So. Remember when I said something about doing episodic reviews for this game during my first impressions? Well, see.. turns out that once you get started reading Kajitsu it becomes very hard to actually stop. Especially for the length of time it would take me to write up an entire piece about whatever character route I just read. What I’m trying to say is that I’m both really lazy and, at the time, was far too engrossed in reading this little character showcase. So i’ve decided to do a compilation review. And because I do so love to rant and rave and add unnecessary punctuation to things (especially commas) this review ended up being quite long. Expect minor-to-slightly moderate spoiler-esque things for context and clarification. I will also probably splurge a lot about.. well, most things about the game really. And then I will bash Yumiko mercilessly. If any of these things bother you.. well.. I don’t know, really. What do people normally put here?
Anyways, this introduction is getting lengthy. Let’s not try to tire out everyone before I actually start talking about anything, aye? So before I bore you (and myself at this rate) let’s get to the actual meat of the stuff. On with the show and all that.
So if someone were to ask me to sum up my experience with Kajitsu, it would probably be that it was really fun. I’ve been thinking and I don’t really think Kajitsu has any real deep meaning or philosophy behind it but instead strives to be a simply incredibly entertaining and solid experience. And for the most part Kajitsu succeeds in this goal through a multitude of ways. Some A-grade voice acting across the board (except for Yumiko) voicing characters that are for the most part highly likeable. By the end of Kajitsu, I really felt like I had made four new friends. This is in no small part thanks to the usage of flashbacks during the entire course of the game which really buries you into the conscious actions of the party in question. Also in no small part thanks to a downright fantastic common route which will absorb you with the engrossing diary-style monologues from Yuuji and character interactions that are so fun that you will be hard pressed to find better anywhere else.
If I were to give Kajitsu a meaning, however, I guess that it feels like it’s about a few things that are all rather closely related. Like finding out where you belong and the people you belong with. Where you go when you are shunned. Friends that would do anything to pick up the pieces. Fixing broken toys thrown away by kids that got too old for them (or in this case rotten fruit would probably be more appropriate) The Mihama Academy crew sometimes does feel like a huge family (The first half of Makinas route has a bit of a conference skit which is hilarious but quite nice to see that everyone genuinely does care) and at times you really get attached to the atmosphere. So, I guess if I were to blend it all together, Grisaia no Kajitsu would be about finding something that you’re missing. ‘Home’ I think is the best word for it in this game.
Kajitsu also does something that I have not only a huge tolerance but an incredible fondness for. This would be a highly humorous and lengthy common route that makes me feel a tinge of sadness when it actually ends. I could probably have read Kajitsu’s common route forever if it had let me. It’s definitely a bit slow at first as you worm your way through Yuujis inner thoughts and the incredible amount of that go by with every mouseclick just to get to know the character cast that’s been introduced, but the humor really starts picking up around the 20%ish mark and then it never really stops. I really am a fan of common routes that have just a friendly nonsense filled atmosphere (like a certain moogle who might be reading this) that may not even have a point to them. And Kajitsu’s common route is up top with some of the best common routes I’ve had the pleasure of reading.
Of course this is thanks to the colorful cast of crazy we have joining our pal Yuuji here in Mihama Academy. We have Makina, the absurdly eccentric cat-like destroyer of the english language. Amane the horny big-sister who ended up being a surprisingly well explored and rather impressive character. Michiru the super dunce and school punching bag. Sachi the pure white diligent air-head who takes even the most absurd things seriously. And Yumiko. Who is.. just unpleasant. The most sledgehammered kuudere personality you will ever see. It’s like if someone saw Senjougahara from Bakemonogatari and wanted to rip all the fun and personality from her and shove her into a galge game. Great idea. And lastly we have Yuuji, who really is just a great protagonist from beginning to end. Impossible to self-insert as though. 0/10.
