How far can you pursue your dreams?
Deardrops is Overdrive’s second VN with the theme of “rock music”, following the success of their earlier work, Kira☆Kira.
Shoichi Suganuma, a violin prodigy, returns to his hometown in Japan after his fall from grace in the world of classical music. Upon his return, he is reunited with his childhood friend, whose family runs a live house — a place where musicians can go rehearse and perform. What awaits him in the live house is a world totally different from the elegant air of classical — the world of rock. In a series of fateful encounters, he manages to pull together a band of five members. Having traded in his violin for an electric guitar, Shoichi sets his foot upon the stage of rock musicians along with his band, Deardrops.
I’m not a musician or a huge follower of the music scene, but I believe that if there’s one medium that everyone loves, it’s music. It doesn’t matter what kind of genre you listen to; music has the same effect on all of us, and it has a universal ability to convey what the musician is feeling to the audience. What Overdrive picked to represent this universal love of music is the genre that has been heavily stigmatized in the past: rock music, a genre which represents the freedom of expression. And I think that Overdrive manages to convey this perfectly with the world of Deardrops.
The life of Deardrops comes from the eponymous band. With the exception of Shoichi, each band member has a strong and memorable personality. The beauty of this five-man band lies with their chemistry. Deardrops is not a band which is all sugar and happiness — they are an unstable group comprised of members with clashing personalities. We have a fallen
violin prodigy with a painful past, a cold and abrasive vocalist, a highly-energetic yet “plain” guitarist, a bassist with the air of a yakuza boss, and a drummer with a catlike, ADHD-riddled personality. And that’s the beauty of it: their dynamic, dysfunctional character interaction pulls the reader in with how they somehow remain tightly-knit despite their differences.
Talking about a music VN can’t pass without talking about, well, the music. Deardrops’s music has a similar quality as music from Kira Kira — there’s a somewhat “raw” feeling from the music. While surely not everyone will agree that the music is awesome (in fact, I think it needs a lot of work), there’s a certain concert-like charm adding to the atmosphere of the visual novel. But while Deardrops’s vocals have that raw, concert-like charm, I find that Kanade Sakurai’s vocals are much better — interesting, since even the characters think so.
Overdrive’s art quality has also improved since Kira☆Kira. The sprites no longer have the awkward poses that were in Kira Kira, and the art style has changed from the somewhat-cutesy and “round” style of Kira Kira to something a little rougher, but still distinctly animesque.
Deardrops, however, still falls into the pitfall of H-scenes and bad route branching which plagues the industry. While some of the H-scenes have some weight on the plot and the relationship between the main character and the heroine, most of it still feels tacked-on and unnecessary. And while Rimu’s and Yayoi’s routes give them a bit more characterization, they easily pale in comparison to Riho’s and Kanade’s routes and feel like unnecessary additions to the main story.
Overall, I found Deardrops to be a high-energy, high-volume experience like Kira☆Kira. It’s certainly enjoyable, especially for those who love this kind of rock music/J-pop. If you’ve played Kira Kira and loved it, then you will likely enjoy Deardrops as well.
Overall verdict: 8/10
Possible turn-offs: sexual content