Following a series of attacks, Mikoto is forced into attending the elite Kaen Academy--a place where male Users partner with female Minamo in Hana Awase, a card game that can cost the participants their lives. At the top of the school stand five boys, the Brights, who each control a group of students.
The Brights all have the potential to awaken Mikoto's true power as the Senki, a Minamo with miraculous powers...but if she partners with the wrong one, it will open up the path to disaster.
Hana Awase: Himeutsugi Chapter
Age Rating: None given (However, I would say it's 17+)
Date of Release: February 26, 2014
Voice Cast: Fukuyama Jun, Terashima Takuma, Hino Satoshi, Tachibana Shinnosuke, Fujita Saki, Mizushima Takahiro, Kuroda Takaya, Toyonaga Toshiyuki, Yonaga Tsubasa, Oosaka Ryouta, Aoki Noriko, Eguchi Takuya, Igarashi Hiromi, Hyousei, Ogihara Hideki
Since this is a parallel game to Mizuchi's, they're very similar in everything except story, and my opinion on most things is the same. Instead of going through and pasting the same things into this post, I'll focus more on what did change.
This time, the selection ceremony fails and Mikoto is temporarily placed with Himeutsugi's Gekkagumi. Another attack happens on Day 20 and when Mikoto goes to consult with someone on what she should do, she becomes partner to that group's Bright. Failure to choose a partner after three tries will result in the first Common End, and the second unlocks after the first playthrough--simply select the wrong option on Day 20. Himeutsugi has one Good End, and the other three Brights who appear have 1-2 Bad Ends.
For the most part, I would recommend the same play order as before, but Mizuchi and Himeutsugi are pretty much interchangeable. Once you exit the common route, there will be few chances to scale the rankings, so if you're going to train your skills, you should do so at the beginning. However, please keep in mind that one of Mizuchi's endings will require you to lose the final battle, and if your HP and DEF are too high you'll have problems doing so.
Mikoto's personality is slightly different from before, but at her roots she remains a heroine with strong love for her fated partner, who sticks to what she believes to be right.
Most of the supporting cast and main cast are the same, but one of the old subcharacters has a completely different relationship with Mikoto this time. The "new" characters in Himeutsugi Chapter are as follows:
Kagami (CV: Yonaga Tsubasa)
Himeutsugi's partner, who is nicknamed "prince" because of her masculine appearance. She works part-time at a TV station and has a bright and friendly personality. She was mentioned briefly in Mizuchi's game, but never made an appearance.
Yoshino (CV: None)
Another member of Gekkagumi. She sticks close to Mikoto and has a habit of banging her head against the wall when she's agitated. She previously appeared in the rankings of Mizuchi's game.
Karakuri (CV: Oosaka Ryouta)
Mr. Onosada's student aide. Every once in a while he makes strange noises, and when he gives Mikoto information his way of speaking suddenly changes.
??? (CV: Igarashi Hiromi)
A person with strong connections to Himeutsugi and Kagami's pasts.
Himeutsugi Chapter uses 22/23 of the tracks that can be found in the first game, but there are eight new songs and more variety in when they're played. If you want to hear the Brights' character songs, you'll now have to go through EX Mode or buy the vocal album instead of using the music player in the extras section.
One of the CGs in the game comes from the common route's events. To obtain it, go through all of the greenhouse events that you can at the beginning, followed by library events. On the second round of events on Day 14, the Onifuda will appear in the library again--click it and you'll get the CG scene. The library is also a good way to get experience once you've finished talking to Momotose.
As you may have noticed from the screenshot in the first section, Mikoto's stats involve different fields in Himeutsugi Chapter. As before, HP controls her health bar, but the previous Offense and Defense bars have changed to ATK and DEF. MP corresponds to the previous game's Skill bar, but sometimes you'll have to level it up more than once to get the next skill. SPD controls how fast the action bar fills up and thus whose turn it is. LOVE controls the starting points and fill speed of the EX Mode bar, and in addition higher LOVE will bring you closer to the Brights, unlocking new lines during battle. (If I'm not mistaken, the last ones will appear when your LOVE is around level 75)
As well the appearance of the Action and MP bars, the HP bar is now labeled with numbers so you have a better idea of how close you are to winning. Regardless of your MP level, you can only use one skill per turn in Himeutsugi Chapter, and different skill levels will have different MP costs. Although the pictures for EX Mode are the same, the Brights all have different character songs from those in the Mizuchi Chapter. When you use their Golden Combo, they say a special line.
In order to unlock the special scenes this time, you need to lose to Mizuchi and Himeutsugi but win against Karakurenai and Iroha. After you beat Iroha, the Rank 0 player will unlock, but regardless of whether you lose or win, there are only a few lines of dialogue--no CG. The Rank 77 player, Nana, also has uncommonly strong stats (naturally, all 77s) but you should be able to safely ignore her if you're not strong enough, and move on to the players above her.
The art is about the same as before, with some CGs that are strange-looking and others that are really beautiful. Besides the consistency, there were also some CGs where the anatomy seemed awkward or off.
The CG count for Himeutsugi Chapter is 185 (51 unique), and they added several new visual effects. In order to unlock Himeutsugi's hotel room CG, you'll have to go through his route more than once.
The complaints I have with the original game are really still there, but I enjoyed the addition of the extra lines, visual effects, and HP bar labeling--at one point I was actually thinking about how good effects make a huge difference. It was also really nice that the BGM was used for more than just one specific type of scene. These factors, along with the lack of a major bug, are why Himeutsugi Chapter received a higher score than Mizuchi Chapter.
(Special thanks go to Rin again--this time for explaining the LOVE stat to me when Onosada's explanation was insufficient.)