Ever since the success of Dies Irae, Light has become increasingly focused on making battle-oriented eroge with chuuni settings. Their recent works can be divided into two lines, with the Masada x G Yuusuke x Yonao team responsible for the 神座万象 and Senshinkan series, and a secondary team whose output consisted of Vermillion, Zero Infinity, Electro Arms. Silverio Vendetta is the latest addition to the latter, with a theme on the concept of victory.
From the very beginning, it’s easy to see that Silverio Vendetta is intended to be Dies Irae-eqsue, with a writing style inspired by Masada’s in a way that only something from within the same company would be allowed to do. However, unlike Masada’s writing, the text in Silverio Vendetta lacks the same “weight” (for the lack of a better word) so a lot of the scenes felt unnecessarily long. The writing could have definitely been more straightforward and still achieve the same effect. In particular, a lot of the fight scenes are lengthy despite not being all that exciting, and the last route had several consecutive battles that weren’t fun to read through. The story is also a victim of awkward pacing for far too often, with poor decisions like placing an infodump on the setting and technology in the middle of a battle before one party is about to land a blow. With that said, the text is not exactly bad, as the vocabulary used is rich and the sentences flow quite well, and there are plenty of decently written parts despite not leaving a strong impact in the same way passages in the earlier played Bansenjin do.
The story takes place in a distant future, where the world was once nearly destroyed from the fifth world war due to the use of a new energy source called ‘Astral.’ Japan was completely wiped out, most of the world was in ruins, and a second sun dubbed Amaterasu appeared in the sky. Amaterasu is an existence from a higher dimension that releases Astral onto the Earth, which basically screws up all chemistry and particle theory as we know it, turning technology and warfare in a different direction. Over 1000 years later, nations have begun to build up around the world, with the Adler Empire quickly gaining power due to its secret technology of creating superhumans using Astral. These superhumans, dubbed Esperanto, have strengthened physical abilities along with a power befitting a chuuni setting of some kind, and are Adler’s primary source of military power.
The story begins five years ago, where two foreign beings with powers that far exceed that of Esperanto appeared one day in Adler and massacred many soldiers and civilians. An entire town was up in flames, but hope was brought forth by Christopher Valzelide, a hero who single-handedly defeated the two and saved the day. He rose up the ranks to become president soon after, and the Empire of Adler was blessed with prosperity and strong nationalism for five years.
Silverio Vendetta is the tale of Zephyr, an ex-soldier who was a first-hand witness of the destruction of that day five years ago, and deserted the army to live a peaceful and inglorious with his now adopted little sister. Unlike the majority of the country that seems to gaze upon the hero Valzelide with pride and honor, Zephyr sees his overwhelming heroism as something beyond human — monstrous, even. His thoughts upon seeing the hero during times of despair were not so much hope and awe, but the horror at how a human who can rise to impossible powerlevels through willpower alone can possibly exist. Unsurprisingly, he wants nothing to do with it.
Our protagonist is a guy who looks down on himself as a loser and an underdog, both figuratively and literally. Although it has been shown many times that Zephyr is actually quite competent compared to the average soldier in combat, his philosophy is rooted in the idea that every “victory” only brings forth stronger opponents. Each time you “win” against an opponent, a stronger one will step forward until you face crushing defeat or emerge victorious over all of them as proof that you are the absolute strongest. By his logic, only the strongest person alive can truly be deemed a victor. Unwilling to face challenge after challenge, Zephyr has spent the past five years avoiding the concept of victory, which results in living comfortably as a “loser” without seeking grand change or improvement in life. Everything changes when he accepts a well-paying mission that involves investigating some well-kept military secrets, and meets a mysterious yet familiar little girl by the name of Vendetta.
