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Visual Novel / Da Capo

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Nemu, Junichi & cherry blossoms

Asakura Junichi is a 15 year old boy who lives on the (fictional) island of Hatsunejima, where the sakura trees blossom all year through. He seems pretty ordinary, but he has magical powers, which he himself views as fairly limited. He can see the dreams of other people and produce Japanese sweets out of the blue. He has a sister, Nemu, with whom he attends the same class in middle school. Although people think they are twins, they are actually not blood relatives. Their bond is very strong, inciting people to think that they are lovers.

One day a new transfer student is welcomed to the school: Yoshino Sakura, Junichi's cousin, who returns home after having been in the USA for six years. Sakura immediately stirs things up since she is hellbent on letting Junichi keep his childhood promise to her. This is especially troublesome, since things between Junichi and Nemu have started to become much more serious in the time since Sakura left—and Junichi appears to have promised something to Nemu as well.

The story gets even more complicated when it is uncovered that the old, big sakura tree in the middle of Hatsunejima holds a magical grip on the island and its inhabitants. As the significance of its influence becomes clear, a dramatic story slowly unfolds, so what at first started as a lighthearted harem comedy becomes much more serious and intense as the series progresses.

The anime, which is called in full D.C. ~Da Capo~, is based on a Visual Novel that was released by Circus in 2002. The anime itself was aired in 2003. A sequel, called D.C.S.S.: Da Capo Second Season, has been released in 2005 and yet another one, called D.C.II ~Da Capo II~, set two generations later, was aired in 2007. The sequel's success incited yet another sequel in 2008, called D.C.II S.S. ~Da Capo II Second Season~. There is also a spinoff featuring Sakura Yoshino (Time Paladin Sakura) as a Magical Girl; and an otome game called D.C. Girl's Symphony ~Da Capo Girl's Symphony ~ which is set at the same time as Da Capo II, and even features Nanaka as a minor character.

... And then D.C. III ~Da Capo III~, the sequel to D.C. II and the third "Da Capo" game in the series, was released. It follows another protagonist with surname 'Yoshino' and a new cast of characters. Unlike the first two series, D.C. III was initially released as an 'All-Ages' game (15+), with an erotic version to follow. It also got an anime adaptation in January 2013.

In 2019, D.C.4 ~Da Capo 4~ was released, following in the shoes of III in that it was first released as an all-ages title, with an 18+ version following in 2021.

The name "Da Capo" is a musical term, meaning "from the top" and refers to the often looping story lines in the original game.

The series' success hinges largely on the well-balanced characters and interesting plot lines combined with nice, classically-tinted music, since the animation quality doesn't generally rise far above average. For viewers who like a good mix of silliness and well-written melodrama, the series is definitely worth a watch.

Please note: Examples from the visual novels should be listed for the clean versions only.


