YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of this World
|YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of this World|
Cover art for Sega Saturn version
(Kono Yo no Hate de Koi o Utau Shōjo YU-NO)
|Designed by||Hiroyuki Kanno|
|Genre||Visual novel, adventure|
|Platform||NEC PC-9801 (original release), Sega Saturn, Microsoft Windows|
|Original video animation|
|Directed by||Katsuma Kanazawa|
Hiroyuki Kanno (original) |
Osamu Kudo (screenplay)
Katsuma Kanazawa (storyboard)
|Released||1998 – 1999|
|Designed by||Ryō Nagi|
Ryu Umemoto (original)|
|Genre||Visual novel, adventure|
|Platform||PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4|
|Released||March 16, 2017|
|Written by||Sōji Ishida|
|Original run||March 14, 2017 – present|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Tetsuo Hirakawa|
|Original run||2018 – scheduled|
YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of this World (この世の果てで恋を唄う少女YU-NO Kono yo no hate de koi o utau Shōjo YU-NO), is a Japanese visual novel / graphic adventure game developed and published by ELF Corporation, originally as an adult game for the PC-98 in 1996. It was written and produced by Hiroyuki Kanno, while its FM-synth music soundtrack was composed by Ryu Umemoto, Ryu Takami, and Kazuhiro Kanae; who had previously worked on C's Ware titles such as Eve Burst Error (1995).
The game's protagonist travels between various parallel worlds in order to solve the mystery of his parents' disappearance. Although parallel worlds are not an unfamiliar concept in science fiction, the game uses concepts from physics, mathematics, philosophy, history and religion to construct a unique fictional universe. In particular, the "A.D.M.S." or "Auto Diverge Mapping System," which visually displays the branching parallel worlds/storylines as a tree, aids the player in navigation. The game also includes references to cannibalism and incest.
A NEC PC-9801 edition, Sega Saturn edition and Microsoft Windows edition were released. All versions are rated 18+, although explicit sex scenes were removed from the Saturn and Windows editions. A hentai anime OVA as well as a manga and several novels were later released. A remake developed by 5pb was announced in December 2014 and after several delays was released on PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 in March 2017.
- 1 Title
- 2 Gameplay
- 3 Characters
- 4 Development
- 5 Releases
- 6 Adaptations
- 7 Reception
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The bound of this world (この世の果て kono yo no hate) referred to in the title is the location which the protagonist reaches at the conclusion of the game. Yu-no is the name of a girl central to the story. The creators revealed that "YU-NO" (which comes last in the Japanese title) is meant to be a subtitle. The English version of the title, used in some artwork, is stylized as "YU-NO: A girl who chants love at the bound of this world.", with the period.
The player travels between parallel worlds using a Reflector device, which employs a limited number of stones to mark a certain position as a returning location, so that if the player decides to retrace steps, they can go to an alternate universe to the time they've used a Reflector stone. The game also implemented an original system called ADMS, or Automatic Diverge Mapping System, which displays a screen that the player can check at any time to see the direction in which they are heading along the branching plot lines. Similar systems have later been employed in the 2010 role-playing video games, Radiant Historia and the PSP version of Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together.
The PC-98 and Sega Saturn versions of the game are slightly different. Unless otherwise noted, the following information describes the PC-98 version.
YU-NO is set apart from typical adventure gameplay due to a feature called A.D.M.S. ("Auto Diverge Mapping System"). When a branch in the storyline nears, an indicator on the game's "Reflector Device" blinks. When the player makes a choice that advances the storyline, his route is recorded in the "Divergence Map" and the device plays a sound. The player is tasked with collecting 8 jewels which are the power source of the Reflector device, and the Divergence Map shows the locations of all jewels within the storylines even before the player has reached them. In this way, A.D.M.S. is used to search through the parallel worlds. The Divergence Map displays time from left to right, and concurrent parallel worlds vertically.
Another noteworthy feature is the "Jewel Save". The jewels that power the Reflector device can be clicked to place a mark on the Divergence map, using up the jewel in the process. The Divergence map can later be opened and the player can instantly travel back to the mark, regaining the jewel. If a jewel save is made before a branch point in the story, the player can explore one scenario and then quickly travel back and explore an alternative. This feature alone would be akin to simply saving or loading the game, however, key items can be carried over from one world to another through the jewel save.
