Hanachirasu is another short work from Nitroplus that has a rather interesting setting but not without some wasted potential. To be completely blunt, this feels like a “draft” version of something bigger and more ambitious, but in the end, I still enjoyed it regardless of the flaws.
Taken in kind of an alternate historical timeline, they sure nailed the “samurai” theme with lots of political struggle on the surface, albeit never really dug deep into that matter (to be expected from a short VN like this). The main story revolves around “vengeance” from not 1 but 2 dudes with fancy swordsmanship and the likes. Nothing new right? However, it actually has some sort of a “clash of ideals” vibe to the story (same goal, different method, and mindset). Though vengeance is the key theme, what drove them to that point is really what got me intrigued.
While I do have some complaints regarding the pacing, especially when it comes to info-dumping about swordplay and strategy analysis, at the end of a particular event, it all paid off (somewhat). There was satisfaction, there was a severe surge of chill, and there was even a bit of pitifulness seeing those twists played out. One of the things I like the most about the writing is how they make full use of the lore that had been established earlier in order to create a strong impact when it comes into play later.
On a different note, despite being a short VN, Hanachirasu still tries to cramp some alternative endings in this pretty tight space, some of which has interesting “what-ifs” elements to it, some are just downright meme material so lol, I guess it’s still worth it for shit and giggles.
That being said, the cast is probably where I got a bit let down. The protagonist is pretty well written, regardless of his questionable motivation (could use some more polishing here though), he did his part well to carry the story to a fitting ending of his nature.
However, the supporting cast is pretty much wasted, even the deuteragonist who only got some spotlight at the very late game, which doesn’t feel “complete” to me in all honesty.
Some of them are just straight-up hype tools for power-up thingy but whatever, not like I can ask much from a short VN (actually I think they do possess some sort of idealism within but it got washed up fast due to the flow of the story so rip).
Nonetheless, I did genuinely enjoy some of their conclusions, especially Yumi, Itsurin, and Shou (later hinted to be the “THAT GIRL”, the cause of all this ruckus, a major WTF moment for me).
While definitely not being well developed, they still managed to leave something behind for me to think over, like really Akane, sure what the fiancee did was wrong but that’s no reason to kill her nigga, you might be a badass protagonist but still a dick at heart LMAO. And by the way, when I think about it, they sure enjoy slicing up women in this VN (I counted 4…).
It wouldn’t hurt to back a good story up with neat visuals and effects. Hanachirasu managed to have them both somewhat covered. Character design is definitely a plus to me, while the setting helps a bit, they don’t follow the usual generic stereotype and kinda betray our expectations in a whimsical way.
Like Akena at first glance appears to be straight-up gay shit material and weak but turned out to be pretty wild and cool (I guess). Some effects were well used at dramatic moments to enhance the significance or impact of the action or of sort, which is cool.
waifu female design is also what captivates me, there seem to be 2 main traits when it comes to this regard which is the pure feminine elegant style and the one filled with powerful "aura" of a mature and profound woman type (definitely not talking about how busty they are lmao).
Lastly, while the sound isn’t a really strong element in Hanachirasu, especially the BGM, I do enjoy the theme track as well as the banging ED since it nails the atmosphere so much.
To wrap this up, Hanachirasu was, in fact, a fairly “standard” experience to me. I would be lying to say I’ve not grown used/dull to this kind of depressing/fucked up stories but well, it definitely managed to score a bit of impact on me, partly thanks to the clever execution that is rarely seen in any story overall.
If anything, I’m more fired up to anticipate Muramasa since it’s from the same creator and is a full-fledged work compared to this one.