As a heads-up, this is a pretty long post with lots of rambling, and of course, there will be spoilers so proceed with cautions. I will be talking about the heroines and a bit of side female characters. Frankly, Aokana kinda left me with mixed feelings so I wanted to make a more proper thread about it, but for now, I can just settle for something like this.
Misaki is definitely the most fleshed-out heroine. She basically went through various transitions of emotion and developments that kept me in awe many times.
The best moment of the VN is when she was revealed to be the “boy” who traumatized Mayasa, I mean, the thematic buildup, the atmosphere, and music, and CG, BOI, that’s when it all peaked lmao (they really really should have used that scene as a confession goddammit).
Her route also has the best theme IMO, because it musters up some negative sides of competition which at first glance doesn’t seem to fit the light-hearted nature of Aokana (for real I got tons of Yandere vibe during some scenes) but to me, it’s a bold and refreshing approach to make the story more captivating.
Asuka is runner up, to tell the truth, I don’t like the kind of air-head character and so, in the beginning, I was kinda annoyed by her, but over time she slowly grew on me and there were even some fascinating moments from her that took my breath away.
But well, that’s the thing, she kinda relies on the plot too much, and is too perfect of a character to the point of making me feel like it’s dull at some point, but since it’s well handled so I ranked her quite close to Misaki.
Mashiro and Rika are fine as heroines, they have their own moments, but unfortunately, they’re destined to be overshadowed by the powerhouse Misaki and Asuka so well.
Anyway, that was just heroine ranking, if we count the remaining female character as well, my personal favorite girl is Inui Saki hand down (honorable mention being Satouin), though there are actually quite a lot of mixed feelings I have about her.
When Saki was introduced, I was fanboying like crazy, because it was so much hype boi, her eyes, her posture, her “aura”, all so fucking blended so well together that made me feel like I was literally giving in to her (not in an M way of course lel). I had lots of hope that’d be tons of “oh shit” moments with her. And…I was right…and wrong at the same time.
I mean in terms of FC fights, it was pure gasm, she didn’t disappoint me one bit, even though she took 2 Ls but that was inevitable for going against main characters, but the overall result is that she delivered those sick ass moves and tons of hype, fuck, just her glare alone is enough to make me go ape shit, let alone that Avgraine or whatever the fuck that is, which was fucking fire.
That being said, it’s just not enough to do her character justice. It feels like she hasn’t received enough care and development that she truly deserves, I mean even Satouin is better than her in that regard.
There was just too little screen time for Saki, her motive needs to be even further polished, just the deal with Irina alone doesn’t feel quite enough. While I’ve got the full picture of her story, it wasn’t presented in a proper enough manner.
From how I see it, ever since childhood Saki just wants to have fun, but due to her introvert nature and “cold” appearance, almost nobody gives a fuck about her, till Irina showed up. “Wait doesn’t this contradict the whole mumble-jumble ‘true FC’ that they been rambling about?” is what you may be thinking, well, yes and no.
Saki truly wants to have fun, but the reason why she keeps forcing everyone into submission is to please Irina. “Then why just Irina”? Well, this points back to the previous fact about how she’s always left alone because nobody understands her.
So that’s it, she’s like a lonely king sitting on the top of the summit, not because she looks down on them, but because she’s too good. It’s quite sad for her when I think about it, also explains her always acting cold all the time, people fear what they don’t understand, so she’s always left alone, but the truth is that this little girl just wants to have fun like many other people out there.
This is exactly how Asuka the carefree was able to “tame” Saki. For someone who always views her surroundings in a positive light, it makes perfect sense how Asuka managed to understand Saki's feelings up there, thus was able to connect and give her what she want. a beautiful sportsmanship and friendship crafted in the midst of chaos I’d say.
In any case, I think the deal with Saki is a really good concept since it adds more depth to a seemingly OP character with G.O.A.T material. Unfortunately, it was not well executed due to the rushed and limited screen time as I mentioned above, making it feel half-assed. Like CMONBRUH, I HAD TO SPEND 20 FUCKING HOURS getting through Rika, Mashiro, Misaka, and half of Asuka route JUST TO GET A BIT OF of Saki, so you get the idea, while the way things went out was good, but it’s just not good enough to pay back the hype and anticipation I held for her.
All and all, I’m just salty that Saki didn’t get proper treatment, all because, obviously, she’s just a side character, which is really a shame. I would have not been bitching like this had it not been for the producer kinda made her introduction a bit too grandiose, and she was also meant to be the end-game material, which raised my expectation at the speed of light every time I saw her show up in the common route (but there was like 2? moments only or so LMAO), and thus not getting the satisfaction that I had hoped.
With all that said, overall I still like Saki a hell lot, she’s still the "monarch" of the story to me despite all the setback. The climax and semi-ending with her and Asuka having fun and making friends is also a sight to behold as well, kinda makes me feel proud that they’d come this far, to be more than just FC players. However, just if, if she had had more focus, she might have evolved into something much more extraordinary…
Heroine ranking: Misaki >= Asuka > Mashiro >= Rika
Extended female tier list: