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Visual Novel / Nurse Love Syndrome

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Nurse Love Syndrome is a Yuri Genre Visual Novel developed by Kogado Studio and published by Degica. It was released for the PlayStation Portable on September 29, 2011 in Japan. It got an expanded version titled RE:Therapy for the PlayStation Portable and PC on June 28, 2012, which was later remastered and released worldwide on April 18, 2019 on the Play Station Vita and PC through Steam and again on December 26, 2019 for Nintendo Switch. A physical release is available for the Switch from Limited Run Games.

Kaori Sawai is the newest member of the Yurigahama Hospital staff. As a survivor of a deadly accident from her childhood, Kaori is determined to become a nurse and help others like she herself was helped. At Yurigahama Hospital, she will encounter all sorts of characters: her upperclassman Nagisa Fujisawa, the energetic Yasuko Yamanouchi, the strict head nurse Hatsumi Otsuka, the barb-tongued patient Sayuri Sakai, the cheerful high school student Ami Asada, and the enigmatic Mayuki Wakamoto.

Nurse Love Syndrome has a sequel called Nurse Love Addiction, which takes place in the same world but has a new cast of characters and its own self-contained story.

Nurse Love Syndrome contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents:
    • In childhood, Sayuri's mother was emotionally distant and just barely gave her enough to survive which is why she developed her ice queen personality. During the main story, Sayuri's mother visits to simply make sure Sayuri gets her inheritance after she's discharged on the condition she severs all ties with the family.
    • Part of Yamanouchi's backstory of neglectful parents.
  • A-Cup Angst: None of the characters actually suffer this, but Yamanouchi loves to roleplay them like they do.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Sayuri starts off incredibly harsh and hateful towards Kaori, rejecting attempts to befriend her. She slowly becomes friendlier over the course of the story.
  • Apologises a Lot: Kaori, given she's a new nurse she often has to apologize for making frequent mistakes. Sometimes she just apologizes because she doesn't know what else to say. Sometimes Sayuri calls her out on this trait.
  • The Atoner: When Kaori finally comes face-to-face with the one responsible for her childhood accident, she learns he had done everything he could to make it up to both her and Hazuki's families for what he did. Hatsumi also explains that his devotion was so sincere, her mother ended up marrying him after he lost his first family to divorce.
  • Audience Surrogate: As the new nurse, a lot of procedures and medical terminology are explained to the audience through Kaori. This has the drawback of making her seem far more incompetent than she is when even patients know more than she does on matters learned in a basic first aid course outside of nursing school.
  • Bathtub Bonding: During one of Kaori's Heroic BSoD events during a heavy rain on Hatsumi's route, Hatsumi takes her into her shower to warm her up and holds her to help her calm down.
  • Bonding Through Shared Earbuds: As Kaori grows closer to Mayuki, she's offered this.
  • Burial at Sea: Sayuri's Bad Ending results in her body rejecting her bone marrow transplant. Kaori picks up her lifeless body and walks out into the ocean with her to lay her to rest.
  • Cathartic Exhalation: To calm herself down, Kaori often does this. It also has the side effect of letting Hazuki take over her consciousness and often give someone a needed verbal smackdown so they leave Kaori alone.
  • Character Tics: Kaori occasionally has the habit of placing her hands against her chest to calm down. In reality Hazuki’s consciousness within Kaori temporarily takes over.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Nagisa's bad ending. Nagisa keeps Kaori chained up in an apartment somewhere so that nobody else can have her. Even in her normal route she falls into this as she was intentionally frighting Kaori with mysterious calls and threatening emails to make her more dependent on her.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Chief Hatsumi Otsuka is a brilliant nurse but also known to be a little spacey. She forgot to mention to Kaori the nurses have a designated room to store and change into their uniforms.
  • Cooldown Hug: Kaori is most often on the receiving end of these when someone, usually Nagisa of Chief Hatsumi, needs to pull her out of a Heroic BSoD when something triggers the trauma from her accident.
  • Cue the Sun: A somber example happens during Sayuri's bad ending as she succumbs to fever.
  • Da Chief: Hatsumi runs a tight ship and sometimes comes down a little hard on her nurses, but is still a kind person willing to do what's best for the patients and nurses in her care.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Yamanouchi reveals to Kaori about her troubled home life growing up and Sayuri's mother was abusive while growing up and into her adulthood as well.
  • Death Seeker:
    • Mayuki knows that she will die within three years and relies heavily on Kaori's Healing Hands to reduce her pain. The difference between her Normal and Good Endings is her attitude in thinking she can simply be healed vs. changing her mindset and wanting to live again.
    • In Sayuri's Good Ending path, Clarice is one due to social isolation and being bullied for her appearance.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Sayuri initially treats Kaori extremely venomously, constantly belittling her for every mistake she makes. On her route, she starts becoming friendlier and eventually pulls a complete 180, becoming Kaori's very doting girlfriend.
