Our look at the visual novel of YU-NO: A Girl who Chants Love at the Bound of this World continues! We are now at the final route of the series, the one that completely turns the entire series up on its head. Will the series maintain that level of great storytelling, or like the anime, will things feel rushed? Let’s not waste anytime, after the cut let’s dive into the first half of the final route, The Sayless Half
There have been plot twists in anime, some great ones, but I don’t think any of them, at all, compare to what happens in YU-NO. This final route, which sees Takuya warped to the world of Dela Grante is a complete 100% reinvention of the series, taking it away from the intimate and science-fiction mystery of the first three-quarters of the game, to a full blown Isekai fantasy, which could very well be one of the first Isekai in a modern context. There are swords, monsters, fantasy worlds, the mysterious God-Monarch and a priestess who holds the role of saving Dela Grante from the ‘wrath of mother nature.’ This again shows the sheer scope and ambition that YU-NO has, but it still remains a risk. While the anime did this final arc pretty well, it did feel rushed at times, and often felt like they were trying blitz past what is clearly the entire crux of the story. That was why I was really looking forward to seeing it through the Visual Novel, hoping that it would get time to catch its breath and slow down. Thankfully this was true, the Sayless half of the epilogue does everything I need to do to and aside from one thing, it is a full blown upgrade to what the anime gave us.
The most important thing that it does, is the Sayless half takes the time to let Takuya really come to terms with what has happened to him. This isn’t a story about some shut-in NEET game leaving his horrible life behind to become a god. We’ve been with Takuya enough at this point to know he’s a well adjusted person who has friends and connections back in his old world, and seeing that ripped away from him goes about as well as you expect. There are moments of anger, desperation and despair as Takuya realizes just what happened and that he is stuck, and will probably never see anyone from his old life again. This is made clear when Illia, the border guard who was his only source of information ends up dying to try and save the mysterious Sayless. The loss of his only audible companion and the one person who can tell him what the fuck is going on is a blow to Takuya that feels real and heavy, leaving him alone in an unknown world to defend a woman and a job he has no real knowledge of. His solo trek through the desert, a desperate attempt to just figure out what’s going really helps drive that point home that Takuya is way out of his depth here.
Additionally, I was happy to see that Takuya’s relationship with Sayless (or Celes) is given a bit more meat in this version. Takuya doesn’t fall head over heels with Sayless at the start, and is in fact cold and short with her, angry that she cannot speak or tell him what’s going on, and frustrated that he’s now stuck protecting this girl from a threat he doesn’t understand, or a people he may never see. To see their relationship evolve (from Takuya’s perspective) from one of distance and mistrust to a full fledged romance and love was great to see. Takuya truly does grow to love Sayless, and the feeling is clearly mutual, but they are also both outcasts and nobodies, pulled together by fate and forced to depend on each other to survive. This of course results in the conception and birth of YU-NO, the titular character of the story, and as of now, the bubbly and innocent daughter of Sayless and Takuya. Her role in the story as of now is relatively minor, and instead acting as living proof that Takuya is able to turn his horrible fate into something beautiful and worthwhile, even though YU-NO’s mere existence spells trouble for both him, his wife and the entire world of Dela Grante.
While all of this was in the anime, the hours it takes to get through this in the visual novel helps everything just work better, there is more time to let things sink in, more time to adjust to the massive tonal shift of the series, and more time to enjoy this first peaceful half of the story before we get to the climax, and everything changes, again. I found myself just slowly taking me time, clicking on every thing I could find so I could get the most information I could.
However, if there is one thing that the Sayless half does worse here than in the anime, it is the actual death of Sayless of herself, which the anime does so much better. In that anime we see her and Takuya try to fight away from the guards, led to their home by a stupid mistake on Takuya’s part, and flee, only to have Sayless use a knife to take her own life in order to protect her husband and daughter. It’s a powerful scene and the despair shown from Takuya is raw. In the Visual Novel however, none of that is present and instead Sayless just remains in the room pinned down by the guards, and kills herself by biting her own tongue off. It happens so quickly and so anti-climatically that I was really put off by what had been, so far, a ten out of ten experience.
Sayless’s death however, pushes the story forward and sends both Takuya and YU-NO through the desert in an attempt to confront the God-Monarch, the leader of Dela-Grante. This trek through the desert is again done wonderfully, showing that despite Takuya’s preparation, he is still truly out of step in this world. When salvation comes in the form of the independent and upbeat Sala and the oasis ( and providing the series only real ‘tacky’ love scene’), you feel relived and happy that our two heroes have managed to make it this far. What happens next though will be subject to our final look into the route.
The Sayless half, the first part of the Other World route of YU-NO: A Girl who chants Love at the Bound of this World does everything I needed it to, providing more depth and layers to a story that completely turned things on its head. It is fair to say that if this part of the Visual Novel didn’t work, the entire story of YU-NO would fall in on itself. Every time I turn on his game I am awed by the sheer scope and ambition of this game, and what the creators were able to do at the time. The fact that so much is done right, and done slowly and with enough time has pleased me to no end. This has truly been a special experience for me so far, and we are now finally nearing the end, which I fully believe will bring everything to a glorious finish. Join me next time as we delve into the second half of the Other World route: The YU-NO half.