Title: Nightshade (Hyakka Hyakurou Sengoku Ninpou-chou [百花百狼 戦国忍法帖])
Genre: Historical, Fantasy
Developer: D3 and Red Entertainment
Platform: Steam (English/Japanese), PS Vita (Japanese)
Release Date: April 11, 2017 (English)
During the Sengoku Period the two main factions of ninja clans, Iga and Kōga, warred against each other for decades.
In the year 1593, Nobunaga Oda started the Tenshō Iga war, decimating most of the Iga ninjas in the process.
The very few that survived were absorbed into the Kōga clan, despite their past rivalries.
After 17 years the Sengoku Period finally came to an end, and Japan was unified.
Enju (Protagonist), daughter of Kandō Ueno, the Head of the Kōga clan, spends her days training diligently in hope of becoming a full-fledged ninja like her peers.
At long last she is assigned to her first mission, but finds herself caught in a dark conspiracy.
As I stated in my review for Goemon’s route (which you can read here!), I am playing Nightshade in a particular order: from least to most angst. Up next in the scale was Hanzo’s route, and let me tell you something: I was caught off-guard by how much I ended up loving him and his story! Here I am, trying to make my way to the guy I had chosen from the beginning based off his looks – Gekkamaru – and then Hanzo’s story comes along and completely takes me by surprise.
Hanzo is very straightforward, strict, observant – basically the perfect ninja. He doesn’t think about his own well-being, all he thinks about is completing the task at hand, and protecting and doing whatever his master, Ieyasu Tokugawa, tells him to do. Honestly, the first time I encountered Hanzo in the prologue he intimidated me and I could not imagine why anyone would like the guy. Little did I know that that was only his personality on the surface and that there was way more to him than met the eye. Just like in Goemon’s route, Gekkamaru was being the sweetest and more attentive and self-sacrificing bodyguard ever that I spent a good portion of the beginning of Hanzo’s route just wishing I could ditch him just to be with Gekkamaru already. He does and sacrifices so much for the MC it made my heart hurt! When the story started to really pick up and the MC was separated from everyone she knew and grew up with, Hanzo took her under his protection under orders from his master. Of course he wouldn’t do it of his own volition. The scene of the MC and Hanzo’s first evening together was awkward to say the least, but after one silly thing happens I could not help but crack up so much.
I loved Hanzo’s character arc and development. When he first embarked on his mission to “protect” the MC, he believed that “keeping her alive” was the same thing as “protecting her”, and Tokugawa tried to explain to him that it wasn’t. The change in Hanzo’s character, and the relationship between him and the MC was way more subtle and displayed through so many nuances and was done so well. Hanzo starts off as this cold and stoic human weapon, and by spending time with the MC slowly begins to thaw and become more human.
“Hanzo, you should place more value on trust. People cannot live on logic and cold facts.” – Ieyasu Tokugawa to Hanzo
I noticed in Hanzo’s route, the MC takes her status as a shinobi more seriously than she did in Goemon’s route, which resulted in her being way more useful and badass. She wants to prove herself as a shinobi and hates being useless, but is also mature enough to recognize that she is less experienced because she was not allowed to go on missions like her friends. I absolutely adored her strength, courage, and determination, and her love for her clan despite the circumstances, and was so proud that she actually gets to fight more in Hanzo’s route. It was so refreshing to see and MC that could actually kick ass in an otome and not just be the damsel in distress for once.
We get more insight into the MC’s clan, her terrible father, and the overall main story in general, but it just gave me more questions than answers! Even if I don’t care for two of the other guys, I may just play their routes any just to find out the rest of the main story. There were so many times in Hanzo’s route where I was either gaping at my computer screen because I just could not believe what had just happened, or I was clutching my pillow freaking out. There’s so much action, drama, and heartache but also lots of funny, sweet, and heartwarming moments. Hanzo and the MC go through so much growth and development, and learn a lot about each other and themselves. I felt so emotionally tired but happy and satisfied with Hanzo’s story, and it’s definitely my favorite one in the entire game.
Have you played Hanzo’s route? If you have, what are your thoughts on it? If you loved it, fangirl with me because I’m officially a Hanzo fangirl now. Haha Thanks for checking out my otome review and I hope to see you on my next one!