Part 6: Fall 1995, Ducking and WeavingChapter 5: Fall 1995, Ducking and Weaving
The first semester wasn't very notable. But now our stats are higher, and things are going to start getting truly hairy. I can show you fear in a handful of blushes...
9/15 (holiday): Sleep
9/17 (Sunday): Study lit
9/23 (holiday): Concert band
9/24 (sunday): Hang out with Yoshio and Friends
It's going to be a quiet September, so I might as well sneak this in just to show a screenshot of what it looks like.
9/25-9/30: Concert Band
Goon: (School's out. I feel pretty tired today.)
Girl: Oh, sorry!
Goon: You again?
Girl: Oh no, I won't make it to the concert!
Goon: What's her deal? That's twice now.
Another warning shot from Yuuko. Still in the clear!
10/1 (Sunday): Study lit
10/2-10/7: Concert Band
10/8 (Sunday): Date with Shiori!
Goon: (Today's my date with Shiori! I should go meet her at the theater.)
Goon: Have you been waiting long?
Shiori: No, I just got here myself.
Goon: Phew, glad I wasn't late.
Shiori: The movie's starting soon, we should hurry and get inside.
This dialogue won't change until Shiori's affection rises some more.
Shiori: There are some open seats over there, let's go grab them.
Movie theaters in Japan are pretty different from the ones here in the States. Because real estate is so precious, they tend to be smaller, and built vertically. They have to do way more than sell overpriced popcorn to make their leases, so it's very common for movie theaters in Japan to go upscale. Reserved seating is the norm, ticket prices are about 50% higher than American prices, there are gift shops with merchandise related to many of the movies playing (including Playbill-style programs), and they even serve beer!
Movies usually only last about 4-5 weeks in the theaters, and because screen time is so scarce with so few screens per capita, release dates are rationed out months in advance. Hollywood blockbusters and other guaranteed hits get released in bunches while school is out, often causing a delay in a Japanese release for early summer blockbusters. Spring break, Golden Week, summer vacation, and Christmas are all prime times for movies, and if you've been paying attention, you'll realize that this only covers nine weeks of the year - a bare fraction of the American blockbuster season. The film industry has gone as far as to try and declare Silver Week to try and boost filmwatching, which didn't catch on in the '50s but has been redefined in the last few years and has become a new window for movie-watching. Speaking of changes in the past few years, the Japanese movie industry used to be really arthouse-oriented. These days, it's getting way more commercialized, with a lot of popular franchises getting annual movies. Every year you are guaranteed a Kamen Rider movie, a tokusatsu/Power Rangers movie (sometimes a Kamen Rider-Tokusatsu crossover movie), two Precure movies, a Detective Conan movie, a One Piece movie, and a movie a year from Ghibli as well.
Goon: (Forres and Gump is a movie that really captures the devotion and earnestness of a man in love.)
Nope. It's totally not Forrest Gump.
Voice: "This showing has ended. Please exit the theater."
Goon: Option 1: Wasn't that movie fun?
Shiori likes romances. This is the only right choice.
Shiori: Yes, it was wonderful. I love these movies.
Goon: (Looks like I made a great impression!)
Shiori: Today was a lot of fun. We should do this again some time, okay?
Goon: Definitely. I'll call you again soon.
Shiori: We should head home, Gunpei-kun.
This exchange won't change for a while either. It should start changing on us in a few months, if we play our cards right.
Goon: Hmm? There's a message on the answering machine. I wonder what it is?
Club president: Starting tomorrow, we're getting ready for the culture festival. You need to come help us at the club!
Goon: (I have to help prepare for our club's presentation.)
Goon: (Time to get ready for the culture festival with the rest of the club.)
The only option is club activity, because the Culture festival is coming! Like many school fairs across the world, school festivals in Japan are a combination of street fair and talent show. Most Japanese culture festivals are closed to the public and are by invitation only. Usually, invitations go out to the friends and family of students, and in high school, invitations also go out to middle school students who want to see what the school is like.
The Concert Band, the Light Music Club, the Drama Club, and other art-based clubs usually put on a performance in the gym during the culture festival.
Strangely? No mini-games.
