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Review of Muv-Luv Photonflowers*

SubjectMuv-Luv Photonflowers*
Muv-Luv Photonflowers*
ByVote: 14digitmen on 2021-10-11 last updated on 2021-10-12
ReviewIn 2019, as a small X-year old, I started the Muv-Luv franchise, my third VN ever, and if you consider Tsukihime to be the same series as FSN, then my second series ever. A mistake most definitely, but one made out of an attempt to please some friends I had found online at the time. I finished the trilogy and quickly started photonflowers when it was released, riding on the high. During that time I have read many other things, had many reflections about the state of the series, and can safely say I've pushed those people out of my life for good and made sure they'll never have a way to talk to me directly again. After almost 3 years I've finally finished this god-forsaken fan-disc.

Over the years that I've stalled this misunderstood masterpiece of garbage many times, my opinions on the franchise as a whole have changed. Every time I had gone back to photonflowers throughout the time I had been playing it I would enjoy it less and less, find further and further faults with it. I no longer look at this series as fondly as I used to. This might seem like a complete joke given the relatively small time span, however, I can say I'm one of the lucky few in this day and age that feels like time moves slowly enough that a year or two feels like ages ago.

The start of this conundrum begins with Sumika After. Lovingly named by its haters as SauceGate, this was where the Extra franchise had shown its true colors. In many ways there's nothing wrong with this piece, it lines up to what you'd expect from the original. Non-sensical drama, gaslighting by girlfriend, gaslighting by the cast, and then acceptance of your situation as a whipped boyfriend. I'm not sure if I've ever been this annoyed reading a story that so badly wanted to say this toxic way of handling relationships was actually just fine and it should be this completely one-sided. I mean, to be fair, I never expected anything good from Extra in the first place, but this managed to go below my expectations, which is a feat that should be applauded. And so for that, I give it praise.

At this point I was thinking "ah, this problem is exclusive to these Extra stories, yes, for sure" and then I hopped into some of the short Alternative side-stories. Nothing particularly gripped me, and at this point I was feeling burnout from Muv-Luv, further emphasized by the travesty that was Sumika After to my mental and emotional well-being, so I stalled it for the first time.

After finally starting it back up again, maybe half a year later, I started the beloved story from this fan-disc: Confessions. Touted as being "as good as the main series," I went into it with relatively high hopes, though with my waning likeness for the series, with doubts in my mind as well. I wish I had been wrong, I truly do.

The setup is fairly good and the ending is fairly good. If there's one thing this series will always do well no matter what is hit emotional moments that don't necessarily have substance behind them. However, while my heart can weep, my brain cannot. The melodrama falls far below the standard set by Sumika After, committing the grave act of character assassination in order to further this goal. I cannot describe how much of a fever dream this whole thing is. It's almost inhuman, I feel sociopathic and psychopathic tendencies from the author, he writes these "people" as if machinery, with no understanding of real human emotion. It's fake. It's all completely fake. The setups are fake, the melodrama is fake, the characters are fake. Like it was all produced on an assembly line. I stalled it again.

I came back to it now, determined to finish it once and for all. Another year and a half had gone by. My opinions on Muv-Luv have completely soured by this point. Upon reflection on the aspects of Confessions that had annoyed me so much, it had hit me: this is no different from the original product. None of this is special to Confessions, it permeates throughout the series, finally peaking at Alternative's ending point, which had been bothering me since the beginning, but a bother I decided to bottle and shelve.

So I finished Confessions and the rest of the stories with this in mind, having discovered newfound enlightenment, no longer burdened by a tiny fan disc in the "playing" section of my vndb list. I have much to say about the setting's problematic aspects and how the author is a blatant Nippon Kaigi fanatic, but I leave that for another day. To leave this review as salty and as spoiler-free as possible, any actual deep critique of the story has been left out, to my own dismay given that I actually really like ripping into Muv-Luv's problems.

I don't enjoy Muv-Luv's character writing anymore. Though, even despite this, I continue to want to read things by this author. This fakeness, it's intriguing, and interesting. It's a rollercoaster that I desperately want to hop off of knowing the only thing that awaits me at its end is motion sickness and potentially death. When the highs hit, they are empty, but I cry and laugh anyways. When the lows hit, they are equally as empty, but I cry and laugh anyways. There were no highs and lows in the first place.
In the end, it was all just mid.


#1 by plisken
2021-10-11 at 23:29
< report >I'm thinking you need some time off from VNs, man. It sounds like you're getting burnt out.

Seriously. I'm not trying to insult you. I've been there. Sometimes you gotta take a breather, otherwise you'll find yourself reading them out of some weird sense of obligation, getting zero enjoyment from it.
#2 by 4digitmen
2021-10-12 at 00:12
< report >I'm doing just fine in terms of burnout. This is an exclusive issue to this series, and I do get enjoyment from it. Just not the regular kind, a masochistic kind of enjoyment you could say.