A blog for reviews… that's really not much of a blog

Foreword: Oh god, the salt. Oh man, the rustled jimmies. Although on the other hand, I’m so freaking glad I didn’t act on my impulses and preorder this game.

As I’ve fearfully predicted as with others on my preview, this most hyped sequel for 2016 ended up being very very poor. Unlike the kamige that I thoroughly enjoyed in the past, the only thing this game had to offer was pretty much the same setting  (though if you wanted to argue, even this was not the same) as the prequel, except the writer was obviously too new or forced to write in a certain manner which ruined all the fame and glory obtained by the first game.

I’m also in the process of playing Giniro Haruka, and despite the ridiculous and painful length, almost finished with it. I plan on finishing that title before moving into August’s new September title (icwutididthar?), so bear with me that reviews aren’t so rapidly produced as I hoped it to be. (MMORPGs are too fun)

Just a fair warning that I’m going to be bashing this game SEVERELY within this review. If you enjoyed it for whatever reason, you may become offended, so keep that in mind as well.

Title: タユタマ (Tayutama) 2 – You are the only one
Producers: Lump of Sugar
Release Date: September 23, 2016
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v17388
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=883685
Game Type: Romance Adventure; Sequel

Summary: 50 Years have passed since the end of Tayutama, and there has been several efforts by both humans and the tayutai to coexist. These efforts are only small-scale now, but with people like Yumina, Ameri, and Mifuyu working hard, the efforts are starting to bear fruit.

Kusakabe Sora is an orphan who lives in a town called Yakotami, where the spiritual powers are relatively stronger than any other areas. Because he himself has higher spiritual abilities, he is able to see these Tayutai and interact with them as well.

One day, Sora witnesses a fight between a human child and a Tayutai, and rushes towards them to mediate the conflict. It’s really not rare to see resistances to this kind of “co-existence”, and Sora himself works hard to alleviate any form of conflict. Soon after, a girl appears in front of him with strange ears. This girl who presents herself as Kohaku take him to the Yachimata Shrine and asks him to become her husband.

This bewilders our protagonist, who was completely unexpecting such a request. However, with the explanation of Mito Mashiro, Kohaku’s mother, Sora learns that Kohaku has been searching for a partner to further solidify the co-existence between humans and Tayutai, and found Sora desirable as that partner.

“Well, I’m not sure about marriage…” is what Sora admits, but he agrees to live in the Yachimata Shrine along with this young girl and agrees to cooperate in her quest.

Story Length: Moderate (20 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy
Comments: Easy to clear game; LoS just HAD to put in a shitty mechanic where while there is the episodic atmosphere of the story, the game pretty much TELLS you which heroine you’ve befriended in a single chapter out of 5, and the heroine who has been most “befriended” has her route unlocked. While it makes it much more easier to open the routes for the first three heroines, it makes the game much more unrealistic and more of a “play to complete” kind of game; not a “play it so you can enjoy the story”.

Character Design Rating: 3/10
Story Rating: 2/10
Protagonist Rating: 4/10
Game Quality: High
Overall Rating: 4/10
Rating Comments: Okay, so for the ratings. These really deserve some explanations.

First the Characters. Generally cute and colorful, that was unfortunately the ONLY thing this game had to offer. Compared to the character roster from the previous game, this title lacked both quality AND quantity in characters and subcharacters. With various designs which will be explained later, the game fails to fully sell the characters to the reader, making each of them extremely shallow and boring. Examples include Kohaku’s sudden proposal, Hifumi’s double-personality, and Nano’s “tsundere” if you will. Cute, but extremely shallow. I personally found myself quite annoyed with some characters due to this. Again, more info on this later.

Momo is the best character though, let’s be honest here

Story is even worse, with literally NOTHING unique that sets this game apart from any other galge out there except for its setting. Unlike the prequel, the conflict of co-existence is rarely developed or explained, and there are no new mechanics regarding this fantasy element of Tayutama. If at all, the game only places very lengthy “explanation” eye-catchers in between scenes to be that “explanation” they said they’ll make sure new players (who has NOT played the prequel) would understand.

Such as these. I mean I appreciate that they’re there, but this is NOT a good alternative to playing the first game.

One thing I need to mention is that characters have NO meaningful interaction nor romantic transitioning. While this is already making me rage, “romance” wasn’t even utilized properly within the game. As an example, some games have conflicts that the heroine and protagonist must resolve, and the two resolve said conflict together with a strong bond. This game pretty much separates the “romance” and “heroine conflict” apart, so there was two things that happened:

  1. Romance was not only shit, but also not important to the overall story
  2. For all that matters, this “conflict” COULD have been placed before all this romance bullcrap, like the common routes.

Just… don’t expect anything in terms of story. It’s so boring and unoriginal, and the writer obviously did not even play the first title to get a feel for what kind of atmosphere he was supposed to create. The story of Tayutama 2 really reminds me that LoS is a company that’s went all the way downhill and they’re a bunch of unorganized group who are literally using the success of their previous works to stay alive.

Protagonist is at least a bit more bearable, as that resourceful protagonist relatively satisfying to watch. However, like previous games such as Rensou Relation and Kodomo no Asobi, lacks an impactful personality or a “protagonist route” where the game should display his good parts and sell him to the readers as they would sell heroines. The complete lack of “romance transitioning” for Sora also made the romance much less valid, and if at all, he himself was a giant trope of a galge protagonist in some players’ eyes.

Character Summary:

Kohaku is that Tayutai who has attained human form after succeeding the will of Mashiro and Yuuri. It appears that she was in an animal form when Mashiro and Yuuri found her in this town of Yakotami, and founded the Yachimata Shrine where they found Kohaku.