  • A-Cup Angst:
    • Nemu at times shows when Junichi mentions her chest.
    • Sakura, who is quite bothered by her flat chest.
  • Arranged Marriage: Tamaki was engaged to Junichi by her parents due to a prophecy of some sort related to the Magical Sakura Tree.
  • Beach Episode: A common staple of rom-com anime.
  • The Beard: Mako asks Junichi's help to get rid of her female admirer.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • Sakura wished Nemu out of the way between her and Junichi and the sakura tree indeed does just that.
    • Subverted in Innocent Finale. Nemu falls ill just as Kotori was going to confess to Junichi, forcing Junichi to take care of her. As her condition worsens, Sakura deduces what's happening and confronts Nemu about it: the sakura tree is granting her wish of wanting to have Junichi always by her side, by making her fall ill so he must be there to take care of her at all times. Nemu's reaction is basically to say she knows, and that's okay, because it is keeping Junichi by her side. She eventually dies from her wish.
  • Become a Real Boy: Miharu searches for her memories to become more human.
  • Becoming the Mask: Mako's fake relationship with Junichi eventually turns into a real one. At least, in her VN route, of course.
  • Bifauxnen: Kanae.
  • Big Eater: Miharu. She especially likes anything with bananas in it.
  • Bishōnen: Suginami, from all three games.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Miharu's route. It'd practically be a downer ending if it wasn't for the fact that Junichi now appreciates Miharu a lot more than he did before.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: There is one in the post episode trailer.
  • Bokukko: Sakura refers to herself as "boku", although she is not exactly a tomboy. Kanae uses ore.
  • Brother–Sister Incest:
    • At first, until Nemu and Junichi were revealed to be not related by blood.
    • Kotori's friend, Kanako Saeki, gets her nickname Mikkun from her love for her older brother, Mikihiko.
    • Kotori herself at one point remarks she wishes she had an older brother. Considering she said this just after meeting Nemu, that Kotori can read minds, and her friend Mikkun, this has interesting implications...
  • The Cameo: Sayaka from Suika pops up randomly in the VN during a visit to the cherry blossom trees. Junichi has "no idea who she is, but she seems familiar". Da Capo originated as something of a spinoff from a Suika bonus scenario.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Kotori during Season 2. Aisia even calls her out on in episode 15, but Kotori later says that she's okay with him being with Nemu.
  • Cat Girl: Yoriko Sagisawa.
  • Cat Smile: Sakura has one from time to time.
  • Cat Up a Tree: An encounter with one of these shows up in the game after Yoriko and Miharu's scenarios are unlocked. The choice here determines which route you get put on. The Miharu option has Junichi encouraging her to get the cat herself and then walking away...and Miharu falls from the tree and gets severely injured. Oops.
  • Chaos Architecture: In the DC anime, the Mizukoshis have a huge western-style mansion. However, in DCSS it suddenly has become a Japanese-style house.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The letters play an important part during the last episode of Season 2 to help Nemu and Junichi remember their feelings for each other.
  • Cherry Blossom Girl: Sakura has more than a passing association that makes her name meaningful.
  • Cherry Blossoms: All year long! And that's the first clue that something's really wrong in Hatsunejima. Namely, every time the magical sakura tree is working, you can expect things to go down soon. Extensive to all the franchise.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Miharu is unlucky even in her own route. Sakura is also the second heroine.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl:
    • Nemu. In the Visual Novel Sakura or Nemu will act this way if you pursue the other ("I don't care who you like if it isn't me so long as it isn't her" for both).
    • Nemu again in Innocent Finale, this time not wanting Kotori and Junichi to hook up and turned up to eleven.
    • Both girls show this in the anime, particularly Sakura. Gets particularly nasty in episode 20.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Moe, who walks to school sleepwalking while playing a xylophone. Justified: Moe wished to the sakura tree to see a dead friend, and the tree complied in her dreams. Since then Moe is always taking sleeping pills to have a chance to see her friend again.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Aisia who tends to misunderstand anything that Junichi says concerning her use of magic.
  • The Confidant: Kanae only gets to act girly around Kotori.
  • Crossdresser:
  • Cross-Popping Veins: Nemu and Junichi do this quite often when they're irritated.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Kotori seems to suffer from this due to her mind reading abilities.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Yoriko. She makes going down the stairs without falling face first a difficult task. In the game, what clumsiness she exhibits is mostly doing housework, which she had no experience at doing. However, she does quickly learn how to do it properly.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: According to the Visual Novel, Nemu's sickness is actually caused by Sakura (intentionally or not) because she is "getting in the way" of her and Junichi.
  • Depending on the Artist:
    • Junichi suffers from this, not having a defined face in the original VN. The most blatant example happens between season 1 and 2 of the anime.
    • Mako has green hair in the first season of the anime, but teal in the second season and the visual novel.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Junichi has several scenes like this in Kotori's route. Eventually, it turns out that no, he didn't. She just read his mind.
  • Discretion Shot: During Junichi and Nemu's kiss. And subverted one episode later.
  • Do Androids Dream?: A large question in her arc is if Miharu dreams, and how human she really is.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
  • Drop-In Character: Sakura, who climbs through Junichi's bedroom window. Also Suginami, who can appear anywhere anytime.
  • Emotionless Girl: Alice has issues directly expressing herself until the end.
