Hakuoki Edo Blossoms Review

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HAKUOKI EDO BLOSSOMS

Release Date:  March 13, 2018 (North America)
Developers: Idea Factory, Design Factory
Publishers: Otomate, Idea Factory International
Platforms:  PS VITA, Steam (PC)
ESRB Rating: M(Mature)

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Read the game’s prologue here.

Walkthroughs:

 

ART AND MUSIC
As previously stated in my Kyoto Winds review, there were three artists involved in Hakuoki’s artwork. Kazuki YoneMiko, and Shiki Sakigumi. Most of the CGs are the same ones you get in the PS3 version of the game (Demon of the Fleeting Blossoms). The OP and ending themes for Edo Blossom were also done by the same composer and performed by the same artist of the game’s prequel. Listen to Edo Blossoms’ beautiful OP “Kaze no Nakade Saku Hana” on the track below:

 

CHARACTERS AND ROUTES (Spoiler Free)
I played the routes in the order that was suggested in the game (started with Hijikata and did Kazama last). Because it’s a sequel, there’s really no specific route order you need to follow as you will still be able to enjoy the stories regardless of which route you start or finish. My suggestion is to divide your favorites, where you play a fav guy first but also finish with another fav. so you’ll have that lasting “uwu” impression. (laughs) (*/ω\)

 

2018-10-02-213022TOSHIZO HIJIKATA
CV: Shinichirou Miki  –  Nesso Galland (Black Wolves Saga), Mr. Buckethead (Bad Apple Wars), Yuzuki Murakumo (7’scarlet)

Hijikata’s story was the longest in Edo Blossoms (five chapters), it’s also the only route with most endings (seven endings). 

Just like Kyoto Winds, Hijikata’s route was mainly the story of the Shinsengumi itself. It follows through the Shinsengumi’s activities the day they arrived in Edo and ended with their defeat in the Boshin war. One of the highlights of this route is Hijikata’s strong determination to fight for what he truly believes in despite standing on the losing end. Seeing this man’s strong resolution and will power, scene after scene was rather awe inspiring so to speak (it made me tear, sob!). I also loved how his romantic relationship with Chizuru developed in the long run, where It didn’t felt forced nor rushed. If anything, I thought it was actually very realistic. Hijikata longing for Chizuru was just so cute!

Story: 5/5
Romance: 5/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

2018-10-02-213603 SOUJI OKITA
CV: Shotaro Morikubo – Impey Barbicane (Code Realize), Jocus (Period Cube), Toa (7’scarlet)

Unlike Hijikata’s route, Okita’s story was more detached to the Shinsengumi’s activities as it picked up from where it left off in Kyoto Winds (Chizuru stays with Okita at Dr. Matsumoto’s place in Edo, to help him recover from his illness). I like how stubborn Okita’s character was but then goes meek every time Chizuru calls him out. Finally! the heroine tames this sadistic hunk! It was great how their relationship dynamics worked out for the best as they progressed through the story. I also felt real chemistry between the two of them – Okita’s route is probably one of the better ones, when it comes to romance. Moreover, I wanted to commend on Morikubo’s  awesome portrayal of Souji’s character, his voice acting really stood out in this game. He’s done this character justice and I have no words! Recalling the scene of Okita’s breakdown really shook my emotions to the core! (applause)

Story: 4/5
Romance: 5/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

SAITO HAJIME 2018-10-02-213901
CV: Kousuke Toriumi – Kagiha (Psychedelica BB), Poyo-Poyo (Period Cube), Hideyoshi (Ikesen), Lawrence (Psychedelica AH), John Watson (Code Realize)

To those who are Saito biased, you will definitely enjoy his route. For the most part, Saito continues his adorable kuudere nature as he juggles overworking himself to experiencing fatigue while keeping a watchful eye on Chizuru’s well being. His route had a couple of surprises that got me all ‘woah(Hint: Ear fetishes lol). My only gripe was that their romance didn’t surface until his last chapters and it is only because of Chizuru’s forwardness that this man was finally able to admit his feelings for her. But I guess this works out for some?

Story: 4/5
Romance: 3/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

2018-10-02-214225HEISUKE TOUDOU
CV: Yoshino Hiroyuki – Sendo Kiyoharu (Vitamin X), Auger von Garibaldi (Black Wolves Saga), Heishi (Norn9)

Heisuke was such a great character in Edo Blossoms.  I liked him as an NPC in almost all the routes in the game. His own story however, wasn’t too satisfying – if you ask me. Because he’s one of the first Shinsengumi rasetsu (fury), he spends a lot of time wallowing in grief and deep regrets (thinking about his life choices), questioning the “what ifs” and  a whole lot of “shoulda, woulda, coulda”. This went on probably for the mere half of his route where Chizuru tries her hardest to lift Mr. Down-in-the-dumps’ spirits up. It was sad and annoying at the same time but I’m glad it didn’t lasted. There’s still good chemistry between him and Chizuru so, this is one saving grace that didn’t get me all disinterested with his story.

