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Review of Konata yori Kanata made

SubjectKonata yori Kanata made
ByVote: 6.1llee1000 on 2020-09-08
ReviewKonaKana's main strength is establishing its tone from the get go. The core theme of accepting death is pretty potent throughout the whole VN and how the MC comes to terms with death is an interesting struggle. Takehaya is really able to build around this core idea and I think that's his greatest strength. The scenes that need to be emotionally impactful do hit their target quite well as Takehaya's more elaborate writing style fits with building up these themes properly.

MC, and to an extent, Chris are well developed, but the other characters don't really get a lot of screen time. Takehaya puts a lot of care into really delving deep into his character through monologues that establish his character well. By the end, I can more or less rationalize his thoughts even if I don't personally agree with everything the MC does.

For things that aren't done so well, basically the whole plot kind of feels like it's dragging its feet at times. The themes and character that surround the narrative is good, but the scene to scene continuity is pretty lacking and is by far the worst part of the VN. The fantasy portions of the VN (like the fact that Chris is a vampire) is barely non-existent and if they were removed wouldn't really affect the story that much. The whole fantasy element is thrown in there and could be easily removed. It's not even explained at all in any routes and when the fantasy elements do show up they hardly matter at all. This bloats the script size and this VN is already short as is. If they replaced the fantasy elements with expanding on character relations and growth, this VN would be so much better for it. The SoL is also horrendous as Takehaya's elaborate writing acts as a double edged sword. It works well with developing a core idea, but for everyday scenes, it drags its feet too much and meanders around too much for its own good. SoL isn't meant for that type of writing and it's a shame since the majority of KonaKana is SoL. His comedy is particularly his weakest element as it feels stiff and unnatural. There's also a bit of a whiplash when it switches between serious and comedy mode a little too much. Again, Takehaya fails to make the comedy hit home at all and that makes those scenes even worse. Finally, the actual plot points and narrative setpieces of the VN are lacking and held up by its characters and core themes. The way the routes end are sort of weird in a thematically sense, so it’s a bit jarring in that sense.

The best parts of the VN were when it delved into the stuff with his illness and the various monologues and conversations about overcoming it. They're really interesting and philosophical to read and really helps propagate the idea of the "right" thing to so when this sort of stuff happens. Unfortunately, these scenes are pretty rare all things considered, so that's a bit disappointing. There's also the fact that his illness is shafted for a large majority of the game and the routes barely bring them up. I like a brooding sense of atmosphere and the emotional baggage that comes with having come with terms with everything and that's not prevalent to a large extent which sucks since I wanted more of that.

Like I said before, the routes are a disappointment story wise. There's barely any plot in them and Chris's route, which is the most developed route, is still pretty disappointing. The conclusions the MC draws at the end is pretty much what to expect when the heroine is a vampire and while there is a scene with him toiling over his decision, the MC feels too forthright in his decision making and it feels like it barely even affected him at all.

That being said, the characters are the best part. While none of them besides MC and Chris get a lot of screen time, their dynamic with each other is pretty salient and the crux of the VN. The character drama which involves the monologues and conversations is the best part by far, as the various characters come to terms with everything happening in their daily lives. While MC's illness is not always front and center in these situations, the characters coming to terms with each other and navigating the maze of life is always interesting.

Closing things off, this VN had a lot of interesting ideas, but didn't really execute them to their fullest potential. The actual plot in and of itself is pretty non-existent too. There's a lot of pretty good character drama and that makes up for most of it though. Overall, it's pretty decent but nothing that wowed me.


#1 by mdzz
2020-09-14 at 16:48
< report >I agree with this review on the points raised.

I was surprised at how dull the slice of life/plot was in Konokana. There should have been a more efficient, meaningful way to write the events 'in between' the start and the end (while precisely towing the line, as Takehaya did, between making the work seem meaningless/melodramatic). He demonstrates that he's a competent writer when it counts - he just had to meaningfully lead the reader along so that the emotional impact would be there... so that Konokana doesn't just stay as a cool thought experiment.
#2 by llee1000
2020-09-14 at 17:03
< report >I saw your review too and was going to make a comment myself actually lol.

Yeah I definitely agree, the SoL parts and the other similar elements just get tedious to read. KonoKana is a pretty solid "ideas" VN, but the actual execution and tying everything together is shoddy at best.

Personally speaking, unfortunately I'm not really too partial towards Takehaya's writing based on KonaKana and some of the other VNs I sampled from him. It just feels like he has stuff he wants to write about but he's unable to connect the dots between those ideas, so to speak.
#3 by mdzz
2020-09-14 at 17:22
< report >I've only read the opening scene to Kanashino - which I'm guessing that he wrote; I really liked it. I've also heard secondhand that it's a more meaningful work, plot/theme-wise. I think he's shown that he's good at raising questions/developing vibes - he just has to execute on them well enough (I've also heard good things about Asuseka's common route; but really bad things about every route after that... Perhaps it's a similar pattern of not executing on the ideas).
#4 by llee1000
2020-09-14 at 18:52
< report >I suppose it's just a question of personal preference then.

From what I've discussed with people, Takehaya can be pretty divisive. For example, I know someone who has Asuseka as one of their favorite VNs, but absolutely despises KaniShino.