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Review of Sakura no Uta -Sakura no Mori no Ue o Mau-

SubjectSakura no Uta -Sakura no Mori no Ue o Mau-
ByVote: 5soaplord on 2021-05-06 last updated on 2021-07-05
ReviewI can't believe I was duped into thinking this was gonna be a masterpiece. The only thing that kept me going through this novel was the high ratings that it has and the "this is gonna be deep" music tricking me into thinking that something eventful was going to happen. There were definitely portions of the novel that I liked, but that was over shadowed by magnitude of difference between my expectations and what I got.

Let's start with the good since I don't have a lot to say in that regard. The 3rd route, Zypressen, is where the novel really started picking up. Little did I know that this was also going to be the climax of the novel for me. The backstory and love triangle was actually interesting. Yuumi's monologue was good, I haven't heard "literary" Japanese spoken before which is probably why it sounded pretty badass to me. However, I found the resolution of the route lackluster. The scene from IV with Naoya and his dad looking over his 6 counterfeit paintings was also good. Despite the lack of emotion Naoya described through his monologue, you could tell how he really felt.

Will finish ranting the negatives later... it's going to take a long time to write

EDIT: Finally writing about what I didn't like. It's been a few months since I finished so apologies for any detail misremembrance. I skimmed (mostly skipped) through the epilogue (VI) because I was so disappointed with the main game.

The first offender to my tastes was Rin. Her entire personality is that she's horny as fuck for the protagonist. It was insufferable to read through. Her route was mediocre in terms of the rest of the novel. Forgive me if this was explained in VI, but after Kei's funeral, she just... randomly leaves after she gets her art hacks back and philosophy dumps on Naoya.

PicaPica was insanely boring and uneventful. So much so that I've almost completely wiped it from my memory. I do remember being shocked when the credits rolled because it didn't feel like anything happened.

III/IV had its moments like I discussed above, but the heroine wasn't that great. Shizuku's personality is being horny to a lesser extent than Rin, but with some teasing. She has the abilities of the revered Hakuki or whatever it's called, but throughout the novel the only thing she uses this supernatural ability for is eating Naoya's wet dreams... I can't remember her doing anything in her route other than fucking naoya. It felt like her entire purpose was that the Nakamura's wanted her, and that's it.

V... You can't just remove Kei for the 4 routes after the common route and expect me to feel impacted by his death. He's treated like garbage by Naoya pretty much the whole game and then bam we get a broship scene in the true route. Thanks for the death flag I guess... The reveal of Naoya secretly also wanting to return to art to compete with Kei the whole time also felt like complete BS. He obviously did not give a shit about that in the other timelines. Kei's method of death also felt retconned. Prior to his death, he was wearing himself out, collapsing etc, his collapses were even foreshadowed in Pica Pica. Definitely felt like he was originally written to die from his fatigue causing a motorcycle accident, but that would make Naoya and co. look like negligent idiots for letting him ride solo so they changed it so that Kei saves some little girl from getting hit by truck-kun.

Also, after Kei died, that very night, Ai fucks a drunk 16 year old Naoya, who is technically his nephew. Wtf? The mystical foreshadowing the game did regarding the sakura tree senbonzakura, Yuumi and Rina being reincarnations etc was basically discarded. The tree does jack shit the entire game, and was partially canceled in its 2 activations. Yuumi and Rin's past lives seemed completely irrelevant besides giving Yuumi a valid reason to be in love with Rina.

No idea what the theme of the story was. Talent was a large theme, not sure what the novel was trying to tell me. Kana's entire character is that she can't surpass Naoya's "natural" talent. But she then finds out that he underwent intensive training in his youth and then she's like "oh wow i thouhgt u were just born that way haha." But Sakura, with god level natural artistic talent exists. I guess hard work can't beat natural born talent?? What is the message of Naoya sacrificing himself for others? Help people = lose? Despite the "deep" relationship interweaving of the characters, most are completely absent outside of their routes. Shizuku does nothing in Rin's route. Rin does nothing in hers. Makoto and Kei are basically never to be seen together again after the start of PicaPica.

