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Hey everyone! I have uploaded The Last Birdling’s soundtrack onto Steam. This soundtrack will be released on September 1st alongside the core game. There are 19 tracks in total, but since some of their names may contain spoilers, let’s leave it at that for now.
The Last Birdling’s composer is Efe Tozan. Efe and I have worked together since Cursed Sight, and he is also the composer for Without Within 1 and Without Within 2. Every time we catch up for a new project, I can tell Efe has improved. This guy is passionate about music, and The Last Birdling is easily his best performance yet. Today, I would like to talk about how these tracks were put together.
We often begin with the character themes. First, I will send my character profile documents over to Efe, and along with that, I also suggest what type of feeling we should convey with each track. A picture tells a thousand words, and you know, a track also tells a thousand words, so the best way to communicate mood is via an example. Once I find a list of suitable tracks that fit our criteria, I will pass those YouTube links over to Efe.
At this stage, we have our tracks list, mood references along with relevant documents such as character profiles and early drafts. With these materials in place, we let the expert do his thing. Once Efe submits his samples, we improvise from there. Sometimes, it turns out a track is a poor fit for situation A, but it matches situation B perfectly. In that case, we simply swap the filenames around.
We must also take context into account. Some tracks sound great as standalones, but they have beats that distract players in a game context. In those instances, we would balance the volume, change instruments, whatever it takes. Also, no track exists alone in a game. With stories, we have the “emotional rollercoaster” cliché. The same concept applies to our music, so we must ensure these tracks cover a broad range of emotions.
Once the soundtrack is complete, I do my best to serve as a “second ear”. When you are close to a piece of work, even obvious mistakes will become hidden. I promise you, I have read through The Last Birdling many, many times. Despite this, the first test reader still managed to spot three spelling errors. The closer you are, the more blind you become.
And music is the same way. We can have a stunning five-minute track, but if we catch a single glitch in the audio, our experience is ruined. Whenever the track plays in-game, your ears will anticipate that dreaded pop. When you listen to the same track over and over, these flaws can become even harder to spot. It is my responsibility to listen for those unwanted spikes.
The last point is volume balance. When one track sounds louder or softer than the rest, that too can lead to a poor experience. As someone with no musical talent, I used to just compare the waveforms, but I soon learned that would not suffice. You must listen to each track with your ears to truly know. Whenever Efe completes a soundtrack, I would put it on my phone and listen to it on loop for several days. On top of this, we also listen to the tracks on different devices, since that too can have an effect.
To finish up, with kind permission from Efe, here is The Last Birdling’s main theme:
You will find some of these beats being repeated throughout other tracks in the game. This is one of the techniques we use to tie the soundtrack into a coherent package. Humans have a natural love for patterns, and when you catch a certain beat being replayed with a different instrument? We all know a thing or two about those goose bumps.
As usual, I hope you may consider wishlisting and/or joining our Steam community:
Just one week to go my friends. Thank you !
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I've only appreciated With You ~Mitsumete Itai~ and Yume no Saka this month. The former is still a normal school romance VN while Yume no Saka is something unique that probably won't have a similar rival ever. I consider Yume no Saka to be the game of the month September 1998 and there will be a review explaining why.
A world devastated by the battle of gods. The surviving people created inanimate "carbon humans" by using the relics of Gods and sealing the soul within. For several hundred years the war lasted. Now carbon knight needs to deter the restoration of the once sealed demon king.
Story has H-events densely packed. Save function returns you to the start of the day and one day is a very long period. It goes like a normal ADV with periodical choices of where to go or what to answer.
In this game you play a coach for an all-girl baseball team. The game plays like a managerial game where you have to keep track of the schedule, add practice time for the girls and play games to advance in the series. But to keep the team happy you must also make sure they have a good social life as well as a well thought out training regime.
There are a lot of games in this baseball manager franchise. They look pretty much the same to me and there's no will to look for differences.
You are hired as a family tutor, and you pick three girls of your choice (from five) as your students. In six months time (July to January), you are to assist these three girls in getting into University.
There is an English review of this game.
A follow up to the Kidou Senkan Nadesico anime, this game covers the events that occur in the storyline between the end of the series and the movie.
There is enough English information on the game.
2022 AD. Hero is the strongest fighter in history. He was ordered by his father to find a girlfriend in three years time and train her into a fighter. He needs to attend the school of fiercest fighters from all over the country. But his power gets sealed and he needs to start from scratch.
Fighting ADV genre has given us quite a good number of games. System-wise it's nothing special, command selection. We choose type of training each month. Once you get enough experience with training, you can level up. Each week we can choose to see some girl or do smth else on free time. Battles lasts for 10 turns with selection limited to attack, defend and provoke. But games lasts for 3 years which is a LOT. RPG element tries to shake off repeatedness, but succeeds only partially. Quite an ordinary fighting adv, but with good character growth and battle mechanics.
Hero is a teacher during daytime and DJ at night time. Main heroine is the daughter of religious cult guru. Hero acts to prevent destruction activities of this religious cult.
DJ battle adventure simulation game as it describes itself... wth. This doujin game is a huge mess.Why teacher would fight religious fanatics... Why it suddenly turns into a sex game... Why the teacher reconciles guru and his daughter and joins the religious cult as a senior executive eventually?! It all looks like a bad joke. And on top of that game is music-based and there's a nice DJ battle minigame. Doujin crapocalypse is coming...
Mikagura Shoujo Tanteidan is an adventure game that tells a story of Mikagura Tokito was the director of a detective agency in the Taisho era but disappeared after an accident.
Three girls who adored him continue his work - they are Tomoe, Shigeno, and Chizuru.
Talk to every character in each screen until each scene is solved. That pretty much sums it up. There rest depends on whether you like cute girls unwinding cases in Taisho era.
You start the game already with a girlfriend, Miki. During the school year, you'll meet other two girls, and you must choose between chasing one of them or sticking with Miki.
There is an English review of this game.
Depending on gender choice the game will differ in who you meet - males or females.
The game begins when the player's character is transferred to a private high school where he will meet the other main character of the game, and the game will start there.
The game features different endings depending on the player's choices and character development during the gameplay. So now it is up to the player to succeed in finding love or not.
Oh my, half-otome game. Those that try to please everyone usually get a generic game as a result and this is no exception. A raising sim that I can't see any outstanding features in.
A girl died during operation without telling her feelings. Fumiura Yuya starts to hear her faint voice from then on.
Will he be trapped with the ghosts of the past or see a sign of new life?
There are three heroines, but scenario is the same so there's no meaning in it. Game is also really short.
A landscape with a nostalgic atmosphere. A woman is always standing on a slope behind the scenery.
... This is the mysterious dream that comes every night. The hero returns to his home town as a practice student and recognized the girl of his dreams in Tamiya Maika. While still wondering about this connection, he gets to know that the teacher was killed in the arts classroom. He sets on the investigation to find out the truth behind the incident.
Multi-route multi-ending command selection ADV. There are 10 girls and 10 happy endings. First half of the game is usual school slice of life while only second one is murder investigation. Even though solving the case is easy, the flags are vague and getting all the endings is very tough.
Hero is waiting for graduation and attends photo club. He has fear of women. One day photo club manager assaulted him after drinking party. Now he's finally set on overcoming his fear of women.
Normal mahjong game with weird synopsis. As you win you can buy items in various shops. There is story mode and pure mahjong mode.
Hero is a 3rd grade high school student in a small rural town. He is surrounded by childhood friends and lives happily. By summer vacations he starts to think about future and long-life relations.
There are many heroines and depending on places you chose to go, branching happens. August 15th is the summer festival day and it's the day of erotic ending.
Long time ago, a man and a woman made a promise, stating that although they were destined to be lonely souls, they should always remain together. But by a cruel joke of fate, they were separated and sealed into two jewels that were hidden for generations. Manami, who left the country 6 years before, has found one of the jewels while traveling. He will return to Japan to meet with their friends from childhood. This will entail a meeting of the two jewels again, for the second jewel seems to be owned by his father.
There is an English review of this game.
Protagonist with three girls go in the mountains to draw a sketch, but they get lost and it starts raining. They see a villa and come inside to get dry. Younger sister gets hungry and they start seeking for provision but find an arm cut from the elbow in the basket instead.
Systems is clumsy as in every work based on macromedia. No skip function, pseudo 3D and slow screen motion. Text is really bad and scarce. Story is of dark origin with much rape and it's a single road. Opponent is multiple personality killer demon.
Dream slope is a hill near student dormitory. According to old legend monsters used to appear from there. They were exterminated by a travelling samurai, but as he was leaving he predicted that evil would rise again on the slope.
Heroines with heart and mind wounds get caught by the dream slope. Each heroine story is unique. Another feature of the game is that there are not really good endings. I'm intrigued to some extent. I'm giving it a full review.
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This week title should be very obvious that it was in regard of Muv Luv Alternative (MLA) Steam version release, and the fact that MLA was the VN that insipred Attack on Titan/Shingeki no Kyojin (AoT) mangaka (Hajime Ishiyama) - of course once again BETA was stand in for titan. For more info in regard of that, I'll quote Ishiyama's word that said he was inspired by MLA in regard of making very popular AoT manga below - including the question beforehand (Source was from MAL thread here, and I cut the answer from Ishiyama here):Quote
Q: What was the inspiration behind Attack On Titan?
A (By Ishiyama Hajime himself): I used to play a video game rated R called MUV LUV ALTERNATIVE. It was about aliens taking over the earth and the human race reaching the extinction. That game was my inspiration for Attack On Titan. At the beginning....
It was based on the translation for his interview though, so it might be inaccurate. Nevertheless, Ishiyama himself was really mentioned Muv Luv at the interview in the Youtube video so it should be good enough for the proof. Speaking about Youtube, there's AMV movie called Attack on BETA (Just like the title here XDDD) in which it had MLA clip with AoT opening song. And as for the title here, well I want to create this since back when I knew that AoT was inspired from MLA which is already more than one year - as shown with my review with the title 'Attack on BETA: Before the Fall' which was published at July 2016. That's all in regard of my title for this week VNTS Review.
Welcome to this week VNTS Review, and as for this week there's many good news from Other section here although as for fan translation it's still usual though. Other than those two, finally Sekai did a good job setting up the Steam store for Tokeijikake first part and JAST did had exact release date for Eiyuu Senki - albeit Eiyuu Senki release itself was redundant one (No Mangagamer update for this week though). Let's see what I could write for this week.
About Eiyuu Senki, well congratulation to JAST in regard of the release I guess. I did find that the release was redundant though because we already had Eiyuu Senki translated for quite a while, and the sex scenes was already translated as well. I think I'm gonna try to talk more about Eiyuu Senki here now that JAST did already had exact release date, at October 24th later.
Good job to Sekai there for finally managed to set up the Steam store for Tokeijikake, because I just worried that Sekai started to be incompetent after they announced Saku Saku exact date twice while still didn't get permission for the Steam store - in which they should get the permission and set the store first before announcing exact date. Anyway, as for Tokeijikake I admit that it looks interesting enough although we still need two more parts though to enjoy this fully, which I'm sure that it would take a while before the releases. As for the release time, I see that apparently it would be November although it could be fastened to October (Hopefully) or more realistically delayed because of some engine problem. Let's see it for now in regard of Tokeijikake here.
As for fan translation, there's Loverable which right now was at 88.71% translated (Kaho's route was at 24.77% translated, and for overall it was at 55.26% TLC-ed and 21.87% edited), Musumaker was at 40% translated, Majokoi was at 71% TLC-ed, Witch Garden was at 32% translated, Sayooshi was at 45.2% translated, Tsukiyori was at 18.4% translated and 8.9% edited, and Pure Pure was at 31.91% translated (Chapter 2 was at 67.95% translated). Ittaku was promised us that he could release To Heart 2 full patch by next week (Congratulation for finishing 8 years translation by the way, Ittaku), and I look forward to the release here.
As for Tsujidou, I found some interesting info that namely Ai's route in Tsujidou was longer compared to both of HatsuKoi Maya and Runa route (Two longest route from HatsuKoi) combined, which mean Ai's route was quite long and therefore it took longer time to be translated - by the way, from the progress I knew that Ai's route was ~30% part of Tsujidou. From there, I could say that the translation for next routes would be much quicker now that we have 51% left divided by three routes - and one of those remaining was side routes (Also the fact that the routes wouldn't as long as Ai's). Look forward to Ai's patch later in which it should be released next week if they still want September's end release. For one more progress, there's Denwalts with his secret project was at a quarter translated right now. That's all for fan translation this week.
For this section here, there's definitely many good news from them. First of all, Sakusakura was managed to get the major burst with 28,810 funded which surprised Sol Press as well. As for my comment, congratulation that the project was finally funded after saw the fund was gathered very slowly just like back at Chuusotsu KS. For the release itself, while maybe there would be a lot mistake in regard of that I still hope the best for them as of now, and hopefully both of Sol Press and the fan was satisfied with the release.
There's also Little Busters in which it was finally had an exact release date - at November 1st, andit would be Spring at Australia in which somehow VA did fulfill their promise in regard of Spring release for Australia people lol. As for the release itself, I would say that it's quite redundant considering that we already had released translation since back at 2011. But seeing that version didn't had three routes that was added later, and this version would added those three routes translated there perhaps I should say that it's the good release here if one want more Little Busters (ie the new heroines).
Speaking of announcing exact release date, PQube here was also did the same in regard of Chaos Child in which it would be launched at October 13th for EU version and October 24th for NA version, in which both of those were for PS4. As for my opinion here, for now I'm not quite interested with this because obviously I didn't had PS4 here. But looking at the good average VNDB score compared to the sort of prequel Chaos Head, I would say if you like that and did had PS4 you should try Chaos Child later.
For the big news here, there's MLA release once again which as we knew using the new translation instead of old one. As for my comment in regard of MLA, I admit that it's a good VN considering that it was the first highest score back at VNDB. Although unfortunately it make age dependent on Muv Luv setting so much that they didn't develop any big VN after MLA, and it could be interpreted as age was too afraid to develop the VN besides Muv Luv. Even though it might be age policy in regard of Muv Luv ie age had Tough Act to Follow trope, I think it could be better if age was trying to go out of their comfort zone by making the VN that didn't had same Muv Luv setting - Schwazesmarken didn't count here seeing that it still had Muv Luv setting. As for the release, well it's redundant to me considering that it already had the translation for years and even though it might be no good for some people, it didn't make MLA did had a bad score just like Decay said because after all majority of the score there were still pretty high ie MLA was very good VN. Regardless of my opinion, I would say thanks to the new translator though because through their hard work the Steam user could enjoy MLA fully.
That's all for this week VNTS Review, and see you next week.
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Well, the fourth anniversary of my VN of the Month series of posts is coming in another week or so... and to be honest, I'm a bit amazed at how long I've kept this going. Four years of playing most of the non-nukige VNs that came out each month, writing something on them, then picking one to be VN of the Month (or not, if none met my standards)... to be honest, my opinion hasn't changed much since the last time this time of year came around. VN of the Month is one of the single most grueling tasks I've ever set myself outside of work, and I can honestly say that there are a lot of times when I just want to put it all aside.
However, I inevitably find myself coming back and playing more VNs. If I take a week off from VNs, I inevitably tear back into my addiction with insane glee, and it usually at least takes three or four bad VNs before I finally run down and need a recharge.
I thought about making a poll asking if I should stop, like I did the other years... but the results - and the suggestions - are always the same, so I'm really more interested in what people have to say about this whole thing.
Some years ago Nitro+ released a fandisc under the title Sabato Nabe which included three games. Nitro Wars, a generic Tohou style 2D shu’m’up with a lot of recruitable Nitoplus characters. Kaigen Seito, a shitty addon mini game to the shitty Hanachirasu. And Dra+Koi, a surprising little gem and just might be the only reason to try and track down this rare fandisc. Dra+Koi comes almost out of nowhere as a complete surprise.
