Western visual novel fans have been asking for an English localization of the beloved game Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien for decades, and a clear path to that goal has opened today in the form of a crowdfunding campaign.
You may also know about it as "Kiminozo" or "Rumbling Hearts" as that is the English title of the anime series inspired by the game released in 2003 and actually localized for the west by Funimation.
While the campaign on the Japanese platform Ubgoe and is primarily aimed at Japanese users, supporters from outside of Japan are welcome to contribute via PayPal (credit cards from overseas are not accepted directly) with the caveat that physical rewards cannot be shipped overseas.
This means that you'd better stick to the digital-only tier, or be prepared to use an importing company, if you live in North America, Europe, or any other country outside Japan.
The additional caveat is that the initial objective of the campaign is to release an all-ages version of the visual novel on Steam in Japanese in Spring 2024, but English subtitles and UI will be added with an update at a later time.
At the moment of this writing, the crowdfunding campaign already achieved 12,340,515 yen (approximately $82,000 at the current exchange rate), which is 41% of the 30,000,000 yen goal ($200,000) in only two hours.
The campaign will end on December 29, 2023. so there's plenty of time left on the clock.
According to the developer, successful crowdfunding and the release on Steam are only the first step, as the ambition is to make the series visible enough to justify further media expansion including dramatization, more animation, and ultimately ambitious projects like the remake and a sequel for the game.
If you're unfamiliar with Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien, it's a visual novel that debuted as an eroge by âge in 2001 for PC and then had multiple re-releases and console ports for Dreamcast and PS2.
Incidentally, the Steam version that will result from this crowdfunding campaign will be based on the "Latest Edition" released in 2008.
As mentioned above, the game's popularity exploded further in 2003 thanks to the anime series titled in the west "Rumbling Hearts," followed by the OVA series titled Kimi ga Nozomu Eien: Next Season.
The story is very romantic, engaging, deep, tragic, and even a little crazy, and it's set in the same world (and school) as âge's own Muv-Luv series. In fact, Kiminozo's heroines come back in Muv-Luv Alternative, in which they play a relevant role.
Full disclosure: the author of this post backed the crowdfunding campaign as soon as it was available because of course he did.