Last warning: spoilers galore
I addressed most of my general thoughts in the non-spoiler section. But I had to remain vague there. So in order to better explain myself, I’m just going to share spoiler thoughts on the characters, the story, as well as certain threads which were left hanging.
Seisuke: My gosh. I think that in general it will be hard to relate to his character, but they really did a great job of helping us to understand his twisted personality. Loved the Snow White references; I felt that his route used the fairy tale motifs the most naturally. Zakuro also developed so well to be able to handle his difficult character. I was expecting more “shock” factor from his Twisted Love ED, but it was still twisted enough. Eg. the scene where she couldn’t see Souma and freaked out. (Souma…;w;) I feel that while Seisuke isn’t my favourite character, his route was one of the best-written ones. The only thing to nitpick is how easily Sweet Clown let them go in the Deep Love ED. Really, at no price??
Oh, and definitely relieved that I played his route before Souma’s.
Souma: I love this boy so much. Seisuke’s (fake) reasoning is like how most of us would think. Yet Souma argues with him every time with his straight logic. Also, it was just so endearing how he does whatever he can to make Zakuro happy and to respect her decision. The way he softens his tone towards her, and how he’s eager for her praise is just so….!!! Despite learning that he was created by Sweet Clown and that his desire to protect Zakuro is imprinted, he still felt grateful to his creator – which brought us back to the first scene of him with Zakuro in the prayer room.
It’s only towards the end that the Sleeping Beauty references appears – from Zakuro never waking up in one ED to her narcolepsy disorder as the “price” she paid. It’s just my small desire for the references to have also been woven in at the beginning, so that it feels well-rounded!
Takeru: I wasn’t expecting to like him, especially with his fetish for torture tools and pain. But that’s the only issue I have against him? As I said, he’s also sensible and realistic – like the way he tries different methods to increase Zakuro’s desire and to defeat Sweet Clown. The Little Mermaid references were so strong in his route. I guess it’s because it has a sad ending, which ties in nicely with Sweet Clown’s belief. The connection between him and Neige was surprising but goooood. Thanks to Neige, you also get really creepy horror vibes. Also when Neige said that she’s in his body – omg girl, so do you do… questionable stuff to your own/his body?
In addition, I found it weird how his ofrenda mark never appeared in between scene transitions. But later it was explained that he never ate anything offered; that’s why his mark actually never appears. I’m just left wondering about his body and the Maris/Malice influences. Will the growth of his body remain stunted?
Ouichirou: Who would’ve thought that we’d get a real prince for our fairy tale! So I guess it’s ironic how his fairy tale motif is The Little Red Riding Hood. To be honest, I did not realise that was his fairy tale motif till the Truth Route. Thinking back, it actually makes sense with the whole “eating” symbolism and the significance of red colour. So I wonder if I was just slow in realising it, or could they have made it a bit more obvious? Other than that, I loved how he develops a bond with Cranberry and Raspberry. Also, the fact that he and Zakuro have similar personalities.
As mentioned, his route focuses more on his past with Sweet Clown. So his romance with Zakuro didn’t feel as natural. But actually what bothered me more was: the whole 劇 set-up. The explanation behind its mechanism kinda flew over my head and didn’t make much sense to me. Sweet Clown said he prepared it. But that it was Zakuro who triggered it, and it’s progressing as she 自蝕s. But my understanding of 自蝕 is that she herself has to deeply desire it for it to even take effect. So I couldn’t tell if Sweet Clown was saying the truth, or if he was just spewing nonsense to make her feel guilty for the 劇 mess.
In addition, Keifa also explains that Zakuro smells a very sweet scent from Ouichirou since she ends up falling for him deeply – and her Sweet Clown nature drives her to want to eat him. However, this was never mentioned in previous routes at all? Hmm.
Tomoki: Saw the revelation coming, but I still loved the struggle and conflict in his route. Tomoya himself is madness, but it fits with the darker undertones of this game. The scene where he turns all of them into sweets one by one was…truly despairing. Especially because the previous scenes show the boys coming together to help Zakuro. Also, his existence and crazy feelings for Zakuro feel like an accumulation of the previous twins we saw: Seisuke/Souma, Takeru/Neige and Ouichirou/Sweet Clown.
Personally, I liked how his Deep Love and Twisted Love EDs turned out. In the former, everyone else is alive and well – but Zakuro and Tomoki have forgotten each other. Aside from Zakuro and Tomoki, it goes to show how everyone else could’ve grown up normally and nicely if it weren’t for the circumstances. Mm yeah, I like these bittersweet endings. In the latter, Zakuro is entirely devoted to Tomoya and doesn’t care about anything else aka Tomoya got what he wanted.
However, I was expecting an explanation about how the box of Maris/Malice came to be in Ouichirou’s castle, and the person who warned Ouichirou not to open it. I thought that perhaps we would’ve gotten more mythological references, tradition, folklore and such – since the game already raised Greek mythology, borrowed the Spanish term “ofrenda” etc.
Zakuro: Let me elaborate when I said “If I were to nit-pick, it would be that her negative side didn’t feel as convincing as Megumi’s. Or I felt that more could have been done to fully deliver why she’s this broken.”
All we were told is that Zakuro suppressed her memories and beautified her memories of her brother. And we were just told that her current personality is because of the loss of her brother. It’s like we were just given the cause and the end result; but we didn’t get any glimpse of the in-between process. We were just told this is what happened to her.
For example, it was amazing how they showed us the struggle between Tomoki vs Tomoya. So I guess this is an issue of “show vs tell”? Hmm. I hope I don’t sound demanding…
Sweet Clown: He is the reason why all the characters have broken pasts etc. no wonder the game it named after him. I also wouldn’t be surprised if he had the most lines in this game. I like how his abilities, personality and obsession with twins came about, as well as how he derailed from his original wish to bring smiles to children.
In that sense, it’s paradoxical as to how he gained his abilities to grant wishes (and hence entertain children) but at that cost. The same can be said for Takeru. Takeru wanted to protect his “treasure”, which meant that he wanted to be stronger. Ouichirou’s case is a bit different I guess. It’s just ironic how he wants to die due to the nightmare he caused, but can’t.
Keifa, Ghat, Neige, Cranberry, Raspberry: I was pleasantly surprised by how they were inter-connected with Ouichirou and Takeru. Then again, Takuyo did give nice depth to the supporting characters in Gnk and StS. So I guess I shouldn’t be.
I also just want to add that Cranberry and Raspberry are really adorable. As the game progressed, their scenes became more memorable for me. Especially the scene where Cranberry told Zakuro to smile so as to be happy.
I think that’s all I have to say. I’m glad to have played another memorable game by Takuyo (which isn’t depressing like Gnk).