FLOWERS -Le Volume sur Printemps- Review

This visual novel has had quite the journey before finally being made available for purchase, from a couple of delays to a heavily botched demo prior to its second planned release and finally a slip-up by Steam on the day of its third planned release. It seemed like fate was conspiring against this game being played by people outside Japan but against all odds it finally made it to Western shores. The obvious question now is whether this title, one of the most highly anticipated yuri visual novels that was announced for localization in 2015 was worth the wait. Let us find out as we take a look at Innocent Grey‘s FLOWERS -Le Volume sur Printemps-, published by JAST USA.

FLOWERS Poster

Genres: Drama, Romance, School Life, Yuri, Visual Novel, Mystery

Themes: Religion, Comfort Zone, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal

Length: 12-25 hours (give or take)

G-Rating: Good-Great (Depends on the wants and needs of consumers)

Plot Summary: Surrounded by immense walls in the middle of a forest, lies the prestigious all-girls school, Saint Angraecum Academy. It’s a school that prides itself on growing bright and cultured young women.

The academy’s special Amitié program is designed to help foster new friendships among students that will last a lifetime. This is why Suoh Shirahane, a painfully shy girl with a mysterious past, has enrolled. As her first year of high school begins, she is filled with hopes of a new life.

Follow Suoh as she navigates her new friendships and attempts to unravel the many mysteries at the academy. As spring warms into summer, so do friendships until they blossom into something more. Suoh’s heart opens for the first time, but is it okay to like a girl?

Maria-sama ga Miteru

Printemps is the first of four titles in the FLOWERS series followed by été, automme and hiver, meaning that each entry’s story spans around three months time. A nickname for this series by longtime yuri fans, or at least I think it makes sense, is Maria-Sama ga Miteru: The Game, the same way A Kiss for the Petals franchise was probably nicknamed Strawberry Panic 3000.

Let us begin the review by bringing up what caused the second delay and something that put pressure on JAST USA when it came to FLOWERS’ localization, the translation. Again it was pretty bad when the first demo came out. Now after the title’s official release I can say the translation is…solid. Not perfect but passable. Every now and then there are typos and a couple of grammatical errors but nothing that cannot be fixed with a patch. “plreaders” (play-read) can enjoy the story from beginning to end with little problem, though perfectionists and nitpickers may take issue with mistakes still being present. There are times where the ladies will speak but there is no text. These few moments are part of the game itself and I assume not much can be done about them but more than likely it is not difficult to guess what is being said. Also I am not sure if the correct translation is Catholic or Christian. Anyway I still commend both Tim and Meru for helping with the translation and let us hope that the experience in this first entry will help make the translation job of the sequels less hectic.

Suoh in Wonderland.png

Example of FLOWERS’ artwork.

Next up is the first thing that caught the eye of every single Yuri fan who was interested in FLOWERS when it was first revealed. The presentation. There is only one word I can use to describe its presentation. I will borrow Bobby Roode’s catchphrase: This game looks…

GLORIOUS.png

Rikka serving tea.jpg

More GLORIOUS FLOWERS artwork

So yes this is one of the most visually stunning yuri visual novels I have ever “plread”. The textbox, the menu, the options, the soundtrack’s vintage yuri+classical music combo, everything about FLOWERS’ presentation is GLORIOUS! “Plreading” this game brought serenity and bliss to my somewhat internet corrupted soul. It is no wonder the Nation was instantly enthralled by FLOWERS before it was even localized. Do not get me started when its localization was announced.

The Lily.png

This flower is important both in gameplay and symbolism.

FLOWERS has two styles of visual novel gameplay:

First are the standard choices. Which route the “plreader” is taking largely depends on the color of the light the flower receives, a green or a yellow light. The more times the flower is showered with same color of light, the closer it is to either blooming or budding, indicating which girl Suoh is after. It is easy to figure out based on sound what effect either color has on the flower.

Detective Suoh.png

Detective/Thinking Mode.

