This will be a short review of Yoshiwara Higanbana for Windows, although still contains spoiler. The game had been on my playing list for about 5 years. Thankfully, I have a chance to play it now. The company, Maria Crown, is related to Karin Entertainment. That might be the reason I could hear Mizushima Takahiro (from Grimm) in R18 voice. Though my concern is Windows otome games always lack more scenarios. So please consider there is no new added CG like in PS Vita or Switch.
The heroine’s name is Rin. Her name as a prostitute is Chihaya. Since the set is a brother in Yoshiwara, Oukaya, it will be a suitable theme for R18 story. As Chihaya, she is the most popular oiran in Oukaya and has strong relationship with the owner, Oukaya Shigure. She has a little girl’s maid or komuro, Yuzu.
The review will goes to the character now, according to my playroute. Since I must play Shigure happy ending first before I could get to Souichirou’s happy end, I think I will write about Shigure first. And there are two bad endings from Shigure route which I think it is the true story. I will put it the last after Souichirou’s review because I could get it after his happy ending.’
Ootsuki Shinobu (CV Suga Kiya / Majima Junji)
HAPPY END : FLUTTERING
Shinobu is always playing around with women, but he never hold Chihaya. He is actually an illegitimate child of a daimyo and has a brother with different mother, Suzuchiyo. After building a relationship with Shinobu, his step mother, who is the legal wife of his father, kidnapped Rin. Suzuchiyo, who is sick and wants to know more of Rin, is in the same room as her. But his mother put a fire to kill Rin, which will endanger her own son. Shinobu saved them though.
After Rin had done her years of being an oiran, she met Shinobu on the way back home. Shinobu had retired being a daimyo, because his little brother, Suzuchiyo, had taken the position. He will go together home with Rin to propose to her parents.
BAD END : PINKY PROMISE
Rin is pregnant still believe Shinobu will pick her up. Meanwhile, Shigure found it strange because Shinobu won’t come anymore after getting married to another woman. He told Rin that if her child is a girl, she must raise her as a prostitute. But she couldn’t have a boy because he will have the same fate as Shinobu, as an illegitimate child. But it makes her angry because she will keep waiting for Shinobu forever.
BAD END : I’M SURE I WILL GET IT BACK
Seven years after the fire incident, Rin lived in a quiet house alone. Shinobu had married a beautiful woman, and their child, Kunimatsu, came to visit the rumoured beautiful concubine of his father. He’s glad to meet Rin, because she’s very pretty as the rumour said. At night when Shinobu came to embrace her, she asked about his wife. Shinobu said after they had Kunimatsu, he didn’t embrace his wife anymore because she is sick. Rin couldn’t get pregnant and when Kunimatsu played with her, she had thought of killing that child.
Kaguraya Akito (CV Waruta Higeuchi / Takeuchi Ryouta)
HAPPY END : LULLABY
Akito is Shigure’s friend. He works as a money lender for the people. His father is a strict person. When he met Rin as Chihaya, Akito always being cold to her or tease her.
Rin is separating herself from Akito after knowing he’s the cause of her parents having suicide. The incident happened not long before one year she worked at Oukaya, and Shigure also kept quiet for 10 years. In the past, her parents borrowed money from Akito’s father to open a restaurant in Edo. But it got in a fire and they could not pay the loan. Akito had told them to just die if they wouldn’t pay. Shinobu told her that even if Akito’s business of lending money could get someone in huge debt until they sell themselves, some people were also saved, especially if someone need medicine. A month after that, she met Akito in the shrine. He confessed he still loves Rin. But she couldn’t answer his question to be forgiven. A woman stabbed Akito suddenly and after they took care of him, the people captured that woman. It seems she is in a huge debt and wants to get revenge for her parents. This makes Rin takes care of him while Akito is sick. Finally, they get married and are waiting for their first child. Rin also helps Akito in doing the business in gentler way.
BAD END : TIGER AND SNAKE
After decided to get separated with Akito, Shigure brought Rin to Minowa and not doing work in Oukaya. But Akito kidnapped her and made a tattoo, a big one so she can’t serve any customer. The tattoo is a black snake, matching with Akito’s tiger on his back. While doing sex with Rin, Akito is crying a lot for their situation. Rin thought she would be killed by Akito someday.
