The Women of YU-NO Part III

Plot Twists? How about Paradigm Twists?

Plot twists, when done well, are always a fun thing to see in shows. When any piece of entertainment is able to pull the rug out from under the viewer and reveal what it is REALLY about, it can be something you won’t forget. However, what about a paradigm shift? I’ve spoken about this in my blog, where a show can switch its plot and focus and completely transform itself into something new. We have seen this in Higurashi: When they Cry with its move from horror to political thriller. Or with Doki Doki Literature Club and it’s gut punch of what it is really about.

And as we enter the final leg of our conversation through YU-NO: A Girl who Chants Love at the Bound of this World, we also enter what is considered a paradigm shift for this series. A transformation from what was a mysterious science fiction journey, to a full on fantasy isekai, and one that surprisingly is able to be just as good and endearing as the first half. Once again me and Crow are going to sit down and discuss everything about the second part, including the characters, the setting and most of all, whether this twist actually works.

Crow, why don’t we start off by talking about the move to Dela Grante in both the anime and the visual novel. What did you think of this change from the anime perspective?

The Women of YU-NO Part III

The Move to Dela Grante in The Women of YU-NO Part III

Do you want to know my two biggest complaints about the move to Dela Grante? The OP and the ED changed! Now, I don’t want to disrespect the new OP and ED. They’re fine. I’m sure the composer and artists who performed them feel justifiably proud. But the original two are among my favorite OPs and EDs of all time! I listen to them constantly on my iTunes (I have no idea how they ended up there; it’s quite a mystery). 

But on a more serious note, Takuya moved from Earth to Dela Grante between episode 17 and episode 18. Takuya had to make his way into a chamber within  Mount Sankaku, then use the Reflector device as a key. I liked a lot about his arrival in the other world. Immediately, he had to catch some fish so he’d have something to eat. Too often fantasies gloss over those important details. He also had to learn the hard way that he shouldn’t just go charging into bushes! Dela Grante has a lot of cliffs, and he barely survived his first plunge!

In terms of the transition itself, only one thing bugged me. Takuya’s a bright young man. We’ve seen that time and time again! So why didn’t he prepare a little more? Maybe bring some supplies or at least better shoes? I know, it’s a silly thing, but I notice stuff like that.

Sayless couldn’t speak — thought Takuya clearly heard someone calling for help. Capture from the Funimation stream.

I also notice Takuya wasted zero time getting to know Sayless! He heard a woman calling for help. Being Takuya, he immediately rushed to the rescue. He did not seem displeased to find a beautiful young woman! Well, seeing a flying skull-head creature as it attacking her pissed him off, but he took care of that. Then he sat himself down and proceeded to introduce himself.

Dude’s in a new world, and he didn’t miss a beat.

Another Difference Between the Visual Novel and Anime Series in The Women of YU-NO Part III

The new opening I actually quite enjoyed, didn’t care much for the ending though.

This is a big difference for the anime and the VN, as the VN really just throws him into the world. He follows notes left by his father and goes back to the ruins where he is suddenly thrown into the new world. While in the anime it is very much Kanna preparing him for where he goes. You say that he should have gotten supplies and such, but I think that would have robbed the sense of desperation and anger he feels at the start.

Takuya’s trip to Dela Grante and encounter with Sayless isn’t the fun isekai harem romp that we often watch. Takuya has no clue where he is and struggles greatly with his new situation. In the VN there is time spent on his anger, this feeling that he’s stuck in this new world and has no way out. Even worse is that after Illya dies, the one person who could have explained anything, he is left with Sayless who is true to her name. She’s a mute, and Takuya is robbed of the usual back and forth banter he thrives off of.

This initial start is wrapped up in a lot of mystery and the music, especially in the VN, only adds to it. It’s about the biggest departure you could have thought of, and yet it works so well. What did you think of this initial change and Takuya’s relationship with both Illya and Sayless?

Takuya’s Relationship to Illya and Sayless

I think Kanna as a bridge made the transition feel almost natural. It was an extension of the narrative. You made a good point about Takuya’s sense of desperation. Thinking back, I can see how he was really anxious Kanna was about to die, so he had to rush. It was only when he arrived that he understood what that meant. Namely, that he had to rough it. Had to hand it to him: He had some camping skills! 

