Here we investigate the overlooked, the underappreciated, the Shameworthy titles of the world. Jump in to an existing mission thread and give your thoughts, or start your own to kick off a discussion.
User avatar
User

Angry Jedi

Posts

557

Joined

Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:10 pm

Real Name

Pete Davison

Favorite Genres

JRPGs, visual novels, adventures

Now Playing

Sword Art Online: Re:Hollow Fragment, The Fruit of Grisaia, Hyperdimension Neptunia U, Final Fantasy XIV

Re: The Fruit of Grisaia

by Angry Jedi » Thu Sep 17, 2015 3:02 pm

Started Yumiko's route, and it had me absolutely gripped for several hours last night. Spoilers follow, though I haven't yet finished the whole route so this just covers a few hours of it.

Spoiler: show
When we're first introduced to Yumiko in the common route, it's clear that she is both troubled and likely to be trouble for Yuuji. When Yuuji first tries to introduce himself to her, she initially tries to ignore him, and subsequently tries to slap him when he persists. This eventually escalates into her lashing out at him with a box cutter whenever she sees him, a fact which Yuuji's fellow students just shrug off as being "something she does", because they've all been through it too. Yuuji, being a certified badass, shrugs off Yumiko's attacks without injury easily, and eventually they stop altogether, though she still proves herself to be a prickly individual who is generally unwilling to interact with others.

2015-09-13_00009.jpg


Except it's not that simple. Throughout the common route, Yumiko can often be found lurking on the periphery of the rest of the group's social activities; they're all aware of her and take care not to exclude her, but they also don't try to force her to participate in anything. It's clear that even if she doesn't show it on her face or through her behaviour, she finds comfort in being around people who care for her and are considerate of her feelings. Even the foul-mouthed Makina proves herself to be enormously perceptive of Yumiko's personality traits, accurately "reading her thoughts" in one particularly memorable scene.

In the common route, we're given a teaser of what has made Yumiko as withdrawn, sullen and prone to lashing out as she is -- it's clearly to do with her father. Upon returning from a shopping trip to the town, a number of the group report a suspicious-looking black car outside the station, though those who have been at the school longer know that this is a sign that Yumiko's father is coming to inspect the school, which it seems he financed and had built. Yumiko, meanwhile, refuses to see her father, instead preferring to watch his cursory inspection of the school grounds from the dormitory rooftop; it's clear that he's not really inspecting anything, but is instead hoping that he might be able to get through to his daughter.

2015-09-10_00018.jpg


When Yumiko's route proper starts, we're given a bit more information about Yumiko's father, who has already been suggested to be a not very nice person. Indeed, early in Yumiko's route, we're given a third-person scene (i.e. protagonist Yuuji isn't present for it) in which we see Yuuji's handler JB and Yumiko's father discussing how they might get Yumiko to come back to her family and be prepared to take over the family railway business. Yumiko, until now, has been having none of this, of course, and so her father resorts to desperate measures, requesting that JB assign Yuuji to bodyguard duty for Yumiko and then arranging for her to be attacked and abducted. What he didn't count on is that Yuuji is more than capable of taking care of a few hired thugs, particularly as they had been specifically instructed not to actually harm Yumiko -- at least initially.

Yumiko is initially resistant to Yuuji guarding her, insisting that "it's not as though [her] life's anything worth protecting", and that she "doesn't particularly mind if someone does come for [her]". The initial attack from her father's men puts her somewhat on her guard, though, and from that point on she is less resistant to Yuuji's efforts to protect her, and gradually softens towards him over time, eventually developing feelings for him because she's come to rely on his protection -- a feeling of safety and security that she's never enjoyed before.

2015-09-16_00038.jpg


Yuuji, being a stubborn idiot prone to inadvertently annoying women with non-deliberate insensitive comments, of course, doesn't notice that Yumiko has started to feel something for him -- or refuses to admit that this might be a possibility, at least -- but sticks beside her "because it's [his] job". When JB pulls him off the case at the request of Yumiko's father, he is somewhat surprised to receive a direct request from Yumiko to continue working as her bodyguard in a private capacity.

On one excursion, the heavens open and Yuuji and Yumiko find themselves trapped under a bridge in a torrential downpour. Something doesn't seem right about Yumiko's behaviour to Yuuji, and it's not long before things come to a head; a thunderclap and flash of lightning absolutely terrify Yumiko, who crumples into Yuuji's arms in an uncharacteristic display of weakness, fragility and reliance on others. Having already come this far in showing her fragile side to Yuuji, she then relates the story of how she came to be the person she is today, and what she is doing at the mysterious school.

