"People's paths through life are ultimately connected in the form of a ring."
Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shoujo, roughly translated as Wheel Country, Sunflower Girl, is an eroge developed by Akabeisoft2.The game takes place in a country where law is based upon deterrence and criminals are assigned "obligations" fitting for their crimes. If a criminal disobeys an obligation, they are sentenced to live their lives in a concentration camp, where most die before finishing their prison term.Within this society, a man named Morita Kenichi aspires to the position of Special High Class Individual, one who holds authority over said criminals and is in charge of rehabilitating them to become productive members of society.For the purpose of fulfilling his ambition, Kenichi returns to the hometown that has long since forgotten him.To finish his training, he must rehabilitate three girls, two of which are childhood friends. All come with personal issues by the bucketload.A fandisk has been released titled Sharin no Kuni, Yukyuu no Shounenshoujo, roughly translated as Wheel Country, Boys & Girls of Eternity which includes all the epilogues for the heroines of the original game plus The Houzuki Chapter which sheds light on Houzuki's own story & bring the original, almost Bolivian Army Ending to a close.A Fan Translation was released by the TLWiki in 2009 and later a translation for the fandisc was released as well.
This show provides examples of:
Abusive Parents: Touka's biological parents, Oone Kouki and Oone Sachiyo. However, they do improve make an honest attempt to improve their lives, and even try to regain custody of Touka, starting the main conflict of her route.
Arc Words: "What should I do?" in Touka's chapter.
The Artifact: In the fandisc epilogues, the obligations are no longer really part of the plot and thus the fact that this is supposed to be a world alternate to our own becomes slightly inconvenient with slightly awkward situations like Kenichi explaining to Sachi that the place they're going is just like Europe from the Sci Fi novels.
As You Know: Strange example. The 'as you know' stuff is actually about our legal system and customs, while you have to pick up bits and pieces of theirs and put it together because that's what is really common knowledge.
Badass: Houzuki. Kenichi. Heck, each girl get their badass moment.
Be Careful What You Wish For: In the fandisc In Ririko's epilogue, she gets more and more upset about how Kenichi really did grow up and learn to do all those things he couldn't as a kid. It makes her feel unneeded and useless as well as apparently not really feeling like his big sister.
Big Damn Heroes: Part of Special High Class Individual training must be about pulling off this trope, considering how often Kenichi does this - Chapter 5 has him doing it several times in a row, in addition to earlier occurrences. Isono, of all people, also has a knack for just happening to be in the right place at the right time with the tools Kenichi needs.
Kenichi: "Oh well. The more tsun she is now, the more dere she'll be later."
Touka: "You're doing that muttering thing again..."
Subverted. He was really talking to Ririko the whole time, just indirectly because of the Maximum Penalty. The only time the fourth wall is really broken is in regards to a dream Touka has that is from Kenichi's point of view. She says that it's confusing to the readers.
Brother-Sister Incest: Ririko was rather teasing when Kenichi was young. And by teasing we mean BDSM play, though they never actually had sex. She's also one of the possible endings, though you have no way of knowing this until you're almost finished with the story.
Cassandra Truth: Kenichi often makes throwaway references to things like being wealthy or having fought in a war, which the girls tend to pass off as just Kenichi being weird. They're all true; Kenichi managed a company to immense financial success and is actually a decorated war veteran.
Catchphrase: Kenichi, Sachi, and Touka all have them, and they're all lampshaded and played with to hell.
Cat Smile: One of Sachi's more common expresses is a somewhat subtle cat smile.
Chekhov's Armoury: Ohhh yeah. The game even flashes back to all the hints about Ririko when The Reveal is made to make it not seem like an Ass Pull. If you play through this twice you'll be amazed at all the hints at future twists and character's pasts.
Chick Magnet: Granted, it is an H-game, but all the main girls will fall in love with Kenichi by the end of the game no matter which one you choose. Kenichi is also aware of his good looks. Special High Class Individual training actually requires being one as one of the tests was to get names and phone numbers from a number of random women in the street in a short space of time.
Childhood Friend Romance: Natsumi and Sachi are both Kenichi's childhood friends and potential romantic options. Natsumi's closer to the Nice Girl variation, while Sachi's closer to the Tsundere / One of the Boys version, though neither fits perfectly. For various reasons they don't realize or accept they've previously known him until he outright tells them, though.
Child Prodigy: Mana is implied to be one, but lacks the proper opportunities due to being a foreigner. Until she gets shipped 'home' that is.
Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Isono, who talks to fairies (which exist entirely in his imagination since this isn't one of those types of games) and often changes subjects every sentence. Kenichi is also sometimes considered one of these in-universe but the audience knows better, being able to follow his trains of thought via flashbacks and internal monologue.
Crapsack Only by Comparison: The government makes life pretty terrible for the main cast over the course of the game, but rates of crime and socially destructive behavior throughout the country are implied to actually be very low, and obligations such as the ones the heroines labor under quite rare, when compared to imprisonment in our world.
Crazy-Prepared: Subverted with Houzuki, who admits that he really isn't as prepared for everything that can happen as he acts and is instead manipulating the events so his preparations are useful. But played straight with Kenichi's faked drug addiction.
Usually in a really evil way, such as Natsumi's chapter where he attempts to drive her to suicide, since she won't give up her love for Ken, and he can't force himself to push her away, which is standing in the way of her "rehabilitation" and Kenichi's passing of the SHCI exam. If she's dead there's no longer a need to rehabilitate her, right?
Depraved Bisexual: Ririko seems to have plenty of... interesting memories of her days spent "training" both Ken and Touka.
Despair Event Horizon: The girls very nearly crossed that line when Kenchi seemed to have surrendered himself to Houzuki after 1 month of inprisonment. Good thing he was Crazy-Prepared.
Doomed by Canon: Anyone that has read the original visual novel will know that Masaomi won't have a happy ending on his own route.
Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: While not full-on rape, in flashbacks we see Ririko doing some extremely sexually questionable things to Kenichi when he was younger, making anything to do with consent rather tricky. He does have some issues with sexuality as a result, but he still cares deeply for his older sister in spite of it.
Downer Ending: Not the story as a whole but Sachi's route ends with her failing and Mana being taken away. In Sachi's ending you do see the two reunite.
Flower Motifs: The town is surrounded by a huge field of sunflowers, which provides a backdrop for many important events of the game. Additionally Kenichi refers a few times to one or more of the girls as the "sunflower girl(s)" in the dialogue, and the sunflower has potent symbolism in-universe, as demonstrated in one climatic scene.
Forced to Watch: The whole town is forced to watch Natsumi's public execution. Or at least they would have been if it had gone according to plan.
Freak Out!: Natsumi has one, when she realizes that Kenichi is indeed Higuchi Ken. She did not want him to see her living such a miserable existence.
The Gadfly: Kenichi loves to tease and make sarcastic remarks at everybody but Natsumi (which a few of his targets note frustratedly.) Interestingly he also follows the original definition of the word as well. To motivate the girls to work to throw off their obligations, he intentionally disrupts the lifestyles that they've adopted to adjust to them, or goes out of his way to bring up uncomfortable past events that they've just swept under the rug.
Gag Boobs: Evidently any weight accumulated by Sachi due to her lazy lifestyle went to her breasts.
Generation Xerox: Much as he would hate to admit it, Kenichi acts just like Higuchi Saburou minus the flirting. Natsumi is also very similar to Saika Mina, Ririko is another Saburou clone and Houzuki Masaomi has become a less evil Houzuki Ari.
Genre Savvy: Kenichi, and Isono to some extent. Kenichi will often point out things that happen in manga and anime before doing it. One of the most notable examples is when he goes to get Touka at dinnertime. Before he goes inside her room he calls out to her a few times but gets no response. As he puts his hand on the doorknob we get this:
Kenichi: "...Hold on!" Yeah, wait just a second. This was one of THOSE situations, wasn't it? I'd seen this sort of thing before in sci-fi novels. The girl on the other side of the door was in the middle of changing her clothes. And she was going to scream "Gyaa!" as soon as I entered. Yeah, that had to be it! But, for the sake of my own growth, it would be proper... nay, necessary for me to grow accustomed to such scenarios!
Graceful Loser: After a couple relatively minor, yet personal victories over Houzuki, Kenichi is confronted just as they reach freedom. However, instead of stopping him, he tells Kenichi he can do what he wants with his life and even gives him the MacGuffin he could use to totally reform society if he wanted to.
In that moment, Houzuki seems to show a hint of his humanity; acknowledging that he has been bested, that the student has surpassed the teacher. It seems that he finally respects Kenchi as an equal, and as the son of his close friend, Kenchi's father. That reason kept Houzuki from killing Kenichi when they first met.
The fan disk gives more reasons for Houzuki's motivations, why he kept Kenichi alive, and why he went to such lengths to try to make Kenichi into a man who could stand at the top of society.
Green-Eyed Monster: One of Ken's classmates from the flashback can't take rejection very well.
Guile Hero: Kenichi's learned a few tricks about manipulating people.
