The epilogue is unlocked after clearing all the characters, and you progress from the start till the part when the CZ group members bury the time capsule after successfully finishing their assignments. However, you must not enter anyone’s individual route (aka you remain somewhat “neutral” in terms of favourability). You can’t spread yourself “too thin” by interacting with all CZ members, as you’ll end up failing the assignments (well, at least that leads you to another ending). The best way is to interact with just two members.
Needless to say, as this will include my concluding thoughts of the whole game too, there are spoilers revolving around the whole CZ game! It’s really best to read the reviews of each individual route before this.
It’s finally time to open the time capsule and Nadeshiko and Riichirou meet outside the elementary school entrance. Nakaba organised the meeting but he failed to indicate the meeting location lol. So the two of them go inside and chance into the older Hanabusa brothers. They catch up with each other and Nakaba compliments Nadeshiko on becoming prettier now (FD, WHERE!?).
Nadeshiko thinks that Nakaba hasn’t changed much unlike Madoka who…grew up a lot haha. In fact, he’s the tallest among them now. The brothers soon turn their attention to Riichirou, while still addressing him by his nickname “Rittan”, and hence embarrassing the heck out of him. Madoka notes that he hasn’t changed a bit, but Nakaba adds that maybe he has – his fringe is longer now. This only provokes Riichirou even more pfft. Riichirou gets teased by the brothers so much, even Nadeshiko feels sorry for him. So she asks about the whereabouts of the others, which no one knows lol. So they decide to tour the school first for nostalgia sake.
As they do so, they find Takato in one of the classrooms. They see him wearing a suit and he explains that he came from work. The Hanabusa brothers catch up with Takato, as they last saw each other 3-4 years ago. Both Nadeshiko and Riichirou have been meeting with Takato more regularly. Similarly, Takato remarks on how Madoka has grown up. The suggestion of going for a drink after this is brought up, and everyone agrees since it’s been a long time. They tour the school some more, including the classroom where they regularly had their after-class assignments. Finally, they end up at the place the buried the time capsule – near the clock tower.
However, both Tora and Shuuya are nowhere in sight. They wonder if they remember about this meeting, and Nakaba says that he did try calling them but to no avail. Maybe Shuuya doesn’t even bother about his mobile phone, or has broken it (lmao). They decide to wait though and soon enough, they hear the sounds of a motorbike approaching them – speak of the devil indeed.
True to their personalities, Tora scolds Shuuya for fooling around just now, to the point where he might have gotten booked. Apparently Shuuya kept distracting him by telling him unnecessary directions like to cross that river, or to stand up. But Shuuya tells him that he shouldn’t worry since he had previous criminal record anyway pffft. Tora only replies in a frustrated tone that that was him receiving guidance when young. Nadeshiko remarks how they haven’t changed, to which Shuuya acknowledges and apologises for being late, but the star (aka himself) arrives the last LOL. Tora can only continue being frustrated with his words. (I really missed Shuuya.)
They finally catch up with each other’s current situation: Shuuya is a model for magazines and etc. But he doesn’t do runway shows, to which they all agree since he won’t be able to walk straight. Shuuya remarks that it’s boring to do so pfft. Tora is doing a proper job, to which surprises them all lol. It is later revealed that his job involves messing with machines, or rather fixing them. Madoka is a jewellery designer and Nakaba a chef. Takato is involved with business management as he hopes to inherit his father’s position. Riichirou is a 4th year in university, and so is Nadeshiko who’s pursuing medicine.
After that, they finally recover the buried time capsule and recall what they put inside: Takato’s pocket watch, Riichirou’s tea whisk, Nakaba’s favourite anime collection then, Madoka’s first handmade strap, Shuuya’s mother’s CD, and Nadeshiko’s hair ribbon she received as a birthday gift from her parents. Tora actually had put in a bolt but he was too lazy to retrieve it lol.
Nadeshiko recalls how Madoka had always been handy with his hands upon seeing his strap. Madoka nears her and says he’s handy with other stuff too and asks if she wanted to know…before he gets dragged by Nakaba and the older brother apologising for his younger brother’s behaviour. (Pfft, I think both of them flirt the most throughout the game.)