Story: 3/5
Romance: 3/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

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SANOSUKE HARADA
CV: Koji Yusa – Itsuki (Norn9), Mr. Gasmask (Bad Apple Wars), Bernardo (Luckydog1)

Oh boy! Get your fans ready, turn on the AC as it’s about to get hot in here! (//ω//)

As I’ve said in my Kyoto Winds review, If you want romance, Harada is definitely one for the taking! There’s certainly a good story in Harada’s route but man, I got so distracted with all the fluff content on this one, it’s too inevitable to ignore (chuckles). It was funny how Chizuru secretly hides her crush with yo boi’, saying things like “this man is so handsome and caring, I will never be worthy of him and his glorylmao! …At the same time, Sano being such a big flirt and all won’t stop doting on the heroine… I…just…can’t… take it! Their relationship was too adorable! Sano’s route is def one of the best routes to look forward to in Edo Blossoms and his ‘good end’ was one of the most satisfying endings in the game. Make no mistake about that.

Story: 5/5
Romance: 5/5
Kissing CG: OH YES!!!

 

2018-10-02-214616 SHINPACHI NAGAKURA
CV: Tsuboi Tomohiro – 
Toshi Maeda (Sengoku Basara), Rikimaru (Tenchu 2), Taliesin (Tears to Tiara)

While Shinpachi Nagakura remains one of the most likable characters in the series. Just like Heisuke, his route falls rather short in terms of both story and romance. Mostly, Shinpachi spends a lot of time loathing on the fact that he’s become a fury (Recalling, the incident in Kyoto Winds, where he was forced to drink the water of life due to unavoidable circumstances). With this, Chizuru guiltily blames herself for Shinpachi’s suffering and wants to support him in any way she can. In return, Shinpachi still pushes her away and goes into a complete depressive mode to a point that he becomes a hermit for weeks (ಠ_ಠ) – lol im not even kidding! Because of this, he becomes too distant with the heroine, that I literally can’t feel any intimate connection between the two of ’em. It took him four whole chapters to suddenly admit his feelings for Chizuru which for some reason felt rushed (to me anyway). ┐(‘~` )┌

Story: 2/5
Romance: 2/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

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KEISUKE SANAN
CV: Nobuo Tobita – Straizo (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure), Kan Soo-Jin (Akatsuki no Yona), Capt. Gordon (Disgea)

Sanan’s character in Edo Blossoms can either become your ally or the antagonist causing all the mayhem, depending on who’s route you’re on. I remember Sanan giving me the creeps when I played his route in Kyoto Winds. Luckily, he redeemed himself in this sequel and I’m so glad how his story turned out. I should warn you, his route was one emotional ride. Sanan was such a complex character where at one point you literally can’t stand him and on another you just can’t help but fall for him (°ロ°) It’s madness, I tell ya! After playing his route in EB, I now, clearly understand why Sanan’s character has a solid unwavering fanbase. *Tips hat*

Story: 4/5
Romance: 4/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

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SUSUMU YAMAZAKI
CV: Takayuki Suzuki – Daedalus Munto (Demonion Series), Oota Hiroo (Koiken Otome)

WarningKyoto Winds Spoiler below!
I was so ecstatic to play Yamazaki’s route because unlike the other romanceable characters in Kyoto Winds, Yamazaki was the only one who didnt make it to Edo. (╥﹏╥) (Hint: He died in the battlefield). Yamazaki (in Kyoto Winds) only survived in two routes: his and Okita’s. That said, Playing Yamazaki’s route was such a treat in Edo Blossoms, because… you know, he’s alive and breathing for a change! (cackles). His route was rather short though, I remember finishing it way too quick compared to others. Needless to say, I love Yamazaki’s character to bits. I still hold my ground when I say, he’s such a good match for Chizuru,  both of them complement each other really well. His good ending was a little predictable but gosh, it was too perfect, I wouldn’t have it in any other way!

Story: 3/5
Romance: 5/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

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HACHIRO IBA
CV: Mamoru Miyano – Akito (Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku), Light Yagami (Death Note), Tokiya (Utapri), Okabi Rintarou (Steins Gate)

I’ve been reading a lot of mixed reviews regarding Iba’s route in Edo Blossoms from western gamers. We either hate him or love him in his route. Why tho? Is it because of his obsessive crush with Chizuru, or is it because of his rapey demon hand? lol As an Iba bias,(˙꒳​˙) I don’t really find his route, in any way shape or form, offensive nor creepy, towards the main protagonist. The reason for his “odd” behavior was thoroughly explained in his story and was even foreshadowed a few times during his first chapters. OR perhaps, I just really have awful taste in men (lmao) To be quite honest, I’ve actually enjoyed Iba’s route fully. I thought it was pretty good. It was dark, yes but his character depth was strikingly beautiful. I love how Iba struggles with his own demons but at the same time continues to fight for his beliefs echoing Hijikata & the Shinsengumi’s dedication and will power. He has the nicest bittersweet ending and (i think) it could’ve been better if they’ve extended his epilogue.

Story: 4/5
Romance: 5/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

2018-10-02-215520 KAZUE SOUMA
CV: Yuki Kaji – Kei Okazaki (Collar x Malice), Finis (Code Realize), Kanato (Diabolik Lovers), Kakeru (Norn9), Hayato Ozaki (Nil Admirari)

I like describing Souma’s route as the amazing race to get to Hijikata (laughs). Because this was literally what went down for the first three chapters of his story (considering, an entire route in EB only consist 4 of chapters total). I felt that Souma’s story got a bit mundane in the middle but then picked up really quick on the fourth chapter. As I’ve griped before in Kyoto Winds, I still couldn’t feel any chemistry between him and Chizuru (ノД`). I loved that there was comic relief in the last chapters of his story though – the whole gang playfully teasing the lovers and Iba getting extremely jealous – oh boy! that was one good laugh. His ending was really sweet too (their reuniting scene was so precious). It’s one of my least favorite routes in EB but it wasn’t bad altogether. Also, kudos to Yuki  Kaji for breathing life into this character. His voice acting was indeed one of highlights in this route.

