Are you ready for another round of being dead but also in limbo and not yet reborn? Welcome back to another round of Psychedellica, where our heroine Jed has to dress up as a boy so that the entire town doesn’t witch hunt her.
There’s a LOT to unpack here but I’ll try to get to the ELI5 of things. There were 2 couples in town, April & Francisca and Olgar and Aria. They were all friends since childhood and since Olgar and Fransisca were siblings, naturally they split up into the couples the way they did. Olgar and Aria were in love and getting married and suggested that April and Fransisca get married on the same day. The reason is, in the past Wolves & Hawks were at odds with each other but Olgar wanted to unite everyone so he made friends with the wolves (April & Aria) and decided to marry Aria and suggested Francisca marry April. Unfortunately, Francisca was a huge brocon, and didn’t really care for or love April. Even when pregnant with April’s child, she was constantly seething over the fact that Aria took Olgar away from her. Francisca was a miserable jealous woman who was angry that not only did Aria take her brother away but she made the assumption that Aria and April had an affair and that Aria was pregnant not with Olgar’s but with April’s child. So out of jealous rage, she got the entire town to start a witch hunt on Aria and made the idiot villagers set Aria and Olgar’s house on fire while Olgar was out gathering flowers for his wife and upcoming child. In her defense, Aria was a witch – she had the power of clairvoyance which allowed her to basically see inside people’s souls and see the future. It’s a power she inherited from her mother who was also a witch. Despite having this power and being able to see her future daughter, Aria decided not to take any precautions to keep herself from dying in a fire and also popping out a baby while trying to escape it. ಠ_ಠ
Somehow while trying to escape the burning fire, the baby just flew out of Aria and just so conveniently Francisca walked in and took it and decided to raise it on her own to show that she still had her “pride” or some bullshit she convinced herself of. And so this baby was Jed, our heroine. One day when they were kids Jed was playing with her cousins, Francisca and April’s 2 sons and another boy, Lugus. They found some kind of jemstone cradle, which was the Kaleido-via and this thing basically acted the same way as the Keleidoscope from the last game – it would send everyone into the Psychedellica – aka the afterlife. Aria was like noo don’t come here you’re too young so she used her magic to shatter the gemstones before this could happen. Unfortunately whilst doing so, one of the gemstone pieces flew into Jed’s eye and gave her permanent pinkeye any time she had heightened emotions. (Or rather I think all this did was awaken her clairvoyance powers that were dormant up until now.) After this happened Jed decided to leave Francisca and move into the tower by herself and that’s when she met Ashen Hawk – aka the wandering ghost of April.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, Olgar is seething with rage after killing all the villagers who took part in burning down his house, including Lugus’ father who was basically coerced into doing it by Francisca to begin with. He admitted this so Olgar knew ultimately who his revenge target was. After getting into a fight with April for ignoring Francisca and letting her start this witch hunt, he ends up stabbing April’s right eye and pushing him off the top of the tower in the forest. After this he attempts to revive Aria using the Kaleido-Via but it doesn’t have enough energy so all it does is create yet another limbo instance of the town where it’s perma-snow and everyone’s souls are sucked in, dead or alive just like in Black Butterfly mansion. Olgar isn’t done yet though, he wants to take revenge and kill Francisca but she’s on to him, so she spends the next 10 years having one of her sons, Levi, turn into a murder machine and secretly kill people on the Hawk side so that the Wolf side can gain power. Eventually Olgar succeeds in his revenge, making the towns people attack and kill Francisca in the same fashion that they did to Aria. Unfortunately her sons and his daughter, who are clueless about the family drama have forgotten everything because of the fog that basically wipes everyone’s memories, just like the rain did in BB. So now Jed, Levi and Lavan are out to kill Olgar to try to bring peace back to town, but when they go to do it, Mr. Exposition Fairy named Hugh shows up and plot dumps everything I typed above in a shocking revelation.
So now basically the only way to free the town from this endless limbo of snow, Jed has to die because the final piece of the Kaleido-Via is inside her eyeball. She then decides to make it a big production in front of the whole town by asking Lugus to kill her in front of the villagers after she declares herself a witch who caused the strife between the Wolf & Hawk clans. Levi and Lavan are furious about this but when they see Lugus crying afterwards they find out that this was what Jed asked for. And so the Kaleido-via is completed and everyone is able to move on to the afterlife and be reborn, and Lugus travels to pick up Jed’s soul from the Abyss on his way out just like Ai did to Kazuya. And then for no apparent reason, everyone is reborn in modern day Japan and happen to all be in the same town as the characters from the last game. 🤣🤣 Ai and Jed are now BFFs, Jed meets Lugus as he’s a new transfer student at her school, Lavan and Levi are unrelated to her but Levi is super young and not even born yet, and finally Lawrence is reborn as a shota because I guess this end takes place after the end where Natsuki died and Hikage is reborn as an older guy – the opposite of what they were in the snowy town. It was so odd, and I did expect them to be reborn but putting them all in the same timeline as the BB characters just made it feel like some weird AU spinoff. 🤣 There were other ends with Hugh and the brothers where the brothers killed everyone so nobody would accuse Jed of being a witch and where Hugh just turned Jed into a moe blob in the tower and she never left her bed and slept all day.
So once I finished all the normal/bad endings, I moved on to the character routes. Unfortunately, since we had incest on the plate (with Levi and Lavan being Jed’s first cousins) and honestly all the weird plot revelations killed any charm the characters had, the only one I really cared to see romantically at this point was Lugus. The other problem is in none of these ends anyone can move out of limbo because Jed doesn’t die in them which is what the requirement was in the true end so they just generally felt dumb and half assed.
Lavan – Lavan has lewd fantasies about Jed and massive daddy issues with April when Jed peeks into his heart using her powers. Once the secret’s out that he wants to bang her, he’s like ok, I’m not gonna hide it anymore, so are we gonna bang or not? Obviously if you do his route, Jed’s like “oh yea damn I’ll take that shit (nevermind the fact that you’re my cousin)” and they make out in one of the church side rooms. After Jed is jailed by Lugus, Lavan rescues Jed out of jail, brutally murders the guards and then publicly declares her his wife. Suddenly by her being his wife it dissolves her of any witch accusations and suddenly everyone sees her as this top tier lady because she’s the wife of a prominent clan leader. Wut? You’d think from here they’d just switch to Lavan’s horny fantasies route but no…..SUDDENLY DADDY ISSUES ARE BACK BABY. So now Lavan has unresolved daddy issues with April/Haitaka and starts taking this out on Jed who’s like bruh what. So then Jed goes to talk to Haitaka he tells her not to worry about it, and suddenly after she leaves, he has a chat with Lavan who was hiding in the bushes the whole time. Instead of being this big dramatic thing, Lavan’s like “lol you’re a shit dad, but anyway I’m over my daddy issues now lol.” And that’s it. It’s resolved and then Jed and Lavan go make out at the church, the end.
Levi – Levi’s route is even weirder because he was a murder beast after the whole revelation and so I couldn’t see him romantically at all. I just saw him as a poor child who needs therapy so when they threw in the whole “actually I love you” thing I was like ?_? During the common route he basically went cray on Jed, stabbed her, she got healed by Lugus…then he did it AGAIN but managed to snap out of it by stabbing HIMSELF in the arm and then biting down on Jed’s shoulder like a god damn animal. How the hell do I see him romantically after that? ಠ_ಠ He explained that even though he didn’t know she was a girl he loved her as a “human being” (so basically he was like brocon gay for her) but then was so glad that she was a girl because now it was “ok” to be in love with her! ಠ_ಠ I love the fact that being first cousins and having this all be incest is not even on the table of forbidden romance here. So then he spends some time in jail for his crimes and Jed is assigned on cooking duty to bring him food. After a few days though, his punishment is exile from the town rather than execution and since this town is an enclosed space of limbo it’s not like he has anywhere to go except you know…the woods. However instead of doing the logical thing of having them both just live in that tower for exiled people (like Haitaka) they instead go to the snowdrop field and decide to lie there together in the snow until they freeze to death because dying together is so romantikku~ 🤪🤪
Lugus – Well since Lugus had his time to shine in during the common route and common route ending, his “side route” ending was a half assed sack of shite. It basically ended with Olgar taking his life by drinking poison in jail and then telling Lugus to set it so that Jed also then drank the same poison out of despair and died too. In reality, Jed ended up basically becoming Lugus’ house pet and the only time she was allowed to come out was once a year during the masquerade. THE ENDO. On one hand , ok fine Lugus got like 2 makeout CGs in other parts of the game. On the other hand, at the time, I didn’t care for Lugus, but when I finally care and like him, he gets nothing.
