Axiom: For every re;birth, four suicides must be made.
The following is a review of a fan-made scenario for the visual novel Student Transfer. For more information about Student Transfer, please consult my dedicated Student Transfer page or the official Student Transfer website.
This scenario has been on my to-do list for the better half of a year at this point. I actually recall taking it off that list after seeing some comment from the creator about how the scenario wasn’t developed enough for a review. But when I saw it bundled with Version 7.0, and boasting over an hour of content, I figured it was probably developed enough at this point. After making a flowchart and playing it though, I realized that… no. It really wasn’t ready. …But I already spent half an afternoon going through it— taking notes and making a flowchart— and content is content, so let’s see if I can squeeze a review out of this.
Axiomatic follows the semi-common scenario protagonist, Riley, who suddenly dies of a brain aneurysm. He is then greeted by Circe who informs him he needs to go to the afterlife, but after some resistance, Circe, and Izuna, decide to broker a deal with Riley. If he can get four young women to surrender their souls, then they will use their powers to restore Riley’s body and allow him to resume his life. Which he can accomplish by possessing people, suppressing their souls, and letting his ‘spirit guides’ sell the souls on the open market. Also, and this is a weird quirk, bodies without souls still live, but their lives are as hollow as their soul cavities.
While this seems like a task that could realistically be done in an hour, Riley is a bit too moral for rampant murder. Instead, he wants to make sure he is sending the right people into the afterlife, and after the first impulsive body snatch, he struggles to reconcile who those people might be. Partially because there really isn’t any good option— depending on your personal home brand of morals. And partially because he has two guides nudging him to make the best decisions.
There is definitely something to this idea, and it could easily be used to tell a compelling story about the merits of suicide, what makes life worth living, and explorations of various philosophical questions. Such as the classic ‘would you accept death if a perfect clone took over your life?’ Sadly, the story is not the most developed, branching off into four different branches… three of which only last a few minutes before coming to a halt.
The only semi-developed one is the soulless companion branch where Riley possesses Natsumi. Following a day of low tension impersonation, Riley heads out to the local suicide forest to find some easy prey, and encounters Melody. An erudite chuunibyou teenager with suicidal aspirations and a fondness of lolita fashion. But rather than helping this A-grade anime cutie by serving as her suicide jag, Riley thinks she’s just gonna hate it, so he tries convincing her to give friendship a shot. By convincing, I mean robbing her of her autonomy and puppeting her body around for a day.
Everything Melody says is magnifique, the dynamic between the puppet Yui and Riley is entertainingly antagonistic, and there is a genuinely sweet undercurrent to this entire storyline. However, it is not even close to its true conclusion, and just as I was starting to really groove with this story, I was met with that accursed message. The plague to every scenario that aims to be developed ‘over time.‘
In its current form, I would say that Axiomatic is a thoroughly fine scenario. Its concept has a neat twist, yet it’s not fully explored. The script is weirdly jokey given the subject matter it explores, and I get the impression that its tone drifted during development. The presentation is effective, with a good amount of expression changes, animations, and music changes, but nothing too remarkable. And when it comes to offering a recommendation, I would be hesitant to give a hard answer. It has some enjoyable moments and tidbits, but it’s not particularly substantive, so… maybe try it when/if it is completed.