Story: 4/5
Romance: 3/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

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RYOUMA SAKAMOTO
CV: Daisuke Ono – Hyuuga (Neo Angelique), Hades (Kamigami no Asobi), Subaru Asahina (Brother’s Conflict), Yuuya (Muv-Luv), Azuma Natsuhiko (Norn9)

Sakamoto’s story in Kyoto Winds was interesting enough to get me all hyped up with his route in EB. Sadly, to my disappointment, the intriguing factor of Ryouma’s character died down as his whole route was wasted chasing after his buddy Nakaoka and his band of evil furies from Tosa. There was nothing new of the sort that’ll get you compelled to keep going in his story. I honestly could not wait for it to end. Though I wanted to point out that it was his good ending that uniquely redeemed his route from dullness. I believe others may still probably enjoy Sakamoto’s route. This one just didn’t stick out to me in the game.

Story: 2/5
Romance: 3/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

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CHIKAGE KAZAMA
CV: Kenjiro Tsuda – Hattori Hanzo (Nightshade), Soshi Amazaki (The Charming Empire), Leonardo Da Vinci (Ikevamp), Nathan Seymour (Tiger & Bunny)

I am literally a Kazama bias, that’s why I picked his route to play last. He is arrogant, selfish, and judgmental towards humans, the perfect husbando! (laughs). Again, just like his role in Kyoto Winds, Kazama can either be your enemy or your ally in the game depending on who’s route you’re at. In Edo Blossoms, he becomes Chizuru’s bodyguard as she journeys following the tracks of the Shinsengumi. He may not be upfront with his feelings towards the heroine, but you can clearly tell that his actions are genuinely all for her well being. It was such a treat seeing Kazama’s changed nature towards Chizuru. Like how he always ask her first, what her plan is and what she wants to do. I also enjoyed their couple banters with each other like how Chizuru calls him out when he had too much sake to drink. (´▽ `) It was cute to witness their relationship blossoming as they spend more time together. Plus, this is the only route where you can see Amagiri giving love advises and epic wingman talks to the heroine. lol

Story: 4/5
Romance: 5/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

Will I enjoy Edo Blossoms, even if I haven’t played Kyoto Winds?
Maybe if you’re only in for the romance, then perhaps you might? Though, to be perfectly honest, I don’t see the point of playing the sequel without delving into the main story first. Edo Blossoms is part two and the continuation of Kyoto Winds, so I’d always advise against playing it first if you haven’t touched Kyoto Winds at all. Perhaps if you’ve played the older Hakuoki games then you’ll probably get the gist of the story. Otherwise, you will be missing out on a whole lot of stuff.

 

TRAILER / OPENING MOVIE

 

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS?
Edo Blossom’s transition from Kyoto Winds was pretty smooth sailing as it immediately picked up the previous game’s premise. While the main plot and drama was built-up in Kyoto Winds, Edo Blossoms breaks the ice as it brought conclusion to each of the route’s cliffhangers in KW. Also, unlike its prequel, Edo Blossoms does not contain a long repetitive common story, so you can rest easy on this fact, if you were bogged down from completing the last game by it.

I may have gushed about it in my Kyoto Winds review, but the writing for this remake was indeed, outstanding. The writers did a great job telling Hakuoki’s gripping story while building each characters’ individuality and of course their relationship with the main protagonist, and I believe this is what most of us fans, craved for. We want to connect, sympathize and know these characters more. Out of the twelve main casts, the routes that left an impression on me the most was Hijikata, Harada, Iba and Kazama. Needless to say, each characters have their own personalities that stood out individually from the other. Heck, even the side characters shined in this sequel. My personal favs would be Kyo Shiranui (he’s awesome in Harada’s route), Keisuke Otori (he’s really hilarious in Hijikata and Souma’s route) and of course our beloved chief Isami Kondou, who’s probably brought us the most tears in this sequel.

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To me, Edo Blossoms was a great read per se. I would definitely recommend this game to those who’ve played KW and the older Hakuoki games. Although, I wanna stress out the fact that this sequel’s angst was a bit overwhelming and while it worked out for me (I love torturing myself with immense angst lol), it may not work for some, esp. if you’re more inclined to enjoy light-hearted fluffy novels.

Overall, I would still give Hakuoki Edo Blossoms an A rating for its compelling story, brilliant characters that shone individually, an artwork to die for and for being one of the best visual novels that realistically tells the story of the last samurais in Japan: The Shinsengumi – of course, if you’re secretly a hopeless romantic like me, the romance factor is definitely a plus.

