In the far future, the heroine Hiyori Sena is kidnapped along with nine others, to a place called “Arcadia”. It is also known as the “Parallel Universe Broadcast”. There, a mysterious masked man introduces himself. In order to escape, everyone is forced to participate in dramas while figuring out who the traitor is among them.
The game starts with Hiyori telling her siblings that their mechanical dog had died. Apparently it was an older model so it couldn’t be fixed. She wishes she could bring him back and thinks about the “Parallel Universe Broadcast” where videos are uploaded and there’s a rumor if you participate as an actor in it, your wish can come true. Her childhood friend, Tomose just thinks its a rumor though and she should think more of herself and her feelings. But he likes that kind side of her and (obviously) hints he has feelings for her but Hiyori doesn’t notice anything. They go to school and Hiyori bumps into some guy who just glares rather than apologizes.
When they get to class, the teacher explains about the “Morpheus Project” which was essentially a satellite that resembled a second moon. It was built to gather data around the world to help crisises and maintain a healthy earth. However, the plan had to be restarted because the original Morpheus had shattered and all the data was lost. So now they intend to try the plan a second time and hope it’ll make the world more prosper. After that, one of Hiyori’s classmates send their schedule to her over their bangle which is a sort of bracelet device that is like a computer that can take calls, use the internet, play games, ect.
After class, Tomose decides to almost confess his feelings to Hiyori but they end up blacking out after a strange man kidnaps them. When they come to, they see a screen where the same strange man welcomes them to Arcadia where their wishes can be granted. He tells them to get along with each other and transports them to a sort of dorm where 8 other guys are. Hiyori and the others search the rooms and look at the windows and find that they’re in a place with no communication to the outside world. In addition, their bangles don’t work properly and they were all brought there but weren’t restrained.
So they all meet in the living room and decide to introduce themselves. The majority of them are students while some are graduates. Mizuki states their situation is a lot like the so called “parallel universe broadcast” where your wish can come true. Suddenly some round machine device appears and grants the requests of them like giving them items and such. It won’t listen to the request of sending them back home though. After trying to watch TV with unusual channels and play board games, Hiyori decides to go to bed and the rest decide to do the same. Keito on the other hand is stubborn and leaves to go search outside. Kyouya follows him to make sure he stays safe and to check for clues.
When Hiyori goes to her room, a little round machine appears at a door. It calls itself a bouncer and its a sort of personal observer that can grant their wishes during the 2 preliminary days before their “drama” starts. So the next day, Hiyori hears arguing in the living room. Keito and Kyouya searched outside but the whole town looks fabricated and when they went further out, an alarm set off saying not to leave the designated area. When they look out the window, they notice it looks like there’s two moons in the sky. However, this has been the case before 30 years when they launched the Morpheus project. Keito then snaps again and tells whoever is in charge to end this immediately. The strange man asks if they want to end the preliminary period and he says he does.
Everything then cuts to black and the strange man is back on screen. He tells everyone they are the cast in their drama and they must participate and gain high popularity to get their wishes granted. He even says that if they get enough feedback then he’ll send them back to their original world. He introduces himself as “the director” and so he starts the first drama with Tomose and Hiyori. They’re two characters confessing their feelings for each other. Tomose starts but says it to an extent that Hiyori doesn’t know if he’s acting or speaking the truth. Regardless, Hiyori says her confession lines in response and the drama ends. The director gives them evaluation points and says that of they don’t participate they will have to participate in a “punishment game”.
The director then shows them a clip of a past cast member who didn’t want to participate anymore. Her existence was wiped and Hiyori realized she knew her after words. Apparently once they’re gone, everyone’s memory of them is gone too. Basically if someone refuses to participate, or tries to leave and take off their bangle (which tracks their location) they will experience a “dead end” in other words they’ll be wiped from existence all with everyone’s memories of them. He also tells them there’s a “producer” among them which means there’s a traitor among them pulling the strings. If they can figure out who it is, he will release all of them. But if they point out the wrong person, they will all die. So this leads to everyone having growing suspicions of each other.
The next day, Hiyori is woken up by Mamoru and heads to the living room. Another love drama is starting featuring Hiyori again since she’s the only girl along with Mei and Ryouichi. Mei is a character studying abroad and confesses his love to Hiyori’s character while Ryouichi’s character comes to cockblock them lmao. After that, they start wondering why the heck the ratio between there being 9 boys and 1 girl and when they ask the Bouncer it just says this was a special case that the producer specifically chose. Regardless, it wont answer anymore questions and Hiyori decides to investigate the areas. Afterwords, Hiyori decides she wants to make food for everyone and so Keito comes out of his sulk to lecture on how curry should be made lmao.
So everyone continues to do dramas and earn points. The director also rewards them for their hard work 26 extra points and tells Tomose who has 50, that he may request something since he has the most. So Tomose requests a bathroom where they can have real baths (since they don’t have any there) because this was something Hiyori wished they had. Afterwords, there’s another drama but with Takumi and Kyouya. Takumi ends up struggling on the kanji though and they all find out its because he’s 12 and an elementary school student (lol whut) which is why he struggled so much with reading the script.
As time passes, Hiyori tries to investigate the general area of where they are but the residents there give generic answers. She talks to Ryouichi about it who observes the same thing and its as if they’re all robots. And so the noth of them look at clips od previous dramas and Hiyori gets self-conscious of Ryouichi who gets close to her 👀 Its then Hiyori is sucked into another drama along with Mizuki this time. She plays out a bitchy girl who cheated on her boyfriend, Mizuki. But because she hesitated on the part a bit, she doesnt manage to get many points. Ryouichi realizes she doesn’t have experience in dating which is why she gets so nervous around him when she’s too close.
Meanwhile, Keito tells everyone to put in their weight since he’s been the one doing all the cleaning and cooking and they call him a “mother” since he’s like a housewife lol. So Hiyori does some random generator thing where they’re all assigned jobs. Mei, Kyouya, and Mamoru do info gathering. Ryouichi, Tomose, and Souta handling cleaning. Lastly Takumi, Mizuki, and Keito handle cooking. Suddenly, the alarm goes off and another drama with Takuma, Souta and Hiyori begins. It’s a drama where Hiyori and Souta bully Takuma and it results in Hiyori pushing them out the window. But Hiyori is unable to do it and receives a punishment in where her voice is taken.
After the drama, the director explains that one of their functions will be taken if they refuse to perform in their dramas. In addition, the injuries they may receive while acting would be healed after the drama ends but they would still feel pain. Takuma feels guilty but Hiyori uses her bangle to communicate and tells him its her fault alone and that he shouldn’t blame himself. Due to this, Mizuki figures its highly likely that both Hiyori and Tomose aren’t the Producer since they wouldn’t want to endanger each other since they know each other. Regardless, everyone promises to earn points and regain Hiyori’s voice.
