Hana Awase: Mizuchi hen

Hana Awase

This is a collaboration spoiler review for Hana Awase: Mizuchi hen by both Chromite and myself! Since we both magically finished a common game, we thought that it’d be nice to post something together. I’ll be writing in the default colour and Chromite’s comments will be in blue!

Plot

Before playing, I was unsure about the whole plot and even hesitated to play lol but the opening movie got me into playing in the end haha. The storyline is pretty basic where the heroine has this massive power and the bad guys are chasing after her for that power.

Yeah so, the plot is very simple and typical of otome games/shoujo genres, despite the elaborate setting. Speaking of setting, the game didn’t really explain certain stuff like why did the powers come about, the school, Mizuchi’s and Iroha’s moon eye(s). I’m guessing everything will be properly explained by Iroha’s route. Hopefully. (Assuming he gets the last game release!)

To be honest I don’t think the plot is too special, especially at first glance when you read how the heroine, Mikoto, is a chosen senki candidate and has to prove herself etc. Moreover an antagonist, Goto, is after her potential. The setting is all rather hard to swallow at first (not to mention the jargon) and it appears that there’s some battle between good vs. evil going on…but I think that at the end of the day:

Mizuchi’s story is the main plot of this release in my opinion. I think that his story was okay, and there wasn’t really any surprisingly revelations. Only his route will have a happy ending. There’s the chance to do the other routes: Himeutsugi, Karakurenai, Iroha – but since this a spoiler review I’ll say upfront that they don’t have happy endings and they are all relatively shorter compared to Mizuchi’s. That is to say, most of the plot is told in Mizuchi’s route and I believe that the point of the other routes is to get people interested in the other characters (for their future releases).

Character

I think that the characters are the biggest highlight of this game. Surprisingly, despite this being Mizuchi’s release, by the time I was finished with the game I grew up liking certain other characters over him. I think that it’s ‘cos Mizuchi’s personality ends up being the most predictable, unlike the other three guys. If I had to put things really shortly, I ended up liking Momotose, Love Me-kun (haha, I have my reasons) and Karakurenai the most.

Himeutsugi, Mizuchi, Karakurenai, Iroha

Mizuchi (CV: Fukuyama Jun)

The stoic and serious type who is unexpectedly passionate despite his outward appearance (I like!). Appearance-wise, I really like his design, blazer design, eye-patch and all. It’s probably his eye patch haha. He has this line which was probably the only touching line to me in the game where he said that he’d rather die than have his feelings and memories of Mikoto taken away from him. T__T

I liked Mizuchi a lot at the start, but as mentioned, I ended up liking others over him eventually. His route was very plot-focused too so unlike the other routes where you almost get up-and-close with the guy’s character, Mizuchi’s one fell just a bit short in that department in my opinion. Still, I did Fukuyama did a really good job with Mizuchi and like Chromite, I liked that one line the best!

Himeutsugi (CV: Tachibana Shinnosuke)

The freakishly scary yandere. The scene where he kidnapped Mikoto scared the shit out of me lol. His tendencies to keep his feelings a secret from everyone is definitely a sign of danger since those kind of people tend to explode sooner or later. Despite his crazy fetish over the heroine, I do not mind him and found him very interesting and I really like interesting characters whether or not they are good, bad or insane, to a certain extent that is. He has been living up the expectations of others who expect him to act like a princess who is friendly and helpful to others and he suppresses his own feelings and personality. I also blame his parents for naming him that haha. I’m not a yandere fan but somehow I’m kinda drawn to him. Looking forward to his game and back story!

I like tragic characters, and I think that the game fleshed more of Himeutsugi’s character in this release since his game is next. But since they also held back on the content, I was also filled with questions. His route also had the most imagery in it which was good for him, but that raised my expectations (I played his route first) and I was a bit disappointed when the other routes didn’t really have them. That being said, playing his route first made me appreciate his appearances in later routes ‘cos there were those moments when his inner voice leaks out.

Karakurenai (CV: Hino Satoshi)

The manliest dude of the game. I’d totally want to have this potty-mouthed bro as a friend! When the other guys have their own angsty emo self-doubting periods, he just gives that feeling of “Goddammit! STFU and man up!”. So… he’s amazing in that sense lol. I found it especially endearing when his womanizing habits were actually a way to find the perfect partner for himself but just could not find one. So when he fell madly in love with Mikoto, he changed himself and avoided his nightly escapades. Ahh~ Gosh!

Karakurenai is really crude pfft but over the course of the game you also see how sharp and considerate he can be. I found it ironic how he appears to be the most emotional and aggressive at first, but unlike the other guys in their own routes, he shows the most restraint in his own route. It was a delight to observe these little things about him but unfortunately, I felt that his endings were the most anti-climatic. While I know that it is bound for a bad end, really, I felt bad for him ‘cos his endings were short-changed. It doesn’t help that you’ve to replay his route to get his END 1/3 and it was the most anti-climatic.

