7’Scarlet: Secret Route [Otome Games Review]

☆ WARNING, THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS ☆ 

Okay so let’s just cut to the chase: I have a lot of mixed opinions about Hanate being the secret route. On one hand there were some bits of it that I did enjoy, (also Hanate is probably the best looking character of the entire game, but that’s not important), and on the other, I didn’t. More than anything, I felt frustrated with how Hanate himself never actually made a proper appearance in the other routes.

Their Love Story?!?

It was twelve years ago when Hanate met Ichiko at Okunezato. She was staying with Hino’s family while her parents were overseas. Hanate felt the burning need to protect her when a Revenant he has been observing for a while realizes Ichiko was special, and made her its target. But it isn’t until after Ichiko experiences several close deaths, the last one being was almost killed by Kagura (who was still a teenager at the time), Hanate made the decision to get her out of down and become her protector by taking on the role as her brother by manipulating her and her parents memories to seamlessly blend into her life. But ten years later, he suddenly returns to Okunezato because he senses the flowers are in danger, and goes to check up on them, only to be captured and imprisoned by the Ensepulchers.

At long last, we learn of the truth behind what makes the Field of Violacias so special, and how they are tied to the Revenants. Scarlet Violicas Symbolize the number of Revenants that will appear, this is how one would keep track of how many would show up each season. But guess what? It turns out it there was a really simple way of ending the Revenants: BURN THE FLOWERS!!!!!! We know this because Hanate’s learned the hard way how his lifeline was dependent to the field, he assumed the role as its Protector, if the flowers were harmed, he would experience unimaginable pain. The only thing that was a bit unclear to me however, was whether or not this was exclusive to Hanate, or it was simply because he was the one to try and pull the flower out of the ground.

In the end, everyone forgets about Hanate and Ichiko returns to her usual life. A tragic yet fitting conclusion….Yet Ichiko still has one violacia in her garden due to the one Sousuke had given her in the past.

As it turns out, Hanate is a unique Revenant. He has long forgotten how long he has been around, supposedly he was the first one to have been cursed (honestly I am not even sure myself), and at some point along the line, he he killed a “Amborisa” (otherwise referred to as an “Albino”) and gained freedom from the hunger and desire to kill that drives a Revenant into maddness.

On top of that, we learned how he possessed some unique powers, under the assumption he had gained them by simply existing for so long. But one could also interpret it as: once a revenant consume an Ambrosia, a pure soul, you could say it’s also granting them a “fresh start” in a sense, of “cleansing” them of however many marks they may have from their previous killings. This enables them to become whoever they want to be by manipulating human’s memories, and bestowing them the ability to detect other Revenants besides themselves. However, due to being dead, their existence is weak, and without being in contact or being far away from others they have blended in with, they will eventually be forgotten.

This is why the townsfolk’s didn’t remember Hanate when he returned to Okunezato to check up on the Violacias, and why he didn’t want to be away from Ichiko long, fearing she too would eventually forget him. It goes to show it takes a bit more than a year time for them to forget completely, but this explained why when Ichiko tried to describe him to others, her description was very vague and rather unhelpful. It also explains why he didn’t like being taken pictures of, because he knew he would never age, and was concerned of arousing suspicions.

Frankly, Hanate being a Revenant doesn’t surprise me since I had my suspicions of such to begin with. There were a lot of clues pointing to his supernatural nature, namely because of the lack of pictures of him, his blank journal (that was never addressed in this route), and how Sousuke swore he had seen him in before in the Valley of Violacias. But his character did intrigued me, so it kind of sucked that we couldn’t have learned a bit more about him along the way. It pained me that in the end, no matter what, he would have a tragic fate, and chose to sacrifice himself to ensure that Ichiko, even though she would forget about him, would be freed from being pursued by “Death”.

But then it got weird, because of course Hanate eventually falls in love with her (in middle school of all things… uhhhh okay…) resulting a tragic love story. That makes the second once, or third if you count Yuzuki dying in the normal end.

And say what you want, but it had been heavily implied since the beginning of the game that Ichiko always had a thing for Hanate— especially with the way she spoke about him and thought about him, and the fact she didn’t even hesitate to kiss him. (Dear god, that was awkward when she kissed him and still continued to call him brother. It’s not incest since they aren’t related, but it was still super awkward!! Girl, just call him by his name instead!) In the matter of fact, she has always been overly obedient to him, and never questioned him or made a fuss with how over-protective of her towards strangers. *FACEPALM* I can’t stand this version of Ichiko.

Kagura’s backstory goes to show the guy was a nutcase even at an early age, and Hanate knew it. He describes him as a black soul, and an incredibly dangerous revenant because he enjoys murdering people, or more specifically: Women. He almost killed Ichigo by shoving her into the river, grinning like a maniac while Hanate just barely saved her by performing CPR.

And I must say it all came together really well, except for the part  have no idea how the hell he broke out of prison, that was in the basement of the Murakumo’s Mansion. But then again, this guy got over a hundred years under his belt… and super natural strength, so surely he ought to have a few tricks up his sleeve…

The Plot-Holes & Contradictions & Loose-Ends & Silly Writing

It pains me to say in a route that was supposed to be responsible for providing us closure, there were a lot of problems. There were plot-holes, contradictions, and clues that could have contributed to the story in a bigger way.

– Conveniently Unaddressed: The Quick Solution to getting rid of Revenants (AKA: Burn the Violacias)

Why didn’t Hanate free himself from his eternal loneliness sooner if he knew the way out?
Why wasn’t he in unimaginable pain when the flowers were set aflame?

