The Fruit Of Grisaia is a Visual Novel developed and published by Frontwing and is also the base story of the anime Grisaia no Kajitsu, which came roughly four years after the Visual Novel (MAL link). This is a rather long visual novel being classified on VNDB with a read time of 50 hours or more but in total it took me about 220 hours to complete the entire novel and experience all the routes.
In order to avoid any major spoilers of the story itself, I will purposely leave out specific content of the game in this review and only talk of the actual story's premise and the characters.
The story takes place in a small city at Michima Cape, seemingly an island outside the city of Tokyo near the Ocean. The city provides everything we need to live a peaceful life thanks to a city center with different shops and stores and a beautiful beach.
We take control of the protagonist and young student named Kazami Yuuji who was sent by his company to a special academy known as Mihama Academy. This is a special facility built entirely for one purpose, to support students with difficult psychological and post-traumatic conditions in childhood where a normal life is no longer possible in the current world. Kazami Yuuji wished nothing more than a normal school and student life which was granted to him by his company.
In this school the moment we are admitted and welcomed by Principal Tachibana Chizuru, it is also home of five students who lives in the school dorm:
Kazami Yuuji did not have a normal childhood and was not able to attend a normal school as he should have. Still suffering from his past, he is able to forget his worries while staying in the Academy with his new school friends, yet events begin to take place that reminds him that he has still not recovered from his traumatic childhood.
Zakaki Yumiko is the daughter of East Beach Railway Express Group's CEO Michiaki Sakaki which is also the one responsible behind the construction of Mihama Academy. Her personality is very abnormal and she isolates herself in her room for the most time in the dorm. When she feels uneasy around the other students she is quick to threaten them with a box cutter that she is always carrying on her. She has high difficulties getting along with others because she tends to be very blunt about her thoughts.
Matsushima Michiru tries very hard to take on the personality of a tsundere. She wears her hair in twin tails which she bleaches regularly to keep them a pure blond color. Michiru Dislikes everything that is sour but she still drinks a daily sour Vitamin C drink in the attempt to "improve her intelligence", which provides the other student's entertainment at how she struggles to swallow it down. It is a mystery as to why she chooses to stick to this quirky personality so strongly.
Suou Amane is the so-called "Big Sister" of the group of students. She does act like a big sister, always trying to support others how she can. She is a mother figure for Makina since she is the one who took Makina under her care. Amane has a well-defined and developed body and tends to use it to seduce Yuuji on every occasion. She is also a very skilled cook since her parents own a restaurant.
Irisu Makina is the youngest of the girls and also the most childish one of all the students. Due to her very hard past and family affairs, Makina lost her sense of comfort around other people and will put great effort into avoiding contact with strangers. Compared to her actual age, she still acts like you would expect it from a child and has an equally small frame appearing rather fragile. She has been gradually becoming more dependent on Suou Amane due to Amane cooking for her and helping her with daily care needs.
Komine Sachi is the latest to arrive at Mihama Academy before Yuuji. Sachi took the habits of always wearing a maid uniform, always ready to help with any task or request made by her friends, even able to complete ones that seem to be impossible for her to achieve in the smallest amount of time. Due to her very delicate personality, she takes everything said to her to heart and will not stop until she has done what someone proposed or suggested to her. Due to this unwavering diligence, she is unable to tell the difference between when she is doing something that is good or bad.
After the entry into the academy, Yuuji continues his previous daily habits and is not allowed to talk about his formal "job", only able to tell others that it is a cleaning company.
Yuuji was not given any specific order to attempt and involve himself with others at the school, and initially, he didn't make effort to do so. However, as time passes his friendship begins to grow between the different students at the academy.
Each student has their very own circumstances for being in this school. Thanks to this, the story provides us with no specific route to have a true end or true route. Every route that you choose to take has its very own adapted story which is a very positive change to the usual visual novel standard. Each character route has its own good and bad ending which makes it a must to go and read through all of the characters' routes to read the totality of the content.
The Fruit of Grisaia presents us with high-quality visuals and well-detailed CG's. The artwork is very beautiful and adapted to the weather, light, and darkness, and also adapted to each story. I really love how the visuals and artworks were adapted to each of the characters and flashbacks. It gives the reader an additional feeling of the actual situation and how the story flows.
Additionally to the already genuine art of the visual novel, we are provided with additional wallpapers downloadable for desktops at 4 different sizes, sweet avatars to be usable in any kind of forum or as a profile picture, and even voiced content from the main characters in the visual novel usable for notifications and calls on mobile, some are really amusing. I will most likely use one of them on my mobile phone. This is a truly respectable free addition from the developer!
There is also the ability to listen to all tracks available in the game which are nice and do accompany well the visual novel with its different titles. They include a few songs which we have after each ending plus the opening song, review specific scene replays and movie replay.
The characters mostly wear only 2 uniforms since the story takes place in an academy so they wear mainly school clothing. For events outside the school, some characters tend to keep the school clothes while others do change into casual attire.
The game can be played in both window and fullscreen mode.
Likes & Dislikes
The story is something that turned out to be amazing and really shines compared to other novels in this genre. I read all the routes and didn't find a single one that I did not enjoy. I couldn't even complain about getting a "bad" ending as both the good and bad endings impressed me in how they handled each.
The deep details, the humor added into it, the sarcasm of the characters, the personal circumstances from each character show a point of psychological madness and post-traumatic suffering, this all makes me think about where the idea comes from. The story is stated to be fiction, but I truly think the emotional traumas that the characters go through are so well thought out and executed in the novel, that they may have been inspired by real-life situations from real people.
I am impressed with the fact of the dull atmosphere and the dark past of everyone's background that the Academy itself seemed to be a small paradise. The students are able to enjoy themselves and play together forgetting any worries, allowing them to live the most normal life that they could experience. Being able to act like normal students for once in their life adds humor to the situation and it turned out to be very pleasant. I think this is something not easily done, being able to ease situations with the appropriate touch of humor without it becoming too much or interfering with the overall feel of the story.
I also found the art style and execution of it fitting to the theme of this visual novel, with CG's that expressed the grief and sadness of the characters but also still remained remarkably well detailed. The character art always matched the current events displaying their own unique expressions and traits.
My only dislike in this novel would be that every route seemed to fall in place to the main protagonist's main plan. I was missing the moment where we had to adapt to a situation that didn't fall into his plan or had elements that happened that were not what he wanted as an end result.
The other thing that I felt was lacking was that we learn mostly nothing about the protagonist himself. We have three routes showing that the protagonist could have a slight connection to the other students but there is only one that actually goes into slight details explaining some of Yuuji's past so that we understand his own problems. I really do hope to learn more about him in the other game releases as he is a very interesting character.
The game has 2 different versions. I ended up playing both versions to be able to understand the differences. The version published on Steam does not contain any eroge or sexual content, there is also no patch available for the game. If someone is looking for the uncensored version you will have to buy it at a different store outside of Steam.
My overall thoughts for The Fruit Of Grisaia are amazing, to say the least. This visual novel includes a lot of different elements such as truly deep and well detailed psycho traumatic scenes, very awful childhoods that all of them have to bear within them, a nice and pleasant humor added to perfectly distract from the dull atmosphere at the right moments, and also the unique personalities for each character that provides a great deal of diversity into the story.
They added an amazing assortment of extra content such the fantastic CG's, music tracks, opening and ending songs from each route, wallpapers, and ring tones. This is something the developer went above and beyond on compared to most visual novels. I can only say, this visual novel is a masterpiece in its own rights.
In regards to my suggestion for the Steam version versus the retail version, I can say that the Steam version does have a few scenes that would abruptly cut off that would normally lead into the H-scene. However, the sexual content is not what should be the main attraction or topic in this novel. Everything is done so well that the H-scenes are more of a cherry on top for those who prefer to have them.
You absolutely can enjoy everything The Fruit of Grisaia has to offer regardless of which version you decide to purchase. This is without a doubt my favorite visual novel I've read to date. It's a must-read and I strongly recommend playing through all the routes to get the full experience.
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