I Played Corpse Party: Book of Shadows and Had Opinions About it

Note: I am not a video game reviewer, so forgive my terrible format and analysis as a game. Thank you.

Recently, I reviewed the anime Corpse Party: Tortured Souls for Animating Halloween, and it got me wanting to play some of the other Corpse Party games since I really hadn’t played any of them besides the first game and basically a retooled version of the first game…again. A good place to start from there appeared to be Corpse Party: Book of Shadows since that was a direct sequel to the original (though, again, remade again) game.

So I played through the whole thing and I’m uhm…..Kinda…confused.

The game isn’t really a sequel so much as it is a pre-mid-sequel. And that’s strange because the cutscene that plays each time you load the game is directly following the events of the first game (in one of the Wrong Ends – 6*8, which leads the Kisaragi students through a time loop of the events of Heavenly Host.) Naomi is near catatonic and her mother is distraught because she keeps talking about her ‘imaginary’ friend, Seiko, when Seiko’s existence was wiped from the earth after dying in Heavenly Host. It’s basically a longer version of what we got at the end of Tortured Souls.

Each episode covers a different story. No episode intersects with another nor is there any cohesion in creating an overall plot. It’s just a lot of different stories bundled together.

Episode One: Seal

The first episode does pickup where the opening cutscene left off, kinda. Naomi did suffer from a breakdown due to the events of the first game and is desperately trying to cope with the fact that her best friend and love interest, Seiko, is not only dead, but her existence was wiped from the world. However, that’s just a blip at the beginning. The real story is about the time loop the characters are currently in.

The Wrong End that they’re basing this game off of involves several of the characters surviving the events of Heavenly Host and leaving, but, tragically, they find themselves caught in a time loop. They are damned to suffer the events of Heavenly Host over and over for all eternity.

How do you build a story out of this type of ending?

Well….You don’t, really.

Much of the story shows what happened with Naomi and Seiko before the events of the first game. They enjoyed their first ever sleepover together and bonded more. Naomi notices a strange bruise forming on Seiko’s neck, but they don’t think much of it.

Then, when they get to school the following day, the events of the first game start to transpire. The one difference is that Satoshi starts freaking out when Ayumi brings up the Sachiko Ever After ritual. He panics and says it’s a horrible idea because, somehow, Satoshi is the only one who has memories of Heavenly Host right now. He explains that they’re in a time loop, but doesn’t actually convey any important information or try to destroy the paper doll or anything. Instead, he just flips and resigns himself to doing the ritual so he can at least help try to do something in Heavenly Host.

Satoshi, by the way, never gets his own story in this game. He gets a minor role in episode three and that’s the end of his role in this game entirely.

Naomi has been experiencing some instances of deja vu, but she’s not bothered enough by it to listen to Satoshi’s words, thus they’re all set to Heavenly Host.

Once everything is set into motion, Naomi starts getting more of her memories back, and she remembers that Seiko died via hanging in the girls’ bathroom. She becomes determined to save Seiko from that fate.

I became quite intrigued when this occurred because I thought the game would be about redoing the events but the survivors regain their memories and try to save the ones who canonically died in the first game.

That is not what happened.

Well, okay, that’s not true.

That’s kinda what happens, but in a horrible, horrible way.

Naomi DOES save Seiko from being hanged, but she forgot one key detail of Seiko’s death in the first game. Naomi was actually Seiko’s killer. Naomi had succumbed to something called the darkening, which is basically a dark influence the school has on its inhabitants over time that worsens with negative thoughts, feelings and witnessing stuff like dead bodies, gore and ghosts. While Naomi was in her darkened state, she hanged Seiko in the bathrooms, but she also completely forgot about it. She later has to face what she had done and make amends with Seiko’s spirit to free herself from the darkening and leave the school.

When Naomi saves Seiko from the noose, Seiko flips out at seeing the girl who tried to kill her and runs off.

Let me back up a tad and explain that, earlier, I had to disable a piano wire trap in order to pass through certain sections of the school. One wire could not be cut, and it was a neck-height wire on the stairs.

Guess what Seiko runs into.

Yup, she’s instantly beheaded by the piano wire, much to Naomi’s horror. Sachiko explains what this time loop actually is. While it is technically a time loop where everything happens exactly the same, there are some circumstances where the people will regain their memories and try to stop those who died from meeting their ultimate fates. She explains that this is not only pointless – it’s actually ill-advised and horrible for those who died. If these people are saved from what initially killed them, the school will actually devise a way for them to die anyway in a manner that is similar to their initial death but certainly worse.

IE, Seiko originally died via hanging and now she died via beheading, and both involved the mark on her neck.

I’m not sure I agree with that, though, because I think slowly suffocating while hanging and knowing your best friend – the girl you’re in love with – put you there is worse than being quickly beheaded on accident. I get that the latter is bloodier, but still.

The end of the episode is Naomi cradling Seiko’s disembodied head as she mourns the loss of her best friend once more.

What we have established here is, for any episode involving a character who canonically died in the first game, there is no saving them whatsoever. And if they do get ‘saved’ it’s only so they can suffer a worse fate, so why even try? I thought this would be a continuing problem throughout the game, but it really wasn’t – and not for the reasons you might think.

Episode Two: Demise

The aforementioned problem shines brilliantly in this episode as we follow Mayu who was the first to die in the original game. She became a wall sloppy joe via the three children ghosts. Now that the loop is occurring, she has spotty memories of that happening. She has a very foreboding bruise on her stomach that branches outward, and she spends a good chunk of the episode being concerned about it, but tries to ignore it.

This episode did give us a really nice moment between Ayumi and Yoshiki, ending up in the two of them embracing and even falling asleep on each other, so that was really nice, but the niceness ends there.

Also, this is the only episode in which Ayumi and Yoshiki show up (well, technically Ayumi shows up later, but I’ll get to that.) so we don’t learn much else about their stories, which kinda makes sense because they both canonically survived. Also, despite Ayumi’s heightened spiritual powers, neither she nor Yoshiki has any memories of Heavenly Host, so I guess they’d just do pretty much the same things they did before, barring this one part with Mayu since she died long before anyone else came into contact with her.

Mayu and Yoshiki also rescue a girl from another school named Nana, who has similarly foreboding bruises in the forms of straight crisscrossing lines on her thighs, even though, as far as I know, she never died from that. (In the first game, she dies from having her tongue ripped out.)

