Visual Novel: Saya no Uta
Each night, I went to sleep wishing that this would turn out to be a nightmare.
Yet each morning I awoke to find that the world was just as horribly warped as it was the day before.
I have to live while blending in, while acting like one of them. Just as I've done these past three months, I will continue to do for the rest of my life.
A Visual Novel
, Saya no Uta
("Song of Saya") revolves around a medical school student, Fuminori Sakisaka. Before the main plot, he was involved in a car accident which killed both his parents. He was saved, however, by an experimental brain surgery... which just happened to drastically alter his perception of the world. Everything now appears to him as if it were made from guts, slime, and gore.
Well, almost everything.
One night while still in the hospital, a girl dressed in white
appears before him. To him she appears completely normal, and above that, downright beautiful. Rather than consider the why of this
, he latches onto her as his reason to keep living, and convinces her to move in with him once he's released from the hospital.
The more things go on, however, the more Fuminori withdraws from the rest of his life
. His friends become increasingly worried for his sake, including Yoh Tsukuba, who has had a crush on him since before the accident. His doctor, Ryoko Tanbo, still has the impression that there's something he's not telling her... This is true enough; out of fear of becoming a lab experiment, Fuminori never told her (or anyone save Saya) about the way he now sees the world. Finally, there is his search for information on Professor Ougai. All these things and the decision on whether Fuminori wants to be normal
interact to drive the plot forward.
This game provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Saya and Dr. Tanbo in different ways.
- Adult Fear: Pretty much all characters in the Visual Novel meet horrible endings, but for this trope in particular, Yousuke is the primary example and arguably the only one worthy of feeling sorry for. A doting family man has his life suddenly thrown into hell after Saya gives him a "new" way to see things, from there on the otherwise upstanding citizen goes apeshit insane brutaly killing his wife and daughter out of pure horror everything in the world has become in his mind, and even enjoys it in a very twisted way, and as if this wasn't excruciating painful enough Yousuke's mind deranges so much that after he meets Saya again, with she now being the only person he can see in human form, the first thing in his agenda is to viciously rape her. A true nightmare - no, better yet - a night terror to any decent family man out there.
- Adaptation Decay: The American comic book of Saya no Uta takes some... "creative" directions with the plot. Fuminori is changed to a more "American" name (Josh), Saya is no longer Cthulhu, but rather the result of secret government experiments. We are shown Saya's true form at the end of the first comic, despite never actually seeing it in the original story— which is arguably scarier than actually knowing. Saya is also "aged up" to a less controversial body in Josh's eyes. While she was almost a child in the H-game, she's now about 18 physically.
- Alien Invasion: Of a sort.
- Alien Sky: Fuminori's warped perceptions extend to the sky, too.
- Aliens Speaking Japanese: Saya learned it from Dr. Ougai.
- Anyone Can Die
- Artistic License – Biology - Admitted, at least: A disclaimer at the beginning notes that this is in effect.
- Badass: Kouji. It takes some serious balls to do the things he has to.
- Badass Labcoat: Ryoko Tanbo.
- Battle Couple: Fuminori and Saya in two of the endings.
- Beneath the Mask: Dr. Tanbo. On the job, she's a kind, friendly doctor, albeit a bit secretive. Off the job, she's paranoid and obsessed with killing the Eldritch Abomination that haunts her dreams.
- Beta Couple: Fuminori's former best friend, Kouji, and his girlfriend Oumi.
- Betty and Veronica: Shy, hesitant Yoh is Betty, malicious and beautiful yet cute looking Saya is Veronica. Can be turned the other way around if all you look at is their body, though.
- Big Damn Heroes: When Dr. Tanbo saves Kouji from the well.
- Bizarre Alien Biology
- Black Speech: Fuminori's hearing sense, along with all his other senses, is also warped: all voices but Saya's sound to him distorted, with weird frequency changes and other sounds hard to describe. This visual novel is dubbed, so we sometimes get to hear those voices as he hears them.
