☆ WARNING, THIS REVIEW CONTAINS GAME SPOILERS ☆
Isora’s character is a mixed bag for me. On one hand, after going through Hino’s route where he actively puts Ichiko in more danger for stupid reasons, Isora’s actions were more his selfishness and becoming a control freak when it comes to managing Ichiko’s safety. Fortunately, by the end of the route, Isora apologized for his actions and properly reflected on his actions by recognizing that what he did was selfish, and made her uneasy by locking her up like that without properly explaining things. He did at least tell the others she was somewhere safe (though understandably, Hino at the very least, could only take his words with a grain of salt, since the two of them are virtually strangers). I mean it makes sense why he couldn’t or wouldn’t tell anyone, it would be stupid to, given that there was no telling if the culprit was among them (and sure enough, he himself confirmed that he is living under the same roof).
Given that Ichiko was Isora’s first love, this sort of explains why he makes such bold moves on Ichiko. Some people may find it to be endearing, but the more he did it the more it turned me off. He kept on touching Ichiko without her consent, she even told him to let go and he wouldn’t. It annoyed me that he didn’t respect her personal boundaries. None of this was cute at all. This is probably why I never thought anything he did was even remotely romantic– and whenever he did, it was still hard to take seriously knowing he is still in high school. Sometimes I actually wonder why they decided to make him younger than the Heroine…
…Well I guess it isn’t that hard to figure out.
Regardless, more often than not, I would forget Isora is still only a 2nd Year High School Student. And honestly, it doesn’t surprise me this happened because Isora (up until mid-late game) constantly reacted a lot more maturely and sensibly than Hino ever did. He recognized the threat of a killer on the loose, and the first thing that comes to mind is to get Ichiko out of town. While we know that of course won’t guarantee her safety (especially if you have played Hino’s route first), it is still how you would expect most people to react in situations like this. However when Ichiko acts recklessly and fails to heed his warnings, that’s when Isora takes extreme measures of hiding her out in the Old Town, until she can recover from her injury after being attacked.
For most parts, if you chose all the right answers Isora won’t get mad…. And you really don’t want him to be. By mid-game, you will quickly learn when Isora gets mad, he is scary. Seriously: Don’t piss him off. The cute “innocent” (my ass) puppy is nowhere to be seen. I think the most intense scene had to be when he fought against Cat Mask, and was smashing the guy’s head into the floor– holy shit. Shouldn’t that be traumatic?! (Also I am a bit surprised by the lack of blood on his hands and face during the confessions CG, it just magically vanished. I guess we can’t have him caressing the heroine’s face with someone else’s’ blood on his hands, along with his own wounds!) The only silver-lining is that we never see him cross the line such as drugging her as some characters in other series would do in a situation like this one. It helps he actually communicated his intentions… Albeit, there were times when he really should have just kept his thoughts to himself, because it only freaked Ichiko out even more (justifiably so), and of course after hearing things like, “I get to keep you here all to myself”, it is only natural she would grow paranoid! Remember, she hardly knows this guy! She hasn’t recovered her memories of their past just yet!
I didn’t talk much about Ichiko in Hino’s route… but that was mainly because there wasn’t much to talk about. Here however, there is much that needs to be discussed, and it’s not necessarily a good thing. Much like in Hino’s route, Ichiko is once again a doormat, and even said strange things such as how she “liked” being manipulated by him.
Girl, no. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. That is a dangerous! And then when she says she is fine with him acting selfishly around her, another red flag went up, because again, she doesn’t draw the line. Of course maybe I am nitpicking, especially since it’s just the final scene of their route, but I mean you can still express your love without going that far! UGH!
And the one time she decides she to be proactive, was through stupid and reckless actions. Yuki has been ‘kidnapped’, and Isora didn’t want her to head out alone, but she and Hino insists she could do the errands, and he lets her under the agreement she will return once she’s done. Of course she gets sidetracked with wanting to investigate on her own. Truly, Ichiko’s lack of awareness of her surroundings is abysmal. The Sun about to set? Let’s go to the middle school to investigate! Spot the black car? Let’s chase it! Of course she ends up getting lost and then attacked– had it not been for Isora shadowing her nearby, she would have been killed right then and there.