Fitting as the central heroine, Kohaku shares various similarities to Mashiro except for various childish traits such as being unable to stay up late or being unable to see her surroundings. As opposed to her maternal counterpart, she is shown to lose control of her emotions much more easily or be a bit more immature.

She’s the one who immediately takes a liking to Sora when she sees him mediating a conflict, and this was something I found to be weird; she could have possibly gone up to someone exactly like Sora and made the same request, despite the fact this game’s title clearly says “You’re the only one”. How this character was designed to only pursue the protagonist was something that was poorly done overall, and was extremely shallow.

In her own route, she becomes excessively flustered around the protagonist, and this was also quite inconsistent to her “childish” personality. She does have a good element of being rejected in other routes by Sora (so a good follow-up), but again this had little to no value because her romance to Sora was extremely shallow.

Quite a pity I would say, since if she was more developed and was rejected afterwards, that would have at least caused some Hnnngg sad moments

Outside of her character, Kohaku’s route is very boring. It involves the new antagonist going berserk and her stopping it along with Sora.

Like seriously: that’s it. Everything else is a filler and you can literally skip it. It goes onto showing how co-existence is hard and difficult, but never dives into it deeper.

The daughter of a rich family seeming to have a large role in said co-existence between humans and Tayutai, it’s quickly revealed that Hifumi is an adopted daughter instead. It’s heavily implied that she likes Sora at this point, but the two characters often deny it (This is so similar to how it was for Ameri in the previous title, except must less impactful due to the complete lack of a background story). She seems to have some spiritual powers to “calm” the people around her, which was apparently the foreshadow for her being a Tayutai but holy shit this was the most obvious foreshadow I’ve ever seen (every character makes a big deal out of it though, so I dunno. Is it just me?). It’s literally like someone giving me two apples when I have one apple and them teaching me 1+2 is 3. No shit, Captain Obvious.

Hifumi’s route starts with her having weird nightmares, for which Sora becomes concerned about. This concern involves Mashiro to an extent and makes Hifumi become attracted to him more (I’m screaming in pain here), and this involves the two to become lovers effectively removing many things such as Kohaku, from the picture.

Hifumi’s route was pretty much the least developed and the most boring. It involves a lot of tropes such as “amnesia”, so let that be your spoiler for the day.

The character who I had good impressions on, but immediately annoyed the shit out of me was Nano, the quietspoken character who is ironically stubborn about her beliefs. I’ll be extremely brutal, but she is extremely naive to the point of annoyance. This is because there’s a random tayutai causing trouble for the people, but instead of punishing said tayutai, she treats and releases it.

Call me a cynical asshole if you want, but this kind of design leaves a bitter taste in my mouth; a heroine who is literally powerless and weak, but because of some convenient design of characters which is not explained until much later, she has the support of a powerful subcharacter and does whatever the fuck she wants, and everyone just lets her be because she’s some kawaii anime girl who’s frail and weak.

No. You do NOT do this. Heroines are supposed to be those characters making an impact on the protagonist AND the readers, and if they’re literally worthless by themselves and all they have is their mouths running idealism, that’s going to annoy people like me.

Admittedly, I found myself skipping a lot of Nano’s route for the same reason as the two above routes, and considering how her route is all about the couple’s future (and NOT about the Tayutama’s co-existence and such), you’re really not missing out on much. The ending was also absolutely retarded.

The heroine who started all this hype is none other than Mashiro herself, the reincarnation of Kikuramikaminohime and a Tayutai herself who has a complete and full spiritual connection with Yuuri from the previous title. While more of a supporting character this time around, Mashiro participates as a heroine in the last route, where the route follows pretty much the scenario of the previous three routes to a large extent. The catch is, you look at these scenarios in the eyes of Yuuri and Mashiro instead, who play more of a support role. In return, Yuuri becomes the protagonist, and includes H-scenes for our favorite heroine from the previous game.

In general, this route is actually worth going through. Unlike other routes where there are excessive amounts of fillers, going through Mashiro’s route once not only gives you another generous serving of the heroine herself, but also gives you the general storyline of other routes without the bullshit. Win-win. The problem is that this route isn’t open until you actually clear the other three routes, so that was quite retarded.

I played this game JUST so I can see Mashiro-child version… For Scientific Purposes

Sexual Content: Moderate

Comments: So overall, a very poor game. In fact, I’d probably say that this game never really had a focus; it just went all over the place with its elements and story to the point it was just a jumbled mess of words. No theme. No meaning. No consistency describes this game perfectly which contrasts from the first game which involved “Co-existence with Tayutai” the most.

If at all, the game should have had the impact of this conflict (as I’ll mention in the conclusion), but even that was missing. Fantasy elements (such as the concept of Tayutai) are poorly used, the romantic relationship between protagonist and heroine was invalid, and even the heroines themselves had nothing special about them so that the reader can feel affection for them. I’m slightly salty too, that the game neglected to bring back the tayutai counterparts from the previous games, yet bring back the heroines as an “immortal”, AND create new antagonists like Fusma.

AND bother to voice both Sora and Yuuri

Tayutama 2 isn’t even a CHARAGE. It doesn’t even take the time to develop the CHARACTERS; you know, the individuals in your game that a lot of creepy Japanese are really in for? I’m going to sound fucking cringy right here, but literally the best thing about this game are the H-scenes purely because Moekibara Fumitake is skilled with years of artwork.

So yeah, the sequel of one of my most favorite eroge has most value as a nukige.

And do you really expect me to not be salty?

Basically, Lump of Sugar ruined a great title. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only eroge veteran out there complaining about the shit of Lump of Sugar’s games, and this is likely the reason why they attempted to utilize the fame of Tayutama to rake in as much money as they can with Tayutama 2. Even I was tempted to buy the pre-order; imagine how many would have fallen for this trap.

