Based on the popular drama CD series of the same title by 5pb, Otomate decided to create Kannou Mukashibanashi PSP which features seven stories. Six of them are from volumes 1-6 of the drama CD series, and the seventh one is a brand new one. Like in the drama CD, Inoue Kazuhiko plays as your guide (heroine’s default name: Himeko). With each story narrated by a seiyuu each, Himeko experiences different story developments as a story character – well, with an “adult” touch to them.
The main catch of this is that, like the drama CDs, the cast record parts of their lines using the dummy head microphone to create a “3D” effect when you listen to them. For example, like he always does in each drama CD, the guide will tease your ears aplenty at the start as you put on your earphones/headphones (highly recommended to wear as you play the game).
I’ll be reviewing the whole game as briefly as I can, but enough to give you an idea of what to expect. Since I’ll be describing all of the stories’ different endings, there will be spoilers!
Banchou Sarayashiki, Aoyama Harima (CV: Shimono Hiro)
This is from vol.3 of the drama CD, with the theme being ghost stories. I think this is the most ideal story among the rest of the tracks for an otome game…in that it has more romantic moments? Lol. Anyway, the normal route follows the original in that Aoyama Harima is the head of the family, while Okiku is a servant serving the household. Harima takes a keen interest in the young Okiku, often engaging in skinship and such, and saying that she’s the only one for him. The innocent Okiku is taken in by his attention, and returns his romantic feelings too.
However, this changes when Harima’s aunt has him marry someone else. Despite this, Harima carries on his relationship with Okiku, even when his wife is pregnant. Harima continues to reassure Okiku with his relentless pursuits, often stealing away behind his wife’s back. Okiku remains uncertain though and decides to break one of the ten plates (part of Aoyama family’s treasured heirlooms) to test his affections. Harima forgives her and this touches Okiku as she apologises.
Unfortunately for them, Harima’s wife won’t let this slip, especially since she’s well aware of their true relationship. Harima is pressurised between the two and ends up “punishing” Okiku as he literally slashes repeatedly at her till she’s dead. Horrified and scared, Harima disposes of her body into the well and begs for her forgiveness. Soon after, his wife gives birth and all seems well.
But there are rumous that Okiku’s ghost haunts the household. Harima encounters it when he’s nearby the well, as it creeps up his back while counting the heirloom plates and how one is missing. Moreover, his child also mysteriously died. With the situation, the servants start leaving and only Harima and his wife (who has gone insane) are left. One creepy night, Okiku’s ghost possesses his wife’s body and strangles Harima to death. Harima can only apologise and say that he had truly loved her and only her. After that, it is said that Okiku’s ghost still haunts the deserted household.
The curse and monopoly routes branch off midway, in that Harima kills his own wife instead of Okiku, and disposes of her body in the well. Harima is terrified at what he has committed, and Okiku has to constantly soothe him and assure him that she’ll always be by his side. As time passes, Harima has taken Okiku as his new wife and days calmly pass by. Except that this time, there are rumours that his old wife’s ghost haunts the grounds. Okiku tells Harima about this, who dismisses it. But one night, Harima is awoken by whispers (this shocked me and I nearly dropped my PSP D8).
In the curse route, Harima wakes up to see his ex-wife’s ghost and tries to wake up Okiku, but to no avail. The ghost strangles him to death and an ugly snap of the neck is heard. Okiku wakes up and sees the horrifying scene. She tries to protect herself while chanting amitabha. However, the ex-wife has already taken her revenge and has no wish to deal with Okiku. After the ghost disappears, Okiku decides to leave as she apologises to Harima. She finds that she can no longer stay with a peace of mind. The next morning, the servants find Harima’s corpse and say that it must be the ex-wife’s curse. Eventually, the house is abandoned except for Harima’s ghost, trying to find Okiku.
In the monopoly route, Okiku wakes up to see Harima slashing at the air, as he sees illusions of the ex-wife’s ghost. Unfortunately, no one can stop him and the servants leave fearing their lives. Only Okiku and a mentally-damaged Harima are left. But Okiku is content taking care of him, as they quietly spend their days alone.
In the other four routes, Harima rejects the marriage proposal. Instead, he got a friend to adopt Okiku so that their statuses are more equal and his family accepts their marriage. The couple eventually have a baby boy. Some years later, their son comes requesting to see the family heirloom plates. After much persistence, Harima gives in and shows him them. The child reaches out to touch it though and one of them falls to the ground.
In the harmonious household and plate otaku routes, Harima catches it safely before telling his son off. The next day, the son has the idea of collecting his own treasured plates, and wants his father to bring him to see more plates. In the harmonious household route, Harima tells his son that one shouldn’t do that for one’s own ego and to show off. Instead, he should treasure their family heirloom which holds meaning ‘cos of their history. It ends off with the whole family happily(?) cleaning the plates and Harima suggestively telling Okiku how to do hold and wipe…plates.
In the plate otaku route, Harima is delighted by his son’s idea. However, the father gets so taken in by his growing collection and depletes the household’s funds. All the servants leave ‘cos there’s no pay and there’s no more food left. But Harima refuses to listen to his wife and son’s advice and pleas. In the end, Okiku decides to leave with her son and start their life elsewhere. Harima can’t be bothered though, and is seen happily counting his plates till his death day.