Handicapped Badass: Houzuki is an old man with a cane and a limp in one leg, but he can probably beat the shit out of you in a moment. Especially since he's been faking the limp for seven years.
Has Two Daddies: Ken, and also a mommy in the form of Miina. Or at least that's how Saburou tries to sell the idea to Houzuki when he shows at the house with baby Ken and suggests they all raise him together.
Saburou: "I don't think there'd be anything more wonderful than having them ask us which daddy gave birth to them."
Masaomi: "I am not sure I share your sentiments."
He goes along with it in the end, of course. He and Saburou both raised Ken at different points in his life.
Heroic BSOD: Natsumi's default state. During the periods Kenichi lives with her, she spends much of her time just sitting in a corner, staring at the wall, zoning out and trying to escape reality.
Hero-Worshipper: Sachi and Isono both idolize Higuchi Saburou, even though he's dead and might as well be the Anti-Christ according to the government. Isono even went so far as to build an exact replica of his house to live in.
Hey, That's My Line!: Sachi gets annoyed at Kenichi for using her morning catchphrase - "All right! Today I'm going to give it my all at full power!" - twice. On the other hand, when he tries using Touka's - "I'll murder you!" - he only gets blank looks... because the people he says it to either refuse to admit it or are a dream of his.
Innocent Cohabitation: Not having a place of his own to stay, he moves in with whatever girl he's rehabilitating. This causes some misunderstandings with others when he's living with Sachi, who's rather... aggressive. And, of course, you can make it not so innocent...
I Will Wait for You: Natsumi - the first thing we learn about her is that she's waiting for somebody to return, in spite of everybody telling her they'll never be back. It's Kenichi, or rather, Higuchi Ken - she doesn't recognize him and he doesn't admit his real identity. Her relationship with this trope is a bit complicated, though.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In the fandisc Sachi epilogue, the paint Sachi was accused of plagiarizing appears. He's rather grumpy and clearly does believe she was copying him. After a few semi hostile confrontations with her, he drops by to interrupt her painting one more time... to say that she needs to apply another layer of paint because in the low humidity climate they're in the paint will fade otherwise, making her fail a competition for the same reason he did.
Kiss of Death: Kenichi delivers one to Sachi, using it to administer her sedatives per her obligation. While she's trapped under a rock in a cold damp cave. subverted, immediately afterwards, as Kenichi immediately runs off to get digging tools and spends all night digging her out.
Love Triangle: If you pick Sachi or Touka there are scenes indicating they feel a certain amount of rivalry with Natsumi. They even break off the relationship temporarily in order to facilitate Natsumi's rehabilitation.
Luke, I Am Your Father: Houzuki is actually Kenichi's father. He never tells this directly to Kenichi, thought he might eventually but it isn't clear what happens after his epilogue. Nonetheless it serves as a reveal to the readers.
There are hints in the original game that kinda point to this: 1) Higuchi Saburou said that Ken and Ririko weren't blood related at all. 2) Houzuki's almost unnatural obsession with Kenichi, even if you assume that Ken is his best friend's son. 3) While Houzuki pretty much beat the crap out of everyone else, he refuse to harm Natsumi. The reason is, as he stated himself, Natsumi reminded him too much of Kenichi's mother. 4) Kenichi is a lot like Houzuki, just a lot friendlier, while Ririko and Sepia act more like Saburou.
Marry Them All: One possible ending, the one where you don't pick a heroine, is a harem ending. The girls all note that hey, Kenichi's father did it and everyone was happy, right? There are no adult cgs for it, though.
Mind Rape: Don't get into a staring contest with Houzuki. Seriously. Heck, don't even talk to him. And never, ever, listen to his advice.
Moment Killer: The government pacification of the town in response to Higuchi Saburou's rebellion began just as Natsumi was going to confess she liked Ken. Bad timing...
Mood Whiplash: The earliest example, not counting Eri who we barely knew, is probably the Amnesty Festival. Talking, laughing and having fun ending in Kenichi getting the shit beat out of him by Houzuki.
Moral Dissonance: The plan to rescue Natsumi could very well have resulted in the police opening fire on the crowd if they hadn't gotten lucky. Granted, due to capital punishment being banned, Natsumi's public execution would have greater ramifications than "merely" Natsumi's death, but the willingness to put a bunch of nameless civilians at mortal risk for the sake of one named character is a bit discomforting.