This right here is why this whole exclamation is such a joke. In the beginning of his story, we learn he was miserable being alone, yet for some reason, despite knowing how to destroy himself (especially having discovered his connection to the Violacias) he continues to live on as a Revenant.  Now I would understand to some extent that one wouldn’t want to do it after experiencing immense pain and didn’t want to go through it again… but ultimately decided for Ichiko’s sake, he would put himself through the agonizing pain and sacrifice himself so she could finally be set free from the curse…. except during the final scene, we saw nothing of the sort, which was clearly ignored out of convenience. NO PAIN! Instead he and Ichiko had a makeout seission until he faded into nothingness.

– The Blank Journal

The what? Why I am talking about the journal that was mentioned in both Sousuke’s and Yuzuki’s route. The only thing it did was prove that he was in fact in town, providing no clues or messages— not even hidden ones! Instead, it was used as a means for the Ensepulchers to fabricate Hanate’s “death”.

The reason why I am bringing it up, is precisely because it had not once been brought up in this route, and they certainly had the opportunity to do so. Not to mention, this could have been an excellent tool to get Hanate involved with the main routes. Let’s say Ichiko found the journal instead of the  Ensepulchers, and imagine it had actual clues and messages, maybe hidden messages that would need a flame to be read! These could have been ways of giving Ichiko something to actually work with to investigate her brother’s case, and ultimately figure out that he is alive, and they have to find them. That would have been nice to see, especially to follow up after Kagura’s story it put to an end. In fact, I think this is something that could have been implemented into Yuzuki’s route, which would have made it a lot more exciting.

– The Letter

This scenario only existed in this route, which is kind of ridiculous considering we have seen a man mysterious individual reading a newspaper in every single one of them. With how each route has been incredibly dependent on one another in terms of exchanging crucial information in regards to the core storyline or dropping hints that will eventually reveal the bigger picture, (ie: Hanate’s presence (stealing the food from the front entrance) and Toa being a Revenant (lack of appetite and Yua’s distress), or Sousuke being involved with the Ensepulchers). These little details could have led up to a more grand reveal, which would have been the way to get Hanate on stage along with the rest of the cast.

Actually truth to be told, this is something that could have been extended into Hino’s route, marking the “true end”, instead of Toa’s. It would have been appropriate for Hino to have been involved in this as they were supposed to be working together to find clues and Hanate had entrusted him the responsibility to protect her, even more so since at the end of Hino’s Good End, they accepted that Hanate was dead and even made a grave for him.

This is why, I found it odd how Hanate did not instruct her to consult or team up with Hino to go through the dark tunnel and shrine. I mean, come on, that was reckless! For someone who is made the very purpose of him existing to protect Ichiko, he sure neglected to mention to trust Hino! Especially knowing that Kagura was targeting her. Under no circumstances should she have gone alone, nor should she have gone in unprepared/without a flashlight. That was incredibly stupid on her part.

Also how awkward was it to have Hino stand there while Hanate and Ichiko made-out?

– Yuzuki & Ichiko’s First Encounter

There was the part where we learned Yuzuki had in fact encountered Ichiko while she was in town. He protected her from a Revenant, yet this little detail was never brought up or addressed in his own route, which infuriates me because Ichiko thought he was cool, and it could have invoked her memories of him because he is constantly rescuing her in that route. Sure they weren’t friends, they didn’t play with each other and that was probably their first and only encounter, but still, it’s not like it didn’t happen.

Final Verdict: 3/5

Hanate’s Route could have been so much more, starting with actually providing something for Ichiko to start tracking down her brother. In fact, this route could have been an opportunity for the Supernatural Club to actually do some investigation as a team, rather than Ichiko just doing it on her own (which is not smart with there is a murderer on the loose). Everyone has a role they can play to contribute to the investigation, for instance the team could investigate the mountain, find Hanate’s jacket (that was found in the shrine of Hino’s route), find the field of Violacias through Sousuke, make use of the journal that Yuzuki could have possibly found, etc… there were a number of options they could have gone with, yet none of that was used to serve and greater purpose to help progress the investigation whatsoever. It could have been a collaborate team effort to locate her brother.

While Hanate’s Route more or less covered most of the unanswered questions, there were still major problems, plotholes and inconsistencies that were hard to ignore. It sucks that Hanate was never given the chance to be made present with the core plotline, and it is rather ridiculious (yet ironically fitting) how the secrets were locked until all of the previous routes had been completed. That being said, I believe it might have served the game better had Hanate’s route should have either been the True End or at least have him be more actively involved in the other routes and core storyline instead of working discreetly behind the scenes for the entire time. It is the only route that gave us all of the answers we were looking for, filling in the blanks of the past, why neither Ichiko nor Hino remembered being in the town before, and why Hanate was entirely forgotten by the townsfolk, and why Ichiko’s memories of him was becoming hazy.

Unfortuantely, regardless of how insanely short this route was I don’t see myself coming back to play again. 7’Scarlet is very much a game that is a hit and miss for me, with only two, maybe three routes I would be willing to revisit in a couple year time. That being said, I don’t see myself picking up this game again now that I have completed it, nor will I miss it.

Replay Value: Low

Read the rest of 7’Scarlet Reviews

Eva

Blogging Anime since Summer 2009, & Founder of AngryAnimeBitches Anime Blog

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