Chou Hi (CV: Okamoto Nobuhiko) has always looked up to Kan U, and strongly desires to protect the Maozoku. After what happened near the start of this sequel, you will see him mature a lot. Remember to read the Common Route first!
One big difference in Chou Hi’s route is that Ryuu Bi does not awaken in his adult form. In fact, when he was about to Chou Hi desperately tried to stop it by hitting Ryuu Bi – as much as he didn’t want to. As such, Shokatsu Ryou’s ideal outcome didn’t happen even though they still won the battle. After Chou Seihei’s death and last words to him, Chou Hi’s character growth is spurred much faster as compared to the first game. While in the first game he was driven to gain Kan U’s approval, here you can see him making more level-headed decisions and thinking ahead so as to protect the Maozoku. In fact, he reminds himself that he can’t be so hot-headed anymore and desires to be a reliable figure like Chou Seihei was.
It seems as though he is more or less satisfied with his current relationship with Kan U, even though Kan Tei and Chou Sosou would tease him. When the two of them kept a lookout for Sou Sou’s army, Kan U was comfortable enough with him to take turns to sleep at night. Chou Hi recognised that she still only saw him as a younger brother, but doesn’t push her further. Instead, he trains himself further so as to become stronger. At the start though, Kan U does mention that she finds him reliable though – after observing how he desperately stopped Ryuu Bi’s curse from emerging again, and how he acted extremely cautious and responsible when escorting everyone.
Honestly, a lot of the route is about seeing how Chou Hi matures and Kan U coming to recognise this so let’s start. When they have to evacuate their own people and villagers from Shin Ya via boats, Chou Hi volunteers to take the first batch that includes Ryuu Bi. Kan U follows him too so we get a different perspective from the previous two routes. While Kan U is anxious of how the humans and Maozoku will interact, thankfully the kids getting along happily make the mood lighter. They arrive at Han Jou, where they wait for the rest to arrive while Chou Hi and Kan U go to find Ryuu Hou in hopes of reinforcements.
However, Sou Sou has already sent men (including Chou Ryou and Ka Ku) there to finish Ryuu Hou off. He also orders them to capture the Maozoku if they are there. As such, the pair arrive to the scenes of a battle in Jou You. They hurry inside to find Ryuu Hou being cornered by Sou Sou’s men. Ka Ku arrives and asks if they really want to protect Ryuu Hou, for he was the one responsible for driving them away from Kyo Shou. When Sou Sou was away, he incited the villagers with word of how dangerous the Maozoku were. His motive was to snatch their power from Sou Sou, so that he has nothing to fear if Sou Sou attacks. Ryuu Hou doesn’t deny this, and Ka Ku thinks that Shokatsu Ryou probably noticed this at the start but didn’t raise it up.
Kan U is clearly shocked by the news, for it means that Ryuu Hou indirectly caused Chou Seihei’s death, all for the sake of using them. She feels both deceived and angry, especially when Ryuu Hou dismisses the death as something which couldn’t be helped. Chou Hi quickly calms her down, and in the midst of it all Ka Ku has his men kill Ryuu Hou. Kan U and Chou Hi are taken aback by this, for taking someone else’s life doesn’t sit well with them. But Ka Ku points out that they didn’t desire to protect him anymore – it was his karma anyway. Chou Hi escapes with Kan U before they are caught, and head back to Han Jou to deliver the news of Ryuu Hou’s death.
There, he also confirms that Shokatsu Ryou knew about it from the start. The tactician also praises Chou Hi for saving Ryuu Bi’s life and tells him to continue doing what he does, just as he would continue acting without personal feelings involved. Later, the party is split into two. Shokatsu Ryou decides to head to Kou Ka to seek Ryuu Ki’s assistance. Shuu Yu and Son Ken join him, while still keeping their true identities hidden. Meanwhile, the rest are to leave for Kou Ryou. Though it isn’t a district under Ryuu Hou, Shokatsu Ryou believes that they will lend a helping hand if it involves fending Sou Sou’s army away from Kei Shuu.
