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Title: Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm Developer: Sprite Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm (or AoKana, as I will be calling it throughout this post), is a visual novel developed by Sprite. A Japanese VN developer that released their debut title, Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate, back in October of 2010. With AoKana being just their second title; released in November of 2014. Upon AoKana's release, it was met with great reception and success, with many versions of the VN being released since its launch. These include multiple ports for the game on: PS Vita, PS4 and even an upcoming version of the VN on the Nintendo Switch. The VN also spawned a smartphone game titled "Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm: Eternal Sky". The VN also placed first in the 2014 MOE Game Awards, and an anime adaptation aired on January 12th , 2016. The point that I'm trying to make isn't that AoKana should be translated solely due to its popularity- no, I believe that AoKana should be translated simply because, in my opinion of course, it is an incredible Visual Novel. Not just in terms of art or story or whatever else it is that contributes to making visual novels as great of an experience as they are, but in terms of heart. You see, AoKana feels special among other VN's. It's not just your standard run-of-the-mill VN experience that I'm sure you've all grown accustomed to. No. AoKana has something new. Something fresh. And that something is Flying Circus (FC). Ok, so Flying Circus... what is it? Well, let me give you all a quick explanation. FC is essentially the prime sport in the world of AoKana. Played using inventions called Anti-Graviton Shoes, or Grav Shoes for short. These devices allow for small objects, like people, to fly using anti-gravity. FC is played in the sky- the players, who are called “Sky Walkers”, compete to see who can gain the most points, just like any other sport... But wait! This is where it gets interesting. I'll attempt to make this as simple as I can. Basically, there are four floating buoys set up in the sky in the shape of a square (as shown in the image above), they're all connected by these beams of light. Now, there are are two ways score points. Either you speed around the squares perimeter and touch these buoys, or you touch the opponent’s back. Sky Walkers also receive support from their “Seconds”. Seconds are people who aid the players by giving them instructions from afar. They communicate with the players using headsets and they can serve various purposes; these include informing the player of the opponent’s position (this is useful, as the player may not be able to see them), or they can simply just give them some quick advice on what to do next. Other factors also go into a match of FC- like if two anti-gravity objects collide, repulsion is caused; players can take advantage of this effect. Not to mention the fact that there are 3 classes of Sky Walkers: Speeders, Fighters and All-Rounders (don't worry, I won't go into detail about these now). This is the basis of FC; the main focus of AoKana. And this is exactly what it makes it different. It may sound like quite a simple sport, but there's a lot to be discovered here. Thankfully, the VN expands on FC much more and it seems to me that it is an extremely interesting and well thought out sport. Here's a bit of BananaShiki's impression on FC: "This was probably the part where the VN shined the most. FC is such an interesting concept for a fictional sport and it’s a lot of fun to watch. Just like any good sports manga or anime, seeing matches gets you really excited and rooting for the characters, even better when things start getting really intense and there’s lots of special techniques and mind games being done by the players. Putting this together with the game’s great art and fitting music made things just so great to watch, every FC match in the VN was a really fun ride with unexpected turns." AoKana also has a great cast of characters. Once again, here are BananaShiki's impressions on the characters of AoKana: "Another one of Aokana’s strong points is the characters, you have the protagonist and the FC Club’s members, along with many different characters from other schools, and they were all pretty fun in some way. A lot of the side characters ended up being surprisingly memorable, some of them I even found to be more fun to watch than most of the main girls, though that doesn’t mean the main girls were bad in any way. Of course there’s also the obligatory “best girl who didn’t get a route” which is always sad to see. Though everyone gets plenty of screentime so there was enough of every character for me to get attached to most of them. What I mean is, Aokana has a really fun cast of characters who were all very enjoyable to read and see their interactions with each other." Now, I'm gonna be real here (I kinda gave it away already to be honest). I've never read AoKana. I've learned everything that I know about the VN through online sources. And while that may disvalue my opinion on the VN, I still firmly believe that AoKana is an astounding VN that deserves to be localised. It not only innovates with Flying Circus, but it improves upon the standard Visual Novel formula that many of us have come to love. It not only appeals to those who are looking for something new, but it appeals to those who seek more of what they have grown used to. Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm is an experience filled to the brim with friendship, romance, hardship and a whole lot of heart. And I hope that one day, we'll be able to experience it. Thank you for reading!