This continues from the (short) Prologue. Fukuzawa Yukichi (CV: Sakurai Takahiro) is…does he really need an introduction? Lol. This is unlocked after finishing Seiji‘s route in the game, so it’s best to read his post first.
With the help of narration, we learn of how Aoi got used to the Aoiza members, their performance work, and work involving jingi and uramon. Along the way, she also met two people: Housen and Seiji. Now the members are in Yokohama. But first, the scene shows Yukichi, Seiji and Toki talking. Yukichi speaks of how there is not enough time for the people – to learn about the new world. He also asks Seiji whether the said plan is going as accordingly, and how he would like to try meeting Aoi – especially since she has attracted Seiji in such a manner. Anyway, he leaves Toki and Seiji to proceed with the preparations involving Aoiza. Going back to Aoiza’s side, Aoi is expected to perform alongside Kikaku for their next swordplay item. She’s not confident, but at least the sword is going to be Kensuke and Nanami will draw out the steps for her. Kensuke would like everyone to search for a good place to perform, so Aoi goes walking about by herself.
She meets Seiji along the way, and learns from him that Housen is using them for his new story Aoiza Manyuuki. Yukichi calls out to them as he passes by, and so Seiji does the introductions. Aoi gets extremely nervous since even she knows the historic figure (how can you not, he’s on every 10,000yen note). Yukichi can see this but holds back on teasing her too much lest she runs away and even offers to treat her to something one day. Seiji excuses himself for work reasons, so Yukichi also leaves her at this point. Back at the inn, Aoi tells the rest about her meeting today. Kikaku and Rin aren’t too happy about what Housen did, but Kensuke doesn’t mind since it means performing to a larger crowd = kamon effects are spread to more people. Aoi goes through the drawings Nanami did for her, while recalling her conversation with Yukichi – she certainly didn’t expect him to have such a personality.
On the day of the performance, Aoi performs with Kikaku and Kensuke in his sword form (and even Moni treats him harshly as she bites on him pffft). After it’s over, she seems to feel something strange off a woman in the crowd. She goes to chase her but Yukichi steps in to greet her. He enjoyed her performance and also offers to treat her, as promised. As much as Aoi is concerned about the woman, rejecting Yukichi seems to have its consequences too. As she agrees to him, he swiftly offers to escort her – but the static shock hits him when he touches her. Flustered, Aoi attempts to explain that she has a unique trait so people can’t touch her. Yukichi merely chuckles, before asking her to follow him. He takes her to an expensive-looking restaurant. He soon observes that Aoi seems used to eating Western food. Aoi realises this, and that she’s using the knife, fork and spoon very naturally. Yukichi takes a liking to her – and even says directly that he wants her so he’ll do all he can to get her. Aoi finds herself getting played with from his every word, as she wonders if he’s merely joking or not.
When they’re done, Aoi asks him the reason why he’s taken such an interest in her. Yukichi answers that she’s very different from others, even more so than when you compare to a Westerner. He looks forward to their next meeting and then leaves her. But there’s hardly any time for Aoi to think further about Yukichi as indeed, the woman she saw was caught up in an uramon case. They manage to purify her but she’s weak and needs to recuperate. But her son, Sora, begs them to bring him to Hirata as he worries about his father’s situation. Aoiza decides to escort Sora back, while also taking the chance to visit Shirogane, Rin and Hisoka’s birth village.
In July, Housen joins Aoiza on their journey to Hirata, where Aoiza saves Sora’s father in time and purify Inomata. When they head to Shirogane, Aoi learns from Kensuke what happened to Yui, Rin’s sister: she was murdered and her magatama jingi was taken off with and its whereabouts remain unknown till this day. Aoiza travel back to Ueno and a scene showing Yukichi, Toki and Seiji opens up. Yukichi wants Aoi, thinking that she can change this country – he feels the future from her. And it’s not just for her knowledge. In any case, they’ve been planning since a long time ago to take away Futaba Aoi. Seiji is evidently uncomfortable with this, but Yukichi doesn’t look like he’s going to change his mind. Meanwhile, Aoi is told that after a few days they’re heading to Kamimori, Kikaku’s birth village. He would like to report about her, and there are many old literature in the village so they may find clues on how she can return home. But for now, they should rest and Miyoshino will be holding a banquet that night. Aoi’s head continues to be filled with Yukichi though, especially the part about him wanting her.
