First Trip to Japan, 2019

I haven’t been mentioning this at all on social media whatsoever (other than some picture snippets), but I went to Japan for the first time for 2 weeks in June. I had an amazing time, so I thought I’d share some of the experiences I had there during the 11 days or so I was there as an anniversary post as mentioned earlier, so let’s get into it! Continue reading

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6 Years in, and I’m still going

Sometimes I wonder to myself why I still write this blog. Then, my otome backlog looks back at me, silently sending me a message that I’ve yet to finish them. Well, it’s been 6 years. It’s been another slow (but steady) year, and yet another one filled with ups and downs. Has things changed? Probably, but much lesser on this blog. I’m about a day late for this one, as my anniversary (for any new folks) is the 7th of July, but it’s only a day so it’s not a problem. Let’s take a quick look because this post will be short, just for a little something I plan on writing after this. Continue reading

Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly

Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly starts off with 5 youths awakening in a mysterious mansion, with no memories or any recollection of who they are. They all want to leave, but the only clue they have is a task from the master of the mansion – to collect the kaleidoscope shards to complete the kaleidoscope. With that, the 5 youths set out to leave the mansion – but is there more to their lives & the mansion they’re living in?

I started this game around March right after finishing Norn9, but ended up not having the mood to play it at all until I was recently motivated to pick up on the otomes again. This time, I’m playing the english version of the game, so my review will be based on that. The first section here will be the non-spoiler section, where I’ll quickly review through all the aspects of the game without any spoilers, with some overall non-spoiler thoughts. The end of the review will be the spoiler zone with character thoughts and overall story thoughts, so there will be a warning on where to stop. Let’s get on with the review!

Story

The story is a tad bit short compared to many other otome games there, I’ll admit, but the story is complete and barely has any plotholes. There are a few questions I have here and there at the back of my head, but I won’t be able to speak of them until the spoiler section. The story is really action-packed esp on your first run, that it’s possible to finish it in one sitting because of how interesting the plot was. Individual routes did feel a bit short until the final one, which is bad especially if you’re playing /only/ for romance. Since the game had a bigger story to talk about, this was fine to me but I did feel that I didn’t get to know the characters well enough to have a complete opinion on them. Translation wise, I really didn’t see that many mistakes (maybe because it was a much shorter game), but I did find some spots oddly translated, esp with Yamato almost yelling vulgarities because of how his japanese speech was like. Not the worst to me, and I don’t believe there was any major plot mis-translates. Would give the story a  good rating, but the main idea is to not get into this thinking there will be some sort of long route dating the characters cuz the chara routes are literally about 1hr or so depending on the character.

System

The game follows a flowchart system which shows you which endings you’ve completed, and the branches you’ve yet to explore. This makes the game super straightforward to clear, since you can just start off at a branch and clear the story from there, instead of going through mountains of text to activate a route. However, I did find it to be annoying at one point since I found out that one of the routes required saving, instead of jumping into the route from the branch which resulted in me not being able to get the character end for about 5 times until I realised I had to redo the whole process to activate the route, then get the ending. At the same time, don’t be me and literally hop on the bad end at the start, freak out when you accidentally activate a route (& almost walk into it). Don’t be me and overthink the options on your first run other than the one about the book. Look away from that book and you’re good. Your options really don’t matter at all. But overall, it was a pretty simple and convenient system.

The butterfly hunt mini-game was a pain in the ass to understand at the start, but it got pretty easy once I got the hang of it. For me, my technique was to use the touch screen instead of the analog to lock-on to the butterflies, since it was more stable for me. Points are hard to get at the start, but can be easy to collect since, as your hunt level goes up, you got more butterflies to shoot so that equals more points. For anyone having trouble with the S score trophy, the main trick is to lock on to more butterflies before you shoot. Not much to say here other than that the system got really annoying midway esp when you were repeating the common parts with the butterfly hunts, but the force skip mini game function was very helpful.

Overall not much complaints with the game & I really liked it, unfortunately I can’t speak more unless we get into the spoilers, so off to the next section we go.

Here’s the spoiler section! I really do not recommend spoiling yourself if you have not played the game at all & intend to play it as the game is really sensitive, small details could ruin the experience so stop here if you intend on playing the game!

