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Review of Ever17 -the out of infinity-

SubjectEver17 -the out of infinity-
Ever 17 - Out of Infinity
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VNReviews on 2023-05-25
ReviewEver17 -The out of infinity- Review (The cracks are starting to show, but it's still great)

Ever17 -the out of infinity-, is a V.N that stays constantly engaging, during it's running time. The depictions of captivity, helplessness and death looming on the horizon, make for an appealing setting, and the mysteries are many and entertaining, just like the reader's potential theories will be.

Ever17 -the out of infinity- is an old title, and many flaws have become apparent or real, with the progress of the medium, but this doesn't detract from its inherent value, and the number of favorable factors outweighs the "age problems", by a huge margin.

This review should be spoiler free, to those who never heard of Ever17 -the out of infinity- (Ever17 from now on). There is no summary of the plot, character actions or routes, only generic descriptions.

- Setting
It's May 1st, of the year "cannot be disclosed", and around 11 AM on a Monday. Takeshi, one of the protagonists, has arrived at the marine theme park "LeMU" (a surface and underwater facility), situated in a manmade island outside of Tokyo.

Sadly he got lost and can't find his friends. Shounen (Kid), another protagonist, wakes up in LeMU and remembers nothing, except that he was supposed to meet someone. You (not you, her name) and Sora work at LeMU, and are going on about their lives. Tsugumi and Coco are also here, the first is engaging in "tanuki" cosplay, and the second regales visitors with "American jokes". The final member of the cast, Sara, came to LeMU on a school field trip.

None of these characters, had the good sense of developing thalassophobia, and they get caught in a situation where a substantial part of LeMU gets flooded, trapping them in the process, with no hope of autonomous escape. The plot is set for a surprisingly low amount of panic, and blind trust in the established authorities.

- Themes/Feels
A fair number, but Ever17 is focused on its plot and mysteries. Every now and then, something that feels like a meaningful theme may be introduced, but this is done superficially. The feelings are all there, however, especially as character investment grows.

- Urgency of time. Death nearing, and anxiety growing. 7 (seven) days to live. Confinement. Mundane life, as counter to panic.

- Searching for the truth. A past that is covered in doubt or not there at all. Amnesia. A feeling of loss. Not recognizing oneself. Looking in the mirror, and feeling dissociation from the image.

- Explanations on dimensions, and how time is a constraint (imprisonment) to humans. The many-worlds interpretation (There are no choices Ever17. It's all an illusion).

- Fear, despair, a sense of failure. The past is immutable, the moment was not used to influence the future.

- The importance of a promise. The value of caring for others. Validation stemming from external sources. Life purpose not found within.

- What comprises the self? Would a perfect copy, be someone new or the same individual? Where is the Human soul?

Other themes: Not opening up, equals not getting hurt; The wish to feel human, experience another's warmth; Memories as the centerpiece of a psyche; Being troubled by eternity; Living vs surviving; Simplicity (lack of great intellect) as a positive thing.

- Supernatural
Most things in Ever17 can be explained with science fiction. Several of the displayed concepts may become a reality in a distant future (example: instant antibody production, to fight viruses). Traditional supernatural is absent, but one idea is clearly not like the others, and should be marked as something impossible and fictional, outside the realm of negative proof.

- Pacing/Structure.
Not an actual problem, but difficult to comprehend. At the 4th choice of Ever17 (it's very early), 2 (two) paths become available, and those will split again as the story progresses, depending on choices. The confusing part or structural problems exist, because is often unclear where the reader is in terms of plot progression (example: You's bad ending, only becomes apparent at the very end, and is indistinguishable from her regular route, for the most part).

It may sound bad, but the 4th choice tip, and the route explanation below, should shed some light to things.
The pacing itself, suffers from repeated sections of content, but the very nature of Ever 17 is compatible with multiple reads. There are titles far more aggravating, when reusing the same scenes word by word, and forbidding the skip option.

- Use of a walkthrough
Generally speaking, walkthroughs are not recommended for more intricate titles, and discovering things by oneself, should yield the best results. With that said, Ever17 has a high number of choices, and it may be too time consuming (inefficient), to figure out everything alone. The use of a walkthrough after the first or second route is recommended (assuming an interest, in experiencing all content).

