To Heart (1999): This anime successfully surpassed the expected "anime based on a game is doomed to suck" stigma, and while some people consider it boring due to its slice of life approach, there were some interesting circumstances surrounding the production of this show that I believe managed to help it survive. For one, the anime was produced as a result of Leaf's first attempt to market the game To Heart on consoles (H-scenes and overly adult themes were removed). What ended up happening is that the studio, KSS, had basic information on the characters, but produced the anime before the final version of the console release was complete. This means the writers had to in a sense rewrite To Heart from scratch. Additionally, unlike what most companies do today, which is divide attention between all heroines as much as possible, the directors chose a set of characters to work with while making sure that all characters appear in some capacity (Miyauchi Remi being a notable example of this). Certain characters have entire episodes focused on them while others just make 10-second cameos. Thus, the show was very different from the game when it came to presenting its story, since you actually had a basic "main" cast that the show focused on instead of simply following the steps of the protagonist, Fujita Hiroyuki. The fact that several characters were notably different from how they were in the game (Himekawa Kotone a good example of this) further allowed the anime to establish itself without relying so much on the game.
To Heart 2: As mentioned in a previous post, I have started playing To Heart 2. What makes this title so peculiar is that Aquaplus (the branch of Leaf that focuses on releasing clean games for consoles) was first to release TH2. This means the game was originally released on Playstation 2 before being modified to cater to the H-game crowds as a PC game. This could be called a backwards way to do things, since before TH2, most games went from PC ero-games to "clean" console adaptations.
Much like the original, TH2 uses numerous female character stereotypes in an attempt to appeal to a greater audience. Of course, it seems that Leaf/Aquaplus took this to such an extreme that some fans were disappointed at how blatant the whole thing was. The design of the game also resembles the original in that it is a visual novel instead of an adventure-style dating sim. The player takes the role of Kouno Takaaki, a first year high school student that does the everyday thing, going to school and dealing with friends and life on his own (his father works abroad, and his mother recently has left to join him). He finds company in his friends Konomi and Yuuji, but has chance encounters with other characters throughout the course of the story. Not much else to say here, since the engine itself is focused on living each day out, with a couple of chances to interact with any characters Takaaki has met. The game has 10 (as of the PC version) heroines, so there is plenty to keep the player busy.
Name: Kousaka Tamaki
Game: To Heart 2
Designed by: Amazuyu Tatsuki (1/4 TH2 Character Design Team)
Tamaki is introduced as a childhood friend of Takaaki and Konomi. She is also the (overly abusive) older sister of Takaaki's best friend, Yuuji. When we first meet her, Tamaki makes it a point to behave as properly and formally as she can around Takaaki. Of course, despite the air of command and formality she initially presents, Tamaki turns out to be somewhat methodic when it comes to getting her way.
As expected of the "older sister" stereotype, Tamaki becomes the commanding voice in the group of Takaaki, Konomi and Yuuji, while at the same time making sure that neither of the boys step out of line or do something that she would find inappropriate. Beyond this, Tamaki has actually had a crush on Takaaki since they were children. On the day before her parents transferred her out to an all-girls boarding school, Tamaki called out Takaaki to the park to (subtly) confess her feelings for him. Since the young Taka-bou (as she so affectionately calls him) took the confession as a bad joke, Tamaki was determined to revisit her plans for him before she graduated high school. To this end, she has proven to be a rather crafty girl, going as far as to trick our protagonist into coming over to visit Yuuji, even though the best friend in question is tied up, gagged and hidden in a closet by his older sister. In short, an impressive and far less complacent version of the older sister character type.
That's it for today.
"I am born of my Drill
Steel is my body, and sapphire is my blood
I have created over a thousand rosaries
unknown to death, not known to life
have withstood pain to create one sister
yet, those hands will never hold anything
So as I pray,
unlimited drill works."