A Kiss For The Petals – Remembering How We Met: Editor’s Corner Unabridged

On 25 September 2015, I announced my involvement as overseer of the English localization of A Kiss For The Petals – Remembering How We Met on the MangaGamer staff blog. Prior to that date, I withheld information about my work on the project due to my own belief that my history with the fan translations would have caused a conflict of interest. I used the skills I developed over many years working on fan translations to develop the English-language version in secret. However, I later learned that my presence in fact encouraged St. Michael Girls’ School to move forward with the license. With that assurance, I wrote the above article detailing my views and history with the franchise, and I will be able to discuss them much more openly in the future.

Due to the nature of the partnership between MangaGamer and St. Michael Girls’ School, details on previous releases from Fuguriya and Yurin Yurin, as well as the fan translation efforts, cannot be discussed in an official capacity. This is an unabridged version of my Editor’s Corner post with information on those topics. A complete listing of individuals who worked on the translation patches is located at the bottom of this article.

The following is the opinion of the author and does not reflect the views of MangaGamer or any other third party.


Greetings. This is Craig Donson, proud to finally announce my involvement as overseer of the first official English localization of A Kiss For The Petals. For this release, Remembering How We Met, I served as editor and co-programmer of the home computer port of the mobile phone original.
image1

As many of you are aware, I have spent many years advocating A Kiss For The Petals as a yuri product like no other. With the blessing of the developers, I would like to take this opportunity to briefly discuss my history with this series as well as the companies behind its production directly from the source.

My first encounter with it was in November 2008. At the time, I had no familiarity with yuri, and I was seeking alternative entertainment. A Kiss For The Petals (Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke wo) consisted of five visual novels, with a sixth to be released only days later. I started on the fourth visual novel, Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke wo – Itoshisa no Photograph, and learned later that it was part of a series. This was the second visual novel to feature Kitajima Kaede and Kitajima Sara, and for that reason, I am more familiar with them than the other couples.

I immediately recognized it as something to be cherished—an adult-oriented product that made a point of eschewing elements that frustrated my enjoyment of them.  The “Day-to-Day of Yuri” articles by series producer Mi Kara Deta Saba plainly list the elements that are unpopular with yuri fans and yet are so common in the genre. In short, A Kiss For The Petals was dedicated to proving that none of them are necessary to succeed.

While this alone is an exceptional show of tenacity, over the following years, the franchise grew in ways I never expected.

After the first few releases, the series took a noticeable slant toward storytelling away from pure titillation, which gave it appeal to those with little care for explicit material; said content could be skipped with little consequence on the story, allowing a wider audience to enjoy it any way they pleased. Hanahira!, released in 2010, was an attempt to capitalize on this market segment, but recent releases with no sexual content whatsoever use the main roster and have proved that the characterization stands on its own. The cast steadily expanded as well, resulting in a wide range of personalities and relationships that cater to many different tastes. Every new couple felt distinct, and despite the high concentration of couples of young women in a single campus, the possibility of infidelity is never so much as entertained. This yuri series I had stumbled upon was truly one of a kind, and yet exposure of it outside enthusiast communities was extremely limited. With the release of a translation patch of the very first visual novel in the series released on 14 February 2010 by CountPacula, I determined that I must join the effort to spread awareness of this series.

I took it upon myself to promote it using all resources and skills at my disposal, beginning with the translation patch for Watashi no Ouji-sama, the second visual novel in the series and the first to feature Kaede and Sara, with the eventual goal of raising enough interest in an official English release. I contacted Kamyu Aaru and Proger_XP, who were working on translation and script extraction respectively, to contribute to their effort in script and image editing and programming assistance, and to host the completed product on my own web space. On 9 January 2011, the first version of this patch was released.