The humor was also a hit or miss. I absolutely hated Thomas. Yuumi's lesbian bits and Rin's/Shizuku's horniness gets tiring.

Not sure if I want to read the sequel. Looks like the heroines are Naoya's friend's little sisters... SubuHibi was on my to-read list, but I'm not sure if I want to read it if it's similar to this. I have heard that Sca-ji picked up this project from another author so perhaps that's the reasoning for the flaws. Overall, I'm at a loss for words on how this is the 12th highest rated novel on vndb.

Comments

#1 by bcirno
2021-05-06 at 11:10
< report >yet another disappointed sakuuta reader, yet another relatable experience
congrats on getting through this shit
wonder why do i wait for sakutoki anyway
#2 by gambs
2021-05-06 at 11:49
< report >Welcome to the club. The novel was hyped up by a cabal of translators who want to look down on EOPs and coerce SCA-Di into paying them extortionate amounts for a translation. Sorry you got duped into it too
#3 by danteas
2021-05-06 at 14:11
< report >i wouldnt say zypresen ending was lackluster, for me it was very good, for me the problem was that i expected yuumi ending to be equally as good but only thing we got was a somewhat forced h scene with barely anything behind it
#4 by funnerific
2021-05-06 at 14:16
< report >#3 While true that not much follows said H-scene, it's evident enough that Rina died — it's practically written on Yuumi's face and matches the theme of the route (What theme? That yuri is poison and straight ftw? kek)
#5 by checkerpeck
2021-05-07 at 02:26
< report >#4 good to see that Scaji is just like my mum in that he also believes being gay is bad and God created the world with Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve mmkay
#6 by onorub
2021-05-07 at 02:52
< report >My story with it so far: went through PicaPica and i thought it was fine but unimpressive and thought "that's fine, i hear Olympia is more representative of what SakuUta is all about". Then i went through Olympia and it had some of worst comedic dialogue i've ever seen. If i have those sorts of problems with Zyspressen, i won't know what to think.
#7 by bcirno
2021-05-07 at 03:30
< report >
some of worst comedic dialogue i've ever seen
Zyspressen is even worse in this aspect, characters are constantly horny and repeating same bad lewd jokes all the time. Good parts of Zyspressen are good, bad parts of Zyspressen are fucking horrible.
#8 by nemesis2005
2021-11-02 at 23:21
< report >#4 and #5 Did we even read the same thing? Rina never died, lol. Or are you just looking at the pictures and not reading at all? The final scene has Yumi talking about not seeing the Hakuki dreams anymore and wondering what happened to the Thousand year Sakura. Then, she was reading Nakahara Chuuya's poem which was Naoya's inspiration for Sakurabi Kyousou while watching Naoya leave. She was wondering if things were really fine the way it is, because she knows that the one that Rina really loves is Naoya. The Yuumi ending is a bad ending as Rina was not really lesbian in the first place, but she was forcefully converted into one by the Thousand year Sakura and her guilt for Yuumi.

The talk about poison was when Rina was younger and sick, she compared herself to Red Riding Hood eating a poisonous mushroom and then tempting the wolf to eat her. Before she met Naoya, she had given up on life and was suicidal. She wanted to bring down Yuumi with her. That was her original motivation for approaching Yuumi and she felt guilty for that now that she's not suicidal anymore.

Scaji never said anything about being gay is bad, but just that people are born that way and they can't change anything about it. Similar to how Yuumi is lesbian and cannot get it on with her childhood male friend no matter how amazing she thinks he is, Rina is straight and it was never going to work out between the two of them. That is without the interference of the miracle of Thousand Year Sakura.


@ original review, "What is the message of Naoya sacrificing himself for others?" The main theme there is based on Nakahara Chuuya's poem. Essentially, it talks about what to do after a loved one dies. And it talks about dealing with their deaths by helping people. He only really started helping people after her mother died, and helping people was his way of coping with her mother's death. Last modified on 2021-11-02 at 23:35
#9 by checkerpeck
2021-11-02 at 23:30
< report >So is Scaji saying that people are born gay or is he saying that people can be turned gay?
#10 by nemesis2005
2021-11-02 at 23:33
< report >People are born gay and that it takes some kind of supernatural miracle to change someone's sexual orientation afterwards.

I think there is this common notion in Japan that being gay is something "you grow out of" as you get older and in Zypressen he wanted to comment that no, it doesn't work that way.Last modified on 2021-11-03 at 15:35
#11Post deleted.
#12 by soaplord
2021-11-06 at 19:11
< report >#8 OP here. I actually had been reading a lot of the Japanese reviews after finishing, improved my view of the game a lot. I've figured out most of Zypressen, which was like you said, but wanted to add that Yuumi's portion was probably a dream, (per the JP reviews) the night sky that Yuumi and Rinne are looking at in the cypress park is actually reversed. Also, the branch begins from the part where yuumi is sleeping in the art room. There was some other dialogue about dream = reverse etc throughout the route that I think points towards it being a dream, not the work of the tree. Btw Rinne's disease is some kind of skin cancer (she was taking chemotherapy pills and she avoids the sun)

Thanks for sharing, I thought the game did the entire poem, but there was a lot more to it. I actually thought chronologically that Naoya sacrificed his arm prior to his mother's death but I could be wrong.

Overall, my view of the game (especially zypressen) improved after reading tons of JP analyses, but even the magnum opus' didn't really solve The Happy Prince allegory to me, and further what the fuck Rin's motivations are. The philosophy of beauty was also just not making any sense. What is this weak god shit SCA-DI. Please, someone enlighten me to retrospectively increase the enjoyment of the hours I spent on this game.

Most importantly, the swallow and the Happy Prince. Rin actually embellished her recount of the story, changing the ending so that the prince and the swallow end up in the same place, whereas the original had the swallow and the prince in separate places. Why did Rin embellish that? Why does Rin think Naoya would not like Wilde? Does Rin leave at the end because the swallow and the prince shouldn't end up together?? Rin tells Naoya in their crematory talk that he doesn't get her analogy, and I sure as hell don't either. From the ED song to IV, Naoya is actually holding the crown so I had some crackhead theory that Kei is the prince allegorically. I need someone to solve this before I die.
#13 by onorub
2021-11-06 at 19:40
< report >#12 "Probably a dream"? That portion is literally called Märchen (folk tale). From what i understood in the spanish version, Yuumi became more interested in books after Rina and Naoya started their relationship and came up with a "fairy tale" as a way of coping, making both endings complementary. Last modified on 2021-11-06 at 19:47
#14 by flvbycjctnheheh
2021-11-07 at 02:44
< report >Lol, my comment has been deleted by mods. I guess science is a forbidden topic on vndb.
#15 by soaplord
2021-11-07 at 06:33
< report >#13 I don't really remember her becoming more interested in books, all of the characters just kind of recite shit word for word because that's how SCA-DI dialogue works. Like that last part where Yuumi is reading the book, pretty sure it was about dreams and delusions, but I am too lazy to check. Dreams were also a theme throughout the game such as Naoya and Rin's dad conversation on if a never ending dream would be considered reality. Again, I'm getting this from the reviews from Natives I've read, it's been a long time since I played the game. Actually, one more thing that points towards it being a dream is the logical inconsistency, e.g. Rinne somehow forgets all about Naoya and the tree, and the dreams. One more thing is the route itself, being about dreams. That said, whether Yuumi's fork was the work of the tree, her dreams, or her own fairy tale is unimportant, I think, to the fact that Yuumi decides to apparently reject non-reality, in her fork and in the zypressen route. But it's probably a dream now that I remember some of the rationale.
#16 by nemesis2005
2021-11-07 at 08:07
< report >Oh wow, I missed that part on Yumi's ending being a dream. Guess I'm just not that well read. I can't believe I didn't catch that. Thanks, so that means that Yuumi has probably been cursed to sleep forever or something.

