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  1. Backgrounds are sometimes overlooked when we play visual novels. I for one am guilty of this, so today I would like to, well, I guess you can say repent.

    When you have multiple illustrators, there is always a chance your art styles will clash. The easiest solution, of course, would be to feature a single artist in your project. In reality, however, other concerns come into play. Schedules, motivation, workload—there are many factors to juggle.

    In The Last Birdling, I have opted for a relatively safe route. That is, to feature different artists for the backgrounds and characters. Since these elements are quite separate, it makes clashes less likely.

    Tooaya is The Last Birdling’s artist, while Juliestorybored is our background illustrator. As the assets trickled in, we first put together a test to make sure the elements fit:

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    Lighting changes based on the time of day, so we must have all our bases covered:

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    Once the test is complete, we can proceed with production:

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    I prefer not to use language like “my team” or “my artist”. Once someone joins the team, we are in this together. When it was time to design Tayo’s village, Julia took the lead and did a great job:

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    The Last Birdling has been in production for two years. During that time, I often study other visual novels for inspiration. The Starcraft VN caught my interest back when it first released. I was particularly awestruck by the city nightscape that animated into place:

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    My previous project, Cursed Sight, featured backgrounds painted by the talented Tooaya. However, none of them animated during the game:

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    As I learn from other creators, I apply those lessons into future projects. In The Last Birdling, I have coded CGs and backgrounds that contain parallax animations, which work especially well for long distance shots:

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    Sometimes I am tempted to say my ideas are my own. If I ever claim that in the future, you can call me out for being a liar. I am a fan as much as anyone, so I will always be a student first.

    Thank you for reading!

    • 1. Aa! Megami-sama! VNDB
    • 2. Hatsukoi Monogatari VNDB
    • 3. Marine Philt VNDB

     

    1. Aa! Megami-sama! VNDB

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    Based on the anime series Ah! My Goddess, the game follows the story of a Japanese high-school student named Keiichi, who has accidentally summoned the powerful, yet very lovely Norse goddess Verdandi (mercilessly misspelled Belldandy in the game) and pronounced a wish to stay with her forever. Now the gorgeous goddess has become a part of his life, and the two find themselves involved in constant misunderstandings and comical situations, yet also develop feelings for each other...

    There are several nice English reviews here.

     

     

    2. Hatsukoi Monogatari VNDB

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    An ordinary Japanese student finds a floppy disk on the street; using his computer to load data from it, he miraculously summons Foltjunia, an intergalactic warrior who fights evil in her robotic armor with three companions. However, Foltjunia has lost her powers and as a result stays with the hero, giving him advice as to how to conquer the love of a schoolmate.

    Game Technopolis games have always been weird AND bad. It's not an exception, as usual. Biggest flaw lies with the system. SLG elements are overflowing for a sim. Text usually takes half of the screen, images are small. BGM is monotonous. Mouse is not responsive... In this raising sim... you're even raising the protagonist to suit the girl. Maybe it was novelty and all, but production values were not nearly high enough to enjoy it.

     

      3. Marine Philt VNDB

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    In the first half of the 21st century, humanity started building space satellites, trying to sustain the working conditions in outer space by using a drug known as Marine Philt. Eventually the project was abandoned. One of the deserted satellites fell onto the Earth, causing a radioactive accident that forced the inhabitants of Neo Tokyo to dwell underground. One day, a young man named Seed heard a news report about a gruesome murder that occurred in a research facility. Together with his friends, Seed ventures into the building, only to discover another horrifying result of the satellite crash, which may put the entire city in immense danger.

    Several English reviews here give quite a vivid description of what this game is about.

  2. Kouyoku no Soleil was the first Soleil game I ever played... and from a purely action perspective, it was fun... but it lacked something from my perspective because so much of the game is steeped in pre-existing knowledge from the other games (literally, this game pulls stuff in from Shirogane, Gouen, Soukyuu, and even Primary). 

    Basically, this story starts with the Norns fighting one another over what to do about the original Norse Mythology world, which hasn't moved on from the moment the fate they predicted came to a close.  Touya, the protagonist of the story, meets the Norn of the Past, Urd and ends up getting dragged into her affairs as she tries to find the Valkyrie who was supposed to spark the new world into existence.  In the process, he bonds with the clutzy newbie valkyrie Rinasoel, ends up partnering with the magical girl (from Primary's world) Palfina, is repeatedly plagued by attempted sexual assaults by the firebird youkai from the Ayakashi realm named Yatohime, and ends up in a rather odd friendship with the girl beloved of the Lovecraftian Old Ones, Celaeno.  

    This really... varied cast comes together because the world he lives in, the 'central' world, is a nexus of dozens of worlds, which in turn have connections to yet other worlds (though distant), thus leading to a rather chaotic situation.  Making it worse is the giant immaterial sword plunged into the central world, which stands silently in the background for much of the story.

    To be straight about it, Touya is, like most of the protagonists in this series, a serious philanderer.  He falls in love and has sex with all the heroines I mentioned above, and he is rather passionate...  unfortunately, he is also rather incapable of the fidelity some of the more jealous ones (such as Rina and Palfina) desire.  Touya is devoted to protecting Kukuri, the hikikomori girl who is also his landlord and his boss for his part-time job at the convenience story.  His soft side is most often shown with her, in an almost fatherly manner.  He is strong and violent but highly protective of those he cares about and pretty compassionate, though he does have an immense potential for destruction.  His right arm can transform into a beast-like claw, which he can channel power through to sever anything, whether material or immaterial.

    This VN is a kinetic novel  - save that it has bad endings - for the most part, with only one storyline, and that is probably its biggest saving grace, because it didn't share out the story between a bunch of routes that probably would have not been nearly as satisfying as it was.  Upon my second playthrough, I honestly felt that the game deserved a higher rating, since I now possessed the background knowledge necessary to enjoy it fully, lol.

  3. After much deliberation, we get Bethly's answer!

    Spoiler

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    "I'm sorry."

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    "It doesn't mean I dislike you... I don't dislike you..."

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    "But... this is not my country" (TL note: this is probably wrong and I'm shit)

    A few days later it's time to clean the pool again (apparently it's already been a year since the route started) and this time lots of people come to help, including Yuzuki but not Bethly (because she was told that there are enough volunteers this time so girls don't need to help...)

    While cleaning the pool Yuzuki figures out that Yukito confessed to Bethly, and he tells her that he did indeed and she said no.

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    "So you're giving up?"

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    "Giving up... I guess I have no choice"

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    "You can't give up!"

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    "If you really like her you can't give up!"

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    "Well, what do you want me to do? I have no choice but to give up..."

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    "Bethly-san doesn't dislike you, right?"

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    "So you can't give up..."

    Nice to see she's being so supportive of her onii-chan's happiness

    Later that day Yukito talks to his dad and step-mom

    Spoiler

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    "I have something to tell you... or rather ask of you..."

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    "What is it all of a sudden... oh, do you want a bigger allowance?"

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    "No, it's about my career choice, or rather..."

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    "It has to do with my entire future"

    ... and fade to black. I can only assume he plans to kidnap Bethly and wants his parents to bail him out of jail... either that, or he's planning on moving to Canada.

    Skip to the end of the year

    Spoiler

    Christmas party at Bethly's place!

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    "Merry Christmas!"

    Haven't seen Mizu-nee in literally a year :makina:

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    "By the way, where is your dad?"

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    Brian: "I'm manning the kitchen today. Look, is the turkey baked yet?" (TL note: again, I suck, also despite being written in Japanese her dad only speaks English so he actually said it in English... they were just too lazy to translate it to English I guess)

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    "What did your dad say?"

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    "He said he's manning the kitchen. Thank you, Brian"

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    "You understood what Brian was saying?"

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    "Huh? I just got the feeling that that's what he said"

    You liar, you've been practicing :sachi:

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    Brian: "Relax and enjoy yourselves today"

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    "Hey, understood him this time! Enjoy, OK!"

    Her route is definitely next, in case I hadn't mentioned that :Kappa:

    When it's time to leave Hina has a super important question

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    "Hey, what do Canadians do when saying goodbye?"

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    "Well... they hug and kiss each other on the cheek..."

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    "Everyone, let's do it!"

    She just wants to smooch her senpai :makina:

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    "I think I'll refrain"

    This guy is literally the opposite of a harem protag

    Later on Yuzuki runs off to Hina's place because she forgot something and Yukito and Bethly go find her... and stop to make a snowman along the way.

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    "About earlier..."

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    "Hugging and kissing [on the cheek]"

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    "Well, between boys and girls... maybe in Canada nobody cares, but here everybody cares"

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    "In Canada, nobody cares"

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    "And there's nobody here..."