- Characters
The characters in Ever17, need to be observed from 2 (two) different perspectives to be completely appreciated. This duality means that "regular" character development, is replaced with conflicting information, that need to be analyzed individually, and then compared to its counterpart. To put it more clearly, the heroines and protagonists' actions are dependent (up to a point) on the current P.O.V.

Motivations will seem thin, behaviors carefree, and a number of interactions will be vague. This lasts until both parts of the story are experienced (at least once). Character quirks are generally not enough, to boost likability (Coco is the exception). The number of characters is adequate for the restricted setting. Plot consistency and believability, is put to the test, when the idea of a virus is introduced.

- Takeshi - The most average protagonist, one could possibly imagine. Takeshi is a young adult, who deals with situations, like someone his age might. He is not particularly bright, but seems inclined to empathy and patience. The differences in temperament between protagonist Takeshi, and main character Takeshi (in the Kid's routes) should be compared carefully.

- Shounen (Kid) - The other protagonist, and a teenager with amnesia, and symptoms of dissociative identity disorder. The Kid seems to possess knowledge outside his predictable life experience, and this contrasts with ignorance, on simple questions of daily life. Protagonist Kid and main character kid (Takeshi's routes) are very similar, but the latter doesn't get a lot of screen time.

- Sora - Ever17 needs a visual remake, and Sora would look terrific in a brand new "qipao". Describing Sora leads to "spoiler territory" almost immediately. What should be noticed by the reader, are her abilities and their scope. Sora works as a guardian figure, and she is genuinely interested in the other members of the cast, and interacting with them.

- Tsugumi - Another character defined by 2 (two) sets of behavior. Tsugumi is grating during Takeshi's P.O.V, and very aggressive during the Kid's. She quickly becomes a detestable character, but as luck would have it, the reasons for it are more than justified. Basically, the only way to Tsugumi's heart are many demonstrations of unconditional good.

- Sara - Is a teenager in her high school years, and she is only present during the Kid's P.O.V. She can be summarized as a genius hacker, who likes "ninjas" and teasing other cast members, regarding "love affairs". As far as quality goes in the Ever17 cast, Sara may be the weakest link. She can still generate some emotion during her route however.

- You - A young woman who works at LeMU. She is loud, physical and opens her mouth to deliver some unconventional ideas. You also needs to be break down in 2 (two). The You in Takeshi's POV, seems more friendly and open to new notions, while in the Kid's routes, she feels a bit more jaded. The main thing to look for, are her preconceptions on supernatural phenomena.

- Coco - Has most of her screen time, divided during Takeshi's P.O.V and the final route. Her V.A, is a serious test to the reader's patience initially, but as the story unfolds, it becomes almost impossible to not like Coco, and her non-sense. Endearing characters at Coco's level are rare. Add to that, the lack of romantic components, and the writer should be congratulated, on what was achieved with this character.

- Routes
Ever17 is a bit complicated (high number of choices), and following a walkthrough after the first ending, is recommended, if the intention is to read all available content, efficiently. The main thing to consider, is that Ever 17 is divided in 2 (two) parts, at the start. Revealing how this works, would invariably lead to spoilers, but it's probably OK to say that the each of the 2 two protagonists, takes the lead in 1 (one) of said parts (different P.O.V's).

With that out of the way, traditional heroine routes are not present, and the same applies to a common route. The chapters can be divided according to heroines and protagonists, but it's not clear-cut. So if a "Sora Route" was to be considered, her actual screen time and importance would not be on par, with what is seen in other titles (A lot of You, Coco and Tsugumi time, in the mix).

To further drive the point home, route themes and inspirations, have a lesser role, are not introduced properly, and the connection to the heroines is thin. This may seem like a strong negative, but it's more of a reality, where romance or intimacy, only becomes important close to the end of each story. The main plot and finding out what is happening, takes precedence over everything else.

To put things in clear terms, 4 (four) routes divided between 2 (two) viewpoints, make up the bulk of Ever17. After reading those, a true route will be unlocked (Sora and Tsugumi - You and Sara - Coco).

- Bad Endings
There are 3 (three) bad endings, marked as Sara's, Yui's and Tsugumi-Sora, respectively. Reading these endings after experiencing the rest of the story, adds little value to the experience. Reading them before the good endings, would be counterproductive timewise, and may break the pacing. It's difficult to recommend them, but they are not bad. The worth is up to individual evaluation.

