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Review of Rance 10

SubjectRance 10
ByVote: 7szjx on 2020-10-17 last updated on 2020-10-19
ReviewI'm quite disappointed at how they made Rance X into this lighthearted quasi true love story. This is not what The Continent is about. Only pretty CGs (yeah the sheer amount of high-quality portraits is respectable, for sure) and passable battles without many soul-touching or thought-provoking moments to speak of. It is an OK game and it was always entertaining to keep going, but not an exceptional novel. Some parts, especially in Part 2, also felt a bit hastily written. Thought they'd make a modern version of Kichikuou Rance with all the deep writing examining the good and bad of human nature under the reality of everyday life which is living under a mischievous and unpredictable God who loves seeing sufferings, and it was quite a let down (even though TADA is still the director, the scenario writers changed, which is understandable, but took the story in a completely different direction). One major point of Kichikuou Rance was exactly how it's impossible for everybody to be happy in the end. Somebody's happiness would be based on the unhappiness of another. Here I understand the wish by them to address some long-living regrets in the series with an alternative interpretation, and bring closure to everything, but it still felt a bit empty and nonsensical to see every thread tied up in a big happy ending and everybody saved and ending up friends with each other. I thought I'm reading a mature-rated story, not a children's fairy tale? I get that Crook tried to more or less explain the intention behind this genre shift in the end, but it didn't exactly strike the right note with me and rang hollow.

Well I guess they wanted to try something different since it's quite impossible to one-up Kichikuou Rance following the same style of story. I also understand that they may want to pay tribute to the good old JRPG heritage (though didn't Rance start as something that aimed to satirize and subvert everything from Dragon Quest?). Some people might like this reinterpretation better. Just not me. The more time passes the more I find it a mostly forgettable experience.


#1 by quof
2020-10-17 at 16:39
< report >>how it's impossible for everybody to be happy in the end. Somebody's happiness would be based on the unhappiness of another.

This is just a platitude that doesn't mean anything, though. There are plenty examples of people being happiness without that being based on someone else's unhappiness. Ludo feeling happy from the suffering of others is not an inherent rule about life, and Crook realized she could change how Ludo feels about things by teaching him how much more fun it is to find your own happiness directly rather than just watch from afar, which isn't nonsensical at all. If you ask me, that's actually a lot more mature than Kichikuou Rance. It's not a children's fairy tale to say that people can be happy together, or to be a bit more direct on the allegory, it's not a children's fairy tale to say that people who enjoy stories for the pain/suffering might find themselves enjoying a more simple story of fun adventure if they relaxed and allowed themselves to get more invested, with Ludo being a player stand-in (of course), going from a world of artificial suffering (fiction where the author forces characters through suffering, i.e. Rance in a nutshell) to a world of genuine adventure. Through having the player experience this first-hand we can experience going from enjoying the suffering of characters to enjoying them go on a chill adventure that's fun by it's own merits.

It would be much more childish to take a nihilistic view like Kichikuou does in my opinion. There's nothing inherently more mature about violence, and really it's not hard to see that childish media tends to be more violent and simplistic in its view about the world (e.g. "somebody's happiness is based on the unhappiness of another"). If R10's more mature take rang hollow to you, it probably says more about your personal beliefs than R10 itself actually being hollow. That is, you being more Part 1 Ludo than Part 2 Ludo.. It's unfortunate the game couldn't reach you like Crook reached him.
#2 by szjx
2020-10-19 at 00:19
< report >I get what you/Part II means (what Crook was trying to say to Ludo essentially). Though maybe there was some dismissive misunderstanding about my view (could have expanded on it a bit more). I didn't mean to say that there is something inherently more mature about "violence" itself. A random story filled with violence would probably at most be a B-grade splatter flick. I also didn't say that I enjoyed Kichikuou Rance "because a lot of the characters were suffering". The purpose of Ludo was of course to enjoy the chaos and suffering on The Continent, but I don't think that was the viewpoint of the reader in Kichikuou Rance. I would rather put it as: A world with Ludo as the creator is the constant reality that we actually experience every day, and we see human nature, both the good and the bad, exposed and examined as the stories play out under such conditions. There were a lot of actually heart-wrenching moments with gravitas in Kichikuou Rance that make you sigh or feel touched. Yet I almost couldn't find any in Rance 10 (not gonna lie, the scene that gave me the strongest impression was just the sex between Rance and Crook). Stories like Game of Thrones and Muv-Luv Alternative get so highly regarded, exactly because characters do die and suffer randomly. We do not "enjoy it" when such things happen. To the exact contrary, we feel mad, but this is exactly how the world works and I think Kichikuou Rance did a good job in examining all that.

I just felt that Ludo was too easily convinced while I didn't feel that convinced by that journey and I don't think that reflects how the world works. Of course, I could agree that Kichikuou Rance might have embraced a way too cynical view. I would say this was the whole point of Rance though, just like how GTA is an over-the-top satire of the capitalist society, and it would be quite absurd to have a 180-degree turn in there. And, as I mentioned, Ludo is a mischievous child but that I would say matches up with human beings' daily experience pretty nicely, especially given the absurdist satirical tone of Rance. This depiction of "the creator God" as such was a masterstroke IMO. That is why I rate Kichikuou Rance so highly, and why I also for example gave Rance IX a low rating since I also felt it already went very "pure love" and was actually inconsistent in its tone in a lot of places. If I want an upbeat moege/normal JRPG I can totally find it no problem, but I felt Rance 10 was quite a betrayal of what the Rance series had been doing, which was truly unique, thus the low rating.

