The story takes place after the Heiji Rebellion, where the heroine Shanao (or Yoshitsune) is the last remaining heir to the Genji name. She is disguised as a boy and keeps it a secret from both the Genji and Heikei clans. She feels burdened by her task to fight Heike as a member of Genji even though she just wants to live peacefully (For consistency purposes I’ll call the heroine “Shanao” but over the course of routes she’s renamed “Yoshitsune”).
Noritsune challenges Shanao to a duel to find and defeat someone named Benkei (who’s been defeating and stealing samurai’s swords) first. Shugen serves Shanao like his father served her father as a samurai who died to protect him. He stays with Shanao to do the same for her. One day, Shanao tries to find Benkei for her and Noritsune’s challenge but ends up getting ambushed by Heikei forces to protect Noritsune (even though Noritsune wanted this duel to just be between them). Shanao tries to escape with Shugen but is overwhelmed by enemies and suddenly she awakens to a sort of power within her (that Shugen already knows about). She defeats most of the enemies and even injures Noritsune in the process. Benkei fends off Noritsune, allowing for their escape. Benkei catches up with them and asks for them to trust him since he considers Heikei his enemy as well. After Shanao uses this power she always becomes super exhausted, so Shugen carries her and follows after Benkei. When she awakens, Benkei explains he wishes to serve Shanao and how was chased away from the mountains he lived on by someone from the Heikei family who attacked a village.
Benkei at first stole swords to defend himself, but then he started doing it to make sure no one is innocently hurt again. So they agree to trust Benkei while meanwhile Noritsune gets a lecture from his uncle for losing against the Genji. He’s told to attack a temple called “kurama-dera” or he’ll be banished from his home. But, what frustrates Noritsune the most is that he wants to fight Shanao one on one. Meanwhile, Shanao and Shugen have the temple priest excommunicate them from their temple so the Heikei won’t attack it. They end up running into Taira no Shigehira (Tomomori’s younger brother) who’s with Noritsune leading the attack.
Taira no Noritsune (CV: Kawanishi Kengo)
Noritsune is Taira no Kiyomori’s nephew and Tomomori’s cousin. He has a rivalry relationship with Shanao and after fighting her once, he continuously tries to duel with her.
Shanao eventually runs into Noritsune who wants a rematch with Shanao. She basically tells him off and that everything happening right now was his fault in the first place since he lost against her. She also rants about how her duties as part of the Genji clan are pointless and the duties the Heikei are pointless and she just wants to live in peace as herself and not carrying the weight of the Genji clan on her shoulders. After hearing this, Noritsune lowers his weapon and helps hide her when his allies appear. He realizes that the two of them are more similar than he thought and wants to fight her as just themselves not as Heikei or Genji.
After this, Noritsune is banished from the Heikei clan and decides to leave his home. Shanao meets the two brothers named Tadanobu and Tsugunobu Satou. They “mistake” Shanao for a woman until she convinces them she’s a man and Shugen confirms she’s Shanao. The older brother, Tsugunobu lectures his younger brother for attacking him. The younger brother, Tadanobu can’t help but find Shanao cute!! Lol. He feels bad he hurt Shanao’s leg so they all argue about carrying her to make up for it lmao. They are brought to a temple in Hiraizumi where a man close to Shanao’s relatives let’s her stay there to figure out what she wants.
Not long after staying in Hiraizumi (and training with the two brothers) Shanao encounters Noritsune again in town. He went by a different name while helping traveling merchants to reach where Shanao was located. He immediately tries to fight her but as soon as Shanao brings up Heike he tells her he threw away his Heike name for the sake of fighting her without being bound to his title. Shanao is legit confused why he would do such a thing just to fight her but he’s apparently serious and leaves to stay at an inn until he meets her again. After this, Shanao starts questioning what she really wants to do and is hesitant to abandon Genji for the sake of a more peaceful life.
One day, Shanao goes hunting with the other guys but they’re ambushed by enemies called emishi. Shanao again runs into Noritsune who she introduces him as his pseudonym “Takahito” and a man she met in town. He decides to help them defeat the emishi but ends up getting lost in the woods with Shanao as they defeat quite a few men together. They stop to rest after it gets dark and Noritsune reminds Shanao he intends to fight her when they’re done, but she shows hesitation and doesn’t believe she’s qualified to fight him yet because she hasn’t decided what it is she wants, unlike him. This angers Noritsune and demands to know why she’s so hesitant; she tells him she’s not like him and went to Hiraizumi since it was a sanctuary unlike Kyoto. Shanao asks Noritsune why he’s so obsessed with strength and he tells her it all started for the sake of his now deceased mother and protecting the weak. This makes Shanao bring up her mother who she barely remembers and so the two of them end up sharing a more sentimental side to each other. Not long after Noritsune again asks to duel Shanao which she decides to agree to. Unfortunately, just as they’re about to have their duel, the enemies from before ambush them and attack. Noritsune and Shanao are driven to the edge of a cliff until their surrounded. Shanao almost takes a hit but Noritsune protects her and takes the blow instead. They then realize they have no choice but to jump off the cliff into the river.
In doing so, the two of them wake up but Noritsune is severely injured from the attack before. Shanao helps him and takes him to a cave where he tries to tend to his wounds. He ends up losing a lot of blood and in order warm his body temperature she removes part of her kimono and presses her exposed skin to him. Noritsune is fortunately too out of it to even realize what Shanao is doing (or the fact she’s a woman) and wonders if she’s a celestial maiden (LOL). After that, Shanao takes care of Noritsune to the point where she can move him and decides to carry him out of the cave to try and find her way back. Thankfully, the others find her and Noritsune and take them back to safely. Noritsune’s identity of being part of Heike is discovered so he’s taken prisoner. Shanao feels guilty since he saved her life and decides to let him go in secret to repay him. The two of them promise to fight each other again and Noritsune leaves. Shanao reveals she let him go but intends to make up for it by meeting with her brother (Yoritomo who sent for her) and defeating Heike. So, Shanao takes her new name “Yoshitsune” and meets her brother Yoritomo on the battle field. He commands her to lead a battle and after winning the Fuji river battle, Noritsune goes back home after his father dies in order to take over and lead the battle for Heike.
Eventually, Shanao and Noritsune face each other again in battle. Noritsune immediately wants to fight until they’re interrupted when Shanao is called out by Shungen. Shanao tries to leave but Noritsune won’t have it and claims she’s trying to run away again. He then throws himself on her to stop her until Shungen arrives and escapes with her. After this, Shanao and her men begin to plan their tactics for their next attack. One of the Genji men, Yoshinaka, ends up using dirty tactics of leading their men off a cliff which angers Shanao; especially since they were willing to surrender. Yoshinaka doesn’t care either way though as long as they kill every single person who is Heike. Eventually, Genji invades Kyoto but Yoshinaka goes off to do his own thing and basically starts looting the town. Shanao tries to find him in order to stop him, but runs into Noritsune again. He basically tells her he intends to end things with her here and now along with his life. He’s essentially given up now that Heike is reaching it’s defeat. But Shanao snaps him out of it and refuses to fight with him when he looks so dead inside. He also reminds him it’s his job to protect the weak regardless. So the two of them agree to go help innocent villagers that are being mercilessly attacked by Genji. Shanao fends off her own men until Noritsune joins her and helps. Shanao ends up getting injured in the process but insists to Noritsune that she’s fine.
Noritsune tells her to stop being stubborn and decides to just carry her himself somewhere and figure out things later (now that she’s essentially betrayed Genji). Shanao starts losing a lot of blood so Noritsune suggests treating her which Shanao refuses since it would mean him finding out she’s a woman and she’s afraid of how he would react. Well apparently Noritsune basically figured it out ever since she helped him when he was injured. But he doesn’t care whether she’s a woman or not since she’s still her and he still intends to treat her like his rival regardless. Shanao is surprised but also relieved and let’s Noritsune treat her wound.
After that, Noritsune continues to carry Shanao on his back and Shanao starts to feel like a burden. He insists she’s not and he won’t let her die until he can have his duel with him. In addition, he feels he owes her one for saving his life as well even when he didn’t have to. Noritsune realizes they’re super similar and basically explains to her how he’s never felt closer or more similar to anyone else before. Not long after, Shanao falls unconscious while the rest of her crew with Shungen notice she’s gone missing and find out from some villagers she was with Noritsune. So, Shanao wakes up in a cabin with her wounds treated and notices Tomomori randomly there. Apparently Tomomori happened to visit and doesn’t intend to meddle with their affairs, rather, he’s just interested in the fact that Noritsune had fallen for Yoshitsune and vice versa; albeit the two of them are too obvious and haven’t realized it for themselves yet. After Tomomori leaves, Noritsune continues to care for Shanao until she fully recovers. One day, Shanao and Noritsune go out to the beach and watch kids play. Shanao is unsure of what to do now that she’s betrayed Genji, so Noritsune suggests she stays with him and tells her he doesn’t want to let her go and wants her by his side. He asks if she has the same feelings for him and she confirms she does and wonders if she really can stay with him.
Noritsune knows full well her returning may mean in her death which he won’t allow. Before they can continue their conversation, they’re interrupted by Genji soldiers. So Noritsune and Shanao decide to fend them off from Kyoto to protect the residents. Tomomori appears again and before he goes off to fight, he tells Noritsune to make sure he protects Shanao. But Noritsune tells him his girl don’t need protecting and he’ll protect her because he trusts her but she’s strong enough to watch his back without being protected (you tell em Noritsune 🤪). So both Shanao and Noritsune fend off Genji and after they take take a rest together.
After this, Noritsune establishes the fact there’s no way they’ll be able to fend off Genji from Kyoto with their numbers so they need to make plans to flee to a safer place. So Noritsune goes to procure boats and such while Shanao stays in Kyoto and basically chills with the kids that constantly want to play with her. Tomomori then joins in after a kid wants to see Shanao play dress up in woman’s clothes lmao. In doing so, Noritsune comes back to see Shanao dressed as a woman. He gets super jealous and tells her he doesn’t want anyone but him to see her dressed as a woman lol. He even admits he’s jealous which Shanao already figured out. Noritsune asks Shanao to stay with him after the war and live as a woman with him. So Noritsune decides to try to negotiate with Yoritomo to have Heike and Genji make peace. However, during their peace meeting, Tokuko (Noritsune’s cousin) brings soldiers to attack since she doesn’t agree to making peace with Genji. This of course ruins everything and a fight breaks out. Meanwhile, Shanao tries to go find Noritsune but is stopped by Shungen who knocks her out in order to prevent her from escaping with Heike. Noritsune tries to get Heike soldiers and citizens to escape on boats while trying to find Shanao. In the end, Shanao doesn’t show up so he has no choice but to leave on the boat. Shanao wakes up to find she’s back with Genji and everyone else and will have to fight against Heike once and for all.
