The night sky is beautiful and mysterious. It’s serene darkness is illuminated by the many stars in the sky and is one of the most breath-taking sights on this earth. The constellations the stars form depict legends of great heroes, mythological creatures and tales of love. For the Japanese, no other tale of love rivals the story of Tanabata. A Tale of two lovers separated from each other awaiting the time they will one day be reunited.
Hoshizora no Memoria tries to capture the beauty, magic and Romance of the constellations to weave a legendary tale. Today on the VN Completionist we will be taking a look at Hoshizora no Memoria and see if it succeeds in creating a romantic tale of the stars or fails to capture the beauty of the night sky.
Hoshizora no Memoria is a Japanese Visual Novel developed and published by Favorite. The Scenario was written by Nakahiro, The art was done by Shida Kazuhiro and GT and the Music was composed by Arakaki Toshio and Shinobu.
The story of Hoshizora no Memoria follows Kogasaka You, who is returning to his home town of Hibarigasaki with his sister Chinami after the death of his mother. Before You moved away from Hibarigasaki, he met up with a girl everyday at the town’s observational lookout. On the night before he moved away, he and the girl made a promise that he would one day return to Hibarigasaki and marry her.
Upon returning, he returns to the now abandoned, fenced off lookout. Instead of finding the girl from his past, he encounters a mysterious girl who looks like his childhood friend claiming to be a Shinigami. He continues to visit this mysterious girl at the lookout, all the while wondering who is this mysterious girl, where is his childhood friend and can he fulfil his promise?
Kogasaka You is the protagonist of this Visual Novel. He isn’t a particularly strong character. He did seem rather lacking in personality but develops to become an understanding person and is funny in a rather subtle way. He also cares a lot for his sister Chinami but he doesn’t openly show it.
Mare is the mysterious girl that he meets at the lookout upon his return to Hibarigasaki. She looks similar to the girl from his past and claims to be a Shinigami. She acts rather childish and stubborn at first but does eventually open up to You.
Minahoshi Asuho is the vice-president of the astronomy club and You’s former classmate in elementary school. Her personality can be summarised as Kind, energetic and carefree but also rather stubborn. She also loves stars and the night sky.
Hisakaki Kosame is You’s Classmate and member of the astronomy club. She is usually quite calm and likes to tease her friends and her sister, Komomo. Hisakaki Komomo is Kosame’s sister and the leader of the student council. She constantly gets into arguments with Asuho about abolishing the Astronomy club and tries to recruit You into the student council.
Kogasaka Chinami is You’s Energetic and Air-headed Sister. She is incredibly clumsy and messes up everything she does, especially cooking. Despite this she is incredibly good at making friends and driving her brother crazy.
The final character is Aoi Isuzu who is You and Chinami’s Neighbour and a first year student at Hibari-kou. She is Arrogant, Antisocial and doesn’t like to make friends. She finds Chinami and You annoying because they always approach her each morning and try to make friends with her.
The common route serves as an introduction to the characters, the astronomy circle and the mystery surrounding Mare. The mystery surrounding Mare is the strongest aspect of the common route. What they presented was suspenseful and intriguing enough to grab my interest and made me want to read on more to uncover more about Mare and her Origin. It never gave away too much to where I could easily figure it out but gave enough away to start piecing together the mystery in an interesting way.
Although the mystery is a prevalent theme in the common route, there was also a focus on slice-of-life comedy and the revival of the Teikuru. This serves as the introduction to the characters and the setting.
This was done well but suffered from the characters being rather one-dimensional and the comedy being very repetitive. For example, there was three jokes that they used constantly throughout the common route which were pretty funny at first but got really annoying each time I read them. Despite this, the rest of the comedy was still funny and the character interactions were really fun and was another strong aspect of the common route.
The character routes was where the game started to fall apart and show some glaring problems. My first problem with the character routes in general was how the game completely disregards the mystery presented in the common route and only ever addressed it in the true ending.
This isn’t inherently bad but it does create a disconnect between the character routes and the overall narrative which leaves many questions unanswered. This is a rather poor way of doing a visual novel with a true ending as the character routes do not add to the games over arching story.
