Yeah, I’m like that too. I at least was able to be pushed into reading D.C.2 after not liking the first one by you and Taka, though I can’t be sure that wasn’t because I already knew Circus could do good work, since I had already read Dal Segno. I can’t speak for whether I would’ve ever read D.C.2 if it hadn’t been for that, or the recommendations of you and Taka. It’s definitely tricky.
About Anzu’s route… From the moment the H-scene started I knew it would be relevant to getting her memories back, because I did remember their talk about the physical part of a relationship being important, but the scene where she actually does get her memories back is framed completely outside that of the H-scene. There was a bit of a time skip to show the two of them outside, and it was only as Yoshiyuki gave Anzu her present that her memories came back. The way it’s framed makes the two scenes seem like separate issues, and the timing is simply too convenient for my taste even if that is the entirety of the explanation.
In fact, simply by process of elimination, I’d have to give best route of the original four to Minatsu’s route. I thought Anzu’s was the best until, as I still maintain, they fucked up the ending. Nanaka’s ruined Wataru for me somewhat, who I really liked beforehand. Koko’s route I didn’t really like at all, mainly due to Koko herself. That just leaves Minatsu’s route, which, though it never reached the kind of peak Anzu’s route did, maintained a solid standard from beginning to end with a satisfying conclusion. And to be fair, I never particularly disliked Manatsu from the beginning or thought of her as annoying.
The ski trip in general was just unfair to Koko and Nanaka in how much better it was than the trial of courage.
They might have played her route a bit safe, sure, but it was solid all the way through with the best character theme (maybe behind Anzu’s), a bunch of good CGs, and without fucking up in any major way like they did in a number of the other routes.
It’s also cool to think about how the true route is framed as a retelling of Otome’s route, but if you just substitute a few minor scenes that have no impact on the greater narrative, it’s just as applicable to Yume’s route.
Overall Otome’s route might actually be my favourite barring the true route though. The
decision to kill the Everlasting Sakura Tree is such a harder thing to do than in Yume’s route, and it gets the original scene with Sakura and Yoshiyuki in the dream, which gave it a lot of points for me.
Speaking of Yume though, she might be my favourite heroine, and her route’s probably second only to Otome’s and the true route. She pulls of the light tsundere character almost perfectly, she actually manages to keep common sense in mind even when she gets emotional, and her character design might be my favourite too. She goes through some rough stuff and handles it so much better than Otome, I have to really give props to her character. If her route had the Sakura-Yoshiyuki scene/had been framed as the true route (and received the perks that go with it), it would undoubtedly be my favourite route behind Sakura’s version of the true route.
I wasn’t ready. I knew it would be bad, but wow that was more than I was expecting. Easily one of my favourite CGs in the game. When looked at out of context, it’s by far the most impactful CG in the game. Personally though, the CG that hit me hardest when you take context and meaning into account is the one of Sakura crying. I forgot to mention this in my original post, but the scene where I cried was in Sakura’s route’s retelling of the scene where she tanks Yoshiyuki for living with her. I thought it was so sad that she had to feel so grateful for such a mundane happiness. Why should she have to thank her own son just for living with her? When I thought about that, it really got to me. I really like it when VNs explore relationships other than just boyfriend-girlfriend, so the true route of D.C.2 really got to me. Getting back to the CG, I also think it really holds a candle to the Yume one in that it’s able to portray just as much emotion - and it’s also really impressive that they’re able to make it so obviously Sakura despite the fact that she’s missing her major defining features - her clothing, her hair tie, and most importantly by far, her long blonde hair. So yeah, I personally think that CG was the saddest, but both CGs are amazing in both emotional impact and artistic quality. Very impressive.
Maybe we should make a Da Capo series or Circus discussion topic… There’s already been quite a bit of conversation about it here recently, and I don’t think I’m even burned out of D.C.2 discussion, let alone D.C.3 which I just started.