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Snow (visual novel)

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For the skiing video game, see Snow (upcoming video game).
Snow
Snow game cover.jpg
Snow original visual novel cover featuring Ōka Wakō (left) and Sumino Yukizuki (right).
スノー
(Sunō)
Genre Drama, Romance
Game
Developer Studio Mebius
Publisher VisualArt's (Windows)
NEC Interchannel (DC, PS2)
NTT DoCoMo (FOMA)
Prototype (PSP)
Genre Eroge, Visual novel
Platform Windows, DC, PS2, FOMA, PSP
Released
  • JP: January 31, 2003 (Windows)
Light novel
Written by Hangetsu Mitamura
Illustrated by Asuka Pyon
Published by Paradigm
Demographic Male
Original run June 25, 2003January 16, 2004
Volumes 5
Manga
Snow: Pure White
Written by Studio Mebius
Illustrated by Yuki Azuma
Published by Kadokawa Shoten
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Comptiq
Original run September 2003December 2003
Volumes 1
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

Snow (スノー Sunō?) is a Japanese adult visual novel developed by Studio Mebius for Windows PCs on January 31, 2003. It was later ported without the erotic content to the Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable consoles. The story of Snow revolves around the life of Kanata Izumo, who is revisiting a village to help his relative manage a hot spring hotel. The gameplay in Snow follows a branching plot line which offers pre-determined scenarios with courses of interaction, and focuses on the appeal of the female main characters by the player character.

The game was successful in both sales and popularity, it was ranked as the best-selling PC game sold in Japan at the time of its release, and charted in the national top 50 several more times afterwards. Snow was voted as the twenty-sixth best bishōjo game by the readers of Dengeki G's Magazine in 2007. A manga titled Snow: Pure White based on the visual novel was serialized in Comptiq between the September and December 2003 issues. Five light novels and several comic anthologies were also released, as were audio dramas.

Gameplay[edit]

Average dialogue and narrative in Snow depicting the main character Kanata talking to Sumino.

Snow is a romance visual novel in which the player assumes the role of Kanata Izumo. Much of its gameplay is spent reading the text that appears on the screen, which represents the story's narrative and dialogue. The text is accompanied by character sprites, which represent who Kanata is talking to, over background art. Throughout the game, the player encounters CG artwork at certain points in the story, which take the place of the background art and character sprites.[1]

There are four main plot lines in the original Windows release that the player will have the chance to experience, one for each of the heroines in the story. Throughout gameplay, the player is given multiple options to choose from, and text progression pauses at these points until a choice is made.[1] Some decisions can lead the game to end prematurely and offer an alternative ending to the plot. To view all plot lines in their entirety, the player will have to replay the game multiple times and choose different choices to further the plot to an alternate direction. In adult versions of the game, there are scenes depicting Kanata and a given heroine having sex.[2]

Plot[edit]

Story[edit]

The story of Snow starts when Kanata Izumo, the main protagonist, revisits a small village called Ryūjinmura (龍神村?, lit. "village of the dragon god"), to help manage a local hotel with hot springs alongside his cousin Tsugumi.[3] In the village, there is an old legend: In ancient times, Ryūjinmura was protected by the dragon goddess. However, one day the goddess fell in love with a human, which is strictly forbidden, and this incident caused the village to be always covered by snow after that. The game then tells the daily life of Kanata interacting with the village girls, and ultimately links the story to the legend. Snow follows a branching plot line with multiple endings, and depending on the decisions that the player makes during the game, the plot will progress in a specific direction.

