Clannad VN – Fujibayashi Twins Route


First, let us analyze the technical aspect of the route.

Clannad divergence points usually involved  Tomoya meeting a character by chance and choosing to engage with them.  Using the economic concept of opportunity cost, Tomoya continuing to interact with said character usually closes the opportunity to interact with another. After all, Tomoya only has so much time

What I’ve noticed is this is not completely true for the Fujibayashi twins route. The divergence point of the route isn’t because Tomoya decide to go to the library or the classroom but Tomoya’s “preference”.  It is also worth noting that there is a subtle sense of priority to the route as well. The developers made the choices in such a way that if you’re not following a walkthrough and just picking what you think is “good”, you will naturally enter and stay with Ryou’s route.

Just look, and remember your current girlfriend is RYOU.

Choice 1: The game asks if Tomoya likes long hair or short hair while having a picnic with the twins.

(Note: Your current girlfriend Ryou has short hair.  Her twin Kyou has short hair. )

Choice 2: Tomoya wants to buy a souvenir for Ryou. The game asks if you want tanzanite or amethyst.

(Note:  When you went shopping, Ryou said that her favorite is Tanzanite. Kyou, on the other hand, indicated her favorite is amethyst. If it isn’t enough, the best way to tell the twins apart besides their hairstyle is their eye color. Kyou = Violet (Amethyst) and Ryou = Blue (Tanzanite).

As I’ve said, if the player has good social skills and is trying to be a good boyfriend; the choices will make you stay in the Ryou route and I think the writer designed it that way. I believe for the designer of Clannad, they would like you to play Ryou’s route, wonder why you don’t have a light orb, go back and enter Kyou’s route wherein you will find the complexities hidden within. To be honest, I applaud that sort of technical magic in VN.

Still, that is meta-wise. Unlike certain visual novels, the protagonist of this one isn’t a mere blank self-insert. Tomoya has his own distinct character and it’s been noted in several routes that he has good social skills (when he uses it). What does this route then imply about his characterization?

Ryou’s route needs no explanation.  Tomoya is going with the flow and trying to be a good boyfriend (which  I think characterize a lot of Tomoya and Ryou’s relationship). On the other hand, Kyou’s route requires a certain social blindness uncharacteristic of Tomoya. And diving deeper within the route, I can only conclude that Tomoya is already in love with Kyou or at least have a strong preference even at the beginning.

If each Clannad route is a parallel world (as hinted by the plot), on Ryou’s route the Tomoya of the world doesn’t have strong feelings for Kyou to hinder their budding romance. While in Kyou’s route, the Tomoya of that world is already attached to her. Thus, no matter how much Tomoya try to build something up with Ryou, he always goes back and thinks of Kyou.  The fact that Kyou and Ryou are twins probably made it harder to dissociate as well.

Now for the routes itself?

Ryou Route 

For a route that is considered by many as a “bad route”, it is actually not that bad. While Ryou and Tomoya don’t have explosive chemistry, they do get along well and their route ends with an optimistic feel. It is  only when you look back and wonder why you don’t get a light orb that you question what went wrong

Remember: “Light Orb = Happiness” 

There doesn’t seem to be any relationship problems. Ryou and Tomoya are content. Why aren’t they happy?  It is only when playing the tail end of Kyou’s route that it hit me. The problem is with Ryou and Kyou.

You might be tempted to say that the problem also lies with Tomoya and how he is “settling”. But, I doubt it. We have access to his thoughts and he seemed to be satisfied.

On the other hand, the twins might have something going on below the surface. We have been given plenty of hints that even in Ryou’s route  Kyou is still in love with Tomoya and is silently suffering inside.

More importantly, we know that Ryou knows this. 

In Kyou’s route, Ryou confessed that she is aware of her elder sister’s feelings for Tomoya and despite this Ryou asked for Kyou’s help to set her up with the guy.  Make no mistake that is a big douche move by Ryou. And to be honest, probably why the light orb won’t appear for this route.

Because at the end of the day, I think that Ryou is a good girl. No matter how resolved she is on getting Tomoya. I don’t think her conscience would rest easy knowing that her current happiness is ill-gotten gains built upon the sadness of her elder twin.



Kyou Route

And finally, we talk about Kyou’s route. This route is a comedy of errors which showed how flawed and human – Tomoya, Ryou and Kyou are.  In many ways, this situation brought out the worst of them.

Here I will analyze each one of them, their virtues and what made it flawed for this route:

  • Ryou 

I didn’t warm up to Ryou at first. As someone who listens to the voice-over even as I read the text, her stuttering, and slow speech is a pain. It didn’t help that Ryou gives an impression of a moeblob character and nothing else. But, that is on the surface.

For all Ryou’s stuttering and meek facade, the route proves that she’s the “aggressive” one of the twins. It’s true that Kyou is a go-getter girl in everyday matters, but it is also true that Kyou unexpectedly falters when it comes to the matter of the heart. A stark contrast to  Ryou, who goes all in when she truly wants something.

