Let me be direct, Shiratsuyu no Kai is all over the place. There is no meaning in me doing a detailed review, as I usually do, for there is hardly anything to be said about each route except that everyone runs around in circles. So well this review may be a little different from others, but it should still be able to convey the message of how frustrating it was for me.
It’s not as if Shiratsuyu no Kai has a complicated story or anything. It’s more like there’s too little of a story so they can hardly give you anything in each route. As a result of that, you’ll be left wondering “didn’t they just have this same conversation a scene ago?” – you’re not imagining things for that really is the case. It’s a rinse-and-repeat till the route suddenly crashes into a “happy end”, or a “bad end”, or a “normal end”. Whatever. I know how tedious it can be to craft a story so sometimes I give the benefit of doubt. But not in this case for all the signs point to the writers bolting out of the exit door midway through. There are many inconsistency issues, as well as poor writing. So as time passed by I start to ‘zone out’ and not really bother thinking too deeply into the lines ‘cos it’s probably not going to matter at the end of the day. I also question certain technical decisions which I will get into later on.
Basically: Lovely art cannot save a story. Great music cannot save a story. Convincing voice-acting cannot save a story. Your voice actor bias cannot save a story. All these can help to ‘decorate’ the experience. But if the story foundation is already weak, naturally all these ‘decorations’ will not save the story pillars from collapsing. In fact, it already says something about the creators since they chose to focus the (marketing) attention on the ‘decorations’ instead of the basics.
Okay, that’s enough nit-picking from me for now. Let me try to get whatever story there is sorted out now.
There was once a village which had the custom of sacrificing young girls to a demon, or whom they supposedly believed to be the god. They would be locked in an underground room, and left to die (consumed by the said demon). The demon they see as god is Amanojyaku but he actually never consumed them. In fact, at the start all the girls ended up starving to death. But as the years went by, the mass of negative feelings by the people created a demon which started to consume the sacrifices. Anyway, Amanojyaku who has been observing this customs for a long time (and never interfered) approaches Tsubaki, the daughter of the village chief, out of boredom. He knows that she’s soon to be sacrificed. But apparently she chose it herself in order to protect her brother. Again, we don’t know the details. There’s a man called Yuuji too, who had feelings for Tsubaki and wanted to escape with her but she refused. After Tsubaki died (not as a sacrifice for some reason), Yuuji brought her body to the spot he’d always see her talk to Amanojyaku. Clearly, Amanojyaku didn’t act to save her at all but in the end regrets not saving Tsubaki. Supposedly he got mad and so burned down the village in one day. Yet somewhere else it writes that the people didn’t offer a sacrifice in one year and in the end the village met with a fire. Idk it’s all rather vague but since the writers don’t care to confirm, we shouldn’t care either.
Present day. Our heroine Ichikawa Tsuyuha has always heard voices since young and would often wander around, led on by the voices. She lost her parents when young, and was taken in by Shin and his grandfather (now dead). So as her guardian, Shin, often has to come after her and hence tends to get overprotective. Anyway one day she gets led to a forest (near the above-mentioned village) and encounters 5 boys – Soushi, Ryouta, Kiyoharu, Takaomi and Chiaki. Even though Tsuyuha never deeply involves herself with others, she agrees to join them in their ghost story-telling session in an old shrine. On the way there though, Tsuyuha passes out before a little altar and wakes up later in the shrine where they tell ghost stories later. However, they get shut in and end up discovering a passage leading underground to a bloody room (same underground room as mentioned above). For some reason, when escaping everyone passes out and finds themselves awake in Soushi and Ryouta’s parent’s nearby villa. Idk teleportation. There, some of the boys’ blood ‘awaken’ and Tsuyuha also gets cursed, as a figure of a hand appears on her neck before disappearing soon after. By the boys’ blood, I mean that non-human ancestors of Soushi, Kiyoharu and Takaomi reside in their blood. So in Soushi’s case, it’s the Amanojyaku. For Kiyoharu, I have no idea rofl let’s just say werewolf. For Takaomi, I suppose it’s Doumeki. Both Ryouta and Chiaki are normal humans (or so I thought). Apparently Tsuyuha’s blood is a tempting, powerful poison to these non-humans ‘cos she’s some descendant of a celestial maiden. But unlike the tale we know of the celestial maiden getting her robe stolen and being forced to stay on earth, they decided to make it: the celestial maiden was a sacrifice to making the robe powerful or whatever cr*p. So now the demon from the village has set its eyes on her blah blah blah.
