Amaterasu Blog


Shi’ei no Sona-Nyl ~what a beautiful memories~ Review

All those stylish fantasy elements you (should) love are back yet again, but now with a psychic subway car, shadows that make sandwiches, people reciting poetry during sex, and other interesting differences from the previous installments.

Most of the minor differences can be summed up as a trade-off between world building detail and infodumps for more scenes simply meant to be sad, funny (in both good and dubious ways), or quotably cool. They succeed at making Sona-Nyl not feel too much like any previous WAB, while at the same time not lowering the overall quality at all. The biggest differences worth mentioning are the new thematic emphasis on memories (duh), and two parallel protagonists instead of the usual one or Valusia's many. There's also a slight rise in overall production values, most noticeably in the large number of sprites everyone gets.

One other very welcome change for fans of the series is the copypasta battles being less repetitive and less effortless for the protag than usual, such that it's no longer an objective flaw like it was in the previous three games. In fact, copypasta text in general is very low this time. In exchange, people gain an annoying habit of repeating themselves more than they should, particularly in the endgame. Also, there are many brief instances of a very predictable or irritating trope being used, but these are never plot-critical, they last maybe a minute or so each, and at most they add up to a minor nuisance.

But what really matters to anyone who's read a WAB before is: did the game explain itself at the end, or should I just skip this one? Strangely, the answer is neither. While a very large number of obvious questions are left open (fewer than Sharnoth, but still a lot), the way the ending plays out made everything feel as if it had been explained, and I had hardly any difficulty filling in detailed and satisfying justifications of my own.

Score: 9/10

Polarization: (-1.5/+0.5)

The flaws have, to some extent, shifted away from overuse of some stylistic or narrative technique toward more ordinary concerns of polish, so the average reader is less likely to be rubbed the wrong way compared to previous WABs.

Routes/Endings Played: Linear

Comments (17) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Furry.

  2. Oh wow, the game really did cut back on copypasta texts and fight scenes, huh? Well, time to embrace my liarsoft fanboy and play it now.

  3. Wow another 9… Im loving the WAB series so far and from what I heard this one is great too

  4. Regarding the scores I keep giving Sakurai: If there’s anything in the visual novel world that I have an irrational bias toward, it’s the WABs. I freely admit this.

    Though my opinions on their quality relative to each other should be useful even if that is true.

  5. So how does the general population see the series?

  6. Nonsensical shit. Though I’d call it…bizarre art.

  7. No idea how the Japanese feel, and I don’t think there’s anything resembling a consensus in the English community regarding Inganock’s quality. Though I take the fact that there are *still* threads asking questions about it and receiving long spoiler-tagged explanations as proof that it’s very good.

  8. This is my definite favourite from the series.
    Also great gimmick with the poetry

  9. why is there an apostrophe in shiei

  10. One common romanization convention is to put an apostrophe to represent a syllable break between two adjacent vowels when it’s possible a foreigner would intuitively put the syllable break somewhere else. For instance, some might not pronounce the two i’s in Hawai’i separately without the ‘ in between (assuming you’ve never heard the name before) . Obviously people familiar enough with Japanese (or whatever language) to know when to do this won’t need the indicator, but it’s good to improve the odds for the completely clueless too.

    I have no idea whether this is common practice for Japanese romanization, but I like doing it anyway.

  11. After playing the WABs series (excluding Souten no Celenaria) I have to say that this is my favorite one out of all. The last 3 chapters of Hikari were kinda hard to get through, Sekien’s ending was kinda unsatisfying, and Shikkoku was lacking a lot of details in terms of explanation (I don’t even know who’s the real bad guy).

    Anyway, I just want to say that I really like this one, and it had been quite some time since I get that “this is so damn good” feeling ever since I played H2O- footprints in the sand.


  12. I was wondering, when will “Shiei no Sona-Nyl -What a beautiful memories-” english patch come out? Afterall, it did came out around November – December 2010, right now it is July, 2012. It have been more than a year so I kind of expect the english patch to come out. I don’t know how long it take to do the english patch for a visual novel; however, I’m sure it shouldn’t take over year to do so. I won’t complain or anything, actually, I’m very grateful for the translation for each and every visual novel that is in Japanese. People would usually say, “If you want to play Japanese visual novel, then go and learn Japanese!”, but in truth is Japanese is not easy as far as I know. I’ve been studying Japanese for more than a year and I can only communicate in Japanese (meaning I do understand Japanese words, vocabulary, sentences, particles, grammar, etc.); however, I can never understand writing or reading Kanji (chinese strokes). So please, I’m begging you, work on “Shiei no Sona-Nyl -What a beautiful memories-“. I cannot give you anything in exchange, but I could give you my appreciation towards your effort. I’m sure everybody thinks the same way as I do to. Thank you~

  13. Okay, I have no idea where you got the impression VN translations work like that, but they do not. The number of worthwhile VNs (hundreds if not thousands) vastly, vastly outnumbers the capable and willing fan translators who work on VNs (about ten or twenty tops). It is mathematically impossible for all VNs to get translated, so no single VN ever has the slightest guarantee of being translated unless a specific translator announces that they plan to do it. Most VNs will probably never get translated unless we suddenly get a hell of a lot more people willing to fan translate them. Although I will probably do Sona-Nyl someday, it is far from my top priority. Also, for any decent length VN, the fastest translation projects take months, and other projects may take multiple years. So the idea that a VN should be translated just because it’s been out for a year is completely and utterly ridiculous, and were it not blatantly influenced by the fact that such assumptions are valid in the fansubbing world, it would also be the epitome of entitlement.

    Also, if you can talk to people in Japanese, you are more than capable of learning enough kanji to read it.

    Admittedly, it is true that translating Sona-Nyl will take a lot less than a year once I actually start on it. Were you somehow unaware that I’ve been translating other VNs this past year?

    Okay, done being mean now. Thanks for the comment.

  14. Is it possible to set Shiei no Sona-Nyl -What a beautiful memories at top priority in the planned future projects, just a slight request no force whatsoever.
    Just wondering if it is possible sorry for being selfish.

  15. The order of the future projects is already set. That’s why they have numbers.

  16. Hey guys, just wanted to ask, are you still doing Sola-nyl? Since ive been meaning to read it for ages but the minigame and the intentional text/voice discrepancies are too much for my meager level of reading…

    And since Mangagamer officially released Gahktun, i’ve been wondering wether you guys are gonna patch it or if they’ll release it officially too?

  17. I am also curious if Sona-nyl is still going to happen or if the idea has been killed off :D

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