Title: ゆのはな SpRING!
Release Date: 17th September 2015
Age Rating: 12+
Length: ~20 Hours
Links: Official Site, VNDB
After spending her childhood growing up in Fukujurou, her family’s traditional Japanese inn + bath house, Yunoha had enough of that life and left for the bright lights of Tokyo after graduating from highschool. She has never looked back but one day she receives a concerning phonecall from her beloved childhood friend Kintarou. He lets her know that her mother has collapsed and begs her to come back to Fukujurou, even if only temporarily.
When she gets back, Yunoha realises that the inn is the same as ever but seems oddly quiet. After some investigating, it transpires that a fancy new hotel was built nearby and has been stealing their customers. Annoyed by the attitude of one of its employees, Yunoha decides to come back to work in the inn for three months to help them out + get some customers back. But will it only be for three months?
Yunoha is a strong-willed young lady who left the countryside against her parents’ wishes in order to pursue her dream of becoming a fashion designer. She is currently enrolled in college in Tokyo. Yunoha has a love of cute things & often designs her own clothing, being known at the inn for her trademark frilly apron.
Katagiri Kintarou (CV KENN)
Kintarou is Yunoha’s childhood friend, with the two knowing each other throughout much of their school career. He has worked at Fukujurou ever since graduating highschool and has a great deal of respect and loyalty towards Yunoha’s parents. Kintarou and his younger brother Ginjirou were orphaned a number of years ago and the latter still lives with their grandparents. Kintarou has a cheerful and outgoing personality, often butting heads with Yunoha due to his devotion to his work.
Saeki Kouta (CV Ishida Akira)
Kouta is the junior chef at the inn whom is always working hard to improve his repertoire (and is always looking for someone to try his new, oddly-named dishes). Despite his scary, cool demeanor, Kouta is a pretty kind guy. He’s been helping to look after a little dog called Fuku that he found abandoned & brought to the inn one day but he’s not popular with animals, much to Kouta’s dismay.
Katsuragi Naomasa (CV Sugiyama Noriaki)
Naomasa (or Nao as he’s better known) was originally a guest at the inn but ended up working there to clear his debt after his credit card was declined. Despite having paid off his bill, Nao enjoyed the atmosphere of the inn that he’s stuck around. However, he’s incredibly clumsy and is forever dropping things and generally making mistakes – he’s trying his best though! After being inpired by Yunoha’s work ethic, he’s trying to improve his skills. Nao is actually a university student whom has been studying art.
Izumi Takahira (CV Kimura Ryouhei)
Izumi claims to be an employee of the new luxurious inn in town called Kiyominekaku. However, he spends most of his time at Fukujurou either annoying the staff or flirting with the guests and trying to convince them to swap hotels. He has a childish, playful personality and enjoys joking around with everyone – even going as far as to take games with him to play with the staff at Fukujurou. Yunoha always sends him on his way but, like a sad puppy, he returns shortly after.
Kaga Umenosuke (CV Tsuda Kenjirou)
Umenosuke is a long-time visitor to Fukujurou and has fond memories from all the times spent there. He ends up visiting the inn again after his divorce from his wife is finalised. He has a mature, relaxing aura but has a more childish side to him and enjoys the occasional retro video game.
The game’s artwork and character design was handled by RiRi, one of Otomate’s more prolific artists whom has worked on titles such as Binary Star & Piofiore no Banshou.
Opening: Ready Go!! – KENN
Ending: Akane-iro – KENN
Yunohana Spring is unusual in that it features a vertical textbox, similar to Otomate’s previous title Trigger Kiss. This is somethat that you get used to after a short while of playing.
The game features two types of choices – map-based & what they call the “landlady’s decision”.
Given that I actually pre-ordered the animate set of this back in the day (& I believe this was my first foray into store-exclusive sets so thank you for that) there’s literally no excuse for leaving this game on a shelf for almost 5 years. Was it worth eventually picking up?
The thing that this game does especially well is creating the atmosphere within Fukujurou Inn – it seems like such a warm & friendly place! This is compounded by the fact that the common route is divided into chapters, each focusing on a particular guest at the inn & their “problem” that needs solved. This may sound like it gets repetitive but the stories and character development are done pretty well so it’s a fun read. Even when you have to go through the game multiple times for each route, there’s actually two distinct resolutions to each chapter which makes for some intersting developments!
The game itself is a good mix of heartwarming, comedy, serious & of course romance. I particularly enjoyed the romantic scenes in many of the routes & there’s definitely plenty of cute fluffy scenes!
As far as heroines go, Yunoha is definitely one of the better ones. She has a defined personality, backstory and goals which is more than can be said for most heroines. I enjoyed watching her grow in confidence whilst working in the inn.
Kintarou initially appears to be the game’s “true” route – he’s Yunoha’s beloved childhood friend who’s obviously pretty fond of her but let’s his tsundere side get in the way too much. His route was definitely pretty romance-focused and it was immensly satisfying when the pair ~finally~ confront their feelings for each other. He’s such a cute boy & I loved his relationship with his younger brother.
Kouta isn’t really my type but I definitely found myself warming towards him throughout the game due to his kind-hearted nature. His route definitely made me hungry though!
Nao is downright adorable & was initially the character I was most interested in. His growth from absolute clutz to an actual respected member of staff was lovely to see & I thought his backstory was pretty interesting. Now, the start of his route totally caught me off-guard but he’s just too darn cute & I love his “other side” (is this gap moe?) – overall, one of my favourite characters from the game.
I have a pretty love-hate relationship with flirtatious characters as they’re really difficult to do “right” for me. Izumi was one of the best examples of this as his idea of flirting is pretty harmless & is completely brushed off by Yunoha (which is hilarious). His route is probably one of the more serious when you get into it (with the twist being too easy to guess) but I enjoyed it nontheless. A good boy.
Finally we have Umenosuke whom is technically a “secret” route but considering how old the game is I figured it’s okay to reveal it, haha. His route was my least favourite because I just found the age gap really awkward – not necessarily the age gap itself but the fact that Umenosuke had known Yunoha pretty well when she was a child so I found the transition from friends to lovers a bit awkward in this case, especially considering he’d just broken up with his wife. That being said, he was an okay character aside from this but just pales in comparison to the four “main” love interests for me.
Yunohana Spring features quite an extensive cast of side characters, including the other workers at Fukujurou, as well as all the guests that come to visit. They were mostly likable or at least played their part in the story, which I appreciate.
As expected from RiRi, the artwork in the game was of high quality & there were plenty of CGs for each character. I particularly enjoyed the softer colouring style.
The backgrounds were quite simple and stylized but did the job well-enough.
The BGM for the game was nice but not particularly memorable. I do really like the opening song though – I bought the CD single a couple of years ago & actually still listen to the song pretty regularly.
As expected with such a great cast, the voice acting was of very good standard. I’m obviously bias because of KENN & Kimura Ryouhei though, haha.
The game’s system was nice enough – I wasn’t the biggest fan of the vertical text (which was the thing that put me off playing all those years ago) but you do get used to it after a while. I liked the map choices since the SD images were super cute.
My Score: 7.5/10
With a great heroine, likable love interests, lots of fluffy scenes & a heartwarming atmosphere Yunohana Spring is a game with a lot to like! The only negative would be that the individual route were a little on the short side but other than that I would definitely recommend playing this game if you’re after something a bit on the lighter side!
Wow, is this finally a review? I’m hoping to start getting many of my backlogged posts out over the next couple of weeks so thanks for your patience!
Thnaks for reading~