Review: Tsuki ni Yorisou Otome no Sahou 2

A more comprehensive look into the trilogy.

This review was originally written on 2/25/2016. May contain mild conceptual/structural spoilers.

Initially, I had contemplated reading Tsuki ni Yorisou Otome no Sahou 2 (tsuriotsu 2) immediately after reading the prequel. I chose not to do this, but instead, read Otome Riron to Sono Shuuhen (OtomeRiron) prior to this. In hindsight, I think that this was definitely the best decision. While it’s understood that tsuriotsu 2 occurs after Luna’s end in the prequel, a lot of the plot points developed in OtomeRiron carried over. Indeed, in OtomeRiron, a work which was considered to be significantly more ‘plot-heavy’ than its predecessor, focused extensively on family politics. In tsuriotsu 2, the consequences and revelations of the aforementioned family politics are assumed. In this sense, we could think of tsuriotsu 2 as ‘following’ chronologically from tsuriotsu, but as taking place in a universe in which similar events to the ones occurring in OtomeRiron occurred. Thus, to fully appreciate tsuriotsu 2, you’ll need knowledge of both of the predecessor works.

In any instance, let’s actually discuss the work itself. To be blunt, this work is pretty simple to criticize. It has a weaker protagonist, is considerably archetypal and predictable, and lacks real drama. To begin, the protagonist for the work, Saika, is the child of Yuusei and Luna. Contrary to Yuusei, Saika’s regarded as a genius by those that surround him. He’s very popular, makes friends easily, and is hardly ‘flawed’ by any sense of the word (if we consider typical teenage angst to be a flaw, then certainly, there are no realistic, perfect teenage characters). Whereas the readers saw Yuusei evolve from someone who served others by obeying, to one who took the initiative to achieve a goal consistent with his core beliefs, Saika for the most part, remains fairly static. It’s not to say that Saika lacks any development whatsoever (in fact, in the main route of the work, Saika does experience some development). It’s just that there’s no real sense of ‘direness’ with his development; whereas Yuusei had virtually no one as a guaranteed ally, Saika has the support of his family (the Ookura family, recognized as a member of the obscenely wealthy social elite). Further, I’d assert that Saika’s character is a lot more ”typical’ than Yuusei’s. Indeed, generally, visual novel protagonists tend to be reliable, steady, and assertive. Saika is all that — he’s a very solid lead. But, Yuusei was charming, in that he was nowhere near perfect (in fact, his decisions are subject to fair scrutiny), but nonetheless, he obtained not only the affection of the audience, but those around him. In this sense, whereas we saw Yuusei fight tooth and nail for accomplishing his dreams, we see Saika, encountering for the most part, comparatively minor problems.

Second, tsuriotsu 2 is extremely archetypal and predictable. This comment is more so directed at its route structure; like its prequel, tsuriotsu, the events of the work surround the Christmas Collection Runway Show for Filia Girls’ School. This isn’t necessarily a ‘bad’ thing in itself, but because it’s virtually a carbon copy of its previous work, it feels rather ‘dull’ and repetitive. Whereas OtomeRiron had severed the feeling of repetition by going for a fresh route structure altogether, tsuriotsu 2 pulled the readers back into a predictable tedium. I call the work predictable, in that its routes follow an absurdly similar structure and utilize the same plot elements (The most obvious recurring plot element being that 3 of the 4 routes within the work concern ‘social bullying’ of some predictable sort from the girls of the school). This type of predictability leads me to my third large complaint: the work lacks a sense of drama.

Because the conditions of the work are so idyllic from the get-go, it’s difficult to imagine anything going ‘badly.’ Granted that the protagonist has enough backing power to collapse the economy of the country, the readers cannot help but see him as a source of potential force. Furthermore, the characters themselves, don’t really face a lot of crises. In most character works, the majority of the problems that the heroines suffer from are more abstract — namely, personal, psychological problems. In tsuriotsu 2, the majority of the problems are external, and easily avoidable by force of power. In this sense, even though the work had developed an appealing cast of characters, because they were actors in a play of tedium, they didn’t get to shine. On a character-by-character basis, I actually think that tsuriotsu 2 boasts the most interesting, affable cast of heroines out of the series. Nonetheless, because none of them really develop (as the work doesn’t require that they develop), we don’t really have much reason to enjoy their presence.

In this sense, I found the work to be very disappointing in these regards. Whereas on paper, tsuriotsu 2 sounds delectable, because it suffers from a sense of ‘crisis’ (which gives the audience a reason to care), I actually never got ‘into’ the work. It’s not to say that I only have complaints for the work; I have some points of praise for it too. Namely, whereas the prequels hosted a cast of rather minor, insignificant minor characters, in tsuriotsu 2, some of the side characters were as pivotal and as important as the less important heroines. Furthermore, their development was both affable, but ‘Navel-esque’ (i.e. they had their idiosyncrasies that made them seem ‘realistic’ or something more than just an archetype). To add, given that the events of the work occur after the prequels, we see the reappearance of a certain character, whose ‘new demeanor’ makes a hilarious contrast with their original demeanor.

More than anything, I really enjoyed the continuation of the rather cheesy plot device of making a piece of clothing for the person you treasure. Indeed, in all of the works, to my memory, the protagonist ‘crafts’ a garment for the heroine of choice; this craft is not arbitrary, nor is it concerned with aesthetics in itself. Instead, the protagonist considers the tastes of the heroine, the figure of the heroine (so that it is comfortable), and works to achieve the ‘ideal fit’ which is both ‘objectively’ (by some judging standard) great, but personally, touching. As a fashion enthusiast, something as cheesy and trite as this excites me.

All in all, while the work didn’t live up to expectations, it wasn’t by any means, a bad work. Indeed, it simply didn’t raise the bar which its predecessors had set so high previously.

I enjoy reflecting on works which I've read and sharing my thoughts on them.

Share your thoughts