After finishing Sumino’s route, I put out a Twitter poll asking what route to try out next. “Old Lady Time Travel Daughter” won out by a large margin, so I originally set out to do that route. I attempted to gain favor with the tiny enigma child, but things didn’t work out.
I played with the kid and gave them food as they sadly waited in the snow for their parents. She noted that we look really similar to her father for some strange reason in a not-so-subtle elbow nudge.
Whenever Sumino was rolling down the hill uncontrollably, I stepped out of the way and let her slam into a tree. I think this happens 3 times?? To be honest, after the last route she kind of scares me…
When Asahi arrived at our window during a blizzard and knocked pitifully to be let in, I closed the blinds and went back to watching TV.
Though no matter how much I did, the time traveler would always mysteriously vanish and never appear in the plot again. Kanata goes to the shrine, notes she’s not there, wonders if maybe her parents finally came back, and wishes her well. We, on the other hand, have failed to get on any route, and things don’t turn out well.
Asahi leaves a letter behind complete with sad snow-covered narration about how we’ve changed, and that it’s clear she’s not in your heart anymore. She vanishes to the mountains to never be seen again.
The following morning, your cousin Tsugumi tells you that the family inn is bankrupt and being sold off as a cultural landmark! Tomorrow! Kanata was initially worried about what would happen to Tsugumi, but it turns out she got engaged to the strange town doctor and will be perfectly set. Everyone in the town has one last bath at the bath house in honor of its closing, and I get scared seeing Sumino in the inn again. That route hurt me more than I expected ; _;
Lastly, Sumino walks us to the bus stop in harsh silence the next morning. Since we put up a thick emotional wall between us after *last time*, we don’t get her route, and we get on a bus to go back to the city we came from. She chases after the bus, shouting for us to come back one day, too broken up by our sudden separation. Kanata nods and waves, not wanting to do that again. Go time travel wisdom~
And then game over.
I had to do some searching in Japanese for a route guide, which isn’t easy when the game is named something super generic like “Snow.” Eventually I found something for the PS2 version which states that everything is actually in a strict order oddly enough. At first, you’re allowed to do either Sumino or Asahi, then you have to do the Legend route. After that, one more route opens up at a time, with time travel daughter being near the end.
The only hint I noticed that points to this is that Meiko at one point asks you “How much do you know about the legend?” to which Kanata doesn’t answer well enough. She smacks you and tells you to come back after studying more. Apparently that was more 4th-wally than I realized if she meant that for me, the player, and not Kanata. I also get strong vibes that she knows everything and may have lived in the days when the dragons were around.
I figured if I didn’t do Asahi now, I wouldn’t go back to it, so I went ahead and started that route.
Spoiler-free version if you’re wanting to play the English release in the future: Both Sumino and Asahi’s routes tackle very similar themes, so you don’t really need to do both. Sumino’s has a bit more importance I feel, so I would recommend that one. Asahi explores a bit more of the world’s backstory a bit, but I think that’ll be mostly covered in the Legend route. Sumino’s is just the better story though. Sumino’s made me feel sad and anxious. Asahi made me feel annoyed and impatient.
Entering Asahi spoiler territory! Also Sumino spoilers from the previous post are mentioned!
(I’m going to be honest here; I played this route a bit over a month ago and was just so uninspired that I put this review off too long. Hopefully I didn’t forget too many details, but thankfully I take a huge amount of screenshots for fun out of habit.)
So after letting Sumino slam into more trees and cry about anman, the plot branches after we let Asahi into the house after she knocks on our window in the blizzard. Tsugumi asks Kanata who this random child is, but he has no idea either. Asahi gets upset and starts crying, saying that when you were kids, you, uh, “kept each other warm in a long hug full of love” or something to that degree. Tsugumi immediately flips out:
Obviously this is a misunderstanding. Tsugumi doesn’t seem to realize that this event was 10 years ago, so clearly he didn’t sleep with her and then ran the next morning. But for some reason, no one mentions this, and Asahi is ecstatic that she gets to be your wife and her love is accepted, by force.
The following night, you have strange dreams of what you may have just gotten yourself into:
Dream Asahi says she’s a daughter of a group that “punishes evil people.” However, a guy with a punch perm threatens to wrap you in a bamboo mat and throw you in the ocean to drown, so it’s easy to assume Asahi is a yakuza boss’ daughter.
