I read through all the plots in this novel, visual novel, adventure reading game. They were all very different, with a strong emphasis on the main character’s attributes as applied to the particular heroine’s plot arc. The character development was rich and appealed to my sense of multi dimensional complexity. But first, I’ll explain what this genre is mostly about, since it was developed in Japan (like that toilet some people like, but is weird). A visual novel is a basic computer program written to incorporate a large amount of text (novel length) along with a sound track, sound effects, music, voice acting, and limited or full motion animation. It shares similarities with some of America’s old user developed MUDs or adventure games, except in adventure games you manipulate the world via items. The gameplay mechanics are pretty simple, low key, to allow almost anyone to use them and to pull the reader/player deeper into the atmosphere of the story.
So for people who dislike cable, tv, or Hollywood movies, programs, series, etc this is a potential substitute. If you can’t find books you like or if you don’t like how they adapt movies from books, this is a potential genre substitution.
The main theme behind the Fruit of Grisaia is the main character who roleplays as a high school student. I say role play because that’s what he is actually doing, his background is not a normal civilian or citizen history. He gets inducted into a school and thus he begins his adventure in civilian life. There’s two potential cultural shocks. The main character gets cultural shock every time he sees something in civilian life that he never saw in his previous lifestyle. Returning military veterans get a similar dosage when going from war time to peace time. Also the user gets a cultural shock because this is a Japanese nation, spoken in Japanese, with Japanese people. This ain’t Kansas any more, so if the user/reader/player isn’t Japanese, you can appreciate the shock. Thus you role play as the MC and the MC role plays as his role. The verisimilitude of the two situations makes it easier to get into the setting. For the Japanese market it was marketed to, I suspect that the verisimilitude would be based on the school setting, the every day slice of life atmosphere which is something the Japanese can remember from their own school days. For them, it’s a genre shift which surprises and pleases. For us, it’s an entirely new world, so everything and anything is new and strange.
The secondary focus or theme is about love, relationships, trauma, and ways of dealing with previous setbacks. So for the genre, it would be a combination of romance, adventure, drama, and a light spy mystery. These genres are placeholders, they aren’t Japanese genres, but it makes it easier for an English speaker to get an appropriate sense of what they might be getting into. Meaning, that if a Westerner doesn’t like the current romances and dramas, it’s mostly because that’s Hollywood romance and drama, it’s not done the Japanese style. I call it part of the romance and drama genre to familiarize individuals with what they can expect, but what they can expect is not going to be close to what they’ve seen in the West. For me, the cultural shock is all part of the experience and for me new invigorating experiences are hard to come by.
Available at http://store.steampowered.com/app/345610