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    "Close your eyes, okay?"

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    "Of course"

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    "But my cheek is pretty cold"

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    "That doesn't matter..."

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    "I slowly closed my eyes"

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    This seems like a pretty good stopping point for now :^)

  4. HEY YOU, YES YOU!

    Are you sad?

    Are you single and isnt likely to get a relationship in the foreseeable future?

    Are you sad that you cant pleasure yourself to chinese powerpoints more without getting sore?

    Can you look at this picture and think "this is definitely me"?

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    WELL FEAR NOT MOTHERFUCKER, SUMI-NEE IS HERE.

     

    But now you might ask "but kawasumi-san, my crippling depression is not gonna go away just because you tell me to go out and get a fucking life". But fret not, you can safely read further because this is not what we're going through today. Today its about something different

    JUST IMAGINE FOR A SECOND:

    CUMMING OVER AND OVER AGAIN WITHOUT GETTING SORE

    GO FULL AHEGAO LIKE THE GIRLS IN YOUR FAVORITE PORN GAMES

    CUM MORE THAN YAMATO IN MAJIKOI IN JUST ONE SESSION

    THIS SOUNDS FUCKING GREAT RIGHT? 

    It does and if you think otherwise you're lying to yourself 276430459775221763.png

    ARE YOU READY FOR THE BIG SECRET?

    THE ULTIMATE TIP?

     YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT YOU ARE AND ITS

    Spoiler

    ANAL MASTURBATION OF FUCKING COURSE

    Now, before I loose you, lets look at some pros and cons! :mare: 

    pros:

    1. It feels fucking amazing, you will NEVER achieve something like this with just polishing the pole

    2. Massaging your prostate actually reduces the risk of cancer

    3. Multiple orgasms, youll be able to cum over and over again from the same spot and your thirst will never quench completely, thus the ahegao cycle begins

    cons:

    1. some are not able to obtain an orgasm through this and I feel legit really sorry for you if this is you in this case (and if you havent tried but you somehow "know" then no, no you dont you faggot, go do it)

    2. it also takes time, it will feel good but mostly wierd the first time, then it will feel better and better and better. The more you do it, the better it will be

    but now you might ask "but sumi-sankunchansama thats fucking gay"

    You also know whats fucking gay? PLAYING JAPANESE PORN GAMES.

    people also think that its gross, but lets be real here, what about those nachos you have stashed in the corner of your room and havent touched for months? yep, I know.

    With that cleared out lets get started shall we?

    The prostate is what you wanna aim for here , its a little lump thats located between the bladder and the penis and is about the same size as a walnut (if not, then you should go see a doctor ASAP).

    As you might have seen in your filthy hentai doujins, theres a lot of nice toys to massage this little wonder in your anus, BUT.all you need are your hands, you can even wear plastic gloves if you cant get over your bacteria fear (I personally do enema's but its tiresome gotta admit lol). 

    now for lube, if you're an organic fag like me you wanna use water lube, simply because its just fucking water, but oil based is better if you wanna go at it for hours (also water based lube dries the entrance out if you use it a bit and needs to be put on more frequently so yeah)

    Do you remember that little thing you do with your hand? like you're using your middle fingers and grinding them upwards? yes that. just stick your fingers up there and grind away! Massage that damn thing like its the only thing that matters, grab your favorite porn game, play around with your willy a little, whatever works.

    YES, ITS ACTUALLY THIS FUCKING SIMPLE.

    now go out on your new glorious prostate massaging adventure, you might even like it so much that you're  going to end up like me

    if you end up liking it too much you might also end up like this guy, but lets face it, youll never get a gf anyway so you dont have anything to loose anyway :sachi: 

    Now go out and make your onee-san proud and fap with your ass to your hearts content!

     

  5. What would say if I told you that my pure self likes a VN about raising a slave?
    Let me explain my rationale.

    I have found that, in stories, one of the things I like most is "helping/curing" characters in whatever way possible, and that that help distinctly affects the person in question.
    This directly translates to my favourite types of heroines: Kuuderes and Tsunderes. Haruka in Never7 is a girl who is not particularly good at communicating, but the entirety of her route is spent on fixing that, with a good dose of love involved. To this day, that route is still one of my favourites. Tsugumi in Ever17 is yet another example of a character who slowly learnt to trust, through the power of hard work, abusing others, and love. That makes for another favourite character. And the pattern repeats for most of these archetypes. It's not a matter of "cool beauties" or some such nonsense, it's a matter of helping them and curing them of their problems.

    "Curing" isn't the only factor. "Causing change" is a pretty big factor in and of itself, an characters with great character development as a result of love always spark my interest. Most of the time, said 'development' ends up being an increase in happiness, which leads to some pretty dodgy 'development' that can basically be classified as turning the girl into a nymphomaniac.
    And its when you get to this extreme that some of the 'darker', more problematic sides of my preferences come out. When what I'm looking for is the process of "curing" a character, there's nothing that necessarily forbids breaking said character in the first place. And indeed, in some stories I've read the 'plot' involved getting the characters addicted to sex, and then learning moderation, which is a twisted way of interpreting the whole thing, but very much within my strike zone. First there's a heavy "change", and then some "healing".

    This leads to my fondness for games like Rance and Bunny Black. For the most part, Rance's objectives lie in increasing women's favour, leading to him helping them, and eventually having them fall in love with him. Otherwise, he can also cause a problem for the girl, and then fix it, or even force himself upon the person until they learn to love him. All means to an end, and a rather pleasing end -- making the woman happy, helping her in the process. Whilst there are many examples to call forth in the Rance series, the first one to come to mind is the sex slave you can get in Kichkuou Rance. There, you get the option to rehabilitate her. And the whole process is a painful/happy experience, with her finally attaining happiness at the end. But Rance can also leave me hanging, such as Elizabeth at the end of Rance VI. Bunny Black works the same way, with a gentlemany-ish protagonist who may force himself upon women, but causes deep change within them. Even if it is turning them into nymphomaniacs... The idea is very clearly depicted in the character events. Initially they show a terrible hatred, which turns into dislike and slowly blossoms into love. Not in a pure way, most of the time (they just want sex), but it's something. Some of them fall in love with the "gentleness", which is a ridiculous notion as we're talking about rape here, but those are also some of the purest feelings.

    Which is why one of my favourite stories is definitely one about taking care of a slave who was previously badly treated. This gives one the opportunity to "rehabilitate" the person, teaching them that they're allowed to sleep on a bed, to wear good clothing, to eat a decent meal, to express themselves, to love. The character, then, undergoes deep change and growth, and it's all for the 'good'. There's also the option of causing change through sex, if you'd prefer that way. The same developer also made a VN about a bullied girl, who you treat well and 'rehabilitate/fix her life', which basically plays with the same ideas.
    It certainly is twisted that one would abuse (not in a physical sense) a person with mental scars to manipulate their emotions into liking us, who is helping her, but this fits nicely within my likes, and it's also good for the person, and also causes them to be happier. All's well that ends well, I say.

    If you want to bring my tastes to a better light, then you have Kamidori. Kamidori is, in many ways, a story about changing for the better. It is the story of a young alchemist who, through his hard work, attempts to make his city a better place and attempts to help all around him, including the 'monsters' and 'unknown beings', changing all of them, both humans and other races, so that they learn to live with one another. By helping these many races he lands, of course, all the cute girls, but that's only a side bonus.

     

    So then, do you know of any stories/VNs with these characteristics? I take on everything. For instance, the other day I was considering one of those dungeon games where the protagonist gets raped by monsters, except apparently the monsters really started to like him and end up following him.

  6. Visual Novel Translation Status (06/17/2017)

    For the title, since we had Arietta from Symphonic Rain was together with Chris I decided to gave Arietta the title 'The Rain Woman' because it's called Symphonic Rain after all lol (I knew it isn't raining in the CG). Or if you want to be more precise it's because of Arietta's seiyuu (Mai Nakahara, Moogy's favorite seiyuu by the way) was also voiced Juvia back at Fairy Tail (Also Rena from Higurashi franchise and Nagisa from Clannad), who also had the title 'The Rain Woman'. So I decided to give a seiyuu joke for the title this week, and with title matter done welcome to my belated VNTS Review for this week. As for this week, the release of Symphonic Rain was good enough to me although if I may give my opinion objectively, it's actually quite redundant because we already had the translation from back at 2010 iirc. But it's still nice though that we finally had it officially localized there. Other than Symphonic Rain official release, this week was had less usual updates from fan translation and also one important announcement. For now let's see what this week had, shall we.

