Hanayaka Nari Waga Ichizoku
Hanayaka Nari, Waga Ichizoku is a Japanese visual novel/simulation historical otome game taking place in the Taisho era. The main protagonist is an 18 year old girl who starts working as a maid for a powerful family with six bishie sons, ranging in age from 34 to 16. The six sons all have different mothers and their personalities are also very different. Their father is planning to retire as head of the family and pass on the entire family fortune to only one son, the one who can amuse him the most and get 10 points within a set timeframe (June – March)… this causes lots of family drama… which, of course, the main protagonist somehow gets herself involved in… because otherwise it wouldn’t be much of a game, lol.
This is a very long and involved game, much longer than Hakuouki – Demon of the Fleeting Blossom. I’ve completed 3 out of the 7 possible routes (I’m currently in the beginning of the 4th route), clocking in at over 63 hours of playtime already and will probably hit about 75 hours when I finish this route. If I don’t count the time it took to lookup kanji, it would still be over the 50+ hour mark after 3 routes. 🙂
Overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
Story (4.5 out of 5 stars): Surprisingly, the story turned out to be a lot more interesting than I thought it would be when I first started playing the game. It reminded me of a historical soap opera with forbidden love, revenge, attempted murder, rivalries, and various schemes/plots. Some routes were more angsty and serious than others, but they all had their humorous parts which literally made me laugh out loud.
Art (5 out of 5 stars): The art was fantastic! The CGs for the four routes that I wanted to play (Tadashi, Isami, Susumu, and Hiroshi) were great. The background art was also very nicely done and included animation, making it look more realistic (clouds, fireflies, fireworks, etc.). For instance, when fireworks were exploding in the background, the different colors of the fireworks were reflected on the character’s hair. The epilogue scene for each character was a nice touch, as well.
Voice (4.5 out of 5 stars): The voice acting for the main characters was really good. Some of the side characters sounded a little fake or like they were trying too hard though.
Sound (4 out of 5 stars): The BGM was good with nice variety. The voice level was pretty good for the most part but sometimes it was too soft compared to the BGM, especially in Tadashi’s route. I didn’t care for the opening song at all, but ending one was alright.
Game Play (4.5 out 5 stars): The game play was a little complicated without a walkthrough. Not the visual novel part, but the stat-raising and mini-quests. Each week you had to set your daily chores and every two months, there was an inspection which you had to pass. The mini-quests involved someone requesting help and once you helped them out, you usually got an item as a reward. The main reason I didn’t give this 5 stars is because each time you started a new route, you had to repeat the first 6 months (general route) before reaching an individual route in October. Granted, there were a few new events starting in June for each character, but the majority of the dialogue was repeated, so you had to use the auto skip a lot. Also, you had to redo each week of chores which was boring. I actually fell asleep more than once when I had to set the weekly chores again and then skip through the dialogue. I don’t know if there was an easier way to do this though.
Romance (4 out of 5 stars): The romance aspect was pretty good. The dialogue was really nice with a lot of funny and sweet parts, and there were several touching, hugging, or kissing CGs for each character (at least the ones that I played). 🙂