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Review of Nanairo Reincarnation

SubjectNanairo Reincarnation
Nanairo Reincarnation - 18+ Edition
ByHelpfulness: 2
Vote: 8
Belfry on 2023-02-07
ReviewNanairo Reincarnation is a good game that suffers a bit from lack of focus. It wants to be a murder mystery, a romance and a slice-of-life at the same time, but fails to fully  commit to any, despite providing excellent scenes in all three genres; as a result, the end will leave you wanting more, but not in a good way. You'll most likely enjoy what you read, but one can't shake off the feeling that the game feels like a prologue to larger work.

In fact, that feeling is one of its greatest problems. The game gives you a decent amount of worldbuilding, an interesting cast and promises of a larger story featuring them,  but in the end, all of this is just an excuse to tell the tale of the central heroine, Kotori... and once her tale's over, the story just ends, essentially cutting off any possible threads that could lead into a sequel showing more of the cast's lives. In fact, any sort of sequel to this story would have an enormous burden to carry: it would have to either drop Kotori or continue with her as a ghost, setting itself up for lots of difficult plot threads.  All of this, combined with the lack of commitment to any the game's themes, makes it so that this ends up being a story that feels like a set up to something that we will probably never get, a scenario made even more likely by the fact that Kimagure Temptation, a less ambitious work set in an alternative universe in which Kotori was never dead in the first place already has a direct sequel, while Makoto and company have been relegated to distant side characters in other stories.

Admittedly, there IS one side route that provides a nice starting point for a sequel, but I doubt any further stories would suddenly canonize a side route. And that leads into the other problem with this story: all routes apart from Kotori's essentially feel like bonuses. Iyo's route is essentially just a retread of Kotori's with a few deviations, and Azusa's and Yumi's do have their own identities, but are still heavily centered on Kotori.  Yumi's route is notable for having the happiest ending in the entire game, and the only one that provides a nice jumping-off point for a sequel, but as stated above, it's incredibly unlikely the developers would choose to continue from a side route in this manner.

Because of all this, Nanairo Reincarnation ends up feeling like a title that's incomplete. It sets up an interesting world and places well-made characters in it... only to use them as a vehicle for a small-scale story that does not satisfy one's craving for its themes and is built in a way that prevents sequels (satisfactory ones, at the very least). It feels dissonant, really; why put so much effort into your worldbuilding if you're going to make it more difficult to continue using it? Worse: if you're going to make everything orbit around one single heroine - even the side routes - why would you give one of the extra heroines the only ending that actually seems to take sequels into account?

None of this is in any way an attempt you to dissuade you from playing this game, mind you. In the end, this is still a good game with an unique setting and good writing... I just wish there was MORE of it. The game doesn't fully satisfy the reader because it fails to focus on everything it should, but that feeling of incompleteness only happens because what it does give you is quite good. In the end, this is something you should read if its themes seem in any way interesting to you, since there is so little like it out there.

And who knows, maybe I'm wrong and we WILL get a sequel one day.
2 points