- A different example we can also hear, later in the story: when Oumi breaks into Fuminori house, how do you think she hears Saya's "Welcome home!"
- Body Horror: Happens to Yoh when Saya transforms her into the same being as herself. Then in one of the endings to everyone in the world.
- Break the Cutie: Yoh.
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: In one ending, Dr. Tanbo & Kouji manage to kill Saya and Fuminori subsequently commits suicide after delivering a mortal blow to Tanbo. Kouji, the sole survivor, becomes a paranoid schizophrenic cross between Tanbo & Fuminori, knowing he's permanently psychologically damaged from what he's witnessed, spends the rest of his life with a revolver with one bullet hidden in his bathroom, in case he ever reaches the point he can no longer stand live with the insanity and kills himself.
- Brown Note: Seeing Saya's true form is treated like this. Also a case of Take Our Word for It, as normally has to be the case for Brown Notes.
- Coitus Uninterruptus: While Fuminori is on the phone, being threatened by Kouji, he's shown to be forcing Yoh to give him a blowjob the entire time, and he segues into a conversation with Saya right afterward.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In Fuminori's mind, red represents gruesome, disgusting and bad, while green represents ethereal, calming and good. For example, the gory world is primarily red in color, while Saya's hair and eyes have an ethereal, greenish tint.
- Cthulhu Mythos: A heavy influence on the story, and Saya's background. It shows.
- Cute Monster Girl: Brutal deconstruction.
- Dark World: Fuminori sees the world as this.
- Despair Event Horizon: The result of one ending. Dr. Tanbo is left to watch the world as the human race is steadily converted into the same grotesque beings as Saya, knowing the same will happen to her in time. She takes is surprisingly well, which is to that say she accepts it at all.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Or rather, freeze her and then shoot half her body off?
- Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?
- Does Not Like Shoes: Saya is always barefoot.
- Downer Ending: The specifics differ, but Saya and Fuminori never get to be together. No one else really gets a happy ending, either. See Fate Worse Than Death
- Driven to Suicide: Meeting Saya is what keeps Fuminori from this. Later played straight when he loses Saya in one ending.
- Eldritch Abomination: Saya is hypothesized to be one of these. Somewhere between Starfish Aliens and Blob Monster in form. Also applied to transformed Yoh and one of the endings.
- The End of the World as We Know It: One of the endings.
- Evil Is Visceral: Lovecraft inspiration, and also because the insanity producing hallucination is that the whole world is... meat.
- Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: Saya is on Earth to study the dominant species (i.e. humans) then convert them to the same thing as her via spores.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Several.
- Most prominently is Yoh being turned into the same lifeform as Saya - an agonizing procedure that takes twenty hours to complete - and becomes the pet of the Sakisaka household. Fuminori is simply glad that now he doesn't have to go out of his way to kill Yoh.
- Fuminori in ending 1, where he's locked away in a sanitarium, probably for the rest of his life, and will likely never see Saya again as the two say goodbye forever using text messages on a cell phone passed back and forth underneath his cell door.
- Speaking about Fuminori, his point of view alone will drive you insane and if he never met Saya he would have committed suicide a long time ago.
- Dr. Tanbo in ending 2, where Saya "blooms" and every human in the planet changes into her type of life form, but Dr. Tanbo, being high up in the mountains where the spores have trouble reaching, transforms agonizingly slowly over the course of weeks as she completes transcribing Dr. Ougai's research on Saya for her own personal pride. At one point she even chops off one of her arms that had undergone the transformation while the rest of her was still human.
- And finally, Kouji in ending 3, as the only survivor of the Final Battle and last person remaining with knowledge of the now-deceased Saya's true nature and Things Man Was Not Meant to Know has to live knowing he can't talk with anyone about what he's witnessed lest they think he's crazy (which he partially is at this point and likely getting worse), his girlfriend and two best friends dead, and a revolver loaded with one bullet hidden in his bathroom in case the day ever comes he can't take his schizophrenia and hallucinations anymore and commits suicide.
