So I’m setting a procrastination record with this and writing the post ~7 months after beating the game! Whoops. Last year was pretty stressful, and I ended up dropping the blog because of that. I’m trying to better balance things this year, and I wanted to bring back the blog since it’s a great creative outlet for silly writings, so here we are!
Apologizes in advance for trying to remember what happened, so this might be a little scatterbrained of a post, but thankfully, I take a lot of screenshots. My Emmyrea folder has 477 photos (!), so hopefully we can figure this out.
Let’s jump in already!
Last time, we had learned Calkram (Philia) is Emmyrea’s older sister. Emmyrea was taken from her family to be the princess, since the king couldn’t have any children, then that family was slaughtered. Philia, as the only survivor, wandered into the woods to die, only to run into the previous Calkram, who took her in and raised her. (That’s the short version, check the end of post #2 for more details.)
Now, everyone’s having awkward cave dinner time going “well… now what?”
In what seems to be the direct “what route are you going for” prompt, you get to choose which girl to console. Considering the princess just learned a horrifying truth about her sister, I went that way.
At this point, I was a little too lost and went to boot up the game, proceeded to brick my MemCard Pro, unbricked it, corrupted a few saves, but thankfully Emmyrea was spared and has a few dozen save slots I used all of. Thank you past self! So now I can speed read this scene that I can’t remember~ (I’ll try not to overdo it though, where’s the fun in that~)
Turns out I couldn’t remember what happened because nothing leads up to this anyway! We walk up to Emmyrea, accidently step on a loose rock, alerting her to our presence. She turns to us, tears full of eyes, then she jumps into our arms before we can even finish our apology.
After she cries for a while, she calms down, then asks you to keep this a secret from Elina. Apparently Elina yells at her for crying, saying it’s un-princess-like. She then goes on to explain that it makes sense to her now why her Mother always avoided her despite her Father loving her. Though, he only pampered her and never scolded her. She felt more like a possession than a child.
Following that, you have a long brainstorming chat about how you can convince Calkram to undo the curse without killing her until Emmyrea gets sleepy and falls asleep on your shoulder. You stay there awake, more determined than ever to protect this girl you’ve barely talked to! I’m not sure what our affection levels are route-wise right now, probably all over the board.
The next morning, Lulu decides to lead the party to Calkram again as long as they promise to keep the stabby things in their stabby holders 🙂
Lulu pulls out the plot bell of “just get on with it,” which honestly, I wish more games did. Emmyrea sighs, apparently hoping to finally see a monster. You mention it’s a good thing to have a safe journey, to which Emmyrea laughs at you for not being confident. Merian tries to defend your awesome dental-worm-killing skills, but Emmyrea outtalks her and makes her admit your progress was all a miracle.
Suddenly, Bitch feels a strange presence. He mentions it, but everyone dismisses him because of the plot bell. “Huh, there’s no birds or animal noises at all,” Emmyrea notices without a hint of implication behind her thoughts.
Lulu suddenly rushes by your side when you hear a sound, a soft thud as she swiftly intercepts an incoming sword with… her torso.
Seems Redrick planned on murdering you and taking the princess back himself, but that didn’t quite work out. Apparently he’s really glued to you this entire game and overheard your whole conversation last night. He declares Emmyrea a false princess and uses that fact as blackmail.
Blackmail wedding sounds like a great way to get stabbed in your sleep. Emmyrea’s done it once before, she’s got the stabby touch!
Partially related, but Redrick’s VA sounds like he’s trying to record a seducing noble “blackmails you into marriage ASMR” video, including getting way too close to the mic and quiet breathy talking. Not sure how I feel about that…
See what I mean?
Around this time, Ballnog comes nogging out of the forest, bloody sword in hand.
With news of her sister’s possible demise, Emmyrea shouts at him that she’ll never marry a guy like him!
He may not have the princess’s hand, but that’s one less noble in his way to becoming king. Or something.
The moment Bitch grabs his blade, Lu BuBallnog steps between you and Redrick.
Ahh, are we about to get into my least favorite villain motivation of all time?
Aaaaaand there it is… Ugh. “I’m evil because murder boner” is just the worst.
Like get this shit out. Anyway, stupid motivations aside, Ballnog just went from potentially interesting Lu Bu clone to generic villain we have to dispose of. Considering how soundly we got wrecked by the 6-armed monkey early on that he one-shot, we’re pretty screwed.
Cue the ridiculous battle music! How will we possibly triumph over the Black Knight himself!?
He places the pressure on you as sweat coats your hands. The moment your foot shifts on loose ground, he flies in for the kill. However, you’re spared from Death as Eliana jumps in and blocks his sword.
Now he’s just adding villain points to make his death more satisfying.
Though Bitch, his masculinity in shambles, tells the girls to stand back since this is his fight.
The game proceeds in its odd “let’s actually have a fight scene in a novel” angle where you have to choose an action. First you only get “swing from above” or “swing from below.” Selecting below gets you a new option, “swing from the side.” So of course you go for the new option since the previous ones wouldn’t work! After that, stabbing opened, which worked. Then it loops back to the previous choices, which we know side swinging worked, so let’s repeat that. Same dialogue, though now he’s vomiting blood!
You win! That was… not that hard? I’m curious if you can lose that fight, but yeah. For all his badass hype, he kind of just eats your sword and dies. Whoops.
Yes Redrick, your Ballnog is all warm and dried up. Realizing how absolutely up shit creek he is, Redrick panics.
Probably not the best move to be like “you can say you killed your sister, good deal, huh?”
You approach slowly, drawing out your sword, when suddenly from behind…!
Bitch worries that, while astronomically low, if she does kill him, she’ll be a murderer and murder is bad if you’re not male!
You were too late, however, and her spell is cast, flying right at Redrick. His body flashes in a bright and violent light.
*clown nose honk* (no really)
…well, he’s a frog now. Cue zany music 30 second insanity loop.
Oh that Merian, cue laugh track.
The party proceeds to forget about him for the rest of the game, essentially meaning they left him to die in the woods. Is that worse than the spell killing him? That seems worse. Oh well, it’s Redrick, who cares.
Alright fine, if, and that’s a big if, Redrick can survive for 3 days in the woods as a frog without getting eaten or starving, then I suppose he lives. Assuming he can then crawl his way back to civilization.
I feel like we’re forgetting something…
Oh right, someone’s been stabbed and was bleeding this entire time. Whoops.
Marian runs up and attempts to cast magic, something which no one should let her do given her track record. Bitch prays to god that her powers actually work for once.
And they do! *gasp*! She manages to close the wounds and stop the bleeding, but she still needs serious attention. But where will they find a doctor!?
Well I guess flying tea cup is on the menu? Magical flying device she’s had the whole time? Huh. Oh well.
Only three people can ride the teacup ride at a time, however, so you must make a choice. Essentially you choose which girl to be with, which feels like the game forgot they wanted to have girl-specific endings and they need to force all the choices here and now.
Committing to full Emmyrea at this point, we choose to stay with her.
Emmyrea immediately responds:
Bitch goes on about how it’s his knightly duty, with Emmyrea telling you that she wants you to save Lulu who was nothing but a good friend. Bitch asks Marian if she’ll be fine with Lulu, who respond with a “Y-yes!” With a yes that just bleeds confidence as much as Lulu is, Bitch is happy with his decision and lets her fly away alone with Lulu. Hmm. I hope she lives…
Marian says she’s going to return right away after she drops her off at the hospital, so we shouldn’t go anywhere! I’m not sure why we don’t just meet her at the town, that’s kind of weird to just ditch a stabbed person.
I feel like we’re forgetting about another stabbed person…
Elina runs off ahead with the plot bell to check on Calkram, suddenly knowing where the shed is. Also not really sure why they didn’t run. Not like Bitch couldn’t carry Emmyrea there. Instead, Emmyrea breaks down the moment she doesn’t have to appear strong before Elina, then begins to question who she is if not a lie.
Apparently this went more of a “the world’s a bitch and you can only believe in yourself” angle instead of a “don’t give up, believe in yourself!” version that I hoped for. Time traveled back and flipped that to “Me”.
“Believe in me. I’ll never betray you. No matter who you are, I’ll always protect you. So…” “But you… You serve the king! If I don’t have royal blood in me, then what reason do you have to protect me anymore?” “I didn’t come here and risk my life for a simple reason like that. Same with Elina. She’s be hurt if she heard you say that.”
Emmyrea finally calms down, remembering she has friends~ (But really, would we protect her if it wasn’t our job? Elina maybe, but we’ve barely talked with her? Oh well.)
Emmyrea “If I ever waver, please correct me as you always have, Bitch. I’ll believe in you.”
Elina finally comes running back, but her face is grim. Seems the news isn’t good, but Emmyrea begs her to lead the way.
Even as she lays dying, she warns Emmyrea about the black knight coming after her. Emmyrea reassures her that her valiant knight has defeated them.
Calkram passes shortly after. They dig a weirdly vertical grave, that or they balled her up, then said their goodbyes.
Soon a flustered Marian finds you, complaining that you left the spot! You explain that a lot of things happened (not to mention it was a silly idea), and she understands once she sees the red eyes of the recently crying Emmyrea. Though that doesn’t stop her from complaining that she thought everyone left for home already.
She reports back that Lulu is doing fine. Her injuries are grave, but the emergency first aid was able to keep her alive. For some reason, everyone decides to stay the night in the shed where Calkram just died. No one says anything, and no one is able to sleep. Really whoever suggested that idea needs to be left behind. Anyway, sleepless morning~
Bitch asks everyone what they’re going to do now. Merian asks if it’s okay for her to come back to the castle with them. Can’t break up the friendships~. Emmyrea plans on talking to her father directly about everything. I’m sure that’ll have a smooth and meaningful resolution.
Everyone sets off on the road, and cue the happy travel music! We’re over the dead people, only sunshine and gags the rest of the way!
You reach the city of Sephils, which is about a day’s journey from the castle. If it was you and Elina, then you could reach the castle by daybreak, but you don’t think Emmyrea and Marian can make it. So you decide, why not, hang out in town and leave the next day. Gotta have some social time! It’s odd, the game’s resolution has pretty much happened. We had the climactic fight, both the villains and not-so villains are dead, so all that’s left is an epilogue/saying hi to the king. But the game keeps going!
You ask the inn to use their telephonelong-distance magician to contact the castle and report the princess’s safety. You don’t know who might be magic listening to the call, so you choose to just say “Mission Complete” and slam down the mage’s receiver staff.
I’m actually confused since I didn’t have the Lulu option in my original screenshots but I do now. Ehh, let’s press it and see what happens!
I’m glad he finally had a realization that “maybe someone should have stayed with the stabby sponge.” Last time, I didn’t have this option and she was just forgotten for the rest of the plot, so I wonder what I did differently.
Either way, you incremented relationship values as the inn comes into sight. You sit down at the table, but it’s not quite dinner yet. You debate what to do when Merian drops by and asks if you’d like to go shopping with her. Before you can answer, Emmyrea busts in.
I’m surprised kidnapped Emmyrea even has money, Calkram was really considerate when she nabbed her. Also earlier Emmyrea whined that she couldn’t walk anymore and that they should stay in town, but now she’s denying ever having said that as she wants to walk around. You insist on calling her Miss Emmyrea instead of princess, having to explain that she just got kidnapped, and we really don’t need to go through that again. She’s delighted, mostly because she’s being all sneaky and undercover~
After much catfighting, the game makes you have a decision. Apparently I’ve unlocked a magical fourth option of “I’m too worried about Lulu to go shopping,” so I’ll save here and try that later! For now, Emmyrea’s being too stuck-up, so we need to let her lose now and then, so we go with Merian.
Emmyrea’s taking this about as well as any princess whose ever been denied anything.
You know the argument’s getting intense when the sound effect grumbling starts. You’re given the option at this point to ask them to behave or to rely on Elina. You decide to handle this yourself, but they both in unison tell you to shut it. The words escalate, the tension flies, what will happen now!?
…Emmyrea shouts “SPOON SHOT!” and throws a spoon at Merian with a tiny thud and ahh!
Merian relatiates by throwing her cup, all while shouting “CUUUUP ATTAAAAACK!!!” with yet another tiny thud sound effect
Emmyrea goes for the gold, unleashing a “CHAIR BOMBER” assault on Merian. Not to be outdone, Merian flips the table with her patented “TABLE BARRIER!” reflection technique!
Dishes are flying left and right, patrons are scattering, all cowering before the wake of Emmyrea’s “SOUP CRUSH!” Merian dodges the soup, but…
I’m shocked they drew a new sprite just for this!
cue battle music oh fuck
She steps into the ring, but the others are quick to make amends as fast as possible. That’s too bad, for Elina has a new game she wishes to try with them. While Merian and Emmyrea are stuck prostrated out in front of Elina as she lectures them, she commands you to clean up the inn and apologize to everyone else since you were too incompetent to stop this from happening.
After all that’s wrapped up, you still have time and end up shopping with Merian anyway. She takes you to an accessory shop and spots some earrings. She asks you to pick one out for her.
