To commemorate the announcement of Maidens of Michael getting localized I figured now would be the best time to review the second game localized in the series. That being A Kiss for the Petals: The New Generation.
NOTE: This review was written by someone who has played the first ten main entries in the series and will be referencing them throughout the review when needed.
Note 2: While the game features many NSFW (Not Safe for Work) love scenes the review is safe to read.
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Yuri, Visual Novel, Eroge
Themes: Incest, Social Status
Length: Medium 15-20 hours.
At the Saint Michael Girls’ School… festivities erupted among the girls of the annex. The reason for their celebration is the Best Couples poll being held at the main campus. The students at the annex, who look up to the girls from the main campus, decided, “Let’s have our own Best Couples!”
…It was always inevitable.
And so, the fairest and most intimate couples were nominated…
The first couple is a pair of childhood friends, Misawa Nagisa and Takahata Rina. The second couple is a pair of twin sisters, Kimishima Ai and her younger sister Aya. And finally… The transfer student who saw this whole thing as no concern of hers, Onohara Hazuki, is shocked to hear that she too, was chosen to be among the Best Couples.
Moreover, her partner is the sheltered young debutante, Suoh Manami. Actually, Hazuki has secretly been crushing on the impeccable Manami… But the truth is, they’re far from a couple, and while their classmates may cheer them on, it’s all in vain.
But then… Hazuki works up all her courage to ask Manami to become a “Best Couple” with her, and
As the plot summary and images show the game is centered around the blossoming romances of three couples. The three of them have the following in common:
- A relationship between two girls of different of different social classes, one from the upper class and the other from the middle-lower class.
- A “don’t judge a book by its cover” initial misjudgment from the POV (point of view) protagonist of their love interest.
- The love interest being sharper than the POV character thought.
Chronologically New Generation is of course set after the main series and the Angels series. Fortunately all three couples’ stories are told separately from the main series’, meaning newcomers need not have “plread” (play-read) any of the previous entries to enjoy this one. The one little issue some may have is that, again, this title takes place after the main series that has had 16 (including Remembering How We Met) games worth of history behind it, meaning the lore and history of the school, including the concept of the “Best Couple” competition was explained there. The bright side is, again, it is not entirely necessary to know everything about the established history in order to follow what happens in New Generation.
What surprised me about the new couples’ stories is that, as far as the SonoHana franchise goes, these are the most complex relationships I have seen by far. Now by no means does this mean past couples lacked depth or complexity, far from it. It is just that past couples had slightly less difficult roads to hooking up than these three. The more challenging obstacles they had to overcome in order to strengthen their love took place in their respective sequels and the “All-Star” games (Maidens of Michael and Snow White’s Knight). Even Risa X Miya, who thanks to their backstory took a bit longer to hook up. The New Generation couples had a hard road from the start.
Before discussing the characters let us quickly go over the gameplay and presentation.
The story begins with Hazuki X Manami’s story and is viewed from Hazuki’s perspective. During this time Hazuki interacts with the other five girls before she starts dedicating a majority of her time to Manami. This serves as a straightforward introduction to the other five girls before the story switches focus on Hazuki and Manami for the rest of the first playthrough. See, “plreaders” will have to get the Happy End for HazuMana before unlocking the other routes for Aya X Ai and Nagisa X Rina. After getting the Happy End go back to New Game and the above route select screen should appear. The gameplay is the standard “multiple choice” fare in most visual novels. Another interesting little addition is that for the first time ever (as far as I know) a Petals has a (kind of) Bad End in HazuMana’s route alongside the traditional “Midway End” (Did not make all the right choices to see the conclusion of the story) and “Happy End”. Fortunately like other entries the Happy End is not difficult to access.
The character designs deliver a good variety of teenage cuties and hotties. Their cuteness/sexiness if magnified in the excellent casual, adorable and sexual CGs. Personal favorite designs are Aya and Hazuki. The backgrounds have always delivered in Petals games and New Generation is no exception: Very calming and pleasant to look at. When it comes to the soundtrack readers who have “plread” Remembering How We Met will recognize most of the tunes. If readers enjoyed the tunes in that title then there should be no problem enjoying the new additions in New Generation. As for veterans it is more of the same with only the OP and ED being different, which if like newcomers the veteran “plreaders” dig the tunes then it is no problem.
It is now time to discuss the three couples without going into too much detail. First up are the “starters” Hazuki and Manami. Hazuki is a run of the mill good girl who can get along with everyone. Her most identifiable trait is her constant daydreaming or overactive imagination. Not a day goes by where she is not openly simulating events before they even happen, especially when it comes to how Manami perceives her. In reality she is not very confident about her self-worth, leading her to often doubt herself. When it comes to Manami she is seen as the “untainted perfect angel” of the school; the epitome of elegance, beauty and grace. The truth however…
As mentioned above in the section discussing what the three have in common, Hazuki and Manami follow them the closest. The obstacles the two must overcome revolve around misjudgment and difference in social classes. Manami especially must deal with challenges of the upper class of both professional and personal aspects whereas Hazuki, as mentioned before, must find a way to overcome her self doubt. These are only the tips of the iceberg. Oh and Manami also took some notes from Superman. I will not spoil what I mean by that.
Next up are the enamored twins Aya X Ai. Aya is a tsundere who like Hazuki can get along with everyone but is more confident in herself. Ai on the other hand is timid and had lived a pampered and sheltered life. She is very clingy and possessive of Aya to the point of hissing and snarling when feeling threatened or someone gets too close to her precious sister. Like Hazuki and Manami social status is one of this couple’s obstacles. However, it is small potatoes compared to the other much greater challenges on their way to finding true love. The next obstacle is exactly what one would expect from a story dealing with love between siblings, falling in love with the person born from the same womb as you. Despite this however, that is not their greatest challenge. Let us just say that of all the stories in the game Aya and Ai’s surprised me the most. The only clue I will give is “upbringing”. It is about much more than social status.
Lastly we come to Nagisa X Rina. Nagisa is an ace of track and field who was born to run. She is soft-spoken and tries to not cause a scene whereas Rina looks for every opportunity to coddle with her childhood friend. She has no issue letting everyone know how she feels about Nagisa but the latter did not desire any unwanted attention yet let Rina do her thing due to initially seeing it as “playfulness”. Of the three couples Nagisa and Rina talk about social status the least. Having said that…let us just say of the three couples, Nagisa and Rina have the roughest start to their relationship. It is a touchy subject that may take time for some “plreaders” to be okay with seeing the two become much more than “snuggle buddies”. From their interesting past to their equally interesting present the story of these two is something alright.
Overall A Kiss for the Petals: The New Generation surprised me. I was expecting cute girls falling in love with some decent drama thrown in but what I got is, as far as this franchise goes, more complex than I thought, in a good way. While it is customary for newcomers (especially next-gen stars) to have a hard time being accepted by fans of the veterans (See Aqours and Mortal Kombat X) I personally welcome the New Generation couples as great additions to an already lovely cast of yuri couples who enjoy snuggling a lot when able. Fans of the franchise and “plreaders” of Remembering How We Met who want some extra spice in their Petals games will find plenty to enjoy here. As far as diehards go…maybe give them a chance. You never know.