2015-09-16_00045.jpg


Yumiko's mother was the daughter of a pair of struggling business owners. She married into the Sakaki family primarily for financial and political reasons, and bore Yumiko as the family's only child. Being a girl, Yumiko was an immediate disappointment to the family, who had been hoping for a son and heir apparent, but Yumiko's mother was much too weak to survive another pregnancy, and eventually succumbed to a debilitating psychological disorder that saw her and Yumiko retreat back to the countryside and her family home. She was hospitalised, and Yumiko was left to live with her grandparents, who resented her existence because she was a symbol of their failing business, and how they wouldn't be able to rely on the support of the Sakaki family forever.

Yumiko tried to stay positive amid this bleak situation, but the youthful joy she once had at the simple sight of a passing dog eventually gave way to bitterness and resentment. Her only outlet was her neighbour, who had formerly been employed by her grandparents as a servant, but now continued to help them out for free. Yumiko was the only one to show her gratitude, and she resented her grandparents for taking advantage of her right up until her death -- a feeling shared by her daughter and son-in-law.

2015-09-16_00073.jpg


Her hospitalised mother gradually comes to show an improvement, eventually reaching a point where it looks like she's going to be discharged from hospital, but suffers a catastrophic relapse upon hearing the news that her husband -- Yumiko's father -- had taken a mistress in her absence, and said mistress had borne him a son.

A year passes, and Yumiko's bitterness grows, since her mother had relapsed so severely that she couldn't even remember anything about her family. She had no-one to rely on, no-one to talk to, no friends, which is why when her father's aides come to collect her from her grandparents' house -- bearing the offer "if you let me have Yumiko back, I'll continue supporting your family and your business" -- she jumps at the opportunity.

2015-09-17_00011.jpg


Initially resenting her father for the anguish he caused her and her mother, Yumiko eventually softens towards him as he appears to be making a genuine effort to reconnect with his daughter. It eventually transpires that he is only doing this because his illegitimate son died and his mistress abandoned him shortly afterwards, leaving Yumiko once again as the only potential heir to his business. Feeling a familiar, growing sense of rage at this, Yumiko is in a fragile mental state and is pushed over the edge when she overhears one of her classmates speaking untruths about her.

Prior to this, she had taken to expressing her anger through destruction. "The clicking of the blade emerging from its sheath," she relates. "The sound of something once whole being severed apart. Those had become calming sounds to me. How wonderful would it be if I could slice away my femininity with a single box cutter? How wonderful would it be if I could sever my fate with the touch of a blade? How wonderful would it be if one movement of my hand could cut me free of all the troubles that coiled around me and choked the air from my lungs?"

2015-09-16_00072.jpg


The first thing she destroys is her long, black hair; an attempt to "slice away her femininity" and look more like a boy -- a largely successful effort, though one that causes people to shy away from her even more than normal. Later, she destroys her artwork and the diary in which she had written down all the growing positive thoughts she had been feeling as she had mistakenly thought her father truly loved her.

And ultimately, the event which sees her totally severing her ties to her old life: she stabs her classmate, whom she had previously thought was a friend, but who had turned out to be just as much of a turncoat as everyone else in her life.

2015-09-17_00025.jpg


Yumiko escaped a criminal conviction for her violent outburst, because money can make anything go away, and her father knew that very well indeed. Knowing that the situation couldn't continue in the way it had been, however, he offloads her onto Mihama Academy, and that's how she finds herself in the situation she is now.

What happens next remains to be seen! I'm very interested to see how all this turns out. And since Yumiko's route is apparently the weakest of all of them -- or at least the one with the least overall "relevance" to the series as a whole, I understand -- I'm now very much looking forward to the other routes, if this is the standard of the weakest one.
User avatar
User

Angry Jedi

Posts

557

Joined

Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:10 pm

Real Name

Pete Davison

Favorite Genres

JRPGs, visual novels, adventures

Now Playing

Sword Art Online: Re:Hollow Fragment, The Fruit of Grisaia, Hyperdimension Neptunia U, Final Fantasy XIV

Re: The Fruit of Grisaia

by Angry Jedi » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:44 pm

I have now finished Yumiko's route. I will refrain from further spoilers for now, but all I'll say is that if that one is regarded as the "weakest" of all the routes, the rest of this VN is going to be a repeated series of emotional gutpunches. Can't wait.