As her name may suggest, Vendetta encourages revenge (or rather, 逆襲, for which “counter-attack” may be a more appropriate translation) on the strong from the weak. She is immediately drawn to the underdog Zephyr, who is eager to reject her with every fiber of his being as he does not want any involvement in the battle between Esperanto that is to ensue. Even so, his delving into military secrets and newly formed connection with Vendetta causes strong enemies to be sent after him one-by-one, and he has no choice but to draw on Vendetta’s power that seems to be able to cut through Astral like some kind of anti-Astral force. Obviously, the events of five years ago play an important role in Zephyr’s development in each route, and there is something shady going on in the military behind the scenes. The game has three routes, with a relatively lengthy common route that drops strong hints for each route’s revelations. In terms of structure, it kinda feels like going in the Kasumi –> Kei –> Marie (no Rea) route order in Dies Irae, which is essentially an 王道 chuuni plot development.
I was initially unimpressed with just how much the overall feel of the game was trying to be like Dies Irae and not really matching up to it, but further reading revealed aspects that ended up being enjoyable because the team ultimately did things in a way different from Masada. The development of the story is very much in typical chuuni-ge fashion, so on an “””objective””” level, enjoyment depends on if you like the genre or not. Most of the fight scenes and were nothing special and the symbolism with mythology felt overused, but in the end it’s hard to get worked up about that because the setting that mixes sci-fi with fantasy is pretty neat.
The key idea here is that we have a heroic guy (who isn’t actually secretly evil) portrayed as the antagonist: a guy who is so focused on the “greater good” and moving forward that he never once looks back. It’s a bit similar to what Masada likes to do with his villains whose overall impressions place them under the ‘light’ element, except the antagonist here doesn’t really share the same charisma or human-like qualities. Sure, he may be an ikemen who won the overall popularity poll with fans of both genders, but compared to Reinhard or Amakasu, he’s more of the straight-laced type and doesn’t have as many memorable lines. It makes sense in context, since he’s not intended to be very human, unlike Masada’s (or most chuuni-ge’s) antagonists.
What practically made Silverio Vendetta for me was Zephyr himself, whose philosophy and cowardice superposed my wavelengths so hard it was impossible to not get emotionally invested in his story. His unending insecurity and attitude towards the soul-crushing side of “victory” may not strike for everyone, but it certainly hits hard on people who think in a similar wavelength. The central of concept of being unable to escape from “victory” isn’t anything new when you think about it, but it was done in a easily relatable way. The arguments put up by the characters who identify as 負け犬 were incredibly sound. Vendetta herself also spouts a number of harsh but logical arguments that are quite fun to read through, although I get enough of those from Masada already (lol). Zephyr is a guy suited to being beaten up, and most of the routes have the heroines saving him, but he manages to have his cool scenes despite everything.
Most of the fight scenes aren’t that great, which you’d think would spell death for a chuuni-ge, but I actually derived enjoyment from just about everything else. The characters were an enjoyable bunch, 2/3 of the heroines left a strong impression, and the final fight did get pretty heated. There’s not a whole lot of downtime in the plot, but the slice-of-life scenes are pretty enjoyable thanks to the setting and characters. Most of the characters are “working adult”-aged, which combined with the fantasy sci-fi setting brings in a fresh look on the everyday life that many scenario-ge protagonists want to protect. The backstories and movements on the military side are also relatively interesting, and there’s always something new presented that keeps the story going.
The three routes are split between Zephyr’s decisions to live his life as an ordinary human (“Zephyr”) with his little sister, go with his former commander (“Lycaon”), or to accept his role as the “Orpheus” to Vendetta’s “Eurydice.”
The human path has Zephyr’s non-blood related little sister, Millie, as the heroine. Their relationship may be that of adopted siblings today, but it goes a bit further than that to over five years ago, where Zephyr was assigned to Millie’s family as a bodyguard, and both her parents were killed on the day of the massacre. Her route has quite a bit of infodump on the technical aspects of the setting, as well as showing that Zephyr’s decision to escape is not necessarily a bad ending flag.
Unfortunately, Millie herself is the least memorable heroine of the three. It’s kind of expected from her position as the shining example of the “daily life” that the protagonist is attached to, but it doesn’t always have to be like so! She’s a good girl and a great little sister who cares for her brother, and the story keeps trying to push her mental strength as her strong point (which I don’t deny), but she’s also too much of a “good girl” in that her response to a significant revelation lacks the emotions one would expect.
