Hotaka

hotaka

Plot Summary: The MC has trouble choosing who will watch over her, but this is resolved when it comes out that the ninja she witnessed was Hotaka and it is decided that she will be left in his care. Hotaka is a well known kabuki actor and he freely lavishes affection upon the MC as she begins to work at Iesaya. His energy comforts the MC as she await her change for revenge, but the MC never suspects that there might be deeper feels behind Hotaka’s attention even as she begins to wonder if she is falling for him herself

What I think of him: Hotaka is flamboyant and energetic. His cheerful exuberance makes him the life of the party and his personable nature helps him be the center of attention. Hotaka’s enthusiasm can get out of hand at times, and it is usually up to Sion to rein him in (think about that for a second; Sion having to be the one to rein someone in). Hotaka is a pretty man, and this coupled with his tendency to wear a woman’s kimono and his love for pretty and cute things causes the MC to occasionally have to remember that, yeah, Hotaka is actually a strong guy. Hotaka is well known for playing both male and female roles on stage to perfection. Hotaka lives at Iesaya and practically grew up as a sibling to Sion. Similar to Sion, Hotaka may act like a flirt without a care in the world, but he has a core of surprising seriously

Nickname: None

Charm point: He can’t get over how cute the MC is

Quote: “My feelings for you are grown so strong I find them hard to resist. I love you so much it hurt.”

Cuddle, kiss, or push down: Get glomped, this is Hotaka after all

Would have eloped with: 

  • Sion, because he’s such a great support for both Hotaka and the MC, and he even managed to get a confession out even if he did play it off

Favorite moments: 

  • How seriously Hotaka takes his acting. The first rehersal that the MC saw was great
  • Hotaka and Ichika fighting over the MC and Sion having to distract them
  • Hotaka throwing a fit in the rafters when the MC is playing the role of a prostitute for a mission
  • Hotaka and Sion fighting over who gets to fuss over the MC after she and Hotaka begin dating
  • They went full out on the Sweet Ending

Worst moments: 

  • In the beginning, Hotaka says that he got the male lead in the play he is practicing, and this was sort of an eyeopening experience for the MC since she began to see how serious and manly Hotaka could be when she watched his practice. However, later when the MC watches the rehearsal again towards the end of the route, he playing a woman, and it feels like it’s just so they can use the sprite with Hotaka all dressed up as a woman
  • The avoiding each other bit is a staple of otoge, but so aggrivating because it seemed especially unneccessary in this route. And why did Hotaka continue to avoid the MC for a couple of days after he and Sion had their little chat
  • The text refers to Hotaka’s weapon as hairpins, but he is clearly holding two swords

Worth the price of admission?: Hotaka’s route is pretty lively and sunny. It feels like a pretty light route, probably because they expect that you’ve read the other routes so there isn’t really any new information to introduce. It’s also a “light” route in that it doesn’t linger on dark emotions, likely because the pool of boys needed a little bit of cheer injected into them. Hotaka doesn’t have a traumatic backstory or personality trait like almost all the other guys in this game; there was a moment where some darkness was surfacing but he pushed it back super fast. The plot also hops around quite a bit. There closest thing to a problem (besides the Tori thing) is that the MC doesn’t think that Hotaka is showing genuine affection just for her and Hotaka thinks the MC hates him, but this lasts for only a couple of chapters so while it’s the closest thing to being the main conflict, it doesn’t quite hit the mark. Still the route is great for some light reading and it features a guy who genuinely and very obviously adores the MC which is always a pallate cleanser with all the tsunderes and verbally abusive dudes around. Hotaka’s a good place to go when you’ve finished a couple of other routes in Ninja Assassin

 

Recommended routes: 

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Alice: Love & Murder

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Game is no longer available

Company: Koyonplete

Cost: Free-to-Play, $7.99 for whole game, or $3.00 for individual routes

Synopsis: The MC is living a regular, boring life, but one day her wrist is suddenly captured by a handcuff which leads to a mysterious door. Through the door she finds a world like and very unlike her own. She meets a mysterious young girl who tells her that someone has been killed and that the MC must find out who the perpetrator was. The MC makes her way to the Castle of Hearts and from the butlers learns that the Queen of Hearts was the murder victim and that there are three suspects: the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, and the Hatter.