So next day, Mamoru, Kyouya, and Tomose come up with a plan of appearing in the drama next time in order to help Hiyori and ad lib for her lines. They then get a notice of maintenance on their bangles which says they cannot use their bangles or any of the bouncers of a set time and must stay in their house. In addition, no dramas will take place on that day. Kyouya thinks its a good opportunity to find an escape route since he doesn’t believe any of the people there are the ‘traitor’ among them. Mizuki believes that the bangle is the reason behind removing Hiyori’s voice so if they manage to disable it, her voice could possibly return.
So Hiyori goes with Mamoru to find a possible route. They nagivate the area and once the maintenance starts, they find themselves trapped in an enclosed room. There’s strange creatures there that try to come closer whereas Hiyori falls unconscious due to her fear of them. She wakes up in her bed after Mamoru carried her there. She goes into the living room to find the maintenance is over and everyone there. They mention the “creatures” both she and Mamoru saw. Apparently the world they’re in turned back into what it initially looked like during the maintenance so they speculate it takes the look of a city through the bangles.
Next day, Hiyori overhears Kyouya and Tomose discussing about Takuma and how he should learn more kanji so he can read his scripts. Souta ruins the atmosphere again by saying Takuma is the most suspicious since he doesn’t act like an elementary kid. Nevertheless, Hiyori reassures him its fine. Afterwords, Hiyori decides to go in the kitchen and finds cookies that were baked while Keito was in the kitchen. She decides to eat them with Keito, Mizuki and Takuma whom are all in the cooking group together. Takuma reveals Keito was the one who made the cookies and everyone was surprised because they’re so cute looking but super delicious.
Next day, Keito makes cupcakes upon request from Takumi. They hear from Souta there supposedly were previous cast members that made it out alive and he tells them to ask the Bouncer’s about returning Sena’s voice. When they do, it says the way to undo the punishment is for her to reenact the drama scene that she initially failed. However, Hiyori refuses to do it and wants to find another way. When going to the library, Hiyori finds Mizuki there looking up the penalty games of past cast participants. Apparently the previous cast had escaped and Hiyori reads that not only could bodly functions been taken away, but their ‘sex’ too.
So Hiyori speculates that Mizuki’s sex was perhaps taken away as a past cast member; meaning that Mizuki could be lying and wanted to be part of this parallel world broadcast again to obtain their sex back which mostly likely means they can’t be the Producer. Hiyori encounters Takumi again who forces Hiyori to reenact the drama. When they do, Takuma essentially makes her throw him out the window. And after the drama is done, Hiyori regains her voice again. Upon more investigation, they find out there may even be another traitor called a “sponsor” and they purposely are trying to hide their identity by not allowing access to the previous cast files.
Mizuki Iochi (CV: Megumi Ogata) is the eldest and the most perceptive one of the group. They have an androgynous appearance and often teases about whether they’re a man or a woman (Mizuki’s gender was never revealed so I used ‘them’ / ‘they’ pronouns).
One night, Hiyori can’t sleep so she decides to go to the living room where she finds Mizuki playing darts since they can’t sleep either. Mizuki offers for Hiyori to try and while she does, Mizuki gets close to her to help her. Hiyori feels conscious of Mizuki and so they tease her for it. Hiyori again encounters Mizuki downstairs but making cocktails since that seems to be their hobby. Mizuki asks if Hiyori wants any drink made and so she requests for some juice. Hiyori tells Mizuki that their appearance as a bartender suits them and Mizuki thanks her. After drinking her drink, Hiyori falls asleep. She wakes up and remembers talking to Mizuki and feels super embarrassed knowing Mizuki carried her to her bed. When she goes to the living room she encounters Mizuki again in a frazzled state. Mizuki asks Hiyori to accompany them to the park and so she does. One of the residents there say that Mizuki seems very familiar to someone they met before which confuses Hiyori.
One night, Hiyori goes on a test of courage with her cooking group. When going with Mizuki, she reveals she had a trauma that only her mother knew about where she saw a video with a girl screaming. Mizuki tells her it was most likely a Parallel World Broadcast video. After that, Hiyori tries making a drink like Mizuki usually does and ends up falling asleep in the living room after making it. Mizuki wakes her up and teases her again for falling asleep and helps her make a tastier drink. Mizuki then asks Hiyori to be their assistant in gathering info and promises to protect her.
While visiting the library, Hiyori and Mizuki find a connection between the Morpheus plan and the whole Parallel World Broadcast. The Morpheus plan was carried out 30 years ago and the Parallel World Broadcast carries data back to 30 years. After this, Mizuki and Hiyori eat together and Hiyori gets sleepy and falls asleep while they discuss about the past videos. Mizuki ends up carrying Hiyori back to her bed and kisses her on her forehead before leaving the room and leaving Hiyori super embarrassed. The next day, Hiyori and Mizuki do another drama where Mizuki ends up confessing their love to her and kisses her on her neck.
Mizuki then takes Hiyori to a field of flowers to relax and Hiyori makes a flower crown for Mizuki. Mizuki says she’s really skillful with it and she says its because she made them for her siblings and asks if Mizuki is an only child. Mizuki tells her that they aren’t and has an older brother. She asks why Mizuki is so nice to her and Mizuki tells her its because she’s prone to danger and worries but then whispers in her ear she feels bad for someone lonely as her and then changes the subject saying they should head back. After that, Hiyori decides to investigate on her own and overhears Mizuki talking to someone privately.
When Hiyori encounters Mamoru, he tells her there was someone with the same last name as Mizuki named Hisato Iochi in the library past cast back numbers. Hiyori remembers that Mizuki mentioned having an older brother and Mamoru tells her that they were a “sponsor” so its possible he’s still alive. After finding this out, Hiyori starts to avoid Mizuki. Realizing this, Mizuki asks Hiyori about it and she says she wants to know the truth because she over heard them talking to someone. So Mizuki reveals this person they were talking to was someone to be trusted and their goal is to “look for someone” and stop the parallel world broadcast.
Hiyori then almost confesses her love for them and Mizuki stops her before she does and says they aren’t qualified to hear it yet but once they take of what they need to do then if she carries the same feelings she can wait to confess then. The next day, another drama between Hiyori and Mizuki appears but Mizuki stabs Hiyori in the drama so she ends up unconscious due to the pain. When she wakes up, everyone is transported to the weird screen area and Mizuki reveals they work for the government as an Info Management Bureau. Apparently everyone there is there through Telexistence. In other words, their bodies there are like “avatars” while they’re under a drug called Ferome Sleep. Their bangles are also the cause of the affects in the VR world so if they destroy it they may escape. However, it has to be destroyed in real life and they’ll become brain dead if they die in Arcadia. So while it may be possible for Arcadia to be shut down, their lives won’t be guaranteed if they do.
Mizuki also admits that they only had Hiyori as their “collaborator” so they could attempt to remove her bangle and see it was possible. In order to due this, whenever they had drinks, Mizuki used sleeping pills on Hiyori. Mizuki believes that the data of the past cast should have back-up data so it could be possible they’re alive. Mizuki tells the director to meet their conditions of releasing them or will face consequences of having the entire Arcadia forcibly wiped from the outside. After this, Mizuki explains that the Director shouldn’t have actual authority unlike the producer since they are a AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) that are commonly used throughout their society. Mizuki is willing to sacrifice their life to finally shut down Arcadia once and for all.
