Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Heart-Melters #4 - Shiori Fujisaki


Who is she?
Remember the dating sim, the genre popular in Asia that allows men to satisfy some of their fantasies; a genre that included Sister Princess? One of the most popular dating sims is known as Tokimeki Memorial. Tokimeki Memorial has now become a series due to its popularity, but the original Tokimeki Memorial had been a PC/PlayStation/Saturn game in the mid-1990s. The game tells the story of a guy that transferred to a high school in which his childhood sweetheart also attends. That childhood sweetheart is none other than Shiori Fujisaki. The epitome of brains and beauty, Shiori Fujisaki is a painfully attractive straight-A student, and the most popular girl in school. She's got everybody going after her, except you have the advantage because your history with her, but it's going to be a challenge if you want to take it to the next level. You're better off trying to woo the other girls.

Shiori's Influence (April 2002-Fall 2002)
I've known about Tokimeki Memorial since well before April of 2002, although source amnesia has erased all memories of what it could possibly be. I didn't know much about it, but I would soon find out more than I'd ever need to know. By April of 2002, the two other Heart-Melter Ages had come to a close, and I was back to dedicating my love life to a specter. I was trying to revive one of the Ages when I came across Tokimeki Memorial. Basically, I was searching online for pics and came across a German site known as GameBabes. The pics they had weren't anything I hadn't seen before, but I was intrigued, so I explored some of the other games they had. I noticed the title "Tokimeki Memorial," and because I've heard of it from somewhere, I decided to click the link. That was something that changed my life...for the next few months at least. I was introduced to some amazingly cute anime-style girls. I sat there admiring a few of the minor characters, but the ultimate treat came when I clicked on one of the four pages dedicated to Shiori Fujisaki. Actually, to be completely honest, Shiori Fujisaki did not initially stand out from a lot of the other Tokimeki Memorial girls. There were other cute girls vying for my attention...namely Yumi Saotome, Saki Nijino, and Ayako Katagiri. Yet in the end, Shiori's resemblance to the girl I thought I was in love with at the time finally won me over, and she became the crowning girl in Tokimeki Memorial.

The Age of Shiori Fujisaki
I suppose a more appropriate title for this would actually be "The Age of Tokimeki Memorial." Shiori Fujisaki may have been the central character among my interests, but she was not the only one. I did not dedicate all of my attention to a single girl. I had admired many of Shiori's friends as well. So when I went around saving pictures of the girls to satisfy my adolescent obsessions, I went across the scale and saved basically every Tokimeki Memorial pics that struck my fancy instead of pictures of only Shiori Fujisaki. Tokimeki Memorial was a dating sim, and since dating sims were built around images, it wasn't difficult for me to find a lot of great pictures. Within a month, I had saved almost 600 pics of the girls in Tokimeki Memorial. All this picture-saving probably is a little bit odd...but I've always been about seeing more of an individual I found attractive, even when the person was real. With people like Buttercup and Tomo, I satisfied my desires just by watching the shows over and over again. Tokimeki Memorial is a game I probably couldn't understand even if I was able to import it, so the only thing I can do is to save pictures.

Anyways, in late spring of 2002 (around the time I injured my knee pretty badly), I was as you can say...obsessed with Tokimeki Memorial. Shiori and her friends soon invaded my life in various ways. I selected a couple of extremely cute pics and compiled them into a collage, which I printed out and laminated to be able to look at Shiori and friends all day during class. I named my C++ variables in Computer Science class after various Tokimeki Memorial characters. It was truly something that dominated my thoughts. Yet this particular Age was somewhat short-lived compared to the Heart-Melter Ages that came earlier. One thing that really crippled my admiration of Shiori Fujisaki and friends and (and potentially kept it from becoming a crush) is the Age of Buttercup (or my obsession with the Powerpuff Girls). With two concurrent ages, the one that would come out on top is the one I have more access too. So even though Tokimeki Memorial dominated my thoughts, if only for a short period of time, the only connection I had towards it was the 600 or so pictures I had, so my affections slowly faded away.

I went to Taiwan during the summer of 2002, and I found a Chinese copy of Tokimeki Memorial at a bookstore when I was there. There was no mistaking Shiori Fujisaki or Miharu Tatebayashi, both of whom appeared on the box. Better yet, the game had Chinese text, so I'd actually be able to understand it! I eagerly convinced my mom to buy it for me. I played it as soon as I could when I got back the United States...but as you might expect, the game wasn't exactly what I had expected. First of all, it was a really old copy of the game. I was only able to install it on only one of my computers. And more importantly, the game itself was disappointing. It was perhaps 50 times shorter than the Japanese versions I had heard so much about. The game ends when you go on four dates. How can you win the love of anybody with only four dates? And you know what? The character you play as is a pervert! I mean, in one scene, he manages to secure a date with Shiori (or it may have been Saki), but as soon as he saw somebody with a revealing's nosebleed time! When you're on a date with somebody as attractive as Shiori or Saki, you'd best be focusing your attention on that person. The game sealed the coffin for the Age of Shiori Fujisaki. I went and deleted almost all of my pics, keeping only about 50 to remind myself of the weird and wonderful season, but all that's left for Shiori is a permanent spot within the Heart-Melters Gallery.

Strength: 4 - Shiori ranks high in this category since I was so obsessed with Tokimeki Memorial. In fact, I originally had her at the #3 spot ahead of Kaho, since my attraction towards Tokimeki Memorial was a lot stronger than my attraction towards Sister Princess. But then there's the question of force and pressure (force / area.) I was less obsessed with Sister Princess, but most of it was focused on one person: Kaho. I was more obsessed with Tokimeki Memorial, but my attention was spread out among many. So in the end I decided that my attraction towards Kaho was stronger than my attraction towards Shiori. After all, my sister told me that she thought I liked Yumi Saotome more. She never did that with Kaho. Still, a #4 rank is nothing to scoff at.

Duration: 5 - The incident with the game that ended the Age came in August of 2002, just short of four months after the Age first began. At the time I thought it was quite short, but now that I look at it, three and a half months is longer than more than half of the other Heart-Melter Ages.

Recurrence: 6 - Shiori remains my favorite girl in Tokimeki Memorial, and if I ever get a real version of the game I'd definitely go for her. However, my attraction towards the series is pretty dead. I have less than 10% of the pictures I originally had, and I rarely ever look at them. The chance of a recurrence is there, but it hasn't happened yet.

Overall: 15 - Shiori's stock has gone down since I started revisiting the Heart-Melters. In the past she used to be closer to the #3 spot, while now she's barely ahead of Kaho, the #5 spot. In fact, if I count the Strength category twice, which I've thought about doing at times, she'd be tied with Kaho. Nevertheless, Shiori is definitely one of the Heart-Melter Elites, and I think her #4 ranking can attest to that.

Next Up: The Heart and Soul Girl

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