Genre: Yuri Action Casual Visual Novel
Release Date: Feb 24, 2017
Visual novels are one of those rare art forms that come is a multitude of flavors, something I appreciate as you can read one novel and it be completely different from the last; that being said, I am the kind of person who prefers a dark, gritty, and sometimes edgy visual novel, exactly what I got when I was first introduced to The Shadows of Pygmalion. The Shadows of Pygmalion is a visual novel developed by propeller, later released by MangaGamer, that focuses around a yuri all ages style with great writing, visuals, and character development; with a few flaws that can set the novel back for some readers.
Focus your minds as we talk about the story and why I think this could be one of the best stories I have read to date. We, the reader, follow through the eyes of Mina Hajiro, trying to live a normal life in high school as the afternoon sun hits on a normal day, and instead of hanging out with her friends, she goes to visit an odd and foreboding mansion with a single name plate stating Pygmalion. It is here where we are introduced to Yang Li-Fang, a curator of the mansion, and after she leaves, Mina goes to see a doll known as Ruka. However, this visit to Ruka triggers the nightmares to come as the doll comes to life on its own. After a grapple and kiss from the mysterious doll, Mina reawakens as if it didn’t happen. Over the next few days, things only get weirder for Mina as she now can hear others thoughts, and see odd beings known as Puppets, dolls with no will to live in a human form. It is here, after visiting the mansion with a friend she meets from another school, and finding out she is not as she states, that Mina is forced into a group dedicated to fight the puppets, realizing her life may never be the same again. But something darker is on the horizon, can Mina and her new friends fight this new evil? Thats for you to find out as I am ending my story segment here, but the complexity and deepness this story builds is one of the best I have read in awhile.
The story here still has a few flaws I would like to speak about, most notably the pacing in some areas of the story, and how random some of the characters can really be. Let us start with the pacing, as it is not as big of an issue. I found the pacing for most of the story was great, making you feel the moments the story intended you to feel, and trying to put that little glimpse of fear into you when it was necessary; however, there are just a few moments I got to in the story, where the the pacing was just thrown completely out the window to explain story. I can understand some story segments need more time to get the point across, but I also felt like they slowed it down so much, I was pulled out of the story and back into reality again for no reason. My only other gripe was some of the characters you meet later can come off as random. The one that comes to mind is Yang Li-Ling prominently as when you first meet her, she acts snobbish and rude, almost like she hates the fact Mina awakened her powers at all, and is a threat to her in some way. Now this does change as the story goes on, but the first few times you really see her, you might question why she is there.
Draw your blade and fight on as the presentation of The Shadows of Pygmalion are hand drawn with a focus on realistic looks and music to match the tone at the time. Visually, The Shadows of Pygmalion is one of those hand drawn novels for the most part, save for a few cg scenes and some form of animated character looks from time to time. This was really refreshing for a novel as I felt the love of the artist as the story progressed, and the art showed how each character was feeling at that time. The art really shows the characters growth and progression as well, letting us see Mina go from this very timid and scared character who wants nothing to do with this new world, to someone who is confident in what she has to do to protect her friends, both new and old. The backgrounds, for the most part, are integrated with the characters so well you can say both are one piece, but in the end, they feel like two completely separate ones as the detail level given in these pieces are high and fluent. The character designs were refreshing as well, all things considered, since the focus around high school is a common theme. The characters themselve felt unique in their own ways, be it a small design change like a hair color or style to completely drastic where the characters alter their looks to serve the purpose.
Chill out to the tunes as The Shadows of Pygmalion changes its music stance as the scene and feel changes. The music does take a heavy focus on classical roots such as the piano, but the subtle use of drums and oboe make it feels like a completely different setup, and fit for the scenes. I will admit, the battle music has to be my favorite, as it still keeps the heavy classical tones used in the soundtrack, but allows for us to get a few newer riffs like heavy drum, or bass in some rare instances. The sound effects are nearly on point as well, save for a few used in the novel. The effects act like a second layer, if you will, a set of music that comes and goes, but helps draw into this world as you feel like the gunshot was near you. The voice acting here, though, has to be the icing on this cake. I do not usually speak too much on voice acting, as most of the time, I find it is a common feature, but the voice acting used in The Shadows of Pygmalion was something else. Every character, even Mina, has their own voice, and it adds this feeling of connection to the novel I miss in so many others; Mina’s in particular had me drawn in, as you can hear her tremble when it is needed, and it just fits the character so well, like that character was right next to you.
Overall, The Shadows of Pygmalion has to be one of my favorite experiences with a visual novel because of how much detail and dedication you can see was put into this novel. From the superb writing to great artwork, it feels complete without any fillers. The superb writing, excellently told story, unique characters, the hand drawn and detailed art style, well done cg scenes where used, classical music with good variety, exquisitely used sound effects and amazing voice acting make this novel one to remember.
- A superbly written story that is excellently told
- Each character is unique in their own way
- The hand drawn detail art style felt perfect for this novel
- CG scenes were well done where used
- A good variation of classical pieces with different instruments to match
- Exquisite use of the sound effects
- Some of the best voice acting I have experienced
- Long player time, at least over ten hours
- The pacing in some sections of the story can feel too slow
- Characters can feel random at first without the proper introduction
- Slow startup for the story to get to the big meat of the tale
DarkLunarDude gives The Shadows of Pygmalion a Drastik Measure 9.5 out of 10.0 (95)
For the price of $34.99USD on Steam or $34.95USD on MangaGamer, I can highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a good mystery build up or wants to experience a superbly told story with some amazing voice acting and long read time. This novel surprised me with how good it was and I cannot wait to get back into its story down the road.