Hiyori then leaves to talk with Mizuki alone. Mizuki reveals the initial plan was to find out how to shut down Arcadia and their brother was part of the same organization but then indeed became sponsor for Arcadia and originally the sponsor chose the cast and chose one of the closest people to him, Mizuki. Its then Mizuki used this chance to speak to him directly to try and convince him to stop but found out that Hisato had reached a dead end. But even though usually you forget about the people who reach a dead end, Mizuki didn’t forget and still had memories of Hisato. Mizuki tells Hiyori to forget about them but Hiyori gives a long speech about how they’re similar in the case of being selfless and knows deep down Mizuki has feels they want to let out. So they hug it out while Mizuki cries their feels and kiss to reaffirm their feelings for each other.
When its time for an answer, the director basically announces a special entertainment instead and when Mizuki tries to destroy Arcadia, there’s a message from his chief that he changed his mind (maybe it was fake? Idk). Anyway, Mizuki and Hiyori are transported to a sort of warehouse. The director explains his brother was still technically alive and was given a choice to be able to live as a resident in Arcadia which is also why Mizuki still remembers him. So the director tells them if they save Hisato, he’ll save all other 230 past cast members. But now the director has a new proposal which is save everyone including Hisato, or save just Hiyori.
The director tells Mizuki to push one of them into the flames but Mizuki can’t push either and throws their-self into the flames instead. Thanks to this, everyone is still gone but they’re still to continue doing dramas to gain points and promise to revive everyone. So time passes and Hiyori and Mizuki have restored 234 people already and will soon be able to go back themselves. Mizuki properly confesses to Hiyori and now that they’ve been together for so long they’ve already grown used to each other (Hiyori calls Mizuki by first name so clearly they’ve been getting familiar) and promises to reveal their gender in bed once they get to the real world LOL.
Thoughts: Mizuki is an interesting and unique character that I’ve never come across in an otome. In terms of their personality, I think Mizuki was one of the more enjoyable routes. I would’ve liked to learn more about them but the routes aren’t long enough lol. It was definitely enjoyable to hear Megumi Ogata in an otome game! She’s always playing male characters so its not surprising to hear her as an androgynous character. They heavily implied (at least while in Arcadia) that Mizuki’s sex was stolen; so I’m not sure if that’s the sole reason they’re androgynous. I mean, in the real world they were obviously biologically male or female. But I think when they go back to the real world they’re still missing that “part” they lost, so guess their body would be, featureless in terms of sex? (I really don’t think Otomate thought this ahead though). Still, this is the closest I’ve seen so far to a “non-binary” character. Personally, I think its just a mystery for the sake of it being fun to guess “man” or “woman”. And the main reason I say that is because Mizuki teased Hiyori about revealing their true gender so I have no idea if they really wanted to be male / female / non-binary. But at the very least, Hiyori really didn’t care what gender they were and loved them anyway. I’m pretty sure Mizuki is fairly popular in Japan too cause I remember last year being in the animate store and seeing some Charade Maniacs merch that all included Mizuki.
Keito Ebana (CV: Tomoaki Maeno) is the angry tsun of the group who complains about women and in general has a sharp tone around everyone. He likes to cook and often does household type chores. Hiyori goes to the library and finds him there much to his dismay. She then happens to find a book with past cast punishments and finds out Keito lost his left arm and Mei lost his right eye while participating in the parallel universe broadcast. She then finds Keito asleep and tries to wake him up. But just from touching his shoulder, Keito snaps at her and tells her not to touch him and runs off. After that, Hiyori goes to apologize to him after a sudden drama Keito is forced to do.
Hiyori and Keito argue constantly and one day Hiyori forgets to lock the bathroom while drying her hair and Keito gets pissed because he deems it bad manners to not lock the door. In the kitchen they fight over eating bread and then while doing the dishes they fight again lmao. Mizuki reminds them they may have to do a romantic drama sometime so they should get along better. Hiyori then leaves and goes to the library and happens to find Keito there. It seems like he’s about to apologize but then he tsuns again and tells her she doesn’t have to avoid eye contact with him. So she sees what he’s reading and he’s looking at some report about the Parallel Universe Broadcast.
After that, Hiyori confirms the same book that says Mei lost his eye and Keito lost his arm. She thinks about going to go ask Keito but when she confronts him while he’s reading a book it startles him and he drops it. Apparently it was a cook book so he gets tsun about it and tells her to leave him alone and storms off lmao. Next day, Hiyori helps Keito cook and he removes his glove revealing his prosthetic arm. He says she’s already seen it so it doesnt matter and is surprised she didn’t tell anyone about it. Mizuki and Takumi then arrive so he quickly hides his arm and they all comment about how Hiyori and Keito seem to be on somewhat better terms.
After that, Hiyori encounters Souta pretending to be asleep on the couch. When he gets up he teases Hiyori about Keito being jelly and Keito gets pissed. Its then their bangles alarm go off and its finally time for Keito and Hiyori to do a romance drama. It ends up being a drama where Hiyori confesses as her character and Keito refuses. But he does it in such a harsh manner and when Hiyori mentions this after, Keito gets pissed and says all women are liars and storms off. After that, Hiyori decides to visit the antique shop she read about. She finds a replica of Keito’s arm that he lost in the punishment game. Its then Mizuki appears and Hiyori explains the situation to them.
After this, Hiyori clearly wants to talk with Keito but he barely acknowledges her and of course they almost bicker each time they talk. Hiyori decides she’ll hold back from then on but one day she’s resting on the couch after a shower. Keito spots her and wonders why she’s been eyeing him so much. She apologizes and says she won’t but he’s 別に about it then tells her she should go to her room or she’ll catch a cold. Hiyori says he really is like a mom but this of course triggers him and he gets angry again telling her not to call him that and that she’s careless as all woman are. Hiyori gets annoyed he keeps comparing her other women he knows and tells him they’re not all the same before storming off into her room.
When Hiyori wakes up, she gets a fever and ends up sleeping all day after informing Tomose. In the evening, Hiyori gets an unexpected visit from Keito who brings her some food and found out about her condition from Tomose. 😄 He finally isn’t yelling every second and actually opens up about how he has siblings and that he got annoyed at Hiyori because he was always getting annoyed at his brother and sister. After Hiyori is better, she decides to go to Keito’s room to thank him. She notices he’s cleaning his prosthetic arm and she asks to help clean it for him. When she does, he reveals he requested for it during the pre-term (where they could request what they wanted) since he couldn’t use his arm before that.
Finally, Keito confirms he was indeed in the past Parallel Universe Broadcast and managed to request to become part of it again. Hiyori asks why as well as why he won’t just redo the drama he failed but he won’t answer. Keito starts to rage again but Hiyori manages to stop it by telling Keito to stop acting like he’s not a good person cause she was really happy when he nursed for her 😂. Keito is literally speechless and goes completely red and tsuns again. Next day Hiyori talks to Mizuki again and they speculate that Keito or Mei could be a traitor too but Hiyori chooses to believe Keito.