My walkthrough to get the True End for each route can be found HERE

MC: The MC is a high school girl who is rather detached from the world to the point that she feels like she is constantly suffocating. She hasn’t suffered in any particular way, she just isn’t really interested in the world and doesn’t really want to be interested. She actually feels like it wouldn’t be too bad to just die, she just doesn’t want to go through the dying part. The MC’s disinterest is probably the most noteworthy thing about her, but beyond that she has the usual traits of being kind, and having a strong moral compass, etc. She isn’t as oblivious as other MCs and she does desire to form opinions based off her own observances, both of which are good traits, but she doesn’t really get to show them off enough since the routes mostly revolve around other reacting to the MC’s inquiries and although she’s important to the plot she is more of a background object than an actor most of the time

Guys: 

  • Cheshire Cat: The King of Diamonds who is also a criminal. Always cheerful and energetic, he is actually very lonely and is frequently ignored
  • Hatter: The King of Clubs who was the rival and enemy of the Queen. He’s a blunt man who does as he pleases, but in truth he is not as free as he seems
  • White Rabbit: The King of Spades who is considered to be a traitor. Quiet and gentle, he has a hidden darkness that everyone but the MC seems to be aware of

Impressions: After Alice: Love & Labyrinth came out, Koyonplete announced that there would be more Alice games. I was excited because Love & Labyrinth wasn’t terrible, I enjoyed the character designs, and I was hoping to romance the assistants of the Kings from that game. Love & Murder is not the game I was hoping fore.  It takes place in a similar Wonderland as the first game, but Alice is the only returning character, despite all the names/roles/etc being the same for the Kings and their assistants. The CGs are still lovely, but the character designs too a turn for the worse: the Cheshire Cat is garish (although that seems intentional on his part), the White Rabbit looks like he has half-stuffed socks instead of rabbit ears, and the Hatter looks like a wannabe punk. The only character design that I liked more than the first game is the MC who I thought was cute, although her blue coloring is unfortunate in the endings in which she becomes the Queen since the blue ends up clashing a little with the red.

As I said before, the plot of this is mostly a rehashing of the first game, although this time the MC has the motive of trying to figure out who killed the Queen of Hearts so she can go home. This would have been interesting if the investigation didn’t get sidelined so quickly in favor of the nothing that was going on instead. The MC also has a handcuff and chain attached to one of her wrists which gets mentioned once in a while and is only relevant in two out of the three happy endings. The guys are basically the same as their namesakes in the first game with a couple of differences, none of which are name/position/role or even the perception of them by regular folks (for example the Cheshire Cat is thought of as a criminal in both games). And of course since the first game was heavily inspired by the Kuni no Alice/Wonderful Wonder World series/games, this game is sort of an inbred (grand)child of that.

In the end I would probably say that if you really want to play this game, play the White Rabbit’s route for free and don’t even bother with the other two routes (sorry Cheshire Cat and Hatter). There are just better games to spend your time with

Favorite Guy: White Rabbit

Favorite Route: White Rabbit

If You Like This Game Try: 

Hatter

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Plot Summary: When the MC goes out to investigate the Queen’s murder she finds the White Rabbit to be attentive and the Cheshire Cat to be welcoming. It is only the Hatter who seems to hate her for no reason. What’s worse, everyone seems to find it only natural that he hate her. But despite the warning from everyone else, and her own inclination to stay away from someone who so clearly despises her, the MC can’t help but continue to visit the Hatter in hopes of discovering the reason for his hatred and also the reason for his occasional lapses of kindness

What I think of him: The Hatter is a guy who is in control and it sort of Wonderland’s ultimate bad boy. He seems to do as he pleases and lives freely, but that is largely deception because although he has never minded his role, he is perhaps most trapped in it. The MC finds the Hatter to be too blunt in his speech and frequently scolds him about the necessity of pretending to be pleasant; the Cheshire Cat remarks that the Hatter seems to be showing the MC a different side of himself because he knows the Hatter as being more restrained than the MC describes him

Nickname: Hatty

Charm point: You can, and have, changed him

Quote: “When I’m with you, I think I kind of love this world.”

Cuddle, kiss, or push down: Get in a verbal argument, which would probably end in getting pushed down

Would have eloped with: 

Favorite moments: 

  • How the MC isn’t afriad to speak her mind to the Hatter and even going so far as to insist that she hates him
  • The MC smacking the Hatter at the tea party
  • Bill deciding that he can’t wait for the MC to get dressed and carrying her out in her nightdress
  • “I choose the world over you. It’s that kind of fool man that I am.” It was just a good line at a good moment

Worst moments: 

  • Bill attacking the MC. 1) It came out of no where. 2) Once it is over it is never brought up again and the MC doesn’t even think about it when she wakes up with Bill right there next to her bed
  • Who ended up being the culprit in this route totally felt like a cop out