Haku/Hugh/Ash/Ashen Hawk – So this game basically fools you into thinking that Ashen Hawk is the guy that Jed spends time in the tower with. But ho ho ho wrong again! Turns out the ashen hawk was the pet of Jed’s grandma who April strangled because apparently he had some anger control issues as a kid. He was sent to live with the witch for a period of time and honestly I don’t even know WTF she did since her power is to see the future, not cure violent tendencies (unless literally slapping it out of him is what did it.) She then claimed she took the violent tendencies and turned it into the Kaleido-via but for some odd reason many years later he threw it outside of the tower only for our 4 kids to find it and then have Aria’s spirit shatter it to prevent them from instantly being thrown into the after life. 🤪April just took on the name Ashen Hawk when Jed found him in the tower and he didn’t want to give her his real name, a name of his “past life” before he died from the tower fall. So after Ash is killed by April, the witch turns him into a butterfly to send him off to his next life. For some reason unbeknownst to me though, instead of reincarnating, he turns into a wandering minstrel walking around writing all sorts of fanfictions and being the exposition fairy of the entire game basically. 😂😂😂 He would randomly show up, give us the plot and then bugger off until it was time to show up in another “BY ZEE WAY” moment. But now, I’ve finished all the routes, and the only thing left to do for him…is write a self-insert fanfic where he can end up with Jed and be in wuv happily ever after uwu. And so for some reason Jed turns into a koisuru otome, forgets about the town and witches and becomes a bar waitress where Ash visits her every day. Then one day he takes her to the snowdrop flower field, confesses his love and they live happily ever after…inside his fanfiction.net account. After reading this story to Aria she’s like oh wow that’s so cute you fell in love with my future daughteroo and wrote a fanfic d’aww. (〃’▽’〃)
Ooohhh boy this was NOT what I expected. I had gripes about the last game not having enough otome elements and kinda rushing the character routes but this was 10x worse. It’s best to think of this game as like an RPG style story that maybe has some side romance as the plot. The biggest problem for me, is I followed a guide that focused on collecting all the stories/filling out the flow chart in the simplest way possible. I had no idea though, that by playing the true ending before the character ending, I effectively basically ruined all the character endings for myself. To be fair, those character endings sucked and felt shoved in last minute but by playing them post the true ending, this fact was even more painfully obvious.
While I liked the setting, the art, bgm, voice acting and the elements being brought from the previous game regarding the whole limbo thing and reincarnation, there were just too many holes and inconsistencies for me to be bothered by. Characters would randomly come and go with no explanation of where they were (Haitaka being the biggest offender on this end.) They brought back what looked like reincarnations of Hikage and Natsuki but gave absolutely no explanation other than side commentary here and there of who they were. I also had no idea there was cousincest in the game until the revelation and I was kinda surprised? And nobody even mentioned this as being a big deal. It was a bigger deal for them to be like “omg I liked you before I knew you were a girl” than “omg you’re actually the daughter of my mother’s brother.” 😂 Then we had the complete WTFery when Jed was born – her mother gave birth in the span of 5 minutes. It’s like the birth canal was a trash chute and the baby just came rolling instantly out of it. 😂😂😂 Then you had the character inconsistency where for example at first Jed was this really cool strong willed heroine, but in some routes/endings she just completely fell apart. The one fan-fiction character route was the worst thing ever like….who the hell decided to throw this in lmao. 😂
The worst thing about the game for me though was the first 10 hours it was an NPC talk simulator. It’s one thing where you go between areas on a map to talk to the guy you’re after and see some cute scenes with him, and to be fair the scenes with the love interests were usually cute and I enjoyed them. However, the NPCs, the random towns people who said like 2 sentences was the biggest waste of time and contributed nothing useful to the plot. 90% of all the side NPC dialogue was either a) Burn the witch or B) I’m preparing for the masquerade. It was such a god damn slog that my eyes were glazing over and because of that I couldn’t focus on any of the characters or love interests. Once you get to the masquerade, the shit hits the fan and suddenly you get a plot dump (with a bonus exposition fairy-kun) in your face. The story telling and revelation pace was complete trash and instead of wasting time talking to idiot NPCs I would have rather spent more time with characters that actually matter so that their “character routes” didn’t feel like an empty shell of what the game was supposed to be about.
I had so many unanswered questions, like I wanted to know more about Jed’s grandma or about April’s “violent tendencies” but it was just quickly glossed over in some side scene embedded in some “intermission” with the exposition fairy. Instead I spent 10 hours having NPCs tell me the witch is bad and should be burned at the stake. ( ´_ゝ`)The fact that many characters at the start of the game were actually likeable, but then certain plot revelations just made them icky and I really couldn’t see them in the same way anymore. Like the game basically went out of its way to introduce characters and make you hate all of them except the ones that matter in the true end. 😂 I kinda over hyped this game because everyone kept telling me it was better than the first one and it was really good but unfortunately I just couldn’t enjoy it. The terrible pacing, the plot holes and inconsistencies and generally not really liking anyone but Lugus near the end (and to be real Lugus is the only one that ultimately matters anyway) really put a damper on the whole thing for me. I can’t even recommend it as a “non-otome stand alone” story because of the dull as fuck NPC talk simulator you waste time with at the start. I absolutely do not recommend this as an “otome game” because you could seriously get more consistent romance playing Tales of Arise.
One final thing I will leave you with is if you do decide to play this game, play order is extremely crucial to whether the story goes from a segmented dumpster fire to somewhat cohesive depressing fairy tale. You’re basically supposed to play the common route, then the common route that leads into Lugus’ character end. Then you follow with the character ends for Lavan & Levi and finally you can finish it off with the true end and then just go through to do all the bad endings. That seems like the most sensible way to keep things cohesive – but how to do this in a way where it’s easy to capture all the chapters, unlock the dumb flowchart – I have no idea. There might be guides out there that order it in this way, so take warning before playing. I wish the game had intentionally locked the true end before you finish all the other routes because by not doing so it made the negative parts of the writing stick out like a sore thumb.