YU-NO: A girl who chants love at the bound of this world – Anime Preview
Synopsis: During the summer, Takuya Arima receives a package—from his missing father—detailing the existence of parallel universes. He investigates further and soon realizes that he’s been given the key to cross-dimensional time travel. Now, Takuya is forced to use this new found tech to unravel the mystery of his father’s whereabouts and find out why those closest to him are keeping secrets. (Official Funimation Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Right from the get-go, YU-NO makes it very clear who its intended audience is and announces its origin as an erotic visual novel. Not only do we get an upskirt shot within the first few minutes, but it is an upskirt shot of, Eriko Takeda, a teacher dressed as if she is about to star in an adult video. From there Eriko and Takuya, our lead, engage in adult conversation with frequent dirty jokes that border on sexual harassment. Not only does she not admonish him for what would surely earn him expulsion in real life, she even engages in it herself. Later on, after being given the responsibility of showing the new female transfer student around, Takuya’s idea of welcoming her is to jump out at her, shirt undone, pants at his ankle in front of his entire class. And yet what earns more notice from everyone is the fact that the female transfer student remains unfazed rather than the fact that their classmate just jumped out half dressed. All of this leads to Takuya, our protagonist, feeling like one of the most obnoxious and contrived leads, especially from a female viewer’s P.O.V. His uncouth and overtly sexual behaviour manifests as often as possible. He even gets downright idiotic, expressing embarrassment when his purposefully idiotic response to a live camera crew is broadcast as filmed, as if he thought the interview was a game of pretend that wouldn’t actually make it on air.
Tom: It cannot be overstated how obnoxious Takuya is. His character consists almost entirely of scenes that make him seem like a total asshole, only interested in sexually harassing the women in his life (save his mother thankfully) or more generally teasing them to the point of irritation. He’s meant to be playful, whimsical even, probably to emulate the type of character audiences played in the original Visual Novel. The original Yu-No released in 1996 as an erotic game, filled with graphic imagery and sex scenes between Takuya and whatever female characters you managed to bed across the multiple story-routes. The Yu-No anime of today is based off the 2017 remake of the game that shifted the genre from erotic to merely fan-servicey, and seems to be acting as promotional material for the game’s upcoming ports to additional systems. Before transitioning to the actual plot (which is a fairly bog standard introduction to parallel world hopping shenanigans, only depicting half of what the official synopsis mentions above) we follow Takuya around as he stumbles upon all his potential romantic (read: Beddable?) interests. It’s a few too many characters to keep in mind, especially since none particularly stand out, save the more outlandish designs. This means the story that’s going to carry the entire 26-episode run only has a handful of minutes to impress. It’s never a good sign when so much more attention is placed on teasing the audience, rather than setting the stage.
Linny: To its credit, the latter half of the episode becomes heavily plot-centric, weaving a mysterious net intended to pique the viewer’s interest as Takuya deals with otherwordly items, people warning him about ill-defined impending dangers and even an actual threat to his life. But there’s no denying that Takuya himself is the biggest hurdle to overcome in order to enjoy Yu-No. If his frequent perversions aren’t doing it for you, you’re not going to care what happens to him. Takuya is hard to warm up to, coming off as sleazy and playful to the point of idiotic. If you dislike any sort of fan service, Yu-No is a guaranteed skip. But if you’re someone who enjoys fan service, and frequent catering to male fantasies, you might be the intended audience for YU-NO after all.
Tom: Visual Novels don’t always adapt well into anime. Often series struggle to balance all the potential routes from the game, crafting a mash up of sorts. Sometimes it works and other times it feels like a gross mess of a product. Yu-No seems to be leaning towards the later. Based off a 1996 Visual Novel, it sometimes feels as if minimal effort has been put into updating the story to modern day, with certain elements (like our lead not having a cell phone and getting calls on his house phone) really standing out. What’s here isn’t awful, well, save the obnoxious main character, but it hardly feels like a gripping tale with episode 1. If anything Yu-No may simply be for the Visual Novel’s die-hard fanbase, as comments from the director seemed to indicate they were taking the Visual Novel’s remake and only adding to the dirty jokes and tropes. Comments like that make me wonder if the series’ plot is more a side-dish than the main course.
YU-NO: A girl who chants love at the bound of this world is available for streaming via Funimation.com