Nana is in some weird trap involving her being tied to a bust on a desk. The bust is tied to a bucket of sharp items over her head. If she flails too much or if someone tries to save her recklessly, the bucket will fall and she’ll surely die from the wounds. I have no clue why she’s in this trap or who put her in it. I’d assume it was Yoshikazu, but for what purpose? Why not just kill her where she stands like he killed everyone else? Also, her original death couldn’t have been retconned to the bucket thing because then she’d have bruises all over her face, right? I just don’t understand this trap.

Anyway, the bruises get worse the closer a character is to their time of dying. Nana’s get noticeably worse and, when she goes off by herself to try and find her friends – alone, because she’s a dumbass – she gets caught by Yoshikazu and we discover why she has bruises on her thighs – Yoshikazu smashed her legs off with his giant hammer. Not sure if this is canonical either because, despite the certainty that something must’ve happened to her legs in her first death, the bruises were clean lines, which wouldn’t happen if her legs were smashed off.

That’s not even her cause of death anyway. Yes, this really, really awful injury doesn’t kill her, which just makes this death sequence all the more horrific. Mayu is forced to just sit there and watch as Yoshikazu drags Nana away as she’s screaming for help because Mayu knows Nana’s probably as good as dead anyway, and Mayu would never survive trying to go against Yoshikazu. Nana’s actual death scene comes in a different episode.

Seeing Nana get her legs lopped off like that did make Mayu significantly more concerned about her own situation. She dared to check up on her own bruises, which had gotten drastically darker in color. She even started getting one on her face. Mayu starts panicking because she knows what’s coming and is quickly realizing she won’t be able to avoid it.

Now, at this point, I was wondering how the hell you could make Mayu’s death worse. The poor girl was flung into a wall at like 60 MPH and exploded into a mass of unrecognizable guts and gore. How could that be made worse?

Well, Sachiko found a way. Mayu is cornered in the infirmary, a place she should have been avoiding anyway because that’s where the ghosts of the children initially started influencing her before they killed her. Her bruises get so bad that they start bleeding. Sachiko brings in the ghosts of the children to give her a fate worse that her original one, which is being slowly ripped apart by the bare hands of the ghosts.

Yup….yup…that’s definitely worse. As if that wasn’t bad enough, we still play as Mayu as she dies. You know the instant she passes on. It’s pretty heartbreaking.

This episode did a good job in making me care more about Mayu, but she’s still a pretty bland character. She has a love of theater, loves Morishige and is good at covering a wide range of jobs. She’s also very kind and sweet. I appreciate them giving Mayu more of a role in this game since she was pretty much just there to be the first shock death in the original game. You’d think they would’ve done more for her character originally since she was the main reason they did the Sachiko Ever After ritual, but nah.

Episode Three: Encounter

Now we’re into full prequel territory. This episode focuses on Yui Shishido, the teacher of the class that gets sent to Heavenly Host. I believe it’s the day before the events of Corpse Party go down. She’s horrendously sick, and Satoshi, through a lot of convoluted writing, ends up taking care of her in her home since she’s completely out of it. As Yui slumbers, she thinks back to when she was a student in Kisaragi Academy. She had always aspired to be a teacher, and her dream was finally becoming a reality.

She had a crush on a guy named Tsukasa, who became a close friend to her as they neared graduation.

One day, she’s approached by an old woman in the pouring rain who tries to warn her of the dangers of Kisaragi Academy. She told her to not go to school that day and even tried to give her a paper charm to protect her. Yui, ultimately, cannot heed her warnings because she had an important interview at school that day. The woman, who turns out to be Makina Shinozaki, Sachiko’s great aunt, collapses in the rain and Yui is forced to leave her mother and the paramedics to care for Makina as she goes to school. Everything with the interview goes well, but Makina dies while Yui is at school.

Later that night, Yui rushes back to school to retrieve Tsukasa’s special lucky pencil. However, as midnight approaches, she’s reminded of an old ghost story her friends were telling her about, which is the story of Yoshie, Sachiko’s mother. She haunts the school at night, and her friends thought Yoshie might target Yui specifically since she wants to be a teacher and Yoshie was a school nurse.

Sure enough, weird things start happening in the school, and Yui gets targeted by Yoshie’s spirit. With the help of Tsukasa and the spirit of Makina, Yui is able to escape, though she does still experience great pain in her arm after Yoshie tried to crush it. This whole event is played off like it was a dream. They suggest that Yui fell unconscious after getting to the school and just imagined everything that happened, but she still had a severe pain in her arm that couldn’t be explained. In the end, it’s rather sweet because she holds hands with Tsukasa in the light of the sunrise. However, we never learn what became of Tsukasa after they graduated.

Sadly, when Yui wakes up and speaks with Satoshi, we see that she has a big bruise on her arm, which is poking at the fact that her arm was crushed under the cabinet before she died in Heavenly Host. This is the only episode where Yui has a role, so we’re basically left to assume that she’s barreling towards death in the time loop too. Luckily, we don’t have to watch that here.

This is definitely the best episode in the game. I love Yui, and it was nice to see her get a sweet and happy backstory, even if she is destined for a horrible, albeit still noble and the least gratuitous of the bunch, death. I wish she ended up with Tsukasa. He was a sweetheart, and I would’ve liked her to have all the happiness in the world if she was just going to be wiped from existence later.

Episode Four: Purgatory

Focusing on Naho’s friend, Sayaka, it’s basically just a retelling of Naho’s story with lots of filler put into it. Naho is a perfectly normal girl until Kou went to Heavenly Host without her – then she just goes off the deep end, sacrificing her best friend, Sayaka, so she could go after him, and putting up the wrong instructions for the Sachiko Ever After ritual on her blog so more people would wind up in Heavenly Host as ‘samples’ for Kou to study. It’s a complete 180 that comes out of nowhere. Maybe she just snapped because she thought she lost Kou already, but there is seriously nothing properly leading up to this sudden change in behavior. I’d say maybe it was Sachiko’s influence since her presence was following her before this happened, but I can’t be certain. I’ve never seen an instance of darkening outside of Heavenly Host.

After they enter Heavenly Host, it’s just a waiting game until Sayaka dies. I say this not only because Sayaka is canonically dead in the first game, long before the group ever shows up, but also because the very first scene is of her being attacked by Yoshikazu. The rest of the episode is a flashback showing how she reached this point.

The very last scene did make me a little sad for her because that was a terrible way to go out, and Sachiko was a total bitch. Like many others in Heavenly Host, she was starting to die anyway since she spent days wandering around the school with no food or water. In the original game, she dies from succumbing to the darkening. In this game, she nearly does so but is then caught by Yoshikazu and beaten to death with his sledgehammer.