10/9, 10/11-10/13: Concert band
10/10 (holiday): Preen
Goon: Today's the culture festival.
Goon: The Concert Band will be performing a game music concert in the gym. I have to go get ready!
Shiori: It's almost time for us to go on stage. Do you think I'll be able to go without missing a note?
Goon: You'll be fine. As long as we do it just like we practiced, it'll go well.
Shiori: You're right. We'll be fine, right?
Goon: I'm telling you it'll be fine. Relax.
Shiori: By the way, what song is this?
Goon: It's a song from a video game. I love this song.
Shiori: A song from a video game... oh, it's time to go on stage.
edit: Friendly Googling in Japanese says that this song is from Gradius. If anyone wants to post the performance on Youtube, I can send you my raw footage and the appropriate time stamps. I don't have the time to do it myself!
Shiori: It looked like the audience didn't really enjoy it.
Goon: Do you think we chose the wrong genre?
Shiori: That may be the case, but we have to make sure we play better next year.
Goon: That's true.
Goon: (And that's how the curtain went down on the culture festival.)
Your success/failure in culture festival activities is mostly based on how often you chose the club activity. We will be better next year, so we can't really dodge the flood of popularity that Goon will see starting in '96. Cue ominous music!
10/15 (Sunday): Preen
10/16-10/21: Concert Band
For certain activities, girls associated with that activity will appear next to Goon and participate. This has a very small effect on affection, but it adds up over time. While the girl is there, you can get a special scene for getting a full week of successful activities. Conveniently, this happens in Shiori's very first week hanging out at club with us!
Goon: (This week went perfectly according to plan!)
Shiori: You played really well today!
Goon: (Awesome, I'm even more motivated now.)
10/22 (Sunday): Sleep
10/23-10/28: Concert Band
No event. I just think Shiori's sprite is hilarious on bad days.
10/29 (Sunday): Study lit
10/30-11/2, 11/4: Sleep
Goon: (Man, I am exhausted. I should hurry home.)
Goon: (Oh hey, that's Shiori over there.)
Goon: Hey, Shiori!
Shiori: Oh, Gunpei-kun. Are you heading home?
Option 1: Want to walk home together?
Option 2: Yes I am. Bye!
Walking home from school or walking a girl home is another of those small events that can raise the affection of a girl slowly but surely. It happens randomly after regular school days.
Goon: Want to walk home together?
Shiori: If we walk home together, it could be really embarrassing because my friends might start to gossip about us...
Goon: Oh, I see. Well then, bye.
Shiori: Sorry. Goodbye!
Goon: (Can't be helped. Time to head home alone.)
Seriously, Shiori? You live next door. Who could you possibly be afraid of?
Oh. Good point.
11/3 (holiday): Read Memorial Spot, then call Yuina
Cultural note: The holiday on 11/3 is why most culture festivals happen in the fall - it's Culture Day in Japan.
Memorial Spot December/January/February
The aquarium has opened!
Current movie playing: Somersault (The Japanese name for Guile's Flash Kick - meaning that this is Street Fighter: the Movie. Let's... let's not take anyone to see that movie.)
Concert: WIZARD (Legendary rock group Zard, who notably provided the opening and ending songs for Tokimeki Memorial 3. These songs were pretty much the only good things about the game.)
A koala is coming to the zoo!
The Konami ad is for Twinbee, which is actually included in Tokimemo as a mini-game/Easter egg. You have to join the Computer Club for it.
Goon: (Hmm, an aquarium? Oh yeah, and it seems like it'll be easier to manage my album data if I remember to create a system file.)
Yuina: Yes, this is Himoo.
Goon: Um... this is Fudou Gunpei.
Yuina: Gunpei-kun. You've been acting overly familiar with me lately. Can I help you?
Goon: Want to go to the zoo on 11/26?
Yuina: Your luck has run out....
Yuina: ...for I appear to be free on that day.
I'm not falling for it this time, woman. I actually made a mistake here calling on 11/3 and not 11/5. The game only allows setting dates 4 weeks in advance, and I meant to have Yuina meet the koala. The koala and Yuina have a... special relationship. We'll find out more if I go back for a Yuina playthrough. But my memory of it is why I set the koala as my cursor.
