Kara no Shojo: The Second Episode is the follow up to the original Kara no Shojo developed by InnocentGrey and published in English by MangaGamer. It is a visual novel that follows detective protagonist Reiji Tokisaka as he works with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department to solve a serial murder case in a late 1950s Tokyo.
Those that played the first Kara no Shojo should feel right at home with Kara no Shojo: The Second Episode since the game plays out in largely the same way. You are still given moments where you need to make deductions about things, you still investigate crime scenes, and you still decide on locations you wish to go to during down times. It’s still not the best system, but it’s vastly improved from the first Kara no Shojo due in no small part to being a bit more forgiving. You can still find yourself looking at a game over screen after making a wrong choice, but it’s a lot more likely that you will simply be told that you have no idea what you’re talking about and move on with the story. This change allows the player to focus more on the story rather than hope that visiting a certain person instead of a different one on some random date doesn’t lead to a bad ending, although it still sometimes does.
This is good, because Kara no Shojo: The Second Episode’s story is definitely solid. It doesn’t have quite the uncertainty that the first Kara no Shojo had since there’s next to no attempt to try and hide the serial murderer’s identity, but there’s so much other stuff going on involving bloodlines that the player isn’t likely to be too bothered by it. There was more than one “no way” moment as the tangled mass of relationships was untangled during the story. It’s very well done, and besides one instance, doesn’t seem forced at all, which is very hard to accomplish when you get as crazy as Kara no Shojo: The Second Episode does.
Despite that, many of the reveals result in nothing but that quick “no way” moment, and not much else. It would have been nice to actually feel like the reveals had an impact on the visual novel’s story, but many are just revealed and then the story moves on to the next reveal without much changing between the characters. Instead of having an immediate impact, most seem like they will have more long-reaching implications, especially the final one.
That brings up the biggest issue for Kara no Shojo: The Second Episode. The entire visual novel feels like it’s simply a road that leads you from point A to point B. In other words, it just feels like a bridge between the first Kara no Shojo and the inevitable third Kara no Shojo. Without going too deep into things for the sake of keeping out spoilers as much as possible, it feels like all the answers players truly want will be given in the next entry in the series.
The result is that Kara no Shojo: The Second Episode ends up feeling like filler more than anything. The primary purpose of the visual novel seems to be to introduce a character that will be key to the next entry in the series in the most outrageous way possible, which it succeeds at doing. However, the additional characters introduced along the way don’t quite connect as well as the cast did in the first Kara no Shojo. Rarely did a character’s death have an impact, unlike the first visual novel where more than one death hit extremely hard. This goes for bad endings as well, which are generally meant to be even worse than the true ending.
Even with those issues, Kara no Shojo: The Second Episode still delivers a story worth experiencing. The visual novel’s soundtrack is stellar and adds to the experience, as does the voice acting. The art is largely the same as the first visual novel, which means it is very well done with a focus more on the realistic side of things. The biggest difference is that now the resolution is set at 1280×720, making things considerably larger.
H scenes still aren’t a major focus in Kara no Shojo: The Second Episode, but they are a bit more prominent than in the first Kara no Shojo. Accompanying this small change is a bit of an upgrade as far as the scene quality as well, which is never a bad thing.
All in all, Kara no Shojo: The Second Episode manages to push along the Kara no Shojo storyline in a way that is lighter in tone and simply less frustrating. While it may not have a storyline that hits home quite like the first, the tweaks to its formula result in a visual novel that exceeds its predecessor in regards to entertainment. This makes Kara no Shojo: The Second Episode a must have visual novel for fans of the series, and one that even those who have never played the first should give a look.
A copy of Kara no Shojo: The Second Episode was provided by the publisher to facilitate this review.