グリザイアの果実-LE FRUIT DE LA GRISAIA-
Company = Frontwing
Scenario = 桑島由一(Kuwashimayongazu) , 藤崎竜太(Fujisakiryuuta), 木緒なち(Kionachi, worked on RabuKami and Scarlet), かづや (Kazuya, worked on Hoshiuta, TimeLeap)
Artist = フミオ (Fumio, well-known illustrator for Hoshiuta, Tomoyo After), ぽよよんろっく/渡辺明夫(Akio “Poyoyonrokku” Watanabe, known for animating Bakemonogatari), ななかまい(Nanakamai, looks like a new talent, in charge of SD art)
Genre = Slice of school life, comedy, romance, melodrama, strange-characters-doing-strange-things eroge.
Frontwing’s 10 anniversary title, the title “Grisaia” comes from the French word “Grisaille” which literally translates to “Grey”. The spoiler section turned out to be huge O_O, so please don’t click on the more button if you don’t wish to be spoiled.
Foreword and disclaimer
I’ve actually not had that much experience with Frontwing before, neither with any of the scenario writers, so Grisaia turned out to be quite surprising to me with it being so plentiful. While it is content-filled, it remains to be one of the longer titles I’ve sit through.
As per requested by Wrathkal, I’ll make a section entirely on the endings for Grisaia (similar to the one I did for Hello, World). Spoilers will be had!
Taken and slightly modified from my first impression post:
Kazami Yuuji dreamed of a student life, one of normalcy and peace. Why he wished for such a thing, he doesn’t remember too clearly himself. However, it was probably because he wanted to taste something that he couldn’t when he was small. Ever since his parents died, Yuuji has been taken under the wing of “Shishou”, and underwent vigorous training that parallels to being in a boot camp. “How to achieve success? The one who with fastest feet gets attention when a kid, the strongest teen gets respect, and only the wittiest adult leads society. So, run, fight and read books, get it?” As such, Yuuji’s childhood has been filled with running while getting hit by books. Well, all that is over, and Yuuji can finally experience the normal student life that he longs for…or so he thought.
Mihama Gakuen, a subsidiary branch of Sakaki Gakuen, is founded and maintained through private companies. As such, the school looks like a luxurious office building, the equipment are top of the line and the students who attend are seasoned and selected, all six of them that is. If that wasn’t “normal” enough, his classmates include self proclaimed love at first sight oneesan, bad-mouthed free-spirited (same aged, fake) imouto, a super meido that lacks common sense, a fake aho-tsundere and a Kuudere that stabs you with extractor knives *coughSenjougaharacough*.
However, as Yuuji discovers as time passes on in school, all of the students at Mihama Gakuen has a troubled secret. As Yuuji unravels the past of each of his classmates, he also has to confront his own…
The proponent that drives Grisaia is, without a doubt, the characters. Much like Akatsuki no Goei, the formula of a band of eccentric people doing very ordinary activities proves to be very entertaining (read:comical). Put a Sousuke(Full Metal Panic, dense military crazed protagonist) surrounded by a circle of female that has a slight interest in him, in a school setting, watch their daily problems get solved by Yuuji’s out-of-the-norm militaristic antics. And you have what is essentially the common route. To further overblow issue out of proportion, Michiru’s slight village idiot silliness(with a fake tsundere flavour no less), Makina’s frank/energetic/erojiji のり, Sachi’s lack of common sense yet absolute obedience, Amane’s “open-ness” and Sakaki to keep things in balance all contributes to what people enjoy in gags/4koma.
The beauty of Grisaia lies in its individual routes, however. Once the introductions are done in the common route, Grisaia quickly shifts gear into serious mode. The transition was handled smoothly with Yuuji questioning the bright atmosphere of the school and wanting to find out more about the heroine of interest. Whether it be the heroine showing a very different side to them than “usual”, or pursuing the seemingly normal “irregularity”, Yuuji’s careful approach is described both logically and naturally as one who is trying to become more “human”. And with effort, we are finally treated to the darkness of each heroine. Sometimes it required Yuuji to take action, revealing more of his background, which brings us action. Others will have Yuuji simply be the support for the heroines, proving that outside his exterior, Yuuji is also just a regular person like you and me. The pull and tug between making the story believable, and a fairytale happy end we silently root for makes for a very heartfelt experience as no matter which route, we have both the heroine and Yuuji sincerely trying their very best for each other.
As you might expect from the above paragraph, there are many melodramatic content in the individual routes, even to the extent of having bad ends. Oddly enough, none coming from love rivalry though. Here I’m going to list some of my impressions on each route’s ending, so scoot ahead to the end of spoiler tag if you don’t want to be spoiled.
