Saturday, May 23, 2020

Shinigami to shoujo - review

 Genre: Otome Visual Novel. 
Developer/publisher: TAKUYO
Platform: PSP, PSV.
Official Site:
Release date: 2019-07-25

I finally decided to get started on this while getting into the otome mood again
after a hiatus, this was also the last vita otome game that I had ordered.
I've always wanted to check this one out and am glad I got it before i couldn't like with psp ver
unfortunately the otome game part of this game while nice is rather disappointing.
The seiyuu are unknowns except for Suzuki, Nojima and Kanna though the latter you
don't hear often anymore either. That aside the play order is kind of
forced on you there's not much free choice but to listen to Takuyo.
The heroine was voiced but only in the prologue, ending and Touya/Ao route
which was jarring but I guess budget? so I can't complain for doing it that way.
 I personally love the art style, the music is amazing so there's that.

Pro's
- Interesting char's/story which is what kept me going tbh.
- Beautiful art and music was really good.
- No annoying minigames like in Himehibi.

Con's
- Length, slight copy pasta and takes too long to get to the heart of the matter.
- The otome part of the game is lacking.

Our heroine Sayo loves stories especially her brothers who's an author. Sayo's bro
tells her about one of his works shinigami to shoujo which was pretty sad.
Sayo is a pretty rich girl, loves books especially her bro's and has an ojou-sama air about her
and she has only one friend Kaho, whom is Sayo's only friend cuz no one puts up with her.
Sayo lives with her bro due to family issues  and not only does her brother like her
Sayo also has a brocon for him......

Every chapter so far basically deals with someone having a problem, chapter two was
Louis claiming to be the protag of one of Toya's stories... as if the Tomoe's episode
in ch1 wasn't enough now we have a fanboy? oh well at this point it was kind of
hard to see how all this was important to the story in the long run
but apparently these stories run paralel to those in the books and did foreshadow
a little about another problem regarding the protagonist Sayo.
Chapter 4 is where it gets messy, the first route that you're recommended
to do, isn't even resolved properly till you continue ch4 common.
:Pikachuface:
TBH the common route was pretty boring, just slice of life and dealing with
random peoples problems that untill you do the latter two routes
don't really seem to amount to anything or make sense.
The writer is the same as taishou x alice but even that managed to be a lil better
in the otome game department, atleast the story was still good so it evens out a little.

If you enjoy a good story and char's then I can recommend Shinigami to Shoujo
but if not and just want an otome with a some-what decent story and chase guys/comedy
then I suggest to pass on this game, as its just not going to pass for one.
I didn't have much expectations for this but as an otome? a let down.
Not having much else to do lately I was able to enjoy it either way
cuz the story was pretty interesting to keep playing even if otome/romance
was lacking a lot, While I don't mind Sayo's constant uwu'ing over Toya at the
early hours it doesn't make it much better. Atleast all the chara's were likeable.
Trying not to spoil but unfortunately while the strong points are that its overall story
and characters are still well written the otome game part can be disappointing/confusing
especially the first route it felt like there was only a route because it is an otome game afterall.
I don't want to discourage anyone from trying it out as the story was enjoyable
but it is quite messy as an otome game and confusing till you get to the bottom of it
and even then... unless you like thought provoking psychological stories I suggest to pass on this
I think the writer definitely improved or had better direction with the recent Taishou x Alice.
7/10

That ends the spoiler-free section.

(Recommended) play order:
Hinase > Kirishima > Chiyo >Touya > Ao.

TL;DR plot of the prologue
So one day there is some rumor of an actual shinigami making an appearance, Sayo runs
into a boy near the clock tower that doesn't work anymore but apparently things
aren't as simple as they seem. Sayo thinks he is a shinigami, he be like so you know me?
things get long-winded and Sayo tries to go into the meaning of Shinigami... turns out
he doesn't know anything about himself but he believes he is a shinigami...
Sayo ends up naming him Ao and thus girl met reaper.
 Sayo takes Ao around town with him questioning literally everything hoping
to jog his memory, suppose there's comedy to that. After we are introduced to Ao
they also run into another woman with amnesia aka Tomoe who has amnesia of her
highschool years & after she remembered she's a little mentally unstable as the game
goes on things with Sayo seem off as well but till we get to Touya route its hard to notice.
 TL;DR end