On their way to Kou Ryou, Kan U is still affected by what happened in Jou You. She can’t help but feel vexed by being so ignorant about everything. Chou Hi attempts to cheer her up, and adds that neither he could save Chou Seihei. What’s in the past can’t be changed, so they have to keep moving forward. He’s sure that a lot more bothersome things will happen, but he promises to stay by her side to protect her. Chou Hi brings her forehead to his, and asks her to share the burden of protecting everyone with him. He’s not as clever as Shokatsu Ryou is, but he’ll do his best to protect her smile. After their conversation, Kan U can’t help but think that Chou Hi is no longer a younger brother to her. He has become a reliable person for everyone.
Midway, the party cross a narrow bridge. The Maozoku kindly help the humans cross over, and their kind act manage to touch their hearts. After they finish crossing the bridge, Kakou Ton and Kakou En manage to catch up to them. Chou Hi tells Kan U to lead the rest away, while he, Kan Tei and Chou Sosou stay behind. The latter two are uneasy about facing the large army, but Chou Hi comes up with a strategy. He has a horse kick up lots of dust in the forest which make the enemy think that there are troops laying in ambush, while Chou Hi openly provokes them. When they hesitate, Chou Hi makes the bridge fall into pieces, and Kakou Ton decides to retreat while they have the bridge fixed.
This buys them some time, and also has everyone impressed with Chou Hi’s performance. Back at Kakou Ton’s side, Ka Ku easily sees through the trick Chou Hi had used. If there really was an ambush, there was no reason to destroy the narrow bridge on which only a few soldiers could cross at one time. The Maozoku could have easily defeated them. Kakou Ton is infuriated at this humiliation and promises to pay back for this. Meanwhile, the Maozoku arrive safely with the villagers and soldiers at Kou Ryou. They are warmly welcomed by everyone, much to their surprise. The soldiers are prepared to fight again Sou Sou, just like Shokatsu Ryou predicted, and the castle also has lots of food and weapon supplies. That night, Chou Hi is happy when Kan U gets embarrassed when he hugs her from behind. It means that she is starting to see him as a man.
The following day, Chou Un and the rest are involved in a meeting. Chou Hi and Kan U volunteer to head to the three villages outside to inform them of Sou Sou’s incoming attack so that they can evacuate to the castle. The first two villages oblige readily, and the couple witness the third village holding a festival. The villagers welcome them, explaining that Ryuu Kou used to govern this area, meaning that the Maozoku once lived here too. The festival is held in honour of Ryuu Kou and the Maozoku. They even hand them a pair of cat ears, which Chou Hi decides to give to Chou Un later pffft. On their way back, Chou Hi expresses how impressed he is with the villages. It shows that humans and Maozoku could coexist, and he hopes to do so in the future one day.
Days later, all the villagers have evacuated here, except for that third one. They can only hope that they don’t cross paths with Sou Sou’s men, for they have already arrived. As they prepare for battle, Chou Hi tells Kan U that he’s extremely reassured when with her – it feels like he can do anything. Though the enemy are larger in numbers, Chou Hi manages to lead the Maozoku efficiently. For example, when ladders are lifted up against the castle walls, Chou Hi and the rest dive down the ladders instead to fend the enemy soldiers away. This also lifts their men’s spirits. In the end, the first flank is defeated. Observing this and the low morale of the troops, Ka Ku decides to retreat. Even if they continue pushing ahead, a prolonged battle would not work in their favour. He takes 10 men with him while leaving the cousins.
Kakou Ton is unable to retreat just like that, and goes to fight the Maozoku head-to-head. Kan U and Chou Hi successfully counter him, and at this moment their second flank is defeated too. The cousins retreat this time, leaving the Maozoku the successful party. But unknown to them, Ka Ku approaches the 3rd village, where the villagers are just about to evacuate. He asks one of them to run him an errand, threatening to kill his wife, unborn child, and the whole village if he refuses. Later that night, the villager approaches the castle and is welcomed in by Kan U. He explains that the rest are late and asks for some food as he’s hungry. She leads him to the storeroom with the supplies, and he asks to be left alone as it’s awkward. When she does so, he unwillingly sets the supplies on fire and is soon caught red-handed by a soldier.