I nearly wanted to cry when I say his surname ‘cos it’s the same (kanji) as Senge from Mebiusline and that game is so much better ANYWAY. Kiyoharu is the only one out of the odd three that doesn’t know about his inner demon. He’s childhood friends with the twins, Soushi and Ryouta. Since young he would often blank out and for example, later find himself in an awkward messy situation with a young injured Soushi. All the other boys know of this, but don’t say anything as a form of protection. Kiyoharu himself also pretends that it’s nothing, scared to know the truth. After the encounter at the shrine, Tsuyuha happens to meet Kiyoharu and after that they start to see each other more. One day though, she sees his ‘other’ self and later learns ever so little about this from Soushi. The curse continues to haunt Tsuyuha more as she would regularly get into fits of pain with the hand print steadily growing over her body. There was even an absurd moment when she was in pain at home. Kiyoharu (and Takaomi) who came to see her heard her cries, and burst into the house – wasn’t the door locked? I don’t know. Anyway that’s how Kiyoharu comes to learn of Tsuyuha’s curse even though everyone wanted to hide it from him since he can’t even control his own issue and is already pressured by that.
Tsuyuha reassures Kiyoharu that everything’s alright, and since she’s so in love with his smile (seriously) she wants him to keep on smiling even if it’s forced. ‘Cos apparently when he isn’t smiling he isn’t being himself. Yet at the same time when he isn’t smiling and is haunted by this dark shadow of his inner demon, she feels as though he’s similar to her and so wants to destroy his smile. Yet towards the end of the route she decides that oh, I want him to keep smiling like the sun after all. Beautiful contradiction /sarcasm. She also tells Kiyoharu that she doesn’t want him hurting others when he loses it, so he should be with her and hurt only her instead. She also advises him that it’s okay to turn his eyes away from what’s happening and to remain lost. Basically, Tsuyuha gives very bad advice – especially when she herself doesn’t know anything and doesn’t want to know anything. Kiyoharu on the other hand, starts to fall in love with her and even thinks that if he remains so he can fight his inner demon. Tsuyuha doesn’t think that he’s really in love with her but a form of escapism – yet she replies that she loves him too.
So Kiyoharu and Tsuyuha disappear for one day to return to the shrine in an attempt to um, do something. They don’t pick up any calls from Ryouta and Takaomi. Worried, these two go to Tsuyuha’s house only to find Shin. Shin seems to know everything already, and vaguely tells them that Tsuyuha’s blood is like a powerful poison to them non-humans. He also observes that it’s odd how so many of them non-humans are collected together like this, since the chances of ancestors residing in one’s blood is 10% (think of this of something like reincarnation). Basically all this sh*t happening isn’t a coincidence. In the good end, Tsuyuha stops rejecting Kiyoharu and they go forth together while she thinks to herself that nothing has been solved yet and people can’t suddenly become stronger – thanks for spelling that out to us. Midway, Kiyoharu and Tsuyuha literally take turns to lose it
and go crazy. When she snaps out of it, she tells Kiyoharu that this isn’t love but dependency on each other ‘cos when everything is back to normal he wouldn’t need her anymore HAHA. Don’t even try to talk to me about dependency after what I went through in Getsuei no Kusari, this comes nowhere close. Anyway, this is just Tsuyuha talking cr*p ‘cos inside she’s thinking to herself this isn’t what she wanted to say. Kiyoharu gets mad, as he pulls her along while declaring that he doesn’t know what she’s thinking now pffft. Before the little altar, they take turns to go crazy again. But then later it describes Tsuyuha as crying while waiting for Kiyoharu to wake up? Idk anymore. Anyway they both turn back to normal I guess and start making out with the conclusion that it doesn’t matter what they really are as long as they have each other. So yeah, the narration says that there are no answers but and the voices still continue but – maybe they’ll gradually go away if she mourns for the past of this place. IDK OKAY IDK. In the epilogue, Tsuyuha tells Kiyoharu that things aren’t over yet but to not be afraid of the change in him. He may be afraid that it’ll overwhelm him but he shouldn’t deny himself as she fell in love with him for him. The end. Uh okay.
