Kimi ga Nozomu Eien

Kimi ga Nozomu EienWhile five writers originally worked on Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (The Eternity You Yearn for), it, or at least its main route, is the brainchild of Yoshimune Kouki (吉宗鋼紀), the guy who later went on to write the highly-acclaimed Muv-Luv Alternative. His first take on the visual novel genre was a romantic drama which explores a love triangle gone seriously wrong. Unlike most dramas of this kind, however, this work offers a surprising twist to the archetype.

Protagonist’s first love, Haruka, wakes up from a three-year long coma and is still thinking that they are in love, while Takayuki has already moved on with his life and is dating another woman, Mitsuki. The emotional dichotomy is only strengthened by the fact that Haruka is mentally unstable and completely dependent on the guy, while Mitsuki is torn between sympathizing with her old friend (Haruka) and being insecure about Takayuki tending her. It really strikes you hard when you realize that because of this unusual situation the protagonist was never given the chance to “fall out” of love with any of them.

Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is also one of the few VNs where the presence of choices actually undermines its dramatic effect, as best drama and emotionally engrossing scenes naturally occur from the situations you wouldn’t normally choose. Though seeing how one of the endings is given a lot more care than the others, I suppose you could treat it as the “true end” even if it conflicts with your personal choices. Instead of two separate routes for Mitsuki and Haruka, it would have been much more engrossing if the work had a single one for the two, with the choice occurring at the very end, or not at all. Otherwise the suspense of the story is lost as you know how it is going to develop because you know what choices are you going to take, obviously.

All other routes basically go through the same motions of Takayuki being tortured by his feelings for Haruka and overcoming them in similar ways, which gets really repetitive after awhile. Not to mention that any route other than Haruka’s or Mitsuki’s feels like a cop-out anyway. Luckily, though the story is long, the pacing is fairly good with scenes flowing surprisingly fast for a work of this kind. The characters are likable and work well enough in the setting, though they don’t quite reach the level of complexity seen in top-tier visual novels.

Personally I couldn’t take routes other than Haruka’s and Mitsuki’s seriously and I wasn’t particularly satisfied by the execution of some parts of their story either. I loved the idea of being torn between a resurrected love from the past and a love from the present though. With likable characters, fairly fast pace and some good drama, the main route of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is a pretty good experience, you wouldn’t lose much by skipping other routes though. Incidentally, White Album 2 does a similar story better, even without the fascinating coma angle.

Positive: Negative:
Simple, emphatic prose Presence of choices undermines the drama sometimes
Likable characters Sometimes feels repetitive due to protagonist’s indecisiveness
Interesting dichotomy between feelings from the past and the present Other routes feel like a cop-out
Strong emotional scenes
Thought-provoking on impact timing has on human emotions
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