So Muramasa is kind of a gamble to write about, it already doesn’t help that I’m more in the Demonbane/Kikokugai camp than Hanachirasu. I wrote around 100 lines of notes and apparently I had a lot of little nitpicks that’s mainly just pointing on that I was putting too much thought into X parts. But I’ll get to that later. Also just as a reference, I think I took around 55 hours to finish it, I left it on a lot so the ingame timer is off. I’ll start with the generic stuff first, then the minor spoilers that don’t affect the plot and eventually to the spoiler section.
Muramasa is about a lot of things, but mostly focuses on this law of balance. You’re forced to look at it every time you start the vn. I’m going to skip most of it until the spoiler sections because it explains it well through the first couple of chapters and keeps on putting a greater focus on it the further you go. All you need to know is there’s one silver mecha(they’re called tsurugi in the plot(and musha is the whole package), which is a pretty funny nod that I’ll talk about later) that can make everybody go insane. Your goal is to kill it but you fail and the silver musha breaks your best weapon into pieces. Now you’re collecting these pieces like a 90s anime while destroying any influence this silver musha is causing until your next chance in destroying it.
If you were looking for a title in the heavy mecha genre, then you might be disappointed at first. Because it’s more like how Musicus’s main themes aren’t about being in a band. Honestly you could remove the mechas and put in shaman king spirits and it’ll work like 60% the same. It’s more of a plot device to make the main character viable and to make situations possible.
The thing is that even though it doesn’t hit my preferences, this is still written really well and it handles it way better than how I thought Steins:Gate 0 did. Where yeah, it was well written but the tone of it felt stagnant compared to Muramasa. Because there’s a difference between being consistent and stagnant. The personality and the mannerisms of the main character never shift drastically, nor does his humor. But the genre of the setting around him does, it’s like he’s garlic sauce that’s placed in different meals, instead of being the actual meal. And if you don’t make it feel arcadey, which is kind of easy to do, then you get a way to remove the genre and tone fatigue I sometimes get in something this long. Honestly, it’s been awhile since I finished a 60 hour visual novel under two weeks. Each chapter changes the subgenre, maybe the prologue and the 5th chapter are somewhat similar and that’s actually a good call. Even the routes themselves are in different genres. The Hero route is more of a shounen, action packed and gives out hype. The Revenge route is more of a smorgasbord of subgenres that juxtaposes the more inherent seinen vibe it gives you. In my notes I said it was a lot closer to a demonbane’s route if it was more down to earth. The true route also has a huge mix and honestly makes hero route as the odd one out.
The art is great too, there’s not much to talk about. The revenge route had the best cg, whilst the true route had the better 3d models. But if I had anything to nitpick about, it’s that I remember a lot of cg with pretty boring backdrops.
The soundtrack is amazing, and it’s pretty funny that it’s still the weakest part of the novel. I still think Cyber Slayer has some better tracks but this one beats it out with just consistency. Though the tracks themselves can be considered spoilers, so I’ll mention it in the spoilers section. There’s one or two that play too often, but it’s basically the normal theme song anyway.
I think Defilement and Blade Arts 4 are probably my favorite on the normal ones, Hikaru’s song is also pretty good. Generally the mixing isn’t anything you’d notice and that’s great but there’s a section by the end where the sound effects just drown out the track, it was pretty jarring compared to the spotless record otherwise.
I’ll be starting the minor spoilers after this, just putting in the score in now for people that want to drop before that. It’s about the first couple of chapters and character interactions. Overall I’ll be vague enough so it’s somewhat safe to read. Anyways, I gave this an 8+1. Some of the combat dragged on for a little too long and there was a couple of nitpicks I’ll mention in the spoilers. If you don’t care about those, then it’s a 9. If I take away my preferences and base off and just what’s written, then I’d give it a 9.
On the other hand, while the hscenes aren’t crazy, I can see that there’d be a lot of people that won’t like them, but that’s kind of the point. They’re fucked up for the sake of being fucked up, but they’re also not out of place. My worst complaint is that they’re obvious. Usually I’d say you can remove them and just have it implied, but that’s generally not the case in this one. There’s a few of them that are kind of important, and a few others that enforce a specific theme. But it doesn’t really matter, everybody has their own tolerance and there’s going to be a few that won’t be able to stomach it.