During the banquet, everyone enjoys themselves and Kensuke (who may be slightly drunk) even asks Hachi to dance for them lol. Housen starts talking to Aoi at one side, as he wonders why the rest mentioned something about her coming from the future. Aoi tells him that it’s exactly as the words suggest. Housen muses over how Yukichi said something similar when he met him today. Aoi’s attention is immediately drawn to “Yukichi”, which startles Housen a bit. She wonders how she’s different, and Housen explains how she’s different from Japanese people now, those exposed to the West, and even Westerners themselves. One feature is how she looks at people in the eye, not something most women do in these times. Kinohime and Otohime are slightly different cases, being raised as ninja. Though he knows that Yukichi has taken a liking to her, Housen still warns Aoi to be wary of him.
Her head is still filled with that line of Yukichi’s though, so she goes outside for a breather where Moni is. An elderly man dressed in a suit passes by and this catches Aoi’s eye and even Moni seems a bit afraid. He remarks that she shouldn’t respond to strangers at night so carelessly though, before leaving. Aoi quickly goes back in to inform the rest, and they tell her to be more careful and to not go out alone from now on. Both Nanami and Housen seem to look uncomfortable though, when they hear that it’s “an elderly man dressed in a Western suit”. A few days later, Aoiza head off to Kamimori. There, Hachi gains ownership of a dagger jingi and also finds out that he’s brothers with Kikaku. Due to this, there was hardly any time to check on the old literature. Meanwhile, Kensuke decides that the next performance shall be Yaoya Oshichi, and the two brothers shall work backstage.
While waiting for the script, Aoi takes a walk around town and Housen offers to show her around since he’s familiar with the place. She asks him about Yukichi, and he vaguely explains that Yukichi introduces jobs to him. Yukichi himself approaches them soon after, and Housen decides to excuse himself as he recalls that he had something to do. Yukichi’s happy to meet her here “by chance”, and offers to treat her to something sweet in his villa nearby. Aoi knows that she was told to not travel alone, but she decides to accept his offer since he’s considered an acquaintance. Yukichi has a purpose for calling her here though, as he suspects that she comes from the future. Even though Aoi insists that she’s a normal girl, Yukichi says that the “normal” in her world wouldn’t exist here. In Japan, and even in America, there are still class differences and such – but her attitude doesn’t seem to take any of that sort into account. That goes the same for differences between men and women. He doesn’t think that she travelled overseas to the West either so she should be from the future. Moreover, Aoi didn’t deny that fact when he mentioned it.
Aoi decides to confirm his words and admits that she’s from the future. This only strengthens Yukichi’s desire to have her, as he excuses himself and asks her to slowly enjoy her tea. Aoi can only think of him as strange, but so is she for constantly thinking of him. The day of the performance goes smoothly and Seiji comes to find her later. He praises her performance, but also comes to say goodbye as he’ll be busy with work in the upcoming days. As Aoi wonders if he meets with Yukichi over work matters, Seiji abruptly excuses himself and disappears. Aoiza soon get involved in another uramon case which doesn’t give Aoi any time to worry over Seiji’s attitude back then, or over Yukichi.
