So I know that lots of people were highly anticipating this title, like me. Unfortunately, I was deeply disappointed when I finished this title, and have lots to say about it.
So this post is really more for those who have PLAYED the game, rather than those who are looking to do so. However, if you don’t mind being spoiled a bit, then feel free to read on.
Sakusaku is the second game where I played the trial before release date. THAT is how excited I was. I have to admit, this game’s common route is VERY strong. The “love bounty” placed on Yuuma was a very fresh idea, and I loved it. The common route introduces the heroines very well, and shows us how An is the WILD CARD of the lot. It’s interesting seeing An shaking things up, and dragging all the girls around Yuuma into the student council. Among other things, we learn about Yuuma and his quest to make those around him happy. It was hilarious how An “bans” love between members the moment Yuuma decides to join the student council in hopes to change himself, and maybe fall in love. The concept of Death Gods is lightly touched on; just enough to get you interested. Tina’s appearance as the “Love Fairy” was rather random, but they made it work.
So I was drawn in, and with the end of the common route, I found myself wanting a lot more. Fortunately, the full version of the game was released very soon after I finished the trial. It was around here when things started going downhill >______>. FML
Warning: HEAVY spoilers follow
Tina as a the Love Fairy
I really HATE it when third parties interfere with relationships too much. Unfortunately, it didn’t really register to me when I started this game that Tina’s very existence pretty much screams that. So I was caught off guard when it happened. Most of the time she didn’t do much, and you would pretty much forget that she even exists. When she DOES try to “help”, it brings varying results.
She does pretty much nothing in An’s route, which was fine with me.
In Yuuri’s route she general stays out of the way, and just watches Yuuma and Yuuri’s love. She helps out a bit, and I commend her efforts in this route.
She’s annoying in Konami’s route because of how childish her way of thinking is. The way she questions why love between a brother and sister is wrong just pissed me off. Her misinterpreting family love for romantic love is pretty much what gets the gears rolling in the route. Given this, I’m left with a feeling that Yuuma and Konami are “forced” into love, rather than falling into it.
She’s annoying as HELL in Mio’s route. Her meddling causes Mio’s phobia to act up, and Mio actually ends up fainting. In this instance I was annoyed, but the end result wasn’t too bad, so I forgave her. It’s what she does the SECOND time that pissed me off. After Mio and Yuuma get into a fight, her advice to Mio is just SH##. Instead of telling her to talk it out with Yuuma straight away, she tells her to wait a week to win him back on his birthday by giving him an outstanding present. To top this off, she tells her to act cold towards Yuuma and to ignore him until then. Now it goes without saying that he feels like crap during this time, and Tina knows this. Despite this, she keeps insisting that Mio go through with the plan. Now here’s the kicker; Mio ends up hospitalised after saving Yuuma from getting hit by a truck. Now why would he be in that situation at all? The reason is because he lost lots of sleep worrying about Mio; a state which was caused by Tina’s crappy advice. Yuuma and Mio’s older sister Miyu are all forgiving, and tell Tina that it’s not her fault. I really wanted them to say that it WAS her fault, but I knew it was never gonna happen. But yeah, I really hated Tina at this point.
So we get two relatively normal routes, one super serious route, and two supernatural routes. A very weird combination of routes given what the common route is like; I was expecting a collection of pure love stories.
I really love Yuuri as a character, and most of her route was great. The route progresses very smoothly, and there are lots of nice events in the mix that clearly show how the two develop feelings for each other. In particular, the chemistry with Hanako in this route was fantastic. The way she treats Yuuma and how she tries to get the two to break up isn’t annoying (like Tina), but rather amusing in that you see just how much she cares for her younger sister. So the route is pretty much a perfect slice of life, romance comedy….until the end that is.
Yuuri’s “rape eyes” during her first H-scene were a bit out of place. I dunno, maybe I was the only one who found it weird. I’m against showing NSFW stuff in my posts, so imagine Yuuri with this look in both eyes during an H-scene:
The sudden appearance of that Death God telling Hanako that she’s gonna die soon was off putting. It would have been fine if it actually LED somewhere, but it seems to be brushed off without any real explanation. I mean, why was she gonna die? How did Yuuma and Yuuri break up cause her to NOT die? So many questions >____>
Hanako’s sudden confession of her loneliness causes a mutual temporary break up between Yuuma and Yuuri. Hanako’s outburst felt a little sudden, because if anything, I thought the relationship between the Yuuri and Hanako was stronger now than it had been for a while. That aside, Yuuma and Yuuri breaking up was pretty lame because I honestly didn’t see why they couldn’t just down play their relationship instead of “breaking up”. What’s worse is that it’s temporary, and the two get back together very soon afterwards. So it seemed like a rather pointless attempt to add in some crappy drama.
I can’t say I’m completely satisfied with the ending, with Yuuri returning back to modelling. There’s a very large focus on Hanako at this stage, and the ending feels rather “detached” from Yuuma.
