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  • Kaguya

    Fabulous on Fuwa - February!

    By Kaguya

      Introduction
      Welcome, fellow Fuwamembers, to the FuwaRecognition thread. Starting this March, we’ll be highlighting some of the best contributions made by our members each month. From snazzy blog articles to delicious forum threads, and perhaps even a few things more on the shitpost part of the spectrum, we'll keep an eye out for the cream of the crop. And then we'll gather them here. Just for you.   *holds up giant APPLAUSE sign*   A-hem, so this is the first time we're doing this and it might be a bit rough; next time will be at the end of March. Anyways; without further ado, let's get to our highlights.    By @Zakamutt.   Threads   Our first highlight on threads comes from two Ask Me Anything topics posted in the span of this month: from our dear provisional Tay, @Kaguya, and from the anti-moege task force founder himself, the saltlord himself @VirginSmasher.   It’s now Kags’ fifth year on these dear forums, and members of new ’n old had a lot of questions, climbing over to 50 comments, almost unheard of in this day and age of lacklustre forum interaction. Even after the glory days of lolis long passed, Kaguya still swears close to his heart how they indeed are the master-race that rule over this weeb-dom, mostly in nukige form. Charming.   @VirginSmasher’s AMA, on the other hand, is mostly an appreciation of past glory and his good friends, met before he died out, but he also remembered some newer members who are already becoming an integral part of these forums of today. Quite a lot of internal banter and jokes flew here and there, but it is quite touching to see even older members returning from long breaks of apparent irremovable death.     As you might have seen, we have a new EVN on the horizon, or rather, KickStarter: One Last Crane, developed by @Blissful-Works This visual novel is being developed by an Indonesian team with some members over at Tokyo, Japan, and it has a an odd goal amount of 10,052 dollars, though this is due the publicization of the project being handled from Japan, which also makes the whole project page ask all money in yens. A risky play, let’s see if it pays out for them. The novel is planned on being released for four languages: English, Japanese, Chinese, and Indonesian. Quite the amount for still quite a small goal, but we’ll have to see how it pans out in the end, at least they are in no shortage of ambition. While the art-style itself is quite generic, it does look modern and does its job as presentation well enough, not to mention that the KickStarter page itself is quite stylish, but only time will tell how it’ll go over. All we can do is wait.   @EastCoastDrifter has done something unique on the forums that no one would even think of. He loves space, and he has extended his love to the members of the Fuwanovel community by creating a Fuwanovel Solar System. Using a program called Space Engine, Drifter has taken the liberty to name all planets in this system after very prominent Fuwamembers. It’s a great tribute to the community and you should really check it out. Furthermore, Drifter says he’s not done, and has plans to create more Fuwa solar systems to feature more members in the future. If you want a planet named after you, feel free to post in the linked thread or contact Drifter personally.   By @Arcadeotic and @EastCoastDrifter.   Blogs Hi I'm Zaka and I'm the only one that cares about blogs on the team. Maybe. I didn't actually ask the other guys. Shit. So uhh, here's my recs...   @Clephas writes accessibly about (for the most part) untranslated Japanese visual novels. This time, we have some posts about the recently released third VN in the Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru series, of which the first actually has a translation by MangaGamer. Unfortunately, the second is where people think it actually got good. We start with a more general note on the series, then move on to a review of Otoboku 3 itself.   While Clephas has been writing for quite a while, @MaggieROBOT is a bit newer to the scene. She focuses on Otome and BL VNs, and for this post we'd like to show you her post on an upcoming BL visual novel (fresh from the pot, baby. That thing is probably the first blog post to come right after this one. Oh yeah. That's how we roll. - Kaguya) as well as her review of the robot-romance Otome VN Sakuya. Go ahead and look for her post complaining about a trap in a moege not having a route if you like things on the more humorous side of the spectrum
      Just For Fun!   During the process of writing this post.     Well you know I’m all about that nepotism baby. That's right, this is just for you. Rising 1.8% female readership (thanks Maggie) local GM and blog post connoisseur Kaguya here. To close the blog review section up, we’ll be highlighting the post where I wonderfully delve into the mind of writer Setoguchi Ren’ya, explaining his past and his involvements with the little-known work The Shawshank Redemption as well as how that work affected the VN industry, finishing things with a bang as I explain his history and the hidden messages within Swan Song. And finishing things off in a suitable grand scale, much like a writer who traps himself into writing continuously larger powerlevels until his shounen manga gets to a point where it doesn't even resemble the original, we will be looking at two posts made by Fuwanovel's current closest figure to Jesus, @Kiriririri (Who unlike our creator, did revive. How about that?) He died for our sins as he bravely made two deep posts about the current state of the VN community that were completely hidden by the evil staff... Until now. Gaze upon them and marvel, this is the true work of a genius!! February is over. We bled. We sweat. Friendships were broken and renewed, and old members revived from their graves and mingled with the new pringles to take us where we are now. And the community persists, as glorious as ever.  March is here. And in this rewind, I declare FebruaryFuwa absolutely Fabulous! 
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Our community blogs

  1. Happiness+
    Latest Entry

    By Happiness+,

    Hey everyone!

    So, sorry for going dark for such a long time. The VN is getting reworked again. My artists are remastering a lot of the assets currently for this build of the VN. It's been three years since they last worked with me.

    I apologize for the delay.

  2. Foreword: Finally a Caramel Box game with a plot that I can actually enjoy. But online RPG development took me by surprise, so I'm totally sold here.

    Youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7fKvuknkmk&list=PLs4Gp5VU4Fv9n5v_LWmKrdNPv96DDFnW6

    Synopsis: The protagonist, having lost his family because of the faulty A.I. of a machine, makes his living as a professional player of a game called CQ shot.

    Suddenly your friend requests you to be a bodyguard for a strange girl who is getting stalked. The protagonist doubt whether or not there actually is a stalker but since the girl seems very afraid, he takes on the job and she starts living with him.

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    Game type: Future mystery with virtual reality elements

    Character Design rating: 8/10

    Protagonist rating: 8/10

    Story rating: 8/10

    Game quality: 6/10

    Overall rating: 8/10

    I believe that Aekanaru Sekai no Owari ni deserves to be called a masterpiece. I rate quality as mediocre here, but it's a rare feat to encounter a serious story with developed characters. It does not try to imitate past examples of success stories. Instead, it follows its own path and catches attention with its sincerity. This game is unique in so many ways.

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    As for the story, it's not that straightforward as it looks. The actual stalker twist occurs quite late. Before that it's a futuristic school story running alongside runaway artificial intellect Ripple line as she finds shelter at Natsume flat. During the stalker incident Ripple uses her analytic and hacking capabilities to avoid casualties, so her existence becomes known to other characters. But stalker incident develops into something else entirely.

    Game has an unusual structure as stalked girl Chifuyu route manages to run before the real conflict is even drawn. Other girls follow the same plot-line different only by the end. Yes, they don't have individual routes, but this common route is so long and saturated that there is no real need to go elsewhere. After all, it's mostly the mystery and the enjoyable dialogues that determine this game. 

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    All the heroines (apart of Chifuyu, in part due to her ending that feels like a bad ending) are really nice, serious and pleasant to watch and read. Some conversations may seem to take unreasonably long time, and there may be a feeling that nothing happens, but - again - Aekanaru Sekai no Owari ni does not try to force things and appeal to everyone. It moves at its pace, and with enough patience structure starts to form eventually.

    My biggest complaint is about lack of CG and unvoiced male characters. There are two male friends and quite a few guys out there talking to Natsume with no girls present, and during these long conversations it's easy to forget that game is voiced at all. Character design may feel weird and similar looking at first, but heroines get fleshed out really well, so this first impression soon dissolves.

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    The world is created with a lot of detail. There is so much talk about different technologies that it can even be considered info-dumping. Virtual reality, CQ Shot and Magic paradise add three more layers on top of that.  

    Aekanaru Sekai no Owari ni is a rare case of a real masterpiece that does not brag around about its strong sides, but presents a really solid reading experience with great text, mystery and characters. There are few games that I really enjoy reading, so I cherish every occasion when I encounter one.

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  3. What I can say for this week? Well if I may be very blunt it's very dry here seeing that we only have few updates from fan translation along with a re-release (Otome VN Taisho Alice, which admittedly very important one seeing that it have controversial first release), so I think there'll be no much to talk at this week and thus my VNTS Review here will be short. Anyway welcome to this week VNTS Review and let's see what I can write for this week, and for the title I'll explain it in more detail at PS later (It's very obvious that the title here is from Taisho Alice VN).

    As for Taisho Alice, well I did know that it have a lot of messy translation with the infamous one is 'Hiragana and katakana Alice' (To be fair, it's spoken like that in the VN itself, although it's obviously very awkward for non-Japanese though). We also have one VA dubbed the whole VN (Or so that's what I hear), so at least you can relive the nostalgia if you watch the dubbed anime in your childhood (The dub is nice or not is another matter though). In the end, we finally can have a proper translation of Taisho Alice thanks to Verdilish for the translation and JAST for helping with the release procedure, so if you want to play Taisho Alice with good translation then pick the newer version and have fun with it. It's too bad though that it still the first part, but apparently we can finished two route (Red Riding Hood and Cinderella) so perhaps you can play it if you only interested with those two routes.

    From fan translation, we finally have Shin Koihime Musou was at 32% edited which is quite a big achievements than it sounds seeing that basically they edited few hundred lines periodically in a week, and for the line count currently it's at 34,595 out of 108,888 lines edited. Other than that, we also have Loverable was at 73.58% edited. Last but definitely not the least, we finally have Eustia was at 85.24% translated with Eustia's chapter was fully translated and currently they working on the side stories with the current progress was at 4.233% translated.

    For the last news we have Nekonyan did release patch 1.1 for Aokana in which it's add the additional feature, namely voice bookmark. While this feature is more or less just interesting but not necessary add on to me, it's still nice that Nekonyan add it to Aokana here so at east Aokana player can save some of their favorite voices if they want to. More importantly, this also shown that Nekonyan here manage to deliver their promise from this Kickstarter update, which is very good. Speaking about Aokana, recently we hear that sprite just sort of revive and currently gathering their employee in order to apparently continuing their stalled EXTRA 2. I don't know if Aokana overseas sales help a lot in regard of their revival or not, but nonetheless congratulation to them for their revival.

    That's all for this week and sorry if it's quite short at this week. See you next week.

    PS - For the title, it's simply based on two Alices in Taisho Alice and what they called in the new translation (Alice (The main hero) and Arisu (The female MC)). Or if you want a comparison, basically it's like Mr. and Mrs. Smith movie except with less assassinate each other.

  4. Taisho x Alice was sadly remembered in the western otomege fandom for one of the worst otome localizations disasters. It read like garbage, had several bugs and it featured amateur english voice acting as if reading engrish wasn't enough. It failed so spectacularly the localization didn't even get past episode 1 out of 3. Well, thankfully tbh. Still, the damage was there and for a long time we believed we would never see a proper localization of this cute fairy tale reimagination in the west.

    Until now.

    Primula (TaiAli developer) decided to give english audiences one more chance, complete in a multilanguage package with japanese and chinese options to boot! Rejoice folks as Taisho x Alice episode 1 is now available on steam with a proper translation (translator this time around is our precious verdelish and from what I read from her previous VN translations it's likely top notch)! Episode 1 have only 2 heroes but they have full proper routes. The rest is in episodes 2 and 3, coming soon if episode 1 sells well enough. It's not always we get second chances in VN localization scene so let's say one huge thank you to Primula and support if you can and if you dig cute otomes! *points to strong female protagonist tag in VNDB, hint, hint*

     

    DISCLAIMER: sadly I wasn't paid for this promotion, I did it out of hype alone.

  5. First, I should state that I went into this game with a specific heroine in mind from the beginning.  I might go back later and play one of the other heroine routes, but I played this game specifically because I thought the concept was interesting and I liked Hanna's character description. 

    This game is by Hook Soft, a company primarily known for its combination of lovey-dovey relationships, mild comedy, and surprisingly long paths.  This company generally produces high-quality charage, but I always found it hard to play their games because of the sheer amount of ichaicha involved (it is probably more than you are imagining).  Their protagonists are usually reasonably capable (so far, none of the ones I've played has had an average or stupid protagonist), and their heroines tend to have their own strong moe-characterizations (this company is a bit heavy-handed on the moe sometimes). 

    This game is no exception.  The protagonist, while having the usual 'light and joking' qualities of a charage protagonist, is mostly an honor student who lives alone, works part-time to  pay for his living expenses, and keeps his grades up for the sake of his scholarship.  As such, it immediately passed the first 'charage hurdle' without a problem (charage hurdles being stupid tropes that ruin everything but are endemic to the genre). 

    This game's theme is also its gimmick.  As the title hints, you have a choice after the heroine is locked in as to whether the protagonist will take the lead in the relationship or the heroine will.  This results in differing outcomes and h-scenes, which provide some extra depth to the experiences with the heroine in general.

    The heroine I focused on, Hanna, is technically a foreign transfer (not exchange) student, having moved to Japan with her parents and little sister Lisa some time before the game begins (relatively recently).  She attends a rich girls' (ojousama) school in the area and is an object of admiration for her grace and beauty both in and outside the school.  She is a gentle-mannered girl from beginning to end, meaning you'll only rarely see her angry... but she does get jealous (in an adorable fashion).  I liked how the path and common route both hand the protagonist learning what kind of person she was, her circumstances, and filling in the gaps between his initial perceptions and the reality as it went.