Obviously we pick the non-dumb answer and pick an earring with a red gem for her. Delighted, she buys it and immediately puts it in. Outside, she asks if you’ll stick with her a little longer and walk around. It’s crowded here, so you grab her hand and walk outside to the field of flowers nearby.
She’s happy about the beautiful scene and the gentle breeze, but sighs sadly as she notes this is the end.
…wait a second.
Obviously confused, Bitch inquires further. Without responding, she begins singing a gentle, low-sampled song, just the best the PS1 can handle. You can’t understand the words, but the melody warms your heart. She looks like an angel, but the loneliest angel to be (man write that on a twitter bio).
She tells you she doesn’t have much longer. She’s an artificial human, similar to the beast tamer girl from earlier, given power by Calkram’s magic. Now that Calkram’s gone, she’ll soon fade away, to whatever she originally was.
She wants to you think about her for a while longer, even if it’s just until you get back to the inn. Bitch asks how long she has left, to which she says until probably tomorrow night. The only mage powerful enough to sustain her life just died, so there’s no way of saving her (well, unless we were on her route o _o?). Rather than mourn her coming death, she asks you to keep her final moments happy and fun with everyone. You’re the only boy she’s ever met and probably will meet, but she also fell in love with you at first sight by the river back with the dental worm.
Back at the inn, Emmyrea and Elina ask what took them so long. Merian just smiles and says it’s a secret. Meanwhile, Emmyrea enjoys a parfait, a mysterious delight not found in the castle. Merian orders one too, but Emmyrea steals from hers since she ran out.
This goes about as you’d expect. They compete, eat 8 apiece, then wallow in agony until morning.
The next morning, the party walks with pensive music back to the castle.
Oh right this guy’s voice sounds like a bored and tired person talking through gravel.
Without denying it, the king laments that “oh she really was that girl.”
I mean, I’m glad he’s not denying it, but the “cool now what” attitude is kind of weird. His character is as unmotivated as his voice actor! As he elaborates, however, he calls himself a coward whose dead wife is the one who ordered the family murdered. “Not my fault!” She was jealous since the king still had lingering affections for their mom, so she killed them all.
Ohhh, so murdering their parents was okay because you felt a little sad about it, that’s good. Glad we solved all that.
Yes, you can. In fact it’s easy, he hasn’t even apologized! All he said was that he couldn’t die and let Emmyrea be with her sister since he still had the job of loving her, which apparently Calkram wasn’t allowed to do. The hell is this resolution??
Now, everything is out in the open. The king asks what you’re going to do now. You can tell everyone the truth if you’d like.
Yeah, glad we– wait, what? No repercussions, just “man that sucks?” Oh boy. The king asks if it’s to keep the kingdom together, to which Bitch replies it’s to keep friends together. To keep the family together.
So essentially, “you’ve found out the awful truth. Want to get dinner?”
WHAT!? This game just ends with us drinking alone!? I must have gotten no one’s ending and just got the miserable one. To make matters worse, Henry and Eddy, the short-lived party members from earlier, find us and and drink with us. “It was fun being with those girls, but it’s nice to relax and crack a cold one with the boys.”
Would you like to save?
Man this game gives me whiplash with how fast it goes. Merian basically said “I’m going to die tomorrow night and I love you,” to which you go drink in your room. What happened to any of that!?
I tried every combination of choices back at the town, but I couldn’t get the ending to change at all! I must have been so wishy washy that I somehow locked out of everything before the town of flag setting??
I tried to find a guide online, but all searches for エミーリア are poisoned by Bloodborne by Vikar Amelia being spelled the same way.
I did however, find a route guide for Sleeping Princess in Forest, aka the original PC version of the game! Speaking of…
I tracked down a copy! I can’t show you what the back looks like, the Playstation ratings board would hunt me down…
The bonus disc comes with all sorts of really random treats, like
…a desktop clock!
Coloring book pages! Also two screensavers, one where Emmyrea gives you a present that explodes, and one where Merian tries to cast a spell but drops a pan on Lulu’s head.
But my personal favorite…
…the Windows system sounds.
The above has become my Windows system error sound for several months now.
This one plays when I plug a device in.
And this one when I unplug. There’s several for each of the four girls, ranging from Windows waking up, going to sleep, email, away message, error, trash empty, etc. It’s an oddly cute addition I wasn’t expecting!
Also since the game disc includes all the music as open tracks, I was able to put together the OST!
Unfortunately they were all Track 2, 3, 4, etc apart from the first, so I had to make up track names. “Unrelenting Friendship” is my absolute favorite dumb track name. I have listened to this OST more than I should have.
Onto a quick look at the game:
Such a nice resolution~
You can quickly see the resolution difference of the PC running at 480p or better vs the PS1 at 240p.
Surprisingly, the hair is still oddly jagged in the transparent parts. I’m kind of surprised. Also I think the font is actually worse somehow. Green?? At least the PS1 font was large!
So now I need to find the actual route endings, but I might as well save that for another time on the new version! I do really want to translate this game though it would be a fun one to have other people see how silly it gets. One day!
Thank you for reading this far! Hopefully I can bring the next series of blog posts for whichever game comes next sooner! I’ve been playing through Que – Fairy of Ancient Leaf, so that might be a good next one. I gotta write about Twin Way someday too… Let me know if you have any game suggestions as well!
I’m finally getting time to write this post! May was a crazy month powering through the last of my part translating CCC and preparing a cosplay for Fanime. Now dead from the convention on a quiet holiday morning, it’s time to finally write up the next Emmyrea section! I, uh, played immediately after the last post, which was a tad more than a month ago, so here’s hoping I remember everything well enough. I take a lot of screenshots, so hopefully they’ll jog my memory enough. Without further ado, let’s try to remember what the hell was happening!
Our heroes wake up the next morning from their cave sleep, only to be surrounded by impenetrable fog. Elina and Bitch try to wake up Marian, only to find she’s an absolute disaster first thing in the morning:
Stuck in the thick fog in an unknown forest, our heroes had no choice but to shake the tiny mage girl awake.
Once again she openly hints at being close to the evil witch, but our characters can’t see the plot through all the fog. Either way, once she’s woken up enough to focus her eyes and fix her hair, she lets the party know her plan.
Bitch and Elina hadn’t heard of this fact before since they’re removed from magic as warriors, but it sounds like it’s not a tradition for their kingdom at least, considering no one has entered her forest alive. To them, Calkram is known as the Grand Mage who protects them. Until the whole princess thing of course.
These two screenshots were taken 20 minutes apart, so presumably they weren’t connected, but they just fit too well not to juxtapose.
(I’m falling asleep at like 2pm due to con fatigue x _x. I have coffee now, hopefully that’ll carry me through this~)
I’m tired enough I just realized “Paa-kun” is because of compass… I guess we could call it Rose for compass rose or something like that, though that’s not really cute enough. Rosey maybe? Or Compy like the tiny dinosaur. We’ll punt that issue for now.
Marian leads us into a not-dark cave, to which Bitch and Elina express their surprise at the incredible luminescence. Elina is weirdly confused.
The cave should lead to where Calkram lives and Paa-kun can guide them down paths without monsters. Marian boasts that everything will be a-okay!
However, Paa-kun seems to be having issues and isn’t getting a signal. Apparently the compass has a feature where if the guest isn’t invited, it won’t show their house on Magic Maps. Damn that’s useful. Since the party will have to fight through monsters now, Elina and Bitch have reservations about bringing Marian along. Not so much that she’ll cause problems, but that they don’t want her to risk her life for a cause no one’s even bothered talking about yet. Of course, she protests this:
Surprisingly, the decision is left up to the player.
Of course we bring her along! Almost certainly a bad ending if not, but I’m a bit curious.
Elina argues with you, to which Marian calls her an old hag. Elina shouts back that she’s barely twenty, to which Marian retaliates with bad Japanese puns:
It took me a minute to puzzle this one out, but 鯖を読む (reading saba) is an expression that means “to manipulate figures to one’s advantage; to count wrongly on purpose; to inflate or deflate one’s age.” So by asking her to read “saba,” aka the word for mackerel (not to mention breaking the fourth wall by having her read a floating kanji), she’s making her admit to lying about her age. How I would actually translate this, I have no freaking clue. I need way more coffee for that…
Remember that gasoline tanks don’t exist in this world, but just ignore that, neither do convenience stores.
Some liberties with that line, but only so many times I can translate ふざけないで as “don’t fuck with me!”
Anyway, they finally get started on their dungeon exploration adventures. This section took a while, so I’ll probably paraphrase it a bit. You’re given options on where to go without any basis for your decision.
Various different events happen, such as finding monsters:
Or having Elina and Bitch fall into a trap:
One of the traps drops a washbasin on you in the classic anime trope, complete with the perfect sound effect. It’s a weird tone mix.
If you take the wrong way, it’ll actually just loop you back to the start, so I ended up just saving before decisions and time traveling.
When you’re far enough on the correct path, Marian asks a silly little question that’s on her mind:
FINALLY. Like, this conversation should have happened hours ago!! Bitch and Elina look at each other awkwardly before telling the truth about Calkram:
To no surprise, Marian is in a bind for her love for Calkram and for her friends.
Oh don’t think too hard about this, it’s time to punt the problem down the road again with monsters!
This monster’s different though since it’s a magical beast! The only way to kill it is to break the gem that gives it life. So they do that and poof.
However, the next room is rather dicey:
The weird bug things are scared of the rock lizard guy, so they’re just watching from the distance. You’re given the option of either fighting the rock lizard while the others are at bay, or running past the stunned copy-paste eyeball monsters. I chose to fight the lizard.
It immediately fucked me up.
That was rather bleak and dark, not to mention sudden.
Time travel back five seconds, instead we fight our way through the bug guys. Marian nods and says she’ll help us, preparing a grand magic attack…
…that ends up being a nabe pan falling from the ceiling and bonking a monster with the perfect sound effect.
With much better luck than the rock snake, the party manages to make it out of the cave alive!
But not without unwanted attention:
I’m not exactly sure what her orb communicator is held up by, but the sub balls are held by chicken feet, which means the center is… Anyway, evil-looking character!
With that threatening interlude over as fast as it appeared, the party reaches their destination.
Before they can soak in the sights, Redrick appears out of the literal blue with his warm glass of Ballnog:
Marian’s a bit confused, having never seen this trash— person before, so he politely introduces himself.
I’m glad the party collectively knows how to deal with Redrick, especially with Marian’s savage support.
Redrick, responds with whatever this face is:
and takes his warm Ballnog with him out of your sight! Apparently they followed in your wake and probably will be tailing you again, but for now they’re gone, allowing you to enter the castle.
Into the dark and cold castle we go. What horrors lie in this seemingly empty hell where our princess lies trapped?
We get a rather warm reception waltzing into enemy territory. She notices Elina is wounded and tends to her without hesitation.
Elina smiled back at the kind gesture, but her eyes showed no laughter, only the cold sharpness of a blade.
Marian on the other hand, is realizing the gravity of the situation.
Not that this is particularly shocking, though the most striking part is that she’s a grand mage’s disciple while sucking at magic very badly.
She introduces the maid as Lulu, who takes care of Calkram.
You try to explain how you’re not the bad guys and that Calkram is the bad one, but Lulu isn’t going to believe you that easily.
Like really, why would you ever pick the first two options? To be fair, 切り捨てる can also just mean “cut off and abandon,” in addition to “cut someone down or slay.” I don’t fully remember the previous line, so it might not be as threatening, but the “as ordered by the King” part implies a heavier toll. But yeah, looks at those two tiny adorable faces and tell me you could cut them down ; _;
Elina seems to be in agreement with us, which means she might have stopped us if we tried to do anything bad.
For now, Marian decides to stick with us:
Lulu still doesn’t believe Calkram could do wrong, so she runs off on her own. However, the mysterious dark elf has something else in mind:
Somehow all this happened in front of our party as they went forward as they run into the room with Gilma.
Things have taken an oddly sexy turn with a dominatrix elf with a latex-like top, a collar, and a whip with a captive maid trussed up to the dungeon wall.
This was a porn game, you’ve got to remember. I can feel the threatening eyes of the Playstation rating board glaring daggers from just outside. So Gilma does what she can while keeping an eye on the game authorities.
The rating board nods in approval as she explains the whip is not really a whip, just an obedience motivator.
Around that time, a magical beast rears its head and snarls at the heroes.
Oh hey, copy paste monster! Now just remember everyone, you’ve got to break the crystals or the beast will just keep coming back!
No that’s not right, Elina, good try. Marian is a gem, but not the right one~
Bitch confronts Gilma, cutting down the magical beast just to watch it come back.
Bitch quickly scans the room, noting several possible gems. Without much to go off of, you’re forced to make a decision!
You break a few on the wall, but then she screams at you to stop at a certain one. The evil villain yells at you not to do something, so of course you do it!
Apparently that one was a paralyzing poison for some reason.
Okay so time travel back, we don’t break the orb that kills us and instead break the one that kills the beast. Now without her fangs, Gilma escapes from the room. Before we give chase, we take a minute to free Lulu from her shackles and head out.
However, the party hears a bloodcurdling screen just outside the door. As they look out, they see the shadow of someone running away.
Bitch didn’t get a good look, so he can’t say for sure. But it’s possible Ballnog is tailing them and finished her off for reasons unknown. However, something strange happens with her body:
So you’re telling me Calkram specifically turned a flower into a sadistic woman that ties up girls and has her way— slaps them in an age-appropriate way until they’re good again? I feel like we’ve learned more about Calkram here than anywhere else in the game to be honest. Good for her, good for her.
Anyway, you find Emmyrea.
Oh the princess? Oh yeah, she’s just in that room eating cake.
We find Princess Emmyrea happily relaxing in a weirdly nice room with a sunlight window despite being in a cave. We run up to her, tears in our eyes, but she’s utterly confused. Elina tries to explain to her what happened at the castle.
Something is definitely going on here, but who knows what at this point… After seeing the grave look on Elina and Bitch’s face, she begins to have some doubts that maybe the kidnapper isn’t the good person?
We try to tell her it’s dangerous, but she stubbornly refuses to wait in the room as we confront the witch.
As they walk further in the castle to Calkram’s room, Emmyrea keeps looking around curiously at things in the room. At one point, she spies a painting on the wall that for some reason she just has to touch. This triggers a trap that drops a rock on her, but Bitch manages to pull her away just in time.
After Elina scolds the princess, the party keeps walking, only for Emmyrea to once again be curious about a vase. You’re given the option to intervene or not.
If you don’t intervene, you keep walking only to hear the sound of it shattering on the ground. Elina comes stomping back and yells a storm at the princess.
If you do intervene, she goes full princess on you:
Comedic scenes aside, we’re at Calkram! That was oddly quick, I think?
Calkram felt more like a mother confronting her children than an evil witch at this point. Most of this scene is this single portrait, so I’ll just translate them under one picture.
Suddenly, the doors come crashing down and your party is trapped in the room.
Naaaah, it was a friendly kidnapping! A surprise roadtrip!
Elina, unmoved by her words, charges Calkram with her sword. However she repels the sword with magic, sending it clashing on the floor.
Man, Emmyrea comes through in a pinch. For a character who eats cake and breaks pots, she took that flash of anger and used it. However, Calkram defiantly stood up for her actions.
This tense scene gets more tense with the option on how to act. It seems pretty clear there’s some truth here. I’m not certain killing her would end the curse, or that she’s even evil. So I had Bitch stay his hand.
Elina steps forward during your hesitation, unwilling to doubt her king. She looks at you, demanding you hand over your weapon.
Second chance, once against I refuse to relinquish my sword. When suddenly…!
A secret exit opens up and Lulu ushers Calkram to safety. The party tries to follow, but you end up back outside the cave and in the forest. Calkram is nowhere to be seen, but Lulu for some reason stays behind. It’s dark, so you head back to the cave where this blog post started for the night.
As everyone was eating, Lulu decided it was time to speak up.
My god this whole scene was so serious and captivating I had to capture it in full without jokes. This is where I left off like, more than a month ago and I wrote this whole blog post in several hours just so I can finally get back. I’m assuming this is the truth and that’s how the game will go, but I will lose my shit if it turns into another lie and the king’s actually got his own side of the equation.
AND WHAT’S UP WITH REDRICK AND HIS WARM BALLNOG!? I have to know!
If you’ve stuck around to the end of this, thank you for reading! I hope I can make your second-hand playthrough of Emmyrea worthwhile, for I’m invested at this point! I think I’ve been writing this for like, six hours, so I’m gonna face plant~
This game caught my eye in a pile of EsperKnight’s for-sale games mostly due to how they managed to spell the name Emelia in the most bizarre fashion I had ever seen. Sensing only the finest koala tea from it, I did a quick search online.
PSX Data Center had an entry for the game with several screenshots and a really badly translated description:
This is the story of a small country but an incident happened.
The King's only daughter Princess Emmyrea are lost. The people suspect of the north country witch - Karakuramu, So who is a courageous choice, that will be up to rescue the princess Emmyrea ! The player will take the role of the knight that will try to rescue the princess and for that he will have the help of some girls: Irini (a woman knight) that is the best friend of the princess, Merian & Lulu.
Our charming girl characters unfolds, a fantasy adventure.
The characters, the excitement of the game with full voice convincing performance.
Make it easier to concentrate on playing, it is a simple operation.
(It’s bad that my biggest gripe about that description is the “convincing voice performance,” but we’ll get there, I promise.)
Really though, seeing a female knight was enough to convince me to throw it in my pile of games from Esper and forget about it for several months. Until now!! Join me as we embark on low-budget visual novel adventures!
The game starts out as any good game should:
Actually starting the game, we get the standard fantasy beginnings:
The game proceeds to have 3-4 dialogue boxes of set up before throwing us right into the throne room as the evil witch busts in, wasting absolutely no time getting this plot on the road.
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how to localize “karakuramu,” so Calkram for now seems decent enough. Apparently she’s a legendary witch whose “been around longer than records have existed,” but no one had actually seen her till now.
In the blink of an eye, Calkram photoshopped a transparent version of the princess into her arms!
In what I can only describe as mild disinterest, the King’s voice actor grumbled about the predicament. But that is not all. The Great Witch also casts a curse upon the King.
She goes on to describe how she’s most likely the only person who can remove the curse, and how she’s excited to watch him fall. That and with Princess Emmyrea (do I really have to spell it like that ; _;) kidnapped, there’s no true successor to the throne. Chaos will soon befall the country, and she’ll be laughing while enjoying some popcorn.
She never actually explains why she’s doing this by the way. She vanishes in a smoky middle finger at the King and silence fills the halls.
Just then, a toothpick of a young girl appears! Her name is written as “Iriina” so we’ll just call her Elina. At this point, I realize we’re sadly not the female knight and got a bit disappointed. Why do we have to be the boring guy? Oh well.
Speaking of generic protagonists, ours has to profess his classiness as soon as possible:
Any dude who doesn’t think a girl in a suit of armor is sexy is already a lost cause. Either way, she’s Emmyrea’s childhood friend, so she was assigned as her bodyguard when she became a knight.
Elina immediately proposes to go after the witch, to which we have some reservations:
Female knight comment aside, he does have a point if she’s never actually seen battle and then wants to fight a witch that just utterly outclassed everyone.
After getting what was probably the King’s permission as he’s twitching on the floor in pain, you agree to join Elina along with three others:
Our protagonist explains that without a magician, one will get lost in the forest and die a slow death. No one has come back alive from the forest either, so I’m not sure how that information came about, but hey, I didn’t write this game~
One small note about the voices here: Elina is great, she sounds normal. A bit compressed, but normal. Eddy on the other hand, sounds like a programmer picked up a paper tower roll and recorded his lines while eating lunch. It’s so starkly different and weird, it’s baffling. The tiny boy Andy’s voice actor is super deep as well and does not match the body. Henry at least sounds mostly normal, but I feel they focused 80% of the acting budget on the female characters and gave the males some scraps to fill the plot holes.
With the game really harping Elina for having no experience but being arrogant, I’m wondering how long until her disillusionment and realizing she’s not as invincible as she thinks.
The next morning, the party of 5 embarks to the Northern Forest, with nary a plan on what to actually do there! It’s odd we have a party of 4 guys, that’s really not how I was expecting things to go down.
A reasonable amount of time into their journey, the party decides to take a rest on the outskirts of the forest, but their Captain is having a powertrip:
Everyone kind of looks at her, then to us. I selected the option to nicely explain to her that once we’re inside the evil death forest, we can’t exactly rest like we are now. It’d make more sense to be at our bests before entering hell.
While they rest, Elina manages to shout some more since she’s really enjoying this leadership with no plan thing:
Eddy calms her down between voracious bites of food:
Before their argument can progress any further, their noise draws the attention of some new characters.
In what can only be described as “the red-eyed evil duo,” our hero recognizes them:
You could argue “barunaagu” could be read in a different way, but you could also argue his name is Balnog like the Eggnog drink but for balls, and it stuck too hard. Also Redrick!? It’s like they wanted to name him Fredrick, but then someone’s like “wait he has red eyes! Redrick!” and everyone who approved the name Emmyrea gave the thumbs-up.
Bitch explains to the viewer that Balnog is the fearsome “Black Knight” who has no connection to his feelings and never moves his facial muscles. With a single order, he’d kill woman and child alike without remorse. For some reason, he follows Redrick here, whose vying for the throne. His plan is that if he rescues the Princess, then he’ll be handsomely rewarded and step closer to royalty. Though if he saves the King and Princess, then they’ll be back in line. Maybe he’ll negotiate for the Princess’s hand? Either way, he’s an arrogant ass who can only haughtily criticize people while his Balnog supplies the bark to his bite. Balnog really makes me think of Lu Bu here, so I’m expecting Redrick to be betrayed and Balnog to join the witch or something. We’ll see.
Either way, Redrick tells us to be good little kids and camp here instead of going to our deaths. We give him the good ol’ finger and walk off into the woods without him.
I don’t remember the context of the above, but I couldn’t not share it!
Anyway, shortly into the forest, the party is ambushed by their first monster!
It’s a weird, uh, six-armed monkey thing? I’m not sure it can really close its mouth with those teeth…
The fight immediately goes to hell when one of the guys is bitten from the shadows. The creature leaps back into the trees, hiding its location. A second guy is taken out in a flash. Bitch tries to restore order to the situation, but Elina isn’t having it!
Somehow, their third guy is taken out, but Bitch manages to hold his own against the toothy onslaught. Just before death breaks through, a flash of steel from behind skewers the monster.
I’m with you on this one Redrick, I’m just impressed at the game’s ability to remove all the men from the party effortlessly. Like, why did we even have these party members anyway!? It’s been 10 minutes! This at least explains why their voice actors were so shoddy.
Redrick once again recommends leaving this to them. This time he asks that you watch their horses since they can’t take them further in. On the way back, they can have the honor of following his victory precession. Elina finally snaps after all the stress.
Ahh the joyous expression of an asshole getting slapped. Impressively, we aren’t immediately killed by Balnog, but maybe he was secretly happy as well.
Turns out Henry, Andy, and Eddy aren’t dead, but Henry and Andy are too injured to continue, so Eddy escorts them back to the castle. Now alone, Elina has a moment of self reflection.
I mean, I knew this turn of events was coming, but wasn’t expecting it so soon. This game is really going quite fast!
Good ol’ Captain Bitch, has a nice ring to it. We get a choice here, it’s a difficult call:
Really riveting choices, I’ll have to try the other branches on another game~
As your first order, you tell the group of Elina to keep going forward to an opening in the trees.
Side note: At this point is was pretty obvious this game was ported to consoles as an all-ages version. Shentok confirmed it was an 18+ title called Nemureru Mori no Ohime-sama (Princess in the Sleeping Forest). The VNDB page has this exact image but without the jacket above, so it’s definitely the same game. I wonder if the compressed-sounding voices were from trying to go from PC to PS1. The art also seems oddly blocky as well, so I’m wondering if overall they didn’t do the best job.
Also side note: Turns out this game got a re-release as a Simple Series game in the SuperLite 1500 Series. I’m assuming it doesn’t change anything, but it’s possible. For reference, I’ve got the original release PS1 version and not the Simple one.
But I digress.
We rush forward to intercept the… um… man centipede poison monster that can fly…?
The game actually gives you combat options, though it’s really vague and disconnected. You get options like “swing upwards,” “swing downwards,” etc., but there’s no real indicator on what makes the most sense. After around three options, you fell the monster! Fast monkey thing, no chance. Poison centipede with perfect chompers, a-okay~
The new girl rushes in to hug Bitch, wearing only a single unfastened robe the Playstation ratings board found for her.
My god this dude has to comment about boobs the moment a new character is introduced, no exception. Well, I guess he hasn’t mentioned the evil witch’s yet.
Seems she’s instantly fallen for the main character after he saved her, as expected from a visual novel like this.
Bitch, ever judging of the poor knight girl, keeps up his nonsense about how she’s not the coolest-looking character here (well, aside from the witch maybe).
Though Marian takes slight offense, saying she’s not dressed to look cute but wearing her profession’s clothes:
All of these are terrible answers, but of course I had to select the one that makes the least sense.
Alright, that was a good 4th wall break, 10/10.
Also, ever since this nearly naked girl (we told her to go put on clothes and come back) hugged Bitch, Elina became extremely prickly to her. Better get used to catfighting, because they do it for a while. After Marian tells them she’s a magician (oh hey we need one of those, convenient ce store), Elina shrugs her off as a useless little girl. Angry, Marian attempts to turn her into a frog!
Elina grew so much into a happy girl only to immediately channel it into being a bitch. Whoops. Probably shouldn’t have been hanging around the guy actually named Bitch.
We try to ask Marian on several occasions what she was doing in the cursed evil woods, but she just keeps answering “taking a bath in the lake, duh.” For now, she’s following us and helping us through the forest. We just tell her we’re searching for someone, since we don’t want to reveal too much.
Both girls for some reason are vying for your attention, so they compete over silly things like “do we go left or right?”