I jokingly said Takuya didn’t miss a beat, and in terms of Sayless, that’s more or less how I saw it. But since he met Illya first, let’s start with her. He could tell she was sick, and instead of trying to take advantage of the situation, he tried to help her out. Here he was, in a different world with no knowledge of how to get back, and he stayed true to himself. That was yet another reason I really like him as a protagonist. 

Takuya’s first meeting with Illya was a little stressful. But he rolled with it, and she didn’t strike without need. Capture from the Funimation stream.

In fact, I liked how he joked around with her, even though she wasn’t always comfortable with it. They seemed to click together in a non-romantic way. If I had to give their type of relationship a name, it’d be comrades. I saw that as she trained him in her fighting techniques. I could also see it in terms of how he reacted to her passing away from the illness. He wanted to carry on her job. Also, I don’t think he really knew what else to do, at least in the anime. 

When Sayless entered the picture, I had to laugh. Takuya is smooth! They seemed to click, too, in a completely romantic way! But you know how in modern isekai (well, except Re:ZERO), where the lead female(s) fall for the MC, just because he’s the MC? It didn’t feel that way at all with Takuya. It felt like they had real chemistry. Is that how you saw it?

Sayless: Romantic Partner or Plot Device?

Sayless always felt more of the plot device characters compared to the other girls. She is meant to give birth to the titular YU-NO and give someone for Takuya to bounce off of during the early parts of the second half. Considering how fast he moves onto Sala and later Amanda, I don’t think he grieved too much (Again, another connection to Kanna and how they feel love through physical actions). I never really thought of her more than that, but what was there was good enough. 

I think their romance was born out of loneliness, in a way echoing Kanna’s need for a connection (and hey, something those two have in common, that’s strange isn’t it!). Would Takuya have stayed with Sayless if Amanda or Illya had stuck around? I don’t know, because as much as he is a pussy hound, Takuya is also a pretty good guy. Their relationship seems to come out of a sense of resignation. By all accounts he is stuck in that forest, the only way to get out is crossing a desert which he tries and fails miserably. So he makes the best of a bad situation and settles into a life with Sayless.

She in turn is giving a chance at a normal life with someone I do think she genuinely loves. And don’t get me wrong, I do think that once Takuya settles in, he grows to really love Sayless, but in the grand scope of YU-NO, her role is a crucial, but kind of minimal one. I’ll get into what I think might have worked a little bit later.

I had a slightly different perspective on Takuya and Sayless, but two thing’s for sure. First, Sayless and Takuya had a daughter, Yu-No. Yep, the Yu-No from the title. She grew fast. Like, supernaturally fast. We find out why later, and it made sense, but at the time, Takuya took it in stride. She was his daughter, and he was going to try to raise her best he could. Actually, I thought he made a good father! 

He even let her keep a pet. If this weren’t a discussion of the Women of Yu-No, I’d talk more about the pet, but let’s stay focused on Sayless. 

The Death of Sayless in The Women of YU-NO Part III

Speaking of Sayless, the second thing that’s “for sure” is that the narrative saw her as such a plot point that her death was one of the few things about the show that really annoyed me. The palace guards showed up while Takuya and Yu-No were out hunting. After subjecting her to a humiliating check to see if she were still a virgin, they determined she’d been defiled and roughly prepared to bring her back to the palace.

The guards treated Sayless roughly, and they terribly outnumbered Takuya. Capture from the Funtimation stream.

Takuya arrived just in time to see them finish their test. They intended to load her onto their camel-like creatures (which, by the way, looked pretty cool fitted with their desert canopies!). But Takuya showed up. Needless to say, the situation angered him! He managed to kill one of them, and he fully intended to take them all on. This is Takuya, after all. I never saw the dude back down from a fight.

Sayless knew how the remaining three guards had received combat training. She knew that no matter how hard Takuya fought, they’d kill him. Then she slit her own throat.

Do you think I’m judging the moment too harshly?

Well Kun-kun is a woman…kinda…sorta… They also eat her.

