Whenever messily generalizing yuri visual novels is attempted, I tend to think of ones that take place in all-girls boarding schools (including Flowers, or A Little Lily Princess, or -Seven Days with the Ghost-) or ones that are inspired by Western fairy tales (such as Without A Voice or Heart of the Woods), or ones that incorporate Greek/Roman mythology (like The Shadows of Pygmalion or Fatal Twelve).
This is why I was excited to play through Mizuchi (by Aikasa Collective), as the visual novel in question is a reinterpretation of a classic Chinese folktale legend, the Legend of the White Serpent. In my opinion, Mizuchi occupies a more niche and less explored spot among yuri visual novels as a result.
With that being said, Mizuchi does not strictly follow the Legend of the White Serpent and this works to the visual novel’s benefit considering how one of the more prominent characters seems like a detestable and vindictive jerk in the original folklore.
Meanwhile, the main character and her two love interests in Mizuchi all come across as being flawed yet likeable people. As such, I feel Aikasa Collective has made this interpretation of the legend more palatable while also succeeding in representation.
What I mean by this is that the female protagonist is heavily implied to be Vietnamese, which is an ethnicity that is really not seen in visual novels in general. I find most visual novels focus on Japanese culture with the occasional token Chinese character. On the other hand, the prideful, blunt snake snake goddess known as Ai is portrayed as Japanese in origin whereas the disciplined, gentle, and mysterious traveler known as Jinhai is hinted to be Chinese.
After the three begin to live together, aspects of their culture are brought up and discussed, primarily through cuisine since Jinhai is a skilled chef who freely cooks Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese dishes. But the girls also have their own perspectives which come to a head often as their beliefs crash with one another.
As a result, Mizuchi gives the reader a lot to think about since there really isn’t a clear-cut answer to some of the questions that are brought up and discussed during the visual novel. The conclusions the characters arrive at also wildly vary depending on the route, too, which only adds to the complexity.
I really am in love with the soundtrack written by Glim. I honestly can listen to the tracks on loop for hours on end when I need some white noise to distract myself with. Maybe I just think piano music paired with yuri visual novels is a classic combination (to be fair, not all the tracks are just piano). It’s really hard to pick favourites, but I’m partial to “Rainfall Serenade” (the soundtrack that plays at the title screen!), “If You Should Fall,” Bittersweet Gifts Piano,” and “Present Memories.”
All in all, Mizuchi really makes you think. I actually ended up playing and finishing this visual novels a few months ago, but it had came out during a rough time for me so writing my thoughts on Mizuchi had proved to be very difficult. Still, the content really proved relevant to me and I’m thankful that Aikasa Collective came out with such an intriguing visual novel that’s proven to be both unique and philosophical. During these troubling times, I’ll vouch for Mizuchi helping me cope. I hope you all give it a chance if you’re interested.