Brain is a bit melty today, so it is with great relief pleasure that I welcome Guest Reviewer Mara for today’s post! And even better, because as you know I don’t game and have no interest in games, Visual Novels or anything similar. So what a genuine pleasure to be able to provide you all with a review of the Sapphism no Gensou game that came out a few years ago and is undeniably Yuri. Take it away Mara!
Personally I do not comprehend the thinking behind same sex schools. Most of all I disagree with the argument that they somehow protect their students from something. But to each their own.
The school from Sapphism no Gensou on the other hand, I get. Not content with the usual standards of security a private school, the H.B. Polestar is a giant ship that sails an undisclosed course across the ocean to provide the best and most luxurious education for the daughters of the elite. Think a floating Ashford academy and you will not be far off. This is the absurd and fun setting of Sapphism no Gensou a visual novel by Lair-soft who since have done nothing else of note although they have kept with the theme of an unusual setting in nearly all their games.
This game’s unusual setting is home to a powerfully diverse cast, and not just diverse in the usual visual novel model of: ‘girl for every taste so we maximise sales’ way. The main character Anri, some sort of experimental fusion of Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena) and Tamaki (Ouran Host Club), deserves mention for not only being out but also deliberately going to this closed-off all-girl school so that she has the highest possible number of girls to hit on. Such openness and self-confidence are refreshing in a female main character in general, much less a Yuri main character. So much so that I overlook Anri’s massive ageism as a required character flaw (she gets over it anyway).
Anri is not alone in this story – besides the three main heroines, who are for the most part the dullest characters; there is Anri’s pre-existing, pre-Iono harem. These characters deserve an article all to themselves mainly because half of them are completely bonkers. For example there is Nicolle, the long-fringed daughter of an Italian mafia don who talks machine gun fast and has a serious gambling ‘interest’. Kanae, Anri’s sempai and incredible computation genius, who is addicted to coffee and goes into withdrawal if she misses her regular fix. Anne Shirley, the daughter of a Columbian drug lord, who constantly offers the rest of the cast giant fistfuls of ‘medicine’ and talks to spirits invisible to everyone but her, and the player.
I could go on forever.
For the most part the entire cast is made up of fantastically far out individuals with suitably silly dialogue; each scene with them is a treat. It is a good thing that the supporting cast is so amazing, as the three main heroines about which the three main story routes revolve are the dullest cookie cutter characters that could hope to disappoint you. This is almost appropriate though because the main story is utter crap.
Simply put, the writers seemed to have deliberately picked the only form of a closed circle mystery that could completely turn one’s stomach. A series of sexual assaults have been committed on board the H.B. Polestar and in this all female environment immediately the out lesbian is inaccurately labelled as the suspect. So much so that the onboard authorities decide to expel Anri regardless of her guilt so that they can escape charges of incompetence themselves. If this summery so far has not made you throw up then let me close it by saying that we are treated to one of the assaults as the opening scene of the game in an act of Somme-level idiocy by the designers.
This half of the story is so at odds with the pleasant atmosphere of the other half that I am truly convinced that Sapphism no Gensou was written by two completely separate groups who then shuffled their scripts together before sending it off to the producer. It is a real shame because this game does have some greatness that is not totally obscured by the crap that makes up the rest.
Luckily, the idiots who wrote the rape half of the game were fired for the special DVD edition of Sapphism no Gensou. This version comes with a whole game’s worth of extra short stories and scenes that expand on the all of the characters with further disregard for being disgusting in preference for being silly. All the characters get at least one including the main character and the old lady who founded the H.B. Polestar.
If you are a complete collector like myself then you should buy the DVD version of Sapphism no Gensou as the extras make it more than worth it. However I cannot recommend such a game generally when there are other, better, Yuri visual novels out there.
Art – 7
Story – For the main story: 3 For everything else: 8
Characters – 9
Yuri – 9
Service – 10 (a massive neon 10 advertising a swimsuit maid cafe)
Overall – 8
I truly liked this game but I cannot recommend it to others for the same reason I would say that you should not become friends with a racist just to borrow their car.
Thank you Mara for reminding me just why my aversion is something to treasure and nurture, rather than get over. lol And thank you for today’s review! As I’ve said many times, if you, dear reader have a Yuri game you’d like to review, please contact me. Legitimately purchased copies only, no downloaded or pirated games, please.