I think your judgment is totally fine, because honestly, Sayless’s death is the few parts of the anime that is actually better than the VN. In the visual novel, Sayless dies by biting her tongue once she’s pinned down by the guards. It happens so out of nowhere and so fast that I literally went “that’s it?” 

That’s probably because I saw the anime first, and I thought Sayless’ death was handled quite well. There is drama, rising stakes and when she decides to off herself, she goes the whole distance. Slitting her own throat and all the blood was pretty fucked up, especially since YU-NO doesn’t go deep into the gore. 

Takuya’s Reaction to Sayless’ Death in The Women of YU-NO Part III

Takuya’s reaction of course was great, and it was clear that despite their strange romance, he came to really love Sayless, which was shown through his devotion to Yu-No. Like you said, he takes her rapid growth on the chin and just accepts it. It was great though to see Takuya become a loving father, showing again that there is a person behind the relentless pussy hound.

But, with Sayless dead, we see Takuya and Yu-No resolve to cross the desert where they come across an oasis and an ass attached to a woman named Sala. Now, this is the character in the story I liked the least, even though the anime does expand on her role in the story. What is your take on this part of the story Crow?

The anime expanded her role? Gracious. I rarely criticize a character for not being essential to the narrative. I tell myself the writer had something in mind, and maybe I just missed it. But seriously: What was Sala’s contribution? She came on to Takuya, then betrayed him and YU-NO. The net effect was that they ended up in imperial custody, which could easily have happened with Sala.

Sala made a favorable impression on Takuya when they first met. Capture from the Funimation stream.

When we see her later, she’s like, “Yep, things are going to hell in a handbasket, so I’m out of here!” 

They could have removed her entirely and had given us more time with Amanda! Speaking of which, how about we plunge ahead and talk about the last of the Women of YU-NO — last, but by no means least? 

We Meet Amanda

Sala is, again, my least favorite character in the entire series. In the VN she is literally there for two reasons. To lure Takuya into the trap where he is thrown into the prison camp, and to fuck him at the oasis. That’s it, that’s all.

Now I’ll go to the mat for the sex scenes in this VN. I think they are tastefully done, fit well with the story and don’t feel shoved in for the sake of indulging viewers. Sala is the lone exception. This felt EXACTLY like that, as if the writers were afraid that it had been too long since Takuya laid some pipe, and needed to throw it in there. Don’t get me wrong, Sala has a booty worth fighting for, but there is no reason behind it. The best sex scenes come when it is a result of a investing plot and story. This was just intrusive.

BUT, it does lead us to Amanda, who is one of my favorite characters in the entire story, and also someone who changed quite a bit from Light Novel to Anime. The leader of the resistance, the girl who is tough as nails, but also sensitive and eager for love. And of course, the mother of Kanna. I have a lot I want to say, but Crow, what did you think of her through the anime’s perspective?

Strictly from the anime perspective, I liked a lot about her. If I remember correctly, the first time we see her is ⅔ of the way through episode 21. A heavy guard escorted her into the prison, and Tatsuya asked if she were a new prisoner. His two prison buddies, Deo and Kartz, act awfully suspicious. As in, they didn’t want to talk about her, so that was our first indication she was more than just a new prisoner. 

Takuya met Amanda under harsh circumstances. Capture from the Funimation stream.

He found out more when he guards captured him as he tried to escape. Well, he watched lighting turn someone else into charcoal using his plan to escape, but it’s a long story). The guards threw him into the cell next to where Bazuku was trying to torture information out of Amanda. Apparently, they’d never read the Evil Overlord’s site, because rule #36 clearly states that guards should never keep important prisoners in the same cell block. In retrospect, that was probably one of the worst mistakes the guards had ever made, because that meeting set events in motion that would eventually destroy the prison. 

Amanda Reacts to Takuya in The Women of YU-NO Part III

Because, let’s face it: Takuya is Takuya, and Amanda was a powerful, beautiful woman, and he had the perfect opening line. He’d heard Bazuku use her first name, and he remembered her sister, Illia, had mentioned a little sister named Amanda. He had to deliver the bad news that Illia had died, but Amanda took it well. It was almost like she expected it would happen, sooner or later, because her sister had believed in the empire and always tried to do her duty.