BAD END : WORDS THAT COULD NOT BE CONVEYED
Rin asked Akito to stop doing his business but he couldn’t do that. A woman stabbed him and he died. She is being quiet now and can’t stop crying.
Sakuya (CV Uta Kijima / Mizushima Takahiro)
HAPPY END : UNDER THIS ROOF
Sakuya is a commoner and I don’t know his family name. He works as the hairdresser in many brothels. A quiet and dedicated person who doesn’t talk much. After Rin found a cat, Sakuya took care of it in his house. Rin often came to play with the cat. At some point, she knew Sakuya couldn’t read, so she taught him words. But the cat died from stray dogs. As they meet often, they became a secret lover.
The relationship of Rin and Sakuya was found by Sakuya’s senior, Ebinaya. Ebinaya was the person who put his name on Sakuya’s land ownership, because Sakuya couldn’t read before. But since Ebinaya is a relative from Sakuya’s master, Sakuya couldn’t hate him. Someday, Ebinaya became Rin’s guest to sleep with her. But Seitarou, Ebinaya’s friend, told him that his mother is in critical condition and left the room with Rin. But Shigure found that Rin out a sleeping medicine in Ebinaya’s sake, although she didn’t give it to him. As a punishment, Shigure dip her face inside a water a few times until Rin fell unconscious and kept her inside a warehouse for two days.
Five days after that punishment, Rin met Ebinaya again at the shrine. He forced her to sleep with him, but Sakuya came. When Ebinaya tried to attack Sakuya on his back, Sakuya dodged it and made Ebinaya got hurt with blood. Thinking they might get into a problem of killing Ebinaya, Sakuya suggested Rin to run away from Yoshiwara with him. She agreed and told him to cut her hair so people would be thinking she is a man. But they got captured by Shigure on the rainy night before going outside Yoshirawa. Shigure told Rin to come back and will degrade her rank to a maid. But Sakuya wouldn’t let her go back to Oukaya. Knowing they are in danger, Rin is ready to stab herself. But Sakuya grabs her dagger, hurting his hand. In the end, Shigure let them escape the town.
Six years after that, Rin is teaching tea ceremony and have a class for it with the people in their town. But Sakuya’s hands can’t get healed. He becomes the hairdresser in the town, but can’t do difficult hairstyle. They have a five years old daughter, named Kanoko. Since she asked for a sibling, that night, Sakuya and Rin will grant that wish.
BAD END : DEAD END
Rin let Ebinaya drink the sake with sleeping medicine. Shigure found out about it and punish Rin by dipping her face inside water and stored her in the warehouse. Rin refused to run away with Sakuya, so he forced her to do sex inside the room. To prevent anyone noticing her voice, Sakuya put a cloth in her mouth. Then, he cut her hair so she can’t serve customer anymore and did sex a few times more until she is unconscious.
BAD END : WHITE BURIAL
Ebinaya knew about the sleeping drug inside his sake. But Sakuya came to save Rin from Ebinaya at the shrine. But Sakuya got killed while protecting Rin from Shigure’s men. Two years after his death, Rin lives in Minowa and Yuzu serve as her maid (kamuro). She can’t remember everytime Yuzu talks about herself. But one things she is doing now, waiting for Sakuya, who wrote her letter.
BAD END : INSIDE THE LATTICE
Shigure found about Rin and Sakuya’s attempt to escape Yoshiwara. The two of them jumped to the river and Rin was found by a boat captain. But they couldn’t find Sakuya. She works as a prostitute in another town and while running away from Yoshiwara’s men, she finally reach a northern town. On rainy days, Rin is always waiting for someone to pick her up and finally see a man without umbrella in front of her, trying to reach his hand from the lattice.
Oukaya Shigure (CV Houden-tei Gatsushin / Morikawa Toshiyuki)
HAPPY END : DAWN
In the past, Shigure had protected Rin from his father’s punishment. His father’s smoke pipe left a scar on his left eye, can’t see anymore. Now, his right eye is becoming worse, sometimes can get blurry. That’s why Rin gave him a glasses that Shigure treasured. But at some time, Shino, a woman who works in Oukaya to be Shigure’s substitute, broke the glasses. It made him and Rin felt sad, but they couldn’t do anything.
