Five people get trapped inside a strange mansion full of monsters with no recollection of who they are nor what their past might be. Each one of them has a cellphone with a single message that serves as a clue to find a way out of the manor and solve the mystery of their amnesia. Will they succeed or stay trapped forever?
Hello everyone! Time for the first review of the year! I was a bit slow with most of 2018’s console otome games so that’s why I’m reviewing them a bit late. I even plan to make a review on Period Cube eventually even though it’s been more than a year for that one lol. But, anyway, let’s begin!
NOTE: Beware, there’s a lot of ranting (and swearing) 😆 . Remember this is my opinion and you don’t necessarily have to agree with it. As always, if you don’t wanna be spoiled, just head to conclusive thoughts.
First thing to note about Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly is that the common route is about 75% to 80% of the game. The story also plays a major role and romance is left as a sub plot that’s really more of an extra.
Also, since none of the characters have any memories at the start of the game, they use the names from the name plates hooked on the bedrooms’ doors of their hideout. You do know, however, that the heroine’s name is Ai Minato, since the game lets you pick her name. Still, Ai’s name while she’s amnesiac is Beniyuri. The others are Hikage, Kagiha, Yamato and Karasuba.
COMMON ROUTE/BEST END
“Locate the kaleidoscope shards”, “There is only one way to leave the manor”, “The weapon is in your hands”, “The key to the memory lies in the manor”, “Complete the kaleidoscope”. Those are the five messages that the characters receive from the master of the manor in order to know what they should do to solve the mystery and strive to get out of that grim place. This strange world is full of monsters and black butterflies (which are a bad omen, usually indicating that a monster is nearby); it also rains at night and monsters are more active during this time of the day. Luckily, there are also certain places within the manor that have white butterflies, which are a good omen and a synonym for safe areas (their hideout being one of them), since monsters don’t go to places with them. Thanks to a fox masked guy that helps Beniyuri at the beginning, a bunny masked girl called Usagi (who serves the master of the manor) and Beniyuri herself, we soon learn that they can fight monsters with the “power of thought” which manifests itself into guns. When they are defeated, monsters turn into black butterflies that are absorbed into the characters’ accessories (Beniyuri’s is a hairpin) and they also leave a shard behind that’s needed to complete the kaleidoscope required to leave the manor.
Speaking of defeating monsters, this otoge has a mini-game where you need to shoot black butterflies. It’s a bit tricky, at first, but you get used to it. I was super bad at it first but then didn’t have a problem getting S rank every time the shooting game appeared. It’s important that you get a good score at least one time because the points you receive are used to unlock special episodes that are separated from the main path (the game has a flowchart system). If I remember right, you just play the game twice on your first play-through and then only once for each new character route, since you get to choose your partner the second time and there are some small scene variations. Back to the matter of the kaleidoscope, this thing functions as a sort of projector and, sometimes, when the characters collect a shard, they get a “reward”. Beniyuri gets a photo from her family that, of course, lets her remember about her father, her little sister and her dog (her mother passed away when her sister was born). So far, so good.
After a short period of collecting shards, however, Yamato starts getting more and more desperate to leave the mansion. Beniyuri gets worried about him and tries to talk to him; Yamato tells her that he has a twin brother in a coma and he’s been going to visit him everyday, hoping that he’ll wake up soon if he keeps talking to him. When she goes back to her room, Beniyuri receives another attached file on her cellphone that shows a picture of Yamato and Hikage as children. First big revelation: they’re twins. Apparently Yamato receives the picture as well because, right after that, everyone hears his scream and watch him turn into a monster. What’s more, Usagi lets them know a few more things. Let’s make some items to organize them better:
- The manor is a sort of limbo between life and death;
- The kaleidoscope is the only way they can return to life since they can ask the master of the manor for a wish if they complete it;
- Black butterflies bring you closer to the abyss while white butterflies bring you closer to the afterlife;
- Butterflies are particles of soul;
- Monsters were once human but lost their face to despair;
- You can only go to the afterlife if you forget everything.