So the first 80% or so of Yuuri’s route was awesomeness. The rest was WTF. Love her as a character though.
I mentioned most of my dissatisfactions of this route in the “Tina as a catalyst” section. Though that being said, there are still a couple of things that I didn’t approve of that solely related to Mio.
I enjoyed the comical situation that arises after Yuuma after causing Mio’s androphobia to act up to the point where she faints. Of course, this doesn’t last for very long, and Mio soon gets lonely. Her loneliness is portrayed very well here. The scene where she says that she can commute to school on her own from now on pulls at your heartstrings like mad.
No surprises that Yuuma is the cause of Mio’s androphobia, and what’s good is that the reasoning is quite realistic. The fact that her androphobia doesn’t act up if she’s distracted enough I found to be very amusing. So they can’t hold hands in public, but they can still have sex =D
The events during the relationship were generally quite good, with no random bumps or anything. How lewd Mio is from reading all that BL makes for some great laughs here and there.
Now a big problem with this route is near the end Mio’s get angry at Yuuma for prioritising their date over a favour asked of him by Aoi. It’s very sudden, and it’s not like it’s a warning, or even a stern warning; she’s FULL BLOWN PISSED. Her reasoning being that she loves the Yuuma who’s always considerate of others and some crap, which isn’t very convincing. This fight leads to the crap I talked about in the “Tina as a catalyst” section.
So after saving Yuuma, Mio miraculously gets cured from her phobia. I know that her phobia’s linked to Yuuma’s car crash, but it seems a bit over the top to think that it would get cured like that. I mean, if Yuuma didn’t almost get hit by a truck, would that mean she would be like that for the rest of her life? I would have been a lot happier seeing an ending where after years of being together, Mio can finally touch Yuuma, but not other guys let. Then I would want a cheesy like him saying that they have all the time in the world, or something to that effect.
Konami’s route goes for a more realistic view on an incest relationship. Given that, the route is quite serious most of the time, and has quite the negative atmosphere.
So as I mention above, Tina misinterprets Konami’s feelings of love towards Yuuma as romantic love, and puts in quite a bit of effort to get them together. As I mentioned above, Tina’s naivety and persistence in this matter I found to be very annoying. However, she does plant the seed which makes Konami more conscious towards Yuuma.
I felt that Yuuma’s response to Konami’s confession was very brotherly of him. Of course, Tina doesn’t back down, and keeps egging Konami on. So instead of backing down as originally planned, Konami stays on the aggressive, and does stuff like flashing herself to him. I must say, her persistence and aggressiveness deserves some praise because Yuuma eventually gives in.
So as realistic incest relationships go, things are harsh. We don’t get much flirting or anything, because society doesn’t look lightly on this stuff. Konami breaks down in frustration over how she’s sick of having to keep everything a secret, and it was quite the emotional impact to be honest. It hit me pretty hard, and things just keep rolling with Aoi finding out about them here as well. Aoi’s anger and tears over finding out their relationship really shows your how seriously she wanted to be their mother.
Now the ending of this route was some of the LAMEST stuff I’ve ever seen. How Tina and that other Death God bring in Kazuto’s soul into the affair is just WAY too convenient. What’s worse is that Aoi ends up transferring Konami away to a different school despite hearing Kazuto’s thoughts on the matter. Yuuma and Konami still having mutual feelings for each other after 3 years without ANY sort of contact leaves me with complicated feelings. I suppose they wanted to leave the impression that their love is so strong that they ready to face any type of challenge they face in the future. I know this, yet I can’t say I’m satisfied. I’m left feeling that Konami’s character was wasted because they went for this type of serious route.
Being half Death God and half human, with dual personalities is interesting I suppose. Though to be honest, I didn’t really give a crap about the Death God side of things.
So as the two get closer together, Ere reminds An that they live forgive, and that love for them is impossible. That’s a very fair judgement, and understandable. What bothered me is that Ere is also the very one who tells An to confess to him because she wants her to be happy. First you tell her that, and then you tell her the complete opposite. WHICH IS IT??? However, you can really tell that Ere cares for An, which is a nice feeling.
The route does well in balancing the elements of slice of life and supernatural; at least, at the start. I personally found that the route lacked a bit in the romance comedy department, and it was like they only met the bare minimum. However, Ere made things quite interesting; especially when she stops them from having sex =D.
An’s sudden, and VERY random decision to sleep give Ere full control of the body their body was pretty much out of the blue. I could see it working out if they did the right development, but they throw it on you with basically no preparation. Her reasoning that she wants Ere to be happy is reasonable, but still stupid given that she and An are pretty much one in mind and body. Since the two know so much about each other, you would think that they would KNOW that they want each other to be happy. However, it’s presented decently well, and I liked how they also give good reason for why An was so interested in Yuuma at the start of the game.
