A review/analysis of Winter Polaris is posted here, as the review section has character limits.
*Spoiler warn for the entire Visual novel
Venting review time, lesse go.
The visuals in this visual story are very strange. The trailer shows that only about 1/3 of the screen has been taken up by the artwork at any given time, leaving it with an ugly letterbox effect. Although the majority of the illustrations are landscapes featuring islands and seascapes, extra space wouldn’t make a big difference. Other CGs, however, look distinctly cropped. Some of that black space is used as text, but it's probably only 1/3 of the bottom third. The rest is just ugly. The artwork itself looks great, the backgrounds are very well-painted. It's unlike anything I have ever seen in a VN. There are so many times when a unique CG will appear only to disappear 3 lines later despite it not being actually moving on, which is rather cringe bruv.
The voice acting is rather poor. Tsubaki has a strangely low audio quality, especially in comparison to the other seiyuus. Elena's lines are also delayed by 0.5-1 sec. This is very annoying because you will have to finish reading the sentence before your VA says a word. The VA is the only way to know who is speaking. This is usually fine. However, there are a few scenes in which multiple voices are heard and you need to access the backlog for the actual tracking of the conversation.
Reading any of their more reflective or philosophical scenes made my heart long for a blender. I have not read any of their previous works, so I don't know whether it was their fault or the translators. In either case, the prose was very difficult to make any sense of at times.
Winter Polaris: Modern Day
K, storytime here. This visual book is divided into two stories. It forces you back and forth between the stories. Given how it was implemented I don't see why this would be a good idea. The stories feel isolated from each others until the very last moment. It's possible to guess that Mary is an immortal after the Tsubaki revelation, but that's about all. This experience feels more like you're trying to decide between two separate stories set in the exact same universe. While they do have their own tones, Sweeper Swimmer can be more upbeat and fun and can break down the melancholy of Winter Polaris. But, I don’t know if that’s enough to justify all the problems the structure presents.
Winter Polaris begins with almost the entire earth being killed by a mysterious virus that causes bodies of all ages to disappear on their death. It is unknown what caused the virus to disappear on death. This is fine. It's astonishing to see how little the devastation caused by the virus is being discussed. I believe the virus yets victims from existence so that our protagonists won't run into bodies everywhere, but they never ran into ominous piles clothes either which feels like wasted potential.
ProtagonistMan, hoping to avoid death in this pandemic that has just begun, runs off into the woods. After about a year, Tsubaki finally returns to the city.
Are you aware that social isolation completely cripples the mind of the human being after just a few minutes. Protagonist Man is permitted to freak out at seeing another human being. You can scream and you can believe it's a hallucination. This is a problem I have seen in the story. These characters are not experiencing important events. Instead, they are being treated with the reverence of finding more chocolate in the bag that you thought was empty.
After a few hours of traveling together, Tsubaki realizes that ProtagonistMan does not believe she's an immortal. So she jumps off of a building. Now, human in real life, if the most powerful person in your current world claims that they're immortal and that they're going prove it, would it be a good idea to stop them? Or at the least make some attempt to stop them. If you don’t believe they can live forever, you’re only letting them commit their suicide. Protagonist man just watches as his mouth is open and watches as his daughter walks up a multistory building to her death. DO SOMETHING YOU GORMLESS, SHE'S CHILD. YOU CAN STOP HIM IF YOU TRY TO MAN ARRGGHGHGHGHG.
This is made worse by the fact that she actually has multiple indirect methods of proving immortality. She can speak many languages, and even cast magic. None of these things might convince him fully, but it's better that you do a plan and it fails than if your friend was more empathetic or a psychopath. Protagonist Man may be convinced of his immortality through the languages thing. There is also the added inconvenience that immortals may resurrect without having their current memories. In effect, they can become a new person. Tsubaki provided Protagonist Man with insurance and a list containing coordinates listing places where she had stored memories. However, this still feels like a complete pain in her arse to force a surprise.
Winter Polaris: Flashbacks
We are treated to flashback arcs which detail Tsubaki’s and ProtagonistMan’s lives from decades ago. It is difficult to discern if flashback Protagonist Man, modern day Protagonist Man, are the same person. It's possible, but the main text doesn’t directly confirm it until the end. He doesn't have a VA in the present day until confirmation is made, but he has one in the past. This is as if they were hiding that it's the same man. But, if one looks at the backlog, you'll see they're both called “Protagonist”. So what the hell is this? It might actually be the easiest way to reveal that information that you could imagine.
Tsubaki is separated from ProtagonistMan at several points in this timeline. Each time, it's really big dumb dumb.
