Kindred Spirits on the Roof: The Complete Collection

By Hachi Ito, Aya Fumio and Toitentsu, based on the visual novel by Liar-Soft. Released in Japan in two separate volumes as “Okujou no Yurirei-san” by Shinshokan, serialized in the magazine Hirari. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Amy Osteraas; Adapted by David Liederman.

The success of Kindred Spirits on the Roof as a visual novel was one of the big events of 2016 – indeed, I even reviewed the game here – so it shouldn’t be a surprise that Seven Seas would pick up a manga adaptation of it. What is a surprise is that this isn’t just the usual manga adaptation of the visual novel itself; instead, you get two long stories that take place the year after the game happened, featuring new characters but with many cameos and supporting appearances from our heroines we know and love. This, of course, also allows the authors to hook up new couples, something that wasn’t likely to happen if they focused on the already resolved game pairings.

This was released in Japan as two separate volumes, “Side A” and “Side B”, by two different artist teams. As with many series that follow this path, the A side is better. Shiori is a shy student with a talent for art who is trying to recover from her best friend confessing to her the previous year. They haven’t spoken since, though it doesn’t appear to be because Shiori isn’t interested (certainly not in THIS series, at least), but because she has no idea what to say or how to react, and also she’s a giant introvert. Luckily, she’s in a class with Hina and Seina, two of the visual novel’s heroines, and they can help give her perspective and also talk about their own experiences. As this year’s cultural festival comes up, Shiori finds the courage to tell Maki how she really feels. The festival also gives us an opportunity to have everyone else cameo, even the girls who had graduated (and the ghosts, though they’re reduced to sort of smiling down on the new lesbians from heaven, as one does).

The second half isn’t quite as gripping, though it isn’t actually bad or anything. Chiharu is also a new first-year, and she’s a fan of yuri pairs (boy, did she come to the right school). When she sees two upperclassmen try to get members for the quiz club, she’s enthralled… not by quizzes, but at the thought of what a cute couple they’d make. Joining the club, she finds a kindred spirit (see what I did there?) in Tokino, who is taller and more reserved but also a yuri fan. If this manga weren’t so light and fluffy, this would be a recipe for disaster. But it is light and fluffy, and so Chiharu and Tokino turn out to be correct, and resolve to help push their two sempais together… and possibly learn something more about their own relationship. There are fewer cameos here, so things lean more heavily on the new girls.

Both stories are cute and fluffy and not too deep, and filled with cute fluffy high school yuri. I do think that anyone who wants to read them should play the game first; it adds to the experience of knowing who all these people are. If you have played the game, you’ll definitely want to buy this.

Kindred Spirits on the Roof

By Liar Soft. Released in Japan as “Okujou no Yurirei-san”. Released in North America by Mangagamer, also available on the Steam app.

In general I don’t review visual novels on this site, but I’d heard a lot about this one. First of all, it was hyped as being “uncensored” on Steam’s site, as if it was supposed to have a ton of porn in it. (Spoilers: there’s not much here TO censor.) Secondly, it was hyped as being a ‘yuri’ game that wasn’t marketed to the male otaku market – indeed, it reads a lot of the time as if it’s meant for female readers. But most importantly, it has strong plot and character development, is amusing and as realistic as you can get for a game starring two ghosts, and you just like it a lot.


The premise is that our heroine, Yuna, spends much of her time on the roof avoiding socialization due to a trauma from her past. While on the roof, though, she finds who ghosts (only she can see them), who are able to convince her through a mixture of politely asking and being excited about the whole thing (as well as a few veiled threats) to help the two of them hook up various female couples at the school. The goal is that when they hook up, they’ll get it on in the school itself. Since the ghosts can’t leave the campus, this is the only way they can really see how girls “do it”.

After typing that out, I realize that those who read me talking about a realistic, well-developed game are pointing and laughing by now. But it actually does a good job. Most of the cast get backstories that help make sense of their character and show why they have their various personality quirks. Two of the girls are already a couple before the series begins, and two of the girls, against all odds, don’t hook up with anyone. (It’s a very linear visual novel – you can’t make choices that really influence the game). As for the couples themselves, they’re not all the same types.

While the word ‘lesbian’ is not explicitly used, it’s made clear throughout that these are meant to be real relationships that last beyond high school. Some of the girls are thinking about their future plans as a couple, or how to explain things to their parents. One even explicitly says that she’s always been attracted to women, which helpfully avoids the “what is this strange feeling in my chest?” cliche, though we get that as well.

We get three types of ‘scenes’ we can read. The main one has a bear icon, and is Yuna going through her school life and attempting to make vague efforts to help the ghosts hook people up (though, by her own admission, her role is very passive) while also moving past her middle school trauma, embracing the fact that she’s really a take-charge leader sort, and finding her own love she was totally unaware of (it was under her nose all along! – the game is still filled with cliches, fear not). As the plot moves along, you get ‘cherry’ scenes, which are from the POV of the various other girls, showing us scenes that happens when Yuna isn’t there.

Speaking of which, several of those scenes involve sex. That said, though there is mild nudity (a few breasts) and some explicit terminology, anyone who buys this for the “good bits” will regret it immensely. As for the sex writing, it’s not horrible, but also not great – the post-coital pillow talk is usually more important.

After you complete the game’s main “plot”, you unlock various ‘apple’ marked scenes, and can unlock more by going back to the game and making the pointless choice you didn’t make before. (As I said, nothing affects the main plot, so you mostly just get briefly different dialogue). The ‘apple’ scenes are basically the same as the ‘cherry’ scenes, only they tend to involve spoilers – i.e., the characters reflect on things the reader was unaware of at the time. This can occasionally be harmful to the game itself – Hina gets most of her development in these apple scenes, as the game wanted her to be the stoic girl whose thoughts were a mystery to us. Which is fine, and she’s one of my favorites, but this led to her being undercharacterized for most of the game itself.

There are elements that don’t work. I mentioned Hina’s development already. Another character, Ano, has two conflicting sides that don’t always mesh very well together in the writing. There is also a teacher/student relationship, which is handled as well as can be expected, but I’d still rather have done without, especially as the teacher is the standard ‘looks like a little kid’ type. And of course, being a visual novel, you’d better be prepared for reading a whole lot of text, with repetitive music. The game is partially voiced, piping up for important scenes.

Overall, I’m pleased that I got this game, which ended up being better than I expected. The girls are all fairly intelligent, or at least idiotic in a fun, amusing way. The pairings all make sense. There’s a lot of content to justify its somewhat expensive price. And it treats its sexuality seriously, and has the girls thinking seriously about it. (Indeed, one of the two ‘unpaired’ girls, Nena, could easily be asexual and aromantic judging from the text.) If you’re curious about this sort of thing, it’s definitely recommended.