It’s been quite some time since my last impression featuring Shizune’s route. I sort of got burnt out mid-way through Lilly’s route, which caused finishing her route to drag. *sweat drop* That said, I still do want to play through the last two routes left (Hanako and Rin), so my impressions of those will happen, it’s just a matter of when. Hopefully I’ll be able to pace myself better now and avoid getting burnt out again. Well with that out of the way, I’ll dive into my impressions of this route and like always expect major spoilers beyond this point. Also, I will mention Emi’s route a lot, so spoilers on her route as well.

Lilly has the typical high class lady, or ojou-sama look.

My first impressions of Lilly weren’t very favourable. Her character design was heavily based on the archetypal anime ojou-sama (or high class lady) and her brief appearance in chapter 1 did nothing to dispel these impressions. In her route, she is more than just an ojou-sama and I did warm up to her somewhat, but her writer didn’t play around with impressions and inversions as much as Emi’s writer; and perhaps because I had already played through Emi’s route, Lilly’s character development didn’t impress me that much. In fact, Lilly felt a lot like Emi lite. Both girls are similar in that they take a really overused anime archetype and add a lot more needed layers. Both also have a similar core conflict, but Lilly’s route never commits to it all the way. While with Emi, her perkiness was used as an emotional shield that hid a much more nuanced personality. Lilly’s lady-like manners, on the other hand, happen to be a big part of her with a few more character traits added on to make her more interesting and less two dimensional. Likewise, both girls fear losing those close to them, yet in Lilly’s route, this aspect of Lilly isn’t really fleshed out. Sure she cries twice because Hisao almost dies, but well, I would say that’s a rather normal reaction anyone would have if their loved one had a near death experience and not necessarily someone who is afraid of losing those close to them. Meanwhile, this was the key aspect of Emi’s route. The whole conflict revolved around Emi being unable to let others into her heart because she did not want to lose them one day like she lost her dad. It felt real and genuine because it was such a key aspect of her character and because it wasn’t just a superficial “I don’t want you to die” and cue crying. So in that sense, it felt like Lilly’s route didn’t commit to going all the way with deconstructing the anime tropes and really creating character building via past traumas like Emi’s did. Given that I already played Emi’s route and saw what could have been done, I wasn’t too impressed with Lilly. That said, she isn’t a bad character by any means, but I had hoped there was a bit more to her than there was. I liked her mischievous and teasing side but beyond that, she was mostly an ojou-sama with a big helping of mothering. And honestly, I kind of prefer the more bratty ojou-sama because at least they are more interesting to watch.

Lilly’s tear-filled confession. One of the most lovely pictures from Lilly’s route.

Lilly’s route also felt like a very traditional love story. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and I did enjoy it at times, but at other times I felt the writer could have experimented more and could have taken bolder steps with its direction. I think the biggest thing that bothered me was how much characters affirmed they loved each other. Lilly literally repeats “I love you Hisao” like 10 times when she confesses to Hisao. Later, Hisao keeps repeating it to Lilly when they make love. I felt like this reduced their relationship to a very immature, almost preteen, sort of love. Shizune’s route was supposed to be the “worst” route but even it managed to grasp the principle of “show not tell”. Not to mention the flimsy excuse for the very first h-scene was “hormones” (which happened right after the love confession). It didn’t quite add up. In-game dialogue tells you Hisao and Lilly are super nervous yet they keep going because of… hormones? I don’t know, I just don’t buy that. Which is a shame because the following h-scenes mesh a lot better with the story and the final h-scene introduced a lot of interesting ideas (experiencing sex like Lilly, Hisao’s bad heart causing him problems during intercourse) that the other two routes I’ve played did not touch upon.

Overall the route was not bad and I can certainly see the appeal in this route, but I guess I had expected a bit more. For one, the route’s chapters are named, “Past”, “Present”, and “Future” yet Lilly’s past doesn’t really play much of a role in this route until the very end, which is, again, a shame because I felt that was the most interesting part of the route and I probably would have enjoyed it more if it played a bigger role in the route. I guess my problem was that I felt the regular conversations (between Lilly, Hisao, and Hanako) weren’t that strong and as such, most of the route dragged for me a bit. There were some nice moments, especially when I reached the part in Hakiaddo, but most of the idle chatter was pretty forgettable and that was what made up the majority of the route. :(

Other Aspects of the Route:

H-Scenes:

Out of the three routes I have played so far (Emi, Shizune, Lilly), I would say Lilly’s h-scenes are probably the most erotic/graphic. One picture focuses on the act of penetration and another on Lilly’s genitalia. That said, barring the very first h-scene, they are actually executed pretty well. The second scenario has a rather playful feel, which is quite natural for a new couple, and the final scene introduced a few interesting ideas. For one, Hisao tries to experience sex like Lilly by wearing a blind-fold. While I question the conclusion that Lilly must experience the sensations much more strongly because she is blind, the overall experimentation was a nice way to show the couple bonding. The other interesting thing about this final h-scene is Hisao being unable to “take charge” due to his heart. I thought that was rather interesting angle and I felt it was a shame it wasn’t expanded on more.