Meanwhile, after sleeping together for a few times, Iseya Souichirou proposed to buy Rin. But she refused because she’s thinking of Shigure. Souichirou gave up easily. But Shigure still thinks she will get married with another man, for example Iseya. He doesn’t know Rin has refused the offer to be free from Oukaya. That day, Oukaya celebrated summer by playing with fireworks. After everyone had done playing, it’s now Rin and Shigure’s turn. But after Rin won the fireworks battle with Shigure, she kissed Shigure and he return the kiss. But they didn’t talk much, only Shigure was surprised, because Okiku called Rin to work.
One day, Shigure told Rin about his right eye. He can still see her but sometimes, the eye will get worse and he can’t see anything. So he told Rin that he will retire from being Oukaya’s owner and leave Yoshiwara with her. Because he always loves Rin for ten years she lives in Oukaya. Rin also have the same feelings and accepted Shigure’s proposal to live with him. At dawn, the two of them go from Oukaya quietly. But Yuzu is sad for getting separated with Rin. After Shigure convinced her and apologize for taking her precious older sister, he and Rin went to the gate and will live happily together even after Shigure can’t see anything.
BAD END : FALLEN OIRAN
After being left by Shigure, who had retired, Rin became crazily reaching for sex with men. From Sakuya, Shinobu, and Akito. Everytime she met a man who love her, she did it with them. When Tatsukichi tried to wake her mind, Rin didn’t accept because Shigure wouldn’t appear in front of her anymore.
Iseya Souichirou (CV Sawa Mannaka / Nakazawa Masatomo)
HAPPY END : DEMON LANTERN WHISTLE
Souichirou is Rin’s childhood friend. He’s like an adopted son in Rin’s family. By the time he reached teen, he must go to work by himself and left Rin, made a promise to marry her beside the lake with lycoris flowers. He finally told the truth to Rin after three times being her customer, that he is the Sou-san from Rin’s childhood and embrace. But Shigure found out about her relationship with Souichirou, telling them to not meet anymore. Here, it was explained that Shigure’s left eye got hurt while protecting Rin from his father, who tried to punish her in the past.
Though with the help of Tatsukichi, the man who works in Oukaya, Rin is able to meet Souichirou at a tea house. He told Rin that he will buy her. And his job contains a dangerous illegal shipping goods, such as gun, to foreign country. But Shigure refused Shouchirou’s offer to buy Rin, telling Rin that it’s because he already knew that Souichirou is suspicious. Though after that, Rin heard Shigure talked with Okiku, that her price is not as cheap as Souichirou had offered. It made her hate Shigure for separating her with Sou-san. Suddenly, the police are searching for Souichirou because of a bad rumour. That time, Tatsukichi offered her a help to meet Souichirou again and run away with him from Yoshiwara. While being kept inside a coffin, some men who helped Tatsukichi shipped the coffin said that there are many women died at Oukaya. It made Rin surprised because she never heard her friend died or something. Before saying goodbye to Tatsukichi, he told Rin that Souichirou had saved him and his brothers-like friend in the past. That made him a loyal subordinate of Souichirou. But a few Yoshiwara’s men chased after them.
Tatsukichi ordered Rin to run away, but she got hurt. Shigure chased them and there was a fight between Souichirou and Shigure’s men. Finally, Souichirou told Rin that Shigure had been pursuing Rin ever since he went to Kiyosu-ya, a restaurant of Rin’s family. To get Rin as his oiran and have more money, Shigure lied to her parents, Tokujirou and Mio, to open a shop in Edo. But the shop caught in fire, all of it was Shigure’s plan. When Rin’s parents sent Souichirou a letter to take care of their daughter, he just found their bodies in their restaurant after having a suicide together. But Souichirou couldn’t find Rin because she had been taken by Shigure. But Shigure also claims that Souchirou has killed six people with a gun before, the same sin as him. While Rin is shock, Souichirou tries to shoot Shigure and hurt him. But Rin stop him from killing Shigure. In the end, even after three years have passed, the two of them are in a run from Edo officials forever. But they live happily even though they must change places after the officials found them.
BAD END : FORM OF HAPPINESS
When Rin tried to find Souichirou at the port, Shigure found her. He said he want to live with Rin so he doesn’t want her to get married with Souichirou. It’s like he’s being in love with Rin. But when Souchirou tried to kill Shigure later, she noticed Shigure’s eyes became bad and couldn’t see her appearance. Rin couldn’t keep Shigure alone and Souchirou decided to bring Shigure along to Ryukyu. One year after that, Souichirou gets married with Rin has built a big house in Ryukyu and might does dangerous things again. Rin can’t even talk with the servants in their house. The servants don’t know that there is a hidden room, only Souichirou have the key. There, they keep hiding Shigure, who is blind now. That night, Souchirou brings Rin to Shigure’s room and let Shigure taste her sweet honey for the first time.
BAD END : DON’T GIVE UP TO ANYONE
Tatsukichi offered Rin to meet Souichirou at a tea house. But Shigure is the one waiting for her. He said he know the landlady of the shop so he know that Souichirou will be meeting Rin in that place. Souichirou and Tatsukichi must have already been captured. Shigure brought Rin back to Oukaya and the rest of the story is, she was degraded and killed Harukumo.
I have done writing reviews for each character. Now, let’s go to the ultimate bad ending and some common ending.
SHIGURE BAD END : HIGANBANA / LYCORIS
Okiku is reminiscing of Shigure’s father, Risuke, who had given up his position as Oukaya’s owner because of gambling and alcohol. When Risuke asked Rin, former name is Chidori, to learn writing poem, she made a mistake and the ink spread on the tatami mat. Risuke got angry and tried to embrace her until Shigure found them. Shigure was angry at his father for lying hand on Rin, but he got the smoke pipe and hurt his left eye.
At night, Rin tried to reach where the woman’s voice she heard twice came from. She found a hidden door in Shigure’s room, where many tools were displayed. There, Shigure is hurting Itosato, one of prostitute in Oukaya. He said it’s because Itosato couldn’t satisfy the customers, to discipline her. When Rin tried to save Itosato, Shigure got very surprised and sad because Rin found his other side. But she fell unconscious and heard the news about Itosato’s disappearance. At some point, Rin also found the letter she sent to her parents in Shigure’s workroom. Shigure told her that it’s because her parents had died a long time ago, a year after Rin came to Yoshiwara.
Through Tatsukichi, Rin met Souichirou and asked about her parents. Souichirou agreed that her parents had died a long time ago. Hearing that, Rin accepted his marriage proposal. Souichirou was happy because he also heard bad rumour in Oukaya. Numerous oiran had been missing and the place is haunted. It made Rin remember about Itosato. When she talked to Shigure and drinking tea with him, Shigure already know of her decision to marry Souichirou. But he gave an aphrodisiac inside the tea and made her body feel weird. Shigure brought Rin to the hidden room and did sex with her (also teasing her with his brush) so she made a promise not to leave Shigure forever, telling her to refuse Souichirou’s proposal.
At some point, Shigure got hurt in Kaguraya Akito’s house. It’s not a big trouble, but Akito told Rin that Shigure couldn’t see with his only eye sometimes. That’s why Shigure got hurt, because he couldn’t see well. Not long after the accident, Okiku also asked Rin to take care of Shigure. She also told her about Shigure’s past. His mother was a princess of a noble in Kyoto and didn’t love his father, Risuke. Risuke couldn’t make child, meanwhile, Shigure’s mother had a child with another man. Since child, Risuke had beaten Shigure with hot pipe and hit him. Okiku also knew about what happened to Itosato and the other prostitute, because Shigure killed them and Okiku explained it as a missing person or accident. She wanted Rin to help Shigure by getting rid of his illness. Also, Shigure is the one who killed Risuke from hatred.
