Release: 2013 (インレ)
假名手本忠臣蔵編 – 4/5
江戸急進派編 – 4/5
百花魁編 – 5/5
仇華・宿怨編 – 4/5
刃・忠勇義烈編 – 3/5
Japanese difficulty: 95% V. Easy; 5% V. Hard (Medieval Japanese)
Ratings: VNDB (8.48); EGS (8.53)
To make long story short, ChuSinGura46+1 is basically Muv-Luv Alternative in feudal Japan. The protagonist slips through time and joins the legendary group of 46 samurai who having lost their lord to political machinations come up with a scheme to take revenge in hopes of restoring their lord’s honor, and storm the capital.
Originally an episodic doujin visual novel, ChuSinGura46+1 is split into five chapters that repeat the same historical story with a different twist each time, eventually combining into one epic plot. Instead of choices, you’re just gonna have to read all of the routes/episodes in their designated order. Though frankly, it already boggles my mind how complicated the whole story with over forty significant characters already is, and adding choices to the mix would’ve been likely the last straw to finally break the writer’s mind, as despite transforming most of his leads to women, he attempts to be as historically accurate as possible.
The first, somewhat introductory, chapter follows the protagonist as he learns and gets used to the life in feudal Japan while also trying his best to find a way back to his own world and abandon the ranks of the tragic heroes that he happened to get stuck with.
Still, escaping the time slip doesn’t prove to be so easy as, turns out, it also loops, and during the second chapter the protagonist, already learned in the way of true samurai, decides to twist history to save his comrades, his wish to return home taking a backseat.
By the time of the third chapter, the protagonist had already braved through more battles than even the best of legendary samurai, and having aged considerably through the repeating loops, ends up taking somewhat of a wiser approach to the whole situation, almost becoming a mentor to his fellow warriors. This puts him almost in an inverse position from where he had started, making it almost painfully apparent how much he had changed in the years. It’s also the first route where the romance with the heroine actually feels like a love affair, rather than a mentor-student relationship (the previous two heroines were both historically 30+ year old!). Anyway, the third chapter is basically where all of the best shit goes down, each line of it being just a pleasure to read. It finally introduces the best character in the entire game in the form of an opposing faction assassin, and tampers with the protagonist’s as of yet unshaken loyalties, increasing the drama two fold, and also culminating in one of the most epic and heartbreaking battles I have ever witnessed in a visual novel.
And if you don’t believe the chipper eyepatch-wearing yandere psychopath Shinpachi that might accidentally murder you during an ero scene could possibly be the best girl, you should check the character ranking polls. The most exciting character I’ve came across in a long while, hot damn.
Unfortunately, this is where the things start going downhill. Still, that’s one huge hill to go down from and so even the latter two episodes while paling in comparison to their predecessors still succeed in being better than most of what industry has to offer.
The fourth chapter starts very interesting by throwing loads of perplexing historical facts at you, successfully making you actually start doubting the true intentions of the legendary warriors (especially historical ones) despite seeing them in action here. Still, while the build-up in this chapter is incredible, and a few extremely dark but tasteful twists go down throughout the story, at the culmination where you’d think everything would explode in a crescendo of awesomeness and you’d actually finally see the villain’s side get their fair share of the spotlight, the whole thing just fizzles out after a single fight. One of the biggest wasted opportunities in the history of fiction. I had to bite down tears of frustration during the credits. 😦
And, uh, then comes the final chapter where the writer must’ve taken the same kind of crazy-pills the guy that brought us the disaster of Grisaia Rakuen did; everything goes off the rails during the finale. I don’t know if the writer’s intention was to make the whole thing end in the most super duper epic way he could think of, but going into fantasy chuu2 land where the villain basically decides to burn down his house to exterminate a mosquito that had already been dead from old age anyway is really unbecoming of a work that tried to be relatively serious and historical till then. The attempt to artificially heighten to odds and disregard to common sense and strategy that was so prevalent in the previous chapters, just makes you go “woot, I can’t take this shit seriously anymore” instead of getting overcome by “awesomeness” as it intended.
In the end, the best highlights of the last chapter end up being the slice of life situations with the younger sister of the original route’s heroine (who’s boring); the witty little girl completely steals the show despite being twelve or so. It kind of makes you realize that regardless of the outcome of the revenge, you’ll be leaving the girl behind alone, and you ain’t human if that doesn’t bring at least one tear to your eye after all you go through with her in the last chapter. Then again, the plot turns ridiculous during the last two hours and ruins that mood in the end *sigh*.
Despite being a doujin, ChuSinGura46+1 boasts incredible production values where the sprites dancing on screen with their swords left and right almost make the experience comparable to Muv-Luv Alternative’s approach to action. Originally, I was a bit off-put by the fact that most fights seemed to consist of solely “hahh” and “yahh” as far as text was concerned with only visuals livening them up, but later it turned out that the writer saved his description abilities only for the most important of scenes, and the blend of prose and visuals during the last battle in the third chapter is downright amazing. Not to imply the guy is Shakespeare; his prose is very basic as far as visual novels go, but at least it flows well.