Iroha, Mikoto

Iroha (CV: Terashima Takuma)

The super emotionless guy who is the top kaen and acts totally serious and cool but is someone who can’t take care of himself and loves sweets… almost like a kid genius. While I really love him in the other guys’ routes due to his sweets obsession and comedic moments with Momotose, his route made me go “WTF just happened?”. His problem is that he doesn’t show any emotions or expressions to Mikoto and suddenly he just bursts out saying he wants her. I might be missing something in the middle but I didn’t really feel anything for him when he committed suicide. I was just shocked that he would actually do that lol. All that said, I still have faith him in his own game if it releases. I refuse to accept that he is a scum lol. His route in here is just too wtf. I have to know his full story!

While I say that Himeutsugi’s route filled me with questions, and Karakurenai’s ends were short-changed, I don’t think any of those could compare to Iroha’s route. I don’t mean to be sarcastic, but I felt that the pacing of his route was abrupt and awkward. I usually like the gap moe, and I think Iroha has that, but I ended up liking him the least among the four guys despite enjoying his scenes with Momotose. I do think he holds a lot of key answers though – which are just not told in this game release.

Mikoto

Typical shoujo genre type who cries alot, dense, overly-kind and generous. Totally not my type of heroine but essential for otome games unfortunately lol.

I neither like nor dislike Mikoto. Unfortunately, perhaps of how they planned the game releases, I hardly saw any chemistry between her and the other characters. In other words, the dynamics in the game mostly took place between the other characters. She had interesting moments in Himeutsugi and Karakurenai’s routes, but I think that was about it for me. Yes, I know that she stayed true to Mizuchi throughout in this game release but still…sorry, I just didn’t really see much dynamics involving her. (If you read my other reviews, you know how I love dynamics.)

Himeutsugi and Karakurenai are kinda on par for no.1 position for me. No.2 would be Iroha and lastly Mizuchi (I’m sorry lol). Reason for choosing Iroha over Mizuchi despite his WTF route is that I’m very curious about him and I really like his silly childish side, while Mizuchi is kinda normal for me (maybe that’s why he’s first on the game release list?). I think my ranking will change after playing all four games lol.

Art

Mizuchi, Mikoto

Yura’s illustrations, the graphic elements and design are super awesome. Seeing her improvement in her work made me jealous LOL. Everything’s really sparkly and pretty and the graphic motifs all suit the game very well. I like how the illustration style brought out scary insane faces effectively. I especially love love love the opening sequence of the game. Omg, THAT is the shit man! No other otome game opening videos can top that. Congrats to the animator, designer and of course Yura.

I liked the promotional art and the character designs. Unfortunately the character sprites only had a few poses, but that’s not what really bothered me. It was the CGs. ‘Cos I think that (from the credits roll) Yura didn’t do them and the guys would look pretty inconsistent – sometimes I couldn’t even recognise them. Mikoto would look awkward in some of the ones without her face too, if you know what I mean.

Music

The music is above average but not quite there to be at the top. However I have to say, the character songs are really good and catchy as they have a cool culture fusion going on (eg. rock + shamisen/oriental tunes).

The music was okay and actually the nicest tracks were the ones for the card battles, including the character songs.

System

The game’s interface design is very clean and neat which is something awesome for games. My pet peeve will be that they limited the display area by having black “bars” at the sides. They used that to display the menu panel and I guess, to add more decoration and interest? Honestly, it’s in the way and they could have placed the menu/options panel as a drop down box or as keyboard shortcuts.

As for the card game, it was very easy to play and very fun! I didn’t know what I was doing at first as I didn’t really bother reading the rules (as usual LOL). I managed to get a hang of it eventually and kinda did lots of grinding xDD. The opponents are easy to defeat and you have to reach a certain level in order to actually proceed with the game or get a CG. For example, Iroha is the strongest with 70 points for all stats and you might want to level up to at least 50-60 to defeat him with ease. 

I wish they would have a separate section in the menu where we can play the game separately and have difficulty levels where we are able to memorize card combinations etc. Ok, sorry I might be asking for too much haha.

 The choice making is really easy, direct, and very few so you don’t need a guide.

Hana Awase

The interface is clean and simple, though personally one bug bothered me: I refer to the backlog a lot (in all games). But at times, the button to close the backlog would disappear in parts of the game for some strange reason. Also I wouldn’t mind if they just gave us the full CG in the gallery section without the gradients.

I think that the card game system is pretty polished – I don’t know why they don’t add it as a mini-game in the “Extra” section for you to play outside of the game. In-game, it’s addictive at first as you’d want to level up your stats. However once I was past the first route, the card battles in-game became a bit of a chore ‘cos I would win the game in seconds. Of course I admit that I grinded a bit too much but I think that for others, maybe by the third or fourth route you would have the same sentiment as me. I must also mention how the card game’s EX mode bothered me in terms of the distracting, animating background. It’s a nice touch to add the guy’s little EX mode animation clip but I wish they wouldn’t leave the background animating when your foreground is full of colourful elements already. Each guy has their own poem lines and I (jokingly) wonder if they could’ve done the animation effort for those instead, seeing how intertwined poetry is in Hana Awase.