After that, Hiyori gets called in the kitchen by Keito to show her how to make cookies. She ends up accidentally dropping a plate after slipping and Keito catches her in time calling her a clumsy バカ. Hiyori then teases him saying he basically hugged her and he tells her it wouldn’t of happened had she not dropped the plate lol. He mentions how she kissed Tomose but she says its different since its a drama and doesn’t enjoy them she just wants to get home. After they make the cookies and eat them, Hiyori asks Keito how he got into cooking. Apparently he didn’t necessarily like it at first, it was just a way to get his family to eat together since his parents are divorced and his two sisters live with his mom.
Right after this Hiyori and Keito are forced into another drama continuing the one they did before. But Keito does his lines in a normal manner this time albeit there’s a hugging scene which makes Keito freeze up and doesn’t respond. So Hiyori decides to take matters in her own hands and hugs him herself and the drama ends with Keito speechless. After it ends Hiyori is super embarrassed and Takumi and Mizuki tease her and Keito as per usual. After that, Keito ends up getting sick so Mizuki prepares food for Hiyori to take to his room. When she does, she finds him asleep and tries to take his glasses off. He ends up slapping her hand away and Hiyori immediately apologizes but just as she tries to leave, Keito stops her by grabbing her hand.
He assures her he’s not mad at her and says she’s different from the others. He then says he’ll tell her why he hates women. Apparently he lived with just his father until high school. But when he was in middle school, his father got a girlfriend whom he’d often see and apparently she kissed him (wtf) which made him so pissed he left his home after feeling betrayed by his family. He apologizes for comparing her to a woman who had nothing to do with her and falls asleep while holding her hand 😊. Its then Hiyori realizes she’s in love with him. Next morning, Keito is super embarrassed over what he said and tsuns about it.
When Hiyori and Keito come to the living room, everyone confronts Keito about him keeping him being a cast from the last Broadcast a secret. They ask him why he didn’t just redo the drama he failed (to get his arm back) but Keito refuses to tell why. Its then the director intervenes and decides to force Keito into participating in the drama he didn’t want to reenact. He tells him that if he acts it out, he’ll not only give his arm back, but he’ll also return him to their original world. But if he doesn’t, he’ll stay in Arcadia forever. The director then brings up a 3D image of a girl he participated in the last drama to act out the scene with him.
Keito refuses to do it but then Hiyori hits the option of her bangle to add herself to the scene to help him. She confesses to him there (he also heard her confession she said to herself in his room lol) and kisses her in response saying she’s the only person he’d want to touch ❤. After that, the drama is a success so both Keito and Hiyori are allowed to go back to return home. Hiyori hesitates since everyone else can’t come but they reassure her they’ll find a way back too. Keito tells Hiyori she’s the only one he wants to be with and even though he doesn’t understand love or women, he tells her that he loves her. 😊 and so they agree to go back home together while Keito promises to reconcile with his family.
When they return home, Hiyori and Keito meet for the first time after a while when Keito bumps into her at her school. She cries saying she missed him and they promise to work on getting everyone home. In the epilogue, Keito reconciled with his family and Hiyori met his little sisters and dog named Tart lol. Keito says I love you to Hiyori and thanks her which completely throws her off since he always has an insult to say so he promises to say things like ‘I love you’ and ‘thanks’ more often.
Thoughts: Keito was definitely my favorite since I have a weakness for tsunderes lol. He was definitely more aggressive than some tsuns but they usually show their dere as they warm up to you. I love how he’s the usual “tsundere who can cook” trope lmao. The route itself was decent (albeit too short). Hiyori definitely shone the most in this route and its unfortunate she was so inconsistent all the time. She had a lot of spunk in this route compared to others and seeing her bicker with Keito was kind of funny at times. Either way, I would honestly love to have more romance between these two and would play a FD just for the sake of them.
Tomose Banjou (CV: Suzumura Kenichi) is Hiyori’s childhood friend who has a hardcore crush on her. As time passes in Arcadia, Tomose admits he doesn’t mind whether they return home or not because he can always be with Hiyori. This makes Hiyori uneasy and frustrated because she hates to see Tomose so easily willing to give up his dream of becoming an actor and never seeing his family again. One night, Hiyori goes looking for Tomose and finds him outside. He goes on about how she never recognizes his feelings even though he’s always been watching her (blahblahblah have you ever thought maybe she doesn’t feel the same way??).
Anyway, he finally confesses he’s in love with Hiyori but since she never thought of him that way, she can’t respond to his feelings. Regardless, he tells her he’ll only help her return if she responds with his feelings but if she continues to see him as a childhood friend, he won’t cooperate (way to force your feelings on her bud). After that, Hiyori is forced to do a drama with Mei and ends up doing badly because she keeps thinking about what Tomose told her. When Hiyori encounters Tomose after this, she ends up arguing with him because he’s so persistent on having her rely on him for racking up points. But Hiyori tells him that she can’t fall for someone who’s so self-absorbed (with her lol) he doesn’t pay attention to his surroundings anymore.
After that, Hiyori talks to Ryouichi about what happened with Tomose but he tells her he thought him liking her was something everyone knew and she was the only one that didn’t. Albeit he doesn’t understand his behavior and Hiyori starts having doubts about Tomose and thinks he could possibly be the sponsor among them. So yet again Hiyori tries to talk with Tomose but it ends up in an arugment after Hiyori asks if he’s a sponsor. He blabs on about how she prioritizes everyone else even when Hiyori tries to make things less public with their arguing. Tomose also forcibly kisses her and Hiyori slaps hin and angrily runs to her room.
[wtf is this CG it looks like they’re eating each other’s faces, not kissing lmao]
After this, Hiyori decides to talk with Tomose after consulting Ryouichi about it. Albeit its during a drama she decides to tell Tomose she can’t begin to like him unless he changes the way he’s been acting. She brings up how he used to want to be a hero (hence why he got into acting) but now it almost seems he doesn’t care. Because Hiyori isn’t reading the script she receives a punishment that takes her emotion and tells Tomose she knows he’ll save her like a hero does no matter what situation comes her way. And so, Hiyori’s emotions are taken away and she’s more or less like a robot in terms of her responses.
Meanwhile, Tomose feels guilty and decides to take care of Hiyori. He admits he only wanted to become an actor because it made Hiyori happy and he wanted a reason to protect her. So Tomose decides to trade all of his points in order to return Hiyori back to normal leaving him at 0 points. Meaning, his life is on the line if he screws up his next drama. So Hiyori reconciles with Tomose and hugs him. She thanks him for saving her like he said he would and so Tomose starts crying lol. So after this, Tomose has a do a sort of last challenge that will either enable him to leave with everyone one else or have him and Hiyori stay in Arcadia forever.
