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Review of Nanairo Reincarnation

SubjectNanairo Reincarnation
Nanairo Reincarnation - 18+ Edition
ByVote: 7aldyn on 2021-10-23
ReviewI went into Nanairo Reincarnation with pretty high expectations. Before even reading the synopsis, my interest had already been piqued by the gorgeous art and unique aesthetic. The more experienced eye might not think that this game stands out in that area, but to me it did.

I was having a blast in my first hour of reading. The general "vibe" of the game was everything I expected, the story was intriguing with a subtle air of mysticism, and I was ready to give the game a very high score. But as always, I continued to play before forming a final opinion. Unfortunately, I was disappointed in many ways.

Writing and Characters:

Nanairo Reincarnation is a very good story if you're looking for a Nakige. Some moments will absolutely make you cry if you're one to get emotional over this type of narrative. As a personal recommendation, I suggest you don't even glance at the tags marked as major or even minor spoilers. I made that mistake, which didn't reduce my enjoyment but did make me wonder what it would've been like to go in blind. Do keep one thing in mind, however: This game features a central heroine, so don't expect all heroines to receive the same amount of importance to the story.

On that note, I'm the type of person who absolutely despises pseudo-harem games with a central heroine. That's the reason why I never got into Clannad. I see no point in introducing a bunch of girls who serve no purpose other than stroking the ego of the chad self-insert protagonist before ultimately getting rejected. I find it distasteful and somewhat insulting when a writer does that. That being said, this game is surprisingly fine in that regard. The common route is pretty long and the other heroines aren't treated badly. It took me 18 hours to finish the central heroine's route, then 11 more hours combined to finish all other routes while skipping already read text, totaling 29 hours of gameplay as a relatively slow reader. Despite every heroine's route converging on the central heroine's storyline, all routes felt like genuine routes. There are no bad endings either. Most endings are happy, some bittersweet, but all of them are hopeful and bright.

Moreover, despite there being a central heroine, it doesn't feel like we're being forced to like her (like in Clannad). I wasn't a big fan of her at first, but her personality grew on me and I just couldn't not love her. It's a rare case of a central heroine that actually gives you reasons to like her.

The game isn't afraid of delving into some pretty dark territory, maybe even disturbing if you're squeamish. There are many works out there that deal with this subject matter, but I feel like Nanairo Reincarnation nails it without being edgy.

With all that being said, this VN is a must-play if what I've talked about is what you're looking for. As for the negative aspects, I'll try to keep it brief.

1. The game is awful at setting the mood and knowing when to crack jokes. Many tense moments are completely shattered by an unnecessary prank or the characters just generally being nonchalant about everything. The comedy in this game rarely lands, and I mean that. I have a pretty good sense of humor, but most of the comedic bits are boring at best and cringeworthy at worst.

2. Aoi. While all the other characters—besides the protagonist—provide a pleasant reading experience, Aoi singlehandedly makes this game objectively worse. She completely kills the game's mystic yet believable atmosphere. I don't even know what trope she's supposed to fill. Is there a trope called "fucking brat"? Remember when I mentioned those unfunny jokes that come at the worst possible times? Yeah, Aoi is responsible for almost all of them. Aoi's whole character looks so out of place in this game, it's insane. She's way over the top, and I mean WAY over the top. All she does is constantly make everyone uncomfortable. Hell, I don't even remember a single scene where her antics improved the mood. What's even more unreal is how everyone (especially the protagonist) still spoils her without ever teaching her some basic decency. It feels like watching a child throwing a tantrum at the supermarket while the incompetent parents give her everything she wants. Almost every tense scene is ruined by Aoi. It's like the writer goes out of his way to not let you feel any type of suspense, unless it's fake suspense for the sake of a prank. Admittedly, I did laugh at one or two Aoi moments, like when she started making some very unsexy, guttural moans like a bad porn actress. It sounded like her VA was having fun.

3. The demons are not romanceable.

4. The story is filled with plot holes, contrivances and artificial drama.

5. The romance sucks. Very few scenes give the impression that the couple on-screen has any chemistry. Most romantic exchanges are incredibly dull.

But despite all of these negative things, I can say that the story definitely kept me entertained every single second I was reading it. That's because the pacing is good and things usually move smoothly from one scene to the next, as long as you ignore the pointless slice-of-life bits where the characters just procrastinate, eat and stall the plot.

Visuals and Sexual Content:

Genuinely some of the prettiest art I've ever seen in an eroge. All characters (besides Aoi) look unique and gorgeous/cute. What sets this game apart, however, is the amount of completely innocent yet beautifully crafted CGs, especially in the endings.

The sex scenes are pretty much the definition of "happy sex" most of the time. I'm not a huge vanilla enjoyer, but some of the scenes were nice. Keyword: some.

I absolutely fucking hate the protagonist when it comes to the sexual content. He's already kind of a wuss most of the time, constantly apologizing for something stupid that he did or just generally being pitiful, but I can forgive that when he pulls through in the end and admits that he's being a sissy. When it comes to sex, however, he never pulls through.

The first sex scene was... surprisingly good. Despite it being the protagonist's first time, he behaved realistically—awkward, but not afraid of pussy. For some reason, however, it seems like every other sex scene after that point was written by someone else. Makoto continues to have sex but never gets better at it. He swings his hips like a braindead monkey, only thinking of his own pleasure, and usually barely lasts for half a pump on a good day. There's a scene where he becomes a pitiful mess, whining about how he lacks technique and can't properly satisfy the other girl, yet he never makes an effort to get better and stop being so pathetic.

He also avoids having sex with the demons at all costs for no apparent reason. It's not in order to conserve his life energy or establish a hierarchy. He knows that the demons need life energy and he knows they're all willing, yet he swats them away like flies every time they ask for sex. He even mentions that he should become a proper master, but he never does. I already had a bad feeling when Kikyou called him "Makoto-sama" and this ape immediately became uncomfortable. Yeah, he's that type of protagonist. He also gets wishy-washy every time the demons say that they're fine with being "used." Despite knowing that that's the biggest pleasure for a demon, Makoto is such a good boy that he just can't let that one word slide. Yeah... That type of protagonist. And even when the demons aren't involved, Makoto ruins every potentially good sex scene by being disgustingly meek and awkward for no reason. He also never puts his foot down when the demons become too pushy. He either runs away like a coward or... Actually, yeah, that's all he does. All of his predecessors were better masters, from what I can see, so why do I have to see the story through the eyes of the one cuck in the family tree?

And lastly, many of the sex scenes come out of nowhere and feel completely disconnected from the actual story. This, combined with the awful timing of the comedic bits, results in many awkward intermissions between important plot points. It really doesn't feel like the writer wanted to write an eroge.

This VN is good as a story but awful as an eroge. Simple as that. If you don't mind the protagonist, though, you'll probably like the sexual content.

Despite my complaints, this is a solid VN that I'd recommend to most people. At some point I just did my best to push through the sex scenes and focus on the story. While the story does have its flaws, let me reiterate that I was thoroughly entertained by it. Not a bad product by such an inexperienced writer. Would've been better without Makoto, though.