    I really want to praise this company for the smooth transition from the common route to the heroine route.  It felt so natural that I wouldn't have even noticed if it weren't for the choice as to who was to take the lead in the relationship.  In fact, I've rarely encountered VNs that were this smooth and well-paced, which reminds me of why I kept trying to play this company's games despite the fact that the huge amounts of ichaicha could wear on me at times. 

    Hanna- Protagonist Lead

    The path where the protagonist leads is pretty straightforward.  As they spend time together, Hanna gradually changes, losing some of her hesitance to rely on others, and she gradually comes to rely on the protagonist deeply.  This is generally a path where an already adorable Hanna becomes even more adorable and reveals more facets to her personality and her relationship to her family.  There is a ton of ichaicha, as is common for Hook soft games, and the 'small drama' common to charage heroine paths is fairly easily resolved in a way that provides a neat conclusion to the path.  The epilogue is fairly cute, and it made me smile.

    Hanna- Heroine Lead

    The first thing I noticed was that the confession scene was completely different.  Where the protagonist was the one desperately pushing himself to confess to her in the previous route, in this route, it was her trying to find a way around her hangups to confess to him.  The interesting thing is the difference in how the initial hangups are resolved between the paths, and I thought it was a clever gimmick. 

    While some key parts and details are echoed between the path, they are presented differently, and in this path, Hanna is far more aggressive about the relationship, whereas the protagonist is slightly more passive (this route actually feels more like a standard charage route, given how most charage protags only have fake personalities).  From a visual perspective, Hanna's everyday-wear outfit is changed in this path from the other and the common route (indicating that you were meant, at least in her case, to play the other one first - yay me! - most likely). 

    In addition, this path has short scenes from Hanna's perspective, something the other path lacked, probably because it was a path focused on the protagonist leading the relationship. 

    What is most marked about this path in comparison to the other is Hanna's personal growth.  She quickly goes from your standard 'passive ojousama' to a strong personality that dominates the relationship without crushing the protagonist's personality or pride.  I liked that they changed up how Hana acts in every way while not ruining her basic characterization, and I had to appreciate how carefully thought out it must have been in advance.  Indeed, there are facets of Hanna that come out only in this path, which makes it worth playing on its own.

     Conclusion

    A Hooksoft charage with an interesting gimmick/concept, some good comedy, and a lot of heavy ichaicha.  If you want the 'gold standard' for charage, Hooksoft is one of the companies to look to.


     

  6. Hello and welcome to my seasonal Steam Curator Connect Wrap-up, where I’ll be looking at games sent to me for review through my Steam Curator profile during the last few months – particularly the shorter/simpler among them, for which I couldn’t make dedicated posts. This time, the quality of the VNs I’ve received was a positive surprise, with each title offering something interesting and most of them exceeding my expectations in some ways. The highlights of today’s list are definitely the virtual reality-themed thriller Omnimus and the uniquely-stylized, mildly-erotic queer VN Knife Sisters. However, all of the games I’ll be writing about are arguably worth your attention, so please stay with me while I explore their main perks and issues. As usual, links in each title will lead you straight to the Steam store page, so you can quickly check the games out at their source. Enjoy!

     

    Summer Meetings

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    The growth of Mikołaj Spychał’s lineup of perfectly-generic romance VNs quite likely isn’t stopping any time soon, and his fourth game, Summer Meetings, is another incremental improvement to the previously-established formula. Much of the fun in his VNs come not from the very standard love stories, or especially from the minimalistic visuals (nearly no CGs and simple sprites), but from the ability to mess up the romance in an impressive number of ways. Dating a few girls at once without them knowing, cheating, randomly kissing the wrong girl at the concert you went to as a group… For people that just want to see the world burn, this might be the best opportunity since School Days (although without that significant bonus of hentai and/or gore).

                    At the same time, the core story is solid enough for what it tries to be and the writing feels like a step up from all the author’s previous titles: it has a nice flow to it and the English script feels pretty much devoid of translation issues I’ve noticed in his earlier games. The five heroines are decently fleshed-out and even can surprise you in some ways – like the step-sister's willingness to keep the romance non-committal and even tolerating other girl being the protagonist’s primary focus. The main thing stopping me from fully recommending it is the price: for a VN this simple visually and with 5-6 hours of content, 10 dollars feels like an overkill. If you find it for half of that price, however, it’s a surprisingly fun way of burning one or two evenings.

    Final Rating: Cautiously Recommended

    Omnimus

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    Omnimus is probably the biggest positive surprise of today’s list: a cheap visual novel by a low-profile Russian studio that at first looked rather unassuming, but quickly managed to capture my attention with a high-quality intro. After that, it simply never stopped being well-produced and immersive. The opening segment efficiently introduces you to the setting: a near-future Earth on which, after a series of natural disasters and conflicts, the nation-states started decaying, making space for the rise of corporate power. From this broad picture we're immediately transitioning to our protagonist waking up from a coma, apparently paralyzed, only to find out that he’s been “volunteered” for a highly-ambitious virtual reality experiment. He then meets three other test subjects, with whom he’ll get involved in a highly-unpredictable intrigue with strong flavours of capitalist dystopia and transhumanism.

                    While short and ultimately pretty simple (the plot is mostly linear and your choices have only a very limited impact on the major events), Omnimus do a few things very well. First, it effectively sustains a sense of tension while you’re navigating the virtual world, without knowing its real purpose or true intentions of the crucial actors involved in the story. Second, it makes the mystery plot rather complex and ambiguous – each reveal both clarifies certain things and makes you question the sincerity of those providing you with the information. Each of the two main forces driving the plot has their own agenda, not necessarily aligning with your best interest and you have to play knowing you’re your own best, and possibly only ally. There’s also a very minimalistic romance subplot for each of the two female characters you meet in the virtual reality – this is the source of one of my only complaints about the game, as getting the romance scenes requires making a perfect sequence of 9, very not-obvious choices, which is a major overkill. Other than that, though, Omnimus is just a very cool experience, which reads, looks and sounds very solid despite costing just 2 dollars. This is exactly the kind of quality and value proposition I like to see in EVNs by small studios, and I strongly encourage all of you to check it out and support the devs behind it.

    Final Rating: Highly Recommended

    Knife Sisters

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    Knife Sisters is a deeply unique VN experience for a variety of reasons. Its pencil-drawn, monochrome art is very distinct, but also surprisingly detailed and expressive. Its choice system, with the ability to respond immediately, stall to see different dialogue options or just wait out decisions altogether, represents real-life dialogue way better and more in-depth than most of the typical visual novel mechanics. Its approach to romance is unapologetically queer and polygamous, and full of eroticism, but never crosses the line into plain porn. The effecting mix is quite unlike anything I’ve read before, while it also isn’t extravagant or extreme in its context to the point it couldn’t be enjoyed by more or less anyone who isn’t allergic to LGBT+ themes.

                    The game focuses on Leo, a non-binary individual whose life is turned upside-down by the arrival of their new roommate, a strange girl known as Dagger. Trying to pull Leo in strange occult rituals and apparent personal vendettas, she opens a horror plot going alongside a much more relaxed story of protagonist’s relationships and hook-ups. All this leaves quite a lot of space for player agency, both with the usual dialogue choices and decisions on what to do/who to meet at many point in the story, while always staying true to the main character’s core personality traits – general lack of interest in long-term relationships and laid-back nature, meaning they’ll always prioritize fun over building deep bonds. It’s not your usual love story, but is very believable and consistent in what it shows, and even wholesome in its own peculiar way, as it rewards being mindful of other people’s feelings and needs, despite the kinky and non-committal nature of what is happening between them and the protagonist.

                    While I have some minor gripes with Knife Sisters, like the lack of certain quality-of-life features (the game is made in Unity and not a dedicated VN engine) and lack of control over certain events (for example, you can’t outright avoid many romantic interactions even when you want to), they are mostly irrelevant in comparison to sheer enjoyment factor it offers. It simply looks, sounds and reads to well for those issues to have a major impact and if it sounds like something you might enjoy, I wholeheartedly recommend giving it a chance.

    Final Rating: Highly Recommended

    The Far Rings

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    Getting a review copy of a free game is always a bit ironic, but in the case of The Far Rings, I can’t say I regret getting the curation request and the opportunity to share this game with others. This small sci-fi otome, co-authored by the game jam veteran Heiden (responsible for the semi-famous Helena’s Flowers, among other titles) offers a brief, but well-written and well-paced story about war and prejudice, with a totalitarian state in the background. The protagonist, Athena, is a doctor who went on a humanitarian aid mission to a planet invaded without provocation by her homeworld. There, her organisation’s camp is attacked by the local resistance and she is the only one to survive the resulting massacre. The story proper starts with Athena on a small spaceship, carrying both her and a prisoner – alien supposedly responsible for orchestrating the attack – back to her home platen, piloted by a young naval officer acting as the ship’s only crew. Before they can reach their destination, the player can discover the connections between Athena and those accompanying her on her journey, and maybe find an escape from the cycle of conflict and oppression forced upon then by her planet’s progressively more authoritarian and warmongering government.

                    The Far Rings, while very short (around two hours of content), does many things well. The quickly-stablished setting and the reveals, both those related to heroes and Athena herself, are genuinely interesting. The protagonist is well fleshed out and her idealism clashes constantly with the attitudes of those around her, shaped by the pressure to conform and the atrocities of war. The aesthetic and sound, while not particularly flashy, are really well-done. Ignoring one naively-positive resolution to the story (I’m pretty sure that shouting at a homicidal warlord could have many results, but him backing down is the least probable one), it’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience, with the authors promising to expand on it further with a definitive version featuring an extra (true) ending. You might want to wait until that kicks in, but even now, for the generous price of nothing, it’s a visual novel absolutely worth trying out.

    Final Rating: Recommended

    4 Alice: Lorange Journey & Divine D.I.V.A

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    It’s arguably pretty futile to write here about games that were delisted since I’ve received my review copies, but in the case the author decides to restore them, I’ve decided to give them some coverage – also because they are something of a unique affair and this applies particularly to the first game in question, 4 Alice. That short story is written from the perspective of an autistic person interacting with other people like her, but whose disorders show different symptoms and levels of severity. It offers a very rare opportunity for to experience the thought process and perception of the world by someone on the autism spectrum without being overly focused on the attempts to educate people – its brief fantasy/horror plot about a group of girls stuck in a magical house could work without the quirks of its cast, but is made more interesting by their internal struggles and unusual behaviour.

                    The second story, Divine D.I.V.A, is a bit less interesting – a simple wish-fulfilment story about a team of female mercenaries in the far future. Both games are also brought down by technical limitations: the simultaneous French and English text in both the story and menus is particularly jarring, killing the aesthetic of both titles (which is already very simple – they’re very basic interactive fiction with no character sprites and stock art). English translation is also pretty junky, but the experience of reading these stories made me believe the author had some potential and many things to say. If she polishes her approach to making the stories and returns to Steam, I’ll be quite interested in seeing what she comes up with.

    Final Rating: Cautiously Recommended

     

    And this would be it for today’s summary – the next one will be coming in February, hopefully with the winter season giving me the opportunity to go through some longer/more ambitious games that are still waiting to be covered on the blog. And there are some amazing-looking titles in my backlog, that I really want to give a proper look and share them with all of you. Until that happens, I hope you’ve all enjoyed today's list – see you in two weeks!

  7. Premise

    The general premise is that the main character Yuuma is invited by his senpai Ayano to join the ghost club which isn’t a club about actual ghosts but rather a club for people with regrets. He then gets pushed onto him the responsibility of being the leader of the club and to find enough members to legitimize the club with the criteria Ayano sets for joining the club being that they have to be a cute girl and need some kind of regret. He then invites Akutagawa his close male friend because they somehow need to fill the spot despite protests from Ayano and the rest of the members that they invite are Hikari an adorable Kohai and Inori a mysterious girl who always wears a scarf who have studying abroad and recently gotten back to Japan.

     

    Review

    The common route does a good job of introducing the characters and also does a great job with its comedy and setting up things for the heroine routes. Due to good chemistry between the characters which leads to some really well done comedy in my opinion I think this is the best part of Hanasaki work springs. The common route is also rather long so you will get to know the characters quite well before the routes start.

     

    Characters as well as my thoughts on their routes

     

    Hikari is the adorable blond kohai. She has a really good mixture of sweetness, nervousness, bravery and clumsiness which made me really enjoy her especially during her route. There are lots of really good dating scenes with her during her route and I think anyone who likes adorable heroines will love her. The main focus for her route as well as most others is more so slice of life couple scenes seeing their first few dates etc. and just following how their relationship develops. As for the story aspect of her route I think the concept is quite good and fits well with certain quirks she has, however I think it builds it up as if the thing is going to be much more serious than it actually is (you don't know what it is until pretty much the end of her route but there is clearly something bothering her). Because of this I think the later part of her route has a bit too much of a heavy mood compared to the actual events as well as considering what I think would be best for her route, though considering this is only a small part of her route I would still say I really enjoyed it.