This leads to the final showdown with Heike and Genji. Noritsune comes to a a decision and faces the battle head on with the idea of “destroying” Heike since they’re more than likely to lose. Shanao struggles with the idea of having to fight against Noritsune but come the time of the battle, Shanao finally faces Noritsune. He challenges her to a duel so she can be the one to end his life and in turn, end the battle with Genji’s victory so the war can come to an end. Shanao refuses to fight him at first but then finally gains the determination to fight. So the two of them have an intense battle while jumping from boat to boat. Finally, before Shanao can take the final blow, she realizes she wants to change fate so she doesn’t have to kill him. In doing so, the two of them take a gamble by jumping off the boat together into the sea and decides to see where fate takes them. Thankfully, the two of them survive thanks to some fishermen who were helped by Noritsune before. So now Noritsune and Shanao spend their days peacefully together and now instead of fighting each other, they fight over how much they love each other (lol).
In the bad ending, the two of them decide to kill each other for real instead. They both stab each other and fall off the boat, dying together while sinking deep into the sea.
Thoughts: I did this route first and I can see why this route is recommended first because its pretty much the only route that is pretty disconnected from the rest when it comes to the plot and characters. That being said, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this route because I really did! I love the rivalry between Shana and Noritsune; it’s not something you see often in otome games where the heroine and one of the love interests actually fight each other. Shanao is clearly stronger than him so it was an interesting dynamic. I actually took a bit of a break from this game so this route isn’t fresh in my mind, but I remember really enjoying this route and it gave me a good impression of this game in general. Noritsune was super cute and I was actually surprised he figured out that Shanao was a woman on his own (tbh I thought he’d be a little more dense about it) but straight up didn’t care and treats her the exact same. This is the only route that doesn’t have another ending with a side character so you could tell it was more self-involved with Noritsune and Shanao rather than the characters around them. Especially because Shanao’s power and backstory wasn’t really involved much in this route (*spoiler alert* if you piece it together, you technically find out that Noritsune is Shanao’s cousin but its knowledge that isn’t known to either of them).
Benkei Musashibou (CV: Umehara Yuuichirou)
Benkei is a monk who was banished from his temple and collected swords from defeated Heikei soldiers. Eventually he becomes Shanao’s servant when she defeats him in battle.
When Shanao and Shungen are attacked by Heike soldiers, Shana uses a sort of power that makes her crazy strong and kills some soldiers until she runs out of stamina and collapses. Tomomori decides to take Shana and insinuates he knows she’s a woman by calling her “Princess Genji”. He had already met Shanao prior and took in interest in her when he saw her crying which is when he realized she was a woman. Fortunately, Tomomori is unable to capture her since Benkei manages to save her and Shungen who was unconscious by jumping into a river. After this, Benkei decides it would be best to let Shungen and Shana rest but tries to remove Shana’s clothes since they’re wet. Not knowing she’s a woman he’s surprised by what he sees and Shungen immediately gets defensive of Shanao.
Eventually they make it back to the Kurama temple where Shanao has to make the decision to leave since Tomomori knows she’s a woman and could use this to Heikei’s advantage. After this, Benkei affirms he intends to go with Shanao and claims he’s her first servant since Shungen claims he’s not one even though he acts as one to her lol. Shanao talks to Benkei that night and he discusses how he lived in the mountains until he was banished. He also addresses the naginata he was given from the monks that gave him it. He wants to return it, but doesn’t have the courage to do so. Shanao offers to go with him so they can return it so he has no more regrets. Shanao and Benkei try to return the naginata to where Benkei stayed in the mountains but they won’t let him through and say he’s the reason Heike found them.
Benkei decides to give up but Shanao decides to have the last word and thanks the monks that won’t let him through. She tells them that they raised a strong and capable person and she’s grateful to have him serve her and reveals her true identity as lord of Genji. Benkei is shocked but grateful Shanao would stick up for him like that. Ultimately, Benkei decides to keep his naginata to protect and fight alongside Shanao. The next day, Shanao, Benkei, and Shungen are forced to leave when the Heike forces start to invade but as they try to leave Kyoto, they’re ambushed by Heikei soldiers. Shanao tells Shungen to go on ahead while Benkei and Shanao fend them off. Tomomori eventually appears and fights Shanao one on one.
Unfortunately, Tomomori is just too strong and overpowers Shanao — threatening to reveal her secret again. Benkei intervenes and decides to fight him so Shanao can escape to the boat. Benkei is also overpowered by Tomomori and so he manages to catch up to Shanao. She tries to fend off Tomomori but has run out of strength due to fighting other Heike soldiers. Tomomori points this out and keeps calling her “princess” and tells her to come with him. However, she continues to refuse until he almost carries her with himself — that is until Benkei manages to stab Tomomori in the shoulder from behind. Shanao is both shocked and relieved to see Benkei is still alive so he and her try to fend off Tomomori who insists Shanao to become his wife.Benkei then decides screw it he’ll sacrifice himself to get Shanao to safety. He then tosses her on the boat with Shungen much to her reluctance. Thankfully, the monks who Benkei thought wanted nothing to do with him came to give their respects and good wishes for a safe journey. Unfortunately, with the monks present, Tomomori has no choice but to withdraw but he and Benkei promise they’ll meet again. Meanwhile, Shanao is upset at Benkei for almost sacrificing himself but is thankful he’s alive. They continue to Hiraizumi as they planned and encounter the Satou brothers who show them around. After that, Benkei decides to take Shanao out to the beach to relax and encounters some kids playing.
Benkei and Shanao notice one of the kids hurt themselves so they help her. They end up playing with them and Benkei holds them on his shoulders. He then does the same to Shanao who gets embarrassed the moment he does it lmao (at one point Shanao makes a comment wondering if this is what it’s like to have a father and I’m just thinking uh no he’s supposed to be your lover god help me). After this, Benkei being the kind large man obviously needs to tell Shanao that he’ll follow her wherever she goes since she’s his master. Shanao soon finds out she’ll probably have to decide if she wants to fight Heikei who are now invading Kyoto. Since she’s troubled, Benkei tries to cheer her up and admits he wants to make her smile like he did with the children before.
Benkei suggests holding her up on his shoulders before but Shanao makes it clear she’s too embarrassed for him to do that. So instead, he decides to have her lay on his lap. The two of them end up trying to comfort each other in a parental way but have no idea how a parent would act because they never knew them very well. Shanao realizes just how similar the two of them are and then tries to get Benkei to lay on her lap instead lol. After this, a letter is sent from Shanao’s brother to fight alongside Genji against the Heikei forces. Now that Genji is making their move, Shanao finally makes her decision to fight for the sake of peace. So Benkei and the others follow Shanao to meet her brother. When she does, she’s ordered to lead the troops to make a sneak attack against the Heikei forces.
Shanao can see that her brother, whom she never met until now, doesn’t fully trust her so she decides to go through with this mission to gain his trust. In doing so, the Satou brothers, Shungen, and Benkei all decide to fight along side her. That night, they invade the Heikei camp by starting a fire and attacking their troops. Unfortunately, Shanao loses it and starts killing soldiers left and right, including Tomomori’s brother, Shigehira. Shanao literally starts slaughtering the rest of the Heikei troops who start running so Benkei intervenes to try and stop her. He hugs her until she calms down but she ends up hurting him in the process and he falls unconscious.
The next day, Benkei is treated and is doing fine but Shanao feels super guilty for what she did to him. Because of that, Shanao takes extra care of Benkei while he’s recovering. He reassures her it’s fine but wonders what exactly happened. Unfortunately, Shanao has no idea and just saw Benkei as the enemy. So since all of them have to depart the next day, Shanao continues to take care of Benkei and when she shows him her smile, he immediately gets shy and almost tells her that she’d make a good wife before stopping himself. He vows to protect her and they head out the next morning. When they make it to the town, they find the temple in flames with Shigehira who wasn’t actually killed by Shanao.
Shigehira activates the same sort of power as Shanao and gets the upper hand. Shanao manages to find a blind spot and counterattacks him but Shigehira flips out and kills a random monk. He then knocks out Shanao who’s taken to an underground prison. There, she encounters Shigehira who reveals he found out she’s a woman. Tomomori eventually appears as well and the two of them say she’s “one of them”. They both apparently have the same power as her in which they’re able to gain inhuman strength. This has lead them to believe that Shanao is actually related to them and is Heikei not Genji. However, Shanao is in denial and believes that she’s related to her parents. Tomomori apologizes for angering her, but wants to see her cry beautiful tears again (this guy I swear lmao). Shigehira goes on to explain that when they touch other people, they absorb their life force in order to heal their wounds. In doing so, Shigehira claims he “tasted” Shanao who was much more sweet tasting (lord I don’t even know). They reassure her that they intend to keep her alive though and want her to join them. Tomomori decides to “taste” her as well by sucking out her life force. Meanwhile, Benkei and the others are scrambling to find Shanao who was taken hostage. Shanao is met with Tomomori again who tells her he intends to make her his wife after they leave Kyoto. Shanao immediately rejects him and even states that it’s possible they could be related but Tomomori legit does not care one bit whether they’re related or not and wants her no matter what (Tomomori is just something else but holy fuck he’s hot 🥵). Shanao tries to resist him but he overpowers her and she almost starts to cry. This legit turns him on and he wants to see her crying face yet again. As he kisses the nape of her neck, Shanao manages to outsmart him by pushing down his neck and sucking out his power like he and Shigehira did to her. This debilitates Tomomori for a moment so Shanao can attack him and run away. Unfortunately for her this just makes him want her even more and states that they’ll meet again. After she leaves the Heikei manor, she runs into Benkei who is relieved to see she’s okay. She ends up falling unconscious in his arms and wakes up back at Kurama temple.
Shanao is still upset over what happened so she ends up wandering into the river at night to try and “cleanse” herself from Tomomori. Benkei ends up following her and tries to pull her out of the river. She starts crying and believing she’s a monster like Tomomori and her brother but Benkei reassures her someone as kind as her could never be a monster. She ends up hugging him close for a while until she falls asleep. Meanwhile, Benkei vows to protect her no matter what this time. After this, Shanao finds out Benkei was trying to prevent her from continuing to fight in order for her to live like a normal girl. Shanao knows Benkei means well, but reassures him she intends to fight and so he promises to stay with her until the very end.
