Akito Shukuri | Character Review | Norn9: Var Commons

I hate you; I love you – it hurts me every time I see you.

Get ready for another rollercoaster of a love story; this is more than a grumpy tsundere using harsh words to cover up his embarrassing feelings for the doormat MC. There’s some real angst in this route, and once again Norn9 gives us an emotionally charged route that subverts tropes commonly seen in otome.

Game Name: Norn9: Var Commons
Developers: Idea Factory, Otomate
Publishers: Aksys Games
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PS Vita
Genres / Vibes: Otome, Romance, Sci-Fi, (Psuedo)Historical
Price: $49.99 (USD)
More info: Website, Aksys Store, Nintendo Store

Otome Bookclub

Bookclub: we have a weekly Otome Bookclub at the Sweet & Spicy Discord Server! For Norn9: Var Commons, we’ve had meetings for Kakeru, Heishi, Sakuya, Senri, Itsuki, and Akito – with Masamune coming up next on Wednesday 17th May, at 6pm PST. Everyone is welcome, whether it’s to join the bookclub or simply say hi and gush about your faves ♥ You can check out our server: here!

Next route: Masamune!


Sweet 3/5: There are a lot of sweet actions that are easily misunderstood under the angsty words
Spicy 2/5: So many kisses, but it isn’t even foreplay
CD 4/5: Akito and Nanami are both layered characters with more thoughts than we’re shown
Story 4/5: There are many reveals in this route while keeping the story on Akito and Nanami

I hate you; I love you

Name: Akito Shukuri
Pronouns: He/Him
Potential Endings: Tragic, Normal, Happy
Voice Actor: Sugiyama Noriaki (杉山 紀彰)
Tropes: Tsundere, Malewife, Enemies to Lovers
Dynamic with MC: Sharing a history wrapped in tragedy, Akito only knew Nanami as the monster in his memories. As that perception changed to line up with our MC, Nanami found love for herself through the love that Akito expressed – between tsundere grumbles, that is.

Nothing made Akito into a tsundere, he was always that way. He was always harsh with his words, but kind with his actions. He was always angry at the world for the injustices he knew as a child. He knew how to hone that anger into something palpable that would cut deep, but he didn’t know how to heal that invisible hurt.

On the other hand, we have Nanami, who literally was trained to strike the killing blow if she needed to. A descendent of a ninja clan, she was capable of drawing blood and causing physical wounds. However, she was also aware of the weight of her words, and how those could cause pain as harmful as her actions.

I certainly didn’t expect these two to find solace in each other, but I also wasn’t aware of the past they shared. While I won’t give details, it’s easy to see how their relationship evolved and developed during the route once their history was revealed to us.

I laughed. I cried. And I gained a new appreciation for Akito in his efforts to grow throughout his route.

Drowning in Guilt

Every character and every route in Norn9 seems to have its own theme. The way each is approached and examined is handled with care and consideration, allowing us, the reader, to determine where we stand on the matter rather than telling us what is “good” or “bad”. I really respect the original writer for managing this, but also the localization team for keeping the journey close to the same.

Nanami and Akito roughly manhandle how to deal with guilt, regret, and blame for situations that were beyond their control. This is such a heavy topic to address, and you can see that with the way it weighed these two characters down. Nanami talks about her heart being covered in snow since that moment in their shared past. And Akito harbored a hatred that drove all his actions in life to this point.

It’s interesting to see how the both of them manifest their suffering under the guilt and regret they feel, and to say it was cathartic is such an underwhelming way to word how I felt once the conflict was resolved.

The thing is, nothing that has touched us so deeply can just be washed away by facing it. Even in the Happy Ending, we’re left with guilt, unseen wounds, and more snow that has yet to melt around Akito and Nanami’s hearts. I have hope that they’ll get there one day, but the struggles of regret never really go away, they just weigh us down a little less if we manage to address them.

The Endings

Recommended ending order: Tragic Ending ➜ Normal Ending ➜ Happy Ending

Akito is the first route that we see three different endings placed after chapter seven. While I always aim for the Happy Ending, I wasn’t able to snag it on my blind play through, and landed on the Tragic Ending. This actually worked out in my favor, as I think the uninterrupted flow from chapter seven to the Tragic Ending created a beautifully tragic conclusion to a story that tugged at my heartstrings.

If you’re not into tragedy, and have no intention of collecting all the CGs, head towards the Normal Ending before the Happy Ending. It’s a good middle-ground, bittersweet enough to be a proper resolution of the conflict, but not as joyful as the Happy Ending gives us.

If you’re looking for a walkthrough, I recommend the one by Otome Kitten. Though she outlines the routes by Happy, Normal, then Tragic, I think playing from Tragic to Happy is the best, for maximum feels.

A Picture Worth 1,000 Words: Akito’s route has several CGs behind seemingly innocuous choices. If you’re the collecting sort, sticking to the guide will net you all the CGs from his route – if you do all the endings as well.

Final Thoughts

Perhaps it’s because I’m a tsundere myself (RJ), but I ended up hating and loving Akito and his relationship with Nanami. This stubborn tsundere never won my heart with his harsh words, but he won it when he was willing to let himself be vulnerable – a scary and painful thing I’m all too familiar with.

This isn’t a tough guy to softy story. Akito doesn’t drastically change at the end. He’s still very much the stubborn, guarded, sharp-tongued man he started the story as. Just maybe a little softer around the edges. He can actually say nice things, and show a smile, but he still shoulders his own burdens and doesn’t fully rely on Nanami like I wanted him to.

Nanami, on the other hand, grew enough for the both of them, and she is dragging Akito with her to new heights. I honestly want more for her, but I also know that the conclusion is reasonable and it is nice to see an ending that isn’t healed and “fixed” with love.

Out of all the routes, I’m most curious to see how these two continue to develop in Norn9: Last Era – the fandisc slated to be released August 24th, 2023. I want to see Akito letting go of the guilt he has desperately held onto, and see what he’s like when he is truly happy.

You’ll like Akito Shukuri if you like: tsunderes; emotional self-harm; awkward people in awkward situations; drama and angst; a man willing to reexamine his thoughts and feelings; and blushing tsunderes.

Game Info

Game Name: Norn9: Var Commons
Developers: Idea Factory, Otomate
Publishers: Aksys Games
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PS Vita
Genres / Vibes: Otome, Romance, Sci-Fi, (Psuedo)Historical
Price: $49.99 (USD)
More info: Website, Aksys Store, Nintendo Store

About the Authors

Oona Tempest

A yandere, flirt, and DILF enthusiast with a passion for problematic ikemen, melodrama, and all things fae. Pronouns are She/They.

Streamer, writer, and founder of Sweet & Spicy.

Fun fact: Colour blind, but only for red flags.

RJ Mercy

Late blooming romance lover living the dream of playing games and writing about 2D men. Pronouns are They/Them.

Obsessive content consumer, awkward streamer, and casual reviewer.

Fun fact: I sleep with several men in my bed at night.

Thank You

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SR – RJ Mercy

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