Amanda then proceeded to indoctrinate Takuya into her resistance. Turns out she believed that the Divine Emperor used fear and intimidation to keep people in line. All Takuya needed to hear was that Sayless’ death as just to feed the Divine Emperor’s lust for power, and he was in. She showed him the secret hand gesture to identify her allies, and sure enough — Deo and Kartz were also in on it.

We next saw Amanda at the beginning of episode 22, when the warden Bazuku was again trying to torture information about the resistance out of her. She remained defiant, which spoke well of her bravery. But when she said that the resistance’s plot had to do with shoving Bazuku’s head up the emperor’s ass, well, he poked her eye out in retribution.

Even then, she still didn’t give up any secrets.

So my impressions of her were pretty favorable. Would you like to talk about some of the events that took place next, now that events had were intertwined their destinies? 

Amanda paid a heavy price for her resistance. Capture from the Funimation stream.

Amanda’s Story Very Different in the Anime

I will, but first I think it is important to make note of this part in the VN. This storyline is the most divergent out of everything in the series, which is surprising. In the VN, there is no resistance, or what there was has been long destroyed by the Divine Emperor. Amanda is the only one left, and all those characters you saw who were part of her group were made directly for the anime. It wasn’t bad of course, but when I did read the visual novel, it floored me at how better it was.

By making Amanda the lone survivor, instead of the hard-assed resistance leader that’s been done to death, we instead get a character who acts tough, but is actually a worn out and beaten soldier. Hearing that her sister has died is the last levee to break, and leaves Amanda heartbroken and desperate for affection. Of course enter Takyua who comforts her the only way he knows how. (This is the only time they have sex in the VN, the scene later in the anime was created to replace it) Thankfully Amanda is fully on board, and afterwards she becomes all about Takuya, expecting that they’ll get married and even treating Yu-No, as her adopted daughter.

Now your gut reaction might be ‘what, that isn’t better,’ but I assure you that is. It shows that Amanda is in way over her head, and trying to fight a war she had no chance of winning. That Dela Grante, even at this unknown stage, is probably doomed. There isn’t going to be a heroic rebel alliance to swoop in and save everything.  Furthermore, this vulnerability doesn’t make her weak, but instead human. I can’t tell you how much I hate the ‘rebel girl’ archetype and Amanda doesn’t slide into this at all in the VN. Despite going gaga for Takuya, she remains quite capable and independent. She’s the one who forces Takuya to eat Kun-Kun, returning as a hot dragon girl, (why haven’t we talked about this yet?) and tells him that he has to nut-up or they’ll die in the desert. 

I said in my character dive of their relationship that Takuya and Amanda remind me a lot of Sarah Conner and Kyle Reese from The Terminator. They have a very small amount of time to fall in love, but what is there works well. Had they been given enough time to be together, I think Takuya and Amanda would have been a good pairing, they have good chemistry and much like Eriko does, they have a level of banter that is absent from some of the other heroines.

Amanda’s VN Path More Dramatic

You’ll get no argument from me on which version of the character you prefer — and you’ve given me another reason to make more time for the VN! I don’t mind the Rebel Leader archetype, if it adds something to the mythos. In this context, I didn’t think her role added much. I didn’t dislike her by any stretch of the imagination. Quite the opposite. Despite my dislike of the role that felt cliche to me, I still liked Amanda. It felt to me that the writer had forced a great character into a role that didn’t fit.

That really became obvious when, surrounded by her fellow rebels, they finally learned the truth of the Divine Emperor. To me, the situation in general and the rebels’ reactions in particular made the whole thing feel vaguely ridiculous. 

This is not my favorite part of the series. Capture from the Funimation stream.

Whereas in the VN plot you described, Amanda tried to fulfill an impossible role that she couldn’t give up on, and she was alone. That’s powerfully dramatic! 

But we’re talking about the anime. What’d you think of how forward she was with Tatsuya the night before their big battle (putting aside that concept is also as cliche as the Rebel Leader trope!)? 

