Lump of Sugar, this is a company that has been around for a long time now, and it seems their only rules applying to the themes and styles used on the games they make are “there are none”. So, at the very least, each one of their titles becomes a box full of surprises…kinda…
The characters live at the Erdõs dormitory in Kaginomori Academy. The head of the dorm will soon have his little sister joining them, so they decided to clean the whole place.This leads them to find mysterious keys and incantation-like words. Eventually those are revealed to be clues guiding them to a secret room with a gigantic object that could be only described as a “Celestial Globe”. This artifact is linked with the truth behind their world and the “real” world.
First is the protagonist because, different from many, I still consider Galge main characters to be, well…main. Anyway! For this title we have Oumi Renri, he is so mature, responsible and reliable that the other students living in his dorm gave him the nickname of “mom”. He is a very talented cook, that’s why he is responsible for everyone’s meals. In exchange, everyone obeys him. He cares a lot for his sister, but he doesn’t seem even a bit preoccupied or jealous of her making male friends or even a boyfriend because…he is the onii-chan! Feeling forbidden love since forever is only for imoutos!
Oumi Kokoro is Renri’s little sister and the (non-secret) main heroine. She has a very bright and positive personality. She spent a long time living in a Hospital suffering from who-knows-what disease. All you need to know is that the few contact she had with people other than Renri serves as an excuse to why she is in love with her brother and why she is so innocent and fragile. She is a fast-learner and always want to help her brother around.
Tsukidate Minori is the resident energetic-and-dumb girl. She always tries to throw her work to Renri, but always ends up with more tasks than she first started with, and sometimes she doesn’t even notice what happened. Regardless, her grades are actually in the top of the school. This would make her a very interesting “intelligent-girl” type who would avoid the calm and polite girl stereotype. However, she ruins everything by showing her other special characteristic: She always uses a fake persona in school, which is of a “calm and polite girl”, because she wants to build an “ideal-student” image for her.Of course, during her route it gets revealed that there is much more behind this trait than Minori herself is aware of. Not that this makes her any less of a faker…
Shiratori Aira is a very quiet girl who hardly talks with other people, but it’s not like she is shy or has xenophobia, She even considers everyone at the dorm as friends, she just doesn’t feel like talking with them. For some reason, Renri seems to be an exception to this, and even her can’t quite explain why, just saying she feels “good” next to him. This officially makes Renri the responsible for her, but she can take care of herself just fine, so there’s no real necessity for Renri to look after her, which is why they are mostly seen playing together. This leads to the whole school believing they are dating.Akane Haruka is a super genius who who got a scholarship and is given her very own laboratory dedicated only for her research, which really puzzles me as to how Minori manages to be the number one at the school ranks…Whatever! Just like most genius from real life, she has terrible sleeping habits and have that slow way to talk. She is the one closer to the secret regarding the Celestial Globe. For some reason, nobody seems to notice her ears and tail, which are a left-over from when she wasn’t human…
Routes & Themes
The Globe is related to every heroine on a certain way, it has the ability to give form to people emotions, creating a lot of distortions and creepy effects though each route. It makes for interesting developments for some routes, but some are considerably less than others.Some events are connected and shared between some heroines before you enter a specific route, like usual, but it doesn’t take too long to end the normal route. As for the heroines, their routes are good, but to tell the truth, the drama in it feels so unnatural or even forced. Most of the drama scenes consist of cheap events like “curing a bird’s wound and helping it to fly again”.There are some weird events too, like “instantly curing the lack of emotions in a girl by giving her cupcakes”. Maybe it’s the seiyuus fault, nearly everyone in the cast are beginners (more about that later).Once you see all the endings, a cat (angel?) icon will appear in the “Constellation episode” menu, this will unlock Mitsuba Ao’s route, who for most part is just a sub-chara, but here she becomes a secret heroine! Oh Yeah! I can feel the “otoko no roman”! Her route is a must see!! It’s what I would like to say… actually, it’s just a very short and silly story that really doesn’t add much. It doesn’t even feel like a good reward for completing the game! Therefore, if you were expecting a “true route” of sorts upon completion, you will be disappointed. Every route already explains enough about the mystery behind the Celestial Globe, so I recommend to only play through the routes of your favorite heroines.
When I played Nursery Rhyme – Lump of Sugar’s first title – I found the graphics to be charming at the time, but with time, I got tired of how little the quality has improved since, which reminds me of Key’s case, where it seems they just learned how to use Photoshop better to improve the coloring, but haven’t worked to improve the drawing itself. For this reason, nowadays I find Moekibara Fumitake’s illustrations to have weak coloring with average shapes and uninteresting designs. But what do I know? After all, there are A LOT of people who buy those games just for Fumitake’s art.There are some SD CGs too, but just a few, like one for each heroine. Not like I miss them, but pray tell, why bother to add them at all if there will be so few?The designs here are not even a bit impressive and every single one of them gives you a feeling that you have already seen the exact same design before, specially Minori and Ataru! They look so generic that I want to punch them in the face! Maybe then they would look more innovative. Well, this is just the point of view of someone who played too many different Galges.
The music is mostly good, even though most of it use digital instruments, it doesn’t sound too “stocked” but, to be honest, some few tracks feel very low-quality, even a little “8-bit-like”, not that I hate 8-bit BGMs, but here it feels out of place.The truth is, most seiyuus working here are beginners, the only exception being the one doing Haruka’s voice (Ui) who already do important roles in Galges since 2011. Nao’s seiyuu (SAKURA) have worked on a Galge before, but it was a short and weird Nukige. They do a nice job for most parts and manage to make the heroines sound very cute, but you can feel a bit of acting skills lacking when it comes to serious dramatic scenes, but it isn’t THAT bad to the point to bother someone, at least in my opinion…
I admit it! I am no Lump of Sugar adept! I played most of their games, but I didn’t particularly enjoyed any of their recent works. However, I must admit that, while I did not love all the characters here, at least there was nothing for me to hate about any of them. There are good interactions between the protagonist and heroines and no one insults or treat each other like idiots. They’re all really good friends, which makes all routes really enjoyable and relaxing to read.