Synonyms: Kyokugen Dasshutsu ADV: Zennin Shibou Death, Kyokugen Dasshutsu ADV: Zennin Shibou Desu Promotion Anime, Extreme Escape Adventure: Good People Die Prologue, Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward Special OVA
With his last memory being that of his kidnapping, college student Sigma awakens to find himself trapped in a facility with eight strangers. The captives are soon informed that if they want to escape, they must play the "Nonary Game"—a complex contest of trust and betrayal, where deciding whom to believe in is the difference between life and death. To make matters worse, any initial trust between the players is tainted when they realize that the mastermind behind their predicament may be one of them...
This OVA is a 13 minute-long promo for the game Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward. So unless (a) you are planning to play this game, (b) you are finished with VLR and are searching for related material, or (c) you are merely curious about this game, there's honestly no need for you to watch this.
On a side note, if you are planning to play VLR, then don't worry, there are no spoilers in this OVA. It's mostly just an introduction to the game (the characters, how it works, etc.). In fact, I'd say it would be good if you watch this to get you started.
it was good for what it was made for—and that is, promoting the game. I should add that if you're planning on playing VLR, I recommend you play 999 first. This is the sequel, so it only makes sense to play the first one before you play its sequel. The story will make a lot more sense that way too.
DISCLAIMER: The score of 6 that I assign to this short is NOT the same as I feel about the video games. This is merely how I felt the actual ONA should be rated. Please keep reading for more info on the video games!
If you have heard of the games 9 Persons, 9 Hours, 9 Doors (999) or Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward (VPL) and are interested in learning more about it, spoiler free, I recommend watching this ONA.
If you are intrigued by the theme of a group of people being locked away and forced to play a deadly game, this is
for you! You are forced to weigh your trust for the other characters because you initially know little about your "competitors." Both plots are centered around The Nonary Game, where the number 9 door holds your salvation to escape the facility. It has intelligent and intricate story telling that will keep you guessing and glued to the screen. It's very suspenseful and the pace between novel and puzzles gives it a good mix. The puzzles will make you think, as will the plot. There is a lot of layers to the games, especially VPL.
Both games, 999 being the first game and VPL being the second, are Visual Novel/Puzzle games. They are personally one of the best games I've played in last couple of years. 999 is on DS and VPL is on the 3DS and Vita. I have heard that there is a bug that can wipe your save data clean on the 3DS version of VPL, so if you have a Vita, I recommend buying it the Vita. (If not, please DO NOT let this discourage you. This is such a fantastic game, it would be a shame that people would miss out just because of that. As long as you don't save in the puzzle rooms, and only in the novel section, you should be fine.)
Both games have won awards, and they deserve it. A third installment is also in the making due to it's high reception and unanswered questions in the series. 999 was generally written more tightly, and I give it a 9... which is fitting! VPL has a lot going on, and is still excellent, but the characters weren't as good and [insert spoiler here] will leave you overwhelmed. I give the sequel an 8.
In short, this ONA doesn't even touch the tip of the ice burg. A lot of the deeper elements are integrated in psychology and quantum physics, but explains it in a way that a general audience can understand. I highly advise you play both if you are an manga/anime fan looking for an element of challenge and interaction with the characters. Pick these up as soon as you can, you won't regret it!
Kyokugen Dasshutsu Adv: Zennin Shibou Desu Prologue is a brief introduction to the video game Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward (available on the Playstation Vita and the Nintendo 3DS). Really, the only reason you should watch this ONA is if you have already played the game or are about to. Basically, it sums up the first 30 minutes or so of the game in a much quicker fashion.
Now, having played the game, I can safely say the story in the game is a definite 10/10. Complex, full of surprises and developments, long, and always extremely interesting. Because this ONA simply serves to provide a
brief introduction, it barely gets even a minuscule sliver of that brilliant story into this extremely short run time. It does do an adequate job of summing up the beginning and main concepts, though it completely leaves out the time travel aspect of it, which is a major part of the gameplay and story of the game. I can't see this really piquing anyone's interest unless, like I mentioned in the beginning, they have already played or plan to play the game (which I do highly recommend).