In the normal end, there are reports of someone assaulting young women in the area. It’s likely to be Kiyoharu as he’s shown later out in the middle of the night with no recollection of what happened, but his hands are stained with blood. Meanwhile, Ryouta asks Tsuyuha to remain by Kiyoharu’s side but even though she agreed, later she thinks to herself that she shouldn’t. But then later she discovers that she loves him after all. W-o-w. Later one night, Tsuyuha suddenly dashes out to escape the voices and bumps into Kiyoharu’s inner demon. He disappears soon after though. Later, Tsuyuha suddenly decides that this isn’t love but attachment LOL WHAT. She then goes to find Kiyoharu who admits that he may have been avoiding her, afraid that he’ll hurt her. Tsuyuha tells him that she doesn’t want to forget what happened between them and they come to the conclusion to support each other. Tsuyuha then gets called back by Shin, as he reveals that he’s been constantly on the run with her by “something” in order to protect her. Tsuyuha realises that she knows absolutely nothing about Shin despite them being ‘family’, but Shin says that it isn’t her fault for her blood kinda made her like this by dulling her senses – okay…… She decides that she can no longer stay by Kiyoharu’s side as the curse is consuming her more but he kisses her hard instead – for he doesn’t care about this cr*p anymore!!! So Tsuyuha chooses him even though it might not be love but attachment. In the epilogue, Kiyoharu literally goes “I don’t know what’s going on at all but I want to be together with you always!”. Tsuyuha knows that the curse is growing and that the end may be near but she wants to be with him.
In the bad end, it branches off from the good end in which Tsuyuha decides to proceed to the shrine by herself ‘cos she doesn’t want to involve him after all. Kiyoharu snaps as he sees it as her rejecting him, but won’t let her run away anymore. Tsuyuha thinks (ever so rationally) to herself that she has to pay the price for letting go of him as he chomps down on her neck. Yuck.
Ryouta is the younger twin, but since their parents divorced and they each went to separate parents they have different surnames. Most of this route has Ryouta being frustrated that Soushi keeps hiding stuff from him, as he want Soushi to rely on him more. They’re apart of each other after all (半身) – hahaha, don’t talk to me about hanshin not after Kakou Ton and Kakou En. This is a half-hearted effort as per usual. Anyway, Ryouta constantly tries to approach and reach out to Tsuyuha. But being egged on by Soushi, Tsuyuha keeps hiding and running away from Ryouta. Yes, heroine runs away from guy she’s supposed to pursue (since this is his route). They also talk about the uncertainty of one’s future and how Tsuyuha can’t take good photographs (she’s a photography student) – instead of discussing more important plot-related matters. Eventually, Ryouta loses his patience with Soushi and Tsuyuha advises Ryouta that one can’t understand all of the person’s feelings etc. Sorry but I don’t know and I don’t care. ): Anyway, the hand print appears on her as she grimaces in pain there and then and so Ryouta finds out about the curse. She runs away from Ryouta once again for she doesn’t want to worry him – too late honey.
Also, during the route Tsuyuha first knows Ryouta’s number, then she declares that she doesn’t, and then somehow she does. Wth really. Anyway, the above pattern of Ryouta being upset that nobody’s telling him stuff, and Tsuyuha running away, repeats for several times. Soushi also continues doing his own thing, I mean investigations, including the deal about Tsuyuha’s blood from Shin. Ryouta also recalls how when they were young, he first saw Soushi’s transformation and started crying. Soushi soon came to himself and was shocked at what happened, after that he started hiding things from Ryouta. Ryouta thinks that he’s no longer a kid though, and wants to help Soushi more now. Later, Tsuyuha tells Ryouta that she plans on returning to the shrine and he questions if she’s going alone – for he wants her to rely on him now. In the end they return to the shrine, with Ryouta telling Soushi as he fears that he wouldn’t be able to save her when the time comes. There, Tsuyuha gets affected by the curse as she suddenly wanders into the shrine, ignoring Ryouta’s cries. She comes to herself when she’s in the underground room, and suddenly knows that this was the place where the sacrifices died.
Soushi arrives at the scene, and wants Ryouta to get away from her – vaguely explaining the whole deal about their blood. Ryouta gets p*ssed at Soushi as he exclaims that all that doesn’t matter for his feelings won’t change. Soushi though, is scared of losing Ryouta as he may go nuts if that happens. Ryouta decides to taste Tsuyuha’s blood to prove that nothing’s going to happen. But once he does he goes crazy with desire for her blood and corners her, while Soushi is at the side going “no Ryouta don’t do this, you’re human unlike me so please come back”. Tsuyuha also tries to talk sense to Ryouta and I guess somehow Ryouta returns to his senses – once more with Tsuyuha crying by his side. Ryouta tells Soushi that he’s proved it (idk about that). Nothing’s solved but uh Ryouta tells Soushi that he wants to save Tsuyuha and will wait for Soushi. Outside, they stop by the little altar and discover wooden plates with names on them – all female names. They guess that these were the sacrifices and though they don’t know anything about the truth, they hope that their spirits are rested somehow. Right.
You think that the route ends here but no. Tsuyuha knows that nothing is solved but when she next sees Ryouta, he starts making a move on her. She gets scared
by his rather yandere words and ends up running away. Then I guess they uh, make up somehow and return to the shrine where Tsuyuha takes all the wooden plates and is led to a grave site – though it’s really more like a pile of stones. She guesses that the voices wanted her to come here all this time, the graves of the sacrifices. But then suddenly Tsuyuha starts getting flashbacks and collapses in pain, while telling Ryouta to get away from her – her sleeves even grow longer lol. Sigh. Ryouta says that there’s no need for her to be carried away like this and starts ‘filling her up’, I mean making out with Tsuyuha to make her stay with him. HAHA IDK. In the epilogue, nothing about the truth is known. After that last incident, they return to the grave site with the rest but the wooden plates disappeared. Tsuyuha decides to bring a replacement for them another day. After that incident, the curse on Tsuyuha seems to have faded away too so um, I guess happy end?
You think that he’d have a decent route being the ‘main’ guy but no. His is a disaster – then again, what’s new. Tsuyuha returns to the shrine hoping to find something out, and bumps into the twins there. They decide to head there together but gasp, the passageway has disappeared. At the little altar, they also discover fresh signs of clawing marks on the ground. Feeling freaked out, they head to the villa and there the twins suddenly recall – omg how did we get out from the shrine the last time? Ohh how creepy. Anyway they head back even though nothing is solved but Soushi says that he won’t let her handle everything alone. Back at home, Shin is worried but Tsuyuha is determined not to worry him by not saying a thing. Great. Tsuyuha can’t return to her normal life ‘cos obviously the curse continues haunting her, and she keeps getting random flashbacks. Meanwhile, Soushi is determined to solve everything by himself even though Ryouta clearly wants to help him. He even subtly tells Tsuyuha to stay away from Ryouta, ‘cos he doesn’t want to take any chances of her blood messing his brother up. Tsuyuha soon learns, as confirmed by Ryouta, that Soushi is really just a coward. As time passes by, the curse worsens for Tsuyuha and even though Soushi probably knew everything the start – only now does he tell her the deal about their blood.
Soushi continues to reject Tsuyuha, who says that while she’ll solve her own problem instead of relying on him, she wants to know more about him too. Even Takaomi and Chiaki feel the need to drop by to talk to Soushi, as Ryouta’s patience has run out with Soushi. Soushi knows this yet he still remains stubborn and Chiaki bluntly remarks that he’ll lose what’s important to him at this rate. Meanwhile, Shin tells Tsuyuha to be careful as there’s been assaults of women – not that we ever hear of this again. Tsuyuha also has a talk with Ryouta, as she learns more about why Soushi keeps everything to himself. She also has a talk with Chiaki later, who tells her that she can rely on them – only for her to reply that “I don’t know how to” and even starts crying. I don’t know why. And suddenly she starts telling herself to stop running away from reality as she asks more about the twins from Chiaki. Wow, I guess Chiaki is a miracle worker? He also remarks that she and Soushi are very similar in that they take everything upon themselves so as to not worry others – oh snap what a disaster. He also advises her to be aggressive with Soushi for he surprisingly gives in easily.The couple is talking to everyone else except each other. Anyway, one day Tsuyuha encounters Soushi’s other self but Tsuyuha doesn’t back down and says that she won’t run away. So Soushi says that he doesn’t want her to come close yet at the same time he isn’t going to let her go – IDK WHAT HE WANTS. Even Amanojyaku tells him later to shape up if he really wants to protect his loved ones. Meanwhile Tsuyuha um, avoids Soushi’s calls. Looks like she doesn’t know what she wants either. Match made in heaven.