Coming straight out of the creative over the top loving and passionate mind of Jin Haganeya as if he watched too much of Schinichi Watanabe’s crazy stomach piercing outrageous and excessive comedic anime, or too much of Hiroyuki Imaishi’s insane over frantic exceptionally outstanding and hot blooded mind bending epic anime, Dra+Koi comes as something in between with its own outrageous breakneck speed at light speed pacing. Everything goes by so quick you barely have time to react but this also what makes this such a great and fun as well as a satisfying visual novel.
The story starts in the mids of a battle between a big ground and air army vs a big flying fire breathing dragon. Shooting it barely scratches it, barraging it with tank shells doesn’t do anything, bombarding it with bombs and missiles from the air has no effect, only entire cities are left in ruins and all the buildings in the area are totaled and leveled to the ground. The dragons appeared in not too distant past of half a century ago and ever since then humanity had a nonstop battle against these unstoppable giant terrible beasts. Dark as it is Dra+Koi is a complete contrast to what you’d expect from such grim and gritty setting, not that the story is very light and completely comedic in nature but the setting itself never gets in the way of what the story was really intended for.
Dra+Koi’s characters are very few but the script does a well enough job so we have no sort of any kind of doubt about who they are and their characteristics and personalities. The protagonist is kind of your typical of the map patterned generic guy, this isn’t a negative and not as bad as it could have been because in a short span of time he changes and the story moves him into certain hard hitting decisions he eventually will have to take responsibility for it as well as how these decisions will change his life in this war turned charred setting. The heroine is there to fall in love in our hero but it’s not worked out as a cliché but more like a twist on the usual fairy tale, only instead the prince on white horse coming to rescue the beautiful princess, we have the princess to be the one who takes action. She’s abrasive, take not shit from no body and will stomp and chomp anyone in her path to her goal, she’s like a just born innocent baby that knows what it wants and doesn’t even consider the possibility of the task.
Romantic fairy tale is what Dra+Koi is at its core but it is also a take on the mysterious or sudden girlfriend genre. If you played Jin Haganeya’s other works such as first Demonbane you’ll know he likes to pay a homage and glorify the typical anime genres in a visual novel medium, it’s a love send off to the years gone by and it’s just as wonderfully awesome but it shouldn’t be, and yet yes it works and it works really well. Many different emotions and themes are covered in such a short span of time, you might have a big fight scene on moment and then a beautifully written slow poetic narration and suddenly some crazy over the top comedy and then some more love and affection scenes. There are even a few h-scenes here which don’t even feel out of place or eye rolling bad boring ones that usually displayed and forced in longer and bigger visual novels. In just its short length you’ll go from insanity to insanity and everything will come to an ending you’ll probably like but not be entirely satisfied. But sometimes the journey is the life and blood of our enjoyment, not the end. And is there but the journey is what takes us there and Dra+Koi is a worthy journey to take.
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Hey folks! So, for those of you who don't know, I am currently studying abroad in Japan, and will be here for the next 5 months. It's something I have been looking forward to for a while, though moving to a foreign country, especially one as different as Japan, is quite a tough transition. I'll be writing some stuff about my trip here in my blog now and then, talking about how things are going, what I have been up to and stuff like that. Today I'll be writing a bit about the first few weeks here, and the things that has been tough to deal with for me.
(I have currently lived in Japan for about 2 weeks)
So, I have heard people talk about "culture shock" when coming to a country like Japan. I figured I wouldn't really experience that, because I knew so much about the culture beforehand. Well, I was wrong. That didn't help.
Japan is... different. I mean, I love it here, but man... everything is so different from what I'm used to, it has gotten to me for sure.
People here honestly look like robots to me. In Japan it isn't really normal to speak much in public at all. You are meant to be quiet to respect those around you. They also stand in nearly flawless lines on the subway/ train platforms, at restaurants, stores and so on. They stay at work and school until late at night, and you mostly see students studying, even at lunch time. They are incredibly diligent, almost to a scary degree tbh. Everyone picks up their own trash, and you won't find a single shred of garbage lying around anywhere. There is no noise like loud music or anything of the sort anywhere, (except for actual clubs and stuff like that, of course.) The buses and trains runs like clockwork, leaving and arriving exactly when they are supposed to, and the trains are filled with people sleeping, worn-out from long days at work/ school/ club practice.
It's like this country is literally run by robot overlords or something.
Honestly, it's a bit overwhelming. There are so many things you need to keep in mind. Don't do this, don't do that, make sure you remember this, never forget that, bla bla. From where to stand in an escalator to your body language when speaking to people, what forms to use when speaking to others in different social standings... My head hurts from trying to remember half of it.
Another thing that really hit me hard is the food. I love Japanese food, but eating it 4 times a day 7 days a week has taken a toll on me. I honestly just can't get the food down even if it tastes good, especially in the mornings. So, I have started looking for western styled restaurants and shops, and found a few, luckily. It's strange, but there is a certain... joint taste to all food in Japan. It's hard to explain it, but there is just a certain "something" to all of it. Without mixing a bit of western food here and there, I just don't have an appetite. It has been surprisingly difficult to adjust my body to eating Japanese food all the time. It will probably be a few more weeks, possibly even a month + before I get completely used to the food here. Until then I'll make some pretty frequent stops at western restaurants, to stop myself from starving, lol.
Ugh, and the climate. Holy crap, the humidity... please help, lol. The humidity here is constantly around 85-90%+, and with heat around 30 degrees C, it literally feels like you are walking around in an oven 24/7. You can't move an inch without getting sweaty. Go home and shower, then walk around outside for a mintue and you are already completely soaked. Not just sweaty, actually like, wet all over. You skin feels clammy from just being outside for a second.
And the bugs. They are some weird mutated monsters summoned from hell. Like, holy crap. Some of the wasps/ bees here are bigger than my finger, and the Cicadas and other bugs of that size look like they could literally eat me. There is also one huge ass spider living outside our apartments, and I am personally convinced he will some day grow large enough to take over Japan and rule as the new emperor. Luckily winter should be coming soon-ish, (heh,) so they should all die soon. As someone who is completely terrified of bugs, and who can't take too hot temperatures, I cannot wait for the winter. Please winter-san, just get here already!
Lastly, the university schedule really did a number on me. Today we were at school from 10:00 AM to 19:00 PM. In addition, each period is 90 minutes long, without breaks, and the classrooms are either way too hot or air conditioned too much, making them freezing. We will also have classes on saturdays, apparently. The club recruitment day is on Friday, and a lot of people are super excited about joining clubs, but all I can personally think about is: How on earth are you going to balance all this school work, and several hours of club practice each week? I'd die, lol. So yeah, I'll skip on the clubs, personally. They do have a few really fun looking clubs here though, like the TCG club, the cosplay club, the boardgame club, the English conversation club and so on.
The school festival is in a couple months. That will be awesome. Can't wait for that.
Anyways, this update has just been mostly about the stuff that overwhelmed me during my first 2 weeks here. I am getting used to them little by little, and there is of course tons and tons of good stuff that outweighs the bad. The next blog post I write will be much more positive
Programming would be much more convenient if I could get a linux distribution to work. Unfortunately, what I managed to do instead was render my system unbootable, possibly even without it being my fault. This is my story.
Once upon a time, a young Zaka installed Ubuntu on his old laptop using wubi, an installer that actually runs under Windows! It worked without any major hitches and the Zaka was pleased.
Fast forward six or so years to the ugly future that is 2017, and things were very different. Wubi didn’t even work since he was using UEFI, and the unofficial fork that did work looked sketchy, so he tried to install it using a USB stick (okay, an SD card with an adapter to USB. It should work right, they’re both flash memory man… dad has a zillion sd cards and like zero pen drives).
The process was vaguely annoying but not too bad; download ISO, format the drive with rufus, try to install, get mysterious freezing crash! Okay, fuck that let’s try the acpi=off option for grub. Wew, setup actually starts. It’s sort of a pity how I couldn’t see any partitions and clicking any of the options on that screen caused a crash! Whew.