Luckily, we soon learn that Yamato is alive thanks to the fox masked guy that saved Beniyuri and Hikage at the beginning of the story. He takes her to a greenhouse and Beniyuri is able to save Yamato with sweet words and a kind hug ❤ However, since Yamato partially retains his monstrous form, he prefers to stay at the greenhouse instead of going back to the hideout, so Beniyuri agrees to come visit him from time to time. As for the fox masked guy, Yamato decides to call him Monshiro since it’s the only name available from the rooms at the hideout 😆 . Monshiro and Beniyuri also become friends and he gives her his cherished ribbon (this ribbon will be very important later on). When Beniyuri tries to make Monshiro join their group, Hikage and Kagiha are reluctant and distrustful but, with the help of Karasuba, they end up agreeing to the new member.
After a short period of more shard collecting, the master of the manor shows everyone a photo of them as kids at a summer camp: they were all childhood friends (their names are also revealed: Beniyuri is Ai, Kagiha is Natsuki, Hikage is Kazuya, Yamato is Takuya and Karasuba is Aki). All except for Monshiro, which makes Hikage and Kagiha voice their suspicions of Monshiro’s identity once again. Anyway, thanks to Beniyuri and Karasuba yet again, they stop accusing Monshiro. Another thing that’s revealed here is how Ai and Natsuki had made a promise when they were children to marry each other as adults. One day, Karasuba goes missing and they all go look for him. Hikage and Beniyuri find him in a strange room that looks like a studio/office and that he’s been hurt by a monster. When they try to take him back to the hideout, they see Monshiro pointing his gun at Kagiha. Monshiro’s mask ends up being destroyed and oho, behold, he’s actually the real Kazuya and Hikage is revealed to be the master of the manor. Kagiha protects Beniyuri from one of Hikage’s shots and is then “kidnapped” by him. By this point, it’s pretty clear that Kagiha was in cahoots with Hikage all along in order to protect Beniyuri. Also, the reason Monshiro didn’t say anything about Hikage was because he didn’t want to ruin the relationship they all had together… okay then.
Yamato, Monshiro, Karasuba and Beniyuri gather at the greenhouse to discuss what to do. Beniyuri feels hurt and left out because she’s the only one who hasn’t regained all of her memories and nobody will tell her anything in order to protect her. Usagi then comes to meet them to let them know that there’s only one shard left to complete the kaleidoscope and that Beniyuri has it on her hairpin, so Hikage wants to see her
to have the final boss battle. At night, Beniyuri runs into Kagiha and after some hugs and crying he makes her give him the ribbon (the one Monshiro had returned to her) with some mind-control or something and Beniyuri turns weird as hell ಠ_ಠ. Soon after, the final confrontation with Hikage begins (of course, the thing about the wish was a lie because he wanted to use the kaleidoscope himself) and Beniyuri finally remembers the awful truth: when they were kids, Ai and the others went on a school summer camp that was near a dangerous lake. After they had their group picture taken, they found the manor and decided to explore it (despite Natsuki warning them not to). Before this, though, Kazuya had injured his knee and Ai used the ribbon she got from her mom to wrap the wound. Unfortunately, after having explored the manor for a while, the kids were caught in a downpour. They had all actually managed to reach the shore, but Kazuya lost his ribbon and went back to get it with Ai and Natsuki. After they found it, the rain got even worse and Natsuki ended up dying while Kazuya became comatose. Since it had been Ai’s idea to go exploring, she has been depressed and consumed by guilt ever since the accident.
Since Beniyuri no longer has the ribbon, which functioned as a protective charm, she starts to despair and become a monster, while the others try to defeat Hikage to no avail. Kagiha confesses his love for Beniyuri and gives her back her ribbon. Then, he restrains Hikage and tells her to shoot them both so they are all saved. Beniyuri manages to do it but is devastated to see him go to the afterlife when he turns into white butterflies. After the battle, they complete the kaleidoscope and return to their world by waking up from their coma. In the epilogue, the go back to the lake for the anniversary of Natsuki’s death. They also talk about the legend of the mansion which Takuya looked up on the internet: the guy that lived in the mansion went insane after someone he loved died and he tried to bring them back with
a human transmutation circle dark magic but, since he failed, he killed himself.
