So, knowing myself and that if I went for Saito and Hijikata right after Souji I’d probably burn out, I went for what I thought was my least desired next play. I WAS WRONG.
The same as my other review, I will warn when spoilers begin. This is the spoiler freeish version.
Harada’s route is extremely different from Souji’s. First off, you’ve got two completely different characters. Souji is unique in his own right, but Harada has something really special about him. The biggest part of Harada’s story is going, I feel like I/Chizuru am/is so in love with him and he’s being so stoic for the flirty type? Oh, he’s not stoic. Sano is definitely someone you need to stick with. After you get out of the dull Heisuke/Shinpachi/Harada stuff and each character starts to change, the whole dynamic of Sano’s personality really comes into view. Not just that, but one of the demon antagonists gets a limelight and becomes surprisingly endearing. Sano really represents humanity in this gameplay. He has the least supernatural elements around him, and actually has a very sweet desire for his life.
Sano’s romance also does something for me personally in respect for Chizuru doing more. She definitely steps up and says, hey wait a sec. I’m not even going to ask, I need to do something! In fact, keep that in mind, it just might save you from a game over. I definitely still feel the very powerful, yeah, they’re totally in love, feeling. The tension and angst is very thick and I deeply enjoy it! Also, Harada’s actor is very good. Not as good as Okita’s, but I definitely felt the vibes from him.
~~Spoiler land, HO!!!!!!~~
Harada is real. He is like a real guy. He wants to fight and play with swords for a good portion of his life but at the end of it all, his dream is to have a wife and a family. A wife and a family he can protect. Because of this, Sano won my heart. He literally went from some guy I would romance to, wow, I see why they did this. This was actually something beautiful. Sano starts out even by saying that a woman shouldn’t be on the battlefield. I took this badly at first, then was okay with it for one simple reason. Well okay a few. Come on. Ancient Japan. But on another note, he really explains why. A man should be able to protect women and children. He doesn’t even sound like an ass while saying this. He sounds genuine, and sweet.
And when he loses and needs Chizuru’s help, it crushes him. He can’t face her for several events because he knows in his heart he couldn’t protect her. This deeply deeply upsets him. He is a great warrior but can’t stand up to the demons who want to destroy Chizuru. He can’t face himself, nonetheless her. Chizuru tries to sneak out and he reveals all of this to her when he realizes it, and then kisses her. But the hard truth of relationships is what you have to give up to be in one, especially as a warrior.
and guys come on LET ME TAKE THIS POINT TO SAY
DAMN HAKUOKI. Okay guys THIS ROUTE IS SO DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT FROM OKITA’S. IT’S LIKE…BEAUTIFULLY DIFFERENT. YOU CAN JUSTIFY BUYING THIS GAME. IT IS NOT LIKE, OH DATING SIM. GO HERE X TIMES BUY THIS X TIMES DO THIS X TIMES, OR VISUAL NOVEL WITH BARELY ANY DIFFERENT SHIT. NO. EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT. EVERYTHING IS AWESOME. LITERALLY, YOU’RE PART OF THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE MKAY.
Anyway, at a pivotal point in the game Sannon (who you should know, if you havent been informed, is insane) is pushing to use Chizuru for experiments. Hijikata gives a subtle warning and Chizuru, Shinpachi, and Sanosuke leave the shinsengumi. You run into daddy before leaving who is evil and blah blah. You determine you have to talk sense into your dad. But Sano and Shinpachi are best friends and if Sano comes with you, it would mean he’d be breaking a promise to fight with Shinpachi. Chizuru (oh if it pisses you off that I’m switching between Chizuru/you well…fuck you. you is a lot shorter you asswipe. if you’re not mad though, here have cookies!) realizes the strength of their friendship and the burden she’s placing on Sano and determines she must go alone. So she cofronts Sanosuke about this and he
gives the best
THIS SCENE MAKES THE ENTIRE ROMANCE. Before it was good, but after this it is amazing. It has every right to exist with Souji’s story because it exists in a completely different way. A girl who is not human, guilty of loving a human, the same human who must acknowledge what it means to reach for one dream- I’m not being a facetious asshole guys. I am actually really deeply moved by the depth of this story. Chizuru faces a common dilemma with a supernatural twist, not being good enough for someone. And Sanosuke knows that the person he wants to become and who he is requires him to make tough choices, and yet he still says in the end that he knows this is right. He says that he knows he’ll have to give up more things he cares about for Chizuru and that it will be hard, but he knows he’ll do it everytime, and that that’s what love is.
But wait. GUYS. I’M NOT DONE. I’M NOT. DONE. OKAY. THE SCENE DOESN’T END THERE. Guys, there’s a sex scene. Now you know me. Perv. Boobies. No, it’s one of those romantic yet fulfilling sex scenes. AND IT IS. PERFECT. THE SUBTLETY IS SEXY, AND THE NOT SUBTLE PARTS ARE ROMANTIC. IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL. GUYS, THIS SCENE. I HAVE REWATCHED IT ALREADY. IT’S WONDERFUL. PLEASE PLAY SANO’S ROUTE GUYS. I SWEAR TO GOD HE IS AWESOME. I VOUCH FOR HIM, OKI SEAL OF APPROVAL. HAVE A PICTURE OF BABY TIMES WITH SANO. YES. YOU GETS TO HAVE BABIES. WITH SANO. SANO BABIES. IT’S
GUYS I CAN’T BE COHERENT YOU DON’T GET IT
This storyline is wonderful. Please, please, please do yourself a favor and play it! Sano’s storyline is definitely another reason why Hakuoki is a wonderful purchase that I fully back.
Harada Sanosuke is the first route I managed to complete with the GOOD END after failing twice thanks to curiosity and being drawn to Kazuma.
Before I start, I have a confession to make: Harada was not my first choice, in fact what happened was I actually started off with the whole “RUN FOR IT” after playing 8 HOURS STRAIGHT (mind you this at this point its 2:27am) and failing twice; I wasn’t’ taking it seriously was was thinking to myself, “Oh what the hell, lets see what happens and I’ll go to bed…” …Only, to my surprise it led my straight into Hijikata’s route! But here’s the thing! I wanted to save him for last!!!
So I continued and lalalala~ and then I found myself on Harada’s path.
It’s not so difficult if you stay put and not run too many duties, in particular for Hijikata but eventually after the past two failures I started getting the hang on how I was supposed to answer.
I experienced my first GAME OVER in this route.
I couldn’t believe it. That bastard, Shiranui killed me!!! Obviously I went back to INSTANT replay where I saved but whatever you do: DO NOT RUN AWAY, EVEN WHEN HARADA TELLS YOU DO. THAT’S HOW YOU DIE!
Harada’s character is really soft, kind and a total gentleman. And like Oki mentioned in the above, very real. Their relationship is well balanced and makes you, the heroine a strong character. In this path, it’s NOT about being the helpless damsel in distress, you actually get off your ass and protect the one you love and do shit even when its futile and create opportunities!
Harada’s path is very sweet, but the events before Chapter 5 were pretty boring. It was only after that when I started liking him a bit more. His ending is beautiful, simple and sweet- not over the top- real and adorable. You’re married, you have a baby boy and aksjdlashd SO CUTE I TELL YOU! It’s beautiful! I definitely loved their relationship and was pleased how it unfolded.
Another thing I enjoyed about Harada’s route was his relationship with Shiranui.
We learn a lot about Shiranui because of their rivalry, and I enjoyed that because it gave more depths and expansion to the route. It was no longer just about Harada and focusing on building a relationship with him, it was learning about Shiranui’s past and why he feels the way he does towards humans. The best part was definitely learning that he once had a human friend who passed away, and to the point that as we progressed further into the story, Harada and Shiranui would work together.
I think that one of the reasons Harada doesn’t exactly appeal to me (ALTHOUGH I WILL NOT DENY HE IS AN ABSOLUTE SWEETHEART AND IS ONE OF MY FAVOURITES) is because he was able to remain as a human- not that its’ a bad thing, this is actually a good thing, another factor the makes his character realistic. The thing is, I have a preference for type of characters. I’m more interested and drawn to those who are demons because I adore those types- and that’s precisely why I was so drawn to Kazama and pulled into the “FOREVER ALONE” ends- twice at that.
SO WHATEVER YOU DO.
DO NOT, AIM FOR KAZAMA’S ROUTE FIRST, THAT’S HOW YOU DEFINITELY END UP FOREVER ALONE!!!!!!!!