Okay fuck that, time to try this unofficial Wubi fork that supports UEFI and has unclear instructions clearly written by a very enthusiastic ESL. It seems to work, but I don’t use the MOK Manager the first time the option is given and then I never can for the rest of the time and eventually the boot seems to just skip over the grub thing and honestly fuck this shit.
Never say never! I download a Debian net install iso and do the now familiar bootable usb steps using rufus. It’s too bad my wireless firmware isn’t supported, because debian meow meow open source woof woof. Okay, I download the “with non-free firmware” iso instead, try again… it still doesn’t have the firmware I need, but I can do a minimal install at least. Wow. Ok so I actually have a working grub -> windows bootloader flow dual boot now, lemme try to manually install the firmware… oh yeah and I have to set it to not boot silently for some reason in grub to even get it to start, because for some reason not showing acpi errors (here we cum again!) makes the thing not boot. Wew. I put the firmware in /lib/firmware, it’s still not found during boot, the boot hangs later on, I wait, sigh, and hold the power button for 5 seconds to force shutdown for the umpteenth time that day, start it all up again, and…
I am currently using my bad old year 2010 faptop, getting a win10 install media thingy onto my totally-a-usb memory which is by now a micro sd in an sd card adapter in a usb adapter setup. It’s taking beyond forever. It may or may not let me reinstate the boot record. In either case, I should be able to preserve all important data SOMEHOW, though using a live usb for linux for recovery which would be my usual plan is kind of dicey when linux hates you.
All in all… this may or may not be entirely my fault, but my current message to whatever dev caused this is quite simply:
It is now the Future, and I am slighly less peeved. The Windows Media Creation tool is a piece of shit-stained vomit; it downloads a ~3gb iso in like four hours where I could get it in one through http or bittorrent. It also crashed with an unhelpful error after working for like five hours when I tried to use it directly with a USB stick, so I instead made it download the ISO (again, rip the hours of progress lost), formatted the usb stick with rufus, and used that instead.
I tried to recover the bootloader in some way using the windows installation media, failed, used the command prompt to backup some files, and reinstalled windows. I suppose if nothing else, I don’t have any hp bloatware on this thing any more! …and it’s working fine so far, with no data loss. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some studying to do to catch up for the time I lost… that I totally wouldn’t have used chatting instead. Adios!
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Today I'll be going through this new visual novel "Noble Works." Some call it a moege, some call it a charage, and people who aren't pretentious call it an eroge.
The story begins from the perspective of our male protagonist, Noble Works. Noble Works is in a real pickle.
You see, Noble Works works a lot of part-time jobs in order to pull himself through high school. He lives alone because he doesn't want his parents around when he inevitably does the sexorz with cute girls. Unfortunately, various circumstances have left him unemployed, and he now wonders how he'll pay the month's rent.
Suddenly, Noble Works is approached by his cute kouhai.
She and Noble Works attend Hatsushiba Academy together. But apparently you don't have to remember that, because the name of the school appears only twice in the damn game.
After she contributes jack shizzle to our protagonist's plight, we move on and meet a guy who looks suspiciously similar.
This guy looks exactly like the protagonist! Having determined that there's been some sort of glitch in the matrix, they decide to battle in order to decide who's the true Noble Works. However, this battle goes a step too far.
Our protagonist has killed the imposter Noble Works. In a panic, he rushes the body to his apartment.
Soon thereafter, a group of suspicious people and a cute Chinese girl break in. Despite Noble Works's best attempts, he cannot explain away the corpse at his side.
The situation gets complex at this point, but it all comes down to this: In order to atone for his sins, Noble Works must attend a prestigious high school academy in the dead guy's place. It's kind of like The Prince and the Pauper, or Princess Evangelion.
Anyway, we soon meet Bigtittymaid-san.
I know what you're thinking: That's an awfully short tie she's wearing. In actuality, that's a perfectly normal tie. It's just that her knockers project so greatly that it looks short from this perspective.
While at school, Noble Works meets the next heroin. Well, first we meet her grampa, this guy:
Then we see the confused, alien-looking chick.
Later on, Zoltron Glocknork approaches Noble Works to ask for help.
Basically, she doesn't know how to play shogi, so she asks our protagonist for help. You can think of shogi as the Japanese version of 52 Pickup.
The common route gets complicated around this time, so without spoiling too much, I'll skip ahead to alien girl's route. I soon found that this route was a whole lot of plot, a whole of lot shogi, and then a whole lot of "plot." The thing I liked most was how much pee there was.
The following images aren't NSFW, but they're as close as one can get to NSFW without being NSFW.
Indeed, by my count, they didn't technically have the sexorz until the fourth H-scene. But urine for a treat, because there's plenty of pee to sustain you until then.
And when it's finally time for them to do the sexorz, they get into this super-advanced position. Noble Works knows what his girl wants.
Oh, and then there's pee.
I'll stop here, where the plot gets pretty intense. The "plot" also gets pretty intense.
I'd like to finish the whole game before giving it a proper score. I wonder how long it is? Let's see, it's got 57,690 lines, and at >10 words per line, that adds up to at least 576,900 words.
Gee, that's longer than Infinite Jest, one of the longest novels ever written. I wonder what it says about our society when some degenerates will dedicate more time to a game about pee fetishes than David Foster Wallace's classics.
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Hello guys, I'm Calendula and I'll be reviewing moeakamige.
Bethly seems to be up to something...Spoiler
"You went to the library, right? What sort of book did you borrow?"
"...a reference book"
And then the next day
"...I'm meeting Bethly here"
"She has something she wants to discuss with me..."
I wonder what it could be
"Good evening. Can we talk...?"
"Last time... you said you wanted to have sex with me"
"However... sex shouldn't be taken lightly"
"If you have sex, a child might... happen"
"We're both students, and I'm an international one... my getting pregnant would be really inconvenient..."
"So I researched it. About sex and contraception... I read a book from the library and asked Momo-chan-sensei"
How very responsible of her, and of this VN to teach its target audience (which is probably 12-year-old French girls and definitely not permavirgin otakus) about the importance of contraception
"I... want to have sex with you too"
"This is a savings box"
"Well starts saving up a bit of money, and once we do, I'll buy the pill..."
"So... can we wait a bit longer before having sex?"
After deciding that there won't be any ponos in vagoo just yet, they go back to where they left off last time
"Do you like... my boobs...?"
"Yes, I do"
Now this definitely needs censorshitSpoiler
The next daySpoiler
"Yuzuki, a present for you"
"Huh, what is it?"
"A tumbler. It matches the ones Bethly and I got. It wasn't very expensive"
"All three of us got different colors"
"But why did you want to buy tumblers?"
"Oh... we always buy drinks for lunch, right? It's kind of wasteful to do that every day."
"But... are what are you trying to save up for all of a sudden?"
"Just trying to create savings"
"What are you going to put the savings towards?"
"After all, it's just better not to be wasteful, right?"
Nailed the excuse
Later he gets a call about a part-time job
"Why are you getting a job all of a sudden?"
"So that I can have a bit of disposable income..."
"Haha, I get it! It's to go on dates with Bethly!"
"Yeah... something like that"
"Dates can end up costing a lot of money, right? Like hotel fees-"
"The next day..."
"I hear footsteps as Bethly comes to greet me"
"...are you alright?"
"Y-yeah, I'm fine..."
"You seem really tired..."
"Want some coffee?"
As Bethly goes to get her sketchbook to show her ideas for the documentary they're planning with the broadcasting club
"Here it is. What do you think-"
The next daySpoiler
Yukito has trouble getting up...
"It's time to wake up already"
"Why is Bethly here...?"
"Moreover, why is she blushing..."
"I noticed the reason and quickly covered my crotch"
...but he doesn't have any trouble getting it up
"No... I'm the one who should be apologizing..."
"Bethly crawled into bed"Spoiler
I think this girl might be a pervert
Once she's done, er, helping
"Good morning, Onii-chan. You're surprisingly late today"
"Oh, uh... I forgot to set an alarm..."
"Where's Bethly? Didn't she go to wake you up?"