Goon: Okay, let's meet in front of the zoo on the 26th.
Yuina: You dare to give me orders?
Goon: Alright then, where would you like to meet?
Yuina: ...Your previous suggestion is acceptable.
Yuina: Our business is completed, and I am hanging up.
Goon: Woohoo! I can't wait for the 26th.
Tactically, this is not ideal, since Science is one of the activities we can still safely do at school. However, midterms are coming up and it's important to raise our stats whenever an opportunity arises.
11/6-11/11: Concert Band
11/7: Repeated event: Seeing Shiori after school Shot down again. This is exactly the same dialogue as before, and it happens so often, I'm only going to bring it up when we actually do go home with someone in the future.
11/12 (Sunday): Study Lit
11/19 (Sunday): Sleep
11/23 (holiday): Preen
11/26: Date with Yuina
Goon: Today's my date with Yuina.
Goon: (Alright, let's go wait for Yuina at the zoo.)
Goon: Were you waiting long?
Yuina: Not really. You're right on time.
Goon: I'm glad I wasn't late.
Yuina: Come on, we're going in now.
Translation/cultural note: Just like it was with opening her birthday present, when Yuina says this, there is no opportunity to say no.
Yuina: I would love to have this many lab animals.
Option 1: Can you really keep that many pets?
Option 2: No way, that's cruel!
Option 3: Do you think this many would be enough?
Tactics decree that we should find as neutral a response as possible here. But this seems like a bad-bad-good set of choices, so we'll stick with 3.
Yuina: If I had this many, it would be a good first step.
Goon: (Looks like I made a decent impression.)
Yuina: It's nice to take a break like this every once in a while.
Goon: Does that mean I can invite you out again some time?
Yuina: I can't allow you to get too familiar... but a little bit won't hurt.
Goon: Great, I'll call you.
Yuina: It's time for me to head home. Bye, Gunpei-kun.
Unlike Shiori, hearing this from Yuina is a good sign. We'd like to hear neutral responses from her for as long as possible.
Before choosing our weekday action, it's time to check the calendar.
12/24 is the big Christmas party, and while Japan doesn't generally observe Christianity, the secular version of Christmas has been adopted by the Japanese as a day for romance, gift-giving, and, strangely, Kentucky Fried Chicken. It's a pretty big party holiday like New Year's Eve here, and it doesn't hurt that 12/23 has been a national holiday since the start of the Heisei period in 1989 - it's the Emperor's birthday.
With midterms coming up, we should make sure to keep working on those academic stats. Sports can wait until next year's sports day.
12/3 (Sunday): Preen
Maintaining our looks is going to be important too. You'll see why on Christmas.
12/4-12/9: Concert band
Mysterious Girl: Oops! I'm sorry!
Goon: Hmm? Oh, I'm fine now.
Mysterious Girl: I'm truly sorry! I've... got to go...
Goon: What a weird hairstyle.
Surprisingly, this is the introduction of Tatebayashi Miharu, one of the game's secret characters. I didn't include her in the poll because meeting her is entirely random. If this keeps up, she'll just keep bumping into Goon in the hallway, apologizing, and running off. She's not tied to a single stat, her events are entirely RNG-based, and you can't call her to invite her out on dates, so she makes for a really boring play-through.
Also, she's a stalker. If you keep an eye out for loopy green hair in the background, you'll probably start finding her head pretty quickly. Finding Miharu's hair peeking out is like this game's version of Where's Waldo?
12/10 (Sunday): Study lit
Goon's stats are significantly higher this time around, leading to this screen:
Bam. 29th in the class, ahead of everyone but Shiori. All that studying has paid off! Suck it, Rei, all that money and yet your test scores are worse than Goon's. Also of note: Miharu is surprisingly smart. I guess that's what comes from doing nothing but staying at home and stalking Goon.
12/17: Call Shiori
Successfully make a date for 1/14 at Kirameki Central Park. I've skipped the dialogue, since it's still the same. Also for reasons that are explained later.