As they make their plan to fight Heikei, Benkei asks Shanao if he can fight alongside her. So they plan out their attack and meanwhile, Shigehira makes an appearance as the others go ahead since he already knew where Shanao would be. Shanao and Benkei fight him as he uses his power and Shanao manages to control her power due to her training with Benkei. They manage to overpower Shigehira and he falls down the cliff they’re on. As Benkei and Shanao proceed, they realize Heikei is winning the battle but soon encounter Tomomori. He’s already eager to make Shanao his but Shanao immediately rejects him and tells him she intends to fight. Unfortunately, Shanao is too weak from her fight with Shigehira and reinforcements arrive. Tomomori decides to escape for now but tells Shanao he intends to settle things once and for all the next time they meet.
Meanwhile, Benkei takes Shanao to one of their camps so she can rest and regain her power. It’s there the two of them realize their feelings for each other. The two of them embrace as they fall asleep next to each other and Benkei calls her his “princess” before drifting off himself. That night, Shanao reveals her secret of wanting to start a family with Benkei. At first Benkei acts bashful about it because he’s her servant but eventually he comes around after Shanao profoundly confesses that he loves him and wants to be with him forever. He hugs her close and tells her he feels the same way and that he intends to be with her always. Meanwhile, Shigehira is still alive and ended up sucking the life force out of numerous soldiers. He also ends up killing his sister much to Tomomori’s surprise. But he’s clearly meh about it and is glad he’s alive so they have a better chance of capturing Shanao and running away together, the three of them (LMaO what is this borderline incest fest I’m dying). As Benkei and Shanao face their final battle with Heikei forces, they board ships to fight on the sea. Tomomori and Shigehira already manage to find Benkei and Shanao and fight them. Unfortunately, Shanao is injured and unable to fight anymore along with Benkei. Shigehira then suddenly loses it from devouring too many people’s strength and his appearance changes into a monster-like form. Tomomori realizes that his brother has pretty much lost his sanity at this point. So, Benkei gives some of his life force to Shanao by kissing her and so she faces Tomomori again. Meanwhile, Benkei is able to defeat Shigehira by holding him down as Genji forces hit them with arrows. Benkei takes some blows as well but is ultimately okay.
Shanao and Benkei finally face Tomomori together and work together to defeat him. They manage to get a hit in but before they can actually defeat him, Shigehira appears AGAIN because apparently he still hadn’t died. He’s pretty much completely gone mentally and even attacks his brother, Tomomori by biting into his neck. Tomomori kind of just accepts it and realizes his destiny may be to die together with him so he hugs his body and they drown into the sea (okay…?). So Genji wins the battle as Heikei loses and the war has ended. In the epilogue, Shanao and Benkei are able to live peacefully and Benkei asks Shanao to be his wife. In the bad end, Shanao defeats Tomomori but Benkei ends up sacrificing himself to kill Shigehira who is still alive (because this guy is tenacious af lmao).
[Kind of a boring bad end CG if you ask me]
Thoughts: So I heard that Benkei’s route was the least interesting but it actually wasn’t the worst imo?? It also wasn’t the best but I actually think Benkei is a really good character and the route itself was pretty interesting (I think its cause of Tomomori tho lolol). I’ll admit the DILF dynamic was kinda wierd at times (like please don’t compare your potential lover to a dad figure LOLOL) but I didn’t really mind it. Benkei has redeemable traits of the protective, big strong ossan; so I mean, I guess if that’s your thing you’ll really like him?? That being said, I definitely prefer him as Shanao’s support and servant rather than lover. I think it mostly has to do with the fact that Benkei didn’t really have any shining moments surprisingly. I felt like Tomomori took the spotlight more so it was hard to even want Shanao and Benkei together. Weirdly enough, Benkei kind of took the backseat in this route at times and I felt like I was getting more Shanao and Tomomori than Shanao and Benkei.
In Tadanobu’s end, Shanao trains with Tadanobu who finds out she’s a woman when he accidentally slashes her clothes. Now because of this Tadanobu can’t help but be conscious of the fact that Shanao is a woman and gets flustered around her lol. He decides that he wants to train with Shanao until he can only see her as a samurai so he’ll act normal around her again. This goes on for a month or so until they’re called to defend the Hiraizumi walls from bandits. After they encounter the bandits together, Shanao is hit in the head and falls unconscious. She wakes up to Tadanobu who was worried about her. He officially vows to protect her and stay with he even after she leaves Hiraizumi. He then puts a flower in her hair.
Thoughts: Tadanobu is such an adorable sub character and while this wasn’t a real route, it was so cute to see him get flustered around Shanao. I’m so happy he has a route in the FD because he’s honestly the sub character route I’m looking forward to the most next to Shigehira. He kind of gives me Shinpachi (from Hakuouki) vibes but definitely has a more “innocent” personality I think?? But the dynamic with Shanao is so great with these characters because she actually fights and trains with them. He clearly has a lot of respect for Shanao and even when he finds out she’s a woman in this short ending, he doesn’t respect her any less.
Minamoto no Yoritomo (CV: Furukawa Makoto)
Yoritomo is the son of Yoshitomo who died during the Heiji rebellion along with his brothers. He was exiled to Izu and spared thanks to Kiyomori’s stepmother, Ike no Zeni. He’s very stoic and closed off when it comes to his feelings (a typical kuudere type but he’s like that for reasons).
After Shanao encounters Tomomori while escaping on the boat, he tries to chase her down alone. Eventually, he realizes that he loves a chase so he decides to leave Shanao to escape for now. Shanao tells him she has no intention of meeting him again but he believes destiny will bring them together again. After this, Shanao meets up with Benkei and Shungen to make her way to Hiraizumi. But after hearing about her brother and father, she decides to stop at Izu to meet her older brother she never met who was exiled there. She believes meeting him will give her purpose and understanding as to what choices she should make since he was present in war.When Shanao meets her brother Yoritomo, he only says a few words to her but ultimately says he believes that they share the same destiny. Because of this, Shanao realizes in Hiraizumi that she doesn’t want her brother Yoritomo to be the only one to hold the burden of Genji. So Shanao makes her departure to fight with her brother and arrives just in time as he’s fighting Heikei forces. They retreat since they lost the battle and Shanao looks after Yoritomo who sustained injuries from fighting. The next day, they make it back to the inn they’re staying at and Shungen suggests Shanao stay in her brothers room so she’s safer. In doing so, Shanao treats Yoritomo’s wound while he barely speaks much.
Yoritomo does ask about her fighting ability and says he wishes to train with her at some point which pleases Shanao who’s trying hard to get along with her brother. That night, Shanao notices Yoritomo training at night by himself and tries to convince him to come back or let her train with him. He tells her to go away and so she does but falls asleep while watching him train. The next day, Yoritomo and Shanao head for Kamakura to lead their troops. Shanao decides to train with Yoritomo there who is unsurprisingly strong but he tells Shanao she didn’t do bad herself and can see she has potential to become stronger. He keeps telling her to eat more since she’s skinny and Shanao starts worrying about him finding out her gender. After this, Yoritomo has Shanao lead their next sneak attack against Heikei. In doing so, Shanao is to fight alongside Yoritomo. On the day of the attack, they ambush Heikei forces but are almost overpowered when Noritsune and Shigehira appear. Shanao sees that Noritsune is overpowering Yoritomo, so she ends up unleashing her power and defeating every foe in her way. Benkei and Shungen try to stop her, but Yoritomo tells them to let her go out it until the battle has been won. This makes them uneasy since they feel Shanao is completely out of control but after this they win the battle and just as Shanao almost loses all her strength, Yoritomo supports her and tells her she can stop now that they’ve won.
So after winning this battle, Shanao rests in her room to recover from the power she exerted. Shanao is feeling depressed about how she couldn’t control herself and worries she’ll lose control again. Yoritomo tells her he has no idea what sort of power she unleashed but he does know that it saved him and thanks her. She admits she was scared of the thought of him dying which pushed her over the edge. He again asks if she wants some sort of reward but she’s okay just training with him again. After this, Shanao trains with Tadanobu and Yoritomo appears after they all try and make a bet to get rewarded from Shanao. When Yoritomo asks to speak with Shanao, they all immediately think he’s annoyed when he just wanted to relay the current situation with Shanao. Yoritomo tries to ask Shanao if there’s something she wants that he can provide for her since she asked Takatsuna but she tells him no and that only Takatsuna can. She doesn’t explain why this is but he doesn’t pry any further. Shanao tells the others he wasn’t mad but was just relaying the situation to her. Shungen isn’t happy about Yoritomo’s attitude towards Shanao and believes he just wants to use her to win his battles after seeing her lose control of herself. Meanwhile, Shanao visits Yoritomo again to give her a charm she had Takatsuna make for her to give to Yoritomo, which is why she didn’t ask for his help. She also made a charm for herself and wants Yoritomo to wear the one she got for him so it can not only protect him, but also make them feel connected.
Yoritomo doesn’t object and allows her to put the charm around his neck. Some time later Shanao finds out from Yoritomo that their relative Yoshinaka is looking to reform Genji in his own way and has invaded Kyoto. Yoritomo asks Shanao to lead his army again so they can help the people being terrorized in Kyoto. In doing so, Shanao crosses the river after accidentally triggering her power again. Thankfully, she isn’t fully controlled by it and manages to regain her sanity and finds Yoshinaka. After defeating him she regains the peace in Kyo. Meanwhile, Yoritomo drags Shanao onto his horse in order to let her rest.