Ending Summary/Impression (Spoiler Heavy)
Michiru – The story behind the fake tsundere.
Michiru’s problem was first discovered when Yuuji met her “other self” on the cliff. Turns out Michiru required a heart transplant when she was little. Even before that, Michiru’s life has been rough: abused by her tutors, struggling to meet her parent’s expectations (and later parents just gave up on her, ignoring her completely), bullied at school. She had nothing left for this world. Just when she was about to jump (ala SubaHibi style), there was someone else who arrived before her. Michiru saved her, and they became each other’s only friend. As time went by, Michiru’s world started to fill with colours again thanks to her friend. Yet, it was not long after Michiru’s revived interest for the world that she received a mail from her only contact: “I’m sorry. Goodbye.”
As a result from the shock, Michiru’s heart became inoperable for daily functions. And thus the transplant. Yet the transplant only healed the physical condition, the transplant spawned a new personality that is completely different than her old self. Smart, confident, athletic and social, the new personality seems to take place when Michiru “loses consciousness” and each time she wakes up all she hear of are praises for things she doesn’t recall doing.
When her other “personality” finally confronts Michiru in a dream, proposing that she’ll take up all her “weakness” and they’ll become “best friends”, Michiru snapped and stabbed herself in the heart.
Michiru wakes up in a hospital, and tries to rise from her bed but fails and falls. She tries again, but same results. This time she notices the people around her giggled at her antics. It is that time that she realizes that for other people, even if it meant making a clown out of herself, she can make people smile. For someone who has tried so hard before, it felt good to be finally acknowledged. Faking her personality, faking her character, as long as the audience demands it, she will comply. There is no “self”, everything she’s cared for she has lost. Using “meds” to kept the other personality at bay until now.
It was when she realized her feelings for Yuuji, her other personality resurfaced. This time, she is ready to let everything go, giving the body to the other personality. She asks Yuuji to kill her, and he does.
Still remains my favourite route even though it was first, perhaps due to my bias for Michiru (she is just too cute!). I guess I’m a big sucker for heroines that truly tries to understand/comply with other people’s feeling, forming a special relation in which only between the protagonist and the heroine they can show their “true self”. Not to mention Michiru is voiced by the same voice actress(Mizuhashi-san~) for Kirara in Yumina, truly a winning combo. Good end consisted of Michiru realizing how much she has gained by staying in Mihama Gakuen, coming to terms with her other self, and ofcourse living with Yuuji. The bad end involved Yuuji not finding out the whole truth behind this, but takes care of Michiru in a tranced/empty state.
Makina – The prodigy and the beast
Makina’s route starts with Makina asking Yuuji to be her “daddy”, as she trembles her out-streched arms holding 86000yen, her life savings. The Irisu household has been one undergoing family feud between the branch family and the head family for a long time. To further complicate things, Makina’s father is an outsider to the affairs of the Irisu household and tripped on thin ice when he tried to clean the “family business” from its shady dealings. As a result, Makina has been kidnapped to lure her father out into the shadows where he proceeded to be “taken care of” in front of Makina. It wasn’t until a week later that the police discovered Makina, and by that time she has already suffered some brain damage that caused her to lose her speech, have trouble with involuntary actions. She has been put under the branch family’s care and has been hidden away from her rights as the head family heir.
Makina, despite the setback, has been gradually opening up to people thanks to the Mihama Gakuen and rather feels a sense of release even though she was abandoned. Yuuji, who has been troubled by finding his meaning in life, finds Makina to be a reflection of his past self. And like “Shishou”, he does his best to raise her the only way he knows how. The teachings for sniping, CQC, even attitude towards life was absorbed like a sponge thanks to Makina’s incredible photographic memory (which Yuuji’s older sister, Kazuki, also had). All this seemed like a sign to Yuuji, and he even started to feel fulfillment in teaching Makina. It was a peaceful, serene life that he has longed for.
That is, until the branch family’s heir, Makina’s sister, got bombed.
The mirage of a peaceful life shattered as the Irisu household starts targeting Makina. The head family wanting to take back Makina under their wing, and the branch family wants her dead. Stalked constantly, motorbike run-by, and the bakery where she worked at got burnt down. Even when Makina asked for negotiation, her mother doesn’t even treat her more than an object.
There was only one way for Yuuji to free Makina, the only way to “negotiate” with a bad parent, is with a gun.
