Intro: A story regarding a particular incident that occurred amid the main plot, Guardian of Rebirth.
After having played two lackluster routes, Cantarella was exactly what I needed to finish off this game. It was an exciting and charming story from start to finish, introducing us to three new endearing characters, The Songstress: Canterella, her adoptive father: Miles, and Baron Aiguille! It was a huge step up from the last in between event said to have taken place in the main game (Lupin’s Gang from Future Blessings). It was the characters that made this story so much fun to play.
However if there’s one thing that I can’t help but have reservations about, it’s the approach of making Cantarella one of Cardia’s earlier prototypes. AKA, you could say she is her older sister. The reason why I am not a huge fan of this approach is because, not only this event is supposed to have happened before Cardia discovers what she is in the main game, but this also means that aside from Miles, nobody knows that the two of them are basically siblings. This is explains a lot why Miles had asked Cardia to call Cantarella as her sister. However at the same time, it’s super depressing and annoying to some extent knowing that this was never brought to the girls themselves. So it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. That’s pretty much the reason why there’s a part of me that wished Cantarella had no ties to Isaac. Of course her connection with him was essential for this particular plot-line, as she was the key to activating the Clockwork Castle that Isaac had built, but perhaps they could have had someone else other than Isaac tackling such an ambitious project.
Aside from my personal reservations with the plot-choices, I absolutely love the new characters that were introduced in this story. Cantarella is beautiful, has a fragile heart with fears of abandonment, but can cut you down with her savage comments. I appreciated the girls’ friendship/bond a lot more than I did with Shirley.
Niles is an incredibly fun (not to mention handsome!) character, and I was especially a huge fan of his voice actor’s work. How do I explain it, sure there was the script, but I felt it was his voice that really made his character shine. I also appreciated how distinct it was, laced in his personality, and the transition when he tried to play the act as the villain. (Thankfully they showed us ahead of time that Miles was being forced to comply to Twilight’s demands, and had to play the bad guy. However he didn’t need to say the things he said to Cantarella, which is why Lupin, Impey and Van all slugged him for it. It was his old noble-idiocy, thinking she would be better off without him. He was never trying to kill her, but save her.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that was the case, same goes to my suspicions there was a lot more to Miles than he was letting on. For a while, I was uncertain about whether or not he could be trusted, but when Cantarella collapsed on the stage, and when we saw how upset he was when Aleister played him, I knew he truly cared about about her. It’s just a shame they neither one of them were really able to properly express that until now. Miles especially had a it complicated, by playing the role as a gamble addict, splurging on the money Cantarella has earned from her performances as a means to cover up the fact he was using it to fund Twilight, in return to obtain the medicine that was needed to keep her alive to suppress whatever the device is in her brain that’s causing the problems in the first place.
Miles’ character was incredibly fascinating in ways of giving us a way to learn more about Lupin’s mentor, his connection with him and shedding more light on what pushed them to leave Twilight. The tipping point was when they (he and Theo) were called in to do the dirty work of disposing the failed corpses of the homunculus he had created. At that moment, both of their ideals and sense of justice of Twilight had been crushed. The organization they had once believed exists for the greater good was instead a force that pushed projects and ambitions that would descend the world into chaos. Unfortunately, because had had chosen to take Cantarella under his wing, as Theo had warned, whether he liked it or not, he was bound to be dragged back into Twilight’s affairs, which was exactly what happened.
Also, it seems they have alluded to Watson being Miles’ brother? When I first saw Miles, I thought he and Watson looked alike, so I did wonder if they were related. They never outright said it, but with given his conversations with Aleister, I am assuming they must be, right?
Then we have Aiguille. Oh my goodness he’s so cute! He is a very fun character because the kid is an such a dork and I love him for it. He’s clumsy, adorable and understandably awkward when it comes to social interactions. But his shyness and good heart was apparent when he proved how startled he was about accidentally hurting Cantarella, apologizing to her, and such. I knew he wasn’t a bad guy, not the kind of threat we really needed to be concerned about. That’s why I found it extra hilarious when Cantarella was having her meltdown over Miles bullshit betrayal, because here Aiguille had made up his mind to play as a villain, but instead he ended up sweeping in like a Knight in Shiny Armor, and indirectly saving Cardia from Twilight clutches too!
Poor guy though, dreams of reawakening the clockwork castle so he could travel the world, but hilariously it never dawned to him how it would scare the living shit out of people wherever he went. That’s exactly what happened when Cantarella went berserk and the castle made its way to the heart of London. They were prepared to blow it up because they thought it was going to attack them, which is an understatement since it really does look like a giant fortress sitting atop a massive tank. It shocked me how Impey revealed the thing was nothing more than a toy of a sorts, with no weapons or anything hazardous equipped on it. Its appearance certainly begs to differ…But that’s Isaac for you, creating all sorts of ridiculous machines.
Speaking of the devil himself, by making Cantarella one of Cardia’s earlier prototypes, it gave us more insight of how insane Isaac had become at the time amiss his collection of failures. He has abused his creations, which is why Cantarella has abandonment issues when he had attempted to disposed of her.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Overall, I thought this was a fantastic story, I was hooked from start to finish. Although there were a number of moments when I thought, “WTF?”, “I am so confused right now”, I still enjoyed it a lot.
Best of all, the story never dragged, nor did it suffer from repetitions, a problem I had with Lupin’s Gang story in Future Blessings. Additionally, this route has a great replay value thanks to the variety of options and offers a bit of variety for character interactions. One of the choices (where you choose between the west or east hall) you need to save there because each one features its own CG.
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