すぴぱら – Impressions

How refreshing it is to read something that doesn’t make me raise an eyebrow as the story progresses. My luck with picking visual novels has been down ever since the end of April. Will be properly summarizing things this time around.

Spring, the season of beginning. The story begins with our protagonist Yukinari arriving at his hometown of Kamakura after a long period of absence. After getting off the train and looking at the map provided by his relative, he is interrupted by a girl in… a maid uniform.

She seemingly recognizes him but Yukinari has no remembrance of her, or let’s be more accurate, he doesn’t believe he knows anyone who would welcome him back in a maid uniform.

Upon asking who she is, it’s revealed that she’s Yukinari’s second cousin, Sakura. She’s one year older than him and they used to play together often during their childhood. Sakura reminds me a lot of Miyako from Ef in both personality and looks. As I was reading through the story I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between the two characters. But anyway, continuing now.

Apparently she came here to guide him around the town even though he said he’d be fine alone. Regardless, for time being they decided to move as she stands out with the maid uniform.

As Sakura was taking Yukinari to his house, his past was briefly mentioned. Seven years ago, his father died of a sickness and as he and his mother were traveling to a relatives house, the ship they were on sunk and they ended up shipwrecked. Although they managed to survive, he lost all memories of both the event and his past and his mother ended up in a coma.

He left the town since he had no parents around anymore and spent a fair amount of time traveling between relatives. Fortunately his life has been fairly peaceful since with no incidents of particular interest to speak of. However his mother has apparently woken up and thus he has returned to Kamakura.

As they were walking, Yukinari noticed someone looking at him and saw her saying something. When Sakura asked what’s wrong, Yukinari directed her to the girl but by that time, there was no longer anyone there.

Sakura also mentioned to Yukinari that there’s a forest of sakura trees and a shrine with a hot spring in it. Though the latter is a relatively strange combination.

Arriving at his home, the first thing he decided to do was check out the kitchen. After confirming the condition of it Sakura commented saying that it’s strange for a teenage boy to check the kitchen before anything else when entering a new home but hey, kitchens are important for anyone who intends to do some cooking! How are you supposed to cook if you lack the proper tools to do so. After some bantering Sakura went home as well and Yukinari started unpacking things, organizing things and such.

By night when it was around the time to sleep, he realized that he doesn’t have any shampoo or such yet. And seeing as he’s going to meet his mother tomorrow, it would be questionable to skip out bathing. Remembering that Sakura mentioned there being a hot spring, he decided to set out to the shrine.

Arriving at the shrine he was greeted by a shrine maiden who introduced herself as Yuzuki. She promptly forced him to make an offering to the shrine. Yukinari decided to make a wish while at it and  Yuzuki commented saying that god will surely grant his wish. However depending on the amount of the offering, the priority of his wish will probably change with it. After hearing that Yukinari wanted to go to the hot springs she directed him to the right direction. Before he went however, she asked what he wished for. Yukinari responded saying that wishes don’t get granted if you reveal them but Yuzuki replied saying that there’s no need to worry as it’s not like god exists anyway. Seeing as it wasn’t much of a secret anyway, Yukinari answered saying that he wished for his life to stay the same as it is now, a wish that most likely won’t be granted.

On his way back home after leaving the springs he recalls the story of a forest of sakura trees earlier in the day and decided to take a stroll to the place.

Arriving at sakura forest, he hears a woman’s voice.

こんなに月がきれいな夜は、空を飛ぶにはうってつけ──
そう思わない?

“When the moon is so beautiful, it’s perfect to fly in the sky. Don’t you think so as well?”

He looks up finds a figure which…well, doesn’t really look like anything other than a witch. Despite the cool introduction shortly after she loses her balance and struggles to stay on the broom.

It turns out she was practicing flying when Yukinari came.

After failing to regain her balance she inevitably fell from the sky and Yukinari somehow managed to pull off a beautiful catch.

And then after standing up and getting things herself together, she introduces herself as Alice, a name that she comments is false because she can’t reveal her real name, a witch just like her appearance suggests.

She was practicing flying in the forest because although she can teleport around, flying with a broom is more witch like and thus cool.

With some bantering here and there, it turns out that she’s the person who was looking at Yukinari earlier in the day. At this point it’s obvious that she knows him even though for Yukinari this is their first meeting. Of course, Yukinari questioned why/how she knows him, Alice however postponed the answer to that question to tomorrow, commenting saying that it isn’t that grand of a reason. Although her meeting him here is purely a coincidence.

In the end they basically wind up chatting and watching the sakura trees wither until Yukinari decided to go home and sleep.

The next day Yukinari woke up and killed time until meeting up with his mother. With nothing to do however, he contemplated whether or not he should do something to celebrate his mother finally waking up. It’s notable that despite the fact that it should be a fairly major event, Yukinari himself doesn’t really feel much regarding it. After all, his memories of both his parents and the shipwreck itself are forgotten by him. When he was informed that his mother woke up, his reaction was limited to “oh, there was someone like that too huh.” While he was pondering about what to do, he heard someone at the door.

The person at the door was none other than his mother. Looking completely the same as 7 years ago, she cheerfully greeted him.

With some talking, his mother, Youko, reveals that she frankly doesn’t have much memory of him. Possibly because of the accident, to her it feels like she was a new wed just a bit back and now all of a sudden she has a son. Although the fact that “he’s her son” still exists, there’s not much deep emotion within it.

Wonderful, both parent and son with amnesia.

Obviously surprised by this, Yukinari feels like he’s forgetting something. Soon after, a phone call from Sakura comes along with Sakura surprised that Youko already left the hospital and went home by the time Sakura arrived at the hospital. At that point Yukinari remembered about Sakura and told her that she’s already here at home now. Sakura said she’d come over but Yukinari explicitly tells her to change to something normal that isn’t a maid uniform again. Since it means Sakura has to go back home to change, they decide to meet up in an hour at a cross-section.

Yukinari leaves the house after but on the way to the meeting point, he bumps into Alice in casual clothes. It’s apparently yet another coincidence that they met here, Yukinari wonders if Alice has that much free time and Alice responds saying that she’s very busy. With things like watching anime and bidding on online auctions that is.

The topic of Youko is bought up and Alice comments that Yukinari seems surprised, perhaps she lost her memories or something like that? Figuring it’s a good chance, Alice tells Yukinari to come with her, she’ll teach him about why she knows him.

Arriving at what, according to Alice is, an antique store on the front but in reality it’s a store for people with business with her. There’s apparently a barrier surrounding it so that only people who need her powers will find their way into the store.

The question of why her clothes suddenly changed from casual to witch upon entering the store can be answered with a single word: “magic!”

Entering the antique store, the explanation begins. First off, her job is to “grant wishes”. As a price for granting wishes however, the person who wants their wish granted will lose their happy memories.

The amount of happy memories, the actual happy memories and such vary on the wish itself. If there isn’t enough happy memories to pay for it, it’s possible that they’ll pay with the “future” instead. Generally wishes like reviving the dead or destroying the world require far too much happy memories to do and it’s unlikely that they’ll be approved. It is impossible to get the memories you paid as a price back after losing it. Alice eats the memories, sad memories taste bitter and so on. But Alice also says that they are necessary to make the perform the magic for the wish.

To approve a contract you need an agreement from both parties. The witch which agrees with the contract will have to follow through with the contract no matter what. To set an example of this, stories like Snow White, Cinderella and The Little Mermaid are used. Though Alice comments that she doesn’t really know what happens if you fail since she never has. Perhaps it’s like a pride thing.

If you somehow haven’t guessed by now, that’s where Yukinari’s mother comes in. His mother is a customer of Alice. During the shipwreck 7 years ago, Alice went to the beach and found Yukinari and his mother. At that point she offered her services to his mother, so she made the wish to “help Yukinari”. If it weren’t for his mother’s sacrifices, Yukinari really should have died at the shipwreck. And as a price to the wish, she has slept for the past 7 years and woke up missing a lot of her happy memories. Alice comments saying that his mother must have really treated his birth as something very precious.

Alice expected Yukinari to get mad but he didn’t and if anything, he thanked Alice which led to some more bantering but anyway the story isn’t done yet.

The problem with the wish made 7 years ago is that it was done in a rush, meaning that it was a little too vague. The wish made at that point wasn’t to “heal Yukinari” or something like that but to “help him”. The price Yukinari’s mother paid in order to save him was also far more expensive than what she received. Therefore Alice still needs to do something to help Yukinari in order to balance things out. But as far as Alice observed him, for all these 7 years, all the problems Yukinari encountered in his life he tended to solve them by himself. Thus Alice asked if she had any wishes, Yukinari denied saying that she doesn’t have any wishes to make thus ending Yukinari’s visit to Alice’s shop.

While leaving the store he passes by a girl who Alice called “Ange”, was really only passing by though.

Yukinari went to meet up with Sakura as scheduled and returned home, preparing dinner with much bantering and after it was relatively late, Sakura went back home. After she left, Youko pushed Yukinari to send her home since it’s dark, though she wouldn’t mind if he doesn’t come home at all for the night either.

Yukinari goes and catches up with Sakura at a beach (why am I reminded of the beach in Ef?) and after some talking, suddenly a shocking love confession from Sakura saying that she always loved him since they were little but now it’s too late because he’s already…

Sudden skinship and…

Oh it was an act.

With this as a chance, she reveals that she’s actually an idol and recently she managed to get a position in a movie of sorts that takes place in Kamakura which is why she has to practice acting. While at it, it’s probably worth mentioning that the reason she often tends to go around in a maid uniform is that her house is a café and her mother decided that if they wanted to make money, a maid cafe is the way to go. Thus walking around with a maid uniform is like a sort of advertisement for the café.

With events like such, Yukinari’s second day in Kamakura ended.

Moving onto the third day, it’s finally time to go to school.

Before arriving at school he met up with Sakura who is… for some reason going to school in a maid uniform. After splitting up at the hallway, Yukinari arrives at his classroom and generic male friend is introduced. I don’t even remember his name neither did I bother taking a picture of him and his childhood friend. Maybe at a later date if he plays a role of importance. For convenience, we’ll call the generic male friend A and the generic male friend’s childhood friend B for now.

He also notices the blonde twin tailed he saw when leaving Alice’s store in the same class room. After class A & B were supposed to guide him around the school but they were interrupted by the aforementioned girl who’s introduced as Hotaru. She claims that she’ll kindly guide Yukinari around school instead and thus A & B can go away. A & B decide to sacrifice agree, mentioning that Yukinari is very lucky to get her to guide him around the school.

She “guides” him out of the school-house to somewhere without many people passing by and begins demanding answers of Yukinari’s relationship with Alice. Somewhere along the way, Alice appeared without warning and helps Yukinari explain things. If you haven’t guessed by seeing her grumpy face, Hotaru is fairly sharp-tongued. Though according to Hotaru herself, if she recognizes Yukinari has an enemy then well… very bad things will happen. Meanwhile if he’s an ally she’ll let him taste heaven. According to Alice she’s pressing him with questions because it’s the first time she’s seen any customers besides herself. The entire mess led Yukinari to comment on why there isn’t any gentle and kind normal women around him which Hotaru responds with that it’s because a woman like that only exists in fantasies.

Though Hotaru hasn’t decided whether Yukinari is an ally or enemy yet (read as whether or not he will obediently listen to her orders) for time being the explanation is done and Alice leaves. They talk for a while after that and during that, a first year spots them and comes over.

Yukinari doesn’t recognize her because her atmosphere is far different from before but it turns out to be Yuzuki, the shrine maiden from before, who apparently entered the school as a first year.

She’s… fairly masochistic and enjoys being insulted and has taken a liking to Yukinari for that reason. Though she comments that she’d love Hotaru as well if she wasn’t a woman. Yuzuki recommends Yukinari to spend more time with Hotaru by all means so that Yukinari will be influenced by her and insult her even more.

And that covers most of the parts of interest during the third day.

I don’t know how I managed to make a rough summary of a simple three days so bloody long but what’s done is done, sigh. Anyway overall my impressions of Supipara is fairly positive. I’m just hoping it doesn’t become another Eden* and I’m seeing some potential for them to press the reset button on Yukinari’s memories at the end considering the beginning of the story which I didn’t include in the summary. Oh well it’s questionable whether or not I’ll follow this series to the end anyway. I’m just hoping they don’t pull a cliffhanger end. The few days following finishing reading World End Economica and Grisaia no Meikyuu were full of suffering for that reason.

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