The Other Characters:

Hanako: She was a real surprise for me. I thought I would find her annoying as the shy characters tend to drive me crazy, but I actually ended up liking her more than Lilly as her shyness was portrayed in a really genuine and non-annoying way. I’ll be doing her route next and I am actually looking forward to it now. :)

Akira: Well I got my wish. Lilly’s route had quite a bit of Akira and she was just as fun as she was on Shizune’s route. The moments featuring Akira were some of my favourite in the route. She just made the conversations much more lively. In fact, I want an Akira route now! Too bad she’s has a boyfriend. xD

Kenji: On Shizune’s route, he wore out his welcome, but Lilly’s route used him more sporadically, which was a lot better and I enjoyed him more on this route. That and we see a look at how Kenji normally acts in the class room. His interpretations of Hisao getting close to Lilly as going “under cover” were also a nice touch!

Shizune: She didn’t play a major role in Lilly’s route, but her relationship with Lilly was touched upon more in this route than in her own, so I thought her important enough to list here. I did enjoy the one tender moment between her and Lilly at the end. It was nice to see that they really care for one another underneath it all.

Yuuko: surprisingly was actually quite likeable in Lilly’s route. She felt like a total doormat in Shizune’s and often her constant apologizing annoyed me, but in this route that part of her is downplayed and she felt more like a real person. I especially liked how this route gave us more info on Yuuko and I also liked how she was almost an older sister to Hisao on this route.

The Endings:

Like Shizune’s route, there are only two possible endings in Lilly’s route: the bad ending and good ending. I thought the choice was rather easy given what Lilly says about Hisao. (That she likes his honesty is a big giveaway as to which answer should be chosen).

Bad Ending: This ending is triggered by not talking about Iwanako with Lilly. Everything else (minus a small additional thought process after Lilly leaves) plays out like the good end, except it cuts short and it is heavily implied that Hisao and Lilly never saw each other again. I personally didn’t find this ending that bad. Maybe it’s because I got the good ending on the first go, but I think the fact that the two of them break up on good terms makes this ending a lot less emotional than say Emi’s bad ending where the break up felt hollow, or Shizune’s where she looks dejected after telling Hisao the two can’t see each other any more. Perhaps an additional scenario where Hisao thinks back and heavily regrets not being more open to Lilly about her problems and his feelings would have made the bad ending actually feel bad.

Good Ending: This ending is triggered by talking about Iwanako with Lilly being truthful with Lily at all the story prompts1. This ending is an extension of the bad ending and here we see Hisao realizing something Lilly said and how he has been relying on her like Hanako without letting Lilly rely on him. Hisao desperately tries to reach Lilly before she leaves and as he manages to catch up to her and calls out to her, his heart gives way and he ends up waking up in the hospital again. Thinking Lilly is gone forever, he is surprised to see Lilly visit him one day and he finally tells her what he wanted to say to her that day at the airport. The ending then cuts in to the them and Akira walking around outside. Akira is going to England with her boyfriend and Hisao and Lilly are going to attend the same university together. It’s a really “happy ever after” ending and just reinforces my thoughts on this route being the traditional love story. For one, Lilly actually realizing Hisao was calling out to her and noticing he had fallen over was rather too perfect. Not to mention Hisao reaching her in the nick of time. And then the epilogue was just too perfect: the couple goes to university together. What I appreciated about Shizune’s route the most was that high school romances coming to an end or couples going their own way wasn’t portrayed as a bad thing. Even Emi’s route didn’t end with a true happily ever after. What will happen to Emi and Hisao after school ends is never made clear and is left up to the reader. Lilly’s route, meanwhile, gives us the definitive happy ending by confirming the two continue to stick together after high school. This isn’t a bad thing, traditional love stories are nice too, but compared to the more unusual ending of Shizune’s route and the ambiguous ending of Emi’s route, Lilly’s good ending did end up feeling a little too forced and cookie cutter.

Overall this wasn’t a bad route and I did end up liking it, but having played two more unusual routes right before this one, it certainly took out more of the impact that could have been delivered if I had played this route first. That said, most will probably enjoy this route as it’s got all the hall marks of a good romance.

–SW

Notes

1 — Thanks to Anonymous and Zastava for correcting me on this.

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