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To Heart 2 (トゥハート2 Tu Hāto 2?) is a Japanese romance visual novel developed by Leaf and published by Aquaplus. To Heart 2 was first released for the PlayStation 2 on December 28, 2004 as an all-ages title, and was followed by Microsoft Windows and PlayStation Portable versions. The Windows port is an adult game entitled To Heart 2 XRATED, and it was released on December 22, 2005. This derives from the game's predecessor, To Heart, as it was originally released with adult content. The gameplay in To Heart 2 follows a linear plot line, which offers pre-determined scenarios and courses of interaction, and focuses on the appeal of the female main characters.

To Heart 2 has since received a sequel entitled To Heart 2: Another Days, which was released on February 29, 2008 for Windows, and has also made transitions to other media. There have been five anime adaptations of To Heart 2: a television anime adaptation produced by Oriental Light and Magic, which was first broadcast in Japan between October 3, 2005 and January 2, 2006; and four original video animation series produced by Aquaplus and Chaos Project. Three manga series, thirteen manga anthologies, three Internet radio shows, two drama CDs and one novel adaptation based on To Heart 2 have also been produced.

Gameplay

File:Toheart2-screenshot.png

To Heart 2 is a "novel-type adventure game" in which the player assumes the role of Takaaki Kōno.[1] Its gameplay requires little player interaction as much of the game's duration is spent on reading the text that superimposes the screen, which represents the story's narrative and dialogue. To Heart 2 follows a linear plot line with multiple endings, and depending on the decisions that the player makes during the game, the plot will progress in a specific direction.

The game divides each school day of the storyline into four segments. These segments illustrate the events that occur during Takaaki's commute to school, during school, after school, and after he returns home at the end of each day.[1] Depending on the time of the day and the player's actions, he or she may be presented one of three types of events: mandatory events, which occur automatically during certain points in the game's plot line; temporary events, which occur during certain periods of time only if specific conditions are met; or after school events, which occur at the end of each school day.[1]

At the end of each school day, the player will be given the option to navigate to various locations within the game's setting.[1][2] Each choosable location is accompanied by an image of a heroine in order to allow the choices to be easier to make.[2] Every so often, the player will also come to a "decision point", where he or she is given the chance to choose from multiple options. Text progression pauses at these points, and depending on the choices that the player makes, the affection rate of the heroine associated with the event will either increase, decrease, or remain the same.[1] This mechanism determines which direction the player will progress into, but influences the plot only during Konomi's and Karin's plot lines.[1]

In the PlayStation 2 version, there are nine plot lines that the player will have the chance to experience, one for each of the heroines in the story except Sango and Ruri, who share the same plot line. This is expanded to ten plot lines in subsequent versions with the addition of Sasara's scenario.[3][4] In order to view all of the plot lines, the player will have to replay the game multiple times and make different decisions to progress the plot in an alternate direction. In all versions, the game also contains a bad ending in which the player is unable to pursue the other scenarios. This ending serves as the basis of the Another Days scenario in To Heart 2: Another Days, which allows the player to pursue an additional seven heroines.[5]

To Heart 2 XRATED, the PC version of the visual novel, includes two additional minigames that serve to lengthen the experience the game provides;[6] these minigames do not affect the main plot in any way. In both minigames, the player controls one of the heroines from To Heart 2's storyline,[6] who is made available upon the completion of her scenario in the main portion of the game. The first of the two minigames, titled "Super Sweets Scramble" (スーパースイーツスクランブル Sūpaa Suiitsu Sukuranburu?), is a scrolling shooter in which the player's goal is to progress through a vertically scrolling level, while attacking enemies that resemble confectioneries and dodging their attacks. The second, titled "Dokidoki Panic Library" (ドキドキぱにっくライブラリー Dokidoki Panikku Raiburarii?), is a puzzle game in which the player competes with an opponent for a higher score, by connecting three or more books of the same color and eliminating them from the screen.[7]