    For Sekai, there's no updates from them although there's Hoshimemo Kickstarter though in which it was gathered around 69,000 with 65 hours left (So maybe Eternal Heart was impossible, although there's always last burst though in which it might be possible to reach 75,000 for Eternal Heart). From JAST, there's also a statement that apparently right now they finished translating Katahane remake and right now they're editing and QC-ing it. While it sounds good, considering that it's JAST I think it's still impossible if we expect 2017 release from them (They expect that Katahane remake will be released at 2017 back at last year AX iirc). So I think it's better to expect some delay from them if I may suggest here, although to be fair delay was quite common though in regard of game release. Oh, an by the way it's confirmed that Flower Summer episode was still at around halfway translated, so it'll be impossible as well like Katahane to expect 2017 release if we looking at how JAST work on VN Translation in the past. 

    Fan Translation

    As for fan translation here, first of all we had usual updates from both of nukige. For Sansha Mendan right now it was at three quarter translated (75.8% translated), while for Venus Blood Chimera it was at 37% as of now (Once again I didn't care for those two, but nonetheless good luck to those two projects there). For Majokoi looks like there's some incident that caused the QC progress dropped significantly so right now it was at 28.8% QC-ed for the new QC progress, although it might better expect the progress may change in the future. By the way as for the incident I could think several reason for that, but right now I definitely not in the mood to using Penelope's Web reasoning like Mr Poltroon did. So once gain in regard of Majokoi I'll just wait and see here. For Koiken Otome fandisc, I admit that the percentage was hard to see but actually it had some progress and right now 1,644 lines was translated (Or to be exact Shiho's route was at one third (33%) translated). We also had Konora Restoration project was finished the translation with only two scripts left to edit, and after that it's QC and make a patch so maybe it'll be released in near future (Hopefully).

    For the rest of usual updates, right now we had Eustia in which it was at almost 16% (15.94%) translated with Fione's arc was at a quarter translated, 9.90% edited with common arc was fully edited, and 9.09% TLC-ed (With Eris's arc was at 8.19% TLC-ed and common arc was at 87.01% TLC-ed). About Loverable, as usual they still give some nice updates and right now it was at almost three quarter translated (74.33% translated), 43.64% TLC-ed, and one fifth (20.37%) TLC-ed. For more detail in regard of Loverable translation progress, right now Chinatsu route was finished the translation progress and they started working on Nanako's route which right now it was at 19% translated. For the last update from fan translation, we had Tsurezure released Tsujidou common route patch which translated the first part of the common route here and unfortunately there's no progress at this week (Hopefully there'll be at next week). About the patch, they want to do some experiment in regard of the slang translation so it might be good to get if you curious about that.

    I think that's all for the fan translation section.

    Other

    As for this section, other than after-mentioned Symphonic Rain there's Libra in which they already got the release date. The new release date for Libra was at June 20th according to this Kickstarter update. So perhaps it'll be good if one already did looking forward to buying that on Steam, although one should be wary about the translation though because it was quite bad and some user complaint about that here. Apparently it was just some moege mixed with chuunige although it's had better ratio to chuunige though compared to Koiken Otome, but if I may give some suggestion here it would be better don't expect Dies Irae caliber chuunige from Libra.

    For Symphonic Rain, once again we did had fan translated release at 2010 according to VNDB so actually it was quite redundant release once again. Despite that, this is actually official release in which was available through Steam. With this release done, maybe we'll gonna see more Kogado VN at Steam in the future if Degica managed to keep the pattern for years to come. But then again, it could be wrong though if we talk about the prediction there. As for the VN itself, it should be very obvious if one talk about that because it's already well known with VN fan, and of course was already discussed several times. Anyway, the fame of Symphonic Rain itself was came from the music itself which apparently was quite good and most importantly it was also had rhythm minigame there. For my last word in regard of Symphonic Rain, my condolence to the composer Ritsuko Okazaki who actually already dead back at this VN release (2004) and the music in Smyphonic Rain was her last works to be precise.

    That's all for this week, and sorry for being late here. See you next week.

  7. I dont read VNs for shit atm so this is basically just shameless self promotion. enjoy some sweaty ass lo-fi animuh beatz I made

     

  8. DBX13auXkAAxvnd.jpg

    MangaGamer will release free uncensor patches for future Steam releases of eroge, following the lead of MiKandi JP and English indie developers.

    MangaGamer commits to free uncensor patches for Steam releases

    Discussion thread

    From MangaGamer's official blog:

    Quote

    [...] we managed to reach an understanding with Valve regarding patches.

    Going forward it will be our general policy to provide free content patches for all Steam releases whenever possible where there are content differences between versions. Technical issues or contractual obligations with specific developers may make patching not possible for specific titles, but we will do our utmost to ensure that doesn’t happen. Should patching not be an option for a relevant title, we will inform you before it goes on sale.

    We will be working to update some of our existing Steam titles with content patches in the future; however, as our previous Steam releases were designed as separate versions, it may not be immediately possible for some older releases. [...]

  9. *This post contains no spoilers!

    Before starting this post, I suppose that I should give a brief introduction and summary for Subarashiki Hibi ~Furenzoku Sonzai (Our Wonderful Everyday ~Discontinuous Existence). However, Asceai in his review of the VN probably gave the best and most condensed summary for this fairly complicated story. So I will borrow his words:

    “Subarashiki Hibi is a story told in six chapters. The chapters are of varying lengths and structure, but for the most part, they cover the month of July 2012 from a number of different perspectives.

    The story begins in chapter #1, 'Down the Rabbit-Hole" on July 12, 2012. The protagonist; Minakami Yuki; lives a peaceful everyday life with Tsukasa and Kagami; her childhood friends; when one day she meets a mysterious girl, Takashima Zakuro (a girl in another class in Yuki's school, who seems to have met Yuki before but Yuki does not remember this).

    The next day, she learns that Takashima Zakuro has killed herself. Rumors in school are abuzz about predictions of the end of the world in 2012 - one of which is a Web site called the "Web Bot Project", a network of crawlers designed to harness the 'collective unconsciousness' to make predictions.

    A boy in Yuki's class named Mamiya Takuji stands up and makes an apocalyptic prediction, stating that the world will end on the 20th, and that Zakuro's death was the first sign. He speaks of an event he dubs "the Last Sky", where the world will be destroyed and reborn.

    The clock is ticking and more people die as the prophesied date draws closer and closer while Yuki attempts to get to the bottom of the identity of Mamiya Takuji, the Web Bot Project and the Last Sky.”

     

    Although this is a highly accurate plot summary of Suba Hibi that avoids spoilers, what a prospective reader of Suba Hibi should also know, is that the story is divided into two parts. The two parts are fundamentally interlinked, but are also kept separate. And it is this aspect of the visual novel that really defines it as a masterpiece. There is the part of the work that is a story, and then there is the part that is a philosophical work. Both parts are handled excellently well, and mix together in a fascinating and integral way. Simply, these chapters: Down the Rabbit Hole 2, It's My Own Invention, Looking-Glass Insects, Jabberwocky, Which Dreamed it, Jabberwocky 2, and the first two epilogues are a complete story. The VN very well could have been just these parts, and it would have been a damn good work of art. And yet, the visual novel is not just these parts. Down the Rabbit Hole 1, End Sky 2, and all the scenes with Ayana throughout all the chapters are included as well. And by virtue of just being there, it forces the reader to question why? These parts add nothing to the actual narrative of the story, and yet it is these parts that mark the very start and the very end of the story. With a mysterious girl named Ayana showing up periodically throughout the story to remind us not to get too caught up in the events of the story. That while the narrative part of the story is fascinating, and very easy to get lost in. There is a whole deeper layer to everything going on that we will only get a clue of at the very end.

    Down the Rabbit-Hole 1, which I will refer to as Chapter 0, gets a lot of flak for being considered a weak start to an otherwise excellent story. And although Down the Rabbit-Hole 1 does have a fair bit of fluff, it is an absolutely integral part of the story. As an introduction, Chapter 0 has the role of establishing what kind of mind set the reader should approach this story with. And it is for this reason that Chapter 0 is so important. Suba Hibi is a philosophical work above all else. Upon finishing this story, you get the feeling that Sca-ji (the primary creator) wanted to write a philosophical thesis of his own, but then decided to create a whole visual novel instead. And I'm so glad he chose that route. By using fiction to express these concepts, and forcing the reader to see the story not as a story but as a world of its own, it gets us to see the relevance of said philosophies. The whole story is essentially there to create a conversation about various philosophical topics, with solipsism being one of the big ones. This is what Chapter 0 exists for, to get the reader to understand that the events we will see unfold as the actual story progresses is not meant to be just mere entertainment (and oh boy is it a thrill ride), but to keep in mind that there is even deeper subtext to everything going on.

