Table of Contents
- Story and Characters
- Soundtrack and Voice Acting
- Eroge level
- Final Verdict
TAGS : Psychological Problems, Drama, Slice of Life, Eroge, Action, Romance, School
STORY AND CHARACTERS
Mihama Academy is a prison-like school built to preserve “fruit” that has fallen too far from its tree. It is home to five female students who each have their own reasons for enrolling in the academy and live their life idly within the walls of Mihama. One day, Kazami Yuuji—the institute’s first male student—arrives and throws the orderly rhythm of Mihama off balance. Is Yuuji what the girls need to grab hold of their lives once more, or will the weight of their pasts prove too steep a wall to overcome? Or, is his past even heavier than any of the others?
With that in mind, welcome to Grisaia no Kajitsu, or Le Fruit de la Grisaia, first part of the Grisaia Trilogy. It’s a visual novel consisting of a long, common route and 5 girl-specific ones. Is the game good? Let’s find out!
Fruit of Grisaia tells the story of Kazami Yuuji, 17 years old male who enrolls into Mihama Academy – school for teenagers with complicated backgrounds. As the first male student since the founding of the academy, he throws everything off balance, while simply trying to live a normal student life, no matter how impossible it may sound. However, due to a number of circumstances, he tries to help the girls overcome their pasts, and to cope with his own.
That is what I’d classify as basic outline, much like the synopsis. The game itself consists of 6 routes in order :
- Common Route
- Irisu Makina
- Suou Amane
- Komine Sachi
- Matsushima Michiru
- Sakaki Yumiko
And while you’re free to go for whichever you prefer, that is the order by which you’ll be prompted to decide “who to go for” so to speak. The only route that you are not able to avoid is Yumiko’s, as she is the last one in game order, thus making it impossible to avoid, as you enter it as soon as you decide not to go through with the others. The routes all vary in the information they provide and the events that occur. Much to my surprise, there was no “weak route” in Grisaia. Usually, when you are offered with different routes, there is sure to be one that feels way weaker than the others. Here, that doesn’t happen. Every story is strong, sure, some may leave a better impression, but when you look at them overall, there wasn’t a bad route, every had it’s ups and downs. Frontwing did amazing job with that, and they deserve a praise.
With each girl, like I’ve mentioned, come different events. Different scenarios, and different choices to make. The common route provides us just barely enough to choose the route we want to take a part in, and the route itself reveals everything about that one particular character. All of the girls lived through literal hell in their own way, and uncovering their pasts and trying to make them get over it is no easy task. Much unlike Fate/ Stay Night though, Fruit of Grisaia doesn’t have nearly as much of bad endings. It only has 5, one for each girl. But, that doesn’t mean they fall flat in comparison. Some are more..”bad” than you’d imagine, going as far as to say that by the wrong choice you basically wreck the mind of the girl past a point of return. Watch out!
Oh, and also, be wary of onion cutting ninjas. Those bastards sure got me good on number of different occasions..
While trying to help girls move on, we also discover bits of Yuuji’s past. And when I say bits, I trully mean it. As it’s the first part of the trilogy, there is still a lot missing about Kazami’s past. Fortunately, Labyrinth of Grisaia and Eden of Grisaia are coming over to west, with Labyrinth supposed relase towards the end of November 2015. You may get a feeling that you still don’t know about the guy you’re playing as, but the writing tries it’s hardest to help you understand him, while not revealing too much. And it does an amazing job. Speaking of writing, now more in general, it’s really amazing. The interactions between girls feel very natural taking into account how broken they trully are. From the pushy, somewhat slutty attitude of Amane and tsundere acts of Michiru to the cold and somewhat emotionless Yumiko, each girl brings something different to the table, and their dialogue is on-point.