Funny note about the characters which I don’t see get mentioned alot: A bit of a running-gag and joke that goes on in Kajitu is people ‘staying in-character’ or when people do something different going ‘out-of-character.’ and things like that. It’s a bit of an amusing sell on how much of a character game this actually is. It might just be a bit of a flick on the fourth wall and I could be reading a bit too much into it, but I find it a bit charming.
(Oh and another SMACK* on the back for Koestl. If for some reason you found your way here and are actually reading this overly long tripe I’d like to tell you that you really did do a damn good job. I admit my standards for translation quality aren’t the highest outside of the truly worst stuff but stuff as well done as this deserves credit. Great job sir.)
So, yes. I could sit here forever and talk about the incredibly engrossing common route and the colorful characters. Wondering what happened on the next episode of Tunafish man. Questioning if Sachi really did end up taking out her phone and tweeting #moist. Comparing the merits of Juicy-Yuuji and Yujiyuji so as to finally give our tsundere protagonist the nickname he yearns for. It’s probably getting a bit hard on the eyes to read my overly long spurge at the moment so I’ll save you the torture. Let’s get to the main routes, shall we?
Suou Amane: The Horny Big-Sister Character.
“I think someone once said that answering a question with a question is a sign of stupidity.”
‘Fuck. Flashback. Stuff.’
So, funny thing about Amane’s route is that not a lot actually happens in it despite being so long. Instead, it tells you mostly about stuff that has already happened. Yes, the huge bulk of the route comes in the form of the hauntingly brutal Angelic Howl flashback that I’m sure everyone has heard about by now. Before all that though we have some preliminary boning to get out of the way! About a half an hour-ish into the route Yuuji and Amane are screwing. And you best believe it doesn’t just stop with one. What kind of horny big-sister character would just screw once? There’s another, of course! And another. And another. And then one more. Five in total, I believe. Some of these even from Amane’s perspective which adds a very.. interesting mood to it all, I guess? I must say, Fujisaki has a real talent for H-Scenes. I’ve become pretty indifferent to H-scenes unless they are overly good (never happens) or overly bad (occasionally happens) or in this case: Hilarious! I am half-tempted to call them all comedy scenes truth be told.
Anyways, Amane’s character takes quite the pitiable turn during the terror of the Angelic Howl flashback. Without spoiling too much I really did have to stop eating while reading it. Not really because it was gross though and more because I felt really bad about it. It’s all pretty fucked up to be totally honest (especially Amane’s nickname) and can be a bit brutal at times but it’s pretty great. The thing I like the most about this flashback is how good a job it does at showcasing Amane’s character through and through. It explains a lot of her mannerisms and even where she picked up certain habits you may have noticed during the course of the game. No matter how you feel about Amane herself I find it hard to imagine you won’t come out of Angelic Howl without feeling like you got to know her quite a bit. Or without wanting to give the girl a damn hug, christ. Either way, Angelic Howl is definitely one of the highlights if not the best part of the entire game, really.
I was actually pretty shocked to see that all the side characters in the Angelic Howl flashback had sprites and voices! It kind of makes me annoyed at other games by certain companies (KEY) for skimping out on stuff like that which adds a lot to the overall experience. So much so that I almost wish the extra characters had more sprites besides the few they are given. That might just be me being greedy though. Anyways what the hell is the excuse for Key here if Frontwing can manage this? Besides being cheap pricks?
Company related ranting aside, The route.. seems to take a bit of a crazy turn after the flashback. Not random (well.. a little bit) or unrelated or anything like that, but.. a bit nuts. And the good end leaves a rather bitter taste in my mouth after all that. The after-story in Meikyuu is going to feel really weird after reading that. I’m really not sure how I feel about the good end if I’m going to be honest. There’s a certain element that exists in it that just really seems to be.. unnecessary. The bad end however is pretty brutal and it gives some need-to-read plot details so you should definitely read that. I know a lot of people (some I know personally) get squeamish around bad ends and sometimes avoid them but really you shouldn’t. Not here.
