When a project boasts the inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters, I more often than not find myself disappointed. Most of the time the visual novel in question only feature a few characters who could even be considered as such.
Even if, by chance, the entire character cast could be likened to LGBTQ+ icons, more delicate issues are frequently overlooked or outright ignored. Such settings are clearly not heteronormative, but they still remain shallow at best since everything remains too clean. To bring about a neat and tidy story, grim realism and smaller details are too often sacrificed as a result.
With that being said, I would say with confidence Incompatible Species has been successfully steering away from these sort of pitfalls by featuring complicated characters which span the LGBTQ+ spectrum in a far richer and wider range than most other visual novels.
As you should know by now, The Lily Garden tries to primarily focus on yuri media. But even my favourite yuri visual novels or yuri anime series or yuri manga titles prefer to just stick to “the basics.” There are cisgender lesbians and bisexual girls and transgirls in yuri, but you’d struggle to find series which go beyond that.
At least in regards to Japanese visual novels, that is. As I mentioned in my review for Heart of the Woods, Western visual novels are often much more open to exploring these topics and featuring more diverse characters in general. It just so happens that Incompatible Species is the most inclusive I’ve seen.
When was the last time you came across a non-binary character? Chris happens to be a non-binary lesbian who becomes romantically involved with Anelia who is cisgender and pansexual.
What about a genderfluid character? Well, Vitiel is genderfluid (and their pronouns are going to be randomized whenever the player loads an episode and their voice lines are going to reflect this, too. How cool is that).
The inclusion of Pi-zan, who is nonbinary and aromantic, is also something I appreciate greatly. Some individuals don’t need romance in their lives. They’re not broken. Neither are they missing something nor weird. To me, Pi-zan, as well as the rest of the character cast which includes the aforementioned as well as Lucius (a trans masculine man) and Hemsworth (a cisgender lesbian), represents a broader acceptance of identity and orientation.
In a world where people maliciously refer to transgirls as “traps;” where people reveal their subconscious heteronormativity by exclaiming “but Astolfo is a guy” after their male friend expresses sexual attraction to the popular Nasuverse character; where aromantic people are considered by some to be strange — a visual novel like Incompatible Species could certainly help to make people at least start walking the path to becoming more open-minded and willing to learn.
The Kickstarter for the visual novels ends in 3 days. Not showing your support for such an inclusive visual novel would be quite amiss if you wanted my opinion.