I don’t know, maybe the clumsy forgetful mage whose at least been here before might have better odds than someone whose never been here ever. But no, Marian gets all happy I sided with her. Whoops. Does this game have multiple endings? We’ll have to see~
We decide to rest at a cave for the night as the sun’s setting. Still competitive as ever, they make me decide who will cook dinner.
We were given 3 options: Merian, Elina, or both. I selected both, meaning they should have a competition! They, uh, sabotaged each other and we didn’t eat dinner that night ; _;.
Later, we go off alone to fill up water bottles at the lake, leaving Elina behind to protect Merian. On the way back, we hear some voices:
Seems they’re talking about us~
Somehow five seconds alone has greatly improved their relationship! Though the moment we get back, they start bickering again as if they’re ashamed of being friends. Or something. I’m not really sure why.
Elina accidently lets it slip that they’re trying to find the Great Witch Calkram.
For some reason we just reply with “wow that’d be really nice!” and not “this is immediately a red flag.” Oh well, we’ll cross that important betraya– bridge when we get there.
Tired after the long trip, we rest for the night. But not long after, our stomach wakes up back up and we rummage for anything we can.
Elina can’t sleep either and offers to cook you some food. You accept, wary of her cooking skills. To your surprise, she’s really good! She glares at you, but you play it off like you totally knew she was good this whole time, yup!
The two of you spend a short time chatting about whatever comes to mind while listening to Merian mutter in her sleep about you. Eventually, you retire for the night yourself.
I’m sure Emmyrea is madly in love with you for no reason, but we’ll find out next time! See you soon!
Ever since I heard that one of the Crystar developers was working on a new game, I knew it’d be a day 1 import. However, most of the pre-release buzz around this game was that it was supposed to feature a Shin Megami Tensei IF’s writer, but then it turned out they only supervised/gave feedback or something like that, and it made a stink. Seeing how I wasn’t interested in that reason anyway, I forged ahead and bought the game.
My first impression of the game was actually quite bad, and it felt like I’d be in for a rough time. However, as I gave the game a chance, it really pulled me in and made me glad I stuck with it and looked past the older-looking graphics.
I’m writing this review out of the ordinary today because of my bad first impressions. I wanted to shine light on the game in more detail so others can make an informed decision. It’s a very character-heavy drama, deeply exploring the wounds of trauma and how we as humans cope with the pain. I’ve cried a couple times so far. As of this writing, I’m very close to the end, but not quite there yet. Future me, what’s your spoiler-free impression of the ending?
Future Aria: Okay, I was like, 60% into the game and just at the cusp of sadness, holy shit. It destroyed me; just like Crystar, I went through several tissues, cheered as characters got their moments, and yelled at my TV as others screwed up their chances. Someone else has to play this so I can gush to them about things. I imported the Kamitsubaki collaboration album (more on that later) and have been tearing up over the full intro song ; _;
Intro to the Plot
Our game begins as any good JRPG does:
I always joke I’ll take a shot if a protagonist has amnesia, so this didn’t help my first impressions.
Just before this though, the game actually begins in the principal’s office where you get to name your character:
I was trying to spell Goblet, like a tiny goblin and not the cup, but the Japanese version is limited to 5 characters. I’m sure in the English release you can be Goblet, but for now, we’re Goble-kun~
The game heavily follows the concept of the seven deadly sins, where your character has certain levels in Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride. One of the first things the game does is an initial personality test, where your answers determine which sins get points. These levels are used to access certain items and events and can be raised by killing enemies of a certain sin or taking quizzes that are given throughout the game.
As the game went on, it told me I’m prideful as hell with nowhere enough greed to pick up an item I wanted, so that was odd to find out haha.
Back to amnesia land, you wake up surrounded by fog, where you’re found and pulled to safety before it drives you insane. The fog has spread throughout several of the floors, blocking access to many areas. The entire school has apparently been covered by a barrier that no one can leave, as if to contain the maddening fog.
The first floor of the main building is safe, which is where you meet the student council president Nozomi Hinata who joins your party. She wants to be a strong leader, but doubts herself after she failed to maintain order and calm the students after all the chaos started. Outside of battle, the school nurse Kakeru Hasegawa, a laid-back dude who puts in the minimum effort and naps otherwise, and your energetic little sister Chiyo Aikawa support your efforts.
In order to start solving the mystery of what’s going on, you and Hinata venture into the fog of the 2nd floor. Inside, you’re drawn into another world of broken fixtures and skeletons known as Legions.
Before long, you’re surrounded and things look bleak since you’re not exactly the captain of the exorcism club. Before you can be sliced into bits, a bizarre stuffed-animal looking creature emerges from space itself. It talks in creepy, mysterious words with lots of katakana nonsense mixed in to sound bizarre and profound.
However, he chills on the grand act when you threaten to pull his ears off. He informs you that you made a contract with him for powers, and that he’s a demon known as a Monark (oh hey name of the game, we’re done~). There are seven Contractors in the school who gained power from seven Monarks, one for each of the deadly sins. However, any ordinary person can fight in this world if they… *check notes* equips their Ego as a weapon to fight. I think that’s what it was.
Once you figure out how it works, you put on your badass King cloak and kick some skeleton ass in a combat tutorial I’ll explain further on. Afterwards, you’re returned to the real world.
Just outside, you run into a young man who professes himself to be the actual student council president.
You learn that he filled the gap that Nozomi couldn’t and usurped her position as the student council president, gaining the respect and allegiance of the students almost *too* easily. He demands that you be punished for venturing into the 2nd floor, but the principal appears and argues on your behalf, making him have to give up.
Afterwards, you meet up in an empty classroom, where the stuffed animal demon Vanitas appears. The principal Sora, knowing what he is, realizes you guys are in the know now and explains what she knows about the situation. Essentially, the fog is created whenever a Contractor uses their powers. In order to free the school of the fog, each Contractor must be defeated by breaking their Id, which will destroy their powers as well as pretty much wipe their brains clean, arguably a bad thing. Once all the Contractors have been defeated, including the Contractors who join your party, then the barrier will fall and the school can be freed.
You’re told you’re a Contractor as well, with Vanitas being your Monark, but you’re an exception as main characters usually are. No one knows what your Authority (sin) is, and Vanitas isn’t about to tell you.
At this point, you explore the main building, searching for the Contractor spreading fog there (gee I wonder who it is~).
The combat system is where this game truly shines in my opinion. It’s a pretty detailed strategy game with several fighting options.
Combat follows a turn-based system, where your entire team goes followed by the entire enemy team. You can move around anywhere in the blue circle above, determined by your movement stat. Characters can activate in any order.
Positioning is key when deciding where to move. If you attack an enemy while in range of their own weapon, they will get a free counter hit against you, which you definitely want to avoid when possible. However, if an ally is also in range of an enemy, they’ll get a free assist attack, which is roughly 50% of their usual damage. Once you get a party of 6, those assists really rack up and are an important part of winning battles. However, if you group up too hard, you’ll be weak to area of effect attacks the enemies can use.
Counters and assists aren’t triggered by some spells or area of effect attacks, so there’s a trade-off of using a spell or triggering several assist attacks.
Back attacks are also very important since they do not trigger counter attacks and have a higher chance of landing. Beating a poor skeleton’s back while surrounded by 5 allies who all get assist attacks really brings foes down quickly.
Skill costs come in two flavors: HP or MAD. HP is pretty self explanatory; spend x HP to activate a skill, usually physical. Magical-oriented spells add to your MAD percentage on the lower right.
Another very important option is Reorder, where any character can literally gift their turn to another player whose already gone. This works really well for helping one character travel across the map quickly, or having your strongest character get another key attack off on the enemy’s back. The drawback is that when a player receives a Reorder, their MAD increases. The more times they’ve been reordered in this fight, the faster their MAD grows.
Max out your MAD gauge and your character enters a Berserk state, denoted by the red haze effect above, where they act irrationally like a charmed status effect, except with increased stats to really hurt the party. After 3 turns, the Berserk effect ends and they faint. So generally you don’t want to go Berserk.
Opposite of Berserk is the AWAKE gauge. This one increases when you receive attacks or if you use the Focus skill to raise it by 25%. Once at 100%, you’ll automatically enter an Awakened state, where your stats are buffed for 3 turns. Your MAD stat is set to NULL for this time too, meaning all spells are free. Not only that, but if you’ve unlocked a special move, you’ll be able to unleash it for high damage, ending the Awakened state immediately. You’ll have to balance when to enter an Awakened state and when to use a special skill to help turn the tide in battle.
All allies and enemies can enter a Berserk state. Only human allies and enemies can enter an Awakened state normally.
With me so far? Now I get to clarify that normally part with a pretty unique skill your main character has that can both be absolutely amazing or kill your entire party instantly if you’re dumb like me.
The main character has an ability that lets him “connect” to another player, sharing all status buffs and ailments. This allows you to buff one character’s attack, defense, agility, etc, then share those effects with another player. That way, you can easily spread buffs around efficiently. Later in the game, you’ll unlock “area connect,” which allows you to connect with everyone in the area for even greater nonsense!
Even better, characters that are connected also share all their magic spells. Connect to your healer, then suddenly everyone can heal!
You can also connect with enemies too and share their buffs as well as steal their spells. Though of course, you’re letting them access yours too.
In the above screenshot, you can see that Bitch’s Awakened state has been shared with Date (you’ll meet him later~). You may have guessed, you can share Berserk as well, which will instantly make everyone go insane. Don’t do that, that was really dumb of me. But this allows you to share the Awakened status with skeleton party members who can’t normally Awaken on their own.
Now, this may seem really good on paper and for good reason! You give one character 4 evade buffs, share it with the whole party, then laugh as the enemy can’t hit any of you. Until an enemy casts a charm spell, hitting one person, which then spreads to the entire party resulting in absolute chaos and everyone dead on the floor. I’ve really messed up “area connection” more times than I’d like to admit, but it’s really fun to gamble with! On the bright side, if you leave one person out of the connection, then can use a healing item to cure one person of an ailment, which will cure everyone. Always have a designated survivor!
Now, you probably aren’t wondering this, but what happens if you connect a Berserk character with an Awakened character? This is actually explained early on, but from how confusing this combat system was to understand in Japanese, I didn’t get it until like halfway through the game. Combining these statuses creates a special “Berserk Awakened” effect, which is essentially being a Berserker who maintains their sanity.
You can tell you’re Berserk Awakened when everyone connected is just straight on fire.
This combo gives you a massive stat boost and essentially makes you a walking tank. There are also some particularly devastating special attacks than can only be accessed in this mode, making it worth forcing a character to go insane on purpose if you can awaken someone else as well.
That’s about what happens, it’s nice. But risky.
I think that’s most of the combat’s features. Sometimes there are traps in the arena, such as iron maidens that spew out charm spells or cannons that hurt you if you stand in their way. The game will helpfully show you a circle on the ground if you’re about to end your turn inside the trap’s effect, so you have to deliberately accept the consequences of attacking from that point.
Before each battle starts, you’ll be able to see a map of the area along with any traps present. In this boss battle, there’s charm, burn, poison, and healing towers present. This Contractor’s power messes with space, which adds teleporters to the mix.
As a reward in battle, you’ll earn SPIRIT, which can be used to level up your character on their skill tree. Every time you get a new skill, your character goes up by 1 level instead of by experience points. SPIRIT is also the shop currency, so everything revolves around it.
As the game goes on, you’ll get a few friendly skeletons to join your cause. Each skeleton has their own skill tree as well with set skills in it, so they follow a specific role. As you can probably see, you’re allowed to name them anything.
Healer. Also all-around badass.
Ikuze! (Ancient Roman reference to Burke who always shouts this when he runs into battle with an axe)
Axe user and intense powerhouse/tank.
Literally the MVP of the entire game.
Midori Archer (Fate Extra/CCC reference to Robin Hood)
Long distance starter of assist attacks, kind of slow
A-nantoka-kun (Uh, good ol’ what’s his name…?) (Sleepy Princess reference)
A 4th skeleton I really didn’t feel like raising. He shouts something about slaughter a lot and gives other people his turn.
Skeletons (they’re called Legion, but ehh) are also the only ones who can equip different armor pieces, which are dropped from other skeletons when killed in battle. This not only offers stat boosts, but they also sometimes have special skills attached.
Each chapter generally follows a similar flow. The first step is to explore a floor of the current school building, looking for the hidden entrance to the other world. Interestingly enough, the floors aren’t generally deadly; there’s no random encounters, and the main obstacle is actual puzzles.
The puzzles can range from convincing a student driven insane by the fog to unblock a door, finding the combo to a safe, or even summoning the PlayStation keyboard and entering the solution by hand (don’t worry, you won’t have to type in Japanese like I did x _x). I really enjoyed these puzzles and it helped vary up the gameplay between battles. Sometimes trying to piece together clues to solve the puzzle was harder than the battles themselves, though then again I was playing in Japanese, so you’ll probably have an easier time there.
