A Post-Summer Day’s Reminisce
Sometimes, I wander around my computer and find a folder long forgotten — sometimes, it’ll be a program I don’t often use that somehow takes up three gigs worth of hard drive space; or, perhaps it’s a backup folder, long-forgotten for years after the fact. I happened to stumble across one of the latter, and lo and behold it had basically all of my image data from Waffles, my old, dead anime blog. Let’s tackle that first.
Waffles died in the latter half of 2007 due to a waning interest in actually watching anime compounded with an steadily growing backlog. I figured I’d keep it around for posterity, in case people actually wanted to read my blog.
And then the server I’d been hosted on — graciously provided by Misu, in exchange for writing for his visual novel news blog, VisualNews — disappeared. Whenever I would try to access it, it would shoot out a short error message: the server had encountered an error. The server continued to error whenever I’d try to visit my site. For all intents and purposes, Waffles and VisualNews were gone.
Control of the community forums was eventually given to zalas, who took it and made encubed. Waffles was reduced to nothing but whatever the Internet Archive offered as cache.
And then I made this blog. The first post I made on this blog was a slightly shorter version of this explanation.
It’s been almost two years since I’ve made this blog (my blog enters its third year of service on October 27). In that span of time, I’ve made 120 posts. That means an average of 60 posts a year, or 5 posts a month, or about one-and-a-quarter a week, which isn’t all too bad if I think of it that way as opposed to my ‘burst’ blogging where I blog furiously for a week and a half before disappearing again. Funny, considering that first post — I said I’d pick up regular blogging again, when it was anything but. That’s something to consider for my 2011 resolution. (And speaking of which, my 2010 resolution doesn’t look like it’s gonna happen!)
A lot has happened since then. An arguably good indicator is my style of writing — very much improved from my Waffles days, but still slightly recognizable as my own. This post, as with my one prior Waffles repost, will also be a repost of earlier content — something I found in that time capsule of mine.
Specifically, after the break is the single article I did for VisualNews for gp32’s translation of the short ‘kinetic’ novel A Midsummer Day’s Resonance for visual novel translation summit al|together, unchanged from the original text. I’ve got quite a bit of my clueless, finger-pointing self in there, but I don’t cringe while reading it, unlike my old, slightly embarrassing Waffles posts…Oh, and I hope you’ve played the game, because I’ve got a full breakdown of the plot in the review.
Once upon a time, the English visual novel community was peppered with translations of full works (or, more commonly, demoes of full works), without love for smaller, more independent reads. That all changed in 2005 when Insani, one of the most prominent English translation circles, gave birth to al|together, which is, in short, a festival for translations of free doujinshi, or self-made, visual novels, starting with Narcissu — the first localization of a doujin game sanctioned by its original creator, Tomo Kataoka of stage-nana. The nine participants pitched in to create seven titles (with an eighth released a bit later). al|together’s first run helped to break many of the preconcieved notions about visual novels held in American otaku society — for example, the infamous “visual novel/AVG = hentai!1! LOLZ” concept, or how the protagonist in any given visual novel (or H-game, depending on who you speak to) would always gain a harem.
Among these wonderful reads is a gem aptly named A Midsummer Day’s Resonance (Japanese: Natsu no Hi no Resonance/夏の日のレソナンス) — a rather quirky visual novel that, as author Kagura Saitoh explains on his webpage Resonance (www.re-sonance.com), is a story of a modern-day summer, a rural location, a girl, a rendezvous, a miracle, a cellphone, the world…and love.
Kasumi Kurasawa is your average teenage girl. She confronts her freshman year of high school with an increasing amount of stress, she battles puberty as her mind and body changes, and she’s beginning to ponder about the mysteries of life, the universe, and everything. Everything changes, however, when an accident gives her cell phone the power to connect via a hologram-like screen with two girls from Tokyo. They become friends, but as they do, Kasumi starts to have feelings for Itsuki Mukai, one of the girls she happens to be connected with…
Story | 9/10
Kasumi Kurasawa is having issues coping with high school, puberty, and her sudden awareness of everything. One day, she gets into an accident; to be specific, her bike crashes into a boy’s, sending her backpack tumbling across the street, where it’s ruthlessly run over by a truck, bursting a juice pack all over her stuff. She pines about this to her friend Yuuna, who, instead of offering consolation and sympathy, more or less shouts “AHAHAHAH, THAT SUCKS.” Thus does Kasumi label the day the worst in her life.
And then all of a sudden, when walking back home from school, Kasumi’s cellphone emits, out of nowhere, the image of Minamo Kawara, a rather cheerful, hyper, and sometimes dim-witted pink-haired girl. They greet each other and wonder what the heck is going on. Minamo suggests that it might be something with their cell phones. Kasumi experiments by hitting the Call End button…cutting them off. She tries to explain this to her mom and her sister, but they just won’t believe it.
The next day, the same phenomenon happens again, but when it does, a different girl — a sleek blonde wonder — appears on screen. Both of them are surprised, and Kasumi breaks the awkward silence, introducing herself and informing her that this has happened once before. Turns out that this girl is actually a friend of Minamo, whose familiar face jolts back onto the screen upon hearing “Kasumii”‘s voice. She introduces herself as Itsuki Mukai, and asks Kasumi to confirm where she lives, Hino City. The pair of friends represent themselves as Tokyo girls, and they talk for a while…before Itsuki comments that Kasumi looks rather pretty. This flattering comment flusters Kasumi, and sends her into longing for Itsuki.
It takes four more days for the phone to zap back to life, on Kasumi’s way to school, waking up Minamo. Apparently, she’s quite late; her clock says it’s eight, but Kasumi has her time at 7:53 – so she figures that Minamo set her clock early.
She’s connected once more at lunch – this time with Itsuki. They talk about how nice it is to end the week, and Minamo comes up with the idea of meeting up in person. However, tests are around the corner, and thus they’re forced to postpone their meetup until next Saturday.
Throughout test week, they talk together, but sometimes, the conversations they have take a turn for the weird. Minamo sometimes would be unfamiliar with certain terms — such as skiing — and because Kasumi would usually be stuck to that topic, the conversation would instantly end, complete with actual disconnection. However, this doesn’t stop Kasumi from becoming more enamored with Itsuki, until the Friday before the meetup, where Kasumi desperately tries to confirm the feelings between them. Itsuki declares that she’s not lesbian, and that she’s not taking offers, so a dejected Minamo quietly gets disconnected.
However, two days later, they’re scheduled to meet at Tachikawa station at noon. Kasumi, who can’t wait to meet them in person, arrives two hours prior, but doesn’t see them until 1:24 PM — when they get connected. Kasumi tells them that she’s right in front of the ticket stands. They approach the location to find that she’s not there, and Minamo is quick to figure out: they’re on parallel worlds. The most obvious difference? Seven minutes’ difference in time. Itsuki figures out that they cannot ever meet because of this phenomenon, and because of that, Kasumi breaks into tears and runs out of the station. It takes some cajoling from Minamo and Itsuki (“We’re meeting right now, are we not?”) for Kasumi to pull herself together, and they find out where and if things are different between the two worlds. Later, while enjoying some shaved ice, Kasumi finds out that seasons don’t exist in the world of Minamo and Itsuki, and thus they all segue into a discussion about ‘impossibility’ — the likes of which start the novel. Thus does the story come full circle.
A short while after, they are disconnected forever.
However, Kasumi doesn’t realize this until some time, and waits for the girls to connect, every day, every week, every month…but she comes to realize that the miracle can’t last forever, and ties it to a single English word: resonance – a noun, a synonym for an echo.
With her sixteenth birthday, she proclaims herself to have taken one more step toward adulthood.
The novel is linear and takes about one to two hours to complete, depending on your reading speed.
The graphics do their work, helping one visualize parts of Resonance. The reason why I say ‘help’ is that many times, you won’t see what Kasumi’s talking about — for example, a background for a dirt path is the catch-all for walking to and from school. There aren’t any special CGs, either — all you have is the background and the hologram portraits of Minamo and Itsuki. The characters are done well, have a multitude of facial expressions, and blink.
Overall, a decent package for a work of this length, but it could’ve been better.
Audio is covered by MIDI, but the songs chosen for Resonance couldn’t have fit better. The only gripe I have with the audio is when Kasumi starts crying — if you listen to that song long enough, it suddenly segues into full-blown techno, so that came off as a bit awkward, given its context.
A Midsummer Day’s Resonance is not voiced.
Seung “gp32″ Park delivers an excellent localization as always, conveying Kagura Saitoh’s work into a sanguine, silly, surreal, yet serious story. Seung manages to keep an active feminine voice, translating Kasumi’s narration into a wonderful read. I certainly can’t find any problems with it.
A Midsummer Day’s Resonance is a cute read, though there are parts that make the story predictable. It’s recommended for both those familiar with the visual novel format and those who have yet to be introduced to it (and I personally got two people — who hadn’t played anything of the sort — hooked on the novel!).
Final Score: 9/10 (not an average of the category scores)
Looking back on it, the review’s not too bad; the only crappy part of the review is the fact that I didn’t say why I gave it a 9/10 – for the record, I still would. It’s a great (albeit, once again, slightly predictable) story that tugged at my heart, and still does, but not in the dramatic Key cry-some-more!! kinda way. I also liked the subtle modern fairy-tale feel that the story possessed.
Aside from that, there are a couple of other things I’d renew if I chose to rewrite this, ranging from decent chunks like the part of the introduction that introduced al|together, to fleshing out things that aren’t the story using examples as backup — basically, making the review into a more credible one.
I might replay Resonance soon. It’s been a while since I’ve done so, but it remains among Until We Meet Again and Narcissu as one of my favorite works (if not my favorite work) to come out of al|together 2005.
I say ‘might’ because Final Fantasy XIV is in open beta right now.