The scene: Shiromitsugawa, a run-of-the-mill college town that has launched several failed attempts to drum up tourism and revitalize itself, including sponsoring a high-budget-but-poorly-written anime based on local folklore. A storm is about to descend on this sleepy town.
We follow Kakeru Niimi, a man who can be a bit curt at times but who has a strong sense of responsibility and a kind heart. Kakeru’s ordinary life is thrown into chaos after the local shrine’s sacred relic shatters. In the wake of this event, several young men and women awaken to superhuman abilities.
What was once a run-of-the-mill life in a run-of-the-mill town soon turns into a quest to track down a super-powered serial killer before they can strike again.9 -nine- Series, Synopsis from Sekai Project
9 -nine- is a series of visual novels developed by Palette and localized by Sekai Project. Chapters are split into episodes and each heroines are covered in their respective episodes. 9 -nine- is your average visual novel and all the characters, including the main character, are voiced.
This is something not expected in most visual novel gameplays but the devs made it so that you are brought into the bad end first. If you’re disappointed in the first playthrough, I highly recommend you that you play the novel for the second time because it is only in the second playthrough where you’ll be given dialogue choices in order to reach the true ending. There is a reason for the bad ending and I’ll leave it to you to find out why. Two playthroughs of this VN can be finished in about 10 hours.
9 -nine- episode 1 has five animated hentai scenes and a patch for Steam copies is available for free at Denpasoft website. Do note that you can only encounter these scenes on the second playthrough.
This review will cover 9 -nine- Episode 1 featuring Miyako Kujo’s route.
Art, Music, and Dubbing
You definitely won’t fail to notice the beautiful artwork by Izumi Tsubasu who worked on the art style of Saku Saku: Love Blooms with the Cherry Blossoms, another PALETTE title. 9 -nine- features an outstanding artwork and surpasses the art style of the anime we see these days. It’s a bit of a turn off, however, that the resolution of the VN is only around 720p. CG, Music, and Movie galleries are available after completing the VN at least once but you need to finish the second playthrough if you wish to unlock more.
All characters in this VN are dubbed. This includes the protagonist. There are sixteen music, which are pretty mediocre, available for playback in the Music Gallery. The characters are beautifully dubbed in such a way the voice casts give souls to the characters they play. For example, Miyako Kujo is an innocent yet playful girl and she is voiced in such a way it reinforces her character. Sora Niimi, on the other hand, is a mischievous girl and her voice makes it a lot obvious.
During an event, Shiromitsugawa was struck by an earthquake and it marked the beginning of mysterious mishaps in the city. There comes what are called Artifacts that bestows an Artifact User an incredible superpower it possesses.
Miyako Kujo possessed an artifact that gives her the ability to “steal” objects and erases memories from the person associated with it.
With these artifacts on the loose which can potentially endanger the lives of the public, there must come a hero to save the day. The question is, how will the hero save the day? Who is his enemy and how powerful is he?
While the name of this enemy wasn’t mentioned in this episode, perhaps we have to read further into the story to find out more.
Let’s also not forget the feelings between Miyako Kujo and Kakeru Niimi. These two love birds are the star of the show and we can’t just not mention them here. As they were given a task to defeat this powerful enemy, will they be able to?
I mentioned earlier that you need to play twice because the first playthrough will always end in a bad taste. I feel like 9 -nine- made a subtle attempt to break the fourth wall during the second playthrough. It was the part that somehow gave me a chill I’ll probably remember for a long time. I was scared. I felt it through my spine. I’ve been wondering why the series is called 9 -nine- but I couldn’t come up to a conclusion.
9 -nine- episode 1 presents a thrilling mystery that unraveled the abilities of the so-called Artifacts. With an unknown enemy in possession of a powerful Artifact, 9 -nine- episode 1 established an introduction that we are excited to read further into. We look forward for 9 -nine- episode 2 which should cover the route of Sora Niimi, the protagonist’s little sister.
9 -nine- episode 1 presents a thrilling supernatural mystery as Users distort the world. It is up to a trio to try take back the Artifacts causing the distortion and restore the order of the world.
Sekai Project provided Anime Backgrounds a copy of 9 -nine- Episode 1 for this review.