When Shanao wakes up, she feels bad for falling asleep but soon realizes that Yoritomo was looking out for her because he noticed she wasn’t getting enough sleep after her last battle. He talks more about how his father and brother died which makes him slightly more closed off. Suddenly he tells her that once she said he’s scared of him, but he in fact is scared of her but doesn’t explain what he means by that. The next day, Shanao is anxious about Yoritomo’s comment and soon learns that the imperial court wants Yoritomo to marry an aristocrat so he can have close ties with them. This starts to make Shanao feel lonely because she just started to get closer to her brother and the idea of him being taken away from her makes her uneasy. Shanao explains this to Tadanobu after asking if he’d feel lonely if his brother suddenly got married. Shanao figures she just needs to deal with it and stop acting childish. Yoritomo seems to overhear and asks to speak with her. He tells her she needs to act more like a general to her subordinates but she can’t help but treat her comrades as family. This annoys Yoritomo and he reminds her that she herself said that it was him who’s her one and only relative. That being said, Shanao tells him that soon he’ll have another family which makes her sad since she’s been able to get closer to him. She believes the love they share as family is something to cherish above all else. Unfortunately Yoritomo doesn’t take this well and curtly asks her to leave after she says this. Shanao eventually hears that her brother has decided to get married but comes to terms with it and goes to congratulate him. Unfortunately, she overhears Yoritomo say that Shanao is merely a tool for their victory. After hearing this, Yoritomo notices she overheard and tries to explain himself but she runs away. He chases after her and finds her in the woods where he expected she would be if she were to go somewhere to cry. He admits what he said but also tells her he believes it’s the same for himself and he too is a tool to win against Heikei no matter the cost. He thinks that for both of them because they share the same destiny. However, because they’ve become so close, Yoritomo has started to become more emotional than he ever has. Unfortunately, this is what Yoritomo wanted to avoid because ever since he was young he avoided becoming too close to people in order to become a mindless tool ready to throw his life away in order to win his battles. This is why he said he was afraid of Shanao, because she begin to make these feelings he locked away emerge from within himself. But If he loves someone again, then he can’t just throw his life away and he also doesn’t want to experience losing his family again. Shanao gets on her knees and apologizes to Yoritomo for the fact her relationship with her has been a hindrance but she intends to continue follow him in order to fulfill their destiny together. Suddenly, the two of them are interrupted when Shigehira appears.
Shigehira goes on about how she has the same power as Heikei and wants to take her with him to reveal her secrets. He also tries to mention how it’s suspected by Tomomori that she’s also a woman but Shanao immediately shuts down the conversation. She fights Shigehira while Yoritomo fights the other men but just when Yoritomo thinks he defeat them, one of them tries to poison him and so Shanao takes the hit instead to save him. Shigehira figures the poison will kill her, so he leaves. Yoritomo desperately tries to find the poison needle that struck her and finds out she’s actually a woman. He takes her back to the kuradama temple to be treated where he hears everything from the monk there. When Shanao wakes up, she realizes that Yoritomo found out about her true identity and decides to meet with him to speak about it. When she does, Yoritomo easily accepts her and admits that being a woman never stopped her from winning the battles she’s won so he doesn’t intend to push her away and wants her to continue to stay alongside him in battle. Meanwhile, Yoritomo wants to know why Shanao was raised as a man and decides to find Shanao’s mother. When he visits her personally, he finds out that Tokiwa Gozen, Shanao’s mother, was ordered to raise her as one by a Ike no Zeni. Apparently, she’s not her birth mother either and was told to switch her baby with a Heikei one that Ike no Zeni gave to her. This baby was Shanao and while originally a Heikei, she was raised as a Genji to eradicate the Kiyomori lineage. She tries to tell Yoritomo who his real younger brother is, but he tells her not to speak of it since he’s not interested and tells her that the conversation they had is to never be spoken about.
After this, Yoritomo runs into Shanao and pretty much spills his guts out about his painful past. He lives with the burden of killing his father and brothers so they wouldn’t be captured and die a dishonorable death. They believed Yoritomo could be the strong leader that would reform Genji. Yoritomo has pretty much felt all alone since then and considered himself to be weak. But Shanao reassures him by hugging him and telling him that he’s not alone nor is he weak. After this, they prepare for their final battle against Heikei with Yoritomo being more attentive to Shanao to make sure she’s either sleeping alone from the rest of the men or being aware of her surroundings. That day of the battle, Shanao notices the fight has already begun and unleashes her power again. She loses control of her mind so she rushes down a mountain on a horse and comes crashing into the battlefield. She encounters Shigehira who’s eager to bring her with him but since her power has taken over her sanity, she pretty much easily defeats him and runs off to continue to fight every enemy in her path. Yoritomo finally spots her as she charges in and defeats everyone in her path until she reaches Tomomori who’s happy to see her covered in blood and thinks she looks beautiful that way (this guy I stg lmao). She fights him until her energy runs out and eventually regains her sanity. Shanao has run out of stamina at this point after using most of her power so she can no longer fight back. Tomomori continues to try and convince her that she’s like him with her power and has her suck energy from him by pushing her mouth against the nape of his neck. He tries to do the same to her but Yoritomo intervenes and fights him instead. Tomomori taunts him about Shanao and how he can tell that Yoritomo is aware that she’s a woman and that she’s not really Genji — making her not really her brother but a man full of jealousy. This pisses off Yoritomo who angrily tries to defeat him but unfortunately he’s too strong. But before he can overpower Yoritomo, Shanao’s power activates again when she sees Yoritomo in trouble and she lunges at Tomomori again.
Tomomori then decides to escape again and leaves the battlefield before declaring that Shanao is a comrade of Heikei and one of them. After this, Shanao is super weak from the fight and when she wakes up, she finds a worried Yoritomo. She realizes that she’s probably not his brother or even human at this point. However, Yoritomo tells her that she saved him and how she’s very dear to him. He also wants her to take some of his energy so she’s no longer in pain. Shanao feels like doing that proves she isn’t human but Yoritomo tells her that even if she’s not his sister or a person, that doesn’t change the connection that they have.
Yoritomo then kisses Shanao in order to give her some of his energy and also tells Shanao that he already knew she wasn’t his sister after he spoke to her mother. He says she’s actually a child of Heikei which surprises Shanao. Eventually Yoritomo and Shanao but come to the realization that they’ve fallen in love and Yoritomo admits he was attracted to Shanao not as his sibling but as the person he came to know. Unfortunately after this, the morale of the Genji troops has lowered since they found out about Shanao’s power and want nothing to do with someone with such terrifying powers. When Shanao is told this by Yoritomo’s aide and decides to leave until she masters her power. Shanao realizes she wants to win the final battle for Yoritomo’s sake and eventually comes back to assist the night before the battle. Since she can now control her power, she’ll easily be able to jump from boat to boat as they fight on water. Yoritomo asks to speak with Shanao alone and realizes that she’s willing to sacrifice her own life to make sure Yoritomo wins this battle. Yoritomo tells her he doesn’t want her to throw her life away and has yearned for her since she left. He convinces Shanao to live for his sake so they can both win and survive this battle together. The next day, Shanao finally has her one-on-one fight with Tomomori and Yoritomo wishes for her safe return.
Shanao activates her power and fights Tomomori who claims she’s been the one he’s looking for all this time. Shanao admits she’s most likely related to him and tells Tomomori about what she heard regarding her birth from Yoritomo. Tomomori figures they could be siblings and tells her he wants to keep her for himself. Shanao refutes everything he says and continues to fight against him until she’s almost exhausted all her power. As the two of them strike again, they both stab each other. Fortunately, Tomomori was so absorbed in his fight with her, that he didn’t realize Yoritomo and Genji forces were planning a counterattack as soon as the tide changed. At first some of the soldiers are reluctant to fight for Shanao because of her terrifying power but Yoritomo manages to convince Genji to fight for Shanao after all the battles she helped win for them. has poisonous arrows shot at Tomomori which begins to make him weaker. He figures he and Shanao will die so he suggests the two of them end themselves together. Shanao refuses in disgust but also realizes she’s reaching her limit as well. Yoritomo finally makes it to the boat where Shanao and Tomomori are fighting and finishes off Tomomori who tries to get Shanao to die with her but ends up falling into the sea and dying himself.
In the epilogue, Shanao stays with Yoritomo to recover from her injuries and ends up telling everyone that she’s actually a woman. Thankfully, they all accept her but start calling her “princess” instead of “lord” lol. Yoritomo tells Shanao he still has the request to find a wife which makes Shanao uneasy. Fortunately for her, he wants her to be his wife and since they’re not actually siblings — they can create a family by being husband and wife. Yoritomo tells her he loves her and they share a kiss. In the despair love end, Shanao ends up getting severely injured by Tomomori before he throws himself into the sea. Shanao ends up losing her sight, her ability to speak, and she can barely move. Yoritomo still tries to take care of her but she straight up wants to just be dead at this point. 😭 In the 2nd bad end, Yoritomo dies and Shigehira brings a broken Shanao with him. In the 3rd bad end, Tomomori kills Shanao after she pretty much loses her conscious mind.
Thoughts: I’m always weary of “older brother” type routes so I always keep my expectations in check but this time around I was pleasantly surprised. This route ended up being my second favorite next to Tomomori’s. Yoritomo is definitely my type since he’s the very distant and closed off kuudere (much like Saito Hajime from Hakuouki). But I think Saitou is more on the “softer” side and a bit more awkward when it came to romance. That being said, he actually had reasons for it and I like that you slowly learn more about it as Shanao gets him to open up more. I pretty much expected him to not actually be blood related to Shanao but I’m glad they made Shanao’s yearning for him like longing for family. I guess if you’re weird about a brother / sister dynamic this route would probably be iffy to some but in the end they realized their connection wasn’t that and it isn’t romantic until Yoritomo finds out the truth about Shanao. The pacing in this route was really good though because it had a good balance of plot and romance. I also just found Yoritomo to be so damn hot when he got romantic. I can’t wait to do his route in the FD.
In the Takatsuna end, Shanao decides to help Takatsuna who often assists Yoritomo in order to get closer to the both of them. The two of them bond more as they visit Kamakura together and practice riding horses. In doing so, Shanao falls off her horse so Takatsuna worries she may have injured herself near her chest and almost touches her but she recoils. Takatsuna soon figures out himself that Shanao is a woman but promises he won’t tell anyone and it doesn’t change anything to him since he knows how much she’s helped them already. One day, Takatsuna notices Shanao is down due to the incident where she went out of control. He cheers her up and she thanks him for visiting her which makes him embarrassed. After this, the two of them visit the town to spend their free time leisurely. They run into Yoritomo’s aid who is suspicious of Shanao’s motives but Takatsuna defends Shanao. After he leaves, Takatsuna admits he wants to protect Shanao as a woman and gives her a quick peck on the cheek. He tells her obviously he’s gonna do something like that with the woman he likes (well that was quick).
Thoughts: To be honest, I don’t care too much about a romance with Takatsuna. I think he’s a good supporting character but, eh… I don’t really care to see what a romance with him would look like. He reminds me a lot of Leo from Piofiore so I kept getting those sort of genki supporting character vibes from him. He doesn’t serve a huge role in the story since you only see him with Yoritomo so I didn’t care too much about him overall. Well, I suppose when I play the FD, I’ll find out more about him.
