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Random VN: Kurenai no Tsuki


Clephas

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I first played this VN in 2011, having read Accany's review of it (it was on his rather long list of recommended VNs), and at first, I had trouble getting into it.  To be blunt, my distaste for mysteries is pretty much the biggest reason why I had trouble with this... but the protagonist is, in some ways, your typical 'stick his nose in everything and anything' detective, meaning that he frequently takes actions that make me want to face-palm.  In addition, his unwillingness to put the puzzle pieces together (some parts of the setting come together indirectly really early on, and it always bothered me didn't figure it out then and there) bothered me as well.  Nonetheless, I set that feeling aside and decided to replay this, since it is technically a classic VN, lol.

Kurenai no Tsuki is one of those rare VNs (rare even then) where all the characters are full adults with their own occupations and lives.  It is also a combination murder mystery, fantasy, and horror story.  The game's setting is an isolated village in the mountains, where the protagonist, Kouya accidentally stumbled onto the bathing scene of the two main heroines, Sunao and Hiori.  Being old-fashioned Japanese women, they of course demand that he follow the rules and pick one of them (or both of them) to  marry.  If this VN were to have been made this year, then it would have turned into a series of moe antics, with good-hearted villagers blessing the potential marriage and the mystery being cleared up as something relatively innocent.  However, Kurenai no Tsuki was made in 2009, when it was still normal to have this kind of beginning take a different track.

This story has a ridiculous number of choices, most of them you are required to pick eventually and the only thing you can pick is the order, which makes them useless choices in my mind.  Objectively, this is perhaps the most negative point of the VN, lol.

There are two arcs to this VN, based on a choice made mid-way through the second chapter, which requires you to pick between Hiori and Sunao.  Depending on which you choose, you get to look at a different side of the events and mystery of the story.  There are four heroines, two of which are in each arc.  The first one follows the villagers' side and contains Sunao's and Akari's paths.  The second one follows a second faction and leads you to Hiori's and Kokoa's paths. 

While I enjoyed this VN and liked its characters, the fact is that it doesn't really meet my tastes, even now.  I love Sunao and Hiori, and so I always felt that this VN could have done without the mystery elements, since the protagonist is so paranoid he is willing to doubt those pure-hearted girls at the drop of a hat.  That's probably my problem, since I was already thinking of those two as my waifu inside the first ten minutes of the VN each time I played it, hahaha...

Anyway, this VN's atmosphere is frequently gloomy and the villagers are insanely xenophobic (violently so at times), and the deaths that keep occurring only make things worse.   Nonetheless, as a story it is very well-made and has a really interesting setting.  Kokoa's scientific approach to the mystery of the village is also helpful, since it provides some perspective when you find yourself falling into baseless superstitious paranoia, haha.

I recommend this to fantasy mystery lovers, though don't expect that the mysteries will all be solved in a single path.

Edit: Oh, and the true path is the harem path, lol.

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I thought that harem ending 1.0 tag meant the same thing as what we had in Sharin no Kuni, so I made the mistake of playing this game. It doesn't even have group scenes, yet it's a full-on harem with all four heroines plus another character. It's like the devs wanted to piss off both my kind and harem fans at the same time.

The true route is also one of those that completely destroy the atmosphere of the VN by negating all the tragic elements that other routes present,

Spoiler

giving you an extremely convenient ending.

I was really enjoying the game before the true route though, so that's a bummer.

Here's a sample of the BGM, it's pretty good. https://clyp.it/gv43ugdi

Edited by Funnerific
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7 hours ago, Funnerific said:

I thought that harem ending 1.0 tag meant the same thing as what we had in Sharin no Kuni, so I made the mistake of playing this game. It doesn't even have group scenes, yet it's a full-on harem with all four heroines plus another character. It's like the devs wanted to piss off both my kind and harem fans at the same time.

The true route is also one of those that completely destroy the atmosphere of the VN by negating all the tragic elements that other routes present,

  Reveal hidden contents

giving you an extremely convenient ending.

I was really enjoying the game before the true route though, so that's a bummer.

Here's a sample of the BGM, it's pretty good. https://clyp.it/gv43ugdi

In other words, you liked the half-tragic endings on the other arcs and didn't like the way the true/harem ending conveniently solves all the problems under the flag of revealing the true mastermind?

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I thought it was basically a classic "spend time with these pretty girls" game. If you find your waifu in one of those two, then you have a pretty well-balanced game. I personally was lukewarm towards them and so the VN as a whole. The setting's not bad, but the characters/drama aren't strong enough.

Also the mystery takes too long to piece together. My god, if I ever have to go through a wall of choices again. This kind of detective work much better for point and click games, where the clues you get provide feedback to your actions. Picking some choice (or every choice)  is just laborious and ruins any buildup.

I played the two girl's endings and Akari's end, didn't get the harem end I *think* (or if I did I skipped through it and forgot about it).

Edited by Chronopolis
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14 hours ago, Clephas said:

In other words, you liked the half-tragic endings on the other arcs and didn't like the way the true/harem ending conveniently solves all the problems under the flag of revealing the true mastermind?

Conveniently? Yes.

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