Michiru is next, but not tonight.
User avatar
User

Angry Jedi

Posts

557

Joined

Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:10 pm

Real Name

Pete Davison

Favorite Genres

JRPGs, visual novels, adventures

Now Playing

Sword Art Online: Re:Hollow Fragment, The Fruit of Grisaia, Hyperdimension Neptunia U, Final Fantasy XIV

Re: The Fruit of Grisaia

by Angry Jedi » Sat Sep 19, 2015 11:58 am

Some interesting ponderings on the subject of "bad" endings following a discussion with a friend of mine who is also playing through this at the moment:

I've only seen Yumiko's two endings so far, but her "bad" ending actually wasn't all that "bad" in that no-one died, no-one got hurt, nothing was broken beyond repair. The only really "bad" part of it was that the situation that she and Yuuji were trying to deal with over the course of her route wasn't really resolved in a satisfactory manner, leaving them both a little uneasy about what the future held for them. It was also interesting to see the difference in their domestic life in both the "bad" and the "good" endings, because there was some symbolism there, but I'll refrain from talking about that without spoiler tags...

Spoiler: show
In the "bad" ending, they have a son, whom they decide can be used as a "bargaining chip" to try and get back into Yumiko's father's good graces -- the main conflict that Yumiko has to deal with in her route is "why couldn't you have been born a boy?" -- while in the "good" ending, they have a daughter, who they just love for who she is, symbolising a life where they can stop looking back at the sins of the past and instead look forward to what the future holds.


My friend assures me that the other bad endings are indeed a whole lot worse than this, so I am steeling myself for what he said are some truly horrifying conclusions. One of the things I really like about this VN is that as I type this, I really have no idea which directions the different routes will veer off in; the anticipation of "what might happen" is part of what I really like about it.

Onward to Michiru's route, then!
User avatar
User

Angry Jedi

Posts

557

Joined

Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:10 pm

Real Name

Pete Davison

Favorite Genres

JRPGs, visual novels, adventures

Now Playing

Sword Art Online: Re:Hollow Fragment, The Fruit of Grisaia, Hyperdimension Neptunia U, Final Fantasy XIV

Re: The Fruit of Grisaia

by Angry Jedi » Sun Sep 20, 2015 1:28 am

Spent most of today reading Michiru's route. I won't talk in depth about it for now as it's 2:30 in the morning, but I understand what people mean when they say Yumiko's route is "weaker" -- it's not so much that it's not as good, more that it's not as... "intense" as the others, if Michiru's is anything to go by.

To be specific without huge spoilers, Yumiko's route has a clear conflict that needs resolving; a "villain" to defeat, as it were. Michiru's issues, meanwhile, are considerably more complicated -- and utterly fascinating. The circumstances that made her into the person she is -- as predicted, she's considerably more complex and sympathetic than her initial impression suggests -- are surprising and heartbreaking.

Not finished her route yet; I'll doubtless have some more things to say when I do. It has already made me full-on cry once, though.
User avatar
User

Angry Jedi

Posts

557

Joined

Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:10 pm

Real Name

Pete Davison

Favorite Genres

JRPGs, visual novels, adventures

Now Playing

Sword Art Online: Re:Hollow Fragment, The Fruit of Grisaia, Hyperdimension Neptunia U, Final Fantasy XIV

Re: The Fruit of Grisaia

by Angry Jedi » Sun Sep 20, 2015 9:40 am

Brief interlude to note that the music in this game is marvellous.







User avatar
User

Angry Jedi

Posts

557

Joined

Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:10 pm

Real Name

Pete Davison

Favorite Genres

JRPGs, visual novels, adventures

Now Playing

Sword Art Online: Re:Hollow Fragment, The Fruit of Grisaia, Hyperdimension Neptunia U, Final Fantasy XIV

Re: The Fruit of Grisaia

by Angry Jedi » Sun Sep 20, 2015 5:34 pm

Michiru! Fucking hell.

I'll jump right in.

Spoiler: show
As I predicted, Michiru ended up being an interesting, sympathetic character whose story had a markedly different tone to Yumiko’s. Where Yumiko’s route had a clear conflict with a potential solution — a “villain” of sorts to defeat — Michiru’s is much more complex, and its conclusion is much less “tidy” than that seen in Yumiko’s route. It’s not that it leaves things unresolved, to be clear; more that Michiru’s resolution involves having to live with some ongoing problems.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s rewind and talk a little about the girl herself.

Image

We’re first introduced to Michiru in the common route, when protagonist Yuuji comes across her doing vocal exercises in an empty classroom, closely followed by her practicing bellowing out stock tsundere phrases such as “i-it’s not like I’m doing this for you or anything” and “d-don’t misunderstand!” Already well aware that his new classmates are a little on the peculiar side, Yuuji doesn’t probe too deeply into the matter at this point, but it’s immediately obvious whenever Michiru interacts with Yuuji or her other classmates that her tsundere personality isn’t who she really is; rather, it’s a façade she’s putting up for reasons that, at the outset of the story, aren’t entirely clear.

