[Visual Novel Review]: Comyu (Coμ)

Comyu

Developer – Akatsuki Works

Translator –Amaterasu Translations

Length – 30-50 Hours

There are some visual novels that will capture you with their story, some with their characters, and others yet that will dazzle with production quality. Of course, the very best will go for top marks on all three. Comyu is an enigma in that the feature that I enjoyed the most doesn’t quite fit any of those categories. It was recommended to me a few months ago by a number of people (you know who you are) and surprised me by keeping me interested with its writing style and translation. Overall, however, it’s one of those experiences that I can only recommend if it sounds like it would appeal to you personally.

Connections to others make you stronger, but they might also get you killed. For Mizuwa Akihito that statement is a reality. Along with four others he has been irreversibly linked to an Avatar, a being of massive power that they must work together to control. Where he succeeds, they succeed, and where he fails…well, that should be obvious. Along with Hinaori Kagome, Akihito’s beautiful, talented and indisputably dangerous childhood friend, the Comyu, as groups of Connectors are called, soon discover a whole new world hiding in their home city. It will take all of their will, ability and effort to stay alive long enough to find their place in it.

comyu2

Comyu is one of those visual novels that just doesn’t go far enough. The concept has the potential to make waves, with an interesting set of circumstances and characters just begging to be slotted into an epic tale. Unfortunately the story gets so bogged down in exposition and smaller intersecting plotlines that it never manages to form a truly exciting experience. The number of times the phrases “glass castle”, “gentle kingdom” and “justice” pop up should give you some kind of indication as to just how dedicated Comyu was to exploring “deep and meaningful themes” when it should have been developing its plot. Having gotten that out of the way, Comyu was always enjoyable even if it didn’t reach the highs it could and should have. Relevant events occurred often enough, and the characters’ interactions were interesting enough, that I was never bored and my reading sessions never felt like they dragged on. There were times that I was excited to get back to reading each night and by the end of it all I had that deep pit in my stomach that signalled the conclusion of a good story.

One of the factors that contributed to my enjoyment, as mentioned in the introduction, was Comyu’s writing style and translation. I can’t even count the number of times I smiled at or was impressed by a turn of phrase and, at times, the writing alone was enough to keep me reading. Amaterasu deserves some major praise for their efforts and my meagre understanding of Japanese can tell that the source material was just as well written. In a similar vein, the visual novel’s characters are varied and interesting, with Comyu’s method of forcing them together making for some entertaining encounters. If I had a complaint to make about them it would be that they’re not particularly well developed; the naïve, well-intentioned rich girl is always the naïve, well-intentioned rich girl, and the angry loner with a soft spot is always the angry loner with a soft spot. There’s literally not much more to them than those shallow descriptions. Strangely enough, two of the routes’ heroines aren’t even really main characters, though that’s an observation rather than a criticism.

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One of the factors that I didn’t find so flash, and an exception to my earlier praise for Comyu’s writing, were its battle scenes. In a story with a great deal of conflict, action scenes can play a major role in getting the audience excited and feeling involved in the overall production. When it comes to Comyu’s combat, however, descriptions of the action seem to flounder around without doing much, double back on themselves and generally not make a whole lot of sense. While it does get better as the story progresses, there was at least one route that featured an incredibly disappointing ending as a direct result of its poor fight scene. Additionally, the scenes in question are some of the most static I’ve ever experienced in a visual novel. There’s no flow to them, no feeling of movement or danger, and that’s a problem.

I often make the argument that visual novels are story- and character-focused above all else, with adult content being a minor inclusion designed to sell more copies. I also admit that sometimes that same content can add positively to a story in significant ways. Comyu is one of the few titles I’ve reviewed where I feel that the H-scenes are detrimental to the experience as a whole; they pop up so darned often that it negatively breaks up the story, and the reasoning behind when and why they occur is shaky at best. It’s a minor complaint, though, considering they can be turned off in the options menu.

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Static combat aside, Comyu’s visuals are pretty top-notch. Character designs are fantastic as well as consistent and natural-looking, while backgrounds do their job without being particularly noteworthy. Sprites change their expressions midway through sentences which is something you don’t see very often and it works wonderfully. The problem I have here is that, for its length, Comyu has a teeny, tiny number of CGs. For the more exciting scenes, extra CGs would have gone a long way to assuage my earlier complaints. The BGM reminds me of Persona 3 in a good way, though I don’t think it’s the kind to really stick with me, and clever use of insert songs in a finale will always garner my praise. Voice acting is of as high a quality as you would expect.

Summary – It sounds like I’ve been pretty harsh on Comyu but the truth is that I enjoyed my time with it. While excellent writing (for the most part) and interesting characters vie with questionable battles and a lack of overall excitement, they all come together to form a story that doesn’t get old but also doesn’t reach the highs you might expect from the concept. Also, my complaints about technical aspects have more to do with quantity rather than quality.

I guess the question now is: Do I recommend Comyu?

If it sounds like your thing and you don’t have anything else lined up, then go for it.

Score: 7.5/10 – Enjoyable

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About Silvachief

I'm a Gamer that dabbles in a little bit of everything. I'm big on Video Games, Visual Novels, Anime, Books and TV Series, but there's more to me than just those!
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15 Responses to [Visual Novel Review]: Comyu (Coμ)

  1. Lazarinth says:

    This will probably be the first VN I read when I get back into them. But the whole ‘it’s good if you like that kind of thing’ really doesn’t help with recommendations because you won’t fully know what this ‘kind of thing’ is unless you’ve played it.