So in a lot of these longer visual novels, genre fatigue happens a lot for me. And it probably happens to you too. Like the plot behind a martial arts movie is more than just padding time, eventually or even from the start you’d start to care less and less about it. And it’s the same thing with these, but Muramasa skirts away from it without destroying its own tone. So each chapter has it’s own subgenre:
The prologue and chapter 5 are more akin to an old school samurai movie.
Chapter 1 is the most light hearted and closest to a standard high school vn whilst shitting on the concept, there’s seriously parts where I could rip out and say it was from a Gintama episode and you wouldn’t doubt it. It introduces the main character, Ichijo, the war-ridden setting and the underlying tones. It also introduces you to one of the main villains in the plot, and probably the most well liked. If you put it in the batman universe, he’d be the Joker, in the sense that they spend most of their screen time accosting the main character’s way of life.
Chapter 2 is more of a low fantasy setting, it introduces the tsuguri smiths and Kaene. It also shows Ichijo’s complete ineptitude for navigation and it ends up being really important even though it’s treated as a joke for awhile. It also explains the affection system. I’ve seen a lot of people messing it up, it’s pretty funny.
Chapter 3 is more like cannonball, and if you never read that than it’s just a chapter about racing. It’s a refreshing change of pace even though it’s obviously short lived. It shows how black and white the protag can be whilst also showing that Ichijo is even more so than him to the point it’s rather extreme. I think this is the chapter where it introduces you to the generals of the regime, they’re all quite fun but I’ll talk about them in the major spoiler sections. It also brings up one of my first nitpicks that I’ll put in the major spoilers.
Chapter 4 is the shounen chapter, it has a beach section for 10 minutes and it’s basically fighting for the whole time. And whilst it sounds annoying to go through, I had a lot of fun and it was probably better than some of the future fights.
Chapter 5 is the flashback on the protag’s daily life and how Muramasa and Ginseigo came to be. I feel like it has the longest standoff in the whole title
Hero route is based on Ichijo, it’s a pretty extremist view but almost every important mindset in this title is extreme to some degree. It’s to the point where you can’t be a musha if you’re normal.
The ending was cool while also being kind of dumb at parts but that’s what you expect from something in this genre. In my perspective, Ichijo kind of got shafted compared to the rest of the routes, but her stuff is actually pretty important in the grand scheme of things when you hit the true route. The focused general in this one is Doushin, he’s the anti monk.
The Revenge route actually has a lot more going on, it’s based on Kaene. While Hero’s route is pretty much a kinetic story, this one has choices up the ass. To the point that there’s sections that’s just a choose your own adventure. It’s got a lot more humor to juxtapose off of to show how scary Kaene is. It shows what Sayo and the commissioner is about for the most part. The focused general is Shishiku, it’s probably my favorite but it’s also the one with the most screen time by the end.
The true route is closer to revenge’s plot but it focuses on Ginseigo and so it focuses on Muramasa as well. And while the general in focus is Chachamaru, it also puts more detail into all of the other 3. I think a lot of the nitpicks I had come in this route, but I find it’s a lot more experimental and tries different things to lighten and other times heighten the mood. It also forces a minigame on you that took me like 40 minutes too finish. I’m just thankful there was no timer in this one compared to an infamous one on the DS.
So all of the smaller stuff is out of the way, I can actually start talking about the stuff I wanted to. Some are nitpicks, some are just complaining how some characters are pretty shitty people
The affection meter kind of works the opposite of how it normally goes because the rule imprinted on Muramasa forces him to kill one good person if he kills one bad. Later on it shows that it’s based on levels. So if it’s a really villainous person, then he has to kill someone on that caliber as well which removes the option of just killing off nobodies. Overall he picks whoever he finds the most “good” in his perspective but it doesn’t really make sense half the time. At first I thought maybe there was a range issue, where if the person is miles away then another target gets chosen but that gets thrown away in the true route. And that gets shown a few times, one where he goes back to kill one of the girls instead of the racer that was right by him. And then again when he put the prince as the target if he gets to kill the Sogunate. But throughout this time, the commissioner never gets chosen even though the protag and him have a good relationship and it’s revealed that he’s the stepdad in Revenge’s route. He should be dead, it’s weird that sometimes he’s forced to pick one but other times he has choices. It even mentions it in the true route where he could’ve picked any of the 3 children, but he chose Yuuhi. But at the end depending on your choice you’re forced to kill Muramasa, when Ichijo and Kaene were around unbeknownst to him. Funny thing he pretty much dies in that ending anyway offscreen.
