Otome Game Review: Taishou Alice Episode I

 

Taishou Alice – A game whose story re-invents itself each route to bring you tales of a heroine who saves the princes of each fairytale. Heroine Arisu Yurika is the owner of one hell of a personality, has a fantastic way with words, and possesses the uncanny ability to chase down these guys’ issues and resolve them. In the span of time it took me to edit this post, I’ve actually made it to the second game of this franchise. I love Taishou Alice so much. The story holds its own mysteries that we won’t find out till much later – and has just enough questions to keep one interested in finding out the truth of this universe.

If possible, I’d like to rec this game series to everyone. Please play even one episode (1-3) if you are interested in the story/characters/seiyuu/anything at all.

Introduction

‘You’ (Arisu) notice that you have been wandering in darkness for some time when you regain consciousness of your surroundings. You have no memories of yourself, or of this place – just that maybe if you keep walking, you might find something. As you continue, something in the dark grabs at your feet and you panic, breaking into a run. You want to escape this place. Before long, you bump into a young man – he’s in the same situation as you are, without memories. All he recalls is a single name: ‘Alice’, which he uses to refer to himself as a temporary measure. As he gets annoyed that you aren’t listening to him or leaving him alone, he gives you the name ‘Alice’ too, but in hiragana form (Arisu).

Alice (CV: Matsuoka Yoshitsugu) comes off first as high-and-mighty, insulting the main character as much as he can. His speeches are incredibly wordy and also very interesting. He talks like some angry 2channer but Arisu isn’t having any of that and keeps pushing forward in her “I KNOW YOU DON’T LIKE IT BUT LET’S FIND A WAY OUT TOGETHER”-ness. Alice eventually gives in because he can’t believe how empty Arisu’s brain must be. He’s considered the possibility that they may not like who they were before they’d lost their memories, or that ‘he’ right now might disappear if he regains them. This world may just be a dream – after all, how can they see each other perfectly even though it’s so dark?

Neither of them understands much of the current situation. Arisu persuades him to walk with her after a lot of angry grumbling, and they come across glowing crystals with mirror surfaces, unlike normal crystals which don’t reflect anything. When Arisu reaches out for one of them, a blinding glow illuminates the place. When the light clears, there are two people reflected on different sides of the crystal – Cinderella (CV: Hirakawa Daisuke) and Akazukin (CV: Maeno Tomoaki). It seems that they can pass through the crystals into the worlds of the two other guys, and Alice demands that Arisu pick one because he’s not going to land himself in some dumb situation because of her.

[Akazukin Route]

Touching any crystal will lead you to the route of the guy reflected on its surface. Akazukin’s story begins with a short narration of a child who was told by his mother never to leave the house or to let anyone inside, as ‘the other people out there are all wolves’. However, he’d broken his promise to his mother. When he’d went back home, he finds the door unlocked and opens it. When he sees the scene inside, he realizes the cost of breaking his mother’s promise; losing many people important to him At this point we don’t yet know the full tale, so stay tuned.

Anyway, in the Mirror World, there’s this guy called Akazukin (Red Riding Hood) and he’d never let go of his red hood no matter what the circumstance. He works as something like the police of the land, and has been assigned to guard a rich lady who’s been feeling stalked lately, even worse because she lives alone in a huge mansion and her parents are away. The lady (Arisu) does not remember anything she or her family would have done to incur someone’s wrath to the point of even sending her threats, demanding her to recognize the ‘sins committed’ or the harassment would only continue. Akazukin pledges to guard her (he’s so straightforward and cute LOL) and Arisu is all like “wao, this is like one of those movie scenes where the ikemen pledges to protect the heroine, cool!”

Akazukin will now commence his 24/7 bodyguarding and Arisu is all /sweats because what about bathing and changing clothes!? Akazukin is also hella serious about his work and says he doesn’t need to eat with her or sleep indoors because HE IS GOING TO SLEEP OUTSIDE. IN WINTER. Arisu is all “UH PLEASE COME INSIDE I DON’T MIND??” but Akazukin’s attitude is frosty; he doesn’t want to bother her…even though he’s basically going to glue himself to her from now on. Arisu cannot believe this man. When it’s dinner time, at least they manage to talk a little because Arisu insists that he eat what she prepared because ONLY EATING CANNED MEAT/FISH WITHOUT RICE FOR 3 MEALS A DAY IS AWFUL, BUT AKAZUKIN IS PLANNING ON DOING THAT, WHICH SOUNDS TERRIBLE. He doesn’t even want to get in the shower and says he wouldn’t mind not bathing and I just. DUDE NOOOOO!!!

Anyway Arisu makes him get inside anyway because he will stink if he doesn’t bathe. Then she recalls that she forgot to get extra bathtowels for him and rushes off to retrieve some, and now has to enter the shower room while he’s still inside!! Can’t you leave it outside? OBVIOUSLY NOT!!! THIS IS A GREAT BATHROOM SCENE CHANCE! Only the chance doesn’t come because he’s done already HA HA HA but with no towels he just put on his clothes without drying off. He rejects Arisu’s offer to towel his hair and does so himself…without removing his hood. Amazing. She thinks he’s 100% a blizzard type of guy, not just ‘cold’. They later chill in the living room where it’s discovered he kind of likes herb/flower tea when Arisu brewed him some, which Arisu’s older brother happens to dislike. Cute.

Akazukin also ends up sleeping in her room because since she asked him to sleep indoors, this is the only place from where he can watch over her (LMAO). Arisu tries to get him to active a sleeping-together-in-bed event by inviting him to the bed, but he rejects her offer. He even rejects the blanket she gives him at first, but Arisu argues that if he dies from cold who will protect her then!? Only then does Akazukin say if she insists then just the blanket is fine. Blizzard!!! Though, he and Arisu seem to get a little closer when she soon after asks what having committed a sin really means. Is it dependant on whether an action flouts a law, or on the weight of the committed crime? As not everything can be caught by the law, or fall within the boundaries of laws or moral rights, who then gets to determine what is a sin and what isn’t? After all, waking up late because you missed an alarm would also be considered a sin, if only a minor one, dependent on who you ask.

The next day, Akazukin is about to accompany Arisu to school. She tries to persuade him not to, joking about the “sudden transfer student” event with him as the new kid and he takes it SUPER SERIOUSLY. Akazukin’s about to go find an extra set of school clothes HAHAHA. Arisu tells him he will just look super out of place and draw too much attention, then Akazukin decides to go with signing on as the “new teacher at school” as his cover. Arisu thinks this is a great idea. I cry for you two. Anyway, we get to meet her friends in school!

There’s the bespectacled Ookami (CV: Hanae Natsuki) whose tension and mood goes along well with Arisu’s carefree attitude. I kind of really like this guy ‘cos he knows how to read the atmosphere and ends up gossiping with Arisu over Akazukin, whom she thinks is A COOL MAN that she hopes she can get along with. Ookami asks if they’ll ever have sex (srs face) and Arisu spits out her tea AND I LAUGHED HAHAHAHA. ‘Cause if Arisu doesn’t grab the chance to conquer Akazukin then it will be lost forever! A movie-like scenario where the wavering bishojo is wrapped up in the strong arms of the heroic policeman!!!?? ← actual quote. I’m choking I love these two. Anyway Ryoushi (CV: Hashizume Tomohisa), Arisu’s older bro, comes to check out what they’re doing because he works in school here LOL. He’s a cool and nonchalant kind of guy who doesn’t even seem interested when Ookami tells him that Arisu has found someone she’s interested in. Though he does admit that it’s not like he completely doesn’t care – but the school bell rings signalling the end of lunch break, and Arisu is able to avoid her brother’s questioning.

Akazukin and Arisu regroup after school and nothing seems off about the school’s surroundings from his investigation. They head to the streets to do some shopping and Akazukin stops suddenly in front of a flower shop, having felt the presence of someone following them!? They both break into a run to leave the shopping streets and Arisu ends up super tired, saying she has confidence in her stamina but she isn’t a ninja (sob). Akazukin’s just “I’m not one either…” LMFAO. He apologizes, saying that maybe the whole thing was just his imagination as no one seems to be following them now.

Later at dinner, Arisu has a big YOSSSHHH ✧*。٩(ˊᗜˋ*)و✧*。 moment when Akazukin says that the food she made for him was good (sob). Though on a more serious note, he’d found something like a secret recording machine in her house, used to eavesdrop and spy on her – possibly planted there by the ‘wolf’ harassing her. The wolf now probably is aware of Akazukin’s presence in Arisu’s home. He says he will still leave after a week if nothing more happens; this could just be the stalker’s ‘info gathering’ time in order to target Arisu when Akazukin isn’t around, or that the stalker might have laid off entirely. Anyway, Arisu does want to keep getting to know him with whatever time she has left, and so offers to show him around the house (because she forgot the first time) despite him already having checked out the entire mansion on his own.

I just want to take the random chance to say that Arisu talks like someone who’s been on the internet too long she has random bursts of engrish like Date Masamune from Basara and uses net slang like “maji res” (serious response) HAHAHHAA. I like her style! She ends the tour showing him her favorite place, the garden. Akazukin goes to look at the flowers; he admits that he likes flowers, they make him feel more relaxed. ;_; He comments that when spring arrives, the garden where winter roses are blooming will surely become incredibly lively. He likes roses, but their magnificent blooms feel like a faraway presence for someone like him. It doesn’t seem fitting for someone like him to like flowers, doesn’t it? Arisu replies that Akazukin is a kind person, so that isn’t true at all. She invites him to come to her place again in spring when everything is in bloom, but he rejects the offer; he isn’t needed in her everyday life. Why does he say such lonely things smh.

