Title: メリ☆クリ ～10年ぶりのホワイトクリスマス～
Release Date: 28th December 2008
Age Rating: 18+
Length: ~5 Hours
Links: Official Website, VNDB
Touma Shinya considers himself to be a regular guy with no strong feelings towards Christmas, believing that Santa is fictional. One day, on his way home from his part time job he encounters a mysterious girl attempting to help a young boy find his mother and witnesses her transform in a flash of light into a strange santa outfit before promising to grant the child’s wish. Having noticed she was being watched, the girl is enraged at Shinya and, once the boy has been safely reunited with his parents, chases him because her identity is meant to be a secret.Luckily for him, Shinya manages to lose her at some point and makes it home safely.
Later that evening, Shinya goes to have dinner at his neighbour’s house – this is a regular occurance as he’s pretty much an adoptive member of their family. Whilst he was recounting his story the strange girl from earlier (Kirara) appears at their door and barges inside. It turns out that she’s a “Special Santa” from the Santa Company that represents the various Santas around the world. Shinya is shocked to learn that his unsuspecting neighbours were actually Santas as well, although, the town has not had a “snow of happiness” fall on Christmas Eve in the last 10 years so Kirara has come to observe their work, and take over if necessary. Unfortunately for Shinya, if he doesn’t want his beloved memories of his neighbours removed, then he needs to help in the effort to give the town it’s first white christmas in 10 years.
Due to the fact his mother died when he was a child and his father works overseas, Shinya lives by himself and if it weren’t for the Seiya family he would spend most holidays alone. He’s a pretty kind and hardworking guy and, despite his initial reservations, is happy to help with the plan to train Mashiro. He’s a really bad cook.
Seiya Mashiro (CV Arisugawa Miyabi)
Mashiro, also known as Shiro, is Seiya’s childhood friend, neighbour & best friend. Like any good childhood friend, she goes over to Seiya’s house every morning to wake him up & cook for him. It’s clear she has feelings for Seiya & is protective over him when Kirara shows up but she gets easily embarassed so has not acted on them. Her father and older sister used to do the Santa duties but due to their family patisserie being super busy over the holiday period, she’s taken up the mantle. However, Mashiro has a really bad phobia of heights, which is making flying her sleigh pretty difficult.
Otogi Kirara (CV Kazane)
Kirara is a “Special Santa” from the Santa Company, as denoted by her blue santa outfit. She was originally born in Japan but has spent the last 9 years studying in Finland at a special school for Santa recruits. She’s pretty much a tsundere, who has strong beliefs and a fierce temper but is surprisingly kind-hearted towards children. Due to a disagreement with Mashiro’s older sister, Kirara ends up staying at Seiya’s house for the duration of her trip and is quite content watching romance dramas most of the day. She is currently acting as Mashiro’s mentor but has no qualms about taking over if Mashiro isn’t up to her exacting standards by Christmas Eve.
Artwork for this game was handled by Mikagami Mamizu & Tenmaso, whom have worked on the majority of Whirlpool’s games.
Opening: holy night magic – nao (fripside)
Ending: a little christmas time – nao (fripside)
BGM for this game was composed by Kageie Jun, Nonaka Yuuichi & Tanabe Toshino.
This game is pretty straightforward. There’s only 3 choices (outisde of the H scenes) & 2 routes so you probably won’t need a guide. After finishing both heroine routes, the true route option will be added to the start menu.
So we’re taking a break this week from the deluge of summer-themed games to delve into this quintessentially Christmas tale from Whirlpool. Despite owning numerous titles from the brand, this was actually my first time actually playing one of their games. Did this game deliver the festive feel good that it promised?
Putting it simply, Meri Chri doesn’t really take itself too seriously – it knows the setup is silly but as readers you just have to go with it. If I were to sum this game up it would be that Meri Chri is the Japanese Eroge version of a cheesy Christmas movie. It’s tropey, fun, cute & surprisingly heartwarming at parts so pretty much just what you want to enjoy at this time of year!
The game was originally a lower priced title released at Comiket 75 so the length reflects that, and this game shouldn’t take much more than 5 hours to play. There’s also only two heroines, although the game makes it quite clear that Shiro is the “main heroine” of the title.
As for the heroines, they’re both pretty cute. Shiro is pretty much *the* childhood friend so if you like that type of character you’ll like her. Kirara was a modern tsundere, although, her soft side shown towards kids was a unique touch.
There’s very few side characters, mainly consisting of Shiro’s family, whom were pretty entertaining. It’s a shame that her older sister never had a route in the game but it’s understandable for a lower priced title.
The production values were okay, not too many BGM tracks & only one ending movie but there was a good amount of artwork – both CGs and character sprites.
My Score: 7/10
Overall, Meri Chri was a fun & festive read perfect for the festive period. Its short length makes it easy to read over a couple of days and is completely worth it if you manage to grab this game in one of the 500 yen sales.
Sorry for the short review – I really didn’t have much to say about this game except that it was cute and I liked it, haha.
There probably won’t be a review next Friday so I’d like to wish everyone a Happy Holidays!