Moving the Goalposts: Houzuki fakes that a diplomat wants to buy Mana and sets a price that Sachi has no hope of meeting to keep her. However, Sachi just got a massive diamond, so she cashes that in. Houzuki promptly asks for more money because the point was to get Sachi to make a painting and sell it. So... it wouldn't be that bad if Sachi had had time to finish the painting, but she fails at the last moment.
My Greatest Failure: During Saburou's rebellion while he was a child, Kenichi, along with Sachi, Natsumi, and Isono, helped the rebels while they were all besieged in Mt. Morita. Kenichi, however, became lost one day, decided to run for it, and surrendered to government forces. He was so ashamed of what he (and Sachi and Isono) considered his betrayal that he took on a new name, and his desire to atone for it drives much of his actions.
Necessarily Evil: Done by Kenichi. And possibly Houzuki as well. The government itself may consider the obligation system in this light.
Not So Different: The reason why Isono fell in love with Kyouko is stated to be because her mentality is similar to Isono's real mentality.
Obfuscating Insanity: Isono deducted Kenichi's real identity ages ago. He just uses his delusional mindset to hide the fact that he knows way more that he should, but sometimes his mask gets cracked enough for Kenichi to find out the whole deal. Kenichi also fakes being deranged, with self medication via narcotics.
However, Isono does have some delusions, such as believing in faeries, as shown by the bonus disk.
Official Couple: Natsumi and Kenichi. The main story line only changes slightly depending on what girl you pick, and Natsumi's chapter comes off somewhat awkwardly if you aren't pursuing her ending.
They are officially the official couple as the epilogue Houzuki's story in the fan disk takes place after the events of the original. In that epilogue Kenichi tells Houzuki that he and Natsumi were planning to get married soon.
Parental Abandonment: Touka's the only character to even still live with any parental figure at all.
It doesn't stop once the credits have rolled; as the main character and his friends are all somehow exonerated from punishment by the government, and allowed to return home:
In Natsumi's epilogue: Natsumi is freed from her obligation and no charges were pressed for her resisting and escaping arrest. She is allowed to return and to live in town with Kenchi/Ken in peace. Houzuki is probably doing this to cover his own ass, rather than out of the goodness of his heart. We have to remember that the public execution he attempted to carry out is actually illegal even under the country's harsh judiciary system.
I think the fandisk pretty much nixes that theory on Houzuki's motivations.
And I'm glad for being proven wrong.
In Ririko's epilogue: Her obligation, the Maximum Penalty (which is almost never withdrawn), was lifted, allowing her to help Kenchi/Ken to run for president several years later. Kenchi suspects that Houzuki plays a role in getting her released.
In Touka's epilogue: Touka's surrogate mother, Kyouko, is released early from a political prison, as her release was likely fast-tracked by Houzuki.
In the Harem epilogue: All Kenchi/Ken's friends were allowed to return to their hometown a year after, with no incident. Ririko and Natsumi's obligations were lifted, and Ririko is now allowed to return to university in the city. Again, Kenchi/Ken suspects Houzuki must have played some part in this. It is highlighted that Houzuki withdrew Public Security Police from the area, and he himself left shortly afterwards to respect the small peace Kenchi/Ken and his friends have regained.
Protectorate: Natsumi is Kenichi's - one of the first things he does in the game is threaten to kill Houzuki if he does anything to her. To his face.
Though he really does stop kicking once the epilogue rolls around.
Rebellious Princess: Saika Mina, from the fan disk, is from a very wealthy and strict family of Shinto priests but wanted freedom so she indulge in what would be considered rebellious youth culture, such as hip-hop music that uses vile languages to criticize authority and the government. She even wrote rap music and sang them (as imposible as it may be to imagine someone with her personality to do). It would not be such a big deal if it were not for the prestige of her family, and this is the cause of her obligation.
The obligation eventually got lifted but was re-instigated for the same offenses. Houzuki mentions that he betrayed her, which may be part of the reason why she does this. She is sent to a concentration camp, leaving her son, Ken, in Higuchi Saburou's care.
School Uniforms are the New Black: Mostly justified - people with obligations are required to wear their patches indicating them prominently at all times so that other people may treat them accordingly, and Houzuki's ordered that his approval is required before any of the girls wear another outfit to ensure compliance. As for Kenichi, he's living out of a suitcase and can't carry more than he truly needs.
Selective Obliviousness: Isono figures out who Kenichi really is, and Sachi is always slightly suspicious about it. Natsumi, on the other hand, absolutely refuses to think about it or acknowledge it.
Show Within a Show: An unnamed "sci-fi" book series has some popularity and is read avidly by several characters. It chronicles the societies of our world, which is of course fictional in theirs. Kenichi often uses this to highlight differences between reality and the in-story world.
