[Review] Getsuei No Kusari ~Sakuran Paranoia~

First Takuyo game! What motivated me to play this game was the art. I’ve read some of it in B’s Log and I’m well-aware that this game is depressing. I mean, it does says a lot when the quote for this game is “Even so, will you still love me?”.

Title: Getsuei No Kusari ~Sakuran Paranoia~
Company: Takuyo
Genre: Otome
Rating: R-15
Platform: PSP
The game is set in the late Taisho period (1912 – 1926) and centers around an island that has only one city known as Koukashi. Koukashi is famous for its beautiful places and hot springs, the citizens basically lives off the money tourists pay to visit this island. However, tragedy befalls when a disaster struck the island, causing the number of tourists to decrease as the years passed and resulting in an economic crisis for the city. The citizens’ only hope is the Kouka Seinen-dan, a group of young people striving to fight against this issue for the city’s sake. This isn’t the only issue though, as a man appeared on the island one day declaring to form a garrison, causing confusion throughout the city. Our heroine, Megumi Fuyuura, is just a normal girl working as a proprietress at a restaurant known as Tsuki No Hotori. But as a citizen she soon finds herself in these mess as well.
Review will contain mild to no spoilers (just be careful because I did mention mild spoilers).
A little more background on Megumi’s family: Megumi’s father passed away when she was just a child. As a result, her mother went crazy and became delusional, spending her days weeping and wondering when her husband will come back. When Megumi tries to snap her mother out of it, her mother only accuses her. She also has a brother called Mamoru, although they are both not blood-related.
Storyline
I really like it. The basic story of this game is pretty interesting. It’s unlike any other otome games I’ve played so far (but that maybe because I haven’t played THAT many yet LOL), it seems to focus on the crisis the city is facing first rather than how the main character meets character A and her life is turned upside down. Getsuei No Kusari depicts a story about people who fight to live in an era that’s coming to an end soon. For the romance department, it’s either depressing or cute, or both. Each route has a solid story but depending on the endings, it can either end on a heartbreaking or happy note. All the routes branches off into different endings: Love End, Independent End along with a bunch of bad ends. There’s also a Normal End where Megumi doesn’t end up with anyone and concludes the common route as what it is.
Characters
I honestly never expected to feel so terrible while playing this game. I read from Japanese fans saying that this game is depressing and I thought “How depressing can it be?” while laughing internally. In the end, the game shoved in my face how depressing it CAN be and had the last laugh. _:(:3 /L):_

I did only the Love End and Independent End for each character. I didn’t do the Seperation Ends because no CG.

* * *
Wataru Inoguchi
CV: Shintarou Asanuma
Wataru is a soldier from the mainland. His family is wealthy and was once looked up upon by the citizens of the city. However, because the citizens are a bunch of discrimination freaks, after his mother decided to marry a foreigner, they started to shame the entire family. He has a little brother named Noa who is often picked on by the children around the area just because he has mixed blood of a Japanese and a foreigner. What a bunch of bastards. Why didn’t any of them migrate again?
Where do I start off with him…? Wataru is a gentleman. You’d think all the nice and gentlemanly characters end up snapping and turning into a yandere in the end (well at least I did) but no, Wataru is a gentleman from start to end. Wataru wishes to rid of discrimination so that his little brother can live in peace. He wants to create a world where Noa can live happily in because he can’t stand the thought of his little brother getting mistreated when he did nothing wrong. Speaking of which, Noa is so precious! He really loves his brother and refuses to face the fact that they’re not really blood-related at all, even going as far as to scream at Megumi to believe his words that they’re both blood-related.
The game introduces a man that goes by the name of Mikoto Fukami, who is sort of the antagonist of this game. Fukami was the one who declared the plan to form a garrison, but obviously he has underlying motives to this plan of his. He has a connection with the army Wataru is part of.
Wataru is a favourite of mine in the game. He’s so kind, caring, sweet and so gentlemanly! Almost like the ideal husband any girl would want. Lolwhat. He’s also a great big brother figure to Noa because all he wishes for is Noa’s happiness. I want a big brother like him. ;;; He also becomes quite suave after he confesses to Megumi. xD Sadly, I feel like the amount of plot overshadowed the amount of romance in this route. You do get to see Wataru and Megumi growing closer and closer throughout the route, but it’s not until about 1 hour plus before the end that we actually get to see romantic scenarios between the two. While the Love End is happy and really cute, I think I prefer his Independent End better because I’m a masochist sucker for lovers in misery. /o\ And I prefer how Megumi acted there. She didn’t stumble or hesitate on the decision to help Wataru and she’s doing what she thinks is right for Wataru’s sake…although the ending didn’t end on a happy note at all.

