I recently started reading H2O -Footprints in the Sand- and I’m currently ~4 hours in. I’m playing the 「H2O √ after and another Complete story Edition」, this is the latest release (2009) which has the original VN (2006) and「√after and another」(2007) combined. I also recently found out this had an anime adaptation. I haven’t seen it so I just blindly go into this story…
These are my first impressions of the VN and reading difficulty.
The story starts with a mysterious prologue. After the opening video you’ll start as Hirose Takuma, a junior high school student who just moved from the city to live with his uncle in a little village. Takuma is blind for unknown reasons, which makes him interesting on first impressions. The CGs en sprites he “sees” (and you’ll see) are vague at first, but when he picks up more of the environment with his other senses, he makes the full picture. The only thing he can’t imagine are colors, which make the CGs somewhat colorless. There is however an option to turn off “blindness” if you would want to, then it’ll show the normal colors.
You’ll follow Takuma on his school days, separated in a few parts every day, going to school, doing some activities, lunch, go home and evening/night. The first day you’ll follow him on his first school day in this village. On his way to school and the classroom he already meets what seem to be the 3 main heroines. You’ll gradually find out more about their personalities and positions the next few days. When coming home you’ll enter a monologue again through Takuma’s dreams. Thse are complete mysteriesa again, but they’ll gradually make more sense.Impression story
Heroines met so far from left to right are Kohinata Hayami, Otoha and Kagura Hinata. Hayami is the cold-ish heroine type who will open up to you more and more if you continue the story.
Otoha is a careless airhead and Hinata is a hime type. My preference mostly lies with the cold heroines, if they’re not too annoying in the beginning before the open up. Hayami’s coldness fades away rather quickly so she’s a fine heroine so far.
Otoha is an interesting person because of what she is and you don’t know too much of Hinata yet besides that she’s loved by everyone but obsessed with being a good girl. So as for the characters so far, pretty stereotypical.
The plot started somewhat boring and it took me a while to sit down for it and read more than the first 10 minutes after the prologue. After you get into the story a bit it’s quite enjoyable.
The main topic at school quickly shifted towards bullying, with Tabata Yui and her 2 henchman “a” and “b” (like clearly depicted on their faces somehow) as the main bully. So far their main target seems to be Hayami.
Besides the bully parts it’s still quite lighthearted. I think more mysterious things, maybe even plot twists are possible to happen and I’m looking forward to seeing more development in especially Hayami and Otoha. This VN seems to have a lot of characters with sprites though so there might actually be more heroines than only these 3, also because I think √after and another had different heroines.. we’ll see!
Impression reading difficulty
I expected this to be quite easy and from what I’ve read so far it might be somewhere in between easy and motivational medium with the weight towards easy (see Broaden your view: Reading VNs in Japanese post for definitions). Sentences vary from long to short and there are different speech patterns, with also some common (anime) expressions from time to time. Now you might be really familiar with these expressions, you might have picked them up while watching anime instead of learning them through your grammar studies, then most of the conversations in this VN will be pretty readable for you. For some parts however only remembering the raw essential grammar rules isn’t enough anymore for a comfortable read-through. A little bit more reading experience (thus more practice in recognizing the grammar and its function) would be nice.