GiseIIe

A much belated review! I finished reading this more than a month ago but then I procrastinated on writing my review, and then when I wanted to another heatwave happened, and when it was over it was my health that ended up getting in the way of me writing this. I guess this is my punishment for procrastinating again.

This is actually the second time I read Flowers -Le Volume sur Printemps-. The first time I did I only wrote a mere two sentence post here on BLAEO, so I am posting now a proper review.
I reread this so that I could have fresh memories of it before reading the second title in the series, which I recently won in a giveaway.

Flowers - Le volume sur printemps - yuri one true end enforced playing order visual novel medium (10 - 30 hours) en zh

If you were to ask me which is the prettiest yuri visual novel I know, I'd definitely reply with the Flowers series. Aesthetically speaking, it's really hard to top this. The game knows this and it starts with the sentence “Please forget your troubles and enjoy this beautiful yuri world.”

Flowers is a four-part series exploring the lives of some students at a Christian all-girls boarding school (your usual clichéd setting in many yuri stories).
Up so far, only the first two titles have been localized into English, and the third one has a tentative release plan set by the end of the year.

The protagonist of the first title is Suoh Shirahane, a timid girl who suffers from social anxiety. She has been homeschooled up until now and because of this she never had a proper friend. Suoh is an extremely shy protagonist, lover of books and movies, and tries to do her best to make everyone happy. She decided to join Saint Angraecum Academy because she hopes to fulfill her most important wish, that is to have friends. As a matter of fact, this particular school is known for its Amitié program in which the students are paired up and are expected to live together and help one another throughout the school years.
It all heavily reminds me of Maria-sama ga Miteru.

It's thanks to the Amitié system that she has the opportunity to become friends with her roommates: Mayuri Kohsaka, a social but hard-working girl that Suoh admires since their first meeting, and Rikka Hanabishi, the serious and responsible girl who becomes class president.

Obviously, this being a yuri title, Suoh may end up in a relationship with either of the two. The game features an indicator (thanks to the use of different colours and a budding lily) that shows whether the choice you picked may be helpful in advancing towards your preferred route.
Unfortunately, only one of the two routes is canon and is considered to be the true end. It's from this (I daresay also, open) ending that the story continues in the following games. The other girl's route is an additional alternative non-canon ending, and it's only unlocked after completing the true end.

Despite being able to relate to Suoh's social struggles, I can say that personally I didn't care much for her in the end as I should have with her being the main character and that is a pity. In this regard, I ended up liking much more the protagonist of Été—the following title.

Though, I did end up liking a lot this coming-of-age story and its approach to sexuality. The game is all ages and does not objectify women, unlike other stuff in this genre. The fan service is kept to such a minimum it does not even seem to exist.
The story manages to tastefully deal with romance between women and the struggles they could have but only up to a certain point. I'm under the impression that the latter titles may be less lighthearted on this topic.

The visual novel consists of a slice-of-life story with episodic chapters. Some of them have mysteries that the protagonist will have to solve to be able to advance further in the story. It may be impossible to deduct the solution for many of them as a Western reader, may it be because of the reader's lack of knowledge of the translation of certain book titles into Japanese, or because of inconsistencies between the solution and what has been said earlier in the plot: this time probably due to the writer's lack of knowledge of foreign cultures. Just make sure to save at every ‘investigation segment’ so that you won't get a game over because of these silly issues.

The art by Sugina Miki is beautiful, the colours used are so soft, there are tons of CGs where great attention was put into details. I feel sad having to choose which screenshots to share in this review!! However, I don't know why but I was less of a fan of the text box. The Steam version may also have trouble installing the proper font for English language, so make sure you actually got it before starting the game!
The soundtrack mostly consists of piano and violin classical music. The opening video is so pretty I feel blessed to live in such a time; I shared it in the screenshots tab. The songs are very calming and I liked them, but I read that many got annoyed by their repetitiveness.
The volume of the Japanese voice acting is a little inconsistent between the characters, especially with Suoh's quiet voice being drowned out by the music. Thankfully, their volume can be individually adjusted in the settings.

