Hatsumira -from the future undying- Review

Gaming
7.5

Good

Hatsumira -from the future undying-

Developer: Frontwing
Publisher: Frontwing USA
Platform: PC
Release Date: Available Now
Price: $39.99 USD – Available Here

Reviewed Using 18+ Adults Only Patch

Overview

Over the past decade isekai stories have become extremely popular to the point that these types of stories involving the main character being transported to a, usually, magical realm through various means feels like it has been done in every way possible. Be it a light novel or a manga, it can be difficult to find something unique among the barrage of isekai but when it comes to Frontwing, they have something a bit special with one of the few visual novels in that genre. While Frontwing may be known in the West primarily for their work with the long running Grisaia series, this prolific developer has a massive list of visual novels in their library ranging from highly detailed to short and simple and in 2015 they released their own take on an isekai story in the form of Hatsumira -from the future undying-. Now after seven years this story has arrived on PC in English but is this different take on isekai worth your time?

Story

Ichiro Mimori is a petty officer second class in the Japanese Imperial Naval Air Forces during World War II and one day in a battle in the Pacific his airplane is struck by enemy fire. Not one to go out without a fight, Ichiro prepares himself for a kamikaze attack on an opposing warship. Ready for death, Ichigo is surprised to find himself not only alive but crash landed somewhere in a mysterious desert. To make things even stranger, a woman with horns that can transform into a dragon and breath fire at a whim is one of the first things he sees. Of course, being a hardened soldier with a strange view of what normal humans can be capable of, simply thinks that he is somewhere in the Philippines and that they can all transform in such a manner.

After enough explanation to crack through Ichiro’s hardhead, the dragon girl reveals that her name is Yukikaze and that the land they are in is a completely different world from what he knows. Instead this is a land filled with magic, numerous fantasy races such as dragons, dogfolk, mermaids, and many more but it’s far from a peaceful one as the military might of the Principality of Wisla has threatened nearly every race on the planet. After accepting that he is at least not in the world he once knew, Ichiro agrees to work with Yukikaze as an ambassador for Barauhl, the militia force she is leading as a way to rebel against the empire and try to protect the rest of the races, hoping that by interacting with the world he may uncover some way to return to Japan.

This brings him into an incredibly meaty journey through the world as Yukikaze and Ichiro try to form alliances with certain races, battle against the empire and solve problems at the same time, gaining a new heroine along the way as the story progresses through each chapter. This does result in Hatsumira becoming a very lengthy visual novel, reaching nearly fifty hours in length or longer once players see the end of every route. Of course, clearing the common and main route is the core focus but even this is a lengthy endeavor with plenty of content. This length allows for the writers at Frontwing to craft a truly detailed feeling world and not only give the main heroines plenty of development and interactions with the main character, but also allow for so many side characters to see development of their own that at least one of them feels more fleshed out than one of the main heroines. 

This level of detail makes for an engrossing experience but it also comes with its own issues as conversations can occasionally circle back on topics that have just been discussed, explain various events multiple times in a row, and at times simply drag various interactions on far longer than they should. It is also worth noting that while the main route does feature all of the heroines often interacting with each other and Ichiro, once players can select to go down a specific heroine’s route the rest vanish nearly entirely in what feels a bit odd given how fleshed out the character interactions are. That being said, the character routes are solid enough in their own right but players should be prepared for the undead heroine’s route to be incredibly dark compared to the rest and perhaps shouldn’t be saved for last as a result.

One element that makes Hatsumira so interesting is the fact that Ichiro is not the standard isekai protagonist. He is hardheaded, has life experience and plenty of combat training, and has a brash attitude throughout the storyline that feels something like a breath of fresh air for the genre. Ichiro will fight dirty if it means he and his new friends can survive even if he often butts heads with his friends more often than not.