Oh and as some added misery, we witness Nana dying via getting her tongue ripped out. That poor girl can’t catch a break. It was a horrible scene to sit through….

Episode Five: Shangri-La

This episode follows Morishige throughout his time in Heavenly Host. I found this episode to be the most pointless because not only does he pretty much not do anything we don’t already know he was doing, but it doesn’t even follow his story to the end. He never finds out that this ‘beautiful’ ripped apart corpse he finds is Mayu, and he doesn’t even have any bruises on his face to indicate he’s going to smash his face into a window and kill himself in grief over her death and the realization he’s been defiling her corpse this entire time. His last lines are talking about how he’s going to just hide his corpse pictures when he gets back to the regular world instead of deleting them like he was planning to do.

Out of all of the characters who died, he’s the one I most wouldn’t mind seeing die again, but nope.

He also runs into some characters from Byakudan Senior High School, but he doesn’t really affect their story that much, other than freaking them out because he’s so creepy around corpses.

There’s an alternate ending that you have to get by going back once the episode is cleared. This ending shows Yuuya killing Fukuroi and Mitsuki, but that’s pretty much it.

Episode Six: Mire

Okay, here’s where things get a little more confusing. I thought this entire game was following the events of the Wrong End 6*8 (The time loop ending) but apparently that’s wrong. This episode takes place during the events of Wrong End 2*4, wherebasically everyone barring Ayumi either dies or succumbs to the darkening, leaving Ayumi alone and stranded in Heavenly Host because she has no one to do the ritual with. In regards to this episode in particular, this is the ending where both Yuka and Yuuya die – so most of it is stuff you’d already know if you got that ending. I never got that ending, so it was new for me, but if you did get it you’d be simply going through the motions.

We see Yuka after she’s been separated from Satoshi (Which should have been an indicator right there that we weren’t in the time loop because if Satoshi was dumb enough to let Yuka go off on her own again when he clearly has a good chunk of his memories, he’s too dumb to live.) She’s about to be killed by Yuuya, but her kindness causes him to have a breakdown. She then narrowly escapes Sachiko and Yoshikazu, not seeing Sachiko before fleeing due to a blackout.

She then gets shifted to the abandoned bomb shelter area where she comes face to face with Sachiko and decides to be kind to her since she seems to be a nice spirit, not realizing who Sachiko really is. Sachiko asks if Yuka will do anything for her and Yuka, taking a big sisterly type of role, says she will. Then Sachiko starts requesting things from her. She wants her socks because her feet are cold. She wants her shoes because her feet hurt. And she wants her hairpin because her hair keeps getting in her eyes. You’re finally given a decision in whether or not to listen to Sachiko’s requests at this point. You can either tell her she can’t have the hairpin or give it to her. Either way, Yuka dies, but the proper ending is obtained by giving the hairpin to Sachiko, which causes Yuka to start falling under the forces of the darkening. She starts giving Sachiko literally whatever she wants without question, even if she really doesn’t want to.

For example, Sachiko wants Yuka’s hair, and she obtains this by ripping her scalp nearly clean off with her bare hands. Yuka still goes on acting like this is normal, though internally she’s panicking. Sachiko asks for one more thing – her life. Yuka agrees. Yoshikazu then drops by to bludgeon Yuka in the head with his sledgehammer, killing her.

…..So…yeah this episode was also pretty pointless. All it served to do was show us more proof that Yuka is this innocent little kind angel girl before viciously caving in her head with a hammer.

Granted, it did also shows us some of Yuuya’s backstory, which can be summed up in ‘He’s always been a psychopath.’ We get a flashback to Yuuya as a child. The first thing he does of note is viciously beat up another child and laugh about it. Then he’s basically disowned by his family, though his big brother and sister still seem to care about him. Even then, Yuuya’s still a psycho. He kills ‘an animal’ (they never specify what it was) and thinks it’s funny, he gets into a fist fight with his older brother and he just generally acts like an asshole. He eventually started pretending he was a decent guy in order to fit int while secretly not giving a crap about anyone but himself.

He did, however, say he wanted a little brother or sister to see how his older siblings viewed him, which is where Yuka came in.

In this version, Yuuya kinda-ish turns good before he’s murdered by Yoshikazu, but there’s really no redeeming this guy so I didn’t care. Probably a mistake putting this episode right after the one in which, in the secret ending, he viciously stabs two of his friends to death. One of which, he actually gets pissed because she wouldn’t scream for him like he wanted. I know the darkening has some weight here, but you just confirmed he was a psychopathic murderer even before he came to Heavenly Host, so I don’t know what you want from me.

Episode Seven: Tooth

The final episode is a midquel to the first game in which we follow Tohko. I think I saved Naomi in the first game so I never got Tohko’s part. Though, according to what I read, that path just leads to a bad end anyway.

Tohko is one of several people from Byakudan Senior High School who is lost in Heavenly Host at the same time as the Kisaragi group. Yuuya is one of these students, and Tohko has a bit of a crush on him.

The story starts out with a little backstory on how they wound up doing the Sachiko Ever After ritual (though why they included Kai, a guy they all pretty much hate, I’ll never know.) We then skip forward a little bit to a point where Ryousuke has had his leg lopped off by a booby trap. They’re all frantically trying to find him some help before he bleeds out.

Long story short, Kai is an asshole who is the only person I’ve ever seen in Heavenly Host who tried to simply leave (Mayu mentioned trying to jump the fence behind the pool area to see if she could escape, but said she had a bad feeling it would either loop back around or she’d be lost in the darkness forever.) Spoiler Alert: We never really know what happened to him out there, but he comes back in a daze with his knife embedded in his chest. Tomohiro is loyal to Ryousuke to a fault and quickly goes crazy as he tries to deal with the situation. Yuuya is cool as a cucumber because he’s a psychopath, and Emi just kinda reacts to things and screams a lot. Mitsuki and Fukuroi are the only ones separated from them.

After Kai leaves them to go out the door without the others, Yuuya and Tohko return to where Ryousuke is being cared for only to find all of them with sullen faces. Ryousuke has taken a turn for the worse and they don’t believe he’ll make it even if, by some miracle, they do make it out and find help. They rush to get him out anyway, hanging on to a sliver of hope.

Tohko tries to find Mitsuki real quick before they leave since she thought she heard her calling out earlier. After she fails in her quest to find Mitsuki, she returns to the group to find that Ryousuke has passed away from his injuries.

