Yes, I bought a copy of 'If My Heart Had Wings', yes, I know about the controversy and you don't need to get into that with me. I wasn't really planning on playing it any time soon but I've been sick for two weeks now and a relaxing visual novel sounded like it would kill some time.
It's a pretty game at a high resolution and it's about following your dream to have a flying club so it should be uplifting, right? Like The Place Promised In Our Early Days?
So I got a lovely atmospheric intro with windmills and gliders and hints of bitterseet backstory and only a little bit of wacky anime (a pet duck with a hat). The introduction of Kotori in her wheelchair is a little too Datable Heroine Moe to be believable but it's okay, a few heavy-handed tropes on first meeting help you set things up.
... And then we slammed into the farcical anime plot.
Look, I know it's a classic trope. Boy somehow has to live in a girls' dorm (sometimes even passing himself off as a girl), hijinks ensue. But everything about it is stupid, especially in this case. The 'Dorm' is practically the size of Downton Abbey and is decked out inside in the same luxurious Olde English style. It takes an army of servants to maintain that shit. I'm supposed to believe that this building is being used to house a sum total of FIVE schoolgirls, and the only staff person onsite is one single schoolboy, the protagonist? And that he's not even taking time off school to do this job?
I can accept this in a ridiculous slapstick comedy because things aren't supposed to make a whole lot of sense. I understand that unrealistically spacious living arrangements are a common fantasy in Japan precisely because they're so crowded. I understand that many people just want to handwave how the eroge protagonist gets close to all the lovely ladies so we can get on with the dating.
But this thing was pitched like a drama! The dream of flight! Rising above your limitations!
... And then a goddamned duck wearing a hat came running across the plush red carpet carrying a pair of panties.