- Final Battle
- Flower Motifs: Saya compares herself to a dandelion a few times.
- Foreign Remake: In the form of an American comic book.
- Genre Savvy: Dr. Tanbo, to the point where she seems more like an experienced Call of Cthulhu player than a doctor.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Fuminori was lucky enough not to have this happen when he first saw the changed world. It's later played straight with those who see Saya's true form.
- Gorn: Which Fuminori gets to see on a 24/7, world level scale!
- The Grotesque: Saya.
- Grotesque Cute
- Grotesque Gallery
- Hero Antagonist: Dr. Tanbo & Kouji
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Fuminori is Tamahome.
- Hidden Depths: Dr. Tanbo, namely.
- Hospital Hottie: Dr. Tanbo.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Fuminori and Saya. This may not actually be the case with Saya's true form (though she is apparently small enough to fit under Yousuke's couch), but her human guise is freaking tiny either way. (This could owe to the art style, however.)
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: That moment in the abandoned nut house where Yoh, feeling immense and constant pain as a side effect of her transformation, begs Kouji to kill her.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: The first choice in game is whether Fuminori wants this.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Saya and Fuminori, though the latter is not aware of it at first.
- Improvised Weapon: Kouji uses a rusty pipe at one point.
- Interspecies Romance: Saya and Fuminori.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy
- Kill 'em All: The latter two endings, one in which Saya "blooms" and her spores transform every human on the planet into what she is, and the other ending where every remaining major character except Kouji dies in the Final Battle and even then he is Driven to Suicide.
- Loners Are Freaks
- Love Freak: The only reason why Saya didn't infect the whole world right away was because of all the love stories that she read. That, and the slight problem with her appearance to humans.
- Love Hurts
- Love Makes You Crazy and Evil: Fuminori and Saya
- Love Triangle: Fuminori, Saya, and Yoh.
- Mad Scientist: Professor Ougai
- Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Like the Cute Monster Girl above, Brutal Deconstruction.
- Mars Needs Women: Played with, except it's more Eldritch Abominations need the local dominant species' sperm.
- Meat Moss: Fuminori sees the entire world covered with this, except if it actually is, or looks like it. In one of the endings, this is how the world ends up.
- Mercy Kill: Yoh begs for this after she's turned into the same thing as Saya.
- Monster Sob Story: It's hard not to feel for Saya and Fumitori at times, even after the latter's Moral Event Horizon.
- Moral Myopia - Saya, for all of her heinous activities, is not actually all that inherently and purposely evil, and in fact does not understand most human moral standards, she does not even seem to comprehend any of her actions as malevolent. In fact, it's Fuminori who shows more concrete, straightforward evil, since he knows damn well what he's doing and why it's wrong.
- Multiple Endings: Three, to be precise.
- Nanomachines: These were used in Fuminori's surgery.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: Saya and those she transforms.
- Non-Standard Game Over: The best ending, oddly enough.
- Normally, I Would Be Dead Now: Ryouko killing Saya.
- Nosy Neighbor: Fuminori thinks of his neighbors like this.
- Not Quite The Right Thing: The game's first branching off point is the option whether or not Fuminori wants Saya to fix the broken part of his brain and go back to seeing, hearing, feeling, and tasting things as he did before. Accepting her offer gets him thrown in a sanitarium for the murders of Oumi & his neighbors as he and Saya say their goodbyes and he spends the rest of his days waiting for her to return as she sets out to find her missing father. Refusing her offer causes Fuminori to leapfrog the Moral Event Horizon into Villain Protagonist territory, by engaging in cannibalism, rape, and murder for the rest of the game. Ironically, while the acceptance ending is objectively the happiest ending with the fewest number of people dying it's almost treated as a Non-Standard Game Over.
- Occult Detective: Ryoko Tanbo.