The second is Detective/Thinking Mode. In some chapters there will be a mystery Suoh will have to solve with two-four questions. The difficulty in solving the first two mysteries without paying attention and then Googling like I did is moderately high. I get the feeling those two mysteries were designed with Japanese audiences in mind though thankfully if the “plreader” paid attention there are some alternative ways of solving those two mysteries without “cheating”. Then there are the other mysteries…those rely HEAVILY on how closely the “plreader” paid attention to what was going on. In short, believe it or not the first two mysteries are the easy ones. “Plreaders” can either do their best to solve the mysteries or go with drawn out “trial and error” approach. Yes. Getting good endings require solving the mysteries, though to unlock all the CGs extra features all endings need to be obtained, good and bad ones. While Detectice/Thinking Mode’s execution was hit or miss it was still decent and the mysteries themselves were fun to see unravel.

Now presentation and gameplay (translation only applies to foreign VN/KNs) being good are fine and all but they only make half of what makes a visual/kinetic novels appealing. The second and arguably most important half is the story. So how is Printemp’s story? While the enjoyment of this story depends on the “plreaders” patience and tolerance, I personally thought it was really good. The story has some lighthearted moments here and there but it is a dramatic story about a shy girl in Suoh Shirahane slowly but surely breaking through the social barriers forged by her dark past. As the story progresses and based on the “plreader”s decisions Suoh will take baby steps and open up and more will be revealed about why it is so hard for her to overcome the darkness. Along with Suoh there are her two roommates/Amitié/love interests, the cool girl Mayuri Kohsaka and the sweet yet stickler for the rules Rikka Hanabishi. Both are likable but of course have their own secrets. Besides the main Amitié trio there is the mostly enjoyable supporting cast of the Sasaki Twins, the two beautiful senpai, the gorgeous Sister Dalia Basquiat and a mystery girl. The twins are the most recurring side-characters but the other ladies also get their time to shine. This is where I would have said that it is a shame that we did not get to know about the other ladies besides what Suoh sees and hears about them but the reason for that is because Printemps gave us a taste of who these side-characters are and more will be revealed about them in the sequels.

Another nice part of the story is that while all the characters can fall under various stereotypes they are written in a way that they not go over the top with said stereotype. Suoh is a shy girl but she comes off as a believable shy girl whose struggles to open up and befriend people is not exaggerated. Even though she is tall, cute and beautiful she still sees herself as ugly. Through Suoh it is explained that for some people it is very difficult to befriend or even talk to others whether it be because of past misery or other intrapersonal reasons. The way religion is implemented into the story was also nicely done. It kinda played a part in the main story and romance but not like it was the source of conflict. It was more like the characters’ religious beliefs determined their moral and ethical outlooks. Religion is treated as more of a guideline to live a proper existence, not like an absolute where people who do not follow Christianity or Catholicism are “doomed”. It made Saint Angraecum Academy seem like an alright school…provided the students can hang in there that is. This will make sense while “plreading”. Next up are the media references, both in literature and film adaptations. Believe me when I say that after checking Printemps out it will entice some to give either the book or film adaptation of Wuthering Heights a go…among several other titles. One that caught my eye involves a young miner.

FLOWERS by Innocent Grey

Suoh X Mayuri, one of two romance routes.

Lastly let us discuss the yuri. Like the way the characters were written the same can be said for the romance. It too was well written and Suoh’s journey to find love was a very emotional one filled with many obstacles from the classic “Am I gay?” to “Is it alright to be gay?” and many other roadblocks from both past, present and future. The romance will twist knots and the squeeing will be loud.

Overall FLOWERS -Le Volume sur Printemps- will either be seen as a solid or great start to the series. The presentation is GLORIOUS, the cast is likable and for the most part interesting, the translation is not perfect (occasional typos and some minor errors) but at least solid. Hopefully it will be patched as time passes. The romance is both heartwarming and heart-wrenching. I am glad the title finally made its way to the West and hope the sequels will not be too far behind. As always it is up to the reader if the titles I cover interests them.

 

  • PS: The Bad Ends are nowhere near as shiver inducing as Nurse Love Addiction‘s. More emotional.
  • PPS: For some reason the green light is the “initial” light. Why? Play to find out.