Main characters[edit]

The player assumes the role of Kanata Izumo (出雲 彼方 Izumo Kanata?, voiced by Soichiro Hoshi), who is visiting Ryūjinmura as a part-time worker of the local hotel owned by his cousin.[3] During his stay, he meets his childhood friend Sumino Yukizuki (雪月 澄乃 Yukizuki Sumino?, voiced by Ayako Kawasumi), a soothing and gentle girl whose father has died. She loves anman (a kind of mantou) and claims it as "source of life".[4] Kanata also encounters a young energetic girl with a tomboy personality called Asahi Hiyorigawa (日和川 旭 Hiyorigawa Asashi?, voiced by Yukari Tamura), suddenly appearing before Kanata and claiming that she will "repulse the evil" from him.[4]

In the outskirts of the village, Kanata meets the mysterious Shigure Kitazato (北里 しぐれ Kitazato Shigure?, voiced by Haruna Ikezawa); Shigure has a shy personality and is extremely silent.[4] The protagonist also finds a little girl called Ōka Wakō (若生 桜花 Wakō Ōka?, voiced by Tomoko Kaneda) waiting around the jinja for her parents. She likes to play with her cat called Shamon (シャモン?).[4] The physician of Ryujinmura has a daughter called Meiko Tachibana (橘 芽依子 Tachibana Meiko?, voiced by Naoko Watanabe), who is a close friend of Sumino.[4] She likes to tease Kanata, and acts bizarrely in front of him. In Snow: Plus Edition, a new character referred to as Mysterious Girl (謎の少女 Nazo no Shōjo?, voiced by Ryōko Ono) is introduced, bearing many secrets.[4]

Development and release[edit]

After the completion of Zetsubō, Studio Mebius (a brand under VisualArt's) started production on Snow. The artists for the visual novel were Asuka Pyon, who also drew the character designs, and Kobuichi.[5] The scenario was written by three members of staff: Mochizuki Jet, Klein, and Jinno Masaki.[5] I've Sound, as well as T&N Music Factory, Famishin, and Fam contributed to the music composition.[5] According to the liner notes on the original soundtrack of Snow, the producers acknowledged that the game's structure resembled Key's visual novels Kanon and Air. Yūichi Suzumoto, who is known for his work on Air, Clannad, and Planetarian: The Reverie of a Little Planet, provided scenario assistance for Snow.[6]

On January 31, 2003, Snow was released as both a CD-ROM and DVD-ROM compatible to the Windows 98/ME/2000/XP operating systems.[7][8] An all-ages version for the Dreamcast was released by Interchannel on September 25, 2003.[9] Later on February 26, 2004, Interchannel ported the game to the PlayStation 2 in both limited and regular editions;[10][11] the PS2 port adds an additional scenario for Meiko Tachibana, who was a supporting character in prior releases of Snow.[12] A full voice version was released for Windows on September 24, 2004.[13] Then on September 29, 2006, Snow: Plus Edition was released for Windows, sporting added parts from the console versions and introducing a new heroine.[14] Snow is playable on NTT DoCoMo's FOMA cell phones.[15] A PlayStation Portable version of the game called Snow: Portable was released by Prototype on August 16, 2007.[16] The standard edition for Windows was released on July 25, 2008, containing two fan discs, and the content from the portable edition of Snow.[17] Finally, a downloadable version of the PSP edition was made available on the PlayStation Store by Prototype on January 21, 2010.[18]

Related media[edit]

Books and publications[edit]

Five adult light novels written by Hangetsu Mitamura and published by Paradigm were released between June 2003 and January 2004. The cover art and internal illustrations were drawn by Asuka Pyon, the artist who drew the artwork in the visual novel. The first novel, titled Snow: Hakanayuki (Snow ~儚雪~?, Sumino), was released on June 25, 2003.[19] The second novel was released on July 25, 2003, titled Snow: Chīsaki Inori (Snow ~小さき祈り~?, Asahi).[20] The third novel, titled Snow: Inishie no Yūyake (Snow ~古の夕焼け~?), was released on September 20, 2003.[21] The fourth novel, titled Snow: Kioku no Toge (Snow ~記憶の棘~?, Shigure), was released on November 22, 2003.[22] The fifth and final novel, titled Snow: Sora no Yurikago (Snow ~空の揺りかご~?, Oka), was released on January 16, 2004.[23] A 192-page art book, titled Snow Art Works, and containing information such as story and character explanations, and images from the visual novel, was released by Paradigm on July 25, 2003.[24]

