Title: アストラエアの白き永遠-White Eternity-
Developers: Favorite & Dramatic Create
Release Date: 24th July 2009
Age Rating: 15+
Length: 30+ Hours
Links: Official Website, VNDB
Haruna Riku is an Elfin, a person who possesses the ability to use supernatural powers known as Runes. He was headhunted by an organisation called Chronos when he was a child and has spent a number of years working for them to secretly find new Elfins and stop their powers going beserk. His latest assignment is to return to his hometown of Tsukigasaki, which has been stuck in an endless winter for the past two years and has a higher than average number of Elfin-related incidents. His job is to live with the Tachibana sisters and act as their bodyguard, as well as keeping an eye on the town in general. There, he reunites with Yuuki – a strange “fairy” that he knew as a child. Just what awaits Riku after returning “home”?
Riku is an Elfin who has especially strong telekinesis abilities. His special ability is to power-up other Elfins through touch, usually by kissing Rinne. He grew up in an orphanage in Tsukigasaki alongside Rinne and spent time playing with Yuuki during the winters. Having gone straight from the orphanage to his current job, he knows little of family bonds so is awkward when he first moves in with the Tachibana family. He tends to be a bit of a loner and can be cold to others.
Tachibana Ochiba (CV Kotori Yuuka)
Ochiba is the older of the Tachibana sisters. As their mother died around when her younger sister Hazuki was born and their father spent most of his time at work, Ochiba has taken on an almost motherly role for Hazuki. She and her father (the head of Chronos) have a very strained relationship and she’s initially very wary of Riku moving in with her but eventually comes to think of him as part of the family. Ochiba is extremely proficient at cooking & cleaning, doing the lion’s share of the housework at home but has a problem forgetting to let her hair down and enjoy her youth. She’s also an honour student and member of the student council.
Yuunagi Ichika (CV Kiritani Hana)
Ichika is the bright and cheery classmate of Riku and Ochiba. She’s pretty popular with the whole class and is good friends with both Tachibana siblings. Ichika is a member of the athletics club at the school and claims that exercising helps her clear her mind and think. She lives with her older sister, a researcher at the Valhalla Institute, an organisation that also seems interested in Elfins.
Mizunose Kotori (CV Momoyama Ion)
Kotori is a fellow second year student and member of the student council. It transpires that she’s an Elfin employed by the Valhalla Institute to investigate any supernatural occurances in the town. Kotori is very cold to others and is pretty hostile to Riku, claiming that he’s obstructing her work. However, she is actually quite friendly with the student council president.
Corona (CV Suzuya Maya)
Corona is an underclassman that Riku meets in the courtyard at school one day. She claims to be a highly advanced robot created by the Valhalla Institute who has come to the school to learn about human bonds. She hopes that this research will allow future generations of robots to explore space. She’s very friendly and open but a lot of people are scared of her because she’s a robot so she’s more than happy when Riku befriends her.
Hotaru Rinne (CV Ui)
Rinne is another Elfin who works alongside Riku. She actually grew up in the same orphanage as Riku and developed her Elfin abilities a year or so after him. Rinne likes to act mature (cool, calm and collected) to contrast with her more childish appearance. Despite only being a year younger than Riku, she’s working in a kindergarden rather than going to school currently, in order to keep an eye on the younger Tachibana sister. She’s currently living in an apartment with Hinata, a fellow Elfin and the final member of the Chronos trio sent to Tsukigasaki. Her hobby is curling up under a kotatsu and relaxing.
Yuuki (CV Futaba Marika)
Yuuki is a strange young girl who often played in the snow with Riku as a child. She claims that only special people can see her. Even though he’d spent many years away from Tsukigasaki, upon his return, Riku is surpised to see that Yuuki had not changed in appearance at all. Yuuki is a bright and cheerful girl who seems to lack common sense and enjoys munching on snow.
Main character design and artwork for this game was handled by Shida Kazuhiro, with the SD artwork by Mizutama. Both are known for their work on other games by Favorite.
Op1: White Eternity – Nitta Emi
Op2: Yuki no Elfin Lied ~Never Ending White Love~ – Yamamoto Minako
Insert Song: Yuki no Elfin Lied – Ceui
Ed: Kisetsu wo Dakishimete ~blooming white love~ – Hashimoto Miyuki
True Ed: After Snow-Skiroki Towa- – Ceui
The game’s BGM was composed by Shinobu, who is also most known for their work on other Favorite titles.
This game has a pretty straight-forward system with not too many choices. However, there is an enforced play-order whereby only Ochiba, Ichika & Kotori are the only routes unlocked at the beginning. Once you finish Ochiba’s route, Corona and Rinne’s routes are unlocked. Finally, once you finish all five of those routes, Yuuki’s route is available to play.
This game does have a sprite viewer which was, of course, much appreciated.
