Originally this was a part of the main review, but the more I kept writing the more my thoughts on the characters kind of took on a life of their own. So, I’m trying something new and separating out my thoughts on the characters and their routes from the main review. I don’t know if I’ll do this again, but, I had some pretty strong feelings about some of the characters/routes and it just didn’t gel well with the rest of the review.
If you want a general review of 7’scarlet check out my previous post, Mystery, Suspense and Zombies?! – 7’Scarlet Review (Part 1). If you’ve already given that a gander and you just want to know how I felt about the love interests and routes, you’re in the right place. A word of caution though, there are spoilers here, so if you haven’t finished the game perhaps you might want to hold off on reading this post until you do.
In 7’scarlet there are five potential love interests and one secret love interest. Each route deals with the overarching mystery elements of the game to varying degrees with the earlier routes focusing more on romance and the latter routes focusing on the Revenants and the mysteries surrounding Okunezato. Suggested play order is as follows:
Hino → Isora → Toa → Sosuke → Yuzuki → Toa’s True End → Hanate (Secret Ending)
Hino… Hino… Hino… you were doomed from the start, since I hate childhood friend routes! Hino is Ichiko’s childhood friend, who has spent the past X amount of years harboring a one-sided love for our clueless heroine. He’s athletic, playing for their college’s futsal (soccer on a hard court) team, because of this he has an enormous appetite and can usually be found stuffing his face. He’s a nice enough guy, but, he’s about as generic an otome love interest as you can get. He gets jealous easily, especially when anyone gets close to his future waifu and he’s just an all around average joe schmoe hero type.
His route doesn’t really go into the revenant plotline at all save for a few passing mentions here and there, but, they do attempt to investigate Ichiko’s brother’s disappearance, with mixed results. His route focuses more on the crazed killer that has his sights set on Ichiko, which parallels a similar incident that happened when they were kids. Apparently, Ichiko is a danger magnet, so when she was a kid, she and Hino wandered into the lair of a local serial killer, who snatches Ichiko and tells baby Hino to shoot him or else he’ll snap her neck. Hino pisses his pants and onii-chan has to step in and save the day. The incident has left Hino with a fear of guns so it would only stand to reason that his route would end with the exact same situation, because why be original when you can just rehash the same stuff over and over again? This route was a mess really, and a lot of loose ends were left hanging by the end of it, but, Hino get’s the girl so I suppose it wasn’t a total loss…
The only thing I hate more than childhood friend romances are fucking yanderes! So already, 7’scarlet is 0 for 2… Isora is the jail bait chef of the Fuurinkan Hotel and a resident of Okunezato. I will give credit where credit is due, compared with Hino’s route, Isora actually started off just fine. He’s a friendly (albeit a little too flirty) guy who single-handedly runs the Fukurin Cafe because Yuzuki is
too cheap to hire anyone else such an ass that he fired everyone else. When he was a kid his parents owned a popular restaurant in town, that flourished until the Murakumo’s shut down the hot spring industry in town and forced several business to go under. With the restaurant gone, his parents were forced to work for the Murakumo family at the Fuurinkan Hotel, until his dad died and his mom worked her self to… sickness? So now, Isora is working in their place to help pay his mother’s mounting hospital bills despite his loathing for the Murakumo’s and everything they stand for…
Ichiko is once again the target of a crazed serial killer, but, unlike Hino, Isora takes a more hands on approach. Now, this is where Isora gives Toma from Amnesia a run for his money… After Ichiko is attacked by the killer, Isora kidnaps her and takes her to an underground bunker he’s fitted with all the comforts of home, save windows. He keeps her locked up for days, weeks, months… the timeline is kind of screwy only visiting in the morning, afternoon, and evening to cook her delicious meals and check on her injuries. She literally has no contact with the outside world and anytime she asks about the world outside, Isora gets really defensive and controlling. I don’t like yanderes at the best of times, but, Isora really takes the cake and of course at the end of it all everything is forgiven… because TRUE FUCKING LOVE…
I really wasn’t expecting to like Toa all that much, quiet, shy guys aren’t my thing and not even my love of megane men was enough to change that. Then throw in his Hannah Montana routine and I was prepared to write this one off as just average. Famous person masquerading as a regular Joe Schmo is an otome staple and let’s be real those Clark Kent glasses aren’t fooling anyone. But, despite my ambivalence, I found myself really drawn to Toa, he’s unassuming, courteous, and even with his popstar persona, A-TO, just a really down to earth guy and his love of cats is just so precious. Which given the trainwrecks that were Hino and Isora’s routes, was like a breath of fresh air. Like Hino’s and Isora’s routes you don’t really delve too deeply into the Revenant plot line, but that isn’t to say that there aren’t a few breadcrumbs sprinkled here and there… it’s only after you play the True Ending that Toa’s route really kicks off.
You can’t talk about Toa without bringing up the True Ending, and for a long time, I didn’t know how I felt about it because it seriously changes everything you know about Toa. Once you know the truth there is no going back, it leaves a bittersweet twinge to the character that could be a bit off putting to most players. *takes a deep breath* So, Toa is a Revenant. Prior to Ichiko’s arrival in Okunezato, Toa had an accident and drove his car off the main bridge into town. Because he was a resident of the town with “deep regrets” he didn’t just die, rather he came back as one of the murder zombies in hopes of setting his affairs in order ie. putting on his concert in town. Unlike the other revenants we’ve encountered he resists the urge to kill and attempts to keep up pretenses until after his big concert after which he’ll just wander off somewhere and “die” off screen.
Some folks absolutely hated this reveal since it puts a bit of a downer ending on everything since regardless of your actions (or wishes) Toa is operating on borrowed time, so there really is no “Happy Ending” for the character. However, I quite liked the plot twist because it gave an otherwise unremarkable and cliched character something that made him stand out from the rest. Though I will admit that his dogged good guy personality was endearing and given my dislike of both Isora and Hino, I consider this one to be one of the better routes in the game, even with the tragic undertones.
