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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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Foreword: I have very high evaluation of the games of the series and since this is the only Windows game of the series (I'll play Lipstick ADV.4 as well just out of spite, but it's universally despised by the fans of the series), I just had to play it. It took me quite some to realize that wish, but finally it's there. Welcome to the Lipstick ADV world!
Title: Lipstick Adv.EX
Synopsis: Hidaka Koume heads a detective club at an all-girl school. Ichijou Megumi is a detective who got dragged by Koume to be a councilor for the club. Everything starts with stolen underwear at school, but then girls start to be assaulted with a knife right at the school and terrorist acts start to happen around the city. At that moment Megumi gets quite an ordinary surveillance order that turns out to be a much bigger deal. Is it possible that terrorist acts and mysterious case are connected somehow?
Structure: 7 acts with the zapping system of switching between two protagonists.
Length: 10 hours
Game type: School detective story
Difficulty: Very easy, but it seems to be possible to miss couple CG.
Character Design rating: 10/10
Protagonist rating: 9/10
Story rating: 9/10
Game quality: 9/10
Overall rating: 9/10
Rating comments: Game's absolutely marvelous. Luxurious graphics, full voicing including protagonist, bright palette, absence of character sprites in favor of CGs, intriguing story and quite many mysteries that get unwrapped one by one. So, why not a perfect score? There are some flaws. Story is mostly developed by Deus Ex Machina even though each of protagonists eventually manage to find a clue to the culprit. Between the chapters there are often girl assault events shown right at school, but for some very convenient reason all the girls just keep silent about that till the very last chapters. The ending part is quite pressed with events as we get from total despair and no clues to finale in a mere hour. Ending is too convenient and there is no epilogue (although there are CGs in the ending which show the future of heroes, so it's suffice for an epilogue). Game mechanics is a bit troublesome during the major part of the game as you need to visit some 15 locations and click through all the objects. It gets especially tiresome with people as you need to click on their mouth, face, hair and costume a lot of times till the dialogue goes on - and it's hearing all the same "Don't look at my face/hair/suit so much" over and over again. But I happily clicked through all those moments and some of the plot moments that were in the following as well (since you never know when new dialogue starts - after clicking on face/hair or suit for the tenth time or more). But, believe it or not, all those shortcomings aren't really enough to lower the score. I just did not feel satisfaction from the rushed ending and that hurt the aftertaste.
Protagonist: Let's make it clear - game was meant to be a new Eve: Burst Error/EVE: The Lost One. It shares a lot of similarities with that great predecessor. But at the same time game had to be in the vein of past Lipstick ADV games. Ichijou Megumi is very similar to Kojiroh. He holds a one-man detective office, also rents it and constantly has problems with money. But Megumi is really young and much less charismatic that Kojiroh. He's also not a genius and spends too many evenings drinking at the bar (how? at the start of the game his wallet only has 930 yen). In the end he makes a stupid mistake of leaving his office door open and he can't recognize a woman who wore big sunglasses even if he sees her everyday. On the other hand Koume is a traditional heroine of Lipstick ADV games, genki long red-haired girl. She also does not show any signs of genius detective unable even to pacify the only two members of detective club besides her. So each day they spend oh a whip following wishes of its member Rie. Koume was able to obtain her clue by doing the very basic police actions that police absolutely neglected to do. Koume part is much bigger than that of Megumi, because it's devoted to relations between many girls in school, I think eight is the number. It looks organic and nice, but it was really difficult to say where the game was going till the 6th chapter.
Characters: As I mentioned, there are some 8 girl characters at school and one woman outside of school, plus some male characters - bartender, police detective, school teacher. But since there is just one route, it was difficult to tell which heroines were important and which weren't. In the end only Koume detective club companion girls had an important role - genki and light-hearted Rie and serious reserved Aki, who is not interested in playing detectives and got dragged to this club by Rie. There's also girl Risa who plays a huge part as a rival of Kouka for Megumi and later on as a witness. And there is another girl who plays a big role because all the serious events start with her death.
Story: So the outline is set in the synopsis, but I'll try to elaborate without spoilering too much. First two chapters are just fooling around and improvised dates. Someone steals underwear at school, so it's just jokingly search for the pervert. But then one girl which both protagonists met a lot of times during first chapters, is suddenly found dead in peculiar circumstances. There are about two more chapters just about the shock and despair after that event. But actually only Koume was able to find the clue of the culprit. Megumi found his own clue, but to his own case he was given as a part of his job, and those two cases turned out to be parts of one bigger case and bigger person. The whole bombs part is an inheritance from old Lipstick ADV series and looks quite alien here. The reason for bombings remains vague unlike the murder which has a thorough explanation in the form of culprit diary which we again very conveniently are just led to. So it's not a good a good detective story, but a nice mystery with great characters and valid emotional aspect.
CG: 295 CG. We're difficult to be surprised by this amount with modern games often having 300+, but 295 is a huge number for a game from 1999. I especially liked that there aren't really normal H scenes in the game. Most of the HCG are very episodic and just parts of very brief events between the chapters. So it could very easily be an all-ages game.
Sound: I like the basic midi sound for being ... expressive, but I enjoyed CD-DA BGM even more in the end. Good tunes and great full voicing.
Humor: There aren't real gags here, but dialogues are often very funny in the beginning and those connected with light-headed Rie later on.
Title and Themes: So what does EX in title stands for? In my opinion it was meant to mean that unlike predecessors it has very explicit X content, but X could also mean it's the 10th game of the series, so EX was chosen instead. Another question is why the game was not just called 4th part. In my opinion it's because main heroes are different from Gorou and Otomi, even though the archetypes of the characters are quite the same.
Overall comments: Lipstick Adv.EX is not a kamige, but is a very delicious treat if you don't expect serious mystery out of it. Point and click sequences may be irritating at times, but bear with it and you'll get one of the best visual novels of the 1990s.
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Foreword - No VNTS because Decay once again was quite busy with Sanoba upcoming release in which it's only 10 days left, and he also said that he'll probably will have more free time after Sanoba release so that's something that we could look forward for (Hopefully more proper VNTS). Once again since we still didn't have VNTS yet, I decided to make another one here and I hope that you'll enjoy this week VNTS Review as well.
Since we finally have Trip announced which route that he want to translated in Hoshiori first (Marika's route), as promised I decided to use 'Star-Weaving Future Dream Arc' for this week VNTS Review. Another reason for this week titling is like I said before is because that each time a partial patch released I would use the unique titling here. As for the chapter titling pattern, well it's more or less just like Fairy Tail Tartaros arc when each time a new part start Mashima Hiro would be use 'Tartaros Arc Chapter X:XXX', and obviously I took his pattern for the titling here because each time Trip decided to translate another route would equal to Mashima wrote a new chapter of Tartaros arc (At least to me here). For this week chapter title, I decided to use 'Fureraba' as the chapter title because the VN was quite fitting for Marika there, seeing that she's got Rinarin's voice (Same seiyuu), same role with Himahima as childhood friend, good at swimming because of a circumstance like Yuzuyu, and quite shy at the beginning like Misakichi. So in short Marika here did have traits from all four of Fureraba heroines, and therefore I decided that Fureraba would be a fitting title for Marika's part here.
Some comparison between Fureraba heroines with Marika and my rambling in regard of Fairy Tail titling aside, welcome to this week VNTS Review. As for this week, I did like that fan translation did show some activities with one surprising project in form of Akatsuki no Goei translation project. Although too bad though that there's no big release from official localization companies, although to be fair some of those already announced the exact date for the releases though so at least it would be interesting to note there. Let's see of what I can write for this week as well.
I'm slightly dislike Mangagamer at this week though, seeing that they didn't announced what they want to release at the next month because usually they'd announced next month release each time they release a new stuff. To elaborate here they'd release nukige Bitter Exclusion back at 11th, and since Exclusion was only nukige I'll just ignore that even though nukige was supposedly Mangagamer money source. Guess it'll be better to look forward to whatever Mangagamer will bring as their surprise release later then, and hopefully they'll be able to release good title at December later. Speaking of announcing the release, we have JAST did announced the exact date for Sweet Pool in which they'll release it at December 19th later. What I can say is that I would be more happy if JAST took more effort to release something like Sumaga or Django instead of redundant BL VN even though the old translation was still unedited, but it's not like I could hope any big title release from JAST at this year anyway now that it's only two months left (Frontier was still far away at December 2019 later).
We also have two other additional VNs that interestingly will be released at the same date with Sanoba release (At 26th later), and those two title were Bokukotsu and Loca Love. As for the releases, well I already took my interest to Sanoba so more or less I'll just pass on those two especially in regard of Loca Love in which it's still only part one out of three part, but at least Bokukotsu here should be interested if some people out there want to see Nekopara alike art (Same illustrator). We also have Karakara 3 announcement, in which I'll assume that they'll gonna continue it from the cliffhanger at the end of the second part, so at least there's something to look forward to for Karakara fans.
This week we also have two successful Kickstarter. The first KS was came from Fruitbat in regard of the Seven Days, and as of the gathered fund itself they managed to gather 34,323 out of the base goal at 20,000. That said, Fruitbat still want to push it to the news stretch goal at 37,000 so that they can add another new CG for Seven Days. If you want to support Seven Days release, you can do it through the PayPal right now at this site and it'll be closed at November 13th later. Another successful KS here would be Venus Blood Frontier, in which as of now it managed to gathered almost 160,000 funds with the base goal was at ~150,000 (I didn't have the mood to write it in yen lol) with three days left. As for the situation here, it's interesting to note that apparently few days ago there's some huge burst of backing that came from some mysterious backers, so thanks to the mysterious backers out there we could have successful Frontier KS although if we want it to be more cautious perhaps it would be the best if you wait for three days until the KS end. I just hope that JAST will be on time working on this now that we got Arunaru as the translator.
For fan translation roundup, we got Eustia was at 54.84% translated along with both of editing and TLC progress was at 43.28%, Harugi's overall progress was at 23% translated with Tonoko's route was fully translated and Miyabi's route was at 4% translated while Branch was at 35% translated (Along with 27% edited), and Loverable was at 87.83% TLC-ed along with 43.49% edited. From fan translation here we also have surprise that we have another Akatsuki no Goei translation or shortened as Akagoei, with the progress was already finished the translation with the remaining progress were editing and TLC which is still quite a lot, and the release plan for Akagoei will be at 2019 later. While Akagoei here is one of most requested VN to be translated, from what I'd heard apparently the writing in Akagoei trilogy was so infamous that the writer couldn't writing the satisfying endings even at the end of the trilogy, so I was quite wary on that. If anything, at least the writing in regard of character interaction was quite good, so you could look forward to that if only for the character interaction only.
Congratulation to Arcadeotic in regard of Bishoujo Mangekyou, in which that it's been two years since I'd keep my eyes on this at the beginning. The premise was that we have MC (Shigehiko) who work as the teacher at the all girl school and met with a beautiful new student, only to have Shigehiko have lusted toward the new student. Also to complicate matter turn out that the new student itself is a 300 years old vampire (Kirie), and the vampire herself was quite a sadistic to boot. From there, both of Shigehiko and Kirie would have sex a lot, while at the same time that Shigehiko was getting closer to Kirie there. Anyway, to be honest Bishoujo Mangekyou is more or less a nukige technically, albeit with the good drawing there (I must say that the graphic for Bishoujo Mangekyou is good looking). Go get the patch from the translator's site here, and have fun.
For the last update we have Tsurezure release common route patch for Hoshiori in which it'll covering 8.08% of Hoshiori which obviously the common route, although in Hoshiori actually the common route itself did have double duty as the prologue though because the opening wouldn't play until the end of common route. With the common route patch release, of course it mean that Tsurezure was already announced the first route that would be translated, and in this case it would be Marika like I said earlier. While personally I didn't have problem with whichever route that Trip want to translate first, I did wrongly guess that Trip would be translate Marika's route last because she's been the reason of why Trip translate Hoshiori in the first place and therefore want to save the best for the last, but instead Trip decided to translate Marika's route first although I understand though if Trip couldn't wait to translate Marika's route there. Other than common route patch release, we also have the update from Tsurezure in which the current progress of Marika's route was at 11.94% translated and overall was at 9.78% translated which is quite good enough.