Characters

Development

After producing multiple titles separately, Aquaplus' Osaka and Tokyo studios began discussions to create a collaborative project for the PlayStation 2.[1][8] To Heart 2's original concept was conceived after a staff member jokingly mentioned the possibility of a sequel for To Heart, and production began for such a project after the development team realized the popularity and success of the earlier title.[1] Naoya Shimokawa, the president of Aquaplus, produced the resulting project, while Tsutomu Washimi served as the game's director. Work on the game's scenario was split among four writers: Shōsuke Miyake wrote the scenarios for Sango, Ruri, and Lucy, in addition to drafting the game's overall storyline; Nagare Makura wrote the scenarios for Manaka and Yuma; Takeshi Marui wrote the scenarios for Karin and Yūki; lastly, Munemitsu Suga wrote the scenarios for Konomi and Tamaki.[1] For the game's character designs, Misato Mitsumi was decided to illustrate the main heroine during the early stages of planning, and the development team then considered to pair each of the four illustrators with a scenario writer. Although this would have eased communication and the project's work load, the idea was later abandoned as the production team was afraid of splitting the game into four distinct images.[1] Ultimately, design responsibilities were divided based on the illustrators' preferences. Misato Mitsumi provided the designs for characters Konomi and Yuma; Hisashi Kawata designed Lucy and Karin; Tatsuki Amazuyu designed Tamaki and Manaka; and Takeshi Nakamura designed Sango, Ruri, and Yūki.[1] The game's music was composed by Shimokawa, Junya Matsuoka, Shinya Ishikawa, Kazue Nakagami, and Michio Kinugasa.

Release history

To Heart 2 was first released as an all-ages title for the PlayStation 2 on December 28, 2004 in three versions: a limited edition, a deluxe edition, and a regular edition. The limited edition release contained the game itself, an original soundtrack disc, a visual concept collection, a calendar, and a special casing; the deluxe edition contained the extras included in the limited edition and a version of To Heart playable on the PS2; the regular edition does not contain the aforementioned extras.[9]

The original releases were followed by an adult version entitled To Heart 2 XRATED. It was first released on December 9, 2005 for Microsoft Windows PCs as a limited edition, and contained a visual concept collection.[6] It was subsequently followed by a regular edition release on December 22, 2005. An all-ages version, titled To Heart 2 Portable, was released for the PlayStation Portable on July 30, 2009.[10] Unlike previous releases, the PSP release allowed viewing the game in both the original 4:3 and widescreen 16:9 aspect ratios.[4][10] It was released in three versions: "W Pack Limited Edition", "W Pack", and a regular edition. W Pack included a version of To Heart playable on PSP, while the limited edition also included figurines of characters Sasara and Maaryan.[10]

To Heart 2's releases were accompanied by an adult spin-off entitled To Heart 2: Another Days. Another Days was released on February 29, 2008 for Microsoft Windows PCs, and features the sub-heroines of the original To Heart 2 visual novel.

Source code release

On December 12, 2005, Aquaplus announced that it would release the source code for To Heart 2 XRATED, Arurū to Asobo!!, Tears to Tiara, and Kusari, under the GNU General Public License.[11][12] This decision was made due to the inclusion of Xvid derived code; Xvid being distributed under the same license.[11][12] The source code for all four games was released to the public on December 22, 2005, in CD-R format.[11]

Adaptations

Books and publications

A guidebook titled To Heart 2: Master Guide was released on January 15, 2005. The book contains poster artwork, the 'face patterns' of each character, selected CG scenes and a guide on how to play through each character's scenarios. Voice actress interviews are also included, as well as a brief guide on how to play through each scenario in To Heart. Another guidebook for the visual novel titled The Essence of To Heart 2: To Heart 2 Official Guidebook (「The Essence of ToHeart2]トゥハート2 オフィシャルガイドブック?) was published by Enterbrain on March 4, 2005. The book contains a complete walk through to all the characters in the game, as well as detailed character descriptions. Every CG image and background is also included.

Manga

A manga adaptation based on the original To Heart 2 visual novel was illustrated by Haruka Gogyōya and serialized in MediaWorks' shōnen manga magazine Dengeki Daioh between February 21, 2005 and January 21, 2007; the chapters were later compiled into three bound volumes published under MediaWorks' Dengeki Comics imprint. Another manga, this time illustrated by Tsuna Kitaumi, was serialized in Square Enix's shōnen manga magazine Monthly GFantasy between March 18, 2005 and March 18, 2008; four volumes were released under Gangan Comics. To Heart 2: Colorful Note is a retelling of the entire To Heart 2 story.