Tomose decides to do a game of charades where he plays in front of the people who reside in the Parallel Universe Broadcast. Tomose ends up winning the game of charades and is granted a wish along with 1000 points. He then requests for them all to be sent home but the director will only comply with the condition that someone stays behind. So Souta volunteers to stay behind since he didn’t particularly want to leave anyway. After giving their goodbyes, everyone is sent back to the real world. Hiyori meets Tomose after school and he finally properly confesses to her. She of course responds to his feelings and tells him she loves him as well and ask him to become her boyfriend.
Thoughts: I’m not a big fan of childhood friends in otome and this is exactly why: Just because you’re in love with her does not mean she owes you shit. Now, I think childhood friends becoming lovers can be done well (depending on how its developed) but this was just crap. Hiyori never showed any indication of liking him. And it wasn’t even in a dense sort of “I don’t know my feelings yet” kind of way. Hiyori literally did not see Tomose like that and Tomose just pushed all of his feelings on her. He was just so annoying I wanted his route to be over already. I can’t stand characters that think you owe them an answer or response to their feelings just cause he had a hard ass crush on her. Yeah well, you didn’t exactly go about it the best way. Either way, Hiyori just being inconsistent as per usual in this route and not realizing how thirsty Tomose was idk.
Souta Gyoubu (CV: Matsuoka Yoshitsugu) is the classic playboy and likes to play all types of games like board games, card games, video games ect. He often teases and flirts Hiyori to give him a kiss. After Souta is placed in isolation like Mei and Takumi, he often plays games with Hiyori and plays with the fact he could be the traitor. Even Takumi warns Hiyori to stay away from Souta since he’s overly suspicious a lot of the time. Eventually, Souta reveals he was Hiyori’s classmate but is not the producer. He stopped going to school though during his 2nd year which is why Hiyori forgot about him. He was also a participant in the last game but asked Keito to keep quiet about it.
Right after both Hiyori and Souta are forced to do a drama where Hiyori has to tell him she hates him. She can’t do it, so Souta takes the blow for her and asks for the punishment. His right eye is blinded while Hiyori feels bad about it. He manages to convince her it was his own decision but unfortunately suspicions arise on him with Kyouya. As he hides out and plays more games with her, he tells her to meet him at night. In doing so, he tells her his plans of doing the drama again to get his sight back but believes it would be easier if they confirmed their feelings first. So he confesses his feelings to her and asks if she loves him too. She tells him she does and they kiss.
The next day, Hiyori meets with Souta to renact the drama to get his eye back. In doing so, Souta reveals Mei was his purpose for coming back to Arcadia and wants to redo the drama that made him lose his eye. He and Hiyori are then teleported to the others where he goes to explain he knows who the culprit is and reveals he was in the previous cast. He also does the drama with Mei to get his eye back which also proves Mei was a previous cast member but his name was erased from the databanks as well as the memory of him. But before anything gets revealed, the director tells Mei he’s reached 3,000 points so everyone can leave except for one person. Mei of course sacrifices himself which upsets Souta feeling like everything he did was meaningless. In the end, Hiyori and Souta forget about Mei in the real world. They start dating though and share their first kiss since Arcadia in the classroom.
Thoughts: I’m shocked at how little I wrote for this route but I think its also due to the fact my game file got erased at some point (causing me to have to force skip through routes) and also because his route is connected to Souta’s (in the sense that they have some copy pasta events). His route was okay though, I guess? I didn’t particularly love him but I didn’t hate him either. Surprisingly, I thought the romance between him and Hiyori was nice and he was actually fun comic relief at times.
Ryouichi Futami (CV: Seki Tomokazu) is the the more adult-like one of the group who tries to be the sort of oniisan to everyone. At the start of his route, Kyouya starts going rampant and disobeying Arcadia’s rules. Mizuki and Hiyori find Kyouya trying to open what he thinks is somesort of exit door. Since Kyouya only has 0 points after already receiving a penalty, the director tells him to get his shit together or he’ll meet a dead end if he screws up his next drama. So the following day, Kyouya ends up getting a dead end and disappears after he messes up his performance. However, this is due to Ryouichi pressuring him to respond to an ad-lib he decides to do during the drama instead of helping him through the drama. Mizuki gets pissed at him for this but Ryouichi plays innocent saying he just wanted extra points.
Thanks to this, Mizuki is hostile around Ryouichi but Hiyori can’t seem to hate him and asks to speak with him privately. Apparently he likes to make rings and he gives one to her after warning her she might get hated being around him (since Mizuki hates him). But she tells him she still wants to get along with him and then mentions about gaining 30000 points to bring back Kyouya. He says he’ll help cooperate which makes Hiyori think “oh he can’t be bad” and Ryouichi tells her she can tell him anything. Hiyori then also realizes she may like him and even hangs out with him after to tell him this. For some reason he basically makes her dokidoki all the time so she doesn’t really think about other shit.
So afterwords a drama between them starts where Hiyori has to stab Ryouichi with a pair of scissors. In doing so, Ryouichi smiles which weirds Hiyori out. He then starts to try and convince Hiyori that staying in Arcadia is better than going back to the original world. Hiyori then finally snaps out of it and realizes that he’s the traitor and he proudly admits to being the producer. In saying he is the traitor, everyone can go home. But in order to do that Hiyori must declare it. So she ends up running away all sad and doesn’t tell anyone this. Mizuki finds her and takes a recording chip out from her bangle. After this, Mizuki summons everyone to the living room and play a recording of Ryouichi confessing to being the producer.
[Let’s waste a CG on having a zoom in of their hands……..?? Wtf]
So they lock Ryouichi in the warehouse and Hiyori goes to him to try and persuade him to tell the truth. She tells him she knows he’s a “sponsor” and not the producer. And that she loves him and wants to save him. But unfortunately this doesn’t matter to Ryouichi who’s living happily in Arcadia and doesn’t care about what happens to the cast whom aren’t following the rules properly. So she leaves and Mizuki finally accumulates 3000 points to work towards the 30000 to bring back Kyouya. Meanwhile, Hiyori is able to get Ryouichi to admit he’s a sponsor and albeit he admits he has feelings for Hiyori, he can’t respond to them because the person in charge of everything is basically a “god” in his eyes.
So Hiyori decides to summon everyone to reveal a recording that Ryouichi was pretending to be the producer so that everyone would end up dying if they wrongly accused him of being the producer when he’s actually the sponsor. Ryouichi of course just finds this hilarious and has a usual yandere laugh. Hiyori demands he give his points to help save Kyouya but he refuses. So she challenges him to a cast duel where you can rob the points of a cast. So she has a debate with Ryouichi where they gain or lose points based on the votes of the viewers. However, they don’t agree with Ryouichi’s ideals of dying for the sake of the producer so he ends up losing. She of course has to throw in how much she loves him yet Ryouichi only has a slight change of heart. 😒 And instead of going back home, Hiyori uses Ryouichi’s points towards bringing back Kyouya. And so, Ryouichi and Hiyori continue their life in Arcadia to bring back Kyouya as lovers I guess.