It wasn’t until late game when she is in the hideout that she starts to use her head properly. Finally, she starts to think and act more carefully, picking out the lies in Isora’s stories, and starts to consider her options how she may need to escape, as she grows paranoid and suspicious of him because of the stupid things he is says.
Happy End: Isora wants to help her get over her dislike of strawberries. Body found in the wreckage, but the mask is missing. Ichiko tells Isora it’s fine to be selfish with her.
Normal End: Isora saves Ichiko and makes it out okay. HIs hand is fine too, the two of them bid their farewell and go their separate ways. Ichiko returns to Tokyo with no promise of long-distance relationship.
I have to laugh though, there were some unrealistic/illogical moments, such as the scene when Isora told her about how they knew each other in the past while the room is on fire. I am not going to lie, even I forgot that was happening! It was so ridiculous!
Final Verdict: 3/5
At the end of the day, while I was not a fan of either Isora’s or Ichiko’s character, I’d by lying if I said I didn’t enjoy his route more than Hino’s. Establishing the plot points and clues about the town and Ichiko’s brother played a big part of keeping my attention. Among the mysteries, two of them were solved, one of them being explained in the story (how Ichiko came to dislike strawberries), and the other is merely speculation at this stage of the game, but is something I have a lot of confidence on my bet. Honestly, I feel like this route makes it pretty obvious who is behind the mask. It becomes rather plainly obvious after Fuurinkan Hotel’s white cat is killed no thanks to that psychopath… However it is unclear whether or not he got away. We learned there’s a body recovered from the fire, and the cat mask is missing (though it could also be interpreted as having been destroyed in the fire), but the one thing that perplexes me the most, is how the DNA sample claims said it wasn’t anyone they knew. Either this is something that was tightly under wraps of the Murakumo Family, and didn’t want Cat Mask’s identity to be out, or this may mysteriously have been a completely different corpse altogether, which would have been super creepy and unexplained, so let’s just stick to the first theory!
Speaking of the devils, Yuki was ‘abducted’ by the Murakumo Family… only to be scolded for failing to disband the Supernatural Club. The kid may be a genius, but he also got the guts to challenge, let alone defy his elders’ orders- the Murakumo’s no less. He knows its an imitation tactic and the way he just shrugs it off is pretty amazing when you think about it. This kid is a force to be reckoned with!
However among all the mysteries that were mentioned in this route, the circumstances which surrounds Ichiko’s brother however certainly raises some eyebrows and makes him hella suspicious. From the lack of photographs to use as references, to the town folks having no memories of an outsider visiting town, let alone disappearing, to supposedly stayed elsewhere other than Fuurinkan, the only inn available in town, it certainly makes him a mysterious one. But it’s not just that, it wasn’t until the end of the route when Ichiko finally remembers she has in fact been in this town before. She was there while her parents were on vacation overseas, and that’s how she met Isora, and gave him that motivation to pursue his dream of becoming a pastry chef…. And how she came to dislike strawberries in the first place.
On the side note, Sousuke is basically MIA for the entire route. Toa makes a couple of brief appearances, but doesn’t add much to the events unfolding around them (with the exception of the White Cat’s Death). It also surprised me how Yuzuki was also noticeably absent, the only time he was featured at all this route was when he noticed something about Ichiko. I will tell you right now, this is the only time we see him do this, and it drives me nuts.
As for difficulty: I would say Isora’s route was definitely trickier, as the first playthrough, I completely blew it. No matter what option I went with at the half-way point (Day 7), Ichiko ended up killed. So during my second playthrough I turned on the Love Up, and started from Day 3 again (the start of Isora’s route) and went on from there. It was very easy to collect all of the CGs.
Replay Value: Low
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