It’s nice that you can ‘carry on’ your stats onto the next playthrough – though it means that you’ve to play the game from the beginning. The skip mode is fast but on my laptop at least, I’ve to keep the game window on the whole time – if I switch to another window to multitask the skip mode stops. You can’t skip the OP or the guy’s EX mode animation clip either and after a while, I didn’t mind skipping.

Overall

I love the game’s concept and its interface design. The fact that the guys’ names, faction names, and other terminology all go according to actual hanafuda card names/designs was a nice touch. The art is fantastic and the music is nice and catchy. I wanna proclaim my love for the opening movie again: It is freaking AWESOME! lol. The additional card game element is definitely something worth trying.

What I do not like is the lack of explanation of why certain things happen or exist. The plot was… eh… okay…. just okay. Not fantastic but I can live with it. Also, the fact that they had to split the game into four bugs me. Like I know you want to milk money off us but at least give us enough setting and plot foundation to make players like me curse less. I know you want to keep it in suspense and you’ll reveal it eventually but like please, just a bit more info? The problem with splitting games can also lead to a decrease in interest in the game so… idk it’s something that I don’t like lol but others might find it captivating because of the suspense and mystery.

If you enjoy a typical otoge-ish straightforward plot, mini card games, leveling up like a boss, pretty art, nice music, good game system, and anything that concern traditional Japanese elements, you’d like this game.

I’m definitely playing the other three games!

Mikoto, Himeutsugi

The problem I have with reviewing split releases is that: do I review the game as individual releases, or do I always have to take into consideration that this isn’t everything? But anyway, I do think that Hana Awase has potential, especially Himeutsugi’s upcoming release. The danger of split releases is that I think I would expect more from each later release, so I’m looking forward to more surprises. I couldn’t mention this earlier on but in every route it’s mentioned how all the guys felt as though they met Mikoto before, plus she would have flashbacks of a childhood she never had (?). My theory is “reincarnation” and it would be great if the creators pull off this theme well, alongside the “fate” one they already have. I don’t think they’ll change the petty complaints I have with the system so besides my hope for a nice “reincarnation” theme, I hope that they don’t short-change the other guys’ ends in the later releases as much as Karakurenai’s here. I also want Utsutsu to make a proper appearance.

47 thoughts on “Hana Awase: Mizuchi hen

  1. Sena says:

    Do you think you could help me out with something? The official website links as the game on the Japan amazon something that looks like a book with an ISBN and everything.

    I usually buy from CdJapan and when I looked it up, I got two results. One was the same book-looking thing as the one on amazon (but the price looked more like the game price and it lists computer specs necessary to properly play a game) and this other was something else that I originally thought was the game but it had all these added fees on because it’s a Special Requested item, which made me think it might be something else.

    So does the game come with a book or something? (Like it looks like the OST comes with an artbook) And that’s why it keeps pulling up that way? I’m so confused…you can tell I don’t usually buy anything except PSP games because when I try buying something else I get all confused Dx

    • Yume says:

      Just to double-check, do you mean these links?
      http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/4047285439/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_til?tag=woga2007-22&camp=243&creative=1615&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=4047285439&adid=1XG8TWH6QWG5R3P4NEF3&&ref-refURL=http%3A%2F%2Fhana-awase.net%2F
      http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview.html?KEY=NEOBK-1380530
      http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview.html?KEY=NEODAI-2739

      Actually…both links look like the game. Both list the original price as 1470 yen (without the fees) which matches the game price. For the second, it makes sense that it’s a Special Requested item as CDJapan usually doesn’t list any PC games. For the first, it’s listed as a Book and I think maybe CDJapan got confused since the Amazon link lists Hana Awase as “ムック” (the game apparently comes with a booklet). I remember a friend saying that she say Hana Awase in her country’s Kinokuniya shelved as a book. Perhaps they made that same confusion.

      If you want to make sure, maybe you should email CDJapan (ask about the first link). My guess is that both are the game, but cough, go for the cheaper option. ^^;

      • Sena says:

        Oh, haha. I was totally planning on linking you but I was so crazy that I forgot. Yes, those were the two different products I was referring to. What you’re saying makes sense. In terms of what to buy, it was the answer I was leaning towards so I’m glad.

        I’ve emailed CDJapan before and they’re pretty quick and give decent responses, but I think I’ll just go with it. If it’s just a book, I can always get the game later anyway and I feel like a book would have a higher chance of having extra Yura art not featured in the game. In other words, I’m lazy and just want to buy it, haha. Speaking of art, I need to look if they have fanbooks/artbooks for this game. I didn’t look into that yet ironically, well except the one that comes with the OST. I was planning on getting that as well.

        My poor wallet.

        • Yume says:

          Okays, glad that you managed to settle your decision! As for the artbook, I remember that one is only B&W lineart (which comes with the OST), while a more recent one contains the coloured art. You may wanna keep that in mind.

          I hear your wallet crying, lol.

