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Review of Milaesegyeui Maeng-in

SubjectMilaesegyeui Maeng-in
Milaesegyeui Maeng-in
ByHelpfulness: 1
Vote: 9
swordfish96 on 2024-06-24
ReviewOne of my favorite types of sci-fi stories are the stories that take an invention and imagines a world where that invention has permeated society and forms a story around the ways it might change society and the issues that might come up, much like a story about cars before they’d been invented and were in widespread use might be formed around traffic jams or drunk driving. It’s something I liked about Muramasa (Mecha), Ciconia(superweapons that can only be wielded by certain children) and Baldr Sky (the Cyber world) even if it wasn't the focus, and it’s something I like in this VN as well, with it’s take on Augmented Reality. It thinks carefully about what sort of world and problems could result from the tech; it’s even got a tips section. In my experience, that’s always a good sign that the writers cared about worldbuilding.

The story takes place in is a peaceful society held up by a special implant received by all at birth which allows them to view holograms which overlay all of reality and seem indistinguishable from reality. Effectively a world where augmented reality is reality to pretty much everyone. Of course it’s got its ugly sides, namely the artificiality of the hologram world and its treatment of people who don’t fit in. It’s implied that people outside the big cities are just left behind and naturally there’s the complete neglect of ‘ The Blind of the New World’

The protagonist Seejay is one of the ‘Blind’ who can’t see the holograms. It does initially seem to be just a metaphor for actual blindness with it’s depictions of prejudice and the lacking accommodations for the ‘blind’. There is a lot more to it than that though. For one thing the non blind can’t not see the holograms and it’s argued that being one of the blind actually lets Seejay see the true reality of the world ; while the holograms show a flashy thriving world, the reality underneath is drab and neglected. Those who aren’t blind literally cannot comprehend how the blind see the world.

Seejay himself is a cynical misanthrope, believing he knows the nature of the world better than the others. Not original in itself with examples like Oregairu or Bokuten coming to mind. The difference is that considering the setting hes not completely wrong with the world actually being aligned against him to extent, and he does start the VN actively desiring a kindred soul to understand him. I do wish he had voice acting though.

The heroine Chohyun is a cheeky free spirited girl who wants to discover the meaning behind the painting that was made by one of the blind. She’s someone of an iconoclast being a rare person who feels the hologram world is artificial even if it appears as reality to her.

It doesn't go too hard on the standard plot of the lively girl drawing the gloomy boy out of his shell though there’s some element of that. Rather it’s simply two people getting to know each other and trying their best to see the world from the same perspective even when the word they can see through their eyes is different, and finding a bond through doing that.

Perspective is definitely the theme that underpins this story. As well as the obvious comparison between that which can be seen by the Blind and non-Blind, there’s the ability of Art and its ability to capture and the artists perspective in one object and communicate it to those viewing it. There’s also the way perspectives can change due to interacting with people or just time passing.

It’s a small story; the only characters are Seejay, Chohyun (and Seejay’s therapist who doesn’t get that much screen time) but that just means the VN can focus entirely on the two and their relationship. It’s a subtle and nuanced tale and doesn’t spell everything out but that's something I quite appreciated. There is an obviously true end although I wouldn’t really call the other endings bad ends; they have a meaning and even have their own epilogues.

The visuals here are letterboxed style (like Narcissu) which does help make it seem like were seeing Seejay’s point of view and makes the full screen CGs stand out. The art itself, though good, repeats a lot due to there not being that much of it.

At its heart it’s a poignant story of two people coming to understand the perspective of each other and it’s something I couldn’t help but find beautiful.
1 point