So overall Amane’s route is a winner. It has that good ol’ Fujisaki flavor to it that the common route had and a really thorough character exploration through the means of Angelic Howl. And Amane herself is just really likeable overall. I remember thinking that she seemed a bit plain in comparison to the rest of the eccentric cast but I’ve come to be really fond of Amane and her.. eyes. She’s one of those characters that can really strike a lot of chords with a lot of people. So, good stuff overall.
Komine Sachi: The Diligent Airheaded Character
“I mean, next time I come to play, wouldn’t it be nicer to find the place clean?”
Well, it’s time. The time where I bury myself underground in order to deafen myself to all the laughter in my general direction. See, Sachi’s route is my favourite in the entire game. Yes, I said it. It’s not as well written (it’s lacking the Fujisaki Flare) and a hell of a lot simpler than the other routes and their unique problems and issues that come with them. And despite that, I find myself hopelessly attached to the character and the relationship between her and Yuuji. So before everyone brings out the combination of pitchforks, rope and dragon dildos to abuse my innocent soul with, let me at least try to justify why I like this route the most out of the entire game. This one’s for you, MoogleBound.
Okay, so let’s get the bad out-of-the-way. Firstly, this route needed to have one of two things happen to it and we’d have been really rocking. Maybe even both, but let’s not be greedy. One of which being that Fujisaki really should have written it. He should have written the entire game to be honest but again with the greed thing. Sachi’s route is missing that verbose spark that Fujisaki brings to the table and the rather barren text box is sad to see at times. Now, it didn’t seem really all that bad as I had heard, but I’m not sure how much of this is Koestl or how much of this is the language discrepancy. Anyways, I didn’t think it was really that bad, but some may disagree and it’s definitely not Fujisaki’s.
And the other thing that could have happened but didn’t would be the routes length. I honestly personally enjoyed the banter between Sachi and Yuuji and the chemistry between them and I’m not exactly against the simple atmosphere or the slice-of-life esq approach to it all, but even I started feeling the route drag its heels through the sand as it got closer to the end. Mind you I think how much time the route puts towards actually dealing with the nature of Sachi’s problem and how to fix it ends up working for it in the end, but even still it really didn’t need to be so long. God forbid you aren’t a fan of Sachi or the slice-of-life atmosphere the route carries with it. The route would probably drag on forever in that case.
So, yes. Sachi’s route is plain, long and not touched by Fujisaki. Now, fuck everything I just said and let’s go ahead and explain my entirely subjective and bad-taste infused reasons as to why I liked Sachi’s route so much and then proceed to run for the hills.
First thing to mention as I’m sure most people have heard is the good ending, which is honestly the best good end in the entire game and one of the best good endings I have had the pleasue of reading. Something sad, heartwarming and hopeful actually managed to bring me to tears for a little bit. I can’t say I’ve cried that much over.. well, anything, honestly. Not to say I’m some sort of emotionless cool-guy or something stupid like that; I’m entirely capable of feeling moved and feeling emotion, but crying is just something that rarely ever comes and I really cannot help but hold stuff that can bring me to tears in really high esteem. And that is probably why Sachi’s route is my favourite primarily, because it’s such a rare feeling and such a rare occurrence that I have to give it a lot of respect subjectively.
Sachi’s route also I feel does the best job of helping the girl in question overcome her problems. Can you really go through this route without internally rooting for the girl the entire way? It even brings in the entirety of the cast to help a long with it. I’m a pretty big sucker for friendship & friendship related elements in works and Sachi’s route has a good amount of it. It really get you into the whole buddy-buddy Mihama Academy vibe it has. It also doesn’t help that I was pretty much a Sachi fan from the start of the game, so it didn’t take all that much effort to get invested into the girl and her problems right away.
