye is constantly closed. Since she’s short-stature and calls herself powerless, she refined her speed and skill to make up to that.
Like her voice, she had a pretty face and long, straight, black hair, the former kendo team captain gave her the nickname of Hime, she is very kind, generous, and comes from a well-off family that have sheltered her in her upbringing.
She’s from the same class and also roommate with Yasumi. She is a forward and energetic girl who likes to play pranks. Although she’s the shortest in Kendo club, she’s very athletic and a lot was expected from the novice. Throughout the story, she’s often ranting about eating meat in their meal time and being really noisy when there’s no meat in their meal. She’s one of the side characters that makes the story more interesting.
Seijou High School Girls Academy teacher. She’s also the kendo team’s advisor. It was her first year as a teacher. An expert in classics and also knew fairy tales well.
The difference from each character personality makes the character interactions interesting to read. The one that shows the most character development are the main protagonist and the heroine player choose. A heroine may develop a romantic feeling for the main protagonist but may unexpectedly become antagonist towards the main protagonist in other path/ending. So it’s safe to say that their character development solely depends on player’s choice. This kind of unexpected twist is what makes the story and the characters are awesome. Can’t say much because it would be a spoiler.
Graphic & Sound
Other than pretty characters, each time when characters’ talks, their mouth will make a movement. And after several seconds their eyes will blink too. These simple gestures are what I loved from this visual novel. It gives a realistic touch.
The CG backgrounds are pretty and well-made. The sound effects are well-placed. The voice actings are great and definitely have depth for each character. The BGM is also simply beautiful, soft and has a lot of variety for many mood. It also has visual effects that enhanced the experience, for example the CG will move to focus on the image player should focus on, reddish color when the character is bleeding, fading CG when the character fell unconscious, etc.
Aoishiro will record any ending player had finished. So after a player finished a certain ending, the player can view that ending again from the menu. Pretty neat, huh?
From the picture above, the number on the bottom right is the number of endings available in the game. The happy ending is marked with a white orb, a normal ending is marked with a green orb, and a bad ending is marked with a red orb.
Many different endings to explore, so Aoishiro is totally worth the replay. By playing other routes will help you piece the story better. I did point out that this visual novel flow greatly based upon decision. The decisions player made might resulting a certain heroine did something that is totally different compared to another route, which is kinda the element of surprise in this visual novel.
Personally, without the help of the walkthrough, it might be quite challenging to get a happy ending from heroines, this is due to the high amount of bad endings and the fact that almost all choices will determine the result (the happy ending is only 6 from the total endings). Although the flowchart the game provided is proven to be useful to get a certain ending.
+ It has more endings than average visual novels
+ Gorgeous graphic
+ Shoujo ai element
+ Fantasy theme
+ Combat context
+ It has built-in flowchart to check ending path
+ Fantastic and advanced visual effects
+ No sexual content
– High amount of bad endings
– High amount of talking about foods
– Some conversations about Japanese mythology and similar subjects might bore some players
Final Score: 3.4/5
Graphic & Sound: 5
Additional Appeal: 2
Replay Value: 4
From the Visual Novel Database (vndb) website, Aoishiro got 457 total votes with average 7.74 out of 10. Ratings from the website are taken when this review is being written.
Aoishiro earns its status as a “girls’ love” visual novel. It has blood sucking vampire-like, even with actual kisses on screen. If you are also into Japanese mythology and similar subjects or shoujo ai genre that doesn’t have mature scene, this visual novel will appeal to you. In fact, I would say don’t miss it. The visual effects and the soundtracks Aoishiro provide makes this visual novel very enjoyable to see.