This is the sequel/fandisk to last year’s Soushuu Senshinkan Gakuen Hachimyoujin, and expands on the original work quite a bit.
One of my major complaints about Hachimyoujin was its lack of focus in the early/middle parts, and by the time the full view of the setting came into play, it was late in the story and the game ended before getting in depth the same way say, Dies Irae, did. Bansenjin builds on the foundation laid by its prequel, and in turn becomes a much more focused work with a clearer story direction.
Hachimyoujin dabbled into meta aspects towards the end, while Bansenjin was very meta all the way through. The game is split into “trust” and “truth” segments, representing reality and the kantan respectively (this should make tons of sense for anyone who finished Hachimyoujin).
The obvious new draw would be the two new heroines Shizuno and Nanten. The former joins Yoshiya’s social group and is heavily featured in the trust segments, while the latter is Nobuaki’s “heroine.” It’s revealed very early on that Nanten is anything but what you would expect from a character under the eroge heroine label, and instead, plays the role of a villain. Since this is Masada’s eroge we’re talking about, Nanten ends up as the most charismatic and well-written heroine in the series by far. The back-and-forth between her frailness and strength, cute moments and twisted personality produce a perfect balance that works with Nobuaki’s role as the more sympathetic protagonist to create the most interesting relationship in the game, as well as one of the best scenes in the final stretch. She also brings more meaning to the role of 逆十字, and has a glorious theme song.
Shizuno is not a bad heroine per se, but it’s hard to compete with Nanten. For one thing, Shizuno overshadows the previous game’s heroines, and is almost more of a protagonist than the actual protagonist Yoshiya. Her position in the story seems overly convenient at first, but everything makes perfect sense given a reveal near the end and the meta nature of the story.
It was made clear early on in Hachimyoujin that the story (minus the prologue) began in the second loop of a pseudo-loop story, but the events of the first loop were never shown. Bansenjin goes into detail about this, and even gives some more screentime to old characters like Yurika, who actually gets a cool scene in contrast to the second loop’s rendition of her character. We’re also shown some of the struggles the main cast faced in the first loop, although Harumitsu clearly takes the spotlight here. Bansenjin most definitely carries over the Hachimyoujin’s habit of making the comic relief butt-monkey the most sympathetic of Yoshiya and gang. Mizuki, the former main heroine who ended up shining the least out of the heroines, is also given a moment of focus later on the story that she never really got before. The other old heroines are all still here, but they feel more like side characters. It’s hilarious how much effort is put into writing the villains’ and other side characters’ ideologies and giving them matching powers, while the heroines just feel like an extension to Yoshiya this time around. Atsushi and Harumitsu have some pretty good scenes and get some closure on their romantic subplots (Atsushi in particular) though.
I guess I should mention my main gripe with Bansenjin at this point, which is how it tries to be both a sequel and a fandisk (in the gakuenmono sense) even though the truth segments are much better than the trust segments (which is also where the majority of the slice-of-life occurs). The game actually added in the location-selection system with SD characters on the map mainly used in older eroge (usually moege), for the full fandisk feel. It’s not necessary at all, but gives a pretty good impression of Masada’s fooling around with the whole ‘Senshinkan is a gakuenmono’ joke. The parts in the kantan are, on average, better written than in Hachimyoujin, but the jokes in the comedy parts are a level down and are the reason for the slow-than-expected start. The prequel had a number of original comedic scenes in the slice-of-life parts that made the beginning just as engaging as the rest of the game (for me, at least), but the comedy here get tiring quick. Hachimyoujin also used the slice-of-life parts more effectively to develop some of the heroines’ characters, which isn’t as prominent here. The SoL/comedy and serious portions also mixed a lot more seamlessly in Masada’s other stuff compared to in here, where they glaringly clash. The parts with grumpy father Seijuurou are great, though.
That, and Keira still didn’t get anything substantial added to her character, even though she is by far the villain demanded to be in the spotlight by fans. She still serves a very template villain role, and one of the earliest major meta parts actually feels like a plain “fuck you” to the legion of fans who cried out for more Keira simply because of her attractive character design and voice. Admittedly, I also belonged there and wanted her to be given closure like Dies Irae’s Rusalka, but it’s hard to stay mad for over a year because I was otherwise very satisfied with the new characters and story added in Bansenjin. Plus, praise Nagase for the neverending dream.
The best parts, aside from everything with Nanten and Nobuaki, are definitely the last stretch of the game with the final boss fight and everything leading up to it. Bansenjin introduces the third Rosei, who I give the honorary mention heroine award for being cool and having a super high ヒロイン力 despite not being an actual heroine. Cream-chan’s smile warms my heart. The final boss brings along a philosophy that fits perfectly with the theme presented by Senshinkan’s setting, and manages to be on the other end of the spectrum in terms of social commentary compared to the last final boss. The Rosei setting is neat in that each Rosei carries an ideal about humanity that you can’t help but nod along with, even if your logical reasoning says otherwise. Everything accumulates to a very awesome climatic battle, where everyone’s favorite Amakasu manages to steal the show despite this not being his game. My one last complaint would be that Amakasu and Cream-chan not getting enough screentime (especially the latter, since she is a new character), but it makes sense given the story. It truly took the alignment of several celestial bodies for the final battle to even be possible, after all.
Anyways, Bansenjin goes into more detail regarding the events mentioned in the first game, and adds a lot more to the kantan setting. I would almost say that Bansenjin is a necessary addition to Hachimyoujin, considering how I thought that the latter needed another route to flesh things out more. I wasn’t very impressed with Hachimyoujin’s heroines compared to the villains when it came to the “real deal” parts, but Bansenjin fixed that in the most obvious yet effective way possible. I wouldn’t mind seeing another eroge in the Senshinkan universe, in any case. The ending is satisfying, but also open-ended enough that another entry wouldn’t break anything.
Now that I’m done, I think I’ll be on withdrawal for the next while. 大学クソくらえ