I think it was in character for how Amanda acts. She knows this is probably the end, and they might not walk away alive. She and Takuya have been through the ringer, and there has already been an attraction placed between them. I think Amanda just wanted to have one night where she didn’t have to fight, where she could feel love and comfort from someone she trusts. Where she is able to be the young woman she probably always wanted to be. The people of Dela Grante have a more casual attitude towards sex, as we see in Sayless and Kanna, so it makes sense. Takuya of course jumps at the chance, but does it in a way that respects her wishes. He doesn’t make a smartass remark, or gush about her body. He understands and they make love, simple as that.

It’s a touching scene, and on the whole, probably better thematically compared to the version shown in the VN. I still really liked that moment, because it feels more raw and in line with how Takuya and the story treats sex, but what the anime did was perfectly fine.

We are almost done here, but there are still some big parts left to go. I think before we get to the climax, it’s time to sit down and discuss the titular girl of the series herself: Yu-No. Crow, what did you think of our leading lady?

YU-NO, The Woman from the Title

I remember first meeting her in episode 1, wasn’t it? Takuya saw her wink into existence around 18:10. All we knew at the time was that she was blonde, attractive, and had elven ears. She said “Yu-No.” That, and we learned she felt relieved and joyous to see him. Then she disappeared in a flash of gold light.

When we met Sayless, I noticed that they looked similar, but not enough for me to really think, “Oh, that’s the blonde elf girl’s mom!” But Sayless was, in fact, Yu-No’s mom. Sayless gave birth to a baby girl, and she grew fast. Like, supernaturally fast. 

As a child, Yu-No wanted to know and experience everything. She learned everything Sayless or Takuya would teach her. Takuya even took her hunting with him, which I thought was a cool thing for a dad to do. Growing up on a farm, my dad often took me hunting, but never my sisters. As someone who doesn’t understand even my own culture’s customs very well, I wondered about that. Maybe they didn’t like hunting? Because I sure didn’t! It was nice getting out on a clear, dark night to see the stars. That was the most clearly I’ve ever seen the Milky Way! But the whole shooting animals without needing to eat them to survive didn’t really resonate with me.

Anyway, after Sayless’ death, she transferred her soul or consciousness into Yu-No. Eventually, Takuya decided they needed to get to the imperial city since conditions in their area were degrading, and they set off across the desert. I think one of the reasons I so dislike Sala is because her betrayal separated Takuya and Yu-No. That setup the later conflict between Takuya and Yu-No.

Yu-No didn’t know it at the time, but Sayless was already dead. Capture from the Funimation stream.

That was Yu-No at the start, and the mysterious naked blonde woman is something that the story teases you with, but you sort of forget as the routes begin. That is one thing this story has done extremely well, it drops big clues and revelations, but then you forget them completely as the story gets underway. We see this with Ayumi and the revelations of her fate, and we see it with Yu-No.

YU-NO and Sayless: Better as One Character?

As for the titular girl herself. I do think after watching both versions of this story, that things might have been better if Yu-No and Sayless had been merged into a single character. While both serve the story well, I think that making them separate people robs them both of something. Sayless feels very much like a plot device, and Yu-No doesn’t fare much better. They are really there to be the mc-guffin of the story, one to bring it to bear, the other to carry it forward. Had they been merged into one, I think everything would have been given a bit more narrative weight, would have been spared… this is Takuya we are talking about here.

That said, what we have again does the story well. Yu-No being Takuya’s daughter opens up a new avenue for his character. The once perverted lady-killer becomes a respectable and doting father, helping Yu-No grow up, and giving her safety, stability and security. Takuya doesn’t shrink away from his duties, and embraces being a father with excellence. It is more evidence that beneath his stock archetype there is a beating human soul, someone who may slay ladies like nobody’s business, but doesn’t duck the hard choices or his own moral responsibilities. I probably said this in a previous post, but Takuya presents the blueprint that characters like High School DxD’s Issei Hyodou would later perfect. A perverted horn-dog for sure, but also a good man and a nice fucking guy.

Do you agree with that Crow, do you think Sayless and Yu-No should have been one person, and not in the way the show kind of makes it out to be?

