And here we are, at the final part of the final route of YU-NO: A Girl who Chants Love at the Bound of this World. I have plenty to say, and frankly there is so much that happens that this blog post will done a little differently. I’m going to divide things up into sub-sections with each talking about a particular part of the last half, so let’s not waste anymore time, cause this is gonna be a long one. Join me after the cut as I dive into the last half of the Other World route: The Yu-No Half.
I was shocked upon realizing that the anime greatly extended this part of the story, with the two side-kicks of Amanda and most of the work shown was completely made up for the anime. Here in the visual novel, we only see Takuya in the camp for about year before he is locked up in solitary confinement and meets up with Amanda, their escape only possible because of an earthquake and the arrival of Kun-Kun. As I read this, I was shocked at how little I really cared that we were getting a “shorter” version of this entire scene, because it works extremely well. While I am glad that this route does get far more time to flourish, this was the point where I didn’t think it needed anything else, and it moves briskly enough to keep the story moving.
What really pleased me though, was the VN’s depiction of Amanda, one of the several girls present in this route, and I have to say, between herself, Sala, Sayless, and Yu-No, Amanda is absolutely the best out of the bunch. I was afraid that Amanda would fall into the same archetype I’ve long since hated: the ‘rebel girl.” The type of character who is part of a resistance movement and has to be 110% more committed to the cause in order to make up for the supposed handicap of being a woman. This has been present in many different types of media, but I was glad to see that it is barely, if at all present here. Amanda is tough, strong and a little bit sassy, providing a good counter point to Takuya, and I was surprised at just how well they click as a pair, especially when they are stranded in the desert and the only way to survive is to eat Kun-Kun.
Yet while Amanda absolutely wants to overthrow the God-Monarch, but she is also portrayed a young woman who is way out of her league and pretty much at the end of her rope. The revelation that her sister Illia has died acts as final levee to be broken, which sends her weeping into arms of Takuya, and after that, while still committed to the ‘resistance,” she also yearns for the warmth and security and family that Takuya could provide, becoming almost clingy in her attachment to him. Now some may have issue with this, but I was glad to see the VN portraying Amanda as more human than what her archetype normally is, and her role in the story continues to the end, where (rather anti-climatically), she is thrown through time into Takuya’s world where she will give birth to and raise the girl Kanna Hatano. Overall Amanda benefits the absolute most from the VN version of the game, becoming one of my favorite girls in the entire series.
Eriko, Ryuzouji and Vrinda’s Tree
This is the part of the route where shits gets really confusing, so much so that I had to actually google what ‘causality’ meant in order to try and just begin to comprehend what Eriko, revealed to a inter-dimensional investigator (she’s a time cop for fucks sake, just say it) is saying. The idea of Vrinda’s tree, history being the only truth in this world, and the idea of events repeating is a bit of wacky science to be sure, but it speaks to the sheer depth and creativity of the original creators of this game, which remains YU-NO’s biggest strength.
The revelation that Ryuzouji (the prologue one who was warped away by the lightning tower), or the spirit taking over the body of Ryuzouji is just a petty criminal bent on moving through the parallel words really helped tie things together, especially since he takes mostly center stage in the Mitsuki route, and this helped clear a lot of things up. Eriko of course remains an excellent supporting character, being a mentor and guide for Takuya, but also clearly laying out that Takuya’s struggle isn’t her fight, and they are simply two people crossing paths. Ryuzouji himself doesn’t really feel like a villain in the series, acting as more of a roadblock, and hurdle for the cast to get over, but I admit enjoying how Takuya doesn’t really have a personal grudge against the man.
Ayumi and the Truth of Dela Grante
If the above section is a bit confusing for people, I was thrilled, THRILLED to find out how great the next section was. Ayumi’s reveal as the God-Monarch, the Ayumi that was warped away during the prologue is a great reveal, and helps solidify the character as the most important of the cast in Part 1. Her talk with Takuya and the revelations of what Dela Grante is, and the purpose of the Priestess just oozes with creativity and imagination that, while a bit basic in terms of 2019 anime standards, must have been absolutely mind blowing back in 1996.
Dela Grante being the refuge of the first race of humans, a scientific paradise that escaped a meteor, the scientist Grantia who sacrificed herself to become the computer that prevents the floating continent from colliding, both physically and meta-physically with the earth. The fact that Dela Grante will, no matter what they do, collide into Sakaimachi and form Sword Cape and Triangle Mountain is all absolute creative genius. The conversation between Takuya and Ayumi help put so much of the story into context, explaining not the only the major events of the previous routes, but the entire reason of Kanna’s illness, the sudden growth of Yu-No, and the Hyper-sense stone. A revelation this big, like the entire Other World arc is something that always teeters on the knife edge, one wrong move and everything falls apart, but YU-NO is able to make it work so well, and when you sit down to hear Ayumi explain everything, the last 50+ hours of story suddenly all click into place with such satisfaction.
Finally, there is Yu-No. The titular character of the series. Admittedly while I do have a hang-up or two with the character (that i’ll get into on my next Don’t @ Me), her place in the story serves everything well, though considering she is one of the most important characters, she never really steps out of a supporting role among the cast. Taking up the role of priestess after the death of Sayless, Yu-No approaches her task and the reality that she may not survive, or be lost forever to time with a sense of maturity and childish thinking that best sums up her character. She is doing it not to save the people, or the world, but for her beloved Papa, the man she loves and the person who is most important to her. The act of self sacrifice and the bond she shares with Takuya, while very distinctly crossing the line in terms of our society, is portrayed as real and genuine that might uncomfortably tug at a few heartstrings.
And those final few scenes, that go all the way back to the first moments of the game, where Takuya discovered a naked woman, now revealed to be Yu-No and decides to go with her to the point of all beginning, where the sprout of Vrinda’s tree will create the never-ending flow of events, and they will forever wander the cosmos of time, event and causality, the Bounds of the World is an extremely moving and effective way to end the story, and I won’t lie to you that I felt extremely emotional by the end of it, to see this wild ride of a story reach such a shocking and well done conclusion.
Final Thoughts on the Route
The Other World route of Yu-No: A Girl who Chants Love at the Bound of this World should not have worked.
The fact that it does. The fact that the story is able to take such a hard left turn, to transform completely from a story of time travel and personal struggles of five young women and the man in the middle of them, to a sweeping science fiction epic of titanic proportions and make it all work is proof enough that this visual novel is one of the all time greats. There are caveats, there are nitpicks, and your mileage may vary on many things, but the YU-NO’s Other World route is absolutely something to behold, and the crowing jewel of a story that is in many ways was ahead of its time.
Yet we are not yet finished, there are still two more things left to cover. So join me next week as I dive into the True Endings of Ayumi, Mio and Kanna, as well as giving you my overall thoughts on this series.