Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Aug 222022

Birushana: Rising Flower of Genpei is an otome I was practically counting down the days to.

It’s a historical fantasy visual novel set during the time of the Genpei War, with a twist: Shanao, the youngest son of the Genji, is actually a woman, disguised as a man to fight.

Now, I know very little about this period of history, so I can’t speak to how many liberties it took with the historical setting aside from the obvious fantasy elements that show up in the form of a mysterious power Shanao possesses.

But this sort of setting, with a war going on and love interests on both sides, caught my attention as soon as I heard about it, and I was so excited to get started.

I knew I was in for quite a ride when I finished my first route, which had some unexpectedly intense situations and moments where I thought I’d gotten a bad ending until the story kept going, and then saw that a lot of fans considered it to be the boring one. I disagree on that, but Birushana is filled with high-stakes situations and intense confrontations.

There are five love interests, and I ended up liking them all, more or less. One I found a little boring, and another I thought needed a bit more of a gradual development in his route, but I didn’t dislike any of them.

Click for Birushana spoilers
I’m talking about Tomomori with that second comment. I love him as a creepy obsessive villain, and I also love that he ends up being surprisingly sweet and devoted, but the shift from one to the other felt too abrupt for me. I needed creepy and sweet to intersect a little more before Shanao started caring for him.

The shining star of this story for me is Yoritomo, whom I started off feeling lukewarm toward but ended up adoring, as his route spoke directly to my kuudere-loving heart. Meanwhile, Noritsune’s route isn’t far behind, since it features some of my favorite romance tropes.

Birushana also does something wonderful. Like many otome games, it has a number of side characters whom I immediately wished were love interests. But instead of just sidelining them, four of the side characters have short mini-routes of their own, unlocked upon completing a main route.

These were delightful, a perfect touch.

Click for Birushana spoilers
Especially Shigehira, what the heck?? He’s even crazier than his brother, so I was amazed at how fun his story was.

The common route is deceptively short, because there are a handful of common scenes that occur within the routes themselves. Fortunately, the game recognizes most of these as read if you’ve already seen them once. On the other hand, there are a couple of scenes that show up nearly word-for-word in multiple scenes and yet the game always treated them as unread text, which was slightly annoying. The dictionary also bugged me, because it notifies you of entries even if you’ve already scene them before.

But those are minor complaints about what was overall a wonderful experience. There are also some grammar issues (Birushana does not like commas), but not enough to bother me too much.

Shanao is a great protagonist, and I love how Birushana handled fight scenes. Although it’s a visual novel, the characters clash with one another convincingly enough (especially as they all have both front and back view sprites) to bring the action to life.

Birushana was a delight. I read each route slowly at first, but once I’d reach the later chapters, I’d find myself unable to put it down as the stakes rose higher and higher. If you like historical fantasy and otome, I highly recommend it. Meanwhile, I’ll be waiting in the hopes that they decide to localize the fandisc (which gives those side characters full routes) as well!

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