I’m calling it right now, but I’m almost definitely sure that LoS will try to mooch off of Hello-Goodbye in the near future. If that happens, I’m removing Lump of Sugar from my Twitter and will stop following their games. Well, I’m going to shun their games anyways but hey, that’ll just give me another reason to.

I might change my mind if Kohaku gives me a kiss though

Affection for the Characters: Very Low

CG Score: 7/10. CGs are generally good, although there’s less detail on WHAT the CGs were (e.g. the more important scenes warranted to receive one did not). This pattern is very similar to charage, and can be seen in games like this.
Music Score: 8/10. Similar atmosphere from the previous game can be seen, and this was generally a good trait.

Addictiveness: Low

Conclusion:

Pros:

  • If you liked Fumitake’s art, well, I guess you’re in for a treat
  • It’s really nice seeing the prequel’s characters again, though it would have been better if the tayutai counterparts (Ouryuu, Nue, and Ho-oh) appeared as well.
  • The game is strangely a bit more high-quality with small effects which enhance the visual aspect of the game. In addition to the CGs, the music was relatively similar to the previous game as well.
  • Mito Mashiro

Cons:

  • Story is absolute shit, and deviates heavily from the prequel’s “co-existence” theme. If I had to create a sequel for Tayutama, I would have given a similar setting as this game, but present two groups in general; those who are in favor of co-existing with the Tayutama, and those who are NOT in favor and strongly opposed (who may act as the antagonists). These two groups would be present for both humans AND Tayutai, which would make the story a lot more exciting and complex.
  • On that thought, heroine-route conflicts were often also completely unrelated to Tayutai and co-existence and also not original. The writer was obviously not creative enough to formulate exciting scenes or utilize the various elements that the previous title laid out for him.
  • Heroines are super generic and boring. The only good thing about them are that they’re drawn well, but that’s because of a good artists, and in that kind of scenario, he should be releasing artbooks instead.
  • Protagonist is decently designed, but lack personality and impact. Most of the scenario involving him are effectively described as “convenient”, and if at all, his influence in the heroines are just as insignificant in previous Lump of Sugar games.

Overall, Lump of Sugar’s most hyped title for me turned out to be a complete disappointment for me, and what’s even more sad is that I’m not surprised nor disdainful about it. Lump of Sugar has really taken a turn for the worse as this is their 4th game in a row receiving a bad review from me, and I should really consider dropping this company for good.

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments on: "Sequel to the Co-existence! Review of [160923]Tayutama 2" (13)

  1. well what can I say other than that LoS didn’t betray my expectations (in a negative sense). I knew it would suck and still went through the whole thing out of a sense of “duty” since it features mashiro. if you leave out the tayutai (which are basically just proxies to artificially create problems in this title…) you have a very poorly written and developed charage.

    reading this one after going through giniro haruka sure didn’t help the game; it made various problems stick out even more than they already do.

    if LoS really pulls a HGB 2 in the future I’ll swing by their office when I’m in tokyo next time to question their sanity…

    • Kinda makes me wish I listened to you when you had more pessimistic viewpoints on this sequel a few months ago. You most definitely didn’t lose your faith in LoS for nothing

  2. About Giniro Haruka, I really wouldn’t recommend playing all the routes back-to-back. I understand you wanting to finish the game to write a review but as Hoshi Ori Yume Mirai before it, I find it best enjoyed little by little : the length of each route combined with the relative predictability of the story would otherwise make me rush the text and ruin the mood of the game in the process. I say this, but I’m looking forward to your review, so good luck!

    Do you happen to have a review of the original Tayutama? Without going into too many details, I’ve played it recently and I have a hard time seeing what was so good about it so as to raise it to the status of kamige.

    Given your review I’m glad I skipped this sequel but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have played this anyway after the already pretty bad “Tayutama : Happy Days” fandisk (Ameri’s main scenario excluded).

    • Thank you so much for the advice on Giniro Haruka! While I would say your advice is solid, it doesn’t really work for someone like me who is so freaking slow with review writing and has a huge backlog growing every month! I’ll make sure to comment on this within the review so I hope you’ll enjoy it when I finally get to releasing it!

      For some reason, I do not seem to have a review of the original Tayutama! It might have been because it was such a long time ago that I didn’t even have this website running. Would you recommend me visiting the game again and writing a full review for it? Let me hear your thoughts!

      To give the quick-and-dirty answer of why I liked the original title, it correctly represents the concept of “prejudice” (perhaps even racism) within the society today, while utilizing exciting scenes such as the ones with Nue, Ho-oh, and Ouryuu, with colorful heroines to “complement” those tayutai. There are love triangles, misunderstandings, and overall lots of meaningful interactions between characters. The “fillers” in between content wasn’t random or generic either, but quite funny (e.g. Yuuri crossdressing).

    • It’s entirely up to you whether to revisit Tayutama. I would enjoy reading your review of it but if you already have a large backlog of games to go through starting to replay older games may not be the best idea. I’ve just recently started reading your reviews but I assume most of your usual readership is interested in newer titles? Also, I find it’s sometimes best not to poke too much at good memories. I know I hold some games in high esteem but replaying them now with a couple more years of life and visual novel experience, I’m not sure I would reach the same conclusion.

      I can’t say I’ve seen much of the prejudice or racism you mention in Tayutama, most of the game is about Yuuri & Co against the three strongest and the general population remains largely unaware of the very existence of the Tayutai. I think “misunderstanding” is the theme that would best describe the game, as most of these conflicts are due to poor communication among the Tayutai themselves, or just plain misunderstandings from Mashiro/Kikurami. The only character to openly display racism would be Ameri and that’s only at the beginning of the game, and for obvious reasons (don’t steal mah Yuuri). Ironically, Ameri’s route turns out to be the one that represents the best the game’s “misunderstanding” theme.

