Right now, as I type this, the credits of Summer Pockets roll by. It’s 3:30 in the morning. And it feels to me like a chapter has officially ended, and is ready to turn the page to the next one. It all started with Clannad, one of Key’s earlier works. To keep it brief, I had dismissed most anime and its related culture for a good portion of my life. Upon experiencing the Clannad anime, something in me changed. And with it, in my desire to get more Clannad in my life, I was introduced into the visual novel medium. This was back in early 2016. Since then, Key has become synonymous with my happiness. Kanon, Air, Planetarian, Tomoyo After, Harmonia, Angel Beats, Little Busters, Rewrite. I loved it all. I wasn’t very happy with myself as a person back then, though as hindsight is always 20/20, I didn’t know how unhappy I truly was. But for the past few years…I can really say I’ve slowly become to be happy more and more. And it really is all thanks to Clannad, to Key. So when I heard they had a new project coming out, this visual novel to be called Summer Pockets, my excitement was through the roof. In my inexperience and naivete, I didn’t quite realize just how many years it would take until I’d likely ever be able to read it. Would I even still be into visual novels then, I wondered. The years went by, and my love for visual novels flourished. I formed a podcast group with some of my friends that had a mutual love of Key. I was introduced to so many other series by other VN developers. I met many special people, experienced many special things.
And then Summer Pockets came out. And I heard the song “Pocket wo Fukuramasete” the true ED of the visual novel, as I sifted through the files, eager to get my hands on everything this visual novel I’d been waiting for had to offer. And this song captivated me, in the truest sense. With that song, my desire to experience Summer Pockets grew tenfold, a hundredfold. And some time down the line, when I heard a fan translation was being done and they were looking for testers, I signed up without hesitation. Being able to read the visual novel in English? Being able to help make it as best as can be? It was, to be cliche, a dream come true. Being chosen to help test it elated me. And then to be brought on as an editor, and eventually become the project lead? To be one of the people to have a direct hand in bringing one of my biggest goals to fruition? This may seem over-dramatic, but the honor was truly mine. And now, with the official release out, I was able to finish the rest of the novel. It was every bit as good as I’d hoped. I hope the rest of you like it. I guess the whole point of this post is to express appreciation. To borrow and paraphrase a quote from the TV show The Office, “I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days, before you’ve left them” and I can fully say this applies to how I feel now. I feel I’ve gotten the rare privilege of knowing that, even though it’s a niche market with not a whole lot of fans, I’ve been able to be part of something special, both to myself and so many others.
I won’t say it’s not a little sad, closing this chapter. But much like the many stories Key has woven, it’s a good kind of sad. So, to my fellow friends here at Alka Translations, to all the visual novel loving friends I’ve made over the last 3 years, to VisualArts and Key, and to the rest of you who have taken this journey, this “summer vacation” with me, I defer to my previous statement. The honor was truly mine.