Tokyo Ghoul:re Chapter 38: A Certain M

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Labyrinths of Astoria [ Hydra Main Routes ]

So a young adult with an obsession with Greek mythology alongside romance would probably be the ideal candidate for a game where you can date figures from Greek mythology, right? As it happens this game was exactly the kind of thing people like myself would love. They couldn’t have aimed this one better, as soon as I heard it was coming out I essentially freaked out. There was nothing I could do but just eagerly await the entire experience. I can happily say- this game met a lot of my expectations.

hydra

First off, I’m in love with the mythology the game created. The gods just are, the mythology just is, and their powers are manifested in ‘auras’ that they can wield. Then you have H.E.R.A., the organization essentially meant to monitor that and keep an eye on them. You work for H.E.R.A. and it’s pretty interesting to see it, but I really love how they adapt ancient Greek mythology into truth. For one, I don’t know if they actually researched, but despite his frequency in love affairs Zeus went out of the way to protect his children, making his preference and protection of Hercules completely believable and in character.

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If you’re a fan of Greek mythology then the interesting way this story combines myth and modernization pretty well. To explain the auras I mentioned before, every ‘monster’ has an aura that is their powers, in the form of the monster they ‘are’. These auras basically also stand for their importance and what they can do because how powerful you are is really important. You have this co-existence with gods and humans and to a degree gods are still waving their more important sticks, they have sort of rules that demi gods and beasts follow but ultimately getting to interfere with say ‘Zeus’ favorite child’ would be difficult.

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This made for some interesting plays. Add on that Heracles, known in this as he is in Westernization – Hercules, has his entire lore in tact but reinterpreted is super cool. Megara exists, the Trials to godhood exist, even going so far as ‘losing his children’ before performing his Trials exists. That was super cool and really thorough, especially given how long the route is. In fact if you buy all three it is the exact length of Sakura Amidst the Chaos with some similar themes! That really shows how much dedication goes into adapting history and popular myth for Voltage.

If I had to list a fault I would say the localization can still feel a little strange. Voltage is slowly progressing in making their stories feel correct, but this story has a major issue. The protagonist gave me a lot of negative emotions and I didn’t really relate to her. She feels like a gimmick to me by talking a way I’d never talk and behaving in a way I’d never behave. I feel like they need to survey American girls around the appropriate age. For instance there is a time where you find out information about Hercules that doesn’t match what you know: The protagonist says “That doesn’t jive-” and the rest of the sentence literally doesn’t matter. No one in America in their 20s that is relevant and relate-able says the phrase “doesn’t jive”. It immediately took me out of the story.

I am about the age of the protagonist, I’m 23 years old, and I could tell you in every situation how a girl would normally talk. I don’t feel like the main character is really me, or a girl, but an ‘idea’ of what a girl in NYC should be. I lived in the Tristate area for years, no one really behaved that way. I’m also really miffed that the cost has skyrocketed from the normal 3.99 per one route. I think it would be a better business move to split it into two, so 9 each, for a 2.99 cost. That would save money while still allocating a slightly bigger cost. Right now it feels like a 5 dollar increase is incredibly high, add on that you need to spend another dollar for the epilogue? To a fan who loves Voltage games, it feels very steep to go from an average 4-6 dollars for a characters content to a whopping nearly 13 dollars? I would highly recommend the product but I think that is steep.

Do these problems override the content? I don’t feel it does. There are a lot of really amazing things about the content they did to localize a new experience. We got an incredibly interesting lore and a main character who seemed to more visibly fall for you over an extended period. I feel like this was the absolute best job at a localized game so far. While I had a lot more trouble recommending some of the first games, I can say I enjoyed this. You get an engaging story and a much better art choice than you would before- I love that about it!

i love this guys faaaaceee

i love this guys faaaaceee

It all comes down to story and love interest. The story is engaging- especially if you’re a fan of Greek mythology. Those kind of interpretations are popular lately and seeing a take on the monsters into a love interest was kind of refreshing. I’m really excited for the Lord of the Underworld route eventually because I am very big into Hades x Persephone myth, so I am eager to learn that. I will be buying other routes, and that’s probably my best recommendation.

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Hydra was actually interesting. It was nice to see a love interest who was willing to say ‘I’d do this because it was right’ even at the cost of his own life. I so love Greek mythology and they were able to capture him into this modernization so well that this new interpretation felt really unique. Even a picky fan can find something to enjoy in this tantalizing new romance.

also there's this guy

also there’s this guy

Overall, the story has problems, but even the heroine grows on you over time. Everybody has their own story and there is a complicated mythology to follow, or alternatively a mythology you might be familiar with to dissect and rearrange in your mind to the way Voltage has re imagined it. I actually enjoyed the plot of this story more than any other Voltage game in general, it was a fantasy adventure with a lot of themes and a really engaging adventure. The characters really become intense once you get into the plot. How can you hate all your friends on a huge adventure?