The “I don’t know” virus doesn’t spare anyone. Anyway, somehow they meet each other and Soushi continues to be contradictory as he hugs her, yet says that he doesn’t want her interfering. On another occasion, he says that he doesn’t think much of her yet he’s interested in her. Tsuyuha thinks that she doesn’t exactly love him but attachment. Sheesh. Anyway, Tsuyuha tells Soushi later that she’s going back to the shrine and so he decides to go with her. They first go to his family’s villa and Soushi starts literally fighting with his inner demon – lol I amuse myself sometimes. Tsuyua also starts hearing voices and walks away while Soushi uh, somehow regains control of himself – only to find Tsuyuha on the verge of cutting her own throat. She remarks that if the root of everything is ‘cos of her blood, then you all can have it so Soushi can be saved!!! Idk. Soushi mutters that he doesn’t want that as he glimpses through Amanojyaku’s memories. Just then, Tsuyuha hears Tsubaki’s voice as she says that she didn’t want to sadden Amanojyaku like this and regrets it. Also, Tsuyuha actually has no connection to her, oh wow revelation! She wakes up in Soushi’s arms, who remarks that they were saved by Amanojyaku and Tsubaki – they didn’t face the same fate as them. Huh okay. And yeah, they start making out as passionate feelings for Tsuyuha suddenly awaken in him. Tsuyuha says that just as Ryouta is Ryouta, so is Soushi (with his other self) – if you don’t resolve yourself with this nothing will end. HAHA great words, Tsuyuha, great words. They know that in fact nothing has been resolved but they’re already decided not to run away anymore. The end. Lol wth.
In the bad end, Ryouta tells Soushi that if he can’t protect Tsuyuha then he will! Even though he’s just a normal human, at least he’s a man! Soushi is upset that he can’t get anything right and doesn’t want to betray Ryouta again – only to hug Tsuyuha in front of Ryouta. Lol what. Ryouta says that if he hesitates again he’ll really snatch Tsuyuha away – Tsuyuha thinks that Ryouta was only acting to help them sigh. Seriously? Anyway, they both return to the shrine but Soushi loses it and starts to strangle her – thinking that if only he could easily end everything by sucking her blood. Tsuyuha says that if that’s what he wants, he can go ahead. What a brilliant pair. Soushi hesitates and lets go, saying that she should leave and maybe the curse will fade away if she leaves this place. Irresponsible. Maddened, Tsuyuha slaps him and tells him off. But uh, apparently this turns him on as he forces a kiss on her, saying that she seduced him. He knows that her words are true but he can’t keep his hands off her anymore. Tsuyuha feels the curse worsening but pretends that it’s nothing and cries as Soushi kisses her more or feels her up, or makes out with her. LMAO IDK ANYMORE.
By this time I was already discouraged and so I flew over a lot of (stupid) dialogues. Anyway, Takaomi’s older sister disappeared when he was younger and she was never to be found again. So he isn’t sure how to move on from the past. But it’s not as if he is dumping a baggage of emotions on Tsuyuha, in fact he didn’t mean it that way at all. Takaomi is also relatively stable with her other self, so most of this route is of him putting up with Tsuyuha’s cr*p. In fact, hardly of the drama we get from the above routes happen here as Takaomi interacts rather normally with Tsuyuha, while Tsuyuha averts her gaze away from reality – as usual. Anyway, Takaomi encounters Tsuyuha being called away by the voices a few times and is annoyed that she doesn’t contact him and instead wanders off with the risk of endangering herself. Tsuyuha replies that she can’t rely on him as she doesn’t want to drag people into her affairs. Plus uh, she doesn’t know how to ask others for help. ‘Cos you know, she’s caught the “I don’t know” virus. Takaomi just hugs and comforts her – saint Takaomi.
Soushi does his thing, I mean investigations as per usual but this time with Takaomi. They both decide that the fastest way is to return to the shrine, but first by themselves. While they do so, Tsuyuha decides to ask Shin about the truth. He does so and advises her to distant herself if she doesn’t want to hurt anyone. Tsuyuha doesn’t know what to do anymore and runs out crying in the middle of the night……luckily for her she runs into Takaomi. She says that they should all forget about her and Takaomi questions if she wants to protect him – he wants to protect her too. Takaomi tells her the details about his sister’s disappearance and she starts crying ‘cos – she doesn’t know. Takaomi thinks that she’s crying in his place and thanks her. On another day, Takaomi shares with Tsuyuha that he visited the shrine with Soushi – but the passage way was blocked up. He also reveals that he isn’t normal and demonstrates his power to “see” before her. There’s no need for her to sympathise with him though as he’s accepted who he is. When alone, Takaomi recalls how he used his power to “see” at the shrine, but saw the villa on fire instead – which is odd as that never happened. That night, he catches Tsuyuha at the place his sister disappeared as she wanted to try listening out for her voice.
Anyway, the next day the two of them return to the shrine, while Soushi heads to the villa. Before the little altar, there’s a flashback of Takaomi’s sister standing at the intersection she disappeared. She remarks that if Takaomi has already accepted his blood then there’s nothing else she can do for him except pray. She’d wanted to protect him a little longer though. So somehow, they find his sister’s ribbon inside the altar ‘cos she went there to pray for him? Idk. “Nobody knows the truth”, that’s the literal quote. Takaomi cries as he admits that he knew somewhere that she’d never return. Tsuyuha comforts him and they kiss but it’s not make out time yet as the drama is still to come. Nothing is over yet and another day, Soushi shares that at the villa suddenly everything was burnt before turning back to normal. There was once when the villagers didn’t offer a sacrifice and apparently a fire broke out. So idk, perhaps it’s a warning that the demon is still waiting for Tsuyuha. Tsuyuha and Takaomi return to the place another day and head to the grave of the sacrifices. Then I guess a flood of flashbacks and negative feelings overwhelm Tsuyuha and she gets trapped in the darkness~ Cue the drama as Tsuyuha sobs, saying that she didn’t want any of this. Takaomi uses his power to uh, share the burden with her by seeing what she’s seeing. He gets hurts in the process but saves her, somehow. Touched, she tearfully asks if it’s alright to love him and Takaomi replies “you’re asking now after all the cr*p I put up for you??” or something like that. Okay he wasn’t that vulgar. Tsuyuha thanks him and it’s make out time. The end.
By this time I was ecstatic that this game is reaching an end, but at the same time I was so sleepy each night I kept nodding off in the first half of Chiaki’s route – ‘cos hardly anything happened. Basically they interact with each other normally, and Tsuyuha starts to find herself attracted to cheerful Chiaki and gets lonely without him (since he’s always touching her). She also gets the feeling though that he hardly talks about himself deliberately, often switching the topic. Soon, Tsuyuha starts to see Chiaki’s less cheerful side and wants to know more about him. Oh, we have the same inconsistency issue here with her knowing his number, and later not knowing. Geez. Again, Shin warns Tsuyuha about the assaults of women and again – it’s never brought up again. Anyway, one night Tsuyuha sees Soushi, Ryouta and Takaomi running after Kiyoharu, who doesn’t look like his usual self. Chiaki holds her back, and later says that he doesn’t know anything since unlike them, he’s not their childhood friend. He has a policy not to involve himself deeply with others too. Tsuyuha easily sees that Chiaki doesn’t mean that at all, but he’s just scared. In fact, Takaomi is willing to share the truth with him whenever he’s ready. Chiaki maintains his cowardly bystander position but Tsuyuha remains persistent.
Some other day, Takaomi shares the truth about their blood with Tsuyuha, who is shaken by the truth. Takaomi remarks that he didn’t intend for it to burden her in anyway. He’ll wait for her to come back with Chiaki, for him to learn about the truth. This drags on some more, till Tsuyuha manages to convince Chiaki to be brave and learn the truth. Uhh that is till Tsuyuha blacks out while on the phone with Chiaki and somehow he rushes over into her house, wasn’t the door locked?? Idk. Anyway he remarks that he wants to know about Tsuyuha now too as he realises that he loves her. Another day, they bump into Shin and he vaguely remarks about how he’s been running away with her, and something about Chiaki’s blood. That night, some girl got assaulted too as someone kept calling out Tsuyuha’s name – not that we ever hear of this incident again. The next day, Chiaki goes to see the deserted village with Soushi and gets the chills. He rushes back to check if Tsuyuha’s alright. The following day, Soushi tells both of them the truth about the village and their blood.
The couple and Takaomi return to the shrine the next day and light candles like they did that day. Suddenly it’s all dark and Tsuyuha gets dragged to the underground prison. Tsuyuha starts getting flashbacks of the past and struggles with…something. Chiaki and Takaomi chase after her, but the door’s shut tight and Takaomi remarks that only she can handle it by herself or something. Chiaki stands by helplessly and seeing that, Takaomi decides to help. Idk how Takaomi’s power allows him to bust open the door/barrier but okay. Tsuyuha wakes up in Chiaki’s arms and sobs, saying that there’s no way she could go to the other side where the sacrificed spirits were ‘cos she still wanted to live on for him!!! But then uh, she pushes him away upon seeing his hurt face but the same goes for him. Chiaki licks away at her tears and says that while he finds them pitiful, if they want to take her away he’ll destroy the altar. She made him face up to reality so he won’t allow her to quit on him just like that I guess. The curse has weakened and nothing’s over but uh, they decide to face up to things together. But they can’t make out ‘cos they gotta go out to where Takaomi’s waiting for them. The end.
