Review: Time Princess - Whispers of the Rain

From the game that brought interactive historical fiction about royal figures like Marie Antoinette and Princess Sissi and creative gender-swapped retellings of Swan Lake, Aladdin, and Romeo and Juliet comes a story about a woman who finds an abandoned baby in the middle of the street. This latest visual novel from Time Princess feels a little out of left field considering how much history, mythology, and fantasy the game has tackled in the past. Whispers of the Rain takes place in 1980s Japan, but the story is so universal that it could take place anywhere. It also contains some of my least favorite costumes in this series to date. Everything looks so plain and boring compared to the extravagant ensembles from other visual novels in this game. With two more new stories coming out just around the bend, it seems like they're phoning it in to release as much content as they can as quickly as possible.

Whispers of the Rain visual novel cover

Whispers of the Rain follows Time Princess's recent trend of gritty crime dramas, though it isn't nearly as dark as Have You Seen Claudia? In fact, this story could have worked well as a TV drama or novel, but not so much in the context of a dress-up game. The setting doesn't feel as culturally diverse as many of the other stories from this game, including Taisho Adventures, which also takes place in Japan. Like Dancing On Ice, Whispers features an ambitious young woman who is down on her luck due to an incompetent parent. Chie is an aspiring art curator who dreams of opening her own gallery. The art world has its share of drama between forgeries and conning patrons, but I personally did not find this setting particularly interesting. What really drives the story is Chie's quest to find out who abandoned Haruko, the baby she finds and decides to care for alongside the two new companions she meets that day.


Since Whispers of the Rain focuses more on parental love than romantic love, the two companion characters--Mr. Takahashi and Miss Ayano--take on the role of co-parents alongside Chie more so than love interests. Both Takahashi and Ayano have dark pasts. The motivation to complete the story relies heavily on how interested the player is in learning their secrets as well as finding out who Haruko's true mother is. Mr. Takahashi is a nice guy, but not particularly interesting, whereas Ayano is the exact opposite. She is stunningly beautiful in a hot pink silken gown and extravagant fur overcoat but she is also rather selfish, which is explained by the tragedy she experienced in her life prior to meeting Chie. These two unlikely companions balance each other's strengths and weaknesses well, which make them good co-parents to Haruko and supportive figures for Chie to rely on.

Miss Ayano under a blue sky with her hair blowing in the windChie desperately hugs Mr. TakahashiGroup photo of Mr. Takahashi, Chie, Miss Ayano, and baby Haruko

Since Time Princess is a dress-up game, fashion is an important aspect. That is where I think Whispers of the Rain falls short. There were a few outfits that I thought were okay, but none of them had that "wow" factor that so many other stories from this game evoke, especially the historical ones. The outfits here are pretty modern, and some of them look downright sloppy. Chie's low-cut white blouse that reveals her black bra underneath accessorized with a red plaid skirt, red lightning bolt-shaped sunglasses, and a double bun with a red streak in it made me chuckle the first time I saw it. It makes sense for an art fanatic to take some risks, but that ensemble is pretty ridiculous when all is said and done. My favorite dress is the black and white gown that Ayano gives Chie to wear to a gallery opening. It is accessorized by an oversized black hat that slants off to the side and reminds me of My Fair Lady. Chie also has many casual looks, including a soft pink overcoat that falls all the way down to her ankles.

Chie in a daring low-cut white blouse, red plaid skirt, double bun hairdo, and red lightning bolt-shaped sunglassesChie in a fancy black and white art curator gownChie in an elegant and cozy long pink jacket

Overall, Whispers of the Rain is nothing special compared to many of the riskier visual novels this game has tackled on history and fairy tales. It feels more like a Lifetime Original Movie than historical fiction. There is some drama and surprises, but nothing particularly mind-blowing. Nothing in this setting particularly screams Japan or the 1980s, and the outfits aren't that fun compared to some of the previous stories in this game. I think I speak for many Time Princess fans when I say I'm far more excited for the next visual novel, which will be inspired by the life of Queen Cleopatra.

Whispers of the Rain story map

Comments

Barbara Schuch said…
How can I unlock the 2-13, to unlock the 2-16?
Anonymous said…
i think ur bias is clearly showing in this one, tbh. Ik you've mentioned you don't prefer contemporary looks and this is one of the cases where, thru a contemporary lens, a lot of these outfits are very well designed. i don't agree with how you choose to dismiss the fashion simply bc you don't prefer it. tho the story has some flaws, it's not one of my faves for sure, its a grounded story on family and other themes, and I appreciate that romance isn't the main focus, its always good to show teens girls not every story has to be heteroromantic when a male character is present. ur reviews are usually very insightful and I enjoy them, but this one feels like you dismissed something to others too quickly, IMHO.

i always look forward to reading ur thoughts, so I hope u don't take this negatively. keep doin what ur doin!
lyinginwaiting said…
Whispers is literally one of their best storylines in the entire game. Just because it's slower paced and as you stated, written like a tv show, does not mean the story is not worthy of it's truely potential praise. So, it's not Claudia? Thank God it's not. Claudia was an honest disgrace that appealed to the masses of "serial killer lovers", that took true killers (old and recent) and romantized them disgustingly. The story itself, pacing and all, was terrible. Hilariously though, you praise Claudia by overlooking these terrible aspects, while you give Whispers a bad rep for the nitpicky details of bad outfits and your lack of research of the time. The story for Whispers, is incredibly sound. It was slow at times and had a lot of information dumped into one story, but that's the entire point of a "Japanese drama mystery" storyline. At least with Whispers, as a professional writer, I didn't see a lot of the twists coming. I was super happy to realize I was taken off guard a few times. No other story they wrote has pacing like Whispers. No other story they wrote has the tact and a gentle build up like Whispers. No other story has weaved together touchy subjects perfectly to a point that it wasn't overbearing and being shoved down my throat.

All in all, Whispers is one of their best. Because it's not pushing a social boundry, full of elementary leveled words, and storylines with terrible editing - it's somehow deemed unworthy. Which is am I glad to say, you are wrong about. Not EVERY story needs to have the worst kind of trigger warnings with the unedited writing from a touched starved 20 year old without an education past middle school.

Also it's not set in the 80's. The aftermath slump of Japan was in the early 2000s... Like I stated, at least research that before you go off about something you're incredibly overlooking with mediocre complaints and bad representation.
Lisa Dawn said…
I'm glad to hear that so many people enjoyed this story! :) It's nice that the game provides a variety of different genres for different people's tastes. As far as the year it took place, I believe I saw that somewhere in the context of the game or somewhere on social media, but I don't want to play through the whole story again to find it. I hope you both have a great week!

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