The first part of this Let’s Play seemed to go down pretty well, so here’s another dose of Hanagumi action! In the last section we left Ogami just as he received his rather un-military-like new uniform, and left Yoneda’s office…
…only to find out that someone’s been eavesdropping! There are two options here – Ogami can admonish Sakura and Iris for eavesdropping (which upsets Iris) or he can just ask them to show him to his room. Upsetting Iris isn’t something cool people do, so I stuck with the less offensive option… but of course Iris and Sakura then fight over who gets to take him. So Ogami, Solomon of the Teikokukagekidan, says they can both show him the way.
Once they’ve dropped him off at his room another LIPS event comes in – this one’s a special multi-layered event where there’s an overall timer (in this instance, for getting changed) with individual LIPS within it – deciding if Ogami’s going to dress in a hurry, then if he’s going to put his shirt or tie on first (obviously shirt first), then if he’s going to walk out the door… or realise he’s not put his trousers on yet (!!), then finally, if you’ve answered quickly enough to have some time left spare, comb his hair. All dressed up and ready to go – and not a moment too soon as Iris bursts into the room with Sakura not far behind, and they both compliment Ogami on his ability to dress himself. That’s surely a little patronising, isn’t it?
Then it’s back down to the lobby – why are Sakura and Iris talking about ticket-clipping? Puzzled, Ogami wishes them well with whatever the heck it is they’re doing and then gets inundated with stroppy customers demanding to have their tickets clipped – “But I’m not a ticket-clipper!” responds the confused navy officer – “Umm… then what’s the ticket-clipping uniform for, idiot!” one disgruntled theatre-goer (sort of) says. “I’m really not a ticket-clipper!” Ogami repeats to another person in line “I’m…” and this is where you get to shout “Leader of the Teikokukagekidan!” or “...an ordinary ticket-clipper”. Discretion being the better part of valour and all that, Ogami carries on clipping tickets.
Ogami then gets to display his ticket-clipping prowess with another new LIPS event that requires you to enter the displayed button/direction presses quickly and correctly – get it right and both Sakura and Iris are impressed! It’s still not quite the job Ogami thought he was signing up for though, is it? A customer then asks him what he thinks of Sumire – and is disgusted when I decide that Ogami isn’t on board the Top Star’s hype train.
The general public aren’t done with the Hanagumi’s captain yet! He the has the dubious pleasure of serving Sassy Little Kid, and Ogami’s response is decided in an “Analogue LIPS” event, a type of LIPS first seen in Sakura Taisen 3 where there’s only one response but you use the analogue stick to decide the intensity of it – this time it’s how tolerant Ogami’s going to be of this kid’s attitude. It’s better if Ogami bites his lip and endures it rather than blow his lid at the boy, so that’s what I have him do. He can rage quietly on the inside instead, like all healthy people do.
At least Maria’s impressed by this display of self-control, and as she’s not easy to please that’s always a good sign! She may be tough on Ogami (so far, anyway) but she’s a big softy for her fans and signs Sassy Kid’s handkerchief for him when he asks.
Tickets finally clipped without Ogami shouting at anyone and we are rewarded with a brief chat with Tsubaki, the lady in charge of the theatre shop and Ogami’s chief bromide-pusher. “Kimimi, what are bromides?” I hear you say - I’m glad you asked! In this context they’re celebrity publicity photos, which in Sakura Taisen games means images of the Hanagumi looking cute, cool, or attractive.
After Tsubaki’s gone Ogami’s finally free to wander around the theatre for a short while before he goes banging on Yoneda’s door demanding an explanation on all this ticket-clipping business – I decided to make a break for the gift shop to grab my first bromide (you can only take one per visit, the excuse being that they’re very popular), and I went with Iris’ snowman scene. I’ll try to pick up a variety as we go through, but I’m not making any promises!
Once that this-time-or-never bromide chance is out of the way it’s time for some more general wandering for Ogami; meeting Tsubaki’s office-based colleagues Yuri and Kasumi, bumping into Iris in the garden and impressing Maria (accidently, she snuck in) by having a quick play on the music room’s piano.
There’s also this rather sweet (and new) scene where somebody runs up behind Ogami, covers his eyes and says “Guess who!”: now I know I’ve kind of spoiled who that was in the images above, but in any case if you guess right Sakura’s flattered that you remember the sound of her voice and starts blushing. She also makes a sharp exit as soon as Ogami asks her about the secret Teikokukagekidan corps, leaving him still none the wiser.
After a few more cute-but-not-blog-worthy little events Ogami decides it’s time to go confront Yoneda and find out exactly what’s going on. You also get this rather unexciting screenshot of Yoneda’s office door – hurray!
Ogami goes to enter, but he overhears Yoneda talking on the phone – this short scene’s a nice little peep into Yoneda’s character as well as a bit of world-building information on these “Koubu” that have been mentioned before – Yoneda’s expressing the difficulty he feels sending these young women off to fight while he can do nothing but watch over them – they’re the only ones that can use the Koubu (the military’s secret weapon mentioned in the first part of this Let’s Play), after all. Yoneda likes to put on a front and make them all believe he’s the jolly drunkard but when he lets the mask drop (which is very, very, rarely to his team) it’s obvious he’s a committed and experienced military officer.
But in any case Ogami’s there to get an explanation about this ticket-clipping malarkey, and that’s just what he does. Ogami demands to know why his secret corps-captaincy has a whole lot more theatre and French-girls-with-stuffed-bears in it than he was expecting, and why is he the only one that’s finding this whole situation weird?!
Yoneda directs him to the sign at the back of the room, and I need to give a quick Japanese lesson: as with many languages, words with the same or very similar pronunciations can have very different meanings depending on how they’re spelt. In this case, “Kagekidan” can be written as 華撃団 (roughly: “Floral Attack Squad”) or 歌劇団 (roughly: “Opera Troupe”) – Ogami assumed it was the former, but Yoneda’s sign shows it’s the latter. This news hits Ogami hard, and he stumbles out of the office feeling utterly devastated.
Sakura spots him and looks concerned, so she offers to take Ogami to his room – he accepts, too confused about Yoneda’s words and his new role to do anything else.
Ogami thanks her and Sakura goes all gooey-eyed at him, but catches herself before she says anything embarrassing. Ogami asks if she’ll stay and talk to him for a bit, but she’s got stage business to attend to so she leaves.
She comes back just to say she hopes he cheers up soon in a rather flustered and blush-y way, then she properly goes for good and leaves Ogami to process the events of the day by himself. Finally alone and in his room, he mulls over how he would have given anything to defend the peace of Teito, but he’s instead found himself stuck in a ticket-clipping uniform with a theatre group. Yay.
We then get a short break screen, and the opportunity to save. Leaving Ogami confused and upset is actually a pretty sombre place to leave the game but don’t worry, things soon turn around!