Alrighty, just got off the rails of this particular route, and let me just share my thoughts about it!
This post is the last one for reviewing the different routes, however, I’ll be talking about other endings and side characters tomorrow as well. 🙂
So, this route was the one that I heard many people enjoying and being their favorite one and because of that, I decided to save it for last. That decision I made was good, but also made me regret it a little. I’ll explain later.
Hanako Ikezawa is really something else.
As we can see, Hanako has suffered quite a bit looking at the burn scars on the right side of her body and face. She also hides her scars to the best of her ability, for example, fixing her hair to block it out or wearing a hat out in public. Her personality is more on the timid and shy side, but at a really extreme level. For example, when Hisao tried to talk to her in the library, she panicked, said “I’vegottogodosomething!” and sprinted off.
However, she does have a friend she can enjoy being with, which is Lilly. Hanako tends to cling onto her and use her as sort some of shield, to protect herself from any other person. But protection aside, they are really good friends and someone Hanako can only really come to for anything.
Throughout the route, we can see that Hanako does start coming out of her shell and decreases her timidness, thanks to Hisao’s gentlemanly and likable behavior.
Okay, the story is really what is the most important in this particular route. Hanako’s route is much, much, much more different than anyone else’s. It’s wayyyyy more dramatic and I feel like Four Leaf Studios put the most work into it, out of all the routes.
Because of Hanako’s very timid and mysterious personality and behavior, Hisao’s goal wasn’t exactly to fall in love with this girl and have a romantic relationship with her, like with most of the other routes. He was mostly focused on trying to get Hanako out of her comfort zone and helping her change into a more sociable and better person, not only to help her become friends with Hisao and other people, but in life later on. And we see that unfold in certain ways, based on the choices you make.
Even though there wasn’t that much romance involved, I was completely into the story that I was fine with no lovey-dovey stuff or anything, after realizing the purpose of Hisao’s intentions. The narrative was very interesting and I even thought it was unpredictable at times.
We can also see Hisao’s personality really shine in Hanako’s route, even more than the other routes. He is genuinely worried for Hanako and was willing to help Hanako with anything she needed.
Now, this is what really made me not enjoy this route, and the fault is completely on my side, not the VN’s just letting you know. To put it simply and to also warn you if you want the best experience, DO NOT play Lilly’s route before Hanako’s. I made that huge mistake and the problem was that I already knew Hanako’s particular worries back in Lilly’s route, and that completely ruined the atmosphere they wanted you to have in Hanako’s route since I already knew what was wrong with her. Hopefully that made sense, but if that just flew over your head, just remember this: do not play Lilly’s route before Hanako’s for the best experience. This really bothered me and it’s a shame I didn’t get to experience this route in the correct way.
Other than that, the other really important characters in this arc was pretty much only Lilly. She had a fairly important part in helping Hisao create a better relationship with Hanako, but other than that, she wasn’t in the story that much.
Okay, final thoughts. I really liked Hanako’s route and I truly believe it had the best story and to be honest, the best arc overall. However, and I’m being completely honest here, I still believe Lilly’s is my favorite route. By the way, “favorite” and “best” are two completely different things. 🙂
The theme of Hanako:
Thanks for reading and be sure to come back tomorrow to see my thoughts on the other endings and also side characters!