That's all for this week VNTS Review, and see you next week.
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For the last month, we were going through the impressive catalogue of free VNs by ebi-hime, one of the most celebrated creators within the Western VN scene. As a conclusion to this series, it’s my great pleasure to bring you a short interview with none other than ebi herself. During our conversation, I’ve focused on the dominating themes in ebi’s works and topics directly connected to the freeware titles I was reviewing lately – if you want a more general overview of her inspirations and questions connected to her other work, consider reading the interviews done in the past by The Yuri Nation and Sekai Project. Also, if you’re not familiar with ebi’s free VNs, check out my previous posts about them (Part 1; Part 2) – they should give you the context necessary to understand what we’re talking about in the more context-specific questions. So, here it comes – hope you’ll all enjoy it!
Plk_Lesiak: Thank you for accepting my invitation! I don't think there are many Western VN fans who wouldn't be familiar with your work, but can you share something about the person behind the ebi-hime label?
ebi-hime: I’m ebi and I like cute things, maids, and magical girl anime... And that’s about it! Honestly, I’m not very interesting.
PL: As you talked about your inspirations and interests in other interviews, I would like to focus on the dominant themes in your games. You're one of the few EVN authors that frequently set their stories in the West. Do you have a favourite setting to write about?
ebi: I think England is probably my favourite setting to write about, because it’s the country I live in and I’m reasonably familiar with it (though I don’t know everything about England, of course). It’s easier to place my characters in a setting I know relatively well, as I don’t have to do as much research, and the end result feels more ‘authentic’.
I also like setting stories in Japan because I got into VNs through reading a lot of Japanese VNs which were (what a surprise!) set in Japan. I also watch a lot of anime, and I went through a period where I exclusively read Japanese crime fiction, so I’m fond of Japanese settings! If I don’t feel like setting my stories in England or Japan, I’ll usually pick a European country I’m somewhat familiar with, like France or Italy.
PL: Much of your work is yuri-themed, including some unusual setups for f/f romance. How did Samuel Taylor Coleridge become a woman?
ebi: I love Romantic poets (especially Coleridge) a lot, and I really, really, really wanted to write a VN featuring him as a character, but dropping a real, historical figure into a fictional story felt kind of weird. Changing him into a cute girl made him feel distant enough from the real person that I could write about him without feeling too awkward.
Turning male historical figures into cute girls is also pretty popular in VNs, so I thought I might as well! Girls are cute! Although I think the real Coleridge you can see in his personal letters/diary entries is cuter than Samantha…
PL: Girls are cute indeed, but especially in Asphyxia, you ended up creating a really “heavy” story with a very cute exterior. Was this contrast something deliberate?
ebi: I wanted a very soft, almost doll-like art style for Asphyxia because I thought it would complement the mannered, flowery writing style. The character designs themselves are quite cute, but I think they’re drawn in a style that’s enough of a departure from a more traditional ‘anime’ style that most people would realise Asphyxia is not a ‘moe’ VN based on the screenshots?
I wasn’t trying to use the art to trick anybody, or make the story seem cuter than it is. I chose the art because I thought it enhanced the story’s gloomy atmosphere.
PL: Still, Yuri romance is also pretty commonly associated with something light-hearted and a bit saccharine, like Kiss for the Petals series for example. Were you worried about the reception of your early yuri titles, considering how much they deviated from this formula?
ebi: The first yuri story I ever read was the manga Gunjo, which is very grim and dark and lots of horrible things happen to all the characters, so maybe that’s where I drew some of my initial inspiration from.
Initially, I wasn’t worried about the reception Asphyxia might have because I didn’t intend to release it. I wrote it solely for myself, and I made the prose as pretentious and the content as depressing as I wanted because I figured nobody else would have to suffer through it. Then, I stumbled across SillySelly’s art, and I thought it would be so perfect for Asphyxia I decided to commission her. I still thought about keeping the story solely to myself, but I thought her art was so gorgeous it would be a shame not to release it and share it with people. My reasoning was, even if people hated the writing and the story, they would probably still like the art!
PL: Even beyond Dejection and Asphyxia, many of your protagonists are writers or poets. Do they reflect your personal passion for writing, or is there something else that draws you towards this archetype? Have you done much writing beyond visual novels?
ebi: The characters in Dejection and Asphyxia write poetry because they’re all based on poets. I’m pretty terrible at writing poetry myself, and I don’t like doing it. Moreover, my interest in the Romantic poets mostly stems, not from their actual poetry, but from their lives and their personalities, since they were all very melodramatic (apart from maybe Wordsworth) and they did a lot of ridiculous things.
I’ve written a few original characters who are authors (Blake from Where the Sun Always Shines and Eiji from Six Days of Snow are the best examples) because I like writing, so it’s a hobby I can understand and talk about somewhat credibly. Still, I try not to make all my protagonists writers, or even interested in literature, because I’m afraid it might get boring.
I used to write my own ‘original stories’ in my notebooks when I was about six or seven, and I wrote a lot of fanfiction between the ages of 12-18, so I did a bunch of writing before I got into VNs. Unfortunately, most of my old writing is awful, so I’m not going to share it!
PL: Another prevalent theme in your work seems to be depression and mental illness, with a culmination of sorts in Lynne and its gruesome portrayal of teenager's anxiety. What makes this topic attractive to you as a writer?
ebi: They’re interesting themes to write about, and I imagine a lot of people have experience with these issues, but perhaps don’t always feel comfortable talking about them? I’d like it if some people could read my stories and relate to some of the characters, and maybe feel a little bit less alone with their worries.
The Sad Story of Emmeline Burns
PL: And one more notable trope – ghosts and afterlife, including lovers, doomed in life, being reunited after death. It seems that most of the romances you write can only ever work out "on the other side", if at all…
ebi: I don’t think I agree with this. I’ve written a lot of sad/depressing stories, but I’ve also written several cheerful stories, too! Strawberry Vinegar and Blackberry Honey have happy endings! I also don’t view my romance stories where people die and reunite as ghosts as particularly ‘tragic’. Emmeline Burns and Windswept Night were both intended to have uplifting, optimistic endings, even if the characters suffer a bit to get there.
I know people can’t really come back from the dead to reunite with their loved ones, but that’s why writing scenes like that in stories is so satisfying. It’s nice giving couples in stories closure even after they’re dead, especially because it’s not possible in reality.
PL: Visual Novels are often a medium of escapism and wish fulfilment, quite akin to the trashy romance novels you sometimes ridicule in your writing. Yours... Rarely so. Do you ever feel like you should spoil your reader's a bit more, giving them more control and a chance for happier endings?
ebi: Well, I don’t know if the first statement about VNs is entirely true. There are lots of really, really good VNs there that aren’t all about escapism and wish fulfilment. The first VN introduced me to the medium was Umineko, which is pretty… not like that. And there are VNs which have fanservice and sex scenes that still tell interesting stories, like the Kara no Shoujo series. I don’t really think the stories I write are all that different from many existing JVNs, with the exception that I set a higher percentage of mine in Europe.
Though some of my characters poke fun at ‘trashy romance stories’, I have no real problems with them myself. Generally, I think people should be free to like whatever fictional media they like. I know there’s a scene in Empty Horizons where Lyon makes fun of Mireille for reading Totally-Not-Twilight-But-It’s-Actually-Twilight, but the scene concludes by saying there’s nothing inherently wrong with wish fulfilment stories if they’re not harming anybody and they make people happy.
Anyway, with a lot of my kinetic stories, I have a very clear idea of what I want to happen in the story and how I want the characters to act. If giving the reader choices gets in the way of the story I want to tell or the message I want to explore then I won’t include any.
Conversely, if experiencing multiple possible outcomes is the ‘point’ of the story, then I’m fine writing that too (like The Way We All Go). Really, it depends on what I think is best for the story I’m writing. Sometimes I think a story benefits from having multiple routes and different endings, and sometimes I don’t. And sometimes I think a story benefits from happy endings, and sometimes I don’t.
PL: One of your VNs I've personally enjoyed greatly, and which surprised me a lot was Lucky Me, Lucky You. Are we going to see other queer stories in a modern setting from you, or was it more of a one-time experiment?
ebi: Oh, I’m glad you liked it! I really enjoyed writing Nanami’s character – she was a lot of fun. Her ‘voice’ is also really different than most of my other main characters, since she’s more abrasive and assertive (but still kind of a sweetheart deep down).
Lately, I’ve been pretty fond of writing historical stories because I feel like I can get away with being more exaggerated and melodramatic with my vocabulary, but I want to write more modern stuff too! It’s fun to experiment with different styles.
PL: In other interviews, you mentioned that you have many ideas for light-hearted, cute stories. Still, very few of them turned into actual games. Will there be more of those in the future?
ebi: Well, hopefully! I’m sitting on a bunch of scripts in various states of being finished right now, and some of these are very light-hearted and goofy. I’d love to make them all into VNs at some point (especially my very cute magical dog girl story, which is a full 26 episodes long!), but I don’t have enough time or money to develop too many things at once...
PL: A few months ago you wrote on Twitter that you'll most likely stop making freeware games, as they drain too much of your time and resources. If that really happens, should we hope for more frequent commercial releases from you?
ebi: I hope so, but I doubt it. Like I said, I’m sitting on a lot of scripts for unreleased projects in various states of completion. I’d like to release these more quickly, since I’m very fond of some of these stories and want to share them with people, but it’s not always possible. I’m not the only person involved in making my stories, and the production can sometimes get slowed down by various factors beyond my control.
It also doesn’t help that some of the scripts I’ve finished are quite long, have a lot of characters, and I haven’t started looking for artists or composers for these stories yet. I’d really like to release 3 commercial stories a year, but I doubt it will be possible this year. I’ll do my best, though! >_<
PL: Is there anything you would like to share about your current plans and the projects you're working on? Will we learn more about the yuri with bunnies in near future?
ebi: Well, my latest VN, A Winter’s Daydream, will be releasing soon! It’s quite a light-hearted slice of life/comedy story set in Japan, that features an elderly grandmother being magically transformed into a cute girl.
I was inspired to write this story after stumbling across the ‘grandmother x grandson incest’ tag on VNDB. I was surprised this tag existed, and I thought it was funny such a niche fetish featured in enough VNs to warrant a content tag in the first place. After looking through some of these VNs, I saw that the grandmother love interests looked rather young and good-looking for grandmothers, and I thought, ‘what if I wrote a story where a more traditional-looking grandmother transforms into one of these impossibly cute “anime” grandmothers overnight? How would her grandson react to that?!’ Some of my ideas are kind of weird, I guess. :I
In the end, A Winter’s Daydream ended up being a little more serious in tone than I originally intended, though it still has some goofy moments. I’m quite fond of it, and I hope other people enjoy it, too! (Sadly, while the grandmother character is the main heroine of the story, in the sense that she’s the female lead, she’s not a love interest. I hope this doesn’t disappoint anybody haha…)
As for the ‘yuri story with bunnies’ I mentioned on twitter a while back… I actually finished writing the first draft, but I’m not sure when/if I’ll release it. It’s quite a cute, fluffy story (I suppose it’s similar to Strawberry Vinegar in tone), but I have other scripts I’d rather work on before I get around to polishing this.
PL: Thank you for your time!
And this concludes my ebi-hime series, for the time being. I want to give my utmost thanks to ebi herself, for putting up with the somewhat-prolonged process of preparing this interview and some of my purposefully-annoying questions. It was a pleasure and a privilege to work with her on this and I'm extremely happy that I can share her insights with all of you through this article. Obviously, this is not the last time her VNs are present on my blog - in two weeks, you'll see the first part of my Yuri Game Jam retrospective, which couldn't possibly be complete without mentioning Ebi's work. Also, I'll definitely work on covering more of her commercial titles in the future, both the old and the newly released ones.
So, I hope you've enjoyed this content and will join me again in my adventures through the world of EVNs. Until the next Friday!
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Ten More Yuri Series You Need To Read Before I Destroy You, And Everything You Have Ever Loved
And welcome to yet another top ten yuri reading list. This is where I attach a arbitrary rank to something based on my general enjoyment of it.