In the strange and horror comedy routes, the plate breaks and the son cries and apologises. But Harima soothes him and doesn’t scold him. When they leave the storage room, all the servants are gone. They decide to sleep together that night and Harima struggles to stay awake. In the strange route, he falls asleep and the next day their child is gone. They can’t find him anywhere though and when nighttime comes again, Okiku is gone. Harima is at a lost but then he hears voices coming from the storage room and to his horror, sees everyone stuck in individual plates. He wonders if this is a curse for the family heirloom plate getting broken and begs for his wife and son’s safety in exchange for his own life. But it’s no use as he himself becomes one too.
In the horror comedy route, Harima wakes up to see all the family heirloom plates talking to each other and plotting for the broken plate’s revenge. Harima tries to intervene but to no avail as they cause havock. Eventually, Harima pieces back the broken plate in time and all is well – except that the plates decide to roam freely as they like and even hold a party to celebrate.
Once you complete all the routes, it shows Harima and Okiku as they look back on their different experiences (this is kinda scary, it’s like a never-ending loop of similar events).
Aohige (CV: Morikubo Shoutarou)
Aohige is the new seventh story added for the game. In the normal route, Aohige, a wealthy noble, is feared because of his strange blue beard (uh, but it’s not a beard here…) and for the fact that all his previous six wives mysteriously disappeared. He sees a common, but beautiful woman and falls in love with her. Aohige invites her and her brothers for a party at his place and this goes on for some time – till he proposes to her and she accepts it. So they start living happily as newly-weds.
But one day, Aohige has to go away for work on a long trip and hands his wife the household keys – but warns her that she can’t use one particular key for a particular room. She promises him and after that, she passed time by inviting her friends and entertaining them. But she grows lonely and restless, and curiousity tempts her as she goes to open the forbidden room. She is horrified to see the corpses of six women and drops the keys to the floor. The wife quickly picks it up and wipes the blood off it, before locking and leaving the room.
Very timely, Aohige returns home and she goes to welcome him. Unfortunately, he senses her fear and sees the blood on the keys. He knows that she betrayed his trust and brings her to the forbidden room to kill her off. But before that can happen, her brothers come in and hear their sister’s shouts. They save her in time and Aohige is killed in the struggle. After that, all three of them continue living in the house since she inherited all of Aohige’s properties. However, she still blames herself for betraying his trust as she knew that they were truly in love with each other.
In the mysterious route, the wife instead sees two doors with two gatekeepers, whose appearances resemble Aohige. They tell her that she has to choose a door as there’s no other way back. She does so, going through the right door one after another till she finally finds herself back in the house. Aohige returns home at the same time and the wife confesses the truth. She apologises and promises not to do so again and they happily live on.
In the stratagem route, the two brothers aren’t surprised to see their sister almost getting killed off by Aohige. Instead, they start discussing what method they should use to kill him instead. As the two brothers tie him up, they let their sister take the lead in killing him with a bow and arrow. As Aohige is on the verge of dying, she asks him to beg for forgiveness but she still kills him off, leaving his corpse in the forbidden room. The three siblings specialise in swindling rich men, and continue doing so even after inheriting Aohige’s property.
In the other four routes, the wife tells Aohige to leave the keys with the butler. After he leaves, she only uses the keys once to open a playroom but doesn’t use it since she still feels lonely. In the end, the butler becomes her talking companion. However, the butler starts having romantic feelings.
In the true love and quintuplet routes, she rejects the butler’s confession. When Aohige returns, he learns from the butler that she didn’t use any keys. Still, he asks her suspiciously and she denies using it. He is relieved and after some time, he has to leave again, saying that it’ll be the last long trip away. Aohige passes her a small key for her to keep and leaves. In the true love route, the wife keeps it safely in her jewel box and passes it back to him when he returns. He’s touched by this and apologises for testing her trust, confessing that in the past he had always been betrayed by others. She forgives him, as it shows that he loves her. So Aohige takes her to the forbidden room and there, is an empty garden. He tells her that during the war his parents were killed by a servant and even though the guy was caught, he had since lived alone. She tells him that they should restore the garden as it was before and years later, they have kids and all live happily together.
In the quintuplet route, the wife opens the door to see four identical-looking men who look just like Aohige (lmao). She’s shocked and leaves but Aohige appears before her. She apologises, saying that she merely wanted to know more about him. Aohige takes her back inside and tells her that they are her brothers, each having a specialised role (eg. finance, love…pfft) but only one of her real husband. Aohige tells her to choose the real one and she does so correctly much to his surprise. In the end, all of them live happily together.
In the Wife-turned-Aohige and passed-by routes (brushing past each other without cross purposes), the wife accepts the butler’s confessions. One day, she leaves the house and passes him a key to a room which even Aohige doesn’t know. The butler gives in to curiousity as he whats to know more about her but instead sees dead bodies, wondering if this is the “work” she’s doing. When the wife returns, she senses his fear and kills him off for betraying her trust. This cycle repeats till Aohige returns home and asks about why the butler has changed. She tells him that he had tried to steal from the house so she fired him.