     

    Ayano is the purple haired senpai. She is the one who invites the main character to her club then dumps all the responsibility on him. She is rather lazy, irresponsible and quite flirty towards the main character. While she is a 3rd year she has been repeating the 3rd year of high school for quite a lot of years (she is probably in her early to mid 20s), she is actually quite smart and scores good on tests and did so before she started repeating as well but she pretty much refuses to graduate. Her route is the one that in my opinion has the best story, using mystery elements and building the story throughout her route quite well. As for the character herself I think she is somewhat charming and I think lots of people will like her a lot though to me I didn’t really feel as much of a connection to her as I felt for the other main heroines. I think this to some degree comes from the amount of romantic scenes between the characters being less due to there being more of a focus on the story, but also just personal taste.

     

    Inori is a mysterious girl who wears a scarf. She has been studying abroad because her parents moved overseas and has recently returned to Japan. She is quite a loner and keep her distance from most people including the main character who she considers annoying. Of course as the heroine route progresses she opens more up to the main character. As for her character I am mostly positive to her as I think once she opens up more she is really adorable and has a lot of likeable qualities, though there are some elements of her personality that I find rather annoying and while I think her backstory does a decent job covering these parts of her personality I think that this part of her personality just goes too far in some instances which reduced my enjoyment during some of the more key parts of her route. Regarding the story aspect of her route. I like her backstory though there are other elements that I don’t really like that much. So in conclusion I think her route was overall good, though there were elements of her route and parts of her personality that I felt prevented it from being great.

     

    Wakaba is the red haired girl and she is really close friend to the main character. She very rich, outspoken and her personality is quite tomboyish with her relationship to the main character before her route being that they are just really close friends who do things like going to the arcade together and just generally hang out together, almost always accompanied by Akutagawa and Kanna. As for her route I think the main segment which is the relationship building and them dating is done wonderfully and I really liked their relationship (at times she is absolutly adorable), however I think some dramatic parts towards the end was just stupid.

     

    Nonoka is the non-related by blood little sister of the main character. She does all the housework and cooking and while she is his little sister kind of takes on the same role a mom normally should, worrying about his problems and taking care of him and hoping that he gets a girlfriend soon. As a support character I think she does a wonderfull role with both funny interactions with her brother as well as the other girls in their routes. She does also have a short route which unlocks after the other routes. In my opinion this was rather lackluster and they didn’t really do a great job with her route considering how good of a character she had been in the rest of the VN.

     

    Kanna is the maid of Wakaba. In the common route as well as in Wakaba’s route she does a good job of playing a support character providing comedy and giving advice to Wakaba. In her own short route which also unlocks after the main routes are done I think she also just like Nonoka has a rather lackluster route. While there are some good elements like her backstory I think these are brief enough that they instead could have just been covered in Wakaba’s route and that doing this and cutting out Kanna’s route really wouldn’t hurt the VN.

     

    Akutagawa is not a heroine and has no route dedicated to him but is just the main characters best friend and I think he is worth mentioning. He is a rather cool character and plays a good support role often either being a comedic character or being someone the main character can ask for advice. His preference for women is older woman in their 40s or 50s which I am pretty sure is to make people feel like he isn’t a potential romantic rival to the main character. 

     

    My overall thought on the VN is that I really like it. The common route is really good does a great job of introducing the characters and has a lot of great comedy because of the great characters in the VN. The main heroine routes have for the most part really good building of romance and a lot of really adorable scenes between the main character and the girl of the route though unfortunately the drama/story aspect generally doesn’t work that well. The sub-heroine routes are rather lackluster and honestly aren’t in my opinion nearly as good as the main heroine routes. Overall if you know Japanese I would recommend this to anyone who likes fun likeable cute girls in VNs and just want to see some good cute romance scenes with them, but if you are looking for deeper backstories and to be able to connect to them through sad backstories or deep complex character building this is probably not for you.

     

    The physical edition

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    Pretty much the whole outer box

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    The game disc

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  8. EHchV6Z.jpg

     

    The monotony of school is an oppressive force on a kid's life. Psychologically omnipresent, you don't even need to be within its walls to feel its chains shackling you. Home is just made an extension of its presence with homework. And more then just the boredom of rote memorization and a lobotomizing curriculum, there is a social arena where you must interact with the other prisoners. Regardless of how you feel about them, its important to at least maintain a sociable facade.

    Unlike College where education is on your own dime, and therefore your own time. The grade school schedule from kindergarten through high school is rigidly compact, and generally you have little say in what you get to study. Regardless of talent, interest, or relevancy, you are stuck in a classroom where most other students are just as unenthused to be there as you.

    8th Grade, 13 years old and my last year in junior high. I didn't need to put more than a minimal effort into my studies to attain the reputation as an honor student. Although on a superficial front I got along with everyone, I lacked any true connections that extended beyond the solidarity of being prisoners of the educational system I've just described. Life was dull, but everyone told me the path I was walking down had success and stability at the end of its road. That assumed I would continue playing the honor student role I fell into though. Despite the agency of free-will, I was complacent. Despite my ennui, I had little initiative or courage to stir things up.

    The irony of attending a Catholic school and passively turning a blind eye to the bullying occurring. The frustration of my sexuality awakening but being too emotionally impotent to do anything about it. This is the context in which I discovered Yume Miru Kusuri: A Drug That Make You Dream.

    Past midnight, and I had just finished downloading a copy of the VN. I had promised myself to install it then go to bed. Opening the application up as a test, I was greeted with a soothing yet hypnotic track. Three girls with blank expressions were looking up at me amid an infinite expanse of vaguely drawn school desks. For minutes I just listened, utterly mesmerized. It was as though I was experiencing a drug that was making me dream.

    Winter break started the next day, and I had previously installed another visual novel that I was intending to start first. But as my consciousness was drifting in the dazed state before sleep, the title theme track kept ringing in my head. The next day I decided to start my vacation playing this VN instead, and that has made all the difference.

    The opening scene, an image of a generic blue sky with soft clouds. The narrator himself falls asleep and soon finds himself in an odd dream. Upon violently waking up, soothing music akin to the title screen track plays, and without even realizing it my own thoughts are absorbed by Kouhei's inner monologues. His thinking was so natural, and familiar. And that's when I noticed, I was Kouhei Kagami.

    The issues of bullying, interpersonal relationships, and the desire to escape the dullness of reality (albeit not through drugs, for me anime was my escape) were all subject matters I understood, and more importantly related to. The way things play out in the various routes always remain grounded in a firm realism. Which easily allowed me to project myself into the situations. But unlike a generic self-insert protagonist, what made Kouhei so relatable was his distinct voice. He was hesitant to tread towards anything that could shake him off his honor-student trajectory, and yet he was equally tempted and fascinated by such things. Smoking, sex, drugs, standing up to social forces; all things that even the most straight laced of teenagers will probably be tempted by. If not for the things themselves, then to grab control of your own life by actively doing something you shouldn't do. This is how Kouhei and I were kindred spirits.

    The way the story and Kouhei's perspective completely resonated with me led me to voraciously read something for the first time in my life. Before I always viewed reading as a chore, and I only ever reluctantly did so. Reading this VN however, led me into feeling as though everything was happening was to a slightly older, Japanese version of myself. It was that immersive quality that sucked me into the VN's world. That was my baptism into VNs.

    I'm 22 now, and rereading this VN I can't help but think back on myself and who I was when I first discovered it. Not only have I long since graduated high school, somewhere amidst my early adulthood I also learned to stop being such a passive participant in life. Yet while I can no longer identify with Kouhei Kagami like I did when I first read his story, I can still understand his thinking and actions so clearly. Almost like reading his perspective brings me back to my perspective when I was in my early teens.

    In that respect, Yume Miru Kusuri is kind of the Catcher in the Rye of VNs.

     

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  9. bandicam-2019-10-11-05-34-10-869-1035x42

    Master Magistrate is the murder mystery detective visual novel set in the late years of Japan's Edo Period. Developed by the indie studio Irodori and released in the year of 2017, it quickly attained popularity and became a hit amongst Japanese fans. They praised the great direction sense, well-crafted scenario, immersive atmosphere, and fascinating soundtrack, amongst other aspects.
    Hobibox have attained publishing rights for the Chinese and English versions of the game, wishing to bring this experience overseas. They have committed themselves to provide a high-quality product, hoping to turn a new leaf and redeem themselves for not so fruitful past endeavors.

    Read more at https://j-addicts.de/master-magistrate-early-access-review/ - we now have a comment box!

    (I was initially planning on cross-posting here but the screenshots looked strange, so yeah).

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    Can anyone tell me how tsujidou San virgin route ended for each route since I am excited about it very much. 

  10. You are the average wanker. You spent your young adulthood reveling in your excesses, but it never made you happy. All of that is finally going to change when a cute elf princess named Sophia kidnaps you for a new adventure!

    The plot is to travel around the world and free sexy heroines from being brainwashed. You have to use manipulation and shenanigans to do it, but once the brainwashing has ended, they will regain their free will and help you fight evil!

    The game is melancholic. The author seems to speak from the heart when he talks about being a degenerate during his young adulthood and seeking something more. Metropolitan life doesn’t please him, he wants purpose, and a reason to be alive. Living paycheck to paycheck isn’t fun. At the end of the game you get the choice between living a fantasy life with your harem, or returning to the real world.

    The writing is engaging, but relies on cringe-worthy tropes. The catgirl is shy and subservient, while the succubus is cocky and aggresive. You need to drug women with a “love potion” to free them from brainwashing, which is pretty morally ambiguous. With five sexy babes in total, I began wishing for love that didn’t rely on a potion.

    The plot is a roller coaster of emotions. Sometimes you’re surrounded by super cute blushing girls that literally call you “The Messiah”, but other times you’re faced with danger and the unavoidable mortality that all people face. It’s like the author genuinely wants you to realize that seeking out cult worship in a fictional world is not very healthy. Excellent writing!

     

    Hikari-Love-Potion-Hentai-Visual-Novel-D

    MORE INFO HERE

  11. (original: https://forums.fuwanovel.net/blogs/entry/2488-random-top-100/)

    I played so many VNs over the past year that i've managed to replace over a fourth of the list, so it felt adequate to post a updated version. Like before, "not a be-all-end-all list by any means and i care about choice-making gameplay a lot more than other VN fans do, so if some of my placements look ridiculous, that's why."

    youtube playlist version: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYFP5FO6EHdqvR4S0KWZDMllPXy3hZjaY (will be updated if i make yet another version of the list)

    New entries are underlined.

    VNs i consider “close to great”:
    100) Lamento Beyond the Void (great atmosphere and art)
    99) EoSD for Busy Person + Extra (entertaining characters and endings)
    98) Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (great characters, good mystery-solving and story)
    97) Comyu (good story, entertaining fight scenes)
    96) Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome (entertaining story and endings, amazing common route)
    95) Ar Tonelico II (good characters, great story and soundtrack)
    94) Vampirdzhija Vjedogonia (entertaining story and fight scenes)
    93) Danganronpa 2 (entertaining characters, good mystery-solving, good finale)
    92) Danganronpa V3 (entertaining characters, great mystery-solving, good finale)
    91) MajiKoi A1&A2 (entertaining characters and story)

    Vns i consider “borderline great”:
    90) Fatal Twelve (entertaining story and characters, fun choice-making)
    89) Evenicle (fun characters and gameplay)

    88) Eve: Burst Error (entertaining story, great female protagonist)
    87) Dangan Ronpa (entertaining characters, great story, great finale)
    86) ChuSinGura 46+1 (entertaining characters, great fight scenes)
    85) Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth (good story and characters, great finale)
    84) Kikokugai The Cyber Slayer (great atmosphere, good fight scenes)
    83) Higanbana no Saku Yoru ni + 2nd night (good characters, entertaining story)
    82) Hapymaher (interesting story, good atmosphere)
    81) Flowers: Volume sur Été (great art, charming characters)

    80) Eden* (good story and art)
    79) Utawarerumono (entertaining characters, good story)
    78) Shikkoku no Sharnoth (good protagonist, great atmosphere, great finale)
    77) Rance VI (entertaining characters, good story)
    76) Paradise Lost (interesting story, entertaining fight scenes)
    75) Kizuato (fun characters, great introductory route, great set of joke endings)
    74) Hello, world (overall fun story, great set of normal endings)
    73) Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk (great world building and plot twists, good characters)

    72) Flowers: Volume sur Printemps (great art, charming characters, good use of mystery-solving)
    71) Dies Irae: Interview with Kaziklu Bey (great art and fight scenes)
    70) Ayakashi Gohan (amazing protagonist customization, fun common route)
    69) Air (good story and characters, good soundtrack)
    68) The Letter (favorite branch system for a linear story)
    67) Symphonic Rain [1/5 routes done] (charming art and soundtrack, great at subverting expectations)
    66) SeaBed (amazing atmosphere, interesting story)
    65) Narcissu (good story and ending buildup)
    64) Dengeki Stryker (entertaining story, great middle route)
    63) Collar x Malice (entertaining story, good set of villains)
    62) Chaos;Head (entertaining characters and choice-making, great plot twist, good world building)
    61) Remember11 (good characters, great ending system, interesting ending)
    60) Ourai no Gahkthun (good atmosphere and characters)
    59) Nijuuei (fun story, good atmosphere)
    58) Monster Girl Quest Trilogy (amazing gameplay, good story and characters)
    57) Kusarihime (amazing atmosphere and background usage, good characters and endings)
    56) Battle Goddess Verita (good story, great RPG gameplay)