And even in the initial bad ending, where you’re forced with the ultimatum of either killing off the mc or muramasa because they ran out of “good” people, which even that doesn’t make sense if you consider how Ichijo handles it in her route. It shouldn’t really be possible, he still considered her a tool at that point, all blame goes to him and she’s not seen as good or bad, any rando would’ve been the choice. And whilst in the beginning it was alluded that he had to at least know the person to be sacrificed, but in the true ending he just does it mathematically. Sure he’s got colleagues but he should still doing one here and there. Even then, you can go back and just use hero’s route version where she can pick anyone so at most, it was self imposed.
Another thing based on the affection meter, there should have been a couple of decisions that should have actually lowered the meter, I can think of 2 from Kaene’s side.
So there’s a lot you have to keep in mind, there’s things that might sound farfetched but it’s completely normal to the people in the story. But a 1 day old child(technically it was an under an hour) remembering what the mom was saying is not only retarded in a normal every day scenario. Even the people around her can’t believe that she knows about that, it’s not a suspension of disbelief when they react to it negatively. And something that’s a different topic but still about the family, the family leader was all about keeping the clan alive and following traditions, he was really stubborn on not helping out the sole heir on her sickness. It was months before he did anything, and that’s after the protag intervened and passed his test. This is a pretty shitty clan elder. I get that asking some foreigners for help is shameful to the family name or something, but you were about to end that family name. And technically he did. And I actually guessed the reveal during this chapter, even though it was pretty off there. But thinking about it, if the role was solely for breeding purposes, it’s really weird that he even got accepted into the family for that long to actually be able to adopt someone. Which brings up another point that he shouldn’t even be around for that long, and he maybe he wasn’t and it was in Hikaru’s head. But I think the scene is meant to actually exist, where the commissioner had to stay just to put as the dad in a legal sense even if it wasn’t the case, and that’s what she saw. But she also knows who her real dad is so it’s dumb either way.
Masamune was another weird one. Technically Masamune was never used because everybody revered it and didn’t want to use it. But Sorimachi says it was more of a personality mismatch issue, and that it kind of goes with Ichijo’s mindset. If it’s just both, it can make sense. But Masamune complains that no one ever used him. It is pretty funny that he was in such close proximity to the mecha god.
There’s a cg flashback near the beginning of Hero route. I never got that, I had to replay to see if it was possible. I had to get at least 3 affection points with Ichijo, I got Kaene’s instead. The only way I can see it actually being possible is to get 3 points on Ichijo and then go full on focusing on choices that pertains to neither of them.
The whole Yagyuu fight in the hero route is kind of weird. It was shown earlier in chapter 4 that the weaker red tsuguri can match a blood one if they have godly technique. But this guy is doing it without a mech at all. It’s not really explained but since he knows Sayo, he either has a specialty mecha as well, or he’s completely honed to have every hit be a ma’ken like how the protag can in a specific mindset. This one isn’t a nitpick, it was just kind of weird at first.
In the hero route, they kind of break the system. Since he now understands that everybody is comprised of good and evil. They use Doushen as the example. Killing someone you see as evil also equates to killing someone that was seen as good. He knows it himself that he’s doing both at the same time. While it’s a way to break the system, I feel the semantics isn’t enough and Muramasa still demands two people, but then couldn’t he just kill two people? This is further proven by how Hikaru circumvents it because she holds no malice towards them. She didn’t kill anyone she considered evil or good, so there was no need to heed their law. But taking that aside, the protag failed to kill Ichijo, it was basically a draw but that means the agreement wasn’t fulfilled but he’s somehow doing fine. Sure he’s dying, but since he can put on the armor still, it’s not like the contract was cancelled. Uzuki is still a cool song, I like it more now considering the lyrics.
I barely got any nitpicks for the Nemesis route. Mainly that there’s too many choices compared to the rest but mainly that the choose your own adventure section hints that maybe you could be more efficient and lead to a different outcome but from I can tell that’s not possible. A lot of characters are introduced or fleshed out and they’re more important in the true route but there’s a specific one that amounted to a huge nothing burger.