Shungen (CV: Saitou Souma)
Shungen is the son of Yoshimoto’s servant and Shanao’s protective childhood friend. Because he grew up with Shanao, he knows she’s a woman. While his sword skill aren’t as good as Shanao, he’s a skilled military tactician.
After Shanaou and Shugen have the temple priest excommunicate them from Kurama temple, they make sure to let Heikei know this before they try to attack it. Shigehira finds this all boring so he decides to bring out Shanao’s mother, Tokiwa Gozen. She says she’s no longer involved with Genji but he claims she is due to Shanao watching her from a distance. Because of that, Shanao blames herself and tells him to let her go. Before Shigehira can do anything though, Shanao loses it and slashes him over and over until he collapses. Heikei troops grab Shigehira’s bloody body in horror and run away while Shanao tries to comfort her mother.Suddenly, Shanao’s mother yells at her not to touch her and then when Shungen tries to help she clings to him instead and apologizes for some reason. After that, Shanao and Shungen leave to go to the inn. Shungen tries to cheer up Shanao who has a lot on her mind and let’s her rest. The next day, Shungen suggests she abandons her role and lives a peaceful life. He asks her what sort of things she wants to do and she suggests seeing the sea. Shungen knows they’d have to go near Izu to do so but when he mentions that, Shanao thinks about her brother whom she never met that lives there. Eventually, Shungen figures there’s something on Shanao’s mind and so she finally admits she wants to see her brother. Shungen agrees to it so they head to Izu to meet Yoritomo. When they do meet him, he reminds Shanao that her destiny is with him or Genji. This makes Shanao start to change her mind about abandoning her role so she decides to head to Hiraizumi as planned. Unfortunately, Shungen doesn’t really think Yoritomo thinks much of Shanao while she’s the opposite and feels they share a bond with being siblings. After this, Shungen and Shanao make it to Hiraizumi and meet up with Benkei there. She soon meets Tsugunobu and Tadanobu and spends her time training with them daily. One day, Yasuhira who resides there advises that Shanao and Shungen lose their childhood friend status and create a master / servant one or he’ll never be as strong and prepared as he needs to be for war. After this, Shungen starts training hard by himself and reads a lot of military books so he can better prepare himself. Shanao doesn’t end up seeing Shungen for days so she decides to go hunting with the others for fun. When she does, she ends up getting lost and runs into Shungen who was out on his own. As they make their way back, he asks Shanao if she intends to stay in Hiraizumi. Finally, Shanao gives her answer and intends to fight against Heikei. After Shanao gets her new name as Yoshitsune, she finds Shungen and speaks with him. He tells her he doesn’t want things to change between them if he becomes her servant, but Shanao tells him he doesn’t need to change anything. Instead, she wants their relationship to stay the same and will kick anyone’s ass who says otherwise (lol). Shungen grabs Shanao’s hands and vows to stay as he is with her.
After this, Shanao goes to meet Yoritomo after a messenger sends for her to come prepare for the battle at Fuji river. Shanao brings Shungen who has good tactical skills along with her to discuss the attack plans with Yoritomo. So Shungen plans out an attack that ends up confusing Heikei troops. After they retreat, the battle of the Fuji river is won by Genji. Yoritomo clearly sees worth in Shungen and praises him for his strategy. Yoritomo is convinced to come back to Kyo and brings along both Shungen and Shanao. During this, Shungen gets insecure about his relationship with Shanao but she reassures him it’s the same as it’s been. Shanao decides to tease Shungen by tickling him and basically tumbles on top of him lol.
Meanwhile, Yoritomo wants to infiltrate Yoshinaka’s army to find out his plans since they’ve started to invade and loot Kyo. Yoritomo decides to take advantage of Shanao’s feminine looks and tells her to become a woman to infiltrate their army as a shirabyoushi (which was a female dancer / entertainer) while Shungen takes the role of the instrument player. After they confirm the plan, Shungen reminiscences when Shanao protected Shungen from almost getting hurt when he was trying to protect her. He felt weak in that moment, but Shanao reminded him that physical strength isn’t the only way to be strong and he’s always helped her because of how smart he is. When the two of them infiltrate where Yoshinaka is staying, they perform in front of him and his other soldiers. They overhear that Yoshinaka only cares about how strong and powerful he looks. He doesn’t care what happens to Kyo and lets his soldiers just do whatever they want. When Shanao overhears this, she speaks back to Yoshinaka who aggressively grabs her. Thankfully Shungen stops it from escalating any further and they soon finish their infiltration. Shanao didn’t realize how scared she was until Shungen pointed out and comforted her. She tells Shungen that she felt powerless as a woman and hugs him closely while thanking him for his help.
After this, Shungen makes a plan to trick Yoshinaka’s army so they can take them out. Shanao fights Yoshinaka at first but he soon runs away. Thankfully, Yoritomo manages to find Yoshinaka and kill him. Eventually, Yoritomo’s suspicions of Shanao’s identity begin to surface and when he’s alone with her, he confronts her about it. Shungen then appears and makes him leave, but he tells her that she needs to be more mindful of the men around her since she’s ultimately she’s a woman (didn’t really like the way he said it tbh, it was kind of condescending). Shanao apologizes for it but then Shungen admits he shouldn’t blame her and he’s just worried about how someone like Yoritomo would react to her being a woman. Especially with how easily he killed Yoshinaka who was related to him and a Genji.
Eventually, Yoritomo decides to pay a visit to Shanao’s mother, Tokiwa Gozen, to find out the truth once and for all. He also brings along Shungen and Shanao. Yoritomo already suspected that Shungen was related to his father due to his sword — which was not Shungen’s father’s sword but Yoritomo’s. Finally, she reveals that Shungen is the one she gave birth to, not Shanao. It was Ikeno Zeni, who was Kiyomori’s mother in law, that gave her Shanao. This basically means that Shungen was the real “Yoshitsune” all along. In addition, she reveals Shanao’s identity of being a woman to Yoritomo. After finding this out, Shanao loses sight of herself and ends up with a fever after collapsing due to pushing herself.
When she wakes up, Shungen is by her side and worried about her. Shanao felt like this would change Shungen’s attitude towards her but he tells her that she’s still her. Shungen hugs Shanao close and tells her that no matter what her true identity is, she’s still here. Shungen is actually relieved because it means that Shanao was never bound to the duty of serving Genji. Unfortunately, he feels guilty because it was supposed his role and apologizes for that fact. Regardless, he wants to continue to be with Shanao and tells her that before she goes back to sleep. While she’s sleeping, he admits to himself that he has growing romantic feelings for her.
Regardless, Shanao eventually asks Yoritomo to allow her to continue to fight for Genji. Yoritomo decides to make Shungen lead the troops to see if he’s capable of being a leader. In doing so, Shungen comes up with a plan for a sneak attack by going down a cliff into the battlefield. The rest of the Genji troops are skeptical but he takes the initiative and increases the morale of everyone. Thanks to this, Genji is successful in their attack and Shanao believes it’s time to tell everyone the truth. So, Yoritomo reveals to everyone else that the real “Yoshitsune” is not Shanao but Shungen. Everyone is surprised to hear this but they easily accept that Shungen is a great leader after seeing him in battle. Even so, Shanao is still happily accepted and she states that she’ll continue to fight for Genji.
That night, Shanao speaks with Shungen privately and tells him she can see that Yoritomo clearly trusts him. She believes their bond is very important so she wouldn’t be surprised if he focuses more on that now. However, while Shungen believes it’s true, he also told her that he intends to continue stay with her. He knows that blood connection was important to her, so finding out Yoritomo wasn’t her brother must of been hard for her. For that reason, he wants her to become his family. He doesn’t see her as a sibling but instead a woman that he doesn’t want to hand over to anyone. He wants to have an unwavering, deep bond with her and hopes she feels the same way. Shanao tells her he’s happy to hear his feelings and agrees to his request to live peacefully with him after the battle with Heikei is over.
When Shanao, Shungen, and Yoritomo report back to the cloistered emperor, he figures out that Shanao is a woman after Yoritomo reveals Shungen is the actual Yoshitsune. He doesn’t take any action though and Shanao feels more relieved that it’s out in the open now. Meanwhile, Shungen is eagerly hoping to get this war over with so he can be together with Shanao. He continuously embarrasses her by being upfront about his feelings of love for her. Eventually, Shungen and Shanao visit the emperor again and he offers Shungen a position of general. Shungen refuses and then he requests Shanao marry into the imperial court and believes she would be a good way of strengthening it given her assets. Shanao and Shungen are shocked by this proposal and Shanao tries to refuse but he threatens to reveal that a woman like herself was raised in a Buddhist temple. Since women aren’t allowed there, this would be bad for the Kurama temple. He tells her to think on it and so Shungen reassures her and tells her they should focus on fighting Heikei first and foremost. They also don’t tell Yoritomo because Shungen has a hard time believing he won’t just kill anyone that is a hindrance to his goal — including his relatives. Even so, a few days later Shanao is taken in by the imperial court by the order of the emperor. Shungen tries to stop it, but Shanao reassures him she’ll be fine. Unfortunately, when she’s brought there she’s locked in the manor until further notice.
Meanwhile, frantically tries to meet with the emperor and plays the flute near the manor where Shanao is so she knows he’s there looking for her. Finally, Shungen meets with the emperor asking for him to allow Shanao to participate in battle again. But the emperor has other things in mind and notices that Shungen clearly has feelings for Shanao. He then offers him a marriage between him and Shanao via the emperial court so he’ll be tied to it. Ultimately, he wants to divide Genji into two so there will be two sides competing for the position of reforming Genji. Those two sides would be the imperial court with Shanao and Shungen against Yoritomo. But Shungen isn’t hesitant when it comes to needing to kill Yoritomo and agrees to marrying Shanao.
Shungen suddenly barges into the room where Shanao is and sees she’s dressed in a kimono instead of her normal battle attire. He gets weirdly possessive about it and says he doesn’t want any other man to see her like that except for him. He throws himself on top of her and kisses her neck. After he tells her he intends to become her husband, she’s shocked that he would be willing to agree to the emperor’s request. She also knows this could mean they’re pitted against Yoritomo but he clearly doesn’t care and intends to protect her. Shanao eventually just goes along with it but tells him she’ll be fighting alongside him even if it means fighting Yoritomo (can’t say I was a fan of how possessive and weird Shungen acted 😐).