Each Contractor has 3 fragments of Id, resulting in 3 floors to clear. Every time an Id fragment is broken, you view a glimpse of the Contractor’s inner emotions, and why they craved the powers given to them by their Monark.
The end of the 3rd floor triggers their final attempt to stop you in a climactic boss fight. Now, normally I’m a huge fan of boss music tracks, but Monark went the extra mile here: every boss has a unique vocal theme as part of a collaboration with KAMITSUBAKI STUDIO and their talents. Now I hadn’t heard of them till now, but I got caught way off guard by this first boss theme which knocked me on my ass:
I still listen to this track constantly, definitely one of my favorites from the game. I really really hope they subtitle the lyrics or have some way to read them later, since they often match the themes of the Contractor really well.
「手を伸ばせばあなたの顔が 切なく 愛おしく 消え去るように 目を閉じれば楽になるかな その場しのぎの正義を演じて」 “If I reach my hand out to you, all I see is grief and pain as you fade away. Would it be easier if I just closed my eyes, and pretend that I took the right path?”
I’m not confident I did a great job translating the main chorus there, especially since the lyrics are more poem than prose, but hearing those lines while in a fight with this Contractor really brought the emotions to the battle. If they don’t sub the songs when they play or in the menu where you can relisten to them after, look up the lyrics online later!
The Contractors themselves vary from sympathetic, “I don’t want to fight this person,” kind of stories to “okay just no, we’re killing this guy” ones, so some are hit and miss. I’d be curious to see which ones people found relatable and which ones they didn’t!
One gripe I have with the game is how you can only have one other human in your party at a time. After the first chapter, the student council president Nozomi leaves your party and you’re told to investigate around the other buildings in the school. In each area, you find one of the three other party members:
Kokoro Surugadai: Genius 200 IQ student whose only goal in life is to read, sleep, and eat yakisoba pan while neither hurting or being hurt by anyone.
Ryotaro Date: Delinquent whose goal in life is to leave his mark. Gets lost going to the bathroom.
Shinya Yuda: An orphan adopted by the principal and her husband. Strong sense of justice and desperate to prove his worth. Hates being called cute.
During these chapters, you’re only allowed to use the corresponding party member alongside your skeleton pals. This gives you a chance to learn about them both as a person and as a fighter.
After these chapters, I expected to be able to form a full party, so I ignored my skeletons, but you’re still limited to only one human member. It makes sense as to why as the plot goes on, so I can kind of forgive it, but it bummed me out a lot when I got to that part. So just giving you a warning now, don’t neglect your skeletons!
Future Aria chiming in: every character gets their moment in the sun. Everyone gets used equally, so you’ll use everyone, just not at the same time outside free battles. It’s an interesting choice, but it works well in the game to help explore every character.
Date was my party member of choice. I really wanted to use Kokoro since I like her a lot, but Date’s also badass and incredibly useful in battle. His long range gun attack is very good at triggering assist attacks from far away, whereas Kokoro is big into area of effect attacks and status ailments. I feel kind of bad for the other two, their combat potential for me was giving Ikuze! another turn, whoops… I’m sure they have more potential than that though!
There’s so much more I want to talk about, but I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone! Let’s just say, the plot is not afraid to go places.
Every time you start a new chapter, the level requirement jumps up. You can use your phone when near Vanitas to enter free battles and level up. There’s one very important fight I used from around level 35 to 80 since it’s really fast and nets between 5k and 8k SPIRIT depending on your rank.
I’m not sure what the English name will be, but in Japanese it’s 豊穣の狩庭LEVEL IV, aka Hunting Garden Level 4. You’ll find the phone number to access it in a document, but you can enter it anytime as ##*-#*#-*00 .
It’s a very small arena filled with enemies between level 33 and 39. Obviously my characters here eclipse the level requirement, but it’s still very useful to gain 8k SPIRIT in 2-3 minutes. For me, Ikuze! is my strongest attacker, so I send him up the left side, while Bitch Goble uses Reorder to pass his turn to Ikuze for more chaos. The other two split off to handle the two below the charm trap. After, they can hang up the right side and pass more turns to Ikuze! if need be. Positions change a little between rounds, so it’ll vary a bit, but that general strategy will let you win in 3 turns once you’re strong enough. The 4 hit axe skill Ikuze! gets is key!
One warning though! The enemy may cast a spell that reflects damage received once to the nearest person, friend or foe. If you use your strongest attack without thinking as a level 80 death machine, you’ll end up exploding yourself. Pay attention to that! Apart from that, I used this whenever I needed a few levels, or if I needed to level up a random party member.
If you have any questions at all about the game, feel free to hit me up on Twitter or Discord! I’d be happy to answer any questions or chat about the game if you’ve played it!
After finishing the Legend route and learning just who caused all this 天罰 (remember this vocab from last time? Tenbatsu, aka divine punishment, it’ll be on the test!), I jumped pretty quickly on the next story to see how everything would play out now that Kanata (or more so us the player) knows what’s going on.
One thing you might notice is the huge increase in image quality! I got an adapter for VGA to SCART from CastleMania, which bumps me from S-Video and 240p/480i up to a higher base of 480p via VGA. Now DiceLord can send much cleaner shots to make these posts with~ Enough of that, onto the story!
Alright, now we can talk spoilers with that out of the way! At the end of the Legend route, we learned that Kikka and Hakuou (Sumino and Kanata respectively) fell in love, had a child, and were smited by heaven in the span of a week.
Housen (Meiko) asks the Elder Dragon Sister to make her immortal until she can meet the reincarnation of her brother who will break the endless cycle of snow and 天罰. Housen decides to live with the people quietly in the village, whereas the Elder Dragon Sister will live in the woods as punishment for her failure.
It was confirmed at the end of the Legend route that the Elder Dragon God is the girl in the mountains, though that wasn’t exactly much of a surprise considering there was one giant opening in the cast and they shared a text color, but the game hid her name in the Legend route on the off chance you didn’t immediately realize the obvious. You can see her listed as Shigure in both the manual and the opening movie.
Anyway, enough of that, let’s get on with Shigure’s route! First step involves tracking her down enough times that her route activates. Oddly enough, I couldn’t figure it out and kept hitting the common bad ending despite running into her several times. I finally tracked down a guide in Japanese, which I backed up just in case their site goes down, and was able to figure it out.
Short aside, that guide also had a section at the bottom for something called Dark Snow (暗黒SNOW), so I had to figure out what the hell that was. Turns out it’s on the fandisc made by Studio Mebius, and it’s a short alternative story made in a similar vein to their other works. Unlike Snow, most of their entire catalog is, uh, let’s just say extremely adult and fucked up. The only review I found for Dark Snow was a 1 star, saying it was a complete pile of trash where not even the 18+ scenes were remotely enjoyable. Out of morbid curiosity, my Discord helped me track it down and I streamed the first hour with 75% of the window blacked out. It fucking scarred us. We don’t talk about Dark Snow Thursday… I’ll review it in the future, but holy shit it’s bad.
AAANYWAY #2, I kept missing the route since there’s a part where Sumino calls you from a payphone, saying she’s waiting for you at the waterfall despite there being a blizzard. If you answer the phone, you immediately rush out to help her get home safely. If you don’t answer, you just laze around all day and run into a different girl, probably Asahi. However, there’s a 3rd option I kept missing, where you reject the phone call, but then your cousin Tsugumi tells you she’s worried, so you decide to find Sumino.
However, since time had past, you just find a note from Sumino:
At this point, there’s nothing left for Kanata to do other than head home himself. But the blizzard gets so bad, he can’t find his way home and starts to freeze. Thankfully you run into the mysterious girl in the woods and try to follow her. Eventually, you find yourself at the base of the mountain near Sumino’s shop. You go yell at Sumino for calling you out then leaving, though it’s your fault really for not answering the phone. With that, Asahi later vanishes from the plot saying we no longer hold her dear, the time travel child disappears without a trace (we really don’t worry about the alone child who tried eating a sparrow to have food, huh), but now Shigure’s route starts proper!
Kanata asks Tsugumi if she’s heard of anything appearing in the woods, to which she gets really excited and starts telling you about mysterious sightings and rumors. You wonder if that could be the mysterious girl you keep seeing, but Tsugumi reveals a much more dreadful possibility:
Okay, maybe not. But Kanata facepalms a bit and dismisses the rest of the conversation. However, she does mention there are also rumors of a snow woman, which is a Japanese yokai in the form of a beautiful woman who lives alone in the snow. Hmm~
Kanata lays awake at night, pondering an important decision:
The next morning, you run into Meiko. At this point, we as readers know she’s supposedly Housen and has lived in the village for 1,000 years and personally knows Shigure, but Kanata doesn’t know this. He asks her if she knows any rumors about things in the woods, to which she also answers Big Foot. Also chupacabra. Also Toraemon, though that one could have been some kind of mountain cat. Also sky fish. Turns out she’s a fan of the occult and UMAs (Unidentified Mysterious Animals). You have a nice long chat about various topics before getting back to your water carrying job.
On our way, we take the animal path shortcut and run into the girl once again, who is asleep and muttering to herself.
Unable to watch her have a nightmare, you wake her up. She jumps away nervously and says the most she’s ever said to you so far:
She then runs away from you without clarifying anything, leaving you confused and wondering if you did something. The next few hours of the plot are essentially trying to get Shigure to talk to you and failing, while various silly things happen.
Speaking of silly things, the next day happens to be Valentine’s Day and no one noticed in the other routes at all! Meiko has a surprise for you~
That seems weird, but it’s just chocolate, righ–
Oh. Well, there’s a giant cockroach inside that’s 40cm long (15 3/4 inches!!).
At this point, she leaves you with this nightmare Schrödinger’s cockroach. You’re given a choice on how to get rid of it:
If you pick the first option, she rushes back and yells at you not to bury it. She stands there, saying she won’t leave until you try it. You weasel out of it by promising that you’ll absolutely try it, then she lets you leave as you stick it in your bag.
If you try to throw it, Meiko jogs up to you a short bit later with an over-foot-long cockroach in hand, telling you to be careful not to drop a present something painstakingly made for you! As before, it ends up in your bag as you do errands.
After collecting water, you head to Sumino’s shop to pick up produce, but you hand the bag over to her mom, forgetting about the cockroach.
You explain to Sumino that you left Meiko’s chocolate in there on accident. She’s really curious about what Meiko made, but you point to her mom as a warning that she really shouldn’t look.
And then Sumino died (just a little on the inside).
Back at the inn, you realize you only filled up one tank instead of two (earlier, a monkey stole your lunch and you bumped into the open water jug. You reasoned with the monkey, saying you’d be fine giving them a riceball, to which the monkey nodded and returned the lunch.) Not wanting to skip out on your job and hurt the business, you head back up the mountain. You find a deer in the woods, who at this point realizes you’re chill and nice to Shigure, so it leads you on a new path to a familiar place.
Well, not the title screen, but with 3 piles of rocks at the scene where Kikka and Hakuou died in the Legend route.
The mysterious girl comes by with plants, freezing in place when she sees you. This decorating strongly hints that the piles are a grave tended by her, so that would make the graves Kikka, Hakuou, and their unborn child. She asks if you remember, but you don’t know what she’s talking about. She drops the flowers on the ground and runs away, once again not answering any questions. You take the flowers and arrange them in front of the stones neatly, shrug at the deer you’ve become best buds with, then head home for the day.
Back at the inn, you relax in the hotspring while wondering what she meant by “did you remember?” when you suddenly hear Tsugumi scream. You hear the sliding door open and look over just in time to see a 40cm giant cockroach fly through the air into the night sky.
The next morning, Tsugumi surmises you’re having girl problems after you look depressed and won’t say what’s wrong. She gives you a box of manjū to help apologize for any grievances you’ve caused. Kanata’s surprised and thanks Tsugumi for her kindness. Buuuuut…
…she makes you buy it with your daily salary of 200 yen. So that’s 2.5 days of labor for some apology snacks. You sigh and accept it, figuring you don’t have any better ideas.
However, you don’t run into the mysterious girl that day. Nor the day after as well. You mention the snow woman again to Meiko by chance, who gives you the cryptic advice of “follow the cries of an animal to find her again.”
That evening, you decide to head back to the graves on the hill and wait for her to come by. Some time passes when you start hearing the distressed sounds of a young deer. Despite the sun starting to set, you press through the treacherous and steep parts of the mountain to get closer. You faintly hear the deer’s bleats from below.
Down below, we see Shigure attempting to help the deer, but got herself caught on the ledge. (I figure someone with 1,000 years of living in these mountains would be a bit smarter about this kind of situation, buuuut no.) Kanata, our intelligent protagonist, answers in the most solid of fashions:
Dumb remarks aside, he finds some rope or similar nearby, ties it to a sturdy tree, then lowers it to her. Once she’s grabbed it, he slowly drags her and the baby deer to safety.
Upon reaching solid ground, she collapses and Kanata realizes she’s injured.
She’s got a serious laceration on her leg, but apart from that it doesn’t seem too bad apart from exhaustion. Maybe she was down there for a few hours? It does make me wonder the limits of immortality and if she can die by injury or not. Also where is she going to buy new socks?? I’m sure they’ll magically heal too~
Kanata volunteers to carry her to the hospital in town, but she refuses and hops off into the woods, giving him the cold shoulder once again.