When they re-enter the house, Akazukin asks about the ownership of the keys to the mansion. A master key is kept in a locked drawer in the kitchen, but they find it missing when they check on it. Arisu last saw it just yesterday, which means that the key had been stolen in a short period of time. She tries to contact her family but no one responds, and Akazukin is shocked by this – don’t they care about her at all, do they put their work before her safety, does she feel lonely at all? Alice replies that she got used to being alone, that maybe she’d forgotten what it felt like to truly be ‘lonely’. Akazukin says quietly that he can understand that kind of feeling as well. (AAAHHH) For the time being, he set booby traps around her room while joking that they’re designed to electrocute or send flying daggers at whatever intruder there is (LOL). He learnt how to set up such traps from a friend, whom he isn’t willing to talk about to Alice.

That night, Arisu has a strange dream of a kid, who hadn’t gone to school like the other kids and had to keep his mom’s promise to not go out with any strangers (is the narration at the beginning of the route this person’s past?). However, he’d met a boy by the lake who kept asking him to play with him day after day, and since he had really wanted someone to play with like the other kids, he had given in eventually.

Later at school, Arisu and Ookami have another gossip session and Arisu just REALLY WANTS TO MAKE AKAZUKIN SMILE (´・ω・`) but even making a dumb face at him only gave her the “yes what is it” response. 😦 I like how enthusiastic they are about conquering this guy. Ookami tells her to not give up, keep talking to him and wrap him up in her pace!! Arisu also meets Ryoushi later in the corridors and asks him for advice on making Akazukin drop his guard because all Ookami told her was to seme him (CRIES). Ryoushi is just “eh you can bring him to a cafe or something and that will open up many options, like ~casually bodytouching him~” WHAT IS UP WITH THIS FAMILY?? I LIKE IT!!! Arisu is all “oh, a date then!?” which seems to make Ryoushi a little (/shakes fist) about it, but he suggests that maybe she can bring Akazukin to somewhere like a quiet lake in the middle of the forest. Which Arisu does. In the next scene right after. This game’s pacing is like a comedy using fast-cuts.

Akazukin is all stuffy like IT IS NOT PROFESSIONAL TO STICK HIS NECK INTO HER PRIVATE BUSINESS but Arisu doesn’t really give a shit, she likes talking to him a lot! Even if he says it’s tiring! Akazukin says that she reminds him of someone, who also found enjoyment in talking to someone as bland as him. The two of them (his friend and Arisu) seem very much alike. Arisu wants to bodytouch him but since Akazukin won’t even let her get like a cm closer to him in general, she gives up and asks him to help her stand up instead. Akazukin just hands her a stick so Arisu can stand up on her own. Mean. But the stick breaks under her weight and sends her tumbling towards the lake…!

Arisu’s fall is stopped by Akazukin, who grabs her. And. Begins to scream while blushing, all “DON’T TOUCH ME AAHHHH!!!!”. Arisu also starts to screech because he’s screeching at her LMFAO. And because Akazukin freaked out and let go of her, he sends Arisu falling into the lake anyway. DUDE HAHAHA. The shore’s shallow so Arisu just ends up soaked and stands up, but Akazukin SCREAMS LOUDER and covers his face with both hands, begging her to put on her clothes properly while peeking through his fingers as he speaks. Arisu thinks this isn’t as intense as shonen manga where the girl gives the reader some ~wet fanservice~, so Akazukin’s reaction is super puzzling to her!? While he’s practically crying and calling her a pervert he throws something red at her and Arisu is all OH MY GOD HE THREW HIS HOOD AT ME. CAN I FINALLY SEE HIS TRUE FORM!? She tosses the cloth aside – but it turns out Akazukin is wearing his hood anyway and that was just some other article of clothing!! Arisu demands that he return her otome feelings. And like, she decides Akazukin’s not a blizzard type, he’s just A SHY BOY WHO’S BAD WITH WOMEN!? DON’T WORRY AKAZUKIN, TSUNDERES/THUNDRAS/TSUNTSUNS ARE THE IN THING RIGHT NOW!!! (I LOVE ARISU LMFAO I can’t believe she actually said this) Akazukin just screeches some more and gets a nosebleed and Arisu is just “wao are you ok”. Anyway she realizes it’s cold as crap standing in the lake in the middle of winter and gets up on shore, covering herself with the cloth he lent her, and is all HEY, maybe Akazukin just kept his distance because he’s terrible with women!? Arisu’s conclusion: Akazukin is cute as heck. (⊙‿⊙✿)

Sadly, Arisu catches a cold after the whole ordeal and collapses back at home while still talking to Akazukin, who’s still being awkward around her thanks to letting his cool front slip (sob). He ends up carrying her to her room bridal-style and Arisu wakes to thank him, regretting that she was unconscious at the time and thus has no memory of the bridal carry (SINGLE TEAR). Arisu is so carnivorous I like her. Akazukin offers to change her forehead towel but refuses to get near her so is like “throw it over”. Arisu, who doesn’t want to move because she’s sick, says he can take it from beside her if she turns away from him, right!? Akazukin tries to do as she suggests but ends up going HAAAAH HAAAH HAAAHH HSHSHS like some creepy pervert behind Arisu because he’s terrified of getting near her. ARISU JUST TELLS HIM HE SOUNDS DAMN SUSPICIOUS LMFAO.

BUT! AKAZUKIN MANAGES TO TAKE THE TOWEL! And he cheers for himself because he is very happy. My god he’s adorable;;__;; Arisu also notices a red carnation in a vase beside her bed that wasn’t there before – and since her garden has no carnations at this time, it must have been bought from a store. Akazukin apologizes if he’d done more than necessary by buying that, but Arisu thanks him for the gift, IT REALLY MAKES HER VERY HAPPY. However, now he has to put the towel back after changing it and goes back to haa haa haa-ing at Arisu. Arisu gets curious and turns around before Akazukin can complete his task, and their eyes meet. He screams and drops the towel on her face LMFAO. She doesn’t care because it’s great to have something cold when you’re feverish but chides him for shrieking upon seeing her face, rude!

Akazukin apologizes and says that he made porridge for her but since it’s his first time making something like this, he doesn’t know what it will taste like. After all he put in corn beef and mackerel from the canned food he’d brought. LMFAO. Arisu thinks that sounds very intense. Akazukin is all “I’LL THROW IT AWAY” but Arisu begs to let her eat it ;__; But there’s no way she can eat it from afar because she can barely move her sick body!! So!!! She demands Akazukin feed her (winkwonk) and closes her eyes, opening her mouth and HE TELLS HER NOT TO DO SUCH UNGUARDED THINGS SOB. But after some encouragement he finally gets the spoon kind of near her and Arisu eats it from there because he’s not going to stick it into her mouth after all LOL. Turns out it’s pretty delicious actually. Arisu tells him to have a bite too and Akazukin freaks out because INDIRECT KISS!?!?! and ends up nosebleeding on himself again. Arisu understands one thing: that this guy’s train of thought is on the pervert level of boys that hit puberty HAHAHA. Anyway Akazukin tells her to sleep and that she needs to drink medicine to get better. HE WILL BE WITH HER BECAUSE HE WILL PROTECT HER even though he’s been kind of flailing on the spot.

Sometime later during Arisu’s rest time, they get into a conversation that ends with her proclaiming that not all girls are like victims of wolves, some WANT to be eaten by wolves (www) and Akazukin yells that it’s immoral HAHA. But Arisu says that if you have weapons then there’s a way to fend off the wolf, right? Like with a gun…and she makes the “BANG!” action with her fingers and Akazukin actually collapses for some reason!? There’s a flashback here to someone’s (his?) past, where the friend he made (the boy by the lake) invited him to his grandma’s place to hang out, and the grandma eventually ended up gifting Akazukin a hood of his own, as she always makes hoods for his friend. It became his treasure from that day on. Because he always had the hood on after that, he became known as ‘Akazukin’.

The next scene is of Arisu waking. She had managed to haul Akazukin to bed after he’d fallen over, and the reason for his sudden collapse was due to him catching her cold (sob). She wakes to find herself wrapped in his arms, having both fallen asleep since they’re kind of still sick. Akazukin won’t let her go and seems to be having a bad dream, asking someone for forgiveness while he cries. Arisu laughs and says she forgives him – and in that moment she hears the sound of a bell. She recalls that Akazukin set traps to alert them when someone intruded into the mansion, and sees the shadow on the wall. However, it doesn’t seem human, as she can see the shape of triangular, wolfish ears in the shadow.

