(18+) EROGE REVIEW: Saya no Uta

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

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The soundtrack for the game consists of 15 songs: “Schizophrenia”, “Sabbath, Seek”, “Spooky Scape”, “Song of Saya I” and “II”, “Sin”, “Sunset”, “Shapeshift”, “Scare Shadow”, “Scream”, “Savage”, instrumental final ending theme “Silent Sorrow” and two vocal themes: insert song “Saya no Uta” and ending theme for the first two endings “Shoes of Glass”. Both vocal themes feature the talented Kanako Itou, who was also featured in other well-known works such as Steins;Gate, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni and Demonbane, among many others. Both themes are hauntingly beautiful (“Saya no Uta” can be heard here, and “Shoes of Glass” is embedded at the bottom of the page), especially when heard in their full-length glory on the original soundtrack release. Each track perfectly fits the situations in which it’s used, with tunes like “Schizophrenia” or “Scream” able to almost induce physical discomfort to complement some more graphic scenes while “Saya no Uta I” and “II” or “Sin” are much more relaxing to go with the more calming ones.

Saya no Uta | Madness

Looks like someone saw something they weren’t meant to see.

To say that Saya no Uta is better written than a lot of eroge is an understatement. Gen Urobuchi displays his writing prowess here even before some of his more famous works, with certain lines really standing out as particularly touching or amazingly exemplifying certain characters. One such line from Saya, referring to herself, as an example. I would show you a screenshot of when this particular line is said, but because of the CG being shown at the time, I can’t. So, here’s just the line:

That seed is still a baby flower. If it does its best, it can turn even a desert into a garden. Maybe that little seed will decide to thrive. Maybe it will decide to grow and multiply, so that it can turn the whole desert into a field of dandelions. What do you think can give it the strength to do so?

All it needs…is to be loved by just one person in the whole desert. All it needs is to be told how pretty dandelions are.

Saya no Uta | Dialogue

An example of some dialogue that I can actually show you.

It also does its best to convey just how strange and unnatural the things going on in the world around Fuminori are, in true Lovecraftian style. It is a form of horror that aims to disgust, unsettle and disturb, rather than induce a sense of lasting fear. I am a particular pansy when it comes to horror, but this style is always one I’ve found fascinating and intriguing as opposed to frightening in the traditional sense. Generally it does fairly well, and the sound and visuals definitely help. The descriptions are always vivid, telling in great detail what the characters are seeing, since there’s no way to adequately visually represent a creature that can drive someone mad just by seeing it.

Naturally, there will always be people turned off by Saya no Uta, either because of the sexual content or the horror element. The entire story is incredibly oppressive, simply because Fuminori’s situation never seems to improve; things are always either getting worse or staying the same for a short reprieve before going downhill again. It is a story with no universally happy endings; whether any of the endings can be considered “good” just depends on who you’re rooting for. Everyone has elements that can make them either a villain or a hero, with Fuminori himself engaging in some quite questionable activities as the story progresses. Saya no Uta is definitely not a story for everyone, and even I spent a couple years between deciding I wanted to read it and actually getting myself psyched up for it. Even when I started, despite the short playtime, I spent a long time with it because the relentless nature made it hard to read too much of it at a time. There’s also the many sex scenes featuring Saya–although there’s nothing overly kinky, there is the simple fact that Saya has the appearance of a very underage girl, plus tentacle rape starts coming into play as well later on. Whether or not this style appeals to you is really just a matter of taste, but it does make Saya no Uta somewhat difficult to recommend despite the overall high quality.

Saya no Uta | Out of Context

Believe it or not, she isn’t talking about sex here.

Saya no Uta isn’t particularly difficult to find, if you do want to check it out. You can download it from JAST USA’s website for $24.99, or get a physical copy from J-List for $24.95 plus shipping. Both are the English translation, originally by the fan team from TLWiki before being picked up by JAST USA. The translation generally seems quite well-done, with no glaring issues that I picked up on during my playthrough. If you’re a fan of the Lovecraftian style of horror, eroge or you just like Gen Urobuchi’s work, I would definitely recommend picking it up. Saya no Uta is a game that somehow manages to be one of the most disturbing games I’ve ever played while at the same time telling one of the saddest and most touching stories I’ve ever seen. It is a story where things never get better, and one that has no happy ending. You see things the same way Fuminori does, the same twisted world that he lives in every day. It invites the player to put themselves in his shoes, to try and realize the kind of unrelenting depression where only spending time with Saya can make things seem all right, for a certain time.

Review Score

Review copy purchased by author.

About Chris Melchin

Chris is a computer science student who has been gaming ever since he knew what to do with a Super Nintendo controller. He's a fighting game player, with a focus on BlazBlue and Under Night In-Birth games. His favourite games include Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Persona 5, and Little Busters. He started watching anime in high school, and his favourite series is Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. He also writes Vocaloid music for his personal YouTube channel, and has a (slight) obsession with Megurine Luka.

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