- The story centers on Nara who by accident ends being transported to the Spirit World and meeting Hayato, Shuye, and a cast of various other characters.
- Nara has to survive a month in the Spirit World. The question arises on whether she will be able to survive and if she would finally let go of her hatred or let it consume her completely.
- In this route, Nara ends up meeting Hayato’s older brother, Mikio, and through her month there she ends up trying to help him find a job — though, she might be pushed into something more than she bargained for
This review will go a bit deeper into the game in regards to story and the character dynamics. To read my initial thoughts about the game, check out my first review talking about the demo.
★ ☆ ✰ Rating: 10/10
When the game was in development, I was excited when Mikio’s route was announced. After some time, it has finally been released and I couldn’t be happier because it did not disappoint and when far beyond what I expected of the route. I must also note that the CGs in this route were really beautiful, towards the end they were really magical but it was just something about them that showed a great improvement to the last route, but that this romance was all something different compared to Hayato’s.
As stated before, Nara (name is changeable) is thrown into the Spirit World during its month long festival and decides to to stay with the kitsune family and pay off her debt during her time there. In her time there, Nara comes to find a sort of new independence as she works and figures things out on her own, while also getting to know Hayato’s family better. Through this she ends up meeting Hayato’s older brother, Mikio — a kitsune on nothing but debauchery and alcohol. While he seems irresponsible, there is something that draws Nara to him, which leads to Asuka and Sakuya pushing her to help him find a good. Through their time together, Nara comes to see that there is something lurking that Mikio can’t seem to move on from, but can Nara do anything about it or will she give up like everyone else has?
I am going to be corny and say that when I first saw Mikio in the demo his attitude towards drinking reminded me of the old Trigun quote: “Lushes, drunks, sliding alcohol down their throats to try to dilute the memories that can’t be forgotten.” It was obvious from the beginning that Mikio was hiding from something through his drinking and none seemed to acknowledge it anymore, he was just someone that couldn’t be done with anymore. thinking about all the otome games I have played, I was already thinking about what his background story would be to make him so sad and so desperate for death to take him, for him to forget all his pain. I was surprised to hear his background story and just how much raw pain Mikio felt all the time because of his failures towards his job, but also the pain that came from disappointing Shuye and his family. It was something that I resonated with and it made his pain that much more understandable, and while his route isn’t an easy one, Mikio is taking steps to move forward and seek support from the people that care about him once more.
I personally love how selfless Nara can be in this route sometimes because while there is hate due to her knowing Hayato, all she wants to do is help Mikio from the bottom of her heart and while her intentions can be a little murky at times, Nara is pure in wanting to help Mikio even if her actions are extreme at time. Because in comes Nara and while she doesn’t know everything, she crashes into his world to try to help him. However, it isn’t easy for either of them and they hurt each other along the way, but also come to understand that how important moving forward is to both of them. Nara can come off as pretentious at times, but Mikio is always there to make her see it from a different point of view and rethink it, because not everything is as black and white as she thinks it is. They grow together in different ways and are able to come out of their shells, but miscommunications is very easy and it leads to Mikio reliving his destructive past in the worst sorts of ways.
I also loved seeing the kitsune family interactions at play because while Hayato’s route sets up the basics, Mikio gives us more depth to their relationships. Asuka and Sakuya are shown to just scream at Mikio to get his life together, but it is shown that their feelings are more complex than that because they care deeply about Mikio, but after trying for some many centuries they just don’t know what to do anymore. They are always in the brink of giving up, but Nara always keeps pushing them back in her own way. The story is a little different for Hayato because while he knows the stories behind his older brother, this is the only version of Mikio he had ever known. While, he doesn’t exactly follow his older sisters’ example completely, it is shown that he finds it difficult to interact with Mikio. The results of Mikio’s change isn’t shown, but in everything else the player can see how deeply they all care about it each, even if its a little rough at times.
I’ll admit that I had big hopes for what Mikio’s story was going to be and Lettuce Waltz didn’t disappoint. While, Mikio does have his problems, there is still hope for him but the road of recovery and self-assurance isn’t an easy one and that is shown here. People misunderstand each other at times and it leads to pain and taking back a step or two, but someone is always there to support you in the own way — Mikio learns that about Nara and is shown that from his younger siblings. “Love”, especially romantic love, always tends to save a character in otome game, but here it was family and a sort of odd friendship that allows Mikio to take the first steps of his new life.
I really enjoyed this route and so far it is my favorite and it will be kind of tough to beat it anytime soon! So, if you’re looking for something a little bit different, consider checking this story out!