Since of the 5 heroines with routes you only get Kotori, Chihaya and Lucia from the start and Akane and Shizuru’s routes have to be unlocked, I went with Chihaya’s route first because it’s necessary to unlock Akane’s.
Chihaya is the transfer student who got off with Kotaro on bad terms and got invited to the occult club by Akane herself rather than being dragged in by Kotarou like the remainder. She is also crazy strong, but clumsy and naive due to being a rich ojousama. Comes with her own personal bishounen battle butler named Sakuya (he wears glasses!) who is posing as her brother at school. Chihaya herself is a mild type-B tsundere for Kotarou while Sakuya hates him like an overprotective father and constantly makes fun of him. He is also described as a tsundere by Kotarou, so this is essentially a double-tsundere package lol.
I’m continuing off from the previous post on the common route, so I’ll cut straight into Chihaya’s route. Beware of spoilers, obviously (and probably interpretation errors as well, seeing as how most people going in armed with extremely basic Japanese knowledge and a dictionary gave up real quick).
After the incident at the forest when looking for Inoue, Kotarou goes to school and nobody from the occult club is there. Yoshino yells at him because something is obviously up if the class prez is absent, and Kotarou tries to cover it up by saying that everyone got a cold. Yoshino doesn’t buy it and pesters Kotarou, who tries to push him away but inflicts loads of pain because he got stronger after using his powers to make an aurora blade to defeat the black dogs before. Yoshino leaves, and Kotarou finds Shizuru who came to school to give him a final goodbye. He is feeling forever alone because none of his friends are at school, but then Chihaya shows up saying that she overslept. After school the two go to the occult club room to meet with Akane, who says that it will be dangerous for him to live alone so he will go live with Chihaya and her battle butler.
Kotarou and Chihaya has a run-in with a large group of the black dogs, but the latter defeats them all with an iron pole and they turn into dust after being killed. Basically there are two organizations fighting against each other: Gaia and Guardians. Gaia consists of demon users (demon is the closest term to “mamono” I can think of) who are able to make and/or contract demons, but it uses up their life and they’re trying to return the world to its original state (AKA destroy humans) because it will destroy itself at the current rate. Guardians has people with supernatural powers (like Kotarou) and they’re trying to stop Gaia and protect the current state of the world. Chihaya and Akane are in Gaia (with the latter being something like the head of the Japanese branch), Shizuru and Lucia are in Guardians, and Kotori is neutral. There is also internal conflict in Gaia and both groups have Kotarou marked because he is close to the “key” which is required for Gaia’s plan to take action and both sides want it.
The previous times where Kotarou was chased by black dogs and robed men are cases of people within Gaia trying to get him. Around town there are many spaces leading to an alternate dimension where demon users get their demons from and they look like the town except there are no normal people in them (like where Kotarou and Yoshino got lost in, and where the former met the two fairy-like things Gil and Pani). Sakuya puts Kotarou through some training so he can get stronger, and Kotaro starts falling in love with Chihaya (who is very obviously into him and he trolls her about it a couple times). During nightly training, Chihaya runs off to scout for enemies and never came back, and Kotarou runs into Gil and Pani. Who were looking for him because he forgot to tell them he was going to live with Chihaya. He fights off a black dog but there are many more and 3 dudes in red robes are talking in the forest. The 3 dudes are Tenma, Tenjin and Midou, who are in Gaia and targetting Kotarou. Gil tells him to run because they were the people who experimented on him but they were discovered and fight with a palette swap of a black dog ensues. Afterwards Gil and Pani are introduced to Sakuya and Chihaya, and they reveal that they’re demons created from a Gaia lab researching how to make demons with a will of their own that was supposedly closed down.
They decide to attend school like normal, but the other occult club members are still absent and Yoshino is raging at Kotarou for getting along with Chihaya and not doing anything about Kotori and gives him a SON I AM DISAPPOINT speech. Kotarou tells him that he got wrapped up in some deep shit and Yoshino is now only half disappoint. School is very boring because no one else is there, and Kotarou finally feels the boredom I experience at school every day. Sakuya tells them to go investigate the school at night because something is probably up, and they go into the basement which leads to the space that Kotarou found Gil and Pani in. Inside they get attacked by Tenma and Chihaya falls into a hole so Kotarou has to fight by himself. Tenma summons Kuriboirogu, which is this huge armored thing that RPG savvy Kotarou knows will obviously have a weak point. He tries to fight it but he’s too weak so he and Gil run instead. They get out of the school and it chases after them, but Sakuya in a cool outfit comes to the rescue and cuts Kuriboirogu. Tenma is dying because Kuriboirogu is trying to recover its own wounds using his life energy, and Midou arrives to burn him to death.
Back at home Sakuya reveals that he is also a demon, and he is known as the strongest. Chihaya lived in a Gaia village inside an alternate dimension when she was little and her parents were demon users. Then people from Guardians found them and killed the entire village but Chihaya escaped and ran to a cherry blossom tree. She cried for help there and Sakuya appeared and they contracted. Kotarou confesses to Chihaya and they go on a date, but Midou shows up and causes a fire in a building as a warning. On the day before the harvest festival, Midou attacks while they’re having gym and sets the place on fire. Yoshino breaks open the door and lets everyone escape, but Kotarou goes back for Chihaya and they face off against Midou and his demon, Fogo. Meanwhile Tenjin has Sakuya covered by summoning the flying Kirimanjaro. Kotarou defeats Midou using his shounen power-ups, but refuses to kill him because he doesn’t want to kill so the latter burns himself to death after giving a short angsty speech about how he grew up in a shitty country.
Sakuya, Chihaya and Kotarou attend the festival but on the way back they realized Sakuya isn’t with them so Kotaro goes back to look. He gets attacked by Nishikujou-sensei, who is from Guardians and is trying to kill him because he is a double holder (someone who is able to use powers to strengthen their body, and also able to use the aurora). I actually forgot about her for a long time since she appeared at the very beginning as a popular teacher who likes Shizuru’s cuteness and never mentioned again, but it did strike me as weird that she had a portrait. Sakuya somes to the rescue.
Akane found the “key” everyone is after, and it turns out to be the girl Kotarou saw in the forest the other day, but she starts acting strange and gives her to him stating that she has no need for her or them anymore because it won’t activate. The girl’s name is Kagari and she is essentially the “will” of the Earth and determines what happens based on the memories of people that accumulate. He gets a call from Shizuru warning him that Guardians know he has the key now and if he doesn’t give her to them they will kill him. The next day they meet with Shizuru and Nishikujou-sensei. Shizuru identifies Kagari as the real thing, but she’s like an empty shell–useless because the key won’t activate. World destruction didn’t happen but Guardian is still after Gaia because demons are dangerous.
Nishikujou decides to seize Chihaya because she has Sakuya and they’re suddenly surrounded by more people. She calls Sakuya, but Shizuru makes a blue mist that paralyzes a demon so he gets hit by Nishikujou’s attacks. Kotarou powers up due to rage and defeats Shizuru, but Sakuya tells Chihaya that he’s nearing his limit for strengthening and will become a demon and lose sense of reason if not stopped. Sakuya, Shizuru and Nishikujou fight him to bring him back to normal. They can’t win over Kotarou’s protagonist powers, so Chihaya releases more of Sakuya’s power (thus using up some of her life) and he beats him.
Kotarou sees Sakuya’s memories, where he used to be a human with powers but strengthened himself too much and became a demon. He couldn’t protect a girl caught up in a previous version of the Gaia vs. Guardian war and his regret made him become a tree. When Chihaya came, the tree made a demon called Sakuya to protect her. Everything goes back to normal, Nishikujou leaves and Shizuru heals Kotarou. Sakuya then collapses, and back at home Gil and Pani also have their power weakened as a result of Akane’s energy-gathering. Kagari leaves saying that her duty is over, and Kotarou, Chihaya and Gil decide to go see what Akane is up to. Outside they bump into Yoshino who gives Kotarou his encouraging bro words (in his tsundere way), and they go to the Gaia building.
Inside, they find a crazy Akane trying to destroy the world ‘cuz Kagari won’t do it and summoning both Kirimanjaro and Kuriboirogu at once using the energy she gathered in a power spot. Chihaya tries to talk her out of it while Kotaro fights the demons but he’s obviously not winning and Sakuya arrives to save Chihaya from taking a blow from Kirimanjaro. He freaking bended space to come here, so he reached his limit. He tells Chihaya to forgive him for 3 selfish things he will do: ask her to forgive him, refuse her order f0r the first time, and return to dust.