In the true route, Ginseigo is actually a manifested dream. But at one point he panics and carries Hikaru out of the room into the forest and then Ginseigo comes out after awhile. Hikaru’s body should still be there but they don’t really talk about it.
Muramasa and basically all blood musha can regenerate from most things as long as they have the energy for it. Nothing wrong there, but he lost his nodachi when it got converted to those Ginseigo eggs. And you can say well the power was taken so Muramasa can’t make a new one, they have to collect the eggs and recreate it, which totally makes sense. Now why does the sword he uses for most of the plot( I forgot the type, I don’t think it was a tachi, probably some katana variation) stay broken after one of the Ginseigo fights. You can say that if they break then it’s over, and that would be a valid argument. But then why does Kotetsu come back after it blew up in the last fight. I think the normal sword did come back for the epilogue fight with Ichijo but I’m not really sure and there was nothing about it finally being done. There has to be something I’m missing because if it regenerated then it meant that it’s part of Muramasa. But if it’s part of Muramasa then I don’t see how it could’ve been turned into eggs in the first place.
I felt like the Muramasa slice of life section lasted a little too long. It’s also kind of weird to go to an epilogue and then go back and have an extra hour or two for the remaining stuff. The last fight before it ends is kind of whatever too. It’s open ended, you don’t know if Ichijo dies in there or if she joins up but I doubt it. Because she can’t win against an amped up Muramasa, maybe if she was coupled with Kaene and made it an actual scene, maybe I’d be hyped for it. And since we’re talking about it, unless Kaegaki is just inept on using Chachamaru’s shinogi, pretty sure they’d beat out Raichou easily instead of their 1 out of 100. There’s reason why Hikaru couldn’t affect her when her shit is more potent. At one point I thought Chachamaru would actually burn into Kageaki’s body instead of just the nodachi. And I’m not really sure which one is better suited for the plot, maybe if it powered both?
So in chapter 1, Yuuhi is actually foreshadowing the hero route and how Ichijo’s mindset is just as fucked up as it is pure. Without Ichijo showing up, Yuuhi probably wouldn’t try uppercutting an armored musha. The outcome would be overall the same, he’d just die earlier. It’s nothing overtly important but I thought it was pretty neat.
I really liked the generals, more so Raichoi and Shishiku. Doushin and Chachamaru also got their own mirroring happening but it’s not a lot. Doushin is basically king debauchery but he still has a warrior’s spirit. As long as it excites him then he’s good to go. So while he’s more of a tactician in face value, he’s better placed as a frontline unlike Chachamaru where she’s business savvy and a goof but is surprisingly the best in stringing people along and getting shit.
On the other hand, Raichou and Shishiku mirror each other better. Raichou keeps trying to sneak around in the back and do shady deals but always fucks up. Shishiku is more of the war general but fights in a manner that doesn’t represent his normal self. And it’s because for some stupid reason they’re generally doing each other’s role. Raichou is actually the best warrior they got, he creams basically everybody except Ginseigo and Muramasa(depending on the circumstances). On the other hand, Shishiku is an assassin, he lives for that shit was only made to be put in the spotlight due to his own political reasons.
The hscenes are kind of whatever outside of the first one and the ones that pertain to the mc. And this links to Ichijo’s dad, technically it links most of these characters but mainly these two. You see, almost all of them are shitty people that are tethered down by some kind of self-imposed rule. Kageaki first follows Subaru’s way of life, and then Muramasa’s principles. Just how Ayane follows his own ways in his extremist views since without them he probably would have everything he was against. It’s the same case with the protag, he was one if not the first in his family that could split tsurugi steel with a normal blade. Even throughout his family life, after seeing that everything would take too long, his natural conclusion was just to kill the whole bandit squad. And technically, he could’ve done it depending on his mental state. And then it’s either chapter 3 or 4 where he’s kind of freaking himself out because he’s mentally slipping and thinking it’d be fine to kill off a few innocents for the greater good. And I’m going to skip a bit of it because then I’ll be talking about almost every character in the game, when the overall gist of it is they all got their own mindsets that they anchored themselves into and won’t budge. I’d have to look at the lyrics again but I’m pretty sure that’s what Uzuki is about, it’s why it plays during the Ichijo and Kageaki fight.
