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Reorganizing My Thoughts on Ever17 (To Be Revised Accordingly)

LemiusK

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Okay, so I was a bit impatient when pouring out my thoughts on Ever17, so I didn't quite write about how I feel about the VN as a whole, as opposed to just Coco's ending. This is kinda a summary of what I've already written in the "What Are You Playing" thread, so that you could better understand where I'm coming from. Any questions you have regarding my discontent that I haven't explained anywhere else, feel free to ask them in the comment section.

BEWARE OF SPOILERS. For ease of reading, I'm not going to include any spoiler tag.

First of all, I would advise reading this article. It explains quite well the problems with Ever17, and gave me some insight as to why I might not have enjoyed the VN as much as everyone else.

For starters, contrary to that article author, I quite enjoyed every single other routes, even Sora's. They were emotional journeys that have a natural, if predictable character arc, where the characters go through a satisfying character development. I liked Coco, Sora, You, Sara, and even Tsugumi, and there's very little wrong about their routes, even Sora's. The problem is that all of their arcs and character conflicts were resolved within their routes. Where does that leave the true end? What will the true end resolve, then? Certainly not the character conflicts we've already seen resolved. That leaves the true route with only two purposes: revealing the "twist" behind the "accident" and "Coco's true fate."

Like I have stated in earlier posts, Coco's true fate being revealed that late was a major problem, because it's not a conflict we readers were actively worried about during the other routes. It's only hinted upon in other routes that there was one other survivor in Lemu, but more often than not, it's suggested before Coco's route that Coco was 1) either rescued, or 2) she's a hallucination. Even if the suggestion for #2 for some people is that "she's a ghost," that doesn't make sense because of #1. In other words, it's very important that I KNOW Coco is in danger or didn't survive, or I wouldn't care much if she's alive at the end because of what was strongly implied (that she's rescued in the other routes). But I didn't learn about the danger she's in 'till the very end. 

And so, we arrive at the actual ending itself. So in summary: 1) all the characters' conflicts have been resolved in other routes, and 2) I don't care about Coco because I thought she was rescued. Therefore, 3) the true route doesn't have much point besides being an answer route. And that's where the problem comes in: the true route only serves to answer the mystery, not to mention throw in a twist about a fact that I never even bothered to care about before (that Coco might not have survived). This... isn't a good way to end a story. The ending is usually epic and full of closure to conflicts that haven't been resolved. Most importantly, it gives you that emotional satisfaction that the characters have come a long way in their character growth, which couldn't happen because their growth already ended where their routes ended. The only character development/conflict that wasn't resolved was Tsugumi finding her children, which only made up of a small portion of the route, because most of the route is either explaining the truth through flashbacks or filler comedy material (Coco messing around), making most of Coco's route feel dull, repetitive, and just tiresome.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy Coco's comedy routines, but because it's supposed to be the True End, the true route, I was expecting something more serious or resolute, something that brings all the threads together rather than just messing around with comedy. It threw me off a little, being an abnormal kind of true route/resolution.

Finally, the ending also drags. After 10-20 minutes of the false conflict that Coco and Takeshi might be in danger (they're not, because 17 years is enough to prepare a sub), we are given another five minutes of Coco and Hokuto dragging out a comedy scene for way too long, and another 10 minutes of "closure" with everyone in a post-credit scene. Like I said, this ending feels unnecessarily long. I've already explained in detail (WAYP thread) why this happy ending being dragged out this long feels annoying and insincere. It's nice to see the characters all being happy together after the sadness some of them experienced, but the way it's written here, especially the post-credit scene where the story switches from one perspective to another, feels incredibly awkward and drags the entire ending out too much. We've already resolved the conflict for certain characters, so to "resolve" them a second time feels verbose. This ending could have easily been shortened to a five minute scene where the characters talked about the joy of being alive, and a short summary describing their future.

That being said, I did enjoy some of the additional "closure" in this post-credit scene. You's closure felt the most satisfying, because we received additional information regarding her father. Sara's closure was already resolved in her route, so her additional closure here is pointless. Sora's closure was the second most satisfying because we got to see her interaction with Takeshi in a real body. Tsugumi's closure with her children was already resolved earlier, but her getting to see Takeshi alive again was a nice feeling, making her closure the third most satisfying. In summary, the post-credit scene was a little enjoyable, but because of the way it's written, its pacing dragged on.

In closing, there's one more thing I want to talk about: Blick Winkel and the twist that he's us, the reader. Putting aside the fact that the identity of BW was unclear 'till the very end (again, I only found out because Google magic), it is, as I said in "What are you playing", a brilliant twist that does make me more impressed the more I think about it. It does make you think back to all the times when Takeshi/Kid weren't voiced - that person was literally you all the time. Gives you a different kind of perspective. It's a nice design, but unfortunately, it's really like what I've said before, I'm not a big mystery-buff. If the meat of your VN is the mystery, then I can only admire from afar, casually interested. It's like asking someone who's not into fashion to be impressed by the intricate designs of a dress. He can only give passing remarks and nods, not really appreciating the beauty comprehended by fashion-buffs. 

I'm someone who's more into emotional storytelling and character development - both of which were lacking in Coco's route, which made things incredibly disappointing.

So that's all I have to say, and I hope this will give you a clearer understanding why I didn't enjoy the ending as much as I wanted to. I might still try out Never7 and Remember11 in the future, but with a far, far lower expectation from now on.



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Thank you, I feel like Coco’s route came out of nowhere. 16 year old me was whiplashed because it got meta for some reason. I don’t mind metanarratives like DDLC, but using that as a true end came across as an asspull to me. Like when You said that she wanted to unlock Blick Winkel  I was...just...eh... Personally, I felt like it gotten way too out of hand for a simple story of several teenagers trapped inside a underwater amusement park. (Wow, that sentence is so fucking surreal after reading it lolz).

Another problem, is that once BW is unlocked they are basically God. BW can do anything. So, the last moments of saving Coco’s life is basically going back into a literal previous point in space time to save her from her “inevitable” demise. Sigh....

Despite that, this is one of the reasons I cannot recommend Ever17 to newbies, because unlocking the true route without a walkthrough is hard as hell. I spent days just trying to do that. Plus, you cannot tell which choices lead into certain routes or not. They don’t really seem that consequential like Saya No Uta. 

Finally, metanarratives are really dangerous to rely on because you are literally shattering the immersion by breaking the fourth wall.

Honestly, what’s worse is that I am not even sure how else they could’ve ended it. It’s not a good introductory visual novel because of the length and the ending. 

 

(Full disclosure it’s been 6 years since I’ve read Ever17, so I may gotten some things wrong.)

 

But seriously, thanks again for your post. It’s refreshing to see someone who isn’t drinking the “Ever17 is kamige” kool-aid.

 

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52 minutes ago, Happiness+ said:

Thank you, I feel like Coco’s route came out of nowhere. 16 year old me was whiplashed because it got meta for some reason. I don’t mind metanarratives like DDLC, but using that as a true end came across as an asspull to me. Like when You said that she wanted to unlock Blick Winkel  I was...just...eh... Personally, I felt like it gotten way too out of hand for a simple story of several teenagers trapped inside a underwater amusement park. (Wow, that sentence is so fucking surreal after reading it lolz).

Another problem, is that once BW is unlocked they are basically God. BW can do anything. So, the last moments of saving Coco’s life is basically going back into a literal previous point in space time to save her from her “inevitable” demise. Sigh....

Finally, metanarratives are really dangerous to rely on because you are literally shattering the immersion by breaking the fourth wall.

Yeah, the Blick Winkel side-plot was one of its key problems that made the ending unsatisfying because it's a deus ex machina, and DEMs are often cheap and contrived. While the DEM did play with the element of silent protagonists in VNs, which was honestly brilliant back in the day, I think its existence created more problems rather than benefiting than story. It's a gimmick, and a gimmick that removed any tension the reader might feel. Because BW is God, as you say, there's no tension, and the plot is ruined. You don't sacrifice your story for a gimmick, no matter how clever it is. I'm of the more traditional school of belief that character comes first, plot comes second; everything else after, including plot-hooks and gimmicky plot-devices. That's not to say you can't have a complex mystery surrounding the plot, of course. But if your mystery gets in the way of keeping the readers caring about the most important thing that connects them to the story (characters), then I just feel that it's better to go for something else entirely.

You know of the term, "page-turner", right? Well, Ever17 was like the opposite of that in Coco's route, especially towards the end. It was so obsessed in Blick Winkel remembering events that WE the reader should already experienced (and felt closure for), so obsessed in the gimmick that the writer forgot to keep the reader engaged with some kind of hook. Many of the events towards the end was so predictable that we were two steps ahead of Blick Winkel, knowing how it's going to turn out. That's not what a good page-turner should do, let alone a mystery story.

In that sense, I feel like another cause for the pacing problem was because the truth was revealed by You-haru way too early. If I didn't know about You-haru's real plan, but was informed that Coco was trapped in Lemu, I would have been worried that she might not make it out alive.
 

52 minutes ago, Happiness+ said:

Honestly, what’s worse is that I am not even sure how else they could’ve ended it.

I think that they shouldn't have epilogues for all of the other routes, and only resolve all their conflict in the true end. That's the real main cause for Coco's route being so boring, because there's no real stake. So even if they had used Blick Winkel, they could still have a great story.

The only problem being Kaburaki - his character was abandoned because of BW's existence, making Hokuto (and his character development) a separate entity from Kaburaki.

 

52 minutes ago, Happiness+ said:

But seriously, thanks again for your post. It’s refreshing to see someone who isn’t drinking the “Ever17 is kamige” kool-aid.

I tend to have different opinions regarding most kamige, with the exception of the more mainstream kamiges like Steins;Gate. lol Ever17 just happens to be a kamige I disagreed with because it's such a niched VN that, as you say, isn't suitable for newbies.

Edited by LemiusK

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