Satoya Mochizuki

CV: Yoshitsugu Matsuoka

Mochizuki is the trustworthy right-hand man of the leader of Kouka Seinen-dan (which is Hibiki). He may seem like the resident shota of the game, but he’s actually older than Megumi. He may also seem like the tsundere character at first due to how serious and stern he looks, but he’s actually a very caring man who doesn’t hesitate to show he cares. He admires Megumi in a way because he thinks she’s a strong-willed woman.

I think Mochizuki possibly have the cutest route in the whole game. Maybe because of the fact that throughout the whole route, Mochizuki would blush and stutter on his words a lot whenever he’s with Megumi. He’s also quite honest, admitting once that seeing Megumi’s face gives him motivation and confidence to do things. And that’s not even halfway into his route yet. Mochizuki is really precious. He really cares for Megumi and looks out on her a lot.

After going through Wataru’s route, it had me wondering why is this game R-15 and after seeing Mochizuki’s route, now I know why. There’s some heavy insulting going on and also, there’s a scene involving a rapist. Megumi is attacked and almost raped by the rapist but Mochizuki comes in to save her just in time. I…don’t think that was necessary. It had me thinking “WHY” during the entire scene. I mean, I really thought she was going to get raped for real. OTL;

The romance in this route is pretty cute. But the biggest disappointment is that we don’t get a kiss CG. Mochizuki’s romance also often felt like romance between two highschool dorks (which is actually very cute but I wanted to see some…action LOL). There’s a lot of sweet CGs between Mochizuki and Megumi though and the pacing of their relationship feels more natural compared to Wataru’s. I also like Megumi a lot better in this route because she would often tease Mochizuki and I felt that she was a lot more strong-willed here. She’s a strong-willed person in general but here, it’s like she leveled up. xD However, sometimes Megumi felt…obsessive. It’s especially depicted well in the Independent End where she sort of lost her marbles and her obsession with Mochizuki gets pretty questionable. I mean, she even tried to strip him to seduce him. Oh god. O_O; But the entire ending ended on a slightly depressing note. I actually felt really sorry for both Mochizuki and Megumi in that ending.

Overall, I think I liked Mochizuki’s route better than Wataru, although I’m still bitter that there’s no kiss CG. But lots of the CGs for this route are very pretty, even the CG for the Independent End. I can’t decide whether I liked the Love End or Independent End better since both had my feelings triggered, in a different way. LOL.

Hibiki Kagurazaka

CV: Shingaki Tarusuke

Hibiki is the leader of the Kouka Seinen-dan. Admired and looked upon highly by the citizens as he had saved many innocent lives when a fire broke out in a part of the city years ago. You can say that he’s sort of a ‘fight for justice’ kind of man. He strives to create peace among the citizens due to the economy issues that has been happening with the government. He’s a selfless and kind young man.

I…actually have no interest in Hibiki at all. At first, that is. I admit, playing his route got me really emotional at some point. Hibiki is a young man with a scarred heart. He lost so much and yet he’s still fighting for the sake of the citizens (who all, in my opinion, do not deserve it at all). I don’t think I’m going to write much about him (mainly because he’s still my least favourite lol), but Hibiki isn’t a bad characters. He’s quite a gentleman but I guess the other characters took up a lot of my attention.

Hibiki’s left eye is injured from the fire years ago, even his back is covered in burns and scars. He also has a weak body. I also have to note that he possibly have the most emotional and depressing route in the whole game. Even his Love End was extremely depressing. His Independent End was the final straw and had me sobbing like a bitch. OTL It doesn’t help that his Independent End elaborated on a little bit of his past and what he lost so that adds on to the pain. Also, his route is the only one that has an implied sex scene LOL.

I actually enjoyed and liked Hibiki’s route but…yeah. Sorry, I guess Hibiki isn’t appealing to me. Yet I feel strangely attached to him and I don’t know why. I guess emotional routes generally leave a huge impact on me. OTL

Nozomu Haruna
CV: Makoto Naruse
Haruna is a mysterious young man who claims to be a traveler. He’s a regular at Megumi’s restaurant and often flirts with her. He calls Megumi as ‘Megumi-chan’ and appears to be laid-back and cheerful for most of the part. Of course, there’s more to than what meets the eye. He can also be serious when needed to be. He appears to get along quite well with Wataru, although both of them are seen arguing almost everytime.

1. I love Haruna.
2. I love Haruna.
3. I LOVE HARUNA.

I have a megane fetish so I had my eyes on him at first. He turned out to be my favourite character as well after finishing the game. I just loved him. He’s actually just an emotional wreck beneath that flirty and cheerful persona. His romance starts way earlier than the other routes and I feel like he compliments Megumi just perfectly as a couple. But that maybe because I’m biased towards him and this couple.

A friend of mine and I are speculating whether or not Haruna is the main guy of the game and I’d like to believe he is, simply because he has the most CG count and he appears first in line in the ending theme. Also, he has the biggest connection to Fukami. You’ll find out why when you play. xD You can’t deny that he’s really mysterious as well. In the other routes, he appears to be a friendly and logical person who supports Megumi in certain situations and so on, but nothing about him is ever revealed in the other routes other than the fact that he’s a traveler. It reveals a lot about him in his own route.

I squealed pretty hard at his Love End because it was so cute and beautiful. ;;;; I really adore this couple. And out of all the routes, I feel like Haruna also has the best chemistry with Megumi. He can get pretty flirty with Megumi at times but sometimes you’d catch him being all awkward and stuttering on his words. I actually expected his Independent End to be the most depressing one but it wasn’t…as bad as I had expected it to be. The CG for it looks slightly R-15-ish LOL but again, it doesn’t end on a happy note, even thought it seems happy. I also feel like Megumi lost a bit of her marbles there.

Oh yeah, in my opinion Haruna also has the cutest CGs. But….again, maybe it’s just bias. LOLOL.

P.S. Haurna is the same age as Megumi, which makes him younger than Mochizuki…..I HAD THE GREATEST SHOCK WHEN I LEARNT ABOUT THIS.

Mamoru Ooigawa

CV: Hiroaki Miura

Mamoru is Megumi’s older brother, although not blood-related at all. Mamoru is very brotherly most of the time. He’s a really reliable and caring brother, always looking out for Megumi. He works as a newspaper reporter to support the family and seems to look up to the Kouka Seinen-dan.

Mamoru’s route can be unlocked after you finish one of the guys’ route. His route is depressing-free but sadly it’s not a love route at all. In fact, the entire time I was thinking “SISTER-ZONE TO THE MAX” while playing his route. Yes, it’s one of those routes where your brother just loves you in a brotherly way and wishes for your happiness with another man, that’s all. Megumi appears to harbor no non-platonic feelings for Mamoru here either so…yeah. I’m convinced that it’s just a route where you can get closer to your brother.

The route is very, very short compared to the others but it wasn’t a bad route. In fact, I did enjoy this route because I love Mamoru + Miura is voicing him. I’m also kind of glad that they kept the brother-sister borderline because I actually can’t imagine Megumi becoming a couple with Mamoru. I prefer their relationship to stay as siblings, with Mamoru supporting Megumi throughout her life. That’d be sweet enough for me.

It also comes off as something close to a reward for me because after playing through four depressing routes, Mamoru’s route definitely cheered me up a little. He’s such a silly dork who cares a lot for Megumi. In the other routes, he serves as a hilarious side character because he would often walk in on Megumi having a lovey-dovey moment with her boyfriend and Mamoru would be like “…I SEE.” about it. I remember at one point in Mochizuki’s route, he was reprimanding how Mochizuki is so slow because he hasn’t even touched Megumi yet. LOL! It’s definitely a heart-warming sibling route and Mamoru is just too cute for his own good.

* * *

I liked all the characters, but I’d probably rank them in this order:

1. Nozomu Haruna
2. Satoya Mochizuki
3. Mamoru Ooigawa
4. Wataru Inoguchi
5. Hibiki Kagurazaka

Megumi is a like-able heroine. She’s a strong-willed heroine who isn’t afraid to speak her mind when needed to. She’s also sometimes very direct with her feelings which is kind of a refreshing change for me. I read a few people dislike her but I actually really like her as a heroine. She’s also a rather dark character, being abandoned by her biological mother and taken in by another family. Adding the fact that she experienced some terrible things makes her someone quite realistic. She often would have thoughts how she isn’t someone who deserves much.

Ayame is also another character I like. She’s just a supporting character but she’s a great and matured woman with logic and is often there to support Megumi. And I HATE FUKAMI.

Routes & Endings
INDEPENDENT ENDS DEPRESSING. CRIES MISERABLY. SCREAMS WHY.