Hinase Mitsuru.
CV: Suzuki Tatsuhisa.
I liked him... untill plot came falling down like london bridge.😑
 A student at Sayo's school, he's flirty & easy-going, it obvious he likes Sayo
but eh he just as easily fools around with another girl, oh don't worry its normal for him
definitely not a warning sign or anything noooope. Thankfully his route was short.
Uh so after a while Sayo's family comes to take her back home, she gets some time
to think and come quietly almost in tears by this news Hinase is like
if you don't like your home maybe you should runaway or elope with me.
Sayo thinks about this eventually confesses she likes him and guess they're going out now
oh and apparently this means she goes home with him without his angry grandma knowing.
Damn, kids these days... but ugh he's so sweet I'm getting cavities.
Oh Hinase's grandma seems to have some sort of hateboner for Sayo's mom and in turn her...
but to Hinase, Sayo is Sayo she's not her mom she's her own person.
His grandma eventually gives in sooner rather than later but with a few conditions lol and
while I liked the many romantic scenes part of me was like is it too good to be true? the dialogue
didn't help either suddenly we're smothered and it feels like it could end any moment.
 Oh well now Sayo's family's like there's no problem anymore now that you're engaged with Hinase
which was the plan all along anyway they just didn't tell her who she was engaged to.
After some real talk with grandma and it turns out Hinase isn't even the real Hinase Mitsuru
so which is the real one? idk either but apparently his existence was taken over by some fake
when the real one left home years ago... real Hinase now stands right before her
and basically had to watch from the sidelines while this fake lives his life.
Either way I had a hard time understanding this freakshow just like Sayo who was like ???
who's who while the one in front of her breaksdown. Oh apparently she did meet
the real Hinase once right after her family delivered the news but I didn't notice the difference.
She ends up going to look for the fake whom she fell in love with,. There's this weird
ending branch where Sayo ends up going along with Fake Hinase whom is the only one
she knew anyway so basically ends up continueing his lies and she's his accomplice. >_>
Real liars aren't caught because they just keep on lying. ^_~
 Other end well the lies end, she ends up with the real one and live happily ever after?
This ending felt hilariously rushed tbh... and I feel ripped off and after this whole mess
it hard to believe Sayo honestly just goes ahead and marry the real one
whom she doesn't really know cuz she spend time with the fake
and we don't even get to know the fakes real name. <_<
While I think the story was interesting i'm also like god why did the writer purposely
make a mindfuck of this? I can't even really see which end was supposed to be the happiest
instead we get this weird ass route and basically remind us all this was indeed an otome
game with choices of who to end up with even though the person in question was dipshit. -_-
I get why they put Hinase first in the play order because if you reject his proposal out right
the plot becomes obvious something is wrong..... which at the same time is a split for the next route.
Meh... I basically got a what if kinda thing, meanwhile I am confused as hell wtf just happened?
Also it funny how real/fake never appear in the same scene or have a different sprite/VA
though I vaguely got a bad feel whenever Hinase had Kitsune eyes.
The route was like a nice dream but then it turns into a nightmare.......
that even after it ends will still haunt you in the common route of ch4.
I feel bad for the real Hinase tbh, imagine leaving your home then come back to
see someone took over your identity... sigh.
Romance  ★★★☆☆ Whatever my dude.
Plot  ★★★★☆ WutDaFok?
Overall  ★★☆☆☆ ...no.
It really do be like one of those memes...
~
Well when we get back to the ch4 common route this time Sayo rejected Fake Hinase's offer
which leads to her hanging around with Kirishima and Chiyo then real Hinase shows up
to tell her about how the Hinase they know is a fake we shouldn't trust him etc.
Kirishima gets all bitchy and be like but you're also Hinase?!
Well since we ain't falling for someones scams this time ch4 proceeds with
them going all detective trying to figure out wtf is going on oh and apparently
Hinase's grandma is pretty racist when they all come over cuz Ao is a gaijin.
Either way Fake Hinase is busted yet still continues to pretend to be real because he's that
good, they end up using some non-lethal poison to check if its the fake
cuz the real can taste things just fine. Yep cat's out of the bag infront of his grandma
and she can't even believe it since he looks so perfectly identical.
At first the maids did notice something was off but didn't think much of it... LOL.
 After 48 years fake Hinase finally explains himself how he's some dude that scams people
for a living, kinda hard to believe how he ends up picking some highschool kid
but again maybe his skills are just that good, granny now wants to know where real Hinase is
but the fake Hinase got away, they all chase him to the pier (oh my this is a dejavu).
For some reason the fake still gets away but before he goes he tells Sayo one thing, that
there is a liar beside you still and hands her a book. Ao fishes up a key from the water which
leads them to the clock tower and a tied up Hinase which is the real one and goes back home.
Also right now I am so done with the Hinase plot, part of me thinks
they should have better combined ch4 and his route another part says
well it was a mess but couldn't have been another way. /shrug
Even now I can not tell the difference between the fake and real Hinase... sigh.

Kirishima Nanaki.
CV: Chiba Susumu.
 Another student, practices kendo and a bit of a tsundere the angry but cute type.
 Kirishima's not really that involved at first nor is he that interested in Sayo, seems
to be more interested in ghosts.😓  real Hinase has his life back, returns to school
and has Kirishima help him out with schoolwork, lol. Unfortunately this route is shared
with Chiyo and also about his past/relationship with him also despite the joke below
I know Kirishima isn't interested in bromance he even says it loud and clear. If he hadn't say it I
would have shipped him and Chiyo lmao. it was cute that Kirishima sheltered her when some glass
window in the hallway broke for god knows what reason and he stay with her in the infirmary.
Everything will be daijoubu.
Moments like that were far and between. Kirishima stops being able to see Chiyo
cuz of a misunderstanding and Sayo has to become a mediator of sorts.😐
Oh and for some reason he also runs off so they gotta find him first.... at the clock tower
they talk but Chiyo says there's no point in staying around if Kirishima can't see him.
Chiyo pleas cuz he doesn't wanna be alone, sigh time to help these boys get along again!
so they go all over the place while Sayo being the mediator to help them communicate, at the
end of the day Sayo's abandonment issues get real cuz it obvious Chiyo will leave.😭
If I didn't know any better I'd think this was shounen ai....
So it is revealed that Chiyo is actually a spirit of the flowers that bloom on the island....
now that Kirishima has found someone special, Chiyo which was basically a fantasy BFF
has realized he's different from them. Chiyo decides he's no longer have to cling
to Kirishima so he decides to just quietly watch over them but says he can always meet
them again when fall comes. Chiyo actually doesn't want to and will be lonely, miss them
but knows that this is for the best so he blesses their future and leaves.
I couldn't help but get a little emotional at this point.
Sometime after Chiyo disappeared and things get back to normal, Kirishima
confesses to Sayo while being all tsun as they hold hands on the way back home.😂
They end up marrying and have kids, they visit the flower field and let
him know how happy they are, Chiyo replies with ''I know''.
 
It was enjoyable, the story was good & not unnecesarily confusing unlike the previous route.
I like Kirishima and Chiyo... but the end while appropiate was too sudden
the romance was ok for once, atleast it knows where to end I guess.
I might be biased but after finishing all the routes I think Kirishima is the best partner
though in the next routes he's kinda sidelined as an observer.😭
Romance  ★★☆☆☆
Plot  ★★★★★
Overall  ★★★☆☆
~

Chiyo.
CV: Nojima Kenji.
 A cute ghost boy... likes sakura flowers and Kirishima's BFF
as he has been with him since childhood their bond is strong.
He wass surprised that Sayo can even see him, only certain people can see Chiyo.
Only Kirishima, Sayo and Ao can see him, kinda sad no? tbh I find Chiyo to be pretty adorable
but while going through Kirishima's route I started to wonder why he even has a route...
and since it was shared it pretty much flew by due to having seen mostly everything.
Sayo ends up chasing Chiyo after he runs away and finds out that he actually likes her... 
Kirishima even tells her he knows about him that he noticed something
after all those years and tells her to choose whether or not to accept Chiyo's feelings.
The rest wasn't much different from Kirishima's route and before he leaves he gives Sayo
a kiss on the cheek to stop her from crying, a farewell greeting before blessing their future
leaving only his bracelet behind.😭
The epilogue was weird and left me confused, we see Chiyo with black hair
and a woman resembling Sayo meeting under a cherry tree. IDK weird ending.
 Meh... it feels like giving a character an ending for the sake of it and even then
it is not much different from kirishima so i'm not sure why they bothered?
There was little difference in route as well just perspective changed a little and if
I had to be honest, I can't really see Chiyo as a romantic interest and if he had no route
i'd be fine with it. This was kind of shoe-horned in...
 Romance  ★☆☆☆☆
Plot  ★☆☆☆☆
Overall  ★☆☆☆☆
~

