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Visual Novel / YU-NO

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Story Branching is represented by an interactive in-game map of the current situation. You're the red ball; time goes (approximately) from left to right.

YU-NO, short for Kono Yo no Hate de Koi wo Utau Shoujo YU-NO (A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of this World, YU-NO), is one of the early classic visual novels. Originally released in 1996 by elf for the PC-98 with a port for the Sega Saturn, it remains a highly rated work and has strong elements of an Adventure Game of the Point-and-Click type.

The story begins with the disappearance of the protagonist Takuya’s father, known to the world as an eccentric and controversial historian. Though he is presumed dead, Takuya soon receives a package from the supposedly deceased man containing an odd set of items the purpose of which Takuya does not recognize. After wandering about a little investigating, he winds up at the local landmark Triangle Mountain, which is a large rock of unknown origin that has scholars confused.


While at Triangle Mountain, Takuya first runs across a beautiful naked woman who after kissing him suddenly drops dead and vanishes completely. Confused, Takuya is then suddenly confronted by a former friend and colleague of his father named Ryuuzouji. With him is Takuya’s young stepmother, Ayumi, who appears to have no idea what is going on. After Ryuuzouji pulls a gun on Takuya and demands the odd package he received from his father, things take a turn for the bizarre as suddenly space seems to warp and Takuya is suddenly alone at Triangle Mountain.

Takuya arrives back home and makes a startling discovery: The device his father sent him is some sort of dimensional hopping device that allows a form of pseudo-time travel via alternate dimensions. After approximately 50 hours, Takuya will be looped back to the mountain at Triangle Mountain without his memories and be forced to explore yet another alternate world. On the bright side, your inventory of items is retained from previous loops, which is pretty much necessary since there are multiple items you need in one route that you can only acquire in another.


A Remake developed by 5pb. was announced in 2014, and was released in Japan in 2017. It is based on the Saturn version.

The following tropes below appear in the first half of YU-NO. After this section of the story is complete, the story undergoes a shift into the True route, which is very spoilery and thus the details and tropes for that half are listed in a diffrent page accessible here.

The first half of this Visual Novel provides examples of:

