“There is no wasted time.”
I’m sure there’ll be some people reading this who haven’t read the VN, just to get an idea of what the VN is about or to see what people are thinking of it, so I’ll do my best to keep this post spoiler free (no details) however for the sake of helpfullness I’ll write a short little spoilerless tl;dr:
This was the route I chose to start with, and it was a sloooow burn. Around 7 or 8 hours of reading (including common) before anything really happened, and then not much else happened for another hour or so… But honestly I think this is the kind of route you want to read in a single sitting. As the quote above says, there really is no wasted time for this route. It all matters.
It’s not an oldschool Key route. It’s not a modern Key route. I’m not sure what it is… But it’s beautiful. I think people here would really like it.
To start from the start, after the OP segment, we’re thrown onto the map screen. From this point on the VN is similar to Majikoi. There’s the map screen, the random comedy scenes, the over the top fight scenes. If you like that kind of stuff it might be good, but for me this was a whole lot of nothing. There’s a lot of talking and a lot of playing, but the characters involved aren’t particularly interesting and the actual writing is pretty bland. I’ll give some props though, some of those jokes disappear for several hours and then hit you again. Feels pretty realistic on that front. An inside joke, a reference, that comes at the perfect timing to remind you of the original event. It’s not a Hippo, but it’s good. It makes those pointless comedy choices mean something. It personalises the route in a way…
Anyway, the protagonist’s interactions with Shiroha during this part of the route are kind of interesting at least. It’s a curious dynamic, of a girl that seemingly curses people to their deaths, and a guy who is in a way trying to escape life. He values his time away from home as more important than the risk of dying…
I also like how Shiroha evolves. Her character doesn’t change too much, but we start to see more of certain aspects of her personality. I’m particularly fond of the rapid-fire speaking whenever she gets nervous.
Throughout the slow slice of life we learn of lots of different meaningless bits of information… Hairi had clubmates. Hairi won a watch once. Hairi had a certain past… So on and so on.
Slowly, across many hours of reading, various one off sentences and throwaway details pile up.
Eventually, in but a couple of sentences, all of those random details come together…
Suddenly we have a story worth reading. More and more details come together. You think back. “OH IT’S THIS!” or “I REMEMBER THAT!” You start to predict, and as soon as you make a prediction it is swiftly verified. It’s incredibly satisfying.
The threads start to ravel, and the story reaches the climax, and it’s all quite fun… It’s not as sentimental as one would expect. It’s much more of a traditional movie story, with some action, some drama, some fun and some romance. It’s simple, but it’s sweet. The way that everything suddenly comes together and forms into this conclusion is definitely the highlight of the route for me.
Outside of all of the slice of life stuff, I still have some complaints. A couple somewhat important characters lacked sprites. A lot of the background music was underwhelming. The characters still feel very flat, and I’m not sure I could even describe Shiroha’s personality very well… There’s no big moment either, nothing that’s super memorable about the route.
It’s not a perfect route, but still, it came together well and ended up being a grand experience. It’s definitely given me hope for the rest of the VN. Right now I’m living for those fancy monologue sequences.
Aaaand here’s an imgur album of screenshots.