Each night, I would go to sleep wishing that this was just a nightmare
I no longer recognize the world
There was no place to run
No place for me to call home
It was impossible to come to terms with this new world
Until I met Saya
The sole thing of beauty
Amidst this rotten, putrid world of flesh
Medical student Sasaki Fuminori is involved in a near-fatal traffic accident. Both of his parents are killed, and he survives only thanks to a fictitious neurosurgical procedure. Unfortunately, it is still in its experimental stages, and later proves to have some extremely unsightly side effects, which include temporary blindness. Upon regaining his sense of sight, Fuminori is able to see that the world he now lives in is not the world he once knew. Surrounded by walls of pulsating flesh, being fed bowls of festering innards and bile, and tended to by walking piles of rotting meat quickly leave Fuminori on wits’ end. As he lies in his grotesque little world, contemplating suicide, he is shocked to see a face looking at him from the side of his bed. The face of a cute, pre-adolescent human girl. Overcome with emotion, Fuminori begs her to stay and converse with him, which she does.
Introducing herself as Saya, the girl continues by saying that she lives in the hospital, and only roams around at night to search for her father. Fuminori practically forgets about his cognitive disorder until the time comes for her to leave. He implores her to come visit him again, and she does not object. Weeks go by, and the date of Fuminori’s discharge draws closer. He sees no joy in it, as he knows he will be living alone in a world that is terrifying to him only. When Saya visits that night, he asks her if she would leave the hospital and live with him, when the time came. Uncertain, Saya leaves. He does not see her again, even on the day of his release. Distraught at the bleak future he sees in his life, Fuminori returns to his house to find Saya already there waiting for him.
Created in 2003 by Nitroplus, Saya no Uta does well to follow their trend of dark and depressing stories. It is labeled as an utsuge: a story that is aimed at depressing the reader as there is no happy end, no help for the characters, and no hope. This is debatable, because I didn’t really feel all that depressed after reading it. I think I was too busy being surprised at how short it was, and at how lame one of the endings turned out to be. There were a couple simple questions that, had they been answered, would have rounded things out a little better, but it was still a very satisfying read.
In case you haven’t gotten the picture yet, Saya no Uta is not a your typical go-fornicate-with-women visual novel (nor will you find any of those reviewed or mentioned on LoL). It’s still 18+, however, so be wary of the lolitastic loliness. Or don’t.
There is practically no use of sprites in Saya no Uta, which is a shame because I really love the rough look they have. It gives them more of a hand drawn feel, as opposed to many of these other digitally rendered ones I see nowadays. The above screen cap kind of obscures them, but it would defy its purpose if I hid the text box. Instead of using sprites, Nitroplus was content with making an obscene amount of event CG, and using them instead. This is nicer in a way, because there are no recycled sprites you’ve already seen 20 times before popping up in every scene. Another nice thing I see as being fairly common in CG laden VNs is how the protagonist usually has a face, whereas in sprite-filled VNs he or she commonly does not.
Some of the backgrounds actually seem to be done in 3D CG, not solely by hand. They were glaringly out of place at first, but when they’re used with people in them, it fits quite well.
Now the voices themselves fit the characters rather well, but more than once I found myself thinking it would have been better without voice acting at all. These thoughts usually surfaced in fight scenes, or when people were supposed to be yelling and screaming. It was far too relaxed and indifferent, didn’t sound right at all.
The music is nothing special. I’m sure ZIZZ STUDIO did their best, but honestly what kind of music can you use to make justice to the situation(s) presented? You’ve got your creepy guitar solos and haunting lullabies, but in my opinion none of the tracks actually capture the spirit of Saya no Uta. The song below got stuck in my head for a couple of days, and since it was the only one I guess it just deserves the spot.
I gave Saya no Uta an 8/10. Although the idea and plot line were good, it almost seemed like they would forget they were writing a story every now and then. There were an unnecessary amount of sex scenes for my taste, and some of them were crammed into the most awkward and unpredictable spots. As long as you know how to use the skip key (or you’re into that kind of thing), gung ho.