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Saya no Uta (沙耶の唄) Review

August 16, 2009

Saya(Source)

The new face of horror is a loli temptress.


Synopsis: After university student Fuminori Sakisaka is involved in a fatal accident that kills his parents and leaves him severely injured, he undergoes an experimental surgery that saves his life but warps his senses: everything that was once normal to him is now plastered in gore and guts. From the school chambers to the very company of his old friends, Fuminori is finding it literally impossible to stomach being alive, clinging to whatever vestiges of his sanity he has left while in his hospital bed. That is until he meets Saya, a seemingly gentle young girl who takes a liking to Fuminori. They decide to live together and start a relationship as Fuminori becomes more obsessed with Saya. Soon his depravities become a sick joke as he does whatever is in his power to make sure his life with Saya is undisturbed.
Developed by Nitroplus.

Download: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Review:

When it comes to the enigmatic visual novel Saya no Uta, it would be insulting to think of it as nothing more than a glorified blood-and-guts picture show. While a relatively short work, it offers some of the most memorable and graphic moments of recent visual novel history, bolstered by its solid writing and attractive artwork. Coupled with its gripping plot, it amounts to a masterfully poignant vignette about madness and deranged love.

sayanouta2

Fuminori, complete with lifeless stare.

Being that the story is mainly told from the point of view of Fuminori, the madman himself, it isn’t much of a chore to empathize with the growing instability in his psyche. With his family gone, he is unable to even find solace in the comfort of his old friends, seeing them as nothing more than giant rotting heaps of flesh with shrill demonic voices. In lieu of his condition, he meets the charming Saya, a soft-spoken girl who seems perplexed that he isn’t frightened by her appearance. Craving the warmth of another body, Fuminori pleads for Saya to stay with him, and they instantly fall in love with each other. For Fuminori, Saya was the only thing keeping him alive.

Fuminori meets Saya.

Fuminori meets Saya.

With its gut-wrenching visuals, we’re able to voyeuristically center ourselves into Fuminori’s world of despair. We make his madness our own, a madness so sickening and viral that it begs to be slaked with our own hedonic urges. Indeed, the novel borders on being downright revolting, frequently engaging in subjects such as accidental murder, playful torture, and fits of psychosis. Saya herself is the agent of some of these atrocities, working into mindset of the doomed protagonist and antihero. It’s a narrative free-for-all where all the characters are either predator or prey.

The plot to Saya no Uta is multi-layered but not at all clunky. Fuminori, after relinquishing all attachment to his former life, begins to search for Saya’s missing father in hopes of learning more about her in the budding stages of their relationship. Fuminori’s old friends try to find out why he has been distancing himself from them since the accident, meeting untimely misfortune when they come at odds with Saya, who wants nothing more than happiness for herself and Fuminori.

Fuminori attacking a threat. Or was it?

Fuminori attacking a threat. Or was it?

Part of the novel’s strength lies in the precise attention to detail taken by Nitroplus, from the top-notch voice acting to the graphic novel style of art, all beautifully rendered and worthy of merit in their own right. From the pitter-patter of footsteps on marble floors, to the sound of someone’s scream at the bottom of a well, you’ll be impressed with how much is accounted for. The musical score does the job of getting under your skin when the time calls for it, but some of the songs become rather tiresome. This is indicative of the short length of the novel itself, as mentioned before, and will hardly be a problem for those who find themselves engrossed in the story.

Don't look up.

Don't look up.

Saya no Uta is a romantic tragedy heavily intertwined with a classic Lovecraftian horror. While this sounds like a clumsy mesh conjured up in a desperate attempt to be fresh, the novel itself demonstrates that it is anything but. With its staggering attention to detail, it slowly scrapes out the humanity in the hollows of your mind as you plunge into a nihilistic world of sex and violence, leaving you as paralyzed as another one of Saya’s victims.

Art: A
Music: A-
Sounds: A+
Story: A

Overall: A

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