And talking about the track selection, sometimes it felt like it chose weirdly. They played Uzuki during the sections before the mecha god, but Muramasa would make more sense. Then they played Muramasa during the first true ending, but I feel like staying and finishing Falling Leaves would be a better case, or better yet go with Calling. Uzuki doesn’t really place well with Chachamaru’s ending either but it’s not like there was a huge amount of time invested in her ending anyway.
But in general they’re all pretty much psychos. To the point that the generals of the regime are kind of not that bad by comparison, which is a pretty recurring theme outside of the Nemesis route. The only difference is that Sorimachi’s tether is really weak compared to the others, it doesn’t really limit in any way, it’s just he’s pissed off that Kageaki keeps trying to be something that he’s not. And at that point it makes sense why Hikaru is as unhinged as she is for the most part. It feels like it’s the only reason why Hikari was introduced near the end, to have somebody to embody what Kageaki wanted to live by and pass down his tep mom’s way of life but couldn’t due to his nature. That if he was born in a different time period that wasn’t engulfed in war, that he too would be someone like Hikari. And whilst Hikari is going down that path, he continues to create his own Army without Borders. Where one is the noblest pursuit while the other is the necessary evil/deterrent.
If anyone is interested, here’s my notes. You’re going to have to highlight it.
VN based on way of life? Silver mecha based on debauchery.
Muramasa based on vengeance to the point on no one is off limits?
Beginning of chapter 1 is pretty funny, reminds me of Gintama
Teacher is unhinged, might start a chain reaction. Might have killed girl due to her flirting with the enemy?
R: Nope, it was dumber than that. Already knew about hcg, so no surprise.
Boy made too many flags, he’s going to die. Talk no jutsu too strong, I can understand the uppercut but not the initial hook.
R: Boy died, possible rules that MC has to go by? Maybe considering him a good guy is the trigger?
F:While boy was the most enamored with MC, weren’t all 3 around the same affection, I guess it’s because he was alone and also causes most shock value
Genseigo is mc’s wife?
Possible hcg on sisters due to Nagasaka’s retaliation?
R: Surprised there was none
The chase scene was pretty cool
Whoever has highest affection dies. Do the opposite of normal? Had to be the two sisters because of the kill count was 2, I think it’s unavoidable
Ayane theme/lifestyle based on even further narrow mindset of good/evil? Kanae is based on conning?
Reminds me of cannonball vn a little bit.
Both characters are a little too into MC from the start
Chachamaru is possible third route? Assumed it would be the spider due to fighting game, or possibly the sister
Girl is being pimped out for parts due to low sponsorship?
R: Almost, almost the samething
Demonstrates how black/white mc is, yet Ayane is meant to be more so?
Kanae died, I think it’s possible to manage meter to have both live. Gameover if both die?
F \w chapter 5: Yeah gameover, doesn’t make much sense. Would assume that mc does not see himself or muramasa as good so they’d be disqualified so an immediate auto suicide would make more sense. Technically, commissioner would get “good” civilians to keep Muramasa going
Sorimachi is still the most interesting character
Back and forth between scientist and racist dude is pretty funny
Choose daughter to create false affection to save ayane?
F \w chapter 5: Yeah, otherwise she dies and gameover happens.
Killed mom due to inaction or actually forced to kill due to muramasa
F: Due to muramasa
MC is adopted, but the sister is still into him even though the plot says her affection is solely for her father? Would make sense if he was the real son to have blood connection to the father, weird.
Genseigo makes everybody go mad, so she can get the dad right away in that case?
Chachamaru is sister’s friend?
AE: That was a different person, thought it was the same VA
Bandit kid is a little shit. Possible betrayal leading to hcg?
R: yeah. It feels like it’s every other chapter but it’s around the same thing, reminds me of schatten
While a staple in these types of samurai fights, it goes on for awhile
Technically, the main issue stems from the previous family leader. Would have shortened the illness by months.
Masamura is immune to the eggs, but the nodachi got converted into eggs. When destroying eggs and gaining parts of the nodachi back, muramasa is powering up, so the nodachi is not just a tool but a part of muramasa, how did it become eggs?
