Death Gods, Fairies, and Love – A rant on Koi ga Saku Koro Sakura Doki

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.

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Common route

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.

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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.

The routes

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.

Yuuri

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.

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6

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:

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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 >____>

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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.

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Mio

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.

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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

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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.

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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

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.

9

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.

10

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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.

 An

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.

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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.

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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.

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Tina

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.

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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.

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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…

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Side heroines

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.

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Graphics, system, and sound

The graphics are FANTASTIC, and the Voice acting is good as well

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Not enough saves – I needed about double of what was provided.

No quick loading from the message log really sucked >____>.

Final words

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?”

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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.

 

FIN

P.S. TINA WAS ANNOYING

 

80 thoughts on “Death Gods, Fairies, and Love – A rant on Koi ga Saku Koro Sakura Doki

  1. Sorry about this. I thought I would give up on discussing about this but it’s still bugging me after all. Tina is by far my most favorite character after a long time so I want to try it one last time. The main reason is you are seem polite and don’t judge people based on your own feeling but reasoning, so I find it fun and productive when discussing with you. I have met lot of people with big ego who always try to protect their own idea by trying to find any lame excuse as much as possible without even listening to others’ reasoning. Of course I don’t border discussing with them cause it’s just a waste of time. So if you don’t hate it then try to bear with me one more time, can you?😀

    It’s still about Mio’s issue of course. Now as I think carefully about it, Mio’s sister knew about Tina’s idea too and she agreed with it too, she even knew Yuma’s anxious feeling because she was the one talked to him through phone in place of Mio in the meantime but she didn’t do anything about it, so is she stupid too or just irresponsible?

    About Tina, as you said before that the best thing for the third party to do is waiting for a specific time before stepping in to help, and that what Tina did. After knowing Yuma and Mio’s problem, she did wait but there was no sign of improvement, instead it was getting worse as Yuma was feeling down more and more so she decided to step in and help in her own way.

    Now about what Tina did, she only gave Mio advice without doing anything explicitly to disturb their relationship. When you are in trouble, you need advice and people give you advice but it’s your choice to follow it or not, so what Tina did is something any normal people would do and it’s nothing bad at all. Besides, based on my experience, there is one thing I know when you are in love: The more you suffer when the person you love acts cold toward you the more you feel happy when you know that person still cares for you a lot. Tina’s advice just bases on that theory which isn’t strange at all.

    About the consequence of Tina’s action, I agree that the good result in the game was just coincidence but there is a question. What do you think if the accident never happened at all? Mio successfully apologized to Yuma and gave him the surprise present which made Yuma awfully happy than ever, they reconciled and their bond became even stronger than before. Now what will you do? Praise Tina, thank her or still blame her? If she still gets blaming for what she did then I really don’t know what to say anymore. Getting blamed for doing with good intention but getting bad result is somehow acceptable but getting good result is getting blamed too? That’s nonsense and this way of thinking is exactly what makes people nowadays always hesitate to help each other.

    Now that I think about it, it has been a long time since I have a long serious discussion with someone on the net, not to mention it’s about a game. But thank to that now I realize why I like Tina and why I protect her this much. Even though I have seen tons of character like her but she still gets my attention. It’s because she is just like me after all, so when I’m talking about her it’s seem like I’m talking about myself. I’m a kind of person who really can’t stand heavy mood or seeing the ones I care about feeling sad, it make me feel useless and irritated so much that I have to do something about it or I will just explode. So maybe I’m like Tina at this point except I’m a adult and she is a kid. I have always stepped in people’s problem and helped them without permission, luckily I haven’t made any mistake or gotten any blame so I really don’t know about the consequence of my actions. Unlike Tina, being an adult makes me think straightly and carefully before I do something, so I always choose the best option and go along with it without any regret. I guess some people may call me annoying and troublesome but I don’t intend to change myself because this is who I am, I will just ignore them and do what I want. Even if my friends are about to give up being friend with me, I’m still ok with it because if they treasure me like I always treasure them, they will accept me for who I am. I’m sorry for being a bit emotional here but I’m glad that I was able to share my feeling with you🙂

    • You need to keep in mind that Miyu has never had a boyfriend before, and states she doesn’t really know what would be good to do in that type of situation. Tina’s original idea of giving a present to Yuuma was not bad in itself, and it’s here that Miyu agrees to the idea. It is AFTER this stage that Tina proposes that Mio act coldly towards Yuuma for extra effect. Miyu’s goes along with it, but is clearly a lot less positive towards the additional idea. Miyu’s actions here seem to be a mixture of going with the flow because the first idea was pretty good, and that of letting a child have a turn to try to do something. Just think about it; can you really see someone like Miyu saying that Tina’s suggestion isn’t a good one to her face? So yes, Miyu is a bit irresponsible here, but it wasn’t something that was easily avoidable in the given circumstances.

      Well Tina didn’t really wait at all. She hears about the fight as soon as Yuuma comes home from school, and almost immediately goes to Mio’s house afterwards.

      As I mentioned before, Mio’s state of mind at the time was probably very disordered. I mean, Yuuma and Mio are close to the point where it’s very unnatural for them to even be in a fight. Not only that, Mio’s naive to a certain degree AND kind as hell to boot. So with looking at those factors, it’s pretty hard to see Mio turning down ANY advice she was given at the time. Looking at what happened in a VERY broad sense, it’s like Tina forced

      Please remember that why I hated Tina in this instance was that she gave that crappy advice AND encourage Mio even when she found how Yuuma was feeling. Had it just been giving the advice part, I “might” not feel this much hate. So the theory you bring up about suffering and happiness may be true, but that doesn’t mean it’s all right to encourage suffering.