The Lycaon path delves into Zephyr’s past in the Libra squad of the military, where he was the second-in-command and spent his days with his commander, Chitose. Their backstory is quite eventful, and the route is fun since it plays out as if Zephyr is the heroine and Chitose the protagonist. Not to mention the ending to the final battle is so odd it’s hilarious.
Chitose herself is a bit of an unusual type, since one would expect her to be a cold tsundere at first glance…and she was, sort of, five years ago. Everything changed when Zephyr deserted his squad, making her lose an eye in the process, and went missing from military records for years. That is exactly when she went from tsun to dere, so at their reunion five years later? Pursuing Zephyr at full force with affection level at max. She works well as the opposite of Zephyr, and actually inspires him to become surprisingly heroic by the end of her route. This is the route where he ends up pursuing “victory” in the traditional sense.
Also fun fact: Chitose was originally supposed to be a guy, but the writers realized they lacked heroines in this porn game so they genderbent a male rival. The result turned out pretty nicely, I’d say. Masada’s eroge always work in gender politics with the protagonist and heroines, but Silverio Vendetta clearly had one of the writers give no fucks about having the protagonist run away from a confession and getting completely saved by a heroine (that he ran away from).
Vendetta’s route is unlocked after the above two, and is obviously the true route. It touches on information revealed in both previous routes, and builds up to the finale with a bunch of consecutive battles. The side characters all get some moments to shine in battle, although the consecutive fights got tiring until the final battle. The final battle itself is pretty hyped up. This route also touches a lot on the setting of the game, and I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing more on it.
Vendetta is also the best girl, and not just because she’s a loli with white hair and a lewd voice. She’s got a refined but condescending attitude (that matches her voice perfectly), and despite looking the youngest, feels more like an older sister in personality rather than younger. She might say some harsh things, but at the end of the day, she’s kind in a motherly kind of way. Mix some mischievous playfulness into that, and it’s easy to see why I took a liking to her. Plus her ero voice is lewd. Her route is the one that pursues 逆襲, and brings forth developments befitting of the final route of a chuuni-ge.
The end result actually strays quite a bit from how I thought they’d tackle the theme of victory, but it turned out alright.
Art and character designs were mostly good, with a couple of off-model stills here and there. The character designer is no G Yuusuke, but he has a style that’s also very fitting for the genre of the game. The coloring and composition are well done in most of the CGs, and as expected of Light, there were plenty of effects and dynamic overlaying of CGs.
The soundtrack is a unique one, with quite a few tracks making use of vocals. Even the everyday life music had vocals in them, which initially sounded out of place, but turned out to be very catchy once you get used to it. The “epic” tracks are gentler compared to stuff in Masada’s eroge, but they do the job nicely and give an overall good impression. The single most memorable piece is 高天原, a song that plays in scenes involving a certain character shrouded in mystery that turns all suspense into comedy as it is ridiculously inappropriate for the intended mood.
I don’t tend to pay too much attention to voice actors, but Zephyr is voiced by Renaissance Yamada, who was also Shirou in Dies Irae and Judas in Paradise Lost. Sure explains why I was immediately drawn to the protagonist.
Well, what can I say? I enjoyed it, but it’s hard to recommend it beyond those who already enjoy chuuni-ge. The protagonists stood out more than the antagonists, for once. Silverio Vendetta has its flaws, but is quite a complete work that has a clear appeal in mind. Chuuni always walks the fine line between cool and silly, and while there were a lot of scenes that were the latter, it had its share of decent 燃え moments. At the end it may not be “deep” despite several characters wanting to be portrayed as so, but it had enough enjoyable elements and characters, as well as a protagonist and heroines (well, 2/3 of them) that left a strong impression. Also technobabble is always fun. I certainly wouldn’t mind another game in the same setting, and will probably check out stuff from this team from now on.
The popularity polls are also hilarious, with the male antagonist topping the poll and a heroine who was originally supposed to be a guy in second place.