In Wife-turned-Aohige route, Aohige believes her and one day, she passes him the key and leaves. Aohige is curious about the room he doesn’t know and finds the corpses of all the butlers. He’s horrified and behind him, the wife sees that he has betrayed her trust. She confesses her doings, saying that she had been lonely and how everyone betrays her. She kills him and as he’s about to die, Aohige apologises and says that he had truly loved her. She can only cry as everything is too late.
In the passed-by route, Aohige can’t believe his wife’s lies and in the end she confesses the truth. She apologises and blames herself since she was extremely lonely. Aohige understands where she’s coming from but still can’t forgive her. She gets emotional and grabs him, asking what she should’ve done instead. Amidst the struggle, he accidentally pushes her down the stairs and she dies upon the collision. He’s shocked at what he has done, apologising and promises never to make her lonely again. In the end, he dismisses all the servants and showers his love on his wife’s dead body up till the day he dies.
At the end, the couple look back at what they’ve been through.
Hosokawa Tadaoki (CV: Hirakawa Daisuke)
This is from vol.6 of the drama CD series, with the theme being the Sengoku period. I wouldn’t have minded the other tracks but I guess they wanted a character that…well you’ll see. In the normal route, Tadaoki is engaged to Tamahime, the daughter of Akechi Mitsuhide. Even though it’s an arranged marriage, the young couple grow to love each other, and Tadaoki in particular, loves his wife a lot. The two later have a child. One day, Tadaoki starts worrying over other men approaching his wife and heads back home to see her talking with a servant. He gets carried away and kills the servant off. Later on, Tama’s father has rebelled against Oda Nobunaga and this puts Tama in danger. Tadaoki decides to hide her away for her safety.
Over there, Tadaoki mentions to her about Christianity and gradually, Tama starts to believe in it as it gives her a peace of mind. Unfortunately, when Tadaoki finds out by chance, he’s enraged as this means his wife can’t rely on him and only him. Seeing him so emotional and jealous, Tama agrees that she’ll give up the religion. Two years later, when things have calmed down, she returns to the house. At this time, Toyotomi Hideyoshi is driving out Christian influences but Tama still can’t give it up and even gets secretly baptised. Tadaoki is again, enraged and locks her up again. In uncertain times again, Ishida Mitsunari’s attack nears and Tama decides to take her own life to not put her husband in danger. She orders the servant to kill her off.
When Tadaoki finds this out later from the servant, he’s aggrieved but knows that she died to save him. After that, he stayed faithful to her till the day he died, never taking another wife.
In the love evangelist and obsession routes, Tamahime tells Tadaoki about her Christian faith and tries to explain to him about it. In the love evangelist route, Tadaoki decides to follow her and months later when everything is calm, the couple try to preach about the religion to Tokugawa Ieyasu and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The two are taken aback at first but when Tadaoki claims that God has made them even closer and such, Hideyoshi decides to learn (for other reasons) and forces Ieyasu too. Later, it shows the couple preaching about and spreading Christianity to other followers.
In the obsession route, Tadaoki can’t accept the religion and feels that it should just be their love supporting each other. Later, Tadaoki realises Tama’s position (as the daughter of a rebel and a Christian). He goes to her side later and force-feeds her poisoned sake. For him, he feels that she should only look at and love him. Tama dies from this and Tadaoki soon joins her as he sets the place on fire and dies together with her.
In the other four routes, Tadaoki sees Tama with her father when he comes back instead. After some teasing from the father-in-law, Tadaoki leaves them alone and her father asks her to come back with him as she is in potential danger. But Tama refuses and eventually, is taken back by force. Tadaoki is maddened by this, and after that even learns of Mitsuhide’s plans to rebel. He knows that Tama is in danger and is at a loss at what action to take.
In the overcoming obstacles and loyalty routes, Tadaoki goes to take Tama forcefully back from Mitsuhide. He reveals Mitsuhide’s rebellion plans before her. Both have her best interests in heart and leave the choice to her – Tama chooses to leave with Tadaoki. Later, Hideyoshi visits them. The pretext is to discuss about the news of a rebellion with Tadaoki, but when left alone with Tama he starts harassing her. Tadaoki is enraged when he comes back to see this and chases Hideyoshi away. Hideyoshi won’t take the insult just like that though. So when Mitsuhide rebels, Hideyoshi accuses Tadaoki of being involved too. In the overcoming obstacles route, Tadaoki tells Tama to hide with their child while he handles the situation. After a while, Tadaoki welcomes Tama and their child back and they live on happily.
In the loyalty route, Tadaoki approaches Ieyasu to help him, who agrees. Ieyasu helps to dissolve the accusation but when Tadaoki returns, he finds that Tama has committed suicide so as to not implicate her husband. Tadaoki becomes depressed and Ieyasu tries to help him out of it. In the end, Tadaoki recovers and swears his loyalty to Ieyasu, while not forgetting his wife.
