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VN Staff: Hino Wataru

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Now, those who are accustomed to my praise of Akatsuki Works will probably think I have nothing but praise for Hino Wataru, and they aren't  completely wrong.  However, he has some major issues that tend to make his VNs hard for a certain type of reader to take seriously. 

For better or worse, Hino Wataru is a dyed-in-the-wool chuunige writer.  Even when he isn't writing a chuunige he is writing a chuunige.  I don't think I've ever encountered a writer so completely bound by the genre's conventions as he is.  Is that a bad thing?  In some ways yes, in other ways no.

His defining work, amongst older VN veterans, is Ruitomo.  Ruitomo is hard to define as a chuunige, because there is little to no battling, and it is actually easier to define it as a thriller, as most of the game follows the protagonist and his fellow cursed individuals trying to find a way to survive in a world that isn't kind to those who are cursed the way they are.   However, the game is littered with common chuunige cliches, such as grandiose word choices in the narration and detailed dissections of situations that reveal aspects that otherwise wouldn't have surfaced.  This is common to all of his non-chuunige VNs, and to be blunt, Hino-san tends to stick to what worked for him int he past, lol. 

There are two elements of his style that stand out obviously to me, having read most of them.  A rejection of conventional morality is the first.  Most of his main characters are amoral, acting primarily based on an ideology that they constructed internally that is frequently a bit twisty and created by events that scarred them deeply.   He also tends to give his protagonists a catchphrase that gets used at all parts of the VN (such as Tomo's 'cursed world' and 'we are cursed' or Akihito's 'soredemo, to').  I have never encountered a VN written by him where the protagonist doesn't have some kind of internal or external catchphrase that no normal Japanese person would ever think of or use on a daily basis. 

Are these negative aspects?  It is hard to say.  They do add a certain... flavor to his works.  However, it does get old sometimes.

His characters, unlike Higashide's, tend to be crass and befouled by their life experiences, which ironically makes them as easy to understand as Higashide's 'great souls', if in an entirely different way, lol.  Tomo is a compulsive liar and manipulator, Akihito womanizes indiscriminately and obsesses over his past (as long as they are good-looking), Narita Shinri is arrogant and obsessed with revenge (though it is justified), and Akeno Shuuri is about as lazy and greedy as they come, when he can get away with it. 

As a writer, his style is closer to Masada's than most, because he tends toward flowery, complex language and a love of the poetic.  However, for some reason, what people forgive in Masada is apparently not as attractive in his works, so I've known people who loved Masada who dropped Hino's works in the prologue. 

Overall, as a writer he is a mixed bag... he shows moments of greatness and I personally enjoy his works.  However, if you asked me if he is one of the 'greats', I'd have to tilt my head to the side in thought, as the only kamige he has made is Ruitomo. 

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