She yells for Akazukin to wake up but he doesn’t, and the wolf disappears. Only then does Akazukin wake from all the commotion and he FREAKS OUT, screaming into Arisu’s ear because WHY ARE THEY TOGETHER IN BED!? Arisu, having anticipated the screaming and his eventual nosebleed, tells him to hold down his nose first which he does. It’s super funny to hear him freak out while sounding squeaky. Akazukin hasn’t noticed that HE’S the one still holding onto her and when she points that out, he immediately throws himself out of bed screaming. He stammers an apology about taking advantage of her etc. and says he will take responsibility as a man and Arisu jokes about MARRIAGE WINKWONK and Akazukin seems to seriously consider it. But she laughs, and explains that 1) nothing happened 2) it was a joke 3) she dumped him into bed in the first place don’t worry. Anyway, the more pressing issue is that the wolf may have visited them, and Akazukin tells her to follow him closely while he conducts his investigation outside the mansion. Someone had indeed set off the trap alarm, but there are no signs of intrusion into the mansion’s rooms.

Later, turns out Ookami had also caught a cold and Arisu wants to pay him a visit sometime. She tells this to Akazukin, who walks home with her after school. Arisu takes the time to tease Akazukin more because he seems pretty concerned that the friend she always makes food for is a guy, and stumbles over his own words when she asks if he’s bothered by it~? She thinks that heck, guys and girls can be attracted to each other in the physical way (Akazukin gets flustered here) but she believes nothing will happen between her and Ookami anyway because! She already has a person she likes! Akazukin protests that even if she isn’t interested, what if the other person is!? After all, Arisu is a charming lady and…would probably have AT LEAST one or two admirers around. Arisu is all ^q^ PLEASE SAY THAT AGAIN but Akazukin just clams up SOB. Still, she presses on, asking if he’d like to know who she’s interested in…and he’s all HELL IF I KNOW SHRIEKS LET’S JUST GO HOME OKAY!? mein gott.

But stuff happens when they return – something’s off. Akazukin tells Arisu to wait outside for 5min for his return while he checks out the house. If he doesn’t return, flee and call for backup at the nearest police post immediately. However, there doesn’t seem to be anyone left inside the mansion, but everything has been turned upside-down. Flower vases are shattered and curtains ripped. Arisu remembers with a jolt the carnation that Akazukin gifted her and rushes to her room to look for it, but finds it destroyed along with the rest of her furniture. She makes to pick up the fallen petals and cuts herself on broken glass, angering Akazukin who is terribly worried for her safety. He drags her away to wash her wound and yells that her safety comes before the flower’s condition, but Arisu rebutts that it was a precious gift from him to her;; Akazukin then apologizes for yelling, and says he’s sorry this all happened on his watch ;_; Arisu assures him repeatedly that it isn’t his fault at all, and manages to clear his mood a little. They do a round-check of the house and it seems like nothing was upset besides the entrance hall and her room. Either the culprit came to steal something related to her, or to warn her that he could attack her at any time.

Worse still, when Akazukin and Arisu are just done cleaning up her room, the window glass behind Akazukin shatters and he grabs Arisu, shifting her to the bed immediately. Arisu is fortunately not hurt, and is more concerned about Akazukin’s condition. He isn’t hurt either – luckily. They notice a letter tied to a ball, which had probably been what shattered the glass. It’s a death threat for Arisu because she still hasn’t recalled her ‘sin’…this makes her mood sink and she looks up to see Akazukin extending his hands towards her, unsure of how to properly comfort her. However, he settles down beside her on the bed and places his hand on hers, and manages to blurt out while blushing that he doesn’t wish for Arisu to make such a face. He will protect her. Arisu understands that this must have taken an incredible amount of courage from him and feels all ;_; over his kindness.

They sleep outside in the living room for the day, and Akazukin lends Arisu his hood as a blanket. She asks about it and he tells her about his past with his friend, that this was a present from his friend’s grandma. To him, who had to stay aay from people because he was born ‘a little different’, this was the first present he got in his life. It became natural to have it with him, and so he never let go of his red hood. Talking about the kind grandma from his memories makes him mad that Arisu’s own family doesn’t seem to give a shit about her, and Arisu thanks him for being so concerned for her;; Akazukin gets flustered and blurts out that when he’s with her his attitude gets all strange; he hadn’t intended to share his past with anyone, nor did he expect to feel so conflicted over Arisu. He can’t leave her alone but feels like he’s suffering when he’s with her (AWWH). Arisu says that she likes talking to Akazukin, though. He stammers that he….also likes it! It’s not that he likes her or anything! Just her intriguing parts! But! Being with her isn’t bad! (THIS IS ADORABLE) Arisu takes the chance to confess to him right here, right now, with nothing held back – that she likes Akazukin as a person. And she even says it to him twice.

…And Akazukin is so stunned he begins to nosebleed CRIES. Arisu wipes it away for him expecting the usual screaming, but nothing happens. She places a hand on his cheek. Nothing. It’s like he’s petrified. Then Akazukin begins to make noises like he’s in pain and FAINTS LMFOASKJ. He has a recollection of the past – of being alone at home because his mother is busy at work as a florist and hardly returns. She would leave money for him when she did, but they hardly ever could meet. Akazukin had broken his promise to his mother not to talk and play with the wolves outside, as he had made a friend and visited his house and his friend’s grandmother. He’d even gone to pick wildflowers for the grandma (he had no money to buy any from a shop) to thank her for the hood;; The grandmother was really happy and said she’d make another hood for him, though his friend doesn’t seem too happy at that. On his way back later, Akazukin sees the flower shop he passed by earlier and feels ashamed that he couldn’t gift something more magnificent to the grandma.

After some time, even his friend got angry at him because Akazukin’s ‘stealing’ his grandmother away, that he keeps playing the good kid even though he’d broken his promise to his mother. The friend exclaims that he saw Akazukin’s mother with another man in town. His friend is so upset that his already-bad health worsens and he has something like an asthma attack and his grandma rushes to his aid. Akazukin then realized that no matter what he gives to these people, he will never be able to become her grandson. Meanwhile, Arisu is watching over him sleep and vows to save/help him. In the morning, she offers him some pancakes she’d made, since he said that he had liked the cakes his friend’s grandma had made. Akazukin seems really moved by her gesture and tells her they taste good, which makes Arisu SUPER happy.

Later at school, after Arisu tries to tell Akazukin again that she likes him (but he keeps cutting her off by screeching loudly www), Akazukin enters the school during breaktime to check on her. Arisu is safe and decides to skip school for the day and head off on a date with Akazukin, who is super shocked. They have lunch by the lake and Arisu offers to make the cakes he used to eat as a kid, and laments that oh, what if Akazukin catches the wolf and is gone before then? 😦 Akazukin mutters that if she wishes him to, he can come over to visit her from time to time. LOOK AT THIS PROGRESS (SOB). He feels bad that Arisu keeps giving stuff to him and wonders what he can do to repay, her but Arisu replies that she already received a lot from him – his kindness in protecting her, making her porridge, buying her the flower, etc. For some reason this makes him nosebleed (from joy maybe) and Arisu is like CHANCE!! And begins to tickle him, then forcibly dumps him on her lap (lap-pillow style) when he collapses. This girl. Amazing.

Meanwhile Akazukin is just “THIGHS!! MY HEAD!! AHHH!!!” but calms down after Arisu makes it clear she isn’t letting him go. He gets embarrassed when she pats him, asking if she also does this with her friend (Ookami)…but Arisu says that nah, this is just for you 😉 Akazukin mutters that he wonders if she’d do the same if she knew who he really was. Arisu quotes what she’d heard him yell during one of his fits, that he’s an independant and cool guy who only relies on his own strength, right? Akazukin denies that and says he’s really weak and a coward; a terrible person. Arisu tells him that she will choose to forgive him for whatever he has done instead of blaming him, so – please don’t blame yourself anymore. Akazukin replies that he’d always been alone before this and had forgotten what it felt like to be lonely, but Arisu tells him that if he had made friends in the past, then he would have already figured out what loneliness meant. And now, the both of them have each other. In her heart, she wishes for him to realize the ‘truth’ of this story.

Here, we have another recollection: of Akazukin and his friend, who called him out to play with him for the whole day by making a secret base together in the woods. His friend who was weak in body admires him for his strength, and Akazukin finds it funny that someone with such a bright personality and with money would envy someone like him. Eitherways he cannot turn his friend down and stays with him till night, though they hear some sirens in the distance. Later, they return to the lake to try and fish out a plastic sheet that drifted over to use for their base’s roof – then a man appears and calls for Ookami, the boy with the hood (Akazukin’s friend). His grandma has collapsed and has been taken to hospital. The man mistakes Akazukin for Ookami and Akazukin is shocked by the news. Ookami, in his panic over his grandma, falls into the lake and the man demands for Akazukin to go see the grandma first, as the grandma has been calling out for her grandson all this while (wrong boy!!). Akazukin had turned his back on the drowning Ookami and ran off with the man. At the hospital, Akazukin pretends to be Ookami…man, this is tough to watch.

Grandma is apologizing for making him worry and Akazukin, still faking his identity, blames himself for everything that has happened. The grandmother apologizes for not being able to stay by his side anymore and Akazukin says that ‘he’ would get better, healthier, and begs the grandmother not to leave him. He bought a flower for her from the shops, a carnation. After that, Akazukin doesn’t know what happened to the grandmother or how he managed to get himself home, but before he knew it, he’d returned. He’s sure his mother would be angry – he can see light from the house – and this is confirmed when all his mother does is look at him coldly. From that day on, his mother never returned to the house again. Akazukin wonders what he did wrong; breaking his promise and communing with wolves was the bad choice, then? Akazukin, now alone, makes his choice not to stray from his ‘path’ from now on.