Let’s get more in-depth on the characters for a while. Like I’ve probably mentioned countless time before, they are all unique. The way they act is an aftermath of what happened in their pasts. With that in mind, as far as their personalities go, they seem rather common. Little sister type? Check. Older, slutty sister? Check once more. A maid? Got ya covered. Tsundere? Wouldn’t make it without one. Emotionless girl? Can’t miss that either. An older woman that always lowers her age? Yeah, it’s all there. As you can see, this is what you’ll be presented with at first glance, and while you may think and scream “I’ve seen that!”, the further you read, the more you realize how mistaken you were. It’s one hell of a job to fool a reader like that.
For the sake of this review, I’ll quickly go through each girl in the order they route’s entrances are presented and important side characters, but I’ll be leaving out the main character. The reason being : You play as the guy, and, as unsociable as he is, Yuuji makes a great deal of effort in the early stages with his thought process to help you, the reader, understand his personality. It doesn’t mean he stops doing that later, but very early you have a clear understanding of what kind of person he “trully” is.
Irisu Makina : Young, healthy and very carefree girl. She loves to eat anything that Amane cooks, and absolutely hates doing nothing. She also has a habit of imitating people, and has a rather foul mouth.
Suou Amane : Young, busty and somewhat slutty girl. Amane has a tendency to be somewhat over-the-top when it comes to food, and seems to enjoy herself when everyone is eating what she made. She likes to throw her boobs at Yuuji whenever she can.
Komine Sachi : Young, dilligent and kind girl. Sachi is a “perfect maid”, meaning she will not refuse any request and will carry it out without fail. She sometimes fail to understand jokes or to read the mood. She won’t ever turn down a request.
Matsushima Michiru : Young, carefree and tsundere girl. Michiru has a habit of making a clown out of herself, and constantly reminding everyone of being a tsundere. She usually gets shut down relatively quickly, or made fun of.
Sakaki Yumiki : Young, cold and intelligent girl. Yumiko emanates the aura of unapproachability. She usually carries around a box cutter knife, and tries not to get drown into the games of other girls, as she views them as stupid and nuisance.
Tachibana Chizuru : The principal of Mihama Academy. She looks very young, although she has some years under her belt. She is, more often than not, teased by Yuuji, and is willing to bend rules here and there if he asks for it. She knows all about the girls, and still manages to keep a normal environment with everyone around.
JB : Real name is Harudera Julia. She is the boss of Yuuji. She, much like Chizuru, is the target of his teasing. She checks up on him whenever she wants, sends him job information as well as provides him with necessary information he requires.
SOUNDTRACK AND VOICE ACTING
Fruit of Grisaia has a really good soundtrack. Well, that’s a bit of an understatement. It really is amazing. Various tunes are more than memorable, and they add a lot to the events and the game itself. The majority of soundtrack consists of those happy songs that make you chill out, but there are also tunes that you just know something bad or a feel train is about to come storming through the front door. It’s their combination that simply works, and never are they used in a wrong moment.
The voice acting is also amazing. Unlike Fate, Grisaia doesn’t go silent when the sex scene is about to happen, and the voice actors behind the girls did an outstanding job making voices like they are..well…getting it done. But, it’s not like they only did that thing right. Their voices I felt trully fit the characters their voiced, and the way they manipulated their voice was also worth of a praise. Biggest praises go towards Michiru’s and Yumiko’s voice actresses, as they in my opinion, performed magnificently.
Yuuji’s voice, on the other hand, is non-existent. It was done so, so you could identify yourself with him more easily. If you want to have a look at what his voice could be like, you can watch the first episode of the anime. (Although, the anime itself is somewhat bad, so just watching the part where Yuuji speaks should be more than enough to get a grasp of how his voice should sound like) However, you don’t really have to, and can substitute your own voice for him, and basically become Yuuji during gameplay.
Grisaia no Kajitsu has a very pretty art. The backgrounds are nice and vivid, and many effects and “animations” even are done really well, albeit limited. It uses a rather big colour palette, and is very bright. Everything is detailed, and the UI is very easy to navigate through. Facial expressions change depending on the mood of the character or whether or not he or she is talking. You can easily read the mood the character’s in just by looking at her or his “sprite”, and it’s amazing.
