A mystery horror visual novel about a group of children (?) in a mental institution who think themselves to be characters from various fairy tales.
Release: 2015 (Liar Soft)
Writers: Unabara Nozomu & Takao Tozan (Forest) & Mareni (Albatross)
Japanese difficulty: Hard
Ratings: VNDB (7.39); EGS (8.07)
Any sort of discussion on Fairytale Requiem is bound to spoil it as figuring out what the hell it’s even about is half of the fun. Let’s just say that it’s something you’d get after combining Subarashiki Hibi with Princess Tutu, and is also one of the most disturbing visual novels I have ever read. It uses your nostalgia for your childhood fairy tales to make you let your subconscious guard down, and then suddenly strikes where it hurts the most. In a way, it’s both a tale about growing up and shedding your romantic illusions about the world aside, and critique of the said mundane and cruel world arguing that true happiness might indeed lie only in delusion.
As an amnesiac protagonist you keep the company of spectacularly mad heroines as they tread through the metaphorical tracks of their respective fairy tales, and either help them drown in the delusion, or attempt to get them face the reality. And man, if you think the latter is the right choice, you better brace yourself for some stuff that’s gonna give you nightmares.
With three writers the writing feels a bit uneven, with Mareni standing out in particular as in his parts everyone suddenly starts sounding like they are sixty years old and prose becomes nigh impenetrable with all the flowery words and sentences that seem to never end. While I’m usually not against purple prose, it felt a bit out of place and quite needlessly cumbersome in Fairytale Requiem especially since the two other writers chose to go for a more balanced and fast-paced style (which, despite the subject matter, I thought suited this particular VN better).
There was one ero scene in Odette’s route that went on for like an hour and had so many poetic expressions I eventually lost track of what was even going on. I mean, Mareni is cool and all, but I feel he is a lot better working alone as you need a special kind of mindset to get into him, and it’s very hard to do that when the text keeps alternating between relatively normal and what-the-fuck prose.
It’s also worth mentioning that you get the “answer” scenario unlocked after you clear all the routes of the heroines, and it’s kind of odd how the supposedly the “bad ending” — where you discover your own fairy-tale identity — is given a lot more care and is much more thought-provoking compared to the “good” one which, frankly, felt kinda tacked on and out of place — even childish — for an otherwise incredibly dark work. I bet they included it just so people wouldn’t send them bomb letters for being sick bastards. Reminded me a little of Swan Song in that sense.
In any case, Fairytale Requiem is as unorthodox as visual novels get, but if you’re into mystery, horror, mindfuck, or thought-provoking fiction in general, you might want to check it out. Some people say it marks the revival of the old Liar Soft (Kusarihime, Forest) now that Sakurai Hikaru seems to be gone from their ranks. And, frankly, I’m very excited for the prospect as Fairytale Requiem is as of now my favorite Liar-Soft’s visual novel.
|Colorful but kind of distorted artwork conveys the atmosphere of the VN perfectly||Ugly sprites|
|Fantastic music, even by Liar Soft’s standards||Prose can become pretty cumbersome in some parts|
|Disturbing and dark, but at the same time very “colorful” atmosphere||The grand “good” ending is kinda boring|
|Profound, interesting characters||A few twists leading to the “good” ending are pretty silly|
|Good, relatively fast pace wastes very little time on redundant scenes (rare for VNs)||A lot of the plot elements are “borrowed” from the fairy tales in question which makes the experience a bit predictable|
|Constant little hints at the overlaying mystery keep the plot engrossing|
|Fascinating story that retells the plots of multiple fairy tales under a very dark and adult lens|
|Thought-provoking on the foulness and mundaneness of the adult world compared to the bliss of a child’s imagination|
2 thoughts on “[VN] Fairytale Requiem”
glad you liked it as much as i did when i read it last summer in hospital. just finished its so called fandisc & yeah… found some endings to be even more surreal & weird than in its main game, abit too strange even for my heinous taste. nevertheless the additional route is pretty cool, rest are nice gimmics, but nothing more. either way the whole thing made me pretty happy, simply because stories like those arent real common by now, more late 90´s, early 00´s with all that dark, toxic & narcotic stuff going on. seriously i fukking missed a story consisting of such themes like words cannot describe how much. nothing better than literature which gets you out of your comfort zone, btw .forces you to face your inner demons by non letting you drown in sweet escapism like its usually the case.
I hear you, brother. All we need now is for Black Cyc to resurrect.
Also, I can’t imagine a better place to read Fairytale Requiem than a hospital. 😛