Intro: An amnesiac girl falls into a monster-infested world. She meets several boys with the same affliction and they reside in a mansion to evade the monsters. They adopt the names above their doors, and the girl becomes ‘Beniyuri.’ They receive text messages ordering them to “complete the kaleidoscope.” Who are they? Who sent this message? And what is the kaleidoscope?
Final thoughts below:
Common Route/Best End: In this world are black and white butterflies, and monsters. To protect themselves, Beniyuri and co. summon guns through the power of imagination. During an exploration of the mansion, Beniyuri finds a shard. A bunny-mask girl says this is part of the kaleidoscope the master wants them to complete. They continue to fight monsters and collect shards, and one day, Yamato invites her to talk. He’s been stressed out and he wants to leave because his twin brother is hospitalized and he needs to see him. Back in her room, the master sends her a message. Attached is a photo of Yamato and Hikage-they’re twins. Yamato bursts from his room, screaming, and flees the mansion.
Everyone witness him become a monster. The bunny-girl, whom Beniyuri dubbed Usagi, says their souls are in-between life and death. If they cling to their memories, they’ll be overtaken by the black butterflies, become monsters, and fall into the Abyss. If they forget everything, they can pass on to the afterlife. But if they complete the kaleidoscope, the master will grant their wish. A boy wearing a fox-mask tells Beniyuri Yamato is alive. This stranger rescued she and Hikage from monsters at the beginning, so she thinks she can trust him. She finds Yamato and hugs him; he changes back partially and says the fox-guy is a good person, although a little creepy. The fox-boy gives her his precious ribbon, they become friends, and thanks to Karasuba’s help, she’s able to convince everyone to let him join their group. They call him Monshiro, after the name on the empty room’s door.
The master returns another memory: a photo of them as children. Everyone but Monshiro. Karasuba hides somewhere in the mansion and they all look for him. He’s been attacked by a monster so they take him back to the base, but run into Monshiro pointing his gun at Kagiha. Hikage reveals himself to be the master of the mansion and shoots Beniyuri’s friends. He sucks up their butterflies and says they act like an omamori. Kagiha takes a bullet for her and is taken hostage since he made a deal with Hikage to protect her. Yamato, Karasuba, and Monshiro refuse to tell her anything since her memories aren’t back. Usagi says she must give Hikage the last shard. It’s been in her hairpin the whole time. That night she runs into Kagiha who makes her give him the ribbon. If she has it, she can’t be with him after they make their wish.
He uses some voodoo shit to trick her and because we don’t know everything, it’s weird af to see her ogling him like she’s in ❤ with him. Hikage of course tricked them cuz he wants to unleash his suffering on the world with the kaleidoscope and Beniyuri starts to become a monster because the ribbon was she gave up was an omamori. Kagiha holds Hikage down and Beniyuri shoots them both to save them all but she gets her memories back. She and Kagiha (real world name Natsuki) were osananjimi and swore to marry each other so when he died, she blamed herself and got super depressed. In the epilogue they go to the lake for Natsuki’s death anniversary and Takuya says he googled the mansion. It was torn down because so many deaths and creepy stuff happened there. The owner was a wealthy merchant who killed himself because someone he loved died and he thought he could go Fullmetal Alchemist and bring them back but failed. And that’s the best ending.
Real Life End: Beniyuri wonders why she’s in the mansion and wakes up to her daily life, where we finally learn how she died. Aki pesters her to date him, her sister says she’s avoiding guys, and meeting Takuya confirms she’s running from the future. It also helps characterize why she’s so passive and dense towards male affection, thank the lord! She wants to remain in the past, forever guilty for the death of Natsuki and Kazuya’s decade-long, ongoing coma. Aki can’t take their wallowing in self-guilt any longer and screams at them when he sees Takuya walking her home. He accuses her of wanting Takuya because she can’t get over Natsuki’s death-DUDE. He makes them get on a bus to go to the lake in order to get over the past. During the ride, Takuya says mourning won’t cure their guilt and depression. The bus driver had one job but he failed so hard he fell asleep and veered off a cliff into the lake where they fell into comas.