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At the end of the story I was so swept up in the amazing adventure with excellent writing that I actually felt more engaged than any Voltage game had done before. Well, mostly. I felt more in love in the other Voltage stories but in this one I felt the drama didn’t just come from my romance but instead the adventure I was on. In that regard I felt the localization team did a pretty good job. I definitely felt more independent and competent.

Overall, I give this a solid recommendation. While I would urge Voltage to lower the prices to something more affordable, otherwise it is mostly good. My major concern with the price is that to buy 5 routes at 13 dollars for major content is 65 dollars, the price of a brand new retail game. This would alienate some customers who want to buy all of the routes and given how crucial their position is to the advancement of the otome genre in America, I would say it’s important for them to remain lower in price to encourage buying sequels. There will be sequels right? …Right? Please buy at least the first route, it really is such a good and engaging story. I can’t recommend it enough if you’re a fan of the Greek mythos like myself!

megara

I won’t be linking all the major CGs this time around, I urge you to try the route out and discover them yourself! In a few months by request I’d be happy to do Hades and give some of his CGs, so let me know if you’re interested and we’ll catch that one as soon as it drops! Mmmm….God of the Underworld. . .

Oki

Tokyo Ghoul:re Chapter 37: Dead Secret

“It’s extremely simple. You just have to tell him Kaneki’s alive.”

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Impression

A slow chapter this week – most of it focused around seemingly unrelated threads of plot, probably meant for world-building rather than anything else. I still think Yoriko must have been re-introduced for a purpose other than just being a potential love interest for Kuroiwa, but the focus on the CCG means that we’re unlikely to get more of her for the time being – similar to how it is with Touka, who we only know visits the hospital occasionally and works at another coffee shop. At least now we know that whoever Touka’s visiting, it’s not Yoriko. It being Hide now looks even more likely.

All that biology stuff was interesting, and I’m sure it’s making Urie especially happy to know that there’s a way to quickly have his physical strength increase so he can duke it out with Kuroiwa. And it’s only applicable to ghouls or anyone with RC cells in their system – because the RC cells apparently aid with healing damaged muscles and other body parts, leaving them a lot stronger after they end up rebuilding compared to the results of normal muscle training. In essence, the more ghouls get hurt, the stronger they become. I guess it’s the reason Urie is such a muscle maniac, because the gym is a relatively safe environment through which he can get stronger with tangible results. The only other way to exploit this method is to do a Haise and get injured countless times, and that’s clearly not been too fun for him. I bet his fingers, toes and eyeballs must be tougher than steel now.

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Speaking of Haise’s fingers and toes, we also saw him meet his torturer’s torturer this chapter – basically, the guy whom Yamori learnt all his torture techniques from, by virtue of having been subject to the same pain when he was captured and interrogated in Cochlea. I swear he was dead given that Yamori managed to break free, but clearly not – I’m also wondering if it’s just a coincidence that they have such similar facial structures. In general, he’s just not a very nice guy – Haise should have reminded him that the Mutsuki he said was so useless is now Rank 1, and that Juuzou’s made it all the way to Special-Class.

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As for Tsukiyama… well, I can understand why Kanae was so unwilling to let him know Kaneki was ‘alive’. I don’t think I’d use the same wording Hori Chie did, given that Haise isn’t really Kaneki (yet), but it should prompt some sort of reaction from Tsukiyama. The thing is, Kanae hates him for the same reason he hates Hori Chie – it’s because Tsukiyama has an odd fixation with them that goes beyond just food, and it’s the sort of attention he’s jealous of because he’s so obsessed with his master. Kanae knew all along that telling Tsukiyama about Kaneki was the way forward – but for him it’s a rock and a hard place, essentially a choice between a depressed, useless Tsukiyama and a lively one who only cares about Kaneki-kun and Little Mouse. Poor Kanae, forever alone.

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Tokyo Ghoul:re Chapter 36: Suddenly

Uta, you stinking liar.

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Impression

“Where did Hirako transfer to?”
“Arima Squad.”

Oh shit. If there’s any off-screen tension that we’ve had in this manga so far, it’s whatever’s up between Hirako and Arima – the rough idea being that Hirako has spent practically his entire career in Arima’s shadow, and thus has a pretty unfavourable opinion of him. At the auction, the one thing that got Hirako to drop his poker face was Uta morphing into Arima and telling him to ‘stand by’ – and that was when Hirako got a clean shot in at Uta by targeting his face in an incensed rage. Poor Hirako.