The affection meter is based on how good the protag sees them as in his perspective. But there’s times where he’s against Kaene but the meter never drops. Also doesn’t make sense that this news reporter somehow got a higher affection rating than the two girls
Recollecting a scene when you’re 1 day is old is normally retarded, but even in this plot the mom’s surprised on the daughter saying that.
Got a cg in memory flashback, but I never saw it
F: Made a new save, I think it needs at least 3 affection points in chapter 3 for it to happen. Should it not show up then? Or maybe it’d pass to a different kind of badend where affection is too low so she kills you?
Thought Ayane killed the shogun but it wasn’t her. Maybe Chachamaru?
Technically Masamune was never used because everybody revered it and didn’t want to use it. But Sorimachi says it was more of a personality issue
Is it not possible to railgun an arm off?
Little brother was the little shit in chapter 5, so the boy is probably going to get cucked in this section by the monk.
R: Close enough
The Sorimachi vs protag made sense since he was still in a suit even though it’s the inferior version. But even if Yagyu spy guy is a master, it feels too out of the suspension of belief. Maybe shogunate guy isn’t dead and used the stealth tech from britain(since Yagyu mentioned there’s is not as good as ghq, probably true route)
Earlier on it was said by Ayane’s dad that even the one punishing evil are considered evil due to ultimatems. Leads to mom’s way the only path that doesn’t lead to needing to curse yourself. Wouldn’t Masamune have to destroy itself once something sees it as evil, due to perspective?
Technically, does protag even have to kill ayane now that he understands perspectives and choose another villain and say “he has good in him”? I’d say it’s due to affection rating, but there was that news reporter
fuck a duck
Protag still kicking after failing to kill. Took too much damage so contract was broken?
Uzuki is the one song I knew from the vn, I had it on my phone for awhile years back
Taking awhile for Muramasa to say anything, probably just Ayane taking the mantle now
R: Was Ayane but didn’t take the mantle, it’s honestly done better this way
Based on revenge
Going to be more like demonbane? Meaning based more on mythicism.
Hero route was mostly straightforward. This route already starting out with too many choices
Comissioner is supposedly the stepdad? Pointing to affection meter, should he not be dead already? Or is there a timer and it’ll pick the highest one that’s still in range even though there can be someone meters away.
Ayane and protag was based on respecting yet opposed to eachother’s way of life. They consider eachother right but can’t accept it on an instinctual level. This one based on protag wanting Kanae to kill him but his hatred/revenge denying his own need for justice on himself?
Due to fighting game showing muramasa character, maybe it can revert back to humanoid and then reapply merging to further the advancement in tsuguri/mecha?
Each chapter has their own genre written in the same style, pretty interesting since it might’ve caused genre fatigue already.
Lost to second fight, thought south towards Kanae would be a safer bet, but it was west to the descending sun.
Kind of fucked up but still funny that Konatsu got the limbless part of the mecha
That grandma power is on a pretty short timer.
Second time they showed the mom in a porn scene, they mentioned that the mc’s hatred for himself is deeper than what he’s doing now with Muramasa. Possible that the sister is actually the daughter? Would make sense since the old leader mentioned that the men are picked up for breeding purposes. There should have been a kid before the adoption even happened. That could explain the helm splitter that he also did in the common route, it just took awhile compared to Hikaru. And also why she’s attached to him. Maybe even banged Hikaru?
This really was the demonbane type plot, but not based on mythicism, just had more time to explore characters
Spider is cuter than the other two
ok so the emperor died by ginseigo, I didn’t consider the others covering up that she was there but it makes sense
chamaru is another tsurugi?
the dream sequence is hilarious
He carried Hikaru with him, just because she started sleeping doesn’t mean the original body should disappear. I’m assuming they’re going to combine the dream and the girl from Kanae’s route
Pretty funny on how Raichou is better in the battle field when he wants to be the brains, whilst the Shishiku guy tries to be in the front when he’s better as an assassin
Hikaru might die and ayane gets her muramasa afterwards?
So his secondary sword broke during the black hole. I thought they would just regenerate and the nodachi couldn’t because it was converted
Kotetsu broke but now it’s back, why not the other blade?
It’s been awhile but I think Sorimachi is finally coming back