Saturday, August 5, 2023

Nakoruru: The Gift She Gave Me (Dreamcast): A VIsual Novel Review by Mid-Tier Guard

To Derek Pascarella, Marshal Wong, Duralumin, Lewis Cox, Piggy, Nico, Danthrax4, Lacquerware, EsperKnight, SnowyAria, VincentNL, cyo, and HaydenKow,

Thank you for the work you put in to translating this treasure of a visual novel, truly a classic.

If you haven’t already, I implore anyone reading this to read through the link in this stream’s description and to thank the translation team directly here:

I also wish to thank Ceruleon, for bringing this translation project to Elle-C X’s attention, and to Elle himself for streaming the game. You’re both sukebes.

A couple things:

1. I will be critical of several aspects of this visual novel. My complaints lie with the story/game itself, and not with the translation team. I have nothing but admiration for them and I do not intend to diminish their work in any way. 

2. I have never played the Samurai Showdown games, and I would describe my knowledge of the lore and characters to be rudimentary at best.

3. Spoilers from here on out.


When it comes to this visual novel’s artistic aspects, it is all, in a word, beautiful. The music, voice acting, and art is all wonderful. The female characters remind me of the art style used by CLAMP. In fact, someone previously pointed out that Nakoruru resembled Daidouji Tomoyo. Elle mentioned early on in this part of the stream that the characters seem disproportionate to each other. I’m not quite sure what he meant, since men and women looking different, especially with Manari having larger eyes than Yantamu, is pretty standard for anime characters. 

The CGs in this visual novel are also excellent. I noticed that a few events didn’t actually receive traditional CGs, rather they had the characters models on top of a background, usually with slightly different colors to fit the lighting and with an appropriate pose (facing away, in their angry pose, etc.). I’ve seen a handful of vns do the same thing, and I actually do appreciate it when they show creativity in using the character models outside of having them stand opposite each other behind the text box. Examples of what I’m talking about would be Nakoruru standing in the audience during Manari’s song and Yantami confronting Nakoruru before she leaves the village during sunset. The monster designs towards the end of the game were also very eye-catching. I was half expecting them to just look like evil versions of Konru or the fog spirit, but they look like genuine abominations. Very nicely detailed CGs too.

I only really have two complaints relating to the art:

1. Yantamu’s “serious” pose looks way too stern. He straight up looks angry and there are times where it’s used and it doesn’t fit the conversation. Again, I did not take notes so I can’t remember a good example of this, however, the pose I’m talking about is used appropriately at 35:30.

2. The CG of Mikato wielding Chichi-ushi very epic… as long as you don’t stare at Mikato’s face for too long… 2:32:20. She looks like a fish…

Something I appreciated about this vn was the Ainu aesthetic. The story is set in an Ainu village and the story ties their culture into the story. The regular mentions and explanations of their food and customs goes a long way in giving this vn a unique feel.

This vn overall has aged very well. If I hadn’t been told that it was made in 2001/02, I never would have guessed that. The quality here rivals that of any modern visual novel.

The Text

I absolutely adored the writing in this vn. Character dialogue and interactions are well done and there were no instances of awkward or out of place lines. Naturally, this is in thanks to the translation team, to whom I’ll extend my thanks once more. It takes a certain degree of skill to be able to convey the proper emotions in a visual novel, and the translation team succeeded in my eyes.

The main reason I made this section though, is to say that I was not bothered by Mikato’s eloquent narration at all. The same goes for her ability to read emotions of the other characters, all of whom are much older than her. I feel that having Mikato be this way was a necessity for the story, as if she couldn’t tell what the others were feeling (namely Manari and Nakoruru), the story would not be able to advance and it might even have been irritating to have Mikato be oblivious to the others’ feelings. I was honestly surprised that the translation team was also perplexed by Mikato’s eloquence. However, I feel that they would agree with what I’m saying, given that they retained Mikato’s flowery descriptions. Besides, imagine reading something like the scene of Nakoruru’s dance if it was described by a real seven-year-old.



Personality wise, there’s not much to say about Mikato. She is our protagonist, and I’d say she a fine one. Mikato has plenty of good moments, and she is able to drive the plot forward, so there are no complaints on her likeability. I already described my thoughts on Mikato’s language, so I thought I’d mention a couple things I thought really were unrealistic. Firstly, Mikato one shotted a bear with a sharp stick. Secondly, the fact that the village sent her off to the final battle all alone. Seriously? The chief might know that Mikato has powers, but he just learned that Nakoruru neglected to train Mikato at all. The former doesn’t bother me much, but the latter genuinely does. Naturally though, that doesn’t mean that I disliked her. Also, Mikato grows up to be a cute miko just like Nakoruru. I like that.


I have only love for Manari. Out of everyone, she is the most relatable and, arguably, the most tragic. Unlike Nakoruru, Manari faces more mundane crises throughout the story. 

Manari loves to sing, and she’s even really good at it, but her stage fright is so crippling that she cannot even practice in front of her own mother. 

Manari was once a candidate to be a shrine maiden, but for whatever reason, she could not qualify, while Nakoruru, her childhood friend, did. 

Manari is in love with Yantamu, and probably has been for years, but he is in love with Nakoruru, who everyone in town admires.

Manari has a sort of “normal girl” charm, even believing in lovey-dovey superstitions like with that blue fruit. She sort of reminds me of Ayumu from Hayate no Gotoku; another plain girl who gets passed over by the boy she loves. That scene where she gave up on confessing to Yantamu was truly crushing.

For a few moments, I actually expected Manari to become an antagonist of sorts, to be honest. I thought that she would notice Yantamu and Nakoruru growing closer, and her jealousy would get the best of her and she would take advantage of Mikato. Perhaps she would try to learn the rest of the shrine maiden song to use it to impress Yantamu, but accidentally unleash something horrible on the village. Or maybe she would make a deal with Rera to get back at Nakoruru somehow and she’d be the one getting taken advantage of.

Sadly, Manari sort of just ends up being a third wheel to Yantamu and Nakoruru. I don’t think Yantamu ever even catches on to Manari’s feelings, and in the end, she goes on to tell the story of how Nakoruru and Yantamu passed on into legend. Truly a bittersweet ending to her character. Manari is the Aloise to Nakoruru and Yantamu’s Nello and Patrasche.