Over the following three years, the first nine visual novels received translation patches by many fellow fans. Without their enthusiasm and commitments to these patches, the English version of Remembering How We Met would not have been possible. Many individuals both in and out of Japan lent their skills and influence toward the larger goal of raising international interest in the series, and the fruit of our efforts is now available to you on Steam.

image2

While I could further discuss what I enjoy about A Kiss For The Petals, I need only refer to the “Day-to-Day of Yuri” to explain my motivations for dedicating over seven years of my life to its growth as a fan. At no point in the many years I’ve followed the development of A Kiss For The Petals did it waver from the qualities that make it irresistible. Mi Kara Deta Saba is a truly passionate and talented creator in the way he manages around his own self-imposed limitations, and it is my hope that others take after his conviction. His vision manifested in three companies, all targeting different markets according to the evolving climate for yuri.

In 2006, the foremost yuri title to the general public was Maria-sama ga Miteru. Despite its popularity, certain members of the doujin visual novel community lamented the lack of adult-oriented yuri titles. They proclaimed, “If there is none, let’s make one ourselves!” With such a simple declaration, Fuguriya was founded. Their first visual novel, titled A Kiss For The Petals (その花びらにくちづけを Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke wo), was released in September of that year. The odds were stacked against it, being a strictly yuri visual novel in the amateur market, a niche within a niche. Despite this, it found great success, which led to the release of ten additional visual novels over the next five years, as well as many drama CDs and light novels and an ongoing biweekly character radio show, Reo-ppoi Radio, which began airing on 13 February 2011. The show is hosted by Anzu Hana, voice of Kawamura Reo and Ishigami Satsuki, and she has since gained a great deal of influence within the companies producing A Kiss For The Petals, particularly its musical themes. She performs vocals in the majority of them and has begun producing them herself, starting with The New Generation.

As readers of Petals’ Garden are aware, I have written a number of letters to Reo-ppoi Radio, all with the motive of ensuring that the staff of that show are aware of A Kiss For The Petals‘ international following. It was through this show that I met Zero-O-Reo and Kuma Ichigo, who contacted me directly after listening to my letters in 2011 and 2012 respectively. They offered to translate further letters to the show, allowing me to write more frequently. Kuma Ichigo has offered a large amount of support as well, providing coverage on promotional events such as live Niconico broadcasts that reveal new products.

In 2011, the anime series YuruYuri sparked a renaissance of yuri in the Japanese mainstream market. With the sudden emergence of a commercial market for yuri, Fuguriya decided to pursue it with a commercial entity of their own and launched Yurin Yurin in July 2012. Azumi Risa and Ayase Miya made their debut in Yurin Yurin’s flagship product, Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke wo – Michael no Otome-tachi (その花びらにくちづけを ミカエルの乙女たち), which was the first product to collect all previous characters together. A total of six commercially released visual novels were produced by Yurin Yurin. Their final release, Shirayuki no Kishi (白雪の騎士), was released before all intended routes could be included, so a standalone visual novel containing the story of Shizuku and Eris was released through Fuguriya. Anata ni Chikau Ai (あなたに誓う愛), released in May 2014, is currently Fuguriya’s most recent release.

Even after the establishment of a commercial brand, non-visual novel products continued to be published under the Fuguriya name. The larger-scale visual novels and the supplementary drama CDs and light novels targeted separate markets. St. Michael Girls’ School was established in October 2014 to erase the boundaries between the amateur and professional markets; Remembering How We Met on iOS and Android is its flagship visual novel release. With this monumental English release, St. Michael Girls’ School and MangaGamer will tear down one of the last remaining boundaries within the A Kiss For The Petals fandom: the language barrier.

image3

It is no exaggeration to say that the individuals I’ve met and opportunities afforded to me through my work as a fan have enriched my life. As I write this, I’m in awe of where we stand today compared to seven years ago thanks to the tireless work of dedicated fans. Our accomplishments are great, but there are still many titles waiting to join Remembering How We Met on the English market. Will we have the opportunity to bring more of them to the West? What does the future hold for A Kiss For The Petals as it enters its tenth year? To what extent will yuri save the world? Let us find out together.