And the final incredibly subjective and possibly wrong thing I will say is that I felt the relationship between Yuuji and Sachi felt the most heartfelt and genuine. I mean, sure, it’s not exactly the most pure thing and romantic thing at first but through the amusing banter and Yuuji’s dialogue really sold the relationship for me in a romantic light more so than the other ones did. Not to say that this is the only romantic route or this is the most romantic route or anything like that, it’s just that I bought the Yuuji and Sachi pairing more than I did the others. Mind you, Yuuji is quite a deal toned down and less ‘Yuuji’ than he is in the Fujisaki routes so that might have something to do with it, truthfully.
So, yes. The reasons I like Sachi’s route the most are pretty much entirely subjective to me and rather unjustifiable objectively, but Sachi is definitely one of my favorite characters in VN’s overall and I really cannot help but really like a route like this despite it’s simpler approach to.. well, everything. So, I tried. Let’s see how many insults get flung my way.
And now for something completely different:
Matsushima Michiru: The Stupid Tsundere Character.
“What does yesterday being Tuesday have to do with today being Thursday!?”
Michiru is a surprisingly popular character, it seems. I can kind of see why. Michiru is a huge catalyst for laugh-at-laughs during the course of the game and Mizuhashi does an absolutely incredible job voicing this little doofus. I’ve made a few comments like this before, but I’ll say it again; It completely baffles and amuses me how one person can put so much effort into sounding so stupid. It’s Mizuhashi though so I probably shouldn’t be all that surprised. Anyways, yes. Michiru typically shows up to be a complete idiot and occasionally you see her show she actually has a considerate side to her, but for the most part Michiru is crazy and a little retarded. Much like her route.
It’s almost poetic how Michiru’s route, like her, is crazy and downright stupid at times. To say that Michiru’s route goes ‘off the rails’ would be a bit of an understatement. It doesn’t just go ‘off the rails’ as much as it does go off the rails, builds its own rails and then decides to paint these new sparkling rails yellow and pink. Okay, sure, I am probably exaggerating a little bit but really! You have got to see this shit! I was actually pretty interested in the premise at first. Michiru’s ‘problem’ is a bit outrageous and not something I see very often so I was pretty curious as to where it could possibly go from there. And then the ‘what’ started. And when the ‘what’ starts in Michiru’s route you best believe it keeps going. It’ll keep going until you get sucked into it’s deranged crazy vortex where nobody ever leaves alive or sane. Everything else just becomes white noise.
I probably make it sound worse than it is, but it’s seriously pretty impressive. I really wish I could have seen the look on my own face as I read this route. I immagine it was somewhere between confused and flabbergasted. It’s not the plot details either, though! Everything has completely lost its fucking mind! Michiru is, sadly, not even that funny in this route; Instead she is a rather depressed and overall really sad character for most of it. The fun hilarity that Michiru brought into the common route and bits and pieces of the other routes is lost in the vortex of ‘what’ and drama fills the space. I mean, I knew Michiru wasn’t going to be all laughs and flowers when it came around to her route but holy shit. Only remnants remain of the fun and amusing character you remember. The theory that parts of Michiru were absorbed into this monstrosity to create the plot is starting to seem true.
Yet that’s not the most annoyingly crazy thing about this route and it’s not the one I have the biggest problem with. Sure, Michiru has caused an event horizon filled with the stuff dreams and nightmares are made out of and she’s been robbed of all her energy, but it’s not overly annoying. No, no. Instead, the biggest annoyance for me comes in the form of one of my favorite parts of the whole game. Something that really frustrated me the entire way through and something that really gets under my skin. It’s just another layer of crazy, but one that really bugged me.
Gone is the badass, thought-provoking and witty protagonist that I had become so amused by. Instead, Yuuji is replaced by some sort of shell of brooding misery. Yuuji is honestly more than half the cause for all the drama and problems that come in Michiru’s route. And despite any hint or any reason given to him, Yuuji seems to only get more ignorant and downright annoyingly stupid as the route progresses. Yuuji is downright antagonistic in this route and for no justifiable reason, either. No matter how I look at it, the guy I knew in every other route would have never behaved this way. Yuuji, instead of being used as a solution, is being used as a cause. A way to progress the route in the most out-of-character, confusing and annoying way possible.