This time around I want to focus more attention on relatively obscure yuri series that might have been passed up or forgotten. This is for people who are tired of the old standard yuri tale and need something different. So, on that note, here is 10 more yuri series that you should read before I destroy you and everything you ever held dear. (Oh and if you haven't check out my first yuri list here.)
Number 1. After Hours
by Yuhta Nishio
Statues: Complete, with two volume released in English
If there is one thing that the yuri sub genre needs more than anything else is a change in location. For so long most yuri mangaka have been content to only ever set their creations in a High School the most boring setting of them all. Not only that but they were for the most part all girl schools with nary a male in sight. After Hours is a different beast all together and features actual adults in actual adult situations doing adult things. It is nothing short of a revelation. After Hours is a manga about the adventures of two women in Kei and Emi in the vibrant nightlife of Tokyo. Emi, a 24 year old unemployed young woman meets Kei at a nightclub after being ditched by her friend.
Emi ends up going home with Kei that night and they begin something of a interesting relationship. One of the most striking things about this story is how plausible it all is. The fact that she meets Kei at a club and goes home with her sounds so realistic. Emi's struggle in trying to find her footing in the world also feels more relatable since it is coming from an actual adult instead of some high school girl. Many times the world that a yuri story takes place in seems so far removed from our world. They exist in some fantasy version of Japan where no men exist except in a few crowd shots. After Hours goes a different route and feels connected to the real world even if it is still a work of fiction. Not only that but it features a diverse cast of characters other than the two leads and they are each unique and distinct. So many times in manga and anime in general the only difference between certain characters are their hairstyle. That is not the case with this cast and they strengthen the story and help give it shape. The combination of all those factors make After Hours into a rewarding and engaging read.
Number 2. Pieta
By, Haruno Nanae
There are some manga series that come along that are true gems that deserve to be noticed. Pieta is that sort of manga, it is beautiful and impactful. Named after the iconic statue by Michelangelo Pieta tells the story of the budding relationship between Sahoko and Rio. One thing that is striking about the manga is its melancholy nature and it seeps through the pages. Haruno is unafraid to tackle tough topics like depression and handles it in a way that I haven't seen in other similar series. Many yuri series feature so called damaged girls that have gone through trauma of some nature, but something about it seems a bit unreal.
Pieta, on the other hand is completely grounded and has characters actually talk about their emotions and troubles. Pieta also has a physiologist couple who provide an even stronger framework around the series. This really makes it stand apart from the crowd and gives it a character all of its own. The art is very unique as well and add to it's bittersweet charm. Like a cherry on top, Sahoko is one of the strongest and most emotionally mature protagonists I've encountered in a story. There really needs to be more stories like this one.
Number 3. Yuunagi Marbled
by Momono Moto
Personally, I think the one thing every so called great story needs is a strong protagonist. It is not always provided and unless the plot or other characters are able to do some series heavy lifting the story will fall apart. For the yuri genre a lot of the protagonists have not deviated much from the blueprint set out in the first yuri ever Shiroi Heya no Futari. They are usually very angsty indecisive and are often easily jerked around by the quintessential dark haired beauty that every yuri are court ordered to have. This particular manga is different however and it is also the reason it is so high on my list. All of it has to deal with the strength of the protagonist. One evening Enna is walking her dog down a strip of coastline when she spots a forlorn dark haired girl standing in the shallows. She is initially confused as to why she is there and wonders if it might be a suicide attempt. They lock eyes and Enna goes on her way.
The next day at school she and her class gets ready to greet a new transfer student that just so happens to be the mysterious beauty she encountered the other day. Enna increasingly finds herself drawn to the lonely girl named Mshio without quite understanding why. What makes Enna so great is that she acts completely opposite to how we assume typical yuri protagonist would act. She is self assured and proactive and unwilling to be consumed with angst and indecisiveness like some other protagonists I could mention (you know who they are.) With a great degree of care and sweetness she sets to work on her "broken girl" and begins the healing process with seconds to spare.
This story could have easily have lasted over ten volumes if it had any other protagonist helming it but with Enna in control it lasts for only two very satisfying volumes. There were so many times in the manga where Enna would break from the established angsty norm in exciting ways.
For example, when Mishio kisses Enna for the first time Enna pushes her away but not because she is disgusted or shocked by the idea that two girls are kissing. No, it is because she simply doesn't know how to breath while being kissed. It is so unlike Moto to write a story like this since some of her other yuri manga's feature some of the most angsty protagonists around. The glory of Enna should definitely be witnessed first hand.
(Behold Enna, the Breaker of Angst)
Number 4. Cirque Arachne
By, Saida Nika
I've never been to the circus though I did want to go just to see how it was, and a part of me thought about running away to the circus like every young kid. If it is anything like Cirque Arachne then I've been really missing out. This story named after the weaver cursed by Athena into becoming the first spider is about love found on the tight rope. Teti is the principal star of this tale and she takes center stage and shines all the more brilliantly for it. She is a traveling performer who finds a welcome home at the Cirque Arachne.
There, she meets the lovely acrobat Charlotte who is a very driven woman determined not to let anyone into the little world she's created for herself. They are partnered together and inevitably the two become closer. Now, they must determine what to do with their complicated feeling intermingled with their differences. What really makes this story stand out from the crowd is the absolutely beautiful artwork. It is visually stunning the way it flows and how fluid their movements are. The term poetry in motion is thrown out a lot but it is very applicable here. The story is another standout and it is told skillfully with a great degree of warmth and sincerity. It deserves to be read.
Number 5. Qualia the Purple
by Tsunashima Shirou and Ueo Hisamitsu
One of the flaws of many yuri series is their narrow scope, narratively speaking. They are primarily concerned with the development and fruition of the relationship between two women. Now, there might be an underlying story and conflicts that may come between them but for the most part it is chiefly about romance. The problem with this is the that it causes the genre as a whole to seem somewhat static and predictable. Many series hit familiar story beats you've seen time and time again, and are forced to rely on the strength of their characters to make it stand out from the pack.
Qualia the Purple is such a different story from what we view as the norm that I have no comparisons to make, at least in the yuri genre. Qualia the Purple was originally a light novel by Ueo Hisamitsu that was then made into a manga with artwork by Tsunasima Shirou. This utterly unique story is very hard to explain and is honestly something that should just be read for yourself, so I won't go into much detail. The basic rundown is the odd friendship between a average tomboyish young girl named Hatou Manabu and her odd friend Marii Yukari. Yukari is a purple eyed girl who claims that people are robots instead of humans. While she just seems to be at first to be nothing but a bit of an oddball, until things soon start to happen that puts her in a different light. Surprisingly, this is at its core a deep and complex science fiction story and later on the revelations and new developments come fast and hot. Expect the unexpected with this story.
Number 6. Clover
By, Otsu Hiyori
Otsu Hiyori is probably one of my favorite manga authors around and she has a distinctive style all her own, from her stories to her characters to her writing. The characters in the stories are normally very unique and quirky and the art style is wonderful. Clover is an interesting story about the relationships of one specific family. It is told in a different style that forgoes typical chronological formatting and tells each story out of order.
It starts with a story about the youngest daughter of the family and goes up the oldest before bringing it back to the second youngest again. Each story is self contained and deals with the daughters relationship with different women. It serves as an good introduction to Otsu Hiyori's work.
Number 7. Silver Gymnasium
By, Hiruno Tsukiko
Silver Gymnasium is by far one of the most beautiful and just sad entries on this list. It is unique as it is set in an orphanage for young girls, and follows the trials and tribulations of several girls that reside there. It is often at once achingly and also extremely depressing.
The writing and art style contributes to its melancholiness. I was really hit hard by it because I didn't see it coming. It is cold and bleak as the winter snow but carries with it the promise of spring. Just, remember to bring a tissue.
Number 8. Lonely Wolf, Lonely Sheep
By Mizutani Fuuka
Do you believe in fate? Personally, I've never been one that ascribed to that particular belief. I think the only thing I'm really fated to do is be buried in the ground when I've reached the ed of my days. Still, fate makes for some pretty good stories including this one, Lonely Wolf, Lonely Sheep. This somewhat unusual story concerns two girls who meet one day in a hospital. Not only are their names both Imari Kakimoto but they are in the hospital for the same injury.
In fact, the only thing they don't have in common is that their birthdays are a day apart. Due in part by this extraordinary happenstance they become friends, however, both are harboring secrets that could put their relationship in jeopardy. This story while being short rich and dramatic, and also has one of the best character reversals I have seen. Read it, and you might start believing in fate as well.
Number 9. Honey Crush
By Asu Tsubaki
Like a kick in the shin and a sock in the mouth from your best girl, here's another angsty yuri story set in a high school! Wait, where are you going? No, this is really great I swear! This one is about a ghost! Okay, good you stuck around. It would have been a shame if I had to drag you back by force.
Honey Crush is a quirky story about the misadventures of Mitsu Amemiya who harbors a deep unrequited love for a girl from another school. She's also a bit of a stalker as well, but the cute kind okay? Like the kind that watch their crush from afar and wish them nothing but the best, not the ones that dig in through their trash, and plot detailed kidnapping simulations in their spare time. On one of her stalking escapades she crosses the street and this happens to her...
When Mitsu comes to she realizes that not only is she dead but that she is also a ghost. Anchored to this world by her unrequited love and without any hope of becoming a spirit detective, Mitsu now must content herself with watching over her crush like a young Swayze. However, her plans are throttled yet again by the arrival of a new transfer student who not only has a prior relationship to Mitsu's crush, but is also the only one who can actually see her! This is a really heartwarming story that at times can be sweet, sad, and funny all at once. It has got a lot of charm to it and it will squeeze your heart in a vice grip while your not looking.
Number 10. I decided to fake a marriage with my junior (♀️) to shut my parents up
By Kodama Naoko
I started with adult yuri and by God, am I going to end it with adult yuri! Okay, so the name basically says it all, isn't that nice when that happens? Like the title said, this short series is about a adult woman named Machi whom is convinced by a friend to marry her so she won't be bugged by her parents anymore. While this has the longest name on this list it is also the shortest.
What makes this unusual is that I am completely fine with it! If you know yuri at all then the name Kodama Naoko is one that you have at the very least a passing familiarity with. She's well known for her twisted characters and soap opera like drama, with NTR: Netsuzou Trap being her most infamous creation. What makes I fake married my junior(I'm not going to type in that long a title every time I reference this) so great is that it is completely different from her other works. Machi is another one of these rare specimens who can break through angst and make clear and decisive choices when called upon. Gone are the indecisive protagonists that are only dragged along by their femme fatales. It is time for a new day, and the dawn brings Machi!
Well, there you have it folks, I have gifted you with some quality yuri handpicked by yours truly. Now get out of my sight. You disgust me. Oh, and by the way...
I'm sure there are legitimate complaints to be had about the biman 1 translation that cummed out today, but who has time for that shit when you see THIS?
PLEASE IGNORE THE FACT THAT THIS IS A MEME PATCH WITH THE NAMES
WRONGRIGHT (thanks @HMN), THE OTHER TEXT BITS WILL BE THE SAME OKAY.
YES THAT'S RIGHT, THAT IS THE MOTHERFUCKING DOUBLE HYPHEN STANDIN FOR A PROPER EM DASH. THIS IS POSSIBLY THE UGLIEST PUNCTUATION SHORTCUT IN EXISTENCE. WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD USE THIS MONSTROSITY RATHER THAN EVEN A TECHNICALLY NOT APPROVED BY LIKE ANY STYLE GUIDE SPACED DASH?
THE BIMAN 1 TL IS CONFIRMED SHIT. THANKS FOR COMING TO MY TED TALK ON LIVING IN A MOTHERFUCKING SOCIETY
UPDATE: MORE CRIMES AGAINST TYPOGRAPHY HAVE BEEN FOUND: BEHOLD THIS RIDICULOUS DOUBLE SPACING:
VIEW THIS BOORISH TWO-PERIOD ELLIPSOID:
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Let's be clear... I have no reason to try to be fair to charage anymore. This might sound like a terrible statement to make, but the fact is, I've been a lot nicer than I wanted to be for years when it came to charage. I went out of my way to look for positive aspects, and when I found one, I deliberately put it in as positive a light I could without overdoing it. This was because the sensation I got coming out of most charage was fatigue. SOL, in small doses, is enjoyable and even relaxing... in the kind of doses I experienced over the last five years, it is downright toxic.