- Humor
Above Average Marks

Some of the best bits of Ever17's comedy, are based on non-sensical remarks, that go against expectations. This is based on the moment, character traits or simply the logic tone of a normal reply. You uses farcical exaggeration, Coco says outlandish things or displays unwarranted knowledge. Sora's trendy and delinquent skits, are funny when considering her true nature.

Average Marks

Not as bad as a 20 (twenty) year gap might imply. Some of the art still holds value. The number of animations and effects is surprising. More than enough CG's. The backgrounds suffer from the lack of diversity, inherent to the setting, and the sprites need a "remake".

- Sound
Average Marks

The OST needed more quantity and quality, but "Heilmittel" (aptly named) is proof that emotional piano tracks, have been doing their job for a long time. The voice acting becomes a problem on occasion (generally in more intense scenes, emotional/physical, and comedic moments) and the protagonists are not voiced during their P.O.V's. The marks are boosted by the effects, which are numerous and well timed.

- Text Comprehension/Writing quality
Average Marks

Ever17 can be read at an impressive speed (short dialogue), and it's easy to understand for the most part. This doesn't apply to sections where technical knowledge is imparted (many in NVL), but these make up a minority of the reading material. The writing quality is not likely to dazzle, and the translation has more than just a few problems.

- Innovation/Quality of life
Average Marks

A limited number options and accessibility. Jumping to specific chapters, and a "clear list" are good features.

- Message
One of choices and possibilities. Life is great because it gives you options. The present is the best (and only) possible time to get things right. Humans are bound by the cruelty of time, but our own limited scale, is a likely prospect of greater things to come (or maybe they are here already, beyond our limited perception). It's a very comfortable idea.

- Criticism
Virtually none with significance. What needs to be understood, is that criticizing Ever17 for being old, makes no sense. Obsolete technology, rudimentary scientific concepts, and tropes that are now common, should be analyzed as such, while remembering the distance that separates current standards, from the ones expected at the time of Ever17's release. The fact that so much remains relevant, is praiseworthy.

- Is it worth reading?
Yes, absolutely.

Ever17 stays constantly engaging, throughout its duration. The reader simply can't help wanting to know more, and ask questions. It is true that the age of the title is showing in many parameters, and some of the structural repetition can be difficult to accept, but the emotional investment, the many sources of knowledge and plentiful mystery, more than make up for any negative points.

- What to look for while reading/Symbolism
Quite a few things, symbolism is not one of Ever17 main assets, however. Connections between seemingly unrelated things (curiosities) are common.

- The number 17 (seventeen) and its multiples. It should be everywhere.

- The Y.T (T.Y) initials (at least 5 different).

- The lullaby (the wordplay side of things).

- The password and the Haiku (Again, names, seasons and wordplay)
- Tsugumi's "don't touch me", and the why. Tsugumi's legs (motor function).

- Anytime a date (as in years), is mentioned.

- Urashima Taro (Rip Van winkle). The story with the nun. Lemuria (lost paradise). It all leads to the same concept (the wish for time manipulation).

- The 3 (three) different promises, and their similarities.

- Pygmalion's myth, and the terabyte disk (practical application may be impossible, or hundreds of years away, but the main idea should be appealing to VN fans).

- The 3rd eye and N dimensional space (what's presented would constitute a "3.1 dimension", in "witty" measure).

- The viruses (good for some plot holes). Sora's theoretical ideas (how misdirection works in writing).

- Best Quote
"She could be called: Yui, Yuka, Yuki, Yuko, Yuna, Yuno, Yuma, Yumi, Yuri, Yue, Yukari, Yukiko, Yukina, Yukino, Yukimi, Yusako, Yutaka, Yuzuki, Yuho, Yuma, Yumika, Yumiko, Yumina, Yumeko, Yumemi, Yuyu, Yumia, Yuriko... ... ... ... and those are all just off the top of my head." - You

- Score/ Recommendation
Ever17 -the out of infinity-, is an excellent visual novel (low 9 out of 10), one that has survived the test of time, and may have the reader questioning, just how much progress was actually made by VN's, in the last 20 (Twenty) years.

Ever17 -the out of infinity-, is recommended to all readers, and those fond of multiple mysteries and Sci-Fi elements, will feel right at home.

- Next Up
Akai Ito or Aoishiro (first time reading one or the other). Reviewing both right now, is redundant. Leaning towards Akai Ito.
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