Ryou’s asking for her sister’s help knowing Kyou’s feelings is douchy. But, it also shows how assertive Ryou is when pursuing what she wants. In this case, not even her beloved twin is a barrier and as we progress not even her very identity. In the name of pursuing Tomoya, Ryou is willing to change and sacrifice herself. And while this might be commendable behavior and might even be a source of strength for their partner (as seen in Kappei route). We can see in this case that the impossibility of the situation is pushing her into desperate and self-destructive actions.

It is only when Ryou stops trying and finally give up on Tomoya’s heart that the situation begins to clear itself.

Sometimes, its okay to give up.


  • Kyou 

Kyou at the surface is very aggressive and gregarious. But, her violent tsundere antics masks something – that is at heart Kyou is very much a caretaker.

Kyou is “careful” of the things that matter to her. We see it in how she treats her younger sibling Ryou – sacrificing her happiness for her without a single thought. We see it in how she treats her friendship with Tomoya, not allowing her deeper feelings to jeopardize it and stewing silently about her feelings.

But, like Ryou’s resolve, we also see its flaws. Her wish to make her younger sister happy could be seen as an inability to fight for her own feelings. Her being content with Tomoya’s friendship could be seen as cowardice.

Just like Ryou, Kyou has to go against her nature to make this route work. That is, admitting her own feelings even at the expense of her sibling (someone she loves and dotes on).

Sometimes, its okay to put yourself first.

  • Tomoya 

Tomoya’s problem for this route is the fact that he doesn’t even know his own feelings. At the beginning of each route, you’ll notice that Tomoya has a certain distance toward most things. On one hand, this makes him an easy going nice guy. On the other hand, it probably makes Tomoya a bit obtuse on what he really feels about most things.

And once he knew what he really feels, Tomoya’s wish to not hurt Ryou which normally would make him a “nice guy” allowed the situation to escalate and cause a deeper hurt. And just like the twins, it’s only when Tomoya finally said who is really in his heart even if it will hurt Ryou that the whole situation is resolved.

Final notes: 

For a “family” themed VN, a sibling love triangle which brings out the worst of the cast seemed like not a good idea. But, I think that this route serves its purpose, there is no virtue that is 100 percent right all the time. Sometimes the love of what we could consider “family” and the virtue that allows us to uphold it can be flawed and make a situation harder than required.

Like Aristotle said, “Follow the golden mean”. ^^

Clannad VN – Miyazawa Yukine Route

While I’m waiting for the fast-forward button on our favorite mahjong manga, I’m working on my steam backlog. Currently, I’m playing a famous visual novel – the one and only – Clannad!  I’m sure you’ve heard of it and its infamous ability to draw tears to your eyes.

There will be spoilers within this post, so kindly push the back button if you don’t want to be spoiled.

First stop, Miyazawa Yukine!


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Soul Gambler VN Review

*This is a spoiler free review. Also, short.

Soul Gambler is a visual novel done in a comic book style about an average guy who is living a boring life until he was offered the power to trade his soul for anything. You know the classic Faustian bargain?

While not technically bad (no apparent plot holes and good foreshadowing actually), the storyline is too short to make an impact on me.  Netherless, I liked several concepts within it. Mostly, the fact that trading your soul doesn’t mean you’re automatically screwed – there are bad trades and good trades. Though, some trades regarding relationships were a bit iffy on consent if you look at it closely enough.

As for investment, it took me a little over an hour to get all achievements. And while it is listed as 2.99 US dollar on steam, it goes on sale often enough for fifty cents. So for achievement hunters or steam card hunters, this game is worth it. For those who aren’t part of that club, think of this as a one-shot manga or short story that has a cool concept even if a bit rushed – one worth a look if you’re feeling bored enough.


Hearthstone Puzzle Collection #1

Did Ritz miss an issue? I am wondering why there isn’t any news on the Saki front.

That said. I’ve have a “productive” gaming week. Mostly because my commute got longer and thus more time to play hearthstone while on the bus. So much so that I’ve reached my rank 5 target early. Usually, I reached that at the end of the month. So yey!

To celebrate, I’ve decided to put a little collection of hearthstone puzzle taken from various streamers and user posts. This ones are a bit on the easy side. ^^

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Emily is Away Review

Have you experienced a friendly relationship that seemed to be verging into something more?

Are you alive in the early 2000’s era of PC with its Window XP operating system and AOL messenger?

Then, this game might be for you.  Without spoiling anything, “Emily is Away” is about your relationship with Emily from senior year of high school to senior year of college; encapsulated by snippets of  back and forth online communication throughout the years.

The game itself is very short. It only took me less than an hour to finish. It can also be downloaded for free at steam or  here so the time/money commitment is low. And for completionist like me, getting every achievement on steam won’t even take you 20 minutes. (Here is a guide for that) Replayability is low though. In fact, for certain reasons that I will get into later, I think this game would be better served if you played it just ONCE.  

One thing is for sure while I cannot say I enjoyed this game, its still thought provoking all the same.


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