Grisaia no Kajitsu VN – Makina route (spoilers!)
Finally! I have finally finished my first route in Grisaia no Kajitsu. Took long enough, but at least I’m done with one part of the game. Here I’ll talk about the common route and Makina’s route.
When I say that it took me long, I really mean it. Looking at some old conversations in my history, I can tell that I first played the visual novel on the 2nd September 2014. That’s about 7.5 months ago. I actually got it when I was still getting started with Rewrite. I even took a break from the latter, just to enjoy some Grisaia. Then, though, I made the decision to finish things I started and Grisaia was left untouched for months.
When I finally picked it up again in January, I was determined to complete it quickly. Little did I know that even the first route I chose would take so long. The visual novel really is massive. I feel like I spent over 50 hours just getting this far, half of which was the character-specific route. And there’s still 4 such routes left.
Which order am I planning to continue playing the game in? Amane -> Sachi -> Michiru -> Yumiko. That’s exactly the order in which you can enter the routes. Before starting a visual novel, I usually spend some time reading up on the recommended route order. At least that was my plan, after playing a VN with forced order (Fate/stay night) and VNs with true routes (Little Busters!, Rewrite). Grisaia no Kajitsu doesn’t have that. It was difficult for me to accept, but there’s really no true route and no canon pairing. Every girl has an equal chance. Hence I went with the default order. What I’ve heard later, is that the default order goes from the best route down until the worst route. Hopefully that is just bias, and all routes are good. Otherwise I’ll be pissed.
What I immediately loved about Grisaia no Kajitsu, is the humour. I remember finding Rewrite humour great. But Grisaia is on a whole different level. I actually laughed out loud a few times, and that’s an achievement! From what my limited knowledge of Japanese tells me, the English translation was partly responsible for making the VN so funny for me. The sexual jokes, sarcasm, cynicism and awkward misunderstandings. Everything’s there. And the main character is the center of the comedy.
The male protagonist, Kazami Yuuji, is a 17-year-old guy. But lo and behold! He’s not a normal high-schooler. Actually, nobody in Grisaia is “normal”. All students of the Mihama Academy, which Yuuji joins, have their problems. There are some hints during the common route, but most is left untold. Yuuji himself seems quite normal first, if we discount his employment by an international military company. He has no experience of normal youth, and can only think of efficiency. Now he’s on standby, and ready to start a new life as a normal student in a peaceful school.
Yuuji is surrounded by women everywhere he goes. Mainly, there are the five female students of the Mihama Academy: Irisu Makina, Suou Amane, Komine Sachi, Matsushima Michiru and Sakaki Yumiko. Makina is a childish girl with a sharp tongue and very mature jokes. Amane is the typical big-breasted clingy girl who wants to go out with the main character. Sachi is a girl in a maid costume, who will obey every order, regardless of difficulty, personal feelings or ethics. Michiru is clumsy wannabe tsundere, who bleaches her hair and shines with her lack of common sense. Finally, Yumiko is a princess who tries to act cold and disinterested. Aside from Sachi and Makina, the group seems quite average. Apart from Yuuji’s 5 girl harem, there’s also his superior, JB (Harudera Yuria), and the principal, Tachibana Chizuru.
As the common route goes on, it is obvious that all girls start developing feelings for Yuuji. They start wanting to hang out with him, and all are affected somehow by his personality. More precisely, they’re getting bolder and nastier. Not in an evil way – more like funny. Yuuji himself has no interest in any of them, though (until the character routes, because otherwise there would be no story to tell about), as he doesn’t want to tie himself down. His work is more important to him that his relationships.
One day, Makina asks Yuuji to become her father. A strange favour to ask for, and made even stranger by an offer of 70 million yen. Yuuji accepts the request and thus gets his nose too deep into other people’s troubles. But for now he can only guess about the origin of such a sum. After looking into Makina’s history through his boss, Yuuji decides to give Makina what she lost long ago – he commits himself fully to being a father. When Makina was still small, she was kidnapped. Her father, husband of the de facto head of the Irisu clan, was about to reveal the corruption in the Irisu multi-billion dollar corporation. Before he could do that, he got killed when bringing money to Makina’s kidnappers. And of course those kidnappers were hired by the Irisu family.
Makina herself was left tied up for six days next to her father’s rotting body. That cause her severe psychological trauma and she got hospitalized for years. Her place as the heir of the family was given to her sister Sarina, who had a different father. And that was okay for the Irisu family – the branch family where Sarina came from were responsible for the hospitalization, and later Makina’s admission to Mihama Academy; the main family had no other choice but to accept the hospitalization, not knowing of the girl’s release a few years ago.
Yuuji takes his new role responsibly. He sets a goal to make Makina survive life on her own. He teaches her to ride a bicycle, trains her physically, gets her a job and teaches her survival tactics and fighting. He even teaches her how to use a sniping rifle, which the girl absolutely loves. Just like she loves everything else, to be honest, as she didn’t experience it all in her childhood.
The situation takes a turn for the worse when Makina meets Sarina walking down a street one day. Her sister doesn’t know how Makina looks, so she walks right past her, and sits in a car. Moments later, the car explodes and Sarina is left in critical condition. This turns out to be the result of the main family learning about Makina’s release from the hospital, and is an attempt to install her as the successor again. What it really does, though, is trigger an internal conflict in the Irisu clan, and the branch family starts threatening the girl. Everything starts with basic surveillance, but ends with shooting windows and setting Makina’s workplace on fire. Then she’s made an assassination target. The one to execute the mission is supposed to be Yuuji.
What follows is a dramatic and action-packed escape by the two. They go into hiding, and Yuuji’s responsibility becomes eliminating the pursuers, albeit not lethally, because of his past trauma. It is revealed that he suffers from his past. The teacher that Yuuji hated in elementary school died. His father who abused him died. His mother committed suicide. His sister, who Yuuji was angry at at times, died in a traffic accident. And so the boy started believing in a demon residing in his right arm, waiting to kill. Hence he has imposed a seal on himself – he must not kill anybody. But now it seems he’ll have no choice.
Makina’s stupidity causes her to get shot, but luckily she survives and is hospitalized. Her assassination is put on hold, but the comatose girl is to become an organ donor for the gravely injured sister. The only solution Yuuji sees is to kill Makina’s mother – Irisu Kiyoka. With ease, he infiltrates the headquarters and is ready to shoot. But wait! We finally get a choice! To shoot or not to shoot? The story makes you hate the woman with a passion. And the choices aren’t obvious enough to know which one will lead to a good or bad end.
Before even starting the route, I saw a spoiler in a Youtube video title, featuring content from the anime adaptation. “Yuuji kills Makina’s mother”. I was angry at getting spoiled so much, and already knew ahead of time what I had to choose to get the good end – the anime can’t show the bad end after all. Or so I thought. I first chose not to shoot, because I always try to get the bad end before the good end. A few minutes in, I thought – wow, this is taking an unexpected turn, and might actually be the good end. So I went back to the choice and shot the bitch. Satisfied, I kept playing. And this time Yuuji himself got shot. I now knew it was a bad end. Even the music was sad.
I was sure… until Yuuji turned up the next day, wounded but alive. Knowing how many VN, anime and manga series do stuff, I was expecting him to magically survive. Until he said the farewell words and collapsed. “Wow, a bad end after all… I got fooled there for a moment.” Then Makina used a phone number that Yuuji gave her, and called his organization (who are after them both, by the way). “Now I’m confused, did they save him or not?” Then came the ending song and credits, after which the epilogue started. And there, Makina is happily pregnant, managing a bakery despite having few customers, and talking to Yuuji! “Wow, they really got me good with the trolling. I’ll get the bad ending next.” was my thought. Next moment my eyes went wide and I realized that I just saw the most disturbing scenario in any form of Japanese media so far. Makina was indeed talking to Yuuji. To his dismembered body in a black bag, to be precise. That’s why she had no customers and the few that came, left in disgust. The “Yuuji” answering was actually in her head. She’s currently employed by Yuuji’s organization as a sniper and is tormented by the same symptoms as the boy she loved. Completely deranged ending.
What I expected to happen in the bad ending, did happen in the good one. Yuuji was magically saved despite losing an arm (and attaching it with packaging tape), and a year later they are together again. Makina isn’t pregnant for plot reasons, but is still doing Yuuji’s job as the new agent 9029. Yuuji is getting used to his new life without a right arm or violence while his girlfriend is doing the killing. And she still inherited the “demon” from the right hand.
That was the “short” summary of a not-so-short route. When it was related to the plot, I found the story very good. After hours upon hours of slice of life, though, and especially when I wanted to already have at least one route finished, I started to get annoyed at the length. I don’t think it’s necessary to fit so much irrelevant content into a character specific route. That’s what the common route is for, and Grisaia had a pretty long one to begin with. Although I admit that Makina’s route itself is solid, I’m worried that her route is considered the best – because she’s actually my least favourite girl. At least before finishing this. Now I’ve grown to accept her for who she is, and at least I know her reasons. But come on! Characters like Sachi and Michiru are much more interesting to learn about. They have a much more mysterious aura about them. Even Amane is a better character, despite me disliking the big-boobed big-sister types. And that’s why I’ll take her route next – to leave the best characters for later, but not too late. I’m also curious about her seemingly normal behaviour and mentality, while being part of the Mihama Academy student body.