So, honestly, I find it hard to recommend this route. Even to fans of Michiru, honestly, as she really doesn’t feel like the same character most of the time. Yet I think there is some weird and crazy enjoyment that comes out of this experience. And the bad-end is.. well, I won’t spoil anything, but it was kind of hard not to laugh. There is a sick, dark irony in it.
Sakaki Yumiko: The Caged Kuudere (or as I call her the ‘really bad’) Character.
“Let them kill me, then… suits me fine.”
(Oh how I wish they would.)
Okay, so. Let’s get something straight here; I.. well, don’t like this girl. Yumiko is about as typical and generic at it actually gets in this whole game and, sadly, it’s pretty much like this the entire way. See, my biggest annoyance with Yumiko is that you know straight away what you are going to get out of her; Cold aggression displayed at almost all times except for the moments where you catch that hidden dere side that she oh-so longs to release upon the world. And Yumiko delivers this in spades. Not just in her route; Even in the common route you are treated to the most obvious and bland kuudere wonder you have seen before. Not that Yumiko is completely devoid of good scenes or personality, though. Just most of the time. A lot of the time.
It’s not even Yumiko’s completely obvious and could-see-coming-from-across-the-universe dere exposure that bugs me the most. It’s that so, so many scenes with her are basically just the game getting on its knees and begging you to be interested in her. It’s near comic levels of how there is this attempted aura of mystery of the most plain and generic character of the whole cast. Almost every scene she centers in almost immediately turns into a ‘what is her true character?!’ guessing game. It’s cute a couple of times but there’s only so much I can take before being adorably awful starts to test my patience.
The dere personality is also hilarious in a bad way. It’s downright split personality disorder! I swear they had to stuff it down this girls gullet by the bucket loads in order for it to be as vertigo inducing as possible. Seriously, the change boarders on random and has the possibility of giving you whiplash. Yuuji even get’s another makeover in this route. He’s lost a lot of personality and seems to have been turned into more of a self-insert badass that beats up all the bad guys and gets the hot chick at the end. Read at your own peril.
So, yeah. Can’t say I’m a big fan. I heard she gets quite a deal better in Rakuen, though, which I can’t say surprises me all that much since Fujisaki writes most of the other games from what I’ve been told. Maybe if (god help) you like Yumiko and really want her to go dere on you, maybe it’ll be okay.
Oh. Yeah. I forgot to mention the route overall, didn’t I?
Irisu Makina: The Hyperactive Eccentric Character
“Ya shouldn’t underestimate how dumb I am, okay? Might not look it, but I’m an infamous dyed-in-th’-wool idiot..”
(For the record; It’s really hard to pick a quote to use from Makina. Half the things she says are funny and awesome.)
This girl is pretty much great. Everything about this girl is great. Her speech, her mannerisms, her voice acting, her ability to masterfully speak the english language and even her damn (hilariously awkward) sex scenes. I really wonder what Tomiyasu does to get in the voice-acting groove when she has to act out a character that’s this absurd. Maybe she does a lot of crack on the side. Maybe she’s just really talented. Either or, really. Anyways, Makina is a really memorable character from top to bottom.
I really could sing praises about Makinas characterization for a while. She has a myriad of interesting quirks and personality traits that go a long way over the entire course of the game. Her ability to absorb information and traits from the people around her lead to some funny situations, for example. Her immediate warm-up to Yuuji is something that’s a bit weird and it’s no trouble to see that this girl has a hefty amount of baggage and problems of her own. And seeing her grow is an experience in itself; It’s genuinely nice to see the girl who could barely even make eye contact with Yuuji at first, eventually, turn into a girl who might even want to take on a part-time job and really want to stand on her own two feet.
