Visual novel review: Hanachirasu
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Cool/descriptive use of swordplay
- Decent pacing
- Interesting characters
- Short game (this is just me, I’m not sure if it would have worked if it was longer)
- Felt weak in certain parts