Prologue and epilogue
The game contains sections at the beginning and end that feature a more traditional visual novel style gameplay, in which you choose commands like "Look" or "Speak" from a menu. In these sections, there are no branching paths, and it is not possible to use the Reflector Device.
- Takuya Arima (有馬 たくや Arima Takuya)
- Voiced by: Nobuyuki Hiyama (1997), Susumu Chiba (anime 1998), Yu Hayashi (2017)
- The protagonist of the game. Third-year student at Sakaimachi Academy. Apparently lost his mother Keiko to illness when he was young. He often has dreams of his mother. Two months prior to the start of the game, his father was killed in a rockfall.
- Ayumi Arima (有馬 亜由美 Arima Ayumi)
- Voiced by: Kikuko Inoue (1997), Kaori Nazuka (2017)
- Mitsuki Ichijou (一条 美月 Ichijō Mitsuki)
- Voiced by: Rei Sakuma (1997), Saori Onishi (2017)
- Mio Shimazu (島津 澪 Shimazu Mio)
- Voiced by: Yumi Touma (1997), Rie Kugimiya (2017)
- Eriko Takeda (武田 絵里子 Takeda Eriko)
- Voiced by: Aya Hisakawa (1997) , Yu Kobayashi (2017)
- Amanda (アマンダ Amanda)
- Voiced by: Yuuko Mita (1997), Marina Inoue (2017)
- Kanna Hatano (波多乃 神奈 Hatano Kanna)
- Voiced by: Yuka Imai (1997), Maaya Uchida (2017)
- Yu-no (ユーノ Yūno)
- Voiced by: Kimiko Koyama (1997), Ari Ozawa (2017)
- Koudai Arima (有馬 広大 Arima Kōdai)
- Voiced by: Fumihiko Tachiki (1997), Keiji Fujiwara (2017)
- Keiko Arima (有馬 恵子 Arima Keiko)
- Voiced by: Chizuko Hoshino
- Masakatsu Yuuki (結城 正勝 Yūki Masakatsu)
- Voiced by: Tetsuya Iwanaga (1997), Yūki Fujiwara (2017)
- Hideo Toyotomi (豊富 秀夫 Toyotomi Hideo)
- Voiced by: Shinichirou Miki (1997), Takuya Eguchi (2017)
- Kouzou Ryuuzouji (龍蔵寺 幸三 Ryūzōji Kōzō)
- Voiced by: Akio Ōtsuka (1997), Taiten Kusunoki (2017)
- Ume Ryuuzouji (龍蔵寺 梅 Ryūzōji Ume)
- Voiced by: Reiko Suzuki
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The centerpiece of the game, A.D.M.S., arose from the "multi-scenario" approach. The multi-scenario technique was introduced first by the hit game Otogirisō by Chunsoft. Unlike a collection of independent stories, the game has the feature of branching storylines according to the actions of the player. Drawing up the chart while advancing the game could become very difficult if the branching is complex. To solve this problem, Hiroyuki Kanno, the game's designer, writer, and producer, applied the concept of auto-mapping from Dungeon crawler role-playing video games. Although automatic mapping seems to be common sense now, RPG dungeon maps were originally meant to be drawn on paper. Kanno stated that he preferred this era, but it was time for a more convenient system.
A.D.M.S. was a novel system that had the potential to revolutionize multi-scenario adventure games, but Kanno had misgivings about it. If you draw the branches according to the protagonist's actions, you are looking at the game from "outside". Therefore, it cannot be the hero who is drawing the chart. A similar problem exists in role-playing games. For example, the experience points that are accrued in each battle. The player will check this value as he plays. However, even though the player is supposed to assume the role of the hero, the hero does not know his experience points. Kanno's explanation is that the player has the perspective of God in the game. This was a problem for the development of YU-NO, which Kanno aspired to create as a "true role-playing challenge" game.
In order to negate the problem of God's Perspective, the A.D.M.S. chart must be shown to the protagonist. In the real world, we usually believe there is only one path from the past to the future. The protagonist similarly believes this, so seeing the divergence map would be unnatural. To solve this problem, Kanno decided to introduce the parallel worlds. Adjacent to the protagonist's world is another world reached by different actions in the story. In this case, visualization of the branches of the storyline and the parallel worlds are the same. The protagonist has a special device which serves the purpose of displaying the divergence map. Therefore, you can assume the role of the protagonist in the game while still seeing the map.
NEC PC-9801 series version
Released as an adult game on December 26, 1996. YU-NO for PC98 was the last MS-DOS game developed by ELF. The price at the time was 9800 yen. Both floppy disk and CD-ROM versions were released. The CD-ROM edition contained arrangements of the music, but was identical to the floppy edition otherwise.
Sega Saturn version
Released on December 4, 1997. Recommended for 18+. The price was 7800 yen, or 9800 yen bundled with a mouse. There are several different illustrations underneath the CD tray, which can only be seen after opening the game. A special disk containing extra content that was later mailed out with the PC-98 version was integrated into this version. As in the Windows version, some incest references have been removed.
Other modifications from the PC98 version: Graphics repainted to use more colors; Animation sequences added; Music rearranged; Character voices added; Two jewels were added (total of 10); Explicit sex scenes were removed.
The PC-98 version of the game was ported to Windows as part of "ELF Classics" and released on December 22, 2000. The graphics and music are equivalent to the PC-98 version, but content that was removed in the Saturn version was also removed here.
An English fan-made translation patch for the Windows version was released in September 2011 by TLWiki. Apart from the translation, it provides re-inserted voices from the Sega Saturn version, explicit sex scenes, Ryu Umemoto's original FM score and Sega Saturn CGs. Hardcore Gaming 101 praised the patch for its translation quality and called it "one of the finest examples of fan efforts in video gaming."
An HD remake was released in March 2017. It features a remixed soundtrack and completely new artwork with Ryou Nagi of Ar Tonelico fame as character designer. It was developed by 5pb, which acquired the rights from the now defunct ELF. It was announced in December 2014, and its release date was delayed several times - first it was February 2016, then spring 2016, then late 2016, then finally March 2017.
In 2016, a new anime adaptation produced by Feel in collaboration with MAGES and Genco has been announced. It was later revealed that the new anime will air on television in 2018 and will be a 2-cour series with 26 episodes.  The anime will be directed by Tetsuo Hirakawa, and characters will be designed by Mai Ootsuka. Hirakawa said the anime will include the same all characters and all the routes as the original game. As opposed to the game's first-person perspective from protagonist Takuya's point of view, the anime will also depict the relationships of the girls surrounding Takuya. Hirakawa vowed that the anime "will outdo the game in dirty jokes," that Mio "will be even more tsundere," and that Kanna "will be even more mysterious."
According to statistics compiled by Digital Media Insider, 45,844 (30,553 CD edition, 15,291 floppy edition) copies were sold by November 30, 1997. In the 1997 annual ranking in Digital Media Insider, the CD edition reached rank #14 (with rank #1 "SHOCK PRICE Mah-jongg" selling 77,102 copies, and the top-selling adult game at rank #3 "Sadistic King Rance" selling 72,572 copies). However, this number does not include ELF's direct mail-order sales. The March 1997 edition of Comptiq stated that YU-NO had already sold over 100,000 copies.
Hardcore Gaming 101 noted that YU-NO helped revolutionize the visual novel genre, particularly with the Automatic Diverge Mapping System, which was touted as "revolutionary" at the time.
YU-NO won a reader's choice award in Blitz King's "2nd Video Game Awards Grand Prix" in May 1997. The game also earned rank #9 in E-Login's "Game and Heroine of the year 1996", and rank #5 in Comptiq's "1st Video Game Awards Grand Prix" in 1998.
Sega Saturn version
The news that the PC-98 edition would be ported to Saturn was reported by several magazines including Sega Saturn Magazine, Dengenki Saturn, and Famitsu. Sega Saturn Magazine included a 4-page feature on YU-NO. Sales reports of the Sega Saturn edition range from 139,509 to 240,820 copies sold.
RPGFan gave the game a 97% score, including ratings of 100% for story, 100% for control, 85% gameplay, 80% graphics and 80% sound/music. The reviewer WooJin Lee said the story is "amazing" and praised the Automatic Diverge Mapping System for adding replay value, concluding that "I feel this game to be THE best Graphical Adventure game ever, which from me (I play tons of these games) is a huge compliment."
It has sold 40000 copies as of March 2017.
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- Official site for the remake (in Japanese)
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- Yu-No at MobyGames
- Yu-No at GameFAQs
- "YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of this World". The Visual Novel Database.
- YU-NO (OVA) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- YU-NO (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia