I have reached all three endings of Hanako’s route. A tragic character with a tragic past, her misfortune is immediate reminiscent of American McGee’s Alice, as both girls has had their entire family perish in a fire. As much as Hanako has suffered, at least she keeps her sanity after the trauma. More unfortunately, Mcgee’s Alice doesn’t. If one thinks about it, in American McGee’s Alice and Madness Returns, we players are having fun through Alice’s anguish and hallucinations. It is somewhat of a sad thought.
Anyways, back to Hanako. Frankly, I prefer Hanako’s character development in Lilly’s path than Hanako’s own. In Lilly’s story, Hanako is akin to a civilized person suddenly stranded in the wilderness and left to fend for herself, growing stronger in the process. Lilly and Hisao, and to a lesser extent, Akira, created a comfortable environment that ensconced Hanako, enabling her to experience at least to some degree, the pleasure and privileges of friendship that she was robbed of after her childhood accident. In Lilly’s path, of course, Lilly and Hisao becomes a pair, and Hanako finds herself being the third wheel. Being the shy and considerate girl that she is, she must have thought it was best to let the two lovers have more time to each other, making it that much more difficult for Hanako to approach and hang out with her only friends. Hanako must’ve felt pangs of loneliness, or even betrayal, once again. She could have failed to cope, and all too easily fall into depression, and perhaps even suicide (which is what I imagined Hanako’s or Lilly’s worst end would be). Fortunately, she adapts, and finds a new circle of friends in the newspaper club. Instead of relying on Hisao she relied on herself, and in that sense I would say Hanako is a more confident and independent character at the end of Lilly’s route than Hanako’s own.
I am neither stoic nor dejected by Hanako’s story. To sum up my reaction: Aww, poor girl. Her past is quite a bummer. Oh well, at least she finds a boyfriend. And so, the last girl left for me to get to know better is Emi.
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