12 Days of Visual Novel Reviews – Day 4: Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shoujo

0025

Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shoujo is the slightly less popular visual novel written by Looseboy, who is more well known for writing G-senjou no Maou. (This is just for English speaking fans however, if you look at EGS you’ll see both games are still rated highly, but it is Sharin no Kuni which is the more popular one.)

Sharin no Kuni is set in a dystopian world where punishments for criminals are very different to our own world. Instead of serving a prison sentence they are assigned a ‘obligation’ relevant to their crime.

A woman charged with tempting men would receive the obligation of being ‘Prohibited from Falling in Love’and would be required to never make physical contact with any member of the opposite sex, and in extreme cases be prohibited from speaking to men or even making eye contact. If a child is constantly disobedient their parents could apply for them to receive the obligation of being ‘Prohibited from Becoming an Adult’, which forbids them from ever disobeying their legal guardian. And those are just some of the more minor punishments.

When someone receives an obligation they are assigned to a Special High Class Individual who is in charge of managing their punishment. They control the specifics and severity of the obligation and punish them if they break it. It is also the task of the Special High Class Individual to reintegrate the criminal into society and they continue to be in charge of them until either the criminal has his obligation lifted or the Special High Class Individual is replaced (usually because they are fired for being incompetent).

0004

Morita Kenichi is the protagonist of Sharin no Kuni, he is highly skilled in many areas and is the the youngest person ever to become a Special High Class Individual cadet. His final task before graduating from being a cadet is to lift the obligations of three girls (the game’s heroines).

Its worth noting that Looseboy seems to really like writing a certain type of character as a protagonist. At least from the stuff that is translated he seems to like writing Gary Stu characters; (I’m not sure if that’s what they are called or not since I haven’t really looked into it much since I don’t really like how the term always seems to be used derogatorily. I think the character type is just another archetype which can be either poorly or well written just like everything else. In any case the character type is something which I don’t mind).

With popular examples such as Kirito or Tatsuya, (which as far as I can tell, most people write off for being Gary Stu characters), I’ll always argue that Kirito is a well developed character, or at least defend him. I have other problems with Sword Art Online including other controversial opinions which most people don’t agree with, but I probably just like talking about the series since I enjoyed it so much at the time. And although I know less about Tatsuya because I haven’t read the LNs, despite his sister being incredibly annoying, for the most part I found him really entertaining to watch.

As far as protagonists go, I’ll take pretty much anybody who doesn’t have a generic nice guy personality. That isn’t without exception though, as long as the dialog is exceptionally good I honestly don’t care at all. I could probably even categorise Yuuji from Grisaia as having a generic nice guy personality, albeit very cynical as well (I think Yuuji’s character was a big part in why I liked Grisaia as much as I did). Which leads me to something that I was thinking recently, that adding the cynical trait to many bland protagonists automatically make them twenty times more bearable.

But anyway, Looseboy protagonists always come across as well designed characters because they always have the nuance for being incredibly skilled. Even before you find that out, there is always the ‘mysterious past’ that is hinted at which allows the reader to believe that the nuance is there. I’m not trying to say that as long as there is nuance, then it is automatically fine. I still would expect that people who complain about characters being a Mary Sue or a Gary Stu would possibly not like Looseboy protagonists either. For me personally though, I think that Looseboy does a really good job at making interesting characters.

0127

Another thing that Looseboy does really well, is that he doesn’t try to hide plot twists, at least not directly. What he does instead is he likes to lead the reader to believe that they have it all figured out, and then when they get to the twist, they find that it was completely different to what they thought. He may not always succeed completely but it is honestly really cool how well he can pull it off. In any case, it’s a very interesting aspect of his writing to think about, especially since one of the most important parts about writing in general is to be able to lead the reader in a certain direction (you are trying to convey something to them, after all).

Overall Impressions

Like anything, Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shoujo isn’t perfect. There were parts which didn’t work for me as well as they could have, but it is a very interesting and thought provoking piece of literature which will probably remain among my favourite and highest recommended visual novels for a long time.

Positives:

  • Gets to the point relatively fast (unlike G-senjou no Maou for example).
  • Interesting characters which seem even more relevant because of how well they fit into the plot.
  • Looseboy’s storytelling is exceptional (as usual).
  • Themes are very thought provoking.
  • Voice acting is particularly good at bringing the characters to life.

Negatives:

  • Lack of actual character routes separate from the main story. (At the end there is an ending for whichever character Kenichi is in a relationship with, but otherwise you do each character route as part of the main story.)
  • There were some parts which didn’t work for me as well as they could have (e.g. some of the stuff during Natsumi’s route).

Fandisc

Decided to add this here instead of in a new post because I had less to say about it without repeating stuff. (Also to avoid messing up the order of the 12 Days of Christmas posts.)

Sharin no Kuni, Yuukyuu no Shounenshoujo is the fandisc to Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shoujo. Admittedly it isn’t nearly as good as the original game, and as the original was a self contained story, you can very easily skip the fandisc if you wish.

Here is a list of what the Sharin no Kuni, Yuukyuu no Shounenshoujo has to offer:

  • A short scenario containing Houzuki’s story of when he became a Special High Class Individual. The actual content of the story isn’t as good as in the original, but it answers any questions that may have been left unanswered in the original and gives a decent amount of relevant background information. If there is any part of the fandisc that you should definitely read it is this, skipping everything else is fine.
  • Afterstories for each of the heroines. Honestly only worth it if you want to see some extra h-scenes of the heroines, the actual story part of each of these is just story that is implied in the character endings in the original anyway.

01480126

Advertisements

About FabledHunter

Novice Anime Blogger. ask.fm/AnimeAtaraxia

Posted on December 17, 2015, in Reviews and Impressions, Visual Novels and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Glad to see you liked this one as well!

    Sharin no Kuni has some of the best twists in fiction (for me at least). They completely threw me when I was reading which is why I enjoy Sharin’s style of allowing the reader to believe one thing rather than blatantly misdirecting them (as in G-Senjou, for instance). Symphonic Rain is also very good at that.

    As for the fandisk, did you play the non-Houzuki, non-heroine route? I’m trying not to spoil who it features, but it’s probably worth a read even if it isn’t quite up to Houzuki’s route’s standard.

    Like

    • I haven’t read Symphonic Rain yet, but if you say it’s good at that kind of stuff I’ll have to make sure I get to it soon.

      As for the fandisc route you mentioned. I did read it actually, just somehow completely forgot that it existed until just now.

      And yeah, I’m glad I enjoyed Sharin no Kuni too. I really enjoyed writing about it for the review as well. Unfortunately though the next 4 reviews for this 12 days thing are going to be on visual novels I didn’t think much of so that will be less fun.

      Like

  2. I think the problem with most Gary Stu characters is the lack the depth and backstory for us to really invest in them-and even if they do, most of them are just really tacked-on, forced drama. Looseboy’s protagonists generally don’t have this problem though and is more well-written imo, although I feel you really have to play VN almost in it’s entirety to see it.

    Like

    • Yeah I think that particular problem is more evident in light novels than anything else tbh, especially since most fantasy light novel series tend to have that type of character as the protagonist. It also seems that light novel publishers don’t really have very high standards so lots of series end up getting made, but only a handful are any good, which increases the amount of poorly written overpowered protagonists. (But all that being said, I still really like watching/reading that character type and I’ll happily consume any fantasy light novel anime adaptions that I can get my hands on.)

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: