Ningen Debris is elf’s 2010 suspense-drama eroge. It’s from the same team that brought us Biniku no Kaori.
Minami Makio was always together with his two childhood friends, Hikari and Seiji. However, Hikari and Seiji begin dating behind Minami’s back. This doesn’t go over so well with him. Also involved in this twisted tale are Hikari’s older sister Sora and Sora’s fiancée Isezaki. Ningen Debris is a very fitting title, as the story is about the spider web of relationships between broken people who are searching for what completes them.
What immediately caught my attention in Ningen Debris is the unusual narration from the protagonist. It becomes obvious in the very beginning of the game that Minami is not quite right in the head. Reading from his point of view makes the game instantly interesting. This isn’t particularly necessary, however, as it doesn’t take the story very long to start throwing weird shit at the reader. Of course it still helps and still contributes to the excellent pacing the game has (early on).
By “weird shit” I refer to the bizarre events (wait, that’s just using synonyms to say the same thing) in Ningen Debris and a general feeling that things aren’t right. It has an almost denpa-esque atmosphere. Of course the protagonist’s insanity also plays a role in this. The story takes a number of twists and turns during the first half and there’s a lot of suspense. This keeps the plot moving at a brisk pace and ensures that it stays entertaining.
The first half or so of the story is really fun and good. The second half, not so much. Ningen Debris is organized in a way that doesn’t include routes, but rather a player must read through a number of ends (over a dozen but not all of these are required) to unlock new choices and ends before reaching the true end. The problem is that after the first half dozen ends the events start getting repetitive so the weird shit isn’t so weird anymore and instead starts getting boring. Worse yet, the answers are all given well before the final end. What’s left is the dramatic irony of knowing everything but being forced to watch the characters repeatedly play out bad ends. Which I didn’t find particularly interesting or entertaining, just boring.
When the final end does come it’s anticlimactic. Everything is resolved much too easily. Then it continues on for much too long, probably to squeeze out a few more ero scenes. However, it’s not all bad. The drama and human relations (which this writer clearly has a talent for portraying) are compelling and at times poignant. This applies not only to the true end but also to various moments throughout the story. Actually the true end wasn’t even the highlight in terms of this aspect of the story which was one that I perhaps enjoyed more than the suspense, given how fleeting that facet ended up being.
Ningen Debris features one of the best heroines I’ve encountered in awhile: Sora onee-chan (also known as Oppai-nee). Sora is some sort of synthesis of the best parts of the kuudere and oneesan character types. And her style of dere, strong and determined, is unbearably charming. Most of the other characters are interesting but can become annoying very easily. The only other heroine is Hikari, who can be way too whiny or clingy at times. However she inherited some of her sister’s dedication, so that can make her cute and admirable during her shining moments. I already wrote some about how interesting Minami and his unique mental state make the game, but unfortunately even he gets annoying during the last few ends of the game. The other two main male characters, Seiji and Isezaki, are just annoying. None of the characters go through particularly noteworthy character development. Minami goes through a lot, after a fashion, but like I said he gets more annoying later in the game so it’s not what I’d call good development. But the writer does give most of the characters thorough histories that make them feel like full people. Or as close to “full” as human debris can be.
Ningen Debris only has about a half dozen songs that play regularly. As a result, even though they’re almost all good most of them get repetitive at some point during the game. A good third of the tracks only play during the true end and these are not as memorable as one would expect. I liked the cellphone ringtones but I think those are classical piano pieces rather than ones written for this game.
Although I always have a hard time precisely judging the quality of voice acting I think Ningen Debris probably has some of the best voice acting I’ve heard in an eroge. Every role is handled with skill, even the minor male roles. Sora onee-chan, not surprisingly, had my favorite voice acting (I think it’s the same voice actress as Saya in Biniku no Kaori but neither game credits its seiyuu).
As expected of the Biniku no Kaori artist, the art here is absolutely beautiful. Fortunately the guys don’t look as extraterrestrial this time around so that makes things even better. My one nitpick, if I had to make one, is that there aren’t enough non-ero CGs. Overall there is a very generous amount of CGs but I found them too disproportionately distributed in the ero scenes.
Like Biniku no Kaori, Ningen Debris has pseudo-animated ero scenes. The animation has improved and this time almost every scene is animated. The one exception is a short fellatio scene. Even though I was satisfied with the animation last time I was pleased with the improvements elf made.
Ningen Debris’s ero is largely NTR. There’s also some netori, rape, netorase (I suppose that still falls under NTR?), and vanilla sex. A lot of variety is incorporated in the situations for the sex scenes, and they’re mostly well executed to boot. The writing in the ero scenes features all the writer’s trademarks: little description, heavy use of onomatopoeia, and lengthy conversations during the sex. Luckily they’re all less pronounced, and therefore less offensive, in Ningen Debris.
Pros: Gripping suspense in the first half; dramatic moments are well-written; great ero and voice acting; Oppai-nee
Cons: Gets boring in the second half; unsatisfying true end; characters can be annoying
Although this writer’s games always disappoint me in some way there’s something about them that I really enjoy. This time around he improved in just about all the areas where Biniku no Kaori was lacking but unfortunately forgot to carry over the areas where Biniku no Kaori excelled. If you took the first part of Ningen Debris and the second part of Biniku no Kaori you’d have a very excellent game. Instead you have two flawed but entertaining ones. And he always sets up his ero scenes well but doesn’t write them very well.
Anyways, I almost want to jump right into his new game, which elf just released earlier this month, but I think I’ll save it for later.
I haven’t done my “who would/wouldn’t like this” spiel yet, so here it is: if you like suspense and NTR you’ll like this but might be disappointed toward the end of the game like I was. If you don’t like those things I can’t imagine you’d like Ningen Debris.
Edit: WordPress informed me this was my 20th post and tells me that’s an accomplishment. Another accomplishment (maybe) is that this is my fifth post in a row about eroge containing NTR. Don’t worry though, I have no intention of turning this into an NTR blog and the next game I post about will be NTR-free.