Of course we have to go through a no romance version of ch5 first
which is imo getting quite tiresome, basically the same things happens
except Ao and Onii-chan are involved to help Sayo.
Certain scenes like the window breaking and Kirishima being a gentleman still happen
which makes me really question things but the end result is the same Chiyo leaves.

Toono Touya.
CV: Kawashima Tokuyoshi.
 Sayo's onii-chan an author who's a siscon and apparently Sayo is a bit of a brocon herself LOL.
Aww yiis we finally get to go after big bro Touya after having lost fake Hinase and Chiyo.
Also I laughed a bit too much at the scene where Touya yeet's her away from Ao
after it looked like they were about to ichaicha. Sayo takes her big bro to the flower field
and he basically confesses. Being all puppy eyes how he needs her then he apologizes
for being so upfront, aww. I'm like same, I know you like her but pls also he doesn't
really like Ao and pretty much shakes his head whenever she's with him.
Oh well while Sayo has some feverish dream, onii-chan kissed her. OwO
 Dream was about the past of her mom shirayuki but she isn't even her own daughter
because her dad did the thing with someone else and she didn't want a child.
Shirayuki did like Sayo but she's obsessed with her own beauty.
Eventually the daughter surpasses her in beauty then she goes all crazy and asks the mirror
who is the worst monster which is herself then she slams the mirror and stabbed herself
in the process. Sayo has always been sickly but she loves the mom she knew still
and had to watch her die like that. Her mom wishes for someone to save her as the whole
thing kinda damaged her. Her biological mom moves back in as Sayo's health got worse.
Sayo gets better but Ao starts to think he's really a shinigami and tries to-
Onii-chan cockblocks him just in time LMAO while also telling her to avoid him forever.
Dreams continue and child!Sayo can't really comprehend the situation with her two moms
and Touya is basically the only one she could rely on and she loved his stories.
In reality Sayo is starting to have trouble distinguish dream from reality... back to dreams
the rest of the family act like Touya doesn't exist and even try to stop her from talking to him
aye no wonder she ditched him and lived with her bro. Eventually her family
wanted her to come back home so she pleads them to let her stay with her bro.
Sayo breaks a window and threats to kill herself with a piece of glass if they don't go away
of course they back off, now Sayo only cares about onii-chan and hates being separated from him
Touya is like same and they keep uwu'ing back and forth. She stops going to school
and reads the book fake Hinase gave her. Touya wants to go on a journey when Sayo's better
but she says there's no time and just want everyone to accept the two of them as they are
so they go to the clock tower because no one will bother them there huehuehue.
 She goes to school one more time to say farewell to Kaho and runs into Kirishima
but Touya basically stops him from interfering and they leave for the tower.
Touya starts saying how he'll becomes anything Sayo wishes him to be a friend, brother or lover...
then Ao shows up like an actual shinigami saying Sayo's about to die.
Touya be like imma fight you if you get between us! soon... soon if Sayo dies
Ao will be a real shinigami wait wut then Touya says like that he only exists for her sake
that he is basically an illusion Sayo created to protect herself after her adoptive mom died
since her biological mom wasn't exactly giving a shit about her, Sayo was lonely so acting
out some story from a book is how she coped going as far as thinking she has a brother
 as long as she keeps acting out the story she'll live so he stopped the girl's time
so he can help him find the most beautiful word which Sayo has found.
Confused yet? as am i!
 Kirishima rushes to the top of the tower but he's too late as Ao says, Sayo died (as did
her mental image of her brother), Ao who has been fairly emotionless
starts crying as he points to Sayo holding a book. In the epilogue
our love birds got reincarnated somewhere and married... or they went to heaven
idk whatever they're happy and it makes the ending itself less depressing.
I don't really know what to say about this route, the plot was alright but i'm not really a fan
of the way it played out, romance wise? uh well can't say I liked it. I got sad at the ending
atleast the epilogue made it a little better and when I think about Sayo and all
I can't help but wanna cry, tragic heroine.
A lot of what came before this route was basically foreshadowing..... and Kirishima
was a bit disappointing in this route tbh, he noticed but by then it was too late.
Why didn't anyone get Sayo the help she needed? talking about a non-existant brother
all the time got to raise some flags? also apparently she lived alone all this time
yet by spending time with others and/or finding love her problems flew out the window.
Oh maybe they just thought it normal to have 'imaginary friends/family'  she'll grow out of it
but she didn't and literally made herself believe she had a brother. -_-
So lemme get this straight! Touya needs Sayo but Sayo doesn't need him since as long as she's happy
he pretty much disappears and while this was pretty much the truth route in terms of story
I can't say it was the happiest or enjoyed it and much prefer Kirishima over it. 
So who was the writer of the stories then? god knows except Fusimachi
and well I can't really see Touya the same way after this route.
 Romance  ★★☆☆☆
Plot  ★★★★★
Overall  ★★☆☆☆
~