They learn that he was forced to by the enemy general, and soon after Ka Ku appears. He asks them to surrender, and of course they refuse. But it turns out that he was just there to lure their attention away from a surprise attack. The Maozoku quickly counterattack, and they are kept fighting till dawn. Exhausted and with their supplies burnt, they are unsure of how to continue in a prolonged battle. Once again, Ka Ku asks them to surrender while reminding them of the villagers’ lives at stake. Chou Hi asks for some time to discuss, and Ka Ku gives them till morning.
Chou Hi persuades everyone to surrender, as they are out of supplies. He believes that surrendering would save more lives. They won’t remain under Sou Sou’s wing forever, and they will find their chance again. While Ryuu Bi is pained to see the Maozoku return to being used by Sou Sou, Chou Hi emphasises that there’s no meaning if they don’t survive. The rest eventually agree, and they manage to negotiate for all those who can’t fight to be sent to the villages, while those who can will join the army and remain in the castle. Ryuu Bi and Chou Sosou are separated as they head to the villages. The rest help Sou Sou’s army prepare the marine army, as they plan to attack Go next. The Kei Shuu soldiers don’t like seeing their own ships and resources being used by the enemy, but Chou Hi tells them to endure with the situation for now.
Sadly, things get rough when the other soldiers start to pick on them. When asked to help with making arrows, Chou Hi and Kan U volunteer themselves but in the end they are forced to do it by themselves. When Chou Hi talks back, they end up beating him up. Unable to take it, Kan U stands up for Chou Hi but the soldier grabs her arm. Furious, Chou Hi forces them to let her go. He doesn’t mind enduring their beating, but not when they hurt those important to him. Afraid, the soldiers back off and Chou Un and Kan Tei come to check on them just in case. When Chou Un questions if they are planning to revolt within, the soldiers scurry away.
Worried, Kan U checks on Chou Hi’s injuries. He takes her hands, and recognises that these were the hands which had protected him all along. Even though the soldiers called him a coward for not fighting back, Kan U knows that he’s a strong person and that’s why he didn’t fight back. If he did, it would just bring more trouble to those around him. But she sees that he’s carrying a lot of weight on his shoulders now, and hopes to share some of it. So she tries to inform Ka Ku about this, but he shrugs it off for it’s not like they are working in the same divisions. He doesn’t see a probably as long as they operate efficiently in separate divisions.
After this, Kan U treats Chou Hi’s injuries. It’s a Momozono scene, but I’ll briefly describe it as his keyword appears: 憧れ (longing; yearning). As he is treated, Chou Hi lets slips on how beautiful he finds her. In fact, he finds the figure of her fighting to protect everyone especially pretty. To him, she has always been special – he has always longed for her. Embarrassed, Kan U quickly leaves the room and Kan Tei appears from hiding. He never expected Chou Hi to finally have a chance, even if it’s a 1-2% chance now. But Chou Hi says that he’s been in love with her for over 10 years, it’s like a given for him now. Though now he feels like he could be swept off his feet.
Meanwhile at Ryuu Bi’s end, the people are made to produce food for the army. Not wanting to just sit by, Ryuu Bi asks the villager (who was threatened by Ka Ku) to prepare a boat. He plans to meet Son Ken, believing that Shokatsu Ryou must be there making the necessary preparations. That night, the villager helps them distract the soldiers while Ryuu Bi and Chou Sosou make their escape. The next day, the preparations are almost done. Ka Ku knows that Sou Sou has asked Go to surrender. If they do, they have no need to sail off for battle – and vice versa. He tells Kakou Ton and Kakou En that Sou Sou wishes for them to return to Jou You.
As Kan U and the rest continue to work, Chou Hi realises how rough her hands are. This embarrasses Kan U as she finds her hands rough and unlady-like. He feels bad that she has to do all of this menial work, but Kan U is happy to be relied upon by him too. As he kisses her hand, Kan U realises that she’s the one that’s changed – for she’s burning up from his touch. Chou Hi remarks that there’s nothing to be embarrassed about, for her rough hands are proof of her working hard for everyone. Seeing her flustered reaction, he feels a little happy.