Worth the price of admission?: This route was a prime example of telling instead of showing. The primary offense is Bill saying that the MC caused the Hatter to change. I saw no indication of this what so ever, except maybe that the Hatter was meaner to the MC than anyone else but that would actually be something that Bill should approve of. The second off putting thing about this route is the MC and the Hatter’s relationship; they keep saying that they hate each other and yet they keep seeking each other out. The Hatter has a bit of an excuse because he is supposed to hate the MC and that isn’t really a reflection on his personal feelings, but the MC doesn’t know that, she’s the one who decided to hate the Hatter, but she’s also the one who does most of the seeking out. It’s a little frustrating because I didn’t really see why their feelings changed. Bill and the MC mention the kindness the Hatter shows to the MC, but besides stopping Bill from killing her, the first moment of tenderness I saw between them was when the Hatter was saying that it was going to be the last time that he would be nice to her. I just felt that there were crucial scenes missing and that ruined my experience of the route

 

Recommended routes: 

Alice: Love & Murder -WALKTHROUGH-

These are the answers I used to get to the True Ending

Cheshire Cat

  • Still, I don’t mind staying here for a little more.
  • And if there were any reason for that
  • This is how I thought.
  • “Yes…”
  • This space

White Rabbit

  • “I want to know the reason for this.”
  • a little lonely.
  • “You must be lying!”
  • As a person I like.
  • I screamed.
  • I’ll go find him.

Hatter

  • I got angry.
  • I wonder if there’s really any kind of reason…
  • I stepped back…
  • I’m trying to resist.
  • “Even so, I…”…
  • I stared back at him.
  • My world…

Ukyo

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Plot Summary: The MC chooses Ukyo as her instructor, and -despite how handsy he is with her- she doesn’t regret it because Ukyo is a very diligent instructor and is intent on taking her under his wing. It is through Ukyo that the MC learns not only about the bustling city of Nagasaki, but of the seedy underbelly lurking just beneath the lively crowds. Ukyo seems to consider everyone as part of his family but it doesn’t take long for the MC to realize that she wants to be someone special to Ukyo. But how can she even hope to achieve this when she has to keep her true self secret from the one she wants to be closest to?

What I think of him: Ukyo is lively and a big talker. He is confident and never fails to stride right through town attracting all the attention. He can talk to almost everyone and considers most people a part of his family. He grew up with Eduard and Natsume (Ninja Assassin), but doesn’t seem to be closer to them than he is to anyone else since he treats everyone equally and thus no one specially. He’s got a big heart and always wants to do what he can for others or offer some well-meaning physical contact. He is fully capable of scheming, but he tends to come off as a bit of a fool. He’s the sort of guy who doesn’t take no for an answer and lets insults sail right over his head

Nickname: None

Charm point: He thinks his girl is the cutest in the world

Quote: “You are not only my dear partner, but the love of my life as well.”

Cuddle, kiss, or push down: 

Would have eloped with: 

  • Yuzuki, because the poor guy had a rough time of it but took things so graciously

Favorite moments: 

  • The involvement and appearance of all the Edo vigilantes, especially Natsume
  • Ukyo showing off the MC and bragging about her and also getting his job done at the same time
  • In the ending when everyone is disparaging of having Ukyo as Nagasaki’s commissioner
  • Likewise, all the looks of pity the MC gets for having to deal with Ukyo (from their inner circle and Ritsu)

Worst moments: 

  • The MC being bereted for saving Haru when she was dragged away and nearly assaulted. Sure, they can’t let anyone know that they’re ninja but a girl was nearly raped and how can you call yourselves defenders of justice if you see it and just let it happen? Everyone lets the MC off pretty easy, but the issue should have been, next time don’t get seen or throw your scarf over your face so you don’t get recognized, not don’t do stupid things and jeopardize us all
  • Everyone is my family and no one is special… ugh
  • How easily Ukyo’s attempts for justice as a commissioner are thwarted. Basically all anyone says is “you have no proof” and Ukyo the commissioner is stopped in his tracks
  • Ukyo doesn’t really listen to the MC. If she says that she’s busy working he drags her off anyways and that is both obnoxious and rude

Worth the price of admission?: When Ninja Shadow was released I pegged Ukyo as the one I wouldn’t like out of the initial three and for once my initial prediction was right. It might be a combination of the facts that he isn’t my type and the fact that they tried a little too hard to throw everything into Ukyo’s route (it was a good introduction to all of the characters and they also brought in all of the dateable Ninja Assassin character (less Willem). Ukyo is a little too main character-ish as well, being super good natured and popular with his “flaw” being that he likes everyone and doesn’t see anyone as special to him; which I don’t think can even be a thing if you aren’t a distant person. Additionally, this trait is just super annoying since the route keeps harping on it. I might have actually enjoyed the route itself if the MC and Ukyo had just stayed partners and didn’t progress to the dating stage since that was where Ukyo began grating on my nerves, especially since he seemed to become more and more of a braggart. However, my annoyance aside, this route was worth playing just to see the two vigilante groups interacting. I thought having Ukyo, Eduard, and Natsume as childhood friends was going to be great and it definitely was spot on

 

Recommended routes: