Here is my non-spoiler review of Psychedelica of the AA-nisus. Snowdrop and Via-Kaleido stories for children. Also known simply as Haitaka no Psychedelica. The only graphics I’ll show are the title screens, random screenshots of the interface, and two non-spoiler CGs.
However, like my review for its predecessor game, I feel like I need to speak about certain spoiler events. So I will blank out any spoilers in white colour, so that those who have played the game will know what I’m talking about. (:
I think that the first question on people’s minds is – is this related to Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly in any way? Once you finish this game, you will see that it is. After all, the opening movie does show a familiar scene from the first game, and if you look carefully at the characters’ CV – you will find two familiar names. But my advice is to just dive into the game without thinking too much about the connections. It will be more fun that way. I also recommend playing Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly first before this. It isn’t a must, but I feel that it will make your playthrough more enjoyable.
Now for the basic story. There are two opposing factions in the same town – Falzi (hawk) and Wolg (wolf) – and hence conflict between them isn’t uncommon. Our heroine, Jed (CV: Tamura Mutsumi), was born as a taboo existence – a witch. The proof is her eye which turns red when her emotions are heightened. In order to avoid danger, she has lived her life as a boy since young. Currently, she is living away from the town and in tower with Haitaka (CV: Hirakawa Daisuke), under a queer servant-master relationship. For her work, she accepts any menial tasks from the villagers. One day, she is asked by Lawrence (CV: Toriumi Kousuke) to find the Kaleidovia, a mysterious treasure which was stolen from the church. It is said to be presented during the annual masquerade festival once every 20 years, and that it is a symbol of peace between Falzi and Wolg. Jed is entrusted to find it before this year’s upcoming festival.
Due to this, Jed will later learn about the secret of the magic gems hidden in the town, as well as the truth about her birth. She will find herself at the crossroads of fate between the two opposing factions – and her choice will either lead to a kind despair or a broken hope.
Jed, whose original name is actually Eiar, lost her parents when she was young. So she was brought up by Francisca (CV: Ohara Sayaka), the current leader of Wolg faction, and the wife of the previous leader. Her two sons Lavan (CV: Hino Satoshi) and Levi (CV: Saitou Souma), are very close to Jed. Being the eldest son, Lavan is also next in line for the leader position. The leader of the Falzi faction is Olga (CV: Morikawa Toshiyuki), and he has two children, Lugus (CV: Furukawa Makoto) and Tee (CV: Yamaoka Yuri). Being the only son, Lugus is next in line. Olga is feared yet respected by the villagers, as he believes in ruling with power and spares no mercy. Francisca takes a softer approach, seeking to gain the villager’s trust instead.
There is also a young orphan, Elric (CV: Ishikawa Kaito), who is under Lawrence’s care and is always seen with a rabbit. There is also a mysterious traveller, Hugh (CV: Namikawa Daisuke), who has a record of his travel stories. It’s unclear if he means well or not. His presence in the town is a rare one, for it is constantly snowing, and almost no one leaves or enters.
Like the first game, I think that opinion on this will be split. As what I tend to mention in my other posts, I enjoy a good story. Like the first game, this is a story for you to enjoy. I actually enjoyed this more than the first game! While you may be able to predict certain developments, there was just so much to uncover. Not only is there the secret behind the town, the magic gems and Jed’s birth, most of the characters have their own past issue as well. And I appreciate how their stories were all woven into the overarching story. You may ask – I heard that this game is just as short, isn’t that a lot of stuff to cover? Won’t there be loose ends? Personally, I felt that most of the major issues were answered, and I was fine with those areas that were left up to your own interpretation or imagination. (As a comparison, it didn’t feel as open-ended as Shinigami to Shoujo, for example.)
I played in this order: People – Heroes – Bad – Lavan – Levi – Wolg – Overlord – Hugh 1 – Lugus – A girl – Hugh 2 – Links.
You can only play “A girl” end after “Lugus” end. And you can only play “Hugh 2 – Links” after completing all the other ends. I recommend to definitely play “People – Heroes – Bad” first, and to follow the order of “Lavan/Levi – Lugus – A girl – Hugh 2 – Links”. Other than that, actually I think it is okay to slot “Wolg”, “Overlord” and “Hugh 1” ends in between whenever you want.
The characters are also a strong point. Their personalities are distinctly shaped, and like the first game, each characters have their grey areas too. No one is always good or evil, they each have their own priorities, and you certainly can’t judge them by their looks. As always, it is refreshing to have characters which aren’t cookie-cutter. And I just have to get this out but – I love Jed. My favourite character in the game, the one I got the most attached to, and one of the best heroines ever. She’s hard-working, spunky and charming in both male/female disguises. And truly, all the endings will be a result of her choice – a kind despair or a broken hope.
I found the other characters pretty likeable as well, and could more or less relate to them. Do take note that Jed can only romance with Lavan, Levi, Lugus or Hugh. (By the way, my favourite is Hugh.) Once more, we have the flowchart system, so it is easy to track your progress and where the endings branch off from. Similar to the first game, it is one whole linear story, diverging into multiple endings. This time though, there is a map system in which you can choose to read short episodes or listen to mini character interviews. Once you reach a certain chapter, you also get to read some of Hugh’s travel stories. You can purchase them with points accumulated from the interviews. So again, I just read everything that was available at that point in time, and you will read romantic episodes with all of the captureable men (except Hugh).