  • Accidental Pervert: Takuya accidentally walks in on Kanna in the shower. However, the point of the scene is that she doesn’t actually care.
  • Aloof Ally: Eriko is perfectly trustworthy and has compatible goals with Takuya, but she doesn’t involve herself with him or tell him much of anything.
  • Amusing Injuries: See Blatant Lies.
  • Apocalyptic Log: After becoming trapped beneath Triangle Mountain until she grew too weak to escape after figuring out how, Professor Imagawa simply set about recording her last days. Her last entry states that instead of waiting to starve to death she’s going to impale herself on a spike that’s sticking out of the wall as a more ‘dignified’ way to die.
  • Arc Number: 400 years.
  • Amulet of Dependency: Kanna will die without her amulet. When it’s lost, you get her bad ending unless you’ve gone through the Kaori branch and acquired the Hypersense Stone from the lab.
  • Attempted Rape: Houjou when under mind control tries to rape Kanna. Much as Takuya hates Houjou, he knows that the man isn’t the kind of person who could normally do that.
  • Bad Liar: Yuuki, and it’s not played for laughs.
  • Bat Deduction: Parodied in Kanna’s route when seeing through Eriko’s flimsy disguise again. ‘attractive woman with cigarettes’ and goes through about a dozen steps before Eriko finally yells at him for making an absurd chain of deductions. See Overly Long Gag for the full chain.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Takuya/Mio.
  • Big Bad: Ryuuzouji, though he has little presence in Mio or Ayumi’s routes.
  • Big Eater: Takuya
  • Bittersweet Ending: Mio, Kanna and Ayumi’s endings since he gets whisked back into to the beginning. They get actual endings once you’ve completed the whole story though.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word
  • Blatant Lies: If you keep clicking on certain background characters Takuya will hit them and claim they had a mosquito on their face or something, at which point they will thank him while noting he chipped a tooth or caused a compound fracture.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Takuya will yell at you if you insist on certain actions. He’ll also note that it would be rather mean to make you also press the answer button on the phone after picking it up.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Takuya appears to be doing so poorly simply because he doesn’t care enough about school.
  • Bromantic Foil: Yuuki
  • Cassandra Truth: Ayumi won’t believe a thing Takuya says without proof.
  • Character Tic: Takuya’s first reaction to finding things is often to smell them. And no, you don’t really get any useful information out of doing so.
  • Chick Magnet: Takuya. Mio and Mitsuki are after him from the start, Ayumi is in love with him and trying to hide it, about a day’s worth of interaction wins over Kanna. Mio also alludes to how he had a lot of fangirls when he was taking classes seriously and in the kendo club.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: To Kanna’s mild confusion, Takuya isn’t as sex crazed as he acts.
  • Choice-and-Consequence System
  • Comforting the Widow: Toyotomi. He’s not a very nice guy.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: The story begins with a conversation about Eriko’s panties.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Ryuuzouji has been dead for a month. The fake made up the curse to explain Ryuuzouji’s attempts to get assistance before finally dismembering him and hiding his limbs and head.
  • Disappeared Dad: The search for him in fact makes up the majority of Takuya’s motives.
  • Distant Finale: The endings that are unlocked after completing the True Route all take place after a timeskip of several years.
  • The Ditz: Ayumi is not unintelligent, but she’s a bit of an airhead.
  • Downer Ending: Mitsuki dies in her ending. Actually, she apparently dies in all of them. We don’t see what happens in Ayumi or Kanna’s routes, but she’s pierced by lightning in Mio’s route and shot in her own at which point Eriko says that she was destined to die at this time no matter what.
  • Driven to Suicide: Ayumi in her bad end after ignoring Takuya’s pleas about the true nature of Toyotomi.
  • Dying as Yourself: Apart from bad endings, Mitsuki breaks out of the mind control before dying.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Kanna was just a classmate until suddenly they were basically engaged after two days. At least Takuya had known Ayumi for some time!
  • The Gadfly: Takuya likes to pick on Mio just to see her get mad.
  • Good People Have Good Sex
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Yuuki spills Mio’s confidential family information to the school and pretends Takuya did it out of jealousy.
  • Guide Dang It!: Good luck figuring out how to get 100% completion without one.
  • He Knows Too Much: In Mitsuki’s route, Ryuuzouji’s mother is killed for knowing he was replaced.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Yuuki has no chance at Mio. So he tries to make one.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Ayumi puts an absurd amount of trust in Toyotomi of all people despite his obvious sliminess.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: People with Nairb syndrome can be hypnotized by looking into Ryuuzouji’s eyes.
  • Ill Girl: Kanna is prone to getting feverish and collapsing.
  • Immortal Immaturity: Kanna looked the same fifty years ago as she does now, but just acts like a rather withdrawn teenager.
  • Immortality: It’s mentioned offhandedly that the potential inherent in the Reflector and new approach to history could even lead to this. Takuya’s mother was immortal for some reason and Kanna might be as well.
  • Interrupted Suicide: In Ayumi’s good ending, Takuya stops her from slitting her wrists. You can’t reach this ending until after you’ve seen her do it successfully.
  • Jerkass: Toyotomi.
  • Karma Houdini: Toyotomi’s plans to sell out the company he works for in order to get a better job fail, but he still gets to take Ayumi’s position. Subverted in the OVA. Takuya kills Toyotomi in the 4th episode.
  • Lemony Narrator: Takuya has some interesting things to say if you keep checking things out or try doing weird stuff.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Takuya is known as the Walking Libido.
  • Love Triangle
    • Yuuki likes Mio, who likes Takuya. Takuya’s response depends on the route.
    • Ayumi route: The end of Ayumi’s route has Takuya attempt to cut one short by proposing to Ayumi.
      • On the other hand, during the Kaori branch of the Kanna route the above triangle is subverted in favor of Ayumi knowing that her husband still loves Takuya’s mother and is determined to undo her death in some manner. The implication is that Ayumi was just a friend and a tool.
    • Also, Mitsuki still likes Takuya and Mio gets jealous of her and feels like they’re competing.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places
  • The Matchmaker: Eriko likes pushing Takuya towards Mio. Takuya pushes Yuuki towards Mio, but Takuya doesn’t seem to really care and doesn’t expect it to go well.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Mitsuki, as revealed in Mio’s route, though she probably had them the other times she turned out to be a pawn as well.