Yukichi has already given the instructions for Seiji to pass the item to Sakazuki. Seiji though, questions if Yukichi is getting too attached to (Futaba) Aoi – rather than overseeing the country’s future. Yukichi feels that she and the country’s future are connected though. And once they hand Futaba Aoi to them it’s a done deal. Over at Aoiza’s side, they are taking a break from performing. So Aoi decides to offer her help with reading the literature since it’s concerning her anyway. Unfortunately, Kensuke doesn’t think she can read the text since it’s coded. She can leave it to him, Nanami and Housen. Nanami asks them to buy him some alcohol instead lol, and Kikaku immediately reprimands him for asking that of Aoi. He’ll go buy them instead, and Aoi decides to tag along for some fresh air. But just then, a letter from Yukichi arrives asking her out for a walk. Kikaku won’t let her go along, so they both go to meet Yukichi.
Yukichi seems to have a bit too much fun teasing Kikaku though, as he observes how Kikaku is like a loyal dog which blindly follows Aoi around. Though it was short, he still enjoyed his talk and soon excuses himself. Kikaku apologises for getting worked up, as Yukichi’s words did hit the nail. Aoi still feels that Yukichi went overboard though. Kikaku offers to take her around the area with many noble residences as a change of mood, and they spot Seiji heading towards a mansion on the way. As they follow behind him, they feel jyaki coming off from the noble Seiji met. They quickly head back to inform the rest. But when they all go together, it’s too late and Sakazuki disappears into thin air before they can purify him. Aoi can only cry over how powerless she was and she shuts herself up in the room in the coming days. Rin comes into her room to pull her out one day though, telling her to go for a walk with Moni to the nearby temple.
As Aoi does so, she meets Yukichi. She was unconsciously crying, and only realised it when he offers her a handkerchief. Yukichi later takes her to a favourite spot of his, a lakeside. Aoi soon confides in him, as she explains that she was feeling regretful that she couldn’t do more and would like to do so the next time. Yukichi seems amused by this, but he does point out that she has already found the answer. She’s unsatisfied with herself now, and wants to take a step forward to overcome that – she just needs to act on her words now. Yukichi remarks that she reminded him of his past self, and she’s indeed how he had anticipated her to be – which only makes him want her even more. When he was in America and confronted with anything unreasonable, he would look at the waters like this. Any place would always be changing and have its distortions. But someday, those distortions will be changed by any waves. (Wow that turned out bad. Basically you can overcome those unreasonable stuff one day.) As he walks her back, Yukichi tells Aoi to not make him wait too long – since men are the type to take action on their own if that’s the case. Aoi feels somewhat better as she guesses that it was Yukichi’s way of encouraging her – but his later words did make her self-conscious.
The first scene shows Yukichi, Seiji and Toki discussing over their next target – Sanjou. Though Yukichi laments over what happened to Sakazuki, Toki points out that that is the proper way of using uramon – a convenient tool to remove the opponent without leaving any evidence behind. At Aoiza’s side, Aoi hears from the rest that the frequency of uramon cases now only increased like this since 2 years ago. Before it happened once every few years. It’s about time for a new performance though so Kensuke asks Aoi to think of something. Aoi though, can’t help but be bothered over Seiji and decides to go ask Yukichi about him. She goes to find Housen, asking if Yukichi is still in Nikko. Housen eventually offers to bring her there, but makes her promise him that if she sees an elderly man dressed in a suit – to immediately run away.
Yukichi is pleased to see Aoi. But when she mentions Seiji, he decides to reveal the truth – he’s the one ordering Seiji to spread uramon in order to rid the country of the old things and to build his ideal country. Aoi is obviously shaken by this, but this also gives Yukichi confirmation that Aoiza is involved with kamon, jingi etc. since she understands his words. Seeing her reaction, Yukichi says that he won’t tell the other Aoiza members about this – but with a small fee to seal his lips. He kisses Aoi, though also feeling pain since he’s touching her. With this, Yukichi remarks that she’s his now. Aoi questions if it’s only ‘cos she’s different. In response, Yukichi says that more than her powers, it’s ‘cos she’s the changed future he wished for all along. Feeling confused, Aoi decides to leave. But Yukichi reminds her that she’s his. While he doesn’t mind her going out, she should return to his side soon. Clouded in her thoughts outside, Aoi contemplates going to some place far where Yukichi can’t reach her – like the moon. She then gets the idea of the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter for the next performance.