After this, Shungen and Shanao go back to he battlefield to prepare for the final battle with Heikei. They’ve already come to terms with the fact they’ll probably have to face Yoritomo as well. On the day of the battle, Shanao and Shungen fight at sea and manage to make their way to the boat that has the treasure they intend to give to the emperor. After Heikei is defeated, Yoritomo arrives just in time to steal the treasure from Shanao and Shungen so they don’t get in the way of their command. They fight Yoritomo until he overpowers them and slashes them both. Shanao and Shungen then both fall into the sea.
In the epilogue, it’s revealed that Shanao and Shungen both planned with Yoritomo to have their deaths faked. This was so they could free themselves from Genji and Yoritomo could reform it as the sole leader. Yoritomo went along with it and while he gave them injuries, he made sure they weren’t severe. Now Shungen and Shanao live peaceful lives together without the burden of Genji or needing to fight. The two of them did everything they wanted to do the past few months so they plan to go travel together. In the bad end, Shanao ends up getting killed by arrows and falls into the sea along with Shungen who was attacked by Yoritomo. Shungen goes in yandere mode again and decides he’ll take revenge on Genji since it’s supposedly they’re fault Shanao is dead. In the 2nd bad end, Shungen dies after his wound isn’t treated while being held in a prison after Shanao is taken away. Shanao ends up killing herself after finding out (literally such a dumb bad end…).
Thoughts: Man I’m so disappointed by how this route panned out cause I really thought Shungen had potential to be a great character. But he honestly ended up being my least favorite character. Shungen just struck me as too possessive and condescending when it came to Shanao. This is an annoying common trait I find in the childhood friend trope in which they act like they “own” the heroine which I find so unappealing. Not only that but this route had the least amount of action and the one route where Shanao kind of took more of a backseat in the plot — which I wasn’t a fan of. I think overall the route itself was just kind of boring to put it bluntly. The biggest plot twist was that Shungen is the real Yoshitsune which I guess, yeah… that’s interesting but why does Shungen have to be so controlling when it comes to Shanao. Like, maybe it has to do with him already knowing Shanao is a woman, but it almost feels like he lacks respect for her as a warrior because he’s constantly telling her she shouldn’t fight rather than make her own decision. Yeah, idk, I have a hard time liking childhood friends because I don’t see the build up of the relationship between them so its always hard for me to feel how close their bond is.
In Tsugunobu’s end, Tsugunobu finds out Shanao is a woman and promises to keep it a secret. Meanwhile, the two of them watch the moon because it helps ease their anxieties a bit. Tsugunobu suggests they continue to watch the moon together which makes him happy. Shanao points out how he’s smiling like a happy child which embarrasses him and he teases her by saying she looks cute all the time lol. So they continue to watch the moon each night until the next fight. During this, Tsugunobu protects Shanao in battle when she’s about to get hurt. He ends up getting hurt in the process but is okay enough to help win the battle. After that, Shanao helps him recover and he says he sees her as a woman and is glad he protected her. He tells her the scar he got is proof of that and kisses her hand.
Thoughts: Tsubunobu is definitely that flirty gentleman type but not over the top which I like. This end honestly just shows how cute he would act if he’s aware Shanao is a woman. To compare him to someone, he’s kind of like Harada from Hakuouki (funnily enough I compared his brother to Shinpachi). I’m definitely looking forward to playing his route in the FD.
Taira no Tomomori (CV: Jun Fukuyama)
Tomomori is the 4th son of the Taira family. Despite having a gentle demeanor and refined speech, he’s a skilled warrior and intelligent commander. He seems emotionally detached and uninterested in the fate of his family. He tends to only focus on things that piques his interest.
As Shanao makes her way to Biwa lake, she’s ambushed by Tomomori who she clashes swords with. She realizes just how strong she is and since she doesn’t have time to deal with him, she tries to chase him off. Tomomori just has fun with this and eventually has her cornered. He tells her he knows she’s been trying to escape her fate and doesn’t think it’s a bad idea to try to do so.
But he suggests that she tries entrusting her fate with him and suddenly kisses her after grabbing her waist. Shanao is literally just speechless at this point from the kiss and the fact he clearly knows she’s a woman. He tries to coax her into throwing everything away and becoming his wife. Finally, Shanao comes to her senses and tells him she refuses. She activates her power and lunges towards him. Tomomori finds this even more entertaining but unfortunately for him, Shanao manages to escape him by using her power to jump all the way to the boat where Shungen and Benkei are waiting. They make their escape as Shanao collapses due to using up so much power.
Also, apparently Tomomori and Shigehira are able to connect with each other in a telepathic way via dreams. Tomomori uses this power to talk to Shanao while she’s dreaming once when she arrives in Hiraizumi. She doesn’t know who’s talking to her through and eventually just wakes up. Shanao decides to train with Tsugunobu after this but after Tadanobu brings up romance she gets flustered thinking about Tomomori kissing her and leaves to go rest. In her dream, she sees Tomomori again but realizes it’s a dream. But Tomomori acts as if it’s actually happening and tells if she thinks its a dream it should be fine if he catches her. He offers to bring her a coral hair accessory after he brings her close. He tries to kiss her but then says he’ll stop for now until he sees her again.
After this, a Heikei general is told to make an attack. However, when they catch the one in charge, he says he was told to do it by Tomomori but with the intention of getting caught. This was so he could give away a box that had a coral hair accessory — just like the one Tomomori mentioned giving Shanao in her dream. This is how Shanao immediately knew it was Tomomori who gave the order. Regardless, they believe it to be a warning sent to Hiraizumi since they know Shanao is currently residing there. Shanao meets Tomomori again through her dream and he tells her how he wants to see her covered in scars and if she cries, he wants it to be in in his arms (you can’t make this shit up!!). Apparently seeing Shanao’s tears reminded him of the moonlight and he thinks it’s beautiful. When Shanao hears that Yoritomo is raising troops for battle, she decides it’s time to stop running away from her destiny and to join the battle. Meanwhile, Tomomori decides he’ll join the battle which is rare for him apparently so Shigehira and his father can clearly tell something has gained his interest. Finally when Shanao arrives at the Fuji river, they plan a surprise attack but are tricked by Heikei after they use their own men to use as bait. Because of this, Heikei has their own ambush which throws the Genji troops off guard. Shigehira also appears and fight Shanao but she overpowers him. Unfortunately, Tomomori soon joins the battle and makes Shanao his opponent instead. Tomomori tells her that he prepared everything for her so he could see her covered in blood and death. In order to ensure that, he has all of her allies overpowered by his men. Shanao feels the pressure of her comrades losing in battle and thus it triggers her power. She mindlessly slaughters the Heikei troops in her path until she’s exhausted from using so much power and collapses. Tomomori then kidnaps Shanao; which was his goal all along. When she wakes up, she can barely move and Tomomori takes her to an abandoned house. He touches her and nips at her body but while he thinks she would start crying or be more emotional, she angrily tells him she’d rather die than become his.
Tomomori is surprised but also entertained by how fiesty she is and compares her to a cat. He apologizes since more importantly she should be giving direct contact to him. He then brings her face close to his bare chest so she can absorb his power. He tells her to place her hand near where his heart is and when she does, she sucks in more power. He tells her since the nape of the neck and heart circulate a lot of blood, that’s where the source of the most energy is. In doing so, Shanao can’t help but absorb more power and sucks it out from the nape of Tomomori’s neck (got make it look 🥵🥵🥵). Shanao is confused but Tomomori tells her it’s related to her power. He ponders why she has “the same power as us” and she wonders what he means by that. Unfortunately, he himself doesn’t know but requests that she finds out with him. Shanao immediately refuses at first and tries to stand up but is too weak and is caught by Tomomori who basically says “told you so” 🥴. He then tells her that if she wants to eventually leave when she can, he won’t stop her. However, he wants to make sure that she considers the possibility of what her power could make her do, like accidentally harming her friends. He asks if she’s really willing to leave without knowing anything about her power. He also confirms that if you suck out too much power, that person will die. He believes he’s one of the only people who can help her understand it. In the end, Shanao complies to his request. The next morning Shanao wakes up to Tomomori hugging her close. As she quickly jumps away, he starts teasing her about how cute she is when she sleeps. Eventually, he comes to the conclusion Shanao needs to disguise herself so he suggests she pretend to be his wife. She refuses but decides she’ll at least dress up as a woman. On their way to Kyo, Tomomori tells Shanao that when he saw her cry he thought it was beautiful how her tears reflected the moonlight. He then tries to ask her who she was crying for, but she doesn’t tell him it was related to her mother. She continuously tells him he won’t make her cry so he decides to challenge her and see if she’ll cry at least once on their journey.
After this Tomomori and Shanao stay at an inn for the night. Shanao purposely avoids being close to Tomomori and he teasingly asks her to at least come closer to pour him a drink. He’s shocked when she actually does it and she admits she owes him some gratitude for helping her during their last battle. Tomomori is shocked at first but also extremely amused by how foolishly disciplined she is. She gets pissed at him again (LOL) and then he tells her he realizes he’s never actually seen her smiling face and she’s been non-stop angry around him. She of course responds by saying it’s because he makes her angry 😂. He realizes that now he wants to see her both laugh and cry. Shanao immediately sighs at this response. As they prepare to go to bed, Tomomori immediately motions for Shanao to come sleep in his arms. Shanao gives him a big fat no to that idea but he admits it’s in order to synchronize his mind with hers so he can give her more energy with the power they both share. When she slightly worries about his wellbeing in this case, he tells her not to worry about him. He believes she should be more concerned about herself because when she goes out of control like that, it’s mostly herself she’s harming. She still refuses regardless but he asks if he can at least hold hands with her instead. Not just because he wants to touch her but also because he needs to be in contact with part of her body in order to synchronize his power with hers. Shanao reluctantly accepts and so they hold hands. He reassures her to sleep and so she does. The next day, Tomomori asks Shanao why she’s trying to hard to survive and she tells him it’s because he told her to entrust herself to her destiny. This is why she’s trying to find out who she is rather than run away from herself. Tomomori finds this amusing but also realizes she’s the opposite of himself. Seeing her so determined to live has changed the way he sees things as well. At first, he was fascinated by her tears and wanted to see her struggle as she fought. Now, rather than see her upset and angry, he wants to see her smile. After a while they make it near the bay but no boats are available to use so they set up camp for the night. Tomomori then decides to tell Shanao a scary story of a man being eaten by a demon disguised as a woman. Tomomori expected a scared reaction out of Shanao to the point where she may cry, but she only ends up finding it hilarious that he thought this story would scare her. She tells him she didn’t even find it scary let alone enough to cry over it lol. Tomomori is surprised since both Noritsune and Shigehira found it scary which makes Shanao laugh even harder. Tomomori then brings her closer so he can see her smile that he wished to see. Shanao gets embarrassed and tells him to let go of her. He tells her ever since he met her he’s been fascinated by her, but she keeps surprising him with the unpredictable and that’s what makes her a mysterious existence to him. The next day, Shanao and Tomomori make their way to Kyo and hear that Tomomori’s father Kiyomori has fallen ill. Rather than be worried about his father, Tomomori is more concerned about not being able to talk to him about their power. He basically says no man is immortal and we’re all going to die eventually anyway. They finally make their way to Kyo and Tomomori brings Shanao with her to visit his sick father. He’s not completely lucid though and when he sees Shanao, he starts calling her by the name “Rengetsu” and how she’s finally come back. Tomomori is just as confused as Shanao but eventually his sister Tokuto appears just before his father passes. After she flips out and faints, Shanao runs out of the room. Kiyomori’s reaction towards Shanao clearly insinuates that Shanao isn’t actually a Genji but a Heikei. Shanao doesn’t want to believe this and tries to leave but Tomomori grabs her and tells her he doesn’t want to let her go. He’s afraid she might get hurt if she fights Heikei without facing her feelings first. Unfortunately, she refuses and says she’ll never be Heikei before running away. Shanao runs back to where Yoritomo and the rest of her friends are. She apologizes to Yoritomo after lying that she was captured until now. Meanwhile, Tomomori tries to find out more about his power by confronting his uncle and asking about his father’s mother.