Oddly enough, Makina became the daughter character instead of imouto in the game (which makes Grisaia not have any imoutos!). Makina’s cat-like antics, extreme boke, and her speaking habits has really grown on me throughout the route… なのよさ! They also depicted her mother, Kiyoka, really despicable that I had very little problem to make the final decision in the route xD. There were a lot of Yuuji’s background given in Makina’s route, and it really displayed the kindness (and perhaps his desire for redemption) when he took the roll of fathering seriously. It didn’t come as a surprise that in the endings (both bad and good), Makina became the next 9029 for the organization. The only difference is in whether Yuuji ends up in the café as a person, or a bag.
Amane – Angelic Howl
Amane’s “route” consisted mainly of one big flashback called “Angelic Howl”, which is her past experience of surviving a bus falling off-rail and being stranded for sixteen days.
The members consisted of the girls basketball team and its supervisor. The bus was behind schedule so they drove off the intended route and through treacherous mountains where cellphone signals are lost. They fell, and the next thing they know is that they are surrounded by forest, and two members died from the fall. When it was clear that they wont be escaping this place easily, a small play (ala Lord of the Flies style) ensues.
What made Angelic Howl a success no doubt lies in the character Kazuki, Yuuji’s older sister. Her voice of reason combined with the charisma of a leader (with alittle bit of that ‘S’ we all love) is what keeps the realism and surrealism apart. The writers did a splendid job with the tug-o-war and kept me brimming with constant hope that somehow Kazuki will come up with something that’ll make this not as bad as I imagine it’ll be (we all know it can’t end well though ;_; ). The anticipation only went up with vivid descriptions leeches crawling all over bodies, the increasing need for rations, and Amane’s thorough diary each day of what can only be depicted as deterioration of human, both physically and mentally. And when the end finally hits, it hits freaking hard. Oh god, let’s just say I’ll never look at “deer meat” the same way ever again.
The ending goes onto having a relative of the captain seeking revenge on Amane. Personally, I found it difficult to see an old man, with a hunting hat, glasses and shotgun, as a real antagonist to Yuuji, who has been trained by the government’s best ‘organization’. The bad end involved Amane sacrificing to save Yuuji from the old man’s wrath, and thus redeeming herself. Oddly enough you get a hint of Kazuki in the bad end (giving you the Nice Boat weapon). In the good end they escaped and proceeded to live on their life span (since Yuuji’s “demand” for Amane was to live on). It goes onto even seeing Amane becoming a grandma and finally passing away in peace in the presence of her granddaughter.
The biggest mystery left unsolved in this route would be whether Kazuki remained alive through the incident or not. The writers made some emphasis of Kazuki being able to “make numbers look more than they really are” and it was said the corpses when discovered could not be identified. If we speculate from the paper left behind in the bad end where Kazuki reports “everyone died from disease” then she must be either the last person to die or is still alive. Some people on EGS propose that the “Professor” who told JB to retrieve the seed Makina and Yuuji left behind is indeed Kazuki…we’ll never know.
Sachi – Not really a meido.
What is the reason for Sachi’s absolute obedience that caused her to comply to methods even outside of common sense? Going as far as nearly drowning in the bathtub to complete Makina’s joke order, Yuuji takes interest in the girl and finds out that…she is his osananajimi!
Sachi has been a different girl when she was small. She was the spirited, proactive, and slightly attention-needing toddler. Her parents ,though maintain a small factory with only the two of them, works hard to prioritize quality time with Sachi. She would appease them by being a “good child” and help with cleaning, study hard and in return she’ll get praised and get to spend time with mommy and daddy. Even though their family is not wealthy, each day is a fulfilling and blissful.
One day, Sachi’s father was appointed to be the mechanic for the lenses of a space shuttle. Ever since being reported on the newspaper, their factory received much more request than usual. This caused Sachi’s parents to work overtime all the time, which means no one played with Sachi.
Luckily, she finds Yuuji(small) in the park all alone as well. Girl meets boy, become friends, play at park each day, feeling grows stronger. Time goes on and Yuuji finally broke out to Sachi saying that he can’t make it to the park again, Sachi said she’ll wait for him as long as it takes as it is her birthday. The next day comes, all of the sudden her parents started being nice to her again. “As if that’ll make up for the lost time,” Sachi thought as she stormed out of the house. With no where to go, she returned to the park where she waited for Yuuji until dusk. When she finally realizes her parents must be worried sick about her, she witnessed both her parents searching frantically for her on the streets. She calls out to them, they run over, and the tragedy happens. The last words out of their mouth was: “どうして”…
Why didn’t I listen to their plights? Why did I run out? Sachi puts the blame on herself and suffers from PTSD ever since. If only she was a “Good girl”, her parents would still be alive. So she forced a mental block on herself to always obey what others say, that way she’ll always be a “good girl” and lose nothing else. One of the bullies at school took advantage of this, and wanted Sachi to stop the midterm test, so she burnt down the school.
Yuuji takes up the task to remedy Sachi of this condition, for this he decides he needed a “strong medicine”. One that depends on Sachi realizing herself about the contradiction in her “absoluteness”. It came down to whether Sachi valued her “obligation” or her friends at Mihama Gakuen, and she chose her friends, facing the “curse” looming over her.
Sachi’s route had a good balance of sweet moments and drama. Abit on the lighter side compared to the other ends, but none-the-less still enjoyable. Like ants to sweets, my weakness to family value (especially when it involves Orgel) made me shed a tear at the end when Sachi finds out that her parents very much still loved her. Bad end was that Sachi got into the same type of accident her parents did.
Yumiko – The bird in the cage.
If you have saved Yumiko’s route for last as I did, you would have already surmised Yumiko’s personality as that of a very friend-caring, shy kuudere that is very much a normal girl. Her route does just that, with a focus on her pure, dere maiden heart.
Mihama Gakuen is created by Sakaki Corp. for one reason: to “rehabilitate” Yumiko to a doll that can succeeds the corporation. Yumiko’s mother was married into the Sakaki family for the well being of her family business. Unfortunately, that was all there is to this marriage. Sakaki Michiaki, known for being the most successful business man, has no private life. Everyday the only words he’d exchange with his family would be his greetings. When Yumiko was born, the value for her mother immediately diminished due to the child being a girl.
After years of dejection, Yumiko and her mother finally heads back to their hometown where their family lives. However, instead of relief, all they found was blame. Why did you give birth to a girl? If we had a boy, our business would be in a much better position! How will we face the Sakaki corp now? It was during this stay that rumours of Michiaki’s affair got out, putting Yumiko’s mother in shock that she’ll never recover from.
Years have passed, and after Yumiko finally snapped at the treatment she’s gotten via cutter knife to a bully, she’s wanted again by the Sakaki corp for heir. Michiaki wanted to catalyze the “rehabilitation” by sending threats to her peaceful life in Mihama, but JB and Yuuji had other ideas and thwarted his attempts. When it finally came down to a final showdown, Michiaki walks away…with his CEO position stripped away from him.
In the epilogue, Yumiko ended up succeeding a position in Sakaki Corp anyways as, despite being a bad parent, it was still something her dad left her with. Yuuji is now Yumiko’s personal bodyguard, but he had one final task he had to attend to: find Michiaki.
Michiaki was wandering through the life he has missed out on due to his obsession with the business. When Yuuji finally finds him in the hospital his wife passed away in, he told him everything. How his father did the very same thing to him when he was small, and how he was merely a “puppet” in the larger scheme of Sakaki household’s ambition. When bid farewell, he told Yuuji, as a father, to take care of his daughter. Yuuji replied, “No, we will both take care of her.”
Bad end: The final faceoff never happened and Michiaki give up on Yumiko and found another substitute.
I’ve gone through abit of each characters personality in the spoiler section, but here is for those who actually managed to skip that huge block of text.
The system of Grisaia remains one of the sleekest I’ve seen. They don’t overdo it as a theme, but simplicity, tree, and grey really soothes the eye. Save/loads come in 8’s, and the little ‘x’ deletes the slot. Extras include CG library, H-scene recollection, BGM library, movie library, secrets (contains downloadable icons, wallpaper and system voices), and a scene recollection (different than H-scene) which is really helpful for reviewing!
Also, you can change system voice to any heroine you want (and even JB!). I have now a (fake)tsundere system voice.
Art and Animation
The art in Grisaia in most cases have been quite good quality. A lot of expressions on the sprites, and the SDs are awesome. CGs are the only thing that sometimes seem inconsistent at points, Yuuji looks very different in Yumiko’s route than others, Michiru seems very different than her sprites at times. But other than that it is top notch, with no details spared in the various backgrounds.
There are 2-5 H-scenes per heroine, with Amane and Sachi topping the highend. Nothing too extreme. As with most scenario games, H scenes are almost like a tack-on.
One of the sections where I was pleasantly surprised. While there weren’t too much upbeat songs, there were plenty of beautiful piano/violin/slow guitar melodies that fit the more serious side to Grisaia. I was most impressed with the EDs, there are 5 in total (each for one heroine)!
Frontwing surprised me with Grisaia. Showing both volume and amazing heartfelt stories that tackles dark themes, I thoroughly enjoyed both its individual routes, and appreciate the common route for its comedy that brought out interesting characters to life. It almost feels too long that I read a eroge this satisfying, with well-done endings no less.
Rumour has it that the anime for Grisaia is in its planning stage, and with Akio Watanabe on the team, so let’s hope the essence stays true to what they’ve done here!
Also, just to clarify: