Until it's not. HA! GOT YOU, YOU STUPID SHIT! I pulled you into false sense of security and BAM! subverted your expectations!
Before you go on, I want you to know that this will have spoilers to all 3 The Fruit of Grisaia games so quickly read all of them and come back if you haven't already.
But anyways, I decided to delve a little bit into the anime of Grisaia no Kajitsu and while the opening text displayed over each character as they are presented on screen I began to think about my own interpretation of the characters from the series and how it does a great job of somewhat subverting the anime/visual novel trope with it's characters. Feels like this is what Doki Doki Literature Club tried to do but instead of being smart it instead did "hey, reader, wouldn't be weird if one of the cute girls started bleeding from their eyes? Pretty creepy for a visual novel with cute anime girls set in a school environment." But Grisaia somewhat embraces these tropes and turns them on their head. Instead of taking place in a high school environment where only a few characters matter and therefor have actual names and faces it takes the approach of having it still set in a high school where literally only the important characters exist since there's no one else in the school!
I've honestly never noticed the subtle genius of this on Grisaia's part. How many visual novels have you read where the entire school is nothing but background noises? They do away with the pointlessness of background characters altogether and make them literally isolated because that's pretty much how it is in every VN. It's this type of subtlety I enjoy from an almost parody to visual novels.
Well, what about the character's themselves? Well, I'm glad you asked, me! You have the usual character tropes in Grisaia, sure. There's the tsundere, the unapproachable one, the obedient one, the slut, the loli, all of whom who you expect certain traits from but again, it subverts your expectations.
The tsundere takes on a facade to hide her own identity, so her own action of trying to be a tsundere is simply so she can hide the real part of her. Christopher Nolan must be turning in his grave thinkign he couldn't come up with a character this deep in cliches! The unapproachable girl is so unapproachable that she tries to kill Yuuji, LITERALLY! The obedient one acts like the childhood friend because... well, she is and even goes to far as to dress up as a maid. The slut instantly attaches herself to the MC and offers her body, not out of her own personal feelings but because she feels she needs to be punished. The loli's character is a result of her abuse as a child causing her to be emotionally stunted.
All characters have an underlining dark reason for why they fall into these cliches which pulls the reader in to learn more and honestly, I'm sad I never caught any of this in my first or second read through of the series. It's so well done, so subtle that it makes me really appreciate the first VN more looking back on it and I'm glad I went back to the anime to remember all this.
...And then the sequels came out.
Yeah, remember that first bit of this blog? If not, might want to scroll up some. It's the bit about bringing you into a salse fense of security.
Yeah, you read that right and I did that on purpose. What are you gonna do now?
My comrades @DarkZedge and @Dergonu informed me that later entries in the series involved Yuuji ending up in a harem with every girl. I don't know how to look at this angle as more than fan service and undermining the emotional investment I had with the characters, especially when the first one was doing so well in NOT succumbing to your typical visual novel tropes, although there was the Makina's sex scenes with Yuuji where this emotionally damaged girl is having sex with someone who she views as her papa shivers but then the sequels do fall into the biggest trope of all, the "everyone wants the MC's dick" trope. Every girl who he slightly breathes in the direction of wants to be a part of his life.
This cliche has infested the anime, manga, and visual novel world like a cancer and in visual novels its more acceptable since you project yourself into the character more often than not and therefor feel fulfilled as a person while your visual novel counter part is fully filling your waifus with his massive love!
But I digress. Grisaia felt smarter than that, I felt more respect for the character's before I learned they all fell into this overused trope. I feel like the series went on for one more visual novel long than it should have, like The Hobbit movies. We get a whole backstory of Yuuji's training, his life with his master which was nice but to top it all off we get a plot about a father figure of his coming back and causing a mess with all the girls coming together to save him in the end, or something.
You know, now that I'm thinking about it, I feel like I remember nothing about the 3rd one, aside from a fight with the dude, and seeing his sister again but when I do think back on it I just feel like it wouldn't have missed anything to be a bit more condensed, cause that's what remembering it is like. I can't remember anything aside from bits and pieces because those were the ones the set itself the most from this overly long series.
"No, don't you see, Mitch?! They subvert your expectations again by making each character unique and he STILL ends up with all of them? Isn't that clever?" That's fine and all but the girls were dealing with crippling emotional baggage that was dealt with one by one and felt we had actual climax to, and not the climax Yuuji got in Amane's massive vagina!
I would've preferred if Yuuji died, cause I'm american and that's how we end every series these days. That or they think he died and he decided to start a new peaceful life while the girls must take their once again broken lives and rebuild the pieces but this time with more efficiency thanks to Yuuji. As opposed to the alternative route where they live on an island, ignore their problems and have everything solved by sweet, juicy Yuuji cum!
Though I will say I did like the implication that the routes at some point all converge, so he sleeps with all of them while solving their problems. But then the problem arises with Amane's where it goes deep into the future with them being happily married then eventually dying. And you know what? That's perfectly fine with me.