_re 36 Img002Speaking of Uta, I have a feeling Haise knows perfectly well that Uta is lying about his permanent kakugan being contacts. Haise got his info on the mask from the Kaneki in his head, whom he knows is a ghoul – the idea is that he probably wanted to look for one of Kaneki’s past contacts, who is also likely to be a ghoul. And the chances are, ghouls have their masks made by other ghouls anyway. I’m kind of glad his visit didn’t amount to any kind of conflict – it’s not like Haise was there to fight, but pretty much anything could have gone wrong with him visiting Uta whilst dressed like a dove, so it’s good that nothing ended up happening. Haise achieved two objectives, the first of which was to confirm a potential link between Uta and Kaneki, which Uta himself hinted at when talking about how the mask was meant for a ‘regular customer’. The second was to figure out a role in his current operation that only the Quinx could play, and the custom-made masks he’s ordered must have something to do with that. I’m hoping we end up getting a team of eye-patched ‘ghouls’ running around undercover doing all sorts of stuff – that would be really cool, especially as it’d be a perfect disguise for a dove.

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Hairu was such a cutie this chapter, she kind of reminded me of Juuzou with her mad skills yet childish nature. I was surprised Matsumae even survived that battle – looks like all the members of Zero Squad are where they are for a reason. Hairu joins the ranks of the investigators wanting to be praised by Arima (i.e. Hirako) although the cost of getting a compliment might be higher than she thinks. I remember Haise being praised back when he was Kaneki, but then he had his eyes gouged out and his entire personality eradicated and replaced. It can’t possibly be worth it.

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So finally, we have the return of Yoriko. I… really wasn’t expecting to see her at all, let alone as someone who knows Kuroiwa Jr – damn, I bet Urie will be jealous when he hears that his one-sided arch enemy not only has the ability to strangle ghouls bare-handed, but also gets all the girls. Looks like her dream kind of came true, although Touka never really was the best judge of her food, what with being a ghoul and all. I don’t know if this means more Touka, not that Yoriko even knows Touka is a ghoul – but at least this dispels the whole ‘Yoriko is Hairu’ theory I’ve heard floating around the internet. I mean, seriously?

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Sakura Amidst the Chaos [ Oda Nobunaga Route ]

Holy Moley Batman, welcome to one of the longest, if not the longest, Voltage games around. You’re in for a big one on this game, 18 chapters and an epilogue all in one package. Voltage spared no expense, releasing 5 characters at once and giving a huge variety in order to market this story.

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I’m impressed, usually I wait on every Voltage game because there’s no guy I like- but they pretty much cover all of their bases for that problem in their new release: Sakura Amidst the Chaos. I love Japanese history and historical fiction, the first game I ever reviewed in terms of romance games was actually ‘Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom’, so naturally I am completely excited by this game. To start it off, I picked the most notable choice: Oda Nobunaga.

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The interesting thing about Oda Nobunaga in history is that while his name is synonymous with ‘powerful’ and usually a sword beyond reason and unmatchable skill, indeed I only ever looked him up because his name was used for powerful swords or students or masters and the like, he has a complicated history that actually involves a lot of infighting with his family. So while Voltage has a history of unanimously happy stories, this one is one that to a degree I know they couldn’t.

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Namely the story begins with you impoverished and living with your aunt, and your abusive borderline rapist cousin. The entire concept is you’re saved by Nobunaga who basically repays you with a gift way beyond your paygrade, then invites you to work for him. Nobunaga is refreshing in that he is so dorkishly in love with you and it fits into his history:

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Nobunaga was kind of deemed unworthy of ruling his family and this caused in fighting basically for the rest of his life. It makes sense for him to be selfish and self righteous, and I admire that Voltage do that.

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I admire a lot of this route. It takes such interesting history that I don’t actually want to take away from it, but the nature of your romance feels very important. It’s clear very quickly that Nobunaga is in love with you and it goes to the extent of him shunning his other love interests. . .his intended fiance. In history he actually does marry her and his sister makes a point to note that a wife is something you have to expect but not what he would actually care about.

The way this route progresses is almost naive, but I love it. Everything about it is fun and culturally interesting, and the art is slightly different than normal and gives something boyish to the. . .blodstained warlord. But isn’t that what we’re kind of here for? All the same, I highly recommend this route. The romance is top notch and Voltage delivers on trying to both juggle romance and enlighten players on Japanese history.

Giving this an OH DAMN HE’S COVERED IN WATER out of 10.

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Oki

Tokyo Ghoul:re Chapter 35: Dependence

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