Though not important to the story, Rimururu is a fun character with some nice depth. We slowly watch her warm up to Mikato over the first half of the story until she eventually treats her as if they were truly related. It’s quite heartwarming. Rimururu’s comedy scenes were also my favorites, aside from the ones with the babas. Also, Rimururu was the prettiest in that cosplay CG. If you know me, you might find that funny, but Rimururu really suited that dress.


Not much to say about Rera. This may sound harsh but Rera is pretty much your typicla “evil alter ego” trope. She even had that “I’ve never had a name” cliché line. I was quite disappointed when she turned out to be a splinter of Nakoruru’s personality. Though I’m not sure why I held on to hope considering chat speculated that Rera and Nakoruru were the same person throughout the story. Hope is misery. 

I thought Rera was actually Murasaki Nakoruru, but after checking the wiki, it turns out that they are two different character all together. I also assume Rera is explained further in the lore, since we don’t really know what exactly she’s supposed to be. Is Rera a ghost? She was able to kill that bear, so she must have a physical body. Also, what was she doing in the wilderness for that whole year? Training? What if Nakoruru was killed by Kamui Risse before they combined again? Would Rera die too?

If it doesn’t exist already, someone should make fanart of a bored Rera peeping on Nakoruru during one of those ritual baths. Seriously, what was she doing in the forest that whole year?


Nakoruru, the star of this visual novel. Sadly, I don’t have much to say about her either. While the vn succeeds in giving her character some depth, I’m sad to admit that I didn’t really find her all that interesting. Similar to Rera being a typical “evil” alter ego trope, Nakoruru is basically just an ultra-nice-guy character. Don’t get me wrong, I love good girls like Nakoruru, but I feel the inner conflicts she had could’ve been made more complex. I’ll discuss this later on.


To put it bluntly: Yantamu is the weakest character out of the bunch and I don’t like him at all.

The first thing we learn about Yantamu (other than him being good at fishing) is that he likes to flirt with the other girls in the village from Hokute. This gave me the impression that Yantamu is one those sleezy playboy characters you see in anime. I generally hate these types of characters because their “coolness” is never justified, yet everyone seems to love him. One of the worst cases I’m familiar with is Kagura Mutsuki from Blazblue, but I digress. My point is that this notion is reinforced several times throughout the first half of the visual novel, and that part of Yantamu’s image as the town flirt is never challenged or deconstructed. Rather, that part of his character is simply forgotten about and never mentioned again after a certain point in the story. This results in some of Yantamu’s actions feeling forced in order to move the plot along, or in the second half, to force a conflict.

Yantamu is given a lot of importance by this plot. He is pivotal in almost every major event that happens in this story, but this importance doesn’t feel earned. 

The first example is the scene where he gives Nakoruru the speech that helps her move on from the guilt over what she did while on her journey. Up until this point, Yantamu has ben built up as being about as close to a playboy someone living in Kamui Kotan’s society can be. He’s known throughout the town to flirt with any girl his age. He’s also been harassing Nakoruru for much of the story until this point. Nakoruru had shown a strong aversion to Yantamu several times, and yet Yantamu continued to pester her, despite how obvious it was that she wanted to be left alone. At one point, he even offered to enter the bath with Nakoruru and Mikato. This might seem funny, since it’s a common joke in anime, but that scene is completely serious, and Nakoruru is clearly made uncomfortable by him. If even Nakoruru doesn’t like him, how are we supposed to? 

Going back to that speech, I had a hard time believing that Yantamu of all people was the only person suited to talking Nakoruru out of her slump. Suddenly he just has 100 Speech and also Nakoruru ignores how pushy he had been up until now. I just don’t believe that Yantamu has any more wisdom to share than the villages chief, the babas, or even Nakoruru herself, seeing as she just came back from a life changing journey. Even worse, he still went in for a kiss after that speech. I’ll admit that that was a very funny scene, but at the same time it just reaffirms the rumors we had heard about Yantamu, and part of me was thinking about he was taking advantage of the situation to smooch Nakoruru (not that I blame him, to be fair). It doesn’t matter if a character gets “all the best lines” if what they’re saying is out of character. Conveniently, mentions of Yantamu flirting with other girls is hardly ever brought up after this point. Now, instead of everyone knowing about him being smooth with the ladies, everyone thinks he and Manari would be a good couple.

I’ll speak more of Yantamu in the plot section coming up, but I feel like my dislike for him could have easily been undone if we got to know him better. Unlike the others, Mikato never has any one-on-one time with Yantamu. While we get to be very intimate with Nakoruru, Rimururu, and Manari, we know very little about Yantamu compared to them. We don’t know anything about Yantamu’s interests or his family (which is never even mentioned). In fact, as far as we know, Nakoruru and Manari are the only friends Yantamu has ever had. It would have been nice to spend time with Yantamu and see him deal with a personal struggle of his own like what we see with the others. At the very least, the story shouldn’t have introduced him the way it did because it gives off the wrong impression. Elle showed off a few minutes of the OVA in this stream, and in those few minutes, Yantamu was infinitely more likeable to me, probably because he’s not introduced as a playboy womanizer, and more like the kind, dependable guy he’s meant to be in the vn. As it stands, he’s basically a regular harem protagonist.

The Plot

Although this visual novel is split into eight chapters, I see it more as being split into three acts, or parts, each being defined by the three major conflicts. Each part flows into the next while slowly, ever so slowly, building up and foreshadowing the next.

Part 1: 

I mentioned the first conflict in Yantamu’s section above, and I don’t have much to say about this first part of the story. I mean that in a good way this time. Just about everything in this section of the game is great. The conflict, as I’ve mentioned, is Nakoruru acting distant after her return from her trip, and her friends want to learn why so they can help her move on. The lead up to Yantamu helping Nakoruru get over her experiences is pretty good. This act took up about the first third of the visual novel so it included all of the character introductions too. I generally liked everything about it except for the Yantamu stuff that I’ve already gone over. Despite what I’ve said about him, the message itself is a good one, and Nakoruru is able to get over her guilt/shame and is able to relax and enjoy life with her friends. It’s not very clear what exactly Nakoruru was feeling during this stage. I was reminded of Sayaka from Madoka Magica. Late into the anime, Sayaka didn’t want to be with the boy she loved because she felt that she would be defiling him. The thing with Nakoruru here however, is that she only acted distant towards Yantamu.

