Even though we have never met face to face…
Farther than anyone, closer than anyone…
She was my fate, an existence equal to my own life…
Despite having a ridiculously vague and puzzling ending (seriously, I’m still scratching my head trying to take in everything), I found this route, along with Remember11 (R11) as a whole to be enjoyable. We got to see sides of characters which weren’t really shown in depth, or shown at all in the first route. Motives, past lives, and relationships all come together in this infinite loop.
This route was basically what we didn’t get to see during the first one. What we saw from Kokoro’s viewpoint during the switch, being quickly flung into frightening and worrying situations which Satoru had apparently gotten himself into was all mostly explained here, where everything is seen from Satoru’s viewpoint. I say ‘mostly’, as really, for a lot of the things there aren’t any real coverage. If you’re someone who has to have everything for them to be confirmed 100%, I can guarantee that you will not like this vn. Ultimately, quite a number of things rest on the player, and what they think. Since quite a lot of things are never fully explained, the player is free to come up with any crazy nonsensical theory they wish.
The most glaringly obvious different in this route which we first encountered was how different Hotori acted around Satoru. The Hotori we knew from Kokoro’s viewpoint couldn’t speak due to trauma, or she was unable to form her words. Obviously she could talk in some way, because we heard her speak things like ‘ah-‘ several times. We were shown a relatively peaceful girl who was at ease. The Hotori we got to see from Satoru’s viewpoint was full of life, playful, flirtatious at times, and overly chatty. I’m going to assume that the Hotori we saw from Satoru’s viewpoint was the true Keiko… And that the Hotori we saw from Kokoro’s viewpoint was the true Hotori, after suffering severe trauma from the crash. The TIPS for Hotori say that her consciousness drifts in and out of Keiko’s body, so what I said is very plausible. Therefore, it’s possible for her to be Hotori in front of Kokoro, and Keiko in front of Satoru… Despite Keiko saying that she’s Hotori. It’s possible that Keiko just simply snapped at the end, hence why she had that demonic expression on her face and was singing that eerie ‘Kagome Kagome~’ song. She also may have taken one of the babies after vaguely recognizing their presence from encountering them earlier.
Ah, yes. The twins. This was something I formed an opinion about once Satoru introduced the idea of there being a third personality. I thought about a third personality being there myself earlier, as soon as there were gaps in what Kokoro and Satoru were saying to each other. Both were shocked to see all the rations being eaten, despite Lin saying that Kokoro ate them all. Kokoro couldn’t believe that Satoru would kill a man, and Satoru had no memory of him personally killing him either. Then there was the issue with the hallucinogens, and Kokoro worriedly asking him did they take him. There were these odd gaps, and a third personality made sense. I thought of the babies/one of the babies being the third personality after thinking about that ‘dream’ that Kokoro often had, regarding her being in that peaceful fluid, and not really feeling anything. There was also an obvious CG of a pair of fetuses in a womb. Once Satoru found the halfway mark, the name of the place sounded vaguely familiar… Could it have been the hospital where Kali was about to give birth? I felt like I was being pushed in the right direction, and I felt like my theory was proven correct when Satoru said something like they were babies, and just wanted to have fun. When you’re a child, you’re unaware of any moral constraints or rules regarding the world about you, and just want to have fun. Whether it’s mischievously changing clock times, downing mysterious liquid, or gleefully stabbing someone to death.
Satoru and Lin’s reunion was another thing which I didn’t quite get at first. On the flight, Lin was about to go and meet Satoru, so she still obviously had feelings for him despite after breaking up with him over two years ago. However, she treated Satoru with utter coldness once they reunited, even claiming that he wasn’t the Satoru that she knew. That’s strange, isn’t it? She’s able to remember things about him with perfect clarity, and the Satoru we know knows things that nobody else but him could know. So why doesn’t Lin recognize him? Well, going with the game’s pattern, that mightn’t be the Satoru she recognizes, and that would probably make sense. We see him as Satoru, and other people, like Kali instinctively recognize him as Satoru. Even though Keiko had said that this was his first time meeting him. It could be that Satoru actually managed to switch bodies with someone, and that someone could be his comrade, Enomoto. There’s a bad ending which actually states this, so it’s not just a theory, but something which is pretty much the truth. Him and Enomoto had a memory switch… And the reason for it is quite trippy. Remember the prologue, where we saw both sides of what was happening in Kokoro’s, and Satoru’s world? And remember those yellow ‘I’s? It turns out that since the readers (‘that guy’) automatically assumed that the ‘Satoru’ guy was the man who appeared in the OP, he turned out that way, and Satoru was given that appearance. Unbelievable, isn’t it? Although I haven’t read it yet, apparently there was something very similar in Ever17, where the reader had something like a direct impact on the story. But basically, the blonde’s original personality is Enomoto, and the dark haired guy’s original personality is Satoru. To confirm this, I recalled an earlier CG where it showed ‘Satoru’ swinging Lin around. When I went back to check the CG, it turned out that Satoru’s face was obscured in darkness. Interesting, isn’t it?
One of my favourite aspects of R11 was what Satoru and Kokoro shared. It was a very surreal, tight bond. What they shared is difficult to put into words… They weren’t friends. However, they were closer than lovers and siblings. What they had was something which was built all too quickly, but it was powerful. They were one and the same, yet they were not. They shared one min, one body, and were each other’s halves. Both said several times throughout the game that one could not live without the other – it’d be impossible. If one died, then so would the other. Even if Kokoro died in her own body, Satoru would be missing part of himself. Odd how that works out, but intriguing all the same. It’s how Kokoro is able to locate Satoru’s body in the snow after the avalanche, after all. Their first proper meeting is one that would make you stop breathing, for just a moment. It comes out of nowhere, and I felt genuinely surprised when I saw him running up past her on the beach, when he should have been halfway up the country in the year 2012. While Kokoro’s route finishes with her running after him, Satoru’s route continues on with that.
The art was beautiful for this. The sprites looked almost hand drawn, and had a very natural, realistic colouring. Character designs were simplistic, but easily recognizable. Mouths moves, and eyes also blinked. I thought it was a nice touch how you could see everyone’s breaths once they were at the cabin, in white puffs whenever anyone spoke. Backgrounds were also very well done. CGs were plentiful, showing the situations that the characters were going through with ease. The music wasn’t anything outstanding, but it was never repetitive and suited the accompanying scenes. The TIPS also go in to how the chose the names of the songs, which I found to be a nice touch.