Using the PS Vita opening because F Lambsoars shitty cover lmao. I’m 10 years too late, but now that it’s been ported to the switch I finally decided to play through Shinigami to Shoujo. Our story begins with our heroine Sayo who lives with her oniichan in a house away from her parents because she hates her dad who uses people for his own gain, and mom who committed adultery and left her. Due to this, Sayo’s mental health state is completely messed up ,and she starts hanging out with other crazy people in town, including an amnesiac man who she names Ao. This is the story of child neglect and mental illness.
Hinase Mitsuru – Hinase always acts 2 faced and constantly hits on Sayo who takes it with a grain of salt. However, things change when her father forces her into an arranged marriage or GTFO his house. Upset about this, she accepts Hinase’s fake love confession just to have an excuse to “run away” with someone. She then starts visiting his random shack in the woods owned by his granny and despite not even feeling romantically for him, she jumps into the sack with him. ಠ_ಠ They keep meeting up at his granny’s place to bang every night until one day the granny catches them and is enraged that he’s dating the daughter of some “whore”. It’s revealed that not only is Sayo not her father’s real daughter, but Hinase’s father eloped with his half-foreign mother and how DARE you add this gaijin blood to our lineage desuwa GRRRRR!! After they leave the house, Sayo starts crying and Hinase says he doesn’t care that she is not her father’s “legitimate child” and that to him she’s just Sayo. (She’s the legitimate child though but more on that later.)
A couple days later he admits that actually the person she was supposed to be arranged married with was actually him. He knew this in advance and that’s why he approached her because he wanted to get to know her and go out with her without the whole pretentiousness of “arranged marriage”. 😂 Honestly I called it the moment that Sayo ran into him at the restaurant immediately after getting into the fight with her dad about the whole thing. He clearly had called him there but stormed out in rage before he could introduce him lmao. But then shit hits the fan and it’s revealed that the “Hinase” that Sayo was in love with and banging, wasn’t the real Hinase. It was some identity thief who took on the real Hinase’s identity while he was away travelling the world. Unfortunately he didn’t tell anyone where he was, so when the faker came to town and found out he looked like the “missing grandson” and decided to take advantage of it. He only got close to Sayo because of her status and money and he was desperate to get money because he himself was poor and has no name or anything.
Sayo completely obsessed in a yandere attachment for him, says she wants him to take her away and then run away together to some European country with the money he stole from the real Hinase. In the other ending, Sayo refuses to accept the fake Hinase, and instead ends up marrying the real Hinase but her relationship with him feels “fake” instead. This route was so weird and also creepy in a sense because you got the fake Hinase basically taking advantage of a depressed woman and getting her to have sex with him. E W. Sorry Tattsun, not even you can save this trope.
Kirishima Nanaki & Chiyo – Nanaki is in the kendo club and seems like the only normal person in the group. He’s a bit of a tsundere and is really good at cooking. Both he and Sayo can see his friend Chiyo, who is basically Casper the friendly ghost. 😂 Only Sayo and Nanaki can see and talk to Chiyo. Unfortunately both Chiyo and Nanaki’s route focuses too much on their friendship/seeing spirits that you never really get to spend time with either of them individually. Chiyo’s got the whole ghost problem of wanting to be friends with everyone, but only few can see him, and the ones who can he will burden by making it seem like they’re talking to themselves. Additionally everyone will grow old and die and leave him behind while he will continue to be unchanged. Unfortunately Nanaki’s route (along with Chiyo’s) was basically hijacked by Hinase and we basically wasted most of the time trying to solve the mystery of the double Hinases again. Both having a crush on her though, Nanaki and Chiyo get into a fight over Sayo, and then after this, Nanaki is no longer able to see Chiyo even though Sayo still can.
The entire route basically has flashbacks to when Nanaki and Chiyo met, and how they were good friends for many years as Nanaki grew up. Sayo doesn’t want them to stop being friends and since she can still see & talk to Chiyo, she offers to be their “connection”. So now it basically turns into kind of a 3P route as they hang out with the 3 of them even though Nanaki can’t see Chiyo.😂 Finally everyone realizes that Chiyo is actually the spirit flower cosmos up on the hill, who’s past his expiration date and his dream was to one day meet the cherry blossom. Unfortunately that’s impossible because their blooming seasons are different but for some strange reason to him, Sayo is the “cherry blossom” he always wanted to meet so now that his wish has come true his spirit can ~move on~. And so after Chiyo vanishes, Nanaki asks Sayo to be by his side and so she hugs him. In the ending they go on a date to see a movie after Sayo invites Nanaki, and on their way there she wants to hold his hand but can’t seem to grasp it….so Nanaki grabs it himself and as they walk together holding hands he says he loves her.