In the normal end, even though Chiaki is living in the school dormitory with Takaomi he is forced to stay at home by his family. His mother uses the excuse of his older brother being ill to tie him down ‘cos…idk. Things even reach the stage where Chiaki’s mobile is taken away from him and he has to sneak out in order to meet Tsuyuha. Tsuyuha starts to sense something weird about his family, especially when he mentions the likes of servants, hacking the security of his house and such – not that we ever find out. He has to rush back but remains contact-less. Tsuyuha learns from Soushi and Takaomi that he should’ve gotten his mobile back so it means he’s avoiding Tsuyuha for some reason. They vaguely mention that Chiaki isn’t the same as them, but his family is somewhat special. Later at home, Tsuyuha learns the truth about herself from Shin. He adds that Chiaki’s family is the descendant of the man who stole the celestial maiden’s robe in the legend – so nothing is a coincidence~ Well, they don’t explain further so what do we know. Meanwhile, Takaomi shares the truth about Tsuyuha with Chiaki. If Chiaki’s family still wishes for some powerful blood then that means that they want to sacrifice Chiaki (instead of his brother) and Tsuyuha for the sake of the family’s prosperity. IDK.
Chiaki rushes to Tsuyuha’s side, saying that he doesn’t want to lose her etc. I think they missed out some of the script here ‘cos suddenly Chiaki is shouting Tsuyuha’s name, and then making out with her while crying as Tsuyuha reassures him that she won’t go anywhere. I think they missed out the ~drama~ scene for some reason. LOL. That was so glaring. Anyway, they head to the shrine where Chiaki mentions something about his family being an extension of the Kanda family, the main side owning some piece of this forest, and his family being bounded or something. He wants to try overcoming the problem now though. Welp, we never find out what the deal is with his family in the end anyway. Before the altar, Tsuyuha blacks out and starts hearing all the thoughts of the sacrificed girls, maddened by the village’s practices. She wakes up in the shrine, and doesn’t see Chiaki. Tsuyuha has the brilliant idea of going down to the underground prison to find him, but he finds her there later and says that he went to contact Soushi from the villa. Tsuyuha senses something off about him, and suddenly Chiaki is thinking “huh what am I thinking, who am I?”. Possessed by his ancestor for some reason, he grabs Tsuyuha, demanding that she can’t go anywhere ‘cos she’s his and that he’ll hide her away. Tsuyuha reminds him that even if she’s some sacrifice she wants to be with him forever. Chiaki starts ranting about not wanting her to disappear and stuff about the robe. Next thing you know, they’re both back in the shrine and back to normal. Chiaki apologises as he didn’t know what overcame him and they see that Tsuyuha’s curse has faded but is still there. Chiaki says that he wants to settle his family affairs and wants her to wait till then. Tsuyuha agrees as she wants to support him – it was a miracle that they were both born in the same time and met each other ‘cos it was fate~ Omg I don’t know anymore. This isn’t any miracle but a mess – wasn’t he supposed to be human?? What freakin’ descendant.
Shin and his grandfather took Tsuyuha in when she lost her parents in an accident, but as when learn later on Shin knew her even before that. Anyway this route is like a copy-paste of Soushi’s route, till Shin starts getting clingy to Tsuyuha as he doesn’t want her snooping around with Soushi to learn the truth. Tsuyuha remarks that she isn’t choosing one guy over the other – yet she also thinks that she doesn’t want to lose this close distance with Shin……doesn’t that mean you’ve chosen him? Things reach the point where Shin dares to carry a sleeping Tsuyuha from the living room to his bed and uh, the next morning he makes a move on her. He says that since she’s made her choice to stay here then he can’t hold back any longer, even if that means destroying their present relationship. Tsuyuha struggles but once Shin starts kissing her she loses all resistance – she didn’t wish for this but she can’t leave him either. She knows that if she resisted he’d probably let go of her at the end but she doesn’t want that. IDK. Tsuyuha make up your mind.
Some days later, Tsuyuha is seen finally picking up a call from Soushi. She’s been avoiding his calls and messages recently. Shin sees this and grabs the mobile away from her, as we learn that she hasn’t stepped out of the house at all. Tsuyuha insists that she isn’t going anywhere, and pushes for the truth from Shin. Finally, he explains about the village’s past and Tsuyuha’s blood. Shin and his grandfather are descendants of the villagers which survived from that same village – to be specific descendants of Tsubaki’s brother. They were told to watch over Tsuyuha till she was 15 years old (some age requirement for the sacrifice). Shin didn’t want to involve himself with the village’s affairs, but his grandfather asked him to escape with Tsuyuha before he died. Before Tsuyuha, Shin was actually chosen to be sacrificed next due to his blood or something, but his parents saved him and I guess died in doing so. ‘Cos of this, Shin feels guilty that Tsuyuha is now the target. He adds that she’ll soon be an adult so it’s about time for them to stop running and hiding. Shin apologises for not being able to let her go and breaks down, confesses his feelings etc. Tsuyuha says that she made this decision to stay and hugs him while crying. She doesn’t know what’s the right thing to do (as usual) but she’s alright with throwing away everything if he desires her – how romantic.
