Kindred Spirits on the Roof Review
Kindred Spirits is a visual novel by Liar-soft, which was also released on Steam a few months ago. It is one title from the recent influx of yuri visual novels I have been looking forward to play.
Toomi Yuna is a timid, reserved girl who doesn’t know about love, much less love between girls. Leading a quiet lifestyle at an all-girls school, she frequently spent her lunchtime alone on the rooftop. One day on her usual trip to the roof, her eyes suddenly spotted two ghosts. Although afraid at first, Yuna eventually became acquainted with them. The two ghosts — Enoki Sachi and Nagatani Megumi, are two “kindred spirits” who died a long time ago, but met each other as ghosts, and fell in love. The two are obviously happy, but their only regret, is not to be able to experience their “first time” together, and the problem is… they just don’t know how. As Yuna is the only one who can see them, she half-willingly, half-forced; decided to help with their quest on seeking out and nurturing yuri couples at school… and most important of all, to let the ghosts get some references from them so they can have their first time and pass on.
Honestly, I completely forgot just how ridiculous the premise was before typing the synopsis out. Especially with how genuine the story tackles the girls’ relationships though, I guess it’s to be expected. For one, I’m actually pretty surprised that the story tackled the theme of romances between girls fairly seriously.
If Sono Hanabira is about the couple’s destination and post-dynamics, Kindred Spirits is about the journey and build-up to get there. And boy is the build-up lengthy, the characters acknowledged the taboo of romance between girls, and really took their sweet time struggling with their choices, their views on taboo relationships and their acceptance; before actually hooking up. It’s not like it went knee-deep into this thematic exploration though, so despite the acknowledgement, for the most part, it’s still a fairly lighthearted read with minimal drama. I however, love both this acknowledgement and also the fact that it didn’t made the story overly dramatic. But nonetheless, since the story focused so much on the build-up, it creates very believable relationships, and what’s amazing is that it’s able to do this for not just 2 or 3, but 7 couples in a single visual novel.
How did the story handled 7 couples all at once though? It’s all thanks to it’s refreshing open planner system. New events are marked on specific dates, and sometimes from the perspectives of different characters too. In fact, perspective shifts are so common you don’t feel as if Yuna is the only protagonist; it feels as if everyone is a protagonist, as you will be following the stories of other characters just as much as you would Yuna’s. The best part is seeing how these scenes from the perspectives of other characters, build-up to the ones you saw in Yuna’s perspective, meanwhile providing new insights in the process. It’s simple, but a really useful feature-and is the main reason why Kindred Spirits can fit in the stories of 7 couples so naturally and effectively. If fact, you can even revisit any old scenes you want with a click of a button on the calendar, and last but not least, you can also use it to view CGs and listen to in-game soundtracks just like any other visual novel’s title screen. It’s truly a nice, handy system.
But nonetheless, the characters are really the true stars here. Because of it’s calendar system and how sincere Kindred Spirits treat the girls and their relationships, most of the romantic progressions are slow, methodological but consistent and aforementioned believable, which is actually an amazing feat. Most of the characters also have an emotional baggage or two which justified their current personality, but seeing their developments along the story was also a fun, loving ride.
I guess it’s to be expected since Kindred Spirits is such a heavily character-driven story, and fortunately, it really delivered on that front. The characters carried this visual novel, no thanks to how genuine the story tackled their characterizations and developments — to the point that you just forget the entire premise behind this story is actually to help the yuri ghosts have sex.
Kindred Spirit’s visuals is good — it won’t win any awards anytime soon, but more than decent for what they need. Kindred Spirits boasts a 800 x 600 resolution of light, soft colors. Character designs are also the main attraction here, and consists of 16 characters all with nicely distinguishable designs. Again, I won’t exactly say Kindred Spirit looks amazing, but it looks simple, clean and soft, and perfectly reflects the visual novel’s light-hearted atmosphere. Audio on the other hand, fails to deliver. The tracks are nice, upbeat and bubbly, but not nearly enough especially considering this isn’t a short visual novel by any means. Repetitive tracks is an issue but even the voice acting have some problems on their end too; well, they are decent for the most part, just that only important segments are voiced, and it’s generally without voices for the most part.
2016 sees a sudden influx of yuri visual novels, and there are a few I’m interested to play. Kindred Spirits is one among them and it more than met my expectations. Great strides have been made from Kindred Spirits to make the girls’ relationships believable, but with minimal drama nonetheless. Following the engaging stories of 7 couples, Kindred Spirits knows how to balance meticulously between cute, adorable dynamics and serious, dramatic romance developments — and that balance is what makes Kindred Spirits so good.
Overall, Kindred Spirits is an endearing and heartfelt read, and it’s definitely one of the better yuri visual novels out there.