Protagonist Man finally locates Tsubaki after searching around 200 years for a fellow immortal. She works as a shrinemaiden in Japan. His reaction this time can best be described as "omergerd there was TWO leftover chocolates last time wooow". This isn’t due to him being an immortal. There’s no significant difference in how he acts when he knows his immortality. So his muted emotions can’t be attributed to his long and arduous life. 200 years is a long time for an immortal, even when you add in the limited time his memories go back to.
I think it would actually be fun to do the rest from Tsubaki’s POV. Unusual man asks some questions in Japanese or Portuguese and you can understand him. Then he whips his sword, stabs and whispers to you that if your body survives this, he will return back to this village to kidnap you. Once more:
Protagonist Man. Do your intentions be for her to hate you? Or do they want you to think of yourself as her immortal stalker and what the heck is that? You had TWO HOUNDS of years to think up a way to introduce yourself the immortal you found. This is how you open jfc. Because he was chased out the village, the whole process takes 50 year. He also lost his wife, which is why he couldn't just stay in the village and see if he ever grew up, but he could have built a life with her as a normal person.
Protagonist Man then meets Lord Henrick, an immortal. Lord Henrick is convinced that living has become too difficult and so ProtagonistMan agrees to kill him. Oh no! He killed a local leader in the middle city, and now the citizens want revenge! These were unimaginable consequences. Tsubaki and Tsubaki fled the city. Tsubaki splits with him so she can flee while he dies. Absolute piss filter tier writing.
Protagonist Man didn't want Tsubaki with him the next time, I think because he was bored. He wanted the present, and since they wouldn’t be able to have memories of each another if he died, he wanted to live in it. So he kills him. And this all is triggered 200 years ago by one conversation with Elena? I was annoyed at the translation/writing so I didn't get anything. They also know that they will eventually get their memories back in time when they die again.
Final split. Tsubaki and Protagonist Man of modern times arrive at their destination. Protagonist Man places a message on the wall for Tsubaki. After that, he leaves. *Ahem* TO WHERE EVERYONE IS DATED? What do YOU WANT TO DO IN AN EMPTY WORLD? What are YOUR GOALS DO YOU WANT to LIVE PERSONALLY FOREVER? The only place I can imagine him going to is Elena's Village, but he doesn’t know the exact location and Tsubaki can call Elena to tell her.
Winter Polaris: Wrapping up
Tsubaki (and Protagonist Man) are both horrible irredeemable persons. Elena once told Tsubaki some immortal people killed people. Tsubaki then killed all the elderly, children, and men of a village because they got too close. Protagonist Man participates as a torturer in the European witch trials. He offers no empathy. He appears to have a lot to do and even though stopping the witch trials is a difficult goal, he does not hesitate to advocate for more painful interrogation methods. He justifies his torture as a way of searching for true immortals. Yet, he continues to torture Tsubaki after he finds him.
Their horrific actions are never properly dealt with. Protagonist Man never comes to terms with his nihilism. He stops torturing people presumably as he can't get paid for them. Tsubaki ends her life and reverts to her memories so she is no longer a wild animal. The story does not end with them being redeemed, but they are both still guilty. Tsubaki is actually taken along to a torture class in one particularly aggravating section. Protagonist Man is also praised by her, as he doesn't seem to be affected by the screams and pain of his victims. Keep in mind, however, that Tsubaki herself would have been tortured or even killed if she had not had some insane luck.
Tsubaki wants Protagonist Man to die so he can regain his memory. Tsubaki realizes that while she doesn't fear dying, she's afraid she will forget him. Which, to an immortal would be the same? So? IDFK. I felt like my blender was railing me. It does raise the question however, why wait until you drag this version of this dude out here instead killing him sooner? She says that it's her right to take him out to the chamber full of stars. Then you can chill out with a version you love. The only motivation that makes sense, is getting him reading the secret message on a wall without his old personality making him turn down. However, it's not framed that manner and she tries to kill me before he reads it.
In the epilogue, it's suggested that ProtagonistMan has relived his memories and that Tsubaki will find him. I'm sitting here, and I can't really think of any significant lessons that either one of these people learned. Why did you divorce one of them? Protagonist Man got tired of love and Tsubaki the child-mauling psychopath couldn’t kill an immortal creature to see her loved ones. Tsubaki is finally able, after years of trying, to act as insurance for Protagonist and she discovers what bottles are. This seems totally arbitrary, considering all the other snapshots of immortal beings' lives.
Even more, I believe they'll be happy ever after this time because they haven’t truly grown as people. Tsubaki and Tsubaki are both stuck in the past. Tsubaki waited for Protagonist Man for thousands of yrs. What's to stop him from becoming bored and finding peace again? I don’t see how their relationship has changed for this ending to be permanent or satisfying.
