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.
Hi everyone! Welcome to another review for one of my current favorite otomes, Nightshade! If you’ve read my previous reviews for Goemon and Hanzo (click on their names if you’d like to check those out), you already know that I was working my way through this game in a particular order, and technically shouldn’t be on Gekkamaru’s route yet. But, 1) I was impatient, 2) I really have no motivation to see a romantic relationship develop between two cousins (yuck) or one with the yandere of the bunch (I just can’t ever with yanderes and am concerned for people who like them), and 3) I had a falling out with the MC’s so-called friends. So I skipped ahead! Haha This was one of the main reasons why I probably should have played Gekkamaru’s route first because after the awful things that happened in Hanzo’s route that involved her friends, they are now all dead to me. (If you’ve played Hanzo’s route, you know what I’m talking about.)
Well, all except my precious cinnamon roll, Gekkamaru! He was still wonderful and clueless and all kinds of adorable. Well, except when he gets angry – we actually get to see him legit pissed off in his route! He’s a bit scary when he’s mad, but it mostly only happens when he’s trying to protect the MC. His over-protectiveness can be over-the-top but he was just too adorkable for it to even bother me much. It was hilarious and endearing how far he was willing to go to help the MC, and even seriously considered cross-dressing for the most minor of missions just to help her.
One of my favorite parts about Gekkamaru’s route is that he’s the ‘good’ guy and “fall in love with your best friend” option. He’s the protective best friend who’s known the MC practically all his life, and his life revolves around her. In his route, we learn more about the history of the shinobi village the MC and Gekkamaru were both from, their families, and more about their childhood together. But, even with all of Gekkamaru’s adorkableness, and all the action, comedy, romance, and adventure in his route, there was actually a lot of angst, drama, and two huge dark plot-twists that I did not see coming and had me at the edge of my seat, gaping at my computer screen! I literally paused playing for a good minute, hand covering my mouth in shock, trying to wrap my mind around them. At one point I was actually in tears because my heart hurt so much for poor Gekkamaru and the situation he and the MC were in, then the next moment I was trying to restrain myself from pulling my hair out of anger and indignation for them. SO MUCH HAPPENS and so many new things were revealed that my mind was spinning from it all.
“The moon may set, but never fall from the skies. [MC], you are the heavens to me, and I am your moon. No matter what happens, I will never leave you… you are the most important person to me. The one I vowed to protect. [MC], I swear. Even if the entire country turns against you, I will spend my life protecting you.” – Gekkamaru to MC
The only gripe I have is that I wish his happy ending was as romantic and perfectly rounded out like Hanzo’s was. I was happy with it, yes, but it still felt lacking. After everything Gekkamaru and the MC had just gone through together, their relationship should have progressed as far as Hanzo’s and the MC had. Other than that, I have no complaints. Gekkamaru’s route was one hell of a roller coaster ride of emotions: hilarious, endearing, heartbreaking, exciting, thrilling, and everything I could have ever wanted in a great otome game’s story.
I’d completely forgotten to mention the amazing special effects and superb voice acting in this game! Yes, the characters still only have a few different poses but when intense action sequences or dramatic scenes are happening – like, a fight sequence – they actually have sound effects and move the character around the screen, helping to give you a better idea of what’s happening! Then the voice actors add to the effect by grunting and shouting at the right times, changing the tone of their voice, basically perfectly acting as if they were physically playing the character. There’s also lovely background music! When I first started the game with Goemon’s route, I remember thinking, “Ohmygod, there’s voices? And special effects, too!? I feel so spoiled.” I’d been so accustomed to cheap mobile otomes so when I discovered Nightshade I was completely blown away, and it’s now one of my top favorite otomes.
What are your thoughts on Gekkamaru’s route? Who’s your favorite shinobi from Nightshade? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading my review and I hope to see you again in my next one!