    • Silvachief says:

      It may or may not be up your alley. I wouldn’t be surprised if you disliked the relatively substanceless philosophical conundrums (referred to as exposition in the review) even more than I did.

      You’re right in saying that that particular phrase is of limited usefulness, though I would argue that “sounds like your kind of thing” prompts the read to make a decision based on the genre and synopsis of the story. For instance, I can immediately say that 50 Shades of Grey doesn’t sound like my kind of thing, despite having no actual knowledge about the story itself.

      • Lazarinth says:

        Yeah but you get the jist of 50 shades of grey from what you’ve heard of it though, I’m just saying that even after reading this review I’m still really confused on what it’s about. Are the Avatars like monsters or aliens or some kind of soul presentation like in Northern Lights but linked to others ones somehow? Do they fight or trash things, are they helpful or destructive or just a plot tool to bring out character backstories? See what I mean, you probably have more knowledge about fifty shades of grey I do about this.

        • Silvachief says:

          For the sake of discussion, I can say that 50 Shades of Grey is an erotic book enjoyed by middle-aged women and that is the limit of my knowledge.

          From the review, you know that Comyu is a fantasy visual novel with better-than-average art about groups of people linked to large monsters (presumably pictured directly below the summary paragraph) discovering a side to their city that they never knew. You know that there are battle scenes, enough even that they get their own paragraph, and that there’s a significant amount of exposition mixed into an otherwise enjoyable writing style. You also know that a fan of visual novels in general enjoyed it for the reasons explored but also found that it was let down by the negative aspects outlined. And then there’s the rest of the internet if you feel you need more story summary than a single paragraph.

          Without laboring the point, that’s more than enough information to form a decision on whether to play something, and I kind of need to leave some content for the VN itself to present XD

          • Lazarinth says:

            Okay, okay, might end up reading this after Vesperia instead of watching Mass Effect. I spent a whole day writing and wondering why there hadn’t been any plot scenes when I looked at the last 10 titles in the playlist and saw that it was just going through all of the countless side quests in the game before moving on to the final boss XD

  2. Kai says:

    I should give this a try soon, from what I can see in this review, definitely doesn’t look like masterpiece-material, but still interesting enough to warrant a try.

    …I uhh… have better priorities however *cough*NekoPara*cough* :p

    • Silvachief says:

      I actually turned down a press copy of the new Neko Para XD

      It’s got good production value going for it, which is always nice, and the concept is a good one. The delivery needed some work, though, in my opinion.

  3. Chester says:

    I dont know why the author of this article thinks the fights in comyu were static if there was one thing all the more in the first fight it was very mysterious and erratic maybe later on as the concept of how they fight became clearer it was less interesting and less chaotic but that is obvious see it one time u will see it a milljoen times -.-

    • Silvachief says:

      Compared to other visual novels I have read, Comyu’s battles simply didn’t perform. Most consisted of a single CG (and not even a CG set, at that) with no moving parts and while that in itself isn’t a crime, when coupled with the lackluster text they let the visual novel as a whole down.

      Though it seems we might be referring to different aspects. Certainly, the events described are fast-paced and chaotic (at times); it’s the delivery that i’m criticizing.

  4. fire says:

    Been busy, but I’m back.

    Yep, the main thing about Comyu is that it’s well-written – the prose flows (Ixrec has come really far, from the good old days of literal translation). The opening sequence is some of the best I’ve seen. @Kai and @Lazarinth – just try out the short part before the OP, and if you enjoy that part, you’ll definitely enjoy the rest of the story, whatever its shortcomings.

    @Silvachief

    You’re reading hanachirasu atm? How has it been going?

    • Silvachief says:

      Good to see you, how’ve things been? Played/read anything worth recommending?

      I’m in an odd place at the moment where i’m studying for my big exams and studying Japanese for my elective next year, so i’m playing Hanachirasu but very slowly (even though it’s a short VN >.<). Still, i'm enjoying it more that most of Nitroplus' visual novels at the moment so i'm keen to see how it ends.

      • fire says:

        I’ve not been reading/watching much over the summer holidays – ironically, what I’ve been busy with was writing. Managed to put out around 40k for my original story, and I’m pretty content.

        There’s nothing I really want to read, VN-wise, at the moment. The ones I do, are still awaiting release – SubaHibi, Koichoco, Euphoria, Ourai no Gahkthun.

        SubaHibi, at least, will definitely be out by the end of the year. In fact, a December release is a pretty pessimistic release prediction – herkz thinks he’ll be done long before that; he’s almost finished with the 2nd round of editing, anyway, and QC isn’t more than checking for spelling errors and the like.

        How’s your Japanese coming along? It’s great that you’ve gotten to study it as part of your elective.

        Hanachirasu? Heh, you could definitely finish it in a day or less. How are you finding it, writing wise?

        • Silvachief says:

          Ooh, what kind of story are you working on? I’ve discussed writing with a few people and it’s something i’d like to get around to at some point…but i’m not sure I can give up all of the other things I want to do with the time it would require >.<

          A December release would be perfect, especially given that my exams finish in November. I'm not sure 'd trust myself with playing it while i'm in the middle of studying. Still, it was a little disappointing when it didn't make its set release date.

          My Japanese is improving slowly, but i'm happy with the progress i'm making giving that i'm having to slot it in between everything else I have to deal with at the moment. Currently attempting to read through Kira Kira in Japanese (at a snail's pace, seriously), though I really need to consolidate some of my grammar knowledge. Either way, heading to Japan is going to be a blast.

          I like the focus on fighting and sword technique, since many visual novels don't go into that kind of detail. Otherwise I can't say i've found the writing style to be particularly remarkable.

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