Later, Yuuya is revealed to be full-on nutso as he kicks Ryousuke’s body down the stairs to prove that he’s actually dead to Tomohiro, who is so distraught that he refuses to believe Ryousuke is dead. Tomohiro accidentally breaks his arm by falling down the stairs in an attempt to get to Ryousuke and he flees from Yuuya, who is just standing by in eerie silence. Emi also runs from him, though she seemingly lies to Tohko about what Yuuya did – claiming Yuuya had kicked Tomohiro down the stairs and broke his arm.

Tohko then has to run from Yuuya, not believing that Yuuya did such a terrible thing, even though he also now has Kai’s bloody knife in his hands. She remains in disbelief until Yuuya starts beating her viciously with his fists. She manages to get away, but spits out one of her teeth as a result of the assault.

…..Ugh…..eh…Yuuya finds the tooth….and spends a ridiculous amount of time slowly licking it, chewing on it and finally swallowing it…….Euehgbhghdsfkjhdksajfhdslkfjhsdakfjh. It takes a lot to make me cringe and gag in horror – that did it for me. It was accompanied by gross sound effects and everything. Ugh. Why did he swallow it?! Even for a crazy person, that couldn’t have been pleasant.

Anyway, him eating the tooth is how the game ends.

No. I’m not kidding.

Well, technically, that’s how the game ends.

Before I get to that point, my thoughts on this episode are, it’s very much okay. It was nice to get a little more backstory on the other Byakudan students, but it wasn’t much and the episode just kinda stops. I’d say it’s probably the third best episode behind Encounter and Demise.

However, with this being the end, I do have to say that this game would be insanely confusing if you never played the first game. Hell, I played the first game more than once and I still ended up being confused at some points.

In regards to this being technically the final episode, there is one more episode but it’s not only locked it’s also hidden. The episodes are in a masterlist that you select one by one when you’re starting up the game (Unless you’re starting from a save file) You unlock a new episode with the completion of a previous chapter. When Tooth is done, the list is complete. There are no grayed out episodes to unlock.

However, there is one final episode, Prologue – Blood Drive, that can be revealed and unlocked under two circumstances – either 1) you have to transfer your data from a completed Corpse Party PC game (the re-re-remastered version), which I wasn’t going to do because that would mean completing the entire game again and I’ve done it more than enough on the older versions, or 2) you have to unlock every single ending in this game, which, well, fuck that.

Did I mention that this game is more of a visual novel than it is an actual game? There are hours of text scrolls that you have to go through to get to the options that present these various endings. This wouldn’t be so bad if you knew you had to do this to get the true ending and saved at each option, but I certainly didn’t know that. Hell, I didn’t even know you could save during an option until about two and half episodes in, and I never would have known there was a hidden final episode if I wasn’t reading a Wiki.

Not to mention that some endings are obtained not just through the options but also depend on whether you obtained certain items or did certain things. I know some people are completionists and would do this anyway, but a lot of people would miss out on the true ending either because they didn’t know that episode existed or didn’t want to spend hours upon hours trying to get the endings they missed.

Granted, considering this episode is called Prologue I can imagine Blood Drive would have this be their first episode, but I don’t know yet.

Prologue – Blood Drive

lol i cheetd

Okay I didn’t ‘cheat’ but I did just look up the final episode on Youtube to see what happens.

Even this episode doesn’t follow the storyline they were going for at the start of this game since it is building off the true ending where Naomi, Satoshi, Yuka, Yoshiki and Ayumi all survive, but they’re all still suffering because no one has any memories of those who were lost in Heavenly Host and any evidence they even existed is either gone or distorted (IE, any photos of them that the survivors had on their phones have the faces blacked out.)

Ayumi tells Naomi that she plans on going to the Shinozaki estate, Sachiko and Yoshie’s old house, to see if they can find anything that would help them bring their friends back. Naomi heads there with her, but when they get to the tiny quiet village they find that everyone starts acting very panicky when the Shinozaki estate is brought up. They hitch a ride with some truck driver to the estate, which is pretty far away from the main village, and the road leading there is so bad that it’s a stretch to even call it a road.

When they get as far as the truck driver can take them, they leave the truck, but the driver says he’ll wait for them since he doesn’t want to leave two teenage girls alone here, especially since it’s getting dark.

When they arrive at the estate, they’re shocked to see that the entire building was demolished. Nothing is left save for an old shed that, surprisingly, still has electricity. The shed contains some documents and such but nothing really that helpful to their cause.

It’s now dark out, so they head back to the truck, deciding to come back another time and investigate more then. However, another shock awaits them at the truck – the driver is gone, but the lights are on and the truck is running. They wait around for a bit, but it doesn’t seem like the driver is coming back. They can’t get into the vehicle to warm up and take shelter because it’s locked. They decide to head down the road on foot.

After a long while of walking, they’re devastated to find that they’ve somehow looped around back to the truck, which makes no sense to them because they were heading downhill the entire time. They try again a couple of times, but each time they loop back around to the truck.

At this point, two things are clear – the driver is seriously never coming back, and anyone would’ve just broken a window on the truck to warm up, get some shelter and maybe even just take the truck back down the hill. I mean, considering what’s happening, I can bet anything that even taking the truck would just loop them around, but it’d be smart to try.

Instead, they decide the best course of action is to go back uphill to the barn because there is electricity and some mats to sleep on until morning. Because taking shelter in the creepy abandoned shed previously owned by two murderous ghosts is very smart.

When they arrive, they get a third surprise – the Shinozaki estate is glowing and floating in front of them. Well, I guess if they can have a ghost school a ghost house isn’t to be questioned.

They decide to go in the house, which, despite being a ghost, is still corporeal. Like in Heavenly Host, everything is solid, but many of the items are secured to the floor or tables. We get some interesting background on the Shinozaki family tree. It’s filled with women who are ‘gifted’ as in they have strong spiritual powers that are linked to witchcraft. It seems Ayumi is part of Sachiko’s family afterall, which is why she has her own abilities to sense ghosts and whatnot. Ayumi also remembered her sistertelling her stories about witchcraft in the past which seemingly lines up with what they were reading. However, a weird fact about their family is that males are not born into it. Men typically marry into the family and then they all suddenly die after their child is born. Indeed, Sachiko’s father is not around and all pictures of him have his face blacked out.

They’re terrified to hear foreign footsteps around the house, so they hide in a mysterious small room which houses a creepy necromonicon-esque book – you guessed it, the titular Book of Shadows.

This is the first time the entire game that they’ve mentioned the Book of Shadows. The thing that this game is specifically named after isn’t even mentioned in the game, let alone shown, until the very end, and it’s in an episode that you might not even know exists and/or have to jump through hoops to unlock.

I am at a loss for words.

The Book of Shadows is some flesh-covered ancient tome that is filled with powerful spells. Ayumi is shocked the book is even in Japan let alone the Shinozaki’s ghost house.

Ayumi tries to read the book, but it’s mostly in French with some runes and whatnot peppered throughout. However, some notes on the side, supposedly written by Yoshie, are in Japanese. Ayumi reads for a bit and then, I’m not even kidding here, basically just says to herself “Eh…that’s good enough. Let’s raise the dead.”

And they do just that. They start a ritual to bring their friends back to life. All they need is a pentagram, some candles, three paper dolls to represent the two of them and their intended target and a photo of the deceased followed by a long, long, long spell. They decide to bring back Mayu first. Surprisingly, the spell works, but not really.

Like so many times with hinky witchcraft resurrections, the ‘Mayu’ they brought back isn’t really Mayu. Remember how I said any photos of the people who died in Heavenly Host had their faces blacked out? This Mayu has a blacked out face. She just kept calling for Morishige over and over until she suddenly fell to the ground. Bright red runes start appearing all over Mayu’s body and she pretty much exploded and died again.

Before they can even process what happened, those same runes appear on Ayumi’s body. Saw blades and screwdrivers from the shed start piercing those markings in an effort to kill her.

The paper doll that represented Ayumi is on fire. Believing this to be the cause of the problem, Naomi tries her best to extinguish the fire, but she’s unsuccessful. Naomi’s paper doll starts catching fire next, meaning they’re both sure to die in mere moments. Just then, Ayumi’s sister, Hinoe, bursts in and extinguishes the flames with a special powder, saving them both, even though Ayumi is still badly wounded. (How did she even know they were there?)

Ayumi cries in her sister’s arms, and all seems well and good…..

Until Hinoe’s head explodes.

I don’t know why.

And that’s the actual end of the game, which, like I said, is really a teaser for the following game, Blood Drive.

This was a pretty good episode. And it actually was a, get this, SEQUEL to the original game. Go figure. And no, I don’t count the time loop episodes as being sequels. They didn’t accomplish anything and they took place during the original game, technically.

Don’t get me wrong, the stories they had to tell here were okay for the most part, but besides Yui’s backstory and Mayu’s episode, I don’t feel like I really got much out of playing the game as a whole. There was no cohesion between the episodes, which can be fine but they went a bit too out of whack for my tastes, especially considering they’re building off a game with numerous endings and not sticking to one ending to act as its base. Plus, they ended on a completely random note.

It just baffles me that the one episode you’d think would be necessary to this game is actually hidden and requires a bunch of work to unlock. I’m not really angry at it, I’m just confused. This whole game confuses me.

Gameplay

It’s pretty standard point and click. Each room and hallway is a static screen. Your cursor turns into a reticle, and you enter into a scanning mode. In this mode, you can click on anything interactable and find key items, disable traps, read messages etc. Nearly all of the important items are marked with shining lights, making them even easier to suss out. There are some minor ‘puzzles’ you have to solve in order to move forward, but they’re very easy to figure out. I only got stuck twice, and even then it was just a matter of me not knowing I had to interact with something a second time to get what I needed.

You move through the rooms by bringing up your map via the center mouse button and selecting which room you want to travel to. Some areas are blocked off for whatever reason – locked doors, gaping holes in the floor, booby traps etc. And you either have to wait for a shift to occur to change the dimension in order to pass, or you have to find some way to unlock the door, get across the gap etc.

There were two timed events near the start of the game. I really thought they’d introduce more mechanics like that or increase the time crunch as the game went on, but sadly those were the only ones in the game and no other game mechanics were introduced. You also have an inventory, but it’s more or less pointless besides to show you that you still hold certain items in case you’re restarting after a Wrong End or something.

In addition to quick saves occurring after certain events, you can also save at any time by right-clicking – and I suggest you do this at pretty much any option screen in order to save yourself if you get a Wrong End or to help you along if you want to get every ending.

Final Thoughts

I did enjoy myself while playing this game, but it just seems like a jumbled mess of side stories instead of being a proper sequel to the original game. While some episodes did offer interesting perspectives and fleshed out some of the more minor characters further, I didn’t really care about what was presented to me outside of Yui’s backstory and Mayu’s episode. Most of the characters from Byakudan are pretty boring. Kai is interesting, but he’s also an asshole who really only gets one or two scenes of focus before he’s stabbed. I guess I also liked Fukuroi and Mitsuki, and they got a decent amount of focus, but it wasn’t worth the price of admission, ya know?

I’m also a bit disappointed that this is mostly a visual novel instead of being an RPG like the other games were. I can kinda forgive a lackluster story in a game if the gameplay is fun, but there really isn’t much to the point and click aspect. There are some interesting notes that you can read throughout, but that’s about it. Apparently Blood Drive is in more of an RPG format, so we’ll see how I do there.

Screencaps Courtesy of the Corpse Party Fandom Community.


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My Poke-Pinions: 021-022 – The Spearow Line

Spearow

Name: Spearow is a mixture of ‘spear’ and ‘sparrow.’ I think it’s a pretty good name. Threatening, descriptive and rolls off the tongue.

In Japan, it’s called Onisuzume which is ‘oni’ for ‘demon’ and ‘suzume’ for ‘sparrow.’ The Japanese name is a bit more of a mouthful, but it’s equally imposing and fitting.

Design: Like Pidgey, Spearow’s design is fairly boring. They definitely do enough to it to differentiate it from Pidgey, particularly in making it seem more aggressive and intimidating, and it’s slightly more colorful with the pink wings, but that’s about it.

In terms of sprites, Gen I’s has always really bothered me. Spearow’s supposed to be intimidating and mean, but the sprite for Red and Blue…..There’s no way around this – it’s giving me bedroom eyes. It’s got its back kinda turned and it’s looking back with half-lidded eyes, it’s totally hitting on the player.

Green’s kinda looks like a chicken.

But Yellow’s is eons better.

Silver’s looks a bit odd, like it’s a plushie of a Spearow instead of an actual Spearow.

The animation for Crystal is actually pretty adorable.