Common End

The main story reveals a few things – the truth about the mansion, and about all the people in the mansion. The mansion is actually the space between life and death, kinda the last spot where dying souls go as they pass on to their next life. The people who are passing on usually lose their faces, then their body followed by their soul entirely. If they despair in the middle of it, they turn into monsters and are thrown into the abyss where no one knows what it’s about. The only way to stay in the mansion with a physical form is that if the person has a strong will and attachment to the living. The entire group of youths was a group of childhood friends in the past who played a lot with each other, until the yearly summer camp. The group of friends being Benyuri/Ai, Yamato/Takuya, Karasuba/Aki, Kagiha/Natsuki & Monshiro/Kazuya. Hikage is revealed to be the master of the mansion, but other than a being a villain he doesn’t have much until his own route, so I’ll continue on about the chilldhood friends’ story.

At the summer camp, Ai suggested exploring a mansion in the middle of a river which they were banned from exploring due to it being dangerous, but they went anyway because they were kids. Unfortunately, right after they finish exploring, it starts to rain, so the 5 kids tried to leave the mansion only to find out the path they came from was flooded. They decide to cross the path, but Kazuya realises he lost Ai’s ribbon which was a keepsake from her mother (she gave it to him earlier to secure his bandage), and decides to go back to the mansion to find it. Aki & Takuya cross the river, but Natsuki, Ai & Kazuya head back. They find the ribbon, but the water on the path’s gotten deeper, in which Ai & Kazuya end up drowning. In an attempt to save the both of them, Natsuki dies, while Kazuya’s been a comatose state since the incident. Aki & Takuya moved away after the incident, and Ai’s been alone since then so she decided to “remove” the memory from her brain to not remember what happened and just moved on with life. Many years later, she runs into Aki & Takuya again who’ve moved back, and after a big argument about the incident, the 3 of them decide to go back to the river to go and see Natsuki to apologise, but the bus which takes them there suddenly flips and they land up in the mansion.

Hikage pretended to be Kazuya, because Monshiro never revealed himself to be the real deal since he didn’t want them all to fight again. Karasuba sees through this though, and shoots Monshiro’s mask to reveal his face. Hikage basically takes Kagiha “hostage” and tells them to see him in his room since Beniyuri holds the final kaleidoscope shard. Kazuya reveals that he was able to stay in the mansion without despairing was thanks to Ai’s ribbon, which has now been returned to her. Kagiha shows up again working for Hikage, to take the ribbon from her so that he can return to the real world with her. At this point, Beniyuri/Ai still doesn’t remember anything from the summer camp, so when they confront Hikage, he throws the memory back into her which causes her to go into despair mode pretty fast. Seeing how Beniyuri’s about to go mad, Kagiha returns her ribbon which saves her from turning into a monster, hold back Hikage & tells Beniyuri to shoot the both of them, then use the kaleidoscope and leave. Both Hikage & Kagiha die, and the remaining 4 use the kaleidoscope to return to the real world. In the common ending, the 4 of them decide to go and visit Natsuki at the river again, to say their final goodbye to him & move on with their lives.

This progression of the story really helped in making me want to continue playing, esp when they cut the story at the right points of the game to keep the mystery going. The twists in the game were sadly, to me, a little predictable. The main points I guessed out right was the part where Kagiha was dead, and the part where Monshiro = Kazuya as I personally felt that Yamato + Hikage didn’t seem to blend well as siblings. I somehow managed to predict that Kagiha was dead mainly from the smartphone short story, and how he talked about the past made me feel like…somehow he’s been away from reality from a while? So unfortunately, those 2 twists didn’t come as a big shock to me. Hikage being the master did shock me though, I seriously thought there was literally another person pulling the strings from the back but it was all him. The ending had me crying real bad esp about Kagiha/Natsuki not being able to come back with them to the real world, but overall everything hit me in the feels real hard (& fast too) so I really can’t complain. Except that maybe cuz it was so short, the story just ended with me in shock and like “???? its over?” The final happy ending with the alternate universe of all of them surviving did feel fulfilling, but honestly I really couldn’t take watching it since it wasn’t the real ending goddamn. 

Yamato (CV: Hosoya Yoshimasa)

Yamato, or Takuya was honestly the best sweetheart out of the guys because he genuinely doesn’t really want to harm anyone despite being tough & violent on the outside. Half his scenes literally had me grinning at how soft he was to Ai. Takuya’s main story comes from the guilt of him as a child, wanting Kazuya to “disappear” since he was jealous of ai liking Kazuya more. Whiled exploring the mansion, he pranked Kazuya by tying the ribbon loosely which caused Kazuya to return to find the ribbon, which resulted in Kazuya turning into a vegetable state. The guilt’s been hanging on him, which causes him to be the first one to turn into the monster state. After turning into a monster though, he’s calmed down by Beniyuri and temporary lives in a safe greenhouse until Hikage is revealed, so Beniyuri visits him once in a while. He & Ai share the same issue on not being able to move on with life, in which the whole mansion experience really helps him with that. I wasn’t really a fan of those rough types (& his child self rlly pissed me off LMAO), but he’s clearly grown and was sweetheart enough I really enjoyed all the scenes with him. He admits to his jealousy over Kazuya when he was a kid and I really enjoyed that growth. The Takuya ending has him finally apologising to Kazuya over the incident, and with Kazuya accepting the apology since what’s done is done, they shouldn’t look back on it. Takuya then confesses to Ai on the way back after visiting Kazuya in the hosital Overall I found Yamato/Takuya to be too good, and his story simple but done well, esp about the relationship between the twins.