Ao.
CV: Kanna Nobutoshi.
Has amnesia, believes himself to be a shinigami doesn't remember anything else to the point
Sayo had to name him. Also enjoys reading... well atleast he still remembers that.😅
Either way for an amnesiac he holds it together pretty well over the course of the game?
except for the fact it looks like he's cosplaying some anime character.  I guess he just got
used to not remembering? yea probably. After the depressing route that came before
Ao was basically my last hope at a better ending and finding out who tf he really is.
Thanks to Hinase's racist grandma we already know he's a gaijin. I almost skipped
through a lot of early scenes because it kept going between read/unread
which made me have to auto play ch5 again to be sure I didn't miss anything
which wasn't much but still better safe than sorry. :/
Hilarity ensued when Ao came over and discovered the magic of cup noodles, later
he notices something about Sayo and being afraid of the end, Touya cockblocks
the two when they get a little too close for comfort after Sayo asked Ao to save her. Later Ao
ends up being the 3rd wheel on a little trip to town, the cg doesn't help.
TFW you're the 3rd wheel...
 That aside just like last route Ao starts to believe he is a shinigami for real and the end of things
Sayo has that dream of the past and Ao came to get save her like she asked.
Unfortunately her health got worse and while she tries to go out for a walk runs into Ao
to which he wonders why she's not afraid of him, a reaper bringer of the end.
True she's afraid of the end but not him in particular as he even helped her
so she wonders why would a shinigami do that? then Sayo tells him the story
of shinigami to shoujo and to some extend her past of how Touya saved her.
Ao goes out to buy a drink because Sayo was about to  cry... aww.
 Touya asked her to stay away from Ao but she ran into him at the store
when she went to return abook, she wonders if his memories had returned yet
then the owner shows up and she sees the opportunity to slip then tells Ao to accompany her.
Ao finally understands why she's so afraid and tells her not to be, just as the old memories
within him have ended it is not his fault that happened as he is still here so what happened
in Sayo's past isn't her fault either. Then Ao tells her that he can't take her out of his mind
and wonders what it is he feels towards her. Sayo collapsed before she could answer.
 Touya shows up to take her back and tells him to stay away from her, after when Ao
goesback to the store the owner wonders why he ain't reading, Ao says it is because
his mind can only think about Sayo the owner tells him just how much he changed since
he came here. Owner gives him some peptalk and Ao realizes that he and Sayo are similar
Sayo ends up going to school just to try to make up with Kaho whom she got into a
disagreement with, she was just afraid of Kaho making new friends... all's good now.
 Sayo keeps having dreams and goes crazy about Touya whom calms her down
then he eventually says you must've noticed but i'm not human
and tells her what really happened, how lonely she was then she met him
who came to be her brother. After she regains some sanity she goes to talk to everyone
then hears Ao came to visit school library but she wasn't there. Later Ao
confronts her of her avoiding him asking if she is afraid which is true.
Then Touya goes to Ao tells him how much he hates him but asks him to save her
because if it continues Sayo will break. Then suddenly Ao regains his memories.....
Ao was a pretty emotionless kid not even crying when his parents died so
everyone started to think he's not normal and shun him they even call him a shinigami.
Then when he leaves his homeland, someone gave him a book because he was always alone, at this