Either way, despite a few flaws, mainly towards the end, ChuSinGura46+1 is an amazing work that should be checked out by anyone interested in history, or intelligent, dramatic stories in general. It might not be Muramasa, but it comes from the same roots, and is probably at least on the same level if not better than Muv-Luv Alternative.
Maybe the fan-disc, that I have yet to read, will fix the disappointing ending that chapter fifth left me with (I bet they were planning to end the whole thing at chapter three originally). I heard it’s some parallel dimension thing where the 46 Chusingura warriors challenge Shinsengumi to a fight; the idea of which alone makes me want to dance from excitement.
|Simplistic prose flows fast and is easy to digest||The prose, at the same time, is so basic it lacks poignancy in the more dramatic scenes|
|Insane amount of sprites and their variations||Ridiculously over-sexualized outfits are distracting|
|Awesome and effective fight “animation”||Shoots itself in the foot by transforming the gender of too many characters|
|Awesome OP track||The pace is pretty slow (except for the third chapter)|
|Captivating plot full of twists||The plot grows a bit predictable with subsequent loops|
|Smart, epic, and heartfelt story (except for the end of episode 5)||The last two hours of the last chapter are kind of dumb|
|Episode 3 has an amazing, tear-jerking ending||Disappointing ending (episodes 4/5)|
|The growth of the protagonist comes across incredibly well|
|Shinpachi is one of the most amazing characters ever|
|Interesting, likable, relatively profound characters in general|
|Enlightening on medieval Japanese history and culture|
7 thoughts on “[VN] ChuSinGura46+1”
Oh, forgot to ask, is this really that long as it’s stated on tlwiki? Or it’s just some “bug” 346k lines? If that’s true, then I don’t think it’ll be ever released in english… Sadly…
Bushi no Kodou is definitely worth reading as it feels like the series is complete now, despite beeing quite h-heavy in terms of you know what aka medieval warriors try using a modern pisseur..personally rest of its so called fd´s are pretty much neglectable story-wise.
regarding its overall reading difficulty, wouldnt really agree on easy-medium, despite it beeing exactly that for most parts, because even if one could understand 90% of all, then he would still face (some serious) problems when arriving at certain parts, therfore i cant recommend it to people who wont understand everything in one flow, especially if they pretty much never cared about japanese history, btw. legends & tales.
There seems to be a large number of sequel (esque???) parts mentioned on vndb, what is the actual sequence of the games?
The official release combines all five episodes into one bundle, the only sequels/fan-discs after that are ChuSinGura 46+1 Sayo no Chiisana Tsubomi (a very short joke extra-scenario) and ChuSinGura 46+1 Bushi no Kodou (a big sequel/fan-disc).
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Hey Conjueror, I’m enjoying reading your reviews for quite a while.
Kinda sad that I don’t know japanese, and I can’t read all these masterpieces.
Also asked you a couple of questions on ask.fm, thanks for answers. Good to know you’re enjoying Tokyo Babel so far.
I hope I can play this one in the future I love action/romance genre, and if you’re saying it’s on par with well-known MLA… Would be nice to hear your opinions regarding fan-disc, but it’s pretty long, over 30 hours…
I’m writing this comment to encourage you to try this one: fault milestone two side:above, but you have to play first part first. They’re 5~~ hours long each. The milestone two implemented some highest quality cinematic feelings. Sadly those VNs doesn’t have voices, just the music and english translation is pretty bad, but hey, it’s originated in Japan, right? If this VN would have voices, and proper translation and probably more character sprites, and higher quelity ones in milestone one. I think it may get way better ratings. Still, the story isn’t 10/10 but it’s pretty good. There’s no male protagonist though, and no romance, but even for me(fan of romance genre) it’s one of the best exepriences I’ve even had with VN(milestone two) I may even go as far as to say it’s on par if not better graphic/qualitywise with minori’s ef. Would be nice to hear your opinion on milestone one and two. It’s awesome what the guys behind this can do without being huge japanese company, if they only had more money.
Fault seems to be more popular in the west, than Japan, so I heard almost nothing about it till recently. Its sprites do look quite amazing, and I do love doujin works given how many of them are among my favorites (Tsukihime, Himawari, ChuSinGura, Umineko) so I think I’ll check fault eventually, though I already have over a hundred VNs in my backlog so who knows when will that be. xD
Okay, sorry for doing this, but if you won’t mind a small spoiler, watch this 2 minutes video showcasing the “cinematic” qualities of fault which were upgraded greatly in milestone two.
I was literally stunned for couple of minutes after this with a face like this: (O_O)
Really want to see your reviews on both faults 🙂 As I said it’s 10 hours to read them both. I believe if you would play them in english, you would cry, but japanese should be alright, so if you ever have desire for some short old good Fantasy, jump right in.
Also come on, you didn’t put ChuSinGura in your favorites tab, probably because ending matters, right? 😀
If you want to try worse version of ToTA, play Fairy Fencer F. It’s not a masterpiece, but still good clone of ToTa.