11 people found this review helpful
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 14.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 3 @ 2:44pm

Hira Hira Hihiru follows a young doctor and high school student who must confront the horrifying disease known as Aerodema. A disease that brings the dead back to life, but changed.

The Story

The story, set in Japan’s Taisho Period, revolves around a disease coined “Aerodema” that anyone can contract that leaves you medically dead for a period of time before coming back to life. The damage and effects death have had on them are determined on how long it takes to come back. There is no cure but the disease can be slowed with medicine. The main side effects of the disease is loss of brain function and your skin degrading to the point where you appear zombie-ish and the hair turning white.

At its heart, this visual novel is a story of how mental illness affects the people who suffer from them and those around them. Falling ill changes one’s life drastically. It comes with being misunderstood, lonely, and depressed. The story also shows how society sees and treats those suffering from mental diseases. Some cultures see mental disease as a religious curse, while others push the inflicted into mental wards and lock them away. Others often are made to suffer in silence with no real help unless they can afford it.

Due to the government not being able to house all the inflicted and provide medical care on a professional level the burden of caring for a lot of families fell to them. A lot of families, being poor, were not able to afford medical care for their loved ones so a new system was put in place (to put the burden of care onto the families directly) called “homecare”.

Family members are expected to construct a cage or a “home cell” to keep them in. Police do monthly inspections to make sure everything is up to code, but with any governmental system it is rife with corruption and abuse.

This novel has you follow in the footsteps of two protagonists, a young doctor who sets out on field studies to visit impoverished families around the country, survey their situation and make reports to the government. All in an effort to advocate for a better system with proper medical care. The second protagonist is a high school student who has an interest in studying law. His story is more to give an inside look into how loved ones deal with friends and family members afflicted with the disease on a personal level.

Settings & Features

The settings include for the most part your usual features such as text speed options, audio controls, text and font options, language settings, and voice settings. There is also an abundant amount of save slots.

The hud in game has clearly defined controls along the bottom which can be hidden for taking screen captures if you desire. The text is easy to read and the overall hud clean. There is also a history log that is accessible by scrolling your mouse wheel up and to advance the text just scroll the mouse wheel down.

The Visuals & Audio

Visually the novel is beautiful with a painterly quality. Some of the characters have subtle facial animations and some environments have animated effects to make the scenes more lively.

The novel is fully voiced in Japanese and very, very well done. Ambient sounds such as the wind whistling, shuffling of feet and knocking add life to the otherwise mostly static artwork.

Overall Experience

A way to describe this visual novel is an incredibly well written, high quality anime in visual novel form. In fact I can even see this visual novel turned into an anime series at some point in the future. It is such a compelling and heartfelt novel that has all the key ingredients for an anime series. Even the end credits roll as if it is the end of a series.

The story was so touching. I feel it maybe ended a bit too soon, I did not expect when the credits rolled all of a sudden. But it leaves you with things to think about. So maybe ending there was a good call.

This story does have light hearted moments but very heart-wrenching ones too. Especially if you have ever known or currently know anyone in real life who suffers from mental illness or dementia. This story gives such a great look into how society views and treats these people and at the same time the perspective from the patient's side.

❕ Trigger warnings are necessary before jumping into this story. Especially if you’ve had loved ones or maybe even yourself struggling with mental illness. It does depict violence , bodily injury, isolation, and suicide/death. However these things are not so much shown in the story as they are auditory. You may not see blood or gore but it is vocalized as part of the voice acting. That might be worse for some as opposed to it just being images. There is some imagery that can be disturbing as well but it is mostly auditory.

Overall I really enjoyed this story. I can personally relate to loved ones in my past having mental decline. I saw first hand how both the hospitals and homecare treated them. There are a lot of compassionate people who work with these patients. It is exhausting, often thankless and underpaid work. There is also the other side, not everyone in the field is kind or understanding.

This is not an easy story to experience but for those that like serious, pull no punches content with great voice acting (Japanese only but very well done), then I recommend this story. It does not shy away from the story it wants to tell. I wanted to share the screen captures I took (and I took quite a few), as the artwork is gorgeous, but I decided not to spoil anything. I do not want to take any part of this experience away from anyone who wishes to embrace it. 🔲

Thank you to my wonderful friend for such a thoughtful gift that brought me insight and enjoyment.

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Amjara May 4 @ 4:56am 
Thank you for your comments everyone. I can understand for sure if this vn is not for everyone. It deals with some heavy subject matter that I am happy to see some developers and artists putting out there.
Saena May 4 @ 3:18am 
Thank you so much for taking the time to write this review.
k3vlar May 4 @ 12:53am 
Thanks a bunch for the detailed review. I'm really happy you enjoyed the story and how it tackled mental illness and societal issues. Your feedback on the length and trigger warnings is super helpful. I am not sure it's something I would play, considering the topics, but it does sound like an interesting story.