This is a story of disease and suffering; of medication and adverse effects; of thoracotomy scars and cellular poisons; of the living who cannot help but to die and of the dying who cannot help but to live; of a resting place other than "on 7F" or "at home".
User reviews: Very Positive (1,620 reviews)
Release Date: May 15, 2007

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Play Narcissu 1st & 2nd


Recommended By Curators

"A short and sweet kinetic novel (no choices) about two young people who are terminally ill and go on an adventure together."

Recent updates View all (5)

April 23

Achievements enabled!

Pushed a new update that enables achievements, let us know if you run across bugs with the unlocks!

43 comments Read more

January 30

Ame no Marginal heading to Steam!

The latest visual novel from Tomo Kataoka, the creator of acclaimed free visual novel Narcissu, will be brought to Steam by Sekai Project!

A serious visual novel telling the story of a man who steps into an elevator, only to find himself transported to a strange and mysterious world.

In this world, there is no time, no aging, no hunger, not even death. There is nothing to be seen but weathered stone, white clouds, and endless rain.

Ame no Marginal now available for pre-order!

14 comments Read more

About This Game

... on that blindingly bright day ...
... on that very day of winter ...

This is a story of disease and suffering; of medication and adverse effects; of thoracotomy scars and cellular poisons; of the living who cannot help but to die and of the dying who cannot help but to live; of a resting place other than "on 7F" or "at home".

This is a story of so many things.

But most of all ...

This is the story
of a girl whose heart was standing still
and a boy whose breath was being stolen away,
both of whom die.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: 1.2 GHz Pentium 4
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Integrated Graphics
    • Hard Drive: 300 MB available space
    • OS: OS X 10.6
    • Processor: Any 64 bit processor
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Integrated Graphics
    • Hard Drive: 300 MB available space
    • Processor: 1.2 GHz Pentium 4
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Integrated Graphics
    • Hard Drive: 300 MB available space
Helpful customer reviews
21 of 22 people (95%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
3.8 hrs on record
Posted: May 3
I've never cried so much in my whole life! this story is so heart touching and sad it brings a smile to your face even through the tears :')

worth the read? YES!
Would you read it again? When i've recovered from the feels!
Score out of 10? 10/10!

Thanks for reading

-Evie :fox:
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12 of 13 people (92%) found this review helpful
5.1 hrs on record
Posted: April 30
It is a good type of sadness, named empathy

This is a review tuned towards those who feel like putting off playing Narcissu 1st & 2nd either because they believe it’s " a boring book", "sounds upsetting", “don’t like manga/anime” or just cheese through in fifteen minutes for the achievements with the hope they might give it a go one nice, quiet afternoon in. Three are misconceptions and the latter… deplorable.

Note: This has been completed as a review with abstract views, especially due to the game's grave theme.
This is worth your time, especially as an F2P game (you're missing out)!

* Semi-spoiler alert.
Does not contain extensive storylines but will hint at certain basic aspects of the plot which could spoil gameplay a smidgen.

* TL;DRA straightforward and conclusive review can be found at the bottom

Death of the young affects everyone
Be ready as the very private and personal events of death will unfold before you. It will not drag you to hell or kill you from boredom if you take the time to read it properly. It does a superb job of taking out the gut-wrenching and leaving minimal scars. Whenever young people die in a similar context I am reminded of the anime series, Anohana (あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない。) which I strongly recommend whether you like anime or not as it talks about the issue of loss and death for young adults as is done through Narcissu. It's a theme which requires more love from modern literature and media emphasis. Sharing more consistency with Narcissu is John Green's novel, The Fault in Our Stars (there is also a film) so that may give you an idea of the amount of heartache and satisfaction Narcissu may offer as a sad but worthwhile read.

Reminiscent of the best 90s Japanese romance mangas but thankfully reads minus the drama overdrive
Closer to the likes of previously noted, popular modern young adult novels, Narcissu is oddly empowering as many stories like it are even for mature adults. You are a young girl without much time to live but still plenty of life left in you. It is down-to-earth and focuses on realism despite its medical inconsistencies so no character is perfect and there is no right or wrong on the perception of life, death and suicide. Even the religious slant in Narcissu 2 refreshingly had no bias or distortion. I recently played The Cat Lady, which is a beloved game on Steam also deeply based on death and suicide. But it had several points where equality disintegrated in a beaker full of acid-ridden negativity (you'll see the logic behind this if you play the game). On the other spectrum, Narcissu, like its title, is honed to a emphatically personal experience in a much more positive way without losing force.

