Finished MLA! 68 hours! I’ll try and keep most of this not too specific and spoiler free…but be aware of the spoilered text
As I said above where this VN is good it really is top class but for me I did struggle with the pacing especially in the first 5 chapters which were merely OK I thought. And because I had no great feelings for Sumika I just never got into Takeru X Sumika which was a problem obviously in my appreciating what the VN trilogy was trying to do, but there we go - the same could be said of course with Clannad and Tomoyo X Nagisa if she isn’t your favourite. There was a frequent re-occurrence of a character saying something only for Takeru to internalise about it for what seemed like ages - well I got it without all that thanks! A little too repetitive at times and a bit of a slog now and then. And sometimes those extended conversations during critical moments in combat…
Anyway now I’ve got my gripes aside, some parts of the VN were very gripping and intense, with the story veering between imminent triumph and despair enough to keep you hooked - many times I ended up playing on a session longer that I intended (always a good thing!). With the introduction of new characters so late in the trilogy I didn’t think I’d get much attachment to them but they were all interesting in their own way and I came to like them a good deal. The art and action scenes certainly seemed very high quality to me. And although not much of a fan of Sumika the scene where she revealed just what she had been through at the er, tentacles, of the BETA was very powerful
I did feel though that episode 10 felt too short, I suppose they feared doing too much of the same but given the massive length of Episode 9 I wonder if they should have split them more equally? There was a point Capt Isumi’s death where I felt it was a more natural end to Episode 9 as it made a good springboard for the next set of events. The final chapter was kind of fun after all the intensity but in some ways a bit like unsatisfactorily leaving it open just in case anyone fancied doing a spin-off.
So that’s a pretty superficial first impression really as there is so much to discuss with the alt-universe sci-fi, theoretical physics, the characters, the BETA etc. I gave it 8.8 on VNDB and I’d put as much better than Grisaia but below Clannad and Steins; Gate.
My favourite episode was definitely number 6 the Coup d’Etat - there was something quite Game of Thrones about in-fighting amongst the compatriots and supposed allies while serious shit is going down that they should be dealing with in unity. As we didn’t learn anything much about the BETA (other than being an implacable and totally alien enemy) until right near the end, the capacity for the human race to be its own worst enemy remained for me more central to my enjoyment of the story.
Favourite and best character? Kouzuki Yuuko of course ( and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise!), closely followed by Marimo-chan and Kasumi.
Best girl: Meiya very closely followed by Ayamine (yes, really!)