One of the best written works – and it’s doujin.
This review may contain mild conceptual/structural spoilers to the work.To put it briefly, JQV is a work with heartfelt beauty in its writing and scope – it’s a multilayered, oft complex work that manages to balance the “human” with the extraordinary. Features a “central” mystery so to speak, offbeat (at times absurd) humor/writing, and manages to shine when it matters most. Work itself doesn’t feature an awe-inspiring philosophy or storyline (some bits felt a bit trite, if not dated). Nonetheless, work manages to enrapture the reader through its prose and presentation — and that in itself is a noteworthy feat.
Popular belief suggests that the work was written as a homage to Romeo. I’ve never read one of his works in Japanese, so I can’t comment too much on the similarities; all I do know is that this is a work that’s good due to its prose in addition to the surface-level plot, characterization, and discussion of themes. The work’s lines felt cryptic – both on level of its prose and by way of its presentation; the work is likely best compared to Cross Channel in this regard. I also found it a little similar to Subahibi, in that the story itself is told out of chronology in fragments – making the reader feel a lack of continuity. For better or worse, this contributed greatly to the mood (this feeling of uncertainty often put the player in the protagonist’s shoes, enhancing the work). The work felt really “deep” (dense with detail) – each line had a surface level meaning, but was probably subtly alluding to something else too. Likely a work that rewards re-reads (and a work that’s ‘easy’ to re-read because the mood & vibe it develops is so intoxicating).
The surface level plot was pretty “straightforward” (i.e. can be explained under the umbrella of “science fiction”). The exact mechanics however, I feel weren’t actually developed (if they were, they were probably lost in the sea of complexity). I personally didn’t care too much for the actual plot, since it felt a bit trite; but for its age, I felt that it was probably above average at the time. Even if the plot wasn’t earthshaking, this is hardly a work that you read for the plot – it’s by and far, the experience that few works can hope to imitate – that airy, ephemeral vibe that makes you dream.
I didn’t actually intend on writing a full review for this work initially, since I feel that I don’t understand the work well enough. I get the plot – but the plot is hardly the most important part of this work. Normally, I’d want to have a clearer understanding of the themes – the purpose of the work, the author’s vision.
Consider this more of a “mini-review” for this reason.