Yuuji’s and Makina’s relationship is pretty far from typical, as well. At times it’s two near irreparably broken people trying to find solace in each other in order to lick each others wounds. Another time it’s a romance story that blossoms out of a need to protect another. And sometimes it’s a father/daughter student/teacher relationship. See, Yuuji gets quite a lot of light shed on him in this route. What he himself has to deal with every day and how he copes with it all. It really fits into the ever-changing and ever-blossoming relationship between him and Makina. Yuuji probably gets as much focus as Makina does. Almost to a fault, truthfully.
As far as the route itself goes.. well, it’s really freaking long and the first half is, for the most part, more slice of life. It’s Fujisaki though so you know it’s going to be good. The first half of Makina’s route is probably the funniest part of the game overall. Even Chizuru gets her best scenes in here (poor girl. Plenty of youth in that face!) which adds to the hilarity. It teaches you about motorcycles and sniping, too! And of course we have Fujisaki cramming words into the chatbox with a crowbar the entire time and Yuuji is back to being his badass self. Suffice to say, I really enjoyed the little training regime/slice-of-life half of the route. When the drama starts, however, the atmosphere gets really heavy. You really start to get to know who you’ve been looking through the eyes of this entire time along with the overall setting.
Like Amane’s, though, the good ending feels a little weird. Not sure what the logic is, exactly, but I’m assuming more of Ichigaya is explored in the sequels and Makinas ending in particular in Makinas after-story in Meikyuu? I’m hoping so. Also like Amane’s, however, the bad end is terrifyingly good. I say ‘good’ but I mean that in the objective sense. It’s really horrifying, actually. I actually think I went completely numb when I read it. The last line is really messed up.
This section is kind of crappy, I know. I find it hard to talk about this route at length without going into detailed spoilers which I don’t really want to do. It’s also approaching the end of this massive review and I feel like I should probably stop. Anyways, Makinas route really is the highlight of the game in terms of writing. It’s really good. Go read it.
Quite the collection of crazy.
OVERALL THOUGHTS, REVIEW AND WHATNOT?!
What is left to say, honestly? This game has character banter and interactions like I’ve never seen and I really wish I had access to the rest of the games. It might be my favorite cast in VN’s overall. It had a great protagonist, great girls, some awesome writing, the works. I really can’t recommend it enough, honestly. Although I do think individual experience will vary a lot with this game. It has a lot of subjective matter in it. What girls you like will probably heavily affect what routes you like (Like me!) and humor is also a very specific type of thing. And if you don’t like any of the characters and don’t find the humor particularly funny, there really isn’t a lot of metaplot to keep you around.
Of course, multiple writers is a bit of an issue aswell. And some routes suffer from this. It’s painfully obvious when Fujisaki isn’t writing, honestly. It’s also really hard to justify Yumiko’s.. well, not existence, but.. pretty much existence. And Michiru’s route is just absurdly filled with nonsense. And of course my favorite route is woefully simple. I’m a little bitter that Sachi’s route didn’t get touched by Fujisaki, honestly. What the hell. Anyways, multiple writers always leads to multiple problems. With routes going off in different and sometimes odd directions it’ll definitely annoy some more than others.
I do also have that feeling that I was told I would. The lack of a true-route and without the proper japanese skills necessary to play the rest of the games I feel a little bit like I got kicked in the face after running a marathon. It really is true that Kajitsu seems to serve more as a really lengthy prologue to the other games as opposed to being an entire game by itself. Well, it’s not so bad. Guess I can sit around and wait for Koestl to translate Meikyuu while I sit around and dick off.
Anyways, hope you enjoyed if you somehow made it to the end of all this without wanting to blow your brains out. I apologize for the obvious typo’s, grammar issues and whatnot and whatever that I probably missed during the editing process. I’ll see you next time. Not sure what I’ll do next.