Okay, sorry for the incoherent LOL. I thought the routes were solid and well-written and while some things could’ve been built on, it was still a good pass for a story. Haruna and Hibiki are my favourite routes. The Love Ends themselves are cute and happy, except for Hibiki’s. Mochizuki has the cutest Love End but it really depends on your tastes. Independent Ends. This is where shit becomes depressing. A majority of the Independent Ends are really depressing. Not so depressing maybe Haruna’s, but the others just make you feel miserable, especially Hibiki’s and Mochizuki’s. The Normal End is quite depressing too. Megumi doesn’t end up with anyone there but it’s not something that ends on a happy note. In fact, I think the Normal End is the most realistic ending because it touches on what reality really is. The main plot was also consistent throughout.

Conclusion is, I liked all the routes, haha. I don’t know what else to write. OTL

Gameplay & System
The system was neat and I didn’t had a problem with them. They usage was convenient for me. As for gameplay, it’s the standard visual novel style, but it involves something similar to stat-rising which will either bring you the Love End or Independent End. Depending on your choices, it will either increase the pink heart or the blue heart. The pink heart is the Love End while the blue heart is the Independent End. It isn’t hard to get either of the endings though as all you need to do is follow a guide and you’ll be sure to get the ending you want!

I also really like how the game has its own save and load page instead of the usual save page where it’s basically saved in the PSP as well. The only complaint I have is that the scene replay section is REALLY confusing. It doesn’t state which scene is which so I had a hard time trying to find the scene that I wanted to replay (Haruna…. ; v ; I could replay his scenes again and again). There’s no opening/ending theme replay either. But you can unlock the full version of both the songs in the music section if you finish the game.

Art
I really liked the art. The illustrations featured in the B’s Log magazines prior to this game’s release were really enchanting and beautiful. The colouring is good as well and I really liked the designs for each character, particularly Megumi, Haruna and Mochizuki. There weren’t any inconsistency from what I could remember, although I do remember questioning some anatomy problem in a few of the CGs but that’s it. The art certainly brings out the feeling of the Taisho period.

Voices
Except for Miura and Matsuoka, I have no idea who the other seiyuus are. Asanuma has a really soothing and nice voice though. Sometimes I find myself enjoying Wataru’s voice more than his route. LOL. Haruna’s voice can get really annoying at times which is the reason why I was turned off by him at the start but I ended up growing fond of it anyway. Miura’s voice really suits for Mamoru but…maybe it’s just my Miura bias LOL. I also wish that Megumi has a voice. I feel like if she has a voice, it could’ve made everything more dramatic and trigger a lot more feelings out of me.

Music
The music was great. I heard the composer is also the one who composed the music for Shinigami To Shoujo (which I have yet to play but it’s in my list to). I really liked the main title music, it’s absolutely beautiful and fits the depressing theme of this game in my opinion. A majority of the BGMs I liked too, although some of them annoyed me a bit but maybe I just don’t really like music that sounds like it was composed thousand years ago(?) LOL. The music brings out the feeling of the era this game is set in though and the BGM during the romantic scenes is really cute. Both the opening and ending themes are sung by Rekka Katagiri and I liked both though I think I liked the ending theme more because it sounds happier!

Conclusion
I think I sounded a bit bored while writing this. I walked into this game not expecting much because of the theme and plot, but I ended up loving this game. A lot.

I’m not sure about the game’s status so far since I haven’t read any reviews for it yet. I heard from my sister though that some Chinese fans said this game was boring. True, it talks about the politics and whatnot but I didn’t think it was THAT boring (GENROH). Maybe I’m just biased or something since when I love a game, I can’t find anything terrible about it LOL.

You may not want to check this game out though if you don’t like emotional or sad stories because this game is depressing even if the Love Ends are happy. The plot is good but some plot devices in some of the routes feel like they needed more elaboration on the details. The characters are a like-able bunch and one thing I like about the game is that the characters are very flawed people and it doesn’t hide that. They’re merely humans who fight to live and create peace. They all have their own problems and issues, it’s justified in the game. Other than that, it also has a strong-willed heroine, a nice soundtrack and stunning art. I couldn’t ask for anything more. I do hope Takuyo considers making a fandisc for this game, but then again I think the game will also do fine without a fandisc.

Okay, I think I am getting more and more terrible at writing reviews hkdfhdsjg. I realize that lately when I try to write reviews I sound extremely incoherent and confusing. Sorry about that. I just don’t know what to write sometimes. But YES, I definitely recommend this game!

/waits for Takuyo to release a VFB for this/



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