Now, down to the game... CharaBration is what is termed a 'thematic charage'. This is a type of VN with a preset theme that all the heroines and possibly the protagonist all adhere to to one degree or another. In this case, it is the duality of the heroines/protagonist's character types. Each of the characters presents one face to the world and another in private... and in the case of this game, the gap between them is massive.
The heroine who starts as the initial focus is Hai, the protagonist's cousin whom he thought was a sickly ojousama that he had to take care of... and is really the kind of tomboy who dominates all the males around her, with a coarse manner and foul language. Yukia, who is pretending to be her sister Mirei, presents herself normally as an arrogant leader who always dominates the room, but in private, she is shy and has trouble talking at all. Himeme is normally acts in a false male role, but she really prefers to act like the girl she really is. All the heroines are like this to one degree or another, and Rikka (the protagonist) ends up splitting his life between pretending to be a maid and attending school in his male form.
Now... this is a game with a lot of potentially fun elements, and it would have been great if the 'hidden' character traits for Hai, who was presented as the main heroine at first, weren't so grating. Starting out with a positive hatred for Hai that never really faded even after I got into the heroine routes (her ojousama act just made me more irritated, due to that fake cough) was a huge drag on the experience for me, and it is the reason why I took so long to finish even the paths I did. Hai is annoying, to be straight about it. While her presence is necessary to create the situation going in, her persona (both of them) drove me up the wall.
The fact that I actually liked the other heroines only made it worse, because whenever she came onto the scene, I just wanted to delete her character. I'm sure some will love her (there is someone for everyone, supposedly), but she isn't for me.
Tbh, the common route spent so much time on Hai and stuff related to her that I'm tempted to erase it from my brain. However, it needs to be said that it does a good job of introducing the heroines and creating their relationships with Yuki/Rikka. Rikka is a standard 'I protest dressing up like a girl but I subconsciously am coming to love it' trap protagonist, and that creates a few moderately amusing scenes... However, I can't really said this did a good job of anything but introducing the heroines and creating those basic relationships. It is a pretty short common route, and the heroine routes afterward aren't long either, so it feels like more time and effort could have been spent deepening the relationships before they headed off into the romantic wilds.
Yukia is easy to like, at least for me. Her helpful, kind nature is prevalent throughout much of the VN, and her other persona is mostly amusing (some of the ways she strings together lines to hold a conversation together make me laugh). Her relationship with her sister, Mirei, which comes out in her path, is amusing on several levels, and I like the way she grows as a character during the course of her path. That said, her ending is somewhat disappointing, as I would have liked to see what she and Rikka were like after graduation.
I chose Corona as the second heroine mostly because she is Yukia's opposite in so many ways... and because I rolled a pair of dice to decide which would be the second and final heroine I would play (I can't bring myself to play all the heroines in this type of game anymore). Umm... I really like her character, if only because it makes me laugh (an easily-embarrassed prime personality and a secondary personality that strips without a hint of hesitation and is obsessed with other women's breasts... definitely worth a laugh). In fact, this path is nicely weird, especially because of how those twin personalities interact with the romance. If Yukia's path was par for the course (predictable and staid as trap protagonist and ojousama heroines go), Corona's went pretty far out there. The epilogue and after story was also too close to the ending in chronology though, *sighs*.
Despite some high points, this game is pretty average as charage go. Like a lot of thematic charage, it makes the mistake of assuming that the theme is all-powerful, and, as a result, it falls short on a lot of minor points. I was particularly irritated at the way they handled the endings/epilogues, and I felt that the writer didn't really do Corona or Yukia justice, when it came down to it. Given more detail and time spent deepening character relationships in a believable fashion, it would have been much easier to engross myself in the setting. Unfortunately, that never happened here (the good parts of Yukia's and Corona's paths stand out so much precisely because they are the best parts of the VN by far). It felt like the writer wrote his favorite scenes first then sort of created a bare-bones framework to support it using the theme.
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This blog entry will be updated as more news comes out and as such will be marked as ongoing until the end of the month.
Frontwing have just made an update on their Grisaia phantom trigger kickstarter where they said that they have started shipping and that due to the amount of items it will take about 1 month until everything is shipped out. So it seems they are finally able to deliver on their physical items after such a long time.
Also their kickstarter for Island is now done and it managed to raise $69,301 with a goal of $50,000.
Loca-Love kickstarter is now also done and managed to raise $33,251 with a goal of $30,000.
The latest update from the Koropokkur in love kickstarter says that they have shipped out the physical editions to the backers now. I find it quite funny how quickly Mangagamer managed to get physicals out compared to other kickstarters that often use a year or two extra (sometimes even longer).
The kickstarter for Seven days is now done and it managed to raise $34,323 with a goal of $20,000.
Here are a few titles that may be close to getting sold out or have a limited time left for pre-order.
Eroge sex and games makes sexy games only have 1 copy left on Mangagamer, but is available from Jlist and Rightstufanime, though I am not sure how many they have in stock or whether there will be reprints.
There is also a limited amount of physical copies for Clannad: Side Stories at sekaiproject, it seems to be leftovers from the original kickstarter.
On PS vita the physical edition of Muv-Luv and Muv-Luv Alternate is being sold over at ricedigital and I am pretty sure that it is a limited run.
Open kickstarter Venus Blood Frontier
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(making it a blog post because i don't think this would get any activity as a thread)
I think this time period from 2011 to 2016 might have been the "golden age" of otome games because those were the years where a lot of the most notable otomeges were released. Just looking at high-rated otomes on VNDB:
2011: Amnesia Memories, Shinigami to Shoujo, Chou no Doku Hana no Kusari, Arcana Famiglia
2012: Black Wolves Saga (both parts), Dandelion, Koezaru wa Akai Hana, Cinders
2013: Ken ga Kimi, Nameless, Norn9, Arcana Famiglia 2, Getsuei no Kusari (and fandisc)
2014: Code Realize, Ayakashi Gohan
2015: Taishou x Alice, Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly, Re Birthday Song, Yoshiwara Higanbana
2016: Collar x Malice, Mystic Messenger, Nightshade, Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk, Code Realize Future Blessings
I can only attest to the quality of a few of these VNs but for those that are more into this genre, i would like to raise this discussion.
With your support, Venus Blood Frontier could drive a desperately-needed renaissance for English gameplay eroge.
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It all started on 4chan's /vg/ board in its regular visual novel thread:
The twitter account has some vague cyber-y tweets related to loading and then the trailer linked in the 4chan post. The unlisted video has English subtitles so some effort was put into it, though the "summer 2018" part is probably not happening. Also is it just me or is the tl of the "you betrayed me?!" line weird based on the voice clip? Like she doesn't sound surprised. oops getting tangential here...
So what does it all mean? well, SteppenWolf is apparently a team within the baldr series or something, and TGL is a company which has Giga, makers of baldr, as an imprint. But of course anyone could have made the twitter account and the 4chan post and incorporated just the right references to make things interesting. All in all until we get something more official there's no way to tell if this is a hoax or not; I would recommend not getting too hyped.
Okay zaka but where's the realdeal silly speculation at?
Very well, dear rhetorical-questioner-kun. So like you know how Aroduc was fan translating baldr sky and then sekai project licensed it and then negotiations broke down and it was basically
typical sekai projecta terrible fracas? The outside guess is that instead of actually quitting tl like he seemed to when he dropped off the scene he's been working on this. It even matches up with things I seem to remember him mentioning about baldr force being better but people wanting sky or something. Anyway take this with more salt than a room containing solidbatman, originalren, astro, steve, and itsangetime, but it's like, maybe possible. Maybe.
Y u no make forum thread?
I want to feel like a special snowflake. Also I figured this'd be a decent water-testing opportunity for this kind of content so here I go.
NEW INFO 17:00 swedish time 15/9:
Two new videos have been posted in /vn/ and on the twitter account:
I haven't posted anything particularly editorial in a while, nor have I landed a new FuwaReview in a while; I've been busy with one thing or another, and also I just haven't had that much to write about. However, today I finished reading new shiny new Kokoro Connect: Hito Random release, and when I finished, I knew I had to write something up about it.
I first watched Kokoro Connect way back when I didn't know who to ask for recommendations and was still finding my way around anime. I was mostly just going through things that were highly ranked on AnimeNewsNetwork's overall rankings, that were accessible without pirating, and that sounded interesting. But I didn't pick it up without some trepidation. Back then, I was a little put off by fanservice in general, and the show's description was selling the perverted body-swapping angle really hard, so I was concerned it was just some shallow fanservice show. Still, I decided to take the plunge anyway, thinking there had to be more to it given the show's reception, and boy was I ever glad I did.
Nothing pushes my buttons like Kokoro Connect. The story it tells is as closely tailored to my own preferences as anything I could ever ask for: coherent and interesting characters, immensely human drama, realistic romantic development, clear story beats and plot arcs accumulating to bigger themes, and a little spritz of magic to grease the wheels of the plot. Hell, the anime even got a great dub, featuring the immensely talented Luci Christian as best girl Inaba. It's an all-time favorite for me, something I can happily recommend to anyone.
One of my favorite elements of the show is that each arc feels so complete. In 3-5 episodes, a new twist emerges, a plot unfolds around it, the characters grow in response, and at the end it resolves fully, always in a satisfying way. The one season and the OVA together had four such arcs all together, and while I was immensely satisfied with where it ended after each one, when I finished the last OVA, I still thought to myself, man, I wish there was more of this. What I eventually learned, when I finished the show and went to read about its origins, was that the reason for the tight storytelling was that the show was based on an existing series of light novels, of which the show only covered the first four out of ten (eleven of you count a volume of short stories). There was a whole lot of content out there I hadn't seen yet! Except, it wasn't available in English...
And that brings us to today, when I got to read the first English volume of the English release. And let me tell you guys, it is gooood. The translation is fluid, natural, and well-written. The characters pop right out of the page, and the narration is consistently solid and occasionally beautiful. Props to the localization team on their work here! I do have a couple minor gripes, of course: leaving people's heights in centimeters, which is totally bizarre in an American English translation (sure I can do the calculation, but talk about kicking you out of the immersion. Fortunately this only happened once); and not translating the per-volume titles ("hito random" ain't exactly my idea of a punchy title).
So how did it hold up, revisiting the material again after all these years? It's still awesome! I had to stifle my laughter a few times so I didn't look like a weirdo laughing out loud in the middle of a plane flight. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, I felt tears welling up in my eyes at a couple of particularly touching scenes, and had to fight just as hard to hold them back.
And while there's nothing major that's new here, versus what you'd see in the first five volumes of the anime, there are little bits and pieces that make it worth the time, especially in the narration, something inherently missing from an anime.
So what are you waiting for? There's a criminally neglected property out there finally getting a great English release, and it deserves your attention. Go out and give it a try! https://j-novel.club/v/kokoro-connect-hito-random
Disclaimer: I am not being paid to promote any of these apps.
From here on out, I’ll be shifting the focus of this blog to the more indirect methods of improving learning efficiency. While these techniques aren’t designed for learning Japanese specifically, they can greatly enhance your ability to retain information and study consistently. Sorry I won’t be able to write more posts like the one from last week, but I’m still learning at a snails’ pace due to college-imposed time constraints. Hopefully I'll be able to write another post like that in the future as I continue to study.
The pomodoro technique is an effective learning method that can not only improve your concentration and motivation, but help you manage your time more reliably. The way this technique works involves setting a pomodoro duration for somewhere between 20 and 45 minutes (25 is recommended), taking a short break (typically 5 minutes) between each pomodoro, and taking a long break (typically 15 minutes) after finishing a set of 4 pomodoros. Concentrating on any kind of learning material is going to be taxing on the brain, so you’ll want to let it cool down at times to make studying more productive and enjoyable. It’s thanks to this technique that I can study for 8 hours in a day without getting a migraine, and I am finding it easier to not get lost in thought.
