Visual Novels and H-Scenes – Are They Necessary?
Visual novels have H-scenes, for anyone who played these adventure/interactive games for awhile, I think it comes as no surprise. But the be–all and end–all question is always this: are they even necessary?
Before we get to that though, we need to ask ourselves “does H-scenes contribute anything to the story?” — I would say yes. H-scenes represent the destination for a couple in a visual novel — a perfect culmination to conclude a couple’s romantic progression. It’s easy to forget sometimes since a lot of visual novels have extremely ambitious large-scale storytelling nowadays, but at it’s core, they are called galge (girl game, literally) for a reason. Romance will always be there somewhere no matter how plot-driven the story is. It’s pretty much a dating sim where you get to choose which heroine you’re aiming to “romance” with; hence the branching routes. Now there are a lot of subgenres of visual novels and it’s going to take forever if I were to go into more detail, but the point is — in these visual novels, romance will always be present, since well, that’s the entire point for most of these titles.
Which means, romance will be a plot point for the characters’ developments; whether or not if the overarching plot involves futuristic world wars between giant robots, or if it’s simply standard slice of life — romance will always be there. Admittedly, there are some good or bad ones still, but for the good ones, you can really feel that romance slowly, but eventually building up — the couple started off as acquaintances, to friends, before developing genuine affection for each other, culminating in a sex scene; there’s just a certain sense of satisfaction in this entire sequence. Because of the H-scenes, couples in visual novels re-affirm their feelings for each other, and we as viewers, get a conclusion in their romance stories. Furthermore, because the focus are centered so much on these two, you can understand why they would fall for each other since their build-up and development were so consistent.
In short, these H-scenes are good because of the build-up to get there and the sense of conclusion in the climax of their romantic journey. Ultimately, the presence of H-scenes actually enhances the story instead of diminishing it. In fact now that when I think about it, I like most visual novel H-scenes because most of them are vanilla… and I like my vanilla.
Aside from that, H-scenes can definitely enhance a story, but this time in a completely opposite end of the spectrum — in that it bolsters the depressing atmosphere. Some visual novels like Saya no Uta, Muv-Luv Alternative and Homeless School Girl are especially good at this; sure there are H-scenes, but not the titillating kind, in fact, the only things you can feel from them are unease and discomfort. These aim at making the scenes as eerie or disturbing as possible so as to sympathize with the character.
These H-scenes serve their purposes, in that they create a sense of unease and discomfort creeping up onto the viewers, and also effectively made the character pitiable. While I like these lesser, I nonetheless, still appreciate them to be able to invoke such feelings — these scenes made me extremely sad, angry and just all around terrible, and not many visual novels can invoke such powerful (despite not really good) feelings.
So are H-scenes necessary? Perhaps no, but you really can’t argue their effectiveness nonetheless. They are incredibly helpful finishing touches that enhance the story. This will always and forever be argued, but I personally feel they are more of a merit than a demerit. H-scenes aren’t just lubricious, but they are the ultimate conclusion to a couple’s romance tale, and on the other end of the spectrum, the ultimate tone-setter for dark, somber stories.
Last but not least, I just want to get this out here. Vanilla is good.