Part 2:

In retrospect, that’s something that bothered me. Nakoruru didn’t mind having Mikato, Rimururu, and even Manari around. I suppose this can be interpreted as foreshadowing for Nakoruru being in love with Yantamu later on, but other than that, there weren’t really any other hints at that until later on when Nakoruru hints at her true feelings in ways you’d find in any anime that has a love triangle plot. Elle said in one of these streams that “just because it’s predictable, it doesn’t mean that it’s bad.” This is true. In fact I think this is something I said a long time ago (also in relation to Madoka Magica). While the reveal of Yantamu being in love with Nakoruru instead of Manari was obvious, it was obvious in a sense because one expects it already in a story like this. The story never hinted that Yantamu was in love with Nakoruru and not Manari. He treats both girls equally and he seems equally close to both of them. The townspeople might have forgotten Yantamu going around flirting with everyone’s daughters in favor of him and Manari being a nice couple, but “oh, wouldn’t it be such a twist if he was in love Nakoruru, the main character, instead”? I’m pretty sure the reason we never get any alone time with Yantamu is so that this twist of him liking Nakoruru could be less obvious. If we ever got a story or a flashback to why Yantamu loves Nakoruru instead of Manari despite being childhood friends with both of them, it’d probably be another cliché like Nakoruru saved Yantamu’s life, or Yantamu got sick and Nakoruru’s mother saved him with her miko powers, or it was simply love at first sight. As it stands, it feels like Yantamu only loves Nakoruru arbitrarily in order to make that confession scene work, or happen at all. I’ll admit that that scene of Manari shrinking away from Yantamu is very powerful, but I wish something less expected could have happened. 

I have an idea: if they didn’t give us one-on-one time with Yantamu because it would’ve made that twist even too obvious, they could have just made Yantamu be in love with both Nakoruru and Manari. This way, you could change the story to have Nakoruru trying to subtly sway Yantamu to choosing Manari even though she’s still in love with him. That would have been able to lean further in to the existing theme of self-sacrifice.

Part 3:

The final act happens in the last couple chapters following the festival. This conflict involves demons poisoning the environment and the possibility of the horde overrunning Kamui Kotan. Sadly, apart from the ending this was probably my least favorite part of this vn. Every problem I’ve mentioned having rears its head here. 

I find it preposterous that Yantamu was able to kill Kamui Risse, a named, and thus I assume stronger than average demon all on his own. I understand that Nakoruru is meant to be infinitely more powerful than the average person, and I know that it’s not like Kamui Kotan has an army, but you’d think that if Yantamu could kill Kamui Risse so easily, the villagers wouldn’t be so paralyzed with fear that they don’t even want to go outside. Earlier in the story, Yantamu mentions that he kept the village safe while Nakoruru was gone as part of a promise. Once the demons start affecting the wilderness, Yantamu even mentions that he’s seen this before. So, has Yantamu fought demons? Was he the only one defending the town while Nakoruru was absent? If he was able to kill Risse alone, imagine if he had help from some other hunters from Kamui Kotan. Oh, and of course, they just had to give him the badass dying smile in that CG. ugh

This just doesn’t make any sense, and it makes the people of Kamui Kotan look so pathetic. What were they going to do if Nakoruru actually died? Beg Mikato to save them? …oh wait. That’s literally what they do in the ending…

There is also the fact that Rera waited until these demons came about to prove to Nakoruru that fighting is a necessity. I can only imagine what she would have done if not for Yantamu’s death. Those scenes with her are very well done though, so she gets a pass.

When I started working on these comments last week, I was honestly bothered by Mizuki. She appears at the very end of the story and has no dialogue, despite being the final villain. It’s a shame there wasn’t really any set up to Mizuki’s character; we’ve never even heard of her until she appears suddenly during the final battle (assuming she isn’t from the main Samurai Showdown games). After ranting about Yantamu though, Mizuki isn’t so bad seeing as she hardly counts as a character at all. and the final battle part of the story leads in to the ending, which I adored.

Other Themes and Misc.

Before I talk about the ending, there are a couple things I wanted to write about. 

I’ll speak more about the main theme of this story in the following section. However, I admit that if it weren’t for Rera and Mikato spelling it out, I would have not been able to catch on to the message this visual novel was trying to convey. Leading up to the scene of Mikato singing the song, my best guess for the theme would have been something about the sacrifices people make. I’ll explain: much of this vn revolved around Nakoruru, and how much suffering her work as a shrine maiden caused her, even if her duties are necessary, and even if she enjoyed experiences only she could have. The problem with this theory is that there isn’t an “and” or a “but”. The theme is sacrifice and… well, nothing. Nakoruru pretty much just suffers throughout the story until she finally learns the truth from Rera as she dies. The true theme is much better.

While not a main theme per se, something that recurred in my mind as I was reading was the theme of selfishness. Every character in this story acts selfishly one way or another. Yantamu is selfish for doggedly pursuing Nakoruru. Rimururu is selfish for wanting Nakoruru all to herself. Rera is selfish in how she wishes to teach Nakoruru that there are things life that you may not like, but must accept. Even Mikato is selfish for accepting Rera’s training, even though she knows that Nakoruru would disapprove. Manari is selfish in a nuanced way. 

Manari is the adopted daughter of the village’s song keeper and is expected to help carry on Kamui Kotan’s customs to the next generation. Manari is secretly a beautiful singer, however, she is too shy to even practice at home. Despite that, she still dreams of one day singing to impress Yantamu. This is ironic, since Manari is basically the opposite of Nakoruru. Manari does not “belong to everyone”, yet she yearns to serve only one person, while Nakoruru does “belong to everyone”, and so, it would be sacrilege for her to show any resemblance of favoritism. Notice how Rera, Mikato, and Manari’s examples of selfishness aren’t self-serving. Selfishness isn’t inherently something bad, and it can describe feelings of wanting to help someone. It especially fits these three characters, since they all want to help someone close to them, if the receiver is unaware or oblivious to their feelings. I personally believe that as long as you’re doing something that makes you happy, you are acting selfishly, to a degree. However, like a certain class president once said, “if you never act selfishly, you’ll never be happy in life”.

Nakoruru, naturally, acts selfishly too, but her selfishness is also complex. I am loathe to say it, but Yantamu was speaking the truth in his confrontations with Nakoruru. She was using her position as a miko to run and hide from her feelings. First, she believes that as a shrine maiden, and because of the things she has done, that she shouldn’t need help in coping with her trauma. Second, she hides behind her title in order to avoid her true feelings, likely because she feels that it is her responsibility to do so. Nakoruru is no doubt also influenced by the sad relationship her mother had with her “father”. There is truth to learning to like those fries, but Nakoruru overdid in this story.

Speaking of Nakoruru not being allowed to take a lover, I found it interesting that they never once said the word “tradition”. Instead, they used the phrase of “belonging to everyone” repeatedly. While this is technically true, in the real world there are specific reasons why certain figures are not allowed to have romantic relationships.

There are multiple figures in western religions that take vows of abstinence to symbolize that they are giving themselves to God, and that they reject earthly pleasures. In Christianity, there are several types of priests and nuns who do this. To my understanding, Shinto shrine maidens are the Japanese equivalent to Catholic nuns. The idea behind both is that they are to remain pure to show their devotion to their deities. The truth behind this has changed in the modern age, but this isn’t a review on religion. My point is that it is a taboo to lust after a nun or a miko. Fruit that is forbidden is all the sweeter, after all.

But I didn’t say anything.

What I’m trying to say here, is that I found it odd that they went with that “she belongs to everyone” line instead of saying that Nakoruru and Yantamu would be defying the gods, or a tradition. They could have gone a step further and say that if Nakoruru’s love for Yantamu ever eclipsed her love of nature, she would risk losing her powers, though I admit that would be too extreme for a story like this. Not really a complaint. I just thought it was odd that the vn chose that phrasing.

Something I do want to complain about is Yantamu’s horrible timing with that confession. Yantamu chose to offer his comb to Nakoruru in just about the worst way possible: right after her performance, a major event during the yearly festival, and climbing on stage and doing it in front of everyone. Did he seriously expect Nakoruru to accept his comb under those circumstances? If she did for some reason accept his feelings, did he think the other villagers would take that sight lightly? The comb is symbolic; Yantamu could have waited until after the festival to offer it to Nakoruru. The gesture would have had more wait since, Nakoruru would have noticed that Yantamu went the whole festival without offering the comb to anyone else. At the very least, he could have waited to give it to Nakoruru in private so she didn’t have to be put on blast publicly like that. And of course, Yantamu has the gall to talk back at the crowd after making such a stupid play. ugh

Finally, small detail, but I thought those minigames were neat. I imagine the developers put them in the game in the first place in order to give readers a break. Personally, I’m sure they could have found a way to write around them, as some of these minigames get in the way of the pacing in the story. The very first training session with Rera is probably the best example of this. I mean, imagine if this were a regular novel. How would Mikato meeting Rera after she saved her life from a bear flow into a training sessions where she dodges wolf attacks? I would have preferred if there were no minigames at all, but they are part of this visual novel for better or worse. Overall though, no harm, nor foul. The quizzes and instrument minigames were pretty good though.

The Ending

I don’t have anything smart to say here. The ending is top tier. I was sincerely mind-blown that they really killed off Nakoruru. What a bold choice. Very nice. Nakoruru’s actual death scene was excellent and the speech she and Rera gave to Mikato to help her find the missing lyric to the song was great and it also exposes the main theme of this story. That being “Strength comes from Kindness but Kindness originates from Happiness.” Basically, in life you should strive for happiness before all else. Though I would have preferred if Rera hadn’t spelled it out, at that point in the story there was no more room for hints, and it’s a good message, so I can forgive it. The final CGs we see showing Mikato grown up were really something special too. I actually think that it’s very beautiful that we never see anyone’s reactions to Nakoruru and Yantamu’s deaths. Of course there were tears, and Rimururu likely blamed Mikato for not being able to save her sister. In the art we see though, everyone is happy. Life has gone on, and everyone has found their happiness. Those scenes of adult Hokute and Mikato really made me smile. Especially that one CG where they are holding hands in a meadow, and it changes to show Yantamu and Nakoruru in the same pose. I have my gripes with him, but I can’t deny that that was a beautiful story moment. 

Final Thoughts

Review over. I really hope I was able to get my feelings on this vn across clearly so it doesn’t sound like my criticisms have no justification. Even so, I concede that my opinions are probably in the minority, given the reactions I’ve seen in these stream replays.

To summarize my thoughts: objectively speaking, this is a fine visual novel. Everything about it well done and it’s quite impressive how well it stands up compared to modern vns. Personally, although this visual novel had many good moments, I wasn’t able to really connect the story, characters, or themes like I could with other vns like Narcissu or Root Letter. Large portions of this story were also quite boring, I have to admit. The reason my summary of the plot is split into three sections is because not much else happened in this story that was either memorable, or relevant to the plot. I see this in the same light as World End Syndrome. What I mean by that is that actually getting through the story was very slow, and almost boring, but looking at the story as a whole after completing it, you realize that it was an enjoyable experience. Despite my gripes, I did enjoy this experience. Hopefully, this review is proof enough. 

For anyone who made it this far, thank you for reading. And thanks again to the people above. 

Sunday, July 23, 2023 doesn't belong to me anymore

 Just a little heads up that google is being silly and didn't renew my domain automatically so therefore I lost it and I dunno how to get it back without paying some exorbitant domain broker's fee. Screw that. Anyway, this blog is pretty much dead now except for some updates here and there. Come check me out at my youtube at 

I bought instead.

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Narcissu Side 2nd - Guest Review by Mid-tier Guard

The following review is by a friend of mine named Mid-tier Guard who was reading this story for the first time through my stream. These are his comments, raw and unfiltered taken directly from the videos and formatted to be readable. Thanks for the very long, detailed review, Mid-tier Guard.

