When I first saw Soji Okita in the prologue, he scared me a bit. He just looks like someone who’d kills indiscriminately, but after playing Hijikata’s route my opinion changed. He seemed like a genuinely okay, if not a little too playful, guy, so when Voltage released his story earlier than expected I decided to buy it.
I take it back…I take back all of the cruel things I said about this guy, he was a much better character than I originally anticipated. I loved Soji in Hakuouki so I was expecting Voltage’s version to pale in comparison, but what I got was a heartbreakingly sweet portrayal of a very tragic character. There is definitely more to this cold swordsman than his reputation would have you believe.
**Disclaimer: I DO NOT own any of the images used in this review, ALL images, screenshots, and characters belong to Voltage Inc. Please if you are interested in the game, download the game for free in the App Store or from Google Play and purchase the stories when they are available in your area.**
A blade heavy with life
As the infamous wolf of the Shinsengumi, Soji Okita’s mastery of the sword is second to none, making him a valuable asset to the Shinsengumi and their cause. But, his skill with the blade has earned a reputation as a bloodthirsty and vicious man, his name synonymous with unrestrained brutality. In town rumors fly about his savagery with the sword and his lust for killing, he is even said to be responsible for a series of brutal murders dubbed ‘divine punishment’, by the townspeople. With his cold emotionless gaze and his reckless abandon, Okita is prepared to live and die by the sword. But, there is more to this savage swordsman than meets the eye, beneath his fearsome countenance is a boy weighed down by the human lives taken by his sword. Okita is a much more tragic character than I originally anticipated, and I found myself captivated by this wicked man. Like other Voltage men before him, Okita experienced his fair share of tragedy, as a child his father was murdered by ronin, leaving his family destitute. In order to make a name for himself, he became a disciple of the Kondo family dojo, where he showed an aptitude for the sword. So when Kondo went off to start the Shinsengumi, he brought Okita along with him, Okita’s skill proving to be an asset to the fledgling peacekeepers. Fighting and killing gave his life purpose, but word spread of the of his lack of restraint and people began to fear him. Even the men of the Shinsengumi note that Okita is like a different person when he has a sword in his hand. But his skill as a warrior extends beyond the use of a sword, Okita is highly perceptive able to sniff out deceitful individuals with 99% accuracy…as for the 1% margin of error, those men usually don’t live to tell the tale. At the start of the route, he even accuses the MC of being a spy, even holding her at knife point in order to coax out a confession. His blade doesn’t discriminate, Okita is willing to cut down anyone that stands in the way of the Shinsengumi or their goals. On the surface Okita appears to have no reservations when taking a human life, but deep down he struggles to cope with the knowledge that he is responsible for so much death. In an effort to protect what’s important to him, Okita became the very thing he hated: a murderer. Of all of the Shinsengumi commanders, Okita is the one with the greatest respect for life, because he knows the true cost of killing having experienced loss at such a young age. He knows the pain that comes from losing someone and it is with a heavy heart that wields his sword. Each life taken by his hand is another father, brother, or son, that will never see his family again. With every swing of the sword he ensures that another child will grow up the way he did, and yet he manages to stick to his convictions. But, when he isn’t wielding a sword, Okita reveals a much softer more approachable side, he is much sweeter than his reputation would suggest. In reality, Okita is a very social person, earning him good rapport with the townspeople, especially the children. He is quick to laugh, and takes joy in teasing the MC and even the Demon Deputy himself, with whom he shares an almost brotherly relationship. When Okita falls for the MC he becomes a lot softer, his threats don’t hold nearly as much bite as they once did, instead resembling something more akin to light teasing. He even gets jealous of the gifts the other men give her for helping out around base, so he takes he out on a date to town. I was surprised at how genuinely sweet and thoughtful Okita was while playing this route. With his messy room and pet fish, he seemed much more human and less like the merciless killer swordsman of the Shinsengumi people think he is. When he realizes the MC’s feelings for him he starts to push her away, in order to give her a chance at a normal life. Okita gave up on living a peaceful life long ago, so he doesn’t want to drag the MC into the darkness with him.