Eventually Yoritomo commands Shanao to kill Yoshinaka who is currently raiding Kyo. Shanao decides to accept the task and as she’s crossing the river to make her way to Yoshinaka, her power almost activates. However, she thinks of Tomomori help calm her by holding her hand. This helps her calm down and activate her power without losing her conscious mind. She manages to make her way where Yoshinaka is and tries to convince him to surrender so he won’t be killed. Unfortunately, he doesn’t listen and Shanao manages to defeat him easily. In the end it doesn’t matter though because he’s executed the next day.
Yoritomo tells Shanao to prepare for the next battle which has Shanao anxious because not only is she scared about using her power, she doesn’t want to fight Tomomori. On the day of the battle with Heikei, Shanao runs down the cliff to the fight when the strategy doesn’t go as planned. She encounters Shigehira there and fights him until her power is released. Shigehira realizes why his brother was so interested in her since she has the same power as them. He then activates his power but Shanao eventually loses control of her power and goes on a rampage. After defeating Shigehira, she immediately heads towards where Tomomori is. Tomomori realizes that she’s completely lost control and while before this is what he would’ve wanted, he doesn’t want to see her in pain like this anymore. He decides to try and stop her by calling out to her but it doesn’t work. At this point, he decides to try and touch her so he can use his power to calm her. Unfortunately, she gets in a lot of hits and severely injures him. He’s stabbed in the stomach and eventually falls to the ground while calling out to her. Shanao’s power soon runs out and she regains consciousness and sees what she’s done. She feels absolutely terrible but Yoritomo congratulates her for a job well done. As soon as tears fall from Shanao’s face, Tomomori gets up and yells out how he doesn’t want to see her cry like this.
Tomomori activates his own power and demands Yoritomo returns Shanao to him. He tells Shanao to grab his hand and so she does and he takes her to where the boats are. He demands Noritsune let her on and falls unconscious on the boat due to his injuries. When Shanao wakes up, Tomomori is with her in agonizing pain. He gave her some of his power so she tries to help do the same. But he refuses and tells her he can’t let her no matter what. Unfortunately, he falls unconscious and so Shanao helps him anyway. She ends up falling asleep and dreams of meeting Tomomori as a young child who hurt people close to him. Shanao starts crying and Tomomori tells her that her tears look beautiful, like the moonlight.
When Shanao wakes up, Tomomori is first upset that Shanao used her power to help him. However he apologizes and tells her about how when he was young he was made to go on the battlefield. He went berserk and ended up killing one of his own servants that was close to him. Ever since then he changed as a person but meeting her has made his heart waver and he’s done things he’s never done before. Much to Tomomori’s surprise, Shanao suddenly hugs him. He returns the hug and tells her he’s become conflicted now because rather than just be fine with dying, he hates the thought of her being with another man if he did. She then apologizes and tells him that she killed his brother, Shigehira. Tomomori just repeats what he said before about dying and that in the battlefield you either kill or be killed. Tomomori tells her that just a while ago he would’ve wanted her to be the one to end him and end his suffering. Shanao continues to worry about him but he just teases her and tells her he just didn’t want her crying in the arms of another man. However, she reassures him that she’s the same as him and won’t die so easily. She finds it strange to admit she’s basically not human and feel like she can accept it. But Tomomori immediately points out that she’s crying and while he thinks it’s beautiful, he finds it painful to see. He realizes that she’s coming to terms that she’s not human. He softly tells her not to cry and that he’ll never let her be alone.
[This CG made my panties hit the wall]
Shanao again asks Tomomori to let her help him and reiterates how he said he wouldn’t allow her to be alone. This causes Tomomori to become more infatuated with her and he admits that he can’t and doesn’t want to leave her alone. He wants to be the only man to be able to touch her like he is (after calling her his 姫君 like omg just take me now bitch). Finally, they have a pretty hot make out session (and whether it led to mattress mumbo or not stays a mystery lmao 🥵). After that, Tomomori still shows a lingering desire to die along with Shanao. However, she tells him she doesn’t want to die and still hasn’t even figured out how to live. This willingness to live is something that Tomomori regrettably can’t understand because he feels he’s seen everything there is to he seen. To him, the only reason for him to live is Shanao.Shanao believes Tomomori is also avoiding his destiny in saying this but he counteracts that argument by saying he’s also just fine with letting things run it’s course. However, Shanao says that if he’s seen everything there is to be seen then he should at least continue to watch her forever. Tomomori finally admits that living wouldn’t be so bad as along as it’s with her. Eventually, the discussion changes to what Tomomori found out about his power. Apparently his father’s mother, who was married to his grandfather Tadamori, wasn’t human. She used god-like powers and bestowed it upon Tomomori’s father. Before Tomomori can continue, they’re interrupted by his sister Tokuto. She starts referring to herself as if she’s not Tokuto and says she learned how to do everything because of “her” — Tokuto — and refers to herself as Rengetsu. Rengetsu is the name that Tomomori’s father Kiyomori called Shanao just before he died. Apparently he was referring to his sister because she shares the same parents as Kiyomori. Tokuto says that her brother was the only one who treated her well and protected her from her father who would keep her confined. Apparently she couldn’t completely remember everything until Shanao came along and wants her to help fulfill her brother’s wishes. She wants to rid both Heikei and Genji in order to raise her child to be the sole ruler in order to keep her bloodline. Tokuto then urges for Shanao to come with her to meet her mother but Tomomori tries to stop her. Unfortunately, Tokuto easily uses her power to blow him away. Tokuto picks up Tomomori with one hand and tells him that she’d rather not harm her brother’s son since that makes him a blood relative of hers, but she won’t allow him to get in her way. Shanao tries to stop her to help but ends up getting overpowered and falls unconscious. Tokuto then decides to take Shanao with her and says she’s her mother. Meanwhile, Tokuto throws Tomomori off the cliff and into the water. When Shanao wakes up, she’s on a boat with Tokuto heading to Hikoshima. Shanao is simply confused and wondering about Tomomori. With Shanao being uncooperative, Tokuto decides to drain Shanao’s power so she falls unconscious.
Tomomori eventually wakes up near the shore and makes his way to where Yoritomo is. He tells him he’s surrendering so he’s no longer Heikei. However, he explains that at this rate both Heikei and Genji will be destroyed and Shanao is in danger. Yoritomo asks for his uncle who escape to the Genji side to explain what he told him about his father being the child of a human and something non-human. He also explains the extent of his power and how Rengetsu is the source looking to fulfill his brother’s wish. After explaining that Shanao is in danger now that she’s been kidnapped by Rengetsu, Yoritomo decides to go along with this and brings Tomomori with him. Meanwhile, Shanao wakes up in a prison with Rengetsu greeting her. She explains that Ike no Zeni killed her and robbed Shanao from her. Shanao is confused so Rengetsu puts her to sleep to show her what happened in a dream. Rengetsu had run away after Kiyomori went to war. She was apparently pregnant with a child who was Shanao. When Ike no Zeni found this out, she had her chased and killed. Her consciousness then lived on in the dreams that Tomomori, Shigehira, and their sister Tokuto had until she took control of Tokuto’s body when she was young. Rengetsu absorbed Tokuto’s mind and intelligence which is how she was able to speak normally unlike before. Ultimately, this means that Rengetsu is Shanao’s birth mother (I guess this also means that Tomomori and her are cousins because she’s Tomomori’s father’s sister 🤔). So now Rengetsu wants revenge on humans and to keep her brother’s bloodline in check. Shanao refuses to take this path as her destiny and so Rengetsu just angrily sucks out her power again. Finally, it’s the day where the battle between Genji and Heikei arrives. Rengetsu keeps Shanao on the boat with her and sucks out the power of all the Heikei soldiers on board. Tomomori already figures Shanao is on this boat and promises he’ll come rescue her. Meanwhile, Rengetsu is blowing up other Heikei boats. Shanao finally gets up and witnesses Rengetsu who’s now taken on a monster-like form. She tries to convince Shanao to join her as her daughter and hugs her. Shanao hugs her back and says that she’s always wanted to hug her mother like this, but doesn’t agree with her methods. Shanao decides to suck out her power as she hugs her and tells Rengetsu that she feels sorry for her but this isn’t how a mother should act. Shanao almost loses control again but stops herself after she thinks of Tomomori. Coincidentally, Tomomori yells out her name and makes it to her boat. She’s happy to see he’s alive and he tells her that he intends to live and not give up doing so.