In the present, Arisu and Akazukin head to Ookami’s place to check on his illness. There doesn’t seem to be anyone there and when Arisu tries to peek inside the house, someone grabs her forcibly from behind. Cut here to another of Akazukin’s recollections, where he as a kid had realized that both his friend and the grandmother had passed away after his terrible decisions, having visited their house again to find no one there. From that day on he’d leave red carnations in front of the house sometimes as a memorial thing, and…he’d found Ryoushi after some time. Aaaanyway it turns out that Ryoushi is the one who caught Arisu and he tosses her into a room, then follows up by tossing Alice in too (long time no see). Neither seem to recognize each other here. They exchange names anyway since both of them seem to be caught LOL. Alice snorts that the role of the tragic captured heroine only exists to give the male characters an image boost, and Arisu replies that while she hasn’t forgotten her role in this story, she can’t swallow the thought that someone she cares about is out there being hurt for her sake.

Now, we swap over to Akazukin’s POV where he’s panicking and trying to look for Arisu in town. Here, we have his confession that he had merely used Arisu for his own act of revenge against Ryoushi, whom he had seen Arisu with – Ryoushi was the man who mistook him for Ookami. If that had not happened, the resulting tragedy might not have played out the way it did. He found out that Arisu was Ryoushi’s sister, and set out to threaten and harass her as a way of indirectly hurting Ryoushi. He’d pretended to work for the police, and snuck into Arisu’s home as part of his disguise. Arisu had believed his lies about protecting her so easily; but before long Akazukin had come to realize that she had tasted the same loneliness he had in the past. He had gotten more interested in her after that, and had received so many different forms of kindness from Arisu, to the point where Akazukin had found himself confused with his own feelings. But now he understands that without her, he is terribly lonely. The threats that arrived at her house and the whole ransacking after the first letter had been done by someone else and not him, so somewhere along the line he had truly wished to protect Arisu.

Akazukin bumps into Alice on the streets and finds that Alice knows what he is looking for. Alice warns that Akazukin isn’t equipped to fight any sort of wolf; and what if the ‘role’ of saving Arisu belongs to Ryoushi? Alice gives Akazukin the info that Arisu has been taken to the lake anyway, and sighs that Akazukin better not stray this time. At the lake, Arisu is waiting for Akazukin to arrive – she already knows what to do to make the story move forward, implying her own role in masterminding this whole situation. Beside her is Ookami – Akazukin’s childhood friend, her friend, and the one chosen to play the villain. When Akazukin arrives, Ookami chides him for not noticing his true identity, and had to remove his glasses to get Akazukin to recognize him. He reveals that he knows everything Akazukin had done, including pretending to be Ookami to his grandma on her deathbed. Ookami had been saved from drowning by Ryoushi and later moved away for surgery, and had always been looking for Akazukin. However, Akazukin had been running away from everyone all this time.

Akazukin apologizes over and over for his past sins and Ookami refuses to ‘forgive’ him, and tells him he will do something to Arisu unless Akazukin removes his hood. Akazukin hesitates but eventually does so, revealing his true form as – a wolf? Well, he has wolf ears at least. He continues to apologize for his crimes and Ookami gets annoyed, saying that YO THAT’S NOT WHAT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO APOLOGIZE FOR, and makes to do something to Arisu…then Akazukin rushes at him, yelling at him not to hurt her. Ookami loses his balance in a panic and ends up sending all three of them into the water. After that, Akazukin pulls Arisu out, somehow leaving Ookami in there (CRIES). Anyway, Ookami reemerges a little while later after Akazukin makes sure Arisu isn’t hurt anywhere.

This is where the REAL plot-twist happens. Arisu apologizes to Akazukin. Everything so far was all according to a script written by Ryoushi, herself and Ookami, in order to get Akazukin to notice one fact – that he is not alone. I’ll summarize it as best as I can because the whole scene is long:

Arisu had been roped into the plan to set up the whole ‘story’ by Ryoushi and Ookami, who had become aware of Akazukin’s presence. Both of them had been worried about him because his heart would be lost if he kept being alone like this, and wished to save him from himself. In order to do so, they needed him to first face his sins instead of running, to be forgiven by someone else and then later, forgive himself. Arisu was chosen to play the role of the girl beside Akazukin, and she had known his police thing was a lie from the start. She had committed all the other acts of harassment herself, with the help of the other two. She had heard a lot about Akazukin from them and wished to get to know him more.

Ookami gets really angry at Akazukin for always being so goddamn stupid because EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM WAS GENUINELY WORRIED ABOUT HIM; Ookami considers him a precious friend and doesn’t even BLAME him for what he did, he is absolutely willing to accept Akazukin’s past. He called out to Akazukin when they were kids when he saw him alone because he, who had just moved to the countryside to live with his grandma, was also lonely. He had thought that Akazukin would become his friend, and never once considered him as anything else. Ookami’s grandmother had known that Akazukin had been pretending to be Ookami that night at the hospital. When Ookami went to see her, she told him to take good care of Akazukin, who was far more honest and kind than anyone, and thus also the one who felt the most loneliness. Ookami cried for his grandmother and promised to protect and help Akazukin out. Though Akazukin disappeared later and kept avoiding people so Ookami was worried as HECK.

Akazukin finally admits that he was lonely; no matter how much he wanted to keep his promise to his mother, he also wanted to see the outside world, to play with Ookami. In that small and cold house, he was lonely. And thus, he finally recognizes what sin he had committed; the sin of blaming himself far too much and not realizing the important things.

TL;DR RYOUSHI IS A PRETTY NICE GUY FOR TRYING TO SAVE AKAZUKIN OUT OF CONCERN FOR HIM (VERY ROUNDABOUT THO) AND OOKAMI IS AN ANGEL??? Arisu is still as powerful as ever and poor Akazukin is really confused but shocked that everyone doesn’t blame him and is still willing to stay by his side. Because he didn’t think he deserved any of this but guess what, you do deserve happiness.

Arisu asks for Akazukin’s forgiveness for fooling him, and Akazukin forgives her. He also finds the strength to say that he forgives himself. Arisu hugs him and proclaims that SHE REALLY LIKES HIM and Akazukin flips out because 1) she’s wet 2) the others are still here!? Arisu doesn’t give a crap. Ookami laughs and says that PLS AKAZUKIN YOU PERV, and Akazukin tries to deny it but Ookami proceeds to reveal that they had read R18 together as kids (SRS FACE). Arisu is just OH SO AKAZUKIN KNOWING ALL THESE THINGS IS YOUR FAULT HUH GJ ʅ( ՞ਊ՞)ʃ≡ ≡ʅ( ՞ਊ՞)ʃ

Ryoushi snorts and drags Ookami off to let them have their alonetime. Akazukin explodes because Arisu tells him she wants to kiss him!? And Arisu DOES kiss him anyway HA HA HA 😉 And well, she says it’s his turn to exact out ~punishment~ on her so she closes her eyes all “GO ON!!!” but…Akazukin explodes and starts nosebleeding instead (CRIES). Why am I not surprised? Thus ends their very funky start on the road to love. The back narration is done by the Magician (CV: Hatano Wataru) who randomly appears in the forest, seemingly having watched the whole story unfold. He concludes this is a wonderful ending.

In the epilogue, Akazukin is able to go on without the hood covering his ears anymore and brings carnations to Arisu just before a scheduled hangout with Ryoushi+Ookami+her. He is DETERMINED to tell Arisu he likes her today because HE CAN’T KEEP GETTING CONFESSED TO BY HER AFTER ALL! He fails like twice because he’s too nervous (he slips up the first time and ends up hyperventilating the second) but calms down when he tells her the meaning of red carnations – ‘passionate love, belief in love, a mother’s love.’ He had started to like her after everything they’d been through. He’s able to tell her he likes her and apologizes before quickly kissing her. Arisu is like /EXPLODES and Akazukin gets flustered like OH MY GOD ARE YOU ALRIGHT? FEVER!? YOU NEED TO GET TO BED!!! And Arisu just goes “…BED…” and falls over (ON PURPOSE I BET). THE END.

BAD END: The Magician appears to Arisu during her fake captivity by Ryoushi and tells her that Akazukin’s heart had broken after seeing Arisu stolen away before his eyes at Ookami’s place, and had strayed off from the intended script. Bad End! Restart!

 

[ CINDERELLA ROUTE ]

In this game, Cinderella is some rich guy who tosses his money around and is a huge playboy with an ore-sama complex, from what we see at first. He has no intentions of keeping his promises to anyone about loans or gifts, and badmouths his guests to his brothers behind the front of the party he throws at the cafe he runs. His brothers, Gretel (CV: Eguchi Takuya) and Snow White (CV: Aoi Shouta), have to deal with his potty mouth and Cinderella shoving all the hard work like cooking and washing up to them. The three brothers seem to enjoy taking snide jabs at each other A LOT, since Snow White and Gretel don’t want to deal with Cinderella’s nonsense anyway. Arisu here is again a rich lady who lives together with Kaguya (CV: Masuda Toshiki), her valet. Arisu receives a proposal for an arranged marriage with Cinderella as her partner, and takes an interest in him and agrees to seeing him at least once (as proper in meetups before any further arrangements).