      While the characters interactions were indeed interesting, they often ended up irritating (mostly right before Mashiro’s escape from Flawless, but not only). The game’s structure is very repetitive and the heroines’ specific parts turn out to be rather short. Most of the conflicts turn out to be because Kikurami was a poor caretaker, not that she’s have the time to supervise the 10.000 Tayutai she sealed away but a little research on the strongest ones wouldn’t be too much to ask. Finally, and that’s probably the biggest thing for what is essentially a Mashiro game: Mashiro’s entire character feels off to me, and after playing the game I’m still not convinced on why Kikurami found it so important that she fell in love with Yuuri. Whatever the reason, I think it cheapens her unconditional love for the main character : she was just made this way. I imagine my perception of the character is biased by the fact that I played Ameri’s route first and she doesn’t act very nicely at the end of it.

    • I should’ve totally responded to this sooner, but work and school’s been crushing me quite a bit! Sorry >.<;;

      You've made some really interesting comments! This was exactly the case for some games like Suzukaze no Melt, which I thought was essentially perfect the first time I've played it, but replaying it much later made me see some critically bad parts within the game. I still enjoyed it nonetheless, so I don't think I would suddenly NOT like Tayutama or some of its features (which I've already played twice, by the way) just because some time has passed.

      The concept of racism is most clearly defined with Mashiro's acceptance into the Flawless Academy, but being placed into a solitary room after what the authorities thought of as a "prank" when her animal features appeared. Previously, she was accepted as one of the best and even on the level of Milady, but simply because she was "different" in terms of appearance (or race, in our scenario), Mashiro was prejudiced and misunderstood. I'd also like to mention that misunderstanding as you've seen in the first title is often due to hasty assumptions, which CAN be "prejudice". This is why I suggest it as a general theme.

      Based on my observation, it seems that the people who are not fond of Tayutama in terms of story are also unable to appreciate Mashiro's design. While there is definitely the fact that her "romance" was more on the shallow side, her charm stems mostly from her submissive and supportive personality, which she shows in other routes outside of her own, even in Ameri's route where you might have stated Mashiro was cold or heartless. Generally, my view on this is that Mashiro falling in love with Yuuri started when he swore to help her with co-existence (during the Flawless Academy Escape), then their bond became stronger as the two fought with the 3-Strongest (poor translation but bear with me), and the last conflict was how their souls "repelled each other" at the end. Since most of the general story revolves around this character, I don't find it surprising some people may not like her and the story of Tayutama for whatever reasons they have; that's their opinion and preference that I respect to the utmost extent.

      Strange how you suggested the origin of conflicts was due to Kikurami's "poor management" since even characters like Ouryuu (who is displayed as the main antagonist) at one point was in favor of co-existence. It's almost explicit that all this conflict arose from greed and racism, so I wouldn't say it's all Kikuramikaminohime's fault

      What great points you make! I'm certainly considering revisiting Tayutama with your encouragement and suggestion, so you may be able to expect it in the near future. My apologies again that this reply was late AND super long!

    • Don’t worry about not being able to reply immediately, I know life can be busy. I’d rather you take a day or two to reply if it means you can keep your replies as detailed as they are now. I really appreciate you taking the time to discuss these games with me, so comment length is no issue. Still, if you’ll allow one complaint : the comment layout of the site isn’t very long-comment-friendly as the width gets shorter and shorter with each reply. It makes glancing at the overall comment kinda difficult. Not sure it’s something you can mess with or if really worth it (I just copy-paste the comment in a text editor to write my reply), it’s just a minor thought.

      Mashiro’s acceptance and escape from Flawless sequence to me displayed distrust more than prejudice. At this point, no one apart from Yuuri and a very close circle of people know Mashiro is actually a Tayutai, and the people from Flawless are all convinced Mashiro is just a human that is being deceived into believing she is not. I don’t think anyone really minded her fox ears or her tail so much as her claims about being a Tayutai and Yuuri’s wife, and the reason she was locked up was not because they feared her alien nature, but because they sincerely were worried about her. Mifuyu and Yumina in particular are genuinely concerned about her. Maybe that falls into prejudice, I’m not confident enough in my knowledge of the English language to argue semantics so early in the morning.

      As an aside, I always found it off how Mashiro was unable to escape Flawless by her own means. She can turn invisible at will to the majority of the population as explained in the bike sequence, so however superior Flawless sensors are I doubt there was really anything they can do to stop her. It’s probably why I started to doubt her character a little bit : did she just intentionally fail her escape to make Yuuri come and rescue her? Playing Ameri’s route seem to confirm this opinion as she just gives up her Tayutai/Human co-existence dream arguably only because she can’t have Yuuri. That may be seen as a noble gesture, since it allows him to concentrate on his engineering studies and on Ameri’s relationship, but I can’t help but think it just cheapens her vision : with the help of the three strongest and Mifuyu’s anti-Tayutai squad I don’t think Yuuri is a needed element, and they seem to do just fine without him at the end of Yumina’s route. Her own route seems to confirm it as well : if Yuuri didn’t go out of his way to find a solution she would just have died and sacrificed the whole Tayutai/Human co-existence project and scar Yuuri for life, for a couple weeks with him. All that seemed to contradict her “pure and selfless” character quite a bit, but I’m probably just too cynical to accept these character archetypes as such.

      If I remember correctly, when Yuuri asks her why she loves him she says that Kikurami just made her this way, as she thought that among humans marriage is the deepest of bonds and she wished her to have this bond with him. The Flawless academy escape could certainly be a good trigger but as I stated earlier, I view it with too much suspicion to really accept it as is. The fights with the three strongest occur after they swore themselves to each other. I agree their romance felt very shallow, from both sides as Yuuri himself is unable to explain why he chose Mashiro when Ameri confesses her feelings to him later on.

