Today I would like to talk about Da Capo, an 18-year-old visual novel that is heavily responsible for my current state of degeneracy.
Not through the novel itself, mind you. The thing that actually set me down this path was the 2003 anime adaptation and its 2005 sequel.
Anyway, Da Capo was the first anime I watched that was based on a romance visual novel, and the first time I got really invested in deciding on Best Girl.
AND IT WAS OBVIOUS
But, despite this, the protagonist wound up with the NOT RELATED BY BLOOD little sister character, who would have been Worst Girl even if she hadn’t been the stepsister.
Between the two seasons, I sat through 52 episodes of KOTORI IS RIGHT THERE, DUMBASS before the main character finally decided that Nemu was the love of his life, and my sheer incredulity at the ending resulted in a brain-melting epiphany:
“If this show is based on a game, then I could play the game and ensure that Nemu dies alone and friendless and the main character winds up with the right girl.”
So, about a year later, I was in a Sofmap in Nagoya and bought a copy.
I have never installed this game.
And then a couple of years after THAT, it was licensed by a translation company but they were charging way too much for it and the whole Nemu rage thing had pretty much died down so I didn’t buy it until it was super cheap during a MangaGamer sale.
And five and half years later I finally played it. I think we’ve covered that I am a bit of a procrastinator.
It’s… well, I didn’t really like it much. It plays a lot like ToHeart2, where you go to school in the morning and then decide where you’re going to go on your lunch break and where you’re going to go after school, and adds a question of when you are going to get up in the morning. The combination of these choices determine which girl you are going to run in to on any given day, and once you have stalked a particular girl enough times you are locked into her storyline which leads inevitably to some HOT AND STEAMY HAND HOLDING ACTION.
The thing is, in Da Capo these choices play out on screens that look like this:
While in ToHeart2, the same screen looks like this:
So you can easily tell that Manaka is in the Book Storage room and you should go there to spend time with the most adorable girl in school and not be distracted by any of those other, less desirable mate options.
DON’T HOLD HANDS WITH CRAZY.
There’s a cruder way to put that, but this is not that sort of blog.
Anyway, point being it is very easy to figure out where to go in ToHeart2, while making sure that you stalk the heck out of Kotori and don’t accidentally wind up confessing your love to your step sister is hard to do in Da Capo.
Putting that aside, however, once you DO get locked on to the route of your chosen Best Girl you have a few days worth of story with no choices in it and then a happy ending and end credits roll. In Kotori’s case, her story deals with helping her cope with the loss of her telepathy and also some stress related to her sister’s wedding. It’s a little bit of drama and mostly sweet and at the end you agree to come and meet her family and proclaim your undying love and so on and so forth.
Also she catches a cold. Note proper use of mask.
Oh, right, spoilers, Kotori’s a telepath. Most of the principle characters have some sort of weird psychic power. The main character has the ability to create Japanese sweets out of thin air.
It probably wasn’t worth waiting 13 years to finally see the story come to its PROPER ending, but now I can put the anime ending out of my mind forever.
Because this is the girl that WON.
Next up, Da Capo 2, which is set a good 50 years after the first one and features the grandchildren of the main character from the first game and – sadly – Nemu. So in theory he did eventually at least give his stepsister a pity tumble.
Sorry, Nemu, that’s my head canon and you’re stuck with it.