  • Fanservice: Innocent Finale is basically a love letter to Kotori fans everywhere. It's rated for all ages though, so there's not much in the way of sexual fanservice. The second Kotori fandisc, "Kotori Love ExP" makes up for the lack of sex overall.
  • The Gadfly: Junichi gets called out on it at the beginning of Innocent Finale, though he was actually just trying to change the subject.
  • Gender Flip: Da Capo Girl's Symphony, a reverse harem game (aka "otome game"). Unlike many of the Da Capo games, there is no version of Girl's Symphony with explicit content.
  • Generic Cuteness: If bishoujo and bishounen isn't enough already...
  • Headbutt Thermometer: Junichi pulls this on Nemu frequently due to her habit of pretending she isn't sick when she really is. She's extremely in love with him, so she wouldn't mind... if it weren't an actual headbutt. Ouch.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: In episode 14 of the second season, Suginami gives a "love confession" to Junichi.
  • Idiot Hair: Nemu.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills:
    • Tamaki, who's aim is so good her shots save the day from any disaster with the help of some Spider-Sense (part of her Miko abilities).
    • Seemingly subverted when Aisha questions her about her feelings for Junichi while she's practicing, and her next shot misses the bullseye, then she starts firing volleys arrows frantically without even bothering to aim. Turns out the arrows formed an almost perfectly shaped heart.
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: An unnamed woman wants to take Sakura home.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
    • The drama from the second season arises because of one character's failure to understand this concept.
    • It's pretty evident that when Nemu reappears in the second season, Kotori is not happy to see her, since it truly blows her chance with Junichi.
    • Aisia gets confused with this initially during the middle of Season 2, but after hearing the various girl's answers as to whether they like him or not in episode 16, she seems to begin to understand their feelings with this trope.
  • Kid from the Future: In the White Season side story of Kotori's route, a little girl named Hina (Junichi and Kotori's daughter from the future) suddenly appears in the present time, when those two are still in school.
  • Kissing Cousins: Junichi and Sakura in the Visual Novel, if you choose her route.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Liberally in the original Visual Novel. Junichi has an odd tendency to consider his life with thoughts like "Sakura, girls with a relationship with oniichan only exists in games" or comparing Mako's dislike of horror movies to one of the main heroines in a dating sim.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The climax of the second season had Aisia making a wish causing everyone to forget that Junichi and Nemu were together.
  • Late for School: Junichi's daily habit.
  • Leave the Camera Running: Applied in one dream sequence.
  • Lethal Chef: Yoriko, and Nemu (at least for the original game and first season)
  • Little Sister Heroine: Nemu, the main heroine. A definite tsundere example, she tends to be extremely clingy, especially if she has to compete with Sakura and, in the Da Capo Innocent Finale, Kotori.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Misaki and Alice. Both routes focus around getting them to be more confident and open up.
  • Love Epiphany: Aisia has one during episode 16 of Season 2 after some of the other girls ask her if she likes Junichi, particularly Alice.
  • Love Triangle: Sakura and Nemu both get upset if Junichi goes for the other and try to get in the way. Kotori and Kanae offer a double subversion because in Kotori's route Junichi thinks Kanae may be competition for her, but in actuality both are interested in him.
  • Magical Girl: Sakura, the main character of the spinoff Time Paladin Sakura.
  • Mangaka: Nanako.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Alice's doll Piros talks. It is suggested that this is ventriloquism using auto hypnosis at one point, but the timing of when Piros started to talk, the circumstances under which it does and Alice's protests imply that Piros' ability to speak may have come from the sakura tree instead.
  • Meaningful Name: One of the characters is called Sakura. Coincidence?
    • Not to mention Nemu and Junichi's last name it Asakura. (Although it might be a different spelling...)
    • The Yoshino cherry tree is widespread in Japan and certain regions of the Americas.
  • Meido: Yoriko.
  • Memento MacGuffin: The bell Junichi gave to Nemu as a kid.
  • Miko: Tamaki.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: Kotori at first plays this straight due to the stress and headaches it causes her, but ends up averting this pretty hard. The dramatic portion of her path centers on how she has no idea how to interact with people without reading their minds when she loses the ability. Additionally she uses her power almost entirely to help her be nice to people and make friends.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Junichi in Kanae's route.
  • Mistaken for Pregnant: Junichi accidentally mistakes Kotori for this near the end of her route.
  • Mood Whiplash: Halfway through the first season the viewer gets a warning that things will become much more serious. And boy, do they ever...
  • The Mourning After:
    • Moe. She once had a boyfriend who died in an accident. Using a wish on the Magical Sakura Tree, she takes sleeping pills so that she could dream of him, which explains her unusual "sleeping habits".
    • In the OVA, Junichi is implied to have been like this since a year earlier, when Nemu passed away. Only with the help of his friends is he able to pull through. Furthermore, the OVA focuses on his efforts to move on with his life, to find happiness with Kotori.
    • Innocent Finale, being what the OVA is based on, also features this trope prominently.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Despite Sakura's multiple warnings, late in Season 2 Aisia wishes to the tree that everyone would be happier if Junichi and Nemu weren't together. At first it seems good, but then Aisia begins to see that despite her wish, people are still sad, and seem more depressed than when the two were together.
  • Ocular Gushers: Comes with Generic Cuteness.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Suginami, who is capable of appearing just about anywhere at almost any time.
