Summer Pockets - Pre-Release Discussion and Speculation

Summer Pockets is Key’s upcoming 13th Visual Novel, scheduled to release for PC on the 29th of June 2018. We’ll keep this post updated with everything we know so far!

The story takes place on the small island of Torishirojima (White Bird Island), an island with a single convenience store, a grade school and middle school, and not a single traffic light.

Hairi Takahara

“When it comes down to it, I’m… like a wounded raven”

The protagonist of the story. He used to be a dedicated swimmer at his high school in the city, but after a certain incident he is now afraid of going into the water. This has affected his personality, and people at the school started treating him like a nuisance. Because of this, he’s escaping to Torishirojima for the summer. Personality-wise, he’s approachable and easy going. Friends at school have commented that he would probably be popular with girls if their school wasn’t boys-only. It seems his grandmother passed away shortly before moving to the island.

Shiroha Naruse

“You probably shouldn’t bother with me”

A calm and shy girl. She doesn’t have any friends and the only person she is close with is her own grandfather.
She probably lets her guard down with the protagonist because he’s from outside the island.
She was a loner for a bit too long, so she’s somewhat socially awkward. Sometimes she completely ignores other people’s feelings when she talks.
Hopefully, spending time with the other characters this summer will allow her to laugh and have fun with friends as a herself.
She has a strong longing for the city, but her feelings are complex and mixed with fear.
Height: 155 cm
Weight: 39 kg
Three sizes: 81/56/83
Hobby: Cooking
Favourite dish: Watermelon ice-candy

Ao Sorakado

“Anyway, when I’m sleeping just leave me alone”

A girl who doesn’t care about genders and talks to everyone like they’re her friend.
She has a tendency to purposefully ignore everything love-related.
Ao acts like one of the core members of a local boy-scouts-like group. She promptly takes command of any situation.
However, because she is also the first to move on the orders she gives, she is not really suited to be in a managerial position.
By the way, she may not seem like it, but she is a closet pervert. Ao frequently mishears words and misinterprets them in a erotic way, only to become bashful herself.
She works part-time at the island’s candy shop, and local kids call her “Teacher”.
If she has the time she can sleep anywhere.
She also really loves ghost stories. She frequently talks about ghosts and goes outside at night.
A wild fox(?) follows her around.
Height: 160 cm
Weight: 46 kg
Three sizes: 85/59/86
Hobby: Afternoon naps
Favourite dish: Shaved ice

Kamome Kushima

“Let’s go. Back to the place where the pirate ship is”

A mysterious girl who is seen from time to time on the island. She always drags a big suitcase with her.
She uses the suitcase in many clever ways and when it gets annoying, she just rides on top of it.
It seems that, like the protagonist, she came to the island for just this summer.
Kamome chats with the protagonist lighthearted and casually, like he’s an old friend.
For some reason, the protagonist also gets a very nostalgic feeling every time he meets her.
She has a bad habit of meddling with things out of pure curiosity and getting herself in danger, so it’s sort of hard to leave her on her own.
It looks like she came to the island to search for something. In her hands is an old map… “This is a treasure map!” she says.
Height: 158 cm
Weight: 43 kg
Three sizes: 86/55/85
Hobby: Ships in a bottle
Favourite dish: Triangular shaped sweets with a secret

Tsumugi Wenders

“I’m searching for something. I’m on a search for something to do”

A calm and honest half-German girl, she decided to use this summer vacation to, “look for things she wants to do”.
She loves old things and following the rules. Her personal philosophy is, “Classic books and rules were polished over time to be as rational as possible”.
Because of that, she even follows rules that clearly don’t fit modern society. She is a bit lenient though, and doesn’t try to force others to follow those rules.
For someone who always talks about rules and logic, whenever she loses a debate she moans with a mortifying “Mugyu~”.
Even though she is a calm and collected girl and it feels like she can do anything, sometimes she just blankly stares somewhere or starts talking in monotone.
And then there are times when her clothes are frayed like she just rampaged through the mountains.
She unexpectedly has a lot of weak points.
Height: 152 cm
Weight: 38 kg
Three sizes: 78/56/80
Hobby: Collecting knitted toys
Favourite dish: Cotton candy


Jun Maeda is credited for the original concept, but is not a writer on the project.
Character Design is by Na-Ga, Tsubasu Izumi, and Yuunon Nagayama. Engiyoshi will be providing superdeformed art of the characters.
Writing the scenario are Yuu Niijima, Kai and Hasama. Niijima is known for his work on Hatsuyuki Sakura.
Music is by Shinji Orito, Jun Maeda, donmaru, Tomohiro Takeshita and Mizutsuki Ryou, all familiar faces for Key music.
Touya Okano is credited as the producer for the project, who you may remember as the writer of CLANNAD’s Sunohara route.

Other Details

The game will be all-ages, and will sell for 8800 yen, and it will feature native 1920x1080 resolution. The story is designed to evoke feelings of nostalgia toward a childhood summer vacation, and the title ‘Summer Pockets’ refers to the word Pockets as a place where memories are kept, like how a child would go around picking up everything they find and putting them in their pockets.

You can find more info in the links below:

Use this topic for any speculative discussion or to present any new information about Key’s new game. Please make sure your sources are reliable. Please mark any spoilers with [spoiler] tags, providing adequate context before the tag.


Finally another Key story coming into the spot light!
I really do like the whole “Summer” premise. And the caption. It reminds me of AIR. It also reminds me of the feeling that VN caption for Jasmine has, just because of the summer feel.

I’m also happy that Jun Maeda is doing the original concept. If he can’t write much anymore, at least he can give out his ideas.

I’m actually curious. I remember reading that when Charlotte was in production, before Charlotte was even chosen to be the story that would be animated, Jun Maeda apparently had 2-3 other idea’s too, during the planning process of what story should be animated. Maybe this story is one of those stories that he had thought of during that time. It would be interesting to see what else he had been thinking of during that time.

Music, don’t need to worry, will be top notch. Too bad Ryo isn’t working on it though. Ryo’s music was beautiful in Rewrite and Harmonia.

The plot itself sounds like Sora No Method, crossed with Kanon to be completely honest.

But the main heroine name. Shiroha? Shrioha is her name? Shiroha After Shiona (Harmonia) for main heroine names of Key? Really? That just seems lazy.

Also, the character designs. What. The. Actual. Heck?
I’m assuming the first 2 are drawn by Na-Ga. The first heroine is fine. But the second heroine? Seriously Na-Ga? You drew Yusa and Misa already. We don’t need another copy of the same overused design for this girl. Then the third girl. She literally looks like she’s from the Higurashi universe. And the last girl looks like she’s from that one anime that had those lolita’s.

The designs do not support each other. They literally do not look like they’re from the same game. If Hinoue hadn’t retired from Visual Arts!, the designs probably wouldn’t have been a problem to be completely honest. She has a creative mind for the hair styles anyways. Even if it were Hinoue and Na-Ga working, at least their designs would at least look fine together, instead of just doing whatever with the design.

For the length. I don’t know. This story doesn’t seem like it’ll be as long as Rewrite/CLANNAD/Little Busters!
My guess is that this VN may probably only be as long as Kanon/AIR.

I’m just happy that Key is FINALLY doing a story that doesn’t involve as much supernatural elements like their most recent works (Rewrite, Charlotte, AB). Well it could, but judging from what’s given, I’m guessing not.

Guess we’ll have to wait for 2017 to get a PV with the OP. New Key music is always hype

Though I’d say that しろは looks pretty different from しおな.

