Taishou Mebiusline’s Trial: Dream Fortress

A mild mannered Nozomu Itoshiki sees dead people? 2spooky.

An affluent lad named Kyouichirou travels from the country to the big city in order to study politics and economics. He’s a pleasant enough guy, mannerly and all that. Indulges in conversations with ticket checkers on the train instead of fobbing them off like other typical heirs to a great family would do. At college it’s his goal to attain the sufficient knowledge needed for this position, so naturally, he doesn’t want to disappoint his father, head of the Hiragi family. After meeting up with his uncle who gives him a(n extravagant) roof over his head, we’re given a more concrete sense of time and place with a backdrop featuring communist stirrings and unrest in the Weimar republic. So far, so good. Nothing which holds my interest yet, but it’s early days. I’m feeling positive. Unfortunately, a brief dream within the first fifteen minutes manages to ruin everything

Kyouichirou was an ill child, you see. When he eventually got better, he had obtained a most unusual power, being able to see those who were no longer of this world. Oh, yeah. Totally know that feeling. He often takes walks in the countryside, living out in the middle of nowhere and everything, so he manages to see such creatures often enough. In the dream he has, a meeting with one is shown. It was done in a strange way. I’m still not sure how to place it, actually. It’s not just that it wasn’t frightening, it wasn’t even done in the kind of over the top way (like how horror is usually depicted in anime) which would leave me scoffing. You know, all tense violin led music and quick, shuddery dutch angles. As opposed to anime and manga, VNs do have it in them to invoke some sort of chilling effect on the reader, when they actually try. So in such a scene that was probably meant to have such an effect, it really wasn’t up to par. Even with Kyouichirou trying his best as a wee tyke fresh out of illness to not look at the woman and run back home, I didn’t feel any real sense of terror or panic. It was all a bit shit, really, and the rest of Mebiusline remained the same.

The rest of the trial covers Kyouichirou’s first day in the bustling metropolis which is all so fresh to him, and manages to meet three out of his four potential suitors in the process. As you do.  He meets ~mysterious fellow #1~, Misaki, first who I presume to be the main guy as his face is the one I remember seeing most prominently in promo material outside of Nozomu Kyouichirou. When they first meet, I had a legitimate reason to scoff. Kyou began to feel an oh so mysterious and nostalgic feeling despite never meeting Misaki before. And that was the most normal guy, all things considered. Especially when ~mysterious fellow #4~ has the humble goal of ruling the world.

Things get more frantic with the appearance of ~mysterious fellow #2~. Kyou travels to his college’s library to check it out and find his way around before college properly starts. It’s a reasonable thing to do, right? Reasonable, sure, until some dude armed with several blades dressed like someone out of the Sengoku era crosses your path. Kyou wields a katana which will either protect him or contribute to something much darker, which was supposedly sealed away for hundreds of years until his father passed it down to him. And this random guy happens to recognize the very same blade resting at Kyou’s hip. He’s being chased, so what does Kyou do? The same thing any slightly dim and well meaning protagonist would do, of course!

So he chases him and before he gets anything out of him, a military police force who of course are absurdly good looking burst in with every intention on apprehending him. The team are led by ~mysterious fellow #3~, and features a token short skirted woman for added sex appeal, reminding me of that one Sawashiro voiced character in K. It does say something about the character designer’s ability when in a BL game the one female is better looking than any of the main cast. Ah, if only she were voiced by Sawashiro. It turns out the twins have dabbled in otherworldly shit before too, the same as Kyou even bringing forth a bizarre looking creature into battle.

Things just manage to get so, so much worse worse from here on, if that were even possible. While an intense two-on-one fight is happening right in front of Kyou, he does absolutely nothing until the eleventh hour. Just stands there gaping at them, next to the general. The two may as well have been lazing about in deck-chairs with a cocktail in each hand lazily observing the waves or playing shogi beneath the trees for all they added to the fight. It’s hard to believe that our protagonist was tittering about rice crackers a few minutes ago, then he’s witnessing some weird otherworldly fight without really fussing about it. The general makes pretty poor attempts to get him to not look at what’s going on too, but fails. If he really didn’t want Kyou to see what happened, he could have gotten one of his cronies to bash him over the head and drag him somewhere. Maybe forcibly move him away himself, not just stand there. Good grief!

Unsurprisingly, with such a lukewarm reception the chances of me further allowing myself to fall into the world of Taishou Mebiusline aren’t at all likely. Everything seems far too silly for me to even consider checking out the full thing. The only reason I could see myself picking this back up is on the chance it gets reviewed favourably across the board, which I honestly doubt will happen. It’s difficult to believe that this was years in the making, giving the impression of something that would have been choppily animated by DEEN in the early 2000s, doomed to fade into obscurity. At least there’s this one nice BGM.

The full VN is out on the 21st of December.

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