To be perfectly honest, when I first started playing this game I was quite pleased with it and enjoying it a whole lot. Despite having the overly used amnesia thing going on, the mystery was interesting, the way of presenting it was original and it made me want to read the story further to know what the hell was going on. There were some things that irritated me, like the big level of chauvinism (“girls shouldn’t let guys into their room so easily”, “you’re a girl, let me handle this”, etc), but Yamato and Monshiro had so many endearing scenes that they surpassed the bad. I even thought Hikage being the master of the manor was super cool because it suited him much much better than being a “good guy” with a stick up his ass.
Then… the big reveal happened and everything went to hell.
First of all, there’s the childhood friend trope. Some of you already know this from my past reviews but, in case you don’t know, I HATE this trope with FIERY PASSION because it’s full of clichés, plot convenience and, in my honest opinion, it’s almost never done right (there are some exceptions but they are very little). And it doesn’t end there. While it is certainly possible for a little girl to have many guy friends, what are the odds of every single one of them having an EXTREMELY BIG CRUSH on her? Oh, and for them to keep loving her for 10 years? It’s like the writers wanted to get the romance development out of the way and they just added some small bits on how they are all in wuuuuv with Ai because of her “kindness”.
Then, regarding the accident, the fact that no adults supervised them… how, WHY. IF THE LAKE WAS SO FUCKING DANGEROUS HOW COME YOU DIDN’T KEEP AN EYE ON THE KIDS YOU STUPID ADULT SHITS. Yes, I know that even if you look after kids 24/7 bad stuff can still happen to them, but this accident WAS COMPLETELY AVOIDABLE. In fact, if I were these kids’ parent and something like this happened to them I WOULD HAVE SUED THE UGLY TEACHERS’ ASSES. Hmm, speaking of parents, let’s not even talk about how they fucking separated the kids (Ai, Takuya and Aki) “to protect them”. I’m not over yet. Something that also really made my blood boil was how the game deliberately blamed everything on the kids like they were fucking demons. “They were jealous of each other and did bad stuff because of it”. “Ai was selfish because she wanted to play in a dangerous place”. THEY WERE KIDS FOR FUCK’S SAKE. KIDS ARE SELFISH, DISOBEDIENT AND HAVE NO REAL SENSE OF DANGER UNTIL THEY GET HURT. YOU CAN’T JUDGE A KID’S ACTION AND AN ADULT’S ACTION IN THE SAME FUCKING WAY. And last, but certainly not least, the way this game throws the word ‘comatose’ at your face like it was fucking confetti is incredible. How easy do they think it is for a person to go into a coma? COME ON!!!!!
Okay, now let’s move on to the Real World ending.
REAL WORLD ENDING
If you go back to the flowchart to chapter 3 and make Beniyuri wonder why did she come to the manor, you’ll get this path. Real World route is basically a short preview of what happened to Ai, Takuya and Aki before they reached the manor (aka when the game starts).
Basically, it’s like this: Ai and Aki go to the same high school, though Aki’s a year younger than Ai so he’s a freshman. Aki flirts with her all the time and tries to get her to date him but she constantly plays the fool and rejects his advances; one, because she’s not over Natsuki’s death and avoids guys altogether, and two, because she simply doesn’t have feelings for Aki (yet he keeps pestering her). True, she does think he’s joking at first but, at some point, it becomes very obvious that that’s not the case (which is why she starts avoiding him). One day, she meets Takuya after many years of not having seen each other and learns that Kazuya’s still in a coma. Takuya and Ai grow a bit closer because they’re both fixated on the past, something they hate about themselves but are also relieved to know they’re not alone in the feeling. Of course, when Aki finds out about this he gets super pissed and is a jealous bitch about the whole situation; accusing them of running away and how it makes him sick that they’re licking each others’ wounds.