There are specialized pomodoro timers you can use that will give you a timer for both the study and the break duration, and they'll be able to keep track of when you need a longer break instead of a shorter one. You should be able to find one just fine in Google Play or App Store, and you can buy a physical pomodoro timer on Amazon if you don’t have a smart phone (a kitchen timer and pen and paper can work if you don’t want to buy this). I don’t know much about the options for App Store or physical timers, but I do like Pomodoro Timer Lite on Google Play since it has a minimalist design, decent customization, and only shows a single popup ad asking you to buy the pro version once per day (it's a minor annoyance, but can be removed for just a few bucks (USD)).
One of the most effective ways to commit yourself to studying Japanese is by making it a regular habit. It takes roughly 30 days for something to become a habit, and 66 days to become fully committed to it. The key to making this work is setting realistic goals for yourself and overemphasizing the importance of following through with them every day. You’re free to choose whatever method fits you best, but I like to take a baby steps approach by setting small goals that only require a trivial amount of time, and gradually building on them by increasing the duration after a successful 66-day commitment. Even on the most miserable and depressing days, I can bring myself to study Japanese for one Pomodoro duration at the bare minimum, and aim for three pomodoros when I’m not down in the dumps. While going for the minimum may not produce the most optimal results, it’s still better than doing nothing.
I recommend using a habit tracker app so that you can reliably measure the number of days you commit to a habit without the frustration of noting everything on paper. For both App Store and Google Play, I recommend using Habit Bull since it’s ad free, gives you reminders to update your habits, and provides a good interface to work with. I’d advise staying away from the pro version since you shouldn’t be tracking more than 1-3 habits at a time (anything more than 3 is difficult to sustain), and I’ve come across several reviews and posts from their in-app forums talking about how the devs aren’t very responsive when it comes to purchase issues.
Developing habits can also serve as a useful method of measuring success when learning Japanese, and being able to measure progress is an excellent way to keep yourself motivated. As I mentioned in the introduction post, learning Japanese will take years of commitment, but developing a habit is something that can be done in a matter of months.
Daily Routine Checklist
It’s never a bad idea to give your lifestyle some form of structure, especially when you have issues committing to tasks you want to do. Even though I’ve been doing it for years, making lifestyle changes has always been a struggle for me because I didn’t have a good point of reference to look to. But that has changed drastically since I started writing down the steps to a workable daily routine using a checklist. That’s not to say I didn’t at least try to follow a routine before, but oftentimes I would either add too many changes to adjust to or I would forget to do something I wanted to. Given how unreliable the human brain is when it comes to extracting details from memory (usually), it’s much better to see the steps you need to take written out for you. Doing so can also make it easier to adjust to whatever changes you may need to incorporate.
For this particular task, I can really only recommend ColorNote on Android. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to find a reasonable alternative on iOS for managing a daily routine, so I’m afraid you may be out of luck if you own an iPhone (if anyone has suggestions, please let me know). And managing something like this without a smart phone is probably more trouble than it’s worth. As far as ColorNote goes, it has an easy-to-work-with interface that allows you to add checklist notes from the top or bottom, uncheck everything on the list through menu commands, rearrange notes using an edit mode, and organize a list of notes through color coding mechanisms. That way I can write down my entire routine and check each item off as I go through them. That’s not to say I’ll spend the whole day looking at a checklist; I mostly find myself using it during transition periods. Another neat aspect of ColorNote's list design is that you can skip certain tasks when you're not able to do them and come back to them later when you're able to.
Unfortunately, many of the methods you’ll use to learn Japanese (especially as a beginner) will require a computer to use. This means that you’ll be subject to a number of potential distractions a computer can provide. Thankfully there are a couple solutions available to help you stay focused.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll likely have some kind of obsessive compulsion to browse through various social websites, hoping to find that one voluptuous post that caters to your lust for immediate gratification. Thankfully, LeechBlock provides a solution to that. This addon is surprisingly well-designed, given how it allows you the freedom to block specific web pages at specific times and days, and even prevents you from accessing the options to change settings when it meets the conditions you set. Oh, and did I mention it has different block sets for multiple conditions? Yeah, it’s sexy. Unfortunately this plugin only works with web page loading on Firefox, so you’ll want something like Stay Focused (which isn’t as good, in my opinion) for Chrome if you’re ever inclined to use that. Since I’m mainly a Firefox user, I only use Stay Focused to keep myself from switching browsers when my blocks go up. I haven’t found anything for Microsoft’s browsers, but I would like to think no one is desperate enough to fall back on those.
Now for any applications you have installed locally, you’re going to need something that can directly interact with your OS, which is where Cold Turkey comes in. As with LeechBlock, you can have this set for specific times and days, but it works for applications in addition to web pages. Sadly, this does come with a $25 price tag, but at least you’ll have the option to try it for a week before buying it, and you only have to pay for it once (not a bad deal, really). Once you’ve entered a time period you’ve set for a program/webpage, Cold Turkey will terminate the program or block the page on the spot, and it will kill blocked programs immediately if you try to start them back up. That way you can keep yourself from accessing distracting games and desktop apps and focus more on your studies. Unfortunately, you are still going to need some semblance of discipline to not distract yourself with something that isn’t on your computer, or find a workaround to get to your blocked content. But at least you won’t be as easily distracted as you were before.
Thanks again for your continued readership! Ya know, this article was a lot shorter before I started editing it, which is unusual since my edits mostly involve cutting content. But yeah, this time I wanted to add in a few other applications I didn't have originally since they were also very helpful to me. Also, if any of you are wondering why I kept the title as is despite the nature of this post, it's mostly because I consider the Learning How To Learn series a documentation of my own personal development in the form of a guide. It's definitely not the most conventional way to write a guide, but I think there are more than enough of those already, lol. I'm just going to keep writing what I want to and hope someone finds them useful.
In part 4, I'll go over some methods of coping with depression in order to keep it from significantly interfering with your learning goals. Hope to see you there!
I have now read through Princess Evangile W Happiness and of course that means that I have to do a review of it (which is hopefully at least somewhat good).
Princess Evangile W Happiness is a fandisc to the original Princess Evangile and has an extra story of 2 chapters for each of the heroines as well as a 4 chapter long route for each of the 5 sub heroines. Other than that it includes the 13 first chapters of the main route in the original which means it can be played as a standalone VN, though I wouldn't recommend it since the extra stories for the main heroines won't make sense and you should just read the original first anyways. Also I would like to mention that you probably should read my review of Princess Evangile before reading this one.
The extra stories to each of the main heroines I found to be really nice, I am not going to review each of them, but if you liked them during the main VN you probably aren't going to be disappointed.
Ruriko's route was really nice. I must say I just love Ruriko's personallity, she manages to be quite funny with her absurd jokes and she just has some really fun character quircks that I find really adorable. As for her route, well I didn't find it to take any interesting direction, but it just had lots of good moments with her and that was generally the focus of her route, just her and the main character being together.
Konomi's route was also really good in my opinion. There are some really great comedic moments due to her personallity and I would say that this route was probably the most funny out of all of the character routes in Princess Evangile W Happiness. Other than that the relationship between her and the main character was built up really nicely in a way that really fit Konami.
Mitsuki's route was something I didn't really have high expectations for, I generally found her to be quite annoying in the common route as well as the other character routes, however I was quite pleasantly surprised. Her route did a really good job in terms of rommance and there were some good romantic lines between her and the main characters, something which I felt the other routes didn't do quite as well. I remember really liking it when I played through her route, though in the end she is not quite up there with Rise (who she constantly compares herself to). While it did do a good job with the rommance it didn't really have that much else going on though, at least after the first part, so ye it felt quite uneventful.
Marika's route was a route that I would say is okay. It was a pleasant read though I didn't feel like it did anything especially well. One of my main problems with her route is that I just found her personality to be really boring, in her route the best comedic moments came from other characters and those were quite rare. Her route also just felt like it was lacking in terms of the story. So it was pretty much like Mitsuki's route just without the well done rommance and with a character who is quite boring. While I am sounding quite harsh at the moment I need to repeat that I still felt that it was a somewhat pleasant read even though it felt lacking compared to the other routes.
Lastly there is Tamie's route. While not as funny in my opinion as Konomi's route it is a good second. Tamie is really wonderful and her jokes and teasing is quite endearing. What I think stands out the most about this route is how energetic it feels since Tamie just filled to the brim with energy. Her route started in a rather surprising way though it lead to some really nice sweet and funny moments. After the first part they did a really cliche thing to move the story forward, this specific cliche is something that I generally don't like, though I felt like they did a good job using it and in the end I don't really feel like I can view it as a negative that they used it. As for the later parts of it, well Tamie kind of mellows a bit out, though not to the point where she feels boring or lacking in her usual energy, just that it is a bit dialed down.
As for my opinion of this fandisc as a whole I would like to start by saying that I think that if you liked the original Princess Evangile you should definitly pick it up. Each of the original heroines had nice extra chapters which both provided more nice moments with them as well as just being nice conclusions to their stories. The other heroines all had nice routes, with the exeption of Marika which felt kind of lack luster compared to the rest of the VN. A disadvantage the fandisc has compared to the main VN is that the routes are rather short, 4 chapters compared to the 10 chapers the heroines in the main VN have. While this does mean that each route has less of an impact on the person reading it, I still felt that they did a really good job using those 4 chapters. The routes in the fandisc manages to build the relationships really well through pretty much focusing on the heroine of the route exclusively. A drawback this has though is that the routes can't really have larger story moments like they did at the end of the routes in the original. I would also like to comment on the sex scenes, the sex scenes both in the original and the fandisc are really sweet and quite vanilla (disregarding that some of it takes place in rather risque locations) and I feel like it really works well with the sweet rommances that are built with each heroine, a problem with the scenes though is that they are just too long. It feels like the sex scenes in general should be shortened by quite a lot, preferably by replacing some of the lines that can be found in pretty much all vanilla sex scenes in VNs. Well I would like to end the review by mentioning that it also has some nice referances to Imouto Paradise (a VN I will do a review of in the future, once I have revisited parts of it), personally I found this to be really fun.
The front of the physical edition
The back of the physical edition
The steamkey card, the girl there is Marika
Here is the inside of the physical edition including the discSpoiler
The reversible cover, I find it quite lovelySpoiler
As for my review of the physical edition, well I would say it is just pretty okay. It is just a standard DVD case and doesn't really include anything other than the steamkey and the cover being reversible which is a standard for physical editions by Mangagamer. To my knowledge the steam edition is just a censored version of the full VN, though you can patch it. While this is a nice bonus for those who want to have it both digitally and on disc I don't feel like it is as good of a bonus as the original which has replacement scenes for the sex scenes meaning you get extra content with the steam edition.
As for the cover I find it to be quite nice with all of the 9 characters on the cover wihtout anyone of them being pushed too far into the background. The back of the case is pretty plain though it at least gives information about the VN. The reversible cover as I mentioned I think is quite lovely though it isn't really something that work that well as the cover since it is just one large drawing that would then be unnaturally split in two.
I DON'T EVEN REMEMBER HOW LONG AGO: Not even time travel saved tymmur, but it's not like Dreamysyu, VirginSmasher and Zander would give up so fast! After finding a whopping amount of 1 (one) clue, our heroes started marching to the court room.
After whatever won the poll, our heroes finally reached a red velvet room, decorated with golden statues and chains. An extravagant atmosphere, that also made everyone dizzy, just like Ranzo's ego. Speaking of the Devil, he just started singing a Velvet Underground song. Back to the room's interior, we could also see a circle of golden platforms in the exact middle of the room, an arrangement that permitted them to see everyone else should they step behind the platforms. Well, not "should", "must", they have to do it, to save America, or whatever other noble reason. Maggiekuma's throne was located closer to the corner, in a higher ground where it was possible to see everything the plebeians bellow were doing.
"Sooooooo, you guys are finally here!" said Maggiekuma, savoring some popcorn.
"And whose fault is it, that we're this late?" we can count on batman to rub salt on other people's wound.
"Okay, look, I already waste half a screen worth of space with that poll, so let's drop the issue about my lateness! You have better things to discuss!" angrily said Maggiekuma, throwing popcorn at our heroes. Kiri didn't seem offended.
"Yeah, like, we can discuss how h-scenes are important to the plot!" Dergonu proposed a circle jerking.