In the hetare and woman-hater routes, Tadaoki doesn’t take action and later learns from Hideyoshi that Mitsuhide carried out rebellion against Nobunaga. Hideyoshi suspects Tadaoki and in order to clear this and save his wife, he is forced to kill Mitsuhide. So Tadaoki does so and Mitsuhide willingly allows him to do so, while making him promise to make his daughter happy. So Tadaoki clears his name and brings his wife back. But Tadaoki feels guilty and when Tama asks him about the rumours, she confirms the truth and feels as though she’s the root of her father’s death. Even though she knows that her husband had no choice, she can’t bring herself to forgive Tadaoki too and a distance is placed between them.
In the hetare route, Hideyoshi, Ieyasu and Mitsunari gather the couple together and try to encourage Tadaoki to force himself on his wife and make up with her. But Tadaoki is a total hetare here and eventually breaks down crying asking for Tama to forgive him. Tama eventually gives in, saying that she’ll try and in the end she has the upper hand on him as he waits on her.
In the woman-hater route, Tama asks for a divorce much to Tadaoki’s alarm. After the wife leaves, Tadaoki drowns himself in alcohol as Hideyoshi and Ieyasu go along with him. The drunken Tadaoki swears never to get involved with another woman again as they’re ungrateful.
Similarly, at the end, Tadaoki and Tama reminisce their experiences.
Leda to Hakuchou, Zeus (CV: Kondou Takashi)
From vol.5 of the drama CD series, with the theme of Greek mythology. Why was this story picked of all things, I don’t know. Anyway, the normal route is that Zeus (husband of Hera) is enchanted by Leda, wife of Tyndareus (King of Sparta) and approaches in the form of a swan, something which Leda loves a lot. This plan succeeds, except that one day Leda speaks of how lonely she is with her husband at the war front. Zeus approaches Aphrodite to help him, and the two gods turn into swan and eagle respectively to approach Tyndareus. He is reminded of his wife but he doesn’t return home since he has responsibilities as a king.
Zeus is angered by this but is stopped by Aphrodite. Later that night, Zeus changes into Tyndareus and comforts Leda instead. Leda wonders if the swan granted her wishes by bringing her husband back, not knowing it’s actually Zeus. After that, Leda gives birth to two eggs, or sons – Castor who is mortal, and Pollux who is immortal. Castor later suffers a fatal injury and Pollux is aggrieved. In the end, Zeus turns them into the Gemini stars so that the two brothers can always be together.
In the jealous and immoral love routes, Tyndareus goes back to see Leda and the couple is happy. Above, Zeus and Aphrodite watch but the female god comments that it is not like Zeus to give up unless the woman is his. Later, Zeus approaches Leda as a swan again and she thanks the swan. This angers Zeus as he reveals his true form and motives and this confuses Leda. In the jealous route, Tyndareus chances upon this and refuses to let Zeus have his way. After that, Tyndareus’s love for Leda is even more passionate but Zeus doesn’t give up on her either. In the end, Leda gives birth to the two twin sons, who later became Gemini.
In the immoral love route, Tyndareus walks away from the scene as he is too afraid to confront the scene even though Leda actually refuses Zeus. As a result, he starts to avoid his wife by always going away to war. Zeus hears of the worsening relationship from Eros and goes to comfort Leda. In the end, Zeus and Leda cross the boundaries and continue their immoral love affair.
In the other four routes, Hera interrupts Zeus and Leda as she reveals Zeus’ true identity and intentions. Leda is both shocked and angry at Zeus. Later, Zeus receives a heavy thrashing from Hera as punishment. Days later, Leda is at the lake again and an injured Zeus falls from the skies. As he rests alongside her, Hera comes full of rage again and even steals Leda’s voice away from her. In the pure love and legend of the swan routes, Hera also turns Leda into a swan and Zeus quickly intervenes before Hera capture her. Hera goes to Tyndareus’ side at the war front. Later, Zeus comes to find Leda, inviting her to come with him instead. Hera’s servant finds them though on the orders to kill Leda. Tyndareus wakes up and is shocked to hear that the swan is actually his wife. He takes her away, on the run, with Zeus and Hera’s servant chasing them.
Eros, in the form of an eagle, saves the husband and wife as he takes them to Aphrodite’s place. They stay there for the night, and the next morning, Eros tells them that they can save Leda. Even though only Hera can reverse the process, both her and Zeus have agreed to change Leda back and stay away from them if Tyndareus accepts an arrow from Eros. Eros has two forms of arrows – one to make someone fall in love with the person and another to erase love. So either way means Tyndareus will no longer love Leda. In the pure love route, Tyndareus accepts this, confident that he’ll fall in love with Leda again. Upon this, Aphrodite, Zeus and Hera appear. Apparently a bet was made and Aphrodite won the bet – so Hera changes Leda back and she and Zeus stay away from them from now on. So both original couples live happily (?) from now on.
In the legend of the swan route, Tyndareus refuses the agreement, afraid of no longer loving Leda. Eros is disappointed at this and gives him something from Aphrodite, changing him into a swan. However, unlike Leda, he no longer remembers that his past and that he was once human. This is confirmed as he flies away from Leda. Aphrodite appears, telling Leda that he made an excuse ‘cos of his ego. Saddened, Leda also flies away. Afterwards, Sparta is destroyed and Zeus continues going to the lake in hopes of seeing Leda once more.
