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|“||But...her voice when she's in pain is pretty adorable, you know?||„|
Saya is the name given to the main antagonist of the 2003 visual novel Saya no Uta or Song of Saya written by Gen Urobuchi whom went on to write other great anime tragedies and psychological thrillers such as Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Fate/Zero, and Psycho Pass.
She is voiced by Naoko Takano (credited as Midori Kawamura).
What creature type Saya can truly be categorized as is vague. She seems to be an extra-dimensional Eldritch horror similar to creatures in the Lovecraft universe that rends one's sanity by witnessing it. She is a creature whose collective species' true goal is to forcible convert all life on any given planet or plane of existence into themselves. In order for them to do this however they must consume enough genetic material of creatures from that world. This in turn allows them to spread their 'spores' across a given world and change by force that entire world's population into their species and start the process over again.
In essence, Saya's species are self aware von Neumann Probes that act only on planets with life.
Saya was brought into this world via the experiments of Dr. Masahiko Ogai, a Japanese doctor working for the Tokyo University Hospital system. The method Dr. Ogai used to bring the creature that would come to be known as Saya is unclear and shrouded in mystery. It is more hinted that Saya was brought into this dimension by Occult means rather than science due to the interaction with the character Ryoko Tanbo who had been hunting Dr. Ogai for some time. Although, the lines between the occult and science are blurred at times when Ryoko Tanbo starts reading Dr. Ogai journal. Saya initially lived with Ogai as he did many experiments on her to determine what exactly he brought into this world. The creature showed signs of intelligence beyond human understanding as she was able to break many mathematical algorithms that no human or even computer had been able to break. Oddly though, the creature swiftly got bored and moved onto to other things. Dr. Ogai was quite surprised to find that the creature had an overwhelming passion for human literature and after reading through many novels the creature first started showing or developing signs of being feminine. Shortly after the creature started this trend, Dr. Ogai started referring to the creature as his daughter and the creature refereed to him as its father. Ogai then gave the creature a name, 'Saya', which was the name of one of his childhood pets which he oddly felt suiting the entity. Like a father, Dr. Ogai began care for Saya deeply and in his journal which was later deciphered by Ryoko Tanbo he mysteriously wished in anguish that if only someone could find his daughter beautiful and give her affection as Saya began wanting deeply love and acceptance. Her avid reading habits caused the development of human-like emotions and almost like a child first understanding love, she wished for it. Afterward, Ogai and Saya moved to his personal home in a Japanese suburb until Dr. Ogai mysteriously disappeared after going to work leaving Saya alone. She survived on her own for a while until she decided to go out and find what happened to her father who worked at a local hospital.
Fated Encounter with Fuminori
Saya got in the hospital and lived within it for a time, feeding mostly on cats, other animals, and supposedly a human infant which was never proven. She spent her time searching for information on her father and getting amusement scaring patients at night with her grotesque image. It was during one of these scares that Saya met Fuminori Sakisaka. Fuminori had survived a near fatal car accident and because of new experimental operation that saved his life he saw and heard Saya as a somewhat ordinary human girl. The catch was that he saw everyone else as a horrific monsters and the whole world as hellish landscape of blood, gore, and monstrosities. Fuminori and Saya became very close and they began living together after Fuminori was discharged from the hospital. They sent most of their time trying to figure out Fuminori's odd mental condition which seemed to be an extreme and exaggerated form of Agnosia and having an unnerving amount of sex from Fuminori's perspective . Saya cooked many dishes to see if any food Fuminori could stand to eat since his mental condition twisted his sense of taste as well. Later though, through an odd series of events he discovered raw human flesh and organs tasted great to him, although at first he had no idea what he was eating as he found that Saya ate the same thing. Saya and Fuminori went onto kill and eat several people including their neighbors and one of Fuminori's friends, a woman named Oumi Takahata. Saya even went as far to transform Yoh Tsukuba, another of Fuminori's friends, into one of her species. Tragically, it seemed Yoh's mind shattered from the extremely painful transformation. The reason for this action seemed to be threefold: sexual enjoyment for Furminori, Saya's own jealousy of Yoh because she wanted to date Fuminori, and was likely also a mere experiment she wanted to conduct to test her abilities.