"We would stay here all day if we were to discuss that. Instead, shouldn't we discuss... I don't know... about tymmur's death???" Dreamysyu put his protagonism to good use.
"Oh right, we should honour the bugger." Poltroon said in a dignified way, almost contradicting his behaviour in the last chapter.
"You say that like we're disrespecting him, but these bunch of lines we're saying that never ends is a nice shout out to the fella." justified Fiddle.
"Now that's what I call a fantastic homage!" agreed Ranzo, even though deep down they thought that their performance of Fucking Wizard by Reverend Bizarre that was edited out of the story to not split the audience due to musical differences was better.
"Okay, I... think I can allow that. But can you guys at least, pretty please, babble while going to your designated seats?" not even I understand Maggiekuma's attempts to save time at this point.
"If I remember right here, we have to find the culprit hiding here and then vote for him here so we can continue to live here." littleshogun made a recap.
"So what, we just talk and talk about it until the culprit eventually blurts it all out?" Virgin proposed.
"That wouldn't be half as fun! So let me explain some additional rules to the trial session!"
Said Zander, with his now healed physical injury and forever persisting mental damage.
"No need. I microwaved my way through a time where we already listened to the rules before this, so I can tell you guys!" Kurisu saving the day.
"You could have, you know, looked for the culprit's name..." Or not.
"Well, in short, we have to talk non stop about the same things over and over again even if they are painfully obvious until someone with half a brain figures the bullshit in our arguments and fire a truth bullet through it. We can add some random babble in the conversation too, to make things more of a chore than harder per se."
"Putting it like this... god, this game sucks!" everything sucks for you, bats.
"So, all we gotta do is shoot first, eh?" said Lesiak, firing a bullet that would put Clint Eastwood's characters to shame. Sasuga, Ultimate Westerner. Too bad SeniorBlitz happened to be in front of him, so he ended with a bullet in his skull. Sasuga, Ultimate Westerner.
"Eeerr... that sounded like Lesiak put a... silencer in his gun." it looked like a very lame and inappropriate joke made by Dergonu, but it was also a nice shout out to Senior's pun habits.
"To be quite honest, I think this game will be much more balanced now. He was too overpowered with that guide of his." said the guy that claimed he knows everything about the progress of the story.
"I have to agree with that as well. One should not defy the gods." said the guy that defy the gods himself.
"Even if we don't like it, you have a point. Now everyone have a fair chance." said the tsun that can time travel. "I'm not a tsundere!" that's not what I said. "A-a-a-a-a-and I'm not just a tsun either!"
"Well, except the part about killing each other mid trial, even if I don't really care if you guys actually do it, the trial goes exactly like Kurisu explained. So start presenting some proof or something."
"Oh, I have some!" Kenshin finally got the ball rolling.
"I also happen to have some." Zander said calmly like this:
"I also have something to show." Virgin said proudly. Not even Dreamysyu, that was with him had any idea what kind of clue he found.
"Let's start with mine, since I raised my hand first! Okay, I gathered some pics from the crime scene. Maggiekuma, can you lend me a screen to project those?" said Kenshin.
"This is really necessary? I mean, we're handling guro material here..." Lesiak asked before I have to rate this fic 18+.
"Guro..." Dergonu seems to be controlling himself to not say anything else.
"About guro here, I think I could give my opinion on it, but since I'm not into strangling and tentacle anal rape here, I think I'll pass on this here." littleshogun gave his opinion.
".............Not only you're being awfully specific, but no one asked if anyone liked guro either." Ranzo tsukkomied for a moment.
"Eeerrr, but don't we just looked at the body? Ignoring that it was 2 eons ago outside the story. How 2D pics can be worse than the real deal?" Virgin asked.
"I'm not sure if this 2D vs 3D argument's going to fly on court, mister Virgin." you guys are already on court, mister Poltroon, but he was so naturally on mood for trials that he didn't even noticed his language quirk.
"To be honest, the only thing those pics will show is what I'm about to describe." Zander started. "I investigated the body and made a shocking discover: it wasn't the gif that killed tymmur, he was electrocuted!"
"Impossible. How such a detail went unnoticed by the gods?" bellowed Clephas, making a question that I didn't really think the answer to.
"His feet were stuck into a bucket full of water together with an electric wire. So it means... that someone entered the scene, probably knocked tymmur out cold, stuck his feet into the bucket, put the wire there, send the gif as a red flag and then fled." Dreamysyu put all the pieces together. "But... when did the culprit find the time to do all that?"
"He doesn't need time if they can time travel..." Ranzo preferred to chaotic-evilly accuse anyone without proof just for the lulz than actually help.
"True that, but unfortunately for your lulz, I have some further proof I'm not the killer. Isn't that right, Kenshin_sama?!" Kurisu said, throwing their ace in the moment they judged to be the most dramatic!
"Why people only present evidence on dramatic prompts and not, like, right at the start?" Danganronpa is to blame, bats.
"Oh right! The message on the blackboard! I have a pic of it as well!" Kenshin said what they knew. "When both of us entered the scene, we saw this 'Podology services for free!' message written with pink chalk on the blackboard, so maybe that's what baited tymmur."
"I don't even know what podology is supposed to be, what's your point?" Virgin didn't understand gay speak.
"I'm not sure either, but maybe... you're trying to say that tymmur put his feet inside that bucket by himself??" dramatic song starts playing.
"WHATA TWIIIIIIIIIIIST!" not really, Maggiekuma. You're the only one excited here.
"Wait a moment. If that's true... why we didn't saw that message when we went to crime scene?" Lesiak questioned.
"Because I eventually erased it to write a differences chart between the anime and the VN version of S;G 0 there." calmly explained Kurisu.
"Destroying evidence, eh?" Poltroon suddenly became Canadian.
"To be honest, it made the episode even more fun to watch, building that chart." the order of the words in Kenshin's explanation looks like something poorly translated from japanese. And then, everyone just removed Kenshin and Kurisu from the blame list because I don't want to drag this any longer.
"Okay, I think it's finally time for me to shine!" Virgin raised from his seat, at least I hope I mentioned they were sitting before.
"Oh yeah, you apparently had some evidence." Zander trusted Virgin as much as Virgin trusted him.
"Yeah, and it's that now dead guy's guide!"
"Wait, isn't this cheating?" Dergonu uphold the rules with seriousness.
"Not when I'm the one doing it!" said Virgin, quickly turning the pages of Senior's guide. "Soooo, if I got to the right page, I think the way to advance is... to ask Dergonu to hack the system?"
"Dergonu, care to explain?" Fiddle asked, judging his comrade.
"Oh riiiiight, I was hacking the system to get access to the monitors early, so maybe I can do it again to check some unusual activity." I'm not sure if Dergonu can even do that, but Kaguya is not in the story so this have to do. After some *insert meme and oversimplified explanation of hacker doing stuff* in a laptop that Maggiekuma lent to them, Dergonu turned back to his friends with a sullen expression. "It's no use, I can't even see traces of Kurisu's magecraft there."
"Some mod you are." Zander rolled his eyes.
"☆=(ゝω･)/" Kiri intervene for the first time! "ヾ(｀・ω・´)ノ" They said.
"Can someone localize this?"
"They're saying that maybe Poltroon or Clephas can try to get access to the system too. They aren't the Ultimate Mod, but maybe their permissions are wacky enough for that to work." Fiddle translated.
"WHAT ARE YOU EVEN OBJECTING TO?????" Dreamysyu asked themselves if Maggie didn't do that just because she so wanted to use that pic.
"Did Kiri really says all of that with just that smiley?" batman asked the real question.
"Yes." Fiddle only nodded, because they know. And somehow everyone just accepted it and the plot moved forward.
"Well, since batman stole my catchphrase..." not really, Mr. Edgeworth. "I'll hack into this system of yours instead, to finally make a grandiose entrance in this trial." I think it's a fair trade, solving plot problems instead of saying a meme catchphrase. And with that, his fingers danced through the keyboard of Maggiekuma's laptop. "Ohoooo... what is this?"
"Cut the suspense, did you find out who send the gif?"
"As a matter of fact, yes. And it was... someone named Dergonu!"
DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN!
"Absurd! It's not me!!! Just look into my account activity!!! It was pretty much inactive before Dreamysyu asked for my help earlier this morning!" Dergone yelled.
"Just for the record, I'm not confirming this piece of information." Dreamysyu threw Dergonu under the bus.
"Fret not, my fellow moderator. I never said it was you that did it. I said an account with the name 'Dergonu' is the responsible for this mess, apparently. And for some reason, this Dergonu is also following your account." Poltroon explained.
"But wasn't that Dergonu following Dergonu Dergonu themselves?" Kenshin put it in a confusing way, but it was the painful truth.
"Oh yeah, that's right. So forget what I said about not fretting, Dergonu, please do fret." Poltroon dealt the final blow.
"Wait, we're not doing that retarded rhythm game from Danganronpa now, are we?" Ranzo asked. Even if he was a music enthusiast, no one deserves that annoying game.
"No lol, that minigame is stupid, I can go down without that and with my dignity instead, thank you very much." Dergonu explained.
"So it WAS you the culprit here. You must be quite interested here in how to mouth those obviously delicious and long and thick bananas here to actually commit murder for it here." littleshogun disapproved.
".................I think you're the only one that still remembers that was supposed to be our motivation." Virgin felt some degeneration in the air.
"Nah man, I didn't do it for some dumb book." Dergonu switched to their evil villain personality. For some reason, no one was really surprised.
"So, why did you kill tymmur?"
"For the ~~***GURO***~~, of course!" And them they started some chant that looked like a chuuni villain speech. "KILL, PUNCH, STAB, BLEEEEED!!!! Why is this frustrated Derg so mad? I hope you can't answer me, as your brains escape through your ears! Dance, Derg, at the rhythm of the falling severed fingers! Crawl in my direction leaving your intestines in your trails! You can't take your eyes of Derg, so I'll take them out for you maggots!" for some reason, Dergonu started talking about themselves in third person, something as bad as guro.
"Okay, but where's the sexual part in those things you describe? That's just regular gore." asked Dreamysyu.
"Well, I'm sexy (/ω＼)" Kiri wasn't amused with Dergonu trying to copy them.
"Is this... the real Dergonu?" Lesiak asked, somehow surprised that he didn't recognize his friend that had a whopping amount of maybe 5 lines in 3 chapters worth of characterization.
"Actually, now everything is starting to make sense." Really? "They did that... because they wanted to be guroed themselves."
"mWAHAHAKWAKWA~ mAYBE?! <3" Dergonu's maniacal laugh echoed in the chamber.
"Well, if that's what this shell of a human being is asking for..." Clephas started a summoning spell. "KILL, PUNCH, STAB, BLEEEEED!!!!..." no, I won't create 2 mantras in a single chapter.
"HOLD YOUR HORSES! I CAN HANDLE THIS!" said Maggiekuma, wanting to shine in this chapter as well. "The Punishment time is on the house! And I prepared some pretty cool Visual Novel style execution!" Saying that, Maggiekuma took an old grimoire whose cover was covered in a cat's hide. The Legendary Nekonomicon. It seems Senior's soul is still trapped in the courtroom, as the lame puns are out of control. Cutting off one of their finger and pouring the blood over the cursed book's page, Maggiekuma summoned Dergonu's executioner. "Who's better to punish bad Dergonu than the very own Empress of the Banished Lands?"
In the next moment. The sky suddenly went dark. They were indoors, but they noticed it through a TV that Maggiekuma turned on in that instant or something. But the reason for that suddenly invaded the courtroom too. Wasps. A fuck ton of them. Their buzzing was quite loud, almost looking like they were omegaloling at the characters' misery. The characters that had closer ties with Hell knew what were those wasps. The poster boys (boys is even the right word here?) of the Banished Lands, the symbol of the Queen. And indeed, short after, she appeared. The High Mistress Neko, the Ultimate Catgirl. Clad in a beautiful samurai armor and carrying a giant samurai sword, she was danger incarnate. She also had massive breasts that were in fact just two gigantic spherical bombs just to be even more dangerous. She approached Dergonu with a smile on her face, the wasps flying around her now buzzing a chorus latin song to be even more chuuni.
