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Review of Sakura no Mori † Dreamers

SubjectSakura no Mori † Dreamers
Sakura no Mori † Dreamers - Download Edition
ByVote: 6llee1000 on 2020-09-15
ReviewSaku Mori is an interesting case. It has a lot of interesting ideas and its focus on a more serious story is definitely noteworthy. However, the writing is what holds it back a lot for me. Kure's writing style is blunt and matter-of-factly, for lack of a better term, and it makes scenes come off as very flat and lacking emotional or narrative depth. Scenes that should have been hard hitting are not because the way they are described makes these scenes come off as more plain and more like I'm reading a plot summary of events. Yes, his writing is effective during a few of the horror scenes where the bluntness can sell the straightforwardness of the horror, however this type of writing is not effective in other places. Therefore, much of SakuMori becomes a great story with lots of potential that's marred by execution.

Everything about it seemed so right: it knows what it wants to accomplish, the tone achieves that almost immediately. Besides the writing, the more monster of the week approach to the overarching narrative can be a detriment to developing the main focus of the story. New plot points and characters are introduced one after another, with no apparent cohesion to the main goal. Chapters 4-5 dragged on longer than it should have and compounded with the weak writing really makes the middle part of the common route a slog as there's not really anything to prop it up. The characters too also fall flat, never really receiving any proper growth, even after the routes.

The character routes are probably the weakest part of the story. I've only read Mifuyu and Kureha's but those felt lacking in the grand scheme of things. There are heavy diversions of SoL and it sort of feels meaningless. Mifuyu's conflict in her route definitely was out of left field and was not not fleshed out enough to give a lasting impact. From my crude line count, her route was 5K lines and I guarantee that 1.5k-2k was h-scenes, the first 1k was the initial SoL, which doesn't give a lot of wiggle room for the main conflict to really take place and leaves its effect. I guess the character routes sort of epitomize my issues with SakuMori. There's a lot of diversions in the middle but when it does get to the good stuff, it feels sort of underwhelming. I can see sparks of genius here and there, but it never receives the attention it deserves.

Looking back, I really only enjoyed the last half of the prologue, chapter 9 and the first half of chapter 10. Everything else was underwhelming and lacked any impact. By the end, my will to read had greatly diminished as my willingness to care was but destroyed. SakuMori gave me no reason to care by the end, which is quite disappointing considering how effective the prologue was at setting the initial mood.