Acknowledgments

These are the individuals who volunteered their time and energy to the fan translations, without whom the license agreement between MangaGamer and St. Michael Girls’ School would not have been possible:

Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke wo translation by CountPacula (credits from readme file):

CountPacula – translator, project coordinator

Agilis – mentor, translation assistance and verification
Zalas – creator of the tools that made this project possible
Akira – translation assistance and verification
CountPokey – my primary beta tester, and primary inspiration
Archivis – second beta tester, who kicked and screamed all the way, but still came through
the crew from #denpa – for putting up with me
and finally, 4chan’s /u/ for their honest if often brutal support

Watashi no Ouji-sama translation:

@fkeroge – Editing
Craig P. Donson – Graphics, hosting, editing, and assembly
kamyu – Translation
NaAaF – Graphics
Proger_XP – Tools, patching, beta testing, and assistance
shijima – Translation check
TheShinySword – Graphics, editing

Anata to Koibito Tsunagi translation:

Craig P. Donson – Graphics, editing, and assembly
Proger_XP – Tools, patching, beta testing, and assistance
yeah321 – Translation, quality check

Itoshisa no Photograph translation:

Craig P. Donson – Graphics, editing, and assembly
Kuchibiru – Translation, quality check
Proger_XP – Tools, patching, beta testing, and assistance

Anata wo Suki na Shiawase translation:

Craig P. Donson – Graphics, editing, and assembly
Proger_XP – Tools, patching, beta testing, and assistance
yeah321 – Translation

Kuchibiru wo Kiss de Tsubuyaite translation:

Yuri Project – Coordination and assistance
jackcdx, Joe0Bloggs,Kuchibiru – Translation
Proger_XP – Tools, patching, and assistance
@fkeroge, DeltaCake – Translation check
@fkeroge, Virus123 – Editing
Commentator, 
Banjo – Quality check
Craig P. Donson – Graphics, editing, and assembly

Amakute Hoshikute Torokeru Chuu translation:

@fkeroge – Translation check
Craig P. Donson – Graphics, hosting, editing, and assembly
Bonku – Translation
Proger_XP – Tools, patching, beta testing, and assistance
Tsukimori – Editing
yeah321 – Translation, quality check

Tenshi no Hanabira Zome translation:

Yuri Project – Coordination and assistance
DeltaCake, hyarare – Translation
Proger_XP – Tools, patching, and assistance
@fkeroge, DeltaCake, k01, Saluki – Translation check
raizoo – Graphics
@fkerogeRika-chama, Saluki – Editing
Banjo, Virus123 – Quality check
Craig P. Donson – Graphics, editing, and assembly

Amakute Otona no Torokeru Chuu translation:

Yuri Project – Coordination and assistance
akbjker, Darkholme, jackcdx, Joe0Bloggs – Translation
Phyis, Proger_XP – Tools, patching, and assistance
Hinata, Lucas Magnus, Ralen – Translation check
NaAaF – Graphics
Hinata, Ralen – Editing
Craig P. Donson – Graphics, editing, and assembly

Other acknowledgments:

Tomino Nakiyoshi, whose Xenocross project in 2011 resulted in the meeting between me and Ralen, as well as miscellaneous support throughout the years, such as translating letters to Reo-ppoi Radio
Ralen, who translated numerous A Kiss For The Petals products since 2011, especially the light novels and free web-based releases
Yi Hsieh, who provided support in the early stages of the fan translations
Zero-O-Reo, the first Japanese listener of Reo-ppoi Radio to contact me following a letter I wrote in 2011, and offering support such as translating letters to Reo-ppoi Radio
Kuma Ichigo, who provided me much support since 2012, including the fan translations and a majority of letters to Reo-ppoi Radio
DeltaCake, @fkeroge, hinata, and various other Yuri Project contributors who worked on a preliminary translation of Lily Platinum
Those who asked to remain anonymous.

Leave a Reply