One of the best things when it comes to Anime is when you come across a series that pulls you in. A series that really grips you by the hands, pulls you into it’s world and never, ever lets go. A series that has you dive into every corner of it’s world, picking at every bone, every nook and cranny, and most of all, a series that you don’t want to leave when it is all done.
In my entire three decades on this earth, and over two decades as an anime fan, I have only experienced such a feeling twice when it comes to anime. One was with High School DxD, a series I’ve lauded and praised again and again. The other was Fate/Stay Night, whose legacy speaks for itself. I’ve loved both series and I figured it would be sometime until I found another series like that, but then I came across YU-NO.
Join me after the cut as I give you my final thoughts on YU-NO: A Girl who Chants Love at the Bound of this World.
I had never cared for the visual novel before I experienced YU-NO. Yes I had read the Fate VNs, and I had watched a play-through of Doki Doki Literature club, but I had never actually thrown money down on a full VN. Yet upon hearing that YU-NO would be getting a re-release, coming right after the anime ended, I felt that this was the time. I had loved the anime, warts and all and there was a part of me who wanted to see what the differences were, especially since the story was so fresh. It was one of the best decisions I had ever made.
YU-NO’s visual novel is living testament to what the VN would become and the potential that the art-form had. While in 2019, much of what is here has been done before, and sometimes done better. None of it could have been accomplished, even attempted, if the brave creators of YU-NO hadn’t tried it first, if they hadn’t looked at the visual novel and said to themselves: why not use this to tell a real story?
That end result is YU-NO.
The ambition, the scope, the imagination and the creativity. A story with interwoven plot-lines, the ability to navigate parallel words, and levels of character development and depth that, while quaint by today’s standards, must have been absolutely mind-blowing back in 1996. I can’t help but admire and respect the creators so much for something they were able to create back when computers and technology were still just trying to find their footing, the level of sheer ingenuity and genius on display in this game, even in the remade state was absolutely breath-taking to behold.
The story of Takuya Arima, of Ayumi, of Kanna, of Mitsuki, of Eriko, of Mio. Of Sayless, of Amanda, and of Yu-No are all wonderful tales that pull the reader in and take you on a ride of twists, turns and surprises. Some may be better than others, some are more developed than others, but each of them have their own charm, with themes and ideas that push buttons and make you think, perhaps even challenge you, or just entertain.
It could be Ayumi’s loneliness and sorrow of becoming a widow. Or Mio’s love of learning, her teenage romantic frustrations, and dreams of uncovering the truth of history. It may be Kanna’s dark past and mysterious origins, the desire to form a connection and to feel something, despite what that might entail. Perhaps it’s Mitsuki’s pushed away romantic desires and tragic life bound by fate. Or it may be Kaori’s elusive personality and motives that seem to change at every meeting. It could be Sayless’s desire for freedom, Amanda’s quest for justice and Yu-No’s choice to protect the man she loves. All of these girls stories, have something to offer the viewer and each of them, told through the eyes of Takuya Arima, a young man thrown into a situation beyond his control, but never once abandoning who he is, pervy jokes and all, are living proof of what the visual novel could be: not just a place for porn, but a avenue to tell engaging, meaningful and touching stories.
YU-NO is probably not the ‘great work’ of the VN, but it is absolutely the foundation upon which all other visual novels are based. The first step laid in the genre that would go on to publish such legendary works like The Fruits of Grisaia, Steins:Gate and of course, Fate/Stay Night. None of those works, and the countless more that have followed would have been possible without this single visual novel. It is the forebear, the grandfather of the genre, and the shoulder upon which all other pieces of work stand, for nothing would be the same if it wasn’t for this story. Whatever you may think of it, and that is your opinion to have, that is the simple truth.
YU-NO: A Girl who Chants Love at the Bound of this World is a masterpiece, and it joins the ranks of High School DxD and Fate/Stay Night as one of my favorite pieces of media of all time. It has been an absolute joy experiencing this series, and a memory I won’t ever forget. I have been blessed and honored to have shared my thoughts on this story with my readers, and I hope that, if my words have made you curious, you look into this story yourself and see if you come to the same conclusions that I have. There is now only one thing left to say.
Your Love Awaits Beyond this World……