You see, when it comes to suspension of disbelief it’s pretty easy to accept things like reincarnation, MAGIC, supernatural happenings, ghosts, demons, angels and whatever else comes to mind.
However when writing a SF story, regardless of how much bullshit is thrown in there, you have to piece together some logic dictating that LOOK, BECAUSE OF THE DISCOVERY OF THIS MAGICAL ELEMENT WE CAN NOW ADVANCE OUR TECHNOLOGY, THIS IS BECAUSE… .
What’s depressing is when you realize that you spent the past hour reading a lecture on completely made up science that is, at best, based off existing theories.
Returning to the point: unlike magic and so on, you can’t just say MAGIC WORKS THIS WAY, THAT’S HOW IT IS and write things off in a science fiction story. To make the reader actually think “hey, it’s not that unreasonable if we actually did make such a discovery” they’d still have to reason out why things like such are possible. Or well, at least try to. Successes vary person to person.
Usually even if we say SF, it’s just explanations to make certain concepts possible. Such as expansion to space or time travel. Some stories may omit detailed explanations entirely and just treat it as “magical futuristic technology”.
Unfortunately or otherwise, this story chose the most difficult to write and at the same time, frustrating to read (to some extent anyway) way of doing things.
I’ve rambled on about this for quite a while so I’ll bluntly say this:
What do I mean?
First off the story starts with our protagonist, Naoto and his merry companions about to sortie as a secretly developed humanoid weapon of mass destruction. They proceed to wipe out an entire army as a meager unit of 10.
So far so simple.
The story progresses, throughout the common route they throw some random SF terms at you which was quite confusing for a while until they decided to drop a bomb on you shortly before route split happened.
A long as bloody hell flashback happened at this point. A flashback that shows you the story of their “predecessors”.
In the future humanity finds a way to travel through parallel dimensions through the discovery of a new element that deals with the flow of time. They also give up their bodies and choose to become quantum brains. Essentially brains the size of a particle invisible to the naked eye and that is their entire existence. In order to interact with the world, they materialize bodies for that purpose and sort of just give up the bodies when they’re done with it.
Naoto and his companions are exactly such existences. They’re also elite soldiers trained to fight an unknown enemy. An unknown enemy that’s supposedly a “higher dimensional” existence that is of course, something you cannot observe. They’ve been running around causing the collapse of dimensions and general trouble for humanity and humanity has been thoroughly driven to a corner by them as they have no way to counterattack or even defend.
Naoto and his companions in the end fall in the war as a suicide attack to hold off the collapse even a second longer. However one person escapes along with all of their children (really just data copies though it did serve as an excuse to give hscenes, that also makes me shiver to think that there were data copies between two men as well).
She arrives at a new dimension which is the one where the story starts, helps the children come to existence (don’t mind the details) and raises them until she died on the planet. This set of characters are the ones we are following.
Not exactly coincidentally, they take on the exact same appearances as their predecessors and quite similar personalities as well. Unfortunately contrary to their predecessors, they’ve become quite twisted and especially so after a 3 year time skip at the start of the story.
As you progress in the story things just get messier and messier. Naoto is bent on revenge against his companions because of various reasons, there’s traitors, there’s murderers, there’s others out for revenge, well it’s all complicated but mostly everyone was scattered about in opinions despite their predecessors being together. Presumably the difference comes from the environment they grew in.
At end of both existing routes, aside from the heroine, everyone including Naoto dies and even more headache inducing elements are thrown into the mix. Such as the discovery of another element that allows them to travel back in past. With one leading to another, thanks to that you find characters 5.6 billion years in the future coming back to alter the past and invaders coming from 500 million years in the future to accomplish an important mission.
There’s also the matter of the “child of hope” who supposedly evolved to communicate with fourth-dimensional existences and the reveal of how it’s perfectly possible for their technology to completely copy a brain so to make an AI that does the exact same actions as the real person would. Essentially not that different from the actual person. One of the heroines for an example made a brain copy of Naoto and had him as her AI after his death.
Had that not been enough, following the true route we deal with Naoto and his companions again. However it’s yet another god damned different Naoto. This time Naoto and his companions are explicitly stated as “clones” of the original. They’re sent to the dimensions where the original Naoto and the others are at to accomplish the recovery of the child. Interestingly these events take place after the other two heroine routes so you get to see the aftermath of things.
They split up to two different dimensions with Naoto’s side for the most part successfully accomplishing the mission but the other side “wiped out”. Then they try to take the child back and experience all sorts of trouble. They get thrown into another dimension where they meet a “dead” companion who had already wandered for many years and was rescued by their own organization from… 500 million years in the future and joined them for her own purpose also revealing the fact that the future world had stagnated in evolution because the child they’re escorting didn’t reach them in that future.
There’s more companions in that dimension who are… clones made by an enemy organization causing trouble and aiming for the child they’re escorting. At this point I wanted to shout STOP MAKING CLONES OF THE SAME DAMNED CHARACTERS, I CAN’T EVEN TELL WHO THE HELL IS WHO ANYMORE.
With much sacrifices… or more like, everyone but Naoto dying this time around, he successfully escorts the child back to headquarters and the story for the most part ends with little closure.
At the very end you get to see the child talking to a fourth dimensional existence about the differences between the dimensions and just how large scale we’re talking about and a bit about what Naoto did after that. We’re also shown a distant universe with Naoto and the others peacefully living a… wait for it… SCHOOL LIFE.
That somehow felt like the furthest you could possibly get from the current story. It was all in all quite confusing. The credit roll began and after patiently waiting for some 3 or so minutes of black screen after the song ended…
You’re treated to an epilogue of one of the main antagonists going “ALL ACCORDING TO MY PLAN” as he sets up 13 different faction/races for a great war that covers the entire third dimension. All for the sake of escaping the dimensional cage and going against the fourth dimensional existences.
That was an amazing hook for a sequel if one actually comes out. Other than that, my head was spinning at all of the confusing SF thrown in the mix the further you got to the end. I’m not even sure if I properly understood what happened in the story myself.
Well made or not, I don’t know how to judge. But the SF setting was definitely fleshed out quite a bit as the story often went lecturing the reader about how things worked and even provided some pictures to help the reader understand. The closure for the entire story, be it routes or true route, wasn’t very satisfactory as it was definitely nothing close to a happy ending but when thinking of the potential of an awesome sequel, I feel I can let them off the hook for it.
The art looks quite distinct and odd at the first glance but once you get into reading it, the art merges into the atmosphere quite nicely. The storytelling was also quite engaging despite the headache inducing SF that frequently popped up. They also weren’t afraid the slightest to kill characters off.
The character chemistry, especially between Naoto and Shion is great. However because of how great the characters are, it made it further disappointing how often things ended badly. Everyone for the most part ends up dying and the story starts at a point where their relationships with each other are already irreparable.
This is further made worse because of the entire cloning, copying crap that made it hard to be obediently pleased about the peek into the school life universe shown at the end of the true route as well.
Overall it is something that is still quite worth the read as it’s honestly hard to find something else comparable to it in the eroge medium. I can only hope that a sequel will really come in a reasonably near future. However for people that intend to try reading it, they should probably gear themselves for a lot of heavy SF.
Next up I have nothing to read. Might end up doing nothing until February releases show up but I’m feeling like reading a simple story after the overly complicated setting Bradyon had.