With its beautiful wintery setting and unique artstyle, it’s no surprise that AstralAir was a game that caught my eye. What I wasn’t actually expecting was the sci-fi story but overall AstralAir still manages to be a pretty decent game.
I’ll just go through characters and routes together since this game is very much skewed towards the individual routes, with the common route being shorter than I would’ve expected.
I’ll begin with Ichika, whom has the route you should play first. She’s certainly cute and her bright demeanour was enjoyable. Her route starts off interesting and focuses on her relationship with her older sister. However, latter parts of the route are significantly weaker and I thought the conclusion was slightly disappointing. That being said, her route is a decent introduction to the game and should be played first as other parts of the game reference the main events in it.
Next up was Kotori. I found the concept of her route and the play on the idea that “love is war” to be fairly engaging. However, I think it failed slightly in excecution and I just didn’t really feel much of a conneciton to Kotori by the end of her route. This was the route with the most Elfin “battles” which was okay but it just got slightly repetitive by the end. I personally believe her route is the weakest of the game but the fact that Kotori wasn’t my type probably didn’t help her.
Ochiba has the final of the three routes available to play and her route took me around the same time to read as the true route, which was interesting. I really, really enjoyed the theme of Ochiba’s route which was “family” and found there to be a lot of heartwarming scenes, particularly those involving Hazuki. However, the one negative that I have with this route is that the pacing is extremely slow and it can sometimes feel like it’s dragging on. This did end up being one of my favourite routes in the game though.
Rather than being action-packed, with lots of battle scenes, Rinne’s route is also more on the heartwarming side with plenty of focus on her and Riku’s childhood relationship. I couldn’t decide if I liked the “twist” to her ending but the emotional scenes definitely had impact. One thing that I did find disappointing was that Rinne had significantly fewer CGs compared to the other heroines. I’m not sure if this was just due to the cut content in the vita version of the game though.
Corona (who has possibly the most unfortunate name of any heroine I’ve seen, given the current connotations of the word) is just what you’d expect from a doting kouhai character. The “twist” to her route can be seen coming a mile off but was interesting either way. The epilogue of her route was surprisingly long and really just reminded me of Kud Wafter, which I couldn’t decide was a good thing or a bad thing. It was super cheesy at times though. Not terrible but Corona’s cuteness may have made me overlook flaws from this route.
Finally we have Yuuki, whom is clearly the game’s true route. I mean she gets her own OP song/movie, ED & insert song so the creator’s clearly have their bias here. That being said, her route was good overall and Yuuki herself is very cute. There were a couple of problems though, which I’ll try to mention without spoiling anything important. Essentially, I feel this game sets us up that we’re going to get some cool, all-out Elfin battle and then chooses to completely go in the opposite direction so I was a little let-down. The ending of the route also feels slightly ~convenient~ but I’ll let it off because it was fine on a surface level.
My main complaint about this game actually relates to the lack of a route for the most important side character introduced into Yuuki’s route. I understand that she does get some sort of route in the fandisc but I think they really missed a trick here.
This game has a fairly large amount of side characters, some of whom are quite prevalent, such as Ochiba’s little sister Hazuki. I believe she was popular enough that the vita version added some scenes with her. She’s honestly adorable! My favourite side character though had to be Marimo (one of Hazuki’s friends) as she just had the best one-liners!
The art style of this game is instantly recognisable as Favorite and I personally really love it. The colouring was really pretty and I loved how bright the characters were in contrast to the backgrounds, which were also very beautiful. There were a lot of CGs, especially once you take into account the cute SD artwork, however there was definitely not an even distribution of images between all of the heroines.
Another area where this game truly stands out is in the music department. The BGM was nice enough but the star of the show is the large amount of vocal songs sprinkled throughout. I love both the opening and true ending songs a lot and still listen to them even though it’s been a while since I’ve finished the game.
My Score: 7/10
Despite some flaws, AstralAir is still a pretty enjoyable game with long character routes and likable heroines. I particulary enjoyed the high number of heartwarming scenes in the game and how family played an important part in a lot of routes. The side characters, especially the kindergarden trio provide plenty of humour that makes the common route and slower parts of the heroine routes all the more readable.
I’ve heard that IroSekai is the best of Favorite’s season series so I’ll definitely have to get around to playing it sooner rather than later.
Thanks for reading!
I can’t believe how quickly you seem to fly through these games and write reviews for them! I don’t play many galge myself but it’s nice to get look at the genre through this blog (´｡• ᵕ •｡`)
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I’m so sorry for the late reply!
Thank you for your kind comment, I actually don’t find there to be too much difference between galge and otoge sometimes. c:
Haha, I have too much free time usually.
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One of the girls is named Corona!? Oh no xDDDD
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Yeah, the word has some obscure meaning in astronomy so I’m guessing that’s why they named her that. However, I think anyone who has read the game after 2020 will assume the other meaning first lol ^^;;;
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