"Ahaha, so you're the boy who needs some punishment?" she asked in a voice that almost made you want to be punished.
"Only if you don't be gentle with me." Well, apparently Dergonu DID wanted to be punished.
"Desu wa~" said the Neko Queen in gratuitous japanese that didn't really make any sense here. "So, time to...!"
[The content of Dergonu's execution was considered too extreme for Fuwa rules, so I removed it according. I count with the help of fans to restore this content! Thanks for the comprehension!
Actually no, fuck you.]
Even if the guroing was lazily cut, I didn't rewrite the scars it left in the other guys that lived and watched everything in horror. Although Ranzo did like the violent style of the High Mistress, so they actually took some notes of things to copy when they eventually tries to kill someone. It will be censored all the same to be honest. Eventually the Neko Samurai walked away with her wasp companions, what left our heroes begging for it to be just a dream.
"Let me guess, you'll copy that 'Dreamysyu woke up in their usual seat blah blah blah' again next time, right?" now even Dreamysyu is snarking at me.
NEXT TIME: Two more down, thirteen to go. What awaits our heroes next?
"Hopefully not another long ass waiting again!" Virgin released one last drop of poison.
Yuuko, aka the best waifu EOPs will never get if I can do something to stop it. (Looking at you MG be careful!!)
Hey what's up guys in this new blog entry I will be talking about the best girl in
HapymaherKirikoi. Her name is Toriumi Yuuko, the perfect girl if you ask me. Those of you who are playing HapymaherKirikoi get cucked. She pretty much only appears in the fan disc that is not translated *insert evil laugh here*. (Wait Kirikoi is not translated in the first place.
Anyways here is a list what makes Yuuko so good.
- Is cute
- Has short hair
- Has big bobs
- Pukes on you
- Needs you to protect her
- Very wife
Here is a list of pics of Yuuko being cute:
Despite her weak body Yuuko is very good at fencing
Also Yuuko is a genius piano player
Yuuko is also friends with the Scandinavian princesses
Yuuko watches movies with her lonely neighbor girl
Yuuko knows how to eat very stylish dinner
Yuuko can also take the lead when needed
Yuuko is a bowling pro
Yuuko is also a crocodile
Thanks for reading folk. Remember to smash that like and subscribe button if you want more high quality content like this.
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As many (hopefully) of you know, I like to read a lot of different things, providing my stomach and the laws of my country allow it. My VNDB list will never reach Clephas level of completeness, so I'm aiming for something different instead: to have the most random, hipster, no prejudice, unlike any other VN list. Of course, as slow as I am, I can only hope to achieve this dream within the next 30 years or so, but hey I'm still young!
I have conquered otomege, devoured BL, collected EVNs, discovered yuri, threaded in chuuni waters, tiptoed into nakige, read through memeges, tasted horror, and tried my hand with gameplay hybrids. But how can I call myself a Ultimate VN Reader if I never read a single nukige? No, I have to change that. I must to. So I decided to give a chance to the glorious fangame our friendly neighbors Asonn, Arcadeotic, Hanako, HMN, Jptje, Nandemonai, Zakamutt, and other sweeties (because the list is damn long), shared with the West: Maki Fes!
What were the impressions of Maggie, guaranteed 12% female readership of Fuwa, someone who totally didn't went in for the memes and that totally knew something about Love Live beforehand? Find out now!
There's a catchy song in the title screen, pretty much the only song I remember from the game.
In Maki Fes!, you play as
Mattyourself! The boyfriend (wait, it should be girlfriend if I had to play as myself. Well, I can stick with Matt just fine)of the cute red haired tsundereish Maki! How lucky are you? Nukige convenience is convenient, alright! Not a bad start to be honest, I was expecting something more stupid, but Maki Fes already proved itself as above average intellectual level than my preconceived opinion of what constitutes an average nukige. Anyway, Maki needs to write a song and you, as a good boyfriend, agree to help her get some inspiration. And yeeeeeees, that means lots of porn!
Maki is pretty much the only character you'll meet through the entire game, since more girl means harem or yuri, right? And that's not what this doujinge is about. And she's fully voiced! The actress does a very good job for most part, except during those background moans that goes like a machine gun shooting fast going "a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a" that got annoying after two loops. The art is also quite pleasant to look at, Maki pouting and smiling are just the cutest. I enjoyed her character, but I don't know the original to say if she's going too OOC.
So! The game provide you with the following scenarios, and all of them leads to porn. Yes, some of these choices leading to porn is quite creative, I know. The twist would be if the last option didn't, but that's not what happens here.
Choices, oh choices.
If you don't want to be spoilered, stop reading right here! Not that I consider sexual position a spoiler, but hey, there's weird folks of all kinds out there! So let's go over what I get out of each scenes. And no, it wasn't masturbatory material.
"Let's recall our first time!": Exactly what it says on the tin. It was quite a sweet scene, where
Mattthe protagonist was mindful of Maki, and if she was feeling comfortable. Of course, she had to say the typical "you can be more rough, I know you're holding yourself back", but hey, at least they discussed it! Relationship is all about two people understanding and being respectful with each other after all! Another thing that I have to praise this game is that the classic "Cum inside/Cum outside" option only affect the CG right after it, and not the ending, so I could pick "Cum outside" to my heart's content.
"Wear your maid outfit!": This one was nice too, as far as h-scenes goes. It's a blowjob scene and HEY, it have simple ANIMATIONS (*insert here the face of a surprised girl that never saw a animated VN before)! The translation of this scene was pretty good too, I was amazed with how many different porn sound effects this guy could came (get it? ) up with. It also had a marriage proposal discussion there that I liked, but I can guess 80% of the people that played this game didn't even noticed it.
"Our good luck charm!": This was one of the last scenes I read, so there wasn't much of my patience left. I think it was something about writing good luck wishes on Maki's butt. Yep. Of course, not with a pen or a penis, but with his finger. Oh yeah, this guy goes on and on about Maki's cellulite free butt but this game don't have a single anal scene. For shame, game, for shame!
"I'm hungry!": I can only say one thing. How Maki decided she wanted to feed this guy and do it like this???????????
"Dancing is inspiring!": Probably, but it was the very last scene I read and at that point I just wanted the game to end. Four scenes is my limit for h-scenes one after another. Multiple rounds indeed is a lie. Oh yeah, the scene. I think it was a cowgirl scene and... that's it.
"Use traditional elements!": Was it on that scene that Maki came with the penetration alone? God, that was dumb. This guy have such lame foreplay skill it's a wonder Maki can even come once. Oh yeah, there's pee in this scene, weird that Zaka didn't work on this. How does her pee makes an arc in the air though? Pretty sure you need a penis to do that...
"You need some excitement!": Man, this scene have one weird dick. It looked like a fishing hook. Animating it didn't make it any better. But I think this scene had some well crafted
punscumversation, so it was somewhat amusing.
"I wanna fuck!": (Chorus: FUCK!)* Now that's a scene where Matt truly shines! And Maki as well. How could a forget when she uttered my favorite quote of the game, "My nipples are playing the blues!"? Now that's what I call talented nipples!
*Joke stolen from ZakaTM
After seeing all scenes, you can finally watch the desired True Ending, that I'll not spoil here. That was... tiring to be honest, but also educational (?) to say the least. It helped me to understand some before unexplored corners of the VN fandom. And I can't really doubt that it must be a nice game if used as intended. Should I be ashamed that this was my first contact with anything related to Love Live? Maybe. But now I can proudly (??) say that my VNDB list is one step closer to perfection. And since I already ticked the nukige checkbox, I can safely remove any other nukiges/games tagged with high sexual content from my wishlist!
...Wait, that one nukige is BL.
Guess I'm making a nukige misadventures part 2.
Unrelated PS: No, I didn't forget about Dankaronpa, chapter 4 is halfway done. Maybe next week!
I’m so good at writing reviews that my last one was months ago. If I continue like that I’ll eventually beat @Plk_Lesiak on the review count (
we all know that is a lie).
Anyway gonna drop the structure of my last two reviews and freely type, I’ll still go over all of the topics presented there, but without separating them in topics, this way I can freely write what I want without feeling limited to a certain space.
Also I wouldn't call this a "review" in the literal sense, it is just my spouting my impressions of the game without properly analyzing all the aspects.
BUT enough rambling, know let’s talk about the matter at hand.
You know a EVN is good when our official OELVN hater approves it (
this is a joke btw not trying to personally offend him, you never know on the internet )
DAMN this game, it is been a while since a story engaged me to such level; I literally read it from start to finish in one sitting.
Where do I start… okay…
this game does Denpa way better than DDLC. Our protagonist, Mercy lives in remote town of Phada (cultist type of town), she is constantly bullied and harassed because of her “cursed” vision which cause her too see a corrupted world filled with red and black beetles. The town’s main figure of worship is the “holy woman” whose purpose is to receive energy and messages from “god”.
So after the accidental death of such, suddenly two holy women appears at the town, and one of them approaches Mercy claiming that she also has a cursed vision. Mercy finally starts seeing the good side of life with the help of this girl, but…
Strange things happen, and the girl starts acting out of character….
The rest you’ll have to discover by yourself. ;o)
Some of the CGs are pretty awesome from characterization alone.
First off, can I say how much I love the presentation of the game, the art and music fits so well and the atmosphere is so perfect, it weirdly reminded me of silent hill with all the red imagery and the unintelligible speech of people around mercy.
Other thing I have to praise is how none of the characters feel useless, all of them are developed, have their motivations and. The game deals with dark themes like bullying and abuse very well, the tone is consistent and it never feel like the novel is trying to be “edgy”, and it genuinely makes you feel bad for the protagonist, you just feel like jumping into the game and giving her a hug, because you feel like she doesn’t deserve any of the things that happen to her.
The mystery and Denpa aspects of the game are also incredibly implemented, like I said, the story was very engaging and I couldn’t stop reading it until I reach its conclusion, and the messages it passes with the ending is very beautiful.
Some persons just don't know how rude it is to garble a bunch of nonsense from their scribbled faces.
But I shall say no more, this game is free, not that long and there are no branches, so no save scumming to get extra CGs is required ;o). So, go download it, this VN proves that not all EVN’s are trash and that there are some genuine gems out there.
The Heart of Chuuni
My previous blog posts were about analyzing common definitions and attitudes toward the word "chuuni" and the chuuni genre. I was establishing a baseline. But now it's time to delve into the essence.
Most VN fans have heard an "explanation" of the chuuni genre before.
"It's stuff like Dies irae"
"It's hotblooded and over-the-top action"
"It's about detailed settings with cool characters"
"It's edgy shit"
"It's a story with characters who act chuunibyou, except nobody tsukkomi's them"
"It's people with heterochromia or special powers and victim complexes"
"It's shounen for adults"
Whatever you may have heard, there's one thing I'm sure about: it's vague. Most people zero in on a specific element of chuuni that holds their attention or that they like about it, and say, "This is chuuni!"
In truth, though, chuuni is a broad genre that encompasses many literary mediums, many sources of appeal, many tropes, and many cases where the trope is hard to describe. People are expected to experience a lot of chuuni works, and experience a lot of references to "chuuni" within other Japanese works, and thus by cultural osmosis, form an abstract concept of what is "chuuni".
But do we really have to settle for that? Can't we precisely say what exactly is and isn't "chuuni", at least in spirit? I believe we can.
Let's throw out popular perceptions and attitudes, along with all the baggage associated with the word "chuunibyou" that formed the basis of the word chuuni. Let's move beyond the cultural background that has been established in my previous post, discard all preconceptions, and finally... approach the true heart of chuuni.
The Path to Chuuni
What follow are largely my own informed inferences. They lack evidence, because there's no easy way to prove a cultural trend. If anyone has an alternative theory, they're free to present it in the comments or their own blog post.
Early manga was expected to conform to the "common sense" of society. Or rather, there was little market for contrarian works.
Works that targeted the youth often centered around "heroes" who were expected to help maintain the peace of society, living according virtues such as kindness and mercy, and achieved success and peer recognition as a result. Works that targeted adults, on the other hand, might be more cynical, but they still revolved around adult protagonists who had conformed to society.
For a parallel outside Japan, look to Western comic book heroes like Superman, who stood tall amid the Comics Code Authority regulations. In fact, the style of early manga was significantly inspired by its Western counterpart.