Now this was the character I was most looking forward to, megane characters are my bias and I fully admit to that and Sosuke Tatehira is like my ultimate megane man; dark hair, intelligent, glasses… Visually he’s perfect. This is one of the best routes in the game, Sosuke is doesn’t feature as prominently in the previous three routes so we really don’t know all that much about him other than he’s a medical student and that he’s kind of a nerd. So there’s this mystery surrounding him that serves as a great complement to the other mystery elements of the story. We go into his route with the same amount of information Ichiko does and as we progress through the story we learn more and more about him and how he fits in with everything else. The relationship builds slowly, developing naturally from start to finish, you really believe that Ichiko and Sosuke are falling in love with one another. However, the romance plays second fiddle to some pretty big revelations surrounding the Revenants and the mysteries of Okunezato.
Toa’s route was like the preamble to the Revenant heavy routes, still relatively light (True ending notwithstanding) but with just enough mystery to remind you that there’s more going on under the surface. In Hino and Isora’s routes the Revenants were little more than a background threat with little to no bearings on the rest of the plot, Sousuke’s route is where shit really hits the fan. We finally start getting answers about the secret goings on of the city, including the Murakumo’s vigilance committee who are actually a front for a group of murder zombie hunters called the Ensepulchers. This route definitely goes a long way in making up for the lack of information in the previous three routes with an endless stream of info dumps and plot reveals. But, even better than that, we see Ichiko taking an active role in the story, the events of the story aren’t just happening to her, she’s an active participant working alongside her chosen beau to get to the bottom of the murder mysteries plot.
Yuzuki is the owner of the Fuurinkan Hotel and the heir apparent to the Murakumo dynesty… and he’s a bit of an ass, he’s cold and detached and he and his family are directly responsible for most if not all of the secret goings on of the city. Both Toa and Isora harbor deep grudges against him and his family and given the way he treats everyone early on it’s no wonder he’s so hated. On top of that he is openly hostile to Ichika in just about every route of the game. He’s an absolute monster, through and through… I fully expected to hate his guts too, but, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Yuzuki is actually the sweetest character in the game, he puts the safety of others before himself, even if that makes him out to be the bad guy.
Sosuke’s route kicked off the more mystery heavy storylines, but, Yuzuki’s route is where everything escalates. Sousuke’s route was very much an outsider looking in, on the secrets surrounding the Revenants, the Ensepulchers, and Okunezato; however, because both Sousuke and Ichiko are considered “outsiders” there are distinct limitations on how far their investigations can go. Yuzuki on the other hand is at the center of everything. As the son and heir of the the Murakumo head, he pretty much knows everything going on in Okunezato. It doesn’t take long for the plot to hit the ground running as Ichiko is drawn to Yuzuki because he appears to know more about her brother’s disappearance than he’s letting on… and boy does he ever. This route ties together just about everything we’ve learned in the previous four routes, but takes it to another level, filling in the gaps and tying up loose ends.
Hanate Yatsukami aka Hanate Hanamaki aka Onii-chan, is Ichiko’s missing older brother and the McGuffin that kickstarts the plot. A year prior to the game, Hanate traveled to Okunezato and seemingly vanished off of the face of the earth, heartsick, Ichiko and Hino make their way to the town in hopes of discovering what happened to Hanate. At the conclusion of most of the previous routes he is assumed to be dead because there is literally no trace of him, so Ichiko skips off into the sunset with her chosen love interest and Hanate is forgotten. However, unknown to everyone, Hanate is in fact alive and like Toa a Revenant that has been masquerading as Ichiko’s brother for years under the guise of protecting her from wayward Revanents that might attack her. Apparently Ichiko is the Bella Swan of 7’scarlet, her life force is especially attractive to Revenants… they explain that she is their Ambrosia or Albino for short. Killing her grants a Revenant everlasting life, which explains why her life has been in danger in just about every other route in the game.
I don’t know what it is about otome games and brothers… but, seriously, 7’scarlet is yet another game that ends with a little brocon luv… *sigh* So, let’s start with the positives: this route reveals everything. We learn EVERYTHING, about the Revenants, the Ensepulchers, the secrets of Okunezato, Ichika’s brother, and of course Ichika herself. This route wraps everything up in a nice neat bow, so if you have been itching to get to the bottom of the mystery side of things then this is the motherload. I’m not a fan of brother complexes at the best of times (part of the reason I’ve been dragging my feet with Period Cube), so you can imagine just how much I enjoyed this particular incest-y route. And before anyone says it, I am aware that he isn’t her blood related sibling. HOWEVER, that doesn’t excuse the fact that he is a thousands of year old murder zombie pretending to be her dear sweet onii-chan gets a pass for him perving on a young girl. I don’t care how romantic you try to make it. Thankfully he and the rest of the murder zombies die at the end of the game and everyone’s memories get wiped, so I’m not forced to sit through anymore icky bro (not-bro) incest romance plot.
So, no fancy final thoughts this time around, since I did that in Part 1. However, I will rank the routes by level of enjoyment… Toa, Yuzuki, Sosuke, Hino, Isora, and Hanate. I’ve also included a little “chart” that breaks down the route breakdown, Hearts indicate romance and the little Zombies indicate Revenant/mystery.
Depending on how invested you are in the mystery plotline will more or less determine your enjoyment of each route. I enjoyed the routes that had a better balance of romance and the Revenant storyline, whereas the routes that completely ignored the Revenant plotline were a bit of a snooze-fest for me. But, all in all, I’m done with 7’scarlet, and as a whole it was a pretty solid game.