Autumn is a natural setting for a mystery story, and Flowers -Le volume sur automne- makes excellent use of it. Ghostly prowlers are glimpsed between dark tree-trunks, dangerous cryptids are rumored to haunt chapels and sewing-rooms, and secrets fester like decayed leaves.
Our heroine, Yuzuriha Yatsuhiro, is diligent and friendly, with a reputation for saying outrageous things. Between the regular ups and downs of school life, she faces mysteries that threaten the wellbeing and safety of her precious friends. Sometimes she works to uncover the truth… and sometimes she knows that the only safe solution is to keep what she’s found to herself.
This is the third installment in the Flowers series. I didn’t have the pleasure of working on the earlier games, as my work with JAST typically keeps me in the BL corner of the visual novel world. BL and yuri share a common history, having both grown out of the Class S genre of the early 20th century, which centered around intense love stories between girls – very often senpai and kohai pairs – during their school years.
Class S stories have echoes everywhere in this game: the delicate uniform designs the characters wear, the beauty of the school, the immensity of the feelings at stake. History runs through Flowers like a gorgeous ribbon.
But the legacy Class S stories create a darker, sadder element here too because Yuzuriha knows that she’s a lesbian. She’s been gay her whole life. But she has no way of knowing if the girls flirting with her and confessing their love to her are queer too, or if they’re simply indulging in the socially acceptable youthful infatuation of a Class S crush.
In a different kind of game, Yuzuriha’s situation would be a banquet of delights, but here it becomes a source of misery: to be a woman who loves women at an all-female academy is not, it turns out, the best of all possible worlds. She wants to protect the hearts of those who love her, but what about her own heart? Where does it lie, and is there any hope for her?
Even though I’ve already had the pleasure of playing through the game as I did quality assurance on it, I’m planning on grabbing a copy of the Limited Edition release anyway, as it comes with two 3.5 inch acrylic figures with stands and three dual-sided laminated postcards featuring illustrations and backgrounds from the game, along with the game both on DVD-ROM and via Steam key.
Flowers -Le volume sur automne- is a truly beautiful game full of memorable characters, gorgeous graphic design, and delicately lovely music. I can’t wait for everyone to experience this chapter in the series.