Chlo’s Rating: 9/10

 

 

Backlog Updates (October)

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Hello my fellow thirsty otome compatriots! Before this month ends, I’d like to make a quick update of my game backlogs. Nyan. A previous month back, I’ve set a goal to myself to maybe finish up some older games in my list but uh, lol… like that ever happened! (laughs)

I blame it all on DKS!
Recently, Dark Souls (Remastered) has taken over my life and it’s just so infuriating because I literally suck at this game. I don’t remember being this bad at rpgs I swear! (chuckles)  but man… I guess I’m still trying to get comfortable with this game’s controls (Hint: It’s wack af!) Anyway, I’m not here to review DKS lol, forgive me for griping! OK back to the topic.

Otoge Backlogs:

Currently Playing:

  • Norn9: Var Commons (PSVita) – Lol better late than never! 
  • Kitty Love (NSwitch)

Paused:

  • The Men of Yoshiwara: Oghiya (NSwitch)
  • Destiny Princess (NSwitch)
  • Pub Encounters (NSwitch)
  • The Amazing Shinsengumi (NSwitch)

 

Other Visual Novels:

  • Death Mark (NSwitch) – I’ve pre ordered this game, and will be getting my copy this Wednesday. This’ll be the highlight of my halloween and I’m really excited for it.
  • WILL: A Wonderful World (NSwitch) – I bought this because it was on sale in the eshop, the day it was released.

 

Reviews:

  • Hakuoki Edo Blossoms (In progress) – I’m about 65% finish with this review
  • Kitty Love

Walkthroughs:

  • Norn9: Var Commons (In progress)
  • Kitty Love (In progress)

 

There’ll be a couple more game releases this coming winter. A few on my list are: London Detective Mysteria, the game everyone’s so hyped about, Sweet Pool (BL game that’s worth every penny!), Nightshade (Physical copy for the Switch). If you’re by any chance interested with these games, ya’ll better be on a look out for them really soon!

Lastly, I wanted to thank everyone (all my readers, nyan!) who’s been very patient with me despite my horrible writing and my shameful taste in otome chracters lmao! THANK YOU ALL  for keeping up with this blog! Special shout out to all those who took their time sending those appreciation emails. Here’s one big hug from Kitty Chlo! 

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Kitty Love is finally out in the Eshop!

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Game Title: Kitty Love – Way to look for love
Release Date: November 1, 2018 (North America)
Developers: 
OperaHouse Corportion
Publishers: 
DIGIMERCE

This is a follow up post on the previous one I made last September regarding the game, Nyan “Kitty” Love.

Great news otome fans! Kitty Love is finally out in the Nintendo Eshop. This game is set to release this coming 1st of November.

Click here to read my review for this game.

Click here for Kitty Love’s downloadable content in Nintendo’s Eshop
Click here for Kitty Love’s official website.

 

STORY
Flower shop clerk Honoka has been occupied with her work. One night, when she visited the park that she normally goes to.

…She was cursed by an odd-eyed black cat, Now she becomes a cat at night and human by morning.

There’s only one way to break the curse.
――True love’s kiss.

 

Voiced? YES

Voice Actors include:

  • Soma Saito
  • Atsushi Tamaru
  • Hiroki Yasumoto
  • Tomoaki Maeno
  • Takahiro Sakurai

I’ve been hyping about this game since September as I’ve read a lot of good reviews about it from Japanese players. It’s also one of Operhahouse’s otome titles with the best sales record.

Other OperaHouse Otome games to look out for, that’ll most likely release on the Switch soon:

 

HAKUOKI Edo Blossoms – Chikage Kazama Walkthrough

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CHIKAGE KAZAMA

GOOD ENDING:

CHAPTER 1
-Want to know why he had opposed the Shinsengumi
-My father will notice us

 

CHAPTER 2
-This involves me, too
-Nodded

 

CHAPTER 3
-I’m just heartbroken
-Come with me, and witness the end

 

CHAPTER 4
-Grateful
-Will you stay with me until the bitter end?

(Good Ending)

 

 

 
UNREQUITED ENDING:

Go to Record of Service and choose Kazama
Select Chapter 4 with Low Romance

-Grateful
-Will you stay with me until the bitter end?

(Unrequited Ending)

 

 
BAD ENDING:

Go to Record of Service and choose Kazama
Select Chapter 4 with Low Romance

-Powerless
-I promise you that I’ll return

(Bad Ending)

HAKUOKI Edo Blossoms – Ryouma Sakamoto Walkthrough

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RYOUMA SAKAMOTO

GOOD ENDING:

CHAPTER 1
-You might have a point
-Give him blood
-I’ll do whatever I can

 

CHAPTER 2
-Stay with me
-Give him blood

 

CHAPTER 3
-Save Nakaoka
-Give him blood
-He had his reasons

 

CHAPTER 4
-You don’t understand
-Give him blood

(Good Ending)

 

 

 

UNREQUITED ENDING:

Go to Record of Service and choose Sakamoto
Select Chapter 4 with Low Romance and Low Corruption

-I understand
-Give him blood

(Unrequited Ending)

 

 

BAD ENDING:

Go to Record of Service and choose Sakamoto
Select Chapter 4 with Low Romance and High Corruption

-You don’t understand
-Make him endure it

(Bad Ending)

 

 

GAME OVER 1

Go to Record of Service and choose Sakamoto
Select Chapter 1 with Low Romance and High Corruption

-You might have a poin
-Make him endure it.
-I’ll do whatever I can
(Game Over 1)

 