Just then, Rin and Moni come to fetch her, as he was informed by Housen to do so. Aoi tells the rest about her idea, and they happily approve of it. She goes into her room after that though, and they can tell that something’s amiss. Kensuke advises everyone to leave her alone for now though. Indeed, Aoi gets busy with preparing for the performance and eventually the day itself comes and goes. After it’s over, Yukichi comes to find her and praises her performance. Aoi still sees him as joking though, but Yukichi insists otherwise. In fact, if he were Mikado, he wouldn’t have let Kaguya-hime return to the moon just like that. As he leaves, he tells Aoi to hurry up and come over to his side soon. Later, Sanjou gets involved in the next uramon case, as expected. Aoiza saves him in time, though Aoiza notices cracks in Futaba Aoi after the fight. She can’t bring herself to tell the rest though, about Futaba Aoi and that Yukichi is the mastermind.
As Aoiza prepare to pack up and return to Ueno, a letter from Yukichi arrives asking to meet them later to talk about Seiji. It’s obviously fishy but they decide to wait for that bit longer for his arrival. As Aoi is bothered by whether to tell the rest about the truth or not, Nanami comes to find her. He can guess what happened between her and Yukichi, and that he won’t blame her even if she was hiding anything from them. Yukichi eventually arrives and before he can get to the main point, Aoi decides to expose everything to the other Aoiza members – that Yukichi was the one ordering Seiji to spread uramon. Yukichi merely remains amused though, and wonders if he should do the same to her. Aoi apologises to everyone as she feels guilty, but both Nanami and Housen step in since they’re just as guilty. Kensuke understands that they each had their own pains hiding their own secrets, and even though Kikaku isn’t too happy over this, he knows that Yukichi is at fault too.
It’s hard to say whether Yukichi was touched over their strong faith in each other or not, but his true motive for being here actually something else: if Aoi becomes his, he’ll stop getting involved with uramon. This surprises everyone and Yukichi excuses himself since he’s done here. He’ll remember to convey to Seiji that they’re worried over him too. Aoi catches up with him though, and questions his real purpose. Though Yukichi admits that he did want to see her troubled-looking face, he came here to announce “war” on Aoiza. He heard from Seiji that Futaba Aoi called her here to fulfill some wish. Once that wish is fulfilled, she’ll return to her world. If Aoi remains like this, she’ll definitely return home. In order to make her stay, he’s willing to even throw away his dreams. Aoi is angered since that means he can easily throw away something which has already hurt so many people. However, this upsets Yukichi in return since she spoke of his feelings so lightly. But he decides to stop himself from approaching her further since he doesn’t intend to hurt her. Yukichi merely asks if she really doesn’t understand what it means to throw away everything in order to gain something you truly wish for from the bottom of your heart.
He kisses her hand (with the pain running through of course) and quickly leaves as Kikaku chases him away. After which, Kikaku asks Aoi to join the rest as they discuss over Yukichi and Seiji. There, Kensuke asks everyone to reveal everything even if it may be painful. Aoiza definitely won’t abandon them. And so Nanami confesses that Yukichi saved him when he was in a very bad gambling debt, and ended up telling him about jingi etc. since he also worked for Yukichi. Nanami eventually escaped and later came to Aoiza with Hachi to avoid him. Housen confesses that he worked for Yukichi as an informant, and that is part of the reason why he came to Aoiza. Housen also reveals about Toki, a powerful man willing to do anything for Yukichi. He’s probably also the one ordering Seiji about most of the time. After what happened, they decide to prepare themselves to get attacked at any time – whether it’s by Toki or Seiji.
Indeed, Seiji comes to attack them that night. He’s on orders to kill everyone except Aoi whom he’ll take back, since Toki doesn’t want Yukichi to be disappointed. Seiji shows evident hesitation even as he attacks them though. Kensuke tells him that his wish – and even Yukichi’s wish – won’t be fulfilled like this. He drags Seiji away, and leaves the rest of the members in shock.
