YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of this World (この世の果てで恋を唄う少女YU-NO) is an adult Japanese adventure game released on December 26, 1996, developed and published by ELF Corporation for the NEC PC-98 computer. The title was was written, designed and directed by Hiroyuki Kanno while its soundtrack was composed by Ryu Umemoto, both of whom had previously worked together on several titles at C's Ware such as EVE burst error.
YU-NO was soon ported to the Sega Saturn in 1997, which removed the game's explicit sexual content and remastered its presentation with higher fidelity artwork and a reworked soundtrack. A port of the original PC-98 version was later ported to Windows as part of the Elf Classics Collection in 2000 with some of its content altered or removed in order to be compliant with modern Japanese ethics laws. The game was also adapted into several other forms of media including an adult anime OVA (Original Video Animation) in 1998 as well as manga and several novels. A remake of YU-NO, featuring a completely redone presentation, was later developed by 5pb. as well as Division 8 and was initially launched on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in 2017.
The gameplay uses a point-and-click interface to interact with the game world and the plot revolves around the protagonist time-traveling between various parallel worlds in order to solve the mystery of his parents' disappearance. Although parallel worlds are not an unfamiliar concept in science fiction, the game uses concepts from physics, mathematics, philosophy, history and religion to construct a unique fictional universe. In particular, the "A.D.M.S." or "Auto Diverge Mapping System," which visually displays the branching parallel worlds or timelines as a tree, aids the player in navigation.
Both the original PC-98 and Saturn versions of YU-NO sold very well on their respective platforms. Volume 165 of the magazine Comptiq has stated that the PC-98 release of YU-NO sold around 100,000 copies by March 1997 and Famitsu calculates that the Saturn port sold 139,509 copies, which would make it the 63rd best selling title on the system, while volume 17 of Dengeki Sega Saturn states that it sold closer to 240,000 copies .
Hiroki Azuma, a Japanese cultural critic and writer, analyzed YU-NO in his 2001 book "Otaku: Japan's Database Animals" and complimented the game for how it makes its game systems visible to the player and incorporates those systems into its narrative, stating that he believes YU-NO to be a work "constructed with extreme care" .
YU-NO also had a strong impact in certain sections of otaku culture in Japan with people such as Tamiki Wakaki, creator of The World God Only Knows, citing that YU-NO was an influence on his work .
YU-NO contains one of the largest video game scripts ever written with almost 100,000 lines of dialogue and over 4 million characters of Japanese text, although about 40 percent of that script is repeated text from command responses . In 2009, a team of fans from TLWiki began working on an ambitious English fan translation for the PC version of YU-NO, which was eventually released two years later on September 29, 2011. Once completed, the translated script contained over a million words of English text . The translation team also added several enhancements to the PC port, including adding the voice acting and extra scenes from the Saturn release as well as incorporating the scenario from the PC-98 Special Disk into the main game and uncensoring the PC version's altered content .
External Links and Sources
- HG101's YU-NO Article - Written by Audun Sorlie.
- TLWiki's YU-NO Translation Page (News Archive).
- Famitsu's Japanese Sega Saturn Sales Data (10/22/1994 - 04/04/1999).
- Otaku: Japan's Database Animals by Hiroki Azuma (Pages: 106-116).
- YU-NO 20th Anniversary Book (Page: 12).
- Visual Novel Aer's 2010 Interviews with YU-NO's Translation Team (Phar, Kingshriek/Izmos, and Spin).
- List of Longest Video Game Scripts.
- TLWiki VN/Eroge Script Sizes.
- Automaton Interview with Ryuu Takami - Written by Koji Fukuyama (01/24/2017).