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Visual Novel / Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu

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"What's more important to you? Would you rather follow your dream, or stay with your lover?"

Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu (君がいた季節, literally "The Season You Were Here"), also informally known as KimiIta, is the very first Visual Novel developed by âge in 1999, a few years before their rise to fame with Rumbling Hearts and Muv-Luv, sharing a loose relation with both. It later got a full remake in 2011, with a brand new art, new soundtrack, new characters and heroines.

1998, in an unnamed district of Tokyo. Masaki Maejima, now in his last year of high-school, prepares himself to enter the professional world. Outside of class, his main hobby is photography, being passionate to the point he decided to become a professional photographer for a living. Thanks to a chance encounter earlier in the year, he began working part-time as an assistant under Mitsuko Kouzuki, a famous model and photographer, who recognized his potential and talent.

Masaki has 4 childhood friends – Yayoi, Michiru, Marika and Akira - colloquially known as the Isumi Sisters, who lent him one of their family's apartments, located next to their main house. As adulthood approaches, Masaki thinks of setting up with a girlfriend, and his choices will make him pursue a special relationship with one of the four sisters, each with their own plans for the future and beyond.

As he began to enjoy his life with his newly found lover, he meets Mitsuko's own mentor, an American photographer of legend by the name of Helmut Newton-John. One thing led to another, and Masaki is given the unique opportunity to be his apprentice, working full-time in New York. However, given that accepting such an offer will lead him to leave Japan for an undetermined amount of time, he's plagued with doubts on whether a long-distance relationship would be possible for him. He now has a life-changing decision to make – does he follow his dream or does he stay with the person who he loves most in this world?

While not as popular and ambitious as âge's flagship titles such as Rumbling Hearts and Muv-Luv, Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu presents itself as a classic Romance Game with a more lighthearted tone and plot, essentially being a Coming of Age Story focusing on the life and hardships of young adults, and their first steps into professional working life.

Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu features the following tropes:

  • Adoption Angst: The crux of the emotional conflicts in Marika's route, replacing her rapist Psycho Lesbian Stalker with a Crush classmate in the original. Her original plot gets referenced in a yuri Imagine Spot H-scene early in the remake VN.
  • Beta Couple: Mutsuki with Keisuke, in Marika's remake route.
  • Canon Invasion: The remake adds several characters from Muv-Luv, all of them featured in Michiru's route during her visit in Hakuryo High-School.
  • Cherry Blossoms: One of the first dates between Masaki and Michiru involves them walking on a road filled with these, as they were walking towards Hakuryo.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: Masaki made one to the four Isumi sisters some time ago, without realizing the implications as a child. Needless to say, it comes back in full force when he's about to graduate from high-school.
  • Coming of Age Story:
    • The overall theme of the story, which involves Masaki and his love interest getting thrown into adulthood, and depicting the various harships of maintaining a relationship while being a full-time worker.
    • Akira and Marika Isumi's routes in particular have a greater focus on what it means to be an adult, with all the responsability and maturity that comes with it.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Haruka's accident is alluded to during Munakata's route in the remake.
    • Inverted from Rumbling Hearts: Yayoi is Takayuki's landlady and first appears in an age-based anime in the adaptation of that visual novel.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Being the youngest sister, Akira Isumi has a hard time understanding what becoming an adult actually involves, to the point of complaining to his boss Mitsuko in her route, mistakenly believing to be behind his decision to leave for the US. She gets better over time.
  • Pseudo-Romantic Friendship: While there are plenty of teasing between Misae and Touko, not helped by both of them claiming to be each other's wife, it is eventually revealed in their respective routes that they are extremely close friends, but would not consider themselves lovers.note 
  • Seasonal Motif: Each of the Isumi Sisters have a corresponding season: Yayoi (spring), Akira (summer), Michiru (autumn) and Marika (winter). The bulk of each sister's corresponding route proper also take place during her corresponding season.
  • Senior Year Struggles: The first part of the game is about Masaki's plans after leaving school, and furthering his relationship with one of the Isumi Sisters before going to the US.
  • Shared Universe: Several of the locations of the remake, such as the Sky Temple restaurant and the amusement park, come from Rumbling Hearts and Muv-Luv respectively, and it also features several characters from the latter.
  • Story Branching: The choice of route is relatively straightforward, depending on which of girl you spent the most time with. During the second part of the game, all but one route have a second split between Masaki's current Love Interest or another character closely related to her. Misa is the one exception, requiring to read an additional scene on Akira's route before entering it.
  • The Remake: The 2011 remake looks nothing like the original game from 1999 due to the new art, dynamic character sprites and sleek colors. It also replaces the complex choice and map system with its dozens of endings and variants for a more streamlined plot, fewer choices and a single ending for each Love Interest. Finally, four new heroines were added: Yuri Tohno, Misa Aihara, Misae Munakata and Touko Kazama..
  • Two-Act Structure: The story is divided into two main parts, the first being more of a Romantic Comedy with Masaki choosing a Love Interest, while the second, following a timeskip of varying length, is more about Masaki managing his relationship with her.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Essentially most of Masaki's friends and the Isumi reactions to him dating Akira of all people, being the youngest of the bunch and lacking maturity, among other things.