Karasuba (CV: Kakihara Tetsuya)

Karasuba, or Aki is the flirt of the group and is always trying to make a move on Ai/Beniyuri but always gets rejected lmao. Personally, I didn’t like him from the start since his way of flirting was really not appealing to me lmao. This didn’t help further when he tells Beniyuri not to trust anyone on their first hunt, and afterwards in the real world ending (aka the prologue of the story with Aki, Takuya & Ai), where half the time he tells Ai & Takuya to get over the incident, when these 2 literally feel guilty for getting Natsuki killed & Kazuya comatose. Kinda felt like the people who didn’t think depression is real and tells people with it to get over themselves. Aki is revealed to the weak-willed boy of the group when he was young, and was unable to do anything but watch Natsuki & Kazuya drown. Aki hates himself for that so ever since he moved away, he’s been trying to “change” himself in which he becomes more outgoing and more brave, somehow leading into the flirty shit he is right now. After meeting Ai again, he keeps trying to make a move on her so she’ll forget about the incident and get over Natsuki. However, the truth is Aki himself hasn’t gotten over the incident and is still passive over everything, but their time in the mansion finally helps him get over it as he’s the one who reveals Hikage to be the imposter. In his ending, Ai decides to confess to him first by saying that they both need to move on. Honestly while he had good intentions, I really cannot like Aki because how he was being so forceful half the damn time and that pissed me off. Especially with his bad end, he literally does the whole yandere thing where he just traps Beniyuri in the dream world and bangs her every day (?) to make her forget about everything. 

Kagiha (CV: Toriumi Kousuke)

Kagiha/Natsuki is the oldest of the group, and died before the story even started, but his strong wish to return to the living allowed him to stay in the mansion for the past 10 years. The attachment he has to the living is from the promise he & Ai made when they were kids to get married in the future, and he still wants to fulfil the damn promise. He’s been following Hikage’s orders since he landed in the mansion years ago, just to meet Ai again. Unfortunately, he’s the only one who doesn’t get a true happy end with Ai. In fact, there’s no Natsuki end, but only a Kagiha end in which Beniyuri decides she doesn’t want to go through any more of this pain and decides to live with Kagiha in the mansion, in which their power of thought makes them enter this dreamlike world where they’re happily married and living together as a couple, and Beniyuri is fine with this life. I suppose Kagiha’s “Natsuki” end is basically the common ending, where I guess they writers made sure to tell everyone the dead cannot be revived, and Natsuki’s dead so he would never be able to return from the start. I played the game mainly cuz of Kagiha, but honestly I felt that his actions were pretty questionable. Mainly on how he would keep licking Hikage’s boots despite Hikage being obviously only using them for his own gain, and how he pretty much struck a deal with Hikage to get him and Ai out /only/. Clearly he doesn’t really care what happens to the other guys (esp. with that dick move he pulled in Monshiro’s route), and only wants his life with Ai so I’m not too sure what to feel. Sure, he’s sad but him leaving the rest to die for his own gain doesn’t sit well with me, judging by how he was the one saving them at the beginning of all this shit. I guess the common end probably had him realising what he’s done, but honestly they could have done more with him like making an epilogue for his route after the common end like Aki/Takuya. I do hear that the character song cds have more content, but for now he really lacks a lot of content. I still like him, but I’m not sure how much I like him because of his actions.

Monshiro (CV: Matsuoka Yoshitsugu)

MONSHIRO IS SUCH A SWEET BABY PLS PROTECT THIS SWEET SUMMER CHILD. Monshiro/Kazuya has been in the mansion this for the past 10 years or so, and he knew about Kagiha working with Hikage from the start. In fact, Hikage recruited him to help him with his plans when he first arrived (after Natsuki arrived of course), but after seeing Hikage beat the shit out of people when they didn’t meet his expectations, he decided to leave. However, this caused him to start losing his face & forget his attachment to the living, except for the ribbon he kept with him, leaving his only attachment being “returning the ribbon to someone”. Because he started to lose his face, he decided to put on the fox mask and had no name. Only when Beniyuri & co. arrived in the mansion, he noticed her, so his sense of self finally returned. The poor child’s been wandering around them mansion for 10 years, waiting to return the ribbon to Ai, which led to him collecting a shit ton of despair from being lonely. In his route, Kazuya decides to confront Hikage on his own, but Hikage starts torturing him by telling him how him being comatose has been a burden to his brother & how Takuya (in the past) wanted him to disappear. Without the ribbon, Kazuya’s collected despair starts exploding, and him despairing over how he’s useless and not needed by anyone in the world. 

Kagiha delivers an extra blow to him telling him that he was useless which causes all of Kazuya’s collected despair of being alone & being a burden to exploded, creating a hole in the mansion to the Abyss. Beniyuri, after hearing the commotion, runs into Kagiha, tells him to make sure to use the final shard she has, and jumps into the Abyss after Kazuya cuz she ain’t having her boy being thrown into hell. She goes through the Abyss and finds it’s just a pool of darkness, and starts seeing flashbacks of Kazuya in the mansion, mainly of his pain and loneliness. She finally finds him but he doesn’t remember who he is, so Ai shakes him back to his senses telling him that he ain’t a burden. (I apologise if I’m wrong here, my memory is bad orz) They start leaving using the Abyss but Kazuya starts getting dragged backwards. Ai tries to pull him back, but Kazuya leaves her with a kiss and leaves!! (´;д;`) In his good end, Ai screams for Kazuya and pulls him back up into the living. The ending splits are simple, Kazuya returns in the good end and he finally gets to confess to Ai. In the bad one, only Ai returns while the rest are still comatose. Kazuya is such a sweet child that he made me cry ;w; He’s kind of that character who I want to just keep hugging because he needs all the love. There’s nothing much I have to say about his character, probably other than his glueyness, which I expected from this archtype. 

Hikage (CV: Ishikawa Kaito)

Hikage, as mentioned earlier, is the master of the mansion. As his intentions are completely unknown other than the completion of the kaleidoscope, we get answers from Usagi, the little girl who’s been delivering messages from the master. As Beniyuri wants to figure out the truth of the mansion, she starts trying to contact Usagi through the food baskets she sends to them. Eventually, Usagi invites her over to her room. At first, their conversations are mostly girl talk, especially on how Beniyuri has feelings for Hikage, in which Usagi starts pushing for their relationship real hard. 😂😂Beniyuri keeps harrassing Hikage with Usagi’s 100 question list which annoys Hikage but he still continues answering her questions anyway. They also come across a fairy tale about 2 butterflies, in which 1 of them dies, so the other travels to find “psychedelica” to find the dead butterfly. The butterfly travelled and becomes tainted, reaches psychedelica but doesn’t enter, and eventually died. This is slightly important for a point later. They eventually get closer, but one day Beniyuri spots Hikage having a bad dream and wakes him up, but he gets pissed and yells at her for getting into his head, then forcefully kisses her. Beniyuri gets depressed & reveals the situation to Usagi, in which Usagi reveals the truth of the mansion.

Usagi was born to a really rich man hundreds of years ago, living in the same mansion the group of kids was exploring, but she was sickly so she wasn’t suitable to be the heir to the house. Eventually her father brought in his illegimate child, which was Hikage, to take over as the heir. Usagi was really happy when she got a brother, and days were happy until the family business wasn’t doing well and they couldn’t procure medicine for her. Hikage went around begging relatives to help get her the medicine, with paying for it with the fortune he amassed. However the shitty relatives never did, and Usagi died. Despaired, Hikage went and studied all the dark arts to revive the dead, and eventually found out about the kaleidoscope which apparently could open the door to “psychedelica”, as mentioned in the earlier story. Throwing his fortune he amassed away for the kaleidoscope, he brought it to their old home. Just as he succeeded in opening the door to psychedelica, Hikage killed himself and threw himself into the river at the mansion. The mansion was created from him killing himself at the door to psychedelica, creating a space in between the living world and the world of the dead. Basically whatever shows up at the mansion is made up of Hikage’s memories, and Usagi was summoned to the place because of Hikage’s huge wish to see his sister again.

