[Visual Novel Review]: Yume Miru Kusuri (A Drug That Makes You Dream)

Yume Miru

Developer – Rúf

Translator – JAST USA & Peach Princess

Length – 10-30 Hours

Have you ever had that feeling that you’ve heard a particular voice actor somewhere before? Have you ever made a guess as to which character they may have voiced previously, and then reveled in your awesome matching power when you got it right? Is it just me? In any case, while reading through Yume Miru Kusuri I found myself thinking that it read a lot like Rewrite and, lo and behold, the same person (Romeo Tanaka) played a major role in each. For some of you, that may be a fantastic reason to run off and pick up this visual novel right now. For me, however, it means I have to rehash some old complaints for a new setting.

Kagami Kouhei is a pretty average honor student. He gets up in the morning, does his work at school, heads to his part time job, then goes home and sleeps. He feels like his life is colorless and that he is just drifting along in the currents like everyone else. The people surrounding him, however, are somewhat different. There’s the girl being shunned and bullied by her class, struggling through every day with no friends and nobody to stand up for her. Then there’s that weirdo running around in a “fairy” costume who may or may not be insane, and finally the student council president who seems intent on trying every single physical pleasure out there to the detriment of everyone around her. Kouhei may just get the color in life that he dreams of, but will it be worth the cost?

Yume Miru1

I must be sounding like a broken record by now, but the concept of Yume Miru Kusuri is one I can get behind while its execution is what’s lacking. Youths getting into more trouble than they can handle? Lives on the brink of being ruined forever? Maybe there’s something wrong with me. Regardless, much like Rewrite, the “who” and the “what” of YMK are very much present and serviceable while the “how” and “why” have been left behind somewhere in the distance. After a surprisingly enjoyable and amusing common route, the character stories charge ahead from idea to idea without stopping to consider how best to fit them together, or how best to describe them in the first place. For each route’s good ending I could appreciate how fitting each conclusion was to the tale that had preceded it without having been drawn into the tale itself. For the bad ends…well. In a story about drugs, mild insanity and crippling emotional bullying, you might expect some fairly harrowing stuff to take place when the more negative paths come to a close. You might expect it, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen and this is one example of that.

One thing I would have liked to see more of in Yume Miru Kusuri is description of both its events and its settings. It was hard to become immersed in what was going on because of how shallow the writing was, which isn’t a complaint I have very often. It becomes a major problem in this kind of visual novel because the end goal of emotional engagement requires a bit more than a simple telling of events. Don’t just tell me she’s standing there with a knife to her throat (not a spoiler, don’t worry), tell me about the fear in her eyes, more of what may happen if she survives than of the death that awaits her. Tell me about the markings strewn over the walls of her room that record the pain and hatred that have ruled her life. Tell me about the way her legs are shaking as her subconscious instinct for preservation tries to take over and stop this madness. For this kind of writing especially you need to be able to connect with your audience on a deeper level and force them into the here and now of your story, and Yume Miru Kusuri does not do that even a little. It does pack an emotional punch, albeit a small one, though even that is brief compared to the length of the story and undeveloped to boot.

Yume Miru2

I’ll take a brief moment here to talk about the characters. They’re not particularly deep but they are believable, which is impressive in a story that is itself hard to believe at times. I found myself giving a damn about their safety and rejoicing (a little) when good things happened to them, though I didn’t miss them at all once I had completed the VN.  It doesn’t help that both the character sprites and CGs are incredibly variable in quality, from average to really quite bad. There was one particular CG in which the heroine of the day looked more mentally challenged than distraught or distressed which led to me laughing out loud in the middle of what was meant to be a touching scene. Similarly, while I have to admit that some of the sprites are appreciably cute, others make the characters look darned creepy (and it’s not intended!). Neither the BGM nor the voice acting deserve any special comments.

Summary – I’ve been pretty hard on Yume Miru Kusuri but the reality is that it wasn’t terrible and much of what I have said takes the form of reasons I don’t score it higher more than reasons I didn’t like it. I may have thought that the writing wasn’t up to scratch and the art needed (serious) work but the common route was very enjoyable and a lot of the groundwork for good character routes had been put down. Ultimately, and unfortunately, however, YMK fails to realize its goal of being an emotionally heavy production and for that reason does not stand out among all of the other visual novels out there.

Score: 6/10 – Average

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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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12 Responses to [Visual Novel Review]: Yume Miru Kusuri (A Drug That Makes You Dream)

  1. awesomecurry says:

    Tanaka Romeo didn’t actually write the scenario, but was only involved in the concept and planning. Him being the scenario writer of Yume Miru Kusuri is a common misconception.

  2. lifesongsoa says:

    Oddly enough this is one of the few titles most of my friends who haven’t played more than one or two visual novels have played and talk about when I bring up visual novels. They tell me parts of it can be infuriating, but the scene where the characters run away and do drugs is really hot. >_>

    I haven’t read this visual novel myself. It’s a low priority on the backlog and I guess I have little reason to change that right now.

    • Silvachief says:

      Strangely enough, despite the heavy use of H-scenes in visual novels I rarely hear anyone describing them as “hot” XD It does seem to be a relatively well known title, though, so i’m not all that surprised to hear your friends of limited VN experience have read it.

      Sometimes I suggest people should look for an alternative opinion to my review…this isn’t one of those cases…

      • lifesongsoa says:

        Haha, well the only time I hear it when I’m talking to buddies I’ve played games with for years. I’ve literally no idea what the scene they rant about is all about and not I’m not 100% confident they aren’t trying to troll me into something awful. That is totally something they would do.

  3. Kai says:

    I remember liking Aeka’s route the best and feel the scenes are actually quite emotional when it needs to be, that means it’s kinda different from what you described of the writing. I do remember not liking the other two routes as much and feel like despite dealing with similarly serious themes, their emotional impact seems to fall short compared to Aeka’s. Perhaps writing quality only started dwindling by then?

    • Silvachief says:

      The mentally challenged CG I mentioned was one of Aeka’s XD As I say in the review, there are certainly enjoyable parts to the VN, including emotional scenes, but in every route I don’t feel enough was done to really flesh out the despair Yue Miru Kusuri was aiming for and Aeka’s wasn’t an exception for me.

      If I had to pick a favorite route…well, that’s tough. None of them stood out to me >.<

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