 

Get the game on either Steam or JAST’s FLOWERS page.

Other links:

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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21 Responses to FLOWERS -Le Volume sur Printemps- Review

  1. Pingback: 2016 Yuri Visual/Kinetic Novel Western Releases Tracker | The Yuri Nation

  2. philipbaxton says:

    I thought the game was great and is a must play for yuri fans. You are completely right the visuals/presentation of the game is in fact GLORIOUS. Hell you could also say it was PHENOMENAL or a PERFECT 10 lol.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Well, what I can say about Flowers that take my interest, with an stunning soundtrack, an gorgeous artwork, and an brilliant text. Which time to time made me think, and casually believe that was written by an poet or something like, since most of them are deep!!

    Not to mention the best part of FLOWERS ( in my opinion of course) which was the relationship itself. Till the very beginning of the game it was treated with so much care, by how the history moves on ( depending of your choices of course). Which all the way to get to get the girl, was not actually the main objective ( as my point of view), since the mood of friendship is done in an so raw, and realistic way. Not to mention all the references and all the symbolism that FLOWERS have!
    So yeah! I can say that FLOWERS it is my favorite yuri VN so far, my many things as I said earlier, but specially because FLOWERS Brought the yuri from the roots and added an new layer for it, also because it gave me a tons of mix felling!

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      It’s a great title. I didn’t really pay attention to much of the symbolism though I noticed how the referenced literature, films, figures and the like had some connection with Suoh and friends’ situations.

      The friendships and developing romance were also handled quite well.

      This did feel like the beginning of something bigger, hence it being the first of four titles.

      Great stuff all around.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, what I can say about this game that brought tears, happiness and mix felling? despite the soundtrack and the stunning artworks! FLOWERS IS A HELL OF EXPERIENCE! FLOWERS came from the roots, but with a new layer applied! Probably my favorite yuri VN so far, and probably one of my favorites yuri’s, the high tension at the end was something unique!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bigbossbalrog says:

    MANYO always does his a-game. His music is as magnificent as it was in Akaiito and Aoishiro. Seems to like his Yuri VN’S.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. makotachi says:

    That art is absolutely GORGEOUS. Man what a pretty game. I’m glad to see you enjoyed your time playing it, OG-Man. I wanna try it out so bad, but semester started and I really don’t have time for a game when I gatta do weeks worth of math in one weekend. ; – ; I’ll enjoy it vicariously through you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved the art style, the music, the writing, the mysteries (i actually got the last three right and it made me feel smart :D) and most of the characters, but i played Mayuri’s route first and i can not get myself to play Rikka’s, i was expecting a nice and cute ending, not a bittersweet one with no explanation that left me depressed, and knowing i will have to wait years (until the last game is translated) to know what the heck happened doesn’t help.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. yurimylove says:

    LOVE the art! ❤ ❤ ❤

    I’m glad to hear that Suoh’s story will continue in later volumes, because I really need to know why/what happened to Mayuri?! At first I thought Mayuri’s ending was the bad end…

    I don’t mind waiting for years if that’s what it takes to localize the remaining titles in the series, I’m a patient man when it comes to yuri, but I need a proper explaination to Mayuri’s ending. Otherwise, this is not a complete story for me.

    Like

  9. Pingback: OG’s Top 8 Favorite Visual/Kinetic Novels of 2016 | The Yuri Nation

  10. Headless owlrider says:

    OK guys, I came up with a question. I’ve just started reading novel and there was only one mystery I saw. So, are u REALLY telling me dat guessing-name-game was an easy one? Well of course possible that it’s just me being stupid brat, but even figuring out the connection between books and girls in the rooms requirs a great deal of luck and thinking just to notice it’s existance! And it’s just a second question of the first mystery! Please don’t say it was an easy one. Please.

    Like

  11. I feel sad that this game only have around 200 reviews on steam it can be sign that it didn’t sold well which is a shame since the game is so so SO DAMN GOOD. 😦

    Like

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