Anyway… Aki suggests they go to the lake to pay respects for Natsuki so that they can start over and move on. They take the bus to the lake and… there’s another downpour and they get into a coma.
Okay then, let’s move on. Time for the “routes” (if we can really call them that because they’re short as hell).
Aka Natsuki. This guy has to be my least favorite from the game together with Karasuba. Though, even if Karasuba is also a piece of shit as a human being, at least as a character he has a bit more substance. Natsuki’s whole character revolves around Ai and how he’s willing to sacrifice anything (or anyone) in order to be with her and come back to life so that he can fulfill his promise of marrying her. Seriously, what is it with Japanese fiction and marriage promises between childhood friends? They’re literally everywhere! A little variety, please? Still, this isn’t what bothered me the most about Kagiha. No, what truly irked me was how much of a garbage friend he was, even though he’s supposed to be “the kind one”. His route is almost non-existent because most of the important stuff about him are already in the common path, so basically all it is is a few special episodes with a bit of “romance” and a minuscule chapter that leads to his sole ending; where Ai and him live an imaginary life of what would have happened if they got married. Noice.
Aka Takuya. The tsundereeee of the game ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°). Even though Natsuki is the one that has the marriage promise with Ai, I consider Takuya to be the actual canon route. True, when they were kids Ai didn’t really like him because he bothered her constantly (he was too embarrassed to be honest), but when they meet again after ten years (in the real world path) I believe these two connected due their similar feelings of guilt: Takuya for loosening Kazuya’s ribbon (which made him lose it in the first place) and Ai for suggesting to explore and for insisting on crossing the path with the heavy rain. Takuya has liked Ai since they were kids but he admitted that he fell for her even more when he saw how strong she had become. Meanwhile, Ai feels at peace whenever she’s with him, she feels like she can change alongside him and overcome rough stuff if they’re together. Most of his special episodes are adorable and something truly appreciable about Takuya is that he doesn’t harass Ai at all (unlike all the other guys who do, in one way or another). He’s also probably one of the characters with the most growth and development, since he goes from being a jealous brat to a caring older brother who apologizes for his mistakes.
One of my favorite scenes is when he apologizes to Kazuya about his actions and even the bad thoughts he used to have while visiting him at the hospital. And Kazuya apologizes as well because, unbeknownst to his older brother, he was also envious of Takuya. He also has the best bad ending in the whole game, in my opinion. I think the only things that bothered me were how Kazuya didn’t notice how Takuya loosened the ribbon when he told his little bro he was going to tighten it (I mean… what about his sense of touch? Didn’t he feel Takuya was actually loosening the ribbon???) and the way the romance felt a bit abrupt. While I do think Ai also has feelings for Takuya (though maybe not as strong as her feelings for Natsuki), the fact that the common route takes up most of the game makes the romance build up feel really awkward. Still, this “route” is probably the most otome like.
Aka the master of the manor. I was pleasantly surprised about this character, mainly because, at first, I couldn’t stand him 😆 . He was this sarcastic, chauvinistic dude who believed all women were weak and annoying and I seriously wanted to kick his balls. How wrong I was. Well, he still IS somewhat chauvinistic but there is a reason for that. The writers probably are biased towards Hikage because, to be perfectly honest, his route is the best in the whole game and he has tremendous character development. I just liked his path so fucking much. First of all, Beniyuri’s relationship with Usagi was adorable and I found it really endearing to see how they became friends who exchanged letters and had tea time together. Hikage’s also the only one who isn’t a childhood friend of Beniyuri so it was a breath of fresh air. The romance developed nice and slowly; in the beginning, Beniyuri was just curious about Hikage, after witnessing his kindness towards a little masked-girl in the manor, but she didn’t really “love” him. Usagi, of course, misinterprets the whole situation and makes a plan with Beniyuri to learn more about Hikage by tormenting him with daily questions 😆 (honestly, one of the best scenes in the game). Hikage, of course, is disoriented but eventually asks her if she has feelings for him 😆 Beniyuri tells him she’s still trying to figure that out and, even though Hikage teases her, he still pushes her away.