GAME OVER 2

Go to Record of Service and choose Sakamoto
Select Chapter 2 with Low Romance and High Corruption

-Stay with me
-Make him endure it
(Game Over 2)

 

GAME OVER 3

Go to Record of Service and choose Sakamoto
Select Chapter 1 with Low Romance and High Corruption

-Save Nakaoka
-Make him endure it
-He had his reasons
(Game Over 2)

HAKUOKI Edo Blossoms – Kazue Souma Walkthrough

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KAZUE SOUMA

GOOD ENDING:

CHAPTER 1
-Are you sure?
-Give him blood
-Come back to me

 

CHAPTER 2
-Give him blood
-Stay here

 

CHAPTER 3
-Tell me more
-Give him blood
-Let me join you

 

CHAPTER 4
-Only if you want to
-Give him blood
-“Let’s go”

(Good Ending)

 

 

 
UNREQUITED ENDING:

Go to Record of Service and choose Souma.
Select Chapter 4 with Low Romance and Low Corruption

-When the time is right…
-Give him blood
-Nothing

(Unrequited Ending)

 

 

 
BAD ENDING

Go to Record of Service and choose Souma.
Select Chapter 4 with Low Romance and High Corruption

-When the time is right…
-Make him endure it
-Nothing

(Bad Ending)

 

 

GAME OVER 1

Go to Record of Service and choose Souma
Select Chapter 1 with Low Romance and High Corruption

-Are you sure?
-Make him endure it
-Come back to me
(Game Over 1)

 

GAME OVER 2

Go to Record of Service and choose Souma
Select Chapter 2 with Low Romance and High Corruption

-Make him endure it
-Stay here
(Game Over 2)

 

GAME OVER 3

Go to Record of Service and choose Souma
Select Chapter 3 with Low Romance and High Corruption

-Tell me more
-Make him endure it
-Let me join you
(Game Over 3)

Iris School of Wizardry Vinculum Hearts Review (Nintendo Switch)

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IRIS SCHOOL OF WIZARDRY ~ VINCULUM HEARTS

Release Date: October 11, 2018
Developers: OperaHouse Inc.
Publishers: OperaHouse Inc., DIGIMERCE
Platforms:  Nintendo Switch
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

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Fun Fact: The Nintendo Switch version for Iris School of Wizardry ~ Vinculum Hearts was initially released in August 2, 2018 (Japan). But the game has been around since year 2014 as a mobile port.

 

Walkthroughs:

 

STORY (from Vndb):
The Iris School of Wizardry, also known as ISW.
A school where girls and boys blessed with intelligence, talent, and economic fortune gather.

They say, getting into this school is exceptionally difficult, but those who graduate are promised a sparkling future as elite members of every important institution in the country.

The protagonist’ Aria’s parents died when she was a child, she spent her days taking care of her parents old rare bookshop and wishing she could someday become a fine magician like her father was. Then one day a letter came to her. 
It was permission to enroll into ISW.

 

LOCALIZATION
After the disastrous machine translations of Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku, I was so afraid this game will suffer the same treatment. ALRIGHT! SO…luckily, they didn’t do machine translations this time… However, the english subs were still faulty so I’m guessing the translator (obviously) wasn’t a native speaker. I’ve also noticed some translation inconsistencies where in some routes you can technically understand each sentences while the others were left iffy and awkward. Matias and Iris’s routes were probably the best ones in terms of translations. The good thing was that, I was able to tolerate most of it, lol ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ so this didn’t stopped me from enjoying the story. If you’re picky with your english subs though, I would advise against getting this game.

 

ART AND MUSIC
If you’re like me who’s a total sucker for gorgeous, shoujo manga art. You will love this game’s artstyle. ISOW Vinculum Hearts’ artwork was done by illustrator / mangaka Fujinami Mari. You’ve probably stumbled on some of her works such as “Erto bengoshi wa dokusen yoku no kakusanai”  manga (エリート弁護士は独占欲を隠さない) and the recent R18 otome by A’sRing, Furue Yurayura to.

The game’s trailer had an OP song called “The Promise of the Beginning” performed by seiyuu Nobuhiko Okamoto (*´▽`*). It’s not available in the game itself, but if you want to listen to the song, a sample track is available in iTunes, or you can listen to the full track below!

 

Voice Acting

Tetsuya Kakihara “Clyde King” – Victor Frankenstein (Code Realize), Karasuba (Psychedelica BB), Isora Amari (7’Scarlet), Shin (Amnesia)

Tomohisa Hashizume “Matias Archibald” –  Ryousi (Taishou x Alice), Liam Miller (Ren’ai Princess)

Yuuta kasuya “Cyril Grundy” – Piece (Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica), Tomohiko Tachibana (Duel Love: Koisuru Otome wa Shouri no Megami)

Ryousuke Kanemoto  “A-Jay Blackford” – Yuzu (Gunka o Haita Neko), Trias (Captain Earth)

Kazuyuki Okitsu “Keith Knight” Kyrie (Ozmafia!!), Ray (Ephermal),  Motofumi Mashiko (Nil Admirari), Tatsukichi (Yoshiwara Higanbana), Caster (Fate/Extella)

Nobuhiko Okamato “Iris” Hiroya (Period Cube), Manabu Souda (Collar x Malice), Hansel (Code Realize), Yang (Piofore no Banshou), Akira Kougami (Nil Admirari)