point he even believes he is a shinigami from the story, however this person is ain't afraid of Ao.
Then Ao starts to wonder how he can be a real shinigami, magician tells him
he has to kill a real shinigami too become one. Wtf my dude?
Back to the present Kirishima gets some alone time with Sayo and asks her
about her brother and if he is really exists. of course Sayo still believes Touya exists
then Ao shows up who wanted to see her and asks her to come with him then he starts
strangling her but Kirishima stops him and Touya appears saying Ao didn't change.
Touya and takes her home and Kirishima brings her bento and school notes, aww.
Sayo's health gets worse again and even Touya tells her to go to the damn hospital
she doesn't want to because she's afraid her family finds out about her problems
then Touya makes a deal with her, he tells her about how he met Ao before if she goes
to the hospital. So Touya was a Shinigami who stopped her time which has finally started
to move again, Touya actually would be happier if she had chosen literally anyone else
but alas she had to pick someone that will kill her though Sayo is convinced he wasn't
serious in that attempt before. Sayo finally starts to accept the truth of her situation and her
feelings for Ao, Kirishima helps Sayo to accept reality and she bids farewell to Touya.
 Sayo then rushes to the clock tower where Ao is, who is like why you here because
you're about to die, Sayo wants to see him despite knowing that and asks for him to kill her.
He actually tried to strangle her...
Ao notes how she changed, she ask Ao why he become like this and it is because
he has nothing and is alone so he became like the abyss of death which is also nothingness.
Sayo notes how similar they are because she doesn't have much of anything at all.
Since she met him she many interesting 'stories' have happened thus saving her
and now she'll save him then she holds his hand and now he has something.
Then her condition gets worse, she finally tells him she loves him then he starts crying
and wonders why, anyway he can't kill her. Say tells him despite everything
not having anything he's still who he is and Ao tells her not to die.
Apparently they actually met when they were children too... but this fact
came in so late I was like huh really? and considering how much Touya
actually looks like Ao makes it look like he was based on him
but all this is way too confusing to explain.
 Sayo says she has found the most beautiful word and that the journey's at the end
but she loses conciousness again, Ao tells her to tell him but she won't answer
then he says that he loves her.. then he remembers how he met sayo in the past
and he gave her the shinigami to shoujo book cuz apparently that guy took him to japan
and visited Sayo's family on said trip. In the epilogue fusimachi adopts Ao.
Sayo lives a normal life with him, Ao's name is actually Illya but he's like Ao's fine.
 Compared to Touya's route I think Ao's was handled better and more of a true end to the story
which while very good was still confusing and longer than it had to be, the ending didn't make
much sense but I suppose Sayo truly moved forward again now that her old self died.
I loved some of the early scenes they were fun but better enjoy those cuz there's not much of it!
Kirishima was a true wingman here not sure about the romance though
but it was obvious Ao liked her and Sayo slowly realizing her feelings was done nicely
its just that I think it all could be a lot shorter? they also loved going back and forth
no not yet kind of thing which TBH was kinda irritating.😑
While in the end I can accept the relationship, cant say I found it to be very romantic
especially the trying to kill her bits atleast it ended well but it can be pretty confusing.
  Romance  ★★★☆☆
Plot  ★★★★☆
Overall  ★★★☆☆
 ~