This is when Hikage’s perception of Beniyuri starts to change since she can be both a coward and assertive. It doesn’t end there. Hikage’s feewiiiings are shaken yet again when Beniyuri finds the picture book ‘Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly’. The story basically mirrors Hikage’s life: two white butterflies are happy together until one of them dies; the remaining butterfly is devastated but a traveler tells it that reaching the Psychedelica can make it enter the realm of the dead and reunite with its lover. The sad thing about this story is that, after a lot of pain and struggle, the butterfly has become completely black and, when it’s about to reach the Psychedelica it turns its back on it and prefers to die alone in the desert because it’s afraid to show them how ugly and twisted it became.
Hikage’s past goes in a similar manner (Usagi’s the one who tells us): he was brought to Usagi’s home to be her brother and they were really special to each other. Their parents were shit and the only good thing they had about their life was each other. Usagi was also really sickly and, unfortunately, ended up dying despite Hikage trying to do everything to get the medicine, even begging his uncle after his father went broke. He was tricked, however, and Usagi’s death left him in despair. He killed his piece of shit uncle for deceiving him and tried to research a way to bring Usagi back from the death with black magic, gradually becoming insane and filled with hate. One day, a peddler told him about the kaleidoscope which could project patterns into the water and, under certain conditions, connect to the next world. He found it and exchanged it for his entire fortune. But when the time came for him to use the kaleidoscope, he destroyed it and shot himself. This is why there are kaleidoscope shards in the manor and why everyone’s weapons are guns. For some reason, the power of the kaleidoscope was still activated and Hikage reached the manor, though without memories. He met Usagi, who was brought back from eternity, maybe because Hikage’s wish to meet her was so strong. He didn’t remember her entirely but her face left him in agony, which is why Usagi covered her face from that moment onwards.
Back to the picture book, Beniyuri believes the white butterfly wouldn’t care about what its lover looked like since they’d be happy to be reunited no matter what. This shakes Hikage to colossal levels and he starts to believe Beniyuri is actually quite strong. After that, Beniyuri continues to try to get closer to him and, by this point, Hikage gets shaken to the point were, just to contradict her, he kisses her forcefully (before, Beniyuri had told him she didn’t think he was someone capable to take a woman by force) to give Beniyuri “what she wanted”. Beniyuri slaps the shit out of him and tells him she didn’t get closer to him because she wanted attention and that what he did was cruel. And, who would have thought, Hikage says the cruel one is her!
Let me grab my popcorn.
After this, they both distance themselves from each other and Beniyuri feels rejected; but when she talks about it with Usagi, this is when she tells him about Hikage being her brother and the master of the manor as well as their past. In the end, Beniyuri resolves to reunite the siblings but Hikage’s so unstable about his emotions that he’s scared. He insists that he wants the kaleidoscope to wish for destruction but, as Beniyuri tells him, the kaleidoscope can only connect the manor to the real world. She tries to get him to remember his sister but due to Hikage’s emotionally unstable condition he ends up shooting her… and Usagi protects her from the shot and goes to the afterlife, happy that she was able to meet her brother again. Hikage is in despair because, yet again, he couldn’t save his sister and he cries uncontrollably holding onto Beniyuri. Afterwards, he tells her he wishes he could have met her when he was alive, gives her the last shard so that she can return to her world and… shoots himself. In the epilogue, Beniyuri goes to the lake where the manor once was and spots a brother and a sister walking together (it’s not clear whether they’re a reincarnation of Hikage and Usagi or just Beniyuri’s illusion).
Even though it’s sad as hell, this was my favorite route in the whole game (plus the special episodes were super cute). Hikage has great character development, Beniyuri is at her best here and Usagi is so cute I wish I could adopt her. What I didn’t like, though, was the fact that Hikage had clairvoyance powers for who knows what reason (plot conveniece) and how inconsistent Beniyuri/Ai is from other routes. I mean… come on, she didn’t even mention Natsuki when she went to the lake, which was weird as fuck because her whole struggle has to do with her accepting his death. The ending also felt very abrupt, weird and cliché and, honestly, wasn’t as good as the rest of the route. Like, seriously, I’ve seen “tragic” shooting scenes like that a million times.
