[Visual Novel Review]: Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shoujo

Sharin no Kuni Natsumi himawari no shoujo sunflowers sunflower Hinata bow ribbon akabei soft 2

Rating – R18

Developer – Akabei Soft2

Translator – TLWiki

Length – 10-30 Hours

[Quick Note: This was another early work. It was originally very rigidly split up into Plot, Characters, A/V and Replayability sections, so the layout is a little different to my later reviews. Also, I spend a bit more time describing the plot than normal. Out of respect to my past self i’ve only made minor changes.]

 Sharin no Kuni is a visual novel developed by the same company that brought us G-Senjou no Maou – Akabei Soft2. At the time of writing, G-Senjou no Maou is my favourite visual novel of all time, and while Sharin no Kuni is the older of the two games it is definitely worth reading.

 Sharin is set in a country with a very different justice system to our own. Rather than the normal punishments of fines and imprisonment, the justice system in Sharin no Kuni is armed with a number of “obligations” to fit any crime a person may be guilty of. For example: A con-man may be denied his right to speak, or a murderer may be denied their right to have children (which seems a bit light in my opinion >.>). These obligations are given with the ultimate goal of rehabilitating each criminal so that they can become an upstanding member of society. To that end each rehabilitee is assigned a supervisor known as a “Special High Class Individual”, and that’s where Morita Kenichi, this story’s protagonist, comes in.

Sharin no Kuni Himawari no Shoujo Special High Class Individual Morita Kenichi Houzuki

 Morita has undergone years of arduous training to become a Special High Class Individual, and now all that stands in the way of his goal is the final examination which just happens to take place in the hometown he hasn’t been to in nearly a decade. The plot revolves around Morita’s interactions with the town’s inhabitants, some of them childhood friends that fail to recognise the man he has become (but who haven’t forgotten the person he was) and others that are new to the town. Needless to say, a number of these people have obligations that need to be resolved. There’s certainly more to the plot than I have mentioned here, but you’ll have to play the VN to experience it yourself.

 I enjoyed Sharin no Kuni immensely. The story was riveting, sometimes so much so that I literally could not stop reading. This novel has my favourite kind of plot twists: the ones you don’t see coming, but as soon as you recall what has gone before in your mind it all makes sense; everything clicks into place almost audibly. It is an incredibly unique and entertaining experience that stirs your emotions and makes you care about the people involved. I would highly recommend this story to anyone.

 Overall, I liked each and every character in Sharin no Kuni. Early in the story the protagonist grated on my nerves a little, but he repeatedly demonstrates the ability to step up to the plate when the situation is serious and also matures a little as the plot progresses (though one could argue that he is actually “recovering” from previous experiences). There are 4 heroines to choose from : Sachi, Touka, Natsumi and xxxxxx (mysterious, right?). While Natsumi is probably my favourite (I have a thing for the childhood friend card), I came to care about all of them by the end of the novel, which is usually indicative of good character design. The supporting cast was also well done, and the “villain” was excellent; I really hated the bastard in the end.

Sharin no Kuni Himawari no Shoujo Punishment Morita Kenichi Houzuki Touka Natsumi Sachi

 Sharin no Kuni is your average visual novel in that all of the CGs/Sprites are static, though there is some clever use of zooming in/out and setting the sprites at varying distances. The CGs were excellent, and each character’s poses suited their personalities well. I also liked that the main character was given a face early on, which many VNs avoid doing. Not much else to say here, really.

 I really enjoyed Sharin no Kuni’s soundtrack. The BGM did a great job of helping to immerse the player in the story, with some very nice “exciting” tracks accompanying the equally enjoyable slow ones. While neither the opening nor ending voiced songs were my sort of thing, I felt that they suited the visual novel overall. The voice acting was spot on, being of high quality at all times and fitting each character well.

 Sharin no Kuni has a total of 5 endings (only 4 of them really advance the story though) and it is with these that the visual novel’s biggest faults lie. Each ending changes the story nearly imperceptibly, with the only difference in each route being the inclusion of intimate scenes for your chosen heroine and a very brief epilogue at the end; the overall story remains essentially unchanged. While I’m glad that Akabei Soft2 fixed this issue in G-Senjou no Maou, it was disappointing that Sharin no Kuni was more or less over after the first playthrough.

Sharin no Kuni Himawari no Shoujo sad crying natsumi hinata bow ribbon obligation

 While the epilogues probably are worth viewing if you like the characters, they ultimately add very little to the experience and are incredibly short (with the exception of Natsumi’s ending, which I would recommend going for if you’re only aiming for one of them. Sachi fans will also enjoy her ending). Those of you who are disappointed by the endings may be happy to hear that the game’s fandisk (Sharin no Kuni, Yuukyuu no Shounenshoujo) contains extended epilogues, which I will talk about in a separate review.

 Summary – Sharin no Kuni was an absolute pleasure to read; I really can’t express how much I enjoyed it. Sure, I could have done with more story for each heroine’s route, but I enjoyed the plot so much that I’m willing to overlook it for the most part. Both the art and sound were excellent, and I have no complaints about the interface. This is one of the novels I wish I could forget so I could read it all over again.

 Plot – 10/10

Characters – 9/10

A/V – 9/10

Replayability – 6/10

OVERALL SCORE: 9/10 – Great

Sharin no Kuni Himawari no Shoujo group touka sachi natsumi food[Edit: I really should have included this in the original post somewhere, but here’s the opening movie for Sharin no Kuni if you’re interested!]

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About Silvachief

I'm a Gamer that dabbles in a little bit of everything. I'm big on Video Games, Visual Novels, Anime, Books and TV Series, but there's more to me than just those!
This entry was posted in Reviews, Visual Novel Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to [Visual Novel Review]: Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shoujo

  1. Kai says:

    Not much to add. Sharin no Kuni is definitely one of the best visual novels out there, not on par with G-Senjou no Maou however, but is still a great visual novel on it’s own. Though I do find Sharin no Kuni’s OST to be of moderate quality. There are some good tracks indeed, like the “exciting” track aforementioned (I’m assuming you mean “watch out!”) but other then that, it seems okay. It may just be me, but I noticed some songs seem to be in an oddly lower production quality then some others – you can clearly hear some of the songs are more “muffled” then normal.

    • Silvachief says:

      Yeah, i’m pretty sure “Watch Out!” is the one I was thinking of. I didn’t notice the muffled sound while I was playing, but i’ll take your word for it. Someone’s actually started a translation of Kourin no Machi, Lavender no Shoujo, which has the same setting as Sharin no Kuni, so hopefully that will be ready in the not-too-distant-future ^_^

  2. lifesongsoa says:

    Does Sharin no Kuni lock routes the same way A Profile does? Or are you free to pursue any heroine the first time? It seems like it would be a shame if they are locked into an enforced playing order if all the girls share the same base story.

    • Silvachief says:

      You can choose any of the main three heroines’ paths straight off the bat, but if I remember correctly you have to have completed the game once in order to choose the secret heroine. The secret heroine shows up during the first playthrough anyway though, so it doesn’t make much of a difference. There’s a final “harem” route you can get after completing all the others, but it’s not worthwhile.

  3. thehappyguy123 says:

    Just finished G-Senjou no Maou, and I shed some manly tears, it was awesome! I’ll definitely play this if it even scratches G-Senjou’s epicness.

    • Silvachief says:

      One of the really interesting things about Akabei Soft VNs is that they’re all obviously building blocks for the next game. G-Senjou no Maou is like a pumped up version of Sharin no Kuni, which in turn is like a pumped up version of A Profile. They all have different concepts and stories though, so they’re all worth playing =)

  4. blastyblasty says:

    i have a question if someone could answer so im on chapter 2 and im following the Sachi route and after im done with the Sachi route ( done with the game ) and start over again and continue with Natsumi route will the story be different in anyway or do i need to skip some chapters to be where its different. would really apreciate a answer thanks.

    • Silvachief says:

      The story doesn’t change a huge amount for each route. The only scenes that are different are the H-scenes you get during that character’s route and the epilogue at the end; the rest are skippable. The game shouldn’t let you skip anything you haven’t already read, so you don’t have to worry about missing anything major. Hope that helps!

  5. Michael says:

    The best visual novel out there without a doubt, some may disagree with me and say G-senjou no Maou is better. But in my opinion nothing tops this visual novel. Great story , amazing soundtracks, and outstanding development over all. I would rate this 9.5/10

    • Silvachief says:

      While i’m one of those G-Senjou no Maou people, I wholeheartedly agree than Sharin no Kuni is a fantastic visual novel and it’s awesome to see that you enjoyed it so much. I regularly talk about it as containing one of my favorite plot twists of all time, so it’s a pretty special title.

  6. Pingback: [Visual Novel Review]: Root Double – Before Crime * After Days | The Geek Clinic

  7. Hawky says:

    Really I quite liked the ed of ”Land of blessing, dawn lit world” it was on par with g-senjous ”Wings of snow, winds of time” maybe it’s just me

    • Silvachief says:

      When I say they’re not my kind of thing, I just mean I wouldn’t put them on my iPod. Both the OP and ED were good songs that fit the novel but I wouldn’t listen to them regularly. “Wings of Snow, Winds of Time” is on there, though.

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