Falling. Falling. Falling. Falling. Falling.
As expected, it was wonderful. All the usual tropes of Sakurai’s work can be found here. Stage like presentation, inner monologues, worlds that are distant yet familiar to us, a blueberry and yogurt orchestrated soundtrack, random mini-game at the end of a chapter, and a duel. If you’re not fond of any of these things by now, then stay well clear. But, if you’re someone who laps it up and loves her work because of those very things, then step right in. Please, make yourself comfortable. Envision yourself in a mushroom covered house, with cracks on the wall. Yet the room you’re sitting in is still elegant and well looked after. You are drinking tea (made with the mushrooms which adorn your house), and there are sweets with colourful wrappings spilled out across the table. It’s a joyous tea party.
You are sitting with a smarmy looking cat woman wearing a negligee, a smooth looking gangster with a mechanical eyepatch and arm, a giddy looking teenager, a mother with another face covering her own, all the while you feel the gaze of someone’s eyes on you.
You are now in Sona-Nyl’s curious and dreamlike world…
The world was crafted beautifully. The first thing that you’d notice are the mushrooms. They’re everywhere. On every apartment, of every colour, and are even used in tea. That’s the first sign that you are in a very different world.
I just knew that when the ‘tick tock tick tock tick tock’ing came up we’d be transported to Alva’s world. And how right I was. Although his face was obscured, you could still tell it was him. Who else could it be, you know? It almost makes me wish that LS held off with putting all the characters up on the website. While the mystery of who he is and what he’s doing is still prevalent, we know his face. It reminded me of when Inganock had Kia’s brother had the beginning of the opening, and pretty early on it became obvious that he was the one atop of the spiral staircase, and that he would be the ‘big bad’. Looks like I was right on the ball by saying that Alva would probably be the big bad on this installment. Just look at that smug look he has on his face. Definite bad guy material. I just wish that I didn’t know what his face already looks like – it kind of ruins the air of mystery.
The H-scene with Mao was tastefully done. Many people joke about the series’ H-scenes saying that they’re sorely lacking and not at all erotic, but they’re not meant to be. At least, that’s what I feel. We always get to see the sex scene from the viewpoint of one person, and it’s not just through their glazed over lust fueled eyes. Their thoughts while narrating the scene makes it seem like they’re standing aside, watching the scene happening. They’re there, and yet they’re not. That’s what enables the characters to calmly and fully voice their thoughts. With Mao and Lucky’s H-scene, she was struggling for dominance, in the sense that she was constantly questioning what Lucky was doing, and why. Why was he having sex with a cat like her? At one point she even attempted to strangle him, teasing him with comments like, ‘you’re scared – you’re scared, aren’t you?’. For that reason, I like the series’ H-scenes, a lot better than most series. Most of them are necessary for the characters, and aren’t just there for titillating purposes.
I think that this is the most attractive WAB installment yet, as extreme as that may seem! The CGs and overall stylization just kept coming, a feast for my eager eyes. The outlines have those usual multicoloured textures surrounding them. As expected of the age it’s set in, the clothes are enviously pretty. Buttons and ribbons are everywhere. Smart laced up boots for the girls, suits and ties for the men. Everyone is so visually appealing. Katerine (or, Katrijn as it’s officially spelled) looks darling up close. Almost like some sort of Victorian doll. You will absolutely melt once she makes her pleased face, eyes shining.
All the usual seiyuu are here, too. We have Gii and Kashim as A, Ati and Ana as Lily, and Charlotte as Elysia. Mao’s seiyuu did a superb job. I was well impressed. Fun fact, she was the only character able to pronounce ‘Luciano’ correctly. It even sounded natural coming from her.
I’ve an itching to change my header image to the intense looking CG of either A and Lily, or A and the Rose Witch. There’s something about those kinds of images which say so much about the kind of bond that they share. This CG of Sharnoth’s Mary and M is an ideal example of what I mean. There’s something so fervid in Mary’s gaze, as she places her complete and utter trust in M. M’s confident, hand gripping her jaw, fully knowing that he’s in control. It’s one of those images where you’d wonder who are they, and what sort of relationship they share. It fully draws you in. The CG of A and Lily/the Rose Witch would almost certainly make you think the exact same thing.
Although there were, typically, many scenes I loved, this was absolutely my high point – and I imagine that it was most of yours, too! It was written in such a delightful, fairytale like way that I can’t see myself hating the repetition (not that I dislike Sakurai’s repetition – the contrary, it’s one of the traits which makes the series so endearing), assuming that this scene will happen again, and again. But then again, I love transformation scenes. I can’t help it. Think of any with full clarity, and you will most likely have nothing but fond thoughts for the series. Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura, Princess Tutu, Magical Lyrical Girl Nanoha, Revolutionary Girl Utena… The list goes on. There’s something there which echoes and panders to our childlike dreams of becoming superheroes and fairy princesses – where we too wished that we could transform into something so wondrous and apart from our world.
Although most classic mahou shoujo, once transformed use the power of love/friendship to defeat their foes, the Rose Witch borrows a highly ornate looking axe, from the creature which came out of A’s shadow (Lumberjack). How cool is that? I wouldn’t call the Rose Witch just any typical magical girl – but I would call her a magical warrior. Someone who isn’t afraid of mussing up their pristine dresses, or even getting some blood on it. When A asks can he borrow Lily’s help, he says that she can be anything she wants to be. Anything. Doesn’t that remind you of something your parents said to you when you were younger, or even now? And, she completely makes our younger inner selves proud by becoming this elegant looking witch. She cares not if she becomes a demon, or a witch. She just wants to help her dear A, and her treasured friend along with her mother. For that, she’s willing to become anything.
Get to this. Right now! If you’re read this, then you’re obviously a fan of the series. In that case, I would fully recommend it to you. Now, I wonder will it get into the top ten eroge of the year, like Sharnoth and Inganock before it did? I certainly hope so – from such an impressive trial like that it absolutely deserves it.