You need to get out of western concept of god for Rin's philosophy to make sense. Rin thinks that that there is some kind of objective and absolute concept of beauty and that no matter who looks at it, they would find it beautiful. Since beauty is absolute to her, someone who can bring that beauty to manifest is a god. Her view of god is something close to aboriginal view on gods, that there is a god in everyone and everything. This is in contrast with Naoya's view that beauty is something subject to the beholder. That beauty can only be seen as beauty because there is an observer who thinks that it is beautiful. Hence, Naoya views that art can only be complete with an audience. This is why Rin says that Naoya is a "weak" god, because she acknowledges that Naoya is someone good enough to create beauty hence a god, but his beauty can only exists among the people. Naoya's art is created for the sake of other people compared to Rin who create art for the sake of art.

The Happy Prince story was originally used as a metaphor for Naoya and Kei. I'm not that familiar with the story, so I might get some things wrong. Naoya is supposed to be the prince, unable to move from one place while watching the swallow, who is supposed to be Kei travel from place to place. Essentially, no matter where the swallow travels, it always returns to the prince until it eventually dies. Every time the prince shares his happiness with someone else, he loses something similar to Naoya but even with that loss, the prince still feels happy.

Kei's dream is to become a world renowned artist along with Naoya, and he is willing to wait as long as possible for Naoya just like how the swallow keeps coming back to the prince. Their interpretation on it is the swallow is waiting for the prince to come with him on an adventure just like Kei is waiting for Naoya. And eventually, Kei dies as well before that dream could happen.

Rin took on Kei's role with his death. She wants the prince to come with the swallow and fly together and is still now waiting for Naoya to become an artist.
Last modified on 2021-11-07 at 08:44
#17 by soaplord
2021-11-07 at 10:52
< report >I like that interpretation of Rin's actions, that does make sense and is consistent with that little detail Rin embellished in the story, and hopefully is explored in the sequel.
"Naoya's art is created for the sake of other people compared to Rin who create art for the sake of art."
Now that you pointed that out, that makes a lot of sense with what Naoya did throughout the story, just about all of his art pieces were "collabs" and were for other people. The 6 forged paintings, sue's battle, the zypressen sakura trees with Rinne, SakurabiKyousou, Sakuratachi no ashiato (twice) and the painting Naoya submitted for the platina award...
"Rin took on Kei's role"
That actually makes perfect sense, I think you're exactly right since she was juxtaposed with Kei on the grassfield near the crematory.
"now waiting for Naoya to become an artist."
I'm confused how this is going to go because my interpretation is that Naoya still did not give up art since he went to an art college and is a teacher, but not a world-level artist yet. Otherwise, thanks for your analysis that made a lot of sense.
#18 by nemesis2005
2021-11-07 at 16:50
< report >"Thanks for sharing, I thought the game did the entire poem, but there was a lot more to it. I actually thought chronologically that Naoya sacrificed his arm prior to his mother's death but I could be wrong."
Nope, literally impossible, he made Sakurabikyousou after his mother's death so his arm was still working then. And during the flashback in Rin's route he started reciting Nakahara Chuuya's poem while talking to Rin.

Chronologically, mother's death -> incident with Rin ->incidient with Rina -> Arm completely numb.
#19 by soaplord
2021-11-08 at 04:01
< report >Ahh I remember now during the flashback at his mother's funeral with Rin he was reciting the beginning of the poem and she was upset because it sounded dark. I don't quite remember if the game actually recited the entire poem anywhere, or if they just left the beginning portion. I think he may have talked about it with Yuumi because they were definitely talking about 奉仕 and the 奉仕の精神 or something. Damn now I vaguely remember Yuumi did continue reciting the poem. Not sure how I didn't piece 2 and 2 together for the meaning behind SakurabiKyousou... Now I'm wondering why he sold that important painting for basically nothing instead of keeping it. I think that goes back to the "meaning of art" throughout the game, I'm guessing Naoya wanted it to be seen by others (which ended up saving toritani).