Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shojo (Wheel Country, Sunflower Girl) is regarded as a masterpiece among Japanese visual novels, and is continuing to attract fans even years after its original release. The game’s popularity extends far beyond the borders of Japan. In fact, there are plenty of fan sites for the visual novel in various English-speaking countries.
Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shojo is among the top 10 most popular titles worldwide along with Fate/stay night, Muv-Luv Alternative, and Clannad, which have been adapted into animations. There is currently an official localization project underway for the title on Kickstarter.
A society which imposes special "Duties" upon everyone who breaks the law.
The individuals who oversee these criminals' rehabilitation are the "Special Elite"—a rank the protagonist, Kenichi Morita, hopes to attain. To do that, he must pass his final exam, for which he arrives at a certain country town.
At the school Kenichi attends, he encounters girls bound by various “Duties.” Those obligated "to observe a 12-hour day" are forbidden from being awake for more than 12 hours per day, and those obligated "to remain in infancy" cannot grow up. It is meeting Natsumi Hinata, however, the girl who "cannot fall in love," that throws him out of gear.
Soon, Kenichi makes a series of odd discoveries… His own grave, erected secretly on a clifftop; his patrimony, hidden deep inside a cavern. Kenichi finds that he must search for his own atonement in this dystopian society. What is the truth behind the Wheel Country? Discover for yourself through Kenichi's eyes!
A touching story with a deeply profound message depicted with a serene touch and moments of lighthearted comedy, this visual novel is simply worth the experience, for both old fans and new!
While many bishoujo games focus on depicting bittersweet romances between the protagonist and the heroines, this title is different. In Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shojo, Kenichi is at odds with his obligations, and players stand together with him in his battle against those wielding tremendous power over him. In order to become a Special Elite, Kenichi must work to rehabilitate three classmates for his final examination.
Of course, the events that unfold take Kenichi - and the player - on an emotional ride of twists and turns. While some scenes overflow with intensity, there are also others that offer various degrees of comical relief. Throughout the visual novel, players can truly share the wide range of emotions and the heartache that Kenichi experiences.
One of the special traits of this title is the usage of various “narrative tricks” that really strike at the emotions of the player. These tricks are often used in mystery novels, and contribute to the deepness and complexity of the game. With an intriguing story and plenty of adorable heroines, it’s no wonder this bishoujo game has received such incredible support over the years.
For some, the ending of anime or games can become rather predictable over time. However, thanks to the clever techniques deployed throughout Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shojo, we are confident that the ending of this visual novel will blow past all of your expectations. Foreshadowing, plot twists, and other elements throughout the story will have you constantly reconsidering your predictions. Chances are, you will be left speechless once you uncover the truth. This is a title that we definitely want to recommend to you, and we know that you will want to recommend this to others as well!
Why have the heroines been imposed with Duties, and what are the crimes that must be atoned for? After his release from his own Duties, will Kenichi finally be able to earn the title of Special Elite…? All of this is for you to find out.
An official localization project for Sharin no Kuni is currently open on Kickstarter. There are plenty of rare, valuable rewards awaiting backers too, so if you’re interested check it out!