In the threesome and destruction routes, Tyndareus comes to save his wife from Hera, as he wields a sword from Hades. Hades and Zeus have made an agreement to not cross swords at each other so Zeus and Hera leave. ‘Cos of this, Leda’s voice is also returned. But Heda remains not appeased and calls for the aid of her son, Ares. She asks him to fight Tyndareus since he is on better terms with Hades as the god of War (war=many deaths) and immune to the sword. In return, she offers Sparta and Leda. But he flatly refuses her. After that, Tyndareus successfully wins the war but not all is well again as Ares comes to see Leda for himself and is taken in by her beauty.
Another war is started but this time, Ares is leading the enemy’s army. He intends to drive Sparta to destruction and Leda to despair. One night, as Tyndareus comes back injured, Ares appears before the couple. He offers a one-on-one fight and if Tyndareus wins, he’ll retreat for good. In the threesome route, Tyndareus accepts this but he is obviously disadvantaged. Ares then captures Leda, threatening to slice her up bit by bit till Zeus saves her in time. He also saves Tyndareus’ lives but things get messy as the three guys are caught up in fighting. Meanwhile, Hera also joins in the ruckus and tells them towards the end that Leda has already disappeared – it is unsure whether Hera took care of her or she left and no one knows till now.
In the destruction routes, Tyndareus refuses the offer as he knows that Ares won’t keep his end of the bargain anyway. Ares leaves disappointed. But eventually, Tyndareus dies in battle and Sparta is headed for destruction. While Leda attempts to kill herself to follow her husband’s path at the lake, she is shot by an arrow by Ares, which turns her immortal. Ares tries to lay hands on her but Zeus intervenes, taking her up to Olympus. There, he creates a lake with swans just like the one below and they continue their immortal lives there – though Leda can be seen looking afar time to time, as if longing for her husband.
At the end again, Zeus and Leda look back at their different memories.
Hansel and Gretal, Hansel (CV: Toriumi Kousuke)
This is from vol.4 of the drama CD series, retelling Grimm fairytales. I could guess why they didn’t pick the Frog Prince (sobs) but why this over Rapunzel? I thought that Rapunzel had more story potential. Not that I don’t enjoy hearing Toriumi lick you all over but this is Hansel and Gretel we’re talking about. But apparently they decided to make them adopted children in the game so that they’re not blood-related and all things go. In the normal route, the siblings are abandoned deep in the forest by the poor woodcutter of a father, as suggested by the mother as things aren’t looking good financially. Hansel gets them back safely as he left a trail of stones behind. However, when they are abandoned again the next day, he could only drop bread pieces and those were all eaten up.
After endless walking, they chance upon a candy house and help themselves to it. Players are treated to some fanservice as Hansel also offers to clean up the mess on Gretel’s face. An old lady comes out from the house though and they quickly apologise for what they’ve done. But she invites them in for more and even lets them rest for the night. But apparently she’s a witch who’s planning to eat them. Hansel senses this danger and tries to wakes up Gretel to escape but it’s too late. The witch chains Hansel by the foot and works Gretel to the bone to fatten up her brother for eating.
Like the original, things develop to when the witch wants to eat Hansel. He offers to fetch the water to buy time, and Gretel is asked to tend to the stove fire with intentions of pushing her in. But Gretel is unsure of her task so the witch goes to show her. Hansel comes back seeing this and quickly pushes her in and closes the stove, letting her burn to her death. All is well as the siblings find treasure hidden in the house and go off to live together.
In the sorcerer and sibling love routes, Gretel offers to be eaten instead, much to Hansel’s horror. The witch accepts this and hence, works Hansel to the bone. One day, Hansel chances upon the witch using magic and is interested in learning. The witch accepts his request, and after much harsh training, Hansel accomplishes – he even shows it to Gretel by changing a book into a chick. Hansel decides to fight the witch and save Gretel. In the sorcerer route, Gretel dissuades him, saying that she taught him magic in the first place and it’s wrong. So Hansel gives up the thought and the witch seeing his efforts for Gretel, gives him a key to release Gretel. In the end, Gretel also learns magic from Hansel and the three of them live together happily.
In the sibling love routes, Hansel fights the witch and successfully beats her. The witch’s last words that they won’t meet a good fate. Gretel expects Hansel to release her but he doesn’t, as he doesn’t want her to leave his side. Gretel reassures him and eventually accepts her fate and his lover, wondering if this was what the witch meant.
In the other four routes, the siblings chance upon a deserted house instead. However, they find ghosts there. In the ghost harem and resolution routes, the siblings’ love and desire to protect each other successfully “defeat” the two ghosts (lol). A “Chief” ghost comes in asking them to let the two ghosts off (shrunk in size with squeaky voices) and so they do. For the time being, the siblings are offered to stay with them. After a while, the Chief ghost asks if they want to stay on. In the ghost harem route, the siblings agree and live on, even after they die and become ghosts. The harem part comes in ‘cos apparently all the ghosts love Gretel and Hansel has to keep fending them away.
In the resolution route, they decide to still head back so the ghosts offer to help them. Back home, the parents don’t welcome them at first but eventually, the ghosts drill into them the pain they felt when they were abandoned. The parents are sorry and regretful and the siblings forgive them. So now the family live happily together and years later, we get to see an adult Hansel waking up Gretel. When she doesn’t, he starts his ahem, so-called “punishment” on her.
In the revenge and ghosts routes, the siblings’ souls end up being eaten by the two ghosts. They wake up to find themselves ghosts too and the Chief ghost comes in to explain that they ended up as one themselves ‘cos they still have reservations left in this world – and it’s that they can’t forgive their parents. The only way to be “released” is to take revenge. In the revenge route, they do so and lure their parents to the edge of a cliff. The siblings reveal themselves and tell them of the pain they felt. In the end, the parents realise their wrongdoings and beg for forgiveness – which they do so in the end. So Hansel and Gretel are “released” and make their way to Heaven.
In the ghosts route, they can’t bring themselves to take revenge and they leave the deserted house for the forest. In the end, they decide to help the lost children in the forest find their way out up till now.
At the end, Gretel is woken up by Hansel back at their house, before everything started. He had apparently used his magic to take them back. They look back on their various experiences and wait to face their next future together.
The Little Mermaid, Prince (CV: Sakurai Takahiro)
From vol.2 of the drama CD series, featuring fairytales by Anderson. Best possible choice ‘cos I don’t think I would want to sit through The Snow Queen (not as an otome game) or The Little Match Girl (this has some crazily suggestive lines). Anyway, the normal route has the mermaid princess fall in love at first sight with a prince. In a storm, she saves his life as he almost drowned. She waits for him to wake up but disappears when he does so and another woman approaches – as mermaids can’t be seen by humans. Days later, the mermaid princess can’t forget the prince and goes to the sea witch – exchanging her eternal life to become human. The sea witch agrees, but also asks for her voice. Also, the two legs she get would cause her great pain every time she stands, and if the prince falls in love with someone else she’ll disappear into bubbles the next dawn. Despite this, the mermaid princess agrees to the conditions.
She wakes up at the beach as a human, and the prince finds her. Seeing her in pain, he offers to take her back. There, the prince showers his love on the mermaid princess, not knowing that she’s actually his saviour. When he mentions how he is always searching for that person with a beautiful voice, the mermaid princess can’t say anything in return. But their happy days are interrupted when the prince is engaged to another princess. He opposed to this at first, but it turns out that she was the girl who found him on the beach that fateful day. The prince thinks that she was the one who saved him and soon the engaged couple happily set their marriage to be held on a ship.
The mermaid princess can only watch, heartbroken and ready to face her end. But her sister calls to her from the sea giving her a dagger from the sea witch, saying that if she kills the prince she can return back to being a mermaid. She goes to the prince’s room to kill him, but can’t bring herself to do it in the end as she still loves him. The prince wakes up and mistakes her as his wife in the darkness, as they exchange a passionate moment. He confirms that she’s his saviour as he feels her touch. But he’s surprised when he sees her face and she runs away. As dawn approaches, she turns into bubbles and the prince can only cry at the sad reality. He apologises for not realising sooner and promises to keep her in his heart forever.
In the lovers’ suicide route, the mermaid princess only manages to wound the prince’s arm due to her hesitation. He wakes up and upon seeing her asks what she’s doing here. She kisses him and from this he realises how deeply he’s loved by her. He can only apologise as even though he loved her too, he never fully did so as he kept searching for his saviour. He stabs himself in an attempt to redeem his sin. As he’s in the mermaid princess’ arms, he realises from her touch that she’s his saviour. He’s both regretful and happy to have found her and dies. But she can’t live on without him and kills herself too. The next morning, the dead bodies of the prince and a mermaid are found.
In the happy end route, the mermaid princess decides to leave the prince first, afraid to face the time when he falls in love with someone else. The prince sees her walking on the beach from the balcony and runs to stop her. As the tide approaches, they both trip and fall. Looking at her in the sunlight, he realises that she’s the one he had been looking for all along and proposes to her. The mermaid princess happily agrees. She then sees her father and sisters from the ocean sending their well-wishes, and pass her a small bottle. She realises that it’s their gift for her and drinks the contents, and gains her voice back. She finally confesses her love in words and they live happily ever after.
In the other four routes, the mermaid princess asks to turn the prince into a merman instead. The deal is done in exchange for her eternal life and voice, and if the prince doesn’t love her he’ll turn into bubbles. But she has to make the prince drink the potion. She pretends to be unconscious on the beach while hiding her tail, and when the prince approaches her she force-feeds him the drink.
