The fact that everything played out like a Hollywood movie may be questionable for some but when I think back about how Kajitsu was like, I don’t feel it was actually too surprising or out of line for the series. Probably helps that I spent the week or so before this rereading Kajitsu.
Since I didn’t have this blog yet for the previous two parts, let’s rewind a bit first.
First off we have the start of the series, Kajitsu. In Kajitsu the story begins with the protagonist Yuuji transferring into a certain school and meeting 5 women who attend it. The story in general gives off a fairly unique feel. The characters are, as pointed out by themselves several times, all strange in some way or another. The entire school is full of weirdos, Yuuji included.
The story itself is fairly light hearted for the most part. As the characters are mostly great (especially Sachi), it was all around simply entertaining to go through the common route. However as with any other story once we hit the routes we see drama. In this case this is probably where Grisaia shines the most for some.
With that said, I find it somewhat funny that the person who pulled a knife on Yuuji with their first meeting, Yumiko, ended up having the most normal problem. Stereotypical wealthy family issues in a nutshell. I think that’s probably why Yumiko isn’t particularly popular with the crowd. At least not that I know of.
To roughly sum up the other routes:
You have a girl who suffers from split personality. To be honest I found her character to be the least interesting one although many seem to like her route. Mind you, it’s not that I didn’t like the route but… I just don’t like her character enough to actually enjoy it.
You have a girl with exceptionally good memory and had to sit there tied up watching the rotting corpse of her father for 6 days straight before rescue came. If that wasn’t enough, her mother is a complete bitch and needs to get run over by a truck.
You have a girl who obtained a serious case of compulsive obsession disorder because her parents got ran over by a truck in front of her eyes. As a result of this, she tends to be a “good girl” and listens to mostly anything she’s told to do. Even if that results in her personally burning down her previous school because of a half serious remark by her classmates, yup.
Finally you have another girl whose past is deeply twined with Yuuji as Yuuji had a genius older sister Kazuki who died in a bus accident. Meanwhile that girl is the sole survivor of the bus accident, who was mostly saved because of the help of Kazuki. By the end of her route there’s some hinting that Kazuki did not die.
On the topic of foreshadowing, during Kajitsu there was a fair bit of mysterious figures like the underground genius “professor”, Yuuji’s deceased master Asako and Yuuji’s past in general wasn’t really touched upon.
Then came the next part of the series— Meikyuu.
Meikyuu was a bit like a FD for the series as it contained after stories for all routes in Kajitsu. There’s not much to say about the after stories as they’re like any other after story contained in FDs. The most notable part is probably that in Amane’s after story an actual shadow of Kazuki appears. Basically leaving no room for doubt if there was any to begin with.
The real focus of Meikyuu was in the reveal of Yuuji’s past. Essentially the entire story was one long, long flashback about how Yuuji lived his life until coming to the school, how he got to know Chizuru, who is Asako and so on. It was pretty interesting, particularly the part where he joined the military, introducing a cast of new characters which reappeared later in Rakuen with the exception of one. ;_;
By the end of the flashback we’re treated to a huge cliffhanger as the main antagonist, the person you might as well call a large reason of Yuuji’s trauma appears in Japan. And he’s looking to take Yuuji back.
Finally we arrive at Rakuen, the final part of the trilogy. Shouldering the great expectations of wrapping up the series, will it live up those expectations!?
Well, though you may start the story pumped up for some action… the reality is quite plain. Yuuji is held captive by the very organization he works for to be used as a bargaining chip with the terrorist, Oslo who supposedly bought in some weapons of mass destruction and is seeking to steal the system “Thanatos” which we’ll get to later.
Meanwhile the heroines who have no idea what’s going on, can’t do much either as they’re just students. Abnormal ones but students nevertheless. It’s worth noting that the story starts off in some sort of harem state. It’s more or less implied that Yuuji went around conquering all girls in this timeline rather than just one girl.
Therefore quite literally 60% of the story is spent on building up for the climax. During this time, Yumiko came in contact with a snitch who is also a comrade from Yuuji’s days in America. There she receives a general idea of how the situation is. With the reveal of Oslo’s body cloning project and why he wants Yuuji as he’s the only specimen who survived up until now, the super computer that’s said to be 20 years ahead of its time, located underground around the place Yuuji is held captive, “Thanatos”.
Changing to Yuuji’s perspective he finds out the identity of the underground “professor”. Though I’m sure many already expected it, it’s none of than Kazuki. As it turns out, after the incident Kazuki was saved but her situation was already critical. Though it’s not as if she had no hope, they decided that Kazuki fit the “requirements” for the construction of Thanatos which is the typical SF computer that makes use of a human brain to operate.
As a result, Kazuki was installed into Thanatos and has become part of it since. It’s noted that Thanatos isn’t a single system but rather has several sub systems and Kazuki’s personality resides in just one part of it. This is the result of the judgment that having human emotions which cloud judgment would go against the entire purpose of constructing Thanatos. Even her memories in question were something Kazuki stole back through a security hole with some outside help.
Meanwhile on the students side, the school closes because of various reasons and the students leave the school, end up in a boathouse and begin figuring out how they’ll save Yuuji from his predicament.
It’s nice that despite all of the SF and the desperate situation they’re placed into, they still retain their personalities and the story is as enjoyable as ever to read. With that said, there’s obviously still a limit to what mere students can do against a national level organization.
Therefore they receive a mysterious phone call which, when picked up they find that it’s from Thanatos herself. She offers them help though makes no guarantees. In the end seeing as they have no other method to rely on, they accept the help of Thanatos.
Well from there the rest played out like a Hollywood movie so it’s less interesting to talk about and more interesting to see I suppose. During it there was honestly a fair bit of twists that were shocking. At least in the sense that there wasn’t a single inkling of foreshadowing as far as I know. Kazuki’s physical body actually existed, Asako left behind an island she bought for Yuuji after she died, Yuuji went full killer mode and rampaged around in Oslo’s base to settle the scores with him and well… many entertaining moments in general.
Finally the meaning behind the title, “Grisaia” is revealed. Well not the literal meaning but why it’s called Grisaia. It turns out that they decided to name the island that Asako left behind for Yuuji “Grisaia” and they built the new school on that island. Considering his entire harem lives there, when they called it “Rakuen” they weren’t god damn kidding. The title グリザイアの楽園 felt extremely fitting at this point.
In the end it’s a happily ever after story. The fact that it walked right into SF regions may be a bit odd for some but in a certain sense it’s not too surprising. Although Grisaia always felt “realistic” in a certain sense that happy endings are easier said than done to achieve, it also had exaggerated elements which pretty much existed solely to add more spice to the story.
Especially looking at how Amane’s backstory played out, I think it’s actually not really out of line for the story to pull SF elements. Though things like Yuuji surviving and whatnot is borderline bullshit but hey, that’s Yuuji for you.
It was a long journey but it was well worth the ride, the ending was for the most part satisfactory with my ever so beloved harem ending on top of that. I wasn’t expecting such an ending myself even. I would highly recommend the trilogy to just about anyone looking for a story in this genre as it does a good job of balancing comedy with serious plot.
Now moving on, I want to reread a bit of Akagoei before Reminiscence comes out but I think before that I may first take a break from serious storylines and read お嬢様はご機嫌ナナメ instead. I’ll see how things play out by tonight.