May Sky is a work with an unusual history. Originally written in Adobe Flash and released one chapter at a time online by Scrubbing in early 2005, it was converted into an installable NScripter-based distribution in August 2005, and has been well-regarded in the freeware novel game scene ever since. Unlike most Flash-based novel games, this one has substantial length — it takes about 2-4 hours to read through the entire piece. Independent novel game reviewer NaGIsa gives this piece a "recommended" rating, noting that while the scenario is strongly written and the music is well-chosen, for a supposedly romantic piece it doesn't feel all that romantic.
The story depicted in the piece is as unusual as the piece's history: here we have Haruki Mizoguchi, a newly-minted salaryman who is suffering from the freshman blues, and really doesn't care about anyone around him. And over there we have Minori Kamiake, a world-weary young shrine maiden who, despite her giggly conversations with her school "friends", really couldn't care less about any of that. When taken separately, these two individuals are malcontents, square pegs struggling to fit into round holes, adrift and alone in a society where solidarity is all that matters. When taken together, though ... well, suffice it to say that they can be pretty mean to each other.
Like Moonshine, May Sky is a tale of two people who find themselves slipping through the cracks in Japanese society. It is a tale made possible by the economic stress and the social upheaval of the Lost Decade. It is in equal parts a romantic (?) comedy (?) and a stark commentary on the treacherous no-man's-land between one's "public face" and one's "private face". It is all of these things and more.
But perhaps most importantly, it is a tale of two hearts learning — often painfully — to beat as one.
1 December 2008
© 2005 Scrubbing; © 2008 Irene Ying and Seung Park
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