In a game like Clannad, A true ending works because the character routes are all linked together by the game’s central theme and the allegory of the girl in the illusionary world and the robot. Some small hints are given in Hoshizora no Memoria to help figure out the mystery but in context add very little to the final route and joining the narrative together.
The first route that I played was Asuho’s route and it was a mess. The conflict in her route pretty much comes out of nowhere. They took something that seems like a trivial misunderstanding and they twist it to the point where it seem like You is a bad person because of it causing them to break up creating a forced drama.
The rest of the route has You trying to win her back from a depressed state where she thinks she doesn’t deserve to love him. This is solved in a rather trivial manner which felt dull and was difficult to become invested in.
Isuzu’s route was also a mess. The conflict in this route felt contrived and her character was poorly developed to the point of being a very difficult character to believe and get invested into.
As previously mentioned, Isuzu was adamant on distancing herself from You and Chinami regardless of the lengths they go to meet her unreasonable demands. The reason that she acts this way made sense but it makes her seem ungrateful and stubborn. This made her relationship with You feel forced and difficult to believe their feelings were genuine.
Komomo’s route was one of the best routes in the game. Her route was much better written than any of the previously mentioned routes, It had a very suspenseful build up which foreshadowed the climax of this route well and also managed to execute a good twist at the end. My only problem with this route was that it did drag on the build up a bit too long, repeating a lot of the same scenarios multiple times to no real benefit.
The relationship between Komomo and You wasn’t particularly amazing, it boiled down to a typical tsundere relationship but this was a step in the right direction compared to previous routes. Kosame’s route was very similar in theme to Komomo’s route but wasn’t as well done.
Chinami’s route was also relatively good in comparison to the first two routes. Her route highlights You and Chinami’s family life. It gave us insight into their past relationship and their relationship with their mother. This route was quite heart-warming and was overall well done but it did suffer from the same problems as previously mentioned for the common route.
The final route of the game is the mystery heroines route and the true ending of the game. This is where the mystery of the game was finally resolved. Most of the questions I had at this point were answered and I was pretty disappointed with them.
The resolution to Mare and Yume’s character arcs are resolved in a convoluted and contrived way. The main conflict was resolved using a strange time-skip which came out of nowhere. The time-skip itself was presented in such an odd way where I didn’t realise it had happened and was rereading the same text over again confused.
Yume’s thoughts and actions were poorly presented to the reader which made her feel Ignorant and dismissive of other characters feeling in a selfish manner. Her character arc was also resolved using the supernatural elements previously mentioned which made the conflict seem meaningless.
Mare’s route also wasn’t particularly good either. Rather than being its own full route, it was more of an alternative ending. This ending did give some well needed context to Yume’s route but felt tacked on and didn’t really add much to the overall narrative.
The art by Shida Kazuhiro was definitely one of the highlights of this game. Hoshizora no Memoria features some beautiful CGs and sprite art which implements vibrant colours and brilliant use of lighting to showcase the beauty of the night sky.
The music was also well done with done, most of the pieces complemented the scenes they were in well but some tracks did get rather repetitive when they were used in the slice-of-life sections of the game.
In conclusion, Hoshizora no Memoria was a game that started off rather strong but failed to deliver on the intriguing mystery it built up over the common route. The characters were fun and the comedy was good but quite repetitive. Finally the art and soundtrack were great and emphasised the theme of the stars and night sky.
Personally I wouldn’t recommend this game, there are many other slice-of-life visual novels with much better character driven narratives that you could read instead. my recommendations would be Kira Kira and If My Heart Had Wings.
These games managed to succeed where Hoshizora no Memoria failed in creating a slice-of-life Visual Novel with great character driven narratives surrounding a club working toward a common goal. If you are interested you can read my review of If My Heart Had Wings on the VN Completionist.
This concludes my review of Hoshizora no Memoria. If you haven’t done so already follow me on social media and make sure to check out the other posts on the site. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this review and I will see you all on the next VN Completionist.