No, Thank You!!!
Spoilers will be posted in white text in between brackets, like so: [spoiler]. Just select the text to see the spoiler.
No, Thank You is the story of a young man named Haru. Haru jumped in to protect a man that was about to get hit by a car, and as a result he is now amnesic. He is taken in by the man he protected, and starts working at his bar and the behind-the-scenes detective agency. This is the story of Haru and the memories he makes during the hot summer.
No, Thank You is a game that encompasses many different genres. Drama, comedy, action, mystery… NTY managed to surprise me in more ways than one. And I’m not talking about the abruptness of some of the H-scenes, although they made my bus rides very interesting, to say the least.
I was slightly hyped before I started NTY. I tried not to be, but it was hard. The Japanese-speaking fans were talking this game up a lot. Going in, I was expecting a very good visual novel with a compelling story; something better than just another average BL game like the disappointing DRAMAtical Murder. And thankfully, what I got wasn’t average and certainly not bad. It just wasn’t all it was hyped up to be for me. I can’t fault NTY for my own mistake.
Enough about that though, let’s talk about the actual game. A game that has many good assets, the best of which may be its awesome protagonist!
Haru is absolutely hilarious. He just may have become my favorite protagonist, an achievement that… really wasn’t very hard to get. Most protagonists are mind-numbingly bland, after all. But Haru is cool. Haru is good-looking. Haru is funny. Haru is nice. Haru is capable. And most importantly, Haru is extremely quotable:
‘The powerful bond between fellow virgins is nothing to laugh at!’
‘Also, Hiroshi’s such a nice guy. He’s so cute. Even though he’d probably lose to bandage dude in a contest of height, penis size, general attractiveness, or number of women he’s slept with, I think Hiroshi’s more grown up and I like him better!’
‘I spoke to Pops’ crotch as I patted it gently. It’s okay, don’t be afraid.’
“B-Boobs! Boobies!! Boobs! Boobs! Boo! Booobs!!”
And my personal favorite:
“The man who washes his asshole out with the company bidet, Ryu Kurosawa!”
Haru is by far the greatest thing about NTY. He’s fantastic. Haru is so descriptive about literally everything in a very childish way. He can’t remember anyone’s name, so he calls them by any feature that catches his eye. Old man. Bandage dude. Or he just makes up an incomprehensible nickname like Bunbun. It’s all adorable. I can’t praise him enough. He comments on literally everything that he notices and he thinks everything is fun and interesting. It really is quite a change from a normal protagonist. If Haru wasn’t as great as he is, NTY wouldn’t be nearly as good.
I’m not a big fan of the ‘shiny’ character art, but I got used to it eventually. Even grew to like it! That’s just me not being used to anything but typical anime style, though. In general, the art is great. The character designs are generally sleek and realistic-looking. Something that’s a shame is that there aren’t enough CGs for pivotal moments. Not nearly enough. When there are CGs though, they’re beautiful. I do really like that important bad endings get a nice CG every now and again though. Some of the best CGs from the game are actually from bad endings.
The music is nice. It fits the game and atmosphere well, but it’s nothing too special. It won’t be something I will remember for a long time, and I have no desire to buy the soundtrack.
NTY has many nifty features! Like being able to save your favorite voice acting lines. There’s body hair settings. Of course, there’s the No Thank You-button which is a nice change from how you normally make choices in visual novels (though there are still normal choices in the game). After a route, parts of the staff comments section are unlocked. Each voice actor for a main character gives their thoughts about their character. A really nice extra which I wish more games would have! The director, writer, and artist comments were also fun to read. The, uh, map one of them drew just may be one of my favorite piece of art from the game.
[My favorite feature is how after you finish a route, new lines are inserted into the script! This is really, really cool and gives a lot of extra insight into Haru’s character. I seriously didn’t expect him to be an unreliable narrator, and adding the lines is a really great way to make use of that aspect of him.]
The routes are extremely varying in quality. I believe Hiroshi’s route is by far the best one of the four; in themes, execution, character development, everything. [Of course, this makes a lot of sense. It’s the first route most people would play, and it’s when Haru’s true personality, occupation, and intentions are (partly) revealed. Naturally, this is sure to leave an impact on anyone. Because that reveal was so very well done, my expectations for the following routes became even higher.]
But Maki’s and Kouichi’s routes honestly felt disappointingly average to me. They just didn’t measure up to the exciting first route. There was a lot of action in these two routes and it actually became a tiny bit boring to read through at several points.
Thankfully Ryu’s route was pretty good again. I really liked the themes and development of the involved characters, and surprisingly I actually liked Ryu by the end.
In the end, I didn’t feel satisfied about the story. I got lots of bits and pieces of a story, but nothing to tie everything back together. It really could have used something extra. Not even a true route, but perhaps just an extra epilogue common to all the routes. This isn’t something I had expected them to do though; this isn’t the kind of story that ends with every loose end tied up. [Ryu’s route probably has the most stereotypically ‘good’ ending in the game. Though of course Haru still left, but at least Ryu has let go of his past and has someone new to live and care for now. It was actually heartwarming and likely the best end anyone could hope for in that situation.]
Something I like is that there are hardly any unnecessary characters. None even, maybe. No pointless bar patrons or useless clients that contribute nothing to the story. Basically all the main and recurring characters are realistic and well-developed. This means some of the main characters are actually unlikable, which is a good change from the usual goody-two-shoes, forever-kind protagonist and heroines.
A nice touch was that after finishing all four routes, [the title screen changed. Haru disappeared.] Very touching. [Summer has ended, and everyone needs to go back to their regular lives; sadly, this includes Haru.]
I don’t think I would go out of my way to recommend No, Thank You to most people. There are simply too many far better visual novels out there. In the end, the story simply didn’t measure up to that of the average story-based visual novel. It is far from bad, but no one should get excited just because they hear NTY is the best of the best of the BL genre. But if they are curious about trying out the BL genre, this is very likely the best one out there, and I’d encourage them to buy and play it. It is good and I’d say it’s worth playing; if only because Haru is such a wonderfully unique character.
[I also wrote down my stream of thoughts and notes as I was playing this. Contains heavy unmarked spoilers for the entire game. Here’s the pastebin.]
I apparently finished the game in 12 hours and 20 minutes. My predicted score was 8/10.