    Takashima Zakuro, the girl whose suicide is the triggering point, or perhaps even the direct cause of all the events that follow, plays an entirely different role in Chapter 0. With the exclusion of this chapter, she is a normal character and even the primary protagonist of the Looking Glass-Insect chapter. But in Chapter 0, she has the role of being a character that knows what is going on. A role that she shares only with Otonashi Ayana (except that Ayana retains that role throughout the entire duration of the story, not just in Chapter 0 as is Zakuro's case). When reading Chapter 0, we are told and even see some interesting and cryptic things, but have no way of piecing those things together. Thereby giving you enough information to be curious about the under workings of everything that is going on, but with no means of figuring that out yourself without continuing into the proverbial “Rabbit Hole”.

    It is for that reason that Suba Hibi is first and foremost a philosophical work, because above all else our purpose is to try to figure out what is going on. And once the story really gets rolling in Down the Rabbit-Hole 2, we experience the main events from a myriad of unreliable perspectives. Meaning that trying to figure out what is going on is less like a puzzle as would be in a typical mystery, but more about determining what makes the most sense from the scrambled information we get. In fact, without giving any major spoilers, it is made quite clear at the very end of the story that interpreting the story is the only solution we have, meaning that everything isn't laid out clearly by the end. Which once again, adds significance to Chapter 0.

    Upon finishing Suba Hibi (meaning reading End Sky 2), you will want to reread Chapter 0 since now we as readers will no longer be in Minakami Yuki's shoes as we were the first time. Throughout the whole first reading of the story, Chapter 0 was nothing but a source of questions. Upon the second time, it is our source for answers. We have the necessary knowledge to be sharing the table with Takashima Zakuro and Ayana, since this time around, like them we will also know what is going on. When Zakuro and Ayana spoke to Yuki in our first reading, it felt like the two characters with any sort knowledge of what was really going on were keeping us in the dark. They would give subtle clues, but those clues were useless at that time. In the second reading of chapter 0, as readers we are equals in knowledge to Ayana and Zakuro and can finally make use of those clues. And the VN understands this. In fact, Ayana first introduces herself in Chapter 0 by saying “It's been a while”, addressing herself not to Yuki, but to the audience. The true meaning of this remark is very apparent to a second time reader, and instantly reminds you of the conversation you had with Ayana in End Sky 2.Although in a first reading, you probably will easily disregarded this, thinking that Ayana and Yuki briefly met before, and that Yuki simply doesn't remember. And it is here where the role that Ayana and Zakuro play differ in Chapter 0.

    (Here is an upload of that entire first encounter with Ayana in Down the Rabbit Hole 1, English subtitles are available)

    When Zakuro speaks, she is speaking to Yuki the character, not us the audience. Ayana however, really speaks directly to us, the audience (in all the chapters of this story), and that “it's been a while” (久しぶり) is essentially proof of that. As you progress in the story and work through the other chapters, Takashima's role is quite different from Chapter 0's, and she is much more ignorant compared to her chapter 0 self. Ayana however, no matter what chapter you read (and therefore which character's perspective you are seeing), is the exact same. In a story so filled with inconsistency, she is always the one consistent factor. Which goes back to my first point, just as Chapter 0 and End Sky2 are separate from the main story, so is Otonashi Ayana.

    Suba Hibi is not a simple story, and it is not meant to be only enjoyed for its emotional highs and lows; it's strange beginning makes that clear. Furthermore, during the process of reading, in case you ever forget that, Ayana is always there to remind you of that fact. Especially with the appearances she makes near the climax of the story in various chapters.

    But perhaps what I love most is the use of perspective. Returning to a previous point, in your first reading of Chapter 0 you will naturally orient your own perspective with Yuki's since all the information we receive in that chapter is from her. In fact, the whole story is told from the first person perspective of various unreliable narrators. And in every chapter we will identify our understanding of things from that character's point of view.

    But by the second reading of the story, because we have a complete picture of everything, there is a dichotomy between the reader, and the protagonist's narration. An artificial feeling that we are in a third perspective emerges. Because at this point we can balance what the protagonist perceives, with an objective understanding. Which causes us to identify with out own (third person) perspective of the story, rather than submitting to the protagonist's point of view. The more the reader develops their own personal perspective of things, the more they can relate to Ayana. The one character whose role is simply to be an objective observer.

    In a first reading, conversations with Ayana seem like she is teasing the reader for how little they actually know of what is going on. But this is because in a first reading, we identify with whichever protagonist's perspective we are seeing. Ayana is teasing us the reader by teasing the character she is talking to. The more we identify with the character's point of view, the more annoying and weird Ayana seems. But the more we identify with our own perspective (meaning by having read everything already), the more Ayana feels like an equal talking to us. Since just like the reader, she is the only other objective perspective on everything.

    In fact, this brings us back to the fact that unlike a book, where a first person narrative is without dispute a first person narrative. This is a visual novel, with choices. Even with all the information presented to us is in first person, it is by nature of its medium a third person experience since we dictate the story at certain key points. And Ayana is there to remind us that we like her, are experiencing things from an objective point of view.

  10. When I first met her, I didnt think much about the girl.

    A servant. Fourteen years. One star, Earth realm. Below average training talent – that was the only thing which came to mind.

    That assessment wasnt wrong but now, after a year by her side… Id like to slap myself to make up for my blindness. Indeed, If doing so a thousand times could turn back time, I’d gladly hit myself until I shed my skin, and I’d gallantly hold her in an arm and fight my way out of that tiny mansion, even if I had to go through twenty or thirty people to escape that place. There is, however, no medicine for regret…

    “haaaah.”

    I put my dress and look at the mirror.

    …Awful sweat. Trembling hands. Long, messy hair.

    I’m nervous. No… I’m scared.

    I close my eyes and focus on my body, trying to gain some confidence. I can feel the gathering qi – my life energy – within my dantian, inside my body.

    Fifteen years. Eight star, earth realm. One more before I’m capable of breaking through to the Sky realm. A genius for the younger generation, I’m often told. Yet right now, that assessment can only bring a bitter smile to my face. Who cares about talent? The weakest of the opponents I’m about to face could probably beat me with his eyes closed.

    What I’m about to do is suicide. I have no hope of intruding in a clan meeting, taking a servant with me and escaping from the grasp of the old monsters that are gathering in those giant halls.

    Hundreds of years of training. That is the difference between us. Their sect leader sits atop the peak of the Sky realm – a true expert, rumored to be able to fly in the skies. Someone able to kill me with his aura alone.

    Aaaaah, so be it. It’s bizarre. Everyone in the world would think me crazy. But still – still!

    Her temperament, like a blooming lotus. Her smile, more gracious than the fields of cherry blossoms from my home country.

     “...It is because of you that I have become confused, but my love for you still remains.”

    That girl belongs in my side. I won’t let her waste away serving tea to some haughty clan in the middle of nowhere. The stage most suitable for her is atop this continent, not as a slave to some talentless fools, but ruling millions of kilometers alongside me.

    It may be irrational or bizzare. We may both be girls, but my feelings won’t fade.

    I’m scared. I’m scared. I’m scared. I don’t want to die.

    Yet, if it’s for the sake of love…

    There is a road to heaven which I cannot take. There is no door to hell, yet I must barge through.

    If burning in to death in a blaze of glory against the old generation is my fate, then so be it.

    Are you ready, Two Dragons Sect?  

  11. Punching Doctors to Reduce Healthcare Spending in the United States

    Abstract

    Healthcare costs in the United States are the highest of any country in the world, even when adjusting for relative wealth1 (Figure 1). In spite of this, life expectancy in the United States falls behind that of other OECD countries2, as demonstrated in Figure 2. Considering the disparity in life expectancy by income quintile3―a disparity that is not nearly as pronounced in other countries4―it is presumable that the overall life expectancy in the United States would increase significantly if universal coverage were achieved5, thereby granting the poor, who are disproportionately represented by uninsurance and underinsurance6, access to basic preventative services.

    health-care-spending-in-the-united-state

    Figure 1: Healthcare spending (public + private) per capita in several OECD countries.

    Source: The Kaiser Family Foundation

    life-expectancy-at-birth-total-populatio

    Figure 2: Life Expectancy at Birth of OECD Countries, 2011.

    Opinions regarding the manner in which universal coverage can be achieved, or should be achieved, vary widely by partisan affiliation7. However, in consideration of the fact that Medicaid, the United States federal program that seeks to alleviate uninsurance among the poor, yields high returns on investment8, bipartisan support should exist for a proposal in which funds accrued from an agreeable health-related policy change were earmarked to expand coverage under Medicaid.