When he wakes up later, he’s surprised to see his situation but accepts it well enough as he realises that she loves him and so did this. He adapts to sea life, and later finds out that she was the one who had saved him. After a while, he even proposes to her. In the love comedy and man’s pride routes, the prince has to seek the approval of her father first. Obviously, he isn’t pleased at this. After much persuasion and a slap from his daughter, he gives in, but saying that the prince will have to go through training. If he succeeds, he’ll agree to their marriage. The prince is overseen by a retainer, and his task is to collect 1000 sea urchins, Triton’s favourite food, within three days for a banquet. The retainer treats him mercilessly, but the prince doesn’t give in. In the love comedy route, the mermaid princess helps him at the end. But midway, she’s almost eaten by a giant clam and the prince has no choice but to cut her hair (grabbed by the clam) away. They continue collecting the urchins and go to see the king when they’re done. The king knows that she helped him but seeing their love he accepts their marriage. So they celebrate their marriage with the banquet too.
In the man’s pride route, even though the prince succeeded in his task, he’s too late for the banquet. He refuses to give up though and keeps going after the king, who eventually gives into training him himself. The two guys are seen getting along very well, but Triton says that the prince still has a long way to go – he may not even marry his daughter. But actually this doesn’t bother him. So the mermaid princess can only wait till the day the prince is recognised by her father.
In the woman’s battle and horror routes, the prince goes to the sea witch to try and get the mermaid princess’ voice back. The sea witch agrees in exchange for a rare jewel (seven-coloured mermaid’s tear). However, it’s hidden deep in a labyrinth where no one has made it out alive – and only one of them can go retrieve it. In the woman’s battle route, the mermaid princess goes since she’s more familiar and the sea witch even traps the prince in the stop his protests. So the mermaid princess makes her way but inside the labyrinth, she gets lost. Some fishes show her the way though, and she finds the rare jewel on a mermaid statue in a garden. The mermaid princess goes back but the sea witch has no wish to keep her end of the deal and has even cast a spell on the prince to follow her orders. The mermaid princess wishes upon the rare jewel to save him and they also use it to defeat the sea witch. They can no longer get the mermaid princess’ voice back though as the sea witch is gone and the jewel has lost its powers. But they realise that it doesn’t matter as long as they’re together and disappear somewhere.
In the horror route, the prince goes instead but he gets lost. He sees an illusion of the mermaid princess and chases it. However, when he grabs her, it’s a statue and he finds himself turning into stone. His statue then gets carried away by fishes. The mermaid princess continues waiting, unaware of the truth till her death. In the end, the prince’s voice haunts the sea, searching for the princess. The mermaid princess’ voice also haunts the sea elsewhere, searching for the prince.
At the end, the couple (the mermaid princess can talk) are at the beach reminiscing.
Issun Boushi (CV: Suzuki Tatsuhisa)
And here’s the last story, from vol.1 of the drama CD series featuring Japanese folktales. The normal route starts from when Issun Boushi is born to an elderly couple after praying for one. They take care of him lovingly and years later, he remains the same height (~3cm). Still, Issun has grown up well and fine and asks to let him see the big city. They eventually let him do so and he travels down the river with a small sword by his side. Upon reaching, he decides to approach the biggest residence and there, the lord decides to make him his daughter’s playmate.
He and the princess hit off well and gradually grow close. One day, they are both outside and are attacked by a red demon. Issun does what he can to protect the princess but ends up getting swallowed whole. However he attacks the demon literally from inside and this causes it great pain. Eventually, Issun gets out and the demon retreats, leaving behind a magical mallet said to grant any wish. The princess uses this to make Issun bigger. The couple get married and live happily~
In the comparison of love and friendship routes, Issun and the princess meet Issun Tarou instead – a man equally small as Issun. Tarou’s origins were similar to Issun, but his parents passed away early and he had been ostracised since young. Upon hearing rumours of Issun he decided to journey here to meet him, thinking that he would understand. Seeing his situation, the princess invites him to serve her too. There, the three of them grow close to each other and one day, they encounter the red demon outside. Both Issun and Tarou work together to chase it away and it drops the magical mallet. There, the princess picks it up, with the idea of making both of them bigger.
In the comparison of love route, she does so and eventually they both confess their loves for the princess. She can’t decide between them though and so the love triangle goes on…and on, as the two of them constantly disrupt her arranged marriage engagements.
In the friendship route, Issun refuses the princess’ gesture as he feels that he isn’t strong enough yet. He wants to go training and Tarou decides to join him. The princess agrees and after some time, they return and only then she makes them bigger. They continue protecting the princess, though sometimes she can’t help but envy their deepened bond.
In the other four routes, Issun finds his grandpa dead. He goes to leave for the city to take revenge and there, he hears rumours of other old people getting killed too. Issun suspects that it’s related and goes to the largest residence to ask for help. There, he finds the princess who doesn’t know much but offers him to stay with her and she’ll ask her father for help. Issun accepts her offer and as time passes, they grow closer to each other. One day, Issun feels frustrated with himself for not making progress and the princess comforts him. However, she’s worried if he would leave her once he has found the culprit. Issun assures her otherwise but then she loses it and he has to calm her.
In the mystery and escape routes, Issun finds evidence while clearing the princess’ room – it’s a list of the (potential) victims and a piece of cloth containing the residence’s family crest, one which he found on his grandpa too. He gathers everyone in the residence to reveal the identity of the culprit.
