08
Jan
09

Saya no Uta Review

title

You, Sakisaka Fuminori, were caught in an accident which killed your parents and left you near death, but thanks to the marvels of neurosurgery, you have been rescued from your limbo in the border of life and death and now function as a perfectly normal member of society. Well, perfectly normal, except for one small flaw – your senses have been distorted beyond repair. Because of some cognitive disorder that probably had been brought upon by the neurosurgery, you perceive the world around you as “broken”. The formerly clean, pure, whitewashed walls of the hospital you stayed in are now bloody slabs of flesh and entrails. The once fragrant scent of flowers has now morphed into an indisputably rotten, vile stench. And people have now turned into monstrous blobs of flesh and goo, speaking in words entirely unknown to you. Just as all hope was forever lost, you encounter a mysterious girl named Saya. She is the only one, among the thousands, millions of people, whom you perceive as human. Determined to live on, you push forward, with Saya as your new partner. However, things don’t turn out to be as simple as you’d want them to be.

ji----

Early on, the game asks you if you’d want the gory details blurred out, indicative of exactly what kind of an experience it will be. It starts off in medias res, thrusting the player into confusion as they wonder just what the hell is causing the game to be displaying some gibberish instead of text. Fuminori’s past is slowly revealed to us as we continue playing – what caused him to be this way, how he met Saya, and, throughout the entirety of the story, their romance. As their love for each other grows and their relationship deepens, he quickly descends down a spiral of chaos and inhumanity, turning his, and his friends’ worlds, upside-down.

The story progresses from event to gruesome event, with mysteries, murder, and mayhem at all sides. Every so often, the reader gets a glimpse of who – or what – Saya really is. However, the backbone of the entire story is still the love between Fuminori and Saya. It is their actions which advance the plot and it is on them that everything revolves around. As the plot progresses, we see the stripping down of their morals as they continue to commit inhuman acts. Yet as they comfort each other through their presence, we are still given little glimpses of their humanity. Ultimately, the story is about two beings that cannot fit in with the world – their joys (few as they are), pains, struggles, and the devotion of their entire existence to each other.

moeeeee

Given that the game is, at most, 7 to 10 hours long (it took me 3-5 of on and off play within a day), the writing is very tight, leaving little room for a larger cast or any unnecessary filler material. This is a one-way roller coaster ride to the hell of human depravity at its finest. Thanks to Urobuchi Gen’s incredibly descriptive, detailed writing, it leaves very little to the reader’s (already scarred) imagination. There are a lot of switches in perspective between the 7 characters of the cast, through which we learn more, both about the characters themselves and about the many conspiracies and truths deeply hidden within the plot.

There are only two decision points, leading to three different endings, each melancholic in their own way. I found the “flowery” end to be the best in terms of impact. The scene with Saya and Fuminori with – literally – Saya’s song playing in the background was most saddening, yet it bore, albeit rather twisted, hope for the reader.

boobs

The writing in Saya no Uta is apparently heavily influenced by Lovecraft – secret texts, unknown mythical beings, even down to the use of the archaic, anachronistic language (which is apparently the reason why many translators quit midway). Unfortunately, I’m not an expert regarding these things so I leave it up to the more knowledgeable readers of the site.

One thing I found out of place were the H scenes present in the latter parts of the game. With the story progressing as it is, scenes like that don’t exactly fit in, given the gravity of the situation they are present in. Furthermore, there is a complete and utter lack of any lighthearted scenes; Saya no Uta is devoid of any happy thoughts, which may put off those less accustomed to such niceties.

;_;

Saya no Uta’s graphics have a very rough, dark look to them, portraying a more realistic side of things, unlike the typical moe-moe bishoujo galge, leaving Saya to stand out even more against the gritty feel of the world. Varying camera angles are often used in CG, lending a hand in reinforcing the suspense that the writing builds up. Unfortunately, there are a number of CG that are often reused to great extent. The game is very short, however, and the writing intense, that you would just put it aside as a minor issue, which it is.

The voice acting leaves little to complain about. Fuminori’s VA lends him a very calm, flat, yet brooding demeanor. He does not give off the impression of a villain, yet at the same time, talks of most disturbing, depraved matters in such a calm manner that one really cannot help but question his sanity. Saya’s VA executes her role perfectly as well. While normally a cute, kind little girl, that facáde quickly gives way to a cold, heartless sadist whose morals – or a lack thereof – are quickly noticeable.

Music contributes a lot to maintaining the atmosphere all throughout the game. SCHIZOPHRENIA uses hard, almost painful sounds to establish a disturbing feeling within the reader; it really complements the grotesque, sickening backgrounds that he, as Fuminori, sees. On the other hand, SABBATH gives off a very tranquil, peaceful feeling while SONG OF SAYA Ⅰ and Ⅱ lend a mysterious aura that is no more fitting for Saya’s character. The lyrics of 沙耶の唄, the game’s titular song, has the most fitting lyrics to what I believe is the game’s “true” end. It is a very calming, serene song, telling the listener that he need not be afraid, that a new beginning will come.

saya compels you to play

Saya no Uta is a very short, intense tale that will leave anyone on the edge of their seat for the whole journey. Because of its “strong” gore content, depending on the reader, it may not be the most suitable game to play for beginners. Likewise, because of the heavy, mature topics of the story and the complete and utter lack of lighthearted tones anywhere within the game, it’s not for everyone. However, don’t let that bar you from skipping out on an excellent, short piece because despite its heavy themes, at its core is an incredibly good story.