We don’t even know her name yet, this part is taking a while…
The next day, we ask Meiko how she knew that following the animal noises would lead to the girl.
Kanata is surprised and asks her more questions, but:
Obviously as a bit of dramatic irony, we know she’s not lying and knows her from 1,000 years ago, but Kanata has no way of knowing that.
Later on at Sumino’s house, we learn that the Dragon God Remembrance Festival is on the 23rd and for some reason never existed at that time on the other routes. Nope. Just like how the inn only goes out of business if you’re dating a specific girl, the festival is an illusive plot event~!
And since the game gave us a specific date, we know that’s when shit will hit the fan, like with Sumino’s route. Ugh it’s a week away…
In the village, people get randomly selected to help run the event. Meiko mentions she already knows who will be picked, but after Kanata presses, she reveals it’s just a hunch. Kanata pushes and presses a bet on her, saying she won’t get it right. Kanata says that if she wins, he’ll give her a kiss on the cheek. Sumino jumps in via the jealousy train.
Meiko on the other hand, gets uncharacteristically shy and blushes.
Everyone stares in confusion, wondering about the health of their poor friend. With that option ruled out, Kanata has a different idea:
Meiko strikes back:
Sumino is happy gaining from either side, but Kanata is confident and doesn’t back down, even against someone with clairvoyance! Whoops.
Meanwhile, we head back to the mountains at night for some reason which eludes me. Something about finally give the girl that manjū or just trying to see her again by waiting in the cold till it’s really late. At the waterfall, we see a strange sight:
Without thinking, Kanata dives into the water after whoever is in there.
Kanata thankfully manages to drag the mysterious girl out of the water. By this point I’m really wondering how she survived 1,000 years in the woods.
Ignore my previous remark, it makes sense now.
In a bit of shocked surprise, she mutters out an old name:
At about this point, hypothermia kicks in and you fall on your face.
Kanata has a strange delusion of a giant fuzzy creature carrying him, but Tsugumi tells Kanata that he appeared by the front door unconscious with animal tracks nearby. Sounds like deer bro carried you home along with a girl’s footprints nearby.
We just can’t let go of the Big Foot joke, can we~
The next day, we go to the graves again and thankfully run into the girl again. We’ve run into her enough times at this point that she doesn’t run away like a spooked deer!
Wooo!! MISSION SUCCESS, WE HAVE NAME! I can stop writing Mysterious Girl~ She tells you that she was scared when you came. Seeing you again gave her a grave shock. She never interacts with people while living in these mountains (except for her tailor of course~), so seeing you was a surprise. But you helped her and the animals enough that you seem like a safe person. She knows your name, supposedly from the rumors after the rockslide at the beginning of the game.
For now, you give her your extremely tacky umbrella with the brazen logo of the hotsprings on it, then part for the evening.
The next morning, Tsugumi can tell just how much your life is brightened by learning their name. She makes you a double lunch to enjoy with whoever it is you’re seeing and sends you on your way.
Shigure hasn’t seen a meal like this in hundreds of years, considering she eats what she can scavenge from the forest and what animals bring her.
You practically have to wave the food directly in her face to get her to agree, though I was expecting her to run away in a panic. You mention that it’s okay since your cousin is the proprietor of the hotsprings and she likes making people feel welcome, so cooking extra for her is no problem. After you mention the name of the inn, a light brights up in her eyes.
She gets all excited and bouncy for a second, remembering when during the Legend route Housen gave everyone the weird acrobat nicknames, then gets embarrassed and quiets down. After some more quiet conversation, with Shigure calling you a contradictory person who complains or says mean things while they’re being nice, Kanata asks her the reasonable question of “so why are you in the woods anyway?”
Kanata tries to press, wondering what sin this innocent-looking girl could possibly have done, but she channels her inner deer and bolts.
In the afternoon, there’s a random conversation where Kanata tries to convince Sumino that aliens are coming to take the anman:
That’s all for that scene, really.
Back to important matters! Tsugumi got selected for the festival committee, so the inn will be closed in the meantime.
Arguably more importantly, this means you lost the bet with Meiko and will have to wear an adorable skirt. Oh no~
The next breakfast with Shigure (it’s the 21st, we’re almost to the 23rd!), we ask her if she’ll go to the festival with us (aww~). She tries to get out of it by saying she can’t leave the mountain.
Yes Kanata, it’s called “running from the law,” and it’s more common than you’d think to hide out in a mountain alone. Ignoring that, we get her to agree and come down to the festival preparations and say hi (woo!).
Unfortunately for us, she gets extremely nervous near the base of the mountains and sprints back up while apologizing profusely (aww…) We head off to the shrine alone and run into Meiko and Sumino who didn’t forget about the bet:
Kanata’s down in the dumps enough over Shigure bailing that he hardly registers any emotion at the girl’s games. Meiko for some reason relents and spares him (aww…), but not without some harassment first.
It seems the artist didn’t want to try Kanata in a dress, though I suppose it makes sense since they’re allergic to even drawing his face, let alone whole body.
Meanwhile, Meiko’s “dad” the surgeon says hi, despite being in the middle of a surgery.
Walking malpractice lawsuit aside, you help build the structures for the festival, which include a tower lashed out of wood with a place to light a flame at the top. You ask Meiko about it, who tells you about the festival.
She explains that the ritual supposedly symbolizes the love between a boy on the Earth and a girl in Heaven, with the fire being his feelings going up to her.
Unfortunately at that time, Sumino interrupts you and you lose all chances at serious plot-relevant conversations for the day. We gotta keep the plot moving at a glacier’s pace!
The next day, you don’t see Shigure, so you give up after a couple hours in the cold, then head to the shrine to continue helping with preparations. You’re immediately strongarmed by Tsugumi into bad ideas:
It turns out she wants you to help with the fireworks, which is apparently dangerous enough that you have to sign up for liability insurance. After much persuading, you’re forced into the role. As thanks, she gives you a plastic bag full of fireworks to play with later (this is important!).
On the way home, you’re ambushed in the streets!
She says she got all the way to the torii gates outside of the shrine, but was too scared to walk up. But she wanted to see you so badly, so she waited at the base of the stairs instead for you to come by.
Kanata, in his infinite class, thinks about only the most pure things when she grabs him:
She declares that she’s not going back to the mountain and wants to spend the night together with you! That way you can go to the festival tomorrow! Also conveniently, your cousin is staying overnight at the shrine as part of a committee celebration, so ALL NIGHT PILLOW FIGHTING IS A GO!!
This section is essentially “Shigure hasn’t set foot outside the mountain in 1,000 years and has no idea what anything is” and it’s adorable~. She asks what a telephone pole is when they pass one, to which Kanata explains that it carries electricity. She doesn’t get it, then as he tries to explain, she gets mad that he’s messing with her. Later, he says that she should enjoy the hotspring while she’s here:
We’re not going to sexually harass the poor, confused past girl, only classy Kanata for this playthrough when possible! She wants to take a bath, but would be too nervous if she can’t see you. She doesn’t want you to see her either, which leaves you in a pickle. You settle on crouching behind a rock, so she can see the top of your head. Close enough! To no one’s surprise, you find an excuse to run over to her in a panic and see her naked. Anyway~
You both sit in Kanata’s room after a relaxing evening of having no idea how canned green tea works, when suddenly she, uh, comes onto you hard.
For some reason, she gets the idea in her head that she can make it up to Hakuou in the past by sleeping with his reincarnation? Hmm…
Yeah no, you don’t touch the poor depressed girl, bad. The guide says you get a sex scene on the PC version, followed by an immediate and deserved bad ending.
Instead, we tell her off, saying we’ll never touch her if she doesn’t respect herself first.
AND THEN THE PLOT GETS WEIRD
(in a good way!)
Alright, so this is my favorite part of the route here:
Suddenly, you’re warped to the Legend route again! But it’s the stupid Legend route! Essentially, what if Hakuou was replaced by an absolute moron and the game just parodies itself. It’s pretty fun, let’s go~
This is the one route so far that mostly breaks the structure of setup, slow happy section, incredibly depressing section, happy resolve. We’re trading the depressing section for comedy!
You wake up to see Housen, who calls you brother and asks if you had a bad dream.
Kanata is convinced he’s either in a dream or people are playing an elaborate prank on him, so he doesn’t take things seriously at all. Housen is clearly upset that her brother has gone completely insane.
Kanata wants to comfort Housen/Meiko, so you have the option of patting her on the head or the back.
Classy Kanata strikes again in the least believable mess ups in history~
After being punched in the face, they head to town and Kanata further embarrasses himself by checking if people 1,000 years ago wore underwear or not. Like I said, this is very much the stupid Legend route. Meiko tells everyone you had a weird dream and aren’t right in the head, but that you’ll be fine tomorrow, hopefully!
Kanata asks if there will be a large feast, but everyone looks at him in shock, reminding him that they don’t have much food and can’t gather more since there could be bandits in the woods. Kanata dismisses them, telling them to go anyway.
Kanata brings up a surprisingly good point, which throws the villagers into a joyous frenzy. They all run out into the woods to get food, while Housen just smiles and shakes her head.
Just before you leave town, the artist behind Asahi’s painting comes by with a request for Hakuou to exorcise the spirit from the scroll that’s coming out and terrorizing the town. Kanata just replies very simply with “I have no spirit sense, can’t help you.”
With that, he leaves and Housen hits you over the head. Bye Asahi! But no, he comes back later and you take the scroll. Boo.
Back at the shrine, Housen reminds her brother that they have to memorize their part for the dragon goddess summoning ritual, but he takes one look at the book written in ancient Japanese with its calligraphy-like script and gives up instantly.
Suddenly you black out, and appear at the lake. Housen is dressed in her ritual clothes. It appears that when you lost consciousness, the real Hakuou took back over.
Seeing as you weren’t even around the last few days, you don’t know any of the words. She hands you the book and dances, leaving you to read what you can. You read a few characters, but she’s constantly correcting you since you’re reading modern Japanese pronunciations, making it completely wrong. After you finish, the lake is quiet and nothing happens.
Housen starts panicking since nothing’s happening, but then suddenly the gods just shrug and let the goddesses descend.
Kanata instantly recognizes Shigure, then runs up and hugs her. She freezes in disbelief, whereas Kikka asks how on Earth he knows her name. “Do you remember me then?” she asks, with big bubbly eyes.
> “Sumino!” “No clue”
Answering Sumino has her frown, saying she’s Kikka. Kanata doesn’t listen, insisting that she’s Sumino.
Kikka is clearly confused at this rude guy calling her some other name, but then they look over at Shigure, who looks very pale.
You carry Shigure back to the shrine to rest. You have the absolutely foolproof way of verifying that this is indeed Shigure:
Tanaka-kun would be proud…
Everyone decides at that point to just go to bed after whatever the hell just happened. In the morning, one of the villagers comes to ask for help about the monster terrorizing the village:
Kanata is 5000% uninterested in the Asahi plotline, and I’m all for it~ Sadly Housen yells at you again, so you take extra precautions and prepare to seek out the monster.
And by that, I mean absolutely no caution whatsoever.
Kanata, in his infinite stupid trying to one-up himself, doesn’t even recognize Asahi at all for some reason. Once she ejected herself from the plot, Kanata just deleted all recognition of her from his brain. Good on you nanoda~.
Since Asahi is still in bunny form, she still talks with “supi supi” at the end of her lines instead of “nanoda.” She’s still not in her final form!
Kikka has to walk up and facepalm, telling Kanata that the bunny is the monster. Kanata doesn’t know that Kikka isn’t supposed to be seen by others, so he’s unfazed by her arrival. Shortly after, Asahi loses her grip on being human and reverts back to a fuzzball.
Somehow Kanata remembers the bunny form from 10 years ago, but not the annoying girl who was just chatting with him last week. His Nanoda Eraser is strong…
Back at the shrine, Shigure scolds Kikka for running out of the house when they’re supposed to stay hidden until the festival.
Shigure didn’t seem this adamant in the previous route; it’s like she’s trying to use the opportunity to force Kikka back to safety by any means necessary. Kanata paves things over by taking the blame for bringing Kikka, leaving Shigure with little option but to forgive them. Later that night, Shigure approaches you and confides something:
Shigure constantly sees this dream of the tragic visit to Earth, but is powerless to stop it. So now that we’re here from the future, it’s our job to stop the tragedy! Which means we have to avoid playing Twister with Sumi– er, Kikka! Time to be an asshole!
We got our first asshole opportunity quickly! This was a nice throwback to the common route, where Sumino rolls at you in a similar fashion 3 different times. Even after 1,000 years, some things never change~
Later when Shigure collapses in the bath like before, we make sure she’s okay by looking all over her body for injuries. Housen comes running when she hears the commotion and catches you in the worst of moments. Kanata however, must defend himself!
Kanata, you’re killing the Twister game chance perfectly~
Though for some reason, they’re kind of okay with it and accept you being a sleaze. You even pretend to chase Kikka saying that you’ll touch her too, and she laughs while running away. It’s kind of odd.
Shigure finds you the next day and asks how you’d prevent this tragedy from happening. If you were a human in love with a god, and you knew that being together would bring 天罰, would you still be with her? Kanata smuggly says that he’d defy fate and make it work. When pressed for how,
…Kanata gives not the most practical answer. If the problem is that one’s a dragon god and one’s a human, then they just both need to be a same! The god could become a human instead!
Kanata gets cool and confidence points, but 0/10 for not actually saying anything useful. Shigure leaves to think about Kanata’s vapid enthusiasm.
The next morning, they’re paid a visit by Asahi:
The bunny gets super excited to see you and starts supi supi-ing all over the place.
Kikka, who for some reason can speak annoying, translates. Shigure walks in, but jumps in surprise as to why there’s a rabbit in the house.
(Asahi’s character makes sense now! Finally! No ordinary bunny could handle all those nanodas!) Meanwhile, Shigure just looks at you with the face of “what the fuck are you talking about??”
Kikka explains to Kanata that the scroll is Asahi’s life and home. Without that scroll, Asahi will die. Then, Kanata does the most amazing move I didn’t expect:
With that, Kanata literally yeets Asahi out of the plot once again, all plot strings resolved. His absolute disdain for Asahi is savage, and I support it.
Kikka cries out in frustration at your insensitivity. The game of Twister is off for sure now! Though we should probably do some damage control at least.
Shigure just sighs in the corner at how stupid her sister is and how she’s in love with an absolute moron.
Though it seems your efforts, whether on purpose or not, paid off!
So now we just got to get through the ritual, then launch these girls back into the stratosphere, then we’ll have solved winter, right?
Oh by the way, there was a plastic bag from the future our hero forgot about until now:
Uh oh, we’ve lit explosives in our protagonist’s heart. I told you the bag would be important earlier!
Now we jump to the festival itself, where the girls are moping since it’s their last day together. Kanata gets frustrated having to look like a stoic monk and starts dancing to everyone’s shock.
He drags everyone onto the dance floor, where everyone smiles and has fun until the bandits attack!
Everyone panics and scrambles for weapons. Children hide, while anyone who can fight rushes to help. Kanata yawns. Rather than giving any shits like in the Legend route, our hero interrupts the bandits speech by just chucking fireworks at them!
With the bandits caught off guard and unsure what’s going on, Kanata directs Housen to grab a lighter and have a blast!
That went way better than expected. You got a bit too close to the explosions and passed out from exhaustion as well. Seems to happen a lot.
You wake up in Shigure’s lap, who tells you to stay put while she puts ointment on your burns. Kanata remarks that he’s rather lucky that he passed out.
Alright, one last sleazy line and I’m cutting you off Kanata~
Once you’re ready, you escort them back to the lake to see them off.
Kikka is sad and inconsolable, not wanting to leave your side. It’s not even your route Kikka! Thankfully we know how to pacify her:
Kanata gives everyone a bag of sparklers to hold onto, saying that when they’re reunited, they can light them all together. He waves one last goodbye as they vanish into the air.
Really? We went into a dream, acted like a complete idiot, and now endless winter is solved? Huh. That was surprisingly easy, why didn’t we do this earlier?
Hakuou asks Kanata for one last favor; do something about the darkness Shigure is trapped in. I guess we’re in a weird void.
Despite the new happy ending, Shigure knows this isn’t how it truly went down. We’re treated to a sepia tone cliff note rendition of the Legend route:
Alright, there’s my spark notes of the cliff notes.
Kanata: “You did nothing wrong! It was all fate! Everything’s fine now…” Shigure: “But I… killed Kikka, Hakuou-sama, and even their child…” Kanata: “You didn’t kill them! You didn’t kill anyone! Kikka died due to 天罰 and Haukou… Either way, I won’t die! I’m here to stay! I love you, but I won’t die! I was reincarnated so I could live together with you!” Shigure: “You… forgive me…?”
Aww, that was a good route! Nice and happy, no real sad part~
… … …
JUST KIDDING YOU THOUGHT WE WERE DONE OF COURSE THERE’S A SAD PART. UGH.
So, you wake up from the dream back into your room. That’s all good, right? Though Tsugumi is looking weirdly shocked at you.
Fuck you Snow, come on with this! Ugh…
So you’ve been in a coma for the past two weeks or so. You were in the hospital until a week ago, where you were transferred to the inn to rest. You seemed to recover from your injuries, but you wouldn’t wake up for some reason. You ask her about Shigure, but she has no idea who that is. You argue that you have memories from the past few weeks, including the water collecting job she had you do. She’s shocked that you know that, but reasons that you must have heard her mention it when she told your parents as they visited.
Meiko and Sumino come to visit you, throwing you into more confusion.
Oddly enough, Meiko isn’t wearing her scarf anymore. But she doesn’t react in the slightest to Housen’s name. Kanata asks Meiko to tell him about the village’s past. She tells him the story of a boy who loved a dragon god, but since their love was forbidden, they went their separate ways. It seems that reality has changed to make what you dreamed earlier reality.
Kanata freaks out, confusing the line between dream and reality, so Tsugumi tells the girls to come back another time so Kanata can rest.
Once you’re rehabilitated enough to walk, your parents decide to bring you back home to be examined by a larger psych hospital. You have one last day to walk around, so you sneak off and head up the mountain. It turns out this village has normal weather seasons, so the eternal winter was solved, but at what cost?
As you await the final bus out of town (why are we leaving at night!?), you reach into your pocket and realize there’s a sparkler in there. In one last act of desperation, you look for Shigure once again.
Kanata begins lighting one sparkler at a times, watching them slowly burn out in the cold winter night. One after another.
In the end, the final flame goes out, leaving him alone in the biting cold.
… … …
Suddenly you see a light behind you! She’s back! And has long hair, which implies she’s happy now or something! Also her horns are gone? Maybe, could be the camera angle.
And with that, we get credits! Phew, we had to have the sad scene of course, but thankfully that resolved normally. Overall, I liked how that route changed up the structure and had more of a feel-good, healing kind of vibe. I was disappointed we never got a moment with Mekio and Shigure talking. I was really looking forward to their 1,000 year later conversation… That and we didn’t get to see Shigure react seeing the reincarnation of her beloved, not the brightest sister. AND WHERE DOES SHE CLOTHES!? But overall, I’m happy with how that route went! And thanks for reading this far, this post got long ; _; haha
We’re getting close though! Next off is the time-travel daughter route, which according to this CG Mode screen should be the last route. Though the guides I’ve seen reference a Meiko route, so we might unlock that after? This screen shows Meiko labeled as “Other pictures,” so I’m not sure if this chart will re-align or something, or if this version doesn’t have her route.
We’ll just have to see after next time! (We’re almost done with Snow, oh my god it’s long… whew~)
The Legend route unlocks in the main menu after clearing Sumino or Asahi’s route, which we covered in the previous blog posts. Having seen both of those routes turned out to get a good idea for understanding just what happens in the past.
We already know from the poem in the instruction manual that a dragon goddess from the Heavens fell in love with a man on the Earth, which pissed off a lot of people and was generally regarded as a bad move. This lead to the 1,000 years of winter that will soon cover the region. But the question is; what does this have to do with our characters?
They all share the same voice actorsfont colors ancestry. Enter two siblings, Hakuou (our new Kanata/MC) and Housen (Meiko’s equivalent). Their parents were priests in charge of summoning the goddesses who descended once a year to hear the wishes of the villagers before returning to Heaven and relaying that information in an incredibly inefficient and prone-to-failure process of communication. However ~8 years ago, bandits raided the shrine and forced Hakuou and a baby Housen to escape with the goddesses while their parents fought to the death behind them.
In this brief flashback, we get a glimpse at the goddesses, where one looks an uncanny amount like Sumino. She even shares the same voice actortext color eyes! As for the blue-haired girl, there’s only one opening in the cast left who has blue text hair, so she much be the mysterious animal girl we’ve yet to learn about yet! (I’ll stop striking through text, I promise~)
The scene is rather short as Hakuou remembers that night in a dream, especially remembering the part where not-Sumino hugged him and she smelled really good. (they say smell is a strong sense for recalling memories~) The goddesses safely escape back to Heaven, while the two siblings are dropped off at another shrine to call their home.
Back in the future past, they see how much their parent’s shrine has fallen into disarray and start the work to clean it up. Their goal is to restart the Goddess Communication Network Ritual (GCNR for short) and wish that the bandits would go away. If they can succeed in this, then the nearby village will be happy again.
You would think that humans who intentionally hurt the goddesses would be smited, but nooo. Gotta save that 天罰 (divine punishment) for other things~
They don’t know anything about how to conduct the ritual, but luckily for them, one of their parents buried the manual in the dirt floor of the shrine. After reading it, they realized they could only summon the goddesses about 10 days after the summer solstice, which was conveniently in a couple days!! So they set upon the village to ask for help.
The above screenshots show part of the pain of this route; all the text in parenthesis are readings for complicated, old words. There’s a fair bit in the first half of the story for world building consisting of complex or outdated kanji. Thankfully they give the reading, but only the first time. Hoped you memorized it on first glance!
The villagers are shocked to see the children of their old priest return once again, but are hesitant to summon the goddesses since that brought the bandits upon them. After lots of assurances and Hakuou telling his plan to just ask the goddesses to make the bandits go away, the village accepts and helps them start preparations.
Our characters, having run away from home at a young age, don’t know much about the ritual, so they find the oldest person in town who didn’t die 8 years ago and have her explain the plot.
Essentially, the goddesses are summoned and hang out at the priest’s place for a week. They’re not allowed to be seen by anyone else until the night of the festival, where they will hear all the wishes of the villagers. Then later that night, they’ll return to heaven. If they don’t return that night, they’ll be stuck on Earth.
All the clothes for the ritual were burnt in the fire years ago, so the women of the village agree to sew post-haste. Then, the old lady gives a slightly important reminder:
Whaaa– n-noo, never, no dragon god falling in love here, nope.
Apart from Housen giving Hakuou the low blow by calling him a virgin in front of the town, she does call what’s going to do down. I mean, it’s pretty obvious at this point Hakuou is going to unleash 1,000 years of winter upon one of the goddesses.
After one last poke from the old lady to make sure they get back to Heaven, the pair return to continue preparations at the shrine. A couple days pass, they pick up the clothes, and are ready to head to the Goddess Airport, aka the Dragon God Lake.
As they perfectly perform the dance they practiced nonstop for several days, a flash lights up the night.
The ritual was a success, and two goddesses descend. What beautiful and elegant women await us–
Damnit… Alright, it’s literally Sumino, Euuu~~’s and all. The younger Dragon Sister (Not Sumino) bawls her eyes out, glad to finally see Hakuou and Housen alive again, as they were the goddesses who helped them 8 years ago. After much rejoicing, they’re escorted back to the shrine where they’ll be staying.
In case we weren’t sure, Not Sumino is still into sweets, but it’s manjū now (steamed yeast bun with filling) instead of anman. A quick google search seems to say they’re similar, but manjū is smaller and more brown. (You can read more on the differences here!)
Everyone decides to celebrate by drinking amazake, which is a sweet, low-to-no alcohol drink. As a repeat of Sumino’s route, the younger sister gets very drunk on almost nothing.
Before long, she gets herself sick and steps out for fresh air. Generally, being about to throw up isn’t the best time for small talk, but she decides it is.
She tells you her name is Kikka and demands that you call her that. Hakuou, whose very reluctant to disrespect a literal god, tries to avoid it, but Kikka pouts enough that he gives in and calls her Kikka-sama. Close enough for now.
And now we enter Act 2 of the Snow Formula, where we have the Snow Hump Hump, aka the happy, everyday life part probably filled with awfully written sex scenes I get to avoid by playing on Dreamcast. Phew. Small side note, I saw some mention on Twitter about how Sumino’s route has a really bad one they’d be more than happy to never read again. If it’s during the last act where she’s losing her memories, then oh jeez I’m glad I avoided that one… Thankfully the English patch seems like it’ll add an all-ages option.
The next morning, one of the villagers arrives at the shrine in a panic (ignoring the whole “no one should see the goddesses thing,” maybe they got shoved into the broom closet). Housen kindly offers the man a drink to wet his parched throat.
Except Housen accidently offers him a leftover glass of the amazake from last night. Worse off, apparently everyone in this world has the alcohol tolerance of a hamster, and he’s left giggling to himself. Equally miraculous is his ability to sober up when the plot necessitates it!
He reports that a monster in the shape of a giant rabbit (uh oh) has been terrorizing the village, and he hopes that the priests can come and exorcise it. The source is from the ancient tapestry we saw in the original route, which is entrusted to us to take care of. After the villager leaves, the goddesses climb out of the closet and Kikka says they should hurry and go see the bunny!
Clearly forgetting the “can’t be seen by others” bit, Kikka is rejected from seeing the bunny.
Kikka gets all pouty, refusing to listen to the others and mopes about not seeing the bunny.