The idea of freedom and choice within a world that lacks it
Loss and pain through the death of a loved one is excruciating as well as highly disorientating. Looking back on several personal experiences, it feels distinctly like falling through limbo. It is the most earth shattering and realistic inevitability that could ever happen to any living soul. So it is my belief that many people understandably dislike any variation of such a storyline which hints death and desolation with no escape or way to "win", especially due to the likely sense of powerlessness it makes the player/reader undergo. But this is about your death. One of the main protagonists, you, are a terminally ill character dealing with the side effects of knowing you are dying and your physical being broken down. For those inclined to avoid dealing with thoughts of death, this is a basic and comfortable visual novel to imagine the decisions you may fall upon in the face of death and urge you to grow up from being afraid of thinking onwards to that deep, impending dark hole you're walking towards.

The absence of interaction in-game, does not detract from the interactivity out of game
Every time I come across a documentary feature or visual novel, I weigh the chances I will find it boring. It's the expected outcome of short films, documentaries, software and visual novels currently available on Steam due only due to the superficially stark contrast they display from the average fully interactive game. Time and time again, I am proved wrong to have ever fretted as sitting in front of a computer screen and clicking through a story is just as culture-driven within its own universe as any game can be and offers the reader a multitude of emotions from which most will benefit from as entertainment. The graphics may be uninspired, the art cute but barely existent, and the translations could have been better (fantastic for F2P) yet you can tell it’s brilliant writing. With any type of reading, nothing beats a smashing story. That very story and the telling of it is what Narcissu excels at. I ended up interacting more deeply with other people who have played this game more than I have through other veritable games. Narcissu is lightly philosophical and a fantastic excuse for a soul-searching expedition.

TL;DR & Basic details
TL;DR - Narcissu 1st & 2nd both bring light to saying goodbye to your life prematurely, on an extremely personal level in the form of a visual novel that lacks visuality/aesthetics and is more towards a breezy but splendid read.

Basic details - Depending on a person's reading proficiency, this will take you approximately 5-6 hours to read through 1, 2 and the epilogue once. There are two versions of translations available for the first instalment but only one for the second. I personally found the first translator smoother (especially as it has both 1 and 2, but I read the second translator's version as well) but try both for a few pages to find your own preference. There are also voiced (Japanese) and unvoiced versions. Narcissu 2 has much more voice acting than 1 which only has the bare minimum. Decide which heightens immersion for you. Just as it is with audio books, some will dislike the voice acting (well done and professional). Having studied Japanese for a while and understanding a portion of what is said made reading much swifter. Narcissu 1 is a favourite for many so if you'd just like to read one, that's what I'd recommend. I can only imagine how wonderful it would be to read the original Japanese text as the descriptive writing is first-rate.

Ultimately, our protagonists are fighting the fight just like the rest of us. Our instincts to live, and the restrictions we are faced with (death, illness, suffering and loss), ends in discovering choices within those boundaries and our insignificant existences with bound limbs, to instead jump towards the metaphysical freedom and something much more dazzling than any other sign of human existence.

Edited for typing error.
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14 of 17 people (82%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
6.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 11
What would you do when you found out you only have a certain amount of time to live?

What would you do when you are abandoned and left to rot on your deathbed?

What would you do when you were denied your future?

This is their story.
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11 of 12 people (92%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
9.2 hrs on record
Posted: May 8
Closest I've come to cry in some 4-5 years, go for it.
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 14
It has no choices. It has no puzzles. It has nothing but a deep and heart touching story line about the meaning of life (and death) and those precious moments in between. What would you do if you knew you were dying, confined to a hospice floor? This is the general premise of the story, though there is much more to it than that. Thought provoking, with tender and human moments, this novel brought tears to my eyes more than once and at the end it was a story i was glad to have heard (read).

My one and only dis on this would be the graphics. Don't get me wrong, they were nice, but they were lacking a bit. I feel they could have put more into the "visual" aspect of this novel. For example: the empty cars and grey screens. I get that it left more to the imagination, but it came off as a tad lacking in effort in my personal opinion. Still, for a free offering, this novel is wonderful and would have been worth paying a little for.

Great rainy day read. 8/10
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 15
A sad, depressing, yet beautiful Visual Novel. The soundtrack mainly consists of melancholic instrumentals, which goes very well with the mood of the story. A story about living life meaningfully even when you know your time is almost up; sometimes, you have to let go of the things/people you truly love. The artwork may be simple/limited, but it says a lot.

This is my 4th Visual Novel (after Everlasting Summer and before Voices from the Sea) and it inspired me to look for more visual novels. I am very glad to have come across Narcissu 1st & 2nd.

9/10 - Excellent story and soundtrack. Simply beautiful.
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: May 21
Very good game to play 8/10.
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
8.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 17
This horrible, horrible visual novel made be cry! As its intention was evoking emotions, it did the job.

Let's get down to business (I will keep this spoiler-free). Narcissu visual novels (VN) are not strictly games: they have no interactive parts whatsoever. You can just click away and the story continues linearly with no choices. Even the achievements are just reading the novels to their ends.

Narcissu (both of them) is a story about people living with a terminal disease. Note the emphasis. It's a highly emotional and tragic story, with death being a constant theme. Nevertheless, the characters lives are what's important.

Curiously, the type of the disease is left unrevealed in all cases, emphasising the life of the person instead of the sickness. At all times the story follows one of the protagonists from their perspective, revealing what goes through their head. (Most) Protagonists and some important characters have voice-overs for their dialogue. Scenes are covered by nice, melodical piano songs and occasional other instruments.

Apart from many other visual novels, the visuals are very simple: usually there's just a serene scene that depicts the place where the events take place e.g. a kitchen or a countryside. There are very few scenes with people. The style didn't appeal to me strongly. However, I think that at important (i.e. dramatic) times the scenes were well done.

A couple of things about 1st and 2nd novels separately. In my opinion Narcissu 1st begins slowly, with the protagonist being admitted to a hospital and angsting away there. In Chapter 1 it seems like nothing is happening and frankly I was bored while reading it. Fortunately, in half-way through Chapter 2 it finally begins happening, so be sure to endure until that time. Narcissu 2nd is better in this respect as it has a branching story line from the beginning with several characters.

While both VNs are originally Japanese, there are fortunately two English translations of Narcissu 1st. The Agilis translation (the one I read thoroughly) has rather lot of typos and in some small parts it is left unfinished. To me it felt rather clunky. Only afterwards I briefly checked the gp32 translation and it turns out gp32 is a more polished and "proper" translation to English than Agilis. Narcissu 2nd has only Agilis translation to English that was fortunately a lot better and more polished than the one in Narcissu 1st.

For me, Narcissu 1st was 3-hour read and 2nd a 5-hour one. While it's possible to skip through the story by pressing CTRL for achievements, I can recommend reading through the story: it's an emotional and even revealing experience to issues and thoughts of people suffering from difficult diseases. As such, it provokes one to think about life perhaps from a new perspective. To me, that makes it worthwhile a read.
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 5
Pre-Release Review
Very touching game,made me cried buckets when playing it. The story was amazing and artwork was unique
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7 of 11 people (64%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
6.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 5
I want to die.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: May 1
I haven't finished 2nd yet, but Narcissu 1st made me cry at the end (in a good way)! A Kinetic Novel (think of it as a long cutscene; there are no choices) that is the playground for minimalism, I was endeared to the characters before I knew what hit me.

There really isn't anything I can add that others haven't already said. It was well worth it to me to spend time reading/listening, and I plan on finding more of the author's work. Generally, it takes a lot for an author to evoke strong emotions, but Tomo Kataoka / stage-nana did it with little effort!
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.1 hrs on record
Posted: May 19
What can I say.. Touchy..
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 28
Pre-Release Review
Better as an actual novel. Script is good, story and characters likeable, but "gameplay" is tedious. In the end it may as well be a reading simulator. Play it, just don't blame me if you want your life back.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 2
I cried on the inside. (I really cried on the outside. Touching story... so sad!)
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.1 hrs on record
Posted: May 21
This novel is one of the better ones that i have read. The story line is touching , and very deep. The only thing i hate is that the Protagonist let Setsumi die. I was literally screaming at my screen - "If u let her i will kill u myself". And oh , the OST's are just sublime.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.7 hrs on record
Posted: May 2
I'm not sure that calling this a visual novel is a great idea. A novel, sure, but as for the visuals they are merely wide-ratio images. After the first few images it gets to the point where they don't really add much. If they had published it as a website/blog, with the images as headers, then I feel the experience would have been better. and in that format you wouldn't need to worry about clicking through each sentence, or dealing with the sentence autoplayer.