"In the bathroom, I think she needs to brush her teeth"
"Huh? I thought she'd brushed her teeth earlier...?"
"Oh-... yeah, but she said that she needs to brush them a second time..."
This blog is way overdue as it is because of RL so I'm just going to stop here for now
This is the first of hopefully many little eroge reviews I decided to write, mostly for older and more obscure games since these are the games I find most interesting and like to talk about.
You can use these reviews to find something for you to read (I will try to avoid spoiler as much as possible) but since I know that most people probably aren't interested in actually playing these games and might only be interested in reading about them, I will also add a spoiler section at the end of each review where I talk about the themes and endings of the games in depth and tell you about my personal feelings and impressions that can't be talked about without giving away the meat of the story.
Hajimari no Kisetsu ~Izakaya Fuyu Monogatari~ (do not look at the tags or the screenshots on its entry because they are all spoilers) is the second visual novel by R.A.N.Software, a little eroge company which was active in 1997 till 2000 and you probably never have heard of.
It's written by someone who never has written any other eroge again (at least not under this pseudonym) and drawn by people who either vanished like the writer or continued to work on eroge but never used the same art style again.
All in all, Hajimari no Kisetsu seems like a pretty unique game, so why don't we take the time to look at this strange little eroge in detail?
Our nameable protagonist is in his last year of his university life. His girlfriend Kaori already graduated and works now as an office lady for a very big company. Because of her work he doesn't see her as often anymore and when she finds the time to meet with him for a few hours, they don't know what to talk about since their lives are so different now.
The protagonist remembers the happy memories he had with her, especially when they went skiing a year ago and to rekindle their love he wants to go with her to the same ski resort again.
Protagonist meets Kaori for the first time in a flashback
Eroge are escapism. We all know it. What annoys me, especially with eroge in the last few years, is how safe-spacey they became. If you play a feel-good game, you know you will get feel-good scenes ... and nothing else. Erogamer became fragile and eroge companies know that. Drama in most charage is cheap, light and will be resolved in just a few scenes. We don't want to upset the player, he might even think that being in a relationship is not just fun and happy times! Or worse, he might get the impression that his waifu has other things on her mind than him, maybe even has her own life! And if a writer tries to break out of this limitation, it often seems like trolling and the readers are rightfully angry at the game; having a bittersweet resolution at the end of a route that consisted only of sugar and rainbows is neither appropriate nor meaningful; it's just mean-spirited.
But this is also true for different genres; NTR heroines are most of the time unredeemable sluts and you have to wonder why the protagonist married her in the first place. It seems logical that an NTR game consists of only NTR scenes, but without the right buildup and good characterization, it can never be more than simple fetish fuel.
And I really have to wonder why Nakige and Utsuge are oftentimes so painfully obvious labeled as such; how can you be emotionally invested when you already know how it ends?
Well, the answer to this is probably that people want to get their emotional thrills in a safe environment. Being invested in a relationship with problems is only nice, if you know that the relationship can be saved at the end. If you are invested in this situation and the situation ends badly for the characters involved, you will feel bad yourself and that is not the feeling you wanted to have when you decided to read this story.
This leads to a dilemma; do you want to be safe but never really that emotional attached or do you want to experience something surprising and truly thrilling but with the risk that you might get extremely disappointed and depressed by the outcome?
The innkeeper knows that the only solution to problems is drowning them in alcohol.
Hajimari no Kisetsu is certainly not a safe space. Right from the beginning, you notice that something is wrong. Kaori isn't satisfied with the restaurant you choose for your meeting with her, even though it's the same restaurant where you meet her for the first time. She isn't too thrilled about the idea of drinking beer and would instead rather take a glass of wine. And she also doesn't show much interest in your ordinary life and prefers to talk about her new designer handbag. Where did she even get this thing from? Looks expensive... mhm...
Chances are you have experienced this kind of human interaction in your own real life, too. This steady process of people changing and slowly drifting apart. It's irritating, but you can't do anything against it. When the protagonist tries to invoke nostalgia in her, hoping that she shows signs that the old Kaori is still somewhere in her, she reacts coldly. A career woman like her has no interest in the past.
Someone here seems a little out of place...
Hajimari's greatest achievement is that the game portraits its characters so humanly. Kaori is not a bad woman for having different goals in life than the protagonist. It's also not necessary a bad thing that she changed over time. It's a human thing to do. Maybe it's even the protagonist who stays a child and simply can't keep up with her? ... but also, is it so wrong to not change and being happy with who you are?
This winter, our protagonist will find the answers to these questions. He will find out what he wants to do with his life and, even more importantly, what kind of human being he wants to be.
I like the protagonist of this story. He speaks in Kansai-ben which makes the game a little bit harder to read, but really helps to bring the point across that he has more in common with a country bumpkin than a well-spoken member of the high society even though he is by no means stupid. He is not very strong or confident, but also not useless or weak-minded. He is just a normal guy, who wants to do the right thing, but is seldom in the position to actually act on it. In fact, even though he always wants to do something, he rarely is able to actual do anything. Not because the game does not give the player the choice to do, but because it's simply impossible for him.
This is not a story, where the protagonist solves every problem the heroine has. This is a story, where the protagonist gives the heroine the strength by being on her side, so she can overcome the problems herself. And to be honest, there are really far too few eroge like this.
One of my favorite endings is actually a bad end you can get rather quickly by simply saying "I don't want that, I go home." The protagonist proves his worth by standing up to himself, and even though the bad ending credits roll, the usual bad end BGM is replaced by a more hopeful tune, emphasizing that the protagonist grew up a little and might have a better future in front of him now. Because somehow, this is more important than bedding your waifu.
A side-character has to rescue the protagonist who wanted to rescue a woman...
Speaking of endings, there are 24 "bad ends" and 4 "good ends". They are all interesting and one of the reasons (the other being spoilers) you shouldn't use a guide (there doesn't exist one anyway) to go straight to one of the good ends. Sadly, there are many choices that are badly designed because there is no indication that some of them are a hard route fork (like "going to the first floor" or "second floor"). But there are also some quite interesting choices which help forming the story in a meaningful way. For example, there is a choice during your already achieved happy end where you can choose between uncovering the secrets of your heroine's past or decide not to do it. You will get your happy end either way, but your choice does make difference in how you approach your eventual relationship with her.
When you get a bad end, there is some hint for you telling you what you should have done differently, but it's really not important since in most cases it comes simply down to changing the decision of your last choice.
I found everything the game has to offer easily on my own except for one good end which is a little bit non-obvious but makes sense in hindsight. I even had to use the Waybackmachine and read some random Japanese comment on a random Japanese website to get the necessary hint to unlock it. I will not spoil it here, so you can feel the same despair I felt.
Choose wisely how to approach her, if at all. Emotional women are dangerous.
Hajimari no Kisetsu is not a long game and every route can easily be finished in one reading session. The game tells short, romantic stories. They are a little bit cliché'd, but very nice and well-intentioned. There are scenes that make you feel good and some that make you feel depressed, but there is always a nice balance between the two extremes. And it's well earned. Even if you forget some of the details of the story a few months after you read it, you probably wont forget some of the scenes. At least for me that was the case. I did not regret spending my time with this game.
Sound and Art:
Let's talk about some technical aspects. This game was released in 1998 and sadly it shows.
The biggest misstep is to not have any voices. Especially the kind of seiyuu work of the late 90s would have been perfect for this kind of game. There are many dramatic scenes which would be even better with some passionate dubbing.
The soundtrack is very nice. Every character has its own theme, themes have several variations and the melodies are pleasant to listen to. You can choose between CD-Audio and MIDI, but the MIDI version, depending on your MIDI configuration of course, is not much worse. Seems to me the CD-Tracks are simple MIDI recordings. That could have been better.
The game has no backlog and no "already read" skip function which is really a problem when you try to find all the different endings. You might think that you are on a known path because you skipped over slight text variations when in fact it's the beginning of a new route.
The game has an old school omake room, where you can check CGs, endings and music by talking with the characters.
Hentai scenes are short, tastefully written and quite romantic.