He deals a blow to Kuriboirogu, and tells Kotaro to be Chihaya’s knight and that she should’ve met him sooner. Kotaro calls him a stupid father, and Sakuya says he prefers to be called brother. D’aaaaawww. His body has been at the limit and crumbling since she was small, but he held it out to protect her. He defeats all the demons and then dies. *sniff* It was beautiful…However, Akane summons more and she goes through the power spot. Kotarou asks Kagari WTF is up with her, and she shows him a bit of Akane’s dark memories before disappearing.
Chihaya goes through the power spot, deciding to go bring Sakuya back. Her power right now is Sakuya’s so he hasn’t disappeared completely. Kotarou follows, and it brings him to the forest. They arrive at a space which is where Chihaya’s old home used to be, and Gil starts losing his energy because demons sustain their bodies using energy from the earth and Akane’s energy gathering has weakened that. He gives a final friendship speech and disappears. Meanwhile, Chihaya reads some messages her dad left inside unmoving demons he created, and Kotaro proposes to her lololololol. They go through the power spot to the final boss.
Akane summons a giant, but Kotarou defeats it easily. He taunts her so she decides to summon more, but then is stopped by Nishikujou and Shizuru. Since everything is over now, she decided to kill herself but Chihaya stops her and gives her an awesome speech about friendship and living. Akane cries (dammit, now I really want to play her route!!!) and Chihaya gets over Sakuya’s death. So, everything is solved, they can live a peaceful life…right?
That was too anticlimatic, so a hugeass dragon gets summoned. Nishikujou can’t defeat it, neither can helicopters. Esaka, the old man from the antique shop who has a portrait and therefore must be important appears and tells them to run away because they obviously can’t beat the hugeass dragon. Chihaya tells the Guardians that their attacks won’t have effect, because the dragon is Sakuya. Kotarou looks at the dragon’s chest area, and Sakuya is there.
The dragon is absorbing the energy from nature, and Chihaya stabs herself to stop it because she is contracted to Sakuya and will be able to stop it if she dies. Kotarou refuses to let her stap herself more, so he decides to fight the dragon like a true shounen manga hero.
Esaka, Nishikujou, Shizuru and Kotarou team up to fight the dragon, whose movement has been stopped by Gil and Pani despite their physical bodies no longer existing. Kotarou charges in with a 5 meter long sword and defeats the dragon’s regenerating parts with fire coming out of his aurora blade he received from Midou, with the awesome opening theme playing as BGM. He reaches Sakuya and calls him an idiot. Before leaving for good, Sakuya challenges Kotarou to a fight to test his skills.
Afterwards, Kotarou and Chihaya live normal lives and continue with occult club. Shizuru is doing well, and Lucia still has stuff to take care of. Kotori moved somewhere and didn’t contact anyone, and Akane will return to school in spring but be held back a year. Yoshino continues not knowing anything lol.
Lol it took me like over a month to get through one route XD Anyways, rather than a Chihaya route that felt more like a Sakuya route honestly. There wasn’t much romance, and the closest I got to tearing up was Sakuya’s and Gil’s “goodbyes.” It was beautiful how Kotaro reached out to him at the end and they had a final duel as friends (in a non-yaoi-fangirl bait kind of way), but there wasn’t enough of that emotional stuff with Chihaya herself. Gil’s voice was annoying as fuck but I’m a sucker for friendship speeches and all so I liked him at the end. All in all, Chihaya should’ve gotten more crowning moments of awesome. It felt like a shounen manga due to all the action and how the girl loses focus in favor for friendship between dudes lol. Also, Key seriously needs to have more CGs. This is one visual novel where I really like Hinoue’s designs, but Chihaya only had 8 CGs where she was the focus (everything else in her section was group pic or Sakuya CG without her in it). For the comparison, Starry Sky in Spring was a short otome game where the routes are pretty much all the same except for the guy who confesses to the heroine, and they each had 9 CGs dedicated to them (and not group). Rewrite is many times longer and many times more eventful, but it seriously lacks CGs.