    VNs i consider “near-classics”:
    55) The House in Fata Morgana: A Requiem for Innocence (good story and characters, amazing art)
    54) Eiyuu*Senki (great gameplay, fun characters)
    53) Ayakashibito (good world building, entertaining fight scenes and characters)
    52) Akaya Akashiya Ayakashino (great atmosphere and endings, entertaining characters)

    51) Akai Ito (entertaining protagonist, good atmosphere, favorite OP song)
    50) 11eyes (good characters and fight scenes, great atmosphere)
    49) Tsujidou-san no Jun’ai Road (entertaining characters, good choice-making)
    48) Sekien no Inganock (great art, great atmosphere, good characters)
    47) Planetarian (good pairing, great dialogue)
    46) 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors (entertaining characters, good true ending)
    45) Kira Kira [1/4 routes done] (good characters, great common route, great ending)
    44) ef a fairy tale of the two (great story in the second half, good characters)
    43) Chaos;Child (good choice-making system, good characters, good story)
    42) 428: Shibuya Scramble (fun characters and story, amazing choice-making, greatest production values in the genre)
    41) Sharin no Kuni (favorite single villain, great story, great plot twist)
    40) Root Double (amazing choice-making system, good true ending)
    39) Virtue’s Last Reward (great ending system, great multiple route mystery)
    38) Kara no Shoujo (great atmosphere, good mystery-solving)
    37) Aselia The Eternal (great world-building and New Game+ content)
    36) Chou no Doku Hana no Kusari [1/5 routes done] (great atmosphere and protagonist)
    35) Cartagra (great art, entertaining characters, great endings)
    34) Aoishiro (great choice-making, entertaining bad ending branches on some routes)
    33) White Album 2: Introductory and Closing Chapters [3/6 routes done] (fascinating characters, good story and atmosphere)
    32) The Fruit of Grisaia (entertaining characters, great endings)
    31) Code: Realize (amazing common route, entertaining story and characters)

    VNs i consider “classics”:
    30) Rose Guns Days (great story and characters, charming art)
    29) Mahoutsukai no Yoru (amazing production values, good story)
    28) Kamidori Alchemy Meister (great RPG gameplay, amazing New Game+ content)
    27) Battle Goddess Zero (favorite story in a VN-RPG hybrid)
    26) Cross Channel (fun characters, great choice-making and ending)
    25) Taishou Mebiusline (great route variety, good ending system, favorite vocal song)
    24) Swan Song (amazing atmosphere, good story and characters)
    23) Steins;Gate 0 (good story and characters, great use of true ending)
    22) Sengoku Rance (entertaining characters, most replayable work in the genre due to amazing gameplay)
    21) Rewrite (entertaining characters, good story)
    20) Phantom of Inferno (entertaining story and characters, great atmosphere, great action scenes)
    19) Yumina The Ethereal (entertaining story, amazing use of multiple routes for a VN-RPG hybrid, great true ending)
    18) Kichikuou Rance (amazing gameplay and world-building)
    17) Kara no Shoujo 2 (great mystery, entertaining characters, great true ending, favorite ED song)
    16) G-Senjou no Maou (great true route, great soundtrack, favorite set of villains)
    15) Song of Saya (favorite atmosphere, amazing use of endings, fascinating characters)
    14) Muv Luv Alternative (great action scenes, great sci-fi atmosphere)
    13) YU-NO (amazing route system, good story and characters)
    12) Higurashi When They Cry + Kai (amazing story, great characters and soundtrack)
    11) Dies Irae (favorite fight scenes, entertaining characters and story)

    VNs i consider “classics among classics”:
    10) Umineko When They Cry + Chiru (favorite story, favorite soundtrack, great characters)
    9) Wonderful Everyday (great story, good mystery, good characters, great alternate endings, favorite monologues)
    8. The House in Fata Morgana (amazing story, favorite CG and character art, good choice-making, great soundtrack)
    7) Tsukihime (amazing choice-making, amazing atmosphere, great characters)
    6) MajiKoi (favorite overall character cast, most consistently entertaining work in the genre)
    5) Little Busters (favorite common route, great true route, favorite post-true end content)
    4) Ever17 (great story, favorite multiple route mystery, great true ending)

    VNs i consider “all-time greatests”
    3) Steins;Gate (great story, entertaining characters, favorite protagonist, favorite pairing, favorite ending)
    2) Fate/Stay Night (great story, favorite ending system, favorite route, favorite single choice)
    1) Clannad (favorite route system, high amount of optional scenes, amazing After Story, fully explores choice-making in a school drama setting)

    Top VNs i didn’t read (raw VNDB ratings, 35 votes minimum):
    Rance 10
    Flowers: Volume sur Automne & Hiver
    Baldr Sky Dive1&2
    Soukou Akki Muramasa
    Ken ga Kimi
    Sakura no Uta
    Shingakkou Noli me tangere
    Shinigami to Shoujo
    Sengoku Koihime
    Schwarzesmarken

    Closing thoughts: After Aselia and Ayakashibito, i've read pretty much every translated VN i really wanted to. Also, after Hello world and Kusarihime, i feel i've read pretty much all older VNs with no chances of being translated i wanted to. Now i plan to be a little more laidback with my reading, making this kinda of the end of a chapter for me.

     

     

  12. Aojiru verse introduction #2: In'Youchuu

    In the last post I listed the current games in the Aojiru verse, (I'm probably the only person on earth calling it this, but it must become a thing!), and I introduced the game that started it all; Hanamaru! Today I will dig deeper into what exactly you should expect from Aojiru games, and introduce In'Youchuu, the most iconic Aojiru-game to date.

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    Introduction:

    Let us begin with a general introduction to Aojiru's games. These games are all fairly dark, both in general writing and story, as well as the H content. That being said there is also usually a decent amount of sol moments in each game, with a proper good ending that can be reached by avoiding a minefield of bad endings scattered throughout the games. For games like In'Youchuu with several sequels, this good ending will be the default canon that will continue to the next installment. Exceptions of this rule would be the standalone horror games, such as Fuka no Jugoku, which is a story of pure madness, with no real "good" outcome. There is just very little room for sol content in a game like that. But, the majority of Aojiru's games will feature at least some of it.
    What's interesting about Aojiru games is that the sol moments are actually very enjoyable, and it really feels like they belong, despite of the dark themes these games have. They really nailed it with having just the right amount of "feelgood" content before shit goes bad, so you have time to get to know the characters before shit hits the fan. You get invested in both the story and the characters. Well I do, anyways. I never get tired of seeing Yamato and Mikoto, two characters from In'Youchuu, shouting insults at each other like an old married couple. The games also have some pretty adorable chibi art:

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    Many might brand the Aojiru games as mere nukige with no substance or plot, but this is inaccurate. Sure, the games have a lot of H-content and I can see a case being made for them being branded as nukige. But, they are absolutely not mindless nukige without any story. In fact, I find most of the stories told in Aojiru games legitimately interesting, and get very invested in the worlds and the characters introduced in them. Of course, I have to admit I am a fan of the dark H content that there is an abundance of in these games, but I also love the stories, and think games where the two elements can be combined are very cool. If you think the same, these are basically made for you.

    In'Youchuu


    Normally Aojiru games will feature some kind of supernatural entity, such as Nightmare from In'Youchuu-we will talk more about him in a second-or Kudan from Kowaku no Toki. (That dude scared the shit out of me when I first played Kowaku.) These two are very different beings, but both get classified as some kind of "youma", which is a monster born from negative emotions. Some are mindless creatures driven by primal urges, while others are incredibly intelligent beings with god-like powers.

    In In'youchuu we follow a group of monster hunters-The Monster Subjugation Division: The Black Cats- who can use different kinds of spiritual and magical powers to destroy these creatures. (Let's make it simple and call them "The Black Cats.")
    The four members of The Black Cats are Yamato, our protagonist, a half-demon who mainly relies on brute force when fighting. He's a big pervert, and is definitely not the brains of the operation. Then there is Mikoto, the oldest of the Shiratori twins, Mikoto and Takeru Shiratori. She might be the "oldest" of the two, but she is also the most immature of the girls. She always gets in arguments with Yamato, and gets scolded by her little sister, Takeru, for not thinking before she acts on a frequent basis. She hates doing paperwork and will do anything to get out of it. While she is not as well-versed in magic as her sister, she wields a powerful weapon, The Spirit Blade Raikou, and likes to fight in close combat like Yamato. Takeru, the youngest twin, is a cool and collected fighter who always analyzes the situation before charging in, unlike the other two. If not for her, Yamato and Mikoto would surely have gotten themselves killed already. Finally there is Yoru, the leader of the Black Cats and the reason for the group's name. He is a nekotama, a cat spirit. I said Yamato is not the brains of the operation due to his pervertendess and well, Yoru is... the same. He might be the leader, but Takeru is the one making the calls when it counts. Meanwhile, Yoru is off doing... this. (Told you there was some goofy content in these games :P )

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    From left to right we have Yoru, Mikoto and Takeru

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    And here is Yamato

    In'Youchuu starts off with Takeru being sent to a school up in the mountains where there have been reports of monsters popping up at night. However, she never reports back to The Black Cats, and goes silent. Concerned about what could have happened, Yoru sends Mikoto and Yamato to the school to investigate Takeru's disappearance, and the nightmare begins.

    Yamato and Mikoto start investigating the school, though find no signs of Takeru on the first night. She simply seems to have vanished. Meanwhile, there are clear signs of monsters hiding somewhere in the school, and the duo heads there at night when monsters are most active. At this point, you are given choices rather frequently, usually with each fight. One wrong choice and you will be sent off to a bad ending, where horrible things will usually happen to the characters. Trying to avoid these bad endings is in my opinion part of the excitment in playing these games. Make a wrong turn and you get "punished", as the characters fails, (though you could see this as a reward depending on how you look at it,) and if you make the right choice the story continues. Though, this does of course not mean you are guaranteed to be victorious. There are times where things just goes south, which is to be expected in games these dark.

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    A standard group of youma that you will encounter a lot. These are the mindless sort, that feeds off human organs and are driven solely by primal urges: hunger and the need to breed.

    At the school we are introduced to some familiar faces, like Momono Momo and Sumire from Hanamaru! And also get introduced to a new face, Sui, a childhood friend of Yamato who gets pulled into the chaos that is unfolding at the shcool.

    Eventually you start to figure out what is going on, and meet the first big bad of the Aojiru games: Nightmare. He is a humanoid youma with horse features, that feasts on the wombs of women and aims to create an army of monsters by making the women he eat into breeding machines. Needless to say, he is not a nice guy. Some of the bad endings with this guy... phew. Erhem, anyways.

    In'Youchuu offers some pretty cool fight scenes, with everything from chuuni chants to epic battle CGs. Of course, I don't want to hype this part of the games up too much. Like, you shouldn't go into these games expecting Dies Irae level fight scenes. But, they are definitely enjoyable, and there is often at least one big climax at the end with some pretty cool stuff. There's tons of fight scenes, but the one big one towards the end often uses a lot more budget in the CG department, heh.

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    Nightmare. He looks both hilarious and terrifying if you ask me, heh.

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    Yamato in his transformed state, during a battle. Being a half-demon, he is capable of transforming himself into a demon for a short time, though it takes a huge toll on his mind and body.

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    Yoru, after going into combat mode. Yes, he is a badass.

    I obviously have not linked too many NSFW images in this blog post. There is a lot of that in In'Youchuu, naturally. A lot. But, you can find them yourselves, I'm sure. What I wanted to do with this post was introduce more of the serious side of In'Youchuu, and in turn, Aojiru games as a whole. These games aren't just tentacle nukige with some dark scenes. Sure, there's lots of that, but there's much more to them. There's actual stories here, with well developed worlds and characters. I fell in love with these games because of the mix of seriousness and dark H. I am also just a huge fan of Aojiru's art in general.

    I really hope an Aojiru game gets picked up for localization one day. Heck, maybe I'll be able to translate one myself down the line. That would be pretty exciting.

     

    Anyways, if you do speak Japanese, I recommend giving one of these games a try. Who knows, maybe you'll enjoy the ride more than you expected. A lot of people see "nukige" and brush the games off as bad right off the bat, which is why I'm not overly fond of that branding. Yes, with the amount of H in these, it probably does fit to call them nukige, but there's also so much more to them.

    That is it for my post on In'Youchuu 1. Next blog post will either be about the sequel, Shoku, or Kowaku no Toki, one of my favorites. I still haven't decided which one to go with yet. Either way, see you again then.

  13. Haruka!! So cute!!! I knew she'd ask me to kiss her if we continued with the topic but that was cute, really cute. How am I supposed to get close to other girls when Haruka is such a good girl?!

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  14. If you thought that I was actually going to finish something I'd started before moving on to something else, then you don't know me very well. So here I am playing Tsukikana instead of Ginharu!

    Spoiler

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    ???: "Don't forget"

    After a short prelude we have a girl pointing a plastic gun at herself.

