Supipara is a kinetic-style Visual Novel from developer Minori that focuses on a highschool student named Yukinari Sanada that has returned home to his hometown of Kamakura City due to his mother coming out of a multi-year coma. Much like any Japanese developed Visual Novel, Supipara has all of the bells-and-whistles of voice acting, animations and a fun story. Is this for everyone? Maybe. There are a few themes that only older audiences could appreciate to the fullest.
The story in Supipara begins with Yukinari arriving into his hometown of Kamakura City and meeting with his rather strange cousin, Sakura. While here, we quickly learn that their relationship is kinda strange in that Yukinari used to live with Sakura briefly before moving in with various relatives across the country. This opening set of dialogue quickly sets the pace of the entire story, with Sakura’s genki style personality really setting you up to expect more extreme personality characters further down the line.
As Supipara’s story progresses, you meet several other characters that each add their own interesting mix of personality to things. These personalities make each section of this one really long chapter a really enjoyable read, or in my case, watch and listen. Each of these characters all have interesting elements to them, like Alice the witch, she initially seems like a character that tries too hard to come across as cool or interesting, but in reality, she is just a lazy person taken in by the convenience of modern living.
While Supipara has characters that are a little more mystical in nature, almost everything is grounded in the reality of real-life living. In fact, so far, Alice is realistically the only character that is truly magical. Everyone else is rather normal with interesting character quirks. This means that this is a story about real-life with interesting things happening within. Like, Sakura seems like she is just your average genki style girl, but in reality, she is actually a movie-star and idol. So it becomes difficult to tell if her character is putting on an act or is really the way that she seems to be.
I really enjoyed the level of writing in Supipara, and considering how strong Minori’s other titles are, like eden*, it’s no wonder that I really enjoyed my time reading through the story in this one. The only thing that I didn’t really find too engaging was that this doesn’t have any player input at all. It’s just a straight line from beginning to end. I ended up sticking it on auto-play and matching the subtitles with the speed the characters talk at because of this. However, this does add a considerable amount of time to the story, you could probably blaze through it in half-to-a-third the time that it took me if you can read and comprehend quickly and skip all the voice over lines. As an aside, this is a -really- long story for a first chapter. So it might be more time efficient if you don’t do what I did. But if you enjoy doing it that way, I certainly recommend it!
Artistically, Supipara is actually a really well drawn feature. When you first start the game, you’re treated to this cool opening feature of Alice flying around Kamakura on her broomstick. Man… it is such a fun watch. Like seriously, I was quite impressed by the animation in that opening. But even beyond that, all the character art, background art and effects are really well done and really add to the overall high-quality feeling of Supipara as a Visual Novel.
What I also really liked was how there are CGI effects that go on during some scenes of the story. While these are slightly poorly implemented and run pretty bad on my aging hardware, they still add really well to the atmosphere of the scenes that they are in. It’s always good to see when a story tries something different to make things a bit more interesting, and I’m hoping that this becomes a further norm in Visual Novels (as well as being a little more tested and implemented correctly).
In Visual Novels, typically you will only usually see a characters portrait while they are talking, unless you are viewing a scene of some-type, like an action sequence. However, Supipara goes slightly above this and also has portraits for when characters are facing away from the main character. This adds a further level of detail to help understand a characters expression and distance from the main character in a particular scene, whether it be emotional or physical distance.
Supipara’s soundtrack, at least in this chapter, is really limited in tunes. Too often you will find that many scenes have the same tune to them, which can get a bit grating in a story of this length. However, the tunes themselves are pretty well composed. If only a little loud.
I really liked the voice acting in Supipara, each of the actors really knew how to bring out the personalities in all of the characters. You could really feel the energy in the dialogue, as well as the feelings of the characters that were being portrayed. There aren’t really any faults to the dialogue of the game. I think some lines didn’t quite match up with the subtitles, but that’s pretty standard.
Overall, Supipara Chapter 01 is a pretty solid Visual Novel, even if you count it by itself and not that it is a part of a series. However, the quality, and length, that Supipara provides not only fulfils your needs, but also somehow leaves you waiting for more. This is a definite must play/read/watch or whatever you call experiencing visual novels.
Rating: QT Shrine Maiden is best girl /10
Supipara – Chapter #01, The Spring Has Come is released by MangaGamer and developed by Minori. This review is based on the PC Steam release as supplied by MangaGamer for the purposes of review. You can buy it on their site for ~$15.