Song of Saya #1

Song of Saya #1 Comic Review

IDW, $3.99
Writers: Daniel Liatowitsch, Todd Ocvirk
Art: Yair Herrera

A young doctor’s promise is cut short when a car accident kills his parents and leaves him in need of experimental brain surgery. Josh finds his perceptions warping from between our established reality and a hellish landscape of organic, haemorrhaging structures and hideous physiognomies. Now confined to the hospital he once worked in, Josh is frequently visited by a beautiful woman named Saya, who claims to be looking for her father.

Song of Saya #1

Song of Saya #1

IDW’s new Lovecraftian horror series is based on Japanese video game/interactive novel Saya no Uta, transporting the premise to America. I wasn’t at all aware of this while reading Saya; supposedly writers Daniel Liatowitsch and Todd Ocvirk made several amendments that would sit better with Western readers when they translated the plot. The script itself feels surprisingly intimate, and is a notch above any of the more recent, recognisable videogame to comic adaptations.

Yair Herrera’s hazy digital paintings work perfectly for this title, adding an ethereal ambience to Joshua’s recollections. The unsettling visions – think buckets of blood and skinless abominations – which Josh experiences are also handled exceptionally, and are brief enough to prove genuinely chilling.

Anyone who’s seen Jacob’s Ladder may find themselves in all too familiar territory, but Song of Saya’s first issue is an atmospheric and memorable enough read. If you haven’t heard of the video game, don’t let that deter you – this intriguing new series stands up well enough on its own.

Carl Doherty has written about movies, video games, comic books and literature for almost a decade, forging ill-informed critiques for numerous websites, blogs and publications that no one has ever heard of. His debut novel, the epic fantasy comedy Welcome to The Fold, is available now on Kindle here (UK) and here (US).

10 thoughts on “Song of Saya #1 Comic Review”

  1. This American butcherization of the Saya no Uta is absolute trash. There’s not a single thing about this sad excuse for a comic that even remotely resembles the original game. Saya’s become a grown woman instead of a little girl, they renamed the protagonist from Fuminori to…Josh, of all things, and above all, they ruined any chance for a plotline even remotely similar to the original.

    If you want to experience the true horror and bittersweet romance of Saya no Uta, play the game. Don’t read this piece of trash.

    1. You obviously are a fundamentalist geek jerk who doesn’t understand the meaning of “based on”.

      If you would know better (as you should do before spitting shit at a fan), all changes made to this ADAPTATION from the original story you prise so much were approved and agreed by both japanese and american authors and editors to better suit the western readers’ idiosyncracy, minimizing the loss of its original spirit.

      1. He understands the meaning of ‘based on’ perfectly well. He’s not disputing that it’s ‘based on’ the Japanese visual novel Saya no Uta. He’s arguing that it’s a piece of trash in comparison to the original, and doesn’t adequately deliver the same effect as Saya no Uta.

        This argument can be made regardless of how many editors, or different authors it passed through. Whether or not the Japanese authors approved, it is still inferior, which is his argument.

        It is inferior, because plotlines were scrapped. Any sort of moral ambiguity is gone, most noticeably with the introduction of a secret group of mad scientists. So instead of following the story of Kouji and Fuminori, you get a fairly bland, one sided view of “Josh against the evil scientists”.

        Streamlining it to “better suit the western readers’ idiosyncrasy” is a bad idea in itself. Saya no Uta has controversial plot points, and that’s the point. I can understand removing the loli sex, or the tentacle rape, as they are more accepted in Japanese media than the US. But lines such as “I killed a man. I’m evil!” go strictly against the protagonist’s character in the original, and don’t help anything.

        Another reason is the relationship between Saya and Josh. In the comic, it progresses way too quickly. The first sex scene is relatively early in the VN, but there’s a good deal of conversation between them prior, and time passes beforehand. In the comic, they’re screwing before they’ve even had a conversation, and we’re suddenly informed of their relationship in the next issue.

        The suspense of Saya’s identity is lost. In the VN, we can only take guesses at what she truly looks like, and we don’t even know that she’s an Eldritch Abomination until a fair way into the story. Even then, we’re never outright shown her. In the comic, we get a full page of her in her true form in a sex scene. That’s poor use of suspense building, and it completely breaks with the idea of toning down the original content and they actually tone it up.

        There, two reasons justifying our opinion.

        1. I read the american version after the japanese version and I think I actually prefer the american version for a number of reasons:

          [SPOILER WARNING]

          1) While killing rapists or having a sympathetic pedophile protagonist might seem nuanced to some, any “moral ambiguity” is tossed out the window once Fuminori and Saya go from reluctant killers to sadistic rapists.

          2) Even though the scientists are undoubtably evil, Josh seems like a hero and even Saya saves a life, the ending seems VERY similar to one of the endings in the original and we get to see that even if Saya’s given Josh the ability to see the world as “normal” again, he is in fact sitting in a hellish landscape that is presumably the real world infected by Saya. Try going back a few pages and re-evaluate some of the scientists’ dialogue and even actions after reading the final page. (The original japanese version, I honestly don’t feel like re-reading)

          3) The original depicts sex with what appears to be a 10-year old or so. Even if it’s a drawing and said character is stated to be hundreds of years old, it still counts as child pornography in a lot of countries and grapical depictions of rape may be illegal too. At least I can keep the american comic in my bookshelf without going to jail (and being erronously referred to as the “pedophile” by the other inmates).

          As for the relationship advancing a bit fast in the american version…well, it’s only 3 issues long, so I guess they had to save time. I also think the art style is more unique (manga characters always look so generic to me, though the backgrounds were real nice) and the hazy, drugged-out feeling fits the story.

          Also, I’d like to think of it as part of IDW’s “Infestation” cross-over. =)

  2. You also have to think of it this way. We can’t really play the game, unless we do all kinds of shit and get it programed. I don’t have the time to do that. It could take hours… and it’s in japanese, which I can’t read
    So this comic, is the closets thing I can get to the actual thing.
    You have to keep that in mind. Not everyone can read japanese and play the game.Otherwise, it would be absolutly pointless to play the game.

    1. That’s not true at all. It has nothing to do with your lack of Japanese skills and everything to do with your laziness, as an unofficial English translation patch has been online for over a year. It literally takes less than a minute to set up.

      1. Besides that, the entirety of it is on Youtube, sans the sex scenes. And, in all honesty, the sex scenes aren’t remotely necessary to the plot.

  3. Just here to reinforce that this adaptation is garbage that’s dumbed down and rehashed into an episode of a medical drama~

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