Otome Game Review - Birushana: Rising Flower of Genpei

Otome Game Review - Birushana: Rising Flower of Genpei Reverie Wonderland

Hello and welcome to another Otome Game review! This time around, I am so excited to share my thoughts about Birushana Senki ~Genpei Hika Musou~ or Birushana: Rising Flower of Genpei. This game is one of the Otome games that I've been looking forward to playing this 2022 and I'm happy that I got the chance to play the game :D

It took a while for me to purchase the game, by the way. I guess I just got lucky that I manage to save up a bit and took the chance. I remember during its release in Japan, I got excited I almost bought it but then I heard reviews that the Japanese writing is too complex (kanjis, terms, etc) so there I was, hoping that it'll be localized one day. Thank you to Idea Factory International for coming back on localizing Otome games and Birushana has been one of them! :D

Game Details

Release date: June 28, 2022
Developer: Idea Factory / Red Entertainment
Voiced: Yes (Japanese)
Language: English
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Other game similarities: Nightshade, Hakuoki

The Story

It has been 15 years since the Heiji Rebellion when the Heike clan defeated the Genji clan. The Heike clan brought fear to the land of Kyoto and they continuously aim to reach the ultimate goal of being the most powerful clan of all. Shanao, a strong warrior is the youngest surviving male heir to the Genji name and grew up in the mountains, trained to be the fiercest warrior to claim the Genji glory.

Yet Shanao is a female and wants to live a peaceful life, away from being a Genji. Will she be able to achieve her dreams or will she fight to continue her destiny?

The Characters

I played the route according to what the developers recommended:
Noritsune > Benkei > Shungen > Yoritomo > Tomomori

Otome Game Review - Birushana: Rising Flower of Genpei Reverie Wonderland

Shanao / Yoshitsune Minamoto - She's our main character (first name changeable) in the game. Shanao is known to be a boy and was raised by the monks at Kurama Temple, where she could grow to be a tough samurai and overthrow the Heike. Shanao is known to be the youngest son of Yoshitomo Minamoto. Despite being an excellent samurai, Shanao dreamt of living a peaceful life.

I like Shanao a lot. She became one of my favorite MCs after completing the game. Aside from her personality and her being a badass warrior, I can relate to her a lot wanting to have a peaceful life - especially during the times while I'm playing Shungen's route.

Otome Game Review - Birushana: Rising Flower of Genpei

Noritsune Taira (CV: Kengo Kawanishi)- One of the strongest warriors from the current Heike regime, Noritsune is a good strategist and he's physically strong despite being a hot-tempered guy at times. He's the son of Norimori Taira and Kiyomori Taira's nephew. Noritsune sees Shanao being his total nemesis and even went to Kurama temple to have a fight with her. Noritsune surprisingly holds nothing but contempt for the Heike clan despite being one of the strongest.

I don't usually go for a love interest of the same age as the MC like Noritsune but wow... I honestly didn't expect to enjoy his route a lot! In the back of my mind, I feel like Noritsune's route is well written compared to other LIs and I am not complaining. I love that he's willing to do anything, his adoration, his techniques, and his fighting style make him a great character. Although at the other routes, I tend to get sad whenever I see him because his screen time is just too short. I am also a sucker for enemies-to-lovers trope so I'm happy that Noritsune's route didn't disappoint. I also want to highlight the voice acting because it is good! I don't know if I happened to come across Kengo Kawashi's roles aside from Noritsune but I'll definitely look after I finished this post 😆

Otome Game Review - Birushana: Rising Flower of Genpei

Benkei Musashibo (CV: Yuichiro Umehara) - Benkei was a monk at Mount Hiei but then got expelled after an incident with the Heike. Since then, he went after Heike officials to steal their weapons. Benkei has been Noritsune and Shanao's target to have a battle with. This is then have been Shanao and Benkei's first interaction started. Shanao was able to defeat Benkei and since then, he followed her and pledged wholeheartedly to become Shanao's vassal.

After the release of the Japanese PV for Birushana, I have my eyes for Benkei. I see him as someone who's a softie and will pledge his life to protect you and I guess I am not mistaken. I feel Benkei's strong determination to protect Shanao but as a reader, I got tired of seeing the same dialogue all over again 😅 Ume-chan's voice acting is good and it really amazes me when he voices such big characters like Canus (from Cafe Enchante) and Benkei. Benkei is good but I guess I expected a lot...

Otome Game Review - Birushana: Rising Flower of Genpei

Shungen (CV: Soma Saito) - Shungen is the son of Shigenari Minamoto (?), the vassal of Shanao's father. Like her, Shungen was brought to Kurama Temple at the same time so Shanao and Shungen grew up and trained together. Shungen is not as good as Shanao in terms of swordsmanship but he's very tactical and an amazing strategist. Shungen is one of the very few people who know Shanao as a female and it's one of the reasons why he's protective of her.

Of course, an Otome game will not be complete without the childhood friend LI, isn't it? 😆 Joking aside, Shungen's route is mind-blowing in terms of the whole game plot. It's juicy with information and twists and yes, he's a good route to start at the middle of the gameplay so you can feel the revelations intensified. I honestly love the happy ending of Shungen's route because Shanao was able to experience her dream. Although some scenarios are predictable, Shungen's route didn't disappoint me, to be honest. Soma Saito did a great job! And after the Rurouni Kenshin's remake PV has been released, I am pleased to know that Soma Saito will play Kenshin. His voice acting as Shungen is a piece of evidence that he can play the strongest samurai 😌

Otome Game Review - Birushana: Rising Flower of Genpei Reverie Wonderland

Yoritomo Minamoto (CV: Makoto Furukawa) - He's the youngest son of Yoshitomo Minamoto. Yoritomo experienced such hardship during his childhood by witnessing the deaths of his own father and brothers by the Heike. His life was spared by Lady Ikenozeni, Kiyomori Taira's stepmother. Yorimoto lived as an exile at Izu and his only goal is to restore the Genji clan.