    In particular, Republican politicians widely favor tort reform9, whereby legislation is enacted to minimize malpractice lawsuits against doctors. These costly lawsuits, it is reasoned, not only waste time and money where the cause for litigation is often trivial, but also incentivize medical practitioners to order unnecessary and expensive testing.

    This investigation proposes an alternative to tort reform: Violence against doctors.

    Theory

    The phenomenon of violence against doctors and other medical practitioners exists primarily in China, where, accordingly, malpractice lawsuits are less common than in other countries10. As patients find it difficult to successfully sue practitioners who provide inadequate care or order unnecessary tests (often at the expense of the patient in the form of co-pays and deductibles), they instead retaliate by violence against those practitioners. While the patient may make this decision out of personal emotions, this phenomenon theoretically works to the benefit of the healthcare system at large, because this incentivization against malpractice is much less expensive than lawsuits.

    The conservative think tank American Action Forum estimates that tort reform enacted nation-wide could save $15 billion11. This figure will serve as the minimum amount of savings required for this "Violence Against Doctors" system to be considered successful. (In fact, this system will likely have additional benefits not shared with tort reform; for example, tort reform enacted in Texas simply capped the plaintiff's allowed expenditure of medical malpractice lawsuits12, which does not necessarily disincentivize the doctor from committing malpractice or ordering excessive testing.)

    In 2008, there were 63,370 medical malpractice lawsuits costing a total $55.6 billion across the system, meaning that the mean lawsuit costs approximately $877,387. In order to save $15 billion, therefore, 17,096 lawsuits (or roughly 27% of all medical malpractice lawsuits) would have to be avoided by violence-induced disincentivization.

    In order to standardize the amount of violence against doctors, we will use "punches" by the patient against the practitioner as the unit of measurement. Figure 3 demonstrates the theoretical relationship between each punch and the amount of averted medical malpractice lawsuits.

    gpzplIj.png

    Figure 3: Relationship between punches and resultant averted lawsuits.

    Because 0 punches should result in 0 averted lawsuits, the regression does not have a y-intercept. Therefore, the relationship between the two variables is y = mx, where "m" represents the amount of lawsuits averted per punch. For example, if a patient punching a practitioner results in two fewer lawsuits, then m = (1 punch)/(2 averted lawsuits) = 0.5 punches per averted lawsuit.

    However, intuitively, it is much more probable that the value of m exceeds 1, meaning that multiple punches are required to avoid a lawsuit. Therefore, to achieve the desired number of averted lawsuits (17,096), it is necessary to estimate the required number of overall punches, p, multiplied by the inverse of the coefficient m.

    cPnW6ad.png

    Figure 4: Number of punches required to avert desired number of lawsuits.

    In the above relationship, the quantity p (punches) × m-1 (averted lawsuits/punch) = averted lawsuits. Randomized control trial(s) will be necessary to yield the values of m and p.

    Analysis

    The following factors may contribute to uncertainty:

    • Other units, such as "kicks" and "karate chops" can be utilized in lieu of or in coordination with punches, and separate experiments may need to be conducted in order to measure the coefficient m of these alternative methods.
    • Less discrete methods, such as "rear naked chokes, "kimuras," and "Batista Bombs," may be utilized by the patient in practice but would be difficult to quantify as a function of m.
    • The value of m is subject to variation depending on the medical practitioner's income: An identical number of punches administered to two separate practitioners should result in more averted lawsuits from the better-paid practitioner. This effectively makes the legislation progressive in terms of revenue, which should please Democrats.
    • In many cases, the medical practitioner may retaliate by engaging in combat with the patient; this would result in an increase in the value of m and thus a decrease in the value of p, indicating that more punches will be required to achieve 17,096 averted lawsuits.
      • The above factor is exacerbated by the fact that the constitution of patients, by definition, is usually inferior to that of the medical practitioner.
    • Care centers may enact measures to retaliate against potential violence by patients. In China, for example, hospital staff have been taught kung fu13 and security personnel recruited to minimize violence. This problem could be alleviated by outlawing such defensive measures.
    • Practitioners who receive an excessive amount of punches may end up as patients themselves; subsequently, they may be the victim of malpractice by another practitioner, prompting further violence and possibly resulting in a death spiral.

    Conclusions

    Depending on the findings of potential experimentation, public healthcare spending may be significantly decreased by implementing at the federal level laws with the following effects:

    • Patients who perceive malpractice on the part of their medical practitioners may punch those practitioners without personal repercussion.
      • As the effectiveness of alternative methods of violence are revealed by reliable experimentation, those methods will be permitted (and encouraged) alongside punches.
    • Immediate family members of the patients who perceive malpractice on the part of their medical practitioners may punch those practitioners without personal repercussion.
    • Medical practitioners are not allowed to carry weapons within a 2-mile radius of any care center in which they work.
    • Medical practitioners are not allowed to practice martial arts within a 2-mile radius of any care center in which they work.
      • Add an exception to this rule when the medical practitioner is administering outpatient care and a robber invades the patient's home.
    • Improve price transparency.

    Yearly analyses by the Congressional Budget Office will be performed in order to determine the increased revenue resulting from these provisions, and this revenue will be earmarked to expand Medicaid.

    References

    1. http://kff.org/health-costs/issue-brief/snapshots-health-care-spending-in-the-united-states-selected-oecd-countries/
    2. https://aneconomicsense.org/2013/11/22/us-health-care-high-cost-and-mediocre-results/
    3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/09/18/the-government-is-spending-more-to-help-rich-seniors-than-poor-ones/?utm_term=.b78a869d9c01
    4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK62373/
    5. http://keepthemiddleclassalive.com/inequality-and-health/
    6. http://kff.org/uninsured/fact-sheet/key-facts-about-the-uninsured-population/
    7. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/01/13/more-americans-say-government-should-ensure-health-care-coverage/
    8. http://ccf.georgetown.edu/2015/07/28/medicaid-provides-excellent-long-term-return-investment/
    9. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/12/30/top-republicans-say-theres-a-medical-malpractice-crisis-experts-say-there-isnt/?utm_term=.7046065be43e
    10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4261607/#CR3
    11. https://www.americanactionforum.org/research/tort-reforms-impact-health-care-costs/
    12. http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/texass-cap-for-medical-malpractice-damages.html
    13. http://world.time.com/2013/11/06/kung-fu-doctors-shanghai-hospitals-train-medical-staff-for-attacks/
  12. In honor of having finished reading Stargazer in Fapanese today, I figure I’d give you an idea of how I can simultaneously have read quite a bit of vn writing in Japanese yet also only have completed two short yuri doujins (my first was 明日終わる世界、その前夜). A lot of things here were sorta read in parallel with other things, which might not have helped (´・ω・`).

    I started out with Amairo Islenauts; I got quite far into Masaki’s route, then stalled that ’cause I kinda didn’t want to read the drama or something. Much later I decided to go back and read a bit of Yune’s route… and that’s where we’re at now. Stalled.

    I started reading Air in Fapanese as none of the two translations available impressed me; I knew Winter Confetti’s had taken flak for inaccuracy, and the start of Gao Gao’s patch felt worse than Winter Confetti’s on the editing and flow front, not to mention I was told it would be technically inferior to the Winter Confetti patch as the MC would be unvoiced for certain sections. I kinda got discouraged by the choice maze though and eventually stalled it because frankly it wasn’t that interesting.

    Angel Beats -1st beat-… Honestly if it wasn’t for a bug and/or sneaky copy protection measure I might have read more of this;  I spent quite a long time with it and eventually got to like the second or third map location select, which didn’t work for some reason. Also you can’t transfer saves to other computers apparently, fucking rip. I might pick this up again, maybe even reading it together with the forthcoming English translation so I can shit on VA fucking it up like we all expect they will (´・ω・`).

    Watashi no Real wa Juujitsu Shisugiteiru, or watajuu for short, was a really entertaining otomege that I’d recommend to everyone. Ultimately though after reading two routes I stopped midway through the otouto route because… well I didn’t like it as much, choices in-route confused and enraged me for some reason, and given how long the knife of unforgettable betrayal had been twisted at that point, I started reading…

    Subahibi. I liked it a lot when it was a yuri harem, then I kinda liked it when it was denpa but it got harder to read and I stalled it about when a certain train arrived.

    Then Kiririri eventually wore down my defenses, and I picked up Hatsuyuki Sakura. One of the better decisions of my life, as it’s consistently entertaining and seems well written both prosewise and plotwise. Finished the rather long “prologue” section, read a little bit of the “introduction”, stalled. Maybe I’ll pick it up again now though after finishing 11eyes and Stargazer.

