SPOILERS for Memories Off 2nd. Don’t read if you actually plan on playing it.
Instead of doing my huge English summative worth 20% of my final mark, here I am sitting in front of the computer playing some old galge. Memories Off 2nd was released way back in 2000 for the PC and Dreamcast, and contains no 18+ stuff. It’s plain and simple high school drama, I guess.
You play as a dude in his last year of high school named Inami Ken. He loved soccer ever since elementary school, but his schools’ team lost the competiton earlier this year so they can’t go on to the next stage. Since Ken is a 3rd year and they lost, he left the soccer team because he would be graduating before their next competiton anyways. So now Ken is lost, doesn’t know what to do, and is bored to the point that he voluntarily took summer classes. Yes, he is THAT bored.
What makes Memories Off 2nd kinda different from other generic school galge is that the protagonist, Ken, starts the game with a girlfriend. I’ll let you imagine Keima complaining about galge doing it wrong instead of trying to put my WTF level into words. So yeah, Ken’s girlfriend is Shirakawa Hotaru, an energetic and childish girl who likes to play the piano. She’s going to some piano competition soon, so she’s practicing hard. She is obviously the main girl, so I’m going to leave her until the end. It’s not like I’m dying to play her route or anything.
The first girl I went after is Minami Tsubame. Since all the girls in this game look plain and not one of them stand out (and the art style just feels old), I went for Tsubame first because meeting her actually left an impression on me. She is Ken’s teacher who likes the wind and lemons. Whatever, Ken is legal in Japan and Tsubame looks as young as everyone else so it doesn’t feel awkward at all. Ken lives in some 2-floor apartment that has 8 rooms. That place is practically empty, and the only other person who lives there is his dropout friend, Inaho Shin. One day, when Ken brought Hotaru to sleep over (no, not in that way), he heard some strange noises in the middle of the night despite the fact that the room next to his is supposed to be empty. He goes there to check, and sees a weird girl looking out the window while holding a lemon, trying to feel the moment when the sea breeze changes to land breeze. Her name is Minami Tsubame, and she just moved in despite the fact that she has no luggage. He’s like WTF and goes back to sleep.
The next day Ken is bored and goes to school, where he is convinced by his friend Shouta to take summer classes. The teacher for one of his subjects just happens to be Tsubame. After their lesson, she invites him outside and buys him a drink. Damn, I wish my teachers would buy me drinks. So standard galge talking happens, and Ken starts to grow more distant from his girlfriend. Did I mention that he has to break up with Hotaru to go for other girls? Yeah, the game is basically about him cheating on his gf. I seem to be way too eager to cheat, since Hotaru annoys me.
One day, Shouta comes over and yells at Ken for being cold to Hotaru. Well, we can all guess what this means. They get into a fight, but Tsubame stops them in time. Sometime at school, Shouta apologizes for getting worked up and tells Ken that when he was in elementary school, he loved an older girl but her father found out and beat him up. The two make up and are bros again. A few more generic days happen, and then Hotaru becomes all sad in the rain because Ken said that dreams are momentary. Hotaru tells him that she will always love him, and her feelings are eternal. She asks Ken if he feels the same way, but he just keeps silent because he is not sure.
Then you spend some more generic days talking to Tsubame about wind and lemons until one night some strange man comes to the apartment with a picture of Tsubame asking Ken if he has seen her. Ken lies and tells him he doesn’t know her, and the man leaves. He also doesn’t tell Tsubame about this (because the guide told me not to). Ken has his mind on his teacher at this point, and keeps refusing Hotaru’s advances to go home together or go out.
Hotaru attends her piano competition, and makes the cut for the next round. Ken remembers something about lemons–precisely, that when he was little he played on a soccer team and they were playing around with lemons with their rival team. Tsubame takes Ken out on a “date.” Well technically, all they did was ride the train and ride back. Tsubame only took the train so that she could stick her head out the window and feel the wind lol. Then on the way back they stop by the beach, and she gets approached by some drunk guy. Ken makes the drunk dude GTFO The next day, Ken goes to school and Shouta acts strangely. He finds it strange that there was no piano sound for the entire day so he goes to the piano room to check on Hotaru. It turns out that she cannot move her fingers, and can’t play the piano. The next day, Ken consults Tsubame, and she tells him that it’s probably an emotional problem.
Ken ignores Hotaru some more, so she goes to his apartment room at night…to take him to the zoo. Why? To see if animals dream or not. *facepalm* I see why I’m so eager to break up with her now. Ken’s like “screw you I’m going to sleep” so she goes home looking disappointed. Is the zoo even open late at night? Anyways, when trying to sleep at the middle of the night, Ken hears some noises from the room next door and decides to check. He sees the strange man who came here before trying to take Tsubame with him. Good thing Ken isn’t an otome game heroine, or else he would just stand there looking shocked. Ken has the balls to basically punch the guy, and make sure he doesn’t come back. Well, maybe doing soccer drills improve your arm strength too…Ken ends up with a bandaged fist, and Tsubame tells him that she moved here with no luggage because she is trying to run away from an arranged marriage. The guy who tried to take her away is one of her father’s students, and is supposed to be the man she will marry.
