☆ THIS REVIEW CONTAINS GAME SPOILERS ☆
Yuzuki was one of the few characters I was naturally curious about. I mean, who wouldn’t be? He comes from the Murakumo Clan, infamous for having an iron-grip on the town, head of the Ensepulchers ,who hunts Revenants, and forced the closure of the Hot Springs District (Old Town) because they didn’t like outsiders!
And he sure enough, he starts off as the most pessimistic guy on the block. He has very little faith in Humanity, and considered them foolish, selfish and untrustworthy. Even when Ichiko had sincerely praised his flower arrangements, he thought she was ridiculing him. So Ichiko’s transparent, straightforward and honest personality was exactly the kind of antidote he needs to shed some light in the terribly negative outlook he had of the world. It was something that continued to shock him, because he just wasn’t used to being around someone like her.
During the early game, Yuzuki is best described as: “Hot and Cold”. One minute he’s barking at her, the next he is apologizing, and showing off his softer side. It wasn’t about being tsundere, it was more about him gradually catching onto his bad habits and eventually evolved to the point that he did it because he was afraid of being close to her. He was scared of his own feelings. That being said, once he opens up, he is such a cute and clumsy guy! He looks cool and tries to act like it, but he is actually a total softie!
But he was nothing like I could have possibly imagined him. For starters, instead of going to the festival (there’s no way in hell that would have happened under any circumstances), Yuzuki is bedridden with a fever, and it’s Ichiko who stays with him all night, nursing him back to health. For the first time of the entire game, we see Yuzuki in a vulnerable position where he has no choice but to depend on the heroine. Then when he faces off against Kagura, for someone who was appointed as the leader of the Ensepulchers, it actually shocked me how weak and careless he was! Actually, Yuzuki health was a mess this route. First he starts off with the fever, he gets beaten up by Chikage, and then he gets stabbed and almost killed by Kagura, I mean what the heck is this? All of this happened within two weeks!
Yuzuki’s story focused on the clash of ideals between him and his father, Murakumo Kyouji. After having met Tsuzuki, and learned about why and how Revenants come back to life, Yuzuki didn’t want to follow his father’s ways of the dark age of killing the Revenants, but instead he wishes to help send them back to where they belong, by assisting them in whatever conditions they need to fulfill that is keeping them tied to the living world. The only time Yuzuki would make any exceptions, would be in rare cases like Kagura, who needs to be exterminated because they are too dangerous. As result, his father expelled him from the Ensepulchers.
THEIR LOVE STORY
Unlike the other routes, this one starts on August 3rd, where Ichiko has already settled into working at the hotel… and I am not completley sold on the decision. Now while I understand why they did this, I just wished they had at least allowed Ichiko and Yuzuri to have the opportunity to interact with each other some more before this meeting. Neither of the times when they bumped into each other at the door, or when he called her into his office enabled them to learn more about the other, where as the others had the opportunity to do so, through the first and second Supernatural Club Gathering, and some random encounter. By skipping over all that, it interfered with the natural flow of their first encounters. As result, the first time the two actually get to interact with each other properly, was when she intrudes into his secret door in his office, that is connected to his private residence. This encounter however is, just like the first two times, it is incredibly negative, even when Ichiko was sincerely praising him for the beautiful flower arrangement. But then all of that changes when Yuki entrusts her the duty to bring food to him room, and learns Yuzuki is suffering from a high fever. Of all the scenes in this routes, this was the scene that I felt was put in out of convenience, all for the sake of a providing the fastest way for the two to get close to one another. Forcing Yuzui to have to rely on somebody for once, was one of many ways to do it. This is precisely why I felt the beginning of the route was rushed.
From here on out, the two of them more or less have developed a crush on each other, and Yuzuki softens up to her, significantly. This is mainly because Yuzuki continuously has to save her from a bad situation, either she is in the wrong place at the wrong time (almost being spotted by the Ensepulchers) or she ended up being used bait to lure him out. At this point, the two of them are comfortably hugging each other, I couldn’t help but have mixed opinions about it, especially with Ichiko completely head over heels for this guy at this point… after only three days of knowing each other. Dear god… This is why I like to describe these two as #Married since August 3rd.
