Sakura Mint

Sakura Mint is a novel game creation circle that was formulated in 2005 and that has quite active in the doujin convention circuit ever since. Their preferred scripting system is NScripter and their preferred strategy is to release one new packaged novel game a year at Comiket, with a free web release of said novel game following roughly 6 months later and a final packaged "director's cut" release of the same game following 6 months after that, to be sold alongside their new novel game for the year. This tradition of making their pieces freeware after a period of time, along with the gentle writing and the generally high production values of their pieces, has earned them the loyalty of a small but dedicated fanbase. Several of their pieces have gone on to critical acclaim; 「月照~ツキノテラス~」, the piece that AstCd2 proudly presents today as Moonshine, for instance, has been the recipient of the coveted "recommended" rating from NaGIsa.

Outside of 「月照~ツキノテラス~」 (which is considered by many to be their best piece), Sakura Mint's works have included 「踏切」 (a novel game collection of six interweaving short stories involving train crossings), 「彼と彼女のノスタルジア」 (a delicate, nostalgic piece about a boy who visits the town his estranged sister used to live in, after said sister dies in a traffic accident), and, most recently, 「一日千秋」 (a story about a boy and a girl who decide to stop seeing each other for a month, and about what they discover in their respective acts of solitude).

As you can see from the above catalog of completed works, Sakura Mint tells stories along several broad themes: human relationships; disconnect; solitude; the treacherous process of passing from childhood to adulthood; the pain of the passage of time; yet always a bold determination that one can — and should — only keep moving forward in one's life. Very few of their pieces have "happy endings" in the traditional sense — and yet you can't help but to cheer the individual characters on as they learn, almost always the hard way, that you cannot stay a child forever. The writers of Sakura Mint therefore echo the poet Rainer Maria Rilke when they write: "who speaks of victory? To survive is all".

And that, I think, is one of the few sentiments worth drinking to.

At the time of this writing, Sakura Mint consists of six individuals: Kouji, who leads the group and serves as scenario writer, scripter, director, and producer; TAKER, who administers their website and serves in a supervisatory role in their productions; Kodawira, who serves as the lead scenario writer and auxillary scripter; Hourai Ouga, who serves as the lead scripter; Shun-Aki, who serves as a producer; and Min, who serves as an auxillary scenario writer.

30 November 2008
Seung Park
Festival Coordinator, al|together 2008