There is one major uncertainty in the Visual Novel that sadly did not seemed to be answered by the end of the game. Dr. Ogai was the neurosurgeon who performed the new and experimental operation that saved Fuminori's life but left him in a mental state that made him see the whole world as made of gore and pestilence. Additionally, Dr. Ogai is also the person whom brought Saya into Earth's reality and cared deeply for Saya who he even called his daughter. If he intended for Saya and Fuminori to find one another knowing that Fuminori would the only person that could see his daughter as beautiful and eventually fall in love with her it is sadly never stated outright.
There are three ending dependent on the choice the player makes for Fuminori and his best friend, Koji Tonoh during the story.
Back to Normal Ending
Fuminori asks Saya to Change him back. This ending begins after a tragic scene where Saya is raped by one of Fuminori's neighbors, Yosuke Suzumi. Saya had tested her abilities on him in an attempted to understand and fix Fuminori's mental condition. She ended up giving him the same mental condition as Fuminori and this resulted in shattering his sanity. Saya did not except this result and Fuminori walked in on Yosuke raping Saya. He immediately killed him in a fit of rage with a knife and consoled Saya. Saya afterward offers to change Fuminori back to normal as she had figured out what was wrong with him. If the player chooses this option, Saya kisses him for the last time and her tongue seems to slide back into throat, up into his head, and he passes out. When he wakes up his mental condition is gone and Saya is nowhere to be found. Fuminori realizes he was living as a cannibal, turns himself in, and is promptly thrown in a Mental hospital. Saya visits him after some time of him being in the hospital on the other side of his cell door where he cannot see her. She uses a cell phone to message him in text to say goodbye for the last time. This is where Fuminori finally tells her for the first time that he loves her. Saya is certainly heart broken even though you cannot see her and hints that she plans on moving on to another world.
If the Player chooses for Fuminori to stay with his mental condition the story continues to the next set of choices.
Koji Tonoh's Choice
Depending on the choice the player makes for Koji Tonoh after he discovers the body parts of Oumi Takahata in Fuminori's refrigerator and survives Fuminori trying to murder him by throwing him down a well he can make a phone call to two people: Fuminori or Ryoko Tanbo. This choice dictates which two endings the player will get.
Humanity Wins Ending
Koji Calls Ryoko
Even though the heading says Humanity Wins Ending, this is often called the bad or "game over" ending. Ryoko and Koji corner Saya and Fuminori at the abandoned house they are staying at and holding the abomination that was once Yoh as a slave. Yoh is killed in the battle and then Ryoko pours Liquid Nitrogen onto Saya. She hits Saya which makes a large portion of her break off and Saya screams in pain. Fuminori then shoots Ryoko in the face at point blank and kills her. Fuminori thinks Saya is dead and commits suicide by continually bashing his face into his own ax. Saya was not dead however and has a tragic scene of crying out to him and tries in vain to crawl in her damaged form to him, but is then killed by Koji whom wails on Saya with a metal pipe many times more than was needed. Koji is the sole survivor of the whole ordeal and lives the rest of his life as a paranoid schizophrenic. He continually sees hallucinations of Ryoko and Fuminori with the massive wounds they sustained at death. Being still sane enough to understand he sustained permanent psychological damaged from what he witnessed, he spends the rest of his life with a revolver with one bullet hidden in his bathroom, in case he ever reaches the point he can no longer stand to live and kill himself.
Saya Wins Ending
Koji Calls Fuminori
Oddly enough, this is the good ending from the visual novel's perspective. Regrettably, the result of this ending is the complete forcible genetic changing of native life on Earth.
