(Author’s note: Huge thanks to @SeHNNG for helping me compiling this post and sharing his thoughts on the game.)
Subahibi is a very difficult work to write about. Out of all the posts I’ve had so far on this blog, this is probably the most ambitious one I’ve done. Not that I did anything creative with it like Kastel did for his post. There’s just so much to say about the game that I took more than two weeks just to pin down exactly what I want to say. And there’s probably a lot more to talk about than what I put on this post.
So let’s start this post with a basic question: what is Subahibi?
I’m sure that, if you’ve read enough VNs and stuck with the community for a while, you’d have heard of the name at least once. Subahibi is a baffling work; it’s reputation even more so. Some people might talk about how fucked up it is – and it does have a lot of, shall we say, problematic content ranging from futa, to exhibitionism, to incest, and bestiality. But despite those rumors, many people in the eroge/VN community still praise it as a masterpiece; people who actually finish the game would cite Wittgenstein and other philosophers, giving other people the impression that it’s a pretentious game for pretentious people. And with vvav’s translation coming Soon™, there will only be more people voicing out their opinions – informed or otherwise.
So first, let’s give a short background of the game. Subarashiki Hibi -Furenzoku Sonzai- (Subahibi for short) is an eroge written by SCA-JI (Ebiten, H2O –footprints in the sand–), released under the KERO-Q label in 2010. It’s a reimagining of SCA-JI’s 1999 work, Tsui no Sora, apparently a denpa game which got an OVA release that can be found here. If you do end up watching the video, you can see that it’s quite… unpolished, further putting the hype for Subahibi into question. But it’s been more than ten years since Tsui no Sora; although many of Tsui no Sora’s elements still show up in Subahibi –including the eponymous “Tsui no Sora” – Subahibi is far and away the more polished work, to the point that you might wonder how the latter came out of the former.
Accurate depiction of Subahibi shitposters.
And so we get to the messy question: what is the game about? It’s so easy to give a quick summary of the game’s story: Takashima Zakuro’s suicide triggers paranoia throughout her school, with a character named Mamiya Takuji further compounding it by declaring that the world will end on the 20th of July – “the Last Sky (終ノ空 / tsui no sora)”, and the reader gets to see the days that lead up to it in different perspectives. I’m sure there are a lot of reviews and summaries that are floating around out there that can describe the game’s plot better than I can.
But giving a summary and a review isn’t what I want to do with this post. I want to talk about Subahibi’s messages, the meat of what the game tries to convey to the reader. Yes, Subahibi does talk about Wittgenstein and his philosophy in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, and it’s no stretch to say that the entire game is SCA-JI’s interpretation of the Tractatus. This post is for anyone interested in Subahibi’s themes, and I will be talking about my thoughts on those themes. This post will contain huge spoilers, so if you don’t want to get spoiled, turn back now. I highly suggest you just read the game in Japanese, or wait for its fully-translated version. If you just want my overall opinion on the game, click this.
With all that said, let’s start at the beginning and jump into the rabbit-hole called Subahibi.