Well, now that we’re done with the epic Muv Luv series, it’s time to relax with a nice, short VN. What better short VN to read than one of Nitro+’s? While it is rather enjoyable, inconclusive endings and extremely weird fight structure stops Hanachirasu from being great.
Holy crap, it’s like I’m watching some sort of old samurai film!
The plot is, essentially, a revenge tale like Kill Bill. The twist here is that the person trying to take revenge is actually the antagonist, while his target for revenge is the protagonist (as villainous as he is). It’s the type of tale where people get caught in the crossfire, as well. It’s rather standard as far as revenge tales go, though the execution is pretty good for the most part. However, the endings are terribly inconclusive. The first actual ending you get (not some sort of bad end) wraps things up WAY too quickly, and does not have much resolution at all (unless you go into Hanachirasu not expecting much in the way of depth). The other actual ending actually makes more sense at first, but then it goes into full WTF! territory. Honestly, if you guys can’t find yourself enjoying the journey, then you’ll hate Hanachirasu’s plot, as the destinations are terrible.
The art is really nice, fortunately. While backgrounds are way too sharp, character art and CGs are nice and crisp: they’re very pleasant to look at (despite all the blood and stuff). Sound, on the other hand, is rather lackluster. The music, though very fitting, gets really grating after a while, save for one or two tracks. Additionally, the sound effects are almost nonexistent, which makes things rather repetitive.
Now we get to narrative, which is where my other chief complaint lies. One really interesting thing about the narrative is that it explains swordfighting mechanics VERY intricately. It breaks down sword fights into a science, detailing the fighting process step by step. It’s absolutely exquisite for those who are trying to understand some of the choreography behind it. The only problem with the way they’re handled though is that they don’t fit in fight scenes AT ALL. Seriously, they break up the action so damned much, fight scenes become boring. It’s like watching Burn Notice, if all the explanations were five minutes long. As a result, these drag down the pacing quite a bit, which only ends up hurting the narrative’s flow. The game’s presentation isn’t all that great, as fights aren’t visually spectacular (and not because of what I said previously!).
Characterization is rather nice, as each character is distinctive, but the characters are not fleshed out all that well, if at all. There is little depth in most of the characters. The two most developed characters are reduced to “I MUST GET REVENGE” and “I MUST BEAT MY RIVAL.” Hell, you know it’s problematic when that WTF! troll ending I mentioned earlier gives nearly more characterization than what’s already present. You shouldn’t be reading this for the developed characters, since there are none.
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