Arisu doesn’t yet intend to marry herself off, but Kaguya’s a little worried because ISN’T MARRIAGE USUALLY WHERE YOU END UP AFTER THE ARRANGED MEETINGS. (´◉◞⊖◟◉`) Considering the amount of rumors floating around Cinderella, Arisu wants to see for herself what kind of man he is. Kaguya catches her sneaking out of the house at night and Arisu persuades him to let her go – if her parents find out about her actions, she will try her best to protect Kaguya from blame as it isn’t his fault that she has decided to leave to spy on Cinderella. Kaguya, moved by Arisu’s words, just sighs and says that the job of protecting her should go to him – there’s no helping it, he’ll accompany her on her spy mission. Kaguya on the other hand keeps casually badmouthing Cinderella even when he isn’t supposed to be this Rude (but I guess Cinder’s rep deserves it).

They arrive in front of Cinderella’s cafe, where Kaguya dumps Arisu to fend for herself when she is noticed by Snow White, who asks her what she’s doing. Arisu can’t answer because she’s afraid of having her identity revealed, and Kaguya has pretty much disappeared into the shadows so she just turns into a statue there. Her stomach begins to growl and Snow White sighs, taking her inside to feed for the time being. Gretel greets Arisu in the kitchen and offers her some shortbread and cookies he had made. Arisu introduces herself as ‘Arisu’ and the two brothers are surprised, as Alice (the male) is in this story too, as one of the tenants in the rooms upstairs. He’s the only other tenant here besides the three brothers.

Snow White retires to his room early after Arisu poured them all tea, and Gretel explains that Snow White 1) doesn’t enjoy eating very much and only eats Gretel’s sweets and maybe apples 2) Snow White is also extremely touchy about people commenting on his appearance, and Gretel would prefer if Arisu could refrain from doing it in front of him. During their nice chat, a drunk Cinderella bursts into the kitchen yelling for water (LOL). He ends up puking on the floor and Gretel starts yelling because he’s pissed as heck HAHAHA. While Cinderella dies on the table, Arisu helps clean up his mess and he mistakes her for a commoner (FAR LOOK). Well, he obviously doesn’t know who Arisu is, which works in her favor. Cinderella drinks the tea she made while still looking for water, and takes a liking to it. He asks her to take up a job at the cafe, as Snow White isn’t any real help and Gretel can’t do anything besides bake. Arisu gladly accepts because this a fantastic chance and Cinderella is like YOSH GREAT and they high-five each other. What the heck this is cute!!!

I actually really like Arisu VS Cinderella’s segments THEY’RE HILARIOUS. Because Cinderella lets Arisu stay with them for the time she works at the cafe, he shows her to a nice room upstairs. He doesn’t want her to get her dirty clothes all over the good bedsheets and asks her to strip, and she assumes he’s asking her to pay rental fee with her body. Cinderella’s all “who would sleep with a commoner like you!?” and Arisu is just “Would you sleep with me if I wasn’t a commoner then!?” and Cinderella gets mad like “What’s up with you!? Do you want me to sleep with you!?!?” HAHAHA GUYS PLS. ANYWAY Cinderella shoos Arisu to change and take a bath, leaving the room to allow her to do so. However, while Arisu is taking off her dress, Cinderella returns to give her directions to the baths and…ends up seeing her naked…and he just has this (OH…….) moment before leaving with no comment. Arisu also has no comment. I REALLY LIKE THESE TWO LMFAO.

Anyway the cafe menu is weird as heck, there’s apparently nothing on it besides the Desert of the Day (aka something random by Gretel) and…tea…and no customers ever come to the shop?? What??? Since Arisu and Snow White have to work together to keep the hall in order anyways, they end up chatting. Snow White assumes Arisu must not like him now since he didn’t help out much and rejected her tea yesterday, but Arisu insists that isn’t true; she believes Snow White is just clumsier than others with his feelings. He isn’t a bad person. When Snow White asks her what she thinks about Cinderella, Arisu replies that she feels that Cinderella’s a magnanimous guy with a big presence, and Snow White is surprised – usually, people would think Cinderella as a person is someone who is ‘covered with ash’, a bad person. Cinderella’s dirt and ash is not something someone beautiful and unstained like Arisu would notice. Arisu is surprised by the compliment and thanks him, but says she doesn’t feel Cinderella is a bad person. She likes the color gray, a mix of black and white – and gray may also just mean that Cinderella’s heart has become clouded over by his way of living these past few years; it might not originally have been that color. A person who would take interest in the tea she made, and would so readily offer her a job and place to stay, doesn’t seem like a bad man. Snow White also reveals that while he doesn’t know who Arisu is exactly, she definitely isn’t a poor commoner from her clothes and actions.

Arisu gets to meet Alice once in this route on the day she prepares dinner for everyone. Predictably, he yells at her for existing and she has to run to get his food and fetch it back to him because he doesn’t want to move. Again, predictably, he yells at her for making him wait 5 minutes. He talks like an angry nerd on the internet and gets upset that she prefers curry with rice and not nan. Well that depends on whether it’s Japanese or Indian curry, right!? HAHAHA anyway Gretel is all SO HOW WAS ALICE 🙂 and Arisu replies that she thinks he’s kinda interesting. I’m getting used to ignoring Alice’s ranting by this point HAHAHA it’s refreshing to leave him on autoplay and walk around the room!

Anyway, Cinderella doesn’t return till late at night, where he doesn’t eat any of Arisu’s food and retires to his room first. Arisu who was hoping to dine with him has to eat alone u__u Cinderella heads back to the kitchen at night because he got hungry again anyway, and ate her leftovers. He thinks Arisu is pretty good! I like him because he’s weirdly nice (in a way)! Anyway, it also seems that Cinderella had bought the land the cafe stands on due to property prices rising in value; making the place into a cafe to live in was just his decision on a whim, no more different than buying a house. He doesn’t seem concerned about the future of the place as a cafe with no customers as a result. BUT! Since Arisu has opinions on what direction the cafe should take, Cinderella’s going to ride on her mood and makes the flash decision to turn the cafe into the best one in the world. HELLA. Arisu is put in charge of managing the new menu.

Cinderella is roped into working in the cafe as well and heads out with Arisu to check out other shops to figure out what direction they should take for theirs. While Cinderella buys stuff at random in the shops they visit later, he keeps losing to Arisu in rock-paper-scissors and so has to carry his own load AHAHA. Arisu also comes across a pair of glasswork shoes in a display, and Cinderella agrees with her that they look really pretty – and he seems like a completely different person than usual when viewing the shoes; much kinder. He offers to buy them for Arisu but she refuses to accept this, and pulls him away. In the process, they bump into a black cat and Cinderella ends up bitten by it AHAHA. This is where they meet the Magician, who has come running to look for the cat. He knows who Cinderella is, as well as Arisu’s name and her true role in the story, but naturally doesn’t reveal it yet.

The Magician offers to do a little something for them for finding his friend, the cat, but Cinderella isn’t buying it and tries to leave with Arisu. However, the Magician stops them on the spot with his magic. He reads Cinderella’s future for him as payment for him being hurt by his cat, and tells him that in the future he will lose his name, money and home. Without his money, no one will remain around him. He will have to work, changing from his riches to the clothes of the poor. And even should a ball be held in this town, he would not be granted entry. There is no way to change the future predicted. Naturally, Cinderella doesn’t buy a word of it, but who knows what could happen? Anyway, the Magician says to call on him anytime if they need help, he’ll appear again if he feels like it~ and disappears. Cinderella is super pissed by the amount of shade thrown at him and is determined to make his cafe great and earn lots of money to show the Magician up www

Back at the cafe, their plan is to first strengthen the shop menu by adding more drinks and sandwiches/bagels/breads at least. Arisu is in charge of learning how to bake the breads, since just ordering stuff from any old shop isn’t very original. I really like that her and Cinderella keep fistbumping or high-fiveing when they agree on stuff SOB. Gretel doesn’t want to work at all but Arisu ropes him in anyway. He’s unsure the cafe will be a hit but THEY ARE UNEXPECTEDLY REALLY BUSY LMFAO. However, Cinderella isn’t at the cafe in the afternoons, which annoys Gretel because he thinks his bro is slacking off. However, Arisu catches Cinderella when he returns home at night, and is sure that something is up with his actions 😉 Who could be calling so many people to the cafe, huh? 😉

Later on, a girl (the one from the prologue whom Cinderella promised to give stuff to at his party) shows up and waits for him to return when the shop closes. When Cinderella returns, she yells at him for dumping her and forgetting their promise and that he’d set his eyes on a young girl like Arisu. Heck, she even saw him soliciting for customers to go to his cafe outside (HEY HE WORKED!), it was all for Arisu’s sake, right!? Cinderella gets mad that the woman is yelling at him about his monetary promises and says that fine, if all she cares about is his money, then she can have the ring she wants from him so badly and LEAVE. The woman makes to hit him and Arisu covers for him, getting hit in the process. The woman, who had chatted with Arisu while waiting for Cinderella, gets angry because HOW CAN YOU LIVE WITH BEING COVERED BY A YOUNG GIRL LIKE THIS (she’s not mean to Arisu!). Arisu tells them not to fight it out, and to have a proper discussion about the matter. Cinderella is shaken by her actions, and tells the woman to head back first.

The woman feels like she’s gonna german suplex Cinderella, but forgives him and leaves on behalf of Arisu, who has been very nice all this while. The woman is also concerned for Arisu, and apologizes for having hurt her ;_; She tells Arisu to work hard and leaves. Arisu thinks she’s cool and Cinderella huffs and grouches, before Arisu reprimands him for badmouthing the woman again. He apologizes, recognizing that he WAS in the wrong, and Snow White fetches some ice over for Arisu. Cinderella helps her with her cheek, and apologizes for getting her hurt because of him. He helps her prepare dinner later and Arisu tells him that the woman had probably liked him for who he is, not for his money, and that he should apologize to her RIGHT NOW or she’d not make his share of dinner.

In the end, Cinderella goes to apologize to the woman because Arisu said so (wow) and goes missing for like an hour. Worried, Arisu heads out to wait for him. Cinderella arrives and says he got confessed to (CRIES), that the woman had liked him in the past. She’d said that Arisu had probably sent him over (even though it’s rude to apologize just because someone else told you to!), for the sake of having Cinderella understand that there are people who like him because HE’S HIM, not because he’s rich. The woman had waited for him and she picked him out of all the other rich people she knew because she had liked him. 😦 The woman nags him about how damn stupid he is but heck even if he’s this dumb, there’s people who like him out there, so please treasure them! Cinderella, thinking about the woman’s words, is unusually quiet at dinnertime. Anyway to pay Arisu back, he agrees to start working properly at the cafe in the day now. Gretel and Snow White are super shocked because oh my god he’s actually doing work!? They agree to watch over him for awhile, because they still aren’t sure if he has begun to change yet, though it’s amusing to see.

Arisu thanks Cinderella for all his hard work after the shop’s closing time; she’s aware that the reason why he’s back so late all the time is because he had been calling out to his acquaintances to come visit, and he would always diligently do inventory for the cafe and purchase any items they were currently lacking. Though Gretel and Snow White may think he’s a lazy playboy, Cinderella is really a serious hardworker. Cinderella just answers that this isn’t going to continue forever – in the first place, the cafe was meant to be sold away. Arisu just says that it isn’t a reason not to work hard. She enjoys their time together right now! Cinderella laughs and agrees with her, and Arisu feels a little NERVOUS because oh, moe moment! Anyhow, she notices that Cinderella is holding onto a piece of glasswork, and recalls that he had looked at the glasswork with her on the streets before with a very kind expression. He gifts what he’s holding to her (it’s a failed lump of glass that was supposed to be a bird), and she says she will treasure it forever HAHAHA. However, the fact that she’s snuck in here as his future marriage partner is still something Arisu has to bear…and she’s afraid that if she ever told Cinderella the truth, it would destroy the relationships they have created.

Anyway, it’s back to work and Cinderella orders a western-styled kimono (Taishou feel maybe?) for Arisu, along with changes of clothes for the other two brothers. Gretel accuses Cinderella of having a leg fetish because oh my god why is Arisu’s skirt so short!!! And they get into a weird fight over whether it’s considered sexual harassment or not. Later, Kaguya comes to visit Arisu at the shop and reveals that those back at home already know where she is, but have decided to wait and watch as things develop for now. Arisu and Kaguya end up hugging because Kaguya is all BAWGHGH HII-CHAN IS SO CUTE and Cinderella catches them and hauls Arisu away. Arisu is all OH…IT’S LIKE HE’S JEALOUS…OH…KAGUYA… ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Cinderella just huffs about Kaguya because he thinks Kaguya acts like a limp tissue, what’s so good about him!? Arisu explains that Kaguya is an important person to her. Besides, is he jealous!? Cinderella protests that he just happened to pass by and was concerned because his employee was slacking off work with another guy, that’s it! 😦

Later, we see a recollection of Cinderella’s while he’s in the cafe kitchen, having returned after the Kaguya incident. At first, he had taken in Arisu on a whim but found himself chasing after her when she was gone from his side. He understands that this ‘magic’ cannot last – money, that is. He recalls that when he was younger, his rich parents had thrown their money around and many had assembled at their parties, but many guests spoke bad of his parents behind their backs. These people had just gathered here for his parents’ money, nothing more. Having money is like magic; you can become the main lead in any story in an instant, and obtain/hold as many marvelous things as desired. As he recalls this, Snow White enters the kitchen. Cinderella pours tea for him, and they are later joined by Gretel. The three brothers agree that Arisu’s presence has grown pretty big amongst them, but that this act cannot continue. There’s something both sides are hiding from each other, and they don’t know what will happen when either is revealed (there’s something going on about someone faking something, possibly Cinderella himself). However, Cinderella admits that he isn’t bored at all having Arisu around.

Sometime after, we see Arisu trying to lure Alice out of his room and ending up struggling at the door with him because he wants to return back inside but Arisu doesn’t want him to. They end up breaking the door (LOL), which angers Cinderella who demands them to pay back their destroying of his home with their bodies (by working). Anyway, Arisu has to show Alice to her room in the meantime to stay, and he comments on the glass birdthing that Cinderella gave Arisu, because it SUCKS. Well, turns out Cinderella is the one who made it, even he knows that he’s not very good. Aww. Cinderella ends up whacking Alice anyway because Alice is rood about it. Cinderella isn’t very willing to show Arisu the rest of his work and besides, it’s almost time for the cafe’s opening. Alice also proceeds to borrow Arisu’s room and locks her out of it (far look).

However, Arisu keeps dropping super obvious hints that she wants to see Cinderella’s other glasswork, which makes him feel troubled. When alone in his room, he reminisces that the bird piece he gave Arisu (it’s a pigeon) was his first ever work and largely a failure, but to see her keep it and display it so carefully in her room made him feel like it isn’t worthless to keep making stuff if there’s someone to treasure them like this. He recalls the first time he’d seen a glass piece; it had been a beautiful work given to him from his parents as a souvenir from a trip. It was a pair of birds that were never meant to be separated, and known as lovers. His father told him to give it to someone who he came to love, as a sign that they would never be apart. Cinderella had loved the piece and kept it fondly. However, when he was young, he had broken one of the birds by accident and the other one instantly lost its worth as it was left without a partner 😦 And Cinderella as a kid had felt terrible and cried about it aaaa 😦

Arisu tries to repair the broken door on her own after shop hours and ends up flashing her panties at Cinderella when she’s on a chair trying to reach the higher joints LMFAO. She’s all embarrassed about it and he’s surprised she can actually feel shame because Arisu is always so carefree. However, Arisu ends up slipping off the chair she was balancing on and falls on Cinderella, spraining her ankle. He carries her off to his room to treat, and they both joke about how this is like those prince x princess events (FAR LOOK). Arisu takes the chance to look at his room and is impressed by his glasswork, and asks to show her his latest piece. Cinderella says he isn’t done working on it yet, and will show it to her upon completion.

They end up talking about how neither of them truly knows who the other is – or that’s Cinderella’s perception of things. There will always be parts of the other person that one fails to understand, even if they stay together for a long time. In the weeks that Arisu was here, could she really have come to understand who Cinderella is? He reveals that he’s slated for an arranged marriage and has no interest in checking out his partner, because it doesn’t matter to him. Arisu confesses that welp SHE’D like to marry him, and he asks her why she would say such a thing. She can’t really answer and Cinderella just shrugs it off, and burns the proposal he has in the nearby fireplace (OI WWW) because he doesn’t need it anymore. Arisu looks at his expression and thinks that it looks just as sad as the first image she ever saw of him.

Arisu heads back to her room after the door is repaired and Alice lets her have her room back. She wonders if Cinderella is already aware of who she is, even if he says he hadn’t looked inside the arranged marriage proposal at her picture. Later that night, Cinderella goes to see his father and tells him that he wishes to call his arranged marriage off, but his father continues to insist on it (for the sake of the family! you’re just hesitant! etc.) and Cinderella can’t do anything about it. From that day on, things seem to have changed between Arisu and him, they seem to have gotten closer…!? Anyway, they end up going on a date to the streets because Cinderella actually wants to be with Arisu and make her happy of his own volition. By the end of the day, after the usual eating/shopping, he asks her what she truly wants – he’s aware she’s hiding the truth of this story from him. Arisu tells him that she believes this story has a happy ending. She wants to save him, because she knows there’s something Cinderella wants badly – it’s something everyone has, yet not everyone can have.

On their way back, they meet a man in black (oooh) who appears to know Cinderella. He’s all very suspicious and passes Arisu a matchbox, which Cinderella snatches away from her. The both of them don’t seem to like each other, but the man leaves without bothering them…for now. Seeing him made Cinderella’s mood worse, and he ends up retiring to bed without dinner.