The other stuff include the assignment list Nadeshiko had put in, as well as dominoes and a test paper (the name written there is illegible lol) probably put in by Shuuya. Now they come upon the letters written from themselves 10 years ago. Madoka takes Nakaba’s and starts reading it aloud and embarrassing Nakaba pfft. The contents are mostly for Nakaba continue being his energetic self and for him to have reached his dreams.
Nadeshiko reads her own letter and can’t help but cry at its contents. She mentions their teacher back then, Kaga-sensei, however no one remembers how he looked like. Still, they are all thankful to him for gathering them together back then and allowing them to treasure those times together. Nadeshiko suggests creating another time capsule for them to open another 10 years later, and they all agree with her suggestion and will meet again on another date to do so. For now, they’ll head off to drink together.
It concludes with Nadeshiko recalling the contents of her letter. Apparently the end of her letter was added on suddenly, meaning that she dug up the capsule soon after and wrote down the additional contents. The content puzzles her since she is unable to fully understand it, but it must be important to her: she should treasure the feelings she has now. She refers to the broken world and even though it hurts to think about it, it’s a world important to her which can’t be exchanged for anything. So she shouldn’t forget such feelings she has now and always hold them close in her heart.
Concluding Thoughts: …besides that I hope for a FD and a Nakaba route, ahem. It was a really fun play! Let’s start from the story. Even though basically everything that happens can be traced back to Takato (being misguided by Rain), each character has their decent back-story and so their routes remain pretty separate for most parts. That is of course, discounting the first 6 chapters. 6 chapters dedicated to the CZ members in 2010 seems like quite a lot, but I think it’s necessary especially for the characters Nadeshiko meet through CZ itself – to build enough of a relationship, which then becomes lost and enough of a disputing point when she is in the 2020 broken world.
I found the first 6 chapters fun in their own way (no doubt, Madoka+Nakaba are the most entertaining). I believe in the PSP port you just select the correct quiz answers from the second play onward so that really helped lol. And I think they also shortened the number of times you “walk home” with a character by one. The special quiz added was adorable, and I think it made the CZ interaction with Kaga-sensei more special (plus I loved Nakaba here).
For the second half of the stories, I enjoyed them too. Overall, I didn’t expect the routes to be that long. Adding the special content you unlock plus the PSP extra after stories, epilogue etc., it makes everything even longer lol. Not that I’m complaining, as I think it added depth in their own way (especially Rain’s part). Plus, I really love all the characters and their interactions.
This leads me to the cast. Nadeshiko is a strong heroine – not physically, but emotionally and mentally I guess. Looking at the situation, she is really quite the damsel in distress. But she refuses to sit back and wait for help and often does her best to initiate action, whether in helping herself or others. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that in every route, she’s the one doing the real saving which is just…amazing. Again, I don’t refer the physical act but the emotional and mental act. But I think the best thing is that she knows herself and her own flaws, and this also makes her personality very apparent and clear to us.
The rest of the CZ members…are a really weird bunch lmao. But that’s what makes them lovable. I was wondering what would happen to them in the broken world – and I found myself liking them again. Also, you get to see both old and new interactions in the Yuushinkai and CZ government side. The side characters (do Nakaba and Rain really count as side characters? lol) also have depth. Plus, I have loved one side character to bits before (Orion from Amnesia), but two? Mm, it’s rare. However, I think Osa will remain as one of those characters I can’t get.
I enjoyed the music, though I must admit it’s hard to be blown away after playing Shinigami to Shoujo (StS). Still, I think each track fitted the particular scenes well. And the CZ theme songs are for now, stuck in my head haha.
I think some of the seiyuu cast really showed their best sides in CZ! I know everyone is thinking of Namikawa/Takato, plus his is the freshest in my mind, so I’ll use him as an example. I loved both his voices for the kid Takato and older Takato, really did a good job conveying both sides.
Overall, I think CZ has a good mix of romance, comedy, sadness. And personally, I think CZ has its own “brand” of comedy lol, especially with the likes of Tora and Shuuya – they can go form a konto group, Nakaba will be happy haha. I hope that my reviews helped to clear up any queries, and/or refreshed interest in this otome game. It would be awesome if everyone who plays CZ enjoys it as much as I did!