Oh and apparently if you still don't get the story there is an omake of sorts
where Kirshima goes to have a chat with Fusimachi  that basically explains everything.
There's also other things scene / trophy cleanup but i'm not gonna bother writing
as this post is long enough. I think the depth/kotonoha system is poorly implemented.

Route enjoyment:
Ao / Touya > Kirishima/Chiyo > Hinase.
Mostly in terms of plot but if I had to go based on who I like then...
Kirishima because he has the most satisfying and least confusing end  especially
after doing Touya/Ao where you realize as long as she's happy what else matters!
I don't think any route was wasteful as the themes/problems are actually
things that Sayo struggle with, Hinase is about lying and Sayo was living a Lie
Kirishima/Chiyo deal with imaginary friend which was what Touya was to Sayo
Either way it is complicated situation and I might make it more complicated...

Fav character:
Kirishima > Ao > Chiyo > Touya > Hinase.
Well basically Kirishima is my no,1 and the rest after with Hinase last
because I didn't like the plot around him and I feel bad for the real one.

Final thoughts
Alternative take: the thick book is the story and the tiny book the otome part.
I loved the story and the characters, it came well together in the end but it seems like
this game had an identity crisis about what it wanted to do before that point
and even when the truth comes to light it still is a bit confusing.
I think its story was much better suited for a straight-forward visual novel
because a lot of the romance/endings almost appear to be shoehorned in though
I preferred the way Kirishima/Chiyo route told their story over the common one.
 The romance/otome stuff was far and between as well. For the majority of the common
route not much happened except for a side char having a problem which relates to one
of the Touya's books from ch4 and onwards it focus more on the main guys
but untill you get to the last two routes the story doesn't make much sense. Therefor
the game honestly doesn't feel much like an otome game at all, sure there was romance
but it was never really satisfying, I guess that's what happens when you focus on the plot!
Hinase left me feeling ripped off and Kirishima while it was obvious he came to like her
the romance wasn't really there atleast the end was wholesome so he's easily my favorite.
Doesn't help that Sayo got a mega crush on her brother, which I thought was tolerable at best.
 The first 10 hours it pretty much felt like a straight-forward visual novel
then we get to a route that... in the next half of ch4 makes it seem like a bad choice
which was probably only inserted because hey this is an otome game! then said plot
from the route carries on in the common route and even has a better resolution. Nani?
It wasn't really but they slapped some otome stuff on it anyway.
The writer was the same as tai-ali and the story is good as that it can surprise you
and you can tell that there is a bigger picture to get behind it all
its just not really suited for an otome game but what was there was nice I guess?
Kinda sad they had to use a side story to make sense of the plot of the game! Sayo as a heroine
was okay but eh she's had it rough but I have a hard time understanding her behavior like in
Hinase's elope end, she's like I wuv this dude even though he's sheit bye bye all I know!
Same kinda happened in Kirishima but atleast he's a man of integrity.💕
To compare that to Ao's and to an extend Touya those were a dumpster fire
but atleast we got to see what was really going on so eh its sad that whenever romance
came into the picture in the early routes the plot flew out of the window and if
I got it right from Touya's route as long as Sayo was happy nothing else
really mattered anyway, I liked Kirishima but yea then you got Chiyo
who doesn't even get a proper end but Hinase does don't get me started on Ao because
while it was a nice end which rounded up everything I was also like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
While the production values were pretty high its just as an otome game it is unsatisfying
so maybe not go into this expecting a well rounded otome? because it is not.
Totally can see people dropping this before they get to the good part(s)
and imagine having to sit through an almost identical no-romance route just to proceed
the story after having just done with romance, which in turn let to repeated events
just telling them differently. Usually you do a common route to get to a character route
which made me question if I was playing this wrong but I wasn't since the play
order has you do this in a specific order so Idk but it made things longer than it had to be.
100%'ing the game was a pain because they had you do entire chapters/routes again
for some tidbit of information / scene / trophy using the depth/kotonoha you gather
making me go okay couldn't they just add that bit to begin with instead of making players
search a needle in a haystack to find stuff which was already there but buried because
of some system, like I said in the non-spoiler section if you want a VN with thought
provoking plots maybe this is for you? if not then I can't really recommend it
and not to mention the heavy psychological problems... so in the end
as an otome its just kinda meh even though I got my bias.
This and getsuei no kusari definitely aren't your typical otome games.

Characters ★★★★★
Art  ★★★★★
Scenario/plot. ★★★☆☆
Music ★★★★★
System  ★☆☆☆☆
Enjoyment overall ★★☆☆☆  
Despite the good story/chars and all I just didn't enjoy it as an otome game.

I think I want to play a lighter otome game next... I do have panic palette and
himehibi 2 around but i'm kinda done with Takuyo atm.
As for new otome's I am looking forward to Haruka7.
Dairoku: Ayakashimori has sakupyon but i'm still considering it.

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