Everybody in the world is probably talking about "a pet shop after dark", but....!!! HERE I AM, PLAYING THIS INSTEAD........ And I'm really happy I did!!! It's a really beautiful experience.
The uncaring nature of society is really a brutal thing; I mean, I personally have a hard time ever accepting myself and my feelings and anything valuable to me, so. Experiences like this are really important to me. Reminders that, even if you can't exactly think to yourself "I'm valid" or "I'm secure" or "I'm loved", there's so many people in this world who want you to be happy, even if we aren't personally connected.
In terms of the experience itself, the first chapter, "one night, hot springs" really made me feel.... excruciatingly sad, but also really happy, y'know? It had the most put it into it, as far as outcomes go, and so.... There's a lot there to make one feel either dejected or elated. On one hand, giving up is such an easy thing to do, and.... it hurts. Thinking "life would be easier if I didn't bother" is just such a desperately soothing thing at times, but... being who we want to be is a big part of what life is about, right? So... The dichotomy of never trying or trying your best is.... really beautiful. It's a really, really, really good first chapter.
Extremely good because, getting into "last day of spring", the payoff of the experience was very immediate and really powerful. Like!!!! Erika is just.... such a good character. A character that comes off as abrasive but simultaneously tries their hardest to make people happy, for me, is just.... Really powerful. People who're open-minded, understanding, and trying their best to make people feel accepted.... They're really beautiful. So, while the second chapter has its dead ends, which all felt really empty.... the true ending felt, so fricking beautiful. Like.... so much on display is stuff that I have so much trouble, personally, getting over, so.... Seeing a story where such struggles are given a genuinely beautiful conclusion is just, amazing to me.
But the third chapter is also really beautiful in its own way.... I myself identify as asexual, though it's obviously a spectrum and my own place is somewhere different, but.... I mean. It's really fricking impossible to untangle the thoughts of standard, socially acceptable sexuality from my brain sometimes, and understanding that my own perspective genuinely does not have to fit in line with the perspective of the rest of the world is a struggle. So a story like this is really beautiful, too. In terms of romance, I genuinely have no idea where I land, but. The story of forming really deep bonds with people important to you is.... really beautiful. Having people who'll support you no matter the issue, because they want you to be happy, and care about you, is just like... What could be more splendidly sweet and encouraging than that, right? The way it caps off is so perfect!!!!
I suppose I, myself, didn't really experience the build-up of these stories, and the subsequent importance of the epilogue, but.... As somebody who's dived right in, I've genuinely wept a lot of happy tears playing through it! And the epilogue is just..... It's a bit of an overused phrase here, but it really is beautiful. It's a really, really good last note to leave the story on. Deeply encouraging, deeply satisfying, but also.... Like.... God. I want these characters to be happy. They're really wonderful.
As an extra note, just. The music is all really freaking good, too!!! Admittedly my own methods of playing through certain games are probably pretty unusual, but. Sitting at the title screen and chapter select screen for long stretches of time between chapters was such a wonderful experience. The main theme of the story is really beautiful. And, really, the entire game as a whole looks so fricking good... It's a minimalist style, but it's genuinely so fricking good!!!!!!!!!!! I love all of it. ALL OF IT...........
As a personal ramble, I knew a lot things I wanted/identified with for a really long time, but always held it back because, I just simply didn't think any of it was worth bothering with, nor that I deserved any of it anyway. Life is short, society is uncaring, and there's very little assurance that anything I'd want is even possible. So. A story like this, that encourages growth and trying your best to feel valid even if the world is the way it is, it's like.... It's really perfect, y'know? I really appreciate it. So!!!!!!! Thank you for making it!