Thanks to studying the dark arts, Hikage went mad already so Usagi never revealed her identity to her brother, and continued working with him unconditionally. Beniyuri decides that the 2 of them should meet, so she drags Hikage out one night, in which it’s revealed that he is indeed the master. A scuffle ensues as Beniyuri tries to talk sense into him, but he’s tired of all that shit so he tries to kill her, when Usagi takes the shot for her. Usagi is revealed to be Hikage’s sister, which causes him to lose his shit and scream. After calming down, he tells Beniyuri the full flashback, and explains that at the last moment, he realised he had gone too far and didn’t deserve to see his sister. At the same time, he also destroyed the kaleidoscope so he wondered how the shards made their way into this world. As he explains everything, he admits that he’s committed too many sins, so he kills himself leaving a crying Benyuri. In the epilogue, Ai returns to the living, and goes to the river to leave flowers for Hikage, and spots a pair of happy siblings. (´;д;`) I wasn’t a fan of Hikage being the bad guy, but his whole story was such a huge redemption arc for me. While I agree he’s done too much shit to others for his goals, he’s got a hard life too and that really made me sad, if only someone had reached out to him. His ending got me so bad though, he literally shot himself and it was the damn ending song leaving me in a huge shock, but this was a great concluding end.

~Final Thoughts~

I did not expect to yell so much in shock over this game. I heard that this game was amazing from many otome games on twitter, but I didn’t expect to be hit by a giant feels train 90% of the game goddamn. I finally understand all the pain everyone was yelling about in this game. I can say I thoroughly regret doubting this game when it first came out in japanese because this is good, goddamnit. I mainly enjoyed the overall arcing story about the childhood friends, as well as about the mansion. The theme of death was used well in this story, and firmly tells you that dead people can’t come back. While it would have been interesting to see one of the dead people come back to life, I don’t think I need it because I think thats what makes the game good. This game definitely needs an FD due to the lack fo romance, but I don’t want that either because the game is complete on its on, and we have 2 dead characters so there’s really nothing much left to talk about. Character favourite wise, I think my order of like from most to least liked would be like this: Hikage > Yamato/Kagiha > Monshiro > Karasuba. Hikage ended up being the one I liked the most because of how the ending fucked me over so bad with that despair. An overall amazing game, and I see why this game was chosen by Aksys to localise, probably because the mystery in the story was good enough to sell to anyone. I’ll repeat again here that the game is really short, so it might not be truly bang for your buck but I think it’s good enough. The art is gorgeous anyway, as well as a voiced heroine so I think it’s hella good enough to me. 

Norn9 ~Last Era~

So it’s been 4 (or 5?) years since I played the first Norn9 game, and I finally thought to start on the FD for a game I don’t have a good memory of. Guess what? I really don’t remember shit and have some good new takes on this series, and they are not amazing. I started the game in November, but it took me very long to pull my ass through the game I don’t remember the earlier content again I played, so this will be a brief review. The game has a few segments to it, so spoilers under the cut. Continue reading

Code:Realize ~Hakugin no Kiseki~

Riding on the popularity of the series as the whole, otomate went and released a 2nd FD for C:R, this time on the Vita and the PS4, which sadly is the only new release game to be on the PS4. Riding on that, I’m playing the PS4 version of the game and it’s beautiful. This game is pretty much drama-free fd with just pure, wholesome stories that we all want to read. The game consists of many different stories, but the main concept is based around Christmas/Wintertime with our 5 C:R men. Let’s get on with the summaries. Continue reading

Happy New Year! A Quick Wrap-up of 2018

2018’s been crazy. I’m really glad it’s over, but a whole lot of ups and downs in life happened (as per usual), and here’s the yearly roundup of things! I apologise for the lack of otome posts after my last review, but I have been ploughing my ass through Norn9 & Code:Realize real slow, and I’ll hopefully get their posts up soon! Anyway, let’s get on with an overview of 2018. Continue reading

Collar x Malice

Hoshino Ichika is a new police officer working to hear the concerns of the people in the streets on Shinjuku, now dangerously quiet due to the ongoing X-Day incidents committed by the terrorist group Adonis. One day on her way home one night, she gets knocked out and wakes up to have a collar put on her by the same terrorist group, who demands her to investigate the X-Day incident along with a bunch of ex-policemen who are currently running a detective agency. What will happen to Ichika? More under the cut. Continue reading

Ken ga Kimi ~Momoyo Tsuzuri~

So it’s been uh, 2? 3? years since I played the first KgK on the Vita, and I’m finally here at the fandisc. Ken ga Kimi ~Momoyo Tsuzuri~ is the fandisc to the original Ken ga Kimi, containing a huge amount of shorts stories which happen before, or after the endings of the original game. As the whole game has a shit ton of stories to cover, I won’t be summarising everything- that’ll take me ages. Instead, I will be making my summaries even shorter than usual, so spoilers beware. More stuff under the cut. Continue reading