Mitsuki Saiga “Ashley Curtis” Sakuya (Norn9), Dantalion (Tokyo Babel)

Atsushi Kakehashi “Lee Fitzwilliam” – Axel (Ozmafia!!), Miyanomori Susumu (Hanayaka Nari, Waga Ichizoku)

 

PLOT AND SETTING
Since the story’s setting revolves around “the fantasy world of magic” I couldn’t help but notice a few similar elements from Harry Potter. One example was distinguishing purebloods from the halfbloods and mudbloods humans. In this game the purebloods are called “almus” while a halfblood is called an “ultio”. “Hide Street”, the dangerous alley of Fonnue city (place where the heroine grew up) was described rather similar to Knockturn Alley and a “summoning animal” was akin to a patronous

MAIN CHARACTERS AND ROUTES
Almost all the routes follow through the same plot line. “The heroine starts her new life as a student of ISW, partners up with her love interest during their midterm exams, spends time with him on their summer and winter break (Christmas eve), and eventually ends up becoming King and Queen during graduation day”. I have to say some routes were surprisingly good while the others were just “meh” (shrugs). ┐(‘~`;)┌

(IMO) The story is best enjoyed when played in the route order below:
Clyde — Matias — Cyril — Keith — A-Jay — Secret Route. I’ll try my very best to keep the spoilers to a minimum in my posts below but keep in mind to still read with caution.

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CLYDE KING
Clyde is ISW’s student council president. He’s a very smart & talented  young lad who’s magical abilities surpasses other wizards of his age.

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In his story, Clyde and Aria became number one in their class rankings after partnering up together during midterm exams. As a treat for the heroine’s hard work, Clyde takes her out on a date to Fonnue city. During their date, Aria opens up to Clyde by telling him how her parents died when she was ten years old and that she’s been living alone ever since. Clyde then promised her that from now on, he’ll be her other half and that he’ll take half of her pain and sadness in life and make sure she’ll never be alone to endure them.

(Fast Forward) During their Christmas break, while Aria was getting presents for all the society members, she recalls a special memory of the day she lost her parents and was crying all alone in the streets of Fonnue. There was a mysterious “prince-like” young boy who approached her and gave her a special white flower, stopping her from bawling her eyes out. Since then, Aria has treasured the flower dearly and now she’s finally decided to give it to someone she holds special in her heart. In the later parts of this story, it was revealed that Clyde was all along the mysterious boy who came to Aria’s aid when she was young and he was waiting all these years for her to remember. Aww. In return, the heroine took the white flower to Clyde and told him she has kept it preserved all this time and now she wants to give it back to that special boy who’s provided her happiness when she needed it the most. There’s more to this story but I didn’t want to spoil too much about it.

I did Clyde’s route first since I haven’t heard Kakki’s voice in a while (laughs). His story was somewhat predictable but it was cute from start to finish. There was really good chemistry between him and Aria and their romance didn’t felt forced at all. I also think his route was a great start for the game as it contained no major spoilers of it’s overarching plot, nor any type of angts or major conflicts and was all just pure smooth sailing, fluff goodness.

 

MATIAS ARCHIBALD
Matias is a member of ISW’s student council who’s known to be very cold upfront. His dream is to become a member of the Imperial Chilvaric Order after graduation.  Matias is also Clyde King’s best friend, and they’ve been inseparable since childhood.

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In his story, Matias and Aria became partners in their midterm exams which resulted them to land on second place, while Clyde (who partnered with Ashley) still first. After the exams comes the school festival, and everyone agrees to hold a masquerade ball for one night. During the event, Matias who dressed up as a knight approached Aria and stretches out his hand as if telling her to come with him, Aria blindly follows and they eventually arrived at a room which resembles an underwater view (through Cyril’s magic). Here, they exchanged words not by talking but by waving their wands to form words in the water with magic. Matias went first by telling Aria she looked like Juliet and she responds telling him “You’re like Romeo then” (I swear I actually love the heroine’s forwardness in this route! lol). After exchanging sweet nothings as if role playing the characters, Romeo and Juliet, both of them ended up kissing each other as Matias pulled Aria’s mask away revealing her face. Aria, not being a total dummy MC knew she was with Matias all along but she still took the liberty to ask him his name one last time after their lips parted. She never got the answer as her knight began to skedaddle the moment their kiss ended. Pffffft! As cheesy as this was, I fully admit that I’ve shamelessly enjoyed this scene A LOT! lmao (*/ω\)

(Fast Forward) Before Christmas break, Matias and Aria went on a date to the city of Fonnue, and Aria was surprised to see a ‘megane’ Matias lol! (her man, wearing adorable glasses). During their date, both of them opened up to each other. Here, Aria tells him how her parents died and how she’s been living alone since she was ten and Matias in exchange, tells her about his eye problems which is his current hindrance of becoming a member of the Imperial Chilvaric Order. It was also revealed in the later parts of his route that it’ll only take a matter of time before Matias goes completely blind. (╥﹏╥)

Matias, I believe was one of the better routes of this game. Besides, having his translations a whole lot better compared to the others’, his story offered great character development for both him and the heroine. This is also the ONLY route where the heroine gets into a *cough* physical relationship with her love interest.(//▽//) 

 

CYRIL GRUNDY
Cyril is the youngest member of ISW’s student council. He is a bright, intelligent, competitive young boy who possess an abnormal sweet tooth.