Yamato: (real-world name Takuya) the soccer-loving tsundere who constantly bickers with Karasuba and helps Beniyuri summon her gun. He used to be a bully to his brother, Kazuya, and Beniyuri when they were kids. After learning Hikage is his brother, he turns into a monster. She visits him everyday, but Hikage prevents her from leaving several times and she’s forced to reveal Yamato’s alive. Hikage escorts her to see him, saying he’ll keep guard, but Yamato is missing and Hikage disappears. She finds Yamato in a room, saying he killed his brother, and she lets him hug her and the description was so lewd I had to share it on twitter. During summer camp, Beniyuri tied his bro’s scraped knee up with her the ribbon her mom gave her, so when they started to explore the mansion, Yamato got jealous and loosened the ribbon and it fell off. They went back to get it but it started raining and the water rose so high Kazuya almost drowned. Natsuki died trying to save him and now Kazuya’s been in a coma. Yamato blames himself for everything and so does Beniyuri, so they feel a bond between them. Everyone else wants to move on from what happened but they can’t. In the epilogue, Takuya gains the courage to apologize to Kazuya and then he confesses he still has feelings for Beniyuri. She responds so confusingly to him that he gives her a moment to accept his kiss or not. She lets him and finally says she likes him and if it’s with him, they can move forward from the past. He says he wants to take it slow with her and he walks her home.
Uguu Cage Kagiha: (real-world name Natsuki) regularly checks everyone’s food for poison and reads romance novels. He comforts Beniyuri with hot cocoa and reassurances when she doubts herself. He feels like the canon because he was Beniyuri’s first love and his death pretty much destroyed her, but the game has a huge bias for Hikage. He never knew his parents so he grew close to Ai, but that’s all we know of their relationship besides the marriage promise so….I can’t understand why he’s so fixated on her childhood image. It’s just nostalgia. Unfortunately, after my experience with Oniichan Online aka Period Cube, the second I heard Toriumi Kosuke, I was like ¬_¬ Sadly, my suspicions bore fruit because Kagiha gets 2 endings, and one of them pissed me off. The first ending is the best ending, where he sacrifices himself to kill Hikage, proving his love for Beniyuri is true. The second ending, this creepo decides because he’s dead and he can’t have her, he’ll brainwash her into believing she can have a life with him and she never wakes from it. We never find out if Hikage was successful, it just ends there. What a selfish prick. I liked how it symbolized his not wanting to move on from grief, but it showed how he only saw her as a symbol of hope (how much can you know someone after 10 years if you idolized them when you were children?) and he was so selfish he pinned her wings down. “Nice-Guy” Karasuba: (real-world name Aki) nearly made me rage-quit. Karasuba was bullied because his last name sounded like Princess, so Ai (Beniyuri) stood up for him. Since then he’s been trying to grow up strong enough to protect her, but he was so mad at being bullied when he was like 5 he vowed to never trust anyone. Even Beniyuri. Excuse me? Everyone gets bullied. If it escalated past calling him “Princess” we’re never told or shown. We’re just supposed to accept that being called Princess traumatized him so much he became this wannabe poser Nice guy. Fuck you. He’s so angry at her for being nice and smiling that he scares the shit out of her, locks her in her room, throws her against the wall, kabedons her in a the most un-romantic way possible, and belittles her. He tries to kiss her but she screams at him but it was just a prank bruh ┗─y(ｷ´゜皿`)
For some reason, she continues to let him into her room and never thinks twice about what he did to her. He finds her asleep in the living room and blames her for tempting him and kisses her. Monshiro sees everything and right when I think he’s gonna get called out, Monshiro goes, oh so you liked her? WHAT. In one of the sub-stories we find out Karasuba knew Hikage was the master of the mansion and confronted him. I guess he made a deal with him or something because for reasons that aren’t explained, in one ending she accepts to not move on from the past with him (he got so mad when she did that in other routes but it’s only ok if she does that with him? FUCK YOU) and everyone one in the mansion just vanishes? Did he kill them all? Did they move on? Did Hikage complete the kaleidoscope and let them live? WTF is happening? Despite her telling him SEVERAL TIMES to stop he kisses her. He’s like it’s ok, it’ll feel good, and continues to pressure her. DOES THIS SOUND LIKE AN ABUSIVE BOYFRIEND OR NOT?? Because holy shit. He does it again and she says I told you to stop and guess what this mofo does? He pushes her down and pressures her to give in to him and then the route ends. HELL NO. In the other end, she decides he’s been nice-guying for too long so she’ll try and fall for him but for now he’s still in the friendzone. WHAT ARE YOU DOING LEAVE（￣^￣）凸
Monshiro: (real-world name Kazuya) the fox-boy who rescued Beniyuri and Hikage at the beginning. He’s socially awkward and after he becomes friends with Beniyuri, all he does is cling to her like a puppy. He’s been in a coma for ten years after the horrendous summer camp trip and he knew who Hikage was and about Kagiha’s betrayal. But he didn’t want to tear apart the group so he let Hikage pretend to be him. The poor thing has no idea he’s in a coma in the real world, so he thinks he drowned like Natsuki and can return with everyone. After Hikage’s betrayal, Monshiro hugs Beniyuri and promises she’ll get home and confronts Hikage while they’re alseep. Hikage gives him back his memories and shows him one where Takuya would visit him in the hospital and wished he’d disappear.