      When I mentions Kikurami’s poor care-taking, I meant that she knew next to nothing about the three strongest and their motivations. She didn’t know Ouryuu only ate people who were willing sacrifices in exchange for his protection, and that he never asked for them but were more-or-less forced upon him. Neither did she know he was favoring co-existence as well, though in a different form. The main reason he’s an antagonist at all is because she threw him into the seal and he seeks revenge on her. She never took the time to look for Nue and find out she’s just a lonely little girl with too power in her hands. Well, I guess she knew Houou was just a bird-brained couple but that didn’t help much. I really don’t see the greed or racism in the conflicts at all : Ouryuu seeks revenge on Kikurami, Houou are just having a lover’s quarrel and Nue’s simply socially awkward due to her loneliness and lack of interactions with other people.

    • Definitely agreed regarding the inability to discuss thoroughly. It seems that a fair portion of my readers are just like me in the sense that we like to discuss many elements in length, but this review site’s just too small for that purpose. Instead, I generally invite them to email or Skype for these debates, although I took your advice and reduced the comments “nesting” from 3 to 2 (inb4 it doesn’t change anything though)

      One thing before I start to reply though: At first, I had the strong impression that you played the game to the fullest extent, but reading this reply suggests that you’ve either skipped some of the more crucial parts or otherwise have not finished the game fully. It’s been almost two years since I personally played Tayutama, but I remember it relatively well (except minute details) and I’m finding some contradictions in your statements, which I’d like to address in my reply.

      You are correct about Mifuyu and Yumina being more worried about Mashiro when she reveals her identity in Flawless, but neither of them ever try to understand her until after she fully display her powers and summons various beasts at the gates. You can definitely say there’s mistrust or misunderstanding involved, but in the end, it all comes back to prejudice. Dictionary.com defines this word as “preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience”, and as mentioned previously, this easily gives birth to misunderstandings.

      You also puzzle me since within the game, Mashiro explicitly states that she locked HERSELF in Flawless after realizing how many people rejected her just because of her appearance. You would have also noticed that after said rejection, she makes additional efforts to explain herself to Flawless but is quickly disregarded as a prank, and soon come to believe people from Flawless will never understand nor accept her as she is (At this point, I’ll have you know that she PREJUDICED Yuuri to be one of these people). Yuuri overturns this paradigm with his arrival, which motivates her to escape with him.

      In addition to this, Mashiro in Ameri’s route does show Mashiro “giving up”, but this is only a facade and her real self plans to continue the coexistence without Yuuri’s help, and it’s implied that she does. Her acting coldly might also suggest her pushing the couple away so she’s not interfering with them (Mashiro herself realizes that Ameri likes Yuuri from very early on), and these theories are only made more obvious considering this is the only place where her personality changes as such. Mashiro didn’t suddenly become a bitch because she couldn’t have Yuuri (else she should have shown this in Yumina/Mifuyu’s routes); she’s much more mature than that. Her trying to stay with Yuuri in her own route is purely because she loves him, and unlike what you think, the game never makes an effort to display this character as anything close to a Saint at all.

      If I may be so bold, I think you’re just antagonizing her purely for the fact you couldn’t appreciate her design. If you genuinely viewed Mashiro to be that “pure and selfless” character, you’ve viewed very incorrectly; if at all, Mashiro was a character who had greater ambitions than anyone else (because duh; she’s trying to change the paradigm of human society and inject the concept of Tayutama pretty much on a whim). It’s one thing to have your own independent opinions, but another to let your bias speak for your opinions.

      Yes: the romance is shallow as hell between the two characters, but did that have any effect on the storyline (fights between 3-Strongests or Co-existence) at all? Games that utilize romance as a cheap excuse for deus-ex-machina are the ones to annoy me, and even while some parts of the romance in Tayutama was shallow, it was also not very important nor was it used extensively outside of H-scenes. If I wanted to play a romance-oriented game, I’d play something else. Romance is NOT the reason why I value this game greatly, nor is it likely the reason why other players value this title.

      Again, you really need to read between the lines for the reasoning for some of the actions characters might take. Kikurami saw the same “face” or “aura” in Yuuri as his ancestor who fought with this leader. Ameri’s misunderstanding and Yuuri’s prejudice may have been resolved, but the scars from this conflict were still there, for which Mashiro was the one to heal. I’m seeing you having trouble SYMPATHIZING with these characters or looking at events in their eyes. Instead, I just see your opinions blinding your judgment when it comes to asking yourself “Why did the character do X or Y?”

      In your first reply, you chose the word “care-taking” and took the time to define it. However, as mentioned in the game, these are four different races and the strongest of each race is defined as Kikurami (Land), Ouryuu (Sea), Nue (Amorphs), and Ho-oh (Sky). It is implied that Ouryuu was indeed for co-existence, but after seeing how greedy and ungrateful humans can be, he turned against co-existence and started to harm them, when it was Kikurami who stopped him, and Ouryuu becoming angry at her instead of pointing his hate towards humans. They weren’t any different; Kikurami just had the upper-hand due to Yuuri’s ancestor. Nue likewise had her own motives for attacking humans, though on the other hand, Ho-Oh was not well explained.

      More than greed (for Nue; because she was “collecting power for her personal reasons”) or racism (Ouryuu; who made the assumption that all humans were evil, greedy, and ungrateful), I push the term “prejudice”. Kikurami never took the time to try to understand Ouryuu, Nue was always alone with no one to trust but everyone thought she was evil, and Ho-Oh was just… there. For the lawls. This prejudice happens all over society and I strongly believe the game was trying to exaggerate that in the form of a story and what kind of consequences it can have.