But society doesn't stay the same forever. Decades passed, and people's sensibilities changed along with their attitudes.
...No one can possibly trace chuuni to its origin point, because there is no such thing. Throughout history, there have always been isolated elements within works of literature that speak to our chuuni hearts. Like, for a fairly "recent" example, everything about the style of Hiei from Yuu Yuu Hakusho. If there is an origin of chuuni as a genre, it occurred when those elements fused together. But what degree of fusion is necessary to birth a "genre"? The only point by which it's absolutely certain a "genre" had come into existence was the advent of Fate/stay night.
What We Desired
So, what is chuuni?
Chuuni is completely pointless from a practical standpoint; it just sounds cool. Chuuni-style nicknames, throwing in random German, or donning a scarf or a cape.
Chuuni doesn't serve to create a conflict, or add necessary depth in ways typical of fantasy stories. Rather, it serves to emphasize the special coolness of the lead character. Having a "unique infection", wrestling with madness, experiencing an "awakening", or possessing memories of a past life.
Chuuni depicts the "alternate truths" that contradict what others think and feel. A morality that is not subordinated. Killing to survive, references to the food chain, massacre as self-expression, or a rebellion against the natural order of a hypocritical "God".
Chuuni reveals the "hidden truths" about society that have scarred the people within it. Conspiracies, cover-ups, or human experimentation.
At the heart, chuuni is a celebration of the virtue of "chuuni" characters--and the chuuni fans who recognize them--as the true heroes of this world, in touch with a reality the masses can't conceive of, capable of facing harsh truths and shouldering emotional burdens that typical, mundane people would be overwhelmed by--because those people lack character, lack mental strength, and are emotionally weak, capable only of clinging to the foolish perceptions, beliefs, and morals espoused by society. I believe that everything that chuuni has become started from that.
Young people in society often experience alienation, or some kind of frustration with their inability to perfectly conform. Such people are often tempted by a certain wild idea, and think like this:
"I feel like shit because no one sees the world the same way as me. But even after I've let myself stew in this rotten emotion, I still can't make myself be just like everyone else... What if everyone else is actually deluded, and I'm correct? In that case, my perception is superior to others, and I'm aware of truths they aren't, AND I had the boldness to stick with my beliefs instead of delude myself and conform like the rest of them. Aren't I quite awesome?"
People who feel like this, even if it's just a slight inclination rather than full-blown chuunibyou, tend to admire and seek out characters and stories with a chuuni spirit.
When Fate/stay night came out, it was like a bomb went off. Fate hit just the right note with its moral complexity, the mystique of the rich world it depicted, a lawless secret world of the supernatural, ordinary people depicted as clueless sacrificial sheep, a male lead whose evolution is a condemnation of traditional moralistic leads, and so on. People with an inclination toward chuuni tropes flocked to it in droves, plus everyone else, because Fate/stay night was just that good.
That said, in the present day, what we (especially VN fans) call "chuuni" often refers more to famous tropes from chuuni works, and what those tropes have evolved into, and doesn't necessarily seek as its audience the sort of person I just described. But it's worth keeping in mind the origin of this genre.
More Human than Humans
I'll close with this wonderful piece of prose that truly captures the essence of chuuni.
They, who wandered and pursued that formless “humanness,”
who couldn’t see any significance in their existence outside of battle,
who, because of their hearts becoming akin to blades, didn’t know how to grasp any hands extended to them,
who never had anyone understand their beauty, and had no choice but to seclude themselves among each other,
who had no choice but to estrange themselves with fake smiles when with other people so they could maintain themselves,
who couldn’t pride themselves in anything but destruction,
who therefore were particularly cynical and were born with inhumane powers, and therefore were continuously called monsters, were, more than anyone and anything else, human.
-- Excerpt from "Psyren: Another Call 2" by Iwashiro Toshiaki, translated by himetsuri
I'm not entirely satisfied with this post, so I may revise it later.
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Today, I made the most famous Karaage (から揚げ). I do make this often and today I thought why not start a blog with this delicious content.
Spoiler: I didn't let my chicken rest enough so it had some excess potato starch on it... but the heck with it.
- Corn/Potato Starch
- Ginger (just a bit! we will only use the sweet juices)
- Soy Sauce
- Chicken ( cut them a bit larger than your normal bites, as it has a lot of fiber so it will shrink when frying)
Secret frying process:
Fry them 3 times. For best results go with 2 min on 190C, then let them rest for 1 minute. fry them again on 190C this time for 1 min, rest 30 sec. and then once again 1 minute on 190C.
I couldn't be bothered this time, probably also the reason why I have still corn on my finished product. It still tasty af tho.
Tip: use Japanese 7 spice mix (七味唐辛子) on your mayo.
Here is a video of me actually making it. unedited. (I didn't film the whole frying process as I couldn't be bothered...)
Enjoy the Cringe : )
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Disclaimer: I played the recent fan translation and from my (limited) knowledge of Japanese, I found it to be quite accurate. I was actually surprised by how the translator made certain sentences work and I can't recall an instance where I thought the translation looked strange.
When Hajimete no Okaa-san's fan translation came out, it caused a tiny yet significant uproar on certain visual novel related communities. The English idiom that spans over a century - don't judge a book by its cover - could possibly have been created for this very moment. I hope that by writing this review, I can clear up any misconceptions about this novel, teach you to not judge a work by its outward appearance and give you the courage to read a truly touching story.
Dealing with the loss of a loved isn't easy, no matter if you're an adult or a child, and even more so if the person in question is an irreplaceable person that you've vowed eternity to or that defines your complete existence.
When our unnamed protagonist, who I will refer to as "Papa", loses his beloved wife to a traffic accident, he is left with the troublesome task of single parenting. Confronting the sorrows of one who has been turned into pure white ash, he finds solace in the one and only person who could understand him and also the one who might be suffering the most - his one and only daughter Chiyori (Chii).
Hajimete no Okaa-san is a very special Visual Novel. Unlike the disappointing standard of recent releases, it treats both its audience and characters with the respect they deserve. The most significant difference between this novel and the many others is the fact that its willing to portray the characters as real human beings. Please allow me to mention that there exist only eight translated visual novels with the "Widower Protagonist" and likely no other that focuses as deeply on the theme of single parenting.
The rather simplistic approach to emotions is surprisingly expressive, although one could argue about the emotional depth of a 6-year old, I was able to completely grasp both the personality of Chii through the brilliant performance of seiyuu Amakawa Milk (a respectable veteran in her own right with a wide palette of roles) and the internal monologues of Papa.
The beginning is rather surprising. The amount of effort that the creators have put into this work is nearly palpable, often leaving one surprised at how nicely written and how well the narrative flows. Starting with ordinary slice-of-life scenes, we're thrown into the daily life of Papa and her daughter Chii. Starting with the smallest things like learning how to write hiragana and her own name in Kanji, the basics of arithmetic, giving up one's fork and knife and mastering the use of chopsticks - they are all endearing moments that help us connect with Chii as a character and reminding us of times long past of our childhood when everything was much simpler. It is this genuine and pure simplicity that initially made this novel stand out.
In contrast to this feeling, enter "Chii wa kodomo janai!" - Chii is no longer a child. Her own desire to find a way to deal with her own sorrows, all the while supporting the one person she loves most in her world, one of the most satisfying factors of reading through this novel is observing Chii's maturity as a character.
Despite the more lighthearted scenes, the novel is plentiful with well-timed drama which never for a moment felt excessive or artificial. Papa is stuck in a constant internal moral debate which at times stops him from realising the suffering of those who are right in front of his eyes.
As far as storytelling goes, one of the biggest attributes ishow the reader has the freedom to change the course of the story (albeit into premature ends). As for this aspect, I would like to divide the story in three or four parts (I will just say that the forth part is a Web Omake, essentially a short epilogue that portrays the life of our two, now three characters after the events of the main game).
The first being the first two hours where we accompany the characters until the inevitable H-scene. Here, the reader is given the choice to not go through it at all and completely avoid the H-scene, ending the game prematurely. To not give in to his dark desires and not abandoning one's morals, is too a possible answer that Papa can find.
The second part and probably the longest, accompanies our two characters as their relationship develops. The most important aspect that I'd like to bring up is that the whole theme of pregnancy is treated. In many eroge, pregnancy is either completely ignored, allowing our most likely 16-year old protagonist to let out his seed without any worries in the world, or treated as an afterthought, perhaps featured in one last H-scene before the game ends. In this novel, not only do we see their relationship flourish but the passage of time, told by the growth of Chii's belly and change of hairstyle (over five different character sprites!), shows us that this is aspect that is willing to be embraced, often being the case for worry for our protagonist.
At the end of the second part, the reader is given another important choice: to go beyond mere carnal desires and a parent's desire to protect his child and thus taking their relationship to the next level, or to once again fall into self-hatred and not take responsibility for one's actions. Thus begins the third part: "I want Papa to always be by my side". While perhaps as long as the first part, it's perhaps the one with the most emotional impact. Vowing to combat loneliness, Papa and Chii realise that being surrounded by the people you love is far more important than having a peaceful life. Chii does not become a replacement - she is her own person and the most important thing in the world to our protagonist. As long as two people can love each other, that is more than enough.
And as long as there is love, there is warmth. A new family is born. The two become three, the warmth keeps rising and it spreads to others around. When I finished reading Hajimete no Okaa-san, I felt a warmth deep inside of me because I realised I had just been through a really special experience. With this review, I hope that I convinced you to read this beautiful story and too come to have warmth in your heart. Thank you for reading.
https://imgur.com/a/FpPkAxp (This might be a little of a spoiler so I won't post it as an image, but it's the last and most impactful scene of the novel)
I am open to criticism and would be happy if you could help me improve as a reviewer.
I see it in tld VN chats all the time. "I read flowers, I read kindred spirits on the roof and I read half of katahane and dropped it. What gay girls can I read next?"
Why, I have just the answer for you. Spend 4 hours reading yuukuri panic escalation then despair at the lack of yuri once more. Also, finish Katahane!
Yuukuri panic escalation tells the story of Rie-chan - a shy, reserved and easily flustered girl with a traumatic(?) past who moves to a christian boarding school, can play the piano and ultimately finds gay love.
This might seem similar to flowers to you, but it's not. That would be an insult to this masterpiece. You might think I'm overselling this, but does Flowers have a spiked dildo they call the lance of longinus?
I thought not.
Rie-chan is a good girl who liked her sensei, but was too scared to fuck him. Then sensei fucked her mom instead and now she's in an all-girls school to get away from this two-sided betrayal.
Rie doesn't really know what sex is or how you do it, which is pretty funny given how she's in heat all the time.
Random oji-san from mind control harem fantasy game move away, this is probably the horniest protagonist out of any eroge I've read, despite her not knowing what masturbation is. Literally immediately orgasms from seeing two girls go at it for a second, despite not understanding why people do lewd things.
It's quite funny seeing her wanting to masturbate but not knowing how to. Poor girl. They use drugs on her at a point, but it makes her reactions no different from normal H scenes, probably because she's a bunny in heat all the time.
There are two routes in this game. You can choose to have Rie-chan be dominated by the cool, elegant onee-sama or by the girl the onee-sama normally dominates. The latter is unexpectedly hotter. Sex scenes are all SM, but really mild SM. Still good, though. Protagonist's VA is also great for some reason.
Game actually has a lot of plot twists, despite being so short. Finishing every ending should take about an hour and a half.
"But Kaguya, what's up with that 80's arcade gameplay you talked about earlier?"
Well, as you've probably figured out, it's where the rest of your 2 and a half hours will be sunk if you so choose to go that way.
See, this game's story doesn't have enough space for all the sex scenes they wanted to put in, so instead they made a whole different side game that has its own story (that is mainly an excuse to put a bunch of random sex scenes together.)
Characters are all the same, but to reach the sex scenes you must play qix over CGs that lose their clothes as you progress while the girls talk about how good your gameplay is (of course in a very sexual way.)
This is a surprisingly good yuri porn game no one ever talks about (probably because everyone who read it read it 10 years ago. I know I had forgotten all about it until I saw it in my old notebook recently.)
Please try it out.