  • Dirty Old Man: Yamanouchi has all the traits, despite being a woman who probably hasn't even hit 30 yet.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Yamanouchi does not like being called Yasuko. Turns out it was the name of an ex-girlfriend of her father.
  • Double Take: Kaori's reaction the first time she sees just how messy Chief Hatsumi's apartment is. She even closes the door and opens it back up to confirm that what she was wasn't an illusion.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • In Nagisa's route, the stress she's under causes her to threaten to jump or to go through with it if the player doesn't stop her. However, she still survives the fall.
    • Part of Yamanouchi's backstory reveals her mother hung herself after being hounded by debt collectors.
    • In Sayuri's Bad Ending, Kaori carries Sayuri's body into the sea to lay her to rest with the follow-up text greatly implying that Kaori intends to drown herself so they can be together.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Yamanouchi often calls Nagisa "Horseysawa" because of Nagisa's tendencies to make long exasperated sounds.
  • Extreme Doormat: One of Kaori’s main flaws is that she does absolutely nothing to be proactive in her job or her personal life. She gets called out on this by nearly everyone depending on the current route when she starts getting stalked and becomes so afraid to leave her room that she skips out on work. Most everyone tells her to do anything about it ranging from blocking unknown numbers to going to the police, and she had considered exactly none of those options.
  • Face Death with Dignity: In Sayuri's Bad Ending, she knows she's about to die and spends her final night sitting on the shore with Kaori until she falls asleep and passes away peacefully.
  • Face of a Thug: The man with the scary face who keeps appearing before Kaori throughout the story and she thinks is out to kill her turns out to be not only the (very apologetic) man who was responsible for her accident as a child, but also Chief Hatsumi’s adoptive father. Kaori learns he’s actually a big softie after she overcomes her fear of him.
  • Foreshadowing: It’s no coincidence that Kaori accidentally called Hatsumi ”Sis” in the prologue.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Kaori is most-often on the receiving end of this when she nearly shuts down upon having to give end-of-life care to a patient who dies. In Hatsumi's Good Ending, she has give one to Sayuri.
  • Gratuitous English: Clarice, a half-Japanese patient during Sayuri’s Good Ending, doesn’t have a full grasp of the language and peppers her speech with English phrases before repeating herself in Japanese. The English text renders it in Italian.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: When Sayuri departs the hospital in Hatsumi’s Good Ending, she departs with “Hasta la vista.”
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Nagisa loves to down several beers in an evening. Though Kaori can throw a few back herself.
  • Healing Hands: Kaori's touch can soothe the pain of other people, to the point where quite a few are convinced she has actual healing hands, though Kaori thinks they're just experiencing the placebo effect. Kaori can do this because she has Hazuki's organs implanted in her since Hazuki herself possessed strange powers when she was still alive.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Kaori especially suffers these depending on the story route. In the main story, strange mysterious phone calls trigger her past trauma about her car accident and make her fear for her life. In some routes, seeing the first patient in her ward die proves to be difficult for her to cope with at first.
    • Nagisa in her route, having a bad working environment after transferring to surgery.
    • Sayuri gets one in Hatsumi's Good Ending route when she has her first patient death just a few days into the job and it was an old man she grew close to while she was a patient. She needs to find a safe outlet to cry both before and after work.
    • Ami is locked in one in her Bad Ending due to breaking her wrist and never being able to play her instrument as well as she could before.
  • I Hate Past Me: Sayuri in her Good Ending deals with a child patient who reminds her entirely too much of how she acted during her own time as a patient and becomes determined to not let her go through the same pain.
  • Idiot Ball: While Chief Hatsumi's ending is considered the "Golden Ending" (as it's the only one to fully resolve the girl in Kaori's dreams and the scary-faced man, and requires multiple other Good Endings to unlock), Kaori grabs the ball hard in two ways: First, unlike the other routes with a Time Skip, Kaori isn't much better in her job in her third year than in her first and feels like any development she had got thrown out the window. Second, Hatsumi is Mistaken for Cheating when Kaori thinks she and Sayuri are kissing when Sayuri lost her first patient- an old man she knew and cared about when she was a patient- just three days into the job and Hatsumi was there to support her when she was off the clock and could properly mourn.
  • It's All My Fault:
    • Hazuki blames herself for not being strong enough to save Mayuki in the latter's Bad Ending.
    • Kaori herself in Ami's Bad Ending due to being responsible for the accident that led to Ami breaking her wrist and losing her musical ability.
  • The Jailbait Wait: In Ami's good ending, Kaori insists they have to wait for her to graduate high school before they can kiss or be openly romantic. Not the case in Mayuki's romance ending, even though Mayuki is physically younger (but mentally older).
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While she's taking it out on the wrong person, Sayuri is right that assigning Kaori to her wasn't the best idea. Their personalities clash way too hard and both cause Kaori plenty of stress when she's not used to the job enough to handle it, which places Sayuri at risk by association.
  • Love Makes You Stupid: Invoked by Sayuri during Hatsumi’s good ending when Kaori and Hatsumi accidentally refer to each other on a First-Name Basis during work in front of everyone.