Good reading. Good writing.

Let's just dive in, yeah?

Side Characters

There was something you told me the other day. It was about how Narcissu 2nd is able to explore more themes and show off 

more scenery because Side 2nd has more characters. It's quite striking to have as many characters here in Side 2nd compared to Narcissu. While watching the replays, I attempted to collect my thoughts on each of them, particularly the side characters: Chihiro, the child, and Yuka. Some brief thoughts:

Chihiro- Chihiro's a good girl. I'll talk about her in the religion section.

Yuka- to put it bluntly, Yuka's presence is pretty weak. Her loyalty to Himeko is commendable, and both the perfect attendance and farewell scenes were beautiful, but Yuka suffers from a lack of screen time. Would've been nice to include her some more.

The Child- looking back, I'm pretty sure I teared up during every single flashback sequence. The voice actress did such an amazing job. I cried along with this character.  

Ultimately though, Himeko was the true star of the the show this time, and the three characters above mainly served to advance her arc, or to drive the themes of Narcissu.

Himeko -Similar to how George Lucas designed the Star Wars prequels to "rhyme" with the original movies, Narcissu 2nd has many, many parallels with the first game. The most apparent one being the dynamic between the respective narrators. The nameless mc from Narcissu, and Setsumi here in 2nd. Where Setsumi is the focus of Narcissu, Himeko is the focus in 2nd. Himeko is truly a complex character, let me tell you. Like I said the other day, the writing in this game is so good that she (and Setsumi) 

feel so real that it's almost like when a friend asks you for your opinion on them. Not sure if you know what I mean. I suppose what stood out the most to me was how she treats Setsumi. In fact, I think her treatment of Setsumi in particular a good place to start. Himeko treats Setsumi very strangely. Clearly, she is seeing The Child in Setsumi. Many of the activities Himeko does with Setsumi, she also did with the child in those flashbacks. They eat ice cream, the walk around the courtyard, cutting hair, Himeko even says certain things to Setsumi exactly how she said to the child. The most significant being that line about making a friend from another age group, which ended up being a lie, as Himeko admits later. The irony is pretty strong here.

Himeko was once a helper on the 7th floor, and fate had her become a patient there, and now she is treating Setsumi the same way she once treated a patient. With one interesting reversal, in that she proclaims Setsumi as the professor. No doubt, because doesn't feel worthy or knowledgeable enough to keep it. We never really learn why Himeko saw Setsumi in that way, other than her having a certain feeling about her. 

This might sound harsh, but it seems a little selfish of Himeko to do what she did with Setsumi. Setsumi's mother has good reason to break down when she learns who Setsumi has been spending so much time with. Himeko is aware that her imminent death will cause pain to the people closest to her. That's why she pushed Chihiro and Yuka away. Yet, she is okay with letting in someone new in to her fleeting life? Given Himeko's skills of perception, I suppose she could have assumed that Setsumi has a certain lifestyle that would allow her to actually spend time at the hospital, and not doing normal things like going to school. Maybe she's even seen her before and knows that Setsumi is a regular patient. I digress. It just seems that Himeko would go as far as to go with Setsumi all the way to Mt. Fuji, with the intent to throw herself off, or die on the hike up the mountain, and apparently abandoning Setsumi with the car.

However, I suppose I should follow my own advice, and just go by what's in the story. After all, if there were no conflict, the story wouldn't be as interesting right? I don't want to give off the wrong impression. I like Himeko a lot, despite what I just wrote. 

Moving on to Himeko's personality, you mentioned in a previous stream that some people find her to be too genki, too happy. I don't see anything wrong with that. People deal with bad experiences and death in different ways. Himeko decided to live her life as a 7th floor resident with the same demeanor she had before she became sick. And this is probably why she treats Setsumi the way she did with the child. She's trying to put on a brave face, maybe for Chihiro, maybe for herself, to make it seem like she's okay with her impending death. In her final months, she wants to act like like a helper. She wants to be useful, to be handy, like she used to be. I can definitely imagine that Himeko was quite dependable before being hospitalized. She was good with cars, she knows how to sew, she put effort into being nice to others, like when she sprinted to a nearby convenience store and back to share that ice cream with the child. Himeko doesn't want to be a burden. It goes against the rules after all.

Setsumi- Of course, it wasn't like Himeko wasn't giving back to Setsumi. Setsumi hasn't had a friend in years, and her experiences with Himeko in 2nd were things that affected her way of thinking and acting for the rest of her life. A small mannerism she took from Himeko being the "un", which Himeko in turn took from the child. Or maybe it's a translation thing and it's just to show the character agreeing with something? More importantly, Himeko is responsible for Setsumi being so knowledgeable about directions in Narcissu, and of course, we learn how Setsumi got that envelope. Not really something we needed to know, but such a satisfying twist. 

Anyway, I don't really have much to say about Setsumi other than to say that I love her as well. She had many quotable lines in 2nd, many relatable ones dealing with her guilt and feeling of inadequacy. She truly suffered a lot, even before she became a resident of the 7th floor. Being forced into isolation, and believing yourself to be a burden on the people you love... that's truly an awful feeling. Setsumi is easily my favorite character  in these games, and I imagine that true for most of the fans too. Like what I said about Himeko, Setsumi just feels so real.

About the Themes

Yeah, you hit the nail on the head when talking about these things. Specifically the stuff about the fries, religion, and the endings to the two games. I'll just give my opinions. Sorry if I parrot you a little.

Fries, Lies, and Kindness

As you know, the fries are a symbol for Setsumi's internal struggles that I mentioned above. In terms of how this conflict affects the story, yes, I did enjoy seeing it. The resolution that you kept teasing was... pretty satisfying! I was expecting that Setsumi was going to sit down and actually tell her mother the truth, but Himeko's advice in the end was... pretty good. Learning to like the fries is just Himeko's way of telling Setsumi to learn to accept her fate. In real life there are things like that to. If Setsumi told her mother that she never liked the fries, it wouldn't cure her disease, it would just hurt her mother, with the result being that Setsumi no longer has to be inconvenienced by having to eat food she doesn't like. She's managed to sit and quietly eat those fries until now. In short, it's just another way to say that we need to learn to suck things up. Not much more to it. I did love those scenes though.