In the epilogue, somehow many years have passed and Nanaki and Sayo are married with 2 kids who they name Chiaki and Chiharu lol. 😂Apparently the two of them were able to talk to Chiyo’s spirit in their dreams when they visit the cosmos field in the fall. In Chiyo’s ending, it’s been obvious he was in love with Sayo and he confesses that he’s been in love with her the whole time and it’s best for him to not be with her for the reasons I mentioned at the start. Anyway the rest is the same as in Nanaki’s ending except that this time Chiyo kisses Sayo goodbye before he disappears and tells her he loves her ever since he met her. In the epilogue it shows Chiyo meeting up with Sayo wearing his kimono so probably yet another “instance” of a happy ending for both of them. The only thing that left me confused, was why the hell was there a scene of glass breaking in Nanaki’s route where he had to protect her. Who did it? Why did it happen? ಠ_ಠ Anyway nothing in this route surprised me because I have definitely seen this “an object becomes and ikeman and vanishes” plotline before, and the first thing I thought of was Da Capo…an eroge I played back in like year 2003 😂.
Tono Touya – Touya is Sayo’s older brother and he spends most of his time at home because his job is a novelist. Sayo meanwhile, is the child of her father cheating on her mother with some prostitute. At the start of the game Sayo and Touya appear to have some weird incestuous relationship going because they constantly tell each other they love each other, frequently hug and kiss. They also live together alone in a house away from their father. After this, Chiyo basically vanishes from Sayo’s sight, while Nanaki and Ao can still see him. After Chiyo vanishes from her sight, Sayo gets on the depresso expresso and starts thinking that everyone hates her and everyone is leaving her. She gets insanely jealous that Kaho now has friends other than herself and blames herself for Chiyo and Hinase vanishing from her (even though Hinase was a lying asshole and Chiyo is just a flower spirit lol.) She’s able to see Chiyo after the glass shattering incident, but Chiyo says he finally realized what he is and he will soon vanish from everyone. Desperate to hang on to another person disappearing from her life, Sayo tries to spend some time with Chiyo but he tells her that he only wishes for her happiness after he is gone.
After this Sayo goes into some week long coma and while she’s sleeping like snow white, oniichan goes and kisses her lol. Meanwhile in her dream, we get a flashback of her past. It’s revealed that her mother, named Shirayuki, and father got married but her father ignored her mother until he cheated on her with some prostitute who gave birth to Sayo and dropped her off as a baby at the house. Shirayuki raised Sayo as her own daughter but as Sayo grew older it was obvious she looked nothing like her. And even though she loved Sayo like her own, as time passed the feelings of anger and betrayal grew stronger inside her. She realized that her husband only married her for her name and has never loved her but she was ok with that just as long as she could be with him. However all of this took a mental toll on her and she started going crazy having delusions that everyone is talking shit about her behind her back. One day she goes completely crazy and breaks a mirror in her room, takes one of the pieces and slits her wrists killing herself – dying right in front of Sayo. After Sayo wakes up from her dream she realizes why her step-mother killed herself and blames her appearance for pushing her step-mother to end her life.
It was revealed earlier that Sayo had asthma as a child and as the route progresses, even though she claims it was no longer an issue, she keeps having asthma attacks on a daily basis. She starts having hallucinations of seeing flying goldfish, drowning in water and talking to cat mascots on her bag. (;^ω^) So anyway after her mother’s death, Sayo got so sad and lonely she created an imaginary older brother, Touya to keep herself company. Despite medical attempts to help her with her mental problems she continued to imagine having a brother well into the present age of 17. A lot of people know she doesn’t have a brother but try to avoid the subject so finally the only person who can “see spirits”, Nanaki, asks to go talk to her “brother” at her house. Unfortunately when she gets home, her father has sent the moving company + his butler to pack up all her things and move her back home. Sayo goes completely batshit, smashes a window and threatens to slit her wrist in front of everyone if they try to take her away from the house. After this she runs away with her imaginary niisan, and has imaginary sex with him in the clock tower as she “approaches death”. Suddenly there’s a flashback when Sayo was 10 and dying from her illness, the grim reaper showed up but Sayo asked him to wait on taking her soul because she’s looking for the most beautiful words in the world.