Koji calls up Fuminori and threatens him with the information he has found out about his cannibalism, Fuminori trying to kill him, and his somewhat limited knowledge of what Saya is. This leads down the story line to Koji foolishly going alone to the abandoned house Saya, Fuminori, and Yoh are staying at. Yoh jumps him crying out in a twisted voice wanting Koji to kill her, he does but does not even realize it was Yoh. He is then confronted by Fuminori where they fight and Koji get a well placed hit to Fuminori's ribs and breaks a few. Saya then drops from the ceiling and tackles Koji, breaks his neck, and devours him. Afterward, Saya starts showing signs of being in pain which gets Fuminori frightened. Fuminori consoles Saya but then at her behest they both go outside. She then blooms like a giant beautiful and glowing flower to Fuminori's eyes where she is hinted to have died in birthing her spores to infect the world and begin the process of changing all living creatures on earth into her species. The visual novel at this point leaves the player on a cliff hanger or an unsure ending because whether or not Saya died from her blooming is not shown or stated.
In the epilogue, Ryoko Tanbo has finished deciphering Dr. Ogai's journal and has already started to be transformed into one of Saya's species as the entire world is falling into chaos. She even went as far to cut off one of her arms to slow the transformation, but begins to accept her fate as her mind is being manipulated by Saya's spores.
In Other Media
Saya appears in the IDW adaption Song of Saya a three issue series.
From Dr. Masahiko Ogai's observation in his journal, Saya's species mold their minds subconsciously to be as mentally similar to the dominate species of a given planet to be able to envelop them more efficiently. She came into this world only with the motivation to reproduce and turn all life on Earth into her species, everything else was produced later. However, the trait of her mind molding subconsciously by the inhabitance of a planet seems to work against her. Human emotion and logic goes against the goals of Saya's species and can impede her. In the Back to Normal ending of the game, Saya outright abandons her goal to convert Earth into her species out of heart break since she can no longer be with Fuminori since he would see her as a monster after she fixed his mind. Additionally, Saya lured Yoh Tsukuba to Fuminori's house to change mostly out of jealousy as well.
When she arrived on Earth she did not exhibit many defining personality traits or quirks unlike how the player sees her throughout the visual novel. She developed her distinct personality after being engrossed in human literature for many years. She has a kind heart toward Fuminori and behaves like she has the mentality of a super intelligent child or teenager as she plays, toys, and experiments with earthling life.
Saya is very resilient if not practically invulnerable, being able to survive multiple gunshots and other blunt force trauma attacks. However, severe damage such as having a large part of her body destroyed can kill her, but this required liquid nitrogen to freeze that part of her body first.
Her resilience comes with what her true body is described as by Dr. Ogai's journal, as being a fleshly like sponge or fabric that flexes and expands in all directions which she can control to allow her to move quick and precisely. This allows her to expend enough force to break Koji's neck and rend people open with ease. Her body's trait also allow her cushion and absorb attacks that would cripple most any human.
Saya is capable of modifying the bodies and flesh of any species she has samples of genetic material from which she must ingest to absorb the information. This power can get down to modifying a creatures actual genetic code or perhaps her entire ability's catalyst is based on her power to manipulate the genetic code. If Saya desires, she can completely unweave a creature body, cells, and genetic code and change it into something else. Large amounts are needed for her to fully understand complex organisms so it takes her some time for her to perfect these abilities. Though, this did not prevent her from experimenting on victims to test how far her abilities had developed.
Saya's greatest power is the ability to 'bloom' and envelop an entire world with 'spores'. These spores begin changing all life of that planet into her species. They do this similarly to Saya's ability to change the bodies and genetic code of living beings but on a global scale. The spores would act like a virus and change the genetic code of creature to mold it into one of Saya's species. To get to this point, Saya must go through a long and lengthy process of ingesting large volumes of genetic material from eating and absorbing many various creatures from a given world. Saya's species is then pre-programmed to expel themselves and 'bloom' once their body has processed enough of that planet's various creatures. It is unclear whether or not this ability kills Saya after she completes this process as the visual novel leaves on a cliff hanger after she blooms.