    I also read a bit of Zannen na Ane to no Love Comedy somewhere in there, but I think I’ll want to be able to power through silly SoL faster to not die reading it. Apart from that, I have like 20 minutes of …in white left or something, but I started reading that looking for short doujin vns to tl, so idk man ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.


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  13. On May 11th, 2017 (ie, Thursday last week) the parody visual novel "Stay! Stay! Democratic People's Republic of Korea" was released. Most people probably know that I wrote it. Well, 90% or so of it, there were some humor changes and a couple last-minute changes to make some things make sense, those were done by the Project Leader. But for the vast majority of it, it's my handiwork.

    I actually got picked for the project because the developer advertised here on the boards. I submitted a sample, they liked it and brought me in. So without the boards, I wouldn't have had the chance to do the project. For that I'm extremely grateful.

    I'm actually really grateful because, in a sense, it's a comeback for me. A long time ago I wrote sports articles for newspapers. You may not think it's relevant, but the sports section is actually one of the places you're supposed to expect some creativity when it comes to writing. The last year I had done it, I was in New Hampshire at a weekly start-up in its infancy - The Connecticut Valley Spectator (it was owned by The Eagles Times, but they went kaput years ago during the first couple death waves to newspapers). They pretty much turned over most of the staff after about 8-9 months, including myself. To be fair, I was doing everything for the section then - stories, page layout, even photography. I was pretty burned out, and trying to get people on board for a new local weekly isn't easy. Once I was let go with the others, I hadn't really done a job in professional writing since.

    No, this isn't me trying to influence the forthcoming review. It is what it is and if the reviewer here loves it great, if not, I'm willing to listen to what they think would have been better. But the initial Steam reviews, both "real" and "shitposting real" have been really good.

    But it also just feels really nice to have written something that people are reading once again. And without the boards here, it wouldn't have happened. So this place - it's alright. :makina:

    And yes, you can tell me how much you loved or hated it if you read it. I don't bite. I'm actually super nice. :yumiko: WAIT WRONG ICON!!!

  14. Parallel structure is a really simple concept that you probably already know in the back of your mind, but that you probably could use a little formalism to better understand. The idea is simple: when you're building a sentence with a list of multiple entries (which may potentially be pretty much any part of the sentence), try to keep the syntactic structure of each entry the same. If you don't do this, in the best case, your sentence will be a little harder to follow, and in the worst case, it will be downright ungrammatical.

    Ready for some examples? Here we go!

    VN TL Example

    I was mostly inspired to write this blog post by a translated script I was looking at a few months ago which had quite a lot of parallel structure problems. Here's a particularly clear example sentence demonstrating the issue, from the translated script:

    Quote

    She has good grades, great looks and is very popular among all the students.

    Makes me want to put my fist through a wall.

    The problem is that list of three items: "good grades"; "great looks"; and "is very popular among all the students." One of these things is not like the others. So, what do you do about it? You massage them until they're the same, of course. You could try to rewrite that last one to an "<adjective> <noun>" format like the others, e.g., "<some adjective> popularity", but I'm having trouble making that work. "High popularity?" Basically nonsense. Maybe chuck the word popular and find some equivalent? At any rate, I gave up on this branch because it was too much trouble already and there were better options: for starters, we could just switch to single adjectives down the line:

    Quote

    She's smart, pretty, and popular.

    It's a little terse now, and it doesn't say exactly the same thing, but this sounds quite a lot better because of the improved parallelism. You could also go the other the direction and make them all verbal phrases:

    Quote

    She gets good grades, looks great, and is popular among the students.

    Or even rewrite them each as a full-on independent clause:

    Quote

    She gets good grades, she has great looks, and she's popular among the students.

    I probably wouldn't go with any of these (I actually didn't edit this line; I just left a note for the person who'd already been through it to come back and fix up the parallel structure). To be honest, most of the words here are pretty bland; the character in question is being painted in dull shades of gray. I'd want to splash some color onto it. And, yes, it should really have a serial comma (you'll see I added it to all of my versions), because the serial comma actually is as great as it's hyped up to be.

    That said, neither making things more interesting (while of course keeping in mind that the goal is to better match the intent and flavor of the original) nor waxing eloquent on the value of the serial comma is my concern with this blog post. At the moment, the goal is just to avoid wanting to put my fist through a wall, and if we fix all these parallel structure problems, I might just make it through the day with my hands and walls intact.

    Published News Article (if by "published" you mean "posted to some site on the internet") Example

    Here's a great, more interesting example. This one I just happened to stumble across mere minutes after I'd settled on writing this blog entry earlier today as I was, out of idle curiosity, poking around for more info about that zoo penguin with a Kemono Friends waifu:

    Quote

    For a nation that has grown accustomed (and sometimes celebrated) an individual's obsession with their favorite waifus and husbandos, the pairing was too incredible to ignore.

    My fist is twitching.

    As with any writing problem, there are many ways to rewrite the sentence to fix the problem, but here's probably the least intrusive fix: insert a "to" after the "accustomed" and before the parenthetical. It's easy to convince yourself this is at least an improvement by dropping that whole additional verbal phrase inside the parentheses and reading the resulting sentence out loud to yourself, since the result is a straightforward, obviously grammatical sentence. As the sentence was originally written, if you drop the parenthetical, the result is equally obviously ungrammatical. So, here's the simple fix:

    Quote

    For a nation that has grown accustomed to (and sometimes celebrated) an individual's obsession with their favorite waifus and husbandos, the pairing was too incredible to ignore.

    This is passable, in my opinion (assuming the audience for said news article is a bunch of weebs who will understand "waifus and husbandos"), but it's still a pretty extreme example of odd sentence structure, and if you so desire, you can go quite a bit further to fix this up for better readability, by either breaking up that list entirely or by further enhancing the parallelism. This example is particularly interesting, and the mistake here particularly understandable, because the structure of that compound verbal phrase is so complex. My initial analysis was that "to grow accustomed to" was a transitive phrasal verb, but I don't think that's quite correct, because "accustomed to XXXX" is probably best classified as an adjective, which is consistent with this usage of "to grow" being best classified as a linking verb, rather than a transitive verb. By that, I mean that "to grow a fruit tree", the transitive version of "to grow," is quite different from "to grow bored", the linking version of "to grow," of which this is an example. Meanwhile, "to celebrate" is a simple transitive verb. So in this sentence, they've actually managed to build a compound verb phrase out of: a linking verb, linking the subject to a phrasal adjective which takes an object (itself a pretty long, complex noun phrase); and the simple transitive verb "to celebrate," which is taking the same really long noun phrase for an object. Bottom line, it's still a pretty gnarly sentence because of the remaining lack of parallelism between the verb phrases.

    Want to fix it more? Knock yourself out (but I think my walls are safe from me now, so please don't knock them out). Once you get parallel structure ingrained in your brain, it gets pretty easy to spot problems and to fix them. In fact, you might even start spotting correct usage of parallelism and appreciating it.

  15. fun2novel
    Latest Entry

    The PC-FX was an alluring system full of promise and had a lot of potential to become the next step as a PC-Engine successor. Unfortunately due to PC-Engine’s popularity the PC-FX experienced delay after delay and eventually released in a market already selling advanced systems like the Saturn and the Playstation. The Nintendo 64 (or the Ultra 64 as it was called at the time) was already on the far horizon. Everything seemed to be set against the system that almost could. Whether the system was popular or not, sold well or not, had the most advanced CPU and the most powerful GPU, 15 programmable mathematical units, a bluray, wi-fi, do not say anything about the quality of its games.

    Battle Heat was, at least at first, a powerful example of what the PC-FX can do and it was an excellent game to appeal to the fans of the older PC-Engine. It is a fully animated one on one fighting game and it is probably the first in its genre. Yeah there are more games in this genre and perhaps at some later opportunity I’ll talk about those but if you can’t wait there is the Tengai Makyo animated fighting game also for the PC-FX and at least two Yu-Yu Hakusho games for the Super Famicom, not that that’s out of the way let’s get back to business.

    The game begins with a long, 3 minute intro animation showing all the characters throwing punches and showing off their superpowers. The animation is not quite perfect and at times you’ll notice small details missing but overall it is silky smooth and even looks as if it’s running at 60fps. That’s a technique that even most Playstation games never did, and there’s nothing to even speak about the Saturn since that system’s videos were really grainy and at times pretty horrible looking (there were very few games that did good and smooth videos on the Saturn but it was very rare. The Saturn did have an MPEG card but were very few games that supported that, mainly the first Lunar and Sakura Taisen fan discs). The opening is also accompanied by a much subtler and subdued song that what would be expected from such a sequence but it works pleasantly well and even has some great beats.