I think they just look dissonant for now because they vary by the way they draw the eyes. Otherwise, I don’t think it would be as dissonant if they go coloring it. :))

Also, I’d argue that Hinoue and Na-Ga’s styles looked too different from each other, especially in LB! (which visuals I generally liked the least because there’s just too much dissonance visually; thankfully the anime fixed it by toning down the color palette and uniting the art style).

I do agree with you on the second girl, though for a different reason – there’s just too much voluminous elements to it that it looks awkward. Giving her less volumed hair or doing away with that top covering might do the trick.

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This news made my day! Really excited for a brand new work by my favorite VN developer.

[quote=“Totoro_Futaki, post:2, topic:3506, full:true”]
Music, don’t need to worry, will be top notch. Too bad Ryo isn’t working on it though. Ryo’s music was beautiful in Rewrite and Harmonia. [/quote]

Exactly my thoughts :slight_smile:

You should look at it from Japanese language perspective, than it’s quite a different name. Shiro means white so I think it’s a very fitting name.

I’ll wait with fully judging the character designs until I see them in color.

The 2nd person did the character designs for Mashiroiro Symphony, which has really good character designs IMO. So I think she will be a very good addition. I guess the 3rd girl is hers, she kinda reminds me of Inui Sana.
I don’t know the third person, but I guess the 4th character is his design. At first glance it looks like a nice design a little bit bland though.
I agree on the fact that Na-Ga is recycling his designs to much (in general as well). To me the 2nd girl kinda looks like Yusa wearing Kud’s cape (which obviously would be to small for her). And that’s why I miss Hinoue Itaru; she was always trying to improve herself.

Regarding the scenario writers:
I really have high hopes for Yuu Niijima (Hatsuyuki Sakura)
Hasama did the Summer Memories from Kud Wafter; though I really don’t know how he will do with more serious content.


Na-Ga loves his white haired heroines, huh? Character design wise, Ao does stick out a little, but Tsumugi fits in with Na-Ga’s designs just fine.

The premise sounds interesting enough. Nostalgia and childhood memories, huh? Yeah, this sounds like it should be a good one. I look forward to this.

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Key has always been like that. Their characters are always a mix of interesting new designs and refined or altered older ones. This time we’ve got Angel, Yusa, a cool version of Tsukishima Yuri and another Yusa. The only one that went away from that was Litbus, which funnily enough is an example of mixed designers working together through similar coloring and shading. I wasn’t a fan of Hinoue’s stuff in that game, but I don’t think that’s a common complaint.

Plus I imagine the heroines will be less connected than the more recent Key titles. That’s the impression I’m getting.

Interesting how others are getting AIR vibes from this one. Summer Pockets sounds a lot like Kanon to me right now.


I’m glad Shinji and Jun are returning for music once again. Though Maeda, don’t compose only one track *cough rewrite *cough. My only concern (not really; more so just curious) is about those other two writers involved with this project. Yuu Najima and Hasama. Have they written anything noteworthy? Will they be able to blend with Key’s style of writing? I hope Kai is the main writer this time around (common route, true route, etc).

I can see why people are getting AIR vibes from this. In terms of its setting, yeah I can see that. The themes involved in the story is where I’m getting the Kanon vibes from.

As someone said before, the character designs do seem a little bit uncohesive with 3 different designers. But I feel like once they are colored they’ll match just fine (like what someone else said on here as well).

Will be dropping phat money on this. I wonder if it’ll be like Harmonia where there will be a pretty close English/Japanese release.

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Hmm… I’m not impressed by the premise. It’s a concept I know has been done in fiction a number of times before (and in visual novels, I recall a similar premise from Myself;Yourself). In addition, the focus on childhood friendships and nostalgia reminds me a bit too much of Little Busters. I feel this concept could be more original.

However, I love the emphasis on the summer season. The preview image is gorgeous, and I imagine there will be many more like it in the game itself. I hope Key takes advantage of the season to showcase some of the more incredible natural beauties that exist in the summer. Having never seen or read Air, this emphasis feels more fresh to me.

The character motivations are also interesting to me. I’m curious to see if the sea will get an emphasis visually and storywise due to Kushima’s motivation. And Sorakado’s makes me wonder if this story will have a myth arc of sorts not dissimilar to what I’ve heard Air had.

I also like the title. The concept of “Summer Pockets” is oddly profound and will likely serve as a common theme in all of the heroine routes.

I’m with @sanata50lbsb on the guest writers. I wasn’t terribly fond of the newer writer’s work on what I’ve seen of Rewrite, so I’m concerned about how they’ll approach this game. However, with a long-time staff member like Kai on staff, it will probably retain an authenticially Key style.

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Key games have a habit of sounding generic as all hell until you go deeper into the narrative. Hence, I don’t really have anything special to look forward to as of yet. The biggest thing is that the MC, Takahara Hairi, probably has some family issues going on; he came to the island to flee from something at least. That would certainly fit the requirements for an introspective true route. Just based on their sketches, I’ve got Ao pegged as the token genki girl and “Venders” as a chuuni. I bet she came up with that name as part of her journey to find herself. It’s just the first teaser: there’s not really much to say. Hopefully, we get something to chew on at the end of the month.


What I want: From what I’ve seen, is an old school VN where it’s just one man trying to get his dick wet romancing a small amount of girls in fairly disconnected in plot but connected in theme routes, invoking a of childhood memory feelings. Prehaps a real ‘Kanon in Summer’.

What I expect: To get is some bullshit about finding the legendary pirate kings treasure ride with bumpy ass romance along the way with no less than three of the heroines being some sort of non-human.


I got Kanon from it too. More rediscovering and nostalgia and learning.

Oh god pls no. Just give us a cute not-too-long romcommy thing. Traditional style.

For the Kanon thing ehh… I don’t like that idea, it’s not BAD, but… it wouldn’t work per say honestly. >-<

It has worked before, and if they aren’t dedicating a large amount of time or resources to the game (assuming they aren’t abandoning AB again) then it’d be a good small thing to put out. It’d also work pretty well as a simple guide to newer staff members who might be taking part, rather than just throwing them into a big title or giving them a side-project that is very different from mainline Key VNs.

I’d say that the typical Key formula broken down to the basics is the best way to raise a dev team for when the old guard eventually leave. Maybe it’ll lead to us getting more Key-style VNs than just Angel Beats! for the next 5+ years.

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Hahaha funny joke.

‘getting’ angel beats


I think it’s kinda weird to deride these character designs as being too similar to previous Key characters given Hinoue’s own penchant for reusing older character designs, as well as the broader issue of most of Key’s older heroines only having one type of face.

The only design here that I’m not particularly fond of is the second one, and I can’t really put it into words other than “the hair and cloak thing just bother me”. The other designs are all unified around very “summer-y” looks, and then there’s just…well, that. Outside of that, there’s just the fact that the eyes are all blatantly different in style, but I think that’s something that’ll be much less noticeable in color, and maybe even good as far as variation of design is concerned. Little Busters frankly had my favorite character designs of any of Key’s VNs, and that was largely because of how varied they were. I guess some would call that “lacking cohesion”, but they struck me as unified enough that it wasn’t a problem. I think it’ll be the same here.

Anyways, this visual we have here looks absolutely gorgeous, so I’m thinking Summer Pockets will just generally be pretty impressive on the visual front. I have no reason to expect anything less than a stellar soundtrack, so as far as production values are concerned I think this will be very exciting. I’m also quite fan of the idea of “evoking nostalgia towards a childhood summer vacation”, and I think this concept will fit right in with the typical Key formula. I’m not really sure what to expect from the writers as I’m not even passingly familiar with any of them except for Kai, but I’m down for the concept they seem to be rolling with.

Color me hyped.


It is a bit funny that people are comparing “Summer Pockets” to “Air”.
In the Kai’s interview for online “Dengeki-Magazine” you can say, that he alsmot cried out, that this isn’t Air.
He told that they were going for a more “broad” story… Similar to AB and LB in the aspect, that not only girl-characters are would be inside there. Cool & beautiful (?) male charas will be there in the story, doing their own thing…
And, actually, that was the feeling I’ve got from the whole interview.

I am somewhat hyped for Izumi Tsubasu being on the project as chara-designer, it was mentioned before, but she has made some very beautiful designs for Mashiro-iro Symphony, and the whole art there was great… Or at least, to my liking. I’ve loved her Sana’s designs, and Ao here looks like a mix between Sana & Sakuno (dunno why I got that impression, though). I am not sure how well she will blend with Key’s work, but looking just at the visuals they’ve showed us… She does blend with it.

Actually, the one who doesn’t… is Kamome. She looks just plain. Too oval. How to even describe it? She is so generic… and then, there is that ridiculous hairpin. I’m afraid, we can get 2 chuuni charas in this novel… A rich chuuni-girl and a searching-for-my-own-place chuuni-girl. And I hope we won’t.

As for the writers part, Niijima Yuu is known for Hatsuyuki Sakura and Natsuyume Nagisa. I believe, that not that long ago Baba-shachou did say, that he loved one of his novels. I haven’t read the myself, but heard a lot of good impressions.

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I think I can see why there’s Kanon vibes to Summer Pockets instead of AIR vibes. Memories are what we hold dear and evoking those thoughts of childhood memories into pockets seems very similar to Kanon. That’s probably what I got from reading some of the earlier posts. I do however like the art designs for the characters though some may seem similar between AB! and Charlotte characters just looking at the art. From what I gathered through the synopsis, it really does look like an interesting story and seeing the art from the island where Shiroha lives does feel very peaceful and relaxing. I find it very sentimental. I would love to spend a summer vacation there. Hehe.

Of course, there’s much to speculate as to how I feel about other things about the game but that’s about all I wanted to say here for now. I’m sure there will be more to discuss about as we get further details later in the future.

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So hyped!

It’s nice to see something that extracts elements from previous Key VNs, taking the more horizontally connected approach of LB, and merging it with settings reminiscent of Air (along with adapting some thematic focuses like parent-child relationship from the VN). There’s so much of this new title that’s still unknown, so I’m kinda wondering on what role “nostalgia” and “memories” will play in this VN, since Key has a way of playing around with these sort of themes and taglines. On one hand, there’s Air’s “girl in the sky” and “1000th summer”, and Clannad’s insistent focus on family reflected the scenario and major themes. Yet, there’s also LB’s “adolescence” which serves only as the premise for many routes while the VN embraces other core issues, and Rewrite’s “what is youth” looks practically irrelevant - until it reroutes to more fundamental questions like “what is the right way to live” in the VN. Regardless, the whole “dazzling days” sounds really wistful, and feels to me like it might just encompass the VN.

The fantastical cast seems more in the mold of Air or Kanon to me. And then, the not-so-subtle description of Tsumugi (searching for herself) brings to mind lots of other Key characters like Mio, Kurugaya, Kotarou, and FeeCof Kagari in the anime. In fact, it seems like all the heroines are actively looking for something, a sharp contrast from all of Key’s previous VNs. And just a gut feel here, but with a main theme of “summer vacation memories”, something picaresque, romanticised, and well in the past, I feel like poignant loss might just be a dominating mood in the VN, and the tragedy, subtle. Idk though.


the news was a “Good Wind” after some stressful school
here what my though…
for a while chara design for Kamome Kushima seem like Kudryavka (forgive me for this)
little upset because the news is not about AB! Progress or LB! PE Localization…
the background scene was like AIR(i know it’s was not same)… it’s feel like nostalgic(not about the AIR) place… a perfect condition for triggering memory…
i can’t say much thing so i guess i will watched this thread for some your though…