Part 1: The First Day of SchoolThe First Day of school!
So let's get started! Roll the opening movie!
Inspiring, huh? This song was all the rage back in 1996, and in the back of my head I can still hear the sold-out concerts doing the call-and-response chants...
Step 1: we have to have a name! All names in this LP will be in Japanese order, family name - first name. I've chosen the last name Fudou because I've used that forever, while the first name is Gunpei out of respect for the creator of the Game Boy.
Ah, who'm I kidding, I did it because it has "Goon" in the name, which is also our nickname for this run!
There are two names that you can enter here that act as codes, just like in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Naming yourself Konami Man will set all of your stats to ridiculously high levels, while Minna Nakayoshi ("everybody's friendly") will... make everyone friendly. Neither of these codes are as attractive as you'd think.
Step 2: birthday and blood type. The Japanese think that blood type is just as important as astrological sign when it comes to predicting personality and such; I don't put much stock in it, but some of my Japanese friends still do. retcon: since we're going for Shiori's route here, it's time to put Goon's birthday on 3/30.
Step 3: We get to choose our Childhood Friend Shiori's birthday and blood type too! This actually has a gameplay effect, as what club Shiori joins is defined by the following formula: (day*3 + month) mod 11. You can also get a special event if you have the same birthday as Shiori, so pretty much everyone makes it the same. So in this retconned playthrough, she will join the Concert Band. Check out the Planning Perfection post on why this is important.
It's time to start our wonderful school life! Wind up the wayback machine, we're going to April 4th, 1995 - the first day of school! The theory is that Japanese schools start in April to match the fiscal year, and conveniently, that places the start of school right around when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Pink trees for everybody!
Goon: My name is Fudo Gunpei. Starting today, I'm a student here at Kirameki Private High School.
Goon: This school was my first choice, and I never thought I'd make it, but I was lucky and got accepted.
Goon: I'm so happy, because I get to go to the same school as the girl I've secretly liked forever, Fujisaki Shiori.
This big white board here is how Japanese schoolkids find out what homeroom they're in. The convention is to divide classes into 1-A, 1-B, 1-C, etc.
Goon: We've been friends since grade school, and we've been neighbors forever...
Goon: But compared to me, she's the moon and I'm a mud turtle. So we've never been more than friends...
And there it is, the face that launched a thousand ships! Shiori was, and is, the most popular character in Tokimeki Memorial history. She is also one of the most notoriously difficult routes in any romance simulation, ever.
Yoshio: Yo! What's with the troubled face?
Goon: Uh... uh, nothing, really. (Who is this guy, and why's he acting like he knows me?)
Yoshio: My name's Saotome Yoshio. Nice to meet you! What's your name?
Goon: Fudou Gunpei. Nice to meet you too.
Girl A: He's here!
Girl B: Oh, he's so wonderful!
Yoshio: What? What're the girls so excited about?
Rei: Hello, everyone. Sorry to keep you waiting.
Rei: I don't believe anyone here could possibly not know who I am, but...
Rei: I am Ijuuin Rei, the grandson of this school's chairman of the board.
Rei: I apologize to all the males in this class... but ah well, let's all get along.
Yoshio: Ijuuin?! That super-rich Ijuuin? I hate this class already...
Ijuuin Rei started a long tradition of secret characters in ren'ai simulations. if you spend every weekend calling him, you'll eventually find out that he's actually a girl in men's clothing due to the pressures of being the heir to a business empire. But it's also an incredibly boring play-through, so it's not worth doing a Let's Play of this; you can find her special events and ending here on YouTube if you want to see it.
Goon: Oh, looks like it's Shiori's turn to introduce herself.
Shiori: Hello, everyone! My name is Fujisaki Shiori.
Shiori: My hobbies include listening to music, especially classical. I'm pleased to meet you all.
Yoshio: She's cuuuuute... Fujisaki Shiori-chan, eh? I'm so glad I'm in this class!
Goon: (Didn't he just say that he hated this class a second ago?)
Yoshio: Whoa! She just looked your way! Do you know that girl?
Goon: Yeah, we're childhood friends.
Yoshio: Is that so?! Then what's her birthday?
Yoshio: Blood type?