Now, the only thing left to talk about is the translation... the weak point of this localization. Dammit JAST USA, you had ONE job. People were expecting MangaGamer to get this series since they published the developer's (Innocent Grey) other titles, so when it turned out that it was JAST USA that licensed this it was pretty surprising.
Unfortunately at first, they didn't pay justice to this title at all. The first demo they prepared was such a trainwreck full of mistranslations, mistakes and typos; it caused such a ruckus! And thankfully that it did, because in the end Meru (the translator) ended up working on fixing this. She couldn't do a new translation from scratch but only fixing what they already got, so the translation is still not perfect but passing. There is still a fair amount of typos in the text, especially in the last part. It's like an editor didn't even check this. During this reread I found the very same typos I noticed three years ago that I had pointed out to the publisher, but it looks like nobody from JAST could even spare the time to release a patch to fix them. It's a little disheartening, this title does not deserve this.
Even sadder than that, this localized version does not even come with the original Japanese text for those who know it, so you have to make do with this English translation.
I'm hoping that when all four games will be translated, they will be able to properly fix the text once and for all.

Description

In the middle of a forest isolated from the rest of the world lies Saint Angraecum Academy, an all-girls school. This is where Suoh Shirahane, a painfully shy girl with a mysterious past, will begin her first year of high school. Follow her as she navigates new friendships within the academy’s special “Amitié” partner program and attempts to unravel the many mysteries at the academy, including occult rituals and the mysterious disappearance of fellow students, all while trying to pass her classes.

Within the halls of Saint Angraecum Academy, spring warms into summer, as does Suoh's friendships until they too blossom into something much more.

Screenshots

Skatrzoo

In this regard, I ended up liking much more the protagonist of Été—the following title.

Not surprised by this at all considering she was already best girl in Printemps :3

That being said, I really need to start reading Été since Automne localization is right around the corner…

GiseIIe

JAST being JAST it’s quite possible it’s gonna get delayed to 2020…

Skatrzoo

Well, meru was saying it’s basically done months ago - with JAST confirming that it should be out this fall during anime expo (or was it comiket?), I wanna keep my hopes up for now :P

{distant} May

this title does not deserve this

What, you mean other games do? I hope not.

this localized version does not even come with the original Japanese text for those who know it

I mean… if you do know Japanese, you could just read the original. Double language display (or the lack of it) shouldn’t be the thing that makes or breaks a VN.

GiseIIe
you could just read the original.

it’s not like I can afford to pay for the same game multiple times…

Double language display (or the lack of it) shouldn’t be the thing that makes or breaks a VN.

For example steins gate and fata morgana do have the option of Japanese text… yeah it is a licensing choice that cannot always be done. But this Western release shows a lack of proofreading/quality control/whatever it is; an option for the original text included would have been nice in this situation.

{distant} May

pay for the same game multiple times

Buy the original only, is what I mean. Unless you don’t feel confident enough with how proficient you are, I don’t see why you’d prefer to buy the localized version.

it is a licensing choice that cannot always be done

One could argue that not all VNs are localized with a Steam release as the main focus. Since I haven’t read this particular title, I can’t argue the quality, but I gotta say I’m happy the double language display isn’t a major option, as I find it bothersome (for now, at least; chances are I get used to it if I check out more titles that feature the option)… and very much the “Sekai Project moege” thing.

GiseIIe

I wasn’t talking about displaying two languages together but of the option in the settings to choose which one to read…. and for the rest, that’s simple, I got this 3 years ago. Back then I hadn’t started reading full vns in Japanese yet and when I went to reread it last month I ended up disappointed nobody could proofread it in 3 years time. And I got a second disappointment when my idea of switching to Japanese was cut short.

{distant} May

Well, I’d imagine switching between English and Japanese in an English release is even less common than double language display (though I do read very little actual Japanese VNs, so feel free to prove me wrong), unless it’s about the voices (but then again, that only really happens with VN+). And yeah, no matter who you are, 3 years is a long time to make any changes… guess JAST just didn’t care enough about this one.