Miki's Playlog! Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3 (Ultimate) Date posted: 2019/06/20 Minor spoilers!! CG spoilers!! (any major spoilers hidden.)
Hello this is my Haruka 3 playlog page that I've made despite the fact that I've already completely finished the game! So I guess it's more just my thoughts after playing it. I'm not a very critically thinking type of person so this certainly isn't going to be any kind of review, but I'm gonna talk about events of the game and stuff I liked. But it's mainly just going to be gushing about my favorite characters!
It isn't really going to be a story summary either. If you're looking for something like that look elsewhere I guess.
Also warning that some stuff could potentially be kinda off. My Japanese is far from perfect, I'm still learning. And I have a bad memory on top of that. Take things with a grain of salt. I tried my best to get things right though!
Enough of that opening talk though! It's Haruka 3 time!!
You see the girl in the background image towards the front right behind this textbox with the long pink hair? That's the protagonist Nozomi and I love her a lot! She's so strong! She's really strong! Throughout the game she learns how to fight with a sword and becomes just as capable in combat(maybe even more) as any of the boys!
There are a lot of otome protagonists that say a lot about how they going to like work hard to right wrongs and stuff like that, but then they just end up getting protected by the games for most of the time.
But not Nozomi!
She seriously pulls her own weight. If it weren't for her literally all of them wouldn't be alive.
I don't think I've ever played an otome game before in which the protagonist wins one of the boys'(specifically Tomomori's) hearts by passionately crossing blades with him in fierce combat for an entire night. Neither of them were holding back. Tomomori was fighting prepared to kill. Nozomi still managed to overpower him though!
She's just so cool.
Just look at her fighting alongside Kurou.
Okay now it's time to talk about my favorite member of the cast of boys! Rizvan!! Rizu-sensei!! Sensei!!!
He's massive, he's cool, he's 34 years old, he's CV: Ishida Akira!! He's the tengu(oni) who taught Minamoto no (kurou) Yoshitsune his swordsmenship!
After Nozomi meets him in Kyou, he starts teaching her how to fight with her sword. He is a good and kind teacher! Him and Kurou have such a cute dynamic. Sometimes Kurou will say they should do something that isn't really a good idea(usually fueled by anger), Sensei will concisely tell him why it's a bad idea, and then Kurou always just goes like "yes Sensei you're entirely right I was totally wrong what was I even thinking thank you for your words." Okay maybe I'm exaggerating it a bit, but they have such a cute teacher pupil relationship. Kurou is a dummy.
But really, Kurou is right to revere him so much, Sensei is a great teacher!! God I wish he were my teacher. Because he's a really hecking tall(by Japanese standards) spooky oni, he comes across as scary at first. He's really stoic and doesn't really talk any more than necessary either, which doesn't help him seem any less spooky. He's just a big softie though!
And he loves Nozomi so much!!
He does his utmost to protect Nozomi, both by protecting her with his own skills, and by teaching her the skills necessary for her to defend herself. Nozomi becomes so strong so quickly thanks to his good teaching!
Look at him reminding Nozomi and Masaomi to drink plenty of water because it's hot where they're going. Big softie concerned for their health.
He loves Nozomi from the very start of the game. Maybe you're wondering why? It's because Nozomi had saved his life when he was a kid! That sounds a bit impossible, but it is possible because of Nozomi's Hakuryuu no Gekirin. It's the special stone/scale thingy embed in Hakuryuu's neck(he's the one on the far left in the background picture). She got it in the initial saisho no unmei(the first fate) ending in which everyone but Nozomi probably or definitely died. Their gekirin are the sources of the dragons' powers, if it gets taken out of their neck they lose their physical form. Sometimes I wonder if the saisho no unmei's Hakuryuu is still in there and has any concept of what's going on around him, like Kokuryuu could a bit in Saku's ending...
When she has the gekirin with her, Nozomi has the power to travel through time. Time travel is used a lot to get all the different endings and it's a very core part of the game. It gets pretty complicated and I had to follow a guide or I would have been completely lost a lot...
