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The Fruit of Grisaia Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . The Fruit of Grisaia is a perfectly good visual novel that is marred by pacing issues and a whole lot of underage sex. Fans of the anime may get something out of the different stories, but it takes so long for the game to get going that I had already lost interest. Rating: 40%
The Fruit of Grisaia
The Fruit of Grisaia The Fruit of Grisaia The Fruit of Grisaia The Fruit of Grisaia
  • Review Score:

  • C-
I interrupt my usual musings about 2D shoot-em-ups, puzzle platformers and trendy roguelikes to bring you a visual novel about teenage angst, make-out sessions, bitchy backstabbing, cannibalism and lots of erotic bathing scenes. Yeah, it's going to be that kind of review.

This is The Fruit of Grisaia, an adult-themed visual novel about a school full of teenage girls. Like so many games in the genre, this is light on interaction and heavy on lengthy conversations about trivial events. There are a number of branching paths, each of which sees our mysterious male lead romantically entangled with a different girl.

We are introduced to the school through Kazami Yuuji, a handsome stranger with a dangerous past. After being harassed by the local police force, he decides to enroll at the Mihama Academy. Yuuji quickly discovers that he's completely surrounded by attractive teenage girls, each based on a different anime trope -- Amane is a classic big sister, Michiru is a fake tsundere and Yumiko is a kuudere type.

Playing to these lazy character tropes initially turned me off, but it doesn't take long for The Fruit of Grisaia to hint that there's more going on than what meets the eye. As we get to know the different girls, we learn that each of them has a dark and tragic past. For example, one lengthy flashback tells the story of Amane, who was in a fatal bus crash as a young girl. She and the rest of the survivors were forced to fend for themselves, turning her into the sexually-confident young woman you see today.

On the other side of the spectrum is Sachi, who is a self-proclaimed maid. We learn that because of tragedies earlier in life, Sachi has decided to wear a uniform and do whatever people want. Unfortunately, this is not always in her best interest and may ultimately prove to be self-destructive.

Some of these stories take a weird turn, such as a character who suffers from having split-personalities due to an unusual medical procedure. In each case, Yuuji is there to help the girls come to grips with their past and explore their blossoming sexuality.

The Fruit of Grisaia (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

While so much of the story revolves around the five teenage girls, it's nice to see Yuuji is also a fully realized character. We learn a lot about his quirks through inner monologues. He's quick to let the reader know why he likes to eat alone, when it's appropriate for a man to cry and what it was like to study abroad. Although he's a bit of a jerk and not very good at dealing with estrogen, Yuuji is a fun and interesting character.

While Yuuji may be compelling, much of the story is not. The game takes a frustratingly long time to get going, bogging the reader down with hours of mundane conversations that do nothing to advance the plot. To the game's credit, the dialog is often snappy and fun. It's full of teenage girls talking about sex, panty lines, breast size and wardrobe. But even with the intriguing subject matter and perfectly-constructed jokes, there's simply too much idle chit-chat before the story gets started.

Things pick up quite a bit once you get into the character-specific routes, but even then I had some reservations about the romantic decisions. As I said before, each of the paths involves a few different sex scenes, usually involving anime girls in various states of undress. While I'm all for sex and nudity, I was bit uncomfortable with the young ages of the girls. Makina, for example, looks and acts no older than 14, yet she's sexualized in much the same way as her more mature counterparts. It left me a little grossed out.

If you're interested in these teenage girls and their sexual escapades, The Fruit of Grsaia offers a lot of content to go through. There are a number of different paths that result in unique endings. That said, if you aren't interested in the story and the characters, then you probably won't get much out of the visual novel. There's no gameplay to speak of and the experience isn't made up of impressive cinemas to watch.

The Fruit of Grisaia (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The character models look good and the backgrounds are impressive, but there simply isn't enough to see in this game. There are only a few character poses and it doesn't take long for the game to cycle through all of them. It doesn't help that the students are confined to a small area, so we're constantly repeating the same classroom, bedroom, hallway, etc. The presentation probably won't lure new people to the series, but fans will enjoy the style.

Despite some of my hang-ups with the underage sex, there's a lot about the story that I enjoyed. It isn't afraid to get dark, which I really appreciated. It also plays with anime tropes in unique ways. But as unique as some of the storytelling is, I couldn't get beyond the slow pacing and unresolved questions. However, if you're a fan of The Fruit of Grisaia and already have an attachment to these characters, then feel free to disregard everything I said in this review.
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