The ending wasn’t bad I suppose, but there’s no doubt that it was lacking detail. It’s pretty much, “I’ll make you happy”, but ends at that. Yuuma is gonna eventually die, and An is immortal. This was the fundamental issue that made An avoid the relationship in the first place. Now I thought that MAYBE things would end up where An/Ere gets a normal life span. Otherwise, I was hoping that they would end with a scene where An is with their child sometime after Yuuma is dead, and teaches their child that love is a great thing. I know both seem a bit standard, but the heart wants what the heart wants >____>.
Something that I was disappointed by is that the fact that Ere didn’t get much screen time during the prologue. Yuuma has clearly shown that he wants to make the two of them happy, so I expected a little bit more development with Ere. I also expected an H-scene where he does BOTH of them. However, I suppose an H-scene like that would be copying what happened with Michiru in Grisaia no Meikyuu.
As a character, I can’t say I liked Tina all that much. First of all, she’s loli as hell. Second, and they point this out quite a bit by the way, she does pretty much nothing as a fairy of love. She basically just sits around, eats, and sleeps. Her knowledge of the human world, including love, is very limited, so she’s loli in mind, as well as body. So once again, apologies to all you lolicons out there…which I suspect is something like 90% of you >____>.
So this route has something of a time skip, and it starts two months after the start of the original routes. The route also assumes some knowledge from An’s route, which I suppose is natural since Tina’s route is only unlocked after An’s route.
First, there development is horrible. Like the other routes, Tina doesn’t really do much as a fairy of love, and is still against working as a Death God. However, we find out that Tina’s time is running out because death gods eat memories of the souls they recover, and steal time by doing so. This sudden discovery leads to Yuuma confessing. We get pretty much no development, followed by a very impulsive confession. WTF
Though Tina’s a Death God, the route focuses on her journey in learning the pains and joys of love. The route also looks at the suffering that accompanies Death God in doing their job, but things like life span differences aren’t even mentioned. I was a little annoyed at this because they put An through it, and it’s definitely an issue that Yuuma and Tina would have to face eventually. However, in the end I suppose An’s route focused on the dual-personalities, rather than the Death God differences.
So near the end of the route we discover that Tina’s gonna disappear afterall because she apparently didn’t eat any of the memories from the soul she harvested. Her reasoning was that she didn’t want to forget about Koharu (the soul she harvested). I found this a bit odd because in An’s route they mentioned that An was stupid because she was concerned about the regrets and stuff that the dead have. So it seemed to me that An didn’t forget, and they changed this for Tina’s route in order to add more drama. Looking past that, we once again see Tina’s childish way of thinking. Tina falls in love, but she doesn’t seem to even consider how Yuuma would feel if she were to disappear. BITCH
I didn’t care for the ending; it was WAY too forced. The pre-end wasn’t too bad I suppose, and I actually wished it ended at the point where Yuuma decides that having fallen in love was a good thing, even if it hurts when the other person is gone. But NO; they decide to make up some random BS, and Tina “somehow” gets revived after talking to her older sister in the other world. This game just doesn’t give me a break…
I was looking forward to see a forbidden relationship sprouting between Yuuma and Aoi, but nothing =(. I would have loved to see a mini side route for Nao as well. However, I have a feeling that they’ll make a couple of new routes OTHER than two for the ported version. In particular, I can easily see them making a route for Hanako in the PS Vita version of the game. FU## YOU PALETTE.
Graphics, system, and sound
The graphics are FANTASTIC, and the Voice acting is good as well
Not enough saves – I needed about double of what was provided.
No quick loading from the message log really sucked >____>.
Overall score: 65/100
I really feel that the game could have easily done without the supernatural nonsense that they threw in. The game had VERY strong heroines, with fantastic graphics and sound to back this. The pacing of the game is a step above that of other games of the same genre, and the game also maintains a good atmosphere most of the time.
However, adding the Death Gods pretty much killed everything (no pun intended). Okay I’m exaggerating a bit here because there were plenty of other faults with this game, but the Death God related routes (An and Tina) had a lot more plot holes. Tina’s presence as the Fairy of Love is really a hit or miss, and in my case she was a HUGE miss. This is personal preference, but as I mentioned in my rant, I hate when third parties meddle with relationships. Above all, pretty much all routes use OVER THE TOP drama to trigger the ending. Looked back, I can easily say that I wasn’t fully satisfied with any of the endings.
The “love ban” which An imposes at the start of the game pretty much holds NO significance what so ever, and I suspect they were just trying to be clever.
Lastly, Tina says the following quote at the start of the game:
“A girl who cannot fall in love. A boy who has no interest in love. If they end up falling in love with each other, how will the world change?”
This quote is something like that game’s advertising pitch. It leaves a very strong lingering impression, but there wasn’t really any follow up on it. So I for one was disappointed in that regard.
P.S. TINA WAS ANNOYING