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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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Winter Wolves is one of the oldest continuously active OELVN studios, which since the mid-2000s became fairly well-known for their straight-up VNs and dating sims, such as Roommates, as well as for fairly unique RPG-VN hybrids. Among the latter, probably the best known is Loren the Amazon Princess. Published in 2012, it kickstarted a whole series of games set in the fantasy world of Aravorn (including even a BL title Heirs and Graces) and gathered mostly positive reactions from the Western VN community. It’s also, to this day, the studio’s best-selling title on Steam, with around 80k owners on the platform.
Loren… also features a very rarely seen main premise – the player does not take the role of the titular heroine, but of a slave servant, whose role is to assist the Amazon princess in her quest to find her missing mother (and, of course, eventually save the world from a great and unexpected threat). This, along with the very explicit focus on romance, creates a pretty unique mixture, somewhat detached from both the typical RPG power fantasy and even most common fantasy VN tropes. Does it have any merits apart from being slightly different though?
The main cast might be impressing with its scale and variety, but leaves some characters underdeveloped and redundant within the RPG portion of the game
One of the first things that Loren… does unusually well is the protagonist gender choice – the game lets you play either as a male or a female character but doesn’t make it merely a cosmetic difference. Both the female (Elenor) and male (Saren) protagonist are actual characters, with their own backstories, personalities and different racial backgrounds (Saren is a human, while Elenor is an elf). This has a significant impact on how they’re perceived by various factions and characters, along with romance options available to them (even if there’s an abundance of bisexual love interests that might be interested in both of them). This, while very limiting in case of customisation (also for story reasons, you can only choose between warrior and thief classes), not only makes the game more immersive, but also rewards multiple playthroughs with unique interactions and story developments.
The story itself, while it might rely on typical fantasy clichés quite a lot, is rather epic in scale and delivers impressive amounts of VN content, with fairly simple and quick turn-based RPG battles added on top of that. While at the beginning you’re controlling a party of two, consisting just of Loren and the protagonist, you quickly meet new characters and at the end of the second act can gather 12 companions, 9 of them (!) available as romance options. All those characters have their unique stories, which you both learn throughout the main plot and through talking to them in camp, between missions. With this party, you will go through 4 chapters of the game, with constantly rising stakes and abundance of dialogue to read through, while the RPG elements are kept strongly connected with the plot and mostly devoid of unreasonable grind. Also, after finishing the game once, you unlock the option to skip the combat, so you can focus on exploring other paths and choices within the story.
The clunky feel of the UI and the RPG game mechanics is the game’s biggest flaw, but thankfully they’re not broken or grindy enough to disqualify it completely
One of the game’s biggest focuses and selling point is romance and while it’s easy to see that the dev team took this aspect very seriously, the quantity pretty much won over the quality. It’s not that the character’s available as love interests are unappealing or completely lack depth, but the huge number of them simply made it impossible for Winter Wolves to give all major enough roles in the story and the right amount of meaningful interactions. This means that apart from the characters that are absolutely crucial to the main plot, like Loren herself and her mother Karen, the Queen of Amazons, the romance feels slightly tacked-on and underdeveloped. On the other hand, the variety of options is thorough enough that pretty much everyone should find something (or a few things) to their liking, with heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual characters of both genders, different races and allegiances to choose from. Also, the writing, while not perfect, is usually good enough to communicate clearly the unique traits of every member of the cast and make the rare, intimate moments between them and the protagonist appealing.
