A Very Serious Review of Sakura SpiritPosted: August 30, 2014
Eh, fuck it.
In Sakura Spirit, you play as 17-year-old Gushiken Takahiro (which doesn’t really matter, because after a few minutes you’ll just be unconsciously associating his name with your own anyways). You’re one of the best judo martial artists in the country, and you have a big international tournament coming up that could change that into one of the best judo martial artists in the world. That’s the basic setup for your character.
Shortly after this introduction, your (presumably) childhood friend, Koyomi, shows up so you can head to school together. But before you leave, you learn that there was a point in time where she slept completely naked, and you somehow know about this happening. This plot line, unfortunately, does not go anywhere.
You mention to her that you’re nervous about the upcoming tournament, and she says there’s a rumor about a nearby shrine you can pray at that seems to actually grant wishes. However, she doesn’t know the exact location, so you plan on asking about it at school to find out where it is. That’s the basic setup for the plot.
At school, you ask some guy if he knows where it is since apparently it was his sister who first found it. About half of the conversation is spent finding out who you really need to talk to in order to locate the shrine, a fellow Judo practitioner at a nearby dojo named Ariya. The other half is they guy talking about just how hot his sister is. This plot line also, unfortunately, does not go anywhere. She doesn’t even get a sprite!
You head to the dojo and find Ariya, who then points you in the direction of the shrine you’re looking for. Though she warns you before you leave that the shrine requires you to pay a price for your wish. You’re a man’s man though, so you shrug off this incredibly ominous implication by saying you’ll think of something to give on the way there.
Do you have a general idea for the setting by this point? The characters too (even if it’s just the ones that got sprites)?
Well that’s okay, because you’ll never see these people or locations again for the rest of the game. I guess none of them passed the bust requirement.
Upon reaching the shrine, you meet the first character who actually sort of sticks around until the end of the game: Tsuyuri. The spirit-thing who may or may not be granting peoples wishes and kind of looks a lot like a succubus. Interestingly, or perhaps unfortunately, she’s also the only important female character who doesn’t get naked in some form or another. I’m not sure if the makers should be applauded for subverting expectations, or slapped for missing the most obvious opportunity in existence.
Tsuyuri mentions something about needing a hero, then you pass out and wake up in the pretty distant past. There’s probably some kind of moral here about wishing for success instead of earning it yourself or something, but who cares because hey look the main characters have arrived!
From right to left we have:
Miyo – A boring human with tsundere-ish tendencies. Absolutely hates spirits because of reasons.
Narumi – A boring human who doesn’t get ashamed very easily. Has deep-rooted issues about strength due to a traumatic incident in the past.
Machiko – An extremely interesting fox spirit who’s very flirty. Is Steam user Crallium’s waifu.
Maeko – An extremely interesting fox spirit who’s very playful. Has a natural aptitude for magic, though using any tends to give her headaches of varying degrees.
A fair chunk of time is then spent getting to know each of the four characters and setting through a bunch of ~wacky misunderstandings~, but it doesn’t matter because the only parts that matter are these:
When you’re sort of forced to pay attention to the story again, you find out from Tsuyuri that spirits actually live in their own realm or dimension or something usually, but due to some vague accident, some slipped through. Machiko and Maeko are two of them, along with four others.
Did I mention the other four are slime-girls? Well the other four are slime-girls.
Anyways, it turns out one of the slime-girls is harassing the nearby town, and it’s a good chance to get the humans to see that spirits aren’t evil by having Machiko and Maeko help drive her away.
Oh wait, I forgot to mention that the townsfolk weren’t very fond of spirits. Well, it doesn’t matter all too much because after you successfully get the slime-girl to leave everyone seems to get over it pretty much instantly. Now that’s what I call results!
After the dust settles, you head to the village elder’s house or hut or shack or whatever it is along with the four main characters in order to discuss the situation and other serious things. When you reveal that Machiko and Maeko are here by accident, Machiko has a panic attack and moves to another room with Narumi. When they’re alone, Narumi reveals that she and Machiko were friends when they were little but then something tragic happened and they weren’t friends anymore or something. I think everything was on fire or something, I dunno, it was pretty vague.
While everyone starts coping with various situations, you head off with Narumi so you can learn about her deep-rooted issues about strength. She also lets slip about the whole “knowing Machiko when they were kids” thing.
The whole situation is pretty serious, so it’s not long before you head back with Narumi to make sure everyone is doing alright. But it turns out to be okay, because they’ve handled their problems the way anyone would: by drinking to the point of being completely shitfaced.
No, really, you never hear about any of these problems ever again. Alcohol works wonders.
So drunken shenanigans happen, and there’s a part where you go sit by the village elder for a bit and you talk about the sky and stars. And I shit you not, the background is completely black. As in there isn’t one. They didn’t even put some white dots or something to make it seem like they tried, it’s just empty.
Quite a bit later (as in days later) Tsuyuri shows up and gives you some kind of vague warning. What is it with these characters and being purposefully vague?
This leads into the first – and only – choice you get in the game: do you talk to the fox spirit sisters about this vague warning, or the human village girls?
Wait, this is a choice? Really? Talk to the boring human characters or the super interesting fox spirits? Pac-Man has more difficult choices.
After you take the only choice available and go talk to Machiko and Maeko, there’s a lot of talk about who you have real feelings for. You mostly manage to dodge this by saying you have the Judo tournament to worry about, and you’ll decide afterwards.
You then head over to the festival that the town is holding. Not long after, all four slime-girls show up. Now it’s a party!
Oh wait, they’re here for revenge from earlier. Did they purposely time it to be when the festival was being held? Sure is convenient that we decided to attend.
Anyways, after some chastising, the slime-girls agree to be more docile so that there can be true coexistence. And everyone lived happily ever after.
Well except the part where Tsuyuri shows up and tells you that you need to get your ass to the shrine if you want to go back to your own time. You don’t have time to say goodbye to anyone, which sucks, but hey you’ve got a Judo tournament to win!
After you win the tournament, of course, a few weeks pass and you’ve been trying to get back to the girls’ time with no luck. You’ve also apparently stopped giving a shit about people in your own time because you still don’t see anyone from the intro. I wasn’t kidding when I said they were gone for good.
But on your latest visit to the shrine, turns out Maeko has been practicing her magic and she manages to summon you back on her own! Talk about being best girl.
All of the girls show up and say how much they missed you and that they’re glad you’re back. You tell them the same.
And then the game ends.
Wait, what about deciding who you had feelings for? Is that just not going to happen? Just maybe hope for a sequel and then something might happen? Well whatever, it’s not like there was going to be an explicit scene or anything.
Anyways, that was…
Wait a minute, that background wasn’t in the game. What the hell? Did they just forget to add it in? Maybe that was supposed to be the background during that sky and star talk with the elder.
Err, regardless, that was Sakura Spirit. I may seem to have abridged the events quite a bit, but it only took about two hours to read. That may have been to the game’s benefit though, since it prioritized the CG scenes, and let’s face it, that’s what everyone’s reading for.
Kind of a shame that it didn’t want to be explicit though. I mean when characters are already naked but just barely have their nipples covered, you may as well go the full mile. Makes it kind of hard to recommend it when you could get more out of something with actual nudity and sex scenes. Or, you know, porn.
So I guess I have to say Sakura Spirit is…
10/10 would read again.