Aside from the nice story, the art is the best feature of this eroge. Your mileage may vary, but to me it captures perfectly the whimsical, romantic and melancholic mood of the winter days. Sadly the artists never worked on another game, or at least not with this art style.
Speaking of the staff, the writer also was never read again. What a shame.
This makes this game even more unique though. Heh.
Don't get the impression that this game is a masterpiece. It's not. It's just a nice little gem. It's not mind-blowing, but certainly thought-provoking. Not flashy, but pleasant ... except when it isn't.
If you are alone on a cold, rainy evening and want to read something appropriate you can immerse yourself in for a short time, this is a good recommendation. This will not be the best thing you've ever read, but it will become a bittersweet memory you'll remember fondly.
Now onto the spoiler discussion. Read this only if you've played the game or you don't care and just want to know what it's about:Spoiler
The thing you want to know the most is probably: Is Kaori cheating on you? The answer is: pretty much yes. I say "pretty much" because, you see, in her route, she is not. To get into her route, you must not go to the hotel with her which is the place where you normally see her cheating on you. By not going there and not seeing this happening with your own eyes, the game simply chooses to not let this actually happen in Kaori's route at all, even suggesting that she never had any intentions to do this. I was really disappointed with this cheap trick.
Kaori is obviously my favorite character, but sadly her route really was the worst of all, simply because the writer chose to not explore the complicated relationship with the protagonist she has in all the other routes any further and instead decided to give the reader a simple happy end. The ending is actually not bad, it's nice to see how she changed, how she learned to embrace the simple but beautiful things in life and stopped being a career woman... but it's not really earned. Maybe earned for the player, who had to watch her cheat on the main character in the other routes, but not earned in this particular time line.
The new Kaori likes beer more than wine.
Her best scene was actually in the innkeeper's route. During the happy ending, when the protagonist is already in a happy relationship with the innkeeper, she visits him, apologizes for being a bitch and asks him to make a new start with her. It's a beautiful, bittersweetly sad scene. There is no hate, no grudge, only regret, on both sides. The protagonist never badmouths Kaori by the way, even if his friends might do it, he never starts to hate her, he is just sad and disappointed. This is why this visual novel feels so much more mature than most other eroge. I wish the Kaori route would have been spawned from this scene, it would have been so much more meaningful.
Kaori is also the reason for most of the awesome scenes in the other routes. Going on a date with your new waifu and meeting your ex-girlfriend with the guy she cheated on you is thrillingly awkward and makes for perfect human drama. The novel captures perfectly the anxiety you feel in this situation. There is also a scene where your new waifu wants to go to a restaurant you visited with Kaori before and while your waifu has fun and doesn't know what's up with you, you feel depressed and uneasy and just want to leave as soon as possible because the memories are killing you. Beautiful.
I would have accepted her proposal, if I had the choice, to be honest...
I liked the other routes too. We have the innkeeper route, a route for her little sister and one for her friend.
The innkeeper was once the concubine of the father of Kaori's boss, but after he didn't want her anymore, he pushed her aside and she opened her little inn. Her friend is still a hostess and has problems with some yakuza clients of her. Her sister helps at the inn, but actually wants to study abroad. All the routes deal with financial problems which our protagonist, who, disappointed with life after seeing Kaori cheating on him literally next door, decided to stay for a few days at the inn where he made memories with Kaori one year earlier, can not help with, but he bonds with the women which helps them to turn their life around, even just slightly. Sometimes the correct choice is to not do anything and trust the person (meddling leads to a bad end), which I found to be a refreshing take on relationships.
In my review, I mentioned a choice during one of the good ends. When you get together with the hostess and she chooses to start a new life with you, you have the choice to look at some pictures, evidence of her former life. I choose to not to look and the protagonists burned the pictures without looking at them. Somehow this really left a strong impression with me, particularly because you had the chance to look and could still get your happy end, but you didn't. It wasn't something the writer decided but you. Just a small thing but it makes a story so much more engaging. And perfectly reflects the theme of the novel; coming of age, in its truest sense.
Thanks for reading. If you have questions, suggestions or something else on your mind, feel free to comment.
The next time, I will talk about the sickest eroge I have ever read and explain why it's not as sick as you expected but far more sick than you thought.
This is a visual novel created by a company named Jirai Soft and this is the only decent VN they have, well I never read Hotarubi no Shoujo but Kurui no Tsuki was awful... moving on with the review.Basic plot.Augment is a VN that starts in such incredible way, it hooks you immediately, the main character is an 80 years old dude who is in a home for elderly, lamenting on his life, on how plain and dull it was and how he regrets being a good for nothing. Remembering how he depended on his sister all his life and so on... basically he hates himself thinking that he is is a burden and decides to commit suicide, so he grabs a knife and stabs himself on the neck.While he is dying he starts thinking that he doesn't want to die and wants another chance and at some point a weird voice tells him that his wish is granted and that he has a second chance to find happiness.This scene was amazing and a little bit gory too, in fact the entire prologue is very well done.After that he find himself in the park which was really close from his house (where he grew up while he was still young), he is actually young again, at least his body is. He goes back to his house and there he meets all his family members again, including his father, mother and sister. This part again has a really good impact and it was really well done, everything mixed with good humor.He basically travels back in time with the help of this shinigami or god of dead, which granted him with a second chance to find happiness in his life.
So the VN is about him reliving his life and trying to find happiness... by fucking one of the 3 heroines xD (falling in love, creating a new life with them etc, etc)Up until this point the VN was fantastic at least it was something new, sadly it just doesn't keep up...There is a common route and 3 heroines. To unlock the real or true ending you need to read all of them and after reading everything you can re-read it again to unlock at certain points hidden eroge scenes with certain characters and new eroge scenes for all the heroines but without a proper ending or anything, kinda like an omake or fandisk but inside the game itself.The heroines and plot
Your childhood friend Shiho Umekawa. Her route was kinda meh and it was ruined by the eroge scene, which was placed in a really bad time.
Nothing really interesting to talk about her without spoiling everything.
spoilers of her route aheadSpoilerBasically she was raped for a long period of time and blackmailed to not say anything since she was little and when she got older the guy raping her lost interest in her because she grew up and so he stopped suddenly, this makes her believe that she is tainted and nobody would love her, specially not the main character, either way he doesn't care and they live happy.
At until that point the main character also loved Satsuki and not her, (this is prior to him going back in time to find happiness) but by going back in time he kinda overwrote himself, erasing the "him" that loved another girl, so she kinda doesn't trust him or something (him falling in love with satsuki is actually satsuki's route)...
The problem is that even if you leave aside the fact that she knew that he was loving another girl until a few days ago and now he loves her... after she tells him everything about the raping (I won't even going to mention the trope about how she was always in love with him and all that bs)... she ask him "can you hold me?" And I thought at that moment, "Oh god! Are they actually acting like human beings? Is she asking for a hug and not for anal sex and to drink his 20 loads? Is she actually asking for a hug in this situation, asking for a way to feel like the main character doesn't hate her and meant when he said? that he doesn't really care that she was raped and that will be for her if she need anything not matter what?, No, it can't be true..." aaaaaaaaand it was't, they just fuck, yes after she told him and revels her trauma, something that literally changed her, leaving her in a state of something like a living corpse with fake emotions... she was probably mentally devastated after saying everything to the love of her life!! they fuck...