The first hint that all is not well in Michiru’s inner world comes during a conversation with the group about friendship. As the conversation progresses to the topic of “best friends”, Michiru seems to develop some discomfort in her chest, and eventually sidles off making an excuse about feeling “anaemic”. Yuuji suspects that this isn’t the whole truth, but out of respect for Michiru — and a desire for a “normal” school life — doesn’t poke his nose into her business, instead just making sure she’s all right before returning to the group, no questions asked.

This incident repeats itself a few times, until Yuuji discovers a rather strange truth about Michiru: whenever she complains of discomfort in this way, it’s usually followed by a dramatic shift in her personality. Rather than the loud-mouthed idiot that most of her classmates know as “the usual Michiru”, this “other” Michiru is relatively softly-spoken, yet articulate and assertive. In many ways, she’s the polar opposite of her “pseudo-tsundere” counterpart.

There are a number of possible explanations for this behaviour, and the game takes care to not necessarily give a definitive answer as to what’s causing it, though it leans rather strongly in the direction of cell memory theory. Michiru’s heart isn’t her own, you see; it came from the body of a girl who was completely paralysed in a traffic accident, since Michiru herself suffered from a life-threatening heart condition in her childhood. This “other” Michiru, it seems, may well be the personality of this other girl, who had taken to “coming out” whenever Michiru appeared to be in distress in order to resolve her problems, then sink back into the darkness again.

Michiru finds herself in distress rather a lot. A traumatic childhood in which she was repeatedly physically abused by her home-school tutors left her with deep mental scars and a feeling of utter uselessness. “I sorta feel like… I should be huddled up in some little corner of the world instead,” she confesses to Yuuji one day. “Breathing real softly so no-one notices.”

Image

This “huddling up” coincides with how she deals with her moments of distress; she retreats into her own inner world — which she imagines as “the bottom of the sea” — and hugs her knees to herself, allowing the “other” Michiru to come to the fore, not always voluntarily. When she “wakes up” from the experience, she often finds that her life is “better” somehow, or that the problem has been magically resolved in her “absence”.

Eventually this starts to get to Michiru somewhat. She’s aware of the fact that she’s simply running from all her problems. “If she’s that much better at everything than I am, maybe she should just take over my life full-time,” she says to Yuuji during a moment of reflection. “What’s the point of me even being here? If she’s that much better than me, why do I even exist?”

Michiru’s inferiority complex is tied in part to her childhood, but also due to her perception of the world as being a place where nothing is constant and she can’t rely on anything. She deliberately chooses not to become attached to anyone or anything, because she knows that she’ll only lose it and be sad about it; an exception to this comes in the form of a stray black cat that she adopts early in the story, which she refuses to give a proper name to, instead referring to it simply as “Kittymeow” (or “Nekonyaa” if you want to be Japanese about it!) “I didn’t want to give him a real name,” she explains. “Like I said before, everything I care about goes away before long. I didn’t want that to happen again, so… I mean, if I gave him a name we’d have a real connection, right? That kind of scared me.”

Image

As a symbol of her trust and growing love for Yuuji, though, she agrees to give the cat a name, since it’s spending all its time hanging around with her anyway. Yuuji, believing that this experience will be good for her, helps her come up with a name for the cat, and Michiru develops strong feelings for the cat as a result; she sees the name they came up with together as being “very special” simply by virtue of the fact that it’s something they did together.

Regrettably, though, all does not end well. In Yuuji’s words:

“The cat died. From an objective point of view, ‘a stray cat was hit by a car.’ NOthing more, nothing less. In the animal shelters, abandoned pets and feral strays are disposed of in the tens of thousands every year. To the world at large, the death of that cat is essentially meaningless. But a precious fragment of Michiru’s world was stolen away before her very eyes. From that perspective, we’re clearly facing a gravely serious situation.”

This experience, seemingly confirming all Michiru’s fears, pretty much breaks her, and she attempts to put up a brave front, with mixed results. “I don’t need to be happy,” she says. “I’ll just keep breathing and forget about the rest. Stop hoping. That should fix everything, right?”

Image

By this point, Yuuji and Michiru have been “dating” for a while, though at Yuuji’s insistence — and Michiru’s seeming agreement — they had only been pretending to date as a means of passing the time over the summer while their classmates were all away. Both of them clearly know that it’s more than that, though.

“Please,” says Michiru in a particularly deep bout of depression, during which she confesses that she wants to sleep with Yuuji, even if it’s a purely physical act with no “real” feelings. “My heart hurts. I don’t think I can stand this much longer. I want a reason why I can be here. I want something to help me believe that I matter. Hurry up and… pretend to love me already!”

