Title: アマカノ～Second Season～
Developer: Azarashi Software
Release Date: 25th December 2015
Age Rating: 18+
Length: 20+ Hours
Links: Official Website, VNDB
The original Amakano game ranks highly as one of my favourite moege and, considering that the second season takes place in the same setting with a new cast of heroines, I was initially worried that it could feel like a reskin of the original without anything new. However, my search for good romance stories compelled me to pick this up and I must say that these fears were completely unfounded.
Overall, I would say that Amakano SS builds on what was enjoyable in the original game, improves on some small aspects and also gives some cute fanservice to players of the first game.
The primary area of improvement was the common route – in the original game there really wasn’t much substance to this but in Amakano SS there is a backdrop of preparing for the winter sports festival. This just gave the beginning of the game a better flow in my opinion.
As per the original, the main goal of the Amakano series is to show a blossoming romance between the protagonist and heroine – how first meetings turn to friendships and develop into relationships. Once in a romantic relationship, I found that the pacing was good and enjoyed watching how the heroines developed throughout the course of their route.
Whilst you don’t have to play the original Amakano to enjoy this game, the heroines from the first game make cameo appearances in the heroine routes.
Being a moege, the heroines are the most important aspect of the game and, luckily, Amakano SS doesn’t disappoint here – each of the girls is distinct and has some interesting quirks to their personality. First up is Honami, an underclassman who moves to Yomase on the same day as the protagonist (Kousuke). However, she’s not remotely as keen as him to be moving to a new town and is the first heroine in the series to be cold towards the protagonist. Getting to understand her better and melting that icy exterior reveals a super cute girl underneath. Despite not being my favourite girl, I can’t deny that she and the protagonist had a good amount of chemistry.
Kanade is the granddaughter of the inn owners where the protagonist is staying. She’s the token younger sister-type character and is fond of Kyousuke from the start. Kanade was involved in an accident and is undergoing rehabilitation, which means that she has to use mobility aids. I was originally extremely worried that this aspect of her character would be written poorly. However, I am happy to report that Kanade was actually well-handled – her disability is part of her character but not the forefront and her fears were relatable/understandable. But first and foremost, she’s a girl who wants to be loved, just like the other heroines. I’m bias towards the cute kouhai type chatacters and Kanade was no exception – she’s super adorable and my favourite heroine from the game.
Yuzuka is the younger sister of Sayuki from the first Amakano game and similarly helps out at the shrine. She’s probably the most tropey of the heroines and is a quiet book lover who is a member of the library comittee. Her shyness is so bad that she struggles to speak to others and so often uses written notes to communicate. Despite perhaps the lack of originality with her character design, Yuzuka is still a very likable heroine and it’s extremely heartwarming watching her open up and become more confident in herself. Plus, I’m weak to heroines voiced by Matsuda Risa so that helped, haha.
Finally we have Ruika, the student council president whom has a teasing older-sister type personality. She’s a little eccentric and is half-Japanese so uses lots of English phrases when talking. I must say that Ruika was not one of the heroines I thought I would like, however, the twist to her route actually made her a bit more interesting. Like the other heroines, she’s definitely likable and I can see why she was popular.
The system is pretty much identical to the original Amakano with a map based choice system. Once you have a high enough affection level with your chosen heroine, you get the opportunity to confess to them. However, even if you don’t, the heroine will initiate the confession scene after a certain point so it’s fun to replay and see both sides.
As with the other games, there are append patches, which are available to download for free so long as you have a Nexton Passport account (free to create) & your game’s serial code. The append scenes are primarily extra H Scenes but there is one bonus non-H CG for each heroine.
The game features stunning artwork from Piromizu, who continues to impress me with their work on this series. There’s a good amount of CGs per heroine.
The BGM was fitting and the Vocal songs were also pretty relaxing to listen to, setting the tone for the game.
My Score: 9/10
Amakano SS takes what was good about the original Amakano and somehow manages to improve it slightly, creating a game that is a must play for fans of fluffy moege. I’ve truly fallen in love with this series and what Azarashi Soft is trying to create. So much so that I’ll probably buy the fandisc & Amakano 2 without it being on sale, which says something.
I also ended up pre-ordering Azarashi Soft’s new game Amaemi because I enjoyed the trial a lot so hopefully that ends up being good!
Thanks for reading.