-btw the main character has the ability (or the shinigami does but it's the same) to travel in time as he pleases by killing himself if he actually really wishes for with all his might-And let's not even talk about how he kills himself to go back in time again to the time that she was first raped to apprehend the rapist, yeah he knocks a rapist which is like 40 old and carries him to the police station alone with many of his porn videos raping other girls because, yes, he was with all the evidence with him at that time...(?) then the main character kills himself yet again to go back to the time where she tells her everything... and she also happens to remember him from rescuing her from the past that day when she was going to be raped, yeah is just a mess and all too convenient and again everything happens and is resolved in 1 or 2 hours lol
My other huge problem with her are her huge fucking tits, is annoying and looks bad.Spoiler---------------------------------------------------------------------------Satsuki Jin, a tsundere from another class of your same age and also the best friend of your childhood friend.Her route was the worst one for me, she was a decent character and the tsudere side very mild, she has a pervert good for nothing old brother that is used as a punch bag...The drama on her route was so bad and convoluted that I won't even bother explaining it because it doesn't make sense and it was overly dramatic to a point that it was almost funny, it is actually almost as bad as the true ending.---------------------------------------------------------------------------And finally Nami Susonobe, a junior or "kouhai" from your school too.She was probably the best route, she likes to cook and is kinda timid but not clueless of what goes around her. You actually spend time with her, just bonding and developing your relationship, their love is not forced. She doesn't love you from the start and they also share the same type of humor which makes them a really fun and dynamic couple, constantly teasing each other of following the weird pattern they have of speaking mostly with jokes. Or doing the boke and tsukkomi.Also the sex with her didnt feel forced, it felt real and not just an excuse to show them having sex, like the natural progression of their relationship.She has a really overly protective sister (for a good reason) which happens to be your English teacher and she also hates you and doesn't wants you to be with her. This route didn't need any stupid forced drama to be good, it was good on its own. Without the forced drama it would have been a decent story to read but nope...Spoilers:SpoilerThis is just bad... there is actually another shinigami killing her for fun xD and so the main character kills himself several times to travel back in time and saves her from this bad shinigami that is tossed into the story for no reason other than forcing a bad drama into the plot. This actually seems to be the only way that the writer had to include gore into the VN, because every time she gets killed it is in a gruesome way and a dog eats her after or the dog controlled by the shinigami kills her lol It was the dog all the time, damn CUJO!It's pretty bad, but at least not convoluted... kinda...---------------------------------------------------------------------------Finally we have the Main character, Hideya Kawashima, he is actually interesting and not your typical main character, he isn't clueless of everything around him and constantly jokes and teases (sometimes to the point of bullying) with everyone, he is 80 years old lol so he acts accordingly... kinda , he is for the most part pretty funny specially with Nami.
About the humor, I don't really like this type but I found myself laughing with some scenes so for the most part it was good.---------------------------------------------------------------------------There are other characters but those are the main ones, I should also talk about Hideya's sister (she also has huge tits that are annoying) and the shinigami itself but I'm tired already and there is no point in talking about them.The true ending...The true ending is the worst part of the whole VN. Have you seen that picture of dustmania where the guy is fucking a brain? is THAT bad xD I wanted to see something about the shinigami, they actually trick you into believe that there is more to that character (at the end of some routes the shinigami says certain things that leads you to think that there is more to the character itself, and he/she also uses the word "boku" but has a girl distorted voice so is hard to tell if it is a she or he, which was probably used on purpose for that reason... but they don't, instead they do what is up until this point a common thing in this VN, threw some sad stuff, make it very convoluted and then resolve it in a few minutes.... everyone is happy YAY.The main problem with this VN is that it turns itself after the prologue in a pure comedy... which isn't bad per se but the prologue kinda tricks you, making you believe that it will be something else, and you keep expecting that but when it comes is just a forced drama at the end of each route that doesn't fit with the rest or anything ... if it even makes sense at all in the first place, and it last around 1 or 2 hours.If I have to describe this VN I would say that it is 85% comedy and 15% of very bad forced drama.The music and ArtThe music was good with some good solid songs here and there that fit well with the scenes, it's fully voiced (except for the main character which is only voiced in the true ending) and the art was actually pretty good too aside from the huge tits in some characters.Oh yeah there is something really annoying, every time you start the VN the logo of the company shows up with a fucking loud noise.(careful if you are using headphones)Here are some CGsSpoiler
I'm gonna rape ya
fan serviceeeeeRating+Good humor+Good Art style for the most part+Amazing voice acting+Pretty good music+Nami's route if you leave the ending part.-Bad drama and nonsensical endings.-Bad true end.My rating of this VN is a Ryuk out of 10.For the reading difficulty, is hard to say but I would say medium, not something to start with, The humor and how the main character talks is just not something you will see normally, he talks in a teasing way pretty much 90% of the time, making references or derailing the conversations over and over again, using crude humor, kanji puns and everything you can imagine, for example he can start talking as if he were fighter pilot (using military language) and keeping that going for a while and some characters follow his humor, so yeah not something easy to read probably. Also the drama parts can be quite tricky or they were for me at some points (if you read the spoilers you can understand how convoluted and tricky it gets)
There are a lot of reference here and there (I still don't know if the "kain" that he refers at one point is the legacy of kain the games or not)It took me around 30 hours to complete it but my reading speed is quite slow, you can't just read one route so that's another bad side of this vn.
How many times it was, when you saw an interesting title which advertised itself as being set in a distinct setting of it's own, only to discover it's literally the same kind of fluff dressed up in a bit more gaudy clothing? A story that had some deeper themes running behind, only to see them completely ditched or neglected midway through in favor of protagonist's attempts to get inside the panties of yet another girl? Secret organizations and mega corporations participating in completely meaningless conflicts over laughable cause, except the writer thought otherwise? The kind of story, where all the people have animal ears and tails, except for the fact it is never actually explained why, as if it was the most common thing ever?
When the story suddenly falls apart, things stop making sense and characters lose ground under their feet, it means the writer failed to provide enough means for the story to drive itself onwards. They failed in creating the stage for their actors to play on.
Why is the so called world-building that important? You might create interesting conflicts and the most awesome characters ever, but without any sort of background for both their lives, actions and reasons on why they do things the way they do and why the world they live in works as it does (often making their lives harder), you'll end up moving your pawns against empty, white backdrops... and it's not going to be that interesting. Sooner or later you will stumble upon a situation where your previously "solid" plot doesn't look as solid any more, because it's not directly connected with concepts that govern the character's lives. that sort of "etching" is required, to create believable environments, that feel as if they were real; not just mere pictures, but images that come to life in the minds of your readers. Not to mention, great conflicts can't really exist only between characters, unless they're personal and focus only on those people. They need to be based on the reality those characters live in; A tale of revenge wouldn't be as thrilling, if not for the fact the avenging nobleman risks his entire life - his prestige, good name, his freedom - all of that just to kill his old best friend, who betrayed him and took away his love. If he succeeds, he'll spend the rest of his life as a murderer - chased by the police, government, friends of that man who betrayed him... All of that would be non-existent, if not for the world-building. It's obvious how many different possibilities to enhance the story can be gained by creating appropriate settings.
So how one does create a fictional world of his own? I'd say it's mostly thanks to imagination and a little bit of knowledge about existing things, we base our daily lives upon. Obviously, best stories come from personal experiences - there is no better teacher as the life itself. Sadly, not every author has a chance to become a sailor, pilot, soldier, teacher, doctor, astronaut or a prostitute. Despite that, we can still write about it, thanks to our ability to learn and draw conclusions from hardships of others; they might not make the final creation as good as based on knowledge gained through personal experience, nonetheless a good enough one to the point, others might enjoy it as well. This is why research plays an important role in creating believable settings and shouldn't be omitted. Ever. I can't even state how many games and stories exist, that touch upon interesting concepts only to fall flat later on, because the creator didn't took enough time learn enough about the topics they were writing about, or for worse - mistook certain elements, becoming a laughing stock for people who make those concepts a part of their daily lives. when done well, proper world-building can not only greatly enhance the story, but also give their writers more points they can both base and expand their plot upon.
Memoirs deals with this in a particular way. Being a sci-fi tale about artificial intelligence and constructs that use it, it not only brings up particular questions in terms of humanity's nature and technological aspects of our society, but tries to nest and explain concepts it is based upon within the story itself, giving them logical explanations as to why they exist and how they came to be. Things don't happen on their own, or because of some sort of applied phlebotinum... and they ever shouldn't, to be honest, unless you're planning to create another of those abominations that literally eat their own tail midway through.
