The Future Radio and the Artificial Pigeons Review – Regaining the Future Sky

    Title: The Future Radio and the Artificial Pigeons
    Developer: Laplacian
    Release Date: February 17, 2023
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: NekoNyan Ltd.
    Genre: Visual Novel

 The Future Radio and the Artificial Pigeons is a visual novel developed by Laplacian, the people behind Newton and the Apple Tree and Cyanotype Daydream. In a unique future setting where humanity lost its communication network due to a malfunction, it shows an intriguing drama about reclaiming technology, bonding with others, and struggling for an uncertain vision of an ideal future.

As we live in an informational era, connecting with people far apart and using the internet for various tasks seems like a given. But what if humanity lost that in a second? In but an instant, years of progress evaporate, maybe even over a century.

It all began when Dr. Izana Hazuki created artificial pigeons, a technology that substituted antennas centralizing all communication signals due to their efficiency. However, that genius scientist made those creatures stop relaying signals, causing a tragedy that killed many people and caused mass hysteria globally.

Fifteen years have passed since the communications failure made various airplanes crash at Nariyama’s Terminal 1. Only one person flying that day survived. The protagonist was one of the people in this accident, his parents didn’t fare as well, and he has since lived with the physician Touko-san and her daughter.

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Though he’s very grateful for the cozy home he got since that fateful day, his heart has a gaping hole he couldn’t ever fix. The world is at the mercy of these artificial white birds, which stopped working and, to this day, still disrupt all sorts of communications and air maneuvers. Long-distance contact is now only terrestrial and water-based transport. We lost the sky, and there’s a nebulous feeling about technology and the future.

The Future Radio and the Artificial Pigeons follows the story of Sora Yamanashi, a young man whose life has never been the same since the pigeons’ malfunction. This traumatic event made him lose his parents, but also the sky they loved so much is now but a reminder of how much humanity lost that day.

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Now a young student at Nariyama Sky Academy, he dreams of a way to fight back. His idea may be naive, but everything starts with him building a radio with old parts that should have some anti-tamper properties. Surprisingly it works just as he expected, and he starts transmitting signals to five radios he built.

However, something weird happens at midnight: the radios receive an unknown broadcast. Even crazier is the fact it seems to come from the future, and Sora’s first time listening to it is when he hears about his death on July 29 due to the “fall of Blue Sky.” Compelled to learn what’s going on, he starts looking for answers.

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One day, Sora decides to return to Terminal 1, the scene of the tragedy. There he finds a young woman clad in white who says she loves the pigeons and that she’ll not let him die as she has the key to stop the birds from eating the waves. This encounter feels like a magical event, and Sora can’t help but be fascinated by this gentle girl whose ideas initially puzzle him.

Meanwhile, Sora and his friends start working on the radio system, finding out it seems to affect the pigeons. What initially seemed like a small change, only a cozy change of pace, is much more promising for a future no one has to fear the pigeons anymore. It may even be a way to avoid Sora’s death.

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The story follows an initially linear fashion up to the events of July 29, and after that, we get some options for the character routes. Besides the white-haired girl who can be considered the true route, we also have three other heroines.

The first of them is Sora’s non-blood-related sister Mizuki. She’s a tea enthusiast and has a tea stalk creature on the hip used for jokes due to its phallic appearance. Mizuki frequently bullies her brother for being a virgin, but she deeply cares about him and hardly hides her real feelings despite the comedic façade.

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Then we have Akina, the dream girl for many in the academy. She works part-time at a coffee shop and has become an attraction for all those horny guys who can’t even ask her out. Akina is cute and understanding and can sometimes get flustered by the sexual jokes between the protagonist and his sister. Receiving the radio from Sora impacted her life as she suffered a lot because of the airplane accident fifteen years ago and finally found someone who shared her scars.

Professor Tsubaki is someone who was involved in the pigeon construction. People fear her and her attitude, which is similar to a delinquent. However, there’s much more to her than meets the eye, as she may act aloof, but her true nature is that of a kind person who lost the person she loved and admired the most after Izana left her behind.

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Lastly, we have Kaguya, the white-haired girl clad in a white coat. Having lived all her life isolated from the outside world, she’s a naive, good girl. She believes the pigeons are her sin and wants to fix this issue after living through a once-in-a-lifetime event. Her route is initially locked and should only come after Tsubaki’s.

Though some details may be unrealistic, the story in The Future Radio and the Artificial Pigeons was finely crafted, and the heart is always in the right place. The futuristic setting and the mystery of how everything works are enticing and unique, and the plot pacing is good enough that it never feels like a chore to read any specific moments. The game also handles comedic moments with perfect timing, and even Sora’s best friend Ishimaru is an enjoyable part of the game.

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Though I could argue that only Tsubaki’s and Kaguya’s routes are enough to understand the whole story, Akina and Mizuki are great characters handled well in their respective arcs. I’m fond of them, especially Akina and the occasionally dark feelings that make her feel human and flawed. I also felt the story was able to make each route feel unique enough to fit their personalities and show different sides to them and the protagonist.

It’s also easy to recommend the game on its aesthetic sense alone. The visuals are impressive, with a cinematic feeling to the backgrounds and CGs, character positioning, use of black bars during highlight moments, and other details. Meanwhile, the soundtrack perfectly fits the circumstances with jazzy tunes for daily life events and a good variety of tunes for more emotional or comedic moments.

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The Future Radio and the Artificial Pigeons is a fantastic read that provides a thought-provoking look into the future, great characters, and a trauma-driven fight against the tragic events of the past that still linger. This one is a must-read for anyone, pure and simple.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Ivanir Ignacchitti

Random Japanese games are my jam. Handhelds, RPGs, VNs and PC banzai.