      Again, my sincere apologies if I am incorrect regarding your experience with this title

    • You are right in assuming I haven’t played the game fully, in the sense that I haven’t completed Mifuyu’s route, and skipped past the Kikurami “recollection” mini-route because the calligraphied lines of Yuuri’s ancestor combined with ancient ways of speaking were for me too time-consuming to decipher. The rest of the game (common route + Mashiro/Ameri/Yumina) I did play without skipping, but it’s entirely possible I got some things wrong.

      I’m almost certain no-one in Flawless ever makes a big deal out of Mashiro’s appearance. The reason she gets locked up is because she tried to escape when she realized entering Flawless meant she had to spend a year away from Yuuri and then started claiming she was no human. She got caught by the school’s security after causing a bit of chaos (notably blowing up a locked door through unknown means), and her mental health is a serious cause of concern for the Flawless staff and students. It’s understandable for them to think she’s delusional since without showing any proof it really sounds crazy. In that sense I don’t think “prejudice” applies, since their opinion is 100% based on reason : they didn’t believe Mashiro when she claimed to be a Tayutai, but she didn’t do anything to prove her claim. I understand why she didn’t : out of fear of being viewed as an enemy of mankind, but put yourself in Mifuyu and Yumina’s shoes as well. From what I understood, Mashiro’s shock is in large parts due to seemingly being abandoned by Yuuri, since she didn’t know she would be kept away from him during her scholarship. That leads her to give up on him and willing choose to remain in the school after her failed attempt. That is until he comes to explain this was all just a misunderstanding : Yuuri thought she knew she would be away, Mashiro thought he wanted her away.

      I’m sorry if I sounded like I thought Mashiro was acting like a bitch, as that’s not my opinion. If anything, she acts like most tayutai in the game : normal humans. Mashiro’s conclusion in Ameri’s route is explained further in the fandisk, but this reasoning is kept extremely vague during the main game. As I said earlier, I played Ameri’s route first and I filled the void with my bitter cynical mind, which I agree made me view the character in a negative way for the rest of my playthrough, so I guess the one with prejudice was me all along! I’m willing to accept that Mashiro tried to stay near Yuuri in her own route despite it killing her because she loved him, but you have to admit that puts her ambition of human/tayutai co-existence down considerably : as long as she can be with him for a couple weeks, she’s fine with dying without achieving it. I suppose that it can be interpreted as showing how powerful her love is…

      Not much else to add, I agree the romance was neither very good nor very important apart from giving some characters their motivation in the final stages of the game. I haven’t read Kikurami’s prequel with Yuuri’s ancestor and it might have given me the answers I was looking for concerning her behavior. Still, I didn’t feel the “prejudice” theme resonate throughout the game as much as it seems you did. It felt like the misunderstandings were there to give an excuse for the characters to fight and then make up, rather than try to say something about society. Without this theme and with no love for Mashiro it’s no wonder I didn’t find the game as stellar as you or others did.

    • I actually have a different analysis for the reason why Mashiro tries to escape Flawless in the first place. While there might be a small portion of her reasoning being that “She can’t see Yuuri”, this contradicts her turning him away when Yuuri actually comes to save her (which is why I thought Yuuri was only a very small reason, if at all, for her initial escape). This is just me hypothesizing here, but I analyzed Mashiro’s first escape to be because she wanted to confirm that there are people outside who will believe and accept her despite the difference in appearance (e.g. people like Yuuri), since Flawless students obviously would not. This instead caused more problems, and more misunderstandings as we’ve seen.

      I agree that the Flawless Academy was genuinely concerned about Mashiro’s wellbeing (considering her entrance test scores are legendary enough to land her a full scholarship), but I still think they doubted her words multiple times even with her trying to explain. Do note: The scene where Mashiro explains herself and the concept of Tayutama is NOT explicitly displayed in either the game or the anime. However, it is heavily implied she has explained herself multiple times through things like the delay in which Yuuri finds out Mashiro has been “locked”, some of Mashiro’s words such as “They won’t believe me”, and her rejecting Yuuri despite the fact he was already on her side. My lacking memory reminds me at this point of her telling Yuuri that she displayed her spiritual powers to Flawless, but they brushed that off as a “magic trick” of some sorts. In the end, she had to use all she had and summon every Land-beast Tayutai around just so Mifuyu would believe her.

      In Yumina’s viewpoint, she is the adopted daughter and younger sister to Yuuri, and should already realize of their background as priests to Kikurami, and thus be a bit less skeptical when Mashiro comes along saying she’s the reincarnation, especially if the same girl states that she chose Yuuri to be her husband. If I’m not mistaken, Yumina does support Yuuri and his team helping Mashiro escape, even when Mifuyu chases after them. The least I would have expected would have been to have some knowledge on this leader.

      on the other hand in Mifuyu’s eyes, you are correct in her skepticism. However, this is the prime example of prejudice since the normal reaction at that point would be to take Mashiro to the psychiatric ward if Flawless was genuinely concerned. Instead, Flawless tries to take the time to get the truth out of Mashiro, yet refuses to believe her when she tells them. They were prejudiced to believe that this was just a joke that would resolve with time and nothing serious. Or they prejudiced that Mashiro was just playing a short-term prank as displayed in the anime: I’m unsure how Mashiro’s actions were defined in the game itself.

      You are indeed correct a large portion of Mashiro’s reasoning to lock herself in was due to lack of response from Yuuri. Our debate at this point is: “Was this prejudice or misunderstanding between Yuuri and Mashiro?” and I would probably say both. As you’ve stated, she prejudiced Yuuri to have abandoned her, creating that misunderstanding, which Yuuri had to come and resolve directly. I’ll say this again, but prejudice CAUSES misunderstandings, and there are a lot of things that can cause prejudiced opinions.