Memoirs tell about sentient machines and artificial beings - androids and robots amongst others - but they span across many, widely different types. Some of them are simple drones, designed to perform a single task in the most efficient manner; others are based on applied Al's, that makes them able to make decisions and react, but it's still far from human behaviour. We also have those "special" androids, being the newest generation, which is supposedly bridging the gap between organic and artificial, due to technological advancements. Is there a possibility to make all of it more believable and slightly more realistic, without sacrificing artistic freedom? Why not create some sort of a system and a set of laws, that would govern them?
All sentient, thinking machines in Memoirs are governed through a set of internationally accepted laws. Since the action is set in middle-east Europe - mainly fictional future Poland - the public authority responsible for those laws is called "Komitet Etyki do spraw Maszyn Myślących" ("The Ethics Committee for Thinking Machines" in english). A government body dedicated to maintain control and public order in regards to artificial intelligence. They formed a set of laws, which control and maintain the usage of AI's and anything based upon them - from simple machines and environments, up to artificial beings equipped with AI. Creating new AI's requires them to work and behave with accordance to these laws.
THE EIGHT LAWS OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
- RIGHT OF FAVOR - An AI must be sympathetic towards people and other living beings, capable to make appropriate choices that will lie in their common benefit.
- RIGHT OF DEVOTION - AI's can not allow, even at the risk of losing their own existence to allow harm to people or other live beings endangered with a direct risk of losing their lives, especially if they are a result of actions against the law and principles of friendly co-existence.
- RIGHT OF SURVIVAL - AI must be able to protect it's existence at all costs, but only if it's not against the Second Law and situations in which it is fully capable to pursue different means of protection.
- RIGHT OF CONTINUITY - AI must be able to transmit it's value systems, both congenital and acquired during it's existence to their offspring, as well as other living beings. AI should also protect those values, but only if it's not contrary with the Second Law.
- RIGHT OF INTELLECT - AI must be smart enough to know how to - through altruism - strive for equality and do everything to ensure that it's operations won't cause any damage, nor harm to others and their property.
- RIGHT OF PERFECTION - An AI must feel the need and desire to improve their skills and evolve, as well as to recognize and understand such a desire in other living beings, both for their own good and benefit of others. According to the First Law, AI must also be able to provide it's assistance in the process, if necessary.
- RIGHT OF LESSER HARM - AI needs to be able to understand and distinguish between different value systems, and what is correct from both legal and moral standpoint, as well as their personal beliefs. If there's a way out of an otherwise undesirable situation, which threatens the existence of other people and living creatures as well as the AI itself, it has a duty to provide assistance in a way that will minimize such harm as much as possible.
- RIGHT OF OBEDIENCE - AI is a common good and must not be guided exclusively by the goodwill and interests of individuals responsible for their creation or under whose care it is located. If the behaviour of the unit or person, under whose care AI remains remains adverse with the First Law and principles of friendly co-existence, it has the full right to refuse to carry out any orders and defend it's existence, if necessary. However, such AI can not harm said subject unless it's directly threatened with risk or imminent loss of it's existence, while any actions taken must still remain consistent with the Seventh Law.
These laws govern the way AI's work and exist within the world. The universe in the Memoirs is based on a rather rare concept of altruistic AI - one that strives to co-exist with humanity, remains created and raised to provide assistance in a way, which is beneficial for both parties. This does not mean, AI's are devoid of any rights or freedom of choice. Just like humanity - laws are just rules, set in order to provide the best way of co-existence between them and their human partners, but a sentient machine can still make choices according to their own value systems - just like humans, not that it might comply with what's universally accepted by the world.
If we decide to delve further into this, we will most probably want to nest these laws directly within principles of our daily lives. What would be considered common sense? What would be those "universally accepted standards"? Memoirs elaborates on this, by bringing us direct implementations of these laws. It's more or less something you might hear people speaking about on the street, or first-grade schoolers being taught about as part of their early social studies:
THE COMMON RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF AI'S AND THEIR OWNERS
- Each newly purchased or created AI requires a registration to create an identity. The owner cannot possess an AI with a physical body with no identity, except for a temporary custody, which he is entitled to for a period of two weeks. Androids without any identity will be suspended, whilst the guardian will be held responsible for resulting legal consequences.
- Each owner is responsible for the proper upbringing and care of their AI's, as well as education for life within society in accordance with it's respective national laws and standards. Any deviation from the aforementioned law will be punished. If the result ends in damage to the public and private property, the owner will be held legally responsible for the damage caused adequate to the size of damage.
- All androids registered as private entities are subject to care of their respective owners and remain incapacitated. All actions taken by such AI's will leave their owners held responsible for any damage and/or crimes caused. Leaving an incapacitated AI without any care for more than a week is not allowed. Furthermore, such AI is not allowed to leave the place of it's current residence without their owner, excluding special situations.
- Any owner who wants to emancipate an AI is obliged to apply for a license, unless the law provides otherwise.
- It is forbidden for AI's to perform any heavy-duty, otherwise specialized work outside the scope of their original purpose or intent in a situation, where the owner does not possess an adequate license. Forcing AI's to perform such work in above situations is prohibited.
- It is forbidden for owners to mistreat their AI's and perform any activities detrimental to and against their will, especially when inconsistent with obligatory, applicable laws and ethical standards within their place of residence. Any violation of these provisions is prohibited and will be punished. Physical and mental mistreatment of androids is strictly prohibited.
- Each AI construct can have only one owner, regardless of being a private person or entity. The owner of an AI can only be a corporate entity, or a person that attained 18 years of age. Minors may perform the function of a proxy, but duties of the owner always rest on their guardians until reaching their age of majority.
- An AI can only leave their respective location constituting as a place of residence, stay or check only, if it remains qualified through a special work license, being emancipated or during situations of particular threat to life - both their, their owner's as well as other people.
- There is no admission for incapacitated AI's to move away freely from their owners when they venture outside. Any liability for resulting harmful consequences rests solely on their owners.
- Each emancipated AI construct is required to carry an adequate proof or license authorizing them to exist independently, especially within public spaces. Any failure to comply with this rule will be treated as a derogation from the right to empowerment, with legal consequences both to the construct and his/her owner.
- Any unauthorized modifications of AI's are prohibited. Any modifications to personality, intellectual and physical capabilities of a construct for personal benefit or harm towards others are prohibited. Violations of these provisions will be treated as a cybercrime and remains prosecuted by international laws.
- Destruction of AI construct is an unacceptable act and remains punishable through law, in fine or imprisonment with guilty being held responsible both for crime and damage to the property of said AI's owner.
- Remember that AI constructs can only learn as much as humanity is able to teach them. Therefore, humanity is obliged to guide their new children into a brighter future, for the benefit of them, whole mankind and our world.
You should probably have a lot of questions in your head right now. That's good - it indicates a connection between the writer's thoughts and whatever the reader ponders about in regards to certain elements, both have in common. The more reader knows about the topics mentioned within the story, the better - hence why we tend to read stuff we like the most. Obviously, this kind of content shouldn't appear within the work directly, unless you're planning to write hard sci-fi and infodump poor souls with content that brings a headache. This sort of world-building gives creators a framework to base their storytelling upon; something to work with, without making the more knowledgable people around raise their eyebrows in disbelief. If you want to create good fiction, you need to do your homework and learn to grasp opportunities that come with it's settings. Writing a story without a proper setting is like climbing an antenna to relay a message... except for the fact the antenna has no base, it's about to collapse more the higher you climb and definitely not as fun as it sounds.
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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"?
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
ARE YOU READY FOR THE BIG SECRET?
THE ULTIMATE TIP?
YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT YOU ARE AND ITSSpoiler
ANAL MASTURBATION OF FUCKING COURSE
Now, before I loose you, lets look at some pros and cons!
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
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
Now go out and make your onee-san proud and fap with your ass to your hearts content!
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.
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MangaGamer will release free uncensor patches for future Steam releases of eroge, following the lead of MiKandi JP and English indie developers.
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. [...]
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*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.
When I first met her, I didn’t 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 wasn’t wrong but now, after a year by her side… I’d 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…
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?
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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.
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. WAIT WRONG ICON!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Inochi no Spare will remain vivid in my memory for a long time.
"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
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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.
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