I don’t have many notes for the other Gens until VI where….they did something to Spearow’s face to make it seem…off. I don’t know if the eyes are too small or the face has too many feathers, but it just weird to me.

Shiny:

Spearow’s shiny is okay. I really like Gen II’s version as it looks like it’s an orange-gold color.

But the parts where the brown are on original Spearow get increasingly puke-green over the Gens and I just don’t care for that.

Cry/Voice: Spearow’s voice is pretty good. It’s one of those voices where you can hear a person saying the word, but the inflection put on the word masks it enough to sound real. Plus, the alteration to the voice to make it sound like a crow-like bird is very well done.

It’s game cry is actually pretty cute – probably too cute for something that’s meant to be mean.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Its Dex entries are a bit boring. Nothing really too noteworthy. It uses its wing flaps to draw out bugs to eat, and its cry can be heard from half a mile away. It’s also very territorial and can’t fly very high due to its short wings.

In terms of design, Spearow is obviously based off of a sparrow. There’s a bit of Lanius shrike in there too, mostly in regards to the hooked beak.

Fearow

Name: Fearow’s name is a mixture of ‘fear’ and ‘sparrow’ but it’s also suggested that ‘feather’ and ‘arrow’ might be inspiration for it too.

I like Fearow’s name. It’s unique, imposing and rolls off the tongue.

In Japanese, it’s called Onidrill, which combines ‘oni’ for ‘demon’ and ‘drill.’ It might also be taken as ‘onidori’ which means ‘demon bird.’ Onidrill’s a bit more manageable than Onisuzume, but it somehow feels clunkier. I like it, but not a whole lot.

Design: Fearow’s pretty ugly. Sorry to be so blunt, but it is. I think somewhere along the lines of trying to make a big bird that both differentiates itself enough from Pidgeot to be unique while also being intimidating lead it to just being ugly. It’s like someone mixed a chicken with a pterodactyl.

I’m not even sure how much more I can elaborate. The beak looks too long and craggy, the red tuft looks weird, its neck looks bent too sharply, there’s not a lot of color to it, it’s just not my cup of tea.

I really don’t have much to say about the sprites except Yellow makes it look like a turkey.

And the backsprites give me more chicken vibes.

Shiny: Fearow’s shiny fluctuates from eugh to okay to eugh again, only worse. Gen II is basically just gray with a slight bit of olive green.

Every other Gen up to VI is green-ish/gold to off-gold, which is fine.

But then Gen VI comes around and….it’s back to disgusting gray and olive green, only this time there’s slightly more green, making it worse.

Cry/Voice: Fearow’s voice is….okay. It’s squawky, so it’s very bird-like, it follows up Spearow’s fairly well, but it doesn’t have any additional imposing….Oomph to it. It just sounds like a big Spearow.

Its game cry is also okay. It’s very musical. However, it also has no imposing air about it. It’s pretty bird-y, but that’s about it.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Fearow’s Dex entries are somehow even less interesting than Spearow’s. It’s a big bird with a sharp beak and it can fly for very long periods of time.

….That’s about it.

In terms of design, it was based off of many predatory birds. It’s an amalgamation of so many birds, it’s actually a little ridiculous. The Wiki lists hawks, vultures, storks, chickens, cormorants, anhingas, snipes and Goliath herons. I’m all for not just ripping off one or two real-world animals, but that’s quite the list to go through there, Chimeramon. Nice to know my chicken observation held water, though.

Next time, the Ekans line!


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My Poke-Pinions: 010 – 012 – The Caterpie Line

Caterpie

Name: Caterpie is obviously an off-shoot of ‘caterpillar,’ and damn the Wiki writers for calling it a ‘corruption’ of the word. It’s a ‘cute….uption.’ I really like Caterpie’s name. It’s snappy and adorable.

It’s also its original Japanese name as well, so my work’s done here.

Design: Let me preface all Bug Type analyses in the future by saying I hate bugs in real life. I shouldn’t say I hate them so much as….am afraid of most of them. I like ladybugs, butterflies, dragonflies, daddy long legs and, yes, even caterpillars, but I get freaked out over even things like moths or ants. I don’t like them touching me. I am very interested in studying them from afar, because insects can be quite amazing. but don’t friggin’ touch me.

It’s also difficult to say any bugs are really ‘cute.’ They can be kinda pretty, but I’m not sure ‘cute’ is the word for any of them. Pokemon has a great talent of changing this opinion, however, because Bug Types tend to either be cute or badass in design.

That being said, I love Caterpie’s design. It’s adorable. It has large expressive eyes, cute little feet and cuddly little body. I also like the choice of colors. It’s nothing very creative, but it’s pleasing to the eye and fitting for the Pokemon. The design of its antennae was also cute and added a nice splash of contrasting color.

In terms of sprites, Caterpie hasn’t changed much at all over the years. It only tends to change angle slightly.

Emerald’s sprite is kinda cute with its animation because it’s curled up like a baby.

I don’t have any other notes for any other generation, except maybe that B/W looks weird with how it bobs up and down. It kinda looks drunk.

Shiny: I really like Caterpie’s shiny version. I love the golden hue, though some versions are a little too yellow for my tastes. Since caterpillars commonly have yellow on them, this shiny suits it very well.

Cry/Voice: The initial note of Caterpie’s game cry is a bit too high pitched. It’s slightly irritating. Other than that, it’s cute and fitting.

The anime’s voice is awkward. It can be cute, but it very obviously sounds like a person trying to do garbly animal noises.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Being such a ‘beginner Pokemon,’ Caterpie’s Dex entries are kinda boring. It has suction cups on its feet to climb up surfaces, emits a terrible odor from its antennae to repel predators and eats a lot.

Its design origins are equally uninteresting. It’s based on the Asian Swallowtail caterpillar, and the end of its tail might be based on the horns of hawk moth larvae.

Metapod

Name: Metapod sounds like a transformer. And I’m just fine with that. It’s a combination of the words ‘metamorphosis,’ since it’s currently in a transformative state within its cocoon, and ‘pod,’ because…it’s…a pod…

It’s Japanese name is Transel and I hate it. Transel is a combination of ‘transform’ and ‘cell’ or ‘shell.’ It sounds weird, it doesn’t fit the Pokemon, in my opinion, and it is not catchy at all.

Fun Fact: In French, it’s call Crysacier, which is a billion times more awesome.

