Today on the blog, we have a tester’s corner from Mojack!
I still remember when MangaGamer announced Trinoline’s localization at the 2017 Anime Boston panel. As a big minori fan I was ecstatic and, what my friends can attest to, was rocking back and forth in my seat out of pure joy. It wasn’t long after that I started doing beta tests for MangaGamer. Being able to work on the game that was arguably the catalyst for that has been an incredible privilege, indeed.
Taking place on the fictional Kagami Island, Trinoline is a traditional android story through and through. One day our protagonist, Shun Nanami, is asked to live with an android modeled after his late younger sister, Shirone, who passed away after an accident on the beach during their childhood. This android, SHIRONE, is an exact replica of the original in both appearance and behavior if Shun’s sister’s life wasn’t tragically cut short.
The plot tackles many themes we’ve come to expect from android stories of this type. Coming to terms with loss, grief, and suffering, where does the human soul reside, what does it mean to be alive, and so on. Just because that’s expected, however, doesn’t mean Trinoline rests on its laurels and simply goes through the motions.
There’s enough here to chew on and enough twists and turns in all three of the game’s routes to present these questions and themes not necessarily in a “new” light, but an important one. One of the highlights of the game for me, ironically, didn’t involve any of the three main heroines, but Shun’s mother. Watching her carefully navigate the labyrinth of thoughts and emotions she feels for having her daughter alive, yet not, is an enthralling, and sometimes heart-wrenching, ordeal. It’s character arcs like that that kept me clicking onward.
That’s not to say the game’s actual heroines are anything to snub at either, though. Childhood friend Yuuri fits her role as the supportive, snarky, rambunctious little misfit to a T. Her ability to zero in on just what someone wants and needs to hear during troubling times, though, belies a sensitivity and attentiveness to those around her.
SHIRONE is an interesting individual that is peppy and innocent but her discovering what exactly makes herself “her” defines her character arc. The internal conflict she faces on a regular basis is put on full display and contrasts with her cheery exterior to create a fascinatingly multi-faceted character.
SHIRONE’s calm-and-collected creator, meanwhile, carries herself with pride and maturity. Sara is a sort of guardian in the group’s dynamics, keeping just enough distance so as to not be intimate but striving to provide their happiness in the background, nonetheless. She thrives off of rationality and carries a sense of duty to those around her but is still capable of her own brand of mischief when she feels like it, making Sara a character you never quite 100% know what to expect from.
The story and characters are all wrapped up in the beautiful presentation that minori is famous for. Characters and environments have a crispness and level of detail that make them pop, and the vibrant colors emphasized by various lighting effects manage to bring the world to life even further. The visuals are complements by a stellar soundtrack that accentuates the emotions felt in each and every scene, happy and sad (although there are a couple questionable H-scene tracks).
In my heart, Trinoline just further cements why minori is one of the most talented studios in the visual novel industry. It managed to take a premise and subject matter seen countless times in other media, yet still have something of value to say on them. It was a tale that I was sad to see come to an end, but it also has me even more excited to someday read the rest of minori’s catalog should they ever been translated following minori’s closure.
*Staff Note: This entry was written prior to minori ceasing production on future works. An appropriate edit has been made to this post to reflect their closure.