Aka Kazuya. Poor guy is such a cinnamon roll but his route does him no justice at all. So much so that he didn’t even get CGs for his endings, what gives?? Anyway… Kazuya is Takuya’s twin brother and had been in a coma for ten years. He reached the manor together with Natsuki and the only thing that made him endure his loneliness and suffering was the ribbon Ai gave to him, not only because it functioned as a protective charm but also because of his strong wish to return it to her. When he meets Ai again, and they become friends as ‘Monshiro and Beniyuri’, he gets super touchy feely with her and, even though it could be interpreted as harassment (sort of), the truth is Kazuya is just an innocent puppy who wants some love after having been alone for so long. I really loved the scenes where he clinged to Ai, he was just so adorable I wanted to hug him forever; the scene where they sleep together is especially endearing. His route, however, is filled with over the top tragedy. When Ai and the others are at the greenhouse thinking about whether they should meet Hikage right away or wait a bit, you need to wait in order to enter Kazuya’s path.
What happens is that Kazuya basically wants to sacrifice himself in order to get the kaleidoscope and make everyone escape… because he thinks he’s dead and not actually in a coma (how he knows that the others are in a coma but not himself is beyond me). Hikage, however, being the manipulative guy that he is, confuses him and makes him despair after showing him that Takuya “hates him” (how ironic that Kazuya would be the one to despair in his own route when he’s the one that warns Ai about Hikage’s manipulation in the common route) and that he’s not actually dead but in a coma. Hikage then tries to shoot him but Natsuki saves him just in time. When Kazuya regains consciousness, he is still devastated about the revelation that his brother “hates him” so he asks Natsuki too what he really feels about him. This scene really made me rage because Natsuki CLEARLY saw that Kazuya was shaken, blaming himself for fucking existing (my poor baby), and that his necklace was almost black (a sign that a soul is about to go to the abyss because it’s filled with despair). Yet, instead of calming him down, Natsuki purposely makes Kazuya despair even further by saying he wishes he could have traded places with him (since Kazuya’s not actually dead) because he’s “better equipped” to support Ai. WHAT THE FUCK. You don’t do that to a friend. You just fucking don’t. He even had the balls to say “he couldn’t save him” to Ai when she finds out Kazuya fell into the abyss. Welp, but karma’s a bitch because Natsuki got what he fucking deserved when Ai told him she didn’t want to be happy at the cost of someone’s sacrifice. Still, it’s incredible how for Natsuki (and this game, in general) worrying for a friend of the opposite sex automatically means you have romantic feelings for them.
Anyway, after giving the hairpin with the shard to Natsuki (so that the rest can return to their world), Ai jumps into the abyss holding her ribbon tightly in her hand and looks for Kazuya. Before she reaches him, though, she begins seeing Kazuya’s memories from when he reached the manor every time a drop of water touches her. At first, Kazuya used to cooperate with Hikage and Natsuki to collect shards for the kaleidoscope but at a certain point he just couldn’t bare to watch more people suffer anymore and decided to leave them to stay at the greenhouse instead. He started to forget about everything, even began to lose his face, so he covered himself with a fox mask. Truth is, Kazuya forgot about everything except for the fact that he needed to return the ribbon to an important girl. When Yamato reaches the greenhouse turned into a monster and apologizes to his brother, Kazuya gradually starts to remember everything.