The next day, Arisu takes Cinderella’s laundry from him and goes through it, finding the matchbox. She is determined to find out the truth here even if she has to use methods like this. The font on the cover reads “Match-selling Finance”. Arisu heads to see them and walks in on the black-suit chasing someone out with violence and demanding the man pay back money. She talks to the blacksuit and threatens him with possible arrest because she’d already contacted the police before heading to this place, and wants to know what the blacksuit knows about Cinderella. ARISU IS SO POWERFUL, SHE ISN’T SHAKEN AT ALL BY THIS GUY AND IS JUST PULLING HIM AROUND BY THE NOSE OMG. She manages to set up their little chat in the middle of a busy cafe terrace, and hears from the man that Cinderella has borrowed an insane amount of money from him. Cinderella’s family had been rich in the past but lost their money on the market, and stocks/businesses didn’t go well for them so they sank further and further into debt, to the point of near-bankruptcy. Rightfully, the money had been borrowed by his father, but Cinderella was made to ‘inherit’ his father’s debt, should his father pass away. In addition, Cinderella’s father and Arisu’s father were old friends who had met overseas during a trip before, and the blacksuit is aware of Arisu’s true identity. He says that Cinderella’s parents were the ones who arranged their marriage, so as to get Arisu’s family to pay off their debt. Arisu is hardly shaken by this story (I LOVE HER) and tells the blacksuit she doesn’t feel that Cinderella has betrayed her. She leaves right after that.

When she returns to the cafe, Arisu allows herself to sigh because she really was scared back there. However, it’s time to end the acts both of them have put up, now that she knows the full truth. When she reaches the cafe, Cinderella made dinner for her and Arisu stops halfway through her food, telling him that she wishes this happiness could continue, having the person she likes make dinner for her like this. However, there’s something she wants to tell him. She asks Cinderella for his time and they head outside to talk. This is where the big reveal of this route happens:

Cinderella already knew of Arisu’s true identity, even after she confesses it to him and reveals that she had gone to find out the truth behind his family. Arisu understands that he had indulged in sprees with the borrowed money in order to fill the gaps that had opened up in his heart after having lost everything. However, Cinderella truly wished to protect his brothers, who knew nothing of their debts, because they had been born after everything had gone to shit and all responsibility for them was pushed onto Cinderella. This is why he bought the cafe, so as to give them a safe place to stay.

His parents are also about to divorce, and it was around this time that his dad decided for him to get married into Arisu’s family to help pay their debts. Cinderella hadn’t thought much about Arisu at first because he was curious about her too, but eventually found that he came to care sincerely for her. No matter how much he wanted to chase her out, he just as much wanted her to be by his side; the days they had spent together had become truly enjoyable. He actually starts to cry throughout his confession around this point. Though Arisu may say she fears being hated by him for poking into his past, it’s him that should be hated by her instead, for being part of a ploy to leech off her family’s wealth. Why won’t she leave him, even after all this?

Arisu just replies that: she isn’t going to leave him, because she likes him. AND I JUST STARTED CRYING LMFAO BYE. Cinderella, who is still upset, is kissed into silence by Arisu, who tells him that she doesn’t care if he’s rich or poor because she is in love with him. She forgives him for whatever reason he had wanted to marry into her family in the first place, and tells him not to cry. For as long as he wishes it, she will remain by his side. She is still waiting for him to realize what it is that he truly desires.

They head back later, and confess everything to Snow White and Gretel. It’s decided that Snow White will leave to be with their mother, Gretel will live on his own elsewhere, and Cinderella will remain in the cafe and look after their dad. Even if the three brothers are apart, they will still be joined together by blood, and can still visit each other at any time. Cinderella has also decided to stop impulse-shopping and will sell off some of the things in the cafe to earn back money, slowly paying off his family’s debt. The brothers leave and Cinderella and Arisu get their alonetime! Arisu is all SO DO YOU KNOW WHAT LOVERS DO TOGETHER? And Cinderella’s just SEX??? and Arisu ignores him because dude pls. Anyway their kissy time is interrupted by Alice who IS LIKE RIGHT THERE and Cinderella ends up spitting all over Arisu in shock LMFAOHFSKJ. God I love this whole scene it’s best seen in action because the smart repartee between all three parties over “EH SO WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT ME!?” and “DONT WORRY I WILL LOVE YOU EVEN IF YOU BECOME A FAT OLD MAN (/pats)” directed at Cinderella…beautiful writing.

Later on, a boy wanders into their store after closing hours, having been separated from his parents. The two of them accompany him and Cinderella is…actually pretty good with kids even if he grumbles that he’s bad with them LMFAO. When the boy asks if his parents had thrown him away due to him being selfish to them earlier, Cinderella answers that it isn’t true – familial love is unconditional, and no one would throw out their kid over something like this. He’d wanted to buy the kid a toy when they were looking outside on the streets for his parents, but then…they have a debt to repay after all, and Arisu notices how sad Cinderella looks when he realizes that 😦 They do manage to find the boy’s parents, and Cinderella says he’ll even give the kid one of his glass pieces the next time if he comes to visit ;_; anyway Cinderella and Arisu end up together beside the nearby lake after that and he kisses her at last, and properly confesses to her there.

For some reason the story STILL isn’t over. Why? Cos there’s some pretty suspicious things left, like why Arisu’s family would leave her with Cinderella even when it’s pretty easy to figure out his family’s circumstances just by looking it up a little. Cinderella ends up going with Arisu to her place to see her parents. Her father is home, and so they begin talking – Cinderella then confesses that while he and Arisu both like each other, he cannot accept any of their offers to pay off his debt on account of his own pride. He doesn’t want to drag Arisu down with him and chooses to dump her here with her family once and for all, and chooses to leave from her life. UHM. Cinderella leaves Arisu’s home and she doesn’t manage to chase him down because the heel of one of her shoes broke on the staircase.

Arisu tries to look for him after that and cannot find any trace of him at all – no one knows where Cinderella went, not even his brothers. His father has even left the country to flee his debt. Kaguya is super nice to help poor Arisu search for him across the country anyway 😦 Arisu decides to return to the shop one day at night, though she’s sure Cinderella won’t be there. She finds one glass slipper in his room that she recognizes as his work, and suddenly the blacksuit from before appears! And he turns out to be the Magician in disguise!? He was the one who had lent Cinderella money and told Arisu all that info!! Here, he asks if Arisu wants him to cast a little magic on her, that is, to tell her where Cinderella is. Arisu doesn’t mind paying whatever price he asks, because she has heard Cinderella’s feelings for her and is determined to go fetch him back.

NEXT SCENE, FOR SOME REASON ALICE AND CINDERELLA ARE LIVING TOGETHER SOMEWHERE NOW! They had vacated the cafe together. It seems that Arisu’s family is throwing a party and invited all three bros, so Gretel and Snow White are going. Cinderella on the other hand doesn’t feel like he deserves to, given his current social standing. He has nothing, except the one glass slipper – the pair to the one he left Arisu. He wants to give the one he holds to her only when he finally pays off his debt, though Alice reminds Cinderella that Arisu will probably not wait for him or that she’d find someone else she can come to like in those long years ahead. Alice just calls him lame as heck expecting Arisu to wait; she’s the princess of this world and is out there somewhere looking for him.

At this moment, the Magician bursts through the door!! He’s here to take Cinderella to Arisu’s ball! And he (forcibly) turns Cinderella’s glasswork into a carriage and horses and KAGUYA IS SOMEHOW MAGICALLY OUTSIDE TOO all “hey i finally found you, Cinderella!” Kaguya and the Magician seem to know each other somehow…very suspicious. ANYWAY THEY JUST HAUL HIM OFF TO THE CAFE AFTER MAGICKING HIM INTO NICE CLOTHES. Arisu has reopened the cafe and invited Gretel and Snow White back to work for her (AWH). Well, it’s the opening party and she gets to dance with Cinderella when he arrives.

Cinderella tells Arisu that he has gone under apprenticeship with a glassworker and is training to sell his pieces as a professional, and puts the glass slipper he has on Arisu’s feet. Arisu hits him again with the whole thing about how SHE’LL ACCEPT EVERY LAST BIT OF HIM DESPITE HIS PAST GODDAMN IT and Cinderella is still hesitant to accept her kindness. Being with him will only bring her pain in the future, since he isn’t rich or anything. Besides, his time here has run out – it’s already midnight and he will return to who he really is, a poor man with no status. But Arisu doesn’t give a shit anyway. This is when Cinderella realizes all he’d wanted was for someone to look past his exterior and to see him for who he really was all this while. Arisu’s strong feelings have finally moved him and he promises not to disappear again. Even without money, he now has his own dream.

Outside the shop, the Magician celebrates. It’s another happy ending, and he reveals to the player that the price for this miracle is one of Cinderella’s future glass pieces – in a time when he would come to be known as a genius glass-worker.

BAD END 1: Cinderella ends up dumping Arisu and sending her home, and sells the cafe away. The Magician appears and consoles her, telling her not to give up for the sake of the story’s happy ending. He will give her as many chances as she wants, as long as she doesn’t give up. THE MAGICIAN IS BASICALLY THE GAME’S QUICKSAVE-QUICKLOAD FUNCTION LOL. He will reset Arisu’s choices and let her try again.

BAD END 2: Cinderella contacted Arisu’s parents to reject the marriage proposal, and Kaguya has come to the cafe to fetch Arisu back. Arisu agrees to leave because she can’t keep fooling everyone like this, and heads to her room to pack up. There, she meets the Magician, who tells her to retry again like the save function he is. You gotta pick the right choices, fate isn’t something that just ‘happens’ to you. Choose your destiny and aim for the happy end! The Magician bids her farewell and says he’ll meet her in a much further time down the road (IN GAME 2 OR 3 YEAH), and resets the game.

