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    Leaf Visual Novel Series

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    A series of games developed by Leaf that are responsible for coining the term "visual novel."

    Short summary describing this franchise.

    Leaf Visual Novel Series last edited by Bowl-of-Lentils on 11/14/22 12:24PM View full history


    The Leaf Visual Novel Series (リーフビジュアルノベルシリーズ) was a brand name used to label a series of adult novel games spearheaded by writer Tatsuya Takahashi and artist Tooru Minazuki at Leaf in the mid-90s. The franchise began in 1996 with Shizuku on the NEC PC-98 and was followed by Kizuato the same year as well as To Heart in 1997. Routes tried to revive the brand name in 2003 with a new development team and the PC release of To Heart 2 in 2005 was classified as the fifth volume in the series on certain pieces of product information [3]. However, outside of these two exceptions, the franchise has largely remained dormant after its original three installments.


    The Leaf Visual Novel Series were "novel type adventure games" that contained branching stories, very reminiscent of Chunsoft's Sound Novel franchise [4]. In fact, Tatsuya Takahashi has stated that the Visual Novel Series began with the goal of creating a title similar to Kamaitachi no Yoru for the Japanese PC market [2]. However, since Leaf's titles had a larger focus on visuals, and the term was copyrighted by Chunsoft, the development team decided to call their titles "visual" novels instead of "sound" novels. The release of Shizuku marked one of the very first times a video game had classified itself as a "visual novel." This style of adventure game would eventually grow in popularity after the success of To Heart, which was later ported to consoles and spawned a multi-media franchise of its own.

    Almost immediately, other companies began imitating Leaf's Visual Novel Series such as Tactics, a division within Nexton that would later split off to form Key. Another famous example is Type-Moon who's early titles, such as Tsukihime and Fate/stay night, took clear inspiration from the Leaf Visual Novel Series. The then doujin group even labeled their titles specifically as "visual novels," which was uncommon at the time. While novel-style games grew in popularity, the term itself, "visual novel," was almost never used by other Japanese companies outside of Leaf and was not even widely used by Japanese fans. However, the term took on a life of its own outside of Japan and now "visual novel" is often used to classify any kind of novel-style Japanese adventure game in the West and sometimes Japan itself.

    External Links

    1. Bungle Bungle - The official website of Tatsuya Takahashi and Tooru Minazuki, creators of the Leaf Visual Novel Series.
    2. TINAMIX INTERVIEW SPECIAL: Leaf's Tatsuya Takahashi & Woodal Harada (TinaMix, 2000).
    3. ToHeart2 XRATED Product Page (Leaf).
    4. Leaf Product Pamphlet (Leaf, 1998) - Classifies the Leaf Visual Novel Series as "novel type ADVs".

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