Fans have been singing the praises of Saya’s Song for over a decade, and now it’s time to step inside the protagonist’s head.
When designing virtual reality content, there are, broadly speaking, two routes developers can follow. One is to craft a hyper-realistic representation of something the user presumably wants to see, such as a sexy model or panties. The other is to go in the opposite direction by simulating a situation that instills the user with a sense of fear or dread.
Japanese Twitter user Kano Sawa’s project falls squishily into the latter category. Using an omnidirectional camera and image transferring software, he’s created a world where every physical object is made of a mass of a disgustingly gory and fleshy matter, and he’s shared his vision in the following video.
So why would anyone go to the trouble to do this? As is often the case for technological passion projects in Japan, because of a love for anime and video games. Currently, scriptwriter Gen Urobuchi is best known for his work on influential anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica and puppet drama Thunderbolt Fantasy (plus his involvement with the upcoming Japanese-produced CG Godzilla movie). But Urobuchi’s breakout hit was the erotic horror PC game Saya no Uta, or “Saya’s Song,” from publisher Nitroplus.
Fuminori, the game’s main character is involved in a traffic accident of the sort that so often befalls protagonists in otaku-oriented media. The ordeal leaves him with a mental disorder that disrupts his senses, most dramatically by causing him to see his world, including the other humans in it, as though they’re covered in dark, bloody gore.
The one ray of beauty in Fuminori’s life is a mysterious girl he meets named Saya, whose shimmering clean and pure appearance is unlike anything else that Fuminori can see.
Of course, Saya may not truly be as she appears to Fuminori, and the game evokes questions regarding the division between perception and reality, and whether such a distinction can every truly be made in discussing the concept of beauty (oh, and there’s also graphic violence and nudity thrown in, for good measure).
▼ How Fuminori sees the world, as recreated by Kono Sawa
Kano Sawa is obviously a fan of the game, proudly announcing “I’ve made it so that I can experience the world of Saya no Uta.” The technical skills on display are truly impressive, but if we’re being totally honest, we’re really happy that this is one time when anime, or at least anime-style games, isn’t like reality.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s glad he finished eating before he watched that video.