      I don’t think it’s reasonable to consider if things played out differently because as I mentioned in my earlier replies, the way that things are portrayed to us is important. However if things HAD ended happily, I wouldn’t praise Tina, but rather, praise Mio and Yuuma for getting over the challenges that love presents despite the crap advice Mio received. Even if there was no accident, that but doesn’t mean that what Tina did was right. Using another extreme example, imagine I’m driving you to the airport, but I’m driving so fast that I almost get us killed. If we die, naturally I would get blamed. However if we DON’T die, could you really say you wouldn’t blame me for reckless drunk driving? Yes, I am also drunk in this situation =D. It may interest you to know that I was ALREADY pissed off before the accident occurred; the accident merely escalated my rage.

      Just as this discussion is making you realise how much you like Tina, it’s also making me realise just how much I hate her =p. So yeah, I think this is a good stopping point. I mean, you’re free to try to persuade me for as long as you want, but I don’t think you’ll ever change my mind.

      Lastly, I have mixed feelings towards your reason behind defending Tina… because honestly, that makes you seem a bit narcissistic >___>.

  2. Yes, I admit I’m being a bit narcissistic when trying to defend her but the main reason here is that I don’t think she deserves this much hate. Ok I will stop at this point cause it’s seem like we are discussing about food which depends on individual taste. On other side, if you blame Tina this much, so what’s about Mio? She is Yuma’s girlfriend but she didn’t care about Yuma’s feeling and listened to the “crappy” advice, you keep saying because she and her sister don’t have any experience in love before so their behaviour are acceptable but Tina isn’t. Don’t you think it’s a bit unfair here? Does Tina look like she has more experiences than those two? She doesn’t even have knowledge about common things let alone love. One more thing, so Mio being disordered gives her the right to ignore Yuma’s feeling and hurt him? Maybe a while is alright but after seeing how Yuma hurt she still kept doing it. She should be the one who mustn’t do anything to hurt her loved partner but she really did even though it was entire her fault at the beginning, and you blame Tina but not Mio which make me really confused.

    I’m not trying to blame Mio or her sister because I always respect others’ thinking and feeling. Even when they make mistakes, as long as they have good intention then I’m ok with it. What I’m trying to do here is trying to understand why you hate Tina this much. To be honest, I really don’t get it at all, if what you said before is the reason why you hate her, then you must hate Mio too but it’s look like you don’t. That makes me can’t help thinking that you hate her on personal level.

    • Kinda funny how you saying you’ll stop at this point, but then keep going =p. I’ll keep my reply short because I would like to head to bed soon.

      Maybe I didn’t make this clear, but the events related to Mio are only a big part of why I hate Tina; it’s not like they’re the my SOLE reason for hating her. In general I dislike when 3rd parties “interfere” with relationships, and this makes Tina’s very existence something I view more critically. Don’t get me wrong; I’m fine with it as long as it’s done well. However, I don’t think that was really the case in this instance. That with Tina’s laziness, childish behaviour, ignorance and general stupidity makes her someone I can’t stand. So yes, I do hate her on a personal level. However, you clearly LIKE her on a personal level, and it’s pretty clear that this discussion isn’t entirely objective because it takes into account how we as individuals interpreted the events.

      I don’t think I’m unfair in regards to Mio and Tina in terms of the crappy advice. Both parties my be inexperienced, but the deciding factors for me are Mio’s emotional uneasiness and Tina’s degree of assertion. And Mio DID get a bit hesitate to continue giving Yuuma the cold shoulder after seeing how it was making him, but Tina insisted that she keep going through with it. You’re emphasizing a lot with Tina, but try putting yourself in Mio’s shoes.

      You’re in a fight with someone you love; someone who you’ve known for almost your whole life. You’re scared, and have no idea what to do. You want to apologise so that things will quickly get back to the things they were, but you can’t think straight. Uneasiness, sadness, guilt; all these types of dark emotions are swirling inside of you making you cold. You desperately try to think of what to do, but you constantly feel like you might burst into tears. Now if someone were to tell you that everything will be fine as long as you do such and such, given the weaken state you’re in, do you really think you could refuse? Even if you saw that the other party was hurting, if someone told you that you should stay the course, would you really be able to thinking clearly about whether it’s TRULY the right thing to do?

      Yes, Tina doesn’t really know much about…well of anything actually. That makes her assertion that things will be all right if Mio keeps up the cold act all the more rage inducing (for me). All I see is a kid(?) trying to play the “love fairy” and taking advantage of a girl in a very weak emotional state to do so. It’s probably here that we come to an impasse because we’re pretty much looking at the scene from completely different angles.

      • Yes, this is going nowhere because like you said that we are just viewing things from different perspectives. I think we should call it a day here instead of wasting more of our time. I had fun discussing with you so it’s worth my time. Thank you and I wish you best luck in life, see you soon🙂

  3. I really wanted to know in yuri routes how did they break up and how did they dating each other again ( I can listen a bit of jap only so I really want to know what happen and I dun understand tis part -.- )( can’t really concentrate when study 0.0)

  4. Pingback: Getchu 2014 Rankings | Amaenbou Dane~

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