          • Sena says:

            I didn’t do massive searching like I usually do when I absolutely need to have something, but I noticed that the recent one you’re probably referring to comes out this month sometime, so I might have to get that later. I didn’t see an exact release date though and I don’t think I could preorder it anywhere yet. Thanks for letting me know about the B&W lineart for the OST art. I actually wanted to OST more for the music than the art, but the art was a plus!

            I think you can only hear part of it’s crying. Since I follow a few Japanese music artists faithfully (and they’re all coming out with stuff at the same time!), it’s not just otome games blowing my wallet up. It’s having a full-on meltdown. Luckily, I get paid pretty soon, but it’s not like I don’t have other expenses…T____T

            • Yume says:

              Ohh okays, that’s good to hear! I know some people bought it more for the art, so they were a bit disappointed.

              I don’t follow music as much now but yes when everything is released around the same time…it’s good that you can have them shipped out together but the prices. ;;

            • Sena says:

              I see. That’s unfortunate. It’s always terrible when you buy something expecting one thing and get something entirely different.

              Yeah, shipping them out together is nice (especially since the majority of the time after I calculate different ways of organizing my order, buying all the items put together usually comes out cheaper) but sometimes waiting for them is a little hard since I pre-order things a lot. And those pre-order items often hold back already released items in the same shipment. But I usually don’t need things right away.

              Plus, the music industry sucks. They do this LE/RE double or triple pack release and sometimes I want everything, but I don’t think it makes sense to buy the same album three times. I’ve bought two of the same album in the past, but three is a big no-no, and even now I try never to buy more than one.

            • Yume says:

              Yeah it’s always the pre-orders – even worse if their release dates end up being delayed. ;; But yeah like you I usually don’t need these things right away so waiting shouldn’t hurt. After all, the backlog is endless lol.

              Wow I usually never buy more than one. But yeah I can understand how there’s the urge to buy those – still, I know that they’ll just end up cluttering my room so. ^^;

            • Sena says:

              Yeah. That backlog. It’s not like I have a time limit to play the games by, but it feels like it pressures you a little sometimes. In terms of games I’ve actually played, I barely dented the ones I own/want to own/will eventually own. And the backlog just grows while I make no progress.

              They totally end up cluttering my room. But I’m so bad about LEs. If I think it might be hard to find in the future and I know I’ll definitely want it later, I just get it. It’s like…forward thinking, I guess? There have been times in the past where I thought I’d be okay with something in used or less than perfect quality and then I buy it but realize it’s not up to my expectations so I end up buying the same thing in better quality so I have two. Knowing this OCD part of my personality, I now take that into account when I buy expensive things. Will I regret not buying it in new condition? Or am I alright with it? If I think I might regret it, I pay more to get a better condition item. This of course doesn’t apply to otome games so much because as a rule I always buy them in new, unopened condition, but it applies to other things I buy online.

              I have terrible spending habits.

          • Sena says:

            Not to mention LEs. I don’t buy LEs for all the games that come out, but there are some that I want LE stuff for. And I usually get them for my favorite band too. Their stuff sucks. Their LE albums are essentially the same price as their RE live concert DVDs.

      • Sena says:

        On the minus side, I still haven’t picked up Hana Awase yet. On the plus side, my game package came in a little while ago and I determined that yes, the cheaper one that I wasn’t sure if it was a book or not was actually the game. So now I have the OST and the game =D

  2. Sena says:

    So I unintentionally got super distracted with this game even though I still didn’t finish Koezaru wa Akai Hana yet. I just couldn’t resist. I love Hanafuda (and KoiKoi and Go Stop) and when I found out a game was made using that as a basis somewhat, I had to look it up. And then I got hooked into it.I didn’t actually play it yet, but I read Ilinox’s super detailed reviews (heh, so much for not spoiling myself).

    It was really interesting to read both your opinions on the same game. I have to agree with Yume about the art though. From the few CGs I saw, some of it looked a little inconsistent. Yura’s style is beautiful and so is the coloring (and it matches the theme and concepts of the game so well), but I did feel like they didn’t always looks like who they were supposed to look like.

    My thoughts will probably change and have more stuff added on once I actually play this, but goodness, this game is filled with so many things…I can’t properly put into words everything I feel.

    Although right now Hime just scared me. He really does. Hopefully I’ll grow to like him more in Himeutsugi Hen or it’ll be hard getting through it. Especially because like this game, any other route besides Hime’s will go against fate and results in bad ends T_T

    • Yume says:

      Nice to see you get interested in Hana Awase! Chromite and myself tend to keep an eye out for different aspects in an otome game, so we had fun writing this review together. I told Chromite about my opinion on the CGs too, and we both agreed that Yura probably didn’t do them. Himeutsugi’s won’t be out till next year so there’s still plenty of time I guess, to get through Mizuchi’s~ Personally I found Himeutsugi’s personality the easiest to understand out of the four, but maybe it’s just me. I remember ranting more about him elsewhere since his route had all the imagery.😄

      • Sena says:

        Do you think Yura didn’t do all of them or that some of them were? Now that I’ve played a little, I did notice the inconsistency of the CGs, which is sad because the art style is so nice. That’s really a shame.

        I was hoping Himeutsugi’s would come out sooner, but if anything, do we know when it’s coming out next year?

        Oh no, I agree. I think he was easy to understand. It was easy to relate to wanting to live up to people’s expectations and then losing himself in the process, but he still scared me. I didn’t even play his route yet, but I’m kind of terrified of hearing him speak when he gets into full yandere mode.

        I’ve only played most of Karakurenai’s route so far. Is there a good walkthrough to follow? Up until this point, I didn’t follow a wallkthrough but we more following a mock-guide based on the events presented in a review, which isn’t the most effective method, haha. I got too excited. I notice that I tend to skip walkthroughs up to the common routes in games I get the strong desire to play. It’s a bad habit I didn’t notice until now. I was having issues because I didn’t know when was a good time to level up my card playing skills. I ended up doing it in the places when it asks you if you want to go practice before meeting up for kabatsu, but I don’t think I was supposed to do that because when I got to the green house part where Mizuchi goes psycho and talks about her being tainted, I didn’t get an option menu for Mikoto to choose something and Mizuchi automatically just strangled her. I don’t know if it’s because I accidentally pressed an option without realizing it or if it was a result of my choices, but I got Mikoto strangled two times in a row without the option menu, so I’m pretty sure it was the latter.

        But Karakurenai is such a sweetie, man. He still has he douche moments (mostly in the beginning), but when he warms up to her it’s just so adorable. I don’t know how she could resist him, especially after he confessed. I remember being super mad at her when she made out with Mizuchi in the green house when Karakurenai was trying to deny his feelings for her.

        • Yume says:

          Hmm I think she didn’t do all of them…? That’s just what I think.

          Ahh I can understand why you may find him scary. I guess I found him more pitiful. Plus Mikoto did make some foolish decisions in his route…

          I did follow a walkthrough (http://otomenotakarabako.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-60.html). But for the first some days where you keep picking 3 locations per day – it’s not really necessary. But from what you describe, I think that sounds like one of Karakurenai’s bad end.

          Yes, I really ended up liking Karakurenai a lot! Unfortunately for this release, Mikoto always stays true to Mizuchi so sad ends for everyone else. It hurts as a player, but at the same time it’s also part of Mikoto’s character so…^^;

          Ohh I see. I never played Hanafuda or Koikoi before. I guess they really mixed them well together so that beginner players can get the hang of their card game.

          • Sena says:

            Mikoto did make some pretty bad decisions in his route…but he still scared me, haha. I kind of agree with your point earlier that you don’t like or dislike Mikoto in particular. She’s a decent heroine who’s not a doormat but I also feel like she lacks any real distinguishing characteristics. Still, I don’t dislike her, she just made some bad and/or frustrating decisions at time.

            I understood getting into the game that this was Mizuchi’s game, so it was expected for her to stay true to him. But it just got too much, especially when I liked other characters more than him in a lot of sequences.

            From what I heard, all Karakurenai’s ends are bad, haha. But I suppose there’s the one which is the least bad out of the 3, but he still dies anyway. Super not looking forward to that T_T

            Oh damn. I think I already chose a bad answer. The first two were はい then いいえ and I’m pretty sure I chose both as yes…I hope that one doesn’t have too much bearing on the end result. When I first played through, I definitely messed up on the two 行かない and 後で行く, so if all goes well, those have more of an influence on the game and I’ll be able to get the proper choices. If my one はい messes it up again, I’m going to rage so hard >.< But thanks for the link!

            When I was referring to Hana Awase, I meant the card game (not the card game in the game, haha), but I suppose I should've been more explicit about that. The actual card game in the game is much much easier. That one is purely combo-based and each played had their own deck and cards looked like they just got recycled. In the real card games, it's one deck. In Hanafuda you can have 2-4 players and Koikoi is usually a 2 player game. Both games are really fun to me (obviously, or I wouldn't play them so often), so if you ever feel like learning, you should ^_^

            • Yume says:

              Ohh I’m glad to hear that someone else feels the same way! It’s just as you put it, she’s a decent heroine for the game but I can’t point out any distinguishing characteristics (besides her loyalty to Mizuchi I guess).

              Yeah I didn’t enjoy Karakurenai’s ends…I knew they were all bad ends but still ):

              Oops, haha. I see, thanks for clearing that up! I’ll have to read more about Hanafuda and Koikoi when I have the time. ^^

              And yup, the 3 places you go to per day doesn’t affect what happens later on in the game. Ili (the reviewer) probably wrote them all according to her playthrough so that it’s easier. And don’t feel that way! When I first played it I thought I had to follow a certain sequence too and searched for other walkthroughs, only to discover all of them listed the sequence of locations differently (lol). I guess that’s what happens when you tend to follow walkthroughs for every game. ;;

            • Sena says:

              I really wished she was voiced. I feel like for a lot of heroines, I would like them significantly more if they were voiced. It adds an extra parameter to them. Plus, I get more emotion from hearing them rather than simply reading it.