Sounds pretty good so far? Sadly, the rest of the game deserves much less praise and that goes especially to the UI and the RPG battle segments. While the minimalistic battle system, with the very basic graphical interface, is something that mostly needs some adjusting on the part of the player (especially if you’re used to more advanced RPGs), there are some hardly justifiable problems with the core mechanics and implementation of gameplay. Horribly unbalanced classes, with mages having overwhelming firepower and thieves barely having a viable role on the battlefield are combined with very limited skill customization, redundant specializations between some characters and a weak sense of progression. Lack of interesting loot, unbalanced items available in stores and weird omissions in obtainable gear (such as lack of cloth belts in the game – mages have no items available to put in that slot whatsoever!) are somewhat hard to understand, especially when devs had multiple occasions to fix these problems, either through patches or with the Castle of N’Mar DLC. The general structure of game’s UI is similarly problematic, with malfunctioning autoplay, unintuitive implementation of some crucial functions (like the mouse wheel having the ability to rewind not just dialogue, but many other actions in the game, often leading to random cancellations of shop transaction or gear changes. If the role of combat in the game was more prominent, this could as well be a disqualifying issue – while it's not completely devoid of fun, it always falls short of that really satisfying status that could carry a less story-focused title.
The slightly unusual artstyle might not be to everyone’s liking, but the low resolution of the art assets is the real problem, taking much appeal from the game’s visuals when played on a modern, full-HD screen
Something that is also hard not to complain about is the visual quality of the game. It has a pretty distinct, partially non-anime artstyle and while I wouldn’t consider it especially pretty, it seems to appeal to many people and is definitely not bad enough to be counted as an objective flaw. The low resolution of most art assets is however quite painfully apparent on a modern HD screen. The sprites and backgrounds, and especially the UI elements and graphics used during combat simply do not look appropriate for a game released in the current decade. This is not completely unseen in indie titles like this, but might be heavily off-putting for those that expect high aesthetic values from their VNs. I should also mention that CGs, of similar quality as all other art in the game, are very few and far between, mostly showing at the conclusion of the romance routes. There's apparently some 18+ possible to unlock through a patch, but I was at no point tempted to look for it. The music consists of typical ambient tunes and while I didn’t have any issues with its tone of quality, it was also rather prone to bugging out, especially when rolling back dialogue.
In the end, for me Loren the Amazon Princess was quite an interesting and satisfying game. It is, however, one that will only appeal to more patient and RPG-tolerant readers. Apart from the intriguing dynamic of the protagonist being a slave, earning his place as the worthy companion for the actual heroine of the story, and the fun romance subplots, it offers a very standard fantasy world and a rather predictable intrigue. It also, at least partially, falls flat as an RPG game, without the depth and polish necessary to become a really enjoyable experience in this aspect. If you think you might enjoy its story and romance elements, I still recommend it though – especially if you’re able to grab it on sale, as it still sits at a fairly high price of $20.
Final Score: 3/5
+ Interesting premise (the protagonist is not the main hero)
+ Huge, varied cast of characters
+ Impressive number and variety of romance options
- Disappointing quality of art assets
- Poorly designed UI
- Unbalanced classes and poor customisation in the RPG portion of the game
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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 : )
This is a question I've asked myself on any number of occasions (and despite my own thoughts below, I'd like to hear your thoughts on this as well). For some reason, most vampire literature with a vampire protagonist has that protagonist hating him/herself and his/her condition (switching to 'his' after this sentence, for the sake of brevity).
Let's be honest with ourselves... if we could gain immortality, immense strength, and the ability to control people's minds in exchange for having to suck human blood and stay out of the sun, the greater majority of us would probably leap at the chance. Humans are selfish creatures, and the advantages seem to far-outweigh the disadvantages on the face of it.
One common answer to this is morality. To be honest, I think this is the second worst answer of them all. Yes, in the case of a vampire setting where the vampire has to kill the subject or infects anyone he bites, it makes sense for there to be a moral issue. However, if that is not the case, this one doesn't pan out. Sure, drinking blood sounds evil in and of itself... but if you aren't human, it isn't cannibalism, now is it? Hedonism? Is there anyone in a first-world nation that isn't at least a little hedonistic?
Another one is a sense of isolation. Now this one makes a bit more sense as a negative for vampirism... but not for sucking blood. Sure, it might be hard to make friends with your food, but it wouldn't be the first time. No, the issue here is lies. By nature, vampires need to hide themselves, since they are well... scary. I mean, if something essentially eats a part of you to survive and looks similar to you, how can that not be scary in a visceral sense? So yes, the isolation is a good reason to be afraid of your own vampirism if you are a vampire.