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After Aria partners up with Cyril in their midterm exams, they ended up still second to Clyde and Matias despite doing their very best. This however, didn’t stopped Cyril from trying harder, not just from studying but he does his ultimate best everyday as if it’s his last. In his route it was also revealed that Cyril has no sense of direction, so he bothers the heroine all the time to help him find his way around the school grounds.lol

(Fast forward) November 17th was Cyril’s birthday and the heroine decided to give him this pegasus feather which was believed to improve your abilities in flying. That night, as Aria hopped skipped her way to see her man, she found Cyril staring at the sky at the  House of White Rose’s balcony. Btw, the “House of White Rose” is the name of their student council house. Here, Cyril tells Aria he’s always been fascinated every time he looks at the stars & asked her how farther up does he need to go so he can reach them. Aria responds and tells him, someone’s probably thinking the same way on the other side and Cyril says he’ll let her know when he finally gets there. Now this dialogue was an implication of how SAD this route’s about to turn out because what happens next was freakin’ heartbreaking! Before Aria gets the chance of handing her gift, Cyril began to collapse on the floor and abruptly started clutching his chest. Aria panics and tells him she’ll call a doctor but Cyril shook his head and painfully spoke out of breath that he just need to take his “pills”. After helping Cyril take his meds, he finally calmed down as he rested in the sofa. Aria on the other hand, curiously took Cyril’s bag of medicine and was at lost for words when she read what’s written on the package. It was medicine for severe heart problems. (ಥ﹏ಥ)

Cyril’s route was probably the saddest in the game. Don’t play his route unless you’re ready for angts from start to finish. I also felt his relationship with the heroine was more of like a little brother rather than a love interest. Not really sure how I feel about his story either. His good and bad endings where pretty much the same. heh (ノД`)

 

A-JAY BLACKFORD
A-Jay is an easy going member of ISW’s student council who unexpectedly has a knack for solving some of the school’s darkest mysteries.

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In his route, A-Jay invited Aria to his villa in Campanula during their summer break. Campanula is a place known for its expensive beach resorts where rich families own most of the luxurious villas in the area. There, Aria was introduced to A-Jay’s loving family who welcomed her whole heartedly with open arms. The next day, Aria takes a stroll with A-jay by the beach and here she tells him about how his family made her reminisce the days back when her parents were still alive, she also told A-jay how she’s been living alone ever since her parents passed away. Her confession, for some reason made A-jay tear up (his manly tears slowly gushing down his cheeks lol) and he tells Aria how he admires her for being so strong.

(Fast forward) One day, while Aria was on her way to get dinner, she stumbles on a mysterious door in one of the school corridors. Rather than entering, she decides not to and walks away to look for A-jay to ask him if he knew anything about the mystery doorway she just recently came across with. While approaching A-Jay’s dorm room, she noticed his door was open and decides to playfully surprise him (ಠ_ಠ) (because why the hell not?! lmao!) She stopped herself when she sees A-jay in the middle of changing and accidentally saw a scar engraved on his back which she recognized as a symbol for dark magic. Because of this, Aria became conflicted with her feelings for A-Jay and grew distant of him for several days. This little conflict was resolved (during the last chapters of his route) when A-jay confessed to Aria his dark but heartbreaking secret. In his confession he explained how he got the scar on his back and how the experience haunted him his whole life until he met the heroine.

I liked A-Jay’s route because although it still followed the same usual plot line, it branched out completely different from the others. I also find A-Jay’s character depth to be quite contributing to the game’s overall plot, although I wished they would’ve delved deeper into his past as his route had a few plot holes that needed some definitive answers (E.g. Cyrus). I’m glad his route’s happy ending was really sweet (ノ´ з `)ノ(It was almost perfect!) though I also find his bad ending quite interesting ^^; (chuckles).

 

KEITH KNIGHT
Keith is the cold commanding leader of the Imperial Chilvaric Order who’s also a guest teacher at ISW for the year.

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I expected Keith’s route to be interesting because ya..know! teacher x student relationship is always amazing! hahaっಠ‿ಠ)っTo my dissapointment,  his story turned out very bland and predictable.

In his story, Aria partners up with Ashley in their midterm exams. They eventually came in second place in the rankings while Clyde who partnered with Cyril this time was first, and Matias & A-jay settles in third place. Besides being a full time teacher, Keith, was also gathering information regarding the upcoming “Thousand Year War”, where rebellious dark wizards are on the move, started by Voldermort Gillian Griffiths, their chosen leader. For the most part of Keith’s route, it was all merely fluff fillers where he gets to warm up with Aria and his backstory was never mentioned until the last chapters of his story.

