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Tomoyo After: It's a Wonderful Life (智代アフター ~It's a Wonderful Life~ Tomoyo Afutā ~It's a Wonderful Life~?) is a Japanese adult visual novel developed by Key and released on November 25, 2005 for the PC as a DVD. A version without adult content was released on the PlayStation 2 consumer console by Prototype on January 25, 2007 under the title Tomoyo After: It's a Wonderful Life CS Edition; CS stands for "consumer software". An all-ages version playable on FOMA mobile phones was released on June 2, 2008 by Prototype, and Prototype released a PlayStation Portable version of the CS Edition on March 19, 2009. The gameplay in Tomoyo After follows a plot line which offers pre-determined scenarios with courses of interaction, and focuses on the appeal of the title character Tomoyo Sakagami. The story follows the lives of Tomoya Okazaki, a young man who recently graduated from high school, and his close friend Tomoyo; they are starting to see more of each other in a romantic relationship.

After releasing their highly-anticipated title, Clannad, Key gave its designers the freedom to work on projects as they wished. Tomoyo After was the result of Jun Maeda's decision to make a game based on the Tomoyo scenario from Clannad. Maeda handled the game's scenario, and Leo Kashida, a new member of the team, accompanied him. The art was done by Fumio, also known for his work on Pia Carrot G.O. Toybox: Summer Fair. The music was worked on by Key's signature composers; Shinji Orito, Magome Togoshi and Jun Maeda. The opening and ending themes were performed by I've Sound singer Lia, called "Light colors" and "Life is like a Melody" respectively. Tomoyo After has been received well, and was the fourth-highest selling bishōjo game of 2005 in Japan.[1]

A manga version, under the title Tomoyo After: Dear Shining Memories, was serialized in the Japanese shōnen manga magazine Dragon Age Pure between April and October 2007, published by Fujimi Shobo. The manga, illustrated by Yukiko Sumiyoshi, takes its story from the visual novel that preceded it, though instead of the story being told from Tomoya's point of view, the manga is told from Tomoyo's perspective. A single bound volume was released in Japan on December 8, 2007.[2]

Gameplay

File:Tomoyo After RPG screenshot.jpg

Tomoyo After's gameplay requires little interaction from the player as most of the duration of the game is spent on simply reading the text that appears on the game screen which 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.[3] The time between these decision points is variable and can occur anywhere from a minute to much longer. 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. In order to view the available plot lines to their entirety, the player will have to replay the game multiple times and choose different choices during the decision points to further the plot in an alternate direction.[3] As gameplay progresses, the player will come across bonus sex scenes depicting Tomoya and Tomoyo having sexual intercourse.

There is a gameplay feature in Tomoyo After that is not usually seen in visual novels. A system called "Dungeons & Takafumis" was added, which gives the player chances to play in a role playing game setting not unlike in a typical Final Fantasy video game.[3] In order to complete the game entirely, the player must complete eight of these mini RPGs which makes available certain scenarios as the player continues to play the game.

Plot and characters

Tomoyo After's story revolves around Tomoya Okazaki (岡崎 朋也 Okazaki Tomoya?, voiced by: Yūichi Nitta in the RPG mode only), the male protagonist from Clannad, and Tomoyo Sakagami (坂上 智代 Sakagami Tomoyo?, voiced by: Hikaru Isshiki), one of the main heroines of the same game and the title character of Tomoyo After. Tomoya has already completed his first year of being a full-fledged member of society; he works as a garbage collector.[3] Initially, he is living in an apartment alone, as opposed with living with his father Naoyuki Okazaki (岡崎 直幸 Okazaki Naoyuki?, voiced by: Shunsuke Tani) with whom he does not get along with well. Tomoya still has a close friendship with Tomoyo, who has her story expanded upon than what was seen in Clannad. She has stayed in touch with Tomoya and they are starting to see more of each other in a romantic relationship.[4][5]

The story takes place a month after the events of Clannad during summer vacation after Tomoya has graduated from high school; he is still in the same town Clannad was set in.[3] One day it is discovered that Tomoyo has a younger half-sister named Tomo Mishima (三島 とも Mishima Tomo?, voiced by: Akari Sasaki) who had been living with her mother.[4][5] Tomo, a young kindergartner, is the illegitimate child of Tomoyo's father and another woman named Yūko Mishima (三島 有子 Mishima Yūko?, voiced by: Soyo Asaki). It is eventually decided that Tomo will live in Tomoya's apartment for the time being.[3] Tomoyo loves her very much and takes care of her constantly since she always had a weakness for children. The reason Tomo came to live with Tomoya is due to her mother suffering from psychological problems which result in a weak mind. Her mother's state agonized Tomo to the point where she had to move in with Tomoya.

File:Tomoyo After characters.jpg

Tomoyo has a younger brother named Takafumi Sakagami (坂上 鷹文 Sakagami Takafumi?, voiced by: Keiko Suzuki) who is very skilled at handling computers and after he installed a personal computer in Tomoya's room, he started to live in his apartment.[3] Takafumi has an ex-girlfriend named Kanako (河南子?, voiced by: Keiko Suzuki) who had shown dissatisfaction from seeing her mother remarry and thus does not like to live at home. In effect, she becomes a freeloader in Tomoya's apartment.[3] She has a foul mouth and is excessively sarcastic. Her favorite food is ice cream, and it is never revealed what her surname is. She has a cameo appearance roughly eighteen minutes into episode six of the Clannad anime series.[6] A central theme in the story is the ties between families, much like in Clannad.

Development

File:Tomoyo After screenshot.jpg

After releasing their highly-anticipated title, Clannad, Key gave its designers the freedom to work on projects as they wished. Tomoyo After: It's a Wonderful Life was the result of Jun Maeda's decision to make a game based on Tomoyo's scenario from Clannad. Maeda handled the game's planning and scenario, and Leo Kashida, a new member of the team, accompanied him.[7]

Just as with Planetarian: Chiisana Hoshi no Yume, art direction was not given to Itaru Hinoue who had been the art director for the first three of Key's games. Instead, Fumio was the art director for Tomoyo After while Hinoue helped Fumio with the character design.[7] This caused characters who appeared in Clannad such as Tomoya and Tomoyo to look similar but visibly different from when in Clannad. Maeda also helped with to compose the music for the game along with Key's signature composers Shinji Orito and Magome Togoshi.[7][8]

When Tomoyo After was ported to the PlayStation 2, improvements to the game were included. This edition's scenario was expanded by the original staff after the removal of the adult content consisting of sex scenes.[3] Yūto Tonokawa wrote some of the additional story for Takafumi and Kanako.[9] With the added scenario and visuals combined, the PS2 edition is 1.5 times longer than the PC edition. In the original version, the entire cast excluding Tomoya Okazaki, had full voice acting; this was not changed for the PlayStation 2 version. Added support was included so as to make the visuals on the television sharper than in the past with visual novels played on a consumer console rather than on the PC.[3] In the past, players' eyes may have gotten tired after playing a visual novel on a television screen due to slight flickering of the picture, but this was solved with the PS2 version, which made the flickering decrease, reducing eyestrain.[3]

Release history

Tomoyo After was first released in Japan on November 25, 2005 as a limited edition version, playable only for the PC as a DVD, and as a bonus came bundled with the visual novel's original soundtrack.[7][10] Only a limited edition was produced and Key's manufacturing of the adult version has since been suspended.[7] An all-ages version of the game was ported to the PlayStation 2 consumer console by Prototype on January 25, 2007 under the title Tomoyo After: It's a Wonderful Life CS Edition; CS stands for "consumer software".[3] An all-ages version playable on Freedom of Mobile Multimedia Access mobile phones was released on June 2, 2008 by Prototype through Visual Art's Motto, but did not include the role-playing game feature "Dungeons & Takafumis".[11] Prototype also released a PlayStation Portable version of CS Edition, along with full voice acting including Tomoya, on March 19, 2009. An all-ages version for the PC was released by Key on July 31, 2009 in a box set containing five other Key visual novels called Key 10th Memorial Box; this version contains the additional scenario from the PS2 version, and features full voice acting, including Tomoya.[12] The version of Tomoyo After available in Key 10th Memorial Box was re-released on April 30, 2010 with updated compatibility for Windows 7 PCs under the title Tomoyo After: It's a Wonderful Life Memorial Edition.[13] A version of the CS Edition for the Xbox 360 was published by Prototype and released on September 22, 2010.[14]

Related media

Manga

A manga adaptation of the visual novel entitled Tomoyo After: Dear Shining Memories was serialized in the Japanese shōnen manga magazine Dragon Age Pure between April 20, 2007 and October 20, 2007, and was published by Fujimi Shobo.[15][16] The story is based on the visual novel version that preceded it, though instead of the story being told from Tomoya's point of view, the manga is told from Tomoyo's perspective; the manga is drawn by Yukiko Sumiyoshi. A single bound volume was released in Japan on December 8, 2007 containing four chapters of varying lengths: chapter one is thirty-eight pages, chapters two and three are forty pages, and chapter four is fifty-six pages.[2]

Music

The visual novel has two main theme songs, the opening theme "Light colors", and the ending theme "Life is like a Melody", both sung by Lia of I've Sound who also sung the theme songs for Key's previous title Air. The game's original soundtrack was bundled with the original release of Tomoyo After released on November 25, 2005.[10] The soundtrack contained seventeen different tracks along with short versions of the two theme songs and piano arrange versions of two of the background music tracks. Every song's title was written in English with no kanji or kana given. The original soundtrack was re-released on April 27, 2007.[17] A piano arrange album was released on December 29, 2005 called Piano no Mori which contained five tracks from Tomoyo After and five from Clannad. Each of the albums released for the visual novel version were released on Key's record label Key Sounds Label.

Reception

According to a national ranking of how well bishōjo games sold nationally in Japan, the original Tomoyo After PC release premiered at number one in the rankings.[18] This game stayed on the charts for a month longer, ranking in at thirty-five and thirty-six.[19] Tomoyo After for the PC was the eighth most widely sold game of 2005 on Getchu.com.[20] In 2006, the Japanese gaming magazine PC News reported that Tomoyo After was the fourth-highest selling bishōjo game of 2005 with 49,226 units sold.[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Script error
  2. 2.0 2.1 Script error
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 Script error
  4. 4.0 4.1 Script error
  5. 5.0 5.1 Script error
  6. Kanako. (November 8, 2007). Clannad episode 6. [Anime]. Kyoto Animation.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Script error
  8. Script error
  9. Script error
  10. 10.0 10.1 Script error
  11. Script error
  12. Script error
  13. Script error
  14. Script error
  15. Script error
  16. Script error
  17. Script error
  18. Script error
  19. Script error
  20. Script error

External links

ko:토모요 애프터 ~It's a Wonderful Life~th:Tomoyo After: It's a Wonderful Life

vi:Tomoyo After ~It's a Wonderful Life~ zh:智代After ~It's a Wonderful Life~

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