    The opening will give you a great idea about the setting and the characters. Mostly that it is almost entirely inspired by Fist of the North Star. From the post apocalyptic world full of sand and destroyed structures buried in the ground to the hot blooded manly characters themselves it is obvious where the inspirations are coming from. For the unfamiliar it must look like a Fist of the North Star licensed game. Hokuto no Ken was such a wide influence over people it’s not suprising to see others copying that exact style. It’s not coming from banking on something popular, instead it probably comes from a strong love and admiration towards something people care so much for.

    The opening ends and you’re treated to a title screen with some 16-bit rendition of the opening song and a of a pretty low quality at that, your heart sinks after seeing such a great opening and high quality music. You won’t be blamed if you were expecting to hear something at least good on at the title screen. Alright you start the game and once again like a punch to the gut it breaks your bones to see that even the next screen so low quality and lacks any thing that would remotely try to impress you. Ok, ok, when we get to the actual game things will get better right? Well, yes and no.

    This is where the game completely and catastrophically breaks down. It’s not like you should expect an amazing story or superbly innovative gameplay but what you should, probably, expect , is at least a well done presentation because after all presentation is the selling point. It’s a shame to admit that the presentation doesn’t reach the goals it set for itself. First of all there is almost no story, or actually no story at all. You can get the basic premise from the opening and the ending is just some text scroll to give you a conclusion to the plot. There are no story scenes throughout the rest of the game. Why be so picky you might as, this is just a fighting game and since when do fighting games need a story? If this is a cinematic fighter wouldn’t it be natural to expect at least some kind of story?

    The music is also pretty awful 90% of the time. At times it sounds like random noise and not the good kind of noise, not something that you’d expect from a PC-FX but more like from an NES, even this comparison is a disservice to the old Nintendo system. Sometimes there isn’t even ANY music at all. The entire atmosphere is lost at every single moment and section of the game it just hurts the ears and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.

    All that could be forgiven if at least the graphics did their job. At the most basic aspect they do their job admirable, you see animation sequences for every move you have from punches to kicks, jumps, defense and special moves, and even when your character is punched or kicked or hurt some other way. But not of these animated sequences connect from one sequence to the next. Rarely you’ll see two characters on the same screen, almost the entire time each attack is animated separately from whoever you attack. You make some sort of attack your chosen character performs that attack (hitting the air) then scene cuts and shows how your enemy is either hit or avoids the said attack. Once again, simple enough they were not going to animate how each and every type of attack from every character on every other character, it’s not a multi-million budget game so of course we shouldn’t expect that from the developers on a shoe string budget. But the problem is that every single move anyone does is cut much too soon from an offense scene to a reaction scene, the animation and the sound are cut at such critical moments it absolutely ruins the impact of the attack. It’s like you watch a Jackie Chan fight scene but just before a punch or a kick lands, just before the critical moment of impact somebody cuts the scene and shows the reaction which leaves you baffled as to what exactly happened. Now imagine that it happens with every single attack from either Jackie Chan or his rivals and you get an idea how annoying it really is and just how ridiculous and annoying things get.

    The controls aren’t that great either. At first you’ll be struggling to know what each button on the controller does or whether they even do anything. It takes a long time to experiment with news because the game plays more or less like a random rock-paper-scissors game. For every attack there is another attack that can counter it. This means it’s less about skills and more about luck and luck is not always on your side. This leaves you only one thing to do, either randomly try things and hope to memorize every enemy’s attack and hope to be able to counter them as many of those as possible.

    I really wanted to like Battle Heat. It’s got a wonderful art, great idea behind it, well designed characters, and so so much potential. But it just isn’t worth the price of admission. Unless you want to satisfy your morbid curiosity I guess you could try it if only because there aren’t many games like it but don’t expect something great and you might, just might have some fun.

  16. ZYIbUPW.png

    Most probably you have already heard about this game before. Therefore, I don't feel the need to introduce the story and the characters. I simply wanted to recognize this game for being the best VN I have read so far, beating G-senjou no Maou in terms of emotional impact I received. I’m going to share my thoughts on the game, which can be very subjective. Please don’t comment spoilers.

     

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    やばい。この子超可愛い... 俺の、ワイフになってください!

     

    There are a lot of emotional scenes in the game, rooting from the protagonist's background and from the extreme situation the characters are facing. I had a lot of questions when I started reading. Most of them are basic ones which are usually given right away in the introduction of a setting. However, this VN slowly answered those questions, oftentimes in the form of flashbacks. Is this a good thing? It felt quite mysterious and new to me, so if you'll ask me I'd say it's good.

     

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    Some argue that Oumonbyou is vaguely described and it needed more information. I beg to differ. For readers like me who find infodumping mendoukusai, the writer of this game did a perfect job. If they go more scientific and specific, I might get bored and go with another VN like what I usually do. For me, the background of Oumonbyou is just about right, enough to make the readers realize that it's one heck of a fucking disease.

     

    Why do I love this game? There are three main reasons. First, it managed to hook me from start to finish by giving a serious premise and ending the game the way I wanted to. Second, I love the cast specially the protagonist. Third, it made me cry which is rare in my case. Personally, the best thing in this game would be the family theme because it was able to move me even more than the romance. Ryuuji's relationship with his parents and brother, the heroine's relationship with her sister and parents, and the relationship of Ryuuji with the heroine's family. It feels like, the world is unfair but is kind at the same time --- a good balance of frustrating and heartwarming moments.

     

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    時よ止まれ――おまえは美しい!

     

    Character development is excellent particularly in the romance theme. The progression of the relationship felt natural given the situation. This was even more emphasized in the last 5 hours of the game, where various emotions are presented in a way that gradually created huge tension, and eventually "snapped" on the ending leaving a strong impression. The ending of the game is my ideal ending, and the epilogue would be my favorite part. 何故でしょうかね!

     

    This VN is not for everybody. From the time you start the game, you'll immediately get an idea if you can take it or not. If you have enjoyed Kara no Shoujo series which is another awesome utsuge, you might like this game too. I love the background music that reinforces drama, suffering and the light/heartwarming scenes. The standing CGs are great but there are problems with some CGs (ie. body proportions). There are tons of hscenes and I skipped through most of them but some actually contributed to the plot. This is an easy read, for those wondering about the language difficulty.

     

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    The OP is as good as the story. The musical arrangement, the lyrics and of course the vocals accurately portray the feels of the game. When I first heard the song last year, I have played it again and again up until now. For those who don't know, Shimotsuki Haruka did OPs of Innocent Grey games and tons of other great VN songs like "Sketchbook" in Tokisoku, "Stellar dream" in Hoshimemo, Hakoniwa Logic, etc. She's one of my favorite artists. めっちゃええわ~ 声ホンマ天使やで~

     

    Four days have passed since I finished this but I still find it difficult to get up and pick my next VN. All I did was to sing Liblume over and over. :lol: Inochi no Spare will remain vivid in my memory for a long time.

     

    いわゆる1つの、甘くて切ない物語ってやつ!

     

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    "This is a story, about doing something for the sake of a love one." That original line sums up Inochi no Spare pretty well, but I'm not confident with my translation. tehe

  17. Quote

    "So ye arrived. Upon one of many Antiochian port cities, whichever it may be - warm Gullhmar; frosty, tide-ridden Aldmer or misty Cynthia. Pray tell, unweary traveller. Hast thou heard about the selekhs, sirens of the seas?"

    Selekhs remain a mysterious race of aquatic beings, dwelling in most of the southern and south-eastern oceans. Not much is known about them, albeit their appearances were noted throughout the pages of history. Since the times of dawn, Selekh were often called spirits of water and each race gave them different names - Sylphaeans, Nixe, Selks… while humans called them Melusines. The so called stories of mermaids, bewitching the fearless sailors of the southern seas were their tales of unrequited love, sang by the bards and glorified by decadent poets of the new age.

    Selekhs seem to age differently, retaining their youthful looks for almost entire lives, which they spend mostly underwater. They appear on the surface world rarely. When they do, one can only be mesmerised by their unearthly beauty - slender limbs, smooth and delicate skin, softly shaped faces with those iridescent red eyes, that seem to swallow your soul. Their heads are adorned with various growths, that seem to resemble underwater plants, while bodies have different pigmentation - from shades of grey, through blues, yellows and greens - often covered in different patterns. It is said every single one of them is as unique as lines on the palm of every human.

