Rating – R18
Developer – Favorite
Translator – Staircase Subs
Length – 30-50 Hours
Hoshizora no Memoria is good; great, even. With no overt faults, some genuinely likeable characters and amazing artwork, I hereby declare it a must-play for fans of the slice of life genre, or of fun in general. If you really want to know more then you can keep reading, but I wouldn’t mind if you stopped right here as long as you were on your way to play this Visual Novel. Sure, there are a few features holding it back from excellence, though they stem from what the game is at its core rather than any actual issues I had with it.
You (that’s a name – don’t get confused) Kogasaka was a child that didn’t make friends, or at least he was until he met the girl that opened his heart to others. The time he spent with her staring at the starry sky of their home town is something he will always treasure and certainly never forget. Though they were only together for a month, You cannot wait to find her once more. Filled with memories of the girl from his past, the promises they made together and the lookout at the top of the hill that had become so special to him, the anticipation of their reunion dominates his every thought.
What awaits him, however, could not have been expected. A young girl, the spitting image of the one he had played with seven years ago, appears before him in the starlight and claims to be a Reaper of nightmares. Without warning, You finds the girl’s glowing scythe piercing his chest, and the name of the one he waits for is lost from his mind. You yearns to recall what he has forgotten, but as he settles into life in Hibarigasaki, making new friends and learning new things, he fears that a memory is all the girl from the lookout will ever be.
It’s really tough to get all of what Hoshizora no Memoria is about into a couple of summary paragraphs. Each of the seven routes of the Visual Novel tells a different story, though practically all of them belong to the slice of life genre. The supernatural aspects exist to facilitate a story focusing on character interactions and relationships, rather than themselves being a main feature. Despite the slice of life label and admittedly low-stakes plotlines, Hoshizora manages to tell an immersive and gripping story. It’s not quite as compelling as a more plot-focused Visual Novel might be but it does the absolute best it can with what it has to work with.
The common route is quite long compared to the individual heroine routes and also involves a lot more comedy than the later story. Though some of the jokes are repeated till near the point of annoyance, I personally don’t think they overstayed their welcome. The routes themselves all have a common theme relating to the insecurities held by the girl they are focused on which is usually the kind of story I don’t enjoy, so the fact that I liked most of the routes so much should say something about the quality of the writing (which is excellent, in case you didn’t catch that – the translation is really well done!). The endings of each route are pretty variable in how much they relate to the rest of the Visual Novel, though I found that I didn’t mind that in the long run because they were usually pretty well done and had satisfactory epilogues, which isn’t a remark I make often. One complaint I have, though, is that the short length of the character routes compared to the common route means that they feel a teensy bit rushed; at least one of the endings caught me by surprise when the credits started rolling instead of another scene like I was expecting.
As mentioned earlier, much of the plot explores the insecurities of each heroine, ranging from some fairly major issues to small ones that are really only problems in the mind of the person that has them. This leads to a lot of the “I’m not good enough for you!” and “If we’re together you’ll only get hurt!” crap that I really hate in a story. It’s really quite cringeworthy at some points, but the compassion, understanding and dedication of the main character tends to make up for it. Speaking of which, Hoshizora is a Visual Novel whose protagonist has a strong personality and is a welcome change from the self-insert shells that often fulfil that role. He’s funny when he needs to be funny, serious when he needs to be serious and everything in between, as well as having his own personal issues to deal with over the course of the story. The heroines themselves, apart from what I mentioned earlier, are also very well done while avoiding most of the stereotypes associated with slice of life stories. Some are certainly more likeable than others, but I miss all of them now that my time with Hoshizora no Memoria is over.
When it comes to the technical aspects, Hoshizora no Memoria reigns supreme. Featuring refreshing, clean art that is an absolute joy to look at, I feel like I would have enjoyed the experience even with a weaker story. A small minority of the CGs have some odd facial expressions, but everything else from the sprites to the backgrounds of Hibarigasaki’s beautiful starry sky are top-notch. The music, while not as great as some other Visual Novels I can think of, is still very enjoyable. It takes some real talent to attach the feelings of a scene to its sound track and Hoshizora accomplishes that easily. The opening and ending songs are also very nice.
Summary – If you like slice of life stories, or even if you feel that you might just barely be able to stomach something that isn’t full of action and excitement, Hoshizora no Memoria is for you. It ticks the vast majority of boxes when it comes to literary and artistic quality, making for an experience that I guarantee you will miss once it’s over. Once again, my biggest complaint is that it could have been longer. I feel like I do that too much.