Thoughts: God this route was so eye-roll worthy and Hiyori falling in love with him was so damn forced LOL. Even if he’s supposed to be that tragic hated character (or yandere), I still couldn’t even find anything remotely likeable about his route. I mean in general the routes feel more rushed because there’s too many, so there wasn’t really room for development in terms of Hiyori suddenly liking this asshole anyway. I think if they just kept the personality he seemingly had it would’ve just been better in the long run because Hiyori falling in love with him after the things he did just doesn’t even make sense for her character in general (but of course shes inconsistent to meet the needs of all the shitty characters i guess). Maybe it also had to do with Hiyori wanted to save his “broken soul” but I think the fact of the matter was he didn’t feel broken, he just didn’t give a shit about anyone but himself lmao.
Kyouya Akase (CV: Saitou Souma) is the typical genki who is generally positive and trusting of everyone. Typically he goes out to investigate and talk to the residents that reside in the other world they’re in. Kyouya tries showing Hiyori a clip of a girl who died in a previous Dead End but this ends up scaring Hiyori realizing she lost a friend whom she completely forgot about because her memory of her was wiped out. Kyouya feels bad and tries to cheer Hiyori up and ends up telling her he’s usually typical genki guy who’s good at sports and longs to be a hero but sucks at everything else.
After Kyouya shows Hiyori a space outside in the garden. He believes it could possibly be explored but there’s an invisible wall blocking it. Hiyori then comes up with the idea of gaining 1000 points to request for the area to be explorable. Hiyori manages to gather 1000 points and uses it to open the unexplored area. In doing so, both Hiyori and Kyouya decide to explore it. They don’t find much but end up seeing the foreign creatures killing each other so Kyouya covers Hiyori’s eyes so she doesn’t see how gruesome it is. Hiyori then realizes she’s in love with Kyouya. So for whatever reason, Ryouichi decides to give Hiyori a piece of info regarding Kyouya.
Apparently Kyouya’s parents were sponsors and Kyouya himself confirms it when Hiyori confronts him about it. But she still believes in him and doesn’t believe he’s a sponsor and even confesses her love for him. Well turns out she’s right and he’s not a sponsor and reveals he’s actually a government spy who’s undercover in Arcadia to try and shut it down. After this, they decide to do dramas that’ll get them points and Hiyori ends up doing a drama where her friend reached a dead end and died. They realize her memories of her friend came back after doing the drama so Mei comes up with the idea for Kyouya to do a drama to recover memories he had clearly lost.
Kyouya does the drama and remembers his two younger sisters Nanaka and Natsumi who were forced into Arcadia by his parents. He starts crying after realizing this and demands for them to be brought back. Hiyori then decides to join the drama and adlibs lines to get him back on track so he can continue the drama. In doing so, they successfully complete the drama. They finally get to 3000 points and are rewarded to go home. Unfortunately someone has to stay though so Kyouya decides he will while putting an end to Arcadia once and for all. After everyone returns and casts from before are slowly regaining consciousness, Kyouya returns and reunites with Hiyori.
Thoughts: Kyouya wasn’t a bad character by any means but I kinda thought he was just too plain for me and wasn’t really my type. He had that sort of generic genki personality (albeit he was probably more put together than he seemed since he was a government agent lmao ok). His route was kinda uneventful and I’d definitely need more to even establish a better opinion on his character. But beyond that him and Hiyori… I don’t even know when it clicked they were in love with each other they kind just sorta were suddenly?? Idk this game needed some hardcore polishing w/ the romance cause it was so forced sometimes.
Mamoru Chigasaki (CV: Namikawa Daisuke) is the super calm and gentle older brother type who hates confrontation. He tries to be supportive a lot of the time especially when it comes to cheering up the heroine. During one of the dramas, Mamoru loses function of his leg because he was unable to kill Ryouichi in the drama they were acting out. Hiyori encounters him a few times with dirtied clothing and wonders what exactly is going on with him. She eventually finds out he leaves in the middle of the night to go somewhere but won’t say where and comes back injured. Over time, Hiyori tries to get closer to him when working with him, but he essentially tells her to leave him be since she’s better off not associating with him.
One day, Hiyori spots the Arcadia residents bullying Mamoru and taking his cane so he can’t walk. When Hiyori notices this and comes over, they immediately lose interest and leave. Mamoru thanks her but then their suddenly called to do a love drama together. Mamoru refuses to do the drama and accepts whatever punishment. He ends up losing his sight and while Hiyori tries to help him, she notices his hand feels different when she touches him. Even Kyouya had suspicions and so Hiyori shakes hands with an Arcadian resident to make sure and confirms that they feel exactly like Mamoru’s arm. So she confronts him and since he knows she’s already figured it out, he tells her everything about his past regarding Arcadia. Mamoru’s mother was part of a previous cast and somehow managed to reproduce with an Arcadian resident (wtf???) which is how Mamoru was born in the first place.
Although he’s not completely human, the majority of his body is human aside from his arm which is made of the goo-like substance that the Arcadian residents are made of. He’s also a sponsor since it was easiest to live life that way and was the one that kidnapped Hiyori. He wanted to ease his guilt so he hoped to send her home by whatever means necessary. In addition, the other Arcadia residents bully him since he’s not “completely” one of them. But he’s come to hate himself and doesn’t believe in love after the outcome of his mother was just her falling into despair and meeting a dead end. While Mamoru thinks he’s garbage, Hiyori doesn’t think so and even grabs his arm where he reveals his goo-like arm. She guilts him to stay alive so she can too.
Finally, Mamoru decides to do the dramas that caused him to lose his sight and the usage of his eyes. He then plots to try and manage everyone’s escape by making use of Arcadia being shut down for maintenance after Kyouya asked for an area to be opened. Hiyori realizes Mamoru is still trying to avoid her and doesn’t believe he’s worthy of love so she finally confesses her feelings to him. Mamoru can’t hold back any longer though and admits he too is in love with her. Unfortunately, this confession falls short and while Mamoru has the idea to meet his father, the director interrupts. He tells Mamoru he’s a traitor and forces him and Hiyori to do a drama where he has to stab her to save her albeit while he stays in Arcadia.
Mamoru rejects the idea and cuts off his arm which is his connection to Arcadia. The Arcadian residents are pleased by this outcome and the director himself is amused and sends them both home. However, while separated for a short time, both Mamoru and Hiyori reunited with their involvement in the government’s info bureau. Mamoru no longer has his right arm though and has completely discarded his connection to Arcadia for good while being happily together with Hiyori.
Thoughts: Um….. this route was so weird??? Like, I don’t even understand how Mamoru was made in the first place. Like, your mom is human but your father is one of these weird blobs w/ some human DNA?? I don’t remember getting an entire full explanation on how this went down. But regardless of that, if he was born in Arcadia how as he able to come back to earth as an actual person?? How was he even made in the first place??? I just didn’t get any of this at all and the routes are just too damn short to explain any of it. I mean, I guess personality wise he was fine (I felt kinda bad for him cause he was treated like shit by the residents). Idk, this route was too weird and confusing. I feel like they were trying to go for a weird science fiction feel to his route but they didn’t explain enough so I just didn’t get any of it.