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    ???" "Bang..."

    And then we go to the less abstract real world.

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    Japanese Teacher: "Make sure to review this part during summer break, alright?"

    And while the protag is busy writing down some notes unrelated to class

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    Japanese Teacher: "Kurono Kanata... please read the next page to the class"

    He closes his notes leisurely, because if he were to quickly close them that'd make it seem suspicious. But as he begins reading while thinking about how every day seems just like the last

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    "Suddenly my reading was interrupted"

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    "By a voluptuous listless student peeking out from the back door"

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    JP Teacher: "You're late again, Araya!"

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    ???: "... Good morniing..."

    That has to be the most exasperated greeting I've ever heard.

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    JP Teacher: "Don't "Good morning" me! It's already been 2 hours!"

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    ???: "...Sorryyyy... I couldn't wake up..."

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    "This lateness is also a daily thing. Actually, only 2 hours late is early for her."

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    "A girl who regularly leaves early or skips class entirely, Araya Touka is... frankly, the class' problem child."

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    "She had transferred in just this spring."

    After he's done reading, the teacher hands out a test printout. Once the MC turns around to pass it to Touka (who is obviously sitting right behind him)

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    She's already gone back to sleep, and he decides not to wake her.

    Then Kanata receives a text from his friend, saying that he's heard a rumor about Araya, according to which she bullied a classmate until she killed herself, but Kanata says that the rumor is absolutely untrue.

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    "There are a bunch of nasty rumors floating around about Araya Touka."

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    "Supposedly, she goes out at night, and gets her hands on dangerous drugs."

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    "Supposedly, she sells her body to married men."

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    "And this time, apparently bullied a classmate into committing suicide."

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    "Nobody wants to ask her directly about it, so the rumors are passed along as though they're true."

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    "She doesn't interact with anyone in class, and doesn't attend any after-school activities."

    Back in the world of non-rumors, the test is over and she's still asleep. So Kanata signs her test with her name, figuring that that would be better than just handing in an unnamed test, even if she's going to get a 0 anyway. How nice of him, but maybe he should have woken her up in the first place.

    He then goes to the rooftop to eat lunch with the friends he was texting, and they discuss new smartphones because Kanata's seems to be running out of battery quicker than before.

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    "Kento is a huge gadget geek and knows a lot about IT equipment."

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    "Madoka joined the conversation while eating his mom's homemade bento"

    They then discuss the rumor some more, with Madoka, having been the one who texted about it in the first place, insisting that it's true. Apparently the fact that there's records of her going to a completely different school is just proof that there's been a cover-up about it. But then he proceeds to immediately deny believing the rumor because there's not enough evidence. Apparently he's not the brightest dude.

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    Kento: "Don't bother with it. It probably started with someone saying they heard it from Araya's old school friend's senpai's younger brother's friend."

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    Madoka: "No, it was Araya's old school senpai's clubmate's younger brother's friend's friend!"

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    Madoka: "So, what about you, Kanata? Do you believe the Araya rumor?"

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    Kanata: "Huh, me?"

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    Kento: "Yeah, what do you think, Kanata? You're the closest to Araya after all."

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    Kanata: "Only in that my seat is close to hers..."

    He finally says that he doesn't believe the rumor at all, and when pressed for a reason says that it's because of the impression she gives off, even though he's never actually spoken to her. And the reason he has the impression is because a month into the semester he was sitting in the literature club, alone. Then suddenly someone entered the clubroom...

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    Touka: *panting*

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    Touka: "Hide me!"

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    Touka: "I'm being chased!"

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    Kanata: "Ch-chased... by whom?"

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    Touka: "The guidance counselor!"

    He essentially ends up shoving her into a closet and when she complains about the rough treatment he tells her that she should be more quiet if she doesn't want to be found. So far this dude is like the polar opposite of Ginharu's Mr. Nice Guy Yukito. And as soon as they close the closet door the guidance counselor comes barging into the clubroom.

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    Guidance Counselor: "I know you're here, Araya!"

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    Touka: "...hey"

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    Kanata: "Shh! What?"

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    Touka: "Why are you hiding in here with me?"

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    Touka: "Wouldn't it have been better for you to stay in the room and tell the counselor that I'm not here?"

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    Kanata: "...I had no time to think"

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    Kanata: "For some reason, I felt like I was doing something wrong."

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    Touka: "Hmmm... is that so"

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    Touka: "By hiding me... you're an accomplice?"

    Eventually after some more back and forth Touka decided she couldn't handle the dusty book smell in the closet and wanted to leave so Kanata held her back and pinched her nose. Eventually the counselor figures he got the wrong room and leaves.

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    Touka: "I thought I was going to die there!"

    She opens a window to get some fresh air and when Kanata mentions that she might be seen that way

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    Touka: "If that happens, just hide me again"

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    Touka: "I think I recognize your face from somewhere"

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    Kanata: "You should at least be able to recognize your classmates' faces."

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    Touka: "Whaaaat?! Really?"

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    Touka: "Oh, uh, Satou-kun?"

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    Kanata: "Wrong."

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    Touka: "Right, right, it's Tanaka-kun!"

    Well, she got it right, but backwards.

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    Kanata: "Now you're just guessing blindly"

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    Touka: "Umm... where do you sit?"

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    Kanata: "Right in front of you"

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    Touka: "Ah... haha, sorry. I'm really bad with faces"

    She also says she's bad with names, but for some reason says it very proudly.

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    Touka: "My name is Araya Touka"

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    Kanata: "No... I already know that"

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    Touka: "Ah, are you one of those people that are good with names and faces!?"

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    Kanata: "I remember my classmates. And transfer students are rare."

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    Touka: "I see, I see"

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    Touka: "But before I ask someone what their name is, I have to introduce myself."

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    Touka: "So tell me your name"

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    Kanata: "...Kurono Kanata"

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    Touka: "Kurono Kanata... Kurono Kanata... Okay, I memorized it! Can I call you Kanacchi?"

    He says no, because nobody ever calls him that. When she asks what people call him, he just says "Kanata".

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    Touka: "Kanatacchi"

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    Kanata: "Drop the "cchi""

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    Touka: "Kanata, then"

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    Kanata: "You didn't add a honorific"

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    Touka: "You don't have to use an honorific for me either. "Touka" is fine"

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    Touka: "So then, Kanata"

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    Touka: "Thanks for helping me"

    They then talk about the literature club and what they do. Touka asks if they write anything themselves, and Kanata says he doesn't, to which she starts quoting something he wrote. He suddenly realizes he'd been leaving his literary notes on his desk.

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    Touka: "You wrote that, didn't you?"

    She then proceeds to grab his notes and starts reading, and he gives up on trying to stop her. Apparently they're ideas for novels he plans to write. Eventually she gets thirsty and tells him to go grab her a drink. When he tries to argue she says that the counselor might still be looking for her, so she can't, and hands him a 500 yen coin.

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    Touka: "Get me something sweet"

    As he's grabbing the drinks, he imagines her sitting in the club room laughing her ass off about his short story about a girl on a lighthouse getting hit by a shooting star and becoming a single creature, neither alien nor human. But when he gets back, she's reading intently, too busy to even acknowledge him or take the coffee he brought her.

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    Touka: "Why was there an alien in the shooting star?"

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    Kanata: "No, it's... a spaceship that looks like a shooting star... if you read a bit further you'll understand..."

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    Touka: "Why does it understand words? Isn't it odd that it can speak Japanese?"

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    Kanata: "...with their advanced technology they've made a universal translator... but explaining all that would just make it tedious..."

    Finally, she finishes reading and drinks her coffee.

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    Kanata: "So... how was it?"

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    Touka: "It was interesting"

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    Touka: "Really interesting"

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    Touka: "But what happens at the end?"

    He tells her that he hasn't written that far yet, so she asks him to just tell her. He worries that she just wants to tease him about it but she insists that she really is interested.

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    Touka: "So when are you going to finish it?"

    He says that it's still a draft and it won't be done anytime soon.

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    Touka: "In that case, show me once it's finished"

    Thus ends the flashback. I have to agree with him, she doesn't looks like a drug-addicted prostitute who bullies people to suicide.

    This is probably a good stopping point for now. I don't know how far I'll be able to get in Tsukikana, because this seems a bit more story-based than Ginharu which is all slice of life, so I might just get to a point where I have no idea what's happening. That is if I don't just quit it halfway and start their next VN when it comes out in 2022 or something. :makina:

     

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    Recent Entries

    Alright! I recently got into reading visual novels again, and while I wait for the impending demise of this website, I thought about paying homage to it before it goes away for good by using it for what it was originally intended to be for --- visual novels! Because I'm too lazy to look up the appropriate threads to place my thoughts about specific games, this will be their resting place. What better way to start off a blog dedicated to memories with a game placing emphasis on them in the subconscious plane?

    I'll warn you before you continue: The blog is full of my ramblings, so I'm gonna stop paying heed to what's a spoiler and what's not. It's not a review, so don't read it if you don't want to get spoiled! If you're fine with that, be my guest.

    Start of Rambling

    Da Capo. To be honest, I thought the name was pretty funny because I could only visualize one thing from it.

    Image result for capo

    While I may have missed the mark, I at least got the type of thing the title is right. It's referring to a musical term where one repeats the piece from the beginning until the first symbol that functions as the sort of end of that repetition. While I was skeptical of how the term would come into play in the game due to how I perceive some titles to have been chosen just because they sound cool (I'm looking at you, Fate/Stay Night), I was pleased to have encountered the concept in almost every route the game had. To better remember whatever I read, my thoughts will be focusing on each route and the emerging themes in them, and how the concept of "Da Capo" seems to have applied to them overall. But first, I'll think about the common route.

    Common Route

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    Time Taken: 2 - 3 hours

    Common route felt like a real dating sim. You have around 10 days to guess your way throughout the places to meet and trigger flags with the different heroines of the game, with the changing of the illustration of the 'calendar' as your guide to whether you're approaching the route you want or not. I tried to actually guess my way through the game blindly at first, but after one route and four failed attempts to get into any other one, I gave up. It's pretty hellish guessing where you can meet the people. After a few attempts though, you kinda get a feel of where they have the highest chance of being based on their personalities, so if you're a guy who hates walkthroughs, don't give up. Just a few more graduations with your best friend Suginami, and you'll be able to grab the girl of your dreams.

    Dialogue was full of quirky fun. My favorite characters by the end of the common route were probably Moe and Suginami with how absurd the kind of situations you find yourself with them are. Miharu comes close to them because of how downright stupid she is. Nothing too special with the dialogue though. Plenty of content here that reminds me of high school life, but that's the majority of Japanese media out there. If anything, it was at least entertaining enough to keep me awake in the wee hours of the night. 

    Now, since the common route was short and filled with SoL content, I'll be moving on from that to the meat of the rambling: the heroine routes. I'll discuss them according to the order in which I think they should be played, based on the kind of content they had.

    Yoshino Sakura

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    Time Taken: 2 - 3 hours

    Sakura's your obnoxiously annoying imouto-type character, more so than your actual little sister in this game. Combined with her childish aesthetic and speech pattern that makes you go nuts in the head, she's the perfect example of why you sometimes want to just close your machine and get out of the house to get fresh air. While I thought that her mannerisms were pretty damn annoying (as is with a lot of characters that try to be over-the-top cute), I ended up liking how she was made because of its significance to who she is as a character in the game.

    While she's innocent and downright mischievous in the majority of the game, you get glimpses of what lies under her facade every now and then. This is particularly obvious whenever the fantastical aspects of the game, such as the dreams and the never-fading cherry blossoms, are of particular importance to the route. In her own route, you directly experience the consequences of the magical cherry blossom tree, as well as the significance of the encounters in Jun'ichi's childhood. Sakura stops being just your annoying little sister, starting to show her fangs as one of your love interests.

    The gap between the innocent Sakura and the Sakura that harbors malicious feelings gives me satisfaction because of the realization of how they played me like a fool all throughout the common route. While it's obvious that she has magical roots in her bloodline (as well as Jun'ichi's), you don't really get to see the significance of those roots until you're faced with the dangers that accompany the magic they possess. Through the image of cherry blossoms, the magical underpinnings of the game finally come out, and you're faced with a situation where the heroine is actually the source of the different misfortunes that happen throughout the route, especially poignant in Nemu's case.

    What I find most interesting in the route, besides the information dump, is the conflict within Sakura's character. The gap is there, yes, but it didn't come from a desire to create that gap, in which case it would have been placed to hide something. The gap is there because of the responsibility that Sakura bears, and with it, the suffering it entails for her and for the people around her. What needs to be done in order to stop it is to end the source, that is, to end the miracle of dreams --- to free Sakura from the burden of helping people reach their own dreams. It serves as a wake up call for the people of the island, and a form of liberation from the suffering Sakura.

    To be honest, the concept of magic here is pretty shaky. But I get that not knowing the entirety of how the magic works is exactly what makes it so magical in the first place. This encounter with the magical is exactly what I believe to be the best start to the experience with the game, because the death of the cherry blossom tree proves to be significant in the different routes that follow.