However if there’s one thing that stood out to me, Ichiko and Yuzuki have excellent chemistry with one another. Their interactions were always adorable, their conversations just seems to click and flow in ways that sometimes feels one-sided in some of the other routes. Yuzuki being flustered was the most precious thing about him, especially when he made blunders of making it sound like he was asking her to date him, when he was really just asking her to go to his family’s mansion. AHAHAHAHA! AND HE DIDN’T EVEN REALIZE IT UNTIL SHE TOLD HIM!
Most importantly, Ichiko had a voice, and she wasn’t afraid to speak up when she felt the need to. And it was nice to see because for most of the routes, she has been a very passive heroine who lets the boys control the flow of the conversations or objectives. My favourite scene had to be the one where she shut Kyouji up by calling him, “Father”. The old geezer was shook, and Yuzuki was so flustered, it was hilarious!
And besides Sousuke’s route, this is probably the most independent Ichiko has ever been. We saw her going out around town, even getting lost in the process because she is investigating on her own. This is mainly because Isora, Hino and Toa (who was completely absent) were virtually non-existent in this route. Kagura is the only one who has a few more appearances because well, he is Cat Mask, always looking a window of opportunity to kill him.
Happy End: Yuzuki Lives
Man they did did a good job trolling us for a second by making Yuzuki pretend he had an amnesia. My god, when he said, “Who are you?” I flipped out because I was so mad! Thank god it it was just a sick joke, but their final scene was terribly underwhelming, leaving more to be desired. It was definitely missing something. Yuzuki revealing he would have regretted not being able to kiss her everyday was… lacklustre to say the least.
Normal End: Yuzuki Dies
I am not going to lie, the normal end definitely left more to be desired. Even though Yuzuki died, I wanted to see him come back as a Revenant, all for the sake of angst. I would have loved to have seen a parallel of the lesson Tsuzuki taught Yuzuki, especially when it’s later revealed in the True End how Revenants can leave when they have completed their task and are ready to return to the realm of the dead. This is one of the reasons why I am particularly annoyed with the way they arranged the routes!
True Highlight of the Route: Chikage x Tsuzuri
One of the best things about this route was Chikage and Tsuzuri’s love story. Many of the routes int his game has a very slow mid-game, but here had to be the strongest one of them all, simply because of it was a memorable one the invoked a lot of emotions.
Chikage came to this town to investigate what had happened to his wife who for all he knew, had died a year earlier. His only lead was the town itself and knowing Yuzuki was with or near her when she made the call. Yuzuki was the one who helped Chikage’s wife Tsuzuri, who returned as a revenant to make one last call in hopes to not only give him a sense of closure, but congratulate him on the publication of his novel. This is actually the first scene in the game that actually made me cry.
Tsuzuri is also an incredibly important character. She served as the catalyst of change. Without her, Yuzuki would have never questioned his father’s approach, he may have never broken from his grasped, and he may have never rebelled against him. Tsuzuri taught him that Revenants are still Human, they are incredibly lonely, and come back because they either need to finish business, or they can’t let go of this world or their families can’t let go of them. Only the rare cases like Kagura’s, who was a serial killer and loved killing people, are the ones who really need to be exterminated, because they are simply too dangerous and irrational to work with.
Chikage also served as a very important role in this route as well: Being the one to save Ichiko when Yuzuki and Sousuke messed up, big time. (YOU HAD ONE JOB, TIE HIM UP PROPERLY!!!) Yuzuki ends up getting critically wounded by being stabbed by having the knife stolen and used against him, and Ichiko is almost killed while being held hostage. Seriously, it’s thanks to Chikage that she got out alive. He was the one to ultimately finish the job, and finish Kagura off. I find it a bit hard to believe Kyouji thought Yuzuki was ready to lead the Ensepulchers when he is this careless… You’d think he would be more experienced… you know, like in combat. Actually this is one of my biggest disappointments in Yuzuki’s character: They made him into this utterly powerless guy.
Needless to say, it was disappointing of not being able to see the Power Trio I didn’t know I needed play out in a more epic fashion.
It is in this route where we learn for the first time the most commonly used method to kill a Revenant. Throw salt on the subject and light them on fire. All conditions must be fullfiled, or else the Revenants will survive. This is why Kagura survived the fall off cliff in Hino’s route and survived the fire in Isora’s.
However through Tsuzuri, we learned there is another way for Revenants to be set free… but we don’t actually get to see it in action…. Which sucks. Again, this is why I am frustrated with the way they arranged the routes of the game. Seriously, they should have just made Toa’s route the last of the main routes, geez.
The Murakumo’s Shady Practices
One of the biggest gains made in this route was revealing how the Murakumo clan lied to the public about Ichiko’s brother coming to town to investigate something. For someone who was unknown to them, it was suspicious how well he knew the in and outs of town, and was eventually found in the legendary Valley of Violacia.
When the route ends, we learn the Ensepulchers had planted Hanate’s journal in Kagura’s belongings to make Ichiko believe he was killed. This of course came as no surprise, as it was already revealed in Sousuke’s route that Kyouji had Hanate’s journal in his possession the entire time. The only difference, is that this more or less comfirmed that Hanate was still alive, and Kyouji and the Ensepulchers don’t want anyone to know about it.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Coming into this route, I was very surprised by the lack of resolution in regards to mystery of Hanate’s disappearance. I expected a lot more since it required to be unlocked, and made the assumption this was the True Route… only to be proven wrong. It probably would have been better if I hadn’t, but it still doesn’t change the fact I was still left disappointed with how they neglected to resolve Hanate’s mystery, and we never get to see Yuzuki use the knowledge he had gained from Tsuzuri within his own route, to help a revenant. It kind of defeats the point don’t you think? This is also the main reason why I believe Yuzuki’s route should have be accessible and played before Toa’s. It would have been the perfect way to follow up on it since they were never going to show us how Revenants can set themselves free by fulfilling their purpose that ties them to the living world.
Another thing I disliked about this route was how it felt almost as though they were completely disconnected from the main storyline. Each of the incidents (except for the second/third one, Shinryu’s death) was brought up rather briefly, and hardly had an presence to the point I actually forgot about them. It also frustrated me how Kyouji ended up overlooking whatever made Ichiko important because he thought he had mistaken her for another girl. There is also the part we have seen in Isora’s route where Yuzuki noticed something about her eyes (the red glow that can be seen in pictures), yet we never see this be addressed in this route, which I find it rather outrageous! Every route so far has given us a little clue about Ichiko’s secret that she herself doesn’t even know about, and of all things they had elected to go with Kagura to be the one to vaguely explaining she is a special card because she is an “albino”, who is said to grant those (Revenants) who kill her, eternal life without hunger.
While there were a number of things I wished they had done differently, this also had to be one of the most fun I have played of the bunch. Ichiko’s and Yuzuki had a chemistry that felt natural, and their interactions was always something to look forward to. This, and Chikage’s backstory are the two main reasons why I am rating this route a 4/5.
But if there is one thing petty complaint I have to make, it is how I am super bummed out we never got to see more of Yuzuki is that smoking hot Ensepulchers outfit, (they may look weird and totally out of place, but damn he looks so good in it!) I would have loved to see him in it more! Sousuke too actually, such a bummer they never made it an alternative outfit for him…HECK HE DOESN’T HAVE ANY FOR THAT MATTER! (Nor Sousuke now that I think about it!)
Overall Yuzuki’s route is a fun one that entertains me enough to want to come back and play it again for the shits and giggles. I would rank him 2nd among my favourite routes of the game.
Replay Value: High
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