Strangely, this didn’t bother me as much here because in any case I could see what triggered their feelings for Jed. (And Jed is so attractive so of course everyone loves her heheh.) You may find it unfair because one guy does get the “canon” treatment. But yeah I didn’t feel that way (because I was mostly focused on Jed). In this regard, it’s probably better to take my opinion on this as the rare 1%.
Due to the map system and me reading everything at one go, I took really long to get through the first few chapters. But once you play through once, you can complete the other ends very quickly. Again, I enjoyed the short episodes because we can experience more of the different character interactions. Since Hugh’s end is locked till the end and to keep his character a mystery, he didn’t get this privilege so my only gripe is – I wanted more short episodes (and CGs) featuring him. Take note that there are different short episodes, depending on whether Jed has her male or female disguise.
The mini character interviews actually included not just the named characters, but like all the different villagers as well. I understand that this was to give you a feel of the town’s sentiments to different issues – like Wolg vs Falzi, or the witch. But over time, their answers got repetitive anyway since you’ve already grasped their opinions. Nonetheless, these interviews are very short so it isn’t a big chore. The named characters got a different set of questions – more personal questions in fact.
This time, the colour tone of the art is duller – probably due to the “snow/grey” theme. However, the main illustrations and sprites are equally gorgeous. I felt that most of the CGs looked better here, except for a few with weird body angles. In particular, one of Levi’s CG was rather disturbing. I also appreciated the way the sprites moved around the screen in accordance with the dialogue/narration, to make things more dynamic. The setting of this game feels very RPG to me, something which I personally fancied. Some of the music tracks even felt RPG to me. The OP and ED this time has a softer and gentler tone, and again there were varying ED videos depending on the ED you got. I kind of wished that they also used varying tracks for those ED videos, like the first game.
Great job to the cast here, especially Jed’s. (I’m never gonna get tired of mentioning her, am I?) Since she switches around in her disguise, her tone will also change. And again, I cannot stress how much a voiced heroine makes a difference. Especially for those titles which carefully craft their heroine’s personality and background, I think that having a CV really makes you connect even more to her! I also have to give my compliments to Namikawa Daisuke because I could not believe my ears once I found out certain revelations……for me, he is one of the few seiyuu who has a distinct tone, yet can also voice all sorts of characters to the point it’s unbelievable so – what a perfect match.
This game also uses a storybook motif. While the takeaway theme or message may not be as obvious as the first game, I feel that there is one. But if I go into any further details, I may accidentally say spoilers. So from here on, please highlight if you want to read my spoiler thoughts:
So in my review of the first game I had mentioned a few things that bugged me. One of which was the ribbon. Well actually this game doesn’t really follow up on it. I just noticed that Lawrence, Elric and Usagi all had the same black ribbon. Which made me wonder if there is truly a deeper significance behind it, or whether it was just teasing us that yes, these are the same three characters. Also, we pretty much got our answer about the mysterious seller and why he called out to Beniyuri. Seeing how Beniyuri and Aria’s CV are the same, I believe that already hints at the connection.
I also liked how you could interpret the “Haitaka” in the title differently. One, it could be referring to Hugh’s previous identity. He is also the “bystander” of this story, by recording all the events. So this is like another one of his stories. Or two, it could refer to Olga (who represents the Falzi / hawk) and Haitaka since they were the ones who triggered the making of this Psychedelica. The “snowdrop” and “Via-Kaleido” in the subtitle also make sense once you finish the game.
There is the question of what significance the picture story had. Actually, some events in the picture story do mirror what actually takes place. Such as the witch giving the Kaleidovia and saying that it would seal his “animal” instinct, the fact that there are witch descendants, that they do kill the witch, and we get our happy end. But of course, we know that the way all of these unfolded were different. I suppose it reflects the same message I’d earlier pointed out – there is no 100% good/evil, and you shouldn’t judge solely based on appearance or prejudice. In the picture story, the witch is painted as the “villain” and the beasts the “heroes”. But we know that the original witch did not place a curse. And in that best end, Jed, who is also a witch, is the true hero. At least, this is my interpretation.
The only characters who still remain shrouded in mystery are Hugh and the original witch (but Hugh said to Jed that she is no longer here – not sure if he means she died or what). However, I felt that the information given to us about them, were enough for me to understand the flow of the story. It’s just that their background information and agenda are relatively unknown. But seeing how omnipotent their roles are, I wouldn’t be surprised if Otomate creates another game and they make an appearance.
Lastly, I just want to say that I absolutely loved the best end. It thrilled me to see everyone, and I mean everyone, in that happy end. It did such a great job of following up with Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly. Jed was amazing, and I cried happy tears.
If you are aiming for Platinum trophy, be sure to choose every possible choice and read every possible dialogue. This is because you will need to complete the flowchart 100%. It’s a bit of a chore, but it’s made a lot easier since you can skip to the scene itself using the flowchart.
So as I had said, I enjoyed this more than the first game, much to my own surprise. I grew really attached to Jed, which I think enabled me to further enjoy this. Be warned that there is not as much romance as other otome games, and that you may not be happy with all of the ends. So keep in mind that this is like a “pick your own adventure”. Do pick this up if you want to enjoy a good story, with a set of intriguing characters. Additionally, those who have played Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly, should definitely play this as well!