    Asakura Nemu

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    Time Taken: 2 - 3 hours

    Nemu is the trademark capable imouto character who puts up a reliable facade when with other people, only revealing her weaknesses to her beloved big brother. She also has the added bonus of being a stepsister, so hurrah to those who are into that. If there's any one of the heroines who's the most believable love interest for the protagonist, it has to be Nemu. Along with Sakura, she's one of the heroines with the longest association with Jun'ichi, so it makes sense to have her as a love interest with the time given to them to nurture their budding feelings for one another.

    I thought Sakura's route was hard to understand because of how it talks about things in such a subtle way, but Nemu's was somehow able to make everything even harder to understand. Her sickness was kind of explained in the prior route, but goddamn, they suddenly make it into an internal struggle for Nemu when I already have the culprit in my mind as Sakura. It makes Sakura look worse than ever, even going as far as getting rid of Nemu's memories just to try and lessen the effects that the magic has on her.

    To be honest, the whole struggle with Nemu had a lot of emotions going on for her route, and it really enriches the experience. You finally find true love with your stepsister, then she encounters a potentially terminal illness that you have no idea what to do with. Sakura enters, tries to ruin your relationship with Nemu, but love is stronger than everything. I thought it was pretty nice, to the point that I found myself in tears during her last scenario before the epilogue. The feeling of dreaming about the goodbye, and it finally happening in real life to the two of them, was so overwhelming that the sadness you feel for their situation just pours out.

    ...Then they decide to step on your feelings by ending it in the way they did. Nemu's alright. I mean, it should be obvious for the readers that the death of the cherry blossom tree means the survival of Nemu, but after being faced with stakes as high as that prior to the epilogue, I can't help but feel that they discarded what they've built up for the past 9 pages of scenario in favor of a happy end with Nemu. If the aftereffects or any explanation was at least shown to justify the end, it would have been okay. But they just thrust it at you, as if they wanted to say 'sike' as you were reading it. It really took me out of her route, and it really downplays the whole experience. Frankly, it was pretty disappointing.

    Shirakawa Kotori

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    Time Taken: 1.5 - 2 hours

    Kotori's the typical 'most famous girl in the school that falls in love with you for some reason'. She's the type of heroine that swoons because someone finally treated her like she was a normal person, because every other man out there is a beast that seeks romance with her. Her route is probably the most romantic out of all of them, but also the least believable in my opinion. In a laughable span of 10 days, Kotori and Jun'ichi develop feelings for one another, which finally comes into fruition after another week. A relationship that only took 17 days to start. Pretty damn amazing, with the lack of high stakes and all.

    Why is her route romantic? Well, it's full of scenes where they tease and flirt with each other! Compared to the others, Jun'ichi actually sees Kotori as a proper love interest from the start, which is probably why it felt so romantic compared to the rest. It actually made me embarrassed with myself while reading through it, pushing me to a point where I almost developed type 2 diabetes. I'd like to continue on with how embarrassingly sweet it was, but it's a topic not worth rambling about.

    Main conflict in her route was how she's unable to understand other people, and in return, unable to let other people understand her. By now, it's obvious that the game loves overturning the stereotypes it lays out for its heroines by associating the stereotypes with a sort of facade to deal with their inner struggles. For Kotori's case, I was not able to see it coming from a mile away. It comes in and suddenly slaps me in the face because of how casually Kotori mentions it after the end of the matter. With how dissociated I was with her struggle prior to the death of the cherry tree, I ended up feeling that her conflict was kind of shallow and lacking substance, being justified with the use of a special power that I would never have guessed she had. Would have loved to been more exposed to the inner workings of her conflict, especially outside that of dreams.

    Mizukoshi Moe

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    Time Taken: 1.5 - 2 hours

    Your standard dojikko. I found her very cute in the common route, and she did not disappoint in her route as well. The gap in her character this time was not exactly a gap, but an underlying reason behind her being a dojikko --- a deep-seated trauma from her past. Moe tries to hide this behind a general face of clumsiness and airheadedness, literally sleeping her problems away.

    I felt like her route had the most potential. You have the ingenious idea of making dojikko not just a stupid trait, but a sort of coping mechanism to deal with the loss of a beloved one in the past. Then you go and end it in like one scene. The deep-seated trauma is warded off with the words "Live happily for him" or something like that. Amazing. If it was that easy to deal with depression and trauma, then therapists would probably be raking in money with the least effort. Or we wouldn't even need them in the first place.

    While I understand that it's the early 2000s and the awareness that comes with these kinds of conflicts is not as fleshed out as it is in our current time, it's still disappointing to see one of those with the most impact being easily solved through mere words. If it was that easy, Moe wouldn't have needed sleeping pills. It honestly makes everyone around her goddamn useless, especially considering she's part of a family that manages a damn hospital.

    Mizukoshi Mako

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    Time Taken: 1 hour

    I don't get it. It's so out of place in the game.

    Spoiler

    Image result for nisekoi

    Nisekoi, but worse.

    Amakase Miharu

    da_capo137.jpg

    Time Taken: 1 - 1.5 hours

    Probably my best girl. I love Miharu so damn much. And I loved her damn route. It's everything I wanted from Nemu's route. The ending is exactly what I was looking for in Nemu's --- one that did not disregard the main conflict of the route. The build up ultimately leads to an end that is full of emotion; a satisfying conclusion to their short love story. I cried myself to sleep reading this route. It's so damn good. And the epilogue? My god! I cannot begin to imagine the pangs of pain the heart of Jun'ichi might feel seeing a stark reminder of the love story that ended as quickly as it began. Incredible.

    There's only one picture that can encompass the entirety of this route's glory.

    Spoiler

    Image result for mechanical banana

    However, as much as I loved the route and its conclusion, I still had qualms with it. First qualm focuses on the event that triggers the route --- Miharu's accident. I can't believe Jun'ichi doesn't even mention feelings of remorse for the way things transpired. She fell from a tree, and you were in a perfect position to prevent it, had you not left her to her own devices. While not directly culpable for it, it's kinda hard to imagine thoughts about 'what could have been' not surfacing every now and then. Second would probably be about the memory of their past, which led to the unearthing of the time capsule. While it is an emotionally-packed scene, I can't help but to wonder where that places the real Miharu. The feelings between the two might be real, but the promise that the real one and Jun'ichi made as kids seem to have been trampled on, and that just doesn't seem right with me. In a setting where you're trying to act as a substitute for the real one while they're out of commission, directly interfering with one of their most intimate memories kinda feels like a strike to me, because of the implications it has on the prior relationship the real Miharu and Jun'ichi had.

    Sagisawa Yoriko

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    Time Taken: 1.5 - 2 hours

    Spoiler

    Image result for kitten cherry blossoms

    It was weird, but nonetheless enjoyable. Not much to say here, because it's mostly a feel-good route. You have a catgirl, and you know she was originally a cat but you still fall in love with her. Nice. The most notable thing about her route is probably the loneliness that surrounds it near the end of the scenarios, before the epilogue. Honestly, felt a lot similar to what Miharu's route was, with how abrupt the love story ends. The difference between the epilogue of this route and Nemu's is that the epilogue is properly substantiated, grounded with enough reason (even though it's magical) to be at least a bit believable. It doesn't discard the build up of the conflict prior to it, rather, adds to its significance with the kind of character Misaki is.

    That sex scene was hella unnecessary though.

    Da Capo

    da_capo095.jpg

    So what made me like the game so much, despite all my qualms about the routes? Well, I think it's how they were able to tie in the title with the main themes of the game, such that they become more meaningful when put against one another. Da Capo, like I mentioned earlier, is essentially a repeat of the beginning, until a point where the end comes. After the end, a new segment of the music begins. This beginning at the end is the main paralleling idea behind the routes of the game (yes, even the disaster that is Mako's). Each route focuses on a particular dream, and these dreams, by the end of the route, mostly end with the death of the cherry blossom tree around May. With its end, the dream the characters live end, and a new reality begins. This idea was especially poignant in Miharu's and Yoriko's routes, where the dream with them literally ends because of how fantastical their existence is in the first place. The others also followed this pattern, with Sakura and the tree, Nemu and her illness, Kotori and her ability to read people's minds, Moe and her repeating dream, and lastly, Mako and the fake relationship (lol).

    With a game following its structure so faithfully, the experience of playing it becomes ever more meaningful because of what you can draw out from the content that it gives you. The little things you encounter in the SoL scenes become ever more meaningful with the theme of dreams and their end lingering behind your mind as your read them. Even the common route itself follows the same pattern, with the focus on graduation and the things that end with it. But as the characters say, with the end, new things begin, and it's exactly that kind of association it has with the majority of its elements that made it such a fun read. The subtleties and symbols that it shows become ever more beautiful, similar to how the cherry blossoms bloom in such an elegant manner, culminating in a shower of fleeting emotions that are rich in their passing.

    Final Thoughts

    Da Capo is far from being perfect, but it's an enjoyable experience. Fresh from the outside, Da Capo is a great VN to start with given its quirky cast, its reputation, and the way it plays with its overarching thematic elements. While full of fantastical stuff, it also doesn't fail to deliver in the romance aspect, although there are some that are quite questionable in their initiation. I'd recommend people starting out to pick it up, such that they may be better acquainted with the type of games that would follow should they decide to read more.

  15. A few days ago I watched an anime about a series of child murders. The show was pretty solid except for the fact that I was able to correctly guess the culprit the moment the show established that they were going to be more than just a minor character. Was it because the show was really bad at foreshadowing? No, except for one scene where the protagonist casually mentions that the culprit could be someone he knows. Was the character behaving suspiciously? No, they were cooperative to the point of actively sabotaging the murder attempts. Then what did they do wrong to earn my suspicions right from the beginning?

    Be a grown male authority figure with a more or less friendly relationship to the young protagonist without being related to them by blood. I'm relatively new to anime and visual novels*, and I've already seen characters fitting this description turn out to be villainous to varying degrees in about ten different titles (in one of them even twice within a few chapters).**  Some of these guys are just being forced into doing something shady because of unfortunate circumstances while some them are psychopathic monsters because the writers liked themselves some shock value. Sometimes they are only minor villains or even red herrings, sometimes they are the big bad. What most of them have in common is that they at least pretend to be helping the protagonist out to the best of their abilities while secretly using the information they get from their conversations against them. I found only one example where the character in question is female, and even then the same twist happens another time with the male one being the major villain (#feminism I guess?).

    I get why this trope is popular with writers. The culprit should be someone who has been introduced early on and appeared in a reasonable amount of scenes for their reveal not to come out of nowhere. They should be an adult to have the necessary physical, mental and financial capabilities to properly commit and cover up a crime. Having a close relationship with the protagonist is a good justification for giving them enough scenes in a story that mostly revolves around younger characters. Add to that the betrayal of the protagonist's trust and you have everything for a good dark twist.

    So in theory "the nice adult is actually a murderer" can be a very effective trope if well implemented, it's just so overused it lost most of its its element of surprise, at least to me. I suspect that the writers of some of the titles I consumed were aware of this, but instead of not utilizing the trope they took the "let's add shock value by making the bad guy psychopatically evil" route, which is something that rarely turns out well, even if you add in discussions about the nature of psychopathy. I would really love to give examples of cases where I either really liked or really hated the implementation of this trope to add a bit more substance to my rambling. But I have no idea how to discuss plot twists when even mentioning the title of the game means spoiling them, so this will have to do.

     

     

    *This twist isn't exclusive to Japanese media. For example two of the first four Harry Potter books utilize it and I played one well known western storytelling game that does as well.

    **I even went through my vndb profile and made a list to confirm this. The reason I don't share it here is obviously spoilers.

  16.  

    Sekai Project

    VN

    Start of Kickstarter

    Estimated delivery

    Actual delivery

    World End Economica

    June 2014

    May 2015

    Not yet delivered

    Clannad

    November 11th 2014

    October 2015

    March 2016

    Grisaia Trilogy

    December 2014

    October 2015

    April 2018

    Memory’s Dogma

    June 2015

    December 2016

    Not yet delivered

    The Human Reignition Project

    June 2015

    December 2016

    Not yet delivered

    Narcissu 10th Anniversary Anthology Project

    October 2015

    April 2016

    Not yet delivered

    Root Double

    January 2016

    March 2016

    November 2016

    Chrono Clock

    August 2016

    April 2017

    Not yet delivered

    A Clockwork Ley-Line

    Febuary 2017

    January 2018

    Not yet delivered

    Fatal Twelve

    March 2017

    January 2018

    November 2018

    Hoshizora No Memoria

    May 2017

    September 2018

    Not yet delivered

    Shining Song Starnova

    August 2017

    August 2018

    June 2019

    A light in the Dark

    February 2018

    June 2018

    Not yet delivered

    Tokyo Chronos

    July 2018

    April 2019

    Not yet delivered

     

    Frontwing

    VN

    Start of Kickstarter

    Estimated delivery

    Actual delivery

    Corona Blossom vol 1

    June 2016

    October 2016

    July 2019

    Corona Blossom vol 2

    September 2016

    December 2016

    July 2019

    Sharin no Kuni

    November 2016

    October 2017

    Not yet delivered

    Corona Blossom vol 3

    December 2016

    March 2017

    July 2019

    Grisaia Phantom Trigger Volume 1 and 2

    March 2017

    June 2017

    March 2019

    Grisaia Complete box

    March 2017

    Q4 2017

    Febuary 2019

    Grisaia Phantom Trigger Volume 3

    June 2017

    September 2017

    Not yet delivered

    Wonderful Everyday

    August 2017

    January 2018

    Not yet delivered

    Grisaia Phantom Trigger Volume 4

    November 2017

    April 2018

    Not yet delivered

    Momoiro Closet

    Febuary 2018

    July 2018

    Not yet delivered

    Grisaia Phantom Trigger Volume 5

    June 2018

    October 2018

    Not yet delivered

    Island

    August 2018

    December 2018

    Not yet delivered

     

     

    Sol Press

    VN

    Start of Kickstarter

    Estimated delivery

    Actual delivery

    Sakura Sakura

    August 2017

    December 2017

    Not yet delivered

    Newton and the Apple Tree

    December 2017

    May 2018

    Not yet delivered

    Irotoridori no Sekai

    Febuary 2019

    December 2021

    Not yet delivered

     

    Others

    VN

    Start of Kickstarter

    Estimated delivery

    Actual delivery

    Muv-Luv

    September 2015

    September 2016

    July 2018

    Libra of the Vampire Princess

    December 2015

    November 2016

    May 2017

    Dies Irae

    December 2016

    May 2017

    April 2018

    Koropokkur

    March 2018

    September 2018

    October 2018

    Venusblood Frontier

    September 2018

    December 2019

    Not yet delivered

    Seven Days

    September 2018

    January 2019

    Not yet delivered

    Aokana

    June 2019

    December 2019

    Not yet delivered

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    Lab Rats features over 50 sex scenes, each exploring a unique scenario.

