Shoin, Aruiwa Ushinawareta Yume no Monogatari

The next review will be about Shoin, Aruiwa Ushinawareta Yume no Monogatari, a 2000 game by Force.

vndb EGS

This game has two scenarios you can select from at the title menu (and a third one later on).

In Shoin, you (yes, it uses second person narration) play as N, whose true identity is x, a person who works as a serial rapist receiving jobs from “beyond” (though he isn’t entirely happy with that job); with his latest work, he has to go to a western style hotel in the mountains, where three women are staying: Hinata, Yukari and Misa, and rape them. The field work has been completed: the staff is no more, and N puts key to the only gate to the outside world, so in the hotel there’s only him and the three girls. However, in the first morning, when the girls discover the situation that they’re alone and locked and they start searching for clues, in N’s room a note appears: a message for them, saying that they’re locked, and that Yukari will be the first, from x. N certainly didn’t write that, so now he knows someone knows about him.

In Ushinawareta Yume no Monogatari, the protagonist Akira is staying in a western style hotel with his more-than-friend-but-not-quite-lover Misa; there they meet the other two guests, Yukari and Hinata. However, one morning they wake up to discover the staff missing and the gate locked up, and a note that says “We’ll go meet you, when the winter comes”.

(Warning: I think I’m not really spoiling anything, but this is of the kind of games where it can be more enjoyable the less you know, and just by reading the review you may be getting expectations that by themselves could be considered somewhat of a spoiler; if you are planning in playing this, you may be better off skipping the following.)

So what we have here are two mystery scenarios. Though the first and main mystery would be, how are both scenarios related? Because indeed, the western style hotel and the three girls are the same in both. You can play them in any order you want; however, some choices and endings in one are unlocked by having played some endings of the other, further compounding the mystery. (And in this aspect the game is quite hard, so a walkthrough is heavily recommended).

You can not pay much attention to that relation though, in which case the routes themselves, though leave a lot of things unexplained are mostly straightforward. At first. However, especially once you start seeing the third scenario’s events, things will start making progressively less and less sense. Until you reach the reveal.

A review I read compared this to Ever17, and it may have a point: what you have here is a twist that completely changes the perspective with which you were seeing everything. All the pieces fall into place in away you couldn’t have predicted.

So I think Shoin’s scenario is simply brilliant. So, are there any flaws? Well, though the characters are nice, they’re not very developed; although you could argue that’s not really the point. And as I mentioned, as a game is pretty hard; though again, for some people that could not even register as a flaw. More notable could be the lack of voices and the few bgm tracks; when they are playing at all, since scenes with no bgm are not uncommon. There are not many backgrounds nor sprites, neither, and again, scenes without either one have some frequency.

The main flaw could be, however, that the twist comes sort out of nowhere; although there were a couple of strange things before, especially certain H scene, there’s basically no foreshadowing of it. It’s that a flaw, however? I guess it depends on the reader.

Short note about the ero: Despite what the first scenario description could make one think, the rape scenes themselves are not actually a big part of the game. They’re somewhat abundant (about half of the total), but also very short (like all the H scenes, actually), so in the end they’re eclipsed by the scenario. I don’t think they’re very hardcore, also.

All in all, I found this to be a very notable game. The flaws I mentioned don’t actually mean much for me, so what remains is the very interesting scenario. I’ll give it a well deserved 9.

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12 Responses to “Shoin, Aruiwa Ushinawareta Yume no Monogatari”

  1. I forgot to put a short note about the interface, which is interesting in a couple ways.
    First, every time there’s a choice point, the different choices are numbered, and there’s a box where you can input text. You can write the desired choice number, and it counts as selecting it, or you can write whatever you want; generally it wouldn’t do anything, but there are some scenes where if you write the appropriate response you go on to a different scene.
    An also, there isn’t a backlog as such; what there is is a notebook with two parts: one box has the text read so far, acting as the backlog (though an awkward one), with selectable and pastable text, and the other is empty, but you can write anything. So you can copy segments you found interesting, or you think will be useful to review in the future. In the end I didn’t make much use of it, but it was a very interesting function nonetheless.

  2. Cooooooool I found your blog from the gemot forums.
    I am amazed there are more people actually writing about visual novels. Nobody writes about VNs anymore on these internets (unless its a Japanese blog) Everyone seemed to have gotten lazy and stopped updating. There is Relentlessflame and maybe warum’s blog once in a while. Liemyx also. Its a very very tiny space on the blogosphere. For some reason the otome-ge girls are much more chatty and there is plenty more activity over there. I’m jealous of them. The guys rant on about PC games or their cute 2D imoutos but not really much into strong discussions..

    I am just some random who likes hanging around in the Hau Omochikaeri IRC channel and updates a news blog. Right now, I’m playing Mirai Nostalgia as well as some of the guys there. Everyone likes the game except Zen, as usual.