Mei Dazai (CV: Furukawa Makoto) is the more quiet one of the group but also has a secret stash of cat photos since apparently he loves cats but since his family is allergic he’s never been able to adopt one. He’s actually fairly shy though and gets embarrassed easily when he touches Hiyori. Unfortunately, suspicions fall on him when Kyouya finds a paper with a note about being wary about sponsors and the producer. He made it seem like he found it, but Kyouya finds evidence that show he may have written. However, he refuses to write to compare handwriting so he’s put into isolation along with Souta and Takumi who also raise suspicions.
Hiyori continues to visit them while the rest of the group tries to decide what to do if there’s no changes while they’re isolated. After visiting Mei multiple times she starts to realize the school and area in general looks very similar to where she lived. She decides to investigate the school with Mei and Souta and regains a memory of the school. Souta reveals he was actually her classmate but stopping coming to school after his second year. Mei is glad she remembered but hopes she’ll continue to. Over time, Hiyori starts to realize she really is missing a memory and tries hard to remember until she finally does after doing a drama with Souta.
Hiyori explains to Mei she remembered she had a pet goldfish that died and she buried it. Mei is super glad she remembered and they confess their feelings for each other. After this, Souta shows Hiyori a place that looks like a control room. He can’t access the data though since it’s locked but when Takumi appears, he manages to unlock it somehow. They find out that not only is Arcadia on the back side of the moon, but it has all the data of it’s residents including their name, birth, occupation, ect. Unable to find any more data, they decide to leave. Hiyori relays this to everyone and they all believe finding the producer is the only way to find answers.
Souta shows Hiyori a place where replicas of “parts” that were lost are stored. They find Kei’s arm there and in addition to that, they find an eye that supposedly belongs to Mei. Hiyori decides to go find Mei to confirm this and he does indeed admit he has a fake eye before running away. The rest of the group conclude that Mei must be the producer but don’t have concrete proof and can’t accuse him without it or they may risk all dying. So Hiyori goes to find Mei who finally appears and asks Hiyori to do a drama with him. He does a drama that was based on a real memory that he himself wrote which triggers Hiyori’s memory of him confessing to her.
After this, the director warps them all and tells them they disobeyed rules so now he’ll start the nomination game for the producer. But no one nominates Mei since they know he suffered as he was forced to be a producer. Just as Mei is about to nominate himself, Hiyori stops him and tells him she remembered about the goldfish and when he talked to her. In remembering this, Mei wins a deal he had with the director that ensured everyone could go home if Hiyori was able to get her memories back. So they’re all sent home and both Mei and Hiyori date after Mei regains consciousness. Meanwhile, Arcadia is shut down for good thanks to Kyouya and Mizuki’s efforts.
Thoughts: I was really excited to do Mei’s route when I first started playing because I thought his personally was super up my alley (being a sort of kuudere). But in the end it was such a letdown. He already loved Hiyori from the get-go but his romance with her was just so poorly written. I felt like they could’ve had some cute moments together but nothing like that really happened (I mean a few times in some random side events). Like, he definitely had potential to be a more interesting character but it just wasn’t executed well. It also sounds like Hiyori barely knew him so the fact he was more interested in her than she was just made it even less romantic. Idk, I definitely like one-sided romances but only if its done in a different way.
Takumi Haizi (CV: Okamoto Nobuhiko) is supposedly a 12 year old elementary student who’s the most childish of the group and can barely read the kanji in the scripts he’s given. He also claims he’s been in Arcadia since he was 12 so he doesn’t really know what age he “truly” is since he’s been in Arcadia for so long. Apparently he played against the producer at a sort of match but continued to lose and lost both his original face and name. Takumi shows Hiyori a “grave” of items and objects kept that are actually from past Morpheus project members. However, Hiyori soon learns that Takumi knows a lot more than he seems and tells him to give her some answers already. So in the “grave” he shows her, he goes through an album of photos that a researcher of the Morpheus project took. But before continuing, Mei appears and Takumi leaves.
Hiyori shows Mei the “grave” that Takumi showed her and they spot an unfamiliar bangle near it. Hiyori then transfers the data from the bangle to her own and retrieves a bit of lost memory where she almost remembers Mei. Hiyori then leaves to meet with everyone else and tells them everything she knows thus far. Kyouya reveals that the past cast are currently brain dead and unconscious at the intelligence bureau. However, they’re all unidentified and basically “dead” in the sense that their existence was completely wiped from people’s memories and their data wiped from their bangles thanks to a Virus. After this, Takumi calls Hiyori back to the meadow where he shows her and Mei a facility with a video clip of the same woman she saw before.
They also essentially confirm that Arcadia is based on the the original Morpheus project moon base. So everyone else soon appears and discuss the situation. Takumi admits he’s not human but he’s not like one of the Arcadia residents either (whom are apparently Chimeras that evolved with human intelligence from obtaining human DNA?? 🤔). Takumi finally shows them a video a woman talks about the Morpheus project and mentions her daughter “Kayoko” which is her mother’s name. She also has Hiyori’s last name, leaving her to believe it’s her grandmother but she can’t remember her. She then gets frustrated by her lost memories and finally gets her memory of Mei back. After Mei reveals he was the producer after sacrificing himself for the past cast, Takumi finally reveals who he really is.
Takumi’s name is actually “Aster” and he was the lunar base’s AI program, created by Hiyori’s grandmother. He explains that he is the true producer and only nominated Mei as a temporary one. The director is actually an AI meant to seem like a gameshow host while he made Arcadia seem like a TV program with the making of the dramas. In addition, everyone there is just data inside the real lunar base and can’t touch anyone or anything else real unless that function is turned on. Apparently after the accident where Morpheus blew up (and damaged the base) the 10 members, including Hiyori’s grandmother, were stuck there. Takumi assisted as an AI and had them put to sleep to prolong their life. However, he told them they only had 5 days to live but knowing they wouldn’t get helped, Hiyori’s grandmother wished to die and not to be remembered like this. So, Takumi took their wish literally and not only ended their lives but erased any memory of them.
Apparently Hiyori’s mother Kayo was also a sponsor and Hiyori realizes that she was absent a lot. Regardless, they discuss on what to do with Takumi as the intelligence bureau closes in on Arcadia. Mizuki is very reluctant to have him come with them, but Ryouichi refuses to have Aster wiped from existence. He also reveals he was a sponsor and Takumi brings up how apparently Hiyori’s mother “saved” him so he should look for freedom now I guess. Tomose feels bad about the Arcadian residents being left behind, and when they say they feel sorry for them, Mamoru gets super defensive about it. Either way, they’re able to convince Mizuki otherwise and decide to bring Takumi by transferring him to Hiyori’s bangle.
In the end, everyone is brought back home with Takumi now in a mechanical dog’s body (so he’s like… Ren from Dramatical Murder now…?). Tomose and Mei constantly argue over Hiyori but realize she’s not really into either of them because she’s more interested in Aster the new AI dog lmao. Mizuki and Kyouya watch over the past cast members who are in a comatose state still until finally they wake up. In a bad end, Takumi showers Hiyori with gifts and manages to coax her into staying with him in Arcadia forever since he’s lonely.
