So, Harada’s route.
It has to be the sexiest one. There’s even an *gasp* erotic scene! (Definition of erotic: you know what’s going on, even though the wording and the imagery are kind of subtle. But it’s right there.)
Harada was my second choice because sexiness. He’s a ladies’ guy; he’s the one flirting with you since day one. (Although suggesting to take off your clothes in front of the whole squad to reassure you’re not lying about your gender is less flirty as it is rape-y and douche-y. =P)
There’s just one little thing about his route: it’s boring as fuck. From what I could gather about this character’s psychology, he only falls for the weak, fatalist, pathetic Chizuru Yukimura. Yes, he’s strong, agreeable and caring, but only if you’re in your most dependable mood. That being said, his route would be mostly forgettable for me if it wasn’t for the erotic scene and one thing here and there.
I liked the scene in which Yukimura acts as a human (demon?) shield because she FINALLY realizes she can indeed be useful. I mean, come on! You keep whining you’re useless and letting other people get hurt in your place when, in fact, you’re a powerful demon with amazing regenerative abilities? No! You use your abilities to not worry about being hurt. You’re the fucking Wolverine, come on! (Sorry, this protagonist makes me angry.)
In his route we get to know more about Shiranui, the demon who uses a pistol. He’s the one who usually fights against Sano, but, at some point, he tells his tale of sadness and stops being a complete asshole. You see, Harada’s route was so forgettable to me that I forgot who posed as the true villain… Gotta check that again. *checks game saves* OK, it’s her father, creepy Kōdō. And there’s some dilemma about being a demon girl and not wanting to make things difficult for Sano. But really. They end up having a baby, so the dilemma is apparently solved…
One perk of Sano’s character: he chooses you over that stupid battles in the end. Ok, you made an offer he couldn’t refuse (mwahaha), but still, I find it good that he actually values life more than that honor that involve losing your guts and letting everyone around you miserable. Comparing him with Saitō, Sano wins this one.
He’s also the only character who doesn’t become a Fury (rasetsu). That one detail confused the hell out of me, because I took all this Fury stuff as a solution to the characters historical deaths. But it turns out that Saitō, one of the few who outlived the Shinsengumi turns into a Fury, and Sano, who almost certainly died after the Battle of Ueno (on July 4th 1868), doesn’t. So my logic is wrong. 😦
Similarities to real-life Sanosuke Harada: he did preferred to use a spear over swords in battle. And that tragicomical story about the scar in his belly is true shit. He tried to do the “honorable suicide”-thing as a youngling, but failed. Ouch.
The fact that he and Nagakura left the Shinsengumi was accurate too (the reason being that Kondō began to act idiotically). They joined a troop called Seiheitai. However, they were still on the wrong side (that is, the Shogunate’s side).
Differences: he almost certainly died at the Battle of Ueno in 1868 (after the Meiji Restoration). “Almost certainly” because there were legends that he actually fled to Manchuria and became a well-known criminal. I’m not sure which ending would be more depressing, but I chose to believe he actually died, because any douche could claim to be him without any consequence other than saying you’d been part of one of Japan’s most famous groups of skilled people. In my case, for example, I’ve been saying for a long time that I’m in fact a retired AKB48, but for some reason nobody’s buying it. I wonder why.
He’s dubbed by Kōji Yusa, and I really think the guy did a great job. He was able to convey that easygoing aura around Sano without making me hate him.
Oh, after publishing the first post about Saitō, I found out THERE IS in fact one game of this series that has the hack&slash mechanics. Thank god. I wonder if it’s been properly developed…
Next route: Heisuke Tōdō.