Note: In case you're interested, the story of the game revolves around the protagonist, Sigma, trying to win the Nonary Game. This game is won when someone reaches a score of 9. They can increase their score by either allying with someone who allies with them, or betraying their partner who trusted them. (This is reminiscent of the Prisoner's Dilemma). Along the way, there will be murders, suicides, betrayals, loss, and a heavy sense of mystery and high level on tension with some really intriguing puzzles. There is a time travel component to it that allows you to rewind time and change a decision to see how the alternate choice (and accompanying timeline) would have resulted, which is honestly pretty interesting and leads to around 20 different "endings" (although there is only one true ending). I did write a review of the game, so if you're interesting in reading that, feel free to message me and I'll send you it!
Now, back on task: I think that this would do well as a full anime series, but unfortunately that's not the point of this ONA, so this only gets a score of 6 for the story. I think it could have gotten a much higher score here with just a few more minutes of runtime and potentially a brief mention of the time travel mechanic.
The art is good, but nothing special. Character designs are very good and look just like their video game counterparts, though at times the animation seems slightly choppy or sudden and then doesn't go back or explain anything. The colors are mostly dark aside from character designs, which are a bit boring to look at (while this is the same in the game, the game at least spices it up with bright areas here or there and has a nice graphical style to keep it from being boring).
Again, like the art, the sound is good, but not great. The voice acting is pretty good, specifically for Sigma, Phi, and Zero III, but it seemed to me as though the voices and sound effects were not quite synced up with the animation, which was a bit distracting. Aside from the voice acting, there aren't really any sound effects or OST samples to speak of.
The whole purpose of this ONA was to set up the story and characters, which it did a relatively good job of. The little blurbs that popped up for each character gave pretty good, albeit brief, insight into each character's personalities. The actual designs for the characters were also pretty good, and the VA choices were appropriate.
I enjoyed seeing this animated introduction as I have already played the game, and I'd imagine that anyone else in a boat similar to mine would think the same way. However, if you have no interest in the game, I don't think you'd enjoy this, as it doesn't tell a big story, have character developments, have an exceptional art style or soundtrack, etc. It serves solely to accompany the game.
It is an interesting and relatively well made ONA, but I don't see it capturing the attention of anyone other than the small audience who played the main game.
(I would, however, strongly recommend playing the game, which is a sure 9.5/10 in my opinion. By far one of the best stories, with some of the best characters, in recent memory.)
I watched this Prologue to see if it would be okay to show to my friend who has not yet played the game. I am a big fan of the series so I also wanted to see it for myself. I love the game series (10/10, would recommend) but this ONA doesn't offer much for anyone.
[For people who have played VLR]
If you've beat the game, you will notice all the discrepancies between it and this ONA. It makes watching it way less enjoyable. There isn't much animation either - a lot of this short is scrolling stills or just lip movement, so seeing the events
in anime form isn't that exciting. The characters don't show much personality, and most of their dialogue is just to explain the plot, so no fun banter. One thing I did enjoy was that they used the same voice actors and music as the game (I watched the English dub). I'd only watch this if I was seeking out more Zero Escape content, or as a refresher for the start of the game (if you are part way through) or the third game.
[For people planning to play VLR]
If you are watching this without having played VLR and knowing nothing about it, not even the characters, it spoils a few elements that you could encounter hours into the game. It takes the surprise out of a few other moments too. Since it's so fast paced, you don't really have time to analyze the information it gives you.
If you know the characters then there isn't much that's actually a spoiler and it could be enjoyable, but be warned that you have to take everything with a grain of salt, as many events or facts are different than in the game. Also, don't watch this if you are about to start the game, since it's the same plot and you will be bored for a few hours because you will already know the main information and it's more drawn out in the game. Watch it and wait a bit, is my advice.
[For people new to the Zero Escape series]
This is probably the group who would get the most out of this ONA. It's a nice introduction to how many rules of the game work, and can let you get a feel for if you are interested or not. You would probably not latch on and retain the spoiler moments as much as a person who has played 999, so they would still be exciting when you see them in the game. Again, remember that this prologue isn't very accurate, and they even get a game rule wrong (at least in the English dub).
Overall, my rating is 4/10, but again this is only for this ONA. It served it's purpose in advertizing VLR when it was coming out, and now it doesn't really need to be seen. Play the games instead, they are way better!