Thankfully we wake up from that…
…and wake up into a new hell. Alright that’s a bit much. Also, you better get used to hearing “nanoda” at the end of all her sentences for the next several hours, since it’s her “cute” thing she does nanoda. It doesn’t really mean anything nanoda, just a cute way to talk nanoda. Alright we’re done with that nanoda.
Now that Asahi’s your forced wife, she insists on helping you with everything. And she’s somehow bad at everything.
She insists on making you dinner, which you think is nice, until you see she just brought out a plate of raw vegetables and starts gnawing on a carrot. You hold an uncooked potato in your hand, but you can’t really eat that. However, you summon your main power characters and eat as much as you can to make her happy. You request next time that she at least prepares them a bit. She’s confused at first, but nods enthusiastically that it’ll be much better next time! The next evening, you get a pile of hacked up vegetables. Confused, but still polite-ish, you eat them and ask that she makes some meat next time and actually seasons the food. That and rice would be a nice complement.
So the next day, she hands you a raw steak covered in pepper, sugar, soy sauce, mayonnaise, and ketchup perfectly complemented with a bowl of uncooked rice. Perfect!
Now, the astute reader (or anyone whose remotely thinking about the story while reading) may have realized the route’s twist at this point: Asahi is a rabbit from your childhood who came back because they missed you. And now if you think I’m jumping the gun, let me present some proof:
- She has no idea how to do basic human things
- You met her 10 years ago, but don’t remember her. You shared a “loving, warm embrace” that can’t be explained unless you kept a bunny warm
- She served you a plate of raw vegetables for food
- Her hair is tied up into two long bunny ears
- She has red eyes
- She’s dressed like a fucking carrot
- She goes home every night, but refuses to let you see her house or know where she lives
- Kanon already did this (though with a fox), so there’s no surprise they copied this too
- There’s a rabbit on the game’s cover
So yeah, by this point (which is still in the common route section by the way!!) I already guessed most of the twist and spent the next several hours waiting for the game to reveal it.
Now you might be wondering why I called this post “copying their copied homework.” That’s because this route is really just the Sumino route all over again!! It follows the same structure perfectly, so you really don’t miss much if you only do one route. As I mentioned in the last post, this game was originally an 18+ game for PC, so this happy period most likely contains some scenes I’d rather not think about involving your pet rabbit. MOVING ON.
The beginning part of her route is her learning to actually cook like a normal person and control animal instincts, like eating the entire kitchen since she found new tasties. She’s incredibly bad at everything she does, but she makes up for that in enthusiasm!
Though enthusiasm only gets so far when you scrub someone’s back with a pool-scrubbing brush on accident and rip their skin open, requiring stiches. She’s trying though 😀
Soon however, Kanata realizes that her blind enthusiasm may cause some unexpected problems. Begging to be useful, Kanata asks Asahi to go to the village store and grab this week’s Shonen Copyright Avoidance magazine. Sumino’s mom, who runs the store, tells Asahi that due to being out in the mountains, they run one week behind on the magazines, and that she’d have to go into town to get one. Unfortunately, this is exactly what she does, on foot without telling anyone.
We find her frozen at the shrine (oh hey, just like Sumino) clutching the magazine for you. We bring her back home, realizing how terrible we’ve been or something.
She gets anime sick for a while due to it, but recovers pretty quickly. Kanata realizes just how much Asahi loves him, and he resolves to be better to her.
Around this time, Asahi, after many many days of practice, manages to make a meal that is not an inedible pile of trash!
What’s that? A happy smiling face? You know what that means!
*whistles from the sad train can be heard softly in the distance*
At some point, Meiko lets us know that Sumino has given up and that she wishes Kanata and Asahi well. The confusion over the past hugging incident is resolved, though Meiko wants you to tell her it really happened because it would ruin her amusement if everything just worked out. Kanata and Asahi break off the forced wife situation since the misunderstanding is resolved and decide to see what grows naturally in its place.
Asahi and Meiko get into a tiny argument due to Meiko’s bullying, to which she tells Asahi that she’ll “peel her skin off and cook her in a nabe pot.”
This freaks the Asahi out greatly.
Apart from that, everything is going great and life looks good! However, Asahi mutters the forbidden words:
*sad train approaching the station, please keep your distance from the platform as the train pulls in*
To be fair, the game takes another hour at this point, and she says this like 2 more times as if feeling invincible and spitting at the gods.
She even relishes in her power and blows up the other heroine’s oven while trying to cook! She’s on a power trip!
Another important moment; Kanata catches Asahi with a lighter near the tapestry hanging in your room. The tapestry is ancient, coming from back when the dragons lived in the village of the past. She goes on about how it’s evil and she hates it, but you prevent her from burning it.
Definitely nothing related to bunny-ness and magical turning-into-human powers here, nope. Move along.
The next morning, Kanata notices Asahi acting peculiar.
Not only was she sitting oddly close to the TV earlier, but she kept running into walls this morning. Kanata and Tsugumi determine that her eyesight must be getting bad and that they should get her checked out at an optometrist. Considering the game we’re getting into and what happened with Sumino, it’s beginning.
Her eyesight continues to deteriorate at an alarming rate. They actually change her model here to have more vacant, blank eyes. It’s kind of creepy how they drew it… The doctor suggests that they admit Asahi to the hospital, but she refuses.
You decide to respect her wishes and hope she’ll get better. Kanata and Tsugumi insist on having her stay at the inn since she lives alone with no other family. Later, you have a memory from when you were a child where your mom scolded you for getting too close to the ancient scroll on the wall, but you were too entranced with the bunny.
However, in the present day, there’s only a smudge there. On closer inspection, Kanata can somewhat make out a pair of eyes.
Kanata, in an infuriating moment of “almost putting two and two together,” dismisses everything and ignores the mysterious scroll.
Soon after, Asahi starts mumbling a lot and loses the ability to talk normally. She has to try really hard to enunciate everything, often leading to grunts and gestures. Kanata takes her to the doctor again in a panic, but he can’t offer any advice other than rest. Meiko, his daughter, offers pointedly cryptic advice:
She came in with similar advice for Sumino when things were turning bad then, so I really expect her to be in the know.
Kanata looks back at the wall scroll when he gets home and notices the rabbit’s mouth has returned.
NOPE BETTER IGNORE IT, NOPE. WE CAN’T REALIZE ANYTHING FOR A FEW MORE HOURS AT LEAST.
That night, Kanata has a dream of the distant past.
He dreams of running through lush green fields (ignore the sepia tones, that just means the recor– memory is old). He realizes that he, or more so the person whose memory he’s watching, is not in fact human. A kid shouts that they saw a giant bunny as they ran past. Another voice shouts that they found a monster. Before long, Kanata wakes up.
The next morning, Tsugumi mentions that they need to go on the roof and knock snow off before it gets heavy and the roof collapses. (Side note, isn’t it amazing how the inn doesn’t go bankrupt just because Asahi loves us?) Asahi insists on still helping out, despite all she’s going through. She still wants to be useful to Kanata.
In all of our character’s infinite wisdom (he did let someone with a 106F fever go dress shopping), we decide that the person with degenerating eye sight should be allowed to climb a ladder onto a slippery snowy roof? What’s the worst that could happen, they’d fall off the roof?
They fall off the roof.
Thankfully you catch her and take the brunt of the fall. But really though, why did anyone think this was okay in the first place!?
As if the sad train wasn’t trying its hardest to get up depression hill, next Asahi’s hearing starts to fade. She’ll stare off blankly into space until Kanata shouts or talks right next to her ear, causing her to jump.
“I wonder if it’s the scroll– no couldn’t be…”
We have more sepia memories, this time we learn that the rabbit wants to become a human. A man tells it that in order to become a human, it needs to do good deeds for humans. The rabbit tries to pull vegetables out of the garden and bring it to the village to save them time, but they chase it away while calling it a monster.
Someone’s kimono flew off a drying rack and blew away, so she tried to grab it and bring it back (okay it’s clearly Asahi, I’m switching to she/her). However, they see the monster rabbit and immediately assume the worst and chase her out of the village.
The next morning, Asahi is nowhere to be found. Eventually, Kanata finds a note on the table:
He realizes that the tapestry in his room is now missing. We wonder once again if the scroll has any meaning.
But alas we ignore it for now and search for Asahi. We don’t know where Asahi lives still, since she used to go back to her house alone and refused to let us see her place.
Thankfully Kanata intuitively knows where to go, this knowledge only being unlocked by plot relevance. He finally manages to track down Asahi’s home:
It’s an opening under a tree where she can get out of the cold. You find her alone and shivering, the wall scroll on the ground nearby. You hold her close, startling her in the process, and sleep there with her for the night instead of, you know, bringing her home.
Once again you dream of the past, but this time the rabbit saves a drowning child. The village is perplexed and terrified, but one man comes to her side.
A man named Hakuou (I think that’s how it’s read, the legend route should clarify it later) vouches for us and protects us from the other villagers. We learn he’s the man who told us we can become a human if we did enough good deeds, but he apologizes for how things turned out and asks that we return to the wild and stay away from humans from then on.
Kanata and Asahi then wake up from under the tree, after presumably seeing the same dream.
HAHAHAHA no. Why would it, we’re playing depressing Snow simulator.
I was 99% sure she was going to die here just like Sumino, but she didn’t. I’m kind of blanking on this next part, but we end up back at the hole again, this time with Asahi covered in cuts that won’t heal. I believe she ran away again, so you chased after her. You try to quickly grab food from the kitchen, but Tsugumi walks in and asks what’s going on. In a panic, Kanata sprints out without a word for some reason, clutching the few carrots he could. We see a flashback where he did this exact same thing in the past, with Tsugumi finding he was taking food to a rabbit that he wasn’t allowed to keep in the house. Why he panics now, I’m not really sure.
Back at the hole, Kanata manages to get Asahi to briefly nibble on a carrot, but not by much. Even after bandaging her wounds, the bleeding won’t stop. Kanata makes the expert medical decision to sleep in the cold hole again, and they’ll go to the doctor if it’s still bad in the morning. I really want to slap some common sense into this guy…
We have one last memory to see.
We learn that Asahi is not an actual rabbit, but part of the scroll brought to life by magic (THE SCROLL WAS IMPORTANT!?).
We learn that the tapestry is actual her life, and that she’s given form through its magic. She’s told to live her life as a rabbit, free from the confines of the tapestry. She runs after Hakuou and busts into his house however, despite him telling her to never seek out humans again.
Hmm, that line is oddly familiar and in the same font color/voice actor as Meiko. More hints about her being around for a long time, or just a very similar descendent?
Asahi ends up saving someone’s life, but is gravely injured in the process. The only way to save Asahi is to place her back in the tapestry to recover. However, she’ll be trapped and can’t leave of her own power.
It’s implied at this point that she’s released when Tsugumi gives you the tapestry to hang up at the beginning of the game. She doesn’t appear for the first time in the plot until after that. We can also put together that being in human form maybe have been a reward for her past actions, but that she can only stay outside of it as a human for so long before she has to return, hence her slowly fading senses. She must have been released from it as well 10 years ago when Kanata interacted with the scroll, but she disappeared somehow. Maybe when the tapestry was rolled up? That or she faded after running out of power? Not sure if they answered that.
More importantly, we learn that she’ll die if the tapestry is destroyed.
Asahi doesn’t know this and plans on burning the tapestry. We try to stop her, but we hear screams of pain as the scroll starts to burn. Kanata rushes in and throws the scroll to the ground, putting out the flames. However, it looks to be too late.
Asahi disappears, leaving only her clothes behind. You collapse in the snow.
Thankfully you don’t die. While unconscious, someone finds you and brings you to the hospital. You make a recovery, but Asahi is not here with you anymore.
And lastly, in a less confusing ending than earlier:
We find a mysterious bunny whose happy to see us. Aww~
So Asahi briefly gets her wish to become a human and see the one who took care of her years ago, but the magic wasn’t strong enough to maintain her human form for long. But now this girl you fell in love with is now your pet bunny, so that’s kind of weird when you think about it. Hmm. Let’s not think about it!
Overall, the route wasn’t bad per se, but Sumino’s felt a lot stronger. This one at least ended in a way that made sense though. I feel like Asahi’s route was plain and stayed coherent by explaining everything by the end. With Sumino’s, we still have no idea why she got sick, better, then died. That one requires digging into the Legend route, which will be next up!