Nanatsuiro Drops: First Impressions: Trial

Title: Nanatsuiro Drops
Company: Unison Shift: Blossom
System: PC
Release date: 4-21-06

Adolescence signifies the beginning of new changes, blossoming growth and newfound maturity, but it can also mean strained friendships and unrequited romances. The process is difficult for any young girl, most of all for Sumomo: excruciatingly shy and timid to a fault, she is troubled by a lack of confidence and hope. Her happiness is restrained by her unwillingness to act, until one day, she comes to harbor an unimaginable secret which affects not just her world, but others as well.

The sudden appearance of a new toy seems like nothing extraordinary, until the truth is revealed: it is no mere stuffed animal, but rather, a sentient, living creature who has been stranded far from his home. With no other choice, she must collect the seven star drops to return her fluffy friend, the adorable Yuki, back to his original world.

At least, so it seems. The straightforward premise instead twists the traditional magical girl formula in a clever and unprecedented manner: while Sumomo thinks she meant to return Yuki to his home, Yuki is actually none other than her classmate, Tsuwabuki Masaharu. In a terrible mistake, he has been cursed to the form of a sheep doll after drinking a magical potion, and must help Sumomo in gathering the star drops in order to become human again.

The plot is pure sweetness, which is not to say the story is without merit: while it is charming to see Sumomo roaming her sleepy little town in a frilly dress, performing good deeds in secret while masquerading as an ordinary student, there is more than the gathering of magical tokens to address. Her own interpersonal journey is of equal importance, as she comes to terms with her double life and whether she can—or should—hide it from her closest friends and family.

Character interaction is the heart of the story, and as such, the remaining cast is just as loveable, including Nadeshiko, Sumomo’s childhood friend, and Nona, another magical girl who wants the star drops for herself. The artwork is candy-coated cuteness, featuring pastel colors with a liberal use of sparkles and bubbles, and the music relies on fanciful piano tunes to match the whimsical atmosphere.

Magical girl scenarios are popular in eroge, to say the least. However, a notable number of them are dark interpretations, and even when attempting to capture the essence of hope and love, many of them appear to fall short. No other title has recreated it with such care and deliberation as Nanatsuiro Drops, as a nostalgic reinvention of the genre on an unlikely medium, rightfully earning its place among the classics.

Characters:


Tsuwabuki Masaharu
Introverted and emotionally reserved, he cannot understand Sumomo’s peculiar moods and tendency to burst into tears. But after spending time with her under the guise of Yuki, he begins to see a different side to her than just that of an emotional klutz, becoming not just her companion, but also her friend.


Akihime Sumomo
Without respect for herself or belief in her own abilities, Sumomo is hardly the picturesque heroine rushing in to save the day. She’s more likely to start panicking mid-transformation sequence, or trip over herself when chasing a star drop, or cry instead of facing an enemy. Yet in spite of all her shortcomings, her enthusiasm and love for magic is undeniable, and although she may constantly make mistakes, she is always willing to try harder tomorrow.


Yaeno Nadeshiko
She has protected Sumomo since they were children, taking care of her in times of need and always looking after her. In contrast to her friend’s soft-spoken nature, Nadeshiko’s kindness is hidden by her cool and composed demeanor, always calm in the face of conflict—unless Sumomo’s happiness is threatened.

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Yuuki Nona
A prideful girl with a sharp temper, Nona insists on upholding an image of elegance and sophistication at all times. As a seasoned magical girl, she doesn’t take kindly to Sumomo’s poor performance and lack of skills, considering her to be an unworthy rival.

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