That’s a very interesting question. You made a compelling case for both routes, and showing Takuya’s fatherly side is a really strong argument for keeping YU-NO Takuya’s daughter. 

That said, combining the character would get rid of what’s probably my only real complaint about the series: Some of the interactions between father and daughter danced right up to the line. I’m saying that as a father myself. I’ll give the show credit for not allowing their physical relationship to go farther. Even saying that, though, there was something lacking in the tragedy that I think combining the characters might have fixed.

A Merger Would Not Change the Plot Very Much

It wouldn’t be a major change to the plot. Let’s say YU-NO was already a priestess when Takuya arrived. He could meet her just as he met Sayless. He could fall in love with her just as he fell in love with Sayless. They could even have given birth to a daughter named Sayless (or Saymore, if she could speak!). Imagine the tragedy if the guards had killed their daughter as she tried to defend YU-NO from being kidnapped while Takuya was off fighting monsters.

He could come home, find his daughter dead and YU-NO missing, and the story could pick right up where it left off. YU-NO could still end up in charge of the guards.

This wasn’t a big problem for me, but I never felt like Takuya grieved enough for Sayless. Sure, he was busy, and he also had a lot of time off-camera. But this plot change could give him time to show his fury at the guards killing his daughter.

How would you see a combination of the two characters play out?

Pretty much the exact same way it happens in the story, just with a few plot changes. They get together, but there is no kid. Sayless is captured instead of killed, and Takuya has to go across the desert to save her. Everything after that plays out just how you see it, just no Yu-No.

It’s almost frustratingly simple, and probably would have made the story stronger as a result. Not that what we have is bad, again it shows Takuya’s growth as a character and Yu-No is as cute as a button, but considering how easy it could have been, it can end up being a bummer.

The God Emperor Is… Ayumi!

But, the story moves forward, and in interest of time and the length of this discussion, I’m going to jump ahead to the revelations put forth by The God Emperor, revealed to the O.G Ayumi from the very first pilot episode, and the arrival of Eriko, revealed properly now to be a time-cop who is hunting for Ryuzoji, once imprisoned, but now released by Takuya in his quest to free his daughter. There is a lot of fucking shit dropped in these moments Crow, what did you make of these final nuggets of truth?

These reveals worked for me, primarily because the series did the work to prepare us. What we slowly learned about Eriko prepared us for the idea that she’s a time-cop. Ryuzoji’s role and fate made perfect sense in the context of the foreshadowing the show gave us. I think the most surprising reveal was Ayumi as the emperor (empress?). In this case, there wasn’t a lot of foreshadowing, but there wasn’t anything that would conflict with it, either. Ayumi explained it to Takuya (and us), and it made sense.

From a plot perspective, we only had a few episodes left, so we had to get rid of the ideas the rebels held. The best way to do that was to have a previously trusted character tell us what’s really up.

I’m curious how the VN handled Ayumi’s reveal?

This came as quick a shock — in a good way! Capture from the Funimation stream.

It was handled in very much the same way, Takuya gets the jump on her in the palace and she instantly reveals who she is. There is no mask however, that was added for the anime, so when he brings the sword down, he ends up staring right at her.

Like you said, there wasn’t much foreshadowing, but when you look back at the story, especially that opening chapter of the VN, which you’ve now read, you can see how it fits together. That was the Ayumi that was teleported away and she has struggles to make due in a world that is beyond her understanding. It again shows the strength of her character, and only adds to her personality and likability. 

The Truth of Dela Grante Discussed in The Women of YU-NO Part III

But the more important thing is the truths Takuya learns from both her and Eriko. That Dela Grante is, or was a part of Earth. A refuge of a once advanced race of humans who fled Earth during an apocalypse. That the priestess, once Sayless, and now the grown-up Yu-No, is required to merge with the computer to adjust the orbit. When the two bodies are close together, people end up crossing between worlds, like how Takuya’s mother once did. And if they do not use the central computer, then it will end up colliding with the planet. There is no grand conspiracy, or sinister machinations by a would-be dictator. Ayumi is trying to save Dela Grante, and everything the rebels fought for was wrong.

It’s quite a bit thrown into the viewers lap, but I quite enjoyed what was there. 

It worked for me as well. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say I really enjoyed how the series gave the characters other than Takuya difficult struggles to overcome. Taken as a whole, across the many timelines that Takuya experienced, Ayumi’s might be the most tragic, given how many times she died.

We’ve covered the leading women from YU-NO, at least as much we can in a series of three blog posts. I’d like to finish by asking your opinion on something. I thoroughly enjoyed the series, and I’m enjoying the VN. However, when I went to research the characters (for example, to provide links for these posts), I had a hard time finding many of the characters. It seems like YU-NO hasn’t gained the popularity that I think its compelling characters and well-knit plot deserve. What do you think?

YU-NO’s Ending

Before that, in the interest of wrapping things up, I should comment on the ending. Overall I think it is a great one, especially in the Visual Novel. Ryouzoji is defeated by Eriko, Amanda is thrown into the past where she will raise her daughter Kanna, Yu-No saves Dela Grante, if for a time, and Takuya finds himself back where he started. His father will tell him that he can go between the worlds and have his happy ending with whoever he wants, leading to the ‘true endings’ of each of the routes. What we see though, is him reuniting with the naked Yu-No by the shore, and going with her to the beginning of all time. 

Not the clearest of endings –but it was clear that Takuya didn’t want to leave Yu-No alone at the genesis of time. Capture from the Funimation stream.

A little confusing, and I am really summing up a lot there, but I felt completely satisfied by how it all ended and frankly, you should watch/read it and make up your own mind. As for my final thoughts.

YU-NO is very much a relic of its time. The first draft prototype that many other series would later adapt, for better or for worse. From things like Steins;Gate which directly uses this as a reference, to works like, Higurashi, Fruits of Grisaia, or Fate/Stay Night. There is a little bit of YU-NO in all of them, even if you don’t notice that it’s there. 

I never thought YU-NO was ever going to be a popular hit, especially in 2021. Too much stuff has come out, tastes have changed, the anime frankly didn’t have the budget and attention on it, and this age of social media pushes people towards different types of work. That said, coming across this story has been one of the biggest joys of my anime journey. I believe that there are only a handful of times in your life that story really grips you in and leaves a mark on you. Something you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life.

To many, I think that honor would go to Anime’s Catcher in the Rye: Neon Genesis Evangelion, but for me, it is absolutely YU-NO: A Girl who chants love at the Bound of this World. I have my quibbles about certain things, as we’ve discussed, but I truly think this story is a masterpiece, and one of the pillars of the Visual Novel form, even if that form has long moved past it.

Crow, do you want to give your thoughts on the ending and take us home?

Closing Thoughts

It’s good to know what YU-NO has meant to you. You admiration and affection for the series really came through in these posts — and in your others posts about it, like your post YU-NO: A Girl who Chants Love at the Bound of this World: A Piece of History or your collaboration post with infinitezenith called In Which The Merits of YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of this World’s Visual Novel Are Introduced- Part I of A Collaborative Discussion with Dewbond

That’s really what I think represents the real value of these posts. We get an opportunity to better understand each other’s perspectives. It’s all about communication, and the more we can share our perspectives, the more others can relate to us. Or realize they can’t — which can be just as important!

In terms of the series’ ending: I talked a little about that back in our second post — about how Takuya and Erica flirting with each other distracted them so that they almost lost control of the ritual and let Ryuzoji/Class A Dimensional Criminal win! That moment was so quintessential YU-NO! Because not only did it show how easily beauty distracted Takuya. It showed how willing he was to buckle down.

In a similar way, Erika typified the women of this series: Beautiful, intelligent, capable, and very alive. I know it’s a common complaint that female characters often exist simply as romantic interest for the lead character, and Takuya is undeniably the lead here. But I’d argue that he’s there for them as much as they’re there for him. All of his relationships were between equals, and I really liked that about the series.

There is much to like, much to love, and much to discuss. I could talk about the series until the cows come home, and each time I do, I get the urge to sit down and boot up the Visual Novel again, something that I’ve yet to have for other series. It’s been a great time discussing this series for all of these posts. I think that there is only one thing really left to say.

Your love awaits beyond the bounds of this world…

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