Manga[edit]

A game-based manga adaptation titled Snow: Pure White, and illustrated by Yuki Azuma, was serialized between the September and December 2003 issues of Comptiq.[25][26] The individual chapters were later compiled into a single bound volume published by Kadokawa Shoten under the Kadokawa Comics Ace imprint on December 19, 2003.[27]

Ohzora released a stand-alone comic anthology, titled Snow Anthology Game Comics, under the Twin Heart Comics imprint on March 22, 2003.[28] A two-volume anthology series, titled Snow Comic Anthology, was released by Ichijinsha under the DNA Media Comics imprint between April 25 and June 25, 2003.[29][30] The now-defunct publisher Raporto released a comic anthology, titled Snow Game Comic, spanning two volumes in 2003 between April 25 and May 24 under the Raporto Comics imprint.[31][32] Enterbrain released a single anthology, titled Snow Anthology Comic, under the Maji-Cu Comics imprint on May 26, 2003.[33]

Music and audio CDs[edit]

The opening theme for Snow is "Snow" sung by Yumi Matsuzawa, who also provided vocals for the ending themes "Futari no Ashiato" (ふたりの足跡?) and "Yuki no Kanata" (雪のかなた?). The insert song "Sora no Yurikago" (空の揺りかご?) is by Ayako Kawasumi; a single titled Snow Extra CD was released at Comiket 64 on August 15, 2003, containing "Sora no Yurikago".[34] These tracks were included with other background music in the Snow Original Soundtrack released on April 25, 2003.[35] Before the visual novel's release, Snow Image Album was released at Comiket 63 on December 28, 2002.[36]

Three drama CDs based on Snow have been published, the first CD volume was released by Movic on August 22, 2003, focusing on Sumino Yukizuki.[37] Movic released a second volume focusing on Asahi Hiyorigawa, on October 24, 2003.[38] The third and final volume, telling the story of Ryūjinmura's legend, was released by Frontier Works on August 25, 2004.[39]

Reception[edit]

In a national sales ranking of bishōjo games conducted by PCNews, Snow DVD-ROM premiered at number one, whilst the CD-ROM release ranked at number three.[40] During the beginning of February, Snow CD-ROM's ranking fell to number eight, whilst Snow DVD-ROM charted just above at number seven.[41] Snow DVD-ROM charted again at number thirty one during mid-February, whilst the CD-ROM release had low enough sales to not chart.[42] Finally, both the Snow CD-ROM and Snow DVD-ROM releases made their final charting appearances at number thirty three and forty six at the beginning of March, respectively.[43]