The UI is very easy to navigate through as well, and looks crisp. With many different options, you can choose the system’s voice, or disable the voices that irritate you. It’s all very easily distinguishable in there, so you won’t be troubled by it. The UI on screen is on the bottom side of the screen, with options to SKIP, AUTO READ, NEXT (line of text), PREVIOUS (line of text), QUICK SAVE and QUICK LOAD. The text appears on the text box right beside it, in which you can find the option to mute the voice acting or close it down to see the picture (You can also use [Space] key on your keyboard to hide the UI).
Fruit of Grisaia also uses the comedic art to certain degree. Not that much, granted, but it’s there, and is usually accompanied by..well..comedic scene. Those are very relaxing and somewhat enjoyable, seeing the characters in their chibi forms.
This particular VN is not hard by any means. You get only 9 choices through more or less 50 hours of gameplay. And only 5 bad endings, so the room for error is only towards the end of the route. With that said, however, the last choice in the route, that usually brings about the disaster or happiness, is more often than not a very tricky one. You may think “This one will lead to good end..” and then you’re struck with the bad ending, thinking why. And then you realize why was that so, by thinking about the motives of characters.
The choices themselves aren’t rather hard, and you can instantly assume which will lead to entering a route. It’s the latter choices that really may prove to be somewhat challenging. They appear in the middle of the screen, and you’re usually presented with 2 choices.
While the choices you make may not be very hard, understanding of the game’s story may be quite the opposite. In fact, it’s more complicated than you’d think considering how little we know about Yuuji himself and how he was raised to be who he is now. It shouldn’t be a problem if you don’t mindlessly go through the text as it appears and give it a thought or two.
As for the saved games, I’d say you require only 10 save slots. 9 slots reserved for each choice, and one to save the progress before or after the choice’s been made and you want to exit the game. You really don’t need much more, and when you finish a route, you can go back to the choice that prompted it, and change it.
My order, to fully understand the game (as in a way that gives you the most background information on Yuuji at the start, so you can have something to cling onto) is as follows : Start with Makina’s route, then complete Amane’s. After that it’s up to you, but those two give a very good clarification on Yuuji’s background and his job, as limited as it may be, and helps you understand his reasoning more in other routes that don’t focus on his background all that much, maybe except Sachi’s, but it doesn’t revolve around his job in particular.
EROGE : YES
Don’t be surprised when you see a sex scene pop out. Like I’ve said before, unlike Fate, Grisaia doesn’t turn off the voice acting before the scene happens, so there are only two ways for you to know it’s going to happen. Change of soundtrack and your understanding of the situation at hand. No more, no less. The series is censored, but only when it comes to genitals, and it’s done like your everyday hentai would be, with blur. Tits, moans and everything else is left untouched.
It’s also very detailed, facial expressions change and the voice of a dick being put in and out of a vagina is there. Some routes have more sex scenes than the others (ekhem..Amane..) but they are all motivated by something, and are not “mindless sex”…well..for the most part. Amane’s the exception, and her route could be considered a sex route, but as to why is that, you’ll have to finish her route and see for yourself.
FINAL VERDICT – Extraordinary garden filled with so many amazing fruits!
Grisaia no Kajitsu, Le Fruit de la Grisaia , Fruit of Grisaia is a strong visual novel that is carried by it’s story, characters and the writing. Think I’m lying? Check it out yourself! First instalment of the franchise is definitely fantastic, and it sure as hell hypes up for the upcoming sequels!
It’s available on steam (It’s All-Ages version that cuts more than H-scenes, though the word is you can get the R18 version legally on Denpasoft and not, if you know what I mean).
Choose your best girl, help her overcome her past and anxieties and don’t let the fruit rot, when you can help it ripen.