Plot – 8/10
Characters – 8/10
Audio/Visual – 10/10
OVERALL SCORE: 8.5/10 – Good
Here’s the OP, which I really enjoy:
Oh, cool. I was contemplating whether or not to start on this today, since I finished up the last few hours of Yumina The Ethereal this morning. Sort of overshot my window for starting on it, due to some errands I had to run, but definitely consider trying to fit in, if possible during the weekday. That is if I do not start on Sukimazakura to Uso no Machi first. Both were recommended by a friend of mine, especially Hohizora for its slice-of-life angle (big of fan of the genre), so I am glad that both of opinions are very similar.
Do you plan on doing a review of Yumina? So far i’ve heard that a lot of people have been turned off by the grinding required.
I’m really jealous that you can read untranslated VNs >.< I'm trying to teach myself Japanese but it's going to take a while.
I plan to week after next. I finished so many games already I have ton review, some past due like Shin Megami Tensei IV. I should really be focusing on my college studies with my senior mid-terms around the schedule…so I will keep it in mind, lol XD
I am stilling learning as well, but I am a fair enough to contextually understand what is going on. It took me about 4 years to get to the point where I am now, which is sort of embarrassing only to know around 200-410 of the essential 1,000 kanji. Don’t worry, if you keep practicing, you will probably learn more than I know and do it quicker, since I sort of stopped at a certain point. Definitely need a refresher course at the rate I been reading through some the VN’s I read in the last two years XD
Do you use any other programs when you read untranslated VNs? Or are you able to read without help?
It sort of depends. For example, Angel Ring, I was able to play that one without any help since it didn’t contain any complicated Kanji. However, if I do encounter one, I usually have a thick reference I can thumb through very quickly. If it is voiced, that is even better, since I sometimes understand what is said rather than read. Shame though that most VN’s I played have a unvoiced protagonist, lol. I did use to use the Texthooker method with a database dictionary (AGTH, Aggregator, etc), but hardly don’t have to use it as much.
I just got Yumina, but haven’t started playing it yet. Since it’s gameplay + VN, I got a bad feeling that I’m going to have to burn a lot of my time on it >_<
Lol, well your bad feeling is pretty good intuition. The main story is about 55+hrs (not entirely accurate) and if I heard correct, if you want 100% complete it is about 60+ overall. I only finished one route, out of three possible ones (if I understood the board I was looking at), so yeah…very long XD
100% meaning all routes completed? Hmm.. not as bad as Kamidori at least.
Gameplay VNs can still be very fun though. I really enjoyed Aselia the Eternal and am looking forward to the sequel (though I don’t think that translation will be completed any time soon >.<)
Aselia.. for some reason, I still couldn’t get that to work on my PC, lol. Wonder if it’s the problem with the one I downloaded. I kinda want to play that first before jumping on to Yumina, but perhaps I may had to delay playing Aselia a bit longer.
From what i’ve heard so far the Aselia gameplay is a lot more fun the the Yumina gameplay. I can’t comment on the story though.
It’s the mark of a good story when you get to the end and your biggest complaint is that it ended. This sounds like a fun visual novel. I think I will give it a go once I am finished with first impressions for this new anime season.
I was really impressed with Hoshizora no Memoria because Slice of Life can be really hard to make entertaining. There was no point while I was reading that I wasn’t entertained, even if some of the endings could have (and probably should have) been extended a bit more. I make the “I wish there was more” comment a lot when I finish a good GSN but in this case there really did need to be more to improve the quality of the overall visual novel.
Ahh Hoshizora, I heard of it since a long time ago, think it’s translated quite a while back, and for some reason, it’s sitting in my backlog for the longest time ever. Now that I’m done with all of my Summer anime, I guess I can pick a VN or two while waiting for Fall anime, probably this.. and perhaps Yumina :p
Hoshizora is nice and relaxed, so it’s definitely playable alongside other things. I was never dying to find out what happened next but I was never bored throughout my playthrough. The visuals and the music alone are worth experiencing, and the quality of the writing is an added bonus 😉
I’m pretty much very late on this one so I don’t really know if I’ll get a reply or not. I’m new to VNs and this(hoshizora no memoria) was one of my firsts. The artwork just blew me away, it was better than any I’ve played so far. Could you suggest me another VN with artwork just as good.
I always try to reply, so you can never be too late!
I’m glad to hear you enjoyed Hoshizora. If I were to recommend artwork over story…well, that’s really a tough one because most of the time it’s more about style that actual quality. If you check out the recommendations tab at the top of the page I include pictures of all of the visual novels i’ve really enjoyed, so you can pick out the ones you like the style of.
I apologize for not being able to give a more direct answer; there have been times i’ve absolutely loved a particular art style while others haven’t liked it at all >.<