Amaterasu Blog

4Apr/1130

Subarashiki Hibi ~Furenzoku Sonzai~ Review

SubaHibi takes the all-time record for utterly and completely betraying my expectations. But in a good way.

While I can't say exactly how, since it's all spoilers, suffice it to say there are more red herrings than you would dare suspect, and all the real answers are seamlessly hidden where you would never think to look (or do, but can't discern any meaning from). By the end of the game, the sheer volume of things you thought you knew but didn't created something rare for me: an irresistible urge to replay earlier chapters.

At the very beginning, the characters feel almost trite, but once things get going everyone is complex and engaging, and of course a little incomprehensible until near the end of the game. They also succeed at making most of the slice-of-life scenes between plot points entertaining, either comically or intellectually. A few of them are hard to call believable or human, but that's mostly because plot screwed them over. Also, even those trope links stop applying to those characters once you know the truth.

Unfortunately, this game is in serious need of pruning. The infamous bullying scenes in particular should be half their current length if not shorter, and there seems to be a constant supply of dialogues which are interesting but just long-winded enough to get annoying. There are also several times when you're forced to rewatch a scene from another character's perspective, and either nothing new is added or it was already quite obvious to me what would be different. Finally, one part of the game got no explanation at all despite very thorough explanations for everything else.

Good news is, all of the truly severe cases of bloat are easy enough to identify that you can just ctrl them without hesitation and get back to the good stuff. In the end most of the above was more of a huge nuisance than a fatal flaw, and the story was never in danger of completely losing its momentum or intrigue.

Score: 8.5/10

Polarization: (+1/-0.5)

Depends how irritated you get when a game switches back and forth between epic cliffhanging twists and slightly-too-long comedy/slice-of-life filler. It's also likely some people will be more liberal with ctrl than I was or fail to figure out quite as much in advance, making them immune to some of the aforementioned problems.

Routes/Endings Played: All Endings.

P.S.: There is almost no philosophy whatsoever in the entirety of the story, and the book quotes are sparse after the prologue, acting primarily as something for characters to talk about once in a long while between more important subplots. You need not understand nor have read any of the books SubaHibi references in order to understand the entirety of SubaHibi.

Comments (30) Trackbacks (1)
  1. feel free to explain tsui no sora II without broaching philosophical conceits for me

  2. Hence the “almost”. It’s only for maybe a minute or two and constitutes the only remotely serious philosophy in the game.

  3. *Grabs some popcorn*

  4. You really ctrl-skipped parts of Subahibi? Wow.

  5. Ixrec, I am pride.

  6. Ixrec has made ground breaking advances in the art of literary criticism. Apparently you don’t need to know anything about a reference to know that the reference is irrelevant to the themes of the game. Much like how because the word bible doesn’t pop up in Dante’s inferno every other line that it must be tangentially related!!1

    What’s better, I have been taught that two minutes in any work are also completely interchangeable with any two minutes. Alas! If only there were 5000 hours of socrates dry-humping plato slice of life scenes instead of two minutes thematically tying the game up.

  7. Where did you get the impression I didn’t read any of the stuff it referenced?

    Also, of course they’re relevant to the themes, but knowing any of them yourself is not necessary to understand their relevance because they’re never plot critical and the thematic meaning is thoroughly explained in-game anyway.

  8. So I guess this means you won’t be translating it?

  9. What it means is it’s not as high a priority for me to translate as everyone hoped it would be. It was never going to happen in the near future anyway. Whether I do get to it depends on a lot of other things, but given there’s only 10 or so games on my want-to-tl list (those which scored 8-10 and haven’t been/aren’t being tled), it seems likely I’ll get to this one eventually.

    I also feel like mentioning that the general retardation people have shown when discussing this game is not improving its odds.

  10. Well considering that you yourself are patient zero, it’s a relatively simple to see how this epidemic of brain damage has suffused your surroundings with a puke green hue of durr.