I do want to mention that I find it pretty cool that the story used something mundane like french fries to represent Setsumi's conflict. Growing up, I've been taught about universal symbols in literature (not that I'm well read or anything). Things like the meanings of colors, weather, etc. It's very refreshing to see. This is how it works in real life too after all. People getting attached to personal items and such.

About lies and kindness, something Side 2nd touches on is the idea of telling lies, and how that affects the liar and the person being lied too. With Setsumi and the fries, she pretends to like the fries because she doesn't want to take away the satisfaction her mother has from seeing her daughter eat what she believes is her favorite food. However, the biggest lie definitely has to be the one that was told to the child. The one about her parents being away on a trip. You see the effects of that in the story, but what I loved about this was Himeko's monologue about how that lie was actually good. Lying isn't inherently an evil thing, especially when it's meant to spare someone from pain. Sorry if that sounds cliche.


Something else that really stuck out in Side 2nd, and yes, I know it was on purpose, is the role that religion has in this story. Again, it's mainly because Narcissu did not have any religious aspects at all. In fact, the thought crossed my mind early on while watching the replays that perhaps the hospitals in the two games were different, but that of course can't be the case.

About Chihiro, there was one line in the previous stream that Setsumi had when she was thinking about her. Setsumi wondered about Chihiro doing the volunteer work that she does because of her religion. As I said before, I'm convinced Chihiro does what she does out of her own kindness. There are many good people who do the things that Chihiro does, even if they aren't as devout as her. Or religious at all, for that matter. Like I said earlier: Chihiro is a good girl. It says a lot that she maintained affection for Himeko, despite the likelihood that Himeko has acted cold towards her and spoken to her sternly for years, and what finally made Chihiro take a break from her volunteer work was the passing of her sister.

I thought it was also very interesting that, despite what actually happens in the story, religion, or specifically here, 

Christianity/Catholicism, is not portrayed in a negative light. It's become cool to bash on Christianity over the last couple decades, at least in American culture. My guess is because it's a major religion and it oppresses "those" people. Funnily enough, the view on the religion is pretty balanced here, in a Japanese visual novel of all places. Himeko, the character who seems to have the most against Catholicism, ends up becoming a believer again by the end of the story. This is a pretty rare outcome. Even in fiction stories that have a fictitious religion that is clearly based on real world Christianity, the church is often the villain, or at the least, get very little representation in the story. Again, very refreshing. 

As you stated in an earlier stream, Japan's major religion is Shintoism, followed by Buddhism. I'm not sure about the exact numbers, but Catholics make up 2-5% of the population in Japan. I'm not religious at all, and I've never read the Bible, but all the quotes references to the religion seem accurate to me. 

Other Themes

So overall, what did this story mean to me? It's hard to say, honestly. Planetarian, despite being a tragedy, was able to give a feeling of hope by the ending. Narcissu and Narcissu 2nd are true to the descriptions you find online. It's a story about people who are terminally ill, and have no hope. Still though, it is a beautiful story. If I was forced to guess what lesson the author wanted us to glean from Narcissu though, I would say... that life is beautiful. While pretty simple, I believe it fits. Despite most of the characters only having months left to live, they all attempted to make the most of the time they had. Himeko always planned to cut the pineapple tree and visit Mt. Fuji, regardless of meeting Setsumi or not. Setsumi was determined to die somewhere other than the 7th floor, or the home in which she felt responsible for forcing her parents to move in to. We see in the final lines of both games that the respective narrators learned certain things about the true main characters of each story. Some minor things like their age and blood type, but more personal things like Setsumi and Himeko's love of cars and maps. 

The story goes to great lengths to show the isolation that people who are terminally ill face. Setsumi lost out on her childhood, Himeko tried to harden herself to push away her best friend and sister. These are things that happen in real life, but for some there is an even possibility in that the terminally ill patient might not have any friends or family at all, as we saw with The Child. For people like them, it's saddening to know that there's a chance that the nurses and doctors and helpers they have may only see them as patients, or a sick person. They are still people with interests, and feelings. In this story, I get the feeling that many of the background characters, the ones we don't see or hear, have already consigned Setsumi, Himeko, and the mc, and the child to their fates, when, naturally, it's not so easy to accept your own death. It's something that only someone else in their position would understand. This is why I found it so terrible that someone told The Child the rules of the 7th floor. While I understand that it's a sort of tradition for the residents of the 7th floor, even if it were on me, I just don't think I could bear the thought of bringing that kind of despair on a child so young and so unfortunate when they've already been assigned to the 7th floor.

The opposite is true of the mystery person who told The Child the lie about her parents being away on a trip. Himeko really didn't have a choice but to go with the lie, and if it hadn't been that mystery person, it likely would have fallen on her to make up a lie, just as she felt that it fell on her to tell her the truth about God and The Child's prayers.


I suppose I should mention these, since they are important parts to story in both games.

When I first heard you say the name for these games, I had a feeling it would have to do with the Greek myth. In the end though, it actually had more to do with the flower. Nice subversion. Or maybe I just made a bad assumption. That is all.

Mainly, I want to talk about the story that is brought up constantly here in Side 2nd: A Dog of Flanders. I'll be up front and say that I have never read the old novel. I am familiar with the premise of Nello, Patrasche, and Alois, but funnily enough, I actually learned of them when Hayate mentions them in volume 1 of Hayate no Gotoku. I did a little research, and I found that there is a 52 episode anime adaptation, as well as an anime movie based on A Dog of Flanders. This leads me to believe that it must have had quite the influence on Japanese culture if even Hata-sensei chose to mention it as a joke, while Side 2nd uses it seriously here. Any idea if the movie is good?

Also, despite not being familiar with the story itself, I had no issue understanding the relationship between the trio and that of the 7th floor residents with their helpers. Truly masterful.