      You’ve pretty much described the exact reason why Mashiro was so popular when this game was first released: You are shown this heroine who has extensive and far-fetched goals of introducing a new concept to the society, yet is presented with the ultimate irony that she herself is suffering due to her spiritual bond with Yuuri. Her design is amplified with her mature and grateful personality, and she even has animal ears for people who are into those kinds of things. This is just between you and me, but even if this kind of design seems archetypical, nonsense, or even leaves a bad taste in your mouth for whatever reason, Mashiro’s design is still more complex and interesting than typical “heroines” in other galge. (and that’s actually how I can stomach some of the shitty games out there)

      I actually hoped that the same theme presented in Tayutama would continue to Tayutama 2. Reading the conclusion of the review, you can see that I have a small suggestion to how I would have liked to see the sequel being performed, which is essentially the first Tayutama game large-scale (and now involving the society; not just your group of friends). If I cannot convince you that the theme of this game is prejudice, I ask the question: “What causes misunderstandings?” Sure, you can definitely see characters having conflicts due to misunderstandings, but they are usually caused by something (Mifuyu’s original impressions on Yuuri, the separation of Yuuri and Ameri, and even perhaps the fact that Yumina and Yuuri couldn’t get along at first).

      If at all, if we assume that “misunderstanding” was the theme of this game, we didn’t even need Tayutai to be one of the story elements; humans misunderstand each other just as well for a variety of reasons, and “Tayutama” could have been a typical school-life game with characters misunderstanding each other for whatever reasons. The fact that a whole different “race” called Tayutai were added means that the writer wanted to display something with them, and that’s where I derive my theory that prejudice is the theme of this game.

      I can definitely see why this series (or at least the first title) wasn’t for you for the same reason some of the “better” titles as mentioned on Twitter, EGS, VNDB, Getchu, and 2ch were absolute shit to me. After getting cancer from many fruitless discussions on these websites, it’s the very reason why I actually started to write reviews since the people who have background and experience in the field by doing so achieves more authority when making these discussions.

    • Interesting take on Mashiro’s reason to try and escape Flawless. I’m not sure I agree with it since said escape seems to be the entire trigger to Mashiro revealing to Flawless that she is not human after all, before that she was to Flawless the perfect (human) Milady they were so happy to welcome. Why they would doubt her words when she claims she isn’t human, and on top of that claims she’s Yuuri’s husband, isn’t too far fetched as Flawless assumes it’s for the most part just Yuuri taking advantage of her (they think he handed her the bomb she used to escape and got this whole non-human idea into her head to make her stay with him). I think it’s part of the reason why Mashiro started to give up on Yuuri in the first place, as any rash action she would do would have repercussion on him whether it was true or not.

      As you said, Mashiro’s side of things during this whole turn of events is not shown and we can but only speculate at what actually happened. We get to see a bit of the first escape though, and I’m fairly sure she says she wants to see Yuuri above all else. It’s been some time now since I played the game so it’s entirely possible I may remember things wrong, but I don’t think she displayed her spiritual powers at all to Flawless before Yuuri came to fetch her. Why she chose to make such a grand display at this time is purely my guess, but I think she did because there was no other way to guarantee Yuuri, Ameri and Sanrou’s safety since without a clear proof at the time their lives would have been seriously messed up (expulsion from school, jail, etc…). Since the beginning of the game Mashiro had been taking a very tame approach and reluctant to showing her powers to normal people out of fear of being viewed as a simple monster/enemy of mankind, so going all out like that seemed likely an act of desperation to protect Yuuri & co rather than a simple attempt to convince Mifuyu.

      Yumina does help Yuuri during the Flawless escape by bringing Mashiro out of the dormitory and all the way to the first set of fences, but up until then she had no idea Mashiro was a Tayutai at all. I don’t think Yumina has any idea Mashiro was related to Kikurami and the major deity Yuuri’s family temple was dedicated to until much later in the game. She acted because Yuuri asked her to believe her and said he only wanted to talk to her, not actually make her escape the school. She is quite shocked when he reveals he lied to her and abused her trust in her older brother, but right after that Yuuri manages to convince Mashiro he wasn’t trying to push her out of his life and she jumps over the fence in a instant, finally displaying some tangible proof. At this point Yumina finally starts to believe Yuuri’s story, but he sends her back to the dorm to prevent further trouble and she is not witness to the grand Tayutai display later on.

      As for Mifuyu, interesting you mention that taking Mashiro to a psychiatric ward would be the normal reaction, since that’s exactly what Flawless was planning to do and rushed Yuuri into planning Mashiro’s escape. They planned to send her to a sanatorium and lock her up until she gave up on claiming she was not human, and that was due to happen just a couple days (the following day if I remember right) after Yuuri’s escape plan. Why they didn’t do it sooner is understandable considering the school’s stance on privacy and perfection, otherwise they would have taken the case to the police and got Yuuri arrested long ago. Flawless hoped to solve the situation internally and retain their perfect Milady but were also about ready to give up.

      I think I fell into a bad habit of mine and was overly negative in my previous comments, which probably lead you to believe I hated or disliked the game, which is not true at all. If anything, the characters, Mashiro included, are to me the best part of the game, especially as they have some interesting interactions together. I’ll admit Mashiro wasn’t my favorite because her extensive and far-fetched goals seemed second to her sudden and unrelenting love for Yuuri. And I’m not into kemonomimi either… She’s still far more interesting than your average “love at first sight -> be my husband” heroine from the typical galge. I can understand her being popular, especially if viewing the game’s events and Mashiro’s motivations your way rather than mine. Still, I actually preferred both Ameri and Yumina, as they both take interesting twists on the osananajimi and imouto routes by giving some unusual background and reversing the usual roles.