Shanao tells Tomomori she sucked out some of Rengetsu’s power, but Tomomori warns her not to since who knows what’ll happen if she does because Rengetsu ate her own mother when she was born. Tomomori says he’ll do it instead and if he ends up losing control, he wants her to kill him. However, Shanao refuses and won’t allow him fight her alone either. The two of them pin Rengetsu down and suck out her power. They think they’ve defeated her, but it turns out she’s still alive and angrily yells out how she won’t forgive them. Thankfully, her son Mikado appears out from the boat and starts crying for his mother. This awakens Tokuto who asks for Tomomori to kill her. Tomomori does so and Tokuto thanks him before falling into the sea.
In the epilogue, Shanao and Tomomori are now married. Because of this marriage of peace, the Heikei and Genji families are now connected and are looking to establish a healthy relationship between each other. Shanao is pissed at Tomomori because he didn’t keep his promise of letting her go visit Genji and the rest of her friends. Tomomori of course teases her to make up for it but he tells her he won’t keep her cooped up inside. At night, he takes her near the mountains where he used to go. He admits he doesn’t want the other guys from Genji to be around her cause he’d be jealous now that they know she’s a woman. Regardless, the two of them vow to live together and Tomomori says he’ll only look at her from now like she asked.
In the bad end, Shanao ends up losing control like before and slaughters everyone around her, including Rangetsu. Shanao realizes she doesn’t want to live like a monster so she kills herself as Tomomori begs her not to. This makes Tomomori lose his shit and slaughters everyone on the boat. Shungen tries to stop him but he then takes Shanao’s lifeless body with him and commits suicide by falling into the sea. In the 2nd bad end, Shanao gives in to Tomomori’s temptation and decides to go with him even though she doesn’t want to. He ends up keeping her locked up and she just becomes a broken version of herself. In the 3rd bad end, Shanao accidentally kills Tomomori when she’s rampaging and in turn, she kills herself so she can join him.
Thoughts: Tomomori is something else I gotta tell ya. I wish there were more characters like him because he has this unique antagonist relationship with the heroine and its not something you commonly see in Otomate games. Especially since Shanao would continously fight him one-on-one in various routes — including his own. I like how Shanao doesn’t hesitate to fight back when it come to Tomomori and he even compared her to a cat because she continously lashed out at him when she traveled with him LOL. He kind of reminds me of Kazama from Hakuouki (if you up the horny factor x100). The reason I say this is because like Kazama, he continuously tries to convince Shanao she’s “one of them”. BUT, personality wise he’s a lot different and you can see he genuinely cares for Shanao. I expected him to be more cruel in his own route, but he was actually very sweet a lot of the time?? It’s also interesting to see how much he was suffering since he was young which explains his constant desire to die. Definitely my favorite route and be sure to save this one for last!! I don’t think these routes are locked but Tomomori’s route was clearly meant to be played last because it reveals a lot of important plot details. Lastly, this route pretty much confirmed that Tomomori, Shigehira, and Noritsune are all cousins of Shanao’s. I won’t lie, I’m kind of weird about any sort of relatives being a couple but it doesn’t hinder the story in anyway and its just something that becomes known pretty close to the end of the game (its related to a big plot reveal so no one even knows about it as any of the routes progress). I think I read that Nightshade also has a cousin you can romance? Well, it’s all fictional anyway and in this time period it’s not that surprising; but just a fair warning if you don’t like that sort of thing.
In Shigehira’s end, when Shigehira finds out Shanao is staying in Hiraizumi, he doesn’t trust them and thinks they’re plotting a rebellion against Heikei. In order to trust them, he asks them to let him see for himself. Reluctantly they agree and Shigehira asks Shanao to drink sake with him. He tells Shanao the main reason he came to visit is because he wanted to know why his brother was so interested in her. After this, Shigehira decides to follow Shanao when she visits the town. They end up playing with some kids and Shigehira gets pissed when he loses cause he’s a sore loser. After that, Shigehira asks Shanao to stay with him in his room because the wind reminds him of a ghost story that Tomomori told him. Shanao realizes he’s scared so she teases him which makes him mad and he kicks her out lol. One day, Shigehira gets sick and Shanao takes care of him. As Shanao is tending to him, he ends up devouring some of her energy. In doing so, he realizes she’s a woman because their energy tastes different and confronts her. Having her take care of him by her own will without his command takes him by surprise. He ends up hugging her and says he doesn’t want his brother to take her away from him. But he would like to have her not by force like his brother, but if she so chooses to.
Thoughts: Shigehira is surprisingly a gentleman when he finds out Shanao is a woman ??? lol. He legit says he doesn’t wanna be like his brother and take her by force LOL. But he clearly respects the hell out of Tomomori. He’s cruel in his own way at times, but he seems to be more mature than he lets on. I’m definitely looking forward to his route in the FD since he’ll clearly have a similar dynamic to Tomomori and Shanao. But I hope he chills out a bit because he was insane in Benkei’s route LOL.
I bought this game over a year ago now and didn’t finish it until recently but I’m really glad I finally did! I’m actually not a big fan of historical otome games (because I find history dry but there’ a lot of kanji I don’t know) so I tend to stray away from them. I decided to make an exception with this one since I had learned about the Genpei war and the fact that the main character was a female Yoshitsune seemed really interesting to me. Well, I wasn’t disappointed because there’s a lot of great aspects to this game when it come to the plot, characters, and the setting. Believe it or not, this game doesn’t focus on the war aspect as much as Hakuouki does, so you can expect more action and character development. I was relieved about that because I have a hard time keeping up with historical terms and names. One of the biggest pros of this game is that you have a very strong heroine who knows how to fight in the brute force sense but also can be tactical. This is what makes the dynamic with everyone so interesting because no one looks down on Shanao, they respect her immensely, even when they find out she’s a woman. I’m honestly shocked this game is getting a FD but I’m super excited to play it now. I think it’s well deserved because there’s a lot of good things to say about this game. The recommended route order is: Noritsune > Benkei > Shungen > Yoritomo > Tomomori. I ended up doing Yoritomo before Shungen but considering what you find out in Shungen’s route, I feel like it makes sense to do his first because you don’t go into Yoritomo’s route thinking they’re related. Anyways, this was honestly so refreshing after playing Shuuen no Virche where the heroine feels so out of place in the plot and constantly puts herself down.
Story – The story takes place after the Heiji rebellion and focuses on the protagnist Shanao — who is Yoshitsune. But Shanao keeps it a secret that she isn’t actually a man but a girl who was raised as a boy to become a samurai that fights for Genji. Ultimately she struggles with coming to terms with her destiny since all she wants is to live a peaceful life. While the focus of the story is between the battle between Heikei and Genji families, there is a lot to uncover about Shanao and her past as the story pieces itself together in each route. There is a well-written plot and the pacing of the story keeps the player invested rather than drag on and have you lose interest. Unfortunately, if you’re one who loves accuracy and details of a historical game, this definitely leans on borderline historical fantasy and not everything is historically correct.
Characters – The best aspect of this game would definitely be it’s characters. Everyone, including Shanao, has redeemable qualities that make them an interesting addition to the cast. Most of the main love interests don’t feel like they’re tropes of archetypes because they’re written in a way that they feel genuine. You can actually feel a connection with Shanao and the characters because of how much everyone respects her as a person and as a warrior. Shanao doesn’t take a backseat as the heroine of the game and she feels like a fully fleshed out character that knows how to handle her own. Lastly, there’s the sub characters who all have their own unique, individual personalities (in addition to a chunk of them having separate what if romance “endings”). What makes them a great addition to the game is that they don’t feel shoehorned into the plot and mesh well into the story. Because Shanao has similar traits to a lot of the characters in terms of her fighting ability, she has interesting dynamics with all of the characters.
Visuals – The style of this game is different from what you’d typically see in an Otomate game, but it suited it well. The artist for this game is apparently an animation director for a lot of different anime (including the Persona 5 anime) which makes sense since their style isn’t highly detailed like most otome artists are. That being said, I honestly really like the artstyle and it stands out from most games I’ve seen. I honestly liked all of the CGs and I think the style was consistent for the most part. There was a good balance between action CGs and romance ones so I didn’t have any complaints there. The design for the UI in general was pretty standard for a historical game.
System – Nothing really stood out in particular — just your average otome game system with the expectation of slow skip text reading. Thankfully, this is one of those game that have the skip to next choice option. I highly recommend using it because the skip is way too slow to even bother trying to skip through it. Also, I wasn’t a fan of the flowchart as it felt like it was very confusing because of how hard it was to navigate it. I did like the layout of the GUI and it was pretty easy to navigate the CGs and movies.
Music – So, apparently the voice of Takatsuna is Amatsuki who is a well-known utaite — albeit, I hadn’t heard of them before to be honest. He sings the opening and ending songs which are both really good honestly. I mostly really like the ending song though which you can listen to here. The general background music was fitting to the game though. There were a lot of tracks that I enjoyed in the actual game.
Final Thoughts: I highly recommend this game to anyone looking for an otome game with a well-written plot and interesting set of characters. I was a bit skeptical at first because it’s a historical game, but while it does have focus on that, it manages to balance it in a way where the routes don’t feel boring or dry. That being said, I’ll admit that not every single route was without its flaws and after you do a certain amount of routes you can feel it start getting a bit repetitive at times. This is because there’s a set structure for the story so you’ll start to notice a pattern in each route when it comes to how the battles pan out. Still, I think its easy to overlook because each route has enough changes to them. And while not every character may not be your cup of tea, it’s pretty easy to find a character to like in this game (even if its a sub character).
As for the level of romance, it’s a bit on the lower side, but you can expect more than say Cafe Enchante for example. Some routes are more romantic than others, but I think the route that I felt was one of the most romantic was either Tomomori (maybe because he got the most kiss CGs?) or Shungen because he’s the childhood friend who already knew Shanao’s gender. However, when it came to which character made me smile the most, I think it was probably Noritsune? He had such a beautiful dynamic with Shanao and I think most people would agree his route is very sweet. But I honestly think Yoritomo had the best balance and development when it came to his relationship with Shanao. As for Benkei and Shungen, they left a bit more to be desired in my opinion but Shungen was personally my least favorite route.
Anyway, this game is releasing in English this year so be sure to pre-order it when you can. It’ll be published by Idea Factory and released Summer 2022 (mostly likely September it seems). This game is also getting a FD that releasing in March in Japan — which is honestly surprising because that means Birushana is literally the only exclusive switch game to get a FD. I was shocked that no other game had gotten a FD yet, but I can’t say I’m disappointed to see this game get one (as much as I’d love a FD for Cafe Enchante or Cupid Parasite). The main love interests will have after stories while the sub characters that got “what if” endings will get routes. So expect a review of that when it comes out in the next few months.