His attitude in the world of Hatsumira is a fitting one however as this visual novel tackles some extremely heavy concepts. Sure it may have sexual content should players apply the patch but this this is primarily a story about war, those who have been harmed by it, those fighting it, and what happens before and after the battles have come to an end. That isn’t to say that things are all dark however, as the writing allows for plenty of humor to seep in as well and manages to do it in a natural way, swapping between dramatic or heavier moments for those of levity and enjoyable character interactions. 

There is one issue however with the way that Hatsumira is written and that lands on the localization team. Despite being a veteran Japanese pilot from WWII, Ichiro is localized to speak with such a heavy British slang that there will be sentences at times that are nearly incomprehensible. Why he speaks in such a manner is unknown as his inner thoughts are worded normally and for the most part other characters in the story speak in plain English, minus various puns being worked into the dialogue like cat jokes from feline races and the dwarves also using various slang terms. This heavy slang of Ichiro’s is incredibly distracting and while players may get used to it over time, it is something to be worried about especially since it never gets any better, even during sex scenes.

Speaking of, players who install the patch will unlock additional scenes throughout the game. The amount of actual adult content in Hatsumira is quite low as each of the heroines only have two scenes a piece but they are handled quite nicely and offer a solid amount of variety between the four women. There are three other scenes featuring side characters including some that may not be comfortable for those who prefer vanilla content so be wary of that.

Gameplay

In many ways Hatsumira plays the same as any standard visual novel with players reading through dialogue to advance the storyline. It is worth noting that while the game does offer very little in the way of actual player choice and that the main story route must be completed first before players have any option of continuing and seeing how other character routes end. In something of an unique offering, Hatsumira features a progression meter that can be viewed in the menu and can truly highlight just how long this visual novel feels at times, with nearly each chapter capable of being considered a visual novel in its own right when hours into the third chapter players will only find themselves at 40%.

Along these same lines Hatsumira has a fairly extensive amount of unlockable content that players can revisit once they have completed the game. This comes in the form of a gallery featuring the many CGs and event CGs that occur throughout the title, an actual scene selection for each of the four heroines as well as the main story route for players who wish to revisit any aspect of the storyline, a collection of the game’s music and movies, and of course the adult scenes can also be revisited should players make use of the patch. In a bit of an interesting bonus, players who are eager to get the most out of Hatsumira may eventually unlock an extra bit of content that will please fans of any specific heroine though we won’t mention exactly what this secret may be.

Visuals & Audio

Those familiar with Frontwing know that they have some of the best looking visual novels around and Hatsumira -from the future undying- continues that trend despite its age. The details on the various character portraits are gorgeous with countless named characters being given unique designs of various shapes and sizes. This level of detail is also given to the various special effects that often play during combat sequences, helping set the mood for the fights that frequently happen throughout the story. Hatsumira also features an extremely large offering of CGs, nearly all of which are highly detailed, though it is worth noting that the game does have mosaic censorship for adult scenes.

The voice work in Hatsumira is surprising with how much effort has been put into giving nearly every character a unique voice. While Ichrio himself is not voiced, every other named character has a unique voice actor to help tell this story and they do a great job here, especially during the more dramatic moments of the story. The same cannot really be said about the sound effects used throughout the story as most appear to sound nearly identical to the types heard in most other visual novels.

Overall

Hatsumira -from the future undying- is something of a rare breed as it offers a massive storyline that we don’t often see released in English these days. The optional adult content is relatively small but the real enjoyment to be found here is in the game’s story and the actual personalities of the characters and their interactions with one another. The strong writing for the common route as well as the various themes in the story make for an incredibly interesting read despite the fact that the dialogue can be a bit long winded and the localization, especially for Ichiro, is some of the strangest and off putting that you can find for a properly translated visual novel.

Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.

Summary

Hatsumira -from the future undying-’s engaging story and large cast of properly developed characters makes for an incredible read but be prepared for the worst localization for a MC possible.
7.5

Good

After playing games since a young age and getting into anime a bit later on its been time to write about a little bit of everything.

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