  • Multiple Endings: There are four main heroines, each of which has several endings, both good and bad apart from Mitsuki, who only gets bad endings as well as a true route and epilogues. In order to get the good endings, you generally need to have seen the bad endings first and to go rather out of your way.
  • Must Not Die a Virgin: After lengthy Belligerent Sexual Tension all throughout the route, when Mio appears to have given up on escaping from beneath Triangle Mountain she propositions Takuya. Takuya lets her know he hates death thoughts like that but they go ahead anyway.
  • Mysterious Waif: Kanna
  • New Game+: After achieving 100% completion you gain the ability to start with all your items, which is a mercy to players who want to see the extended heroine endings.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Nobody ever listens. Especially Ayumi.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: In Mio’s route, it’s clear that Yuuki is the one who told everyone about the corruption of Mio’s father right from the start and when you see the two speaking along with Mio apparently oblivious you can see his composure go out the window when she says that thanks to this incident she’ll be moving away and thanks him for his support. But it’s actually a subversion. This is the conversation where she figured out for sure that Yuuki was really the one who had done it and presumably just didn’t want to hurt him by pointing it out directly.
  • The Ojou: Much to Mio’s irritation, Takuya delights in pointing this out.
  • Older Than They Look: Kanna is about fifty.
  • 100% Completion: It’ll take you awhile to get it, though. Once you do, you unlock the music room and a special scene at the school.
  • Overly Long Gag: Takuya’s Bat Deduction in Kanna’s route. Eriko even yells at him for it.
    Takuya: When you think of cigarettes, you think of smoke… when you think of smoke, you think of something drifting about… when you think of something drifting about, you think of a jellyfish… When you think of a jellyfish, you think of the ocean… when you think of the ocean, you think of blue… when you think of blue, you think of the sky… when you think of the sky, you think of clouds… when you think of clouds, you think of white… when you think of white, you think of a white coat… when you think of a white coat, you think of a school doctor… when you think of a school doctor,
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Eriko’s getup when she’s out searching. Apparently, the extremely revealing clothing she’s wearing is meant to help her blend in, much to Takuya’s disbelief.
  • Parental Incest: Ayumi and Takuya, though they’re not actually related and haven’t known each other for that long.
  • Posthumous Character
    • Arima Koudai’s status is pretty questionable throughout the story, though he’s considered dead in universe and alive by Takuya. After the true route you can say he’s really not dead or alive since he’s moved himself outside of the dimensional axis in some manner in order to observe creation. He makes no direct appearances.
    • Professor Imagawa, the third researcher, also died beneath Triangle Mountain some months prior.
  • Purple Is the New Black: Takuya says that Kanna’s clearly blue hair is black.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Ayumi has been trying really hard with mixed success not to treat Takuya like this.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Yuuki
  • Sarcastic Confession: During Kanna’s route and unintentionally. ”Well, then you might as well say she’s a several hundred year old witch from another dimension!” Eriko then confirms the statement. Technically untrue though.
  • Selective Obliviousness
    • During the early parts of the Mitsuki route it’s implied that Takuya is going out of his way not to interpret Mio’s tsundere behavior correctly. Mio’s route has him really going out of his way not to think about it too much.
    • Ayumi wasn’t really as dense about Takuya’s feelings as she acted.
  • Sex Equals Love: Despite being The Tease, Takuya will generally refuse to have much to do with a woman that he is not in love with. If in an emotionally vulnerable state such as after the ‘death’ of his father or after Ayumi is ruined it’s a different story, though.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Kanna is completely unconcerned with being seen naked.
  • Shaming the Mob: Ayumi route.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Eriko goes from unkempt and scraggly with a very generous figure to quite stunning when she puts on a dress and moves her hair out of her eyes.
  • Smug Snake: Toyotomi.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: Even before deciding his father is still alive, Takuya is still quite prone to badmouthing his old man.
  • Story Branching
  • Stripperiffic: Kaori doesn’t wear a bra and leaves her shirt unbuttoned to the extent that underboobs shows. You’d think people would comment more on a famous reporter dressing like that.
  • Student Teacher Romance: Mitsuki and Takuya had a fling about a month before the story started. Their dialogue tends to be pretty laden with innuendo.
  • Talk to Everyone
  • Taking the Bullet: Mitsuki takes a bullet for Takuya.
  • Temporal Paradox: Discussed and dismissed. When you go back in time, you don’t go to your own past. You go to one exactly like it.
  • The Tease: Takuya, but only towards Mio and Eriko. He doesn’t know Kanna well enough, Ayumi wouldn’t take it well and he and Mitsuki already had a previous relationship. Push come to shove, he’s not nearly as bold as he pretends.
  • Third-Person Person: Ayumi on occasion. She does it so Takuya won’t look at her as a woman so much.
    • When Ayumi isn’t around, Yu-No takes up the torch on this one. When Ayumi does reappear, she’s no longer attempting to distance herself and drops the third person speech until her final moments.
  • Tsundere: Mio. Lampshaded quite early on. In her route, Takuya largely acts as a tsundere to her as well.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Eriko, especially since there's no actual route for her.
  • When She Smiles: Takuya loves seeing Mio and Kanna smile or laugh.
  • Wild Card: Kaori works for Ryuuzouji and just seems to be in it for the money, but she’s also willing to make deals with Takuya that you can’t progress through the game without accepting as well as consoling him, both euphemistically and otherwise, after the confrontation with Toyotomi goes wrong. In Kanna’s route she blatantly sets you Takuya up to take the fall for her when stealing from Geotechnics.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Certain events are destined to happen and while others can be averted, if you used time travel to do it then you’ve just created another parallel world because you can’t really change the past.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Kaori’s hair is green, Kanna’s is blue and Eriko’s bright red, but somehow a blond is clearly identifiable as being a foreigner.


Example of: