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Review of Midori no Umi

SubjectMidori no Umi
ByHelpfulness: 0
Vote: 7
Omikron on 2021-03-21
ReviewAfter about 31 hours of reading I finished this VN and now want to share my thoughts with anyone interested.

1) Introduction:
The reader plays as Kai, a boy, who woke up in the middle of a giant and seemingly endless forest without any memories of his past. Common sense and general knowledge are still known to him as well as his first name, but nothing more.
After a short period he meets a girl around his age, Michiru, who extends her hand and welcomes him to "paradise".
From that point on the story progresses, depending on the choices you make. Which brings me to the next part, the "routes".

2) "Routes" (CR and individual "routes") and endings:
The progression system in this VN is rather complicated. Reaching one end will unlock another. Each choice made could lead further into the story or could lead to an end right away. Thus, it was hard for me to follow the unravelling of the mystery. In the end I haven't gotten the whole picture, but there is another reason why I failed to get the whole picture, I'll come to that later.
Said progression system takes away the growth of some characters, which I found to be a great disappointment.
Endings: There is a total of 16 endings. 8 of which are bad endings, 3 depend on how you view them and 5 good endings.
Due to this amount of endings some characters have more than just 1. Thus, I wouldn't say there is such thing a a "route", I'd rather call them "ending".
I found 3 of these endings to be totally unnecessary and misplaced. The game would still be what it is without them. Makina has 2 endings, both of which are bad and Tsumugi.
The 5 good endings really touched my heart and they are the reason why I gave this VN 7 points. If not for those I'd have given only 5 points.

Personally, I feel that this kind of progression system hurts the story, because you cannot follow the story until you've reached one conclusion but the flow gets interrupted too often.

3) Characters:
As usual, every character plays a sometimes more, sometimes less important role. Two of them got their individual ending(s) which I found to be a complete waste.
All in all, not only I found most of them to be interesting but they also piqued my curiosity.
Specially, Chisha and the twins were great.
But as mentioned before, this type of progression system hurts some of the character's growth.
On the other side, however, I was pleasantly surprised that once an individual endings had been reached that character didn't stop to contribute to the story. In other VNs some characters disappear entirely from the story once the CR is completed.

4) Story:
In the beginning, of course, the story is a complete mystery. A western-styled mansion in the middle of a huge forest, its inhabitants being only youngsters of various ages. How did the building and the kids get there? How do they survive? But I found myself to be more drawn to the individual character's background story than to the main story itself. It just didn't feel that intriguing. unfortunately. On the other hand I just wasn't able to understand the main plot.

5) Music:
10/10! The soundtrack was lovely, it really got me hooked.

6) Art:
In the extras menu you can view the different backgrounds, sprites and CGs, all of which are beautifully drawn. A few special effects also were scattered here and there.
The sprites could have used a few more variations but other than that there is nothing for me to complain about.
For those interested in H, there is a patch to restore all content, but it still has mosaic censorship.
Some of those scenes, again, felt terribly misplaced, specially on the unnecessary "routes".
I would even go as far as that some scenes hurt the story more than they do it any good.
Ah, one more thing: I changed one sexual trait on Michiru and Kai. It said they engage in "Anal sex" but there is no such action during her scenes. If she ever does engage in "Anal sex" I don't know in which scene that would happen...

7) Voice acting:
I found the voice acting to be pretty well done, high-quality work. To listen to Haina was great fun! Just sometimes the voices didn't match the scene's mood.

8) Translation:
And now, the weakest aspect of this game - the translation. It is MTL (machine translated). And this is the reason why it was so hard for me to follow the story and get the whole picture in the end.
While it succeds to deliver the basic message it fails to underline the story, many spelling mistakes and typos. Sometimes strange signs are in the middle of the sentence. The characters' names' sometimes are just random signs, too. The usage of pronouns is really confusing!
For me the translation hurt the story, the characters as well as the overall mood it tries to create.
If not for the translation, it would be much easier to follow the story progression, the characters' growth and so on. Before I started reading this VN I wasn't expecting this level of bad translation. That is why I didn't wait for it to be retranslated.
Hence, this is the reason for points being cut from the final score.

