Welcome to Queer Fudanshi! Let’s Talk. Today, we’re going to talk about the No, Thank You Maki Route.
First time you’ve heard of No, Thank You? It’s a Japanese visual novel, which is sort of a mix of a novel and a video game. The player reads a story like a novel, but the program includes images and sometimes audio to accompany the experience. (If you need more vocab info, click on this like to the Important Terms page).
This particular game is about Haru, a boy with a mysterious past who currently has amnesia. Haru saved the life of a rich business man and to repay him the man has set Haru up with a job. Haru now works at a jazz bar that doubles as a private investigations office. Haru and his new coworkers solve case after case as he races to achieve his mysterious goal… and romance a coworker or two.
If this game sounds interesting to you and you haven’t seen my review of the Hiroyuki route yet, click this link to head over there. That is where I started playing and reviewing the game.
My Thoughts Before Playing/Reading
This time around I have Maki in my sights. I’m interested in getting to know Maki as right now he is the one that I have the least understanding of. He’s the strong, silent type, so if he’s not the focus of the story he doesn’t get much attention. I’m hoping the No, Thank You Maki Route can make me fall for Maki just as much as the Hiroyuki route did for Hiroshi.
Oh also, I hope the game cools it a bit on the NSFW stuff. The balance of story to NSFW scenes was too unbalanced in the last route.
This is the No, Thank You Maki Route.
Warning: This game is NSFW because it has several sex scenes. Imagine an erotic novel. For younger QF readers, turn around. Plus, you have to pay for the game anyway.
Where to Buy:
The Talk (Spoilers Ahead):
The beginning of this route started terribly. It started with a rape scene. Cause that’s a great way to start courting someone. When that happened I was literally thinking to myself, “Oh lord, what have I gotten myself into?”
Then on top of that, it seemed like the two characters were a bad match for each other. Haru was so bouncy, happy, and care free (and also overly aggressive). Maki was so dark, silent, and stand off-ish (and surprisingly passive).
As the story went on however the two started to really click with each other. Best friends they were not and they would never act too chummy. There’s no way to confuse it, this wasn’t a romance story.
That said, there was a silent bond that formed between the two… one that felt like a sort of kinship. That was nice to read. They celebrated their similarities like the fact that they both had combat training and were deadly killers. That truly saved this route in my mind.
Also, a quick note on the NSFW scenes. I found them to be pretty boring. My complaint in the last route was that there were too many scenes. At that time I didn’t hate the scenes, in fact I loved them, but there were just too many. For the No, Thank You Maki Route, I honestly don’t know if there were a lot of scenes and I mostly don’t care. My main issue, besides the first one being a rape scene, is that Maki’s stoicness shinned (in a bad way). Nobody wants to be with a limp body (besides Liang Ze from Yandaixiejie no. 10). Hiroyuki and Maki are such total opposites in this aspect that it’s funny. (Though I will say that the last scene is an exception to this boring complaint).
Speaking of Maki, I’ve got to say that as a character he’s not my favorite. In fact, most often than not I found him boring and/or insufferable. That said, as the story went on I started to sympathize with him to the point that I now consider his story line my favorite so far. While I like Hiroyuki much more as a person, I found Maki’s story line more compelling to read. Hearing about his past and seeing how he blocks himself from the rest of the world as a sort of protection was an interesting read.
Yesterday, I said in the Bukiyou na Silent Volume 1’s Youtube video that the silent person cliché would extend to Maki. While certainly that is true, he is almost in no way like Tono Satoru. Whereas Satoru is portrayed in this light tone as the silently expressive teenager, Maki is this conflicted adult with a broken past and a broken personality. Yes, with a quick glance Maki may seem like nothing new. After taking a closer look by reading the No, Thank You Maki Route, however I have to say that he seems like a pretty fleshed out character to me.
I have an even greater appreciation for Haru after playing this route. While certainly he did things wrong, here’s looking at you first NSFW scene, he ended up having a sweet epiphany later on. Haru kept trying to chip away at the boulder that is Maki. While I would have stopped AGES ago, Haru kept going. Then to top it off, he really was doing it out of envy. Haru didn’t like Maki acting so stoically when the latter had so much going for him. It was such a sad realization for Haru to have that I couldn’t help liking the guy more.
As for learning more about his backstory, I didn’t really learn anything. I did learn some other things though. For those who haven’t played the game yet, if you finish a route you unlock character POVs. These tell you the thoughts of characters during certain scenes as well as possibly showing you new extra scenes. I got to learn about more of the main story, such as the fact that Haru faked his own mugging, but I still know next to nothing about his backstory.
I’m happy with how the No, Thank You Maki Route ended. While it didn’t end too happily, it didn’t feel as sad as Hiroyuki’s route. The relationship between Maki and Haru was subtly beautiful.It was certainly more nuanced than the overt friendship-turned-romance with Hiroshi.
It’s funny, with Hiroshi I feel the NSFW bits overshadowed the story line, and for Maki’s I feel it was the opposite result. I hope that one of the last two routes will find a way to balance both out.
My rating for the No, Thank You Maki Route is 4 stars out of 5. What’s yours?