Seemingly — perhaps temporarily — convinced that she at least matters to a small degree to Yuuji, Michiru eventually explains the details of her life, and the traumatic events that made her the person she is today. The abuse at the hands of her tutors left her feeling she was “a piece of trash”, a “stupid, useless person”, and her physical condition only left her feeling even more inferior, like she was a burden on her parents. Isolated and ostracised as a “ghost girl” at school, she eventually makes contact with another human being, ironically as this other person is about to end their own life. It’s Michiru’s intervention that stops her from jumping off the school roof, but Michiru herself confesses that she only intervened because she thought it would be “unfair” for someone to be able to kill themselves when she didn’t have the courage to escape this world herself.

Michiru’s friend — whose name we never discover, interestingly, despite the fact the two were “best friends”, in Michiru’s words — is herself a somewhat troubled individual, though in a different way. The girl had found herself involved in an abusive relationship with an older, married man and, as unfortunately so frequently happens in such situations, had convinced herself that she truly loved him, and thus endured some terrible abuse — physical, mental and sexual. Ultimately, Michiru finds herself unable to “save” her friend, and the other girl ends up killing herself anyway, leaving Michiru with the burden of loss weighing heavy on her shoulders.

Image

This event is essentially the main reason Michiru has such a distrust of becoming “close” with anyone or anything. She’s afraid the same thing — or something like it, at least — will happen again, but in her own distress over the matter, she forgets something very important: everyone has these worries; everyone worries about losing the things they love; everyone is sad, distraught, grief-stricken when a piece of their world is taken away.

As the “real” Michiru sinks ever deeper into a pit of absolute despair following the death of her cat, she retreats further and further from the world around her, to the eventual degree that she attempts suicide herself through an overdose of the tranquilisers she’d been taking to keep the “other” personality subdued as much as possible. Retreating from reality so much that the “other” Michiru becomes the dominant personality, Yuuji eventually manages to get her to confess what she believes to be her true feelings: that she wants to die.

In her bad ending, she attempts suicide again after agreeing to be examined in the hospital following a particularly bad series of incidents. This time, she washes down a larger quantity of medication with alcohol, and leaves herself with brain damage in the process. Yuuji sticks by her, but all life is gone from her eyes, and she can barely communicate with anyone; ultimately, she loses any chance she might have had to be at peace with herself.

Image

Her much longer good ending, meanwhile, sees Yuuji making the surprise announcement that he’ll kill her. Dosing her up with muscle relaxant, putting her in a coffin and burying her “alive” in her favourite place — where she’d said much earlier that she wanted to be buried when she died — Yuuji waits patiently by her side, secure in his own trust that she will pull herself out of the mire of darkness she’s caught in. He’d specially prepared the coffin to be easy to break out of, and to allow a small airflow in, so it would be unlikely that she’d die of suffocation, and his belief in her was what told him that this would be an okay thing to do.

Yuuji’s lesson may have been harsh, but it works; keeping the rest of his classmates in the dark, he convinces them that Michiru really is dead, even showing them her “body” in the coffin and inviting them all to share their final thoughts with her. Even the normally stoic Yumiko breaks down in hysterical sobs at the knowledge that Michiru is dead; Michiru, meanwhile, who is conscious but unable to move for all this thanks to the muscle relaxants, hears her classmates’ true feelings towards her, and comes to realise that her death may well feel like it would resolve her own problems, but it would create all manner of new problems for the people she left behind. It also becomes extremely clear that Michiru’s presence, while not as obviously helpful as that of people like Amane and Sachi, had been holding the group together to a certain degree.

“Let me tell you something, Michiru,” says Yuuji as he’s wheeling her “body” out of the dormitory, supposedly for her cremation. “Death isn’t ‘the end.’ First of all, the people you’ve left behind have to try and say goodbye. The idea that you can just vanish into thin air is a load of self-centred crap.”

Image

Given time to reflect — and time to converse with her “other” self — Michiru comes to some conclusions.

“‘From now on.’ I haven’t really thought about that so much lately,” she says. “All this time, I’ve been focused on enduring the pain from the festering, miserable wounds the past left me. Even when I met someone new, I’d find myself thinking about what happened before. Biting my lip when they weren’t looking. ‘What’s the point? It’ll be over someday.’ I’ve got to live facing forward. I can’t spend my whole life looking back over my shoulder.”

“Are you saying you’re going to forget about me?” says the shadow of her dead friend from her schooldays, deep within her mind.

“I won’t forget you!” says Michiru in response. “I won’t ever forget. But I don’t want to use you as an excuse to run away any more. I don’t want to let myself think ‘I’m useless without her’ every time something bad happens.”

Yuuji’s painful lesson was difficult but necessary for Michiru to grow beyond that which was holding her back: he knew all too well that he couldn’t “save” her himself, because that wouldn’t achieve anything whatsoever.

“Human beings exist within their own private bubble of solitude,” he explains. “Our pain and sadness can’t be cured by gentle words. Offering gestures of sympathy can make you feel good about yourself, but for the recipient it’s meaningless at best. People don’t need a crutch or a saviour. They need to overcome their own suffering or find the strength to accept it. And when someone needs help getting to that point, I’m willing to lend a hand.”

Image

“The girl who shut herself up inside a box and waited for rescue is gone,” he continues later. “Michiru’s come to understand that she’s the only one who can save herself. Of course, people can’t live alone. We need the help of others. But what really matters is finding our own road — and the strength of will to walk it. Human beings don’t have wings on their backs. We have no choice but to make our way forward on the two legs we were given. Life is just a long series of such small steps. There are plenty of things still undone, plenty of problems still unresolved, but that’s inevitable. Anyway, wouldn’t wrapping things up too neatly be a little boring?”

The conclusion to Michiru’s story comes with her acceptance of her selves — plural. “I don’t know how or why it happened,” she says, “but there are two minds in this body. It doesn’t belong to either of us alone.” This isn’t, by any means, complete closure to her issues — if anything, the fact that she’s now able to carry on perfectly normal-seeming conversations with no-one but her other self proves to be troublesome for Yuuji in particular — but, as most people hopefully know, the best way to deal with an issue is to first of all accept that it’s happening in the first place. Only from there can you move forward.

“The world isn’t so complicated,” muses Yuuji. “Walk forward and you’ll find the future. Turn back and you’ll find your memories. Cut off a piece and you’ve got a story. This is just one small part of one such tale.”

Image

Michiru’s route was powerful and emotional; I’m not ashamed to admit that the chapter “Broken Biscuit” in particular had me in tears. More than the raw emotion, though, Michiru’s situation proved to be a thought-provoking exploration of what it’s like to live with feelings of inferiority and lack of faith in yourself.

Everyone develops different means of coping with these sorts of situations; Michiru made use of her “other” self. Whether said “other” self really was the product of cell memory theory or simply a creation of her mind, it ultimately helped her come to terms with a lot of things. And while I wouldn’t describe Michiru as being completely “healthy” at the conclusion of her story, her acceptance of who she is, the dropping of her façade and her willingness to finally live for herself instead of the approval of others made for a fitting conclusion — and the beginning of a new chapter in both her own and Yuuji’s lives.

Not everyone is able to make it that far; not everyone is able to “save” themselves, but, among other things, Michiru’s route shows that you can find hope in the strangest of places, even when everything seems utterly shrouded in darkness. Words I should perhaps take to heart myself.
User avatar
User

Angry Jedi

Posts

557

Joined

Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:10 pm

Real Name

Pete Davison

Favorite Genres

JRPGs, visual novels, adventures

Now Playing

Sword Art Online: Re:Hollow Fragment, The Fruit of Grisaia, Hyperdimension Neptunia U, Final Fantasy XIV

Re: The Fruit of Grisaia

by Angry Jedi » Sat Sep 26, 2015 7:00 pm

Finished Sachi's route.

Spoileriffic thoughts can be found at https://angryjedi.wordpress.com/2015/09 ... ds-burden/ -- I'd copy-and-paste, but I put lots of pictures in and I can't be arsed to BBCode them all, so go read on my blog if you're interested. :)
User avatar
User

Raven2785

Posts

54

Joined

Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:26 am

Location

The caustic bucket that is New Jersey in the US

Favorite Genres

RPGs, Visual Novels, FPSs (Both single and multiplayer) Racing, and anything that might have a unique hook or story

Now Playing

Dust: an Elysian Tail, Saint's Row, Payday 2, Drakengard 3, NFS Shift

Re: The Fruit of Grisaia

by Raven2785 » Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:09 pm

Well, would you look at that? I take a small break of the internet due to real-life issues and come back to you playing this thing I almost finished back when it was just a fan translation, I say almost finished because I never did Makina's route and don't intend to since she never really glued with me, I never really liked her as a character and as such wasn't really interested in seeing what happened to her, I did know there was some sketchy things with her family and the beginning of her route really gives you a big confirmation that a lot of her issues are parental abandonment based, but other than that I really wasn't motivated to continue with her. Now with that out of the way, let me begin adding my 2 cents.

Angry Jedi wrote:Yumiko


She is the one I identified with the most deeply since I share a bit of her backstory and that is the fact that everyone expected me to be a different gender, see I have 2 older brothers and when my own mother was expecting me everyone in my family thought "Oh, you're finally getting a girl now!" since apparently my mother wanted a daughter, flashback to me being born and guess what? he was another boy. Before you ask me "What is an untrasound?" I need to remind you that I am from a third world country and my mother was already a single mother with 2 boys in tow, so let's just say she was lucky to get some prenatal care.

Now, unlike Yumiko all that led to was some very cute baby pictures of me in pink baby wear, there wasn't any sort of hatred or resentment from the rest of my family because I turned out to be a guy, but knowledge of said story which was now nothing more than a funny anecdote in my family would affect me during my teenage years, facing your usual bouts of teenage depression and angsts combined you your usual doses of bullying and peer pressure led me to sometimes wonder the exact same same question that is the axis of Yumiko's problems, except gender-swapped "Would things be better if I had been born a girl like the family wanted?" and while all of that was nothing more than the result of the growing pains of teenagers, seeing someone else struggle with the same question led me to feel a lot of those exact emotions right back now that I am a grown-ass man.

Spoiler: show
As far as her bad ending goes, you will notice the game itself calls it a "Normal End" rather than a bad end, which is basically what it is, Yumiko cuts of ties with her father and she instead becomes Yuuji's wife and mother of his kid. and it's also worth it of notice that she seems to really, really mellow out, she basically turns into dere dere mush halfway thru her own route, and it also happens across all the other girls routes as well, specially on Michiru's where she has a scene of her literally breaking down in tears at one specific event.


Angry Jedi wrote:Michiru! Fucking hell.


Michiru was more of a "Wuuuut?" moment for me.

Spoiler: show
I agree with all of your points on her route being both emotional and powerful, the actions and the explanations as to why they happened are just ludicrous (It's not an alternate personality, but another girl who got into her thanks to a heart transplant? okaaaay. And Yuuji burying someone alive? WTF is wrong with you man? what if your plan backfires?) and my suspension of disbelief wasn't able to clearly separate from these things leading me to basically turn what would have been an enjoyable route into "Meh" territory


Angry Jedi wrote:Finished Sachi's route.


Sach is... well her story is certainly the one that was set up to be the most cliche of them all. Basically the japanese tropes of the Meido and later we find out Childhood Friend rolled into one character, but she is also one of the funniest characters (if not the funniest) in my book just by virtue of being herself, she is basically the perfect straight man for a manzai routine (this is the reason why she makes such a great duo with Michiru) and she had a bunch of scenes in the common route that are hilarious (the nickname scene for one)

Spoiler: show
I liked her route more than Michiru's despite having some of the same problems (Seriously Yuuji, WTF is wrong with you? blowing up the school to make a point? WTF?) and her ending are both great, her good end is the stuff feels and Disney movies are made of, while her bad end is a textbook definition of Hoisted by their own Petard for Yuuji, it is so wonderfully, delightfully evil.


Now, if you haven't gotten to to Amane by the time of this writing, all I will say is that your initial misgivings about her compensating for something are indeed quite correct, the girl has seen some shit.

One the things I liked about this VN is that while you deal with the girls problems, things don't end with everything being 100% ok, the girls still have issues and Yuuji does as well, and while each girls respective good ending leave us with the impression that everything will be alright, after a bit of pondering you realize that there's still work to be done in order for them to be fully healed of their respective demons, and nowhere is this more apparent than in Amane's route.
User avatar
User

Angry Jedi

Posts

557

Joined

Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:10 pm

Real Name

Pete Davison

Favorite Genres

JRPGs, visual novels, adventures

Now Playing

Sword Art Online: Re:Hollow Fragment, The Fruit of Grisaia, Hyperdimension Neptunia U, Final Fantasy XIV

Re: The Fruit of Grisaia

by Angry Jedi » Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:21 pm

Updates! I've now finished this and it is indeed the most wonderful visual novel I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Raven is right, there is an element of having to suspend your disbelief a bit in some of the events, but I found by the point I got to some of the more ridiculous happenings, I was completely on board with Yuuji and his... interesting way of doing things.

Anyway.

Thoughts on Makina's route here: https://angryjedi.wordpress.com/2015/10 ... rong-time/

And thoughts on Amane's route -- which 1) I'm really glad I saved for last and 2) was my absolute favourite of all of them -- here: https://angryjedi.wordpress.com/2015/10 ... thank-you/

Both posts are spoileriffic, of course. I will say, however, that Amane's bad end traumatised the fuck out of me. Jesus H Christ. Fortunately her good ending more than made up for it, so do them in that order!
User avatar
User

Raven2785

Posts

54

Joined

Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:26 am

Location

The caustic bucket that is New Jersey in the US

Favorite Genres

RPGs, Visual Novels, FPSs (Both single and multiplayer) Racing, and anything that might have a unique hook or story

Now Playing

Dust: an Elysian Tail, Saint's Row, Payday 2, Drakengard 3, NFS Shift

Re: The Fruit of Grisaia

by Raven2785 » Fri Nov 06, 2015 2:36 am

Well, after sitting down and reminiscing a bit about this VN I feel I can properly reply now without sounding like a complete fanboy, so here it goes.

