Narcissu: Visual Novel Review

Narcissu, a visual novel by Stage-Nana, tells a story of two young people who are both terminally ill. Not wanting to die in the hospital or in their homes, they ran away together. They drove all over Japan without any particular destination until they decided to go to Awaji Island – to the narcissu fields.




While the setting of the novel is reminiscent of Hantsuki, it takes a totally different plot. The story is solid and quite unpredictable. It felt like reading a good short fiction or watching a good movie on a Saturday night. It in fact reminds me of Haruki Murakami novels. The overall feel of it is sad but not taxing to read. The background images are beautifully drawn employing minimal graphics rendered on a cinematic screen. It has voiced and unvoiced tracks. Setsumi’s voice is soft and indifferent effectively depicting her character. There are also two translations which are both good capturing good monologues and intelligent exchange of thoughts between the two characters. Background music is relaxing and I swear I heard some bossa nova tunes there.

I’m glad I’ve come across this novel – a lovely story of two people who at the point of giving up found each other and made their lives more meaningful/memorable before it finally ended. Definitely one of the good free visual novels out there.


11 Responses to Narcissu: Visual Novel Review

  1. Choo says:

    the characters seem nice. I meant their drawings. Novel as in inside is full of words and very lil pictures? XD

  2. lanie-emon says:

    I do love a good story and the chara design looks nice as well…

  3. onyxx says:

    arresting visuals. i hope it’s not a bawl fest 🙂

  4. shinji says:

    @coeli: check your email ^^

    @choo & lanie-emon: yes the character design is really nice to look at but since this was inteded to be a minimalist novel, you won’t see much character images. This made it different from typical VNs. But that’s what I like about it.^^

    @onyxx: lol, I like this kind of stories but some don’t really dig sad plots ^^

  5. ritchan says:

    I wasn’t bemused when I figured out that the female was the focus of the story, even though the guy himself is also terminally ill. I mean, c’mon! ‘I will remember her forever’ when he’s going to die soon too? Talk about pandering too much to a male audience! By the end of the novel, you feel like she’s like the only one dying. Like she’s the only one that matters.

    Hmm, maybe that’s supposed to feel like that.

  6. shinji says:

    Pandering to male audience… yup I agree and you can almost always see this in VNs. But from another point of view, maybe the author is trying to show two time frames in the VN, one is death or the ultimate end which was selfishly depicted by Setsumi which is the very same end the guy will inevitably go through; and second the initial stage of dealing with the disease as depicted by the guy’s character which is probably the same stage that Setsumi has undergone. So while they’re both bound to die, two pictures were presented through two different characters.

    Don’t know if that makes sense hehe. ^^

  7. ritchan says:

    Dunno if you’re still reading this, but still… if I had a terminal disease, I wouldn’t think of myself as being in a different time frame, no matter when I contracted the disease. I’d feel that we’re in the same boat… Narcissu doesn’t let me feel like I’m in the same boat. Whoever she is, she’s sinking into the water, and I’m floating up here in a boat watching her say goodbye to me through the clear water. And that’s why Narcissu loses major points from me.

  8. Superpsychol says:

    I think you’re wrong, ritchan – some people feel like their life lasts forever, even through it’s only a few moments, just because they saw somebody they love die.
    You should remember that protagonist is narrating, so he isn’t able to judge whether he’ll life for some time or die right after her. Moreover, many people tend to say ‘I’ll remember forever’, so it’s only natural.

  9. RCName says:

    Yes. the story is focused on Setsumi.

    But the story is (mostly) from the protagonist’s point of view. It doesn’t strike me as being too strange for someone like him to care more for her then for himself (or maybe he is just quite tired of having to care about his condition.)

    I think (correct me if I’m wrong) ritchan feels as though the protagonist has forgotten he is dying, or maybe he’s too relaxed about it, which makes that point of the story feel arbitrary. Really, though, he knows he is going to die; he acknowledge it, accepts it, and that’s quite enough. There isn’t a need for him to constantly lamate about how the darkness in his heart is so deep and sorrowful; in fact it’ll probably spoil turn the story into a drama-fest.

    But he still did realise and clashes with the effects of his illness on him (pachinko parlour thievery attempt)

    Really, though, you need to realise that there are people who really don’t see death the way others do. He’s pretty much grown up in a place where no one bothers with him and he bothers with no one; I expect that will have at least some impact on how he acted towards the end of his life.

    (I feel rather dazed so forgive my lack of clarity)

  10. ishino123 says:

    she is so adorable….
    and i’m falling in love with her..XD

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