Genre: Adventure, Casual
Developer: Kuro Irodoru Yomiji
Release Date: Oct 27, 2016
Edited by KnightAvenger
Yuri novels, while not rare to say the least, can be a hard sell to readers, as they have to focus on a particular scope of themes to stay relevant in most situations, especially when your story is based solely around a female protagonist. Thus, when I found out there was a yuri novel that focused heavily on the supernatural, with a build upon their relationships, my curiosity was peaked: Ne no Kami: The Two Princess Knights of Kyoto Part 1. Ne no Kami: The Two Princess Knights of Kyoto Part 1 is a yuri, fantasy-based visual novel developed by Kuro Irodoru Yomiji, later released by Sekai Project as All-Ages and Denpasoft as an Adult title, that takes us to a world where oni, evil demons and the love between girls have a significant impact, but it also has a few issues along the way.
Starting out in the busy city, Ne no Kami: The Two Princess Knights of Kyoto Part 1 has a very driven story based on character interaction and development with a dash of fantasy thrown in to keep it interesting. However, it does leave a few story issues. We, the reader, read from the eyes of Len, a girl who has grown up in the city, when she has one of her friend’s visits on a trip with her prep school and another from a village outside of the city. However, things start to get weird as Shinonome, the girl from the village who takes her to a small pass outside of the city, says, “Len, you are going to abandon this town…and die today.” This, immediately, freaks Len out, causing her to run, only to meet up with another person in a shrine outfit who is going to the secret village. Upon arrival, it is made clear something is up, as while the members of the village don’t protest her leaving, they know something she does not. When it is revealed, upon picking up some divine weapons, that she is one of five divine sword wielders in the village and of her power to sense demons, it quickly becomes a situation of how long she will stay there before realizing and accepting this new reality. I will end my synopsis here, as I feel that going any farther will directly spoil the story, but where this novel is definitely a slow start, the second half is worth the wait.
While I found the overall story of Ne no Kami: The Two Princess Knights of Kyoto Part 1 to be interesting because of the themes it encompassed and built off of, I did find a few issues that stuck hard to me as well. The first big issue I found was the slower burner of the first half of the story. Normally, I don’t mind slower story beginnings, as they usually ramp up within the first hour or more, but that is where Ne no Kami: The Two Princess Knights of Kyoto Part 1 didn’t stop. This slow pacing lasted through the first half of the novel, making for times where I felt disconnected from the story and had to force myself to be interested again. Following this is the second issue I had with the story, a lack of early story to embrace. The story’s start felt more forced than anything else, with Len having no control over this situation until about 30 to 45 minutes in. This left me questioning when Len was supposed to become her own character and not some throw around puppet, doing as she is told.
Swinging the sword in rhythm, the fight scenes, as well as the yuri scenes, were one of the more memorable elements of the novel. Usually, these types of scenes are told by words and showing pictures of the event going on as a guide, but Ne no Kami: The Two Princess Knights of Kyoto Part 1 went with, instead, an odd but satisfying video format. This format change made these scenes have a much bigger edge and effect on the reader, as we got to see firsthand how the group fought and the girls developed their bonds in a more private setting. This did leave an off feeling, though, as this did not leave much to the imagination as I, personally, would have liked.
Dodging traps to get better, the presentation of Ne no Kami: The Two Princess Knights of Kyoto Part 1 is where I found my biggest issues, mostly with the facial animations but very solid in the styling of the art, with the soundtrack being something I can remember fondly. Visually, I loved the idea behind the art style, being this older and more rustic-looking style of art, but it is also where I had my biggest complaints in terms of bringing it together as one big package. The backgrounds were detailed and rich, sometimes a little too dark in some scenes to reflect nighttime, but, otherwise, they stood out from the rest of the art and kept the atmosphere unique. The character art is where I drew my issues from. The characters themselves looked great and when they stood side by side, you could tell the artist wanted each of the girls to reflect a different attitude with the visuals. It was the facial animations that took away from it for me, though; they were clean and showed very well the emotion running at the time but lacked the emotional depth I was searching for.
Playing the flute for calmness, the soundtrack for Ne no Kami: The Two Princess Knights of Kyoto Part 1 was memorable with its selection of tones to fit the mood. Musically, I loved the soundtrack, as it played as an enhancer to the scenes, not a show stopper. The selection deriving from the classical tones of the piano and winds to the subtle blurt of various horns just kept me engrossed as much as it could. The sound effects were used less, which is fine, as they were more for on point hits and to bring the reader deeper into the emotion of the situation.
Overall, I found Ne no Kami: The Two Princess Knights of Kyoto Part 1 to be an experience where yuri and fantasy mixed well together with some solid writing, nicely drawn scenes and character development but fell behind in a few places. The solid writing and storytelling, deep character development, access to a glossary of terms, use of the video format for fighting and yuri scenes, older but cleaner looking visuals, great character art, and a memorable soundtrack made for a novel that has strong reading value.
- A solidly written and told story
- The deep character development
- Having access to a glossary of terms new to the world
- Use of the video format for battles and yuri scenes
- An older but cleaner style of visual
- A memorable soundtrack
- Solid five to six hours plus long reading time
- A slower first half of story
- Character facial expressions lacked that same emotional depth as story
- Can be a long haul until the better second half
DarkLunarDude gives Ne No Kami: The Two Princess Knights of Kyoto Vol 1 a Drastic Measure 7.8 out of 10.0 (78)
For the price of $14.99 (USD) on Denpasoft, I can recommend Ne no Kami: The Two Princess Knights of Kyoto Part 1 to those seeking a solid fantasy-based read or those seeking a general yuri novel, as the scenes where it is shown are well crafted. There is a part two for this novel out now, so I definitely can’t wait to dive into that adventure (hopefully) soon.