Nakoruru ~Ano Hito kara no Okurimono~ (known as Nakoruru ADV overseas, literally meaning "Nakoruru: The Gift from That Person") is a Visual Novel developed by defunct company Inter-Let's for SNK for PC in 2001 and Sega Dreamcastnote in 2002. This game tells the story of one of the characters from SNK's popular fighting series Samurai Shodown: the girl Nakoruru. She comes from Kamui Kotan, a small village on Japan's most northern island, Hokkaido, which is populated by Ainu, a nation with its own culture and traditions. The time of the game is set somewhere between the fighting tournaments where Nakoruru participates. She comes back to her home village, but the village elder sense evil, and her friends are worried about her. This is where you enter the picture - you play Mikato, a little girl who was told by the village elder to keep an eye on Nakoruru. The relationship between Mikato, Nakoruru, and other village inhabitants form the core of the game's story.
Although was developed for an external company, various SNK's big names were involved on this game, to name two of them: character designer Senri Kita (Samurai Shodown 3D game seriesnote , V and the Pachinko game, as well other SNK games as various The King of Fighters and Garou: Mark of the Wolves) is the artist of the game; and seiyuu Harumi Ikoma, the voice of Nakoruru in the series reprised her voice for the visual novel and the anime.
Apart of the game, an anime adaptation was made in 2002 by ARMS Corporation, being the third anime adaptation on the Samurai Shodown series, after The Movie and Asura's Zammaden OVA (based on 64-2 game), all made by different studios. The characters designer was Yasuomi Umetsu, the man behind Kite and Mezzo Forte and was directed by Katsuma Kanazawa, a famous Hentai director who also made Ikkitousen: Dragon Destiny. Also, there're various Names to Know in Anime behind the voices of the other characters of the OVA. Originally intended to be a full 13 episode OVA series, this was cut down to 2 episodes due to limited funding. After the 1st episode was released however, the production of 2nd episode was cancelled, leaving this with only one episode.
This game was released in Japan only with no official translation overseas. However, there're FAQs that translated the game in case you want to play it anyway. A different case is the OVA, which was released outside Japan and is the only official release of this Spin-Off based on Nakoruru.
The official site of the visual novel is here (offline, hosted on Wayback Machine). There're articles on the SNK Wiki for both the game and the anime. For the visual novel, there's an entry on The Visual Novel Database and a page on Anime News Network for the adaptation.
For tropes about the exclusive characters, you can see the Other Games section in Characters page for Samurai Shodown. Nakoruru, as well Rimururu and Rera, can be found in the same page but in the 2D Fighting Games section.
Nakoruru ADV, the game and the OVA, contains these tropes:
- Aborted Arc: The anime pretended to adapt all the visual novel into a 13-episode series, but in the end it doesn't make more than just one episode.
- Adaptation Expansion: Apart of the whole new characters from the game, the OVA also shows Nakoruru's mother in a flashback when she was a child.
- The Anime of the Game: The OVA intended to be this, adaptating the full game into 13 episodes, but only served as introduction to this.
- Barrier Maiden: Nakoruru.
- Big Bad: Rashoujin Mizuki.
- The Cameo: This visual novel eventually had some legacy in future SNK games:
- The most known is Manari, Nakoruru's friend and a main character in the visual novel and the anime, who appears in various Nakoruru's poses in Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium (which also was released in 2001 just like this game).
- Characters from Nakoruru ADV are mentioned in various of the Days of Memories series, the SNK's Dating Sim games.
- Celibate Heroine: Just like in the main series with Galford, Nakoruru has her heart too, but can't fall in love because she's Married to the Job. In this case, she can't reciproce Yantamu's feelings even when she feels the same.
- Cheerful Child: Rimururu, as in the main series.
- The Chosen One: Nakoruru, as the only person that can fight Mizuki and save the village. Because of the powers she has, Mikato is chosen as Nakoruru's succesor once she gets Brought Down to Normal. She's confirmed as this when Nakoruru dies, and later when with the help of Nakoruru's soul and the Spirit of Nature, she slays Mizuki.
- Cool Big Sis/Onee-sama: Nakoruru is seems as this by Rimururu and Mikato.
- Demoted to Extra: Mikato is one of the secondary characters in the anime instead of being the Player Character as in the visual novel.
- Dub Name Change: Known as Nakoruru ADV outside Japan.
- Evil Twin: Rera. As in the SS series, she's more an Anti Heroine than someone evil.
- Hime Cut: A normal fashion between the girls of the tribe.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: The main plot is about Nakoruru fighting between her duties as Kamui Kotan's guardian and be a normal girl who can fall in love and make a normal life.
- Kid-Appeal Character: Mikato and Hokute, as well all the kids from Kamui Kotan (mostly seen in the anime).
- Love Triangle: Nakoruru, Yantamu and Manari, one of the main plots of the game and the anime.
- Miko: Even when she usually not wears the classic look, Nakoruru is intended to be this for her tribe.
- Orphaned Series: The anime intended to be a 13 episode series, but in the end only became one 30-minutes OVA.
- Our Fairies Are Different: After her death, Nakoruru appears in the form of a fairy to aid Mikato to slay Mizuki.
- Pet the Dog: Mikato, to Rera.
- Pilot: The anime becomes one, as it was to be a 13-episode anime series.
- Player Character: Mikato. All the game is from the point of view of her.
- Shout-Out: Part of Nakoruru's outfit seems inspired by her appearance as NPC fairy in Warriors Rage, also designed by Senri Kita.
- Shrinking Violet: Manari.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Nakoruru's tribe, Kamui Kotan, is also spelled as Kamuikotan in most of pages and traductions.
- Spin-Off: This visual novel (as well the anime) serves as a backstory for Nakoruru apart of the main SS games. Also, this is the first spin-off based on a character of the series, followed a decade later by Maid by Iroha/Koi no Iroha and Samurai Spirits Gaiden: Cham-Cham, Dating Sim games and a pachinko, respectively.
- Tagalong Kid: Mikato in the visual novel.
- The Stoic: Rera.
- The Storyteller: Manari comes from a whole clan of these, the Sinotca. They're very important in Kamui Kotan, since they mantain the told traditions via their songs.
- Tomboy: Rimururu.
- The Voiceless: Mikato in the game, the only character doesn't have a voice but dialogue only. Averted in the anime, voiced by Miyu Matsuki.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Rera.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Rera, facing Nakoruru everytime she doesn't want to use violence to save lives.
- Grand Theft Me: As in SSV, she took control of Nakoruru's body to kill instead to be killed.
- You Don't Look Like You: Nakoruru, Rimururu and Rera received more fitted designs as Kamui Kotan villagers which makes them look very different from their outfits of the main series.