Our look at the visual novel remake of YU-NO: A Girl who Chants Love at the Bound of this World continues with the second route! We’ve already discussed the Ayumi arc and how it was both a massive upgrade and slight downgrade to the anime’s interpretation. Now we are moving onto the next major story. Join me after the cut as we dive into the Mitsuki/Eriko route!
I have to confess, there are parts of YU-NO that I can’t really remember. Part of that is because there is A LOT that happens in the story: five story arcs along with the epilogue arc that is a complete paradigm shift of the series. But the other reason is because some of the arc frankly are more compelling than others. While the Ayumi route is famous for it’s shock value and sexual tension, Mio’s route (or the cucking of Yuki) for the interesting plot turns and foreshadowing, and Kanna’s route for the unsettling nature, the other two routes in the anime frankly never did it to me. While the Mitsuki and Kaori routes are interesting, they just didn’t enthrall me as much as the three main girls.
Thankfully, like with our previous look at the first route, the YU-NO visual novel steps up to the plate to help fill in the cracks and add more depth to the story. I was happy to see that while the Mitsuki route doesn’t have the emotional punch compared to Ayumi’s, it is also not trying to do the same thing with a different character. In fact I’d be inclined to say that while Ayumi’s route took a more micro look at the world, examining the changing relationship between Takuya and his stepmother, the Mitsuki route instead presents a macro view of the world, following an investigation by Eriko into the mysterious curse surrounding the city, and the changing behavior of Ryuzouji.
Now while the Mitsuki route does not have the personal emotional stakes compared to it’s predecessor, that doesn’t mean they aren’t present. In fact I actually quite liked the relationship between Mitsuki and Takuya as it was displayed in this version of the story. While the anime only hinted at their relationship, the visual novel takes the time to explore their past and address the lingering tensions between the two characters. It is clear throughout the route that both Mitsuki and Takuya still have feelings for each other, and their “affair” being only a month old still hasn’t fully settled for them. It is more than evident throughout the myriad of conversations the two have, that Mitsuki is still deeply in love with Takuya, and that he feelings are returned, though fate clearly has other ideas for them both. It makes what happens at the end of the story, as well events in the other routes all the more tragic.
The story’s second female lead, Eriko also decently better in the visual novel. While she remains a secondary character throughout the story (the only girl whom you don’t actually fully romance, though there is intimate scene between her and Takuya), her place in the overall plot is important. She is in a sense Takuya’s mentor, providing him with hints and clues to push himself forward while remaining focused on her own missions. At this point of my journey through the VN, there hasn’t been much revealed, and while I do know what happens thanks to the anime, I was surprised that in this route, there isn’t much really being told about her. In fact in my play through of the Ayumi arc, there were more than enough clues dropped than even here. I don’t know if that will continue, but if it does, I do wonder if it might have been better to let Eriko have her own full story, instead of sharing it with Mitsuki. Is it a downgrade? I don’t really know yet, but Eriko’s use in the plot of YU-NO has done the job well enough. Consider this section ‘TBD’ for now.
In terms of the main story line of the route though, I was surprised at just how much foreshadowing and hints are dropped throughout the run. Along side the later parts of the Mio route, this is the only part of the YU-NO that drops real major hints about the epilogue. There are just so many clues, both small and large that hint that the bigger picture going on in the world, from the feeling of the lands of Ryuzouji’s mansion being “not of this world,” to the mysterious machine that hurtles Takuya back in time when you go down the wrong path. There is a lot to unpack so far, and I have been thrilled at the Visual Novel has given me the extra time to fully delve into the world that the anime often felt rushed to get through.
The Mitsuki/Eriko route of YU-NO: A Girl who Chants Love at the Bound of this World, unlike the Ayumi route, is a straight through and through upgrade to it’s anime counterpart. The characters are more developed, the story line more fleshed out, and the addition of the erotic elements help the character beats land far more effectively. There is just mystery oozing out of every corner, and it keeps me coming back to see what other changes and additions have been added. While it doesn’t have the emotional punch that Ayumi’s path had, the Mitsuki route is a great addition to the story and is at its best in this remake. Check it out if you haven’t already, and I’ll be back here hopefully next week with my look at the next storyline: The Mio Route!