  • The Ojou: Mako, Moe, Misaki and Alice.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • The parents are mentioned, but are never seen.
    • Kotori was literally abandoned by her parents, who left her alone as a child on Hatsune Island and hoped for the best. Luckily she ended up Happily Adopted, but she's very bitter at her birth parents.
  • Parody: Da Capo contains several exaggerated elements common in dating games of its time. The ever-blossoming sakura trees are an obvious poke at the constant appearance of sakura blossoms in such games. Miharu's falling out of a tree and going comatose may be a reference to Kanon. Suginami is THE singular male friend. Sakura's young girl body is another such exaggeration. There are many more, but most important satirical point is how the story uses the Woniichan-moe convention to hide Nemu's affection for her brother so that we never see it coming. It thus defied and criticized a convention of the time which forbade Brother-Sister incest in most games despite liberal amounts of sibling affection.
  • Porn with Plot: The original game is very much this. Not to mention the sex scenes are very sparse, making it seem like they were added to boost the age rating.
  • Recap Episode: At regular intervals.
  • Red Herring: All the hints, especially from her behavior, that Yoriko is actually a cat turned human. She's actually a very sheltered human girl...who swapped bodies with a cat turned human.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Did they really need to make Miharu capable of the sensation of losing her virginity?
  • Robot Girl: Miharu.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: In the anime, technically all of the girls except Nemu fit this trope, but the most glaring one is Kotori, who gets to spend the most amount of time with him out of the other girls, but doesn't get to be with him at the end. Averted In the Da Capo If 2 episode series however, which is an Alternate Universe where Nemu is really dead and Kotori becomes the Love Interest for Junichi.
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: In the second season, Aisia tries to force Jun'ichi to use magic by disturbing a beehive. The plan fails when he simply grabs her and runs instead.
  • Screw Yourself: One of the game's cg involves Miharu doing stuff with her "robot clone".
  • School Idol: Kotori - she's even explicitly called such by the main character in the Visual Novel.
  • Second Love: With Nemu's implied death in the OVA, Junichi finds new happiness with Kotori.
  • Second Year Protagonist: Junichi's age is left somewhat vague, but the basic points of the trope stand; he has younger and older love interests, is used to the school and not about to graduate.
  • Secret-Keeper: Kotori's mind reading told her that Kanae was a girl.
  • Selective Obliviousness: It's not that Junichi doesn't know how Nemu or Sakura feel. He's just doing his best to not think about it or deny it outright.
  • Shipper on Deck: After Kotori accidentally lets out that she still likes Junichi in episode 14 of Season 2, Aisia tries to hook up Kotori and Junichi. It doesn't work the way she intended since Kotori doesn't want to shake up the status quo by telling him she loves him, and ultimately accepts that she'll be happy so long as Junichi is happy with Nemu. This only seems to further confuse Aisia until the next episode.
  • Shout-Out: During the beginning of Yoriko's route in the VN Junichi mentions random possible 'encounters' he might have, the second being his cousin who lives in a town covered in snow for the first time in seven years.
  • Show Within a Show: The slasher movie which is briefly shown in episode 12 of the original Da Capo.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Sakura, at least in the beginning. Nemu and Mako have their own pesky admirers.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: In episode 16 of Season 2, when Aisia starts asking/spying on some of the other girls if they like Junichi, most of them start spouting random stuff as if to deny it.
    • Tamaki, blushing while practicing archery, claims she doesn't like him, but somehow shoots a heart pattern out of the arrows without looking.
    • Nanako meanwhile works on a manga in which she appears as the main heroine, and the male character looks suspiciously like Junichi, which Aisia bluntly asks, and she answers truthfully since she was busy drawing. Once she realizes what was asked, she also starts to invoke this trope.
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: Junichi falls for Kanae before learning she's a girl.
  • The Anime of the Game: Notable in that the 2003 anime was the first ever 2-cour (24-26 episode) adaptation of a visual novel.
  • Third-Option Adaptation: DCIF, the Kotori fandisc, is based, of course, on the Kotori route. However, it splits off right before Kotori confesses when Nemu gets sick. For the various scenes it contains, you can see all the heroines and there is the implication that apart from the romance all of their routes were gone through ie. Misaki is at Junichi's school, Alice is friends with Miharu and Junichi and Izumiko isn't wearing the bear suit.
  • Third-Person Person: Miharu refers to herself in third person.
  • Vague Age: A rather strong example since it's obvious that unlike most visual novels, this is actually taking place in a middle school.
  • Verbal Tic: Sakura tends to use "nya" a lot.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Junichi's ability to make japanese sweets is seen as useless, and his ability to see dreams outright annoys him because it deprives him of sleep. However, considering the genre it may count as Heart Is an Awesome Power instead because the former allows him to make friends and the latter gives him needed information about his love interests.
    Junichi: I can only make Japanese snacks. I am a bullshit magician.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Nanako is afraid of goats because they keep eating her work.
  • Wind-Up Key: Miharu has one, and needs to be wound up occasionally.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Moe and Tamaki. Kanae is also pleased to hear that Junichi kind of likes them.
  • Yandere: Sakura develops the crazy look on her face briefly in episode 26 while also simultaneously wishing for Nemu to lose all her memories. However, she quickly snaps out of it.