The Grisaia series may explore its five main heroines in considerable depth over its duration and various routes, but ultimately, the central character to the overall narrative is protagonist Kazami Yuuji.
Yuuji is one of the most distinctive, memorable and unusual visual novel protagonists in the entire medium. Through The Fruit of Grisaia’s exploration of him over the course of the five heroines’ routes, we learn a few details about him and his mysterious past. If you had come to the series completely blind, this would have the effect of gradually shifting your expectations: what might initially appear to be a relatively conventional high school-themed ren’ai (romance) visual novel slowly reveals itself to be much, much more complicated than you might expect.
And then you come to The Labyrinth of Grisaia, whose “Grand Route”, also known as The Cocoon of Caprice, finally gives us some concrete answers about who Yuuji is, why he is the way he is and the circumstances that brought him to Mihama Academy in the first place.
Continue reading Grisaia: Yuuji – The Boy Who Was Broken
Matsushima Michiru is one of Grisaia’s most unusual, interesting characters, initially appearing to be present primarily for comic relief, but subsequently showing herself to be a complex, fascinating character with a considerable amount of depth.
We’re first introduced to Michiru in the common route of The Fruit of Grisaia, when protagonist Yuuji comes across her doing vocal exercises in an empty classroom, closely followed by her practicing bellowing out stock tsundere phrases such as “i-it’s not like I’m doing this for you or anything” and “d-don’t misunderstand!”
Already well aware by this point that his new classmates are a little on the peculiar side, Yuuji doesn’t probe too deeply into the matter, but it’s immediately obvious whenever Michiru interacts with Yuuji or her other classmates that her tsundere personality isn’t who she really is; rather, it’s a façade she’s putting up for reasons that, at the outset of the story, aren’t entirely clear.
Continue reading Grisaia: Michiru – The Girl in the Box
Frontwing’s Grisaia series, which kicked off in 2011 with the Japanese release of first installment The Fruit of Grisaia, has come to be regarded as a particular high point for the visual novel medium.
Indeed, back in 2015, the /r/visualnovels subreddit voted The Fruit of Grisaia as number one on its list of top 10 visual novels (later republished on GameFAQs), and the community still holds the game in high regard today, as evidenced by its prominent position on the subreddit’s comprehensive diagram of recommendations.
Grisaia’s high ranking on /r/visualnovels’ list was particularly exciting to enthusiasts of the medium, as growing localisation company Sekai Project had already run a successful Kickstarter campaign to bring the whole series West in the twilight hours of 2014 and the start of 2015, potentially opening it up to a whole new audience that was perhaps less familiar with acquiring Japanese visual novels and patching them with fan translations.
But what makes this series so remarkable? Let’s take a high-level look at it.
Continue reading Grisaia: Introduction