9) Final verdict:
Personally, I think nearly all aspects of the game suffer because of this game's bad translation.
As for the retranslation project: the last update here on VNDB was provided in January 2 0 1 9! It's been some time since then...

Decide for yourself: Are you satisfied with this game's translation and are willed to accept its bad influence on the game as a whole? Go for it.
Do you want to get the whole picture of the story and do you want to be able to understand every characters' reason, you might want consider waiting for it to be finally retranslated.
Despite having finished it now, I sincerely hope that someone will pick this up and retranslate it. I can't as I am not able to understand and speak Japanese.

10) Chisha best girl!

Feel free to add your thoughts or suggestions!
0 points
#1 by n8marezero
2021-03-21 at 23:36
< report >I enjoyed the game a lot and liked the bad endings and structure. The only character I hated was Makina and her two routes were painful to read with a very confusing resolution. I get the point of adding her late in the story, but it wasn't necessary. The other routes explain everything sufficiently without needing Makina. She's just there as an alternative to Kai going through that phase of not belonging/trusting.
Ahem. Some of the reveals like in Tsumugi's route or the twins were fantastic surprises. There were a bunch of character and setting inconsistencies. And even though I understood most of the story there were plotholes.

It's been a while since I played this but here's my take on the main story:
The mansion/"Paradise/Rakuen" is an institution to house unwanted children from rich families and hide them away from society (sometimes voluntarily). The one in the game is not the only one, they exist world-wide, which is part of the "main route"/Michiru's true end, where they leave to do something about the other "paradises." Only that route reveals how the mansion works. That one woman comes in intervals to bring food and necessities and to get a report on what's going on. Michiru is the one "running" the mansion, though she was initially also unwanted. The issue is that new children always remember their memories or never forget them and then they want to leave, which creates "chaos" in the Rakuen system. Michiru's only option is to kill those children to restore "harmony." It's pretty dumb, but you just have to accept it. Tsumugi took over the killing for the most part to help Michiru. In one ending you do it together with Tsumugi. Chisha's part in the whole thing confused me because she wants to leave and hides her distrust as she knows the truth. But in her true ending where you leave together to solve her issues something didn't make sense. Also in some routes it seems like there's magic, which isn't true. About "Kai": I think he lived in the shadows of his older brother Kai and the mom couldn't deal with his death, and "Kai" was never good enough a replacement. He met Michiru briefly as a child, but that meeting is confusing. Many things are or don't make sense knowing the truth about Paradise. While I liked the twins a lot, their story also made little sense with the drugging and pretending or how they could speak in perfect sync. Haina was my favorite girl and I think her story should've been extended. She deserved another route over that dumb Makina.

Overall I really liked the game a lot despite issues. The structure always made me want to find out more and immediately jump into the next route. The card system (hints to get endings) was a nice touch. The soundtrack was also fantastic, as expected from MANYO. I also liked the H-scenes in terms of art, writing and direction. Some very hot stuff in there like the twins or Haina's bath scene.
Other than confusing parts or plotholes my main gripe is the pacing. Sometimes the SoL parts just drag on or Kai's state of mind changes randomly. It could've been better, but I still think it's one of my favorite mystery games. The atmosphere is fantastic and can go from being happy and comfy to being depressing and even plain gruesome horror mood. The bad endings are "bad" as in Game Over endings, not mere "didn't get the girl" endings. I liked it. "Rakuen" is not a happy or innocent place and the writer and composer wanted you to experience that. One music track has this haunting static effect, it really sets the mood right.

Ahem. Lengthy fanboy wall of text end. Fuck Makina (and Michiru). Haina best girl. The others are fine too.
#2 by Omikron
2021-03-22 at 09:47
< report >Thank you for your thoughts, I appreciate it a lot.
Most of what you've written was clear to me, too, I just didn't add in my review.
Overall, you seem to have understood the whole plot better than I have. Your detailled description certifies that. For example I didn't get why Chisha was put there. Moreover, I thought it to be really strange that Iroha does nothing against children being killed by others who are, for that matter, children too!
In my opinion your input has nothing to do with being a fan boy, they are your thoughts and opinions. We even agree on Makina! ;-P
So, thank you!Last modified on 2021-03-22 at 09:48