The other members decide to return to Ueno as previously planned. As their discuss what happened, they find it unlikely that Yukichi would send Seiji to attack them. Since he did offer a deal to them and would’ve probably at least waited for their answer first. Hachi then bluntly asks Aoi what she likes about Yukichi, lol, a question which is probably on everyone else’s minds. Truth be told, Aoi still isn’t 100% certain of her feelings towards him. But she feels that even though he sacrificed people for his “cause”, he’s not an unfair person in the sense that he’s prepared to give up something in exchange to gain something else. He views everything as having equal value and Aoi feels that she can relate to that since it’s closer to how her world operates. But at the end of the day, as Housen sums up, love is not something you can easily understand. And it won’t do them good to continue mulling over this the whole day so Hisoka tells them to rest up as he and the Hime sisters prepare a good meal for them that night. They can discuss what to do next the next day.
That night, the Hime sisters come to find Aoi as they kinda have a girls’ talk as Aoi confides in them about Yukichi, while also sorting out her true feelings. While she understands that everyone at Aoiza accepted that she was from the future, Yukichi seemed a bit different in that he sincerely understood the future she was talking about. It’s like having something in common. When she was down after what happened to Sakazuki, he also listened to her and encouraged her in his own way. And not to mention every time they met he would tell her that he wants her. As Otohime says, Aoi probably felt happier each time. But when Aoi learnt about the truth, she felt betrayed and also more confused as to whether he truly liked her and vice versa. Now she does’t know whether to believe him anymore. The Hime sisters believe that he does love her though, and so does she – she’s acting like a girl in love right now with the turning point being when he comforted her. They know she probably can’t easily admit since not everyone would exactly “approve” of this relationship. Aoi finally admits that she does like him, and that realisation also seems to weigh down with those words.
The next day, Aoi sets her mind on what to do, especially after seeing the cracks in Futaba Aoi deepen. She tells the rest that since they’re pressed for time like this (not knowing when Futaba Aoi will break), she would like to accept Yukichi’s deal. They initially oppose to this, but come to the same understanding as her when she explains herself. The very least they’d like to do is to follow her to the end. Though Aoi feels apologetic to them, they know that they also kinda forced her to join their activities when she first came here so it’s alright. They send out a letter to Yukichi, asking to meet about the deal. Yukichi agrees to do so, though Toki seems to have other plans. Kensuke and Seiji seem to have gained knowledge about their meeting too and decide to make their own moves too.
On the promised day though, Toki comes to interfere and even uses uramon on himself. He feels that Aoi is getting in the way of Yukichi’s cause. Before they have time to react, he knocks out most of the Aoiza members – except Aoi. Yukichi comes in just in time though, as he was wondering why they weren’t here yet. Yukichi attempts to explain that Aoi will help to change the future of Japan but Toki is no longer listening to him and will even attack Yukichi if he’s blocking his own path. Yukichi defends himself with a sword drawn out from his cane, and at this moment Kensuke and Seiji join them. Before any further damage can be done, Aoi and Kensuke purify Toki with Seiji’s support. But that’s not the end as the temple goes on fire, apparently as ordered by Toki. This was actually an idea previously mentioned by Yukichi, to get rid of the symbol of the old. He seems to get caught up in that, and claims that he desires Aoi in order to build a stronger Japan. Aoi slaps him at this instance, saying that he should stop using reason and if he likes he should just say it straight.
Aoi says that she loves him and if she can be with him, it’s okay to not even return to her own world. As if having been shaken awake, Yukichi says that he loves her too and there’s nothing better than for her to become his. Kensuke also steps in at this moment as he calls upon the rain with his power. He promises to explain to everyone as they all return to Miyoshino, including Yukichi. First, he points out Futaba Aoi has completely shattered. This fulfills one requirement, the other elements needed are his sword and Seiji’s mirror – with them all Aoi can return home. Now is the only time to do so as Kensuke’s powers are fading away too.