    They seem to be attracted to the civilization above. Sometimes, they appear within port cities around the world, bearing no ill intentions. Since they're somehow able to communicate in the surface languages, they often remained between humans for a while longer. Some of them did it for far longer, forming peculiar relationships with surface dwellers. Yet, as human-like they might look, one also can not unsee their inhuman side - swimming membranes between their toes, sharp claws, finned backs, tails and lack of hair; Chests adorned with gills, which help them breathe underwater. Their mouths hide two rows of sharp teeth and there's no denying they are, without a doubt, predatory creatures.

    They are best described as exotic flowers of the seas; Their graceful swimming - colours glittering through the warm waters, their ravishing look as they leap through the waves and extend their arms - as if to welcome, beckoning you. As you step to throw yourself off into the cold embrace of the sea, you realize it is only as poisonous, as the beauty of flowers growing within the tropical forests of the west, revealing their ugly, carnivorous nature.

    Selekhs have longed to be with humans for a very long time, but those two races share two entirely different worlds, not meant to ever become one. Whether it's mere curiosity, escapism or something more, remains completely unknown. Their numbers are short between few and as trustful they remain towards humanity, they tend to avoid talking about themselves or their origins, retaining a safe distance, merely observing. Curious, but not lacking common sense. Their homelands seem to be as far away as the most distant outposts of the known world, hidden between the mists, down below the crushing waves, somewhere within the impenetrable darkness. Legends speak of a once glorious kingdom - a gem shining within the seas, now sunken and devoid of it's past glory; traces of olden times and secrets of the past, buried to never resurface again. An ancient civilization, so advanced it finally lead itself to it's own downfall. Are the Selekhs remnants of a bygone age, sole survivors, or perhaps the last children of that shimmering ghost of the past?

    It might not be of importance to them any more. We see those nimble beings, now living their lives in perfect harmony with the sea, unconcerned with the fancies of human civilization, clothing nor glitter and sparkle of temporal goods. The sea embraces them - like a mother's womb and within that womb, they nourish, rest and love. It is only deep within their eyes, you'll sometimes see that strange grief of what seems to be aeons of sadness in solicitude. Then you'll understand the beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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    Recent Entries

    Often when people talk about OELVNS, they fail to mention the otome games. I don't know if this is because the majority of VN readers are males who don't follow the OELVN otome scene, but either way, it's quite a shame. Many talk about how OELVNS follow Japanese tropes and try to be too Japanese. With otome games, I can sometimes see this due to the anime-inspired art, but there are really a lot of notable differences.

    For example, OELVN otome MCs tend to be more distinct. They certainly have distinct personalities and a lot of character- something I prefer since I don't self-insert. The MC of the recently released free otoge Cinderella Phenomenon for example, Lucette, is a cold-hearted, mean-spirited person. She is someone who is certainly very flawed but is also interesting as a person and a character. Throughout the story, it is evident that it is her story and a lot about her background is revealed. The characters do adhere to certain tropes but I didn't find that to be detrimental to the overall experience. Cinderella Phenomenon has a decent length and story, making it ideal for anyone who wants to try an indie otome game in English. It is also relatively high-quality compared to most indies.

    Another free indie otome is Lads in Distress. It has a finished NaNoRenO version with 170000+ words and three routes. It will have a more full-fleshed out version with longer routes and an additional 3 routes. The premise is centered on genderbent fairytale princesses with problems which the MC, Princess Charming, must work on. It has pretty decent art and story but it's really the characters who shine in this game. I loved how Princess Charming interacts with her love interests and her antics are amusing and fun to read. It is pretty lighthearted, although I suspect it won't be so when the full game comes out.

    Mystic Destinies: Serendipity of Aeons is a commercial otome game available on Steam. It follows the pay-per-route format one sees in mobile otome games. Normally, I wouldn't touch it until it's complete and everything is available at once, but I caved in the end. My decision did not disappoint me as the writing, art, CGs, and music are of a higher quality than those mobile otoges I used to purchase. It's even more astounding when those mobages are produced by well-established companies while MD:SOA is produced by an indie team. I would recommend this to those who play mobages and are just getting into PC otome. Mystic destinies has a decent-length for its price, a well-written story, a good cast of characters, and excellent art. The music is also great. The money also goes towards developing the game as the routes are released after it's developed. The writing itself is quite good in contrast to many indies.

    A cursory glance at the Lemmasoft forums will reveal a lot of otome games in development which is why I believe that it's a shame that it's so often overlooked. Two otome games in development I want to highlight are Changeling and The Pirate Mermaid. Changeling, developed by Steamberry studios is an otome game focused on the supernatural. It has a cast of characters based on folklore and mythology. From what I can see from the demo, the lore is also well-thought of. It has recently been funded through kickstarter and the dev regularly updates through tumblr. The artstyle is also very western and might turn off some people. I don't mind the art, however, as I am more drawn to the story. It follows Nora who due to some strange events in her childhood ends up being estranged with her twin brother. She moves back to a small town and meets the love interests who are all connected to the supernatural world in one way or another. The writing in this game, as with MD:SOA is rather well-done.

    What I'm really excited about however, is The Pirate Mermaid. I played the demo a long time ago and then forgot about it. However, I started checking out their blog again recently and they have a Steam Greenlight campaign going on. The MC is a pirate captain whose crew abandons her and turns into a mermaid in search of mermaid treasure. I love her character design personally, it's rare to see an otome MC who looks like me. I don't self-insert but to me (and I believe, some otoge fans out there), the representation means a lot. That aside, I'm impressed with the production values so far. It seems that it will feature a Ren'Py 3d camera and something incredibly rare: English and Japanese VAs. I will probably play the game with Japanese voice acting as I like it more based on what I've heard so far. The art is also done well and it has a story I'm interested in.

    In conclusion, a big part of the OELVN scene are otome games and I think they deserve to be more represented when it comes to EVN discussions. The indie otome scene has been continuously growing these past few years and I'm excited to see the direction they're going. It seems that as time goes on, the writing does get better as the developers gain experience. The art may be subjective but I enjoy seeing both western-style art and anime-style art. I don't think EVN devs should be criticized for drawing what they can and want to draw. In the end, as the community grows, more EVN developers will get serious and release quality VNs. I'm excited as I've been watching it for two years now and I can see more groups starting to be serious and working on commercial titles that shows serious effort.

  18. Arcadeotic
    Latest Entry

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    Well, I guess it’s time to show something.

    Don’t worry, dearest follower of this site, I’m not dead, I’ve just been incredibly busy. I’ve had exams left and right, and thus, I’ve felt a little demotivated. But, I’ve never given up on this project, there’s no way I can. I mean, it’s been over a year since I started this “passion project”, and I still intend to finish it with all of my power.

    I won’t give up, there’s no way I’ll allow myself that. This project is important to me, way more than you think. And yes, for a while, I’ve been incredibly dead, I’ve still answered every question coming my way on Twitter, and I’m still active as ever on my Discord server. There’s no need to worry, Biman -1- will see the light of day.

    As for a “beta” patch some people have been asking, I will be looking for two beta-testers after proofreading is done, and after the testing, I will ship the translation out to the masses, and then focus on Biman -2.5- that I’ve neglected, and then onto bigger things.

    I’ve been pretty horrible with my way of keeping all of you above water, but all I can do at this point is to ask for all of you to wait patiently and to have faith in me.

    Okay?

     

    Well then, this’ll be another sporadic update that won’t become the norm for a while, but the next planned update is the recruitment of those before mentioned beta-testers.

    Until then, everyone!

  19. Miu

    Well, he was right. This is not a route, but a mini-route. That can be finished in 15 minutes tops.

    The content is itself not bad, just standard charage stuff. Don't expect anything great.

     

    Final thoughts

    On hindsight, I might not have needed to split the whole VN into so many posts. But I thought of writing them as soon as I finished them, so it ended up being that format.

    Anyway, I'll just list down my complaints first:

    1. The central plot device could have been explained better. Especially why the routes are ordered like they are. I understand they have tried to put forward a world lines theory of sorts, but that doesn't hold candle in terms of clarity and usage when compared to a certain other famous VN with world lines as its genre.

    2. Was there really a need for a Michiru route, at all? She plays a brilliant support character in the other routes, so was it needed?

    All that being said, I enjoyed almost all the routes, each in their own ways. Misaki's route had me grinning like anything, Makoto's route was really exciting, and Cro's route was an awesome ride and the best of the lot.

    And I really liked the different route format, i.e. the climax is almost always about the confession, enabling ichaicha to be kept to a bare minimum (*glares at Senren Banka*).

    So yeah, apart from Cro's route, this is your average charage I guess, with a more classic galge-type route structure. That's it.

     

    Maybe I'll resume Rena's route in Senren Banka next. Aka long flurry of posts should calm down for a while, lol.