Goon: She just said it, music.
Yoshio: Oh. Huh. And her measurements?
Goon: How the hell should I know?
Yoshio: Alright, check!
Goon: Whoa. That notebook... it's filled with notes about girls, isn't it?
Yoshio: Hey, if you ever need to know anything about a girl, just contact me! I'll help you out any time.
Goon: Y...yeah? Thanks.
Yoshio created another archetype that has survived through the decades as well - as your Designated Best Friend, he also provides a vital gameplay role by meticulously creating profiles of all the female characters, and somehow magically knowing all of their phone numbers. He gets to be the Exposition Fairy, and acts creepy so you don't have to!
Yoshio: Oh yeah, have you heard about this school's Legendary Tree?
No, I didn't. Thanks, Exposition Fairy!
Yoshio: Look at the window. See that huge tree?
Yoshio: They say that if a girl confesses her love to you under that tree, the two of you will live happily ever after.
Goon: Huh, I didn't know there was something like that around here.
Yoshio: I don't know who started it, but I'm so jealous of them.
The Tree of Legend is a trope that gets reused in romance simulations all of the time. It's pretty much at the point where a game feels weird if there isn't some kind of magical legend that means you'll live happily ever after.
Goon: Yeah... If it were me...
Goon: And that is how my high school life of worries and hopes started.
Don't get your hopes up too high, Gunpei. You're just setting yourself up for failure! I mean, uh, aim for the brass ring! Anything is possible with constant saving and reloading!
Especially since the goons voted on Utter Perfection, the jerks! Speaking of which, let's get acquainted with the menu that will define the next three years of Gunpei's life!
This is the core of every TokiMemo game. Stats, and the activities you do to raise them. The stats are laid out as follows:
Stamina | Literature | Science
Art | Sports | General knowledge
Looks | Guts | Stress
The 8 major daily activities are:
Study Lit | Study Science | Practice Art
Exercise | (FREE SPACE) | Club (currently grayed out)
Hang out | Preen | Sleep
We'll get to the grayed-out options later, though the two available options are just "system" and "calendar", so nothing really interesting there.
Choosing one of the eight main activities has you perform that action for the next six days, which changes your stats. In general, studying will raise the appropriate stat while slightly lowering the sports or looks stats, exercise will raise sports while lowering academics, and once you join a club, you'll have more powerful versions of the same kind of effect. Hanging out tends to raise general knowledge while lowering stress, preening in front of a mirror does exactly what you think it does, and sleep is purely for raising Stamina and lowering Stress. This is important because if you let your Stamina fall below 30 or your Stress rise above 100, you'll most likely get sick and be forced to sleep for a week or more!
Of course, this game being this game, there are certain girls who'll come over to your house and take care of you if you get sick, so you might want that to happen anyway...
Sundays and holidays bring up a special version of this menu: you can go on dates, call girls in order to invite them on dates, or call Yoshio or Rei for vital information or for Rei's secret, honestly kinda boring ending.
So here comes the first, and possibly most important, choice for young Fudou Gunpei! What will he focus on in his high school life?
A) Academics! I have to get into a good school, so I need to hit the books - maybe meet a nice girl in the library or a girl whose life is devoted to SCIENCE!
Mio: Treasure these glasses, because there ain't many more in the series who fit this fetish.
Yuina: Get in, boys, we're doing SCIENCE!
B) Arts! I don't want to be a cog in the machine, I want to SING, father!
Ayako: Art... and, weirdly, English
Mira: She actually doesn't really care what you do, as long as you look as good as her doing it.
Yuuko: who honestly just wants to hang out and have fun.
C) Sports! I'm gonna be the very best, like no one ever was!
Saki: The one constant throughout the years, Gunpei, has been baseball.
Nozomi: Because swimming gives you mermaid hair.
Yukari: if you... don't mind... girls who talk... really... really... slowly...
D) UTTER PERFECTION! I will not rest until I have relived high school as the Nietzschean superman and ensured that my digital life is the life of a WINNER!
Yumi: it's like kissing Yoshio by proxy! Also, wrestling.
Megumi: Silver Medal
Shiori: Nintendo Hard in redhead form.
And just so you know, the Forever Alone ending looks like this: