Moroboshi Yuumei (moroboshiyuumei) wrote,
Moroboshi Yuumei
moroboshiyuumei

Game Rant: See you again, under the green... (Green Green 3 ~Hello, Goodbye~)

It is known that all good things must come to an end, and in the midst of 2004, it was revealed that the notorious Green Green series would be coming to a close sometime in 2005. I guess it is safe to say that the series had run its course, having scored three PC titles, an anime series based on the first game, and two PS2 adaptations, not including the omake character-centered DVD’s and audio dramas that also came about. As such, bamboo (who wrote the scenario and composed the music) decided to take a rather down to earth route while at the same time placing an emphasis on one of the most important aspects about life in high school: graduation.

To show the series has gone full circle, Green Green 3 ~Hello, Goodbye~ has the player once again take on the role of high school student Takasaki Yuusuke. At this point in time, Yuusuke is a third year student, and he is faced with the concept of life after high school, what he wants to do for a living, and a rather erratic love life, all while Kanenone Gakuen is going through yet another transition after the girls’ dormitories gets “mysteriously” blown up. Of course, it is obvious that the ever-present San baka trio (Bacchiguu, Tenjin and Ichibanboshi) has something to do with it, but no one has managed to pin the blame on them. Despite these milestone events, the game focuses on the entire third year of our original cast, from day one when everyone is due back from summer break all the way to graduation. In addition, we have (yet again) five girls that cross paths with Yuusuke, as well as an assorted number of cameos by characters from the previous two games.

The lead girl this time around is Kutsuki Futaba, returning from the first game as a much milder version of the “namaiki ojousama” that she was back then. As such, she’s actually a lot less prejudicial towards the boys, and to some degree has managed to build a sort of friendship with them. Oddly enough, because she officially starts out as Yuusuke’s girlfriend, Bacchiguu, Tenjin and Ichibanboshi treat her as “one of the guys”. Things work out fine between her and Yuusuke until a very life-altering event takes place. This event forces her to think about her plans for the future, and introduces Yuusuke to the concept of greater responsibility. That’s all I will say on this.

Next we have Kashiya Chitose. Chitose is a girl that used to play with Yuusuke a lot when they were kids, and finally found the courage and resources to enroll into Kanenone Gakuen. She is mostly cheerful for her part, and is very easily led on. Another interesting thing is that Chitose tends to be extremely silly when she gets nervous. Obviously, for all these years she’s had some sort of romantic interest in Yuusuke, but has always been a bit hesitant. At seeing that Futaba is in the picture, Chitose tries to provide very light competition, yet is very willing to back off. Depending on how the story develops, Chitose can give up completely or continue to pursue “Yuu-chan”.

In the aftermath of Futakoi and Rakuen, GuriGuri3 took a stab at it by introducing the twin younger sisters of GuriGuri’s resident imoutokon (Tenjin), Hazuki and Kazuki. Hazuki is the textbook example of a tomboy character: she’s rough around the edges, very casual and hits like a charging bull (though that’s more the Tenjin family’s genetics at work). Because of her brash nature, guys tend to be very wary of Hazuki, though she for the most part doesn’t mind. This, of course, changes when she develops a crush on Yuusuke. This causes her to try to change her personality overnight, though it is comically obvious just how much she strains herself to meet those ends. Thus I could say her tale is focused on accepting parts of oneself, even if said parts don’t make you the most popular person on campus.

Kazuki, on the other hand, is demure and mostly quiet, though while she gives off the aura of a defenseless girl, she can very well hold her own (and is, in fact the only person who can keep Hazuki from overdoing things). Psychologically, she seems to be a little weak, and believes that many things are her fault (in fact, “I’m sorry” is a very common phrase in her dialogue). Her weak psyche, ironically, is what causes Yuusuke to apply himself better in school, which is what leads to her true ending.

Lastly, we have Misugi Mai, the singer. Yuusuke meets her while idling in the forest near the school on a random morning. Mai is initially cold to him, but slowly warms up to him through many chats in the woods. Eventually, we discover Mai is a “retired” idol singer looking to finish high school in peace and quiet, which is why she enrolled at Kanenone Gakuen. Of course, her parents and agent want her to pursue further developments of her talent, despite the fact that Mai has become very selfish when it comes to her singing; that is to say, she considers her art to be hers and only hers. Thus Mai is faced with the difficult choice of going abroad to study singing or stay at Kanenone with Yuusuke and the gang. On a side note, her story is also tied closely to events that involve Ichibanboshi, which is not surprising since both are musicians.

As mentioned earlier, the story is very down to earth. Bacchiguu decides that the male and females students haven’t had many exchanges (read: sex) since female students were allowed at Kanenone, and sees the only solution is to force both males and females to live under the same roof. Hence our San baka trio decides to blow up the girls’ dorms in order to make this come to fruition. Meanwhile, Yuusuke and Futaba were inside said dorms, talking about a prospective relationship between them, and got caught in the blast. Luckily, no one was hurt, but an escape goat was needed, which lead to the blame being pinned on Dokugasu, the fifth beatle of the group. The story continues on from there as the students try to accommodate to the new living arrangements while preparing for milestone high school things like culture festivals and the graduation ceremony. Yuusuke’s choices affect more than his chances with the girls this time around, since his responses also heavily influence how far his friends will get in life after graduation. Since this is the last game in the series, there is a lot of emphasis placed in the future prospects, and several of the stories have Yuusuke’s lack of decision about what he wants to do with his life as a pivotal plot element. The future of Yuusuke’s friends also manifests itself through different venues, though (as is always the case) there will be some who will not see graduation day.

The game takes the now-known day-by-day approach when it comes to telling the story, and while a lot of events and interactions were very well planned and thought up, I could not help but feel a sense of blandness to the whole game. The fact that Futaba plays an important role in almost every story bothers me also, since it felt like bamboo was shoving her down my throat. The lack of any sci-fi/supernatural elements didn’t hurt the game much. Probably the best scene in the game is the graduation ceremony itself, since there is obviously an atmosphere denoting that this is the end of the road for our crew.

Sound-wise, I can say the game is up to snuff, but I noticed a lot of tracks from GuriGuri1 and 2 were reused in this game. The new tracks were nicely done, nevertheless, including the new ending songs. Milktub went all out in this department, since they composed even a school song for Kanenone Gakuen, played by a typical high school band. There’s not much else I can comment about, since the voice acting was as good as ever, with again the new characters sharing the spotlight with returning cast members.

The layout and engine of the game are mostly what we saw in Green Green 2, since we have the separate window for the log along with the option to replay lines if desired. I don’t know if they decided to go LQ for the extras, since aside from a once again ero-centered scene access menu (much to my chagrin), the only thing that comes forth is the extra songs added to the sound library only after getting all endings. These would be the full version of the opening song, “Hello, Goodbye” and the Kanenone Gakuen school song.

Despite being very “ordinary”, Green Green 3 brings a nice closing to this series of games that focus on romance, youth and the simplicity that we took for granted while in our teens. I guess one could really call it a “return to adolescence”, a label that has been advertised since 2001. Now I just have to figure out what “under the green” means. Anyway, that’s my two cents on the matter.

- Moroboshi Yuumei
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