In the mystery route, Issun reveals that the princess is the one and though she denies it at first, she eventually breaks down saying that it’s because she kept getting left behind by everyone and grew lonely. So she decided to kill them first before that happens (and she targetted the elderly since they would die earlier). Her father has no choice but to lock her up. Despite the truth, Issun still loves the princess and decides to remain by her side.
In the escape route, Issun reveals that the princess’ father is the culprit with the evidence, but after further investigation it isn’t him. So Issun is taken to prison, despite the princess’ protests. Later, the princess comes to release him and she picks the lock after…some suggestive guidance by Issun. They escape and travel the rest of the world by each other’s side.
In the suspense and action routes, Issun and the princess are on the way back from a trip to Kiyomizu temple and encounter the serial murder killer. They escape to a temple for help but apparently the monks have all been killed off earlier on. While in hiding, Issun spots the magical mallet and comes up with an idea to defeat the killer. In the suspense route, the princess uses the mallet to turn the killer into stone. She also makes Issun bigger and he carries her, promising to protect her forever as her servant.
In the action route, the princess uses the mallet to make Issun bigger and he fights the killer head-on. Issun is on a losing end since he’s handicapped by protecting the princess, but then she comes in at the critical moment using the mallet and Issun manages to kill the enemy off. While Issun rests, he proposes to the princess, whom happily accepts. Her father also accepts this later after hearing what happened and they live happily ever after.
Again at the end, Issun and the princess reminiscence on what they’ve been through.
Extras (CV: Inoue Kazuhiko)
Once you’ve cleared everything, you unlock “dates” with the guide. Basically, Himeko goes through each story again while the guide briefly recalls the normal routes. In between, you get “sweet” moments with the guide. Once that is done, the guide leaves, saying that the book will remain in Himeko’s hands and she can open it again whenever she feels like reading again.
This is probably one of the shortest otome games you’ll get, which is fine by me. I enjoyed the original drama CD concept a lot and was really excited for the game. It’s understandable that the heroine doesn’t have much personality ‘cos in the drama CD series you don’t even have one. It’s basically you playing from the perspective of the story characters. Having different versions of the story is a nice twist though some outshone others – which I’ll elaborate later.
The audio is probably the best thing of the game: like the drama CD you get to hear the narration, some scenes recorded with the dummy head microphone with suggestive lines. Even when you load the game and the company logos come up, the sounds are recorded in a similar fashion, it’s pretty cool. The background music is fitting and lovely for each scene, adding up to a total of 53 tracks. I love the opening song too, plus point as it’s by VALSHE.
Visually, the CGs are appealing – though Issun Boushi seemed to receive favourable treatment by having 18 CGs, while within ones like Leda to Hakuchou – you don’t even see Zeus in a few but other men partly thanks to the story lol. The sprites and background are nice but perhaps due to the short length, they only did one pose for each sprite (but they do have varying expressions).
Now for the stories. You’ve to play all the normal routes first before you can unlock the different ones. You can play in any order, though personally I played in the order I reviewed. I recommend leaving The Little Mermaid and Issun Boushi for last if you like leaving the best for last. Also, I personally prefer the drama CD versions over the game versions (normal route), I felt that they toned down on certain…stuff in the game.
Banchou Sarayashiki is pretty okay for most parts since they had limited material to develop, and the one where the plates talk was funny. But the son was…annoying. I don’t have anything against kids (I loved the ones in Peter Pan, CZ) but the son just wasn’t very lovable. /shrugs I actually liked Shimono’s creepy voice, too bad he doesn’t really do them here. Aohige is the new story and I actually thought it was a nice choice. But then certain routes like the ones with the four brothers and two gatekeepers were plain weird and random. I like the twists where the wife and brothers were schemers and where the wife became Aohige-ish though. Also, Morikubo sounded too young for his role. So it’s a mix of feelings for me.
Hosokawa Tadaoki, Zeus…why them? They wanted possessive/third party love? At least Tadaoki’s had the three funny routes but Zeus was just…a troll in his own story? It’s a pity ‘cos I like both of their deeper voices but the stories were so-so. I was a bit creeped out when Kondou and Morikubo (Tyndareus) talked to you simultaneously from both ears during the scene Zeus changes into Tyndareus. Oh and when Kondou and Toriumi (Hera) talked…I thought it was BL. /bricked (Adult) Hansel hnnng. I thought that the stories which branch off into the ghost house was a bit lacking but nevertheless, overall it was one of the more enjoyable stories. Tatsun as the witch was so convincing, those scenes of torturing Hansel pfft
what is this SM.
For The Little Mermaid, again I thought the routes when the prince goes to get the mermaid’s voice back didn’t have much substance. But the others were okay and I really liked the alternative routes to when the mermaid turns human. I cried when I listened to the drama CD though but not in the game…I’ll need to listen to the drama CD again. But I still like Sakurai a lot~ Issun Boushi has the best set of routes in my opinion, and I’m so bias to Tatsun, sexy voice~ As for the extras, it was disappointing ‘cos I was expecting something more with the guide.
Nevertheless, all in all it’s a nice game to check out if you’re looking for short stories with different routes, and seiyuu to read you those with some fan-service lines.