When trying to save Yuzu, who was playing in Shigure’s room, Rin found a higanbana pressed flower. It made her remember the time when she was playing with Souichirou in her hometown. The lake was filled with higanbana. She found Shigure sitting on the flower field, hurting his head. He hid Rin from Souichirou, so she gave him the flower. But Shigure said higanbana have poison and often being related to death and fire. Though he like higanbana. It is also called soushibana, because the leaf couldn’t meet the flower and seeking for each other. Knowing Rin’s family sell clothes, Shigure made a promise to buy one for Rin in the future. A few months after that, he really came to buy a large amount of kimono for the prostitute in his house, and giving advice for her parents to open a shop in Edo although it was burnt in fire. Rin realized that even though Shigure embrace her often, he didn’t want to have his own child.
One day, polices were searching for Shigure in a murder case of prostitute and Rin’s parents. Rin quickly brought Shigure to the hidden place. But Souichirou found them because he’s the one who notified the police, telling Rin that Shigure had murdered her parents in the fire. Shigure admitted his sin, saying it’s because he thought her parents are the same as his, only hurting Rin. Shigure put a fire in Oukaya and Souichirou quickly brought Rin outside. But she got back to Shigure’s room. Rin found him still conscious and said she will atone for her sin of leaving her parents. She will go together with Shigure. At his last time, Shigure told her his real intention of taking her is because he love her. Not to be her husband or lover, but only watching her is happiness. After kissing Shigure, there won’t be any sadness in their last moments.
SHIGURE BAD END : LOOKING AT YOU
Shigure put on a fire and Souichirou brought Rin outside. A few months after that, Rin lives in Souichirou’s house. Akito comes to see her and gives Rin money worth of three thousand ryo. Shigure had gave it to Akito in the summer he got hurt for Rin. Rin didn’t accept it and that night, Souichirou embraced her for the first time. But Rin doesn’t think she is worth as his wife, so she asks Souichirou to be violent with her, like Shigure did. One year after that, everytime they have sex, Rin feels like Shigure’s ghost is watching her.
SHINOBU BAD END : DON’T GIVE UP TO ANYONE
Hazu, Shinobu’s step mother, poisoned him when he’s supposed to talk with his father. After that, Rin became crazy and degraded as an oiran. Her substitute, Harukumo, was stabbed by her after that and she took her friend’s kimono with blood. The people at Oukaya were sacred by her figure that day, which looks like a monster.
SOUICHIROU BAD END : DON’T GIVE UP TO ANYONE
Tatsukichi offered Rin to meet Souichirou at a tea house. But Shigure is the one waiting for her. He said he know the landlady of the shop so he know that Souichirou will be meeting Rin in that place. Souichirou and Tatsukichi must have already been captured. Shigure brought Rin back to Oukaya and the rest of the story is, she was degraded and killed Harukumo, like in the previous story above.
NORMAL END : NOISY VISITOR
Chihaya got a fever when she was serving Shinobu. When she woke up, Okiku was very worried of her condition. The other oirans and Yuzu also got worried. But Okiku told them all to keep quiet.
I think the story theme really suit what could happen in a brothel. Running away to get married with a lover (Sakuya), revenge for her parents (Shigure and Akito), being bought by a man (Souichirou), or waiting for her retirement as an oiran (Shinobu). There are many hard to translate words, so I’m glad Line could help a little bit now (by scanning text). The playing time is not long, maybe a total of 20 hours? But I played it at slow speed. Though I still finish it with about a week. I had done playing it yesterday, so a total of 9 days. I am sad… I can’t play Tatsukichi (Okitsu Kazuyuki) route.
My favorite character is Sakuya. He has the most hard life, being chased by Shigure and should keep his love before Rin accepted him. Next is Souichirou. He’s the first love of the heroine. But I don’t like his fast way of getting money. It will endanger his beloved woman. Shigure is the evil character here, which I think he doesn’t deserve for a happy ending. In his happy ending, Rin might now know of his murder for her parents forever. So my current list is : Sakuya-Souichirou-Shinobu-Akito-Shigure.
For BGM, it suit the theme. But I don’t have a favorite BGM. The Opening Song, “Soushibana” by Ryryka is quiet good. Ending song is also sung by Ryrika, “Anata to Naraba”. For overall, I think it is a good story. But a bit dark with murder and revenge. I think this will be suitable for 18 years people and above. I haven’t decide which story to play next. Since this is December, I will have more breaktime. But I’m tired from sitting too much, so I will play slow pace like this.
Link for CG: