A Little Lily Princess is a retelling of the classic novel A Little Princess in visual novel form with a Yuri Genre twist. It was released in May 2016 by indie developer Hanako Games under the label Hanabira (used for works not originally written by Hanako Games).
The game puts the player in the shoes of Sara Crewe, a girl who is clever, kind, has an amazing imagination, and loves to tell stories. Born in British India, Sara is sent by her beloved Papa to be educated in a refined Boarding School for Ladies in London. There she meets the headmistress Miss Minchin, the star student Lavinia and her best friend Jessie, the somewhat slow Ermengarde, the young and spoiled Lottie, her personal maid Mariette, and the Scullery Maid Becky. Sara will start forging relationships with them: friendships, rivalries, and even maybe love.
But fate is a cruel mistress, and soon unexpected events will turn little Sara's life upside down. What will happen to her, and will the bonds that she created with the other girls endure the hardships, or be shattered?
It's up to you to decide.
A Little Lily Princess contains examples of:
- Adaptation Expansion: While some bits of the novel are missing (like most of the Large Family), much of the cast gets greater characterization - in particular Mariette, Lavinia, and Jessie.
- Affectionate Nickname: Sara's father calls her his "Little Missus," and Lottie calls her "Sara-mamma."
- Adapted Out: Amelia, Minchin's sister from the original novel.
- All-Loving Hero: Sara, but a big part of the story involves questioning this: is she good because she's really a good person deep down, or simply because she's never wanted for anything and so never had any reason to feel displeasure? And sure enough, when she does lose it all, she finds herself struggling hard to maintain her original love and optimism.
- Alpha Bitch: Lavinia. In her route things prove to be a bit more complex, however.
- Ambiguous Innocence: Much of Lottie's route has to do with Sara figuring out how to treat her morality.
- Bawdy Song: Mariette gets caught humming one in French in her route, though the innuendos fly over Saras head.
- Berserk Button: Anything related to India is this for Lavinia.
- Break the Cutie: Sara is subjected to a long process of this in the second half of the game.
- Break the Haughty: Sara surpassing Lavinia and relegating her to a second place in everything has this effect in Lavinia.
- Cooldown Hug: When Sara finally realizes that Lavinia is desperate for her love and approval, she tries to calm her anger with one of these. It actually works at first - until Miss Minchin arrives and is horrified that a servant is grabbing one of her ladies.
- Dramatic Irony: In Jesses route. While Jesse struggles to understand the difficulty of Saras new life, Saras naivety keeps her from understanding why Jesse thinks becoming a dancer (like she wants) isnt much different than being married off to the older man who believes the Victorian stereotypes about red-haired women (like her parents want), and the problems that come with.
- Driven to Suicide:
- When Sara refuses to run away with her, Jessie resigns herself to never getting out of the engagement arranged by her parents, and decides that it would be awfully fitting for a tragic heroine if she were to throw herself into the river and drown herself. She walks away in the end, but not without staying out in the rain long enough to make herself very sick.
- When Becky almost falls from the tower in her route, and Sara is left clinging to her hand for dear life, Sara declares that if Becky falls she will fling herself from the tower as well. Becky is horrified because self-slaughter is a sin to Christians.
- English Rose: Discussed a lot in Lavinia's route, as she highly admires the archetype (a lovely pale-skinned English woman who is nice and well-mannered), and is determined to be one someday.
- Empty Eyes: Sara's reaction to the death of her father.
- French Maid: Mariette is a maid and she is French, but she completely subverts the saucy, sexy expectations, being more of a calm, older-sister Meido.
- Gayngst: Mostly avoided, despite the yuri themes, but explicit in Jessie's route. Because her family is relatively poor, they're relying on her marrying a richer man to earn them money. Because Jessie isn't interested in men, it feels an awful lot like she herself is being sold. Thus her friendship with Lavinia: she hopes that if she's good enough to her, Lavinia will choose her for her 'companion' and then she could stay with her instead.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Lottie, with her curly blonde hair and light eyes, looks exactly like the Victorian ideal of a good and beautiful child. Lottie uses this very much to her advantage to get what she wants.
- Half-Breed Discrimination: The reason Lavinia is so touchy about the subject of India.
- Have a Gay Old Time: Sara is called queer many times. Of course, even if you use the modern significance they're not quite wrong.
- Internalized Categorism: In Lavinia's and Jessie's routes, they both like girls but are miserable about it; Jessie because her parents want her to marry a rich man, and Lavinia because she's filled with self-loathing about not being a "proper lady."
- Karma Houdini: Despite her appalling cruelty towards Sara after her life falls apart, Miss Minchin's only punishment is that she misses out on the financial opportunities that being kind to Sara would have brought.
- Knight In Shining Armour: Sara comes to see Ermengarde in this way, due to her physical abilities and dedication to her. In fact, Ermengarde says that if she were a boy, she'd probably become a soldier, and be much better at that than she is at schoolwork.
- Love Epiphany: Happens to Sara when after almost losing Becky she realizes that she loves her in a romantic way.
- Missing Mom: Sara's and Lottie's mothers both died when their daughters were very young. Mariette's mother disappeared without a trace many years ago, and Mariette assumes she is dead. Becky's mother disappeared more recently and there's at least a strong chance that she drank herself to death.
- Mixed Ancestry:
- Mariette is visibly much darker-skinned than the other characters, and assumed to be part black, though it's only rarely brought up.
- Both Sara and Lavinia are part Indian.
- Pun-Based Title: The game loves its lily imagery, but, of course, lily also directly translates to Yuri.
- Rage Breaking Point: In Becky's route Miss Minchin making Becky cry is this for Sara. She just can't hold back anymore and confronts Miss Minchin. Which of course backfires horribly.
- Sheltered Aristocrat: Pretty much all of the schoolgirls are this to some extent, as becomes clear when Sara loses her status and none have the slightest idea just how bad things are for her now. Jessie is particularly noted for being rather ditzy, however, which is a little funny given that she's easily the poorest of the students.
- Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Jessie, though in this case, the plot first brings it up in the context of a period trope regarding redheads: that red hair indicates a lustful, fallen woman.
- Take My Hand: While trying to retrieve Miss Minchin's runaway cat, Becky falls off the church belltower and Sara grab her hand but is unable to lift her. Thankfully, the keeper eventually helps them.
- Spoiled Brat: Lottie, who has learned to get what she wants by screaming and playing on people's sympathies over her lost mother. Ironically, Lavinia at one point calls her out for it; Sara notes in her thoughts that Lavinia is not much better.
- The Story Teller: Sara not only has a talent for making stories, she also enjoys sharing them with the girls.
- Tragic Keepsake: Jessie gives a golden heart to Sara, intending for her to keep it even if they are separated - or if Jessie succeeds in going through with the suicide she's considering. Unfortunately, Sara ends up losing it when Lavinia reports Sara has stolen something and Miss Minchin searches her room.
- Unreliable Narrator: To an adult reader, it's clear that Lavinia's wildly vacillating behaviour towards Sara is due to her very confused feelings towards her (wanting to be close to her, but wanting to be a proper lady; wanting Sara to love her, but also wanting to feel superior over her) and probably a bunch of confusing adolescent hormones, but Sara doesn't understand any of this, so she simply views her behaviour as incoherent.
- Victorian London: Where Miss Minchin's boarding school is located.
- Yuri Genre: The interaction with the cast can go from non-romantic, to subtext, to full-on lesbian love.