12/23 (Holiday): Study lit
12/24 (Christmas Eve): Ijuuin Christmas Party
The Ijuuin family's Christmas party is the highlight of Tokimeki Memorial's social calendar. The main reason we've been spending so much time maintaining our looks is because the party has a bouncer - if we don't look good enough, he'll kick us out. There is a second way in if our Sports stat is high enough and we can get past him, but the Sports requirement is way higher than the Looks requirement.
Goon: (They're holding a Christmas party at the Ijuuin house today. I should probably head to the grounds.)
Goon: Here I am at the Ijuuin house. No matter how many times I see it, this place still looks enormous to me.
Man in black: Would you happen to be a friend of Rei-sama?
Goon: I don't know if we're friends, but we're classmates.
Man in black: That's good enough. Please come inside.
Goon: Looks like the party's just starting.
Rei: Welcome, everyone, to the pride of the Ijuuin family - our Christmas party.
Rei: Forget your dreary everyday lives, and make merry tonight!
Goon: What a poser.
Rei: Did you say something?
Goon: Crap, Ijuuin? How long have you been standing there?
Rei: Your manner of speech is quite rude... but today is a special day. Perhaps I shall forgive you.
Goon: I don't need your forgiveness.
Rei: Hmph. You have some nerve, coming in here looking like that.
Goon: I don't need to take that from you.
Rei: I shall tell the man at the gate to be more discerning next year.
Goon: (...he's not even listening to a word I say.)
The minimum Looks to get into the first Christmas party is 70. In year 2, it requires Looks 100, and year 3, it requires Looks 120. For reference, those numbers in Sports are 150/175/200.
Rei: Well, now that you're here, you might as well sample some of the haute cuisine that you peasants cannot normally enjoy.
Rei: Haaaahahahahahaha! And now, I must excuse myself.
Goon: What a dick.
And now comes the important part of the Christmas party: talking to the girls. The game will choose the three girls with the highest affection rating and have us talk to them. Their affection rating will go up further. This is why, since we've only met two girls, we're going to be forced to meet a third. It's also important for the mini-game later.
Shiori: Ah, Gunpei! You were invited too!
Goon: Oh, Shiori, you're here?
Goon: (I talked with Shiori for a while)
Shiori: My friends are waiting for me, so I'm going to go meet back up with them.
Goon: Okay, see you later.
Yuina: Oh, Gunpei-kun. You came as well.
Goon: I didn't expect to find you here, Himoo-san.
Goon: (I talked to Himoo-san for a while)
Yuina: I still have some experiments to run, so I must go soon.
Goon: Okay, see you later.
Goon: (Hmm? That girl over there isn't looking very well.)
Goon: Excuse me, are you feeling sick? Do you need any help?
(sound of girl collapsing)
Goon: Whoa! Are you okay? Somebody help!
Mio: I'm... I'm okay.
Goon: Are you sure you're okay? You scared the hell out of me, falling over like that.
Mio: I'm sorry for shocking you like that...
Goon: That's all fine, but you should get more rest if you're feeling ill.
Mio: Thank you. My name is Kisaragi Mio. Could you tell me your name?
Goon: Oh, uh, I'm Fudou Gunpei. Anyway, Kisaragi-san, take care of yourself and don't overdo it.
Mio: Thank you for your concern, Fudou-san.
Here comes one of the biggest barriers to the path of Utter Perfection: the present exchange. The capstone of the Ijuuin Christmas party is a white elephant exchange, where everyone brings one present and opens a different one. There are four presents to pick from - one from each of the girls we've met earlier in the party, and one from Rei himself. Opening a girl's present lowers Stress by 10 and slightly raises her affection rating. Getting Rei's present raises stress by 10.
There is no way to tell present which is which. It's a 25% chance of getting it right each time.
Game: It's time for the gift exchange. Pick which present you'd like to open.
Goon: (Which should I pick?)
Game: It's Kisaragi-san's present! A book of Goethe poems... that's so like her.
Goon: (I'm glad I came today! It's time to head home, though.)
At this point, I realized that I'd made a terrible mistake and saved at the end of November. WELP.
RELOAD COUNT: 9
To be continued! Next time: Way more than Twelve Days of Christmas. Plus: Not THE God... A god.