Remember, this is a goddess that oversees human villages for hundreds of years. You end up convincing her to stay behind and run off yourself to see what all the flip-flop hop-hop is about.
…to no one’s surprise, she sneaks out of the house, and you run into her in the woods. Thankfully, she took a dirt path with no other people, so hopefully no one saw her.
Suddenly, Hakuou sees the bunny and gives chase, but Kikka stops you in place with an absolute order:
She then explains to you that the bunny just wants to become a human, since she can read the animal’s thoughts (or at least understand them really well.) You then decide you can fix this situation by telling the rabbit that it’ll become human if it does enough good deeds. Obviously, this is a lie, but maybe it’ll resolve the issue?
In the meantime, there’s a very angry dragon waiting at home:
Kikka, expecting as such, delivers the perfect excuse:
Alright, maybe not. After a sisterly scolding, Kikka promises not to do anything rash again. We’ll see how long that holds up.
The next morning, we leave Kikka behind and head into the village, only to behold a truly horrible sight:
My nightmares had been realized before my very eyes. The beast I thought I escaped laughed as it stood in front of me, with the gall to wear a smile. My saving grace was that it didn’t scream in its wretched, mind-numbing screech, for it had needed another thousand years of evolution to acquire the dreaded “nanoda.” Now, it squealed with an eerie “supi, supi,”, to which I could stand just a bit more.
Alright, enough with that. Nanoda Asahi is back, but only briefly before their transformation magic fails and they revert back to a bunny.
Supi is the sound rabbits make apparently, and we’ll be hearing a lot of that. Maybe telling a magical creature that it could become human if it tried wasn’t a good idea. Either way, the bunny runs off after we give it some advice. We already know this whole arc since we played Asahi’s route, so mostly it’s the same but from Hakuou’s perspective.
Back home, Kikka rushes our position and wails in a lonely manner:
The powerful dragon goddess then trips and falls on her face. She’s just so lonely that she can’t bear being apart from you. You begin to wonder if this might not be normal, but you shake it off. It’s probably fine.
Her older sister confides in you that Kikka miiiight be a stalker from the Heavens, which is a bit weird, and that she might like you. And that you must not reciprocate. Yeah, sure, got it. No dragons, nope.
Though for some reason, you find out she got so stressed she passed out in the bath and also that she likes you too.
These dragons fell in love with you when you were like, 8. I guess they were watching you this whole time from Heaven, but that’s still pretty weird. Also someone should have brought a different goddess along, since these ones clearly have a conflict of interest. Anyway~~
Some time passes, Asahi tries to do good, but gets chased away and hurt, so Hakuou tells her that she should just live in the forest and makes her a house. Presumably, this is where she hides in her route a thousand years from now. Or a similar tree, though that’s not as cool.
The next day, Nanoda isn’t happy staying in the forest and shows up at your place! Housen has some familiar words for her:
We saw this line both in Asahi’s route from her perspective as well as Meiko saying the exact same thing. Hmm~ Anyway, she lives here now. You realize the name on the scroll is from a painter named Asahi, so you name her that. Since the scroll is her lifeblood, you vow to keep it safe and hi-five your new pet bunny. Kikka is stoked.
That night, you and Kikka really hit it off and you argue with yourself, whether or not you can morally accept Kikka’s love.
For some reason, the scene jumps and you remark about how you couldn’t sleep last night since you were so happy. Huh, that’s weird.
For some reason, Kikka’s asleep next to you. Seems pretty implied that you unleashed a thousand years of winter played games all night with her! This is the PG route, nothing sexy happened! Nope!
And for some reason she’s naked, that’s weird! One of the games must have been strip poker or something, you wouldn’t thrust your sword into a dragon’s weak point, right? Both of you are super cutely awkward about this situation though:
After your amazing Twister match last night, you decide you never want to be apart from her again. You vow that you won’t let her return to Heaven.
This’ll end well.
The Elder Dragon finds out and has just one question:
Elder Dragon “WHHHY!?!?”
Aww, that’s cute. Horrific consequences aside, cute. She swears she’ll drag Kikka back to Heaven if she has to.
Tenbatsu~ Wait too early, we’ll get there.
Anyway, Housen has a premonition that the bandits will attack the day of the festival. She’s not sure when, but they’ll be there to stop the goddesses. For the last few days till the festival, Housen and Hakuou help the village prepare for the assault, while Kikka makes food for all the villagers. Finally the day arrives and the festival commences.
The goddesses listen to the villager’s wishes, and a light brighter than the rays of sunlight shines into the Heavens for each one. I don’t really understand this, since even if we’re using light to send information to the Heavens (fiber optics without the cables?), the wishes don’t come true until the goddess return. So they could just write the wishes on a sticky note and read them at home.
Anyway, the night is going well, people are drinking, and the Elder Dragon is getting anxious. Hakuou tells her to chill and relax, there’s no reason to rush home!
Oh right the bandits.
They sneak in easily enough due to said drinking and attack. Hakuou kills several of the bandits before hopping on a horse and escaping with the goddesses back to the Lakeside Airport. Unfortunately, bandits can be heard from that direction, blocking their escape. They must run off into the woods and flee, missing the critical deadline.
Now it comes to everyone’s favorite act, the sadness act!
After running from the bandits frantically last night, you randomly wake up in a grass field. Everyone is covered in mud, still wearing their formal clothes from the night before. The goddess have missed the deadline. What will happen now, nobody knows. For now, they can’t head back to the village without risking the goddesses, so they decide on the next best thing: wander around in the forest blindly for days.
Low on supplies, they manage to find a hot spring run by an old woman in the middle of nowhere. Unwilling to put the old woman in danger in case the bandits come by asking questions, they introduce themselves as a wandering set of performers.
To pay for the springs and food, Housen says they’ll put on a show. Hakuou gives his best shot:
Your act is stupid enough the old lady busts up laughing and gives you free access to the spring and sees you off with plenty of bags of food and more importantly manjū, aka Sumino Kikka’s lifeblood. You notice a sign saying it’s a hotspring named after the dragons and that there’s a high chance she helped you since she knew the truth.
We see a short scene later of the bandits pushing the old lady around, but she refuses to say anything about you.
The journeying to nowhere in particular continues for several days (in game and also just reading time in general). Kikka slowly develops a stomach ache that doesn’t go away. Soon, she starts to show a swollen belly.
Many questions. Something got twisted up in our Twister match. Also it’s been like, 5 days. Elder Dragon has an answer for that at least.
It’s plot/sadness bait convenience, just say it. Anyway, so yeah, she’s already pregnant with your child. Just a few back-of-napkin calculations, if she’s showing, then she should be about 16-20 weeks in. If an average pregnancy is 40 weeks, then we’re 40% of the way there. 40% in 5 days would put us at 12.5 days total, or 7.5 days remaining. That baby is here in a week!
The party treks on, making sure Kikka gets extra food and rest. Meanwhile, Elder Dragon prays to the Heavens for forgiveness.
And there it is, the word of the evening!! 天罰 (tenbatsu), aka divine punishment. They repeat this about 30 times over the next several hours, just hammering into your head how you fucked up. It has a nice ring to it.
It starts raining, 天罰. Food starts running low and they can’t find more, 天罰.
More importantly, the sad train is making a repeat visit! Sumino Kikka wakes up confused, thinking they were just at the shrine.
Everyone has to explain that the festival already happened and that they were attacked by bandits. They can’t return to Heaven or the village. Your party responds exactly as expected:
You are leaving this blogpost knowing that word by the way. Tenbatsu. Consider this your 天罰 for reading this far or something.
Just like before in Sumino’s route, Kikka starts to lose her memories. In a more drastic moment, you find her in a frightening position:
She does the horrific things in a cute voice sadness again, so we know we’ll be in it for the long run.
From here on, Kikka goes from insisting you call her Kikka, to forgetting about everyone here, including her sister. She becomes irritable and screams about how she wants to go home and not be covered in mud and starving in this rainy forest.
You guessed it~
I promise I didn’t screenshot every time it came up, just several times. Around this time, Housen has a premonition:
In her dreams, she sees unfamiliar buildings in a place like this covered in snow. A young man in strange clothing who looks oddly like Hakuno breaks the cycle. The world she sees is the modern times, where Kanata now lives. Fortunately, this means the 天罰 can be stopped! Unfortunately for our heroes, it’s not for another thousand years. That’s bad for them.
Also Kikka forgets who she is.
Interestingly, the game shifts narrators a bit here, letting us see Hakuou for the first time.
Generally, fill this section of the game with several more hours of being dragged through the mud sadness, mutter 天罰 a few dozen more times, and you’ll have the idea. Elder Dragon eventually snaps and yells at Kikka, similar to Sumino’s mom in the future:
Kikka, who at this point is completely oblivious, doesn’t know how to respond.
In this sad, dark moment, Hakuou has just one wish:
Why would the gods give you that, that’d be–
Aww, her memories back and she loooves you~~
…yeah, we’re not falling for the Sumino route trick again. (though presumably the Sumino trick stole from this, either or).
HAHAHAHA! HAHAHA! Ahh, that’s a good one Elder Dragon-san.
Anyway, you have an amazingly peaceful day, then right on cue, Sumino Kikka gets a fever. It begins~
One last beacon of light shines:
You see a vast, green expanse unfold before your eyes. The skies are blue, the scenery is beautiful. You spy a small village in the distance and realize that it’s the main menu you can finally rest!
Hey wait a minute, isn’t that our town?
Your party slowly realizes they spent a week or so walking in a giant circle. Kikka is desperate for a bath and a nice bed, but you unfortunately have to tell her that you’ll have someone scout it out first and you’ll go in the morning. Who know where the bandits that want to attack you are now? For now sleep.
You had a very not-good dream. Also you wake up in the morning to find the bandits. And it’s raining. Whoops.
They explain their evil, not-well-thought-out plan of killing the villagers and kidnapping the goddesses, which they can then leverage to control harvests and live like kings! Except like, the goddess have to go back to Heaven to report the wishes, and they will just not turn them in. That and you’re fucking with the gods, who really should have smited these guys earlier, especially now that we know they have mighty 天罰 powers of mind erasing.
They attack Housen, who escapes with just a cut shirt as Kikka slowly dies of her fever in Hakuou’s arms. A bandit nearly kills him when Asahi jumps in front of the bandit to defend him. Just like as we saw in the Asahi route, she’s thrown into a tree and nearly killed.
Hakuou then goes fucking crazy and unleashes the bloodlust.
He goes so crazy at the death of his dragon wife that he single-handedly solves the entire bandit problem. As his head cools down, he walks over to the injured Asahi.
With Asahi now safe to recover inside the scroll, Hakuou looks up to the Heavens and generally just flips off the clouds while screaming Kikka’s name. The Elder Dragon runs off into the woods looking for herbs to heal his wounds, when Hakuou asks Housen to fetch him some water. She feels something is amiss, but eventually agrees and leaves.
Now alone, Hakuou stands above the deceased Kikka.
Just as the Elder Dragon is returning with herbs, Hakuou plunges his sword into his stomach and kills himself, falling on top of Kikka.
Now Kikka, Hakuou, and their unborn child can be together once again. The snow we’re all familar with begins to fall. There’s only one possible reaction to this:
Both women now stand in the unimaginable silence, broken in both body and mind. Knowing this cruel fate will happen again and again, Housen has an odd request:
For some reason, the Elder Dragon is able to grant this request and make Housen immortal, which opens a whole can of “why didn’t you do that and more earlier,” but this is a really good tragic scene, so we’ll let it slide.
The Elder Dragon blames herself for not bringing her sister back to Heaven or stopping Hakuou from being with her. She couldn’t do anything as her sister deteriorated and died in front of her.
Set on their long mission to stop this tragedy, the two agree to go their separate ways and wait for that day. The Elder Dragon decides to live in the mountains, never to talk to another person. Housen chooses to live quietly in the village, waiting patiently.
Back in the present day, we confirm Housen is indeed Meiko. Doctor Tachibana one day nearly hits her with his car and tries to help her, but she doesn’t have any parents to call. He decides to adopt her into his family.
The Elder Dragon is also confirmed to be the girl with the white hat who we ran into in the woods.
Lastly, we’re left with an image of Sumino and Kanata as kids and the reincarnated versions of Kikka and Hakuou, with bunny Asahi on his lap.
Lastly, the credits play and the main menu changes once again, now a bright sunny day with the snow back once again.
Despite the Legend route feeling pretty strung out and reusing a lot of the sad tropes from the other routes, they really stuck the ending. I’m genuinely excited to continue the story after I write this post! After looking at that PS2 route guide, it appears we’re locked into a path where the Elder Dragon route is next, followed by our time travel old lady child. Apparently there’s a Meiko route to close it out, but I don’t see anything about it on Dreamcast. If it’s a PS2-only thing, I may need to play that one or just skip to the PSP version which adds another character anyway.
We have 66% of all the CGs, so we’re close! Meiko’s image down there just says “Other people” and shows Giraffe Sayori, your cousin, and Meiko. Maybe it’ll be a surprise last route? Not sure!
But next up, we can start the Elder Dragon’s route, aka Shigure apparently!
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.