Spring Leaves No Flowers is the third game in the LGBTQ positive One Night, Hot Spring visual novel series developed by npckc. The first game followed Haru, a 19-year old transgender Japanese woman as she goes on an overnight trip to a local hot spring for her oldest friend Manami’s 20th birthday. The second game focused on Erika, one of Haru’s friends as she attempts to plan a spa day for the girls, but she finds that accommodating all of her friends is a little difficult.
This third game, Spring Leaves No Flowers brings Haru’s friend Manami to the forefront as she comes to an understanding about herself as she thinks about what friendship and romance mean to her. Spring Leaves No Flowers picks up a few months after the events of Last Day of Spring with Manami coming home after a night out with her boyfriend Tatsuya, and her friends, Haru and Erika. While chatting with Tatsuya later that night he asks Manami why she never told him her two best friends were dating. Confused, she denies his claim, but the next day she notices that both Haru and Erika are acting strangely… maybe there really is something going on between her two best friends afterall…
Last Day of Spring is the sequel to npckc’s LGBTQ positive visual novel, One Night, Hot Springs—which followed Haru, a 19-year old transgender Japanese woman as she goes on an overnight trip to a local hot spring for her oldest friend Manami’s 20th birthday. The game focuses on Haru’s experiences during the trip and the affect they have on her—One Night, Hot Springs delves into many of the anxieties Haru has over not being treated as the woman she is and while it does have its fair share of heavy moments, the game is ultimately very positive.
During the trip, Haru meets Manami’s friend Erika and while they have a shaky start, there are opportunities for the two to spend more time together and eventually become friends. Last Day of Spring, picks up a few months after the first game and follows Erika, who at this point has become really good friends with Haru. At the start of the game Erika learns from Manami that it’s Haru’s birthday and decides they should do something to celebrate. So she sets out to plan a special spa day for her, Haru, and Manami.
I’ve played many games over the years, but none has so perfectly captured the human experience as poignantly as the short visual novel One Night, Hot Spring. This thought provoking title, gives players the opportunity to step into the shoes of Haru, a 19 year old transgender Japanese woman who has just been invited for an overnight trip to a local hot spring by her oldest friend Manami. While Haru is initially reluctant to attend, she eventually give in to the request. But, what would normally be a simple night out with friends is made much more difficult for Haru, who is still legally male must contend with the rigid gender structures of the Japanese hot spring. As the night wears on and Haru’s anxieties rise the player must decide how Haru reacts to the various obstacles she encounters.
npckc‘s short visual novel One Night, Hot Spring does that and more, by giving players the unique opportunity to experience life through the eyes of a transgender woman in Japan. I originally included the game in a list of ten LGBTQ positive visual novels in celebration of Pride Month and of all the titles on that list, One Night, Hot Spring was by far my favorite. The game was developed by indie developer npckc for the 2018 Trans Gal Jam.
Blerdy Otome is an otome games and visual novel review site that runs on Black Girl Magic and Dreams. While I mostly focus on romance themed games, I’ve been known to cover a wide range of nerdy and otaku themed topics.
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