              I don’t know if her loyalty to Mizuchi is just in this game. Originally, I was thinking she’d be like that with all the guys in their respective games, but as I thought about it more, I became less sure. It can really go either way. It would make sense for her to develop ties to the main guy but she’d react differently to each one. Perhaps Mizuchi just inspired loyalty in her because of his personality. Perhaps I’m thinking about it too hard.

              I can hear my heart breaking already before I even get to those ends.

              No worries. Like I said, I didn’t really say it as explicitly as I should have considering Hana Awase was the name for both games.

              It’s hard to ‘complete’ a game without a walkthrough, though. If I just chose my own decisions, I always get a mixed bag. I generally have balanced answers so it made it difficult to settle on one guy’s route (unless it’s the type of game where the questions are made so it’s easy to figure out which to choose to get from the common route to the one you want). Perhaps I just need more experience, haha.

              I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who struggled with that. It makes me feel less stupid because it’s a more common misconception, haha.

            • Yume says:

              I agree. Most otome games don’t have voiced heroines but after you play those that have, you really notice the difference it can make.

              Ahh I actually meant it for this game. I think that she’d be loyal to each main guy in their respective games with everyone else getting a train-wreck of a bad end. ;;

              Yeah I’ve become dependent on walkthroughs myself. I know some who don’t rely on one on their first playthrough, but I can’t really do that. I’ll always get the urge to plan out how I play – for example good or bad ends first etc.

            • Sena says:

              I really don’t like high female voices all that much and I feel like a lot of the female characters would have those types of voices if they were voiced in games, but I still feel like I’d prefer hearing a voice I might not like so much rather than no voice at all.

              That would make sense. I think it would actually be kind of funny if WoGa trolled us and in Himeutsugi’s game if you don’t go with him, the other guys get less terrible endings (as in no almost-rape or death ends) since we all expect it to play out that way.

              I think I need to sit down and properly read the walkthrough you linked me. I must be missing something somewhere because I was playing again last night and the same thing happened where I was unable to choose what to do (although this time it was in the library on Day 17). In this case, Mikoto’s supposed to try and save everyone, but I was playing, waiting for the choice and then no option appears and Iroha goes off killing everyone. I’m so frustrated T_T

            • Yume says:

              That’s…strange. owo I never encountered that scene of Iroha going off to kill everyone before (if I remember correctly). It’s a rather straightforward choice-making game where the routes branch off after the common route (Mikoto choosing whose room to head to) so hmm.

            • Sena says:

              Well, it was the library scene. I phrased it badly. It’s not like he kills everyone on a rampage, it’s more like he does damage control and kills Mizuchi and the affected people. So it’s more like if you choose the wrong choice in the library and do nothing instead of wanting to save them. What was happening to me was I didn’t get the choice at all. Mikoto just automatically decided to do nothing. The same thing happened to me in Karakurenai’s route when Mizuchi starts strangling her. She always automatically believed in him, I couldn’t make her not since no option prompt came up.

              Ironically, I went back to Koezaru while I wait out my frustration with Hana Awase.

              I thought it was supposed to be straightforward too which is why I’m so confused as to why I’m lacking these choice prompts. I don’t even know if it’s a bug or not. The library one shouldn’t be. The first time I played it, the choice prompt appeared, but for some reason when I went through it again, it wasn’t appearing. I don’t know what’s going on T_T

            • Yume says:

              The never-ending backlog lives up to its name lol. It’s worse for me now too since work is occupying me. Oh well. ;;

              I see! I don’t really pay as much mind to those details that you do. I guess it’s also ‘cos I haven’t had any problems with my 2nd-hand buys. I was even amazed at how one of them was in fact unopened since I thought that it wasn’t.

              That’s weird…maybe you should go back and play from the very first choice (not including the choosing of locations)? Maybe you can tell me all the choices you are choosing too (not including the choosing of locations)? It shouldn’t be a bug, as you said. But feel free to go ahead and go back to Koezaru. ^^;

              And my vacation was short but good, thanks for asking! (:

            • Sena says:

              It sure does. It’s probably better to have work though. Otherwise I’d be playing all day, like I usually do on most weekends. It would decrease the backlog obviously, but then I’d probably get burned out, which would be very bad, haha.

              That’s good for you. I don’t foresee there being any problems because a lot of Japanese items I’ve bought second-hand seem to be in really good condition, but it’s just to be safe. I bought one of the Amnesia artbooks used because at the time I wasn’t that good at searching for things, but it was in such good condition I would’ve believe someone if they told me it was new. Ironically, if I had looked for it on CDJapan, I could’ve gotten it in new/unopened condition and a bit cheaper but that’s alright.

              I actually did go back to the first choice when I realized the problem. To be safe, I actually completely restarted the game. I think that’s why I need a break, but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m going to have to start from the first choice again in order to make sure that I didn’t choose a weird choice somewhere. I could let you know my choices if you don’t mind once I get back to it, haha.