> it probably says more about your personal beliefs

As I said, this is indeed a personal take on the series (I also don't like Sill and this has definitely had an impact on my perception) and I can see how the others might see it differently. Also maybe TADA simply got old and softened up, which is fine as we all have different stages and conditions in life.

P.S.: I see that you also rated Soukou Akki Muramasa 9.5, just as I did. Using that story (which I think contains a central message pretty similar to what I wrote) as a reference I think you may understand my viewpoint a bit more.Last modified on 2020-10-19 at 01:16
#3 by bluemystic
2020-10-25 at 16:07
< report >In canon almost everyone becomes happy except arios but things can get very tragic and random deaths will appear on your first playthrough. Some of the endings (like 勇者の成就、神の真実、time capsule, ) and deaths (gandhi, alex, ruberan and merim, hauzel ) were pretty nerve-wrecking and fit your description of "heart-wrenching moments with gravitas". I do admit that part 2 took a very different turn, but plenty of those moments were present in Rance 10.
#4 by mrkew
2020-10-25 at 17:17
< report >
except arios
Did you read the Q&A Orion did on the two anniversaries? It also helps tell which of the deaths you mentioned are canon.
1st - link
2nd - linkLast modified on 2020-10-25 at 17:22
#5 by behappyeveryday
2020-10-26 at 03:16
< report >@3 It is interesting that you mentioned Hawzel because this "hero kills random cute and kind demon lord just because" event was more frustrating and stupid than tradic. It just happens in a couple of minutes and there was no reaction, no dialogue, the killed girl just disappears from your battle rooster and that's it, it doesn't affect the plot in the slightest. It is just unnecessary little thing to annoy the player on higher difficulties where Hawzel, Sauzel or Silky could be necessary for some battles.
#6 by szjx
2021-08-05 at 00:48
< report >@3 that's a fair point, but I would say that the underlying tone of Rance 10 just feels lighter (and more mainstream?) and those deaths are depicted/interpreted quite differently and carry drastically different meanings. For example, Alex basically died a hero's death which couldn't have been more stereotypical (and even Eropicha from Rance VI seems to have become an actual good wife, seriously?), and similar depictions abound in the war against the Monster's army (the narrative felt like a generic good vs. evil fight, while in Kichikuou things were much more ambiguous). In Kichikuou, Rance could literally deliberately send Cordoba to die with the sole purpose that he gets his widow into the harem (only recently did I realize this is likely a direct reference to the biblical story of Bathsheba, which only adds to the literary seriousness of the story.) Another example off the top of my head is the fate of Camilla, regardless of whether she gets killed by Kaybilis or Rance.

Related to the above examples, one general point I found to be greatly annoying/disappointing (and probably greatly satisfying/relieving to many other readers) is how Rance is essentially whitewashed into a somewhat lighthearted maverick hero in the recent installments, instead of what he unapologetically had been: a rapist and a true 鬼畜王 (another example: I heard that in the old Rance III, he let the return devils rape Kanami to their content, while in Rance 03 he became a protective gentleman), which was what made the character so fascinating: The reader is not Rance; we're basically observing such a unique character's interactions with the world and the various consequences of such actions.

Also, the way some (not all) of the deaths are portrayed could feel, as said by #5, somewhat random and lacking in weight. Kichikuou doesn't use many words, but the several sentences + music that follow an event manage to create great atmosphere and drive the point home perfectly.

Then again, maybe I have a habit of taking VNs and essentially everything I consume way too seriously :)Last modified on 2021-08-05 at 01:15
#7 by catasplurge
2021-08-27 at 16:20
< report >Cynical satires are mostly kinda juvenile though, and I don't really dislike Kichikuou but I think it does miss out on a lot on what it doesn't go into. Funny how you can mention one potential death in 10 that's just random and disconnected when kichikuou has that in tenfold, basically nobody matters anymore after they die and the majority don't get a death scene at all. The treatment of characters in general is very sloppy and I only let it pass since it wasn't made with the intention of being the actual ending. Kichikuou doesn't really have anything interesting to say, going wow rance really is a bad dude huh for the 100th time is surface level shit. And I don't even dislike this about it, its okay to have straightforward events but that doesn't change there's not much to pick from it.

Anyway canon is meaningless so you can enjoy what versions of the plot you want, but both games still exist and I think there's just more value if you looked at them for their own merits.
#8 by szjx
2021-08-28 at 09:56
< report >My impression of Kichikuou was quite the opposite of only "cynical satires". That might more accurately apply to something like GTA, but Kichikuou IMO has much more weight than that.

The "random death in Rance 10" argument was not brought up by me, but I would say that a lot of endings in Kichikuou depend on the life and death of other characters. Examples abound e.g. Sill vs. Lia, Satella vs. Miki, Shizuka and Nagi, Leila, Rick and Cordoba etc. Of course it cannot be that each and every character's death has an intricate plot associated with it due to the sheer number of them, but the deaths are much more seriously treated (and actually happen on the battlefield) than in Rance 10, where characters don't die unless a particular event generally disassociated from the battle system, and even from the plot, suddenly takes place.

If your impression of Kichikuou is only "wow rance really is a bad dude huh for the 100th time" I think you might have missed the various character interactions and stories that the writer put effort into. Rance being the "Kichikuou" as he is could be seen as a unique premise under which the stories are facilitated. On the contrary the character interactions in Rance 10 feel mostly comedic and shallow, which doesn't lend a "mature"/"non-juvenile" feeling to the story.

Of course, I read Kichikuou earlier, so I might have been more impressible back then. I agree that they are quite distinct versions and everybody has their preferences. Like you said, I wonder if fans of Rance 10 could also get something more out of Kichikuou if they looked at it with a different light and vice versa.Last modified on 2021-08-28 at 10:02