How many of us have looked at another person and thought “this person is seriously fucked up?” One would assume that us all being human would mean we have a single common thread that unites us; that all of us can relate to and feel comfortable living among each other. In an ideal world this would be the case, but in reality we are often divided and thus alone.

We judge our comfort with other people based on how similar they are to ourselves and we distrust those who have fundamental differences in how we view the world. We all have different backgrounds, different experiences, and different belief sets that determine just how we see the universe, the people, and the experiences around us. Saya no Uta is a game about these differences; a game about how we are all different, and how we are not so different.

Just to give people a heads up, Saya no Uta is a dark game with some disturbing themes and subject matter. While Saya no Uta is an eroge with some dark content, I would not place it in the same category of sex focused eroge as Euphoria or Starless. There are some graphic and disturbing scenes in Saya no Uta, but I would classify it more as a psychological horror story than a nukige. Despite this, I would advise similar caution before playing this game as I would with Euphoria as it is NOT for the faint of heart.

CW: Violence, Gore, Rape, Pedophilia, Cannibalism, Suicide, Ableism. Also SPOILERS!

I have always had a fascination with the most black, depressing, and macabre forms of media out there. There is something uniquely compelling about those that are not afraid to show the ugly side of life and the human experience. I think the biggest reason why I am fixated on these stories is largely due to my own depression over the years. I know that the world is not a happy and cheerful place where the good guy always wins. I know that there is a lot of ugliness beneath the surface and there are times where I witnessed it first hand.

Not everyone can say the same thing. I’ve talked in the past about the fairly popular use of the term “normie” online. I mostly used it facetiously but that may have just been a cover. Rather most of us use it because we just don’t fit in with normal well adjusted society. Most of who are reading this likely don’t work a 9 to 5 job on weekdays and go to the club on Friday nights.

It is debatable whether any person alive truly fits the overly saccharine and idealized “normal” stereotype to an absolute Tee, but most of us have no way of telling this. None of us are truly “normal” in every way yet we all have our own way of filtering out normies who don’t understand us. People often experience different events that cause them to withdraw from mainstream society and to instead retreat into their own smaller and more gated communities. Their “echo chambers” if you will.

Saya no Uta | Life remained the same

Saya no Uta is not very subtle in regards to this theme. This visual novel is literally about a man who one day has a normal life until he gets into a car accident that kills his entire family and damages his sense of vision. Normally he would be “blind” but due to a risky new procedure that has never been used, the way he views the world is literally changed forever.

Sakisaka Fuminori has his sight restored but is only able to view his surroundings as gory flesh blobs and other human beings as hideous monsters. This in turn affects his other four senses and thus effectively turns reality into a waking nightmare for Fuminori. The only solace that he takes is in the comfort of his romantic interest Saya. Saya is the only person that Fuminori views as human.

It is made fairly obvious that Saya is not human but is instead a mysterious eldritch creature that horrifies anyone else who sees her. But Fuminori sees her as human and they form a touching yet also horrifying romantic bond. Fuminori then becomes a misanthropic recluse who desires nothing more than to live with Saya away from the rest of human society, including his former friends.

What is truly masterful about Saya no Uta’s writing is that it doesn’t try to convince the reader of anything. It presents the romance between Saya and Fuminori for what it actually is. In some ways it is beautiful to see two people who modern society has failed to understand come together, but in other ways it is horrifying.

Fuminori performs a lot of actions that are morally reprehensible over the course of the game. In the first half of the game, one will feel sorry for him. One will hope he eventually gets his senses restored and can live a normal life. There is a choice given at the halfway point where Saya can restore Fuminori’s senses to normal, but it doesn’t lead to a happy ending. Then again, none of the endings are truly happy in the traditional sense.

Saya no Uta | Strange Fruit
Southern trees bear strange fruit. Blood on the leaves and blood at the root.

During the second half of the game, Fuminori goes from a sympathetic misanthrope to an outright psychopath. This would normally feel like an abrupt shift in character but considering that this occurs after the choice I just mentioned, it is almost as if the game is saying that YOU choose this. Saya no Uta isn’t just told from Fuminori’s perspective. There are scenes that are also told from the scenes of Fuminori’s former friends and his doctor.

There are only two choices in the game so the story progression is mostly linear. The first choice is the one at the halfway point that I mentioned and is from Fuminori’s perspective, but the second one is from the perspective of his ex friend Koji and is made near the end of the game. None of the game’s endings are happy in the traditional sense, yet all three of them work very well.

Saya no Uta is a game that will dull the player’s sense of morality as opposed to presenting a “this guy is the villain and this guy is the hero” narrative. Fuminori is the central character but he is also the closest the game has to a traditional villain. Saya is more of a threat to humankind as a whole but she instead lacks awareness of human morality and doesn’t understand the severity of her actions.

Fuminori does devolve into a disgusting scumbag by the end of the game but there is also a statement to be made on the nature of human communication and the emotional walls we all build up.It’s quite easy to view Fuminori’s condition as an allegory for mental illness. Something that makes living like a normal human being near impossible and thus forces them to withdraw into their own gated community among people with similar conditions.