    Especially considering that my original objection wasn’t predicated upon your COMPLETE ignorance of all the materials involved; but on your INcomplete KNOWLEDGE. If you would like to claim that you’ve read and have a relatively decent understanding of all referenced works, then sure; you have a lot of ground to stand on. But I find it extremely difficult to believe you have done so considering how dense Wittgenstein’s philosophy is. Also, while SOME of the thematic connection is explicated, it’s foolish to say that it isn’t a SUBSTANTIALLY incomplete experience to not have contest. Sure you can claim that you can understand the surface elements of the plot, but that’s similar to reading Dante’s Inferno without understanding its relation to the Bible.

    also way to go completely ignoring the point that merely because something takes up two minutes of in game reading time doesn’t mean that it’s not extremely important to the plot

  11. I had no trouble at all understanding Wittgenstein (I’ve even read other philosophy books that discuss him), but basically none of it had any direct connection to SubaHibi other than the neat quotations. As for the Tsui no Sora II ending, two minutes of argument cannot overturn twenty hours of plot without some consequences. While the argument was very cool in what it did explain, most of the rest of the game’s hinting pointed in the complete opposite direction of said argument, and it failed to do any more than hint as to a small part of an explanation of the one part of the game that still made no sense. Most of the rest of what you said didn’t even make sense so I’ll just ignore it.

    Any more of this and I’m going to have to start deleting you for flaming and/or being a pretentious dick who thinks you know better than me for no other reason than I disagree with you.

  12. >basically none of it had any direct connection to SubaHibi

    Considering SCA-JI himself refers to Subahibi as a story based on 幸福に生きよ, you may wish to reread the game until you understand what it is about

  13. >other than the neat quotations

    That’s also just a cool quote. Its relevance is obvious given how much it got spammed at the end but that single line by itself hardly counts as philosophy (so whether it happens to be in the Tractatus or not doesn’t matter) nor is it difficult to understand regardless of one’s familiarity with Wittgenstein’s work.

    Seriously guys, shut the fuck up, you’re just making yourselves look like assholes.

  14. Haha look at these butthurt Subahibi fans

  15. In the interests of full disclosure, I have deleted [8] comment(s) under this post and temporarily disabled commenting.

  16. ” you’re forced to rewatch a scene from another character’s perspective, and either nothing new is added or it was already quite obvious to me what would be different.”

    WAB

    You forgot that repeating makes the game DEEP
    add a +1!

  17. It’s nice to know that Ixrec is still planning to translate 10 or so visual novels in the future, if the so called invisible ‘want to tl’ list is real

  18. The WABs never do that. Having similar scenes that repeat the same text and repeating the exact same scene from a different perspective are completely different things.

  19. It’s not invisible. Just go to the review list and look at all the games I gave an 8 or higher that don’t have any *s or ^s next to them.

  20. I really hope Parfait is translated next. Considering how annoyingly pretentious “REAL DEAL” fags are, it’d be nice to have a moege translated.

  21. [none of the following is a spoiler but some of it gets kinda close so you may not want to read]

    @終ノ名無しⅡ

    I don’t think we have spoiler tags so yeah sorry I had to delete your comment.

    Since I don’t have a photographic memory of the game, I can’t respond directly to most of the examples you listed. Though I can pretty much guarantee I’d say “no they’re not different” or “yes it was predictable” for all of them, except the endings since none of those were predictable (though subarashiki hibi needed some trimming).

    What I can remember specifically that’s worth a detailed response:
    >The fight between Takuji and Tomosane on July 18
    It was extremely obvious what the differences were going to be long before you got to the second instance of it, except for the presence of one additional character (who didn’t do anything but watch so who cares), the hint about the knife (which was very cool), and the handful of lines Takuji didn’t hear the first time (which were also cool but they didn’t say anything new). That’s nowhere near enough to justify reading the entire unabridged scene over again; it should’ve been a fraction of its original length the second time.
    >The torture scene
    Again, extremely obvious what the diffs would be, and even the first time around it was WAY too long. It was nice seeing how everyone reacted the second time, but other than that it was once again WAY too long and inexplicably unabridged so no reason not to ctrl.

    So “you seem to be complaining that most plot developments in all literature are predictable” is an absolutely ridiculous exaggeration. What I’m saying is the game would have been far better (maybe even 9.5) if they’d edited out a shitload of needlessly redundant text. If it helps: I don’t think that any single scene should be removed, just that several of them need to be shorter.

