Teita…such an awesome blonde tsundere ojousama! The Tomoe twins were great too – man, their routes made me as giddy as a schoolgirl as I fawned over the cutesy innocent love. More so in Makina’s route than in Yukina’s, as the drama in that one was pretty interesting, while Teita’s felt like a mix of the two’s cutesy love and dramatic tension.
For some reason, I was reminded of Yuzusoft’s Braban!. Call it a stretch, but Yukina = Tae, Teita = Yuki, and Makina = Sumi in terms of route similarities! Not that they’re exact copies to each other, just that they’re pretty similar, both in certain elements and in the feelings that I got from playing through and finishing their routes. It’s pretty nostalgic, and now I’m strongly fighting back the urge to replay Braban! just so I can try out the other titles in my backlog.
The first route I went for was Makina’s. I found the transition from friends to lovers in that route somewhat odd, but not completely as I was able to comprehend her actions and reasons as to why she was avoiding Shizuma all that time. I’m referring to the time she was injured, up to their first kiss, and then the events after that. They were just full of sweet innocence and cuteness that I couldn’t help but fawn over her and her attempts to get Shizuma to notice! Hahaha, it definitely reminded me of Nanatsuiro Drops when it came to the innocence of first love.
At first I thought Shizuma was a complete blithering idiot who needed to be pushed in order to get into a relationship with a heroine – you know, typical eroge protagonist – because he sure as hell was acting pretty ignorant to the “clues” around him at first. Imagine my surprise when Shizuma took the initiative and accepted a date from Makina, then confessed his feelings for her! It wasn’t even out of character – the scene felt so natural when he did that I couldn’t help but be impressed (mental note: Lump of Sugar’s male leads aren’t like other male leads, and to an extent, so are Yuzusoft’s). After that, it was just one straight puppy-dog cuteness ride down the Makina express. Even her ero scenes were pretty cute and charming in their naïveté! Well, the first one at least…
Makina’s route was entertaining due to the antics and the charming innocence with which she and Shizuma approached their relationship with. Seeing her slowly build up the confidence to tell him how she felt was also a plus! For a first route to finish Nursery Rhyme with, it wasn’t bad – it definitely left me with a smile on my face. Makina slowly realizing her feelings for Shizuma was so adorable that you can’t help but cheer and root her on!
For Yukina’s route, wow. I already had a feeling that it’d be a rather dramatic route thanks to the event that kicked it off, but I was never expecting the extent to which it played out! I wasn’t expecting her to be that kind of character as I always thought of her as the mature, more adult sister than Makina was, but apparently she also had a pretty petty, childish side which manifested itself in a not-so-nice manner. And then there was the face-off between Teita and Yukina, which revealed a lot between Teita’s character and Yukina’s reasons for associating with Shizuma. And I totally loved every bit of it!
If I loved Makina’s sheer cuteness and innocence in her route, I loved Yukina’s route for her moments of underhandedness and self-loathing. I loved it because it showed another side to her: the petty, insecure brat beneath the overachieving honor student, and that she wasn’t as simple and one-dimensional as I initially thought she was. In a sense, she reminded me of Ruka Truelywaath from Ar tonelico 2 (hahaha, no spoilers for AT2 to be found here!) when I went down her route and eventually her. Then came the resolution to that mess, and I ended up liking Yukina a lot more after she got over herself and accepted Shizuma’s feelings for her.
Again, Shizuma really surprised me during Yukina’s route, but not because he took the initiative in confessing. He behaved very much like a saint during the time he was with her, sticking up for her and helping her out even when she was just trying to indirectly drive him away. He knew he was just being used by Yukina and that their association with each other was just for show even though he confessed his feelings for her at the start of their “relationship”, but he stayed by her side up until the “true” confession event, and that was just several shades of awesome. If I remember correctly, it was only in her route that Shizuma got angry – and that’s quite a rare feat! In this route, Shizuma yet again separated himself from other typical eroge protagonists, and that just made the experience all the more enjoyable. After Yukina turned awesome, oh man, the raburabu aura was quite genuinely cute to the point of overwhelming. I agree with Makina and Teita, their raburabu aura was just too much!
For the ero scenes in Yukina’s route, the first one was rather…abrupt. They did it in a park! But it was a pretty lovey-dovey scene, and I got the feeling that she was making up for the abuse that she subjected him to. The second one…no question, completely lovey-dovey ichaicha that went on in that scene.
Then there was Teita’s route. Oh man, Teita. Blonde. Ojousama, but not spoiled. Tsundere, but totally fits her character. HIBARIGAOKA YUKI-SAMAAA! Her route is all abut learning to depend on others as well as opening up to the people she cares about. Sounds familiar? It was pretty reminiscent of Hibarigaoka Yuki’s route for a while until the Student Council elections, which is where her route really kicked into high gear. From there on it was about Teita having to take things and challenges seriously not because of her family name and her social status, but out of genuine interest.
I liked the part when one of the minor characters drove a wedge between Teita and Shizuma by telling her that she was only treating him as a lapdog and servant, and how she almost blew a fuse until Shizuma, all composed and collected, takes her to the side. He was just completely cool during the whole thing whereas she was one step short of a volcanic explosion, and when she asked why he didn’t take offense, he just goes “there’s no point in getting angry at things that aren’t true” or something along those lines. Talk about being completely awesome and mature! We need more protagonists like Shizuma – not detacthed and cool to the point of blissful ignorance, but on a level that’s assertive, collected and mature.
I also liked Teita tsuntsun and deredere moments, but not for the sake of enjoying a tsundere character. As I kept repeatedly saying, I like it more when a character’s archetype really fits the character’s nature so much that they go together hand in hand, and not because the writers need an excuse to cater to a certain moe archetype or such. She’s a tsundere, but she’s an honest-to-goodness tsundere, and I just kept getting joyous goosebumps with her every tsundere moment. It was also amusing seeing Teita’s tsundere behavior slide off of Shizuma!
When it came to their ero scenes, they were also pretty cute! Teita’s ero scenes contained a mix of Makina’s innocence and Yukina’s sultriness (that’s the only word that comes to mind right now *slaps self in the face*). The first ero scene in the classroom was your standard “ero after confession” scene, though seeing her behave all timid and subdued has a rather charming effect to it. The second one was cute as well, mostly due to her insecurities about Shizuma possibly liking her less because of her growing to like the ecchi stuff that they do together. Teita is just adorable!
The route progression is standardized for all the girls. Once you enter a girl’s route, you progress until you hit the conflict, wherein Shizuma and the heroine have yet to admit/realize their true feelings for each other. After that comes some more days of events, then the confession scene, properly serving as the denouement before showing the first ero scene. Then comes the epilogue, with a brief series of events, followed by the second ero scene, and the ending. While it does make the set-up predictable, the contents and scenes that unfold are not, so don’t be fooled into thinking that just because the means by which it’s delivered is easy to guess, so will the series of events!
That was a pretty fun ride. I think I’ll relax for a bit before going for Kururu’s and Rin’s routes. The three girls’ routes were just awesome!
Now for some totally cute pictures of the three girls:
PS. Teita F. Brandt in a yukata is much love, win and cute! \o/