Snow was the second most widely sold game of 2003 on Getchu.com, a major redistributor of visual novel and domestic anime products.[44] According to sales information taken from the Japanese Amazon website, Snow sold 64,526 copies in 2003.[45] In the October 2007 issue of Dengeki G's Magazine, poll results for the 50 best bishōjo games were released. Snow ranked No. 26 out of 249 titles, with 11 votes.[46] Snow is featured in the Lycèe Trading Card Game; a set of playable Snow cards are included in the VisualArt's 1.1 booster pack.[47] Snow is considered a classic "nakige" game.[48]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Studio Mebius. Snow (in Japanese). Windows. VisualArt's. 
  2. ^ a b "Snow official website story" (in Japanese). Studio Mebius. Archived from the original on April 29, 2009. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Snow official website character profiles" (in Japanese). Studio Mebius. Archived from the original on April 28, 2009. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c "Staff information for Snow" (in Japanese). ErogameScape. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Yūichi Suzumoto's official blog entries for January 2006" (in Japanese). Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Snow CD-ROM" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Archived from the original on June 19, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Snow DVD-ROM" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Archived from the original on June 19, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Snow Dreamcast version" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Archived from the original on June 23, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Snow PS2 version (limited edition)" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Archived from the original on October 16, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Snow PS2 version" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Archived from the original on June 19, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  11. ^ "News regarding the PS2 release of Snow" (in Japanese). Famitsu.com. November 30, 2003. Retrieved May 8, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Snow ~Full Voice Version~" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Archived from the original on June 19, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Snow ~Plus Edition~" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Archived from the original on June 19, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  14. ^ "News regarding Snow and Kanon as mobile games" (in Japanese). Gpara.com. October 30, 2006. Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Snow ~Portable~" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Archived from the original on April 14, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Snow ~Standard Edition~" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Archived from the original on June 19, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Prototype official website for Snow ~Portable~" (in Japanese). Prototype. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Snow ~Hakanayuki~" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Archived from the original on June 20, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Snow ~Chīsaki Inori~" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Archived from the original on June 20, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Snow ~Inishie no Yūyake~" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Archived from the original on June 20, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Snow ~Kioku no Toge~" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Archived from the original on June 20, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Snow ~Sora no Yurikago~" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Archived from the original on June 20, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Snow Art Works" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Archived from the original on June 20, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  24. ^ Comptiq (in Japanese). Kadokawa Shoten (September 2003). 
  25. ^ Comptiq (in Japanese). Kadokawa Shoten (December 2003). 
  26. ^ "Snow -Pure White-" (in Japanese). Kadokawa Shoten. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Snow Anthology Game Comics (Twin Heart Comics)" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Archived from the original on September 27, 2009. Retrieved August 6, 2015. 
  28. ^ "Snow Comic Anthology 1 (DNA Media Comics)" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Archived from the original on June 20, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Snow Comic Anthology 2 (DNA Media Comics)" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Archived from the original on June 20, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  30. ^ "Snow Game Comic 1 (Raporto Comics)" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Archived from the original on August 6, 2015. Retrieved August 6, 2015. 
  31. ^ "Snow Game Comic 2 (Raporto Comics)" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Archived from the original on August 6, 2015. Retrieved August 6, 2015. 
  32. ^ "Snow Anthology Comic" (in Japanese). Enterbrain. Retrieved June 9, 2015. 
  33. ^ "Snow Extra CD". VGMdb. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  34. ^ "Snow Original Soundtrack". VGMdb. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  35. ^ "Snow Image Album". VGMdb. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  36. ^ "Drama CD Snow Vol.1 - Sumino Yukizuki Story". VGMdb. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  37. ^ "Drama CD Snow Vol.2 - Asahi Hiyorigawa Story". VGMdb. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  38. ^ "Drama CD Snow Vol.3 - Legend Story". VGMdb. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  39. ^ "TOP50 PC NEWS No.116(1/16〜1/31)" (in Japanese). Peakspub. Retrieved June 3, 2015. [dead link]
  40. ^ "TOP50 PC NEWS No.117(2/1〜2/15)" (in Japanese). Peakspub. Archived from the original on December 27, 2005. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  41. ^ "TOP50 PC NEWS No.118( 2/16〜2/28)" (in Japanese). Peakspub. Archived from the original on December 27, 2005. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  42. ^ "TOP50 PC NEWS No.119( 3/1〜3/15)" (in Japanese). Peakspub. Archived from the original on December 27, 2005. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  43. ^ "Highest selling games of 2003 on Getchu.com ranking" (in Japanese). Getchu.com. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  44. ^ "Sales Ranking (2003 H-games)". Wiki-Mania Store (in Japanese). Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  45. ^ "Dengeki G's Magazine top 50 bishōjo games" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  46. ^ "Lycèe TCG card list" (in Japanese). SilverBlitz. Archived from the original on February 21, 2009. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  47. ^ "News regarding Snow ~Portable~'s download sales" (in Japanese). 4Gamer.net. January 19, 2010. Retrieved May 8, 2016. 

External links[edit]