  • Merlin Sickness: Mayuki is aging backwards and becomes a baby in her bad end.
  • Multiple Endings: There are thirteen main endings: a good ending and bad ending for each of the six love interests, and a "common ending" where Kaori doesn't really hook up with anyone. There are also several other bad endings that don't roll the credits or earn achievements (in the Steam version), such as not preventing Nagisa from jumping off the roof.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In Mayuki and Hatsumi's routes, Kaori comes down on herself hard for entirely forgetting about her best friend Hazuki from childhood.
  • Mystical White Hair: Mayuki's hair is a sort of blue-silver, contrasting with her apparent youth, and is the character most directly tied to mystical phenomena.
  • Not Me This Time: In Nagisa's route, Kaori is unhinged due to the actions of her stalker and thinks someone is out to kill her. At one point, she gets pushed down some stairs and that only magnifies her collapsing mental state. While the narrative makes the reader believe that her stalker, Nagisa, was responsible, the Good Ending reveals that it was a patient playing a mean-spirited prank on her and Nagisa punched him when he was unapologetic and laughing about it later.
  • Ocean Awe: Sayuri hasn't visited the ocean before because of her health. She finally gets the chance in her story route, in both her good and bad endings.
  • The One That Got Away: Sayuri's Common Route ending. Sayuri feels she just can't open herself to Kaori and leaves.
  • Older Than They Look: Mayuki looks like she's under twelve, but is actually forty-five.
  • Otaku Surrogate: Yamanouchi draws manga in her spare time. In her story route, she's considering going at it full time.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: Some of Kaori's relationships go this way, depending on the route.
    • During her Good End pursuit of Hatsumi, Kaori suspects Hatsumi is cheating on her. She's not, she's just giving instruction to Sayuri and, in one case, helping her mourn after losing her first patient just three days into the job.
    • A darker version during Yamanouchi's bad end. Kaori would rather be in an unhealthy relationship.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Chief Hatsumi is strict with her nurses but also wants to unlock their full potential. She is also excellent at dealing with unruly patients and sincerely wants them to prioritize their recovery. While she will lock the door to the roof if Kaori tells her Ami was practicing up there, it's also hard to disagree with her reasoning (as Ami should not have even been going outside alone due to her condition, but would be allowed to with an escort when possible).
  • Rooftop Concert: During Ami's story route she will play her instrument on the rooftop for some of the staff and patients.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!:
    • A lot of friction between Yamanouchi and Chief Hatsumi is focusing on the wishes of the patients vs. the good of the hospital. This comes to a head in Yamanouchi's route when the main conflict involves an elderly patient being kept alive on a respirator against his personal wishes but at the request of his family and doctor.
    • The final choice in Ami's route boils down to this as Kaori must decide on sneaking into the hospital to visit Ami while she and Nagisa are serving a three-day in-house suspension. Deconstructed at the same time as, if Ami's Bad Ending is locked in, the "doing what's right" decision makes things worse.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Kaori was not a very good student at nursing school and most of the story is her having to face up to the fact that, yes, what she was supposed to be studying in school has real world applications with grave consequences if she doesn't take her work seriously.
  • Sitting on the Roof: Ami and Sayuri are fond of going to the roof in their story routes. For Ami she can practice her instrument up there without disturbing the others and Sayuri will go there alone to think or play with a little girl in the ward.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Mayuki doesn't appear at all outside of any routes that aren't hers, but her route also reveals she's the primary reason why the hospital everyone works at exists in the first place, allowing for all of the events of the game to happen.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Sayuri. She's very, very spiteful and venomous to both Kaori and Nagisa, but she's very sweet to Hatsumi. She also ends up making friends with Yamanouchi, Ami, and the entire children's' room pretty easily. What prevents her from being a tsundere is that despite her 180 in her own route, she legitimately hates Kaori, and hates Nagisa by association.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Nagisa's Good Ending resolves the issues of nurses in the surgery ward hazing and bullying new arrivals and transfers as those responsible are fired and the ward's Chief and Head nurses resign in disgrace. That also creates a critical staffing shortage for a good while that relies heavily on part-timers, temps, and pulling in nurses from other wards to fill the gaps.
  • Tough Love: Chief Hatsumi's main method of dishing out punishments and discipline. Best illustrated early on when an elderly patient soils herself in an improperly-set diaper in front of her family so she tells Kaori and Nagisa to defecate in hospital diapers themselves to understand the patient's embarrassment. Even Hatsumi didn't expect them to actually do it, and is amazed if they do.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The digital manual with the Vita version shows Sayuri in her nurse uniform, which only happens after the Time Skip in a handful of Good Endings. She spends the vast majority of the story as a patient.
  • Trash of the Titans: Hatsumi keeps a very messy apartment and seldom throws anything out.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Nagisa feels this way about Kaori in most routes you'll follow.
  • Wham Line: When Kaori finds Sayuri at the beach after the latter had sneaked out of the hospital in her Bad Ending.
    Sayuri: It's over for me. The transplanted marrow's rejected me and has started attacking my cells.