Design: Uhm….it’s a cocoon with eyes…It’s hard to either like or dislike it. It never seems like it has an expression besides Eeyore and super pissed. I will say that, despite how it looks, I actually found it incredibly difficult to draw when I was doing my series of Pokemon drawings. The shape is just awkward.

It has an okay shade of green to it, and that’s about it.

For sprites, again, there’s not much to say considering it’s a mostly inanimate cocoon. It’s not like it can have interesting animations or dynamic poses.

The only note I have here is, holy crap, the back sprite for RBG is HORRIFYING. It’s like something out of a horror movie.

Shiny: I really love Metapod’s shiny. It’s such a unique and pretty shade of orange. Combined with its original form, it’s like an autumn version of Metapod.

Cry/Voice: Metapod’s cry is alright. It’s nothing special, but I don’t really expect it to be.

I honestly forgot if Metapod even had an anime voice. It’s mostly quiet, but when I looked back, it does indeed have a voice and it sounds kinda awful. It sounds like someone pinching their nose and saying ‘Metapod’ with no inflection whatsoever.

Dex Entries and Backstory: As you can probably guess, Metapod’s Dex entries and backstory are fairly bland. It’s just an intermediary stage for Caterpie to reach Butterfree. It has a shell as hard as steel, and its only move is Harden. And millions of small children and 30-somethings everywhere giggled.

It also has the fastest evolution rate of any Pokemon known in Gen I, which isn’t true because Weedle evolves into Kakuna at the same level.

Metapod as a Pokemon is based on the chrysalis of the caterpillar that Caterpie is based on, the Black Swallowtail, with protrusions that mimic either the Polydamas or Pipevine Swallowtail chrysalis.

Butterfree

Name: I adore Butterfree’s name. It’s a mix of ‘butterfly’ and ‘free,’ Though, in Japanese, the tail end of the name includes the sound ‘furu,’ which can mean ‘to flap’ like Butterfree’s wings.

The name rolls off the tongue, is very cute and suits it beautifully.

Butterfree’s name is the same in Japanese.

Fun Fact: In French, it’s called Papilusion, which is beautiful.

And in German, it’s Smettbo…..Smettbo……That is the funniest word I’ve heard all week.

Design: Butterfree’s so adorable! Look at its cute widdle hands! Its big eyes! Its cute widdle mouth! Its pretty wings! Its cute widdle feet! Its adorable antennae!

Sprite-wise, they’ve done pretty well with Butterfree over the years.

Red’s the tiniest bit doofy, but Yellow’s is adorable.

Green’s is a little odd because it seems like they altered the shape of the wings before releasing overseas.

N’aw the animation for Crystal!

N’aw the animation for Emerald!

N’aw the animations for DPP and HG/SS!

IT’S CONSTANTLY ANIMATED IN BW/BW2!

Stop! My heart can’t take much more of this.

The female versions have a little black splotch on their lower wings. It’s a fine addition, I guess. Better than adding hearts to it.

Shiny: I’ll be honest, I don’t much care for Butterfree’s shiny. I really like the green eyes, and there are some nice versions of its pink wings, but the pink hands and feet just clash to me. It’s too much all together, and it makes it look unappealing.

Cry/Voice: Butterfree’s cry is cute, but, again, I think the first note it just a bit too high pitched, which makes it a little irritating.

Butterfree’s anime voice is really cute…in small doses. It can get majorly annoying very quickly.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Butterfree’s Dex entries surprised me a bit because almost all of them focus on its ability to collect honey from flowers….I don’t know if it’s the same in the Pokemon world, but you don’t collect honey from flowers.

Bees collect nectar from flowers and they store it in a special organ called a honey stomach. Then they regurgitate it and pass it to another bee, who chews on it. It gets passed back and forth like this for a half hour until it turns to honey due to an enzyme in the bee’s mouth. Then they store the honey in cells on a honeycomb, which is also made of gunk excreted from a bee’s pores. Num num num.

Only in Ultra Moon do they finally say ‘nectar.’

Other than that, Butterfree’s wings are also covered in poisonous spores that keep it dry in rain and help it evade predators, which sounds more fitted for Venomoth’s Dex entries.

It’s weird. I could’ve sworn I read something about Butterfree having some sort of mysterious psychic abilities, considering it can use some Psychic moves. Hm.

The origins of Butterfree as a Pokemon are based on the Black-Veined Butterfly, which is a bit of a boring-looking butterfly, but kinda cute.

Next up, the Weedle line.

Previous – The Squirtle Line

Nine Puzzle (Manga) Review

Rating: 8/10

Plot: Mika Sawamura is a very cheerful, nice and friendly teenage girl who is popular in school and liked by nearly everyone that she meets. Kaede Mirakami is almost her polar opposite. He doesn’t seem to have any friends, always wears a cold look on his face and never really talks to anyone.

One day, Mika sees Kaede playing billiards in a local shop, and more surprisingly she sees a big bright smile on his face as he plays. Curious, she enters the shop to see why this place seems to cause such a drastic change in Kaede and ends up giving the game a shot herself. She adores it and instantly becomes a regular at the shop, much to Kaede’s dismay. The two take each other on as competitors and eventually friends, but their love of billiards may end up causing them just as much trouble as it does enjoyment.

Breakdown: This manga is a bit of an oddity because I don’t think I’ve ever seen billiards be the main focus or even a slight bit of focus in a manga or anime before. They’ll sometimes include the game in more adult anime and manga, especially those with a more noir vibe, but it’s just not a common set piece in many features. To have it be spotlighted in a show starring 14 year olds is also pretty unique.

This isn’t really much of a sport/gaming manga. While it does focus a good deal on billiards, they don’t explain much about the game nor are there the typical tropes of gaming/sports manga like tournaments, training, working through a particular problem you have in the game etc. There is a game against a bunch of assholes to show them up and make them leave the shop, but that’s really it.

It’s mostly just about enjoying the game, and I actually find that quite refreshing. Even if Mika sees Kaede as her rival, they’re very much friendly rivals. In fact, by the second volume, they’re pretty good friends. I would actually border into best friend territory a bit.

Mika isn’t that good at billiards, but she does have some specific talents suited for the game such as being able to shoot in very straight lines. Because of this, she’s definitely not Kaede’s equal competitor in the game or anything close to it. She sees him as a challenge in always getting better, much like Kaede sees Yoh, the store owner, as his challenge in always improving.