Before you click on any of these, know that Jedi's write-up is still not that spoilerific, I will do no such thing. I will be spoilerific as fuck

Makina:
Spoiler: show
Since I still haven't read her route, all of my impressions come from your write up and various amount of spoiling I engaged in after reading it. It was nice to find out what happens with that little devil, and all I have to say to that is Damn.

Not just seeing your dad being killed but watching him decompose in front of your eyes, holy shit. No wonder the girl has a few screws lose. Other than that I'm not really surprised this is the route with the most development for Yuuji, seeing as they're both incredibly different people in both the way they act and think, there was gonna have to be a proverbial mountain of issues to deal with for both characters to end up together, what I didn't expect was for it to be this heavy, Yuuji basically rediscovers and reinvents himself, and as a result comes to have a relationship with Makina that is IMO far stronger than with the rest of the girls. Not that what he has with the rest of the girls in their respective routes isn't good, but most of the time it's Yuuji coming in to be the stable factor one of the girls needs in order to pick themselves of the ground, dust of and give life another shot. Instead, the mental picture I ended up with of his relationship with Makina is more like two broken people holding each other up and becoming better for it.

I also missed out on finding out more about Yuuji's relationship with Asako as well as his family and other details of his past, I should've shouldered past the route when I had the chance, oh well.


Amane
Spoiler: show
Amane has IMO the best route, even if some parts of it are downright bad writing (Let's just say Sakashita making an appearance literally less than 5 minutes after the end of Angelic Howl and then becoming the threat at the end of the VN is my definition of an asspull) I also like it because of 2 very important things they do in her route.

The first one is that they used her H-scenes for the story, now obviously they need to be part of the story, even if a lot of VN writers take the "Look at this wonderful web of mystery and deception I am currently weaving with my writing, one that will grip and engage the pla... Oh... I must do this? really? Fiiiine. *Writes fanfic level smut* Ok now, where was I?" approach to writing, her sex scenes are not there to be arousing, they're there to feel wrong, they're there to make you uneasy about what Yuuji is doing with Amane, they're there to put you in the same frame of mind of Yuuji as you begin to think "What is wrong with this girl?" and sure enough, you later find out that she didn't actually care about the sex, but instead she was using it to degrade herself as an act of self-flagellation as she goes thru pushing Yuuji to try harder stuff, kinkier stuff, etc. This is one thing I certainly loved about her route, and one that I think is a great counter argument against the current stance of a lot of people who always have the argument about whether VNs should keep having the adult stuff in or just getting rid of it altogether. The sexy times can be useful, they just don't need to be a cookie at the end of the road.

The second is Angelic Howl itself. By far the longest flashback in the entire VN it is the biggest gut punch a VN has given me in years, it is gut wrenching. The girl who's slowly giving in to dementia cause she was always dieting and as a result was already a bit malnourished by the time they get stranded, the girls who got injured in the crash and are slowly dying as a result of not having proper medical attention, the whole dog scene and the almost glee with which they eat the poor thing. and the very end where they all (with the exception of Amane and Kazuki) descend into becoming animals for all intents and purposes, this whole flashback was a literal descent into the heart of human darkness to me, and Amane herself, you don't have to pay close attention to notice that the writings of her own diary keep getting shorter and shorter as the days go by, some of this is atributable to "Hey, we did exposition already" but a lot of it is also highlighting Amane's own losses, her lost energy, her lost hope (as highlighted by the leeches, the first time everyone reacts like stereotypical girls, after a few days all she does is split them apart with her nails, bussiness as usual) and her own slow loss of sanity, in the end this whole ordeal left me so emotionally drained I had to take a day or two off the VN to do something else.

There are a few writing mistakes and quirks here and there, but even in spite of those these two things are what raise this route from all the others in my book.


Now, to sum up:

Favorite girl: Yumiko
The more I kept thinking about this VN the more little parallels I have found that I share with her in retrospect, for example, I realized I never went to a theme park until I was already a grow up, just like she does in the VN. That leads me to point a big finger at the fact that I share some background similarities with her and that unconciously made me identify with her more.

Favorite Route: Amane's, if you're willing to read thru the spoilers you already know why I think it's the best

Favorite endings:
Spoiler: show
Sachi's good end, just for the very final scene in the park, that one scene more than any other let me know that the sweet little girl Sachi used to be is on the way back.

Amane's bad end, cause just how many shotgun blasts did you eat at point-blank range? Dear God almighty, I was glad the chose not to show us. Yuuji's anguished screams that he was trying to make a better life for her in the end are just icing on the cake
Previous

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Powered by happyfish | phpBB3 Style by Beige
cron