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Video Game: Harukanaru Toki No Naka De
Harukanaru Toki no Naka de (loosely "Within the Expanse of a Distant Time") is a series of otome games developed by Ruby Party and published by KOEI. It is a part of the NeoRomance label, which also includes Angelique and La Corda d'Oro.

The basic premise involves a female Ordinary High-School Student — often accompanied by a couple of friends — drawn into a parallel world that bears a strong resemblance to historical Japan during the Heian (and later - Bakumatsu) Period, where a lot of traditional Japanese/Eastern myths and beliefs have a material form, coexisting peacefully with some of the more generic element-based spells. (It was hardly, if at all, identified as Japan until later games: most characters tend to only refer to the setting as "another world".) There, the girl assumes the position of the Miko, or priestess, of the Dragon-God, a deity believed to be capable of saving people from current disasters. On her quest to complete the mission, she is accompanied by eight attractive young men called the Hachiyou (lit. "Eight Leaves"), who gain their powers from The Four Gods.

While the plot of the original game (and to a greater extent its manga/anime adaptations) has been accused of plagiarizing noted as having a lot of similarities to Fushigi Yuugi (or, sometimes, InuYasha), the franchise definitely stands on its own, and the later entries actually managed to improve the premise enough that it no longer feels "borrowed". Each of the five main games features a new set of characters and a new conflict, so the series doesn't get too repetitive while still keeping (loosely) the same general theme.

This series consists of the following games, sorted by the main stories:

First story (Miko - Akane Motomiya):

The "original" storyline featuring the Miko and her two friends from school having to save Heian-Kyou from the ambitions of the powerful Oni Clan who want to rule the city on their own.

  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de (2000-04-06 - PS, 2002-08-23 - GBA)
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Banjou Yuugi (2003-06-26 - PS)
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Hachiyou Shou (2005-04-01 - PS2)note 
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Iroetebako (2005-04-01 - PSP)
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Maihitoyo (2006-09-21 - PS2)note 
  • Pocket Scenario Series: Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Maihitoyo (2006-11-30 - Nintendo DS)

Second story (Miko - Karin Takakura):

Skipping a hundred years (on the parallel world timeline) from the first game, the second one employs the new Miko from "our" world to sort out a conflict between the emperor and the retired emperor which brought chaos to Kyou once again.

  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 2 (2001-09-28 - PC, 2002-02-28 - PS2, 2005-06-30 - PSP)

Third story (Miko - Nozomi Kasuga):

Skipping a hundred years again, this time the three summoned characters arrive into the parallel world right in the middle of what is clearly an equivalent of the Genpei War, and have to side with the Genji in order to bring an end to the battles.

  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3 (2004-12-22 - PS2)
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3 - Izayoiki (2005-09-22 - PS2)
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3 - Unmei no Labyrinth (2006-03-23 - PS2)
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3 with Izayoiki Aizouban (2009-03-19 - PSP)
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3 - Unmei no Labyrinth - Aizouban (2009-10-22 - PSP)

Fourth story (Miko - Chihiro Ashihara):

This entry abandons the historical theme in favour of the mythological origins of Japan, thus technically acting as a prequel to the series. The conflict is now between two countries in another world, the Miko being an amnesiac princess of one of them who didn't know about her past before getting involved with the story.

  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 4 (2008-06-19 - PS2/Wii, 2010-12-22 - PSP)

Fifth story (Miko - Yuki Hasumi):

The latest entry in the series, which returned to historical themes yet managed to get Tainted by the Preview due to skipping over to the Bakumatsu Period (therefore marking itself as a rival to Otomate's Hakuōki franchise) and replacing the main voice cast. Unusually for the series, it doesn't have the heroes permanently Trapped in Another World, but allows for travelling between the modern and historical settings.

  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 5 (2011-02-24 - PSP)

"Hybrid" games:

Apart from the main series' canon, there are also games based around a What If?-type story that puts the cast of the first three main games together into a Dream Land setting.

  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Yume no Ukihashi (2008-08-21, Nintendo DS)
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Yume no Ukihashi Special (2009-01-29, PS2)

Adaptations:

The original game spawned a 17-volume manga authored by the series' character designer Tohko Mizuno; originally published by Hakusensha in LaLa magazine, it ran from July 1999note  to January 2010 (shifting to LaLa DX in February 2007). There are also extra chapters dedicated to the second and the third game, and an entire extra volume concerning the fourth one. The manga is licensed in North America by VIZ Media under the title Haruka — Beyond the Stream of Time.