The next day, Ken goes to school and hears the sound of the piano. It turns out that Hotaru’s fingers have recovered, and Shouta is standing next to her watching her play. Shouta confesses to her in the piano room, and Ken walks away emoing because Shouta is the one who healed her fingers, not him. Well, there’s nothing to be surprised about because Ken basically ignored all her texts and pushed her away (AKA I chose all the bad answers with her).
In the hallway, he runs into Tsubame, who invites him out at night to play with fireworks. They meet at the promised time, and Tsubame comes out in a yukata. Ken’s reaction is pretty much “I think I’m getting a boner but this is an all ages game so gotta keep quiet.” They go out to the beach and play with the small fireworks on a stick (you know, the ones that you hold and there’s a spark). Ken and Tsubame decide to have a contest to see whose firework lasts longer, and the winner gets a wish. Then Tsubame tells Ken that if the firework doesn’t burn out before burning the entire stick, then your wish will come true. However, her firework always burned out before so her wish of becoming free will never come true. Ken wins the contest, and decides to become Tsubame’s “wind” (“Tsubame” means swallow). It starts to rain, so they find shelter in some shack at the beach. The rain never dies down, so they basically just stay there and talk.
Tsubame tells Ken that she’s not really running away from an arranged marriage, but from her extremely strict father who used to lock her in a room and force her to play piano. The guy who tried to take her away was her father. She had no free time when she was young, and always got forced to go to cram schools and such. When Tsubame was 17, she met a boy when walking home from school. He smelled like lemon, and he brought her on to the train and he stuck his head out the window. He basically said to Tsubame the same things she said to Ken on their train “date.” He also brought her to the place that is now Ken’s apartment to play. She finally felt free for once, and believed that the boy could save her from her crappy life. Then, her father found out and basically beat up the boy and dragged her away. Now she comes back to that place, in search of the boy. Ken clearly doesn’t remember anything like that happening, and knows that he is not the boy Tsubame met before, but she kisses him so he’s probably like “lol I’m not complaining.”
The next day, they’re both down with a cold. Shin comes over and tells Ken that Hotaru came over yesterday, but Ken wasn’t there. Shin asks him if they were in a fight or something, because their relationship seems off. Ken finally confesses that he has no idea whether he should pick Hotaru or Tsubame. Good thing Shin is a bro and doesn’t go crazy like Shouta. Shin even says that he has noticed it for a long time, and askes Ken who he will choose. Well, this is the Tsubame route so it’s no mystery who he chose.
Hotaru comes over, and he breaks up with her. She reveals that she is going to Austria, and tells him to at least watch her performance tomorrow. At night, Ken receives a call from Shouta who says he has important things to talk about. Ken tells Shouta that he broke up with Hotaru, and then the phone battery dies. The next day, Hotaru moves away and we never see her again for the rest of the route. Shouta goes missing, and Ken desperately tries to find him. Shouta gives Ken a call, and reveals that he liked Tsubame too. Wut. He goes all angsty and sounds like he’s going to kill himself, so Ken tries to go find him but nothing comes up.
The next day, Tsubame tells both Shin and Ken to meet her at a cafe at night. However, Tsubame is late, and Ken hears a siren. He then gets a call from Shouta, but the caller hung up immediately. Thinking something is obviously wrong, Ken runs back home to find his apartment engulfed in flames and Tsubame standing in front of it saying that she could not save him. Shouta is still inside the burning building. Ken runs inside to save Shouta, who makes some angsty speech about ending it all and destroying happiness. At this point it’s pretty clear that the boy Tsubame met was actually Shouta, and the apartment was their promised place so Shouta burnt it. Ken saves Shouta by jumping off the second floor. Tsubame realizes who Shouta is and apologizes (because she fell for Ken). Shouta stops angsting and tells Tsubame that what she needs is not the memories of the past but the future (AKA forget about him and go for Ken). The next day, Ken is in the hospital. He tells Tsubame that he will become her wind.
In the epilogue, Tsubame left for a year, but then came back in the summer and reunited with Ken at the place where the apartment used to be. It got burn to the ground and they were too lazy to rebuild it since no one lives there anyways. *insert final kiss CG here*
Ehh I kinda do like Tsubame (especially that CG of her sticking her head out), but her route just got WTF-ish at the end with Shouta. It would’ve been actually dramatic if the route focused on her father instead of Shouta, and have her father be a total S like Houzuki Masaomi. That guy sure brings out the drama in people. Then again, if I want drama that actually makes me feel something, I’d go replay Sharin no Kuni, and not some old game made in 2000 with the generic high school setting that most games of that time period have. By the end of the route I really hate Shouta because of his random mood swings and general unstable angsting. Shin is a much better bro. I also don’t like the main girl, despite her being the canon girlfriend and all that. I’ll be cheating on her again for my next playthrough =D