Sweeper Swimmer has a side story. I keep trying to call Summer Swimmer. As a contrast to Winter Polaris, it's more cheerful and a positive adventure about trying discover where a mysterious bottle of coke came from. I have a lot less to say about the plot. Although neither of the main characters is compelling, they are at best not horrible terrible people.
I was very irritated by the fact that Elena never asked Mary if Mary would be waiting for Mary back home after she saved Mary from being swept away by the ocean. It's not something that's been mentioned as something to be concerned with which is a big cringe.
The rest of story is a fine, if uneventful slice in life adventure. However, the ending twist of the story is downright stupid.
The story is told in a way that leads you to believe it takes places in the Mediterranean sea in the ancient times. Mary claims she's originally from Lazio, an area of Italy near Rome. Both Mary and Mary wear clothing that resembles the region. In fact, the story takes places near Japan just after Winter Polaris. The world is inundated and the ancient civilizations of mortal human beings have long since disappeared, leaving only a few immortals scattered on scattered island.
The bait-and switch approach to the location is very bizarre. The messages in bottles would also have to have made the same journey. Both can't read the Japanese on a bottle that clearly states coca cola.
The flooded earth doesn't make any sense. It wouldn’t leave small islands like this. Most people would move into places like Mt. Fuji or other high-altitude and vast areas of land. It is better for entire communities to live on mountain ridges, plateaus, and not scattered on small islands. If thousands of years have passed between the flooding and now, then these beautiful pearl-white beaches wouldn't exist. It's not possible to say how long it has been since the flooding. However, Tsubaki would have run out coke bottles at some point. If they had arrived at their destination at any point, then it wouldn't have been thousands or even thousands of years.
It is also kinda odd to see how many people live in the world. Henrick only had 11 encounters in 700 years, Protagonist only had 3 and Henrick also had 2 of them. Yet, these villages seem surprising populous. They might be able and willing to have children. We don't have any information on that, so overpopulation would be a concern. It's also odd that none are severely disfigured. While it is true that serious burns and amputations may never heal, there are no instances in which these people have been maimed in any way over their thousands of year-long lives.
I don’t know where that huge amount of water came, since everyone is dead it isn’t related to climate change. I don't know what to think, but we should treat the flooding like a virus. It would be nice to have some information on how it happened.
It's stupid. And the big plot twist? Basic information that both of them already know. Even though they are aware that mortal humanity has fallen, neither one of them thought that the bottle could have been a relic that was once human. Elena never treated Mary with the suspicion that she might have actually died. She actually says that she often sees the bodies of dead people coming in after a storm. No, I don’t have any idea who, since all the human beings died due to a pandemic on 2021. Also, the entire world seems to be stuck using pre-industrial Revolution technology. Tsubaki seems to the only one to have kept things in the past. Elena believes that the universe is flat despite not being able to record all the technological advances made.
Sweeper Swimmer's last twist doesn’t work. They also never proofread their first chapter to ensure consistency. Writing!! Yipee! !
Tsubaki’s vocal tics are one of my favorite things. She has some in the present day, but none in her history. Each of them has their root. It's a strange thing that I like. It's like she is trying to jog Protagonist Man’s brain by repeating his odd phrases back at him. Each of them has meaning. "Insurance", what Protagonist Men refers as her throughout the story. "It's nothing to do w/ you" – It is all about you, but it is a different you. "Exactly the words mean"- It's a set of words Protagonist Man told her after he forced them to part. This would make me jump with joy in a better-written story.
Mary is the only character with a name that has some interesting meanings. Tsubaki still uses the name she used to be when she was first discovered in the hands of Protagonist Men. She is stuck in the past as well as the relationship that she has with him. Elena changes names often as she tries hard to live in now and not hold on her past selves. Protagonist Man is mostly anonymous. However, he does refer to himself as Hieronymous only very sparingly. Tsubaki is the only person she will ever be able to speak with, so he calls him "you" the majority of the times.
I also like to think that even with all of the time in the world, even the community if immortals are powerless against rising seas, and are reduced down to pre-industrial technology. Society may end up looking something like this without access to fossil fuels or rare mineral batteries, or the sheer number of people required to maintain large supply chains that are so widespread in our modern globalized world.
Lastly, despite its absurdity, the idea that two people without modern comforts could look at a coke container and be captivated with its glasswork is an interesting one. I think their conversation around the bottle is the only thing that sticks.
TLDR: It's bad.
And here is the end of the post, i hope you enjoy Winter Polaris – Review and Analysis . If you believe we mistake something or we forget to add some content on the post let us know via Comment. The original post can be found here
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