The grim reaper offers to stop time for her and agrees to stay with her until it’s time for her life to end and then she will give up her soul to him. And so turns out that grim reaper was none other than Touya, and the one who gave him his name was little Sayo. Damn Sayo, getting to bang the shinigami!!!! 😂 Also apparently because Sayo was so used to calling him “shinigami no oniisan” she started thinking in her head that he was her real “brother”. And so after talking about what happened up until now, Sayo dies (not really but more on that later) and the clock tower time starts moving again. Nanaki rushes to the clock tower to try and save her because Touya had asked him to, but he’s too late. In the epilogue, Touya and Sayo are magically together in yet another “instance” of her having a happy ending -by Haruo-ojisan. I will explain more at the end of Ao’s route but the grim reaper wasn’t real, nobody came for her, Sayo was never dying, it was all just mental illness/depression from her mother taking her life that made her have this 10 year hallucination. Honestly I don’t even know the purpose of turning Touya into an “oniichan” even was. He could just have been “imaginary friend” and it would have been less creepy at the start before we knew his true identity. I think Takuyo just wanted to throw in their usual incest bullshittery or maybe cause oniichan shit was popular in 2011.
Ao – Well now that Touya’s route revealed he’s the “grim reaper” I was really confused on what the hell Ao was. He comes to Sayo at first as some amnesiac homeless bum and she gives him the name Ao because the sky was blue that day. 😂 He ends up living at the bookstore for a while helping the man out who owns it. Turns out that man is actually a friend of his parents but because Ao has amnesia suddenly he completely forgot this tiny fact. He’s also frequently the target of “omg a foreigner!!?! With blonde hair!?!?” because apparently they must be in some hyper inaka of Japan where nobody has ever see a non-Japanese person. He’s also supposed to be fairly young but due to him having this ossan voice actor, it was really hard to tell what his “age range” was supposed to be (at least in appearance) even though he was supposed to be close to Sayo’s age (probably 18-19). I think had they picked a younger sounding voice actor I might have liked him more but he just felt like a weird old-man side character until the very end of his route. Once Sayo begins to get closer to Ao, Touya becomes very upset and starts cockblockin’.
When Ao was younger he was orphaned after his parents died and the other kids called him a grim reaper for not being sad about it. Haruo, a friend of his parents, who always gave him books told him if he wants to become a true “grim reaper” he must kill the real one and so he headed back to Japan to find the real one to kill him (whut). And so the easiest way to kill the current grim reaper, is to make Sayo forget about him – by killing her. One evening Ao finds Sayo on the beach with Nanaki, and begins to strangle her until Nanaki steps in and stop him. Just then Touya shows up in anger, but Ao tells him that it’s too late and the time that he stopped has begun to move again so Sayo’s life will end soon. She’s taken back home and while she’s resting in bed, Nanaki visits her and acts as a messenger between her and the others. Eventually Touya decides to tell Sayo the truth with the agreement that next time she has an asthma attack, she will go to the hospital. He reveals how he met with Ao before Ao met Sayo, and they both revealed how Touya is just Sayo’s illusion and Ao cannot “kill” him.
After this Ao lost his memory and that’s when he met up with Sayo again. Realizing this grim reaper is just an illusion, Sayo recalls that she basically created Touya right as her body got so weak from refusing to eat due to depression. When Sayo met up with Ao, Touya was horrified even more so when he realized Sayo had fallen in love with him. (And also I was confused because I had no idea when this happened lmao.) Sayo also recalls that when Ao strangled her he didn’t really put strength into it, because he could have easily snapped her neck if he truly wanted to – because I guess he had also fallen in love with her (but thanks to terrible story telling it was another thing that flew over my head.) So basically you’re telling me the compelling story of this game is that some Russian guy travels to Japan to kill the oniichan tulpa of some 17 year old mentally ill high school girl. ಠ_ಠ！？After thinking about it for a while, Sayo decides that she’s in love with Ao and tells Touya her feelings saying she wants to save him even if it means giving up her own life. 🤪
While crying and hugging her imaginary niisan also admits that she never saw Touya as a grim reaper, it was all a lie she made up and her only grim reaper is Ao. She tells him goodbye and he finally vanishes for good. Sayo then runs to the clock tower to find Ao and then she asks him to stab her because she’d rather be killed by him then die of an illness. ಠ_ಠ He can’t do it and he starts crying after Sayo says she loves him as Sayo dies in his arms. After he kisses her “dead body”, we get a context flashback about Ao’s past. It shows how he was very emotionless, and was often singled out by his fellow orphanage kiddies for having blonde hair. He was bullied into being called the grim reaper so he decided that must be what he is. He was invited to Japan by a friend of his late mother, and that friend happened to also work at Sayo’s family’s house – as Sayo’s shrink. So when he visited as a child, he had actually met little Sayo 10 years ago.