Thoughts: That was… a really weird and confusing info dump. When I first played this game I was severely confused why they would have a 12 year old as a love interest but this route certainly answered that. But anyway, it doesn’t change that this whole plot in general is just full of plotholes and weird ass explanations for random occurrences. Takumi in general being “forgiven” and transferred to a AI dog is just so hilarious considering he was technically the cause of everything (because he was bored & lonely). I also don’t know if you can even call this a romantic route w/ Takumi / Hiyori because it legit did not even feel romantic to me. Its kind of similar to Monshiro from Psychedelica (albeit even that felt more like romance) in the sense where its like this really underdeveloped child-like personality that makes the romance seem more like a childish fondness for each other.
[This game didn’t have a ‘complete’ CG so here’s the guys all lined up again]
Final Thoughts: Idk, in general this game just felt super unfinished. You have a an interesting premise, characters (for the most part), and setting but its just executed so poorly. Its just waaaay too many love interests. I don’t care what anyone says, unless you make it a long ass game or a short ass common route, 9 routes are TOO MANY. Too many characters = not enough content or development. A lot of the romance was rushed to high hells and suddenly Hiyori was in love with these guys. This game is also very scattered for me especially because I played it a long time ago then finished it late because my vita corrupted AND IT DELETED ALL MY SAVE DATA. I had to skip through routes again (because a lot are locked) and i was slowly but surely losing my motivation to even finish this game. Now, I beat the game a while ago, but I was too lazy to post this review because the game was no longer fresh in my mind (i also got distracted by other games and stopped caring lol). But yeah, Hiyori was such an inconsistent af heroine. She had too many personalities that had to sort of match or rather, appease to her set love interest (at least w/ Norn9 it was 3 heroines with different personalities w/ 3 guys each). I think because of the amount of LIs, the writing and plot became diluted (similar to what happened w/ Ozmafia). I also felt like we barely learned anything about Hiyori’s family or her backstory in general (especially considering her grandmother was so involved). I was surprised it didn’t really go into depth about what happened afterwords in Takumi’s route. It all felt so rushed…
Story – Charade Maniacs is set in the far future and has a very science fiction type vibe to it. I would say its more plot focused than romance, but it definitely has a bunch of slice-of-life scenes in the common route. With plots that kidnap a bunch of people and force them to participate in a sort of “game”, there is usually a common theme of “doubt” and “trust”. For that reason, the mystery of finding the traitor is very integral to the plot. That being said, this doesn’t necessarily mean the plot is executed well and there are plot holes throughout the story. After the world building and the common route, there are 9 different routes to pursue. Due to this, the routes (that aren’t very long to begin with) become diluted and underlying plots feel very rushed. You’ll find out different pieces of the story in different routes, but as a whole it doesn’t piece together very well. If anything, you end up with more questions than answers.
Characters – As if it wasn’t obvious, you have a large cast of characters in this game. I think for the most part, the characters themselves were likeable and interesting to a certain degree (with some exceptions of course). But I didn’t have an issue with the characters themselves, rather how rushed each character route felt. There was a lot of potential in pretty much most of the characters in terms of backstory and how the romance was developed. However, the characters suffered due to how short the routes were. In my opinion, the common route should’ve been shorter and there should’ve been less side events. That way, the could’ve been more room for plot and development of the characters in their route. Not to mention, Hiyori’s personality was way too inconsistent. It’s as if her personality had to “match” whatever character she was paired with. If she had no chemistry with one character, her personality was basically written in a way that made her seem incompetent or oblivious compared to how she was in another route.
Visuals/System – Okay, the UI and the interface in general is pretty decent and I like the way it looks. Overall, I don’t remember having any issues with the system itself and it wasn’t gimmicky. I did feel like skipping was super slow though and it did take me forever to skip into another route. That being said, I have to say one of my other biggest issue with this game was the CGs. Now, I get it, you have a lot of characters with CGs and I guess Teita is someone Otomate loves to use when they have a huge cast of characters. But even so, I don’t remember Norn9 having such weird CGs? Sometimes it looks like a full CG image was drawn but it was cropped or zoomed in weirdly. Like, why would I want a CG of a zoom in of hands or a zoom in of part of a face but cropped so you can’t see it completely? But not only that, the kiss CGs weren’t really kiss CGs they just had mouths close but no touching? Sometimes it just looked insanely awkward and I can only imagine it’ll be weird on Switch.
Music – I daresay the music is probably one of the best things about this game. 10/10 great soundtrack and music in general. I really have no complaints about it whatsoever. I’ve probably listened to the OP and ED songs on repeat because they’re so catchy. Yuyoyuppe did a great job on the OP & ED (I guess for good reason Leia is one of my favorite Luka Megurine songs lol). I think the OST in general is by some anime composers, but it was all really poppy and catchy.
Final Thoughts: Honestly, this game started off strong and I can tell it had a lot of potential to be a really great game. But, it just felt so rushed in so many ways. I think there’s definitely some interesting parts about it and it wasn’t necessarily a bore to play. However, they really should’ve had quality over quantity if they couldn’t write short but well-written plots for each route. They clearly had to write for way too many characters and I think that’s the biggest downfall of this game. I think basically all of the romance felt rushed or unnatural because Hiyori was just suddenly in love with whomever at a random time. That actually didn’t feel like the case with Keito (unsurprisingly he’s my favorite), because she was constantly arguing with him and they didn’t get along at first. As for the plot as a whole, it had so much potential to be better than it was. They had too many scenes where barely anything was happening and it was just kind of random events. But the story needed polishing because throwing info dumps in routes won’t help the story if it doesn’t all connect or fully make sense. The info dump on the final route was just so confusing (and random) and there were too many unanswered questions.
Anyways, Otomate needs to learn that having more characters can come at a cost of the writing of the individual routes. I think its possible to have a lot of routes and still be decent if you know how to properly portion each route. But I think to do that, they probably needed to shorten the common route. That’s one thing I’ll never like about having so many routes. I can definitely tell a lot of them felt rushed and unfinished. At the very least, a lot of these routes were super open-ended to the point where some felt like they weren’t completely resolved. Also for a game like this it was surprising that none of the characters had bad ends (except for one character). I’m gonna assume it was due to the fact they had too many character already. Surprisingly, this game apparently did fairly well in Japan and even got a Switch port. I pretty much figured this game would get a Switch port eventually and no surprise that it did. They usually have to get the port first before a FD so I honestly believe this game will get a FD. I’m gonna hope if it does, that it can tie loose ends and give more content because I would definitely want to play it just for that.
So, do I recommend this game? Honestly, its really not a bad game but it feels like wasted potential. But you know, I could totally see this game getting localized anyway. Its up Aksys alley in terms of plot and I wouldn’t be surprised if they localized it later this year. When I first played it I got Danganronpa vibes because of Megumi Ogata and characters being kidnapped. I could see most people enjoying this game but as you continue and play every route, you’ll notice it kind of just goes downhill in writing and doesn’t fully meet the expectations you thought it would.