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Karifean's Blog of Visual Novels

Dies Irae Review

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Dies irae ~Amantes amentes~ is a visual novel created by Light. It was one of the most renowned JP-only VNs before finally getting a localization in June of this year.

Come, gather and bear witness to my opera, now in the making.

Its script is the height of cliché, I am forced to admit. And yet...

Its actors are of the finest fold; beyond exquisite.

Thus, I believe you will find it enthralling.

- Mercurius
The above quote describes Dies irae quite well. Its plot is nothing spectacular, it's something you might expect from any action anime story. Several magic users gather in a town. They are wielders of a power that allows them to absorb the souls of humans they kill, making them far more powerful than the average human. The protagonist has to go up against them, learning their same kind of magic from the ground up. And the reason he stands a chance against them at all is because he's particularly talented at it.

In Dies irae's case it just happens to be the Longinus Dreizehn Orden or LDO for short - basically crazy nazi officers from the second world war - that have to cause a release of a mass of souls at specific locations in the town to make a swastika to complete their summoning ritual to bring back their old leader who is so powerful he'll destroy the entire world as we know it when he returns to full power. Because why not.

But regardless of how silly the plot of Dies irae may sound, really, its main selling point is its phenomenal cast of characters. The LDO members range from incredibly hammy and delightful to actually conflicted characters whose struggle is very interesting to watch unfold... to just plain awesome and show-stealing in every goddamn scene they're in.

The protagonist, Ren Fujii, is the LDO leaders' perfect foil which sets the stage for a number of great fight scenes. And I can't forget his best friend and sidekick Shirou Yusa, an incredibly unpredictable son of a bitch that pulls off the craziest stunts, cementing himself firmly as my favorite character of this novel. By far the best Shirou in the VN-verse.

Just about everything in this visual novel is gloriously over the top. Magic incantations are quotes from well-known literature, for instance the main character recites Goethe's Faust when using his abilities. The main 'mastermind' LDO member constantly talks in an incredibly poetic and flowery way, like you would never buy any normal person talking. At the same time the story is clichéd to hell and back and is absolutely unapologetic about it and in fact just executes its old concepts in a wonderful fashion.

The atmosphere and general feel of this visual novel is also outstanding. The game has some of the most beautiful CGs I've ever seen with every single one being extremely memorable, it's to the point where I wanted to make this review longer just so I could include more great screenshots inbetween. And the sound direction and OST are also great, being exactly as bombastic and over the top as they should be for a story this chuuni.

I mean this is the title screen theme for god's sake:

With its very memorable visual and auditory feel and amazing cast of characters, Dies irae pulls you in and keeps you in its grasp like few visual novels manage to do. It's simply such a joy to be reading this novel. And that is what I feel is Dies irae's strongest point. It doesn't do anything particularly unusual or outstanding, it won't change your worldview or anything, but it's such a damn good and entertaining read.

Dies irae was a great ride, and one I'll wholeheartedly recommend to anyone searching for an awesome visual novel experience. You can download a trial for *free* on Steam, see if you enjoy it, and if you do, buy the actual routes afterwards. There is a strongly recommended route order which is Kasumi route, then Kei route, then Marie route, and then finally Rea route. I suggest looking at a guide while reading, as Rea route in particular contains missable scenes that you don't want to pass up on.

Overall I give Dies irae a score of

9 / 10

It definitely lived up to its reputation. It's one of those novels you really shouldn't pass up on.

Updated 08-03-2017 at 01:58 PM by Karifean

Miscellaneous , Video Games