Harumade, Kururu

はるまで、くるる。

I never took a particular notice of Watanabe Ryouichi as he was basically writing dumb moe VNs and nukige, but then he came out with the Spring is Coming (はるまで、くるる), which is a diamond hard sci-fi mystery visual novel set in a very bizarre future.

I really didn’t think I’d ever say something like this about a work which starts with a dozen of sex scenes, including bisexual orgies, but it’s one of the smartest pieces of fiction I have ever read. A truly profound understanding of modern evolutionary biology and particle physics is used to construct a mind-blowing future, the exploration of which alone makes this VN among the best I’ve ever read.

Unfortunately, the odd obsession with light-hearted romance and sexual jokes undermines the otherwise very intelligent nature of this piece. It is truly a shame that only a couple of mysteries are actually explored within the plot, while the majority of the more complex ideas are only explained to you through stale expository dialogue near the end. You’ll spend most of your actual reading time on worldly situations with characters who, while nice, are nowhere near as interesting as the actual setting. Also, while some of the points, like overabundant sex, are tied to rigid scientific ideas, it nonetheless feels like the concept suffered greatly due to needlessly being forced into visual novel conventions.

Even though Haru Made, Kururu oddly concentrates on things which aren’t exactly its forte, namely characters and romance, its scientific speculations are good enough to completely blow your mind regardless of how actually stale their adaptation was. Heck, one could write a plot-less essay on them and it would still be an absolutely exciting trip. Definitely recommended for fans of intelligent speculative fiction and people who like science in general. This could have easily been a masterpiece of the century if it had adapted storytelling more akin to novels of Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov or Robert Heinlein.

Is Watanabe Ryouichi going to be our Stephen Baxter of visual novels? Though I guess Peter Watts would be somewhat thematically closer… Anyway, it seems we finally have a real hard sci-fi master in this medium, which makes me REALLY happy.

Positive: Negative:
Interesting characters, particularly Fuyune and Shizuka Disappointing character designs
Mind-blowing ideas based on legitimate hard science Story concentrates on light-hearted romance instead of the mind-blowing ideas
Thought-provoking on immortality
Thought-provoking on the future of our species
Thought-provoking on the mysteries of the universe
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