      I believe the misunderstanding in the game to me stemmed from lack of communication rather than prejudice. Rather than keep this debate going forever, I think it’s best to say that my definition of prejudice just differs from yours. Since préjudice actually means something entirely different in my mother tongue it’s probably just me being stubborn into not wanting to admit it could be used as a synonym to misunderstanding. Of course nobody knows the other partys perfectly and they act at least partially on their per-conceived opinions, but I would go as far as to put it on the same level as acts driven by racism.

      Interesting that you would ask why the Tayutai were even needed in the game, since I think I would have preferred the game without them or with a lesser importance in the story. As I said earlier my favorite parts of the game were some of the characters interactions and I would have liked for Yuuri to come to the answers he did without having the helpful advice of Mashiro or Ouryuu to save him from his “donkanness”. Having the Tayutai in the game does allow for some flashy battle scenes and beautiful CGs, gives some characters some trigger for their actions and chances to change relationships, but I think it was mostly there for Mashiro’s story.

      I wouldn’t say the game wasn’t for me, or I wouldn’t have played it as far as I would. I’ll be honest and say I seriously considered giving up during the Mashiro escape sequence when everyone abandons Mashiro and betrays Yuuri. Still, I kept going and don’t regret it : while I didn’t see a deep meaning behind the three strongest fights they were entertaining nonetheless, and the characters stories were not as cliches as they usually turn out to be. Still, the repetitive structure of the game and length of each route, along with a couple other things mentioned earlier prevent me from going beyond calling the game “good” in my book. That’s an purely subjective opinion and I don’t claim to be a fair judge on this kind of things. I was genuinely curious as to why the game could be considered so highly and I think I got my answer in more details that I could have hoped for, all the while avoiding the usual insults or flamewars that would have happened anywhere else. Thanks a lot for that.

    • It does my heart wonders that you appreciate this little conversation we’ve held! The flamewars and insults were the very reason I left several forums and websites myself, and if I was able to both teach and be taught, I’ve succeeded!

      You’ve suddenly started to read between the lines and are making a LOT of valid comments! Mashiro not acting out due to having effects on Yuuri or the others is VERY likely, and you’ve successefully made me want to go through with this title once more to see what I missed. The “last” display of powers really do make sense as an effort to protect the group instead of as “proof” for the Flawless. (Though at this point, I’m wondering why she would conclude this display with her name “Mito Mashiro”. Maybe there’s a reason for her doing this?)

      You are correct when you say I misjudged your comments as you not liking the game. I was getting the impression that aside from Ameri’s route, you absolutely hated Mashiro and everything to do with her, but I guess I “prejudiced” *hint hint* your words to mean that you hated the game.

      (I agree that we probably do have different definitions of the word, however. I’m actually quite curious to how you would define it–if I missed it in your previous comments, I’m sorry!)

      This is quite a late reply, but if you wouldn’t be bothered to reply; what did you like about Yumina’s route? I can see why someone would like Ameri’s route from the large misunderstanding in the past as well as the battle with Ouryuu, but I can’t remember Yumina’s route too clearly as I do with Mashiro’s.

      Yep, Tayutai weren’t that important. For all that matters, Mashiro could have been some foreign American girl and the story would have progressed in a very similar manner; the Tayutai only had value in creating said “misunderstanding”, perhaps the flashy battle scenes, and some not-so-important climactic scenes (such as Mashiro suffering; which could be replaced by something else easily). It’s just that I’m the one who’s into kemonomimi so uhhh… Keep that a secret please

      In the end, if you enjoyed this game any more than a normal charage (which would likely annoy you for the same reasons this game wasn’t “good” by your definition), I think it has value to you. I can definitely agree the game has its flaws which we’ve pointed out, but at least some parts were very entertaining. I know for a fact this story of “misunderstanding” may not appeal to your tastebuds, and I hope I can learn what kind of stories you really enjoy.

      It’s been long, but also pretty damn fun! Thanks for the conversation!

    • In my mother tongue (French), préjudice is a law term that means harm or damage. It’s the kind of words that are written the same but have completely different meaning in French and English, and while I know the definition is different I can’t help but attach more negativity to the word than is probably intended. The direct translation of prejudice would be préjugé and that is once again a rather negative term, which means an opinion based on nothing but assumptions, usually accompanied with a reluctance to verify whether said opinion is true or not.

      I found Yumina’s story pretty interesting because it introduces a reversal of roles in the standard imouto route. In a typical game, the little sister would be madly in love with her brother and he would either fail to notice or ignore it. Here though it’s Yuuri who falls in love with Yumina and when he confesses she’s very confused : she was only seeing him as family and as her big brother, not anything more. Her eventual conclusion was also fairly unexpected. You’d think she’d notice and admit she actually loved him too, but instead she says she doesn’t want to become lovers : she wants to create a family, a place for everyone to return to, and being with Yuuri is the only way to make it happen now. The Tayutai link in this route is probably the weakest (Houou’s story is the most silly) but I really like it when relationships take a turn for the unexpected and go contrary to my prior readings.

      The rest of the route is fairly uneventful compared to the others : Yuuri just tries to juggle with the Tayutais business, his school life, his studies to inherit the temple and his relationship with Yumina. Once again, the route takes a turn for the unexpected and instead of the typical message “work hard and everything will be alright”, Yuuri fails to handle everything at once and has to make a life-changing choice : quit school. The ending was also probably the most heartwarming of the three routes I’ve played, as it shows the whole group, Tayutai and humans together, gathering around Yuuri and Yumina.

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