Saya no Uta | You dont like it

The only reason that Fuminori is not locked up in the loony bin is because he lied to his doctors about his condition, which he did precisely because he knows they wouldn’t know what to do about him. Even worse is that in the ending where he gets his sight back, he is framed for the murder of his next door neighbor but is instead staying the rest of his life in a mental hospital when he tells the exact truth of what happened.

There are a lot of statements against law enforcement and cover ups throughout Saya no Uta. That they care more about keeping order than the truth regardless of the lives they destroy. It shows how trapped people with mental illness are in our society, and thus when they become desperate to withdraw into their own little world we just dismiss them as crazy and fucked up.

What really drives this home is seeing some of Ryoko and Koji’s dialogue in the second half. Ryoko’s speech about how the truth has the power to destroy peoples minds in its full doses.

Oxygen only becomes air when combined with five times as much nitrogen. Truth is the same. Only by diluting it with lies and taking it in small doses can humans maintain a healthy soul.

Ryoko has a particularly poignant line about how there was a certain point where she stopped feeling safe when she was alone at night and started sleeping with a machete next to her bed, and eventually a gun. It shows that for all that it’s worth, Ryoko and Koji are not all that different from Fuminori or even Saya. All of us are trying to find ways to survive in a vast universe where we mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. It provides a different take on the Lovecraftian cosmic horror formula and shows that most of us have equal reason to fear each other.

Image result for Saya no uta Ryoko

Think of how many people have a fear of insect or spiders… creatures that are much smaller than them and lower on the food chain yet are enough to create instant anxiety with their mere presence. It was a daring attempt to portray Saya like this but it opts to portray her as any other living creature; one whose instincts are to survive and protect those close to her. It is because of this that Saya no Uta is one of the strongest love stories of all time, and it is also one of the most horrifying.

Saya no Uta has a reputation for being a royally fucked up game, and that reputation is mostly warranted. I have made comparisons to that of Euphoria but I believe there is a fundamental difference between the two. The key difference is that Euphoria also serves as an especially violent Nukige for sadists while the sex scenes are used sparingly in Saya no Uta. There are only a few of them but they serve the purpose of aiding the narrative rather than being solely fap fuel.

There is also the elephant in the room that is Saya’s design. Yes Saya does appear very childlike and is featured in sex scenes. Funny thing is that I had someone message me telling me they were blocking me for being a lolicon because they saw a screencap of this game in my Discord server. What is so amusing about this is how well it works into the overarching theme of this game.

I have no doubt that this woman never even heard of Saya no Uta before and would have been too much of a raucous oaf for me to explain the context, but even if I could I still had no desire to be around such a prejudiced cretin to begin with. Many people fall into the habit of demonizing any kink or fetish considered problematic and making out whoever falls into those categories to be disgusting predators. I don’t care very much for these people considering they often fail to realize that kink is rarely a choice and that prejudice towards it is often deeply rooted in ableism.

This serves as another example of walls being built solely around the fact that some of us view reality differently, and thus we view other people’s reality only in contrast to our own. Saya no Uta is a game that exists between two worlds, and is about how they converge and how they detach from each other.

Saya no Uta | Saya Blooms

Since I spent this whole review going over the thematic material of the game I guess I should knock out everything else fairly quick. The art is very well drawn, the music is beautiful, the voice acting is on point, and the game will last about maybe three to five hours. It is a haunting and beautiful game though, in its own way. I would need to advise similar caution about going into this game as I did with Euphoria though. The storyline deals with some intense and discomforting themes and it is still not for everyone.

But I have always paid special attention to these types of works. Those that put pure vision before profitability or popularity. This game didn’t really become all that popular until after Madoka Magica became a thing and it drew a lot of new attention to the game. I really suggest checking it out if you are into dark and disturbing shit or can at least tolerate it. But then again, we all see things differently don’t we?

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9 thoughts on “Saya no Uta (PC): Between Two Worlds (Detailed Review) (NSFW)

  1. An interesting review. I am a fan of works with bleak, disturbing themes, and have heard about this game before, but haven’t gotten around playing it myself. The fleshy locales look quite nice.

    One thing I must say though, about the woman that blocked you. If I were in her place, seeing what could be considered much too young-looking of a character being in a sex scene, and without any context, I would at least raise an eyebrow. So I can symphatize. Saya herself doesn’t look young enough to make me overly uncomfortable, but there are other more childlike characters which people seem to have a sexual attraction towards. Obviously most of them are not potential predators by any stretch, but seeing it still elicits a negative emotion for me.

    Also read your other reviews about eroge games as well, and I’ve got to give you mad props for wading through the grime and slime of those products to give them such extensive articles.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks. I appreciate the feedback. I take similar interest in these bleak and macabre games as well, and hentai games often make interesting subjects for reviews whether they are good or bad.

    Like

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