One of the most defining features of a visual novel revolves around its presentation, its use of compelling imagery to convey a story and characters who help to establish an emotional resonance with the player. Love’s Sweet Garnish hits all the right buttons, while also illustrating the challenges we face when embarking on a career that’s unfamiliar to us. Anyone who loves a great story that’s full of charm and enjoyment will definitely find Love’s Sweet Garnish to be the right pick. CANVAS+GARDEN is a very well-known developer of visual novels in Japan, and now their popular series has been localized for a western audience! With there being so much variety out there with regards to visual novels, Love’s Sweet Garnish stands out in its own way with its cast of characters and plot, which all come together to create a treat that’s sweet right to the very end in this funny and heartwarming harem adventure.
What to Expect
Love’s Sweet Garnish is fully voiced in Japanese, making it a great way for those who admire the Japanese tongue to fully immerse themselves in the experience. In addition to that, you’re able to also change the subtitles to full Japanese so that you can truly take things to the next level and study as you play! Miyu and Nako Miyasaka are two very well known figures in the CANVAS+GARDEN circle, and you can see why in their incredibly beautiful and well designed character illustrations. Everything within Love’s Sweet Garnish is polished and never shies away from going above and beyond, throwing in some ecchi moments just to add some appeal and grab your attention. There’s a music gallery and CG gallery as well for you to check out, as it shows off more of the beautiful artwork that you’ll only get from CANVAS+GARDEN.
Asaki Okisawa is a young and passionate student who moves out from his hometown and finds himself in the languid town of Hanao Usaka, the place where his grandmother had grown up. Due to his grandmother’s illness and inability to take care of the cafe she once adored, Asaki shifts to the entrepreneur role and takes on the duty to reopen his grandmother’s cafe, with the assistance of Komada Chisato, who acts as the sister role in the story. With his intent on restoring the cafe back to its illustrious form, Asaki relies on the aid of Komada to hire the right poster girls to help promote the cafe and breathe life back into Cafe Caramella, the new name of his cafe.
The striking artwork of both Miyu and Nako Miyasaka can clearly be seen in regards to the design, with every character providing their own charm to the story. Rira and Richer are two very adorable characters who are very relatable in so many ways, which makes the story of opening up a cafe more enriching. We’ll dive more into that later but for now, those picking up Love’s Sweet Garnish will be very pleased by the very polished and attractive design of not just the characters but the scenery these characters find themselves in.
Love’s Sweet Garnish certainly will not win any awards for its music selection, but it most definitely does a great job of conveying the emotions of each character in specific scenes. When Asaki and Komada are brainstorming ideas, for example, the music tends to combine a blend of cheerfulness with a warm-hearted aura that illustrates just how passionate they are about their ideas coming into fruition. When there’s a funny moment, the music transitions to more colorful and upbeat tempo that once again brings the story to life, and resonates with you more as the story progresses. While some may simply write off the music is just background noise, we feel the music with the combination of character interaction is what truly adds that aura of magnetism to it all.
One of the points we brought up earlier was how Love’s Sweet Garnish does a wonderful job of creating an environment where you feel totally connected to everything. Rira and Richer are two of Asaki’s classmates in school and both have their own temperaments. Rira is very critical of herself and tends to be the more reserved of the two, often stuttering when speaking or simply just not taking compliments all too well; Richer is the total opposite, as she’s a lot more chirpy and willing to greet customers without much consideration. We can totally relate to both of these characters because for one, we all know how it feels to start a new job and deal with the overwhelming feeling of socializing with customers, making sure that our words don’t sound too standoffish or worse not come out at all. Rira’s nervousness when taking on her new responsibilities is very charming to watch because it only shows her willingness to do better, especially in front of Richer who acts as her inspiration. Richer is the very outspoken and colorful of the two and we love her just as much because she’s always willing to go beyond her limitations to improve, while maintaining a positive attitude and using her smile to allure customers.
Asaki and Komada’s relationship at times feels more like a lovely couple than a brother-sister type of ordeal, but it’s a nice contrast as their personalities —much like Rira and Richer— compliment one another and create a harmonious feeling. As more characters are introduced throughout the story, you start to see a variety of personalities clash which lead to jealousy, competition and at times anger, but that’s what makes Love’s Sweet Garnish very satisfying. It tells the story of how hard it can be to start up your own business and in doing so, knowing and being constantly aware of the many obstacles that will come along to challenge you. It also illustrates how important relationships are and how it can turn your business into not just a profitable one, but one where customers can feel at home in your establishment without all the stress.
Nobody’s perfect and Love’s Sweet Garnish definitely conveys that message beautifully with its genuine cast of characters, who all come together to share one thing: friendship.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Stories like this one are always nice because of how well it paints the picture of reality, and how many of us cope with different scenarios. We all have to start from somewhere in order to make it anywhere! There are two routes to choose from and so we encourage you to dive deep to experience both to see how things unfold. Either way, Love’s Sweet Garnish will charm your pants off with its bright and colorful presentation, with a main character who’s devoted to creating a cafe not just for himself but so that everyone around him can get along in this bittersweet world.
Great storytelling and character building.
The music does a great job of capturing the emotions in the moment.
Smooth transitions from each scene is a plus.
Not everyone may find the story to be appealing.
Honey's Final Verdict:
Love’s Sweet Garnish is a fun and loveable visual novel that we recommend to anyone looking for a new title to pick up. CANVAS+GARDEN doesn’t disappoint here, and we certainly look forward to more titles from the popular circle in the near future. Until then, be sure to check out our other written reviews of visual novel games and let us know your thoughts in the comments section. Be sure as well to follow us on Twitter where you’ll find all the latest information about visual novels, gaming news and more!
As always, for all things sweet, with news straight from Japan, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.
Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!