Interesting induction… but what’s your intention?
The following is a review of a fan-made Scenario for the visual novel Student Transfer. For more information about Student Transfer, please consult my dedicated Student Transfer page or the official Student Transfer website.
…Cripes, did I seriously just go on a 2 month hiatus for these things? I thought these segments were supposed to increase the frequency of reviews, but I guess not!
Yui-nduction follows John after he happens across an enigmatic crystal and, as a lark, uses it to hypnotize Yui. Much to his surprise, this works, and as a hypnosis fetishist, John decides the best use of his powers would be to make Yui act like Katrina. What starts as a fun diversion quickly escalates though, with John throwing Katrina into the mix and developing this into a full-blown life and identity swap. Where Yui is hypnotized to believing she is Katrina, learns how to act like her, starts dressing as her, and locks away her Yui identity in a little mental box, all while Katrina does the inverse.
Considering this is a Scenario from Luckysquid, creator of Strange Sunday and Gyara-ara, and the lead writer on both the MemSwap and LeonaSwap routes from the base game, it should be no surprise to hear that the writing and overall storytelling are both quite good. The mental changes are gradual and have a few entertaining bumps on the road. Katrina and Yui are written well and have good contrasting personalities. And everything moves at an expedient pace, while still making just enough time to establish who these characters are, mostly through references to the base game.
It is a story that knows what it wants to do and does it well. Though it has a few blemishes of a project that was rushed through production, and the most notable one is that Luckysquid did not really think of a reason why John would want to force two of his friends to swap lives like this. Early on, John narrates that he has a fetish for this sort of thing, but having a fetish implies that he is deriving some sort of pleasure from this, and he really does not show this throughout the Scenario. He may laugh or say he is enjoying himself, but he never really acts like he is doing this for a particular reason.
Instead, John’s behavior is almost sociopathic as he not only brainwashes the two to lead each other’s lives, but brainwashes others into accepting his new reality. He brainwashes their parents, their friends, their classmates, and presumably everyone they know. Why does John do this? …Just for the hell of it, I guess, which is a good enough reason for him to never falter in his pursuit or second guess his desires. When confronted with the fact that he is actively hurting his friends by mentally abusing them, he just speeds things up. Then, once he finally achieves his master plan, he does not seem overwhelmed with happiness or anything. Instead, he is merely content with the way things are. It makes him a genuinely dissonant character, someone who I found impossible to sympathize with, as while he has a goal, he lacks a reason.
Beyond that, my next point of ‘criticism’ isn’t a criticism as much as it is pointing out how this whole female to female hypnosis, disguise, and life swap thing is probably really appealing to Luckyquid, but it does… basically nothing for me.
While I have my own preferences in transformation fiction, I have learned to appreciate a broad palette of things after spending an adolescence muckraking Web 1.0 gulags for nourishment. No matter what the transformation is, I try to appreciate the tension, dread, doubt, awkwardness, surreality, artistry, or sheer creativity on display in a work. It’s why I still think about the Shinji Ikari cactus TF comic at least twice a month, and why I adore stuff like Sore wa Tada no Senpai no Chinko— which is a comic all about girls snatching dudes’ penises!
…Tangent aside, my point is that beyond offering an F2F hypnosis disguise scenario, I found little else to be engaging in Yui-nduction. It is focused on its goals, delivers on its concept, but as someone who is not into the concept itself, there were few secondary or tertiary features to enjoy.
Excluding the perspective shift at the very end of the Scenario, Yui-nduction does not show how this repeated brainwashing negatively affects the mental state of the victims. There is little conflict to speak of for the overwhelming majority of the Scenario. And with the mental ‘exchanges’ being so clean and even across the two parties, there really is no point where the lines between characters ever truly start to get blurred or lost. No matter how deep they get into the hypnosis wormhole, Katrina and Yui are always a change of scenery or a few words away from slipping back into their true selves.
Now, do I think this Scenario is bad because it lacks these things? No, of course not. But it reminded me of the risks associated with giving a project such a narrow focus, and reminded me of the sheer quantity of stuff that goes into making a transformation story with a multitudinous appeal. Because unless you are a fan of hypno or disguise stories, I truly do not think there is much of interest here… other than the presentation.
Calaman provided the custom sprites, and while I found them to be a bit jarring at first due to how they clearly mingle two sprites created by different artists with different style guides, they are incredibly detailed edits. Clothing is adjusted to match the portions, poses are recreated using completely different sprites, and the hair has been converted to wigs that plop on each other’s appropriately proportioned noggins. Sure, there are stray artifacts I could spot, and inconsistent line thickness around some surfaces, but for something this niche? Calaman went above and beyond, which I always appreciate.
In summation, Yui-nduction is probably among the most ‘for fans of the genre’ Student Transfer Scenarios I have played. While it is well written and makes good use of its high-quality custom assets, it is firmly interested in telling a female to female identity swap hypnosis story. Unless you are into that specific concept, I don’t think there’s much here for you.