Later, they find out that the Kei Shuu soldiers have been getting beaten up by the other soldiers behind Chou Hi’s back. It turns out that they used to be under En Shou and En Jutsu, and have been wanting to betray Sou Sou. Chou Hi feels bad for them, and for the fact that given their similar circumstances they are acting like enemies. A soldier mutters that it’s only till today anyway. Kan Tei remarks that with the preparations finished, a banquet is being held tonight to raise everyone’s spirits. At one side, the soldier approaches a villager who is serving food for the banquet. Later, the soldiers get to feast on local food, including a raw fish delicacy. The Maozoku are only given some soup, but they are happy with its warm flavour.
In the following days, many soldiers start to fall ill. Ka Ku observes that it’s probably due to the fatigue from travelling, or perhaps they caught a strange illness being in a foreign land. But instead of calling for a doctor to treat them, he isolates them in the same tent. He plans to call for more reinforcements instead. Kan U and Chou Hi are taken aback by his attitude, but once again he says that it’s karma – after all didn’t the same soldiers pick on them? For some reason or another, they don’t see eye-to-eye and Ka Ku doesn’t plan on discussing things further.
Kan U and the rest can only help to look after the ill soldiers. Chou Hi says that he still can’t forgive them, but he can’t leave them be either. Later, they overhear the Kei Shuu soldiers talking and find out the truth behind the illness. It turns out that since the soldiers ate the raw freshwaster fish, they caught schistosomiasis. But being locals, the Kei Shuu soldiers who ate the same thing are used to it. And the Maozoku only drank the soup are not affected either. While the Kei Shuu soldiers see it as their punishment, Chou Hi doesn’t feel comfortable with this. Just then, they smell smoke and discover that Ka Ku has ordered for the tent filled with patients to be set on fire. They are horrified by this, but Ka Ku thinks that in the case that it’s a pandemic – he’s only ensuring that the rest of the men don’t fall ill.
At the same time, Ryuu Bi and Chou Sosou arrive at their destination. They are lucky enough to run into Shokatsu Ryou, who inform them that Son Ken has yet to agree to ally with them. He brings them to see Son Ken, who is considering surrendering to Sou Sou if it means that his people can be saved. Hearing this, Ryuu Bi questions if letting Sou Sou freely use your men to kill others is really saving them. If it were him, he would never willingly hand his people over. His words strike a deep chord in Son Ken, as he finally agrees to ally with them. Shokatsu Ryou immediately plans for them to divert Sou Sou’s attention to Kou Ka, by displaying the alliance between Son Ken and Ryuu Ki. They would also send troops to Kou Ryou, to give Maozoku and the soldiers at Kou Ryou a chance to gain back the castle.
Sou Sou still has not received any word from Son Ken. But upon hearing the news of his and Ryuu Ki’s alliance, he immediately orders his men to head to Kou Ka. Even though Ka Ku asked for reinforcements, that would have to wait. At Kou Ryou, more men keep falling sick, much faster than those who are recovering. But the Kei Shuu soldiers have other plans. With some soldiers dead, some ill and others sent back to Jou You, there are only about 10,000 left. They believe that they have a chance of taking back the castle. However, Chou Hi’s sure that Shokatsu Ryou will send reinforcements over. He thinks that they should wait a while more for it, rather than risk losing all of the villagers’ lives if they fail.
But despite this, the Kei Shuu soldiers still think that this is the most opportune time. Unfortunately, Ka Ku overhears them. He orders his men to lock them up. Seeing that there’s not enough space in the cells, he has them tied to poles instead. He leaves the Maozoku alone for now, but not if they dare to save the Kei Shuu soldiers. When the Maozoku learn of this, Chou Hi blames himself for being hesitant. Kan U says that it’s not his fault, but Ka Ku plans to execute the men at dawn so they are short of time. When they are alone, Kan U finally confesses that she likes Chou Hi. He’s delighted, and they they promise to support each other. As they kiss, Chou Hi asks if he can start calling Kan U by her name. The next day, the rest stand by as Ka Ku is about to give the execution orders.
Bad End: Chou Hi leads everyone in to intervene the executions. However, they are soon outnumbered when Kaku Ka suddenly appears with his men. He had finished conquering Ugan and even defeated the reinforcements from Go, which were on their way here. In fact, he killed Ryuu Bi too, and the news shocks Chou Hi and Kan U. Chou Hi and the rest end up being killed, and he apologises for not fulfilling his promise to Kan U. Kaku Ka merely says that it’s ‘cos he’s weak, and that he was born into such a position. Even though Sou Sou had asked them to bring back the Maozoku alive, Kaku Ka decides to shrug it off as an accident. After all, he doesn’t think that they can be used anymore. But Ka Ku brings Kan U back to his room till she recovers, before presenting her to Sou Sou. He doesn’t mind either if she chooses to end her life though.
Good End: Just as they are about to intervene, Ka Ku is informed that 50,000 of Go’s men are on their way here. He orders his men to release the Kei Shuu soldiers, since they are lacking manpower for the ships. He even asks for them to release the patients held in quarantine, and the Maozoku too. Chou Hi is taken aback, for as a tactician Ka Ku doesn’t even consider the morale of the soldiers. But Ka Ku only sees his job as formulating battle strategies. He doesn’t understand what it’s like to be hurt or to be loved. It’s too late to try to understand too. Chou Hi exclaims that if he doesn’t, no one will want to follow him. Indeed, all the soldiers start to agree and refuse to follow Ka Ku’s orders anymore. Seeing that he’s all alone, Ka Ku surrenders.
And so they manage to claim back Kou Ryou, though they are surprised to see Ryuu Bi leading the reinforcements. He explains his situation, and thanks Chou Hi for pulling everyone together. But the latter says that it’s thanks to everyone. Kan Tei and Chou Sosou immediately realise that he’s calling Kan U by her first name, and the implications of it. Ryuu Bi gets Chou Hi to promise him to always protect her. Meanwhile, Kan U is touched to see both of them mature so much. As for Ka Ku, they decide to accept him. Though they don’t think that they can forgive him, perhaps they can start to understand each other over time. Ka Ku doesn’t know when he will betray them, but agrees to lend them a hand till then. Chou Hi is confident of changing his mind before that time comes. The rest of Sou Sou’s men also agree to join them, having been touched by their kind actions before.
In the end, Go claims Kou Ka as part of its territory, and the Maozoku have Kou Ryou. Though they were hesitant, everyone was else wanted them to govern Kou Ryou. They’ve finally created a country where humans and Maozoku can coexist. Kan U sees that Chou Hi has indeed protected the Maozoku, and many others, just like Chou Seihei said. Chou Hi says that it’s thanks to everyone else too, that they managed to fulfill their dream.
My immediate thought for Chou Hi’s route is that – wow it seems so peaceful compared to the first two routes. Of course it isn’t literally peaceful, but somehow you can more or less see where it’s going. I guess Chou Hi maturing really quickly was one factor, and Kan U naturally approving of him as she observes his growth was another. The relationship between them just transitioned so smoothly. That’s not to say that Chou Hi doesn’t have his へタレ moments around Kan U. But he’s a lot cool-headed so there’s a bit less of it I guess.
Again, there were imperfections. Towards the end Ryuu Bi was no longer acting like his childish self, and no one seemed to questioned it. I realised that the same applies for the first two routes. I know that the curse was growing weaker, but no explanation was given – even if this wasn’t Ryuu Bi’s route where surely an explanation would be given, it was still awkward. The difference in choices you make between the good end and bad end don’t link as well, as it did for the previous two routes. Basically for the bad end, you choose choices in which Kan U doesn’t trust Chou Hi as much. It’s the same for Shokatsu Ryou’s, but you can understand why her not trusting him as much led to that bad end. Here, it doesn’t since you suddenly have Kaku Ka frolicking in. I know I’m nit-picking since other games have the same issue. But since the previous two routes didn’t have this problem, I can’t help mentioning it.
Despite all this, I still enjoyed the route as they’re a really cute couple. In case you’re wondering, finishing his route unlocks a special scene with Ka Ku. Unlike the first game, it’s just a single scene and not a route like the previous game. Anyway, the next post should be Chou Ryou’s. I’m still surprised by how quickly I finished Chou Hi’s – but like I said his route was pretty peaceful in comparison so I guess it was easier for me to run through everything.