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS

I flipped out so badly over this game, I love it so much. Like, I never thought I’d love an otoge franchise THIS much until I finally got around to playing Taishou Alice. At first, I wasn’t too interested in it because I’d been looking at other things, but the whole fairytale adaptations + “the heroine who saves the prince” concept is pretty appealing. Again, I want to recommend everyone to try out Taishou Alice if possible. Interesting concept, great heroine, amazing writing, good characters – if you are interested in any part of the franchise at all, do give one of the episodes before the last one a try, since I’m sure the last one would just be a huge spoiler bomb.

I really liked how fresh Arisu is as an otoge heroine. She is by far the one with the most personality I’ve seen, what with her spice and engrish and cheeky maneater attitude. She is her own character. I felt like I could connect with her better while playing the game, because she’s more up-front and direct…and also doesn’t hesitate to crack internet jokes. And is also not shy at all about flirting with guys. Hell yeah. Unlike the usual settings with the heroine ‘saving’ the guys with her kindness or with her feminine grace, Arisu takes a bolder approach to saving those she cares about. She takes each scene into her own hands and actively, aggressively, pursues her goals. And I really like that. There’s nothing wrong with solving a guy’s problems with the heroine’s strong-but-graceful traits, and likewise there’s nothing wrong with grabbing the problem by the neck and hauling the guy off to face his own issues.

Cinderella and Akazukin were also really well-written characters. I loved how banter was written super well between everyone in both routes. Despite his wishy-washy attitude, Cinderella’s a pretty chill fella who’s just your regular good older brother. I thought he was a standoffish ore-sama character at first, but about 5mins after meeting him, he’s DEFINITELY not like the other ore-sama types I was used to seeing in drama CDs/games. He’s a damn good man with problems, but mostly just a damn good man who’s bullied a lot LMAO. He also plays the role of the mother-hen older brother to Arisu in other people’s routes!

Akazukin on the other hand. Oh my gosh. I admit I was motivated to start Taishou Alice because he looked like one of my favorites from another game (hi Yamanbagiri Kunihiro) and was voiced by the same fella. After starting his route, I stepped into Akazukin’s swamp and never turned back. AKAZUKIN IS THE CUTEST, SWEETEST CHILD. I just want to mother him and make sure he sleeps and eats well ;_; he’s got a heck lot of issues but he’s just so AWKWARD AND EARNEST AND SERIOUS I just cannot handle this type at all. Please let me love you forever. His route had a lot more “GUH” moments than Cinderella’s because Akazukin went down the more ~moe~ direction + has more gag segments. However, his route features comparatively less characters than Cinderella’s! It also felt a little shorter.

The setting of Taishou Alice is structured such that there’s a new ‘universe’ for each character’s route that you pick as the player. Each character’s personality is consistent throughout every scenario, but the stage changes – as if we’re enacting different AUs with the same actors on hand, with each AU featuring a different actor on stage as the main character. In the end, are the problems that XX character faced in his route still persistent and continuous even in other routes? It doesn’t seem so from my experience after Episode II, because while the characters are fundamentally unchanged, they don’t seem to have the same pasts/backstories or issues that they had in their own routes. For example, the Kaguya in Cinderella’s route is the same Kaguya in his own route…or so we think, until he reveals his problems. My heart broke, but then…are your problems even ‘real’, if they don’t seem to exist elsewhere? This is why I’m super curious about the truth behind Taishou Alice. What kind of setting is this? Who are these people?

The Magician appears to know a lot of answers to these questions, as does Alice. Their games will be out pretty soon, and while I got stuck playing Gretel’s route, I really want to get to playing the entirety of the franchise ASAP;; Sadly it won’t be possible to get it out that fast because I’ll be overseas until 2016 for studies, and I’ll be leaving the PC at home. However, I’m very certain I will follow this series until the end – and even past that.

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “Otome Game Review: Taishou Alice Episode I

  1. aika chan says:

    man thanks a looooooot you just review anything that im interested in.as expected its very detailed and good and oh btw will you give Walpurgis no Uta a try too?that looks intereating

    • Nerrin says:

      Thanks for the kind words! however, I’m not very interested in Walpurgis no Uta (there’s nothing really grabbing about the characters, art or setting for me) and it just looks kind of too chuuni for me 😦 I’ll see if I ever get to it though!

  2. lenaleemelodee says:

    Thanks for the review! I knew about this game ever since it was still in the works and was pretty excited about it since the script writer is the same guy that wrote Shinigami to Shoujo which is my favourite game. But since it’s a PC game I never got around it since I rarely come home, lol. I came across the first CD in Book Off and decided to give it a try. I’ve just finished Cinderella’s route (it’s my first route), and OMG I absolutely love it. I absolutely love otoge that have deep interesting stories.
    I haven’t checked out your other posts about tihs game yet because I want to finish it myself first, so I’m not sure if you’ve already finished it or not but I have a few guesses regarding your questions at the end of the post and I suspect they all are correct (Although as of now I have NO idea about the male Alice’s identity). I wish I was home more. I basically can only play this during weekends because I study and work from 9am to 12am 5 days a week.
    Oh, and I also absolutely love the BGM. Well, it’s Love Solfege. And actually the singer of the band has the same name as me! That’s a really big coincidence since internationally speaking it’s a rare name.
    Do have any information if they plan on releasing the OST for the game? I own all the Shinigami to Shoujo merch which was almost limited edition (apart from the Kirishima/Sayo story book). Is it the same with Taisho Alice?
    Oh, and not sure about your Japanese language knowledge. But even though I’m N2 I still had trouble understanding lost of things, so I’d either be using jisho or just plain reading the explanation somewhere else… Or is it just me?

    I’m new to your blog but thank you very much for the review! Now I’m off to Akazukin’s route!

    • lenaleemelodee says:

      Scratch the question about the OSt. I just googled it and found out that you have to pruchase all 4 cds to get it. OR there’s one being sold at Yahoo Auctions for 4,000 yen (the cheapest price).

      • Nerrin says:

        Hello there!!! Thank you for the kind words ;_; I’m still in the midst of playing through Episodes 2-3 because I just got back from Japan and I’ve been swamped with work HAHA but I’ll have those posts up soon~!

        I hope you had a wonderful time with this game, I really love how the story is done and how the mystery of the universe slowly plays out to the player. I hope you also liked the main girl, she’s my favorite otoge heroine by far at the moment HAHAHA I REALLY LIKE THIS GAME.

        If you like love solfege, do have a look at Princess Arthur! They did the OP and ED of that game and I really liked that as well. The writer’s become one of my favorites under Otomate HAHA, just like how Taisho Alice’s writer is now someone I’ll be looking out for. She writes so well.

        I haven’t taken JLPT in my life HAHAHA, just some classes in school but most of my knowledge (if any) is self-studied and fueled by my sheer desperation to play mobile games/otome games/catch up with fandom news on Twitter. Somehow I’m in a class where I’m supposed to read Japanese academic texts but the vocab still eludes me tbh. I don’t dare attempt N2…it’s really admirable if you hold an N2 cert, so just keep improving your range of vocab!!

        ENJOY AKAZUKIN!!! If you have time, do let me know how you felt about his route! 😀

        • lenaleemelodee says:

          Oh! You just got back from Japan! I actually live here now, lol. I admit I spend a lot of money on anime/manga/games… I’m already an adult so it’s a bit shameful >.> I’ve just finished playing Akazukin. And my initial impression was a do-S “TEEE HEE, so cute” even though I dislike tsundere but this was played out really well, and well, the whole plot twist was pretty awesome. But so far I’d prefer Cinderella… but then again Akazukin is beyond adorable… Dunno. I like them all. Should I play Gretel’s route next? Or Kaguya’s? I wonder if there’s a reason why they didn’t put Gretel and Snow White in the same game cd. I’m loving this game more and more. :3 Looking forward to your impressions as well!

        • lenaleemelodee says:

          Oh and thanks for the recommendation! I will try it. When I have free time, that is T^T I tend to play only stuff that I’m almost obsessed with because otherwise I can’t find time for anything apart from study and work.

        • lenaleemelodee says:

          Oh and yeah, I really like the main character! She basically pushes the story. But sometimes I wish they’d show a CG of the guy kissing her first not just her kissing him. But well, all in all, everything great. I also have to admit that Cinderella’s monologue when he closed her eyes with his hand is probably one of my favourites even if it sounds cheesy.

          • Nerrin says:

            I’m glad you liked Akazukin’s route!!! I loved it and fell into the swamp that is Taisho Alice because of him and this whole game UGH, what are regrets LOL

            I also liked Episode II so you can start anywhere tbh! Personally, I think the feel of II is more extreme than I because the characters have more intense problems and likewise Arisu has intense ways of solving them…Kaguya hurt me so much LMFAO I still love him anyway

            It’s alright to spend on what makes you happy IMO ^q^) i wish i could’ve gotten to do the Taisho Alice kuji while it was still out orz

            I like the aggressiveness that Arisu has though! It’s rare to see otome game heroines grab the guy and kiss him so I was like YES!!! FINALLY!!! maybe it will happen the other way around in the final game who knows ohoho

    • Nerrin says:

      I’ve actually completed the whole game but I’ve lent my copy to a friend so I can’t look over it at the moment but I’ll write up everyone else in detail when I get it back ;_; i’m really sorry about that!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s