- Only One Name: Saya.
- Over-the-Shoulder Murder Shot: Saya does this. Although Fuminori doesn't catch it because of his warped vision.
- Painful Transformation: Yoh again.
- Panty Shot: As seen in the page image, Saya's short little skirt does little to actually cover her.
- Parental Abandonment: Fuminori's parents are both dead. So is Saya's surrogate father figure, Professor Ougai.
- Pixellation: Par for the course for a Japanese H-game. The player is given the option to censor some of the worst parts via a filter before the game starts.
- Police Are Useless: The reason given by Ryoko for not calling police (beside her own crimes).
- Psychopathic Manchild: Saya. After being raped, she degrades into The Sociopath, although Fuminori's cheerfully skipping across the Moral Event Horizon probably doesn't give her any incentive not to. A bit of Fridge Brilliance when considering Saya only had long-term human interaction with Fuminori and mad scientist Professor Ougai, neither of whom is exactly sane or normal, meaning Saya never learned of normal human behaviour or morality.
- Pyrrhic Victory: In one ending, Dr. Tanbo and Kouji manage to kill Saya and Fuminori. However, Dr. Tanbo dies, and Kouji ends up schizophrenic with constant nightmares and is eventually Driven to Suicide.
- Rape as Drama: Happens to Saya and Yoh, though both get over it fairly quickly.
- ...As long as you consider becoming a mindless sex doll "getting over it", in Yoh's case.
- Rasputinian Death: Certain precautions have to be taken in order to kill Saya, or else she'll shrug off the damage.
- Road Cone
- Room Full of Crazy: The room where Ougai is found. The painted rooms in Fuminori's house might count, too.
- Sanity Slippage: Anyone who sees Saya's true form or is suddenly exposed to the "guroverse" is prone to at least some, if they don't snap immediately. Saya also has some subtle Sanity Slippage after she's raped.
- Sawed-Off Shotgun
- Say My Name: "Sakisaka... Fuminori...!"
- Scenery Gorn: Literally.
- Shout-Out: To a part of Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix that had a similar storyline.
- Slasher Smile: Ryouko.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Definitely on the cynical side.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Fuminori & Saya don't get to live Happily Ever After in any of the game's three endings.
- Stuffed into the Fridge
- There Are No Therapists: Averted - Fuminori is unwilling to seek one out. Dr. Tanbo, and later, Kouji, can't find one because of the cause of their problems.
- These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know
- Together in Death: Saya and Fuminori.
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: Various books belonging to Ougai.
- To Serve Man: Saya prefers human flesh to any other food. And so does Fuminori unknowingly, but it may be his perception problem.
- Tragic Villain: Fuminori
- Unholy Matrimony: Fuminori and Saya.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Poor Yoh.
- The Unreveal: All you ever see of Saya's true form is a few heavily shadowed tentacles.
- Averted in the comic adaptation, where the final image of the first issue is Saya having sex with
Fuminori Josh — in her true form, as seen in a mirror. It's every bit as disturbing as you'd imagine. We get to see her true form again in the final issue.
- Villain Protagonist: Saya and Fuminori, if he chooses to stay with her at the first branching off point and crosses the Moral Event Horizon
- Viral Transformation
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: None of the humans have any problem with killing any of the aliens because of how freakishly inhuman they look. Fuminori even says that it's easier for him to kill people when he sees them as flesh-monsters, through his warped perspective, than as actual human beings.
- Woman in White: Saya
- Womb Level: The way Fuminori sees the world is kind of like this, except he's not inside any creature.
- Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Fuminori taunting Kouji.
- Yandere: Both Fuminori and Saya and completely and utterly this for each other than they would destroy the world to be able to be together.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Everyone has a fairly normal hair color... save Dr. Tanbo, whose hair is green.
- As is Saya's. Fuminori admits that this is probably because of his warped perception of reality. He's right.
- You Said You Would Let Them Go