Shrinking Violet: Natsumi, most obviously. Higuchi Ken, that is, Kenichi as a child, not so obviously.
Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The game is a struggle between Kenichi, who believes that humans are redeemable, noble and strong, and his mentor Houzuki, who believes humans are weak, foolish, and should be controlled.
Stepford Smiler: Kenichi. It upsets Natsumi, the only one to really catch on.
Sunny Sunflower Disposition: Not surprising this trope would be present given all the sunflowers around, though it might be surprising that Natsumi would fall under this... before, and after snapping out of, being broken anyway.
Take That: Kenichi outright says that the Japanese are too conservative, and that it isn't a good thing.
That Man Is Dead: Played with, in parallel to Kenichi's character development. Kenichi initially distances himself from his identity as Higuchi Ken, ashamed of his past weakness, but eventually accepts it, due to the fact that only Higuchi Ken could make Natsumi happy again. Houzuki's goal is arguably to get Kenichi to play this dead straight and break with his past utterly and finally.
There Are No Therapists: Averted - Isono claims to have seen one (and been declared mentally unsound), and it's logical to both Kenichi and likely the audience that resolving the girls' psychological issues would be crucial to properly rehabilitating them (which is his actual job).
And when Kenichi acts as more of a therapist to Natsumi than... whatever it is he's supposed to do, he gets yelled at by Houzuki for not doing his job and proving she wasn't emotionally manipulative or a seductress.
Theme Music Powerup: Any time "Watch Out!" starts playing, Kenichi's about to do something awesome.
The Power of Love: The only thing keeping Natsumi from killing herself is her love for Ken and the hope that she'll be together with him again some day. Houzuki's realization of this is why her obligation is not lifted, despite knowing it was falsely given to her - the obligation's name, "Prohibition of Falling in Love" is literal.
Thinking Out Loud: Kenichi does this occasionally. But some of the time he doesn't. He uses it as an excuse to communicate with his sister without violating her obligation. It's not entirely clear which is which because the speaking with his sister like this has gotten him into the habit of speaking his thought aloud.
Title Drop: When Sachi finally gets serious about her painting, Kenichi thinks that her figure would make a fine painting of its own. It would be titled 'Sunflower girl.' However, the title also clearly refers to Natsumi as well, though that is metaphorically.
Training from Hell: The PAQT is one due to the fact that it's rumored to result in casualties occasionally. The rumors are confirmed in Touka's bad end when Kyouko dies during her PAQT, causing her daughter to lock herself up in her room while living off of junk food and gropingherself.Training to be a Special High Class Individual (under Houzuki) is literally this - one cadet is shot dead at the very beginning of the game for being late to an appointment.
Houzuki has a very strange fixation on turning Kenichi into a Special High Class Individual ASAP. The execution of Eri takes another meaning entirely. He was simply disposing of a potential threat to his objective. If she'd made it on time, do you think he would have sent her to be examined elsewhere? No. In Boys & Girls of Eternity, it's revealed that everyone else in the final test is either disqualified or "lost contact" with Houzuki . Eri had a few days more to live because of an incident in her fandisc chapter.
‹bermensch: The ideal of the Special High Class Individual, best exemplified by Houzuki, who gives precisely no shits about society's norms and laws except to the extent that they can be used to manipulate others in pursuit of his own ends. He plays the whole cast like a fiddle for the vast majority of the game, and is a figure of quite some status beyond "merely" a Special High Class Individual.
The Unfavorite: Kyouko was treated badly by her family due to being born of a different mother than most of her siblings, which is why she treats Touka the way she does and (at least partially) explains some of her bizarre idiosyncrasies such as utterly refusing to cook or banning Touka from entering the kitchen, let alone cooking.
Unperson: Since they don't have the death penalty, they instead have a variant of this as their great punishment. The Maximum Penalty forces people to not acknowledge someone's existence and act as if they don't exist. This is why although the class laughs when the underwear in Kenichi's case is spilled everywhere he doesn't explain why it's there and the class doesn't hold it against him. He obviously has to do Ririko's shopping.
Unwanted Harem: At the beginning of Sachi's route after a confession Kenichi asks Mana if she knows what a harem is. To his surprise, she does. And then assumes he must be making one and asks if she can join.
Uzuki (after Kenichi walks in on Touka sleeping naked in the bath): Good heavens. This script employs too many cliches...
Your Princess Is in Another Castle: The credits roll after Sachi's route finishes. For most VNs this would be an appropriate enough place to have credits, but the story is structured so that one route follows another in a certain order.