When Ai finally reaches Kazuya in the abyss, she realizes the droplets of water were his tears. He doesn’t remember her at first but, when he does, he’s still emo because he feels he causes trouble for everyone. Ai’s like: “Of course you do but everyone does. Plus, if you don’t cause trouble to your loved ones, can you really say they’re your loved ones?” Then she tells him he shouldn’t run away with his guilt so that he can repay his loved ones’ kindness (HOW FUCKING IRONIC THAT SHE SAYS THIS WHEN SHE’S THE EMBODIMENT OF GUILT HERSELF). Eventually, they decided to look for an exit but, when they see light, Kazuya starts to sink and wants to sacrifice himself so that Ai can leave on her own 🤦♀️ Jesus fucking christ. Difference between the endings? Monshiro end, she leaves alone, Kazuya end, they leave together. How they are able to get out of the manor without the kaleidoscope is fucking beyond me but whatever because fuck consistency lmao. Kazuya’s ending is also so freaking weird and just felt so out of character for both him and Ai: Waiting for Aki and Takuya together who hadn’t recovered from their coma while smiling about spending time together; Kazuya confessing his love but “not really lol cause it’s not fair to the others ufufufu ahahaha” ಠ_ಠ okay then. I also didn’t like how Kazuya’s own route makes him seem like a pitiful, innocent martyr who did nothing wrong when he admitted to having bad thoughts about his brother too in Takuya’s route. That, in my opinion, made him much more likable because he felt more human.
Aka Aki. Aka piece of garbage. My other least favorite character from the game. It’s already bad enough that he’s such a big harasser towards Ai when they’re still amnesiac but, jesus christ, when he recovers his memories… he gets even worse. Aki is another character that I feel solely revolves around Ai and his desire to make her his girlfriend. I can understand how he started liking her after she helped him from bullies when they were kids, but when he met her again during high school…? I’ve got no clue. He just felt like she shined brighter than anyone so his heart went doki doki and he constantly pestered her to date him. He also has trust issues because of being bullied as a child, even towards Ai which makes absolutely no fucking sense but whatever 😆 . Anyway, while Aki is very perceptive and is the first to realize that they all know each other as well as the first to notice Hikage is not the real Kazuya, he is also very mean in his way of addressing others. Also, the more he “jokes around” the more serious he actually is. His constant bickering with Yamato (as Karasuba) was annoying and the awful stuff he said and did to Ai just made me think he was a resentful asshole. Truth is Aki was running away from his past as much as Ai and Takuya were; he just didn’t want to admit it since it made him “weak” and not “deserving enough” to protect the girl she loves. What is logic lmao, but this is his reason for being mean.
It’s truly sad that Ai wasn’t more firm with him whenever Aki overstepped the boundaries and got a little too touchy feely (how come she didn’t slap him like she did with Hikage??). The Karasuba route/ending is especially disgusting because he manipulates her into running away from reality and living together like a “lovely dovey” couple. He kisses her forcefully and it’s even insinuated that they have sex. What an abusive piece of shit. What happened to the others is never mentioned but probably nothing good. The Aki route, though, is a liiiittle bit more positive. After they come back from their coma, Aki and Ai meet and skip the first class to go to the park to talk. Aki admits he was a piece of shit towards everyone and apologizes for all the bad stuff he said and did. Well, at least he has an ounce of human decency!! Ai also apologizes for avoiding him. I liked this because, while Aki was still awful when pestering her, they were still friends and Ai should have been upfront with him about her feelings because she took advantage of his kindness. What I DID NOT like was the fact that she decides to start dating Aki. It truly left me like this:
Seriously, what? Okay, it’s nice that she wants to take it slow and isn’t willing to kiss him just yet, but, I mean… the fact that she has to GROW to like him is SO BAD. You shouldn’t date somebody out of pity and force yourself to grow to like them, you just shouldn’t. It’s cruel to both you and the other person. *Sigh* To each their own, I guess…
SUMMER CAMP ENDING
Aka the “what if they had all survived” ending. I don’t… even see the point to this ending. I imagine it’s to give the readers peace of mind that there could have been a nicer outcome but, after all the tragedy embedded in this game, this just felt… unnecessary? Even the whole summer camp scenario showing everything that happened felt unnecessary. If they were already going to show it as a flashback in the main route when Ai recovers her memories, what was the point of including it? The branch in this route opens when Ai has to decide whether to cross the path in the heavy rain or wait inside the manor. If they stay inside the manor, they all survive and the route then fast forwards to their high school years. They all meet to go to Ai’s house and basically compete for Ai（；¬＿¬). Natsuki also mentions the promise of marriage and even Ai’s like “dude that was when we were kids” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