  22. Ixrec, I haven’t even read Subahibi, but I don’t think you can drop it down by an ENTIRE point when you didn’t for Inganock, despite how annoying and pointless its repetition is.

    And yes, it is pointless. Half of the fight scenes didn’t even need to be there.

  23. The thing with Inganock is it only repeats one or two scenes, each of which is very short, make up a small portion of the total text, and it’s always obvious when it’s going to do it again. That’s on top of the arguable stylistic reasons that might make it a good thing (I’m kinda mixed on this). I agree it’s too much, that’s the biggest reason it got a 9 instead of something higher.

    With Subahibi the scenes that are longer than they need to be are just all over the place, far more frequent, and the amount of repeated or unnecessary text is far greater with no even arguable stylistic purpose, so they’re much more intrusive and disruptive than they were in Inganock.

    Man, having to defend this point all the time makes it sound like I hated the game. I wonder when people will stop asking about it.

  24. It’s because you rated it lower than other games which many, many people consider to be absolutely terrible. Had you given it a 9 no one would care.

    Ah, and it’s also that you used the ctrl key. Even I think that’s bullshit.

  25. (Not posting about Subahibi)

    Man, the repetition in the WAB series is awesome, I don’t get why people hate on it so much. It’s not like it takes more than a minute to read and it does a really good job in establishing the atmosphere.

    I suppose I could see disliking it during the battles, but the fights in WAB really aren’t supposed to be some crazy balls-to-the-wall slugfest like people seem to want every fight to be… I mean, take the last “fight” between Gii and the Clown in Inganock, pretty shounen rite.

    Anyway, sorry, this is a pet peeve of mine, I just think that people are kind of missing the point when they complain about WAB having repetitive text, because it’s definitely there for a reason.

  26. I’ve never understood people who think that the repetition is good. It’s just lazy writing.

    I even liked Inganock a lot and I will still claim that copy+pasting text is lazy writing.

  27. I wonder why so many people consider an 8.5 to be a terrible score…

    Also, a lot of the games that he gave a higher rating to that people complain about (Chaos;Head is the one I see thrown around a lot) were reviewed much earlier, when he hadn’t really read so much. It’s natural to rate things you experience earlier better than things you experience later on and have more to compare them to. I don’t think it’s really meant to be an indication that Chaos;Head (or whatever else) is “better” than SubaHibi.

  28. It’s weird how some of the (few) people who try to support my review advance this argument, when it’s completely untrue. I do think Chaos;Head is better than SubaHibi (by a small margin, but who cares about that).

    Without arguing the relative pros and cons of Chaos;Head and SubaHibi, I’ll just point out that everyone I know thinks C;H is far far worse than 9/10, and it’s very unusual for my scores to be that far from general opinion. So any attempt to criticize my SubaHibi review based on a comparison to the C;H one is pointless, because the real issue there (whatever it is) is unique to C;H and has nothing to do with any of the other games I’ve played.

    Now to very briefly sum up my opinion on said relative pros/cons: Every criticism I’ve ever seen of C;H has, frankly, been laughable. I don’t see how any of them are valid and it baffles me how many people agree with them. The big thing that did bug me about C;H was that it failed to explain everything. SubaHibi also failed to explain everything (though it came significantly closer, hence it could’ve been 9.5), and on top of that had a ton of unnecessary text.

    I will probably not respond to anyone trying to convince me C;H was shit.

  29. btw, other Uberzaki, it’s nice to meet to you, I hope we can be friends.

    Might have to use an umlaut.

  30. You really should do Tsui no Sora before this. Otherwise no one will ever appreciate
    the original source material. It’s pretty short(16926 lines according to Tlwiki)

    I’m saying this mainly because I don’t want people comparing the two after finishing Subahibi. Then they most likely wont be able to appreciate it because they’re to busy comparing it to something they just read.<<<It seems people try Tsui no Sora right after finishing Subarashiki Hibi. And the soundtrack is a pile of shit(while charming)

    It also is a little more focused on Ayane apparently and Sca-ji has a bigger role in the art department(Zakuro,Protag,Various male characters,and Kotomi) Motoyons style hasn't changed much at all,tbh. You can even compare his cgs to much newer stuff as it holds up quite well.

    TL;DR It would be cool to see Tsui no Sora translated too!


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