The popularity of the franchise led to creation of several anime adaptations:
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de: Ajisai Yumegatari (OAV, 2 episodes, 2002-2003)note 
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 2: Shiroki Ryuu no Miko (OAV, 3 episodes, 2003-2005)note 
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de: Hachiyou Shou (TV, 26 episodes, 2004-2005; aired on TV Tokyo. There are also two OAV episodes released under the title in 2005.)note 
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de: Maihitoyo (theatrical movie, 2006)note 
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3: Kurenai no Tsuki (TV special, 2007; aired on KIDS STATION)note 
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3: Owari naki Unmei (TV special, 2010; aired on AT-X)note 

In addition, two live-action stage plays based on the franchise were made in 2008 and 2009, Harukanaru Toki no Naka de: Maihitoyo and Harukanaru Toki no Naka de: Oborozoushi. The former, as the title suggests, is an adaptation of the theatrical movie; the latter is a completely original storynote , still starring the cast of the first game.


Harukanaru Toki no Naka de franchise contains examples of the following tropes:

"Core" tropes (related to the concept in general):

  • The Anime of the Game: See the list above. Of course, there's also a manga in the mix, but it in itself is supposed to be an Adaptation Expansion of the original game.
  • Bishōnen & Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Like with other otome games, this is the point of the series.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Maihitoyo movie. Suefumi's relationship with Akane was doomed from the startnote , but consider that the alternative outcome for him was apparently to be exorcised by Yasuaki...
  • Calling Your Attacks: The Hachiyou. This includes Combination Attacks.
  • Cutting Off The Branches: Inverted. The "default" pairing is the Hachiyou in the position of the Seiryuu of Heavennote . However, chronology-wise, the only game where the choice arguably matters is Haruka 4, due to its "prequel" nature. Furthermore, the remake of the first game added an ending for a character whose "branch" was already cut by the sequel.
  • Elemental Powers: The Hachiyou. Twofold, actually, since the power assortment comes from both the Five Elements (pair) and the Eight Trigrams (individual).
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: We swear, it's not Time Travel, just Another Dimension that happens to look like ancient Kyoto! This concept works very well for justifying any historical disrepancies (including allowing the creators to use as much of the era setting detail as they want while safely skipping over anything that would look too gross in an otome game). Though even the "fantasy" part is derived from very real eastern mythology and religions.
  • Fish Out Of Pseudo-Temporal Water: Though they adapt quickly enough. It helps to have history classes, after all.
  • The Four Gods: The power source for the Hachiyou. Although they were more or less important to the first storyline, later plots put them completely out of the focus. On the other hand, Haruka 5 went so far as to give them pretty-looking human forms...
  • Historical Beauty Update: Blackened teeth, whited out faces, and eyebrows drawn on in the middle of the forehead were requisites for beauty in the historical Heian period. Of course, as noted above, the series has its parallel world setting to justify the discrepancies... but there still, are a few characters who comply with the historical standard. They're too bizarre-looking to be anything but Played for Laughs. Then there's a number of characters in Haruka 3 and Haruka 5 who are based on actual historical figures, with predictable results...
  • Miko: Well, they're called that, at least; although Akane does wear a typical miko outfit in anime at some points.
  • Multiple Endings: The games, obviously, but also Hachiyou Shou TV and Owarinaki Unmei, via DVD Omake.
  • Power Crystal: The Dragon Gems (gyoku) that Hachiyou have on their body are used for attacks and provide a Psychic Link with the Miko (whose gem is implied to be inside her). After Haruka 3 the Gems do not necessarily appear on the bodies of the Hachiyou, but still play an important role in the games.
  • Third Option Adaptation: None of the anime adaptations have a clear-cut ending, despite the existence of the de-facto "default" pairings. Subverted with Hachiyou Shou TV and Owarinaki Unmei, where, instead of just sticking with an "open" ending, you are allowed to make your own choice.
  • Trapped in Another World: The series' premise, easily confused for Time Travel if not for the fact that the characters occasionally do discuss the actual matter between each other.

Elemental Powers elaborated:

Other tropes:


HakuōkiRomance GameHakuōki
HakuōkiRomance GameHakuōki
Gitaroo ManCreator/KoeiInindo
Gate KeepersDating SimHarvest Moon
Hanasaku IrohaNo Dub for YouHatsukoi Limited
Haruhi SuzumiyaMangaHaru Natsu Aki Fuyu
Heart of DarknessPlay StationHarvest Moon
Happy SevenAnimeHaruhi Suzumiya

alternative title(s): Harukanaru Toki No Naka De
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