Let’s walk this path together
The MC in this route gave me a good chuckle, aside from being your typical Voltage MC, she also had a little sass in her! At first she is stiff and fearful of Okita, which given his reputation is warranted, but once she gets to know him she dishes just as good as she gets. Her snarky quips and remarks had me rolling and don’t get me started on her internal dialogue, pure gold. Like I mentioned in Hijikata’s review, the MC in this route handles everything surprisingly well for someone in her position. She doesn’t spend her time crying or bemoaning her lot in life, instead she keeps pushing forward with her head held high. Sure she’s terrified of the Shinsengumi, but that doesn’t stop her from doing her job as First Aid Officer. She pulls her weight, handling every task given to her, more than exceeding the expectations of each and every man at the compound. At one point in the story the Commanders of the Shinsengumi all lavish her with gifts in thanks for her service, showing her that she has more than earning her place among these elite warriors.
I will admit that at first the MC is as innocent and pure as a newborn lamb, which Okita takes to teasing her about. Unlike Okita and the other Shinsengumi, she lived a relatively normal and tragedy free life (excluding her house burning down) so to them her outlook on life is overly optimistic. She believes that all life is precious and that the taking of life for any reason is wrong, putting her at odds with practiced killer, Okita. There are several times in the story where she tries to convince Okita to give up killing. But as the plot progresses she comes to realize that not everything is as black and white as she once believed. Sure she’s a little reckless, and sure she has some less than stellar moments, but by the end of the route the MC is more than willing to lay her life down for the Shinsengumi cause.
Do I Recommend His Route
Now that’s what I’m talking about, that’s how you write a Shinsengumi romance story Voltage! This route was a vast improvement on what we got during Hijikata’s route. I am very impressed with the quality of this story, the writing was stellar and the romance was believable and well paced. Unlike the more Shinsengumi driven plotline of Hijikata’s route, Okita’s route was much more character driven. By the end I really felt like I got an intimate look at Soji Okita the man. From a young age he experienced the worst the world had to offer, so he dealt with it the best way he knew how. He internalized his trauma, until it was all that was left, leading him to become the very thing he hated. It’s only after he meets the MC that he learns what it means to truly live.
There are two endings available in Era of Samurai: Code of Love: Written by Fate and Written by Love. In the Written in Love Ending, unlike in Hijikata’s route, the MC experiences the carnage of the Ikedaya Incident first hand. After the fighting is done…Okita…Okita… I’m sorry I can’t, Voltage that was messed up…My heart can’t…NO! In the Written in Fate Ending, after Okita and the Shinsengumi kill all of the ronin at Ikeda-ya, Soji and the MC slip away to a secluded hilltop and confess their feelings for one another. I prefer the Written in Fate ending hands down, because… it’s easier on my heart…
Voltage really outdid themselves with this route and for once I have no complaints! I was much more emotionally invested in Okita’s character development, he just felt like a more organic and fully developed character than Hijikata. Because Voltage took the time to explain his past, I was better able to understand his present motivations and actions. Overall, this route was a roller coaster ride of emotions, one punch in the feels after another! I laughed, I raged, I felt those little butterflies in my gut, and this is only the beginning! I fell hard for this guy and you know what, I feel like Voltage is setting me up for the ultimate heartbreak in the future…
he coughed ya’ll…*voice breaks* he coughed… I highly recommend this route! Just go play it now, like right now, you won’t be disappointed!!!
What do you think about otoge with historical settings? Do you think the Shinsengumi premise is overplayed in otoge? Have you played any other voltage routes? Do you have a suggested route? Want me to review a specific game or character? Feel free to Comment on this post or Ask Me on my tumblr! As always Thank You for reading!