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strap cell

Underbar Summer

is an adult Japanese visual novel developed by Hook which was released on July 15 2005 playable on the PC as a CD; a PlayStation 2 consumer console port called _Summer## followed on August 24 2006 by GN Software. An updated version of the original game, called , which is compatible up to Windows Vista and is playable on a PC as a DVD, was released on December 21 2007. _Summer is self-described as a , according to Hook. The gameplay in _Summer follows a plot line which offers pre-determined scenarios with courses of interaction, and focuses on the appeal of the six female main characters. The story revolves around Takumi Kaizu, who after years of making good friends, many of whom are female, is asked by his best male friend Osamu Funada if he likes anyone. With his last summer in high school quickly approaching, Takumi decides to find someone to like by the end of summer vacation.

Four character light novels have been written based on the original game written by Jōji Kamio. A two-episode original video animation was produced; the two DVDs were released on October 27 2006 and January 26 2007. Three drama CDs were released based on the game, and a fourth was later released as a prologue to the OVA.

Visual novel

Gameplay

The gameplay requires little interaction from the player as most of the duration of the game is spent on simply reading the text that will appear on the screen; this text represents either dialogue between the various characters, or the inner thoughts of the protagonist. Every so often, the player will come to a "decision point" where he or she is given the chance to choose from options that are displayed on the screen, typically two to three at a time. During these times, gameplay pauses until a choice is made that furthers the plot in a specific direction, depending on which choice the player makes. There are six main plot lines that the player will have the chance to experience, one for each of the heroines in the story. In order to view the six plot lines to their entirety, the player will have to replay the game multiple times and choose different choices during the decision points in order to further the plot in an alternate direction.

Release history

_Summer was first introduced to the public in Japan on July 15 2005 as a CD-ROM playable on a Microsoft Windows PC. A version for the PlayStation 2 with adult content removed, called , was developed by GN Software and released in Japan on August 24 2006 in limited and regular editions. The limited edition PS2 release came bundled with a drama CD, a cell phone strap featuring Konami Hatano, and a double-sided hug pillowcase, also featuring Konami. The PS2 version was re-released at a cheaper price on October 4 2007. An updated version of the original game, called , which is compatible up to Windows Vista and is playable on a PC as a DVD, was released on December 21 2007.

Plot

Story

Takumi Kaizu is a normal high school student enjoying his final year in school with the rest of his friends. Over the years, he has made good memories with these friends of his, most of whom are girls, though apparently still have no overt feelings of attraction towards any of them. When asked by his best male friend Osamu Funada if he likes anyone, Takumi starts to think about it though is still confused on what to do next. With his last summer in high school quickly approaching, Takumi decides to find someone to like by the end of summer vacation.

Characters

Main characters

Voiced by: Takashi Kondo (OVA)
Takumi is the protagonist of the story. He is a high school student who enjoys the time he's been spending with his close friends and wants it to last as long as it can. Despite having many beautiful girls as good friends, Takumi still has no attraction towards any of them, though when his friend Osamu Funade asks him if there's anyone he likes, he decides to try to find an answer to that question by the end of the next summer vacation which is right around the corner.
(game/OVA)
Konami is the main heroine who usually has a quiet, timid personality, though is also very helping. She is the childhood friend of Takumi and even goes as far as to go over to Takumi's house every morning and make him breakfast.
(game/OVA)
Shino is Konami's closest female friend who has a tough personality. She often acts in ways to defend Konami or react strongly on her behalf when she will not speak up over certain matters. She has shown herself to have a temper and often will get angry at Osamu's repeated perverted actions, which often earns him a beating on Shino's behalf.
(game/OVA)
Sana is Takumi's younger step-sister by one year who lives with him, though there is no blood relation between them. She most often has an active personality when awake, though still has problems getting up for school during the week despite now being in high school. Her best friend is Chiwa Amano who hangs out with her constantly.
Voiced by: Hitomi (game/OVA)
Chiwa is Sana's best friend who has an odd personality. She always speaks with a silent tone and will often point the obvious during times relating to something perverted that either Takumi or Osamu have done. She will usually do certain things that give her a creepy visage and is known to be unpredictable.
(game/OVA)
Wakana is a very beautiful girl who is one year above Takumi. She seems to have a crush on Takumi, of which he is unaware of. At school, Yuno Kawakami will often follow her around either helping her out with simple things or by fending off pushy guys with a wooden sword.
(game/OVA)
Hinako is Takumi's homeroom teacher. She is apparently hooked on buying strange and often useless mail-order products with the money she earns in her job. Since most of her money is spent in this fashion, she is usually found wandering the halls of the student cafeteria during lunchtime in hopes of getting free food.

Supporting characters

(game/OVA)
Yuno is a second-year girl who will follow Wakana around school, protecting her with a wooden sword from pushy guys or just helping her with simple things like purchasing meal tickets at the cafeteria. She has a forceful personality which helps whenever she is protecting Wakana, whom she addresses while adding the Japanese honorific to the end of her name as a sign of intense respect.
(game/OVA)
Osamu is Takumi's best male friend who has a bold personality, often not turning up the chance to peek at a girl changing her clothes or is otherwise partially or completely naked. Shino will attempt to beat him to persuade him otherwise, though despite this he still finds some way to get around her onslaughts. Due to this personality, it can be said that he has perhaps a higher than average liking to the opposite sex, something Takumi himself has noted. His nickname is Funamushi, meaning sea slater.

Adaptations

Light novels

There have been four character light novels based on the game written by Japanese author Jōji Kamio and illustrated by Araiguma, published by Softgarage. The novels contain adult material not suitable for children. The first novel covers Konami, the second covers both Chiwa and Sana, the third covers Shino and Wakana, and the fourth is a general novel entitled omnibus. The first novel was released on October 14 2005, and the final novel was released on September 25 2006.

Drama CDs

There are four drama CDs based on the series produced by two companies. The first set contains three CDs entitled _Summer ~everblue~ days released between December 29 2005 and April 21 2006 by Marine Entertainment. The last CD was released on September 29 2006 by Softgarage as a prologue to the OVA series.

OVA

The first episode of the _Summer original video animation, otherwise known as OVA, was first released on October 27 2006 by the animation studio Rikuentai; the second episode was released on January 26 2007. After the ending credits of each episode, there was a short, humorous bonus episode.

Episodes

# Title Original sale date

Music

_Summer's opening theme from the game is sung by Miyuki Hashimoto, and the ending theme from the game is by YuNa; "Important Person" was also used as an insert song. The game's original soundtrack was released by Lantis on November 23 2005 and contained thirty-one tracks. A maxi single containg the opening and ending themes of the OVA was released on September 29 2006. The OVA's opening theme is by Yuma Kosaka, and the OVA's ending theme is "_Summer", also by Yuma Kosaka.

References

External links

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