The two of them met at the rose garden and read Shinigami to Shoujo book together. It’s also revealed that Ao’s real name was Ilya Nikolaivich Mushkin (илия николаивич мушкин?) so presumably he’s from Russia. And so 10 years later they forgot about each other until they happened to meet once again in Japan. In the epilogue, Ao continues working at the bookstore with Haruo and decided to put his shinigami career on hold. 😂 Haruo also asks Ao if he would be his adopted son. And of course Sayo didn’t die and in fact she revived and her disease got cured!!!! Or wait she never actually had a physical disease, it was all just the hallucinations/mental illness in her head. And now she and Ao can live happily ever after in Japan hopefully with some anti-depressants prescribed to the both of them.
I had so many god damn questions at the end of this game but fuck Takuyo’s shitty menus and puzzle ass hints page. I did have a guide I was following but I just had no patience to go through another 70+ choices. I did manage to find the Afterword section (thanks to 4shiki mentioning it at the end of his review BLESS YOU SIR WHEREVER YOU ARE❤️) where Haruo reveals that he was Sayo’s psychiatrist and was the one who wrote all the books under “Tono Touya’s” name. He also reveals that Sayo was so depressed and refused to eat over her mother’s suicide that she started being “weak” physically and didn’t really have an illness at all. And the “spell” the grim reaper put on her wasn’t really a spell, it was just a hypnosis lol. This was all written in his book so after reading it, Sayo created the imaginary Touya and would try to “live” rather than die from depression until the “grim reaper took her life”. The entire thing was in her head, she wasn’t ill nor was she dying which is why she was alive & kicking in Ao’s ending!
Haruo says he just wanted to write a happy story for Sayo in his book, a promise he made with her later mother. This is also why the game felt like it was so Mary Sue-esque for Sayo because he canonically wrote her to be this Mary Sue that only has happy ends where all the guys will fawn over her. What happens when you try to get some old dude to write an otome game story. 😂 He tells Nanaki that he was friends with both Sayo and Ilya’s moms since college so he thought of Sayo as almost like his daughteroo. Haruo also mentions how Nanaki is an ‘unusual presense’ in this world which makes me think that maybe Nanaki is ultimately supposed to be the “player” reading the entire thing. Nanaki also says he’s not the real Kirishima child and that he was adopted by the Kirishimas with absolutely no memory of his past prior to that. When asked if he had a crush on Sayo he just says no comment. Way to leave this entire plotline hanging lmao. It also basically means that none of the “endings” actually happened except maybe Nanaki’s ? The rest are just made up endings by Haruo in his book. So in a way, it’s very similar to Taisho Alice, but I liked it better when Yurika made up many instances of herself for every one of Alistair’s personalities rather than an old bored psychiatrist writing fairy tales about his patients. ಠ_ಠ Every hear of HIPAA law grandpa!?
TL;DR – Bored grandpa decides to ship the depressed kids of his 2 dead female friends and write fanfics about it.🤣🤣🤣
⚠️This is gonna just be a wall of complaints so if you enjoyed the game turn back now before it’s too late. ⚠️ I’m sorry but I liked it better when this game was called Taisho Alice and I will die on that hill. ⚰️The plot was very similar, and I sort of went into this game knowing this head of time. Unfortunately I just couldn’t enjoy it like I enjoyed TxA. The other game had charming characters, funny scenes and interactions and an absolutely amazing heroine. In this game, other than Nanaki, I couldn’t find myself really like anyone and I especially couldn’t stand the heroine. She was way too needy and depressed and just such a terrible view into the game. I get it, she’s seriously mentally ill and while that is definitely something unique to otome game heroines, it just made the entire experience unpleasant. I actually like psychology related plots in my game but the way this was presented was just bad in every way for me. It felt too one sided to the heroine selfish desires (though I now understand why but this is why I don’t agree with it lol.)
Because of her depressing personality it was very hard to tell why/when she had fallen in love with anyone other than oniichan and honestly the romance took such a backseat that I had to remind myself this was probably at some point supposed to be an otome game. While I was disappointed Sayo was only voiced at the beginning and end of the game, by the end of the game I was already sick of hearing her voice because the only time she was voiced ended up being when she was going into a hysterical fit over oniichan. While I liked her friend Kaho especially in the scene where she slapped Natsume, in general I had to turn Kaho’s voice volume down because she was shrieking into my ear like some galge heroine.(;^ω^) So that’s why I decided in my post title to call this a VN and not an otome game because it basically failed as an otome game in every way. There was only 1 real kiss CG in the whole game too – the rest were fade to black…ಠ_ಠ.
The game had a terribly long common route that nearly put me to sleep. The elevator music bgms certainly didn’t help in that matter either. It took forever to get into the character routes and we honestly could have gotten there faster. Takuyo is infamous for their long ass boring common routes, but I guess I have less patience now then I did back then and I really just couldn’t stand it. On top of this. the writing felt so “beating around the bush”y in where I constantly there like “can we just GET TO THE POINT” or in my case, can we just get to the damn route. For example I finished Hinase’s route, then I moved on to Nanaki but for some reason I was forced to sit through the exact info about Hinase a second time before I could finally get with Nanaki. The same bullshit happened again when I started with Touya’s route as well. It’s a very old format of otome games to have basically 1 linear route and as you go through the game you skip so much that you forget what the route was about. Nowadays you have a common route, but then you branch off into individual routes which are typically unique and don’t overlap on scenes. If they had cut out the light-novelesque writing and removed the repetitive scenes I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more despite everything else.
Other than Nanaki and maybe Chiyo, none of the other characters appealed to me. Hinase was a douchebag, oniichan was kimoi and Ao just felt robotic throughout most of the time we spent with him (not to mention the hyper ossan voice that just made no sense for his character’s age). There was also a lack of romance in general, and when they actually had “some” faint hints of romance it made absolutely no sense. (Like I had no idea why any of the guys randomly fell in love with her besides oniichan being creepy the whole game.) Because of this, the game just felt like a drag to me because I couldn’t emotionally invest in anyone (thanks to all the route derailing and poor execution) and I just found myself not giving a crap. It’s different how when I played Taisho Alice where I basically loved everyone except Shirayuki (sorry I found your route boring af until the end lol.) So unfortunately, I just couldn’t enjoy the game or the story because of the awful pacing. The idea actually seems interesting in concept, but the boring aged execution just didn’t work for me. It could also be the “didn’t age well” effect where the kind of games I put up with 10 years ago, I have no patience for now simply because I have seen greener pastures. 😂 I remember reading a lot of bad reviews for this game when it came out which is why I never played it back then…and honestly I probably should have just kept it that way. (´・ω・｀)
In related news, there’s been this drama with Takuyo because their president made some kind of collaborative brand with an indy utaite band called Lambsoars. At first they just did some new OP songs for the old Takuyo game ports, but then the guy just started spamming Lambsoars content all over his twitter. A lot of the fans got annoyed because after all, we are following the account for news about Takuyo games, not about some indy band. Some people contacted the company to stop, but they didn’t, alienated most of whatever fans they had and eventually gave in and made a new account for “only” game info and left the Lambsoars stuff to like 2 other accounts. So now Takuyo has like 3-4 different twitter accounts and from what I read in 5ch basically it seems like the president had the “we’re a small doujin company and the otome games are just a side hobby” (especially considering the main corporation is some construction business lol.) But now they’re just harping on these Lambsoars and it actually caused people to dislike the band unintentionally. 😂 Doesn’t help that honestly the original game openings were better than the “new” ones they had Lambsoars sing…
Anyway the reason I mention this, is for me at least, lately Takuyo’s game quality has been going down hill. Taisho Alice was the reason I even bothered to play this game in the first place but this felt like Taisho Alice -Budget Edition-. It feels like Karen Ent. all over again, where they dig their own grave and basically fade out of existence (and/or make BL games instead.) They have a new game coming out in December, Money Parasite, but when I think about what’s been going on, the Lambsoars push and their latest few games in general — I’m going to pass on preordering. I’ll wait for reviews (if there are even any) or a sale to bother to pick it up (and only because Yashiro Taku is in it 😂). Sometimes it feels like they’re only even making and porting games just to promote Lambsoars’ music but it’s actually causing the opposite effect with their long time fans. ಠ_ಠ Unless I’m bored enough to play some indy stuff, this is most likely my last otome game for 2022 and I will be going back to my JRPG bus. 🤣🚌