    I’ve added you to my blogroll, if you like throw this link onto your sidebar somewhere. http://visualnovelaer.wordpress.com/ Look forward to reading your reviews too!

    If you use twitter its @Aaeru_

    • And added.
      Indeed, I’ve found there’s not so much VN discussion. I frequent a few forums (fori?), but there’s not actually that much movement. And more interesting can be review blogs (though for now I know only a few); it has been not since long ago that I’ve started playing in Japanese, and given the immense supply there is, having some commentaries can serve as a sort of map. So I figured I could at least give some impressions of things I’ve played that I haven’t seen commented elsewhere.
      And about this reviews, do you have any opinion? My intention is to give the main impressions, without being too extended in the plot itself; it’s interesting? trivial?

    • I hope this isn’t just a way for you to get more views on your blog.

      • I don’t think it’d be such a hot idea to try to get views in a blog whose visitants per day are numbered in the single digit (then again, I’m new in this whole “blog” thing, so what do I know). If anything, it can be a chance for me to get more views.

  3. @Fuji. Seriously. This is not 4chan. We’re in blog space. When you’re in blog space, you abide by blogosphere rules. The etiquette here is always give-and-take. You mention me and I mention you. End of story.

    And you do realize this is an entirely new blog right? What really are you going to lose if he gained a few more visitors??

    @Mazyrian sorry about that.
    Regarding the review, it’s really hard for me to comment on very much. I couldn’t understand much of anything save for the fact that its a mystery. You said that there is a “twist” and that everything falls into place afterwards. That sounds kind of interesting but I probably wouldn’t play it.

    If I was writing the review, I will focus on trying to convince my reader to play the game. To do this, I will zero in on one thing that I found amazing about the game and Just talk about that one thing Only.

    I wouldn’t bother with the long extended summary, it’s too complicated to explain. I wouldn’t worry about flaws either – you said you didn’t find any flaws so no need to mention it. And then I would make my review about 1/3 the length of yours and use lots of pictures.

    The reason why is because nobody likes to read a lot of text on the internet. The cover art is too small and not so attractive (it’s too old looking). The people who are likely to read your blog will probably be young people, and young people ignore any older looking titles. In fact it is almost impossible to convince anyone to play something like this so I would choose to review something newer and more pretty looking or (if it’s old) something more famous.

    For Japanese reviews, EGS is extremely useful. erogamescape.ddo.jp/~ap2/ero/toukei_kaiseki/

    The truth is, there is probably only about 10 blogs in the world that actively posts about untranslated VNs in English. There is no standard, you can write whichever way you want.

    Reading your review, there were just so many things I would have done differently from you that I ended up writing so much in this comment, it was not my intention at all! I apologize.

    Also I mentioned your blog in this post. http://forums.novelnews.net/showthread.php?p=69395
    That’s all. Look forward to your next review 😀

    • Many thanks for the comment; I’ll keep the suggestions in mind. For the moment at least there won’t be much pictures, though, since I played the games some time ago and didn’t take screenshots then.
      However, related to the game selection; obviously enough I’ll be reviewing games I’ve played. And I’m somewhat new to the Japanese VN scene, so for the time being I won’t be playing newer releases. Added to that, I don’t care much for the title’s age, so chances are most reviews will be of games some number of years old. And besides, the most recent titles are also being commented in other blogs, following what I’ve seen, so I’m thinking this way could also be interesting.
      Well, all in all I’ll just ramble a little on what I’ve played, without much structure, so probably the reviews will be somewhat different to what you’d do. But hey, variety is the spice of life, they say.

    • I’m talking about you trying to get more views,Aaeru

  4. Pretty decent review, though I’d say there’s more to the game than just the plot – like you said the plot doesn’t make a great deal of sense all the time but I found the game enjoyable throughout, and similarly you can find EGS comments describing the game as a 雰囲気ゲー. You can also find a good deal of recommendations against using a walkthrough, though I’d agree that getting all endings without one is almost unreasonably difficult (this game many more endings than one would guess by looking at the script size btw).

    People who liked this game can check out other games by Fukazawa – セカンドノベル was my favorite game by him (you can read the interview at http://blog.getchu.com/archives/51644617.html for more information on it), though the other games are also decent (and short). As an interesting note, the two Force games in particular make use of some ideas that would later be used by some much more famous games – “2nd LOVE” for example is the oldest time loop game that I know of at the moment.

    • Well, 2nd LOVE just got much more interesting.
      And I tried to play Wasuremono to Otoshimono but for some reason the text is displayed as rubbish (which ironically just made me more interested in playing it). I tried a few things with the full extent of my programing knowledge (zero), but had no luck.

  5. […] 2nd Love is a 2000 game by Force, with Fukazawa Yutaka as scenario writer, the same one that wrote Shoin. […]

  6. […] to Otoshimono is a 2005 LANGuex game written by Fukazawa Yutaka (see also Shoin, 2nd […]

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