He then shoots him. It’s a little confusing here because Kagiha somehow rescues him but I have no idea wether the bullet hit Monshiro. Whatever the case, Monshiro gets upset at Kagiha and falls into the Abyss. While everyone goes looking for him, Beniyuri finds the abyss and convinces Kagiha to let her go down and bring Monshiro back because his greatest fear is being alone. Kagiha of course is all wtf you’re ntring me? and she’s all lol I guess so and gives him her hairclip with the shard. She finds Monshiro with her ribbon and his trail of tears that show her his memories of the mansion and Kagiha and Hikage. The master cares for no one except the two boys because they’re special snowflakes and Kazuya can’t sit by while people lose themselves for the kaleidoscope so he goes into isolation and slowly forgets himself. The ribbon is the only thing that’s kept him going. She finds him and takes him out but they get seperated because the ocean is above them and since he drowned there he can’t return?? I have no idea why he can’t go with her. Anyways if she calls out to him she wakes up in the hospital and he’s forever comatose. If she reaches for him, the ribbon lets her catch him and they wake up in the hospital. Takuya and Aki are still in comas so Kazuya kokuhakus and says they can’t date until they wake up rofl wut but thank goodness their friends wake up and that’s the end.
Hikage: as everything from previous routes suggest, he lost someone dear to him, went crazy trying to revive them, and offed himself when there were no results. In a sub-story, he tries to pretend he’s Kazuya by saying he lost his twin brother, but the second Beniyuri starts talking about her sister Hana, he immediately is like SAME. He carries her back to the mansion hime-style to get away from the monsters and treats her so well it’s like who are you? At one point she stumbles into a room, falls over, and he tries to catch her. She ends up flipping a desk over them and they get buried under a ton of stuff.
Their hair gets tangled and Hikage does his best to help but she’s like let’s just cut it and he’s all no! A woman’s hair is important to them and yours is too pretty to cut haha. So Kagiha gets them out and the whole time he’s like -___- you ntring me Hikage? She befriends Usagi who suggests Beniyuri has feelings for Hikage and they work towards getting them together rofl. He’s like, do you like me? and when says she’s trying to figure out if she does, he teases her about how far they can go if they’re dead, then tells her to quit it. She finds a book called ‘Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly’ in a foreign language, but it’s missing a few pages. It tells the story of two butterflies. They’re lovers until one dies and the remaining butterfly is told by a traveler about the Psychedelica. If it can fly there, it can enter the realm of the dead and reunite with its lover.
Hikage says the ending goes like so: Along the way, it’s wings become black and, embarrassed by how much it has changed, the butterfly dies in the desert after refusing to enter paradise. Beniyuri says it shouldn’t matter what the butterfly thinks of itself because its lover would be happy to reunite no matter the cost, which causes Hikage to start tripping. She finds him asleep later having a bad dream and he wakes up raging. She tries to calm him, but he slams her against the couch and kisses her, saying if she just wants attention he can satisfy that but then she needs to leave him be. WTF SIR. She slaps the shit out of him and says she only wanted to help him cuz he was spazzing out.
