Visual Novel Book Club // Now reading: ISLAND

I debated a few other things, almost considered even skipping this round because I like a lot of the choices already up, but ehh, let’s go with 9-nine. I recall @AzusaChan and maybe someone else already expressing some amount of interest? I wanted to go for something with a bit less of the standard VN vibe (so like, unusual settings/adult protagonists/less “anime” artstyles/not looking like it might dip into fanservicey stuff/etc) but my ideas for that were very lengthy reads or otherwise not a good fit for various reasons.


Developer: Palette
VNDB Play Time: 8 hours
VNDB Link: 9-nine- Kokonotsu Kokonoka Kokonoiro | vndb


9-nine- Episode 1 is the first volume in a series of supernatural mystery games, with Episode 1 telling a story centered around Miyako Kujo. The entries in the the 9-nine- series share the same setting and world, but each entry focuses on a different heroine. 9-nine- is a tale of the town of Shiromitsugawa, host to mysterious Artifacts and the superpowers they bestow on their Users. A tale of growing trust and budding romance between the protagonist and the heroine, and also a murder mystery where they hunt down the culprit behind a series of supernatural murders. Each game has an independent story that can be enjoyed on its own.


Steam, PC
Switch (unfortunately only available, as far as I can tell, as a somewhat pricey bundle of all 4 episodes)
PS4 (unfortunately only available, as far as I can tell, as a somewhat pricey bundle of all 4 episodes)
DLSite (also PC but, if you prefer, the larger all-in-one version)

PS4 seems to have a demo, but I don’t see it on other platforms.

All of these are all-ages versions with sexual content removed. Said content does exist elsewhere for the PC version if that’s your thing.

Personal Opinion

I’ve been meaning to read this myself, so it’s not at all a pick just for club suitability, but I think it has that too. Seems to hit a good balance of most things the club needs, with just a few drawbacks. I find the art very eye-catching, nice colors, and it’s fairly well rated everywhere (though ratings get higher for later episodes, not sure if the story improves as it develops or if that’s a case of the people who didn’t like it dropping out).

Pros and Cons for the Book Club


  • Seems to be an easy read (4/10 on JPDB, low average sentence length)
  • Short
  • Mysteries are fun to speculate about
  • Voice acted
  • Texthookable
  • Decent availability, though console players are forced to commit to large purchases of the whole series so it’s kinda good and bad.
  • I think there’s like 1 bad end? It’s not totally linear but it’s easy to work around.
  • adamstan seal of approval


  • (Thanks to adamstan for helping me more clearly understand this --) The devs say each of the 4 VNs (plus an epilogue) can be enjoyed on their own, though it functions much more like separate routes of 1 story. While I think there’s some value in the main club being able to move on for those who don’t care enough to continue, each part ends on a cliffhanger, and those who are sufficiently invested are probably actually signing up for ~40 hours of offshoot club.
  • One of the Steam pictures looks fanservice-y enough it made me consider not nominating this despite not being explicit (and I mean it is a game with sexual content chopped from some versions), and there seems to be a “guy surrounded by girls” thing, so I hope it doesn’t feel offputtingly made for teenage boys. Certainly a risk of the medium despite plenty of VNs not like that. The plot itself is supposed to be enjoyable but there may be a lot or a little of that stuff, I don’t know.
  • I’m not certain about the presence of chapters for scheduling, but jpdb doesn’t list them while it sometimes does (to be fair, it doesn’t seem to for Loopers either)



Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this VN?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Moderate effort
  • Significant effort
  • So much effort my head might explode
  • I don’t know

0 voters