(Fast Forward) During their graduation, Aria and Ashley became “class queens” after successfully finishing first place in their final exams. Aria also learned from the headmaster, Demetrius that it was actually Professor Keith who paid for her scholarship so she can get into the school. Keith eventually admitted on ghost paying for Aria’s tuition fees when she confronts him about it. Later that night, he takes Aria to the forest and calls out his summoning animal, a giant phoenix (ಠ_ಠ). Both of them hopped unto the phoenix called Ignis, and they flew in the night to Keith’s villa in Campanula. Here, Keith tells Aria his past story. How he’s an ultio (halfblood) like her and how he was raised by his grandfather in poverty after being abandoned by his parents. He also tells her of his grandfather’s death wish which was to get revenge at Alan Griffiths, the dark wizard who’s responsible for all the misfortune that’s befallen on them. Keith vowed to fulfill his grandfather’s wish but when he became the commander of the Imperial Chilvaric Order, Alan Griffiths was already dead, so now he’s chasing after Alan Griffith’s son, Gillian – the current leader of the dark rebellious movement who planned on waging the ‘thousand year war’ in the kingdom of Clarius.

Alright, I have so many complaints on Keith’s route. Besides having really bad translations, there’s just so much stuff going on! There were scenes that I believe weren’t necessary and are only creating plot holes after plot holes. I recall a scene where Keith mentioned “Aria could end the thousand year war” but after finishing his happy ending I got totally confused since there WASN’T any war nor any kind of fighting going on. I want some intense wand action dammit!!!

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Then I unlocked his “Endless ending” (Bad Ending) and this is where I lost my shit. Because this one made more sense than the other! (ノ°益°)ノIt was in his bad ending that Aria was able to somehow stop the so called “thousand year war”At this point, I just couldnt wait to end my suffering and finish the game. lol

 

LEONORE “IRIS”
(Secret Route)

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I stumbled on Iris’s secret route while doing A-Jay’s route. When Aria sees a mysterious door in one of ISW’s corridors, instead of turning away from it she enters and gets magically warped into a whole new bizarre world. Here she meets a strange boy who calls himself Leonore. Although he acts really childish most of the time, Aria started warming up to him, and they both spend a lot of time together in this little ol’ strange place. However, every time Aria brings up wanting to go back to ISW and the real world, Leonore gets upset and does a total split personality fit, becoming a sadistic murderer with a massive thirst for blood. I’m getting Amnesia Ukyo flashbacks here!

I liked Iris’s route for two reasons. First, it was translated better compared to others and second, I was totally not expecting a secret route in an OperhaHouse game so this one took me by surprise. lol Iris’s complicated character was also explained in detail during his story and Nobuhiko did extremely well as his VA. Although I thoroughly enjoyed his happy ending, just like Keith’s route, his endless ending had most of the answers regarding some of the plot holes in his story. (E.g. his wing shaped necklace)  \(︶▽︶)/ Oh well…

 

ARIA AUSTIN (Main Heroine)

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I actually like this heroine a lot. Aria has proven capable all throughout the routes  of this game and was totally not a doormat. In the prologue, she challenged Cyril to a magical duel because she couldn’t take being talked shit at as an ‘ultio’ (halfblood). I also like that even though she knew most of the students in ISW are talking behind her back because she’s a commoner, she literally shrugs them off and goes “whatever, I’m just thankful enough to get into this school so I dont care what ya’lls think of me”. lol (๑˃ᴗ˂)ﻭ  She’s one very talented wizard who’s special ability is to easily remember everything she sees and read in detail.

It would’ve been cooler if her lines  were translated better because this sassy heroine can walk the talk!

 

SIDE CHARACTERS
Ashley CurtisAria’s androgynous (lady) roomate who’s rather flirty it’s almost cringy! Ashley was a great NPC, though I couldn’t care less about her character. I’m sure there are others who’d probably enjoy her and wishes for an Ashley route but pffft! I just don’t feel too comfortable of a lady roomie aggressively flirting at you the chance she gets (ಠ_ಠ), it’s just weird! to me anyway.

Demetrius Bishopthe headmaster of ISW with a jolly personality but has a few secrets up his sleeve. Demetrius was alright. He has his own eccentric way of entering a scene like when he slid down that rainbow to announce their final exam (Clyde’s route), or when he magically goes through walls lol or sometimes, even dramatically falling off the sky Mary Poppins style. haha ^^;

Professor Lee Fitzwilliam – one of the teachers in ISW who used to be best friends with Keith Knight. His backstory was only introduced during Keith’s route.

 

TRAILER

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS(°▽°)/
The game’s play length was a bit short. With each route only having five full chapters plus their ending epilogues, you can probably finish one route in two hours sitting (or less). In terms of story, I’ve actually enjoyed a few routes (Matias, A-Jay, Iris and maybe Clyde). Some elements in the story may seem like a cheap rip-off of Harry Potter but after finishing the entire game, I didn’t really feel any kind of HP vibe as far as how its overarching story ended. Comparing it to OperaHouse’s other selections of otome games, I’d say Vinculum Hearts probably has the upper hand when it comes to its enjoyability. The secret route definitely caught me off guard so I’m giving them kudos to that, and the feisty heroine definitely took this game up a notch.(^ω~)

In terms of localization, I’m not going to sugarcoat this one. It is not good nor even close to better. It’s definitely an improvement from what they did with Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku but is it good enough for its full price? Nope. The english translations were still faulty which was a shame since the story was definitely NOT bad at all. Do I recommend this game? If it was translated better I’d say ‘give this one a chance’ but right now, I would advise to wait for a price drop or til’ the game goes on sale.

If you don’t mind bad translations, there’s definitely a good story to enjoy. If you’re a grammar nazi and can’t stand horrible “engrish”, don’t even bother getting this one at all.

Chlo’s Rating: 5/10