              I actually really like Slen, so Koezaru’s fun. Pokemon X and Y just came out though so there goes all my free time >.<

              Yeah, vacations always feel short no matter how long they are. That's unfortunately the nature of vacations. I know some people who get restless from long vacations, but I don't think I've personally ever felt like a vacation was too long.

            • Yume says:

              Haha that’s true.😄

              Sure, no problem! Hopefully by restarting the game you won’t run into that same problem over and over again.

              Glad to hear that you’re enjoying Slen’s route! Haha, take your time.

              Same here. Just when you’re easing yourself into the vacation mood you find that it’s over, oops. x:

            • Sena says:

              I do admit that sometimes I wish I could laze around all day playing games. It’s funny because there was a span of time after I graduated and before I started working that I could do that. I think it was around a month? That was before I got into otome games, though, so I didn’t use it playing games, haha.

              I hope so. I feel like I restarted it so many times that I don’t even know anymore. Ironically, I felt like it would be nice if I could start playing Himeutsugi-hen soon after Mizuchi-hen since it would still be fresh. Obviously a great case of be careful what you wish for, no matter how small, because now it seems like I might actually play Himeutsugi-hen soon after, but it’ll be because I’m taking so long to get through the game since it hates me.

              Yeah, I’ll be keeping up the tradition of commenting more about him on his route post, but when we first made the rounds through meeting most of the characters, I could already tell he’d be one of the ones I liked because he just screamed the type of character that oozed this machismo perception, but actually he’d be a big softy on the inside who really looks out for others and cherishes his significant other.

              Did you do any traveling or was it more of a relaxing I’m-not-going-to-do-anything type of vacation?

            • Yume says:

              Well, Himeutsugi-hen comes out early next year so…you still have some months to go! Haha.

              That’s nice to hear! Slen is probably one of those misunderstood characters due to his first encounter with Naala (it wasn’t exactly pleasant). But as you said, he really looks out for others and all.

              Nah it was short so I mostly didn’t do anything.😄

            • Sena says:

              If I don’t stop chickening out over restarting the game I might not even finish it in a couple of months, haha.

              I haven’t even gone back to finish up Slen’s route yet. I think I just need to sit down and finish something. I have all these incomplete things floating around everywhere. I haven’t finished (or played) a PSP otome game in a while, one computer one (Hana Awase) is giving me grief, and there’s no real reason why I’m not playing the other one right now (Koezaru) except maybe getting tired of sitting in front of the computer?

              Not doing anything is fun sometimes xD
              I kind of wish I could have a do-nothing break. I’m trying to save up vacation and not use it unless I really need it, though. Trying my best to hold off until November where there are a lot more holidays. October has none T_T

            • Yume says:

              Well, it can’t be helped if you’re not in the mood to play it.😄 Though there are times when you just want the game to be over too so you zoom through it – like what I’m doing now. /cough

              It’s a good idea to use up your vacation when there are public holidays! That way you can laze around longer, haha.

            • Sena says:

              Ah, still working on Shiratsuyu no Kai I see. I can imagine all the fun you’re having, haha. Now that I’ve gotten over the initial “OMG why don’t I want to play you when I want to finish” reaction,I’m trying to view it in a positive way. Almost like I’m taking a break so I don’t burn out. Taking a break for a little while (like a few days or weeks) isn’t quite the same as burning out. I feel like the latter would mean I’m sick of otome games and don’t even want to look at one for a couple of months, haha. The purpose of a short break would be to make sure I don’t get that tired of them. I think it’s working. I’m getting tired of playing pokemon a bit because I undertook this mission to get all of this one type of butterfly wing variation so the other day I remember thinking that I should play Hana Awase or Koezaru as a break. So it became kind of like a flip.

              It is, isn’t it? A lot of people do that, I notice. They’ll take an extra day to extend a 3 day weekend into a 4 day one or even attach a long vacation to the holiday. I actually haven’t taken vacation except 3 times I think for when I needed to do certain things, like when family visited and I needed to be there or when there was construction going on in my bathroom and someone needed to be home. I should actually check how much vacation I have. It should be much higher than last time I checked since it’s been months.

            • Yume says:

              I’ve finally finished it. I’m going to have ~so much fun~ writing my review on it lol. Yeah short breaks are good to take, gives you that breathing space before diving back into playing. Though I’m usually the type to make sure I finish one game at a time, I would sometimes jump in between two games for a change of mood as and when too.

              Yes, go check how much vacation you have and plan ahead~ Haha.

            • Sena says:

              お疲れ様~ I’m sure the review will be more interesting than the game itself.

              I usually like doing one thing at a time as well, but I’ve noticed that lately, if I’m not interested in something, I just drop it until I am in the mood for it and move onto something else. Sticking to something when I’m not feeling it almost feels like I’m punishing myself so I just don’t do it. Or maybe I just lost the perseverance to see things through that I used to have. I have no idea.

              I did have more vacation than I thought. I could actually take a decent-sized vacation if I wanted to. Now I just gotta choose when and where (well, where not so much. I think it’s pretty certain I’d choose Japan) and save money for it.

