The Clown Dances

May 13, 2010

At the edge of my vision
Since the time the city crumbled
Since the time this city of Inganock broke
In this Fantastic City that none speak of
The Clown dances.

10 years ago the city of Inganock started to change. Ever since, things began to distort and mutate, until scarcely anything was left as it once was. Few people still look human, and those that do have mutated internally to compensate. Gii is an ex-medical student who, after severe mental mutations, can see people’s health as a string of code. Injuries, illnesses and diseases are represented by faults or errors in said code, which Gii can correct without too much effort. Every day he goes out and searches for patients, commonly forsaking payment and treating people in the poorer districts of Inganock.

Walking home one day, Gii sees a Behemoth making off with a young girl. Noticing that the Fantastic Mutant is under the influence of a new drug, Gii decides to step in. Knowing fully well that Behemoths are known for their ferocity and strength, Gii tries to reason with the man, but only succeeds in having most of his torso crushed before being rescued by a friend. The young girl refuses to disclose any information of herself, aside from her name, so Gii invites her to stay with him until he can find out where in Inganock it is she came from.

Sekien no Inganock -What a Beautiful People- (what a beautiful grammar) is a magnificent steampunk/fantasy tale. The company that produced it, Liar-Soft, also seems to have made other novels in the same kind of setting, but sadly it doesn’t seem like any of them are translated into English. Now I cannot emphasis this enough, but Sekien no Inganock has been one of the best reads of my life, paper and visual novels alike. It would have easily swept up first place, but there was one thing that, in my eyes, bogged it down. The story makes frequent use of certain phrases and scenes, and even though it has relevance to the plot, the consistent repetition is not something I approve of. This is just me being picky, though, and I’m sure there are plenty of people that wouldn’t even give it a second thought.

Be warned that this visual novel IS rated 18+, so all you kiddies who can’t handle the occasional sex scene should go watch a Disney movie or something.

The art is quite beautiful, and although I don’t really like the look of a couple of the sprites, there’s no denying that they’re wonderfully drawn and colored. The backgrounds are dark and fantastical, and normally give off a steampunk vibe that makes them fit perfectly. As you may be able to see in the above screenshot, there are two different types of sprites. There are the bigger mug shots, which are usually used by principle character, and then there are the smaller full body shots. The smaller sprites are normally used for reoccurring minor characters, but are also used when representing major characters that are, say, walking. There are plenty of event CG this time around, and unlike the sprites, there is not a single one I can complain about.

Now here is a unique little addition to visual novels as I know them. The Inner Voices system is a mini game of sorts, which allow you to hear the inner thoughts of many of the presently known characters, as well as sometimes those you haven’t met yet. It isn’t limited to characters alone, however, as the arm and the mask actually tell you things about the city itself. It was really kind of neat to learn random details about Inganock that, although they didn’t always directly apply to the core of the plot, just seemed to make the place more round and dynamic. More than anything, the IV scenes prevent any characters within them from being static or flat, which doesn’t matter too much because I didn’t consider any of them flat or static in the first place.

The voice acting in Sekien no Inganock is rather strange. It’s not that it is bad, far from it, but they only added voice acting to certain dialogue. After having voices for half a chapter, it feels odd when all of a sudden the characters just stop. Kind of leaves you hanging. Whenever there is voice acting, though, it’s pretty decent. In retrospect, they should have pulled the voices from the sexual intercourse and added them elsewhere. Not like they’re saying an awful lot.

The soundtrack is pretty sweet, though with only 13 tracks (excluding the OP and ED) you’re obviously going to hear the same song a couple times over. Below is my (and apparently most people’s) favorite tune. The first scene in which this song plays had me basking in the epic.

I’m now almost positive that learning Japanese would be the worst thing that could ever happen to me, because if I knew it I would NOT. STOP. READING. There are too many awesome-looking books out there that require moon rune knowledge to read, so I think I’ll pass on studying Nihongo for now. That, coupled with the fact that I’ve successfully failed at studying it for the last year, ensures my safety.

I gave this a 9/10 because there’s no option for 9.999 on VNDB. Such a shame. Good read, decent length, and definitely a favorite. Make sure to rest your eyes every once in a while, as reading on a monitor for long amounts of time kind of kills them.

This novel is not free to download. Do what you gotta do.


One comment

  1. Great review. Actually all your reviews are pretty good. (Review blogs are underrated unfortunately – I’m sure many more think the same but are too lazy to leave a comment. So don’t worry.)

    “This novel is not free to download. Do what you gotta do.” Hahaha!!!

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