Hanyaka Nari Waga Ichizoku Review


This cover is a lie!

You are not carried on hands, you are a maid, you are dirt, no one likes you, not even your fellow maid!

  • historical
  • plot driven
  • gameplay

Setting: master & maid

In order to support her poor family the MC has to work as a maid in the house of the richest family in tokyo in the taisho era. And soon the head of the family plans to retire but bequeath his fortune to only one of his six sons, who are all from different mothers and not really on good terms – neither with their moms nor with their siblings. The son who amuses him the most in the following months will be the sole inheritor of his legacy. Yes he’s not a nice old man, he enjoys seeing others suffer! Thus the competition between the ambitious sons begins, some more eager and ruthless to obtain this position and some less. But in this course of events also the dark secrets of the family and their share in political intrigues comes to light.

Starting off with a normal everyday life, being bullied by the sons of the house, the plot later thickens, getting to know the snobbish sons, their mothers and their family secrets.

Characters: your masters


The oldest son is Tadashi, a stiff banker, who is cold and doesn’t talk unnecessarily much.

He is eager to obtain the heritage and pressured a lot by his ambitious mother, who desperately needs another fortune to spend.

As he is cold and uninterested in a mere servant, there is nothing more enjoyable to see, than him opening up, and entrusting her with his problems and speaking normally to her, before he notices. And how he can’t quite understand his feelings he has towards a useless servant.

Especially the beginning of his route was quite cute, how he slowly opened up, though I later expected a bit more romance. In the end, he stayed cool headed most of the time and told the most classical love story between master and maid I would say.


The second son Isami is an officer, who thinks he can solve every problem by killing people, and doesn’t want to marry as he is fully committed to serve his country.. He is easily angered and doesn’t even look at the MC. All he can offer is scorn and disdain, which goes so far as asking the MC to kill herself – problem solved.

I think he was the toughest nut to crack, but the reward is even sweeter, him starting to take an interest or hearing stories by his mother how he always was in love with snowhite as a little boy and wanted to marry sleeping beauty.

This is the kind of foreshadowing I like.

I think his route was the most romantic and dramatic to me, as he turns out to be quite the emotional type and rash, just like his name, easily angered, but once he has set his eyes on something he wouldn’t let go of it.


The third son is the flirt and part time geisha Shigeru.

He is soft spoken with such soft features he can work as a geisha, just like his mother. That of course makes him looked down upon by his elder brothers, but Shigeru isn’t really interested in all these family affairs, but tries to live his life as freely as he can.

Him being the most gentle of the brothers, I enjoyed his love story the most, which felt fragile like a butterfly. And at the end I rooted so much for them both, I literally screamed at my Switch.


The fourth son Susumu is a gentle police officer, who is nice to everyone including servants. But as so often too nice guys are a bit suspicious and might actually be hiding something underneath their nice mask.

I expected the nice guy to be boring, but to my very surprise he was not.

On top of the murder threats he receives, he has to figure out who he is, whom to trust, and what his feelings towards Haru are.


The fifth son Hiroshi is a little inventor.

He likes crafting small devices like a punching clock, which he immediately surprises the MC with. Apart from that he is friendly to her from the beginning and the first to notice her qualities.

He is the sweet grandchild of the prime minister who is the centre of the political conflicts, and is sent to study abroad next year.

In his route you get together with him quite early and then need to figure out how to make a relationship between a master who is sent abroad and a maid work.


The youngest son is the tsundere bully brat Masashi.

He might be the worst bully of them all, always saying how much he hates servants, that she’s trash who picks up trash – which irony – and hence set it at his most important goals in life to make her quit. Because he loves, erm hates her the most. He is so disgusted by servants he wouldn’t even let them touch him.

That is of course until his I want to make you quit turns into – you are only allowed to quit when I am the reason. – aw, cute- Or he drags her away from his father taking her hand.

Though he’s one of the most severe tsunderes I’ve seen so far, I liked him all the way.

I mean it’s interesting how grateful you become, if a character starts out unbelievably rude and you are so happy once he’s only rude on a normal level

Art: Like old pictures

The only voice actor I knew and was super excited about as soon as I heard him, is the voice actor who also voices Yang in Piofiore or Peter in Cupid Parasite or Radie in the upcoming Radiant Tale or Kanade in Klap or Taiga in Variable Barricade or in Nil Admirari no Tenbin.

And of course without a doubt he did a fabulous job voicing this tsundere brat Masashi.

But I must say that I adored all the voice actors, though I don’t think you hear them in many games.

The music was classic, but nothing that stood out to me.

Way more interesting was the design of the CGs, by the same artist who worked on Cafe Enchante, Cupid Parasite or jakou no Lyla. But the art in Hanayaka Nari Waga Ichizoku looks nothing like it. The colours are muted and almost look like old pictures. At first sight I almost thought the art style was ugly.  But the more I played the more it grew on me and I came to appreciate this almost lo-fi art style. I think it’s very unique and now I want more of it 😀

There are also little details added, like falling cherry blossoms, leaves in autumn or snow in winter, when you can also see the cold breath coming out of the moving mouth of the sprite.

