Finally, finished Shizune's path about a week ago, and been thereafter busy reading this forum. Much like with Rin earlier, some of the more in-depth posts (in several threads) made understanding her route easier. However, unlike with Rin, I didn't gain much more appreciation for the story/experience as a whole. Simply put: while I think there were elements that were fun and interesting, they never really shone through the way they should have. Instead what I got was a long-winded, unfocused and unbalanced love-triangle, of sorts, that I didn't "get" or like. (It's funny how, based on the demo/Act1, I sort of liked Shizune and really liked Rin, but after playing their respective routes, I felt that both of them transformed into something unlikeable.)
To be more wordy, if it wasn't for Misha and Kenji (the latter who really delivers here!) I probably would've stopped midway through. It's a shame, really, because I think there was a side of Shicchan that I liked: she seemed cool and composed, a little bit mischievous and mysterious too. Why is it then that pretty much everything the story throws at me makes me hate being with her? It's funny, in a way, because in-game Hisao starts liking her more and more. But why? Perhaps - like he jokes in the 'good end' - he gets his kicks out of bureaucracy and, apparently, being in a platonic, non-communicative relationship... For me, the defining moment of how bad the route was, was when Hisao had to babysit Hideaki. Not only was it pointless, but the real kick comes right afterwards: Shizune suggests that they could go to a restaurant or maybe even to an amusement park, and then, BLAMMO, fade to black! I mean, what the fuck? Where's my rollercoaster snapshot and cotton-candy? After that disappointment, I was just waiting for the story to end, not caring anymore. (And Jigoro? Worst. Character. Ever.)
Something about Misha: while I absolutely love her character, I don't really get her motivation here. She's been rejected, okay, but why does she still put up with Shizune? What makes her like her? Or the other way around: why exactly does the arrival of Hisao apparently make her depressed about the whole deal? There's also one specific detail that bothers me, and I haven't seen much speculation about it: why was it stated, that during the first sex-scene, the door was left ajar? I immediately thought Misha's there, watching, either by happenstance, or more kinkily, with Shizune's blessing, but it never comes up in any form.
On my first playthrough, I chose to comfort Misha, so I landed on the 'bad end' first. But to me, it was the more plausible and "real" ending, I liked it. I felt the pushy, unlikeable girl got what she deserved - no-one. In a way - because she finally understands/admits how badly she's been treating the people around her - it might even present her a new change to truly make things right - just not with Hisao or Misha. (In hindsight, it was only after reading these threads that I noticed the cat toy. While playing - because the story is so needlessly long and arduous to read - I had totally forgotten about it already. Perhaps it makes Shicchan slightly more affectionate and likeable, but only slightly.) The 'good end', on the other hand, was even longer, argh, and also too melodramatic, in a bad way. Like, why does Hisao suddenly decide to become a teacher? (Not to mention how unrealistic it would be for him to also get a position right there, at Yamaku.) I think it was either on Rin's or Emi's path that he gradually, while talking with Mutou, warms up to the idea that he could have a future as a teacher
which felt way more realistic. Pretty much the only thing I liked about the 'good end' was Yuuko taking pictures. She proved to be useful, after all!
Lastly, some random thoughts: why do so many people wonder how Jigoro managed to get into the school with his sword? None of the schools I've ever been to had any sort of security... However, I'd imagine the dorms having locks though, so, more importantly, how did Hideaki get there? Also, how come some people didn't catch the "comfort=sex" thing? Because, if taken literally, why WOULDN'T you comfort your friend? Thingking it that way makes the situation really ridiculous: since it's already the only choice you get to make, if it wasn't about sex, it wouldn't have ANY meaning, heh...
PS: Does anyone remember a pop-due by the name of tATu? They were these two russian girls, pseudolesbians, who were popular about ten years ago. Ever since I first saw a picture of Misha and Shizune, I have wondered if tATu ties into them. Because, if you do an image search
, you'll notice how the other one has dark, short hair, while the more curvier one has red, wavy hair - and also smiles more often, heh!
Anyhoo, Lilly and Hanako remain. I suppose I'll go after Lilly first, because she seems very bland, and perhaps because so many people tend to think Hanako's route is in someway more touching... we'll see.