    The author showcases mastery of the art of escalation. With the brainwashing fetish, it’s important that things progress slowly for the sake of realism. The first hour of gameplay is mostly looking but no touching!

    Use your verbal skills and skills in chemistry to make the women more comfortable with sex. Eventually, you won’t need to pump their heads full of bullshit. They’ll be horny sluts all on their own!

    Sex positions are very predictable, with missionary and doggystyle featured in the vast majority of content. Also, there are no animations, and movement is conveyed entirely via writing.

    As the girls become more corrupted, you can influence their behavior more. Will you convince your stepmom to go off her birth control? Will you convince your sister to have sex with her internet boyfriend? Will you get your professor to become a slut that takes random dick with no protection? Or do you want them to be loyal only to you?

    The huge variety of scenarios and control over your harem makes for a great porn gaming experience.

     

    Lab-Rats-Incest-Trainer-Brainwashing-Dev

    More Info Here

  17. I’m not writing this for you. I’m writing it for myself.

    今年もとある滑稽な癖に従い、伝統ありのヴァルパージス炎を観に行った。別にその滑稽な想いだけが理由でもなくが、正直な所、その想い未だ持っているだけは情けないと思う。

    I met my soulmate about a week before I started the first, transitional year of elementary school. I guess that means we were like, six or seven years old? She was sitting on the swing in the playground next to an apartment complex, and for whatever reason I was drawn to her instantly – I broke off from my parents and greeted her, and we got along like a house ablaze.

    The next time I saw her was at school. She was in my class, and it was only natural that we’d be inseparable from that point on. Or was it? There was another boy who by now I barely remember who used to be in the picture, but he moved away. I think at one point she – I guess I’ll call her M – told me I was actually her second choice, but that other boy had left, so she’d picked me. Looking back I find myself analyzing this interaction as heckin’ weird, but at the time I accepted this without feeling bad about it. I guess I used to be even more obviously autistic than I am now.

    Soulmates, for those reading who have had the misfortune of never having had one, are a real thing. It’s hard to describe the feeling of absolute, utter 乗り, of flow, I felt in her presence. Sometimes I doubt myself – did she feel the same? – and I guess by now I’ll probably never know. But there was something there I have never felt interacting with anyone else in my life.

    She and I were best friends for I think five years. For most of them, as far as I know, I was essentially a donkan eroge protagonist, going as far as openly telling other people ‘she loves me, but I don’t love her’. We were officially boyfriend and girlfriend to each other for a little while at the end, but the most intimate thing that ever happened was a hug. Technically we got best couple at a dance or something, but frankly what I did there was a performance, not *real*. So I’m left with the curious feeling that while I may have unlocked the achievement ‘kissed a girl’, though we never did do it in the French fashion, I have never done it when it truly meant something to me. I think it’s fair to say I was a late bloomer when it comes to emotional maturity, if I ever hit it.

    Eventually we slid apart, gradually, seemingly as naturally as we were first joined. Different classes and different friend circles meant we rarely met. We actually did happen to join up once again after having slid apart, however, and it felt just like to old times to me as we took a walk together. But that was it; we went to different high schools, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her since then.

    今でも彼女を会いたいなぁっと想い、毎年あの炎に行く。 Mum told me she went to IT-Gymnasiet. 毎年「やっぱり居ないなぁ」って感じで炎の原始的な美しさを楽しみながらちょっとした悔しい思いも含む状態でいる。 She talks to M’s mum sometimes, I guess. 必死染みた所もあり彼女を探して失敗して、毎度悔いの有る想いを持ちながら火を観るのも飽き、家を向いて戻り始める。

    今も会いたい。それだけだ。


    View the full article

  18. Originally posted on Pixels, Polygons, Prose.

    Another year, another NaNo. For the uninitiated, NaNoRenO (short for...nothing at all; it's a reference to NaNoWriMo) is a month-long visual novel game jam which has occurred each March since 2005. I chose not to participate myself this year, but like each year since I've gotten into visual novels, I've been looking forward to the entrants—some pretty amazing games have come out of NaNos of the past.

    I couldn't go through every single entry, but I've provided an overview of several of the completed games (no demos, sorry! I couldn't go through all 90 entries in just two weeks!). There might be some minor spoilers ahead.

    screenshot0001

    Title: Contract Demon
    Developer: NomnomNami
    Original release date: March 30, 2019
    Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
    Availability: itch.io (free/PWYW)
    Approximate time for completion: 25 minutes

    Contract Demon is a kinetic novel set in the same universe as the Treat series, Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet, and First Kiss at a Spooky Soiree, featuring demon Kamilla having to deal with the affections of (and her affections towards) the angel who keeps summoning her. Nami's stuff is always a treat to enjoy (pun not intended), and this is no exception. Contract Demon is equal parts cute, funny, and romantic, and well worth the time it takes to read it.

    screenshot0003

    Title: A HERO AND A GARDEN
    Developer: npckc
    Original release date: March 29, 2019
    Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
    Availability: itch.io (free/PWYW)
    Approximate time for completion: 2 hours (before an update which made the gameplay take less time, so it'll likely be less now)

    A HERO AND A GARDEN is a cute VN/clicker hybrid about a wannabe hero who destroyed a town of monsters while trying to rescue a princess who (unbeknownst to him) didn't want to be rescued. As penance, the "evil witch" who lives in the town has cursed him and forced him to harvest berries for the townspeople.

    The clicker mechanic is very simple, but the VN as a whole is a heartwarming experience, with the protagonist learning about the town and the monsters who live in it, and realizing that what he thought the world was like isn't really what the world is like at all.

    aftertheend

    Title: After the END
    Developer: Stomach God
    Original release date: March 28, 2019
    Platforms: Windows, Mac
    Availability: itch.io (free)
    Approximate time for completion: 30 minutes

    After the END takes place a decade after the start of a zombie apocalypse which killed or turned nearly every person in the world; protagonist BB believes they are the only person left alive and spends their time exploring the wasteland. The current town they're in has 12 houses to explore, but there's only enough time to explore 8; you're all but guaranteed to die a few times before managing to get the good ending.

    I'm not a huge fan of zombie apocalypse stories, but After the END manages its setting fairly well despite some technical issues (the "skip read text" function also skips unread text) and a few text errors.

    screenshot0001

    Title: Cooked with Love
    Developer: STARDUSTSODA
    Original release date: March 31, 2019
    Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
    Availability: itch.io (free/PWYW)
    Approximate time for completion: 30 minutes

    College student Perry (nameable) finds themself in a dilemma after they finally ask their crush Lily out—their wallet goes missing the night they planned to take her out to a fancy restaurant! They come up with the idea of a home-cooked meal instead, but Perry has never cooked before, and there's not a whole lot for them to work with. Luckily, Perry's roommate Brooks is there to provide emotional support (not during the date. That would just be weird).

    A fun, short VN with a crafting minigame and a great sense of humor, Cooking with Love is extremely polished for a jam game, featuring animations and simple customization (name entry, short/long hair, pants/skirt, he/she/they pronouns). If it weren't for its short length, I wouldn't be surprised to see something like this as a commercial game.

    One of the highlights of the game is trying out different combinations of food to see what "dishes" you get; I didn't think you could turn all that into...those.

    Also, I think I have a crush on Lily too. Oops.

    screenshot0004

    Title: Seven Seasonings
    Developer: Sleepy Agents
    Original release date: March 30, 2019
    Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
    Availability: itch.io (free/PWYW)
    Approximate time for completion: 30 minutes

    A surreal VN with a unique aesthetic and an interesting soundtrack. The game makes use of an inventory system, randomized stats, map movement, and a simple trading mechanic; I'm not entirely sure how (or if) they affect the story. Seven Seasonings is one of those stories where I'm not quite certain what happened or what any of it meant, but it provides an interesting topic to think about.

    screenshot0002

    Title: One Last Salty Kiss
    Developer: fullmontis
    Original release date: March 31, 2019
    Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
    Availability: itch.io (free/PWYW)
    Approximate time for completion: 50 minutes

    A kinetic novel about a newly-single man who finds an unconscious woman on the beach one night; what results is an emotional vignette about life, death, and the roles our memories play in our well-being. I felt the whole thing moved too fast; I'm not a fan of stories where the couple goes from zero to True Love in the space of two days.

    screenshot0035

    Title: Charles 2.0
    Developer: Team Conwolf
    Original release date: March 31, 2019
    Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android
    Availability: itch.io (free/PWYW)
    Approximate time for completion: 40 minutes

    Charles 2.0 has what's probably the best logline of the jam:

    You're the President, but you have no memories. Crap.

    Short, sweet, and to the point. This isn't an amnesia story; you're playing as a clone of Charles Denton, President of the United States, and must gather enough information about "yourself" and the country to bluff your way through a press conference without arousing any suspicion. Nobody can know that you're a clone, not even Charles' husband Lorenzo or assistant/polyamorous boyfriend Jonas. The result is a story that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout and is one of my favorites of the jam.

    screenshot0003

    Title: Enc and the Flying Machine
    Developer: TangledVirus
    Original release date: March 30, 2019
    Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
    Availability: itch.io (free/PWYW)
    Approximate time for completion: 20 minutes

    Enc and the Flying Machine tells the story of a mushroom girl tasked to write about machines. While the setting is interesting, I found the story hard to follow at times, with the occasional confusing wording. Besides that, though, it's a lighthearted story about friendship and love, and hopefully some polish on the text can help bring that out more.

    screenshot0002

    Title: RE:BURN
    Developer: Jane Titor
    Original release date: April 1, 2019
    Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
    Availability: itch.io (free/PWYW)
    Approximate time for completion: 25 minutes

    Closer to interactive fiction than a traditional visual novel, RE:BURN finds you in the shoes of Charisse LaFlamme, newly-minted part-time editor for an academic journal. One of your jobs is to delete all the old emails that have been accumulated over the past few months. However, things soon start to get really weird. The game was written by one of the writers of DemiDato, one of the projects I'm working on—but trust me, they're two very different games. RE:BURN is something closer to horror; it does a good job at unsettling you just enough to make you wonder if you're really making the right decisions.

    screenshot0002

    Title: this was for you.
    Developer: Watercress
    Original release date: April 1, 2019
    Platforms: Windows, Mac
    Availability: itch.io (free/PWYW)
    Approximate time for completion: 50 minutes

    this was for you. is one of the more technically-advanced entries of the jam, featuring lots of animations, voice acting, and general polish. Our nameable protagonist is grieving the loss of their best friend, Ji-min, whom they only knew through a VR world. While it works for its duration, it ends abruptly, without a satisfying conclusion, leaving me in a weird limbo where I don't really know if I can recommend it or not.

    screenshot0002

    Title: Robot Daycare
    Developer: Kigyo
    Original release date: March 31, 2019
    Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
    Availability: itch.io (free)
    Approximate time for completion: 1 hour 40 minutes

    One of the longer non-gameplay entries in the jam, Robot Daycare follows a trio of college students as they create and raise a robot child for an assignment. How the story goes from there is based on a handful of choices—not exactly revolutionary for visual novels, but the two paths are very different, with the good path being a story about friendship and trust and the bad path being a straight-up horror story. (Some of the descriptions in the horror path are...eurgh. No wonder there's an option to disable gory text.) Both paths are good, but in different ways, obviously.

    screenshot0002

    Title: REDD War
    Developer: Good Tales
    Original release date: March 31, 2019
    Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android
    Availability: itch.io (free/PWYW)
    Approximate time for completion: 1 hour

    Hm, so this is a story about murder being legal for 12 hours...

    No, that doesn't remind me of anything at all.