Anime

A thirteen-episode anime series adaptation produced by Oriental Light and Magic and directed by Norihiko Sudō aired in Japan between October 3, 2005 and January 2, 2006. The basic setting is the same as the original To Heart, except it is set two years later with a completely new set of characters. The school used is also the same as in To Heart. The same cast used in the visual novel was used in the anime. While the animation of the original To Heart anime was very soft and used a lot of watercolor-like images, To Heart 2 followed the path of To Heart: Remember My Memories and uses solid colors and well-defined edges. While the characters have retained their personalities from the game, the story is different. In the game, most of the characters never meet but they all know one another in the anime. The anime is not in chronological order as well; The first few episodes span a two-week period with his interactions with a different girl throughout those two-weeks per episode. Two pieces of theme music are used for the episodes; one opening theme and one ending theme. The opening theme is "Hello" by Haruna Ikeda, and the ending theme is "Tomoshibi" (トモシビ?) by Suara. A single containing the theme songs was released on November 25, 2005.

A three-episode original video animation series with a new, original story was released between February 28, 2007 and September 28, 2007 all are available on DVD. The OVAs include all the original To Heart 2 cast, including Sasara Kusugawa, who was first featured in the To Heart 2 game; Marianne, another character who debuted in the ToHeart2 game, and Yūki Kusakabe, a character who only made a flashback appearance in the anime. A second OVA series titled To Heart 2 AD contained two episodes released between March 26 and August 8, 2008. Rena Uehara performed both the opening theme "Niji no Kakehashi" and the ending theme "Kimi ga Nokoshita Mono".[13] A third OVA series titled To Heart 2 AD Plus consists of two episodes, the first released on April 24, 2009, and a second episode released on October 17, 2009.

Audio CDs

Two anthology drama CDs were released between February 24 and March 24, 2006. The visual novel's opening theme is "Heart To Heart" by Arisa Nakayama, and the ending theme is "Arigatō" (ありがとう?) by Akko. The two-disc To Heart 2 Original Soundtrack for the visual novel was released on December 22, 2004. A character song album entitled To Heart 2 Character Songs was released on November 23, 2005. A music single, "Heart to Heart", containing the game's opening theme "Heart to Heart" by Arisa Nakayama and several other theme songs from other Leaf games was released on June 22, 2005.

Reception

According to a weekly sales ranking conducted by Media Create, the original version of To Heart 2 was the fourth best selling video game for the week ending on January 2, 2005, during which the game sold 86,485 copies.[14][15] Another ranking conducted during the same week by Famitsu.com instead placed this number at 82,949 copies sold.[16] The game subsequently remained on Media Create's sales ranking at thirty-fourth,[17] forty-seventh,[18] and fiftieth until the week ending on January 23, 2005.[19] In a sales ranking of bishōjo games conducted by PCNews, To Heart 2 XRATED's limited edition premiered at first place in the rankings.[20] It dropped to third place during the first two weeks of January,[21] and then to thirty-sixth place in the next ranking.[22] It then raised to the sixteenth place in the following ranking,[23] before remaining at thirty-second place in the two rankings after that,[23][24] and making its last appearance on the chart at fiftieth place in late March 2006.[24]

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Famitsu, ed. (2009-06-25). トゥハート2 オフィシャルガイドブック The Essence of ToHeart2 [To Heart 2 Official Guidebook: The Essence of To Heart 2]. Enterbrain. ISBN 4757722192. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Aquaplus, ed. (2009-06-25). To Heart 2 Portable Software Manual. Aquaplus. pp. 14–15. 
  3. Script error
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  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Script error
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  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Script error
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Script error
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Leaf Forced to Release Game Source Code". Anime News Network. 2006-03-01. Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  13. "To Heart 2 AD on Anime News Network". Retrieved 2009-11-18. 
  14. Jenkins, David (2005-01-10). "Japanese Sales Charts, Week Ending January 2nd". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2010-12-18. 
  15. Script error
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  23. 23.0 23.1 Script error
  24. 24.0 24.1 Script error

External links

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