This roue was like an eternal repeat of the same 5 lines. I don’t know why they added his route in last minute since they didn’t bother linking him up to whatever main plot there is at all. Anyway, after Tsuyuha meets the guys for the first time, she meets a masked figure who calls out her name. He remarks that he’s been waiting for her all this time, another existence called her over here though. Some days later, he comes to see her again. He’s been waiting for her as only her blood can kill him (and give him peace). Tsuyuha gets briefly confused and then uh, gets the brilliant idea of naming him Kitsune, after the fox mask he wears. The explanation is extremely straightforward and Kitsune repeats it like 5 times but Tsuyuha screams out “Why, what exactly am I to you!?” ‘cos I guess it’s all so unreal yet she can still bring herself to give him a name. She has no further answers ‘cos the writers can’t bother to write any other details. No kidding.
Some days pass again and Tsuyuha goes to find Kitsune at the shrine. He remarks that even though he desired for everything to end already, he’s starting to have second thoughts thanks to her. But he goes ahead and helps himself to her blood. He says that his blood is like a curse, granting him an extremely long life. While her blood is that from a celestial maiden sacrifice and being like a powerful poison, can kill him. He also reveals that he once knew Amanojyaku but even he passed away. Tsuyuha says that she still wants to know more about him and starts drinking his blood too, I think? Idk it’s all so messy. Either way, somehow they both don’t die and Tsuyuha even gives him a new name: Hakuro (白露: morning dew; another way to read this is shiratsuyu). And uh, I guess they end up living together till the day they decide to die and disappear with the morning dew~ How enlightening……not.
Wow what an utter disappointment. As you can see, the story is everywhere. They could’ve easily stuck to a cliche story of Soushi and Tsuyuha being reincarnations of that couple etc. But no, they jumbled it up with celestial maiden tale, cursed blood whatever with no tying of loose ends whatsoever. I noticed that the script was written by 3 people. I suppose they never coordinated since there would be sudden jumps in perspectives and scenarios (eg. that Chiaki scene). Inconsistency too, from Tsuyuha’s ever-changing personality to the trivial details such as Tsuyuha having the guy’s mobile number or not. It’s as though they spend more time writing the ghost stories (there are 100 of them). Moreover those are the scenes recorded with dummy head microphones – so misplaced priorities, right? The only other scenes recorded in the same manner are the ichaicha bonus scenarios you unlock for each guy (strangely Kitsune’s isn’t). You unlock a bunch of other scenarios you can read about too but…I’m too tired to go through them. I also failed to realise the differences between good/normal ends since…it would all end with making out. A glaring technicality to me was the flashes of white/black whenever they transitioned in and out of CGs. It was white 90% of the time, and can be quite harsh on your eyes with no fade in or out at all.
Sure, the good points are basically the art, music and the (devoted) voice-acting. But as I mentioned above those can’t save a poorly-written route. The make out CGs seem to be thrown in to appease you, and the music feels wasted. Thing is, the characters are fine as they are (the guys). Their group dialogues are fun, and for example, I like the friendship between Chiaki and Takaomi. I guess Tsuyuha’s blood makes everyone go OOC and every other last CG is kiss and/or cry. It’s almost as if the writers spent too much time crafting the guys’ personalities, as well as their chemistry together – but add Tsuyuha into the picture and it all goes bust. They didn’t know what to do with Tsuyuha basically. But no, you can’t do that, she’s the protagonist. They described Tsuyuha as a “tsukkomi” character but in a lot of occasions I was the one who wanted to tsukkomi her monologues.
This is usually the part where I go “oh if this-and-this is your cup of tea you can check it out”. For this one, no. No way I can bring myself to recommend this to anyone, not even if you want to see how the game crashes into a wall. Too much frustration. Anyway, staying away from Otomate releases for now except for GHP:P, SBL and Jyuuzaengi 2 (technically though it’s RED Entertainment’s). Ishida, please don’t get cast into any new Otomate games atm ahem.