Similar to the sprites in Pub Encounter the artist also worked on, it’s noteworthy we actually have an otome game with older guys! The two oldest sons are around thirty and they actually look like it. No baby faces, no soft features, but rugged manliness – or at least that’s how close we get

So overall the art was no love at first sight, it might have more of an underdog taste, but I definitely ended up liking it.

Tone: Life of a maid

The beginning of the game is a bully parade with heavily triggering topics. You’ll be mistreated, called trash or asked to harm yourself. Definitely not a laughing matter, and I’m only able to overlook that because I never suffered through such treatments or self harming thoughts in real-life. But overall I would say the game overstepped a bit in that regard.

But luckily the daily bullying fills only the first hours of the game and becomes more a slice of life of a maid afterwards, told in little episodic stories. And the MCs bright and naive yet lively character makes the dreadful everyday life a lot easier to bear. But it’s really interesting to see how the focus of the story shifts from her to the family. The life of a maid is not about her, but the people she tends to and conversations she overhears coincidentally. In that regard it feels realistic but that also prevents a cohesive narrative at the beginning of the game, but it’s more a collection of short stories from different points of view.

This feeling like a maid is enhanced by small gameplay elements.

You have to raise your maid stats in order not to get fired at the end of the month, by scheduling your activities.

And in your free time you can walk around the mansion to take on fetch quests and collect some extra goodies.

The scheduling stat raising is compulsory, but doesn’t really pose a challenge, except maybe for the first month, but afterwards it’s not really a problem. So doing chores just felt like a chore to me 😀

The RPG like fetch quest could have been cute, but you only earn goodies and its kind of hard to navigate through the mansion without a map and without the ability to run – because maids don’t run on the floor – I get it, but…that just led to me completely ignoring this part of the game, as I’m in general not a fan of gameplay in otome games.

But the closer you come to the character routes the more the plot about who will become the next heir and the political intrigues around the prime minister thickens.

And it’s fun to pick up little hints about that in each route, though the most revelations might be in Masashi’s route, so he’s often recommended to play last.

In their character routes every character struggles with their role in the family, to find their place in the world and find out what they really want, while figuring out what they feel towards the MC. You can’t feel love towards a servant right? She’s just useful and I want to own her.

So while the first half of the game, the long common route mixed with the first character scenes of the character you want to pursue, felt a bit generic, pointless and almost boring – and I was wondering why people even liked this game so much it was worth making a fan disk for and porting it from psp to psvita and switch – I understood the appeal of the game in the second half of each playthrough, when the conflicts become more intense, of the son’s role in the family, about being a bird in a golden cage, being used for the family, the political intrigues and of course to figure out what they feel for the MC, a mere useless servant, and how to make such a forbidden love between master and servant work out.

Not only does the relationship between Haru and the LI develop, but she also influences the relationships of the brothers, which makes for some funny and loveable family scenes between the brothers or help them work out their relationship with their mothers.

I wouldn’t say the story is overly romantic, and the cero C ranking is actually for blood and violence, because apparently we are still in an age where you resolve every conflict by killing your opponent?  The love development in each route still felt cute and natural, even if rather innocent. But some characters still had some more passionate scenes and though I’m usually screaming MORE ROMANCE I strangely wasn’t dissatisfied, by this subtle, tender and sweet love development.

Or it was because with mean characters you start to overinterpret every normal line, when he didn’t insult you, and are so happy and now believe he must be madly in love with you!

Maybe that also was because the game takes place over the course of a year you really have time to get to know each other and though the character routes are rather short with about 4 hours, the development still didn’t feel rushed, but you had many heart to heart conversations, see the characters support each other, and have time to figure out what you feel for each other until you finally get a kiss in literally the last minutes of each playthrough and the plot stays tense to the second the credits roll and you get back to the homescreen. And I have never seen this kind of thick plot until the very end.

Another reason why the short routes don’t feel rushed is that the game overall has almost no descriptions of what is happening or scenery. Every information is conveyed by dialogue or CGs, which makes the game actually suitable for beginners or lower intermediate learners.

Learn Japanese: A bit of keigo

The kanji are HUGE so they are extremely easy to read with this bold font. Of course the language can be a bit dated here and there, but still doesn’t get too complicated. And especially the lack of wordy descriptions or inner monologue makes it easy to follow and the story snappy and quickly paced.

Verdict: if you like to be bullied

Overall I think Hanayaka Nari Waga Ichizoku is a game if you want to experience a master maid relationship, can stand some severe bullying, are in for a slice of life beginning and some small gameplay mechanics, that develop into an interesting plot about family dynamics and secrets and bridging the gap between master and maid.

I’m definitely interested in getting the FDs some time – I want it now and infd out how they relationship develops, how they can form an equal relationship now -, but sadly this time they weren’t included in the switch port of the main game.

And if you want to get a taste of what the game is like, I highly recommend watching the short anime, which I talk about in this video and which practically tells the common route.

If you like that short anime, chances are you’ll also like the game, which perfectly captures the life of a maid in a rich family.

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