I have a lot of issues with Yoritomo. 

Yorimoto got a lot of screen time at Shungen's route and those were the moments that we can get to know him more. I understand him being quiet like most of the time, but I don't know... I find him too vulnerable...? I guess it got to do with him being exiled and not able to experience battles. Yoritomo will do anything to make the war in favor of the Genji clan that he'll let Shanao berserk.

But! Once you go deeper on his route, I got captivated by him 😭💖 Although yes, it is awkward at first for both Shanao and Yorimoto to develop feelings for each other (because they know they are siblings), I am in awe of Yoritomo's feelings for Shanao. He became an instant favorite (sorry, Noritsune >_<) probably because I like a guy who's not afraid to show what he feels when he got the courage to do so (and he's cute when he's jealous!). And it got to do with Furukawa's voice acting as well. His deep tone goes well with Yoritomo. Yoritomo's route made me really want to wish Birushana to have a fandisk and then I remember there's one already (localization, please!). I am looking forward to seeing more of Yorimoto on the fandisk!

Otome Game Review - Birushana: Rising Flower of Genpei

Tomomori Taira (CV: Jun Fukuyama) - He's the trusted advisor and the fourth son of Kiyomori Taira. An elegant general with amazing swordsmanship and physical strength. Tomomori usually does not fight on the first few routes (and he usually runs if he knows it's already a disadvantage for him) but you can see more of him fighting at Shungen's route. Tomomori believes that the Heike clan will soon be defeated so he usually laybacks and watches everything unfolds.

I have a lot and hate relationships with Tomomori.

Following the recommended route, I find Tomomori's route hard not to play already (he's a tease!). I like that he's mysterious and cunning. But once I started Shungen's route I hated him a lot 😔 The red flags are raised high and make my blood boil because poor Shanao and Shungen T^T Same goes on Yorimoto's route, too. 

But! Tomomori's route answered all the questions I have in mind during the whole playthrough. It annoys me that he wanted Shanao to see her crying or with scratches but he then realizes what he loves the most 💖 I can see Tomomori being a passionate lover for sure. And yup, I enjoyed his route so much and he became a favorite of mine as well. The tragic ending is indeed a tragic one...

There's also yet another trigger warning for this game which is in*cest. I won't elaborate more but it is worth mentioning so you know what to expect, at least. I just let my moral compass aside and enjoyed the story...

Big applause to FukuJun's voice acting. Tomomori's teasing personality by nature became evident and his devilish laugh send shivers down my spine and I love it!

There are more side characters for this game but let me present my favorite side characters that made my Birushana gameplay a worthy one 😍

Otome Game Review - Birushana: Rising Flower of Genpei

Tadanobu Sato (CV: Katsuyuki Konishi) and Tsugunobu Sato (CV: Takashi Kondo) - The Sato brothers are the highly service samurai from the Fujiwara clan of Oshu. Tanabonu is loud yet charming while Tsugunobu is a soft-spoken and wiser one. Both of them are dedicated to helping Shanao on her journey during the war. They also have extra stories that are enjoyable to read.

Music, Art and Game Navigation

Otome Game Review - Birushana: Rising Flower of Genpei Reverie Wonderland

A huuuge improvement from Red Entertainment, for sure! I enjoyed how they delivered the game interface for Nightshade but Birushana definitely is better. We can all see Shanao on the big screen as well (not just the MC being at the lower left of the screen), fighting together with the other characters.

The art style is amazing. I love how we got lots of angle variety of the characters which is essential in fight scenes. I wish they could have added some blood or scratches at least for me because I feel like it'll be a bit more realistic (like in Hakuoki or Piofiore).

Aside from that, I noticed the sound effects are better, unlike the older titles. That's great news! I hope there will be no awkward running sounds anymore. 

Otome Game Review - Birushana: Rising Flower of Genpei Reverie Wonderland

The game's navigation is easy to follow. The game has flow charts so players can track the story flow. This flow chart will branch after completing an ending and can also unlock bonus stories of the side characters. There's also the love catch system that can help guide the player on the choices to make for achieving an ending. There might be repeating scenarios so jumping to the next choice/unread section is available too by moving the right joycon.

Since I am not exposed to other Otome games, Birushana's interface is a huge step up and I hope we can see more of these on Otome games from now on.

Overall ratings and final thoughts

4.5 / 5.0

There's more beyond the samurai fights and the clash of clans. Supernatural elements are added to this game which will be revealed in greater detail on Tomomori's route. There are visible trigger warnings for this game so it is up to you if you want to play or a hard pass for you. (well, the TWs here are okay compared to Chou no Doku 😅)

I'm satisfied and I want more! I'm so happy that I finally played Birushana: Rising Flower of Genpei. This is one of the best Otome games that I have played this 2022 and I am thankful that the devs released its FD. I hope Idea Factory International will pick up the FD and localize the game in English because honestly, I really want to see more content related to the LIs of the game. 

Date finished: 23 September 2022
Favorite character ranking: Tomomori = Yoritomo > Noritsune = Shungen > Benkei

Thank you so much for giving time to read! See you on my next Otome Game Review. Follow me on Instagram to see what Otome Game I'm playing next and let's fangirl together 😄

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