After 2 years (oops), here’s my review of Yunohana SpRING!. It’s a straightforward story, so this will be a simple review. The only graphics I’ll show are the title screen, screenshots of the interface and background art, and CGs already shown on the official website.
Our heroine, Sanjou Yunoha, is suddenly called back from Tokyo to her hometown Kanazawa in March. Her family runs a 100+ year old traditional inn, Fukujurou, in Saikawakyou Onsen. However, its business has dropped drastically in recent years. Yunoha has no interest in running the inn, as her dream is to become a fashion designer. But the news of her mother, the current proprietress, collapsing has her coming back after an absence of 2 years. It’s all rather suspicious though, as her childhood friend, Katagiri Kintarou (CV: KENN), insists that her mother is hospitalised and the doctor advised that she should rest in peace and not see any visitors. Kintarou happens to be an apprentice working in the inn, and he asks Yunoha to be a temporary proprietress. She refuses, not wanting to let go of her own dream. Still, it’s a problem for an inn to be missing its proprietress.
Kintarou slyly asks her to stay the night, stopping her from leaving immediately. The situation favours him when they chance upon the secondary chef, Saeki Kouta (CV: Ishida Akira), trying to feed the dog he took in (Fuku) in the garden. Fuku acts hostile towards him, but instantly wags its tail when Kintarou takes over. Feeling the injustice, Kouta tries to touch the dog too but it barks at him. The former jumps back, knocking into Yunoha and the two of them fall into the pond. He panics, prepared for instant death and any complaints. Yunoha is fine since neither of them were hurt, but her clothes are soaking wet. Kintarou quickly advises her to head to the onsen, while he tells Kouta to get a change of clothes. The latter apologises about her clothes, while offering to repay her – if his pay allows it. Seeing his pitiful look, Yunoha replies that it’s alright while secretly crying inside her heart.
Once she’s done, Yunoha realises that Kintarou has taken away her belongings to a room. He only leaves a letter saying that he’s taking it for cleaning. Left with little choice, Yunoha heads back to assigned room and notices how quiet the inn is. While she’s here, she gets to know Saibara Nanao, a new staff who’s only told that she’s Kintarou’s acquaintance. She also encounters Katsuragi Naomasa (CV: Sugiyama Noriaki), who has an accident outside her room. Yunoha finds him covered in cushions, as he meekly asks for help lest he dies. Noticing how he wanted to move a stack of cushions taller than him, she can’t help but offer her help. After helping the new staff, she gets caught up with Izumi Takahira (CV: Kimura Ryouhei), who claims to be from a newer inn, Seihoukaku. Thinking that she’s a customer, he aggressively persuades her to switch to the rival inn instead. Kintarou interrupts them, tired of Takahira always coming here. The latter continues to praise his inn over Fukujurou, till Yunoha curtly remarks that she likes it here and leaves with Kintarou.
The two of them return to the rest area, where she fumes over Takahira’s comments. Kintarou is relieved to see her get angry, since it implies that she still cares for the inn. Though he knows that it’s inappropriate of him, he still believes that she’s the best fit for the temporary proprietress. He requests for her to at least do it for 3 months. Yunoha looks back on the people she met, and softly gives her consent. Kintarou is thrilled, and starts rambling about aiming for the top spot. Having decided to take over the position for 3 months, Yunoha is determined to bring back customers to Fukujurou.
But first, she goes to greet all of the inn staff so as to formerly introduce herself. The other main staff includes Suga Shunjirou, the primary chef, and Hayatsuki Chiyo, in-charge of the staff.
(This was what I wrote 2 years ago so yeah – end of the most detailed part of the review. ;;;)
By the way, Yunoha’s mother later makes her daughter agree to work there till autumn. In exchange, she offers to pay for Yunoha’s apartment rent in Tokyo till then, and agrees to not interfere with what she wants once the autumn arrives – around November.
There are 4 chapters in the Common Route. Different customers stay the night at Fukujurou in each chapter, and Yunoha and the rest go out of their way to serve them. Yunoha will also make a decision as a proprietress in each chapter, and this parameter affects the ED. Each route has 2 EDs: if her “proprietress parameter” is high you get ED 1, and if it is low you get ED 2. The main difference is Yunoha’s career choice; but for some reason this isn’t the case in certain route.
Along the way, Yunoha gets closer with the staff (and also enjoys the summer festival with the love interest; aside from secret character). Also, you can trigger mini-events during the map scene at the end of each chapter (aside from secret character). I played in the order of: Kouta, Naomasa, Takahira, Kintarou, Secret Character
The Common Route is basically the same for all the routes, except that the issue with the customers may be resolved in slightly different manners by each of the guys (aside from secret character – do you see a trend?). It would’ve been nicer if it were similar to Kami naru Kimi to, in which different side characters’ stories were expanded upon in individual routes. This was great because 1) we cared more about the side characters who appear throughout the game 2) it was a lot less repetitive.
Saeki Kouta (CV: Ishida Akira)
Kouta is the secondary chef, who is passionate about food and research (but seems to be very, very bad with computers). He often creates many new dishes, and serves it to the staff during mealtimes for feedback. So he pays for the ingredients himself, saying that it’s part of his research. His food is always delicious, but he always gives them confusing curse-like names like “small frame of grilled daurade noire and bonito’s checkered ele(?) flavour, please touch up with black pepper” or “cute poulet and pousse de bambou, packed with spring, fragrance of mandarine lingering on your tongue”. Kouta often serves Yunoha’s favourite dishes too, happy to see her enjoying them.
He also likes animals, but has always been hated by them since young for some reason. Since he’s the middle child in a family of domineering women, it explains why he was so afraid of Yunoha during their first meeting. He was made to cook since his sisters couldn’t and his parents and grandparents were busy. Ever since then, he’s been in-charge of cooking. Apparently, his father is in-charge of cleaning and his grandfather is in-charge of the garden.
I played Kouta’s route 2 years ago so all I can comment is that I enjoyed his route (yeah yeah my bias). Both Yunoha and him have clear visions of their dreams, so I think it was nice how they could come to understand and support each other. Also, I thought that Kouta may be a bit like Kent from Amnesia, in that he’s slow and embarrassed in making his move on Yunoha. But the bonus scenario proved otherwise heheheh.
Katsuragi Naomasa (CV: Sugiyama Noriaki)
Naomasa, or Nao, is a new staff in-charge of the rooms. Unfortunately, he’s extremely clumsy and often commits mistakes. Still, he tries his best to learn and he absorbs feedback quickly. So over time he becomes capable. He was initially a customer, but his credit card was rejected. So Yunoha’s mother agreed to let him pay back by working. He often avoids the topic of his family. Nao seems to know a lot about art in general too, and is skilled in drawing and sewing.
In chapter 3, we learn that his grandfather, Akiyoshi, is the director of a major company, Katsuragi Holdings. In otherwise, he’s from a rich family. This explains why his common understanding is different from the others. His father wants him to take over the company, but Nao’s more interested in art. His grandfather supports him, but that was till his father made a fuss. At the end of chapter 3, Nao agrees to continue working at Fukujurou for a few more months, before returning. He couldn’t understand Yunoha’s commitment to serving the customers since he sees no merit in it, but is eventually influenced by her and Fukujurou’s spirit. This leads him to confess to Yunoha, and so she tries dating him.
You may be surprised to hear that Nao was the quickest to make his move – since they start dating from the beginning of his route. It’s a stark difference from most other games, so that was refreshing. Also, he’s probably the most aggressive and possessive among the guys – but luckily he takes note to not hurt Yunoha, and he really gave his all in order to support Yunoha after making that dreadful mistake.
Izumi Takahira (CV: Kimura Ryouhei)
Takahira works in the rival inn, but he pretty much walks in and out of Fukujurou everyday as he claims that he’s free. He even presents her with candy upon learning that she’s the new proprietress, though he denies that he specially prepared it for her. It’s unsure what his intentions are, but sometimes his words ring with truth and Yunoha takes his advice in mind. Since he’s an outsider, Yunoha does her best to treat him like a customer but can’t help but express her frustration at times. Over time though, she learns to evenly politely chase him away. Unfortunately, Takahira ends up mastering the art of silently sneaking in and popping up here and there in the inn, sometimes even during their staff meetings lol.
It turns out that he’s not just working in the rival inn – he’s in-charge of it. His older brother oversees the family company, and upon his brother’s instructions, they plan to merge Fukujurou’s with their inn. That explains why he’s been spying on their operations. This is the root conflict that takes place in his route, especially when his betrayal is exposed to Yunoha, and the staff. Eventually, Takahira takes their side and convinces his brother otherwise.
