Shimokura Baio (下倉バイオ) returns with another ingenious visual novel that will fuck with your mind. From the first glance, Kimi to Kanojo to Kanojo no Koi (Your Love for Her and Her) seems like a run-off-the-mill romance story with some mystery undertones, mainly coming in the form of rambles from the seemingly delusional Aoi (pink haired heroine) who insists that the whole world is just a game. It wouldn’t be Baio, however, if the things didn’t eventually turn out to be completely fucked up.
He seems to have improved much since Sumaga with both of his dialogue and prose flowing a lot better this time around, and pacing issues, which nearly ruined Sumaga for me, almost completely gone. While the actual “romance” in this story is not exceptionally interesting, with both Miyuki and, especially, Aoi lacking a proper fleshing out of their motivations, I still found myself completely captivated by the plot that kept hinting at various odd things that I couldn’t quite figure out. The whole “fishy”, “not right” atmosphere of the story is actually quite similar to Subarashiki Hibi, my favorite visual novel, and while Totono is definitely nowhere near as mind-blowing as that work, I’d still probably assign it to the same “mindfuck” genre.
The only route available from the start is Miyuki’s, and don’t be let down by its briefness and outright failure to illuminate a few important issues, like the usual “why the fuck is she in love with the protagonist?” or “how come the two aren’t dating already?”, as it’s nowhere near the extent of the whole story, or even that of Miyuki’s, in fact. I recommend screwing around as much as possible, trying various alternative choices, before getting into Aoi’s route, as once you do, the fourth wall will start breaking apart and the game will start playing *you*.
There is just no way to discuss Totono any further without spoiling anything, so I just say that it’s probably among the most unorthodox and thought-provoking visual novels I have ever had the chance to read. It might not offer top-notch romance, it might not offer amazing action, and it might not be the strongest in the “feels” department, but it does a fantastic job at deconstructing visual novel tropes and making you reconsider your motivations as a connoisseur of this particular kind of fiction. Highly recommended for everyone, especially those who prefer intellectual pursuits over melodrama.
|Beautiful artwork (except for HCGs)||Some HCGs feel kinda off, I get the feeling the artist doesn’t like drawing them much|
|Mysterious, “suspicious” atmosphere||Heroines and the protagonist could have been fleshed out a little bit better|
|Aoi is a weird, intriguing heroine||Brief, underwhelming endings (including the last one)|
|Ingenious, innovative story|
|Some really funny gags with the prez of the “roman” club|
|Thought-provoking on the concept of visual novels themselves|
|Meaningful, thought-provoking choices|