Jingai Makyou 塵骸魔京 [Nitroplus]

Foreword: Again, there are already enough English reviews of this game (1 2 3 4 5). But what I noticed is that the most thorough reviews are based on the Chinese version of the game by the speakers of Chinese language. My impression presents more of a Westerner approach.
VNDB: https://vndb.org/v400
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mmQ92JtDpQ&list=PLs4Gp5VU4Fv9MFhOSzB2n_xIyVbArHXgt
Synopsis: The main character is a Japanese college student, who lost his parents in an accident and since then has been cared for by his landlady. He has a strange set of eyes, with one green eye and one red eye. His little sister Megumi, goes to boarding school in England, but still comes back to visit him from time to time. His best friend Ryou has always been supportive of the main character and has stuck by him through thick and thin. Still the main character is an unusual person for he has strange dreams in his sleep, seeing visions of a beautiful black haired maiden with a black umbrella, who speaks to him in his dreams. This begins to become more prevalent when he starts seeing her in the waking world, and does not understand what is happening to him. This leads him on a path to discovering the existence of the Narazaru and playing a vital role that will either save the world or lead it on the path of destruction.
Game type: Action chunige with fantasy elements
Character Design rating: 6/10
Protagonist rating: 8/10
Story rating: 6/10
Game quality: 8/10
Overall rating: 7/10

So I evaluate protagonist and game quality highly. The only drawbacks are that protagonist is a weirdly looking donkan and that graphics relies on 3D images and is overall inconsistent. As for the story and characters, I have big questions and irritation accumulated.
Main things first. Game feels too Chinese to me. And it's not even about the Opening in Chinese. What kind of protagonist is that? Have you seen Japanese college students? Well, Katsuki absolutely does not fit anywhere in that image. He is basically a superhuman. He is huge, absolutely fearless and logical, with eyes of different colors and a monstrous manhood. But he fits well as a traditional Chinese protagonist who is so epic that needs only epic enemies to save the world in the most epic way possible.
What kind of characters are these? Why are heroines just weird representations of nature elements - fire, wind and earth (Hanawa Momiji does represent earth as she even fights with motherly nurture motives and powers - both parts of her name have distinctive nature theme)? Why water is associated with death in the game? Antagonists are fish people, and all the choices about water always inevitably lead to death. This elements analogy feels so stupid and banal that it makes me want to scream. 
The SOL scenes of the game are the best part of it. The blunt attitude of protagonist makes for the most jokes of the game. But when it comes to action scenes, it's always the same fish people and faceless human-shaped robots with as much flashy special effects as possible.
Of course, I oversimplify things. There is a lot of unexpected development and side characters in the game. It's fun to read while it lasts. But if you try to ask questions and look at it from global perspective, it loses a lot of charm. I just can't sympathize with heroines that have no past and who are just random generalizations of some elements instead of humans with distinctive personalities.
It's also strange to see how male characters got such sleazy looks out of the blue. There was nothing like that in artist previous works. It's either Chinese/Korean stylization or BL influence introduced after first Nitro+Chiral BL game presentation.
As a raw outcome, I see why Jingai Makyou gets mostly average-to-high scores. It's one of the least known Nitroplus visual novels. Game has repulsive looks and feels really alien. But deep inside it's actually more Japanese than expected. Heroines endings are distinctive and memorable. Writing is brilliant, and action is fast-paced. If you don't mind Chinese motives and heroines generalization, it's a very worthy chuunige. I have strong rejection to manhua and manhwa, so it's much more difficult for me.

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Ricky Nguyen said...

So, what are the heroine endings if I may ask?

Ricky Nguyen said...

I'm quite intrigued, but this VN seems to have a crappy story.

kivandopulus said...

It's an action story, so story is inevitably crappy. But heroines are very different from normal ones. The writing and music are top notch. The endings go like this (SPOILERS):

1. Dragon comes and erases the city filled with all this evil (nothing further is explained).
2. Heroes decide to erase magic from this world and live a normal life.
Kaze no Ushiro wo Ayumumono:
1. Main characters pass through a mysterious gate, and we don't know what happens to them, but on a certain day their flying silhouettes can be seen in the sky.
2. Main characters return to live to mortal world. Heroine has to live in the form of wolf most of the time, but she gives birth to a cute girl Megumi.
3. Kaze no Ushiro wo Ayumumono goes through the gate alone, and Kairi returns to mortal world alone and lives alone till old age. Then umbrella girl Didi comes and makes heroes meet as young persons again. It becomes known that girl has daughter Megumi now. Heroes ask Didi to let them stay together for the future, and she agrees.
Hanawa Momiji:
1. Momiji dies to rescue Katsuki from another world. Katsuki becomes guardian of the gate between the worlds inheriting enormous power. His sister Megumi helps him with her shotgun.
2. After decisive battle is won with Ignis help, Momiji body gradually disappears as magic wanes from this world, and she is just a protective motherly spirit.
3. As heroes kiss, they become connected with magic, and Momiji stays in mortal world. She greets Katsuki at home as usual and promises to watch over him forever.
1. Katsuki knows that whatever path he chooses, it will lead to Didi anyway, so he says farewell to her with a light heart and meets his fate with a smile.

Ricky Nguyen said...

I'm a bit confused with Ignis' second ending and Kaze's third ending. For Ignis', is Ignis dead or is she alive and well? For Kaze's, the heroes meet again as their young selves again thanks to Didi? Who is Kairi? Megumi? What about Kaze's first ending?

kivandopulus said...

Last endings are considered the best ones, so Ignis is definitely alive and well in her second ending.
Again, first Kaze ending is considered not best, so it's vaguely depicted. They step through the gates, and then we see for 15 more minutes Katsuki's friend talk with Momiji after several years, and they together observe the sky and consider something in the sky being flying Katsuki and Kaze, then credits come.
Third Kaze ending is the best possible, but - again - nothing is really explained. First we see old Katsuki telling how his life went on to some girl, then Didi shows up, then she allows them to stay together as young people again - credits come. There's nothing more to add.
I meant Katsuki, not Kairi, confused the name here. Megumi is Katsuki's sister, but in all the endings when he has a child it's a girl and is called Megumi as well.

Ricky Nguyen said...

So, in Kaze's third ending, Didi just shows up and turns Katsuki back to his younger self and reunites him with Kaze? She then allows them to stay together as their younger selves? And nothing else comes from this, that's it? I know that this is supposed to be her best ending, but it sounds kind of weak in explaining what's going, in that it doesn't explain anything at all.

For Didi's ending, what on earth was that about? Katsuki just says bye to her and meets his fate with a smile? Does it mean everything is restarting before he met Didi or something? What does happen to Katsuki after all this?

I wonder, is Megumi (his sister) okay and well in all the endings?

kivandopulus said...

In Kaze's third ending old Katsuki meets young Didi and complains to her about the one thing that he is missing - the ability to see Kaze ever again. Didi grants this wish for them to meet each other, and then grants another wish to let them stay this way without having to break up again. It's basically the same as 1st ending, just with adding some old man nostalgia and fateful reunion. It's an attempt to add emotions so that ending looked better, there's hardly anything logical about it.

Didi is the mysterious girl who controls fate. She is met during main course of the game couple times. Didi ending is basically just addition of H scene, it's kind of bonus ending with the accent on fate. Since she controls fate, she knows about future better than anyone else. It's kind of nice ending for me since it adds another dimension making all the other endings parallel universes that are all connected to Didi.

Megumi (sister) is only mentioned in Momiji endings since these females live in the human world in the same flat, and Momiji route can partially be called Megumi route as well. Megumi (sister) is definitely fine in Momiji endings, but is not mentioned at all in all the other endings.

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