PS: Many many thanks to the guys at TLWiki for finally getting this 5-year-old game translated. Much love to you guys ❤

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18 Responses to “Saya no Uta Review”


  1. January 9, 2009 at 12:47 am

    What? Have they translated this? Or what are you talking about here?

    I do want to play this, but since I don´t know of any translations I have passed on it. I don´t mind some gore as long as it is well done and with some meaning.

  2. January 9, 2009 at 1:58 am

    manga : 100% Translated Beta Patch is available > http://tsukuru.info/tlwiki/index.php?title=Saya_no_Uta
    I think I’ll play to this too.

  3. January 9, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Yeah, this game. I would play it but the subject matter just seems very depressing to me. I prefer my happy go lucky school setting eroge plots…

  4. January 10, 2009 at 3:53 am

    oh. That´s cool. Need to try it sometime around then when I´m feeling good and not this bad as I do at the moment.

  5. January 10, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Will play, thanks for the heads up.

  6. January 11, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Oooh, nice review~
    I’ve always wanted to play Saya no Uta so now I’m even more interested.
    It’s not surprising to see Lovecraft influence, Nitro+ did that heavily in Demonbane.

  7. 7 APepper
    January 11, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Finished today Saya no Uta, I liked it a lot, but it have guro indeed

  8. January 11, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    manga, yeah, it’s real, real depressing. I cried in the least-bad end ;_;
    kyouray, do tell me how it goes 🙂
    Koji, yeah, but I like to keep a balance of happy and sad stuff.
    ritchan, no problem.
    Aya, and apparently, Demonbane will get a tranx patch released sometime soon too, which is cool.
    APepper, awesome. How was it?

  9. January 12, 2009 at 3:23 am

    It was very nice, a lot of fun for people who like terror/horror/suspense stuff, and it´s short, I think I took only 4-5 hours to complete it, so it fells just like a terror tale.

    Well, I will divulge Saya no Uta too, making a portuguese review in a Brazilian forum, here whe have our own visual-novels fan circle too ^^ There is even a group translating Fate to portuguese.So I hope that i can get to people who like this genre of work too, so they can get a top tier visual novel XD

  10. February 2, 2009 at 8:32 am

    I loved this game a ton. The creepy/gory aspects are what make this game to me, and I love the bad endings because they just seem so.. fitting, in a weird way. Have you tried Gore Screaming Show at all? it’s a teensy bit less gory and not translated (as far as I know), but it’s along the same awesome line as this.

  11. March 20, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    I just finished this game. Wow, insta fave. But I for one hope they don’t make an anime out of this. For some reason, i feel as though the original feeling and atmosphere of this visual novel can not be reproduced. A movie might not be a bad idea though, Saya no Uta re-tells a classic tale, in an original and thought provoking way.

  12. 12 Naudiz
    April 12, 2009 at 6:27 am

    I started watching this, but I don’t know if I can make it to the end. Not because it’s bad it just makes me sad and of sick to my stomach. It really does what it sets out to do.

  13. 13 Kachidoki Yukio
    April 14, 2009 at 5:27 am

    sung gyu, I feel the same way about SnU anime. There is huge chance that it would be just wrong. Moreover, ero scenes of SnU are quite important element of the story and anime is pretty limited in that. I love visual novels because, I think, they can be much more intensive than anime or manga, so I would be “no-no” for that too.. :]

  14. 14 animexdæm
    April 18, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    as what you have written, I will surely watch this series.
    Is this as bloody as blood +?

    thanks for sharing your review, see you…

  15. 15 BillyBob Thronton
    June 12, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Nice review! Just completed this VN like 3 minutes ago from this typing. Was my first VN. I had always been aware of them but not really all that interested till I saw the Tsukihime anime, which has an awesome setup and characters but meh plot. So on my way looking for it I came across this and played it. Was absolutely great! grim and dark but interesting about its themes of outcasts and love as twisted as it was.

    The writing was definitely tight and suspenseful as was stated in the review and comments. And I was surprised at some of the twists because I had no knowledge of the game whatsoever. I enjoyed it a lot and will look into more VNs to see if they are any as good or better or whatever!

    Though I have to say I have to disagree with what was considered the bad ending. It’s result was alot more comforting than any of the others……

  16. July 10, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    I just finished it. Took me a while to get around. Will post my impressions when I finish rebuilding my thought process and reorganizing my mind, with a lot of spoilerrific narrative analysis.

  17. 17 Komachi
    July 31, 2010 at 8:09 am

    I finished this VN few days ago. I really liked it. In my opinion it wasn’t really sick, very sad though. The bad ending made me cry. But I think my reactions are not very hard to explain. I think I have disorganized schizophrenia. Even though it might not be very bad one. I think I have it because I’m very, VERY! Anti-Social and most of the time I’m alone. Usually I’m alone because I want to be alone but it would be nice to have 1 person to be the center of my life. 1 person would be enough, I wouldn’t need anyone else. And if some day someone would kill that person… I would do the same as Fuminori. That’s the reason why it had so crushing effect on me. (I’m so anti-social it took over 50 minutes to write this. Even though this is completely different from talking to someone)

  18. 18 Callidora
    October 5, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Why is Japan the home of weird? Not that I didn’t love this VN. Don’t get me wrong, I did. It’s not messed up – just plain wrong. Everything that messes with me has been Japanese. Books, movies, and games – first Yume Nikki (has anyone played that?) now this.

    Seriously great game though. 😀


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