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Karifean's Blog of Visual Novels

Shikkoku no Sharnoth Review

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Shikkoku no Sharnoth (Sharnoth of the Deepest Black) -What a Beautiful Tomorrow- is a visual novel developed by Liar-soft. It's the third entry in their 'Steampunk' series but can be read just fine without prior exposure to the other entries.


Shikkoku no Sharnoth is set in an alternate universe in the London of 1905. In this universe, a gate to a land called "Kadath" was discovered in the 19th century which allowed civilization to make technological progress at an incredible rate. On the flipside, the world has become horribly polluted to the point where the sky is now eternally clouded and 'gaps' through which rays of sunlight can be seen shining down are considered a rarity.

The story follows a woman called Mary Clarissa Christie, a university student living a rather carefree life with her best friends Charlotte and Angelica. At the same time, there is a rumor going around that dark spawns called "metacreatures" manifest at night and attack people unfortunate enough to still be wandering around at such a time. By chance, Mary ends up getting dragged into such an occurrence and ends up forming a contract with a mysterious man called "M" who asks her to help him hunt and exterminate these creatures, all the while not really realizing what exactly she ends up causing through her actions...


One of the things that stands out a lot in Shikkoku no Sharnoth is its writing style. It feels rather poetic, with elaborate, subjective descriptions and repetitions sometimes in the very same line of narration. Every single one of the story's ten chapters starts with the same couple of scenes which are only slightly adapted to the current happenings but otherwise a complete repeat of what you've already read. But that's not a bad thing. It gives the whole novel a sort of unique reading feel to it.

Where the story suffers a bit however is in its pacing. The reason for that is twofold. For one, because once the 'contract' starts, the story turns into a metacreature-of-the-week thing for a while, and although a lot of interesting characters get introduced in the process, I feel the story could've gone further into the underlying questions a bit faster; instead it takes quite a few chapters of the same before the overarching plot gets developed any further.

The second reason is because Shikkoku no Sharnoth has the most annoying minigame segments I have ever had the displeasure of going through in a visual novel. Every time you encounter a metacreature you get to play a strategic game in which you have to reach certain locations on the board without being caught by the monsters in the process. The problem is that this game really isn't fun to play, takes quite a while to go through every time and one mess-up has you do it all over again. It was exasperating. It's for this reason that I highly recommend the Full Voice Reborn version of the game as it not only adds extra voice acting but also allows you to skip these minigames. Doing so greatly improved my reading experience. You do miss out on a few small scenes, but nothing major.

Although even with the problem of the minigame taken care of, I still wasn't all that gripped by the plot of Shikkoku no Sharnoth. The repetitive metacreature hunting was enjoyable to read but nothing special, and as for the main plot, probably my biggest problem with it is how open-ended it is. Even by the end, numerous questions are left unanswered. I have heard that at least some of them can still be reasoned out from what you're shown, and others do get answers in the other entries of the Steampunk series, but it was still somewhat frustrating to me. Especially since the themes the story did touch upon, such as contenting yourself with a never-changing world where nothing new is born but nothing can ever fall apart either, was pretty intriguing! If only it went further into it it could've very well ended up being something far more to my liking.

The game is rated 18+ and there are sex scenes, but, unlike other eroge, they are not pornographic. There is no explicit imagery, all descriptions are vague and they're overall more focused on the emotions of the characters instead of simply gratuitously presenting the act itself. I wish more visual novels had tactful sex scenes like these.


Being set in 1905's London, the novel makes a lot of references to people of that time, fictional and real alike. Sherlock Holmes, Bram Stoker, Henry Irving, all of these are characters in the story. Hell, the main protagonist is Agatha Christie. However, while these characters are loosely based on their original counterparts, their role in the story has little to nothing to do with that; it's not really anything more than a fun reference.

The cast grows quite large rather quickly as every new couple of chapters introduces new characters while also developing the main characters along the way. Side characters are usually only the focus for one or two chapters after their introduction, so there's a decent rotation in place that prevents the cast from becoming overwhelming. It works well, and it helps that main and side characters alike are quite interesting.

Mary is the first female main protagonist I've seen in visual novels in quite some time and I really liked her. While her constant worrying did get a little repetitive, I can't exactly claim those worries are unfounded. And though her role in the story is mostly determined by other people, it never feels like she has a lack of agency either.

M is the other half of the main duo, and he's really tough to describe. For the most part, he's an emotionless man with no deep interest in anything, but when he hunts metacreatures, his demeanor changes quite a bit. I really wish the story went on for just a bit longer so we could see him interact and develop some more.

Other important characters include Mary's friends Charlotte and Angelica, Angelica's husband Howard and M's aide Moran, all of whom I liked. The side cast was sometimes more, sometimes less interesting, but watching them interact with the main characters was pretty much the highlight of the visual novel for me.


The soundtrack, while pretty decent on its own, suffers from the way too common problem of simply being too short. Despite being a visual novel that can easily take 30 hours or more, it only has 16 tracks and that's including opening and ending themes. I got sick of the main title theme one hour into the novel as it was playing pretty much nonstop the entire time. There are some tracks that don't get overused and work pretty well for when they play, but it does get old listening to the same tracks over and over again.

At least the opening is pretty good and I enjoyed listening to it every time I started up the game.



Shikkoku no Sharnoth was an alright visual novel. It didn't leave a lasting impact and it felt like it ended before it should have; but the prose and character interactions were thoroughly enjoyable and for the most part, the novel just felt good to read. It's the first time I feel the prose alone (even through translation) is worth praise and for that alone I'm thankful for reading this novel.

Overall though it didn't quite live up to the expectations I had of it, and so I give it a

7.5 / 10

If you still feel intrigued and want to read it in spite of the things that bothered me about it, you'll most likely enjoy it far more than I did.


  1. Fynn's Avatar
    Oh wow, that art style is stunning. Which is awesome, because a lot of the VNs I heard of kinda neglect this aspect, whereas to me that is always an integral part of the complete package.