The Endings

I loved the endings to Narcissu and Side 2nd very much. You may have noticed that I have spoken about the two stories somewhat concurrently throught these comments. This is because I genuinely have a hard time keeping the two separate in my mind, and I mean that in the best way possible. Narcissu contains the ending to Setsumi's story, while Side 2nd sets it up so perfectly. All week, I had a question in the back of my mind, and it was: "Do you believe someone could still enjoy the story if they read Side 2nd before reading Narcissu?" If you could, I would still be interested in your opinion on that. Whether here or elsewhere.

This section is mainly for me to make a confession: the meaning behind the true ending went over my head. 

While this ending was pretty good too, I have to be honest and say that if you hadn't given your view on the meaning of the ending, I would be at a loss on what to say here. I dare say, that if you hadn't mentioned the breaking of the cycle/curse, I might even have said that this ending wasn't very good. I think the reason here is a personal issue. I am not religious, and I do not believe in radical superstitions like magic, or mythical 

creatures (I do believe in luck, though). So whenever Himeko repeated her line about "when there's a prayer, there is also a curse", I kind of just ignored it and filed it as a Catholic thing. Given how realistic the story and characters are, I guess I subconciously assumed that something like breaking a curse couldn't possibly factor in to Narcissu. 

Still though, good ending. I agree with your assessment. Also, I felt chills when I heard Chihiro's voice again.

Vs Narcissu

As I stated earlier, it is hard for me to seperate these two visual novels from each other since together they are a complete story. However, if I had to choose one over the other, I think Narcissu 1 is much better than Narcissu Side 2nd. Mainly, I think Narcissu is much more accessible than 2nd. Not only is Narcissu much shorter, it's also a complete story on it's own. Don't get me wrong, 2nd is a great story as well, however, I believe that it is best enjoyed after reading Narcissu 1, which, as I just said, can be enjoyed on it's own. 

While I enjoyed Side 2nd, I have a feeling that someone who isn't a hardcore anime or visual novel fan, a casual, might be too daunted or may not have the patience to read Narcissue all the way to the end. Again though, I have a feeling that you're less than interested in hearing that kind of complaint.

The Usual

I think I was able to convey my feelings very well, so I'll skip a summary and go into the obligatory thank you note.

I truly enjoyed reading this visual novels. You recommended both Planetarian and Narcissu to me some months ago, and I have them written down somewhere, but even so, I have a feeling that it would've taken me years to get to them, even though I'm pretty sure you told me that Narcissu was free on Steam when you gave me the recommendation. Thank you for sharing these stories with us, as always. 

I can't help but notice that these vn streams are a serious departure from what you normally do. I think I have a feeling as to why you suddenly decided to share these stories with us, aside from your passion for the medium, I mean. I had hoped to have a short section where I talk about my own thoughts on vns, but I'm just a humble fan, ignoring a cringe fan fic or two floating around. All I'll say is that each medium, visual novel, novel, movies, games, etc. all have their place. 

I hope you enjoyed reading my ramblings and they helped give you a break from things going on with you. Looking back at this, I am quite aghast. I might have a little too much free time… oh well. It's fun so who cares?

Also, my apologies for missing all of these vn streams. Bad luck. However, I think it’s for the best that I did miss them. I was able to watch these replays and go through the story at my own pace this way. 

Thank you for reading.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

chatgpt (AI) tells you why Nagi wins over Athena


Hayate's Love for Nagi

Hayate Ayasaki is a complex character in the popular manga and anime series "Hayate the Combat Butler." Throughout the series, he has been romantically linked with two of the main female characters, Athena Tennousu and Nagi Sanzenin. While Hayate has shown affection towards both women, it is clear that his feelings for Nagi are stronger and more genuine.

One of the reasons why Hayate did not really love Athena is that their relationship was built on a foundation of guilt and obligation. Hayate had saved Athena from a dangerous situation when they were younger, and as a result, she felt indebted to him. She later developed romantic feelings for him, but it was clear that her feelings were driven more by gratitude and obligation than true love. Hayate, on the other hand, was drawn to Athena because of her beauty and charm, but he did not have a deep emotional connection with her.

In contrast, Hayate's relationship with Nagi was much more meaningful and genuine. Nagi was initially infatuated with Hayate, but as they spent more time together, they developed a deep and meaningful bond. Hayate became Nagi's butler and caretaker, and their relationship evolved from one of employer-employee to one of friendship and trust. As they faced various challenges and adventures together, their bond grew stronger, and it became clear that they had developed true feelings for each other.

Another reason why Hayate loves Nagi truly is that she accepts him for who he is. Hayate is a complex character with a troubled past, and he struggles with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. Nagi, however, sees him as a friend and a valuable member of her life, and she never judges him or makes him feel less than worthy. Their relationship is built on mutual respect and admiration, and this is what makes their love so genuine and pure.

Finally, it is worth noting that Hayate's feelings for Nagi are reciprocated. Nagi has shown time and time again that she cares deeply for Hayate and is willing to do whatever it takes to make him happy. She has even risked her own safety and well-being to help him, which is a clear indication of the depth of her feelings.

In conclusion, while Hayate Ayasaki had a relationship with Athena Tennousu, it was clear that his feelings for her were not as genuine or deep as his feelings for Nagi Sanzenin. Hayate and Nagi's relationship is built on mutual respect, trust, and genuine affection, and it is clear that they are meant to be together. Their love story is a beautiful and heartwarming one, and it is one of the reasons why "Hayate the Combat Butler" remains a beloved series among fans.

(AI) ChatGPT tells you why Hayate Loves Nagi

Hayate Ayasaki, the male lead in the anime and manga series "Hayate no Gotoku!" (also known as "Hayate the Combat Butler"), has had many romantic interests throughout the series, but it is clear that his attraction to Nagi Sanzenin, the wealthy heiress and main female protagonist, is particularly strong. In this article, we will explore the reasons why Hayate was always attracted to Nagi Sanzenin.

Firstly, Nagi possesses many qualities that Hayate admires. She is intelligent, creative, and independent, which are all traits that Hayate finds attractive. Nagi is also passionate about her hobbies and interests, which is something that Hayate respects and admires. Her confident and assertive personality is a contrast to Hayate's more reserved and humble nature, making her an intriguing and fascinating character to him.

Secondly, Nagi is a source of comfort and support for Hayate. Throughout the series, Hayate experiences many challenges and hardships, but Nagi is always there to offer him a helping hand or a kind word. She listens to him when he needs to talk and encourages him to pursue his dreams. This emotional support is important to Hayate, who has faced many difficulties in his life.

Thirdly, Nagi challenges Hayate to be a better person. Nagi's high standards and expectations push Hayate to improve himself and strive for excellence. She is not satisfied with mediocrity and encourages Hayate to aim for greatness. This challenge is both invigorating and inspiring to Hayate, who values personal growth and self-improvement.

Fourthly, Nagi and Hayate share a deep emotional connection. Despite their differences in social status and background, the two develop a strong bond throughout the series. They have a shared history of facing challenges and overcoming obstacles together, which creates a sense of intimacy between them. This emotional connection is the foundation for any successful romantic relationship.

In conclusion, Hayate was always attracted to Nagi Sanzenin for a variety of reasons. Her intelligence, independence, and passionate personality were all traits that he found attractive. Her emotional support and encouragement helped him overcome his challenges, and her high standards challenged him to be a better person. Their deep emotional connection and shared history created a sense of intimacy and trust between them that is essential for any successful romantic relationship. It is clear that Nagi was not only Hayate's employer but also the love of his life

Another ChatGPT (AI written) article

Nagi Sanzenin, the wealthy heiress and main female protagonist of the anime and manga series "Hayate no Gotoku!" (also known as "Hayate the Combat Butler"), has captured the hearts of many fans with her unique personality and charming demeanor. Throughout the series, there have been numerous romantic interests for the main character, Hayate, but it is clear from the beginning that Nagi was always meant to be his true love interest. In this article, we will explore the reasons why Nagi Sanzenin was always meant to be Hayate's love interest.

Firstly, Nagi is the main female lead in the series. As the central character, she is given more screen time and attention than any other female character, which is a clear indication that she is an important figure in Hayate's life. From the very beginning of the series, Hayate is employed as Nagi's butler, and it is clear that she is the one he is meant to serve and protect. This dynamic sets the foundation for their relationship and establishes Nagi as a key player in Hayate's life.

Secondly, Nagi and Hayate have a strong emotional connection. Despite their initial rocky start, the two develop a deep bond throughout the series. Nagi is initially cold and distant towards Hayate, but as the story progresses, she begins to warm up to him and reveal her true feelings. Hayate, in turn, becomes more protective and caring towards Nagi, demonstrating a deep level of loyalty and devotion. This emotional connection is the cornerstone of their relationship and provides a strong basis for a romantic connection.

Thirdly, Nagi and Hayate have a shared history. Hayate saves Nagi from kidnappers in the first episode of the series, and this act of heroism sets the stage for their relationship. As the series progresses, we learn more about Nagi's past, including the tragic death of her parents and her struggles with loneliness. Hayate is there for her every step of the way, offering comfort and support when she needs it most. This shared history deepens their emotional connection and creates a strong sense of intimacy between them.

Fourthly, Nagi and Hayate complement each other. Nagi is wealthy and privileged, but she lacks social skills and struggles with basic tasks. Hayate, on the other hand, is poor but resourceful and skilled in a variety of areas. Together, they make up for each other's weaknesses and create a strong team. This dynamic is essential for any successful romantic relationship, as it requires a balance of strengths and weaknesses.

In conclusion, Nagi Sanzenin was always meant to be Hayate's love interest. From the very beginning of the series, their dynamic was established as a central part of the plot, and their emotional connection and shared history deepened throughout the story. Their complementary personalities and abilities create a strong foundation for a romantic relationship, and their chemistry on screen is undeniable. While there were other romantic interests throughout the series, it is clear that Nagi was always the one meant to capture Hayate's heart.

I asked ChatGPT to write me an article

Hayate Ayasaki, the protagonist of the anime and manga series "Hayate no Gotoku" or "Hayate the Combat Butler," is known for his kindness, loyalty, and unwavering devotion to his employers. Throughout the series, Hayate has been shown to have feelings for several of the female characters, including Nagi Sanzenin and Hinagiku Katsura. However, in the end, Hayate chose Nagi over Hinagiku, leaving many fans wondering why.

To understand why Hayate rejected Hinagiku and chose Nagi, we need to look at the character development of both girls and how they relate to Hayate.

Nagi Sanzenin is the wealthy heiress who employs Hayate as her butler. Despite her privileged background, Nagi is often lonely and has difficulty connecting with others. However, Hayate is different. He treats her with kindness and respect, and she comes to rely on him emotionally. Over time, it becomes clear that Hayate is the one person who truly understands and accepts Nagi for who she is. In return, Nagi grows to care deeply for Hayate, and their relationship becomes the central focus of the series.

On the other hand, Hinagiku Katsura is the student council president at Hayate's school. She is independent, strong-willed, and initially, she is shown to have a crush on Hayate. However, as the series progresses, it becomes clear that Hinagiku's feelings for Hayate are more of a romantic ideal than a true emotional connection. While she respects and admires Hayate, she never opens up to him emotionally in the way that Nagi does.

In the end, Hayate chose Nagi over Hinagiku because his feelings for Nagi were deeper and more genuine. He came to see Nagi not just as his employer but as his friend, confidante, and even love interest. Nagi, in turn, grew to rely on Hayate emotionally and saw him as someone who truly understood and accepted her.

While Hinagiku was a strong and capable character, her feelings for Hayate never seemed to go beyond admiration and respect. In contrast, Hayate and Nagi's relationship was built on a deep emotional connection that was evident to everyone around them.

In conclusion, Hayate's decision to choose Nagi over Hinagiku was not a matter of superficial attraction or physical appearance but rather a reflection of the emotional bond that he had developed with Nagi throughout the series. Hayate and Nagi's relationship was built on mutual respect, understanding, and love, making them the perfect match for each other.

Nakoruru: The Gift She Gave Me (Dreamcast): A VIsual Novel Review by Mid-Tier Guard

To Derek Pascarella, Marshal Wong, Duralumin, Lewis Cox, Piggy, Nico, Danthrax4, Lacquerware, EsperKnight, SnowyAria, VincentNL, cyo, and Ha...