As for the story itself, I think its OK. A bit too depressing for my tastes, but it does seem to capture the essence of what it would be like to live with such a condition. The finality of it is hard to handle, but if you want an emotional story, then go for it. Some of the translations are, as expected, occasionally a bit off, but overall it is very good.

As I've said, clicking through the program [calling it a game would be a bit much, considering it is a linear story] can be tedious, and the program itself is a bit odd. The chapters don't seem to run off each other, it takes you back to the main menu after each one finished. And the addition of achievements is clearly an unwarranted gimmick here.

To bring this together, I've not got any problem with the story. But the game that it is wrapped up in is probably better off not on steam.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 2
This game was made in 2005. At that time games had been created not for just gaining money.

Many people say that it is a visual novel. I don’t think that is the one.

You’ll not find neither plenty of pictures (backgrounds), nor the sharp plot. You’ll not be able to manage the game. Everything you’ll be able to do is read. And I can assure that you would not be indifferent at the end.

Narcissu 1st & 2nd — is a history about two people’s life for 1 month. These people are doomed. Even we don’t face people like them every day, they still exist. And there are much of them.

You’ll feel all the experience and all the thoughts of main hero and his “companion”. To be honest, I can’t exactly tell you who is the main hero of this game — boy, who’s telling us a story, or a girl, whom he is thinking about from almost actually the moment when game starts.

In fact, this game doesn’t even need much of backgrounds and “freedom of choice”, like we have in “Everlasting Summer”. Extremely exciting plot does everything.

By the way, I should say something about backgrounds. They’re not much in here — just 10-15 pictures. But music is matched very accurately. It is the thing that gives us whole atmosphere of the game.

This game has a huge psychological effect. As you can see, it is free. I have noticed that all the nice and soulful games are always being made for a long time by some talented people and finally are free. They’re made not by huge companies.

Never give up. Take your problems easier. Remember: there’s always someone who feels much worse then you right now.

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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
8.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 18
A story about the lives of people whose time has run out. A perfect VN with an amazing OST and storyline.
I loved how both the parts are so 'together' with one another.
The voice acting seems lacking as some lines don't have any at all but, still, it's a great one.
The art is splendid and even without much, it's a perfect blend.
A real tear-jerker. Couldn't help but linger on the story even after finishing it.

If Narcissu 3rd ever comes on Steam. I'm buying it immediately!
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.0 hrs on record
Posted: May 4
This is a set of two short visual novels. The first is about a girl and boy who are both terminally-ill that meet in a hospital and embark on an adventure for a more meaningful end to their lives than stuck in a dull floor of a hospital or amidst the fake smiles at their homes. The second is the prequel to the first, and explains the backstory of the girl. Overall, both are very touching stories and are displayed among pictures of beautiful scenery and soundtracks with very pretty music.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 23
This is a visual novel where there will be images associated with words. It's just like kindergarten story time~! The story however takes on a bit more grim setting than your usual happy endings.
[Review written upon completion of 1st Narcissu]

The Story:
You were like any other child until you were diagnosed with a terminal illness at five years of age. In & out of hospitals since getting sick you've lost contact with your childhood friends and disassociated yourself from life as an complacent observer living life day by day. After the hospital has done everything they can for you they send you to a floor away from the daily bustle of other coming & going patients. Going to the morbid, but supposedly happy recreational room on the floor you meet another patient. You're informed of the rule of the floor by another terminal patient of how you will die and how you must inform others of the rule when they arrive just like you. Dissatisfied of how you will die without experiencing life you finally decide to runaway taking your fellow patient with you, but unfortunately harsh reality sets in as your friend eventually succumbs to...

2nd Narcissu:
I can only imagine it's among the same setting as the 1st whereas there will be a pair of friends and a ******. (maybe wrong - find out for yourself [I didn't have the patience, nor tears for it])
Also, no SPOILERS FROM ME HAHAHA~ - read it to know!

I will leave the rest for you to discover if you're interested.

Achievement Hunters:

Press Ctrl to skip through story.

1st Narcissu:
Prologue + 8 Chapters
2nd Narcissu:
Prologue + 19 Chapters

It will take you approximately 30min[Not Skipping] to finish each storyline once then all you have to do to unlock the unvoiced achievement is to run through the last chapter.

The hidden achievement is the Epilogue in the start menu. Not sure if voiced, or unvoiced matters.
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