Usagi explains Hikage was her brother. He was given to her from a different family. He was good to her but she was sickly. Hikage tried to get medicine for her but they sold everything at the house after the dad’s business folded, so he had to beg his relatives. They never helped and she died. Hikage shot the dad and used his fortune to buy books on black magic where he learned of the kaleidoscope that can let you cross into the world of the dead. He gave up his entire fortune for it but killed himself cuz he thought it wasn’t working. Turns out it did. When placed on water it connects to the other world, but when he fell into the water, the device shattered. He lost his memories and didn’t recognize his sister. He went mad, believing he could gain a wish if he completed the kaleidoscope, and because he couldn’t pass on since he remembered some stuff, he wishes to destroy this life-death world and make everyone suffer like he did cuz he couldn’t pass on. Thanks to his clairvoyance powers, he could manipulate people to do his bidding. Usagi and Beniyuri try to snap him out of it but he believes they want the device and he shoots. Usagi dies and he regains his memories. He says if Beniyuri had lived in his time, she could’ve stopped his madness, and almost kisses her. With nothing to live for, he nice boats himself and bursts into butterflies into the afterlife. Beniyuri wakes up and goes back to the lake. She sees a white butterfly and turns around to see the reincarnation of Hikage and Usagi.
Hello darkness my old friend
If you’re looking for a cute otoge this isn’t it. There’s so little romance in it I’d go so far as to say this is primarily a visual novel with some slight-huge emphasis on slight-otoge elements. Don’t make my mistake else you’ll be really disappointed.
She’s cute, I adore her design, and she fights to stay positive in the bleakest of moments. She’s just so generic. I got so frustrated at her a lot because she’d just let the guys string her around. She’d fight back sometimes, but other times she’s be like whatevs and let them use her (Karasuba for instance). I loved her in Monshiro’s route though.
System: Take this, it’s dangerous to go alone. If there was ever a time for a guide, it’s now. The common route takes over most of the game, with the “routes” being diversions of a flowchart. Sub-stories branch off to develop the cast, but can only be viewed through chapter progression, some choices, and by amassing points through a mini game. I hated the flow-chart with a seething passion. I tried to see the point of it. It serves as a metaphor for collecting pieces of the kaleidoscope, but if you see certain episodes out of order, it’s like lol wut. Not only that, but it breaks the entire immersion of the game. They could’ve had you spend those points to unlock the next route or chapter, because this was like shooting yourself in the foot. I couldn’t connect to the characters and it was an absolute struggle for me to care about the forced romance.
Art: The colors are bright and I loved the splotches that looked like watercolor. Character sprites and cgs suffered from some weird hands and anatomy though.
Music: Really good. I loved how the op and ed song lyrics were so important to the game.
Characters: Kagiha is a mixed bag. I love his gentle nature but he progressively gets more and more selfish, to the point where it gets unnerving and I couldn’t stop comparing him to Oniichan from Period Cube. Doesn’t help they share the same seiyuu.
Monshiro is adorable and so precious and I wanted the best for him. Unfortunately a lot of his route was forced, especially near the end where you could practically feel the writers shoving in all of the despair they could in the hopes of getting a reaction.
Yamato is the only guy to get a decent otoge like route and again, had the flowchart not been a thing, I’d prolly love the guy. But he’s my favorite.
Hikage is the guy you should save for last but sadly most of his route is already explained in the best end/common route so it’s painfully predictable for most of it. The “romance” was forced as hell and I feel like it would’ve been better had the whole game just been about his story and not an otoge.
Karasuba….if you’ve already read my thoughts for him, holy sweet raptor biscuits. I was disgusted by him. His sobstory never added up for me and I just can’t with abusers. His actions were appalling. In fact, I’m going to leave this here. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please seek help.
Recommended route order:
Kagiha>Yamato>Karasuba or Monshiro>Hikage
Enjoyment levels from least to most:
Overall, I think this should’ve been only a visual novel. The romance that was shoehorned in wasn’t done well. Most of it’s due to the theme of the game, which is well done, but not a place for romance. Had the substories not existed, I’d have been so much more invested. Some will like how you can go back and forth any time with the flowchart, and I liked that too, but because the “routes” were literally scattered like scenes for a storyboard that wasn’t finished, I wasn’t invested in anything. There were a few unanswered questions I had, but the game tied up mostly everything. I loved the theme and the message and how grief was handled. I don’t think this is an otoge unless you count Yamato’s route. I’d only get this if you’re interested in the plot but it’s a really short game. If you’re having trouble with the mini game, swipe your finger over the butterflies to lock onto several and hit shoot either with the d-pad, o button or on the screen. You’ll only get A or S rank after certain butterflies appear, which occurs only when you’re at level 7, 8, or 9. You can see this under the main menu on the title screen and clicking on min game.
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What did you think? Did you like the game? Which was your fav route?
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