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 . However, volume 17 of Dengeki Sega Saturn states that YU-NO sold closer to 240,000 copies on the Saturn. 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" . Over two decades after YU-NO's release the title is still highly regarded by fans in Japan. Famitsu Magazine held a reader poll in 2017 where people could vote on their favorite adventure games of all time where YU-NO ranked 12th in the final tally with 140 points .
To celebrate YU-NO's 20th anniversary and the release of the remake, 5pb collected a number of quotes from different creators as well as artwork from different illustrators for a booklet included with the special edition of the remake. Some of the creators that talked about how the game impacted them included Tamiki Wakaki, creator of The World God Only Knows, who cited YU-NO as an influence on his work. Kazutaka Kodaka, creator of Danganronpa, spoke about playing the Sega Saturn version of YU-NO and claimed that it motivated him to want to create similar adventure games in the future. Romeo Tanaka, writer behind Cross Channel, spoke about playing the Windows port years after its release and how he respected YU-NO a great deal. Hikaru Sakurai, former writer for Liar Soft and Type-Moon, expressed that YU-NO still felt just as fresh to her as the day she first played it on the Saturn two decades ago. Jun Maeda, writer behind several titles such as Clannad and Angel Beats, stated that YU-NO was a legendary title and one of the last games he remembers playing that really made him excited. Maruto Fumiaki, writer behind White Album 2, also reminisced on playing YU-NO on its exact release date in 1996 and enjoying the game a great deal .
YU-NO contains one of the largest video game scripts ever written according to some sources with almost 100,000 lines of dialogue and over 4 million characters of Japanese text . Although these claims are a bit debatable since almost 40 percent of that script is repeated text from command responses . However, despite its large script size, a team of fans from TLWiki began working on an ambitious English fan translation in 2009 for the PC version of YU-NO. Two years later, on September 29, 2011, the translation was finished and contained over a million words of English text in its final script . 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 . Years later, the group's translation was ported to the original PC-98 version of YU-NO by BabaJeanmel on December 31, 2021 .
- While never confirmed by SNK, some Japanese fans speculate that Shermie from King of Fighters '97 might have been modeled after Eriko Takeda from YU-NO.
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: 8, 11, 13).
- 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).
- Weekly Famitsu, Best Adventure Game of All Time Reader Poll (Japanese Nintendo, 2017).
- YU-NO at Nico Nico Pedia.
- PC-98 Fan Translation Patch by BabaJeanmel (2021).