So, the past week I have been reading ChuSinGura 46+1, and surprised myself by blowing through 仮名手本忠臣蔵編 (basically, chapter 1,) in under a week. Between the length of the game, as well as the difficult samurai speech patterns and complicated edo-period political schemes, it certainly is the most challenging VN I have read in Japanese as of yet. Anywanys, as the game is so bloody long, and the chapters can somewhat be considered self contained, I just wanted to write something about my impressions and thoughts of chapter 1.
It has been a long time since I was this into the VN I'm reading, be it translated or not translated. I think the last time was when I read Nurse Love Addiction when that came out, as the mystery element in that game really took me by surprise, and I read it all in a couple of days. That's months ago though, so finally finding a game again which really just hooked me from the beginning, and kept me hyped all the way to the end was a great feeling. ChuSinGura's combination of silly humor and dead serious plot was a breath of fresh air. It goes to show that a game doesn't have to take itself too seriously to be really good. It honestly felt very similar to Majikoi on that front. (Also, the colored text, the character movement during combat scenes and what not. The game is quite honestly very similar in style to Majikoi.)
So, the first thing I have to say about this game is that it is just stunning. The art is really pretty, the specific colored text for each character gives them all a unique feel, and the sprites having sooo many different poses and expressions really makes their personalites feel so much more real and alive.
(They even literally have specific sprites just to hold food and drinks they are eating/ drinking in that scene... such details in the sprites alone isn't that common in most VNs I have read, at least.)
The large amount of not just CGs, but event backgrounds took me by surprise as well. Many times I was certain I was looking at a CG, only to find out it was a specific background made for that scene.
Honestly, the story was just fantastic. Some people might argue that the silly and goofy jokes and what not ruins the seriousness of it, but I strongly disagree. Sure, the game has a lot of not-so serious moments, but they do not at all remove any of the emotions behind the actual story. I'll admit, I did cry several times through this story, and probably will in the following chapters, too.
(A few CGs and scenes I loved. Spoilers inside the spoiler tags, duh. Mainly just CGs, but a bit of my opinions about what happened and what not inside.)
This scene was so incredibly satisfying. The entire chapter was building up to this moment, and when it finally came, it did not disappoint.
Sorry, that was kinda cheesy but guh... this scene wrecked my feels.
Another thing I absolutely loved about this game is the antagonists. Well, not the actual morons plotting the evil plan behind the scenes, but the antagonists who the samurai actually fight... Specifically, Shimizu Ichigaku, who has to be one of the most badass characters I have seen, ever. (I'm also really looking forward to seeing Yamayoshi Shinpachirou in the game, as she uses a nodachi, and that is basically my favorite type of weapon, ever.)
Anyways, now, for some badass stuff from Shimizu Ichigaku: (Once again, some spoilers in the spoiler tags:)
(I don't know if I'm supposed to be scared as fuck or aroused by that comment... such confuse, much wow.)
What I loved about her character is that she is just stright up stronger than all the main characters. There is just quite simply no contest. She fights three of the four strongest among the 47 ronin, and basically defeats them. The MC's trump card didn't even work against her. The only reason she lost is simply because she got attacked by three people, then ambushed by a fourth. If she did win in that situation, it would just be silly. A really well written antagonist tbh, who really just stole the spotlight in the Kira confrontation. (Who cares about a dude with a big snake; this chick is the real villain in that story!) A great character, with a great ending. (Well, in chapter 1. Hopefully she will have a role in the other chapters, too!)
Finally, I have to say, Suguha is a great main character. He is definitely one of my favorite protagonists in any VN. Although he is powerful, he isn't the super stronk dude who just wrecks everything in his path, like some protagonists are. He is very devoted to his master, but still has a certain amount of doubt and fear, especially surrounding his own life, and won't hesitate to speak up if he feels something needs to be said. It really comes off clearly that, despite him being put into this surreal setting of the 47 ronin avenging their lord, he isn't truly a warrior from that time period. He isn't fearless and he is definitely flawed. But his sense of justice and devotion to his master is still very admirable. He is also really funny, and the mix of a modern guy from the 21st century in the Edo-period really makes the whole game so much more funny. Overall I just loved his character.
On that note, the romance between him and Kuranosuke was really great. I thought the romance was going to be a bit pushed to the side in this game, but it was handled perfectly.
Y u do dis feelz...
I could write about this chapter alone for hours and hours, but I'll probably come back and write more about the game once I finish the rest of the chapters, so I'll leave it here for now.
This has quite honestly already jumped up to the spot of one of my favorite VNs of all time. If the next chapters are as good as the first one, this might just take the #1 spot for me tbh.
Anyways, that's it for now. Time to get back to reading!