I mentioned this at the end of the common route but I’ll say it again since the thoughts section is the non-spoiler one. When I first started playing this game, I was very charmed by it. All the first part until the big reveal is engaging: despite the amnesia cliché, the way of presenting the mystery is original and made me want to know more to, eventually, discover the truth. The problem is the truth itself. The big reveal. The reason why this story exists in the first place. It’s bad. It’s a bit hard to explain without any spoilers but, basically, everythiiiing revolves around Beniyuri. And I really mean EVERYTHING. The only character who gave me a breath of fresh air regarding this matter was Hikage, who at least wasn’t in love with her just from standing in the same fucking room. Yamato was better in this aspect too, to an extent, because at least there were other things to his character apart from Beniyuri herself. Monshiro is kind of a mixed bag because while his character doesn’t solely revolve around Beniyuri, the game fucking hates him and seems like it made his route to purposely try to get a reaction out of the player, not to mention it’s full of plot holes and inconsistencies. Sad, because out of his route he is a much better character (he still is an adorable puppy who deserves happiness, though). Kagiha and Karasuba… should burn in a pit of fire for all I care. Both of them were assholes. Karasuba’s ‘assholeness’ was more directed at Beniyuri with his spiteful words and huge amount of sexual harassment but Kagiha wasn’t any better just because his ‘assholeness’ wasn’t directed at her; he was a garbage friend, especially in Monshiro’s route. Speaking of friendship, this game doesn’t give two shits about it. Everything revolves around romantic love (specifically the main tragedy from the common route) and, apparently, worrying for someone of the opposite sex means you have romantic feelings for them.
The truth of what happened also left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. The game deliberately tries to put the blame on children instead of, you know, adults. Not to mention that, in my honest opinion, the tragedy that happened was completely avoidable. There were also a lot of things that didn’t make any sense. Reasonings that just left me “wtf”. An enormous amount of chauvinism and things that contradicted themselves depending on what part of the game you were standing at. Beniyuri was also very insipid and teeeeerribly inconsistent. I just don’t know how to feel about her. She would sometimes be very brave and stand her ground and I’d be like hell yeah you go girl, but then other times she would let the guys string her around and be a pitiful sheep. What’s more, she had this big conflict inside of her related to her past that, depending on which ending you got, seemed to be either completely forgotten or given too much attention.
Regarding the game system, just… what the hell were they trying to do? When you take a look at the flowchart, you realize that this game is mostly composed of the common path. The other “routes” are just diversions of the flowchart and are short as hell. Hikage’s the only one with a route that isn’t completely minuscule. Besides, there’s no real order in regards to how you’re supposed to see the special episodes so, if you don’t use a guide, you’ll be more lost than a fucking ant in the desert. It’s badly organized. The writers should really hire Marie Kondo lmao. The art and especially the music were very good. I admit I wasn’t a big fan of the art at first but it grew on me; the anatomy looks weird in certain CGs and sprite positions though. The symbolism was also pretty nice, how certain strange things that happened in the manor started to make sense (like why it rained at night) upon bits of truth being revealed.
Overall, I think this game should’ve just been a visual novel with NO romance. Because of the strange way in which the game was organized, the romance felt very forced (more so on Beniyuri’s side) and it made friendship feel like an insult, which I absolutely hated. In fact, because of the premise of the story, I think this game should have focused more on friendship. If that had been the case, I would have probably enjoyed it more. As it is… the only routes I can say that I enjoyed were Hikage’s and Yamato’s and certain scenes from Monshiro.
In the end, I think it’s just a matter of taste. Personally, I don’t enjoy stories that are overly melodramatic and revolve around a single character. They’re just not my cup of tea. You can make a really good tragic story but when you grasp at straws to make it as tragic as possible only to ignore common sense and have a lot of inconsistencies, the story goes downhill.
That’s the end of this review. Thanks a lot for reading until the end, feel free to comment and see you next post!! (≧∇≦*)/