Against my expectations, I enjoyed Takahira’s route a lot. I usually enjoy it when the couple start off as rivals, before growing closer to each other. But it was just so hard to take Takahira seriously at first with how casually he waltzes into Fukujurou as if he’s one of them. That being said, he seems flippant but he’s actually really capable and gave sound advice. Yunoha was also great in the way she handled him.
Katagiri Kintarou (CV: KENN)
Kintarou is the hot-blooded childhood friend of Yunoha’s. Both of his parents passed away when he was young, so their uncle took him and his younger brother in. Since young, he’s been a crybaby, and Yunoha was the taller and braver one. Now that he’s older, he known to pick fights. But being an apprentice at the inn, he has learnt to step back and calmly respond to customers too. After all, customers come first in this business. He’s very slow when it comes to computers, literally typing with one finger at a time.
So it’s pretty obvious that Yunoha’s mother was feigning illness so as to get her daughter to work in Fukujurou – and see if she will have a change of heart and inherit the inn. Kintarou was aware of this, and cooperated with Yunoha’s mother. Yunoha finds out the truth in his route though, and things turn sour. Especially since she thought that Kintarou was truly supportive of her dream to become a fashion designer. In either case, the conflict is resolved and the childhood friends finally realise their feelings for each other – by the way, everyone else already knew it and was just waiting for them to get together haha.
To be honest, I thought that the conflict would be something less obvious. It was still decent though, and I guess it would’ve been okay to play his route first. It was funny to see how Kintarou is actually quite tsundere around Yunoha. And also how he tried to impress Yunoha in the weirdest ways. I think that among the guys, he’s the most easily embarrassed so it was difficult to see him make a move on Yunoha (unless he gets some help lol).
Kaga Umenosuke (CV: Tsuda Kenjiro)
So this is the Secret Character, but it’s not really a secret since his profile and CGs are on the official website. He’s 11 years old than Yunoha (and Kintarou), and used to visit Fukujurou with his wife. So he has a lot of memories with her there, and he knew Yunoha and Kintarou when they were young. But he is now divorced, and finally decides to revisit Fukujurou by himself.
So the thing is, Yunoha’s mother, Chiyo and Shunjirou all speak as though they’re very close to him. But that isn’t the case for Yunoha – she doesn’t even recall him until Kintarou points out who Umenosuke is. Anyway, the gist is that Yunoha falls for him but doesn’t want to cross the line especially since he is a customer. On the flipside, Umenosuke is gradually drawn by her spontaneous and straightforward personality, prompting himself to also move ahead from his divorce. The turning point comes when Kintarou confesses his feelings to Yunoha (poor Kintarou ;;;), and when Umenosuke’s ex-wife wants to reconcile. Well this is Umenosuke’s route though, so yeah he and Yunoha end up together.
To be honest, his route didn’t add much. After all, he never appears in any of the other routes. In addition, in other routes, the couple sort of help each other to grow. Here, it’s more of Yunoha helping Umenosuke to move on. Even though he told her that she should think more for herself aka it’s okay to chase her own dream – that doesn’t get mentioned again in the latter half of his route. I found that uncomfortable, since it always gets mentioned in the previous routes.
Overall, Yunohana SpRING! was a straightforward and light-hearted game. The main and supporting characters were great, and I enjoyed their interactions. Yunoha was a lovely heroine too. It would’ve been better if they varied the Common Route events so that it wasn’t so repetitive, and if the Secret Character’s route was written better – or…to just not include it.
What really stood out to me was the pastel colour schemes – from the character design, to the CGs and system interface. It was really cute, fitting and visually pleasing. I liked that they made background variations based on the season too, and even Yunoha’s kimono. The music was okay, and the cast did a decent job. (Oh, I really loved how great a job Ishida Akira and Kimura Ryouhei did in the Normal ED haha.)
As you progress, you unlock CGs, CG comments, CG scene replays, music, map event replays, voiced character profiles, and bonus scenarios. It isn’t hard to get the platinum trophy, as long as you obtain all of the EDs and play all the bonus scenarios.
If you’re looking for something light-hearted and cheerful, you can pick up this game! Yunoha is a wonderful heroine, and it was admirable to see how she chases her dream and gives her all – to the point of charming all the guys heheh. (By the way, the name “Yunohana” does get explained in the game.)