Visual novel review: Hanachirasu

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Hanachirasu is a short visual novel that was released by JAST USA earlier this month. I actually had the fan-translation sitting uninstalled on my computer for the last 6 months. So when the official English translation came out I decided I should probably try it out, as it had been something I had been planning to read anyway, and the newer version probably had a more polished translation.

Story

The story is set in an alternate timeline, branching off during World War II. 21st century Tokyo is now cut off from the rest of the country, and because of a ban on firearms, swords are now used by most citizens of the dangerous city for self defense. The protagonist is Takeda Akane, a young swordsman who wishes for nothing more than to face off against somebody equal to him in skill.

Hanachirasu is very different to other things I’ve read, besides the time spent infodumping specifics about the alternate timeline setting, most of the visual novel is describing technicalities regarding swordplay, as well as detailed descriptions of swordsmen facing off against each other.

Characters

While I wouldn’t take any of the characters very seriously, they do a good job of fitting in with the setting and keeping the story engaging. All of the characters are similar to each other in certain respects, such as dedication to their goals and similar attitudes, but they still come across as being varied and relevant to the story.

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H scenes

The sex scenes in Hanachirasu don’t take very much time at all, only using minimal amounts of text during them. Most of the text during the sex scenes are either important to the story or characters in some way, or advance the plot, instead of actually describing the sexual content itself.

Overall impressions

I was pretty impressed with my overall experience with Hanachirasu, except for maybe the game’s length, I’ve always preferred my fiction literature to be longer rather than shorter. The story flows well, and the soundtrack and voices complemented the setting well.

Swords are weapons that have always interested me, the sword-wielding characters in various fantasy works have always caught my attention and are usually among my favourite characters from the particular series. The detailed descriptions in Hanachirasu appealed to me greatly, they helped show me many interesting aspects of the technical part of swordplay that I had never payed much attention to before.

If anyone has even the slightest interest in swords as a weapon or in any way, or if anyone ever wants to use any aspect of swordplay in any writing or creative work, I would highly recommend reading Hanachirasu. Being able to finish it in less than ten hours isn’t a big time commitment, and I think the content would definitely be good as a reference when considering swords in a relatively realistic way.

Positives:

  • Cool/descriptive use of swordplay
  • Decent pacing
  • Interesting characters

Negatives:

  • Short game (this is just me, I’m not sure if it would have worked if it was longer)
  • Felt weak in certain parts

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About FabledHunter

Novice Anime Blogger. ask.fm/AnimeAtaraxia

Posted on March 28, 2015, in Reviews and Impressions, Visual Novels and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I’ll get to it eventually, I swear! It’ll be interesting to see how it compares to other Nitro+ works.

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    • Hmm, I’ll be interested to know what you think about it. I haven’t actually played any other Nitro+ works yet, are there any you would recommend?

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      • Of the Nitro+ VNs i’ve played, I can confidently say that Zanmataisei Demonbane and Chaos;Head are bad.
        When it comes to Saya no Uta and Steins;Gate, however, a lot of people love them even though I didn’t (well, Steins;Gate was okay). So while I can’t recommend them they may be worth trying. I have reviews up for Chaos;Head, Saya no Uta and Steins;Gate if you’re interested in knowing more about my opinions =P

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        • I forgot Steins;Gate and Chaos;Head, I usually think of 5pb. instead of Nitroplus when thinking of them even though technically both are accurate. I have actually played both Steins;Gate and Chaos;Head but finished neither.

          Steins;Gate – I liked Steins;Gate. I’ve seen the anime and really enjoyed it, so playing the visual novel was good for getting a heap of technically information to expand upon my enjoyment from the anime series. I thought that the anime was better overall, I found the pacing to be better for instance. But overall, my enjoyment of both versions was increased by the other. (I actually completed most of it, I played all the side-routes as I went through the game, but for some reason I had trouble getting to the true end. So I ended up taking a break and I never got back to it.)

          Chaos;Head – I see from your review that you didn’t think it was very good at all. Again, I’ve seen the anime (which I didn’t think was that good), but I’ve heard it wasn’t a very good adaption at all.
          I don’t think I got far enough into it to decide whether or not I think it was good. I got to a dead end but I didn’t really know what decision I had made to trigger it, so I didn’t feel like starting again straight away and put it on hold.
          I hear Chaos;Head Noah had some additional routes which may have improved some of the things you didn’t like about it, (although there isn’t a completed translation so this isn’t very relevant).
          I will get back to it one day, I did really enjoy Steins;Gate so I’m going to go into Chaos;Head trying to enjoy it as much as I can. I’m slightly disappointed to hear you thought it was bad, but I’ll have to decide for myself when I get back to it. (like you said at the end of your review: at least it’s short, I won’t have to invest much time into it if it turns out to be terrible.)

          Speaking of Steins;Gate and Chaos;Head though, anime adaptions of Steins;Gate 0 and Chaos;Child have been announced. I’m pretty interested in both, anything more of Steins;Gate I’ll gladly accept and Chaos;Child (sequel for Chaos;Head) is meant to be much better than it’s prequel so I’m excited to see how it turns out.

          Zanmataisei Demonbane – not really surprised to hear you say it’s bad, I have heard a number of other people say this. It was something I had been planning to try out eventually, but hearing you say it wasn’t very good, I might just put it even further back on my backlog.

          Saya no Uta – I’ll get to it eventually, I’m a fan of Urobuchi and have seen everything he’s been involved in anime-wise. I’ve heard a lot of people say that Saya no Uta is their favourite Urobuchi work, so I have high hopes.

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          • Since you liked Steins;Gate, you’ll be glad to hear that there’s a sequel in the works (http://nichegamer.com/2015/03/coming-steinsgate-0-a-steinsgate-sequel-as-both-a-visual-novel-and-anime/).

            There’s also a new project being written called Anonymous;Code (http://nichegamer.com/2015/03/5pb-and-mages-to-develop-new-visual-novel-anonymouscode/).

            I’ll probably end up giving them a go, especially if they’re received well. I’ve actually heard that the Steins;Gate anime was better quite a few plans and intend to watch it in another year or so once i’ve forgotten some more of the story’s details (I attempted to watch it recently and decided it was too soon).

            There are a lot of opinions I simply don’t agree with (like Rewrite, or even Steins;Gate to a lesser extent) but Chaos;Head rubs me wrong in so many ways that I cannot accept that it could be enjoyable XD While I couldn’t see myself played Chaos;Head Noah if it were to be translated I can imagine that it might be able to fix a lot of my complaints about the original, which is a good thing. I’m sort of surprised I finished it, actually. Will I play Chaos;Child…er, i’ll get back to you on that. Unless the Western reaction to it is ludicrously positive and someone personally recommends it to me i’ll probably stay well away from it.

            As for Saya no Uta, I was probably more annoyed by what it could have been than by what it was. It simply doesn’t explore its concepts as well as it should and instead opts to focus on shock factor. While I can enjoy that when there’s a decent story to back things up (like Corpse Party, for example), it didn’t sit well with me in this case. Urobuchi’s writing is hit and miss for me. My general opinion is that he has great concept ideas but falters in execution. Still, Fate Zero is awesome and Madoka Magica is pretty cool, so he does do some good stuff.

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