            • Yume says:

              LOL I’m happy if people can make sense of my review of that messy game.

              Well it’s true that doing something you’re not interested in can be discouraging. You probably know yourself the best so, just go with your mood~

              That’s great to hear! Surely the vacation will act as a good motivation for you😀

            • Sena says:

              I’ve been totally going with my mood. Besides Koezaru, I really haven’t finished anything in a long time so I feel like I want to finish things. I have too many games started and not finished. This is partially because of the block on Hana Awase that we’ve been talking about and also because I’m having a hard time getting into the Quin Rose games I have. I started School Wars recently and like it, but I still need to work myself into playing it. Their games are just…unnecessarily lengthy? I feel like there’s a lot of conversation and not a lot of stuff happening so I get tired waiting for things to happen.

            • Yume says:

              If you think School Wars is lengthy, you haven’t seen their older games lol. I haven’t played SW but I do believe that QR’s newer games are not as long as their older ones. The thing about QR’s games is that their characters are lively and fun, and have amusing dialogues. The heroine’s monologues tends to be pretty funny too. I would still (always) recommend Peter Pan as a nice first QR game to people, since people are familiar with the original story and QR added their own nice twist to it. Plus pretty much all of the routes are nicely balanced (well, I don’t really consider Tinker’s a proper route).

            • Sena says:

              I can imagine. I’ll look over your Peter Pan review to see if that game might be more up my alley. It’s not that I don’t like QR games, it’s just they’re harder to get into. I do agree that they often have some interesting dialogue and they’re heroines are pretty funny, but it just takes so long and progress feels slow so it might be a matter of pacing for me.

            • Yume says:

              Really? I find their pacing quite okay, at least for the QR games I’ve played. It may be the case though that their more recent games have less content/depth though so they feel slow.

            • Sena says:

              In all honesty, I probably just need to get used to it. That’s probably why it feels slow to me because in comparison, most of the Otomate games I’ve played are fairly fast-paced so I probably got used to that so my level of regular speed is on the faster side. QR games have their own template so I just need to go with it.

          • Sena says:

            I was probably thinking too hard and following the review too closely. It doesn’t look like the 3 places you can go to per day have any real bearing on what happens in the game, huh? They’re just kind of like extra events. I feel so dumb now.

      • Sena says:

        Also, after I learned the card game in Hana Awase, I got an extreme urge to play Hanafuda and Koikoi with my friend who I usually play those games with. So we played yesterday, haha. I also looked up the actual Hana Awase card game, but I find that I like Hanafuda and Koikoi better. Hana Awase is like a mixture between the two (but it’s more like Koikoi).

  3. thinkerbee says:

    Greetings, love!

    Hmm, so… did you cry at all during your play? I am actually quite skeptical regarding the plot as it surely sounds cheesy with the whole light VS. dark thing.

    Rather, does it stirred your emotions madly and raise thought-provoking questions as in StS? Or at least, can I hope on the bittersweet part brought by dynamic and complex characters?

    I was thinking about saving up on Getsuei no Kusari and here hoping Takuyo will yet deliver another masterpiece like StS.

    Oh, and I always like how you analyzes each character because it just give off the feeling that otome just leveled up on story and character department that there is hidden gem and little things worth pondering over! And these are what determine my buys, by spoiling myself first with one or two routes haha.

    So anyways, here’s a year worth of stalking you thanks.😀

    • Yume says:

      Hi, I remember you~

      Haha I was pretty much waiting for someone to ask this. No, to my own surprise I didn’t. I did tear up a bit at a few scenes but didn’t quite sob as much as I did in StS or even in the current game I’m playing now. ;; I don’t think Chromite did either.

      Hmm my answer to the other questions would be “no” I guess. But I don’t know, both myself and Chromite talked to each other on numerous occasions about the game and figured out that for some reason, we haven’t connected to the game as much as other people have. If you visit other blogs, they can probably come up with their valid reasons for why they love the game so much. There are bittersweet moments but…it’s mostly ‘cos of the “fate” theme? I think that the characters are dynamic and complex, but I didn’t really see everything in this release since I guess they want to save for later releases. But yeah, perhaps I was expecting more or just missed out on something. My opinion may change when Utsutsu appears ‘cos I think I would like him a lot.

      I’m looking forward to Getsuei no Kusari too! I’m not sure if it can top StS but it definitely looks promising.

      Haha, thank you! I like analysing and I’m happy to know that you enjoy reading them. I would suggest waiting to see how Himeutsugi hen turns out before deciding how the Hana Awase series will be like as a whole.

      Lol and thanks for continuing to stalk~

  4. yaoidaisuki says:

    Terashima Takuma *–*
    I love his voice and he’s in a lot of otome games I notice
    I was unsure to play this game before, but now I’ll try =)
    Thanks for this ^-^

    • Yume says:

      You’re welcome! ^^/
      Terashima uses a really low voice for his Iroha role, which is different from his usual roles, so I think you’ll get to experience a new side of his voice acting!

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