Yukichi asks if what Aoi said earlier were her true feelings. He was happy to hear them and those weren’t lies, he would like her to come to his side. Since her “role” with Aoiza is over, he’s the only one that needs her now. Aoi agrees, but not without first thanking everyone as Aoiza for taking care of her all this time. Though it’s not like they’re never going to see each other though, since she’s remaining in this world. In the epilogue, Aoi has boarded on a ship with Yukichi, bound for America. She’s slowly feeling the passing of time with him. On the ship, Yukichi says that there is the possibility of getting attacked by others but no matter what happens he’ll be with her. Aoi’s words became his motivation and so he promises to show her a bright future.
Yukichi tells Aoi that he thought over things, and realised that he was always “taking” things away but not once did he “give” her anything. Despite Aoi’s protests, Yukichi feels that the only thing he can give her now is to return her to the place where she can be happy. Yukichi recalls to her reaction when they first met, and Aoi explains that it’s ‘cos he printed on every 10,000yen note. Amused, Yukichi says that he’ll cross over 140years as he creates enough of a name for himself to imprint his name in history. Before leaving Aoi, he kisses her hand and Aoi quickly thanks him and says that she’ll never forget him. Yukichi says that same back to her, and that they’ll meet 140years later.
Omake (unlocked when you finish any one ending)
This is similar to Hisoka and Housen’s. After the moon-viewing with Aoiza, Aoi can’t really sleep and decides to take a walk outside. As she goes out and gazes at the full moon, she meets Yukichi. As he talks to her, Yukichi can’t help but want to know more about her. Even though her knowledge should be sufficient by itself, his heart desires her whole being. It’s getting cold though so they should head back. Aoi would like to talk to him just a bit more though, so Yukichi offers to walk her back midway till when their paths diverge. But one day he would definitely have her by his side, and he asks Aoi to not forget about tonight.
I think you can tell that this review was written with less details but hopefully you get the idea! Anyway Yukichi’s route seemed…quite straightforward I guess? It took me a while, since I started on the game, to erase the things I’ve learnt about the man he was based on – especially with Sakurai’s voice acting! You can listen to the sample voices but basically he tends to pronounce the English words…with a strange accent lol. As Sakurai mentioned in his cast talk, it will give you a different image of Yukichi lol. Anyway, in the end Yukichi’s goal was actually rather direct. I don’t see how he could “destroy” the old by using uramon though, since it’s not like you can actually control the people’s actions. Maybe it’s really like how Toki said, that he’s kinda “playing around” in a sense; it’s almost like a kid with a new toy hmm.
Concluding Thoughts: Anyway with this my Aoiza journey is over! The plot would get repetitive after 9 routes (duh) and it isn’t the most mind-blowing thing but it’s okay. I did enjoy the characters’ interactions and I really loved the chemistry between some of the couples. There’s plenty of bonus content unlocked too. My favourite routes (and characters) would probably be Seiji, Housen, Nanami and Kensuke. I could tell I was going to like Seiji due to my bias but the other three came as a pleasant surprise. I also appreciated the occasional historical reference or (fun) fact since I’m a nerd like that I guess.
For the route order, I basically recommend playing Kensuke first as his route is a good introduction to all the jargon. His sudden actions towards the end would also make more sense. I think it’s up to you to shuffle the rest around, as Yukichi commented in the above completion CG – feel free to pick any guy from the harem LOL. You may want to avoid playing Rin and Hisoka back-to-back since they are quite similar in that they both largely involve Yui.
Anyway, I’ll be taking a short break from otome gaming. I can’t believe this game took me so long to complete – but then again it’s ‘cos I did disappear for a period of time. I’ll see if I can review some drama CDs (a few may be otoge-related) or manga before getting back into the mood for Jyuuzaengi or Arabians Lost. Till then!