    Parallels with famous movie series aside, I just couldn't get into this one. A high school student gets caught up in a REDD War, where Earth-occupying murderous aliens are legally allowed to murder any human they want for 12 hours (whereas humans are bound by normal laws and cannot kill REDD except in self-defense). Ultimately, the "killer aliens" trope doesn't do anything for me, and I spent most of the story being vaguely uncomfortable (in a bad way). Watching two of the bloodthirsty REDD call the timid REDD a pussy over and over is just annoying (and yes, I know that the other two REDD are supposed to be unlikable, but they're not the fun kind of unlikable that makes hating them enjoyable).

    I also thought it was strange that it includes a warning for violence after the cold open where some aliens murder a guy in cold blood.

    screenshot0001

    Title: Alice in Stardom
    Developer: Crystal Game Works
    Original release date: April 1, 2019
    Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android
    Availability: itch.io, Steam (free)
    Approximate time for completion: 1 hour 40 minutes

    The best part of Alice in Stardom is the writing during the performances themselves (aside from the pointless minigame); everything else is hit-or-miss. I had a hard time getting into the entire concept thanks to my distaste for idols, made stranger by the decision to set the story in what appears to be the USA in 2019, where the idol culture Alice in Stardom depicts really doesn't exist (source: I live in the USA in 2019).

    I'm a bit confused by the minigame. I failed it the first few times since the game doesn't explain what you're supposed to do (click on the lyrics in the order in which they appear). It doesn't really add anything except making going for your second/third route take a couple minutes longer.

    Additionally, the "romance" is limited to about three lines (total, across all three routes, although the end of Taylor's route can be interpreted as romantic subtext). There's nothing wrong with a story about friendship or friendship-that-could-lead-to-romance—but I think it makes the "lesbian" and "yuri" tags on itch more than a bit misleading.

    screenshot0007

    Title: Mnemonic Devices
    Developer: Minyan
    Original release date: April 2, 2019
    Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
    Availability: itch.io (free)
    Approximate time for completion: 1 hour 30 minutes

    I'm generally not a huge fan of the amnesia trope, but Mnemonic Devices has one of the more interesting takes on it that I've seen: the (customizable) protagonist (default name Quinn) eventually finds out that they are actually an extremely advanced android assassin, whose current mission is to kill corrupt hot-shot lawyer Caesar Rivera—who also happens to be Quinn's husband. (They had to get close to him to gather information on him, you see.) The person who breaks the news to you is Quinn's partner Alto, who does a really bad job of hiding how madly in love with them he is.

    The game itself, however, does a really good job at balancing both routes to make them equally satisfying, although I personally preferred Alto's route. There's a lot of moral ambiguity regarding whether or not to kill Caesar; the game doesn't really say that either is more or less right than the other, though they lead to different endings depending on which route you're on.

  19. I've been seeing people wondering about Daitoshokan's translation, so I'm making this compilation of screenshots just to show what the experience is like in English.

    The further down you go, the further into the game you are. But these screenshots are all from the first half of the common route and earlier, so I wouldn't worry terribly.

    Spoiler

    Wp3x0WY.png

    Incidentally, the advice was that if you give an inch, they'll take a mile; or all the space in the train, as it were.

    QjdHEYT.png

    I mean, what else would a student be doing in a Geology class? Wait, this was actually a Math class?

    uLdz69f.png

    Finally a game I can empathise with.

    t8KgsEy.png

    Thank you for your help picking up the rubbish with us. Goodbye.

    cCRWXQz.png

    Being able to read your book whilst executing any task or walking anywhere is a genuine skill, Ms. Suzuki!

    azdzAHP.png

    Bless you.

    QEO7KwK.png

    I don't even like oysters.

    kdBfrhu.png

    I've met the character in question. Can confirm.

    gh3BVsU.png

    The face of innocence.

    l8tBtWK.png

    Operation: "Call her tiny"

    g7Q47WR.png

    What slander.

    T6hvZDW.png

    Sluggo is lit 8)

    SqOHuOF.png

    You have my tacit agreement.

    qWSBqhc.png

    Everyone has a limit to what they can take, and she has unfortunately reached it...

    C9tJOYG.png

    Common sense? What's that? Can you eat it?

    bzg1TZB.png

    We needed to fill our quote of quintessentially Japanese conversations.

    5HhdSK3.png

    Whatever. Femininity isn't worth this...

    JoMRnbx.png

    Today's youth is hitting tragic levels of cynicism.

    Ui3zXs3.png

    These things happen... you know.

    p4LkOUt.png

    I love the member(s of the Library Club).

    cqlp6wH.png

    Alas... Farewell, Reggie.

    I587pH0.png

    The (not tiny) face of innocence.

    oi75I12.png

    People should fix their habits of asking questions before thinking.

    s1lM487.png

    Sakuraba is the manliest in the room at any point. Including in the toxic depravity. Down girl!

    GeB8WnX.png

    A nice, polite talk between nice, polite girls.

    4je4p9L.png

    I do love a protagonist capable of talking back.

    noDUc5j.png

    How he is loved by his junior.

    A story in two parts:

    kBhyUQ4.png

    boCqVi2.png

     

    Ms. Suzuki has the dubious honour of sharing the butt monkey position with Takamine:

    m0So7BE.png

    9JarZx9.png

    DwwcFkN.png

    But it's not like she isn't crazy enough to bring it on herself.

    U0o4jWz.png

    I feel like I'm on the cusp of a realisation... but... what is it...?

    HHcEpeL.png

    Croak

    I think the VN is super fun, and really, that's all I care about, to be honest.

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    This is the prologue of the book I'm currently writing (though, given my procrastinating habits, it will never see the light of day). 

     

    It was a foggy night on the research center docks. A front came through during the day, dropping the temperature and raising the humidity. As a result, the ferry to the mainland was forced to delay for a night, and the ‘guests’ scheduled to leave were forced to stay for another night.

    Unfortunate for the slightly overweight security guard watching the entrance to the restricted sections of the center, not so unfortunate for his assailant.

    The middle-aged white man with the brown beard never saw the small clawed hand that swept across his throat, opening it in a spray of arterial blood that splattered across the bulletproof glass of his station.

    Uzume, his killer, wiped her bloodied fingers off on his clothing, shoving his still warm hand down on the biometric pad in front of his corpse to give authorization for the temporary security ID she’d set the system to print. A small plastic card with a magnetic strip and another, much older, woman’s face on it slid out of the output socket and into her other hand.

    With no visible emotion, her glowing golden eyes regarded the corpse for a moment before she vanished into the mists, gliding through them toward the restricted building.

    Uzume’s features were elfin and delicate, showing traces of her mother’s land of origin, but what truly stood out were the two triangular furred ears sticking out of her pitch black hair, flicking back and forth as they caught faint noises in the distance. The two sinuous furred tails emerging from just above her buttocks only gave more evidence to her inhumanity, if the eyes were not a dead giveaway.

    The catlike demihuman moved with a grace and speed that no human could match, killing each security guard she came across with perfect strikes of her clawed hands, leaving their corpses to cool on the concrete. The client specified havoc and slaughter, and she had every intention of giving him just that.

    When she finally reached the outermost doors, she slid her new ID card through the reader, causing the thick metal door to click open and swing outward. She slid inward and rushed the guard standing just inside before he could cry an alarm, slamming her left palm into his belly to prevent him from crying out before thrusting her right index finger into his left eye, using the grip this gave her on his head to draw the head back to bear the throat, which she bit into without a second’s hesitation, ripping his throat out with her razor sharp canines.

    The taste of salty, warm human blood upon her tongue threatened to send her in to a state of excitement, but she forced it downward with the same iron will that allowed her to survive her life so far. She dropped the human to the ground at her feet, pocketing his sidearm for later use, along with his two spare magazines of 9mm ammunition.

    In the next room, she found another guard sleeping, and, using the claw at the end of her right index finger, precisely pierced his voice box without harming the nearby arteries, ensuring he wouldn’t be able to cry out an alarm. Two slashes of her claws separated the tendons at the elbow, and she jammed the edge of her hand into the wound before using a spell to force-heal it, sealing the skin, flesh, and bone around the damage without undoing it. She couldn’t afford for him to die just yet, but she didn’t want him able to struggle effectively.

    With impossible strength, she dragged him to the nearby biometric scanner , forcing him to activate the combination palm print and retinal scan, opening the doorway into the center’s inner sanctum.

    With the same carelessness a child gives to a discarded toy, she snapped his neck and dropped him to the floor, flowing through the open doorway before it could shut.

    There was no guard at the station inside. Unsurprising, as by all accounts the facility’s security budget was cut by the current project manager only weeks before. The assault rifle armed guards on the grounds and the two layers of biometric scanners probably seemed more than enough to prevent intrusion in the eyes of a scientist.

    A young woman, most likely in her mid-twenties, stepped out of a nearby room, rubbing bleary eyes, her labcoat stained with chemicals that smelled sour to Uzume’s oversensitive nose. Without hesitation, Uzume slammed her right palm into the woman’s nose, forcing her back into the room she left, even as she drove stiffened clawed fingers deep into her belly, tearing through her innards viciously, shredding her stomach and ripping deeply into her left lung.

    Seeing two other scientists behind the woman, looking stupefied, she leapt over the woman with a display of inhuman agility and tore the face off one, twisting in midair to hit the metal wall feet first before launching herself to tear the throat out of the other. The gurgling noises of the dying were all that signified the three terrible blows dealt, and Uzume noted that she had cut half of face-torn one’s tongue out, causing him to choke on his own blood.

    With a sigh, she slammed the heel of her booted foot into his throat, crushing his trachea. His eyes were gone, but a witness was a witness.

    Uzume’s form-concealing black clothing was already soaked with blood, and her face was splattered with it, especially around her mouth. She took a moment to use the dying woman’s labcoat to wipe the worst of it off of her face before moving on in perfect silence.

    She also wiped the caked blood off of her claws with a white cloth as she continued making her way through the facility, stopping at each room to kill those within in perfect silence. Most didn’t even have time to react before their corpses hit the floor, and that was no surprise. The speed with which she moved was beyond the human ability to react, to the point where two or three were usually dead before any remaining individuals within realized something had happened. Uzume’s kind lay outside the realm of human common sense, which was why they were so effective at work like this.

    It took her almost an hour to clean out the accessible areas of the facility, literally painting the walls red in places. Going back through the facility, she used the drying blood of her victims to write a series of symbols on the wall of each room before heading for the way out.

    As she reached the door she came in through, she activated the spells with a thought, and flames burst into being throughout the facility, erupting from the blood within, burning everything, starting a conflagration that would gain the attention of the rest of the facility as a whole within moments. Unfortunately for anyone investigating the incident, there wouldn’t be enough material evidence remaining to get even the vaguest idea of what had happened.

    Uzume stripped naked, tossing her clothing and boots into the flames inside without a second thought, gliding back into the mists with the same grace and silence she’d displayed upon arrival.

    As she left the grounds, her body shifted, the ears and tail melting away, her metallic golden eyes becoming a mundane brown, the blood in her hair and on her skin vanishing as it was consumed as an afterthought to power the shift.

    So it was that a young human woman named Uzume, an unremarkable half-Japanese woman knelt down in a group of bushes and dressed in the plain school uniform she’d used to gain access to the island. There was no sign of the terrible grace and horrifying brutality she’d shown only minutes before in the slow, shuffling gait of the woman that remained behind, though their elfin features were the same.

    She made her way back to the employee dorms ‘her class’ was staying in without the least sign of guilt or concern, for all the world as if she really were the young student she appeared to be…

  20. Hello. I am the guy who wrote that review of Little Busters that everyone hated because I did not like the game. Those poor people are doing just fine, however, even with my evil, vile, disgusting review out there still. I, on the other hand, have never been worse off. You see, I've been overwhelmed with guilt. I feel bad for what I did. I took a beloved visual novel, one that has changed the lives of many people, and slandered it with my negative review. Then I continued to ride that infamy I gained into relevancy allowing my hatred of Little Busters! to manifest itself as a false representation of my true opinion of it, much like I am doing right this moment. 

    The truth about my time with Little Busters! is that I enjoyed the VN. It had some bad routes (like all of them) and had a really unremarkable ending. But can I say I did not enjoy my time reading it? Not really. The 24 hour stream was a blast, and subsequent streams were a lot of fun, especially when people were involved in the jokes and discussion of the routes as I read them. For example, Lewycool's Sexy Seagull Legs during Mio's route was light in an otherwise forgettable, boring route (protip: a character with no personality other than "I like books" is not a recipe for a fun route) and allowed me to actually have fun with the route. Likewise, discussions of Kurugaya's Balloon Tits carrying me off into the sky made her Bill Murray wannabe route more enjoyable. Refrain was a blast to read right up until the ending. I didn't hate Rin and simply wished we saw far more development from her than what we got. She was a fun character. 

     

    The experience of reading Little Busters! was good. I had a good time. While my opinions on Little Busters! remain the same, that it is a bad VN (not horrid at least), I do not regret the time I spent on it and I sometimes wish I could read it over again on stream with everyone like I did before. 

     

    So, I owe everyone an apology. I'm sorry your favorite VN is so shit I had to bring in friends to enjoy it instead. I can't wait to get my hands on the official Rewrite release in 600 years. 

    Also, a review of an InvertMouse VN is coming very soon to this blog near you, assuming I'm not blocked first. 

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