Back on topic to Rizu-sensei though!
Rizu-sensei grew up in a small peaceful village of oni not far from Kyou. Oni villages usually keep up a special kind of barrier that keeps their village hidden from anyone who comes near it, but sensei's village didn't want to just hide, and wanted to make peaceful ties with Kyou. But because of the history that oni have, and peoples' ingrained fear of the oni(and also how you'd be hailed as a hero and your social status as a warrior super boosted if you successfully hunt oni), it ended in tragedy. Sensei's village was burned to the ground, and everyone was killed.
Except for him.
In the Rizu-sensei route, when Nozomi is chasing after him, she accidentally follows him into wondering into a different time. The destruction of his village. She loses sight of him, but sees the horrible state the village is in, and sees a hurt young child. There's little she could do for the village at this point but she decides to at least save that little boy. She flees with him into the mountains, and tries to ease his pain by treating the burns on his face. While she's doing this an onryou suddenly appears behind her. It nearly strikes her until Rizu-sensei shows up and cuts it down.
That's what happens in the route, but Rizu-sensei recounts that in the original version of that fate, when he wasn't there to stop it, she gets killed by that onryou. Well I mean... He was there, but he was too young and weak to do anything about it. After she was struck by the onryou, in a panic he accidentally touched the gekirin hung around her neck, and it sent him many years back in time.
He spent all of those many many years training and becoming stronger. As strong as he possibly can, so that he'll be able to assuredly save her. Ever since that day he's basically dedicated his entire life to her, and making sure she lives. All he wants is to know that she's alive and well, and doesn't wish for anything more than that.
Mouse over the spoiler to see it!
Phew that basically just turned into a bit of a summary of part of his route. But all that is a part of why I love him and he's my favorite! I do love him most but everyone else is great too!!
My second favorite is probably a hard choice between Hakuryuu, Atsumori, and maaaaaaybe Tomomori. Tomomori is not a nice man so I don't like admitting how much I like him.
Okay so! Hakuryuu!! He's just... A little baby.....
He's a sweet little innocent child. I love him. He's so cute.
He has three different forms throughout the game. Little boy, grown man, and big dragon.
Here's him the actual following morning of the previous CG.
He regains his adult form after his powers start returning and stabilizing.
He still acts like an innocent baby even in his adult form though...
He gets so sad when he finds out he can't sleep together with Nozomi anymore in his adult form and doesn't fully understand why.
He's just a sweet baby who loves his miko(Nozomi) unconditionally so much.
He's a pure innocent baby who has no filter so he just has no hesitation in saying how much he loves her and how great she is all the dang time. It's so cute. How dare a dragon god be so adorable.
Also his kid form is voiced by Ootani Ikue. She's the voice actress of Pikachu! So his kid form's voice is so adorable. And his adult form is voiced by Okiayu Ryoutarou. He has such a cool deep voice. There's a character song with them singing together and it's absolutely beautiful.
He's pretty! He's cute! He's small!
He has the cutest smile...
Despite how cute and small he looks, he's actually an onryou though. He's part of the Heike and he was one of the people that they resurrected back to life and gave a human form as an onryou. He has a beastly onryou form too, it's pretty big, strong, and spooky.
I know saying he's an onryou sounds like it could be a big spoiler but it really isn't. It's pretty obvious the whole time. In the event that he actually admits it to Nozomi I was just like, "yes, I see." And it's established pretty early that a lot of the Heike are just walking dead onryou now. So it just makes sense.
He isn't in favor of the methods the Heike are using to fight the Genji(namely using onryou). After Nozomi found him wounded in the forest after the battle at Ichi-no-Tani, and helped see him back to health, he turned his back to the Heike. He still cares for his family, but more than that he wants to join Nozomi in sealing and granting peace to all the onryou his clan is responsible for making.
He feels they don't belong latched onto this world, and should move on and return to the earth. All of the onryou, including himself.
Atsumori and Nozomi are really cute together too. He really brings out her protective instincts more than any other boy. She's so dashing in his route.
"I decided that no matter what happens, I would protect him."
The part in his route that he heard his brother Tsunemasa playing the biwa from the Heike encampment, and started playing the same song along with him on his flute from near the Genji encampment was such a pretty scene.
Have I mentioned yet that Nozomi is really dashing with him? I should mention it more.
Nozomi those sound like the words a man says when he's proposing to the woman he loves...
I feel like I haven't really explained what it is I like so much about him but... He's just a good boy!
Okay so, Tomomori is sort of awful. He's a bit of a big jerk. He's a chaotic b*st*rd. Why do I like him? It's complicated.
Tomomori is a really chaotic man who lives for the excitement of battle. There's no time he's happier than when he's fighting with life and death at stake. He has loyalty to his own clan, and knows when it is and when it isn't a good time to draw his sword at least though. But during military operations he has little qualms with innocent people being hurt in the process. Not to say he enjoys hurting defenceless people. Ultimately what he seeks out is truly challenging opponents. So he can experience that rush of knowing that he may not make it out of there alive.
He takes a particular interest in Nozomi's swordsmenship. Always eager to cross swords with her.
Tomomori dies in every ending, apart from one. During the battle of Dan-no-Ura Nozomi always has no choice than to fight him. And after fighting him, he always throws himself into the ocean, ending his own life. Even if he didn't, he would likely just be captured and executed by Yoritomo anyway. The only ending that he does live, is the only ending that the battle at Dan-no-Ura doesn't happen. The Daidanen ending.
Tomomori doesn't have an ending in the original release of Haruka 3. It's only in Izayoi that he has one. Izayoi was released later and it's just Haruka 3 again but with a bunch of extra content added. I played the Ultimate release for the Vita that has all of the Izayoi content.
Tomomori route(?)/ending spoilers time
His route(kinda?) is actually in a separate timeline from his ending. His ending happens in the path towards the daidanen ending, which branches off from chapter 3, but his route(?) is in normal chapter 4. Time travel is confusing. In the route in chapter 4 Nozomi meets Tomomori by chance when she takes shelter from the rain. Tomomori doesn't know her, but she knows him.
"A fleeting connection... Once the rain stops, it will disappear."
As they talk there, Nozomi says that she knows he's probably come here(Kumano) together with Masaomi. Tomomori has taken an interest in Nozomi through their interaction, and decides on a whim to take her with him when he goes to regroup with Masaomi.
The three of them spend time in Kumano together, Masaomi unaware that she's with the Genji. Tomomori and Nozomi both aware that each other are with different sides, but saying nothing of the fact in front of Masaomi. Throughout the three's adventures in Kumano they do things like Nozomi and Tomomori taking the place of a shirabyoushi and performing a traditional dance together, and defeating an onryou that had taken a human form and was staying by Go-Shirakawa's side. Nozomi starts to feel a connection and fondness for Tomomori as time goes on.
The traditional dance CG is pretty.
At one point Tomomori comments that Nozomi sometimes looks at him with the eyes of someone mourning a dead man.
When it comes time for the three to part, Nozomi hesitates greatly to do so. Even though she knows she must return to Hakuryuu and the Genji.
After parting things continue as normal until the battle at Dan-no-Ura. Once again, Nozomi has no choice but to fight him. And once again, after being defeated he throws himself into the ocean.
Nozomi realises that she has little chance of saving him in any timelines that the battle of Dan-no-Ura happens, so she goes to the one fate that it doesn't. Daidanen.
During the time that that peace tying negotiations are proceeding between the Genji and Heike, Nozomi goes to find Tomomori.
The two meet in a forest, alone at night. Once again, this Tomomori doesn't know who she is. But she's come here driven by a desire. In this time of peace that they're not enemies, he expresses little interest in her. Saying that even if she may remember him, he doesn't, and won't, remember her. Nozomi knows it isn't words that will get through to him, so she challenges him to a duel.
The two exchange blows for hours upon hours, not even realising when the sun begins to come up.
Even in other routes after seeing Nozomi's fighting style, Tomomori had always insinuated that Nozomi's fighting is fueled by something more under the surface than just a desire to end the war. Even before the start of this night long duel as well, Tomomori tells Nozomi to show him her "true self."
Okay sorry I'm struggling to keep writing it in this serious-y book-y kinda style and I'm not sure if it's even that interesting to read or if I'm doing the story any justice so I'm gonna wrap this up I wanna get this page done while it's still fresh in my mind!
Okay so basically Tomomori wants Nozomi to just abandon all these pretenses about saving sh*t and go totally feral on him. They like communicate wordlessly with their fighting and Nozomi thinks to herself that she's never felt this close to another person before.
Nozomi had come here thinking that she just wanted to make sure he didn't die and that was it. During their fight though she admits to herself and to Tomomori that just him being alive isn't enough.
"I want you, Tomomori. I want your everything. Your blood, your flesh, your bones... Your soul. I won't give up on any part of you. I can no longer think that just you simply being alive is enough for me."
Eventually a bit after the sun has just risen Nozomi finally gets the better of him. She immobilizes him using a technique that she had learned from Tomomori himself in the other timeline in Kumano. Then Tomomori, with his sword out of his hand now, just like... sits there and fricking invites Nozomi to go and hecking claim her prize....
And then (this is actually in the unlocked extra story but) Nozomi brings him home to the others who are worried that she had been gone all night. To her it's like the end of a long journey but to all of them it just looks like she picked up some random dude in the forest(well not random to the Heike boys). Kurou yells at her to put him back where she found him like he's some random thing she picked up it's great.
Nozomi you're so cool... Nozomi you're so strong... Look at you just beating up a Heian era warlord into submission. I neglected to mention this before but in the Rizvan route she actually wins against him in a full on serious duel. She surpassed her teacher... She's so powerful. Strong capable proactive protagonists are the best I love her. Oops this is just turning into why I love Nozomi more than why I like Tomomori. I like him too.
In conclusion, I love Nozomi.
Other Favorite Things!
Okay now it's time for me to talk about other things I liked about the game aside from just my favorite characters!
G A M E P L A Y .
Okay admittedly the gameplay is pretty simple and with little to no challenge. Some fights give a little trouble in the beginning when you haven't unlocked many abilities yet but once you have a lot of unlocks it's a walk in the park.
But it looks really nice!!
It doesn't really look quite as nice in a still image as it does in motion. All of those little pixel-y sprites are animated and move around a whole lot. The animation is so nice and smooth it looks really good. I wish I could post a gif of the animation but I can't really easily record off of my Vita.
All of the characters have different abilities and skills and stuff. When your bond level with a character is high enough you unlock a special duo attack with Nozomi and that character!
I really like the poses of some of these special attacks. Touching hands...
There's also other special combo attacks you can unlock for characters if you go into certain game events with specific prequisites fulfilled.
Kumano Shounen attack with Atsumori and Hinoe!
Some of the sprites for the boss battles are pretty cool too.
I love the Heike. I love all of them. Maybe not Kiyomori so much though, but he has his moments too. I really love them. They may not all be the best people but they most of them love their family!! Kiyomori please just stop with all this onryou business and run away and be happy and live in peace with your family. I want them to live happily... And Masaomi is just as much a member of the family as any of the others!!
I definitely love them a whole hecking lot more than the Genji. And by the Genji I mostly mean just Yoritomo and Masako. Yoritomo and Masako can both go to HECK to be honest.
Please buy and play Haruka 3 it's so good play it right now. I want to play Haruka 3 Unmei no Labyrinth now...
Also if you actually read through all of this I'm impressed. If you just scrolled straight to the bottom then I understand but also heck you, READ IT.
There's a bunch of other things I love about this game but this page is already long enough, also I'm bad at explaining things!!
Also it doesn't really fit into the subject of the game itself but so many of the Haruka 3 character songs are so good. There's 92 of them on JP Spotify and I've just been listening to them all the time since I finished the game.