Mika and Kaede’s dynamic seriously reminded me a lot of Sana and Akito from Kodocha. Their characters do match very well. Sana is a very popular, likeable, optimistic girl who always tries to see good in everyone, like Mika, and Akito, like Kaede, is the rough cold loner who always gets into trouble, but has one thing that he loves and practices all the time (with Akito it’s karate). And over time the female lead slowly gets him to open up and they eventually become good friends and then love interests.

Another parallel is the fact that Kaede has a fairly rough home life. Not as bad as Akito’s, but still. He is mostly ignored at home since his parents focus all of their energies on working or his younger brother, who is much more skilled in academics than Kaede is. His little brother also doesn’t give a crap about him and frequently belittles him as well as anyone who befriends him.

While being an obviously shoujo-style manga focusing on a fairly close duo, they don’t really put any focus on any sort of romantic angle outside of little shots here and there until the very end. This is also something that I very much appreciated because I liked seeing their relationship develop as a friendship without feeling the need to rush into romance.

The story overall isn’t anything epic, so don’t go in expecting it to be. It’s somewhat short at two volumes, and nothing really huge or dramatic happens. Dramatic events do happen here and there, but it never tries to border into soap opera territory. It’s definitely not all seriousness, either.

There are plenty of comedic moments and fun cartoony panels to lighten even already light moods. The dramatic events that happen seem very real, barring maybe one instance involving an assault which I just found to be a little too much, and they add to the story very well, highlighting not only how important billiards is to Mika and Kaede but also how much the shop itself means to them.

Speaking of the shop, another character that should get some spotlight is the owner of the shop, a man named Youhei “Yoh” Ueda. Yoh is incredibly good at billiards and taught the very skilled Kaede everything that he knows. Kaede admires Yoh very much and they have a really great brother-like relationship that jumps off the page. Yoh is a very nice guy who always welcomes Mika and Kaede into his store and helps them out with practice whenever he can.

The art fantastic. I love Mayu Sakai’s ability to draw clothing and hair. Her anatomy skills are also really great, but the faces bother me a bit. I know shoujo style really calls for even bigger eyes than usual, and I’m fine with that, my problem is the faces when drawn from even a slight angle. It looks like the chin just gets shoved towards the character’s throat while forming a weird triangle shape. The eye shapes at angles also don’t look right sometimes.

Bottomline: This a great and quick read for anyone who appreciates a good friendship/kinda romance story, or for anyone who has a hobby that they really love. You definitely don’t have to be a billiards fan to get into this manga. There’s not a lot of technical jargon to wade through, and even the simplest aspects of the game are explained clearly.

BONUS: Nine Puzzle includes two side stories (Three technically, but the third is canon with the rest of the manga and basically falls under the main review); one called Platinium, another called Strawberry Tears. Both of which don’t include anything about Mika, Kaede, billiards or anything in the main manga.

The first story is about a girl named Kasuga who is a bit quirky and tends to make stuff like jewelry out of everyday objects. She befriends a boy named Miyanaga, a handsome guy and model student that many girls have a crush on. However, they don’t tend to approach him because he wears a ring on his hand that people believe is from his girlfriend. Kasuga starts to fall for Miyanaga, but is conflicted by the fact that he supposedly has a girlfriend. When she learns the true and tragic meaning behind the ring, it changes everything for the both of them, leaving them with an important decision to make.

I liked this story. I would’ve liked a little more on the story behind the ring. They mostly just gave the bare bones of the story to let us get the gist and then teetered off. However, it’s a nice story about healing and moving on from a tragic event and learning to live life fully again. Seems a bit abrupt at the end, but nothing too bad.

The second story is about a girl named Yuu who basically treats guys like toys. All she does is get boys to take her on dates, bats her eyelashes and acts all sweet to get them to buy her stuff that she wants. She’s a gold digger, basically. She’s so cold in her ‘relationships’ that the first time we see her, she’s scamming some poor guy out of 8000 yen, roughly $60, for a choker only to completely blow him off minutes later. She also finds dating itself to be purely for stuff or, in a guys’ perspective, to show off their pretty girlfriends.

She meets up with Houjou, the class representative, as he’s shopping in the same mall as her. He’s looking for a nice birthday present for a girl who is very precious to him, but not yet his girlfriend. He picks out hairclips with little strawberries on them, but Yuu scoffs at the gift saying it’s lame and childish.

Houjou, not knowing what girls like to get, starts crying at her criticism of his gift idea and in an effort to keep him from embarrassing her, she offers to find out what his crush would like better and shops with him for a gift.

Understanding Houjou’s genuine love for his crush opens up new windows for Yuu’s perspective on love and dating.

I’m not a huge fan of this story, to be honest. Yuu really comes off like a bitch in many parts, especially in the intro, and they really don’t put any shame on the fact that she’s playing with these poor boys. You could make the argument that it’s their own faults for falling for her feminine wiles and thinking with their human horn, but that doesn’t seem right to me. Is this a ‘don’t hate the player, hate the game’ kind of thing? Because that always seemed dumb to me too.

There are two instances where her actions are brought into a negative light; when she claims Houjou’s crush isn’t as pretty as she expected, thus hairclips would’ve been fine as it’s a lame gift for a lame person. She continues on to say that she’s not really the type of girl that you could really show off in public. Houjou gets angered at this and says that he’s not trying to date her so he can show her off, which rattles Yuu’s views on his intentions which clash with those of the guys she normally dates. Though, to be honest, we never really got a good lock on Yuu’s ‘typical guy’ view. Guys and girls alike think with their hormones a lot, yes, but we never see her in a situation where that’s the only thing on their minds. Even the guy in the beginning, despite falling for her cutesy flaunts, never had a moment where it seems like he’s just in it for the hot chickness.

The second is when she explains what she usually does with her dates and Houjou says she’s worth more than that, making it seem like the situation is really just that she doesn’t have the self-esteem to get into a real emotional relationship and instead uses boys as playthings to get expensive stuff. I guess that’s fine, but really is no one just going to flat out tell this girl that it’s wrong to manipulate others for your own gain?

The ending is alright, though I would have preferred it to just have Yuu’s experience with Houjou teach her to pursue more meaningful relationships while Houjou ends up with his crush. But I suppose the real ending is just as realistic and a little sweet. It does definitely show character development for Yuu and Houjou, but the whole story doesn’t really sit right with me.

Additional Information and Notes:

Nine Puzzle is written and drawn by Mayu Sakai. It was published by Ribon Magazine.

Volumes: 2

Chapters: 11

Year: 2002

Recommended Audience: Some mild violence, a little tragic story in the Nine Puzzle canon side story, but overall nothing that bad. 7+