Ho, a two-parter! Since writing part 2 of this series, I’ve actually played three more routes. Originally I was just going to write about them in order of play, but that’s a lot of subjecting you all to this, and one of the routes really captured my heart more than I was expecting it to, so I’m saving that for next time. Today I’m going to recap what I believe will remain the two most “wholesome” routes: Heisuke Toudou and Sanosuke Harada. Now, this isn’t to say that things don’t get steamy with the ‘sukes, but these boys have the most clear cut happy, lovey dovey endings.
Toudou or not Toudou
Heisuke Toudou is the “shota” of the group, even though in real life he was the same age as everyone else and is still in the decidedly not shota age group of late teens - early twenties in this game. He’s also really short. Like, my height in real life. He was an interesting character to romance right after
the bae Hajime Saito, because instead of reading between the lines and grasping for every last sidelong glance and falling cherry blossom petal, Heisuke (he has you call him by his first name early on) is pretty damn obvious about his feelings for the protagonist. But like Saito, and seemingly most of the guys, he becomes a demon vampire thing (ok, yeah, “fury” is the real term).
Being a vampire thing actually makes Heisuke more interesting as a character, as it gives him an existential dilemma to cut through all that cheerful personality of his. You get more information on the Fury Corps of the Shinsengumi, and Heisuke’s route has a new storyline and main villain. Instead of the demon 1%, we get one of our own guys: creepy smile megane Sanan who wants to create a nation of furies. Yes, I kept reading “nation of furries” by mistake.
To be honest, I was not too interested in either the story or Heisuke himself here. As many of my friends know and poke fun at me for, youth/being my own age has never been an attractive feature to me. The awkward, innocent kids in love angle of this romance was cute, though, I can give it that. One of the game’s extras, “Shinsengumi Memories,” gives you little scenes written from the POV of the guys, and I must admit Heisuke’s, which told the story of his quest to cheer the protagonist up even while his plans are constantly thwarted, was very sweet.
From dating a child to having a child
Finally, a man in his late 20s-early 30s! The sweet spot! Unfortunately, like Heisuke, I was not terribly into Sanosuke Harada, but he has his charms and his route has two very unique qualities. Harada is the one that survived an attempt at seppuku. It turns out that was just the result of some youthful bravado, not a harrowing tale of honor and near death. Still, allegedly girls are supposed to dig scars. Anyway. The gist of Harada’s route is that he’s just a simple man who wants to bro around and his dream is to settle down and live a peaceful life. For lack of better words: drinking, fucking, and fighting.
And ooooooooooooooh girl. This route has all of those things. As I was playing, I think I actually said “Wow! We had sex!” out loud. “Do the redhead.” Damson urged me. Well, Dam, I did the redhead. Are you happy? It’s actually rather refreshing to have one of these upstanding gentleman go all the way. What’s more, this route also has the first name thing...during the...yeah. Other than consummating the relationship, the other thing that stands out about Harada is that he never became a fury. That means I never had to decide whether to give him my blood (this is always the right answer), give him medicine, or make him endure it. Besides, when you are actually doing the deed, you don’t need metaphors for doing the deed. The downside to literal sex, though, is that it has consequences.
This was probably supposed to be a really cute ending! I mean, it is a happy ending. Both characters get to live out their dream of having a peaceful life, but I was a little annoyed with the inevitable offspring. I kind of felt like having a child was the “justification” for the surprising amount of physical love in this route. Also, I just don’t like children. In games and stories that really hinge on putting oneself in place of the protagonist, the kid thing always pulls me right out of the projection.
In sum: the ‘sukes are both fine guys, but if I’m going to play a game about rough samurai and vampire demons, I would prefer a little more edge and little less children.