A sense of normalcy. This is the one you see the most in VNs, and I honestly think that it is an abomination. It is the worst answer. Almost every vampire protagonist in a VN wants to regain their 'normal life', and this often results in them taking their anger out on the people who saved them and/or love them. Sure, you pay a price for your vampirism... if you can't go out in the sun (a rarity in VNs), then it is hard to go to school. If you have to suck human blood, then you can't really be called normal. However, that sense that normalcy trumps everything (no I don't mean the president) is ridiculous. I honestly find this kind of attitude annoying as hell in a protagonist, and it is only the ones who don't linger on it constantly that I'm willing to forgive.
Violent instincts... now this one is laughable. 'Vampires have violent instincts!!!' Umm... hello? What race goes around killing people for stupid reasons like religious affiliation, what side of a line on a map they live, and who has a better cow in their barn? *snorts contemptuously*
In the end, vampirism in fiction is a trade-off... and self-hating vampires who stay that way without a good reason always strike me as fake (Toshirou from Vermilion has good reason, but most don't).
So i continue with wasting peoples times with old abandoned things found on my hdd.
Once upon a time there used to be an attempt by some of fuwans to create a VN called Private eye victoria.
and we had one of the worst temporary names in the history. Bread works united
So i could barely even explain what it was about, Basicly a historic detective mystery vn.
i was mainly drawing the concepts for characters.
Wich i was too slow at.
Here we have 3 of the main girls, Libby , Charlotte & Victoria
I was mostly focusing on charlotte and victoria at first. tried to make expression sheet.
As slow as i was Libby didnt get as much attention in expressions and so on. but she was the first one i colored "properly", i was pretty bad at it at the time.
And libby became something i started joking around with, Making "fancy libby"
wich i had fun with for awhile.
With my lack of self motivation i started testing other things. like making the logo and ingame ui and things.
But with mostly lack of work from me the project slowly died. now theres alot of old concepts and plot and routes that never will be used.
things shifted focus and we did other things instead, me working on other art and mostly having fun talking instead.
Rip worstnamegroup, you will be missed.
Will be gradually updating old posts and filling this post with links when finished.
I want to start doing reviews of VNs that I have physicals of where I both review the VN itself and show of the physical edition. I figured I would start with the most recent one I have completed which is Starless.
First I guess I should mention what kind of VN Starless is. Starless is a hardcore fetish nukige, so if that doesn't sound interesting to you it probably isn't something you are going to like.
I guess I should first start of with the general plot, though I will avoid spoilers.
In the VN you play as Sawatari a young man who is looking for a summer job. After finding a sketchy looking adverticement he ends up applying for a two week long job as a servant in a mansion belonging to a rich family consisting of a mother her two daugthers and one son. During the interview Sawatari finds out that the job is more like that of a sex slave rather than that of a normal servant, though due to the high wage and not wanting to back down after all the things they had done to him during the interview he decides to stay. The next day a woman named Mitarai who is in desperate need of money also applies for the job and reluctantly accepts it due to her suituation. After this you follow Sawatari's daily life as a servants of the family for two weeks. During these two weeks you and the other servants of the mansion act out the messed up desire of the family as you try to keep your sanity. Throughout your stay you learn pieces of information about all the shady and messed up things that the family is doing behind the scenes and ultimately your aim is to get yourself and Mitarai out of the mansion alive and with your sanity intact.
Some things that I liked
The art of this VN is really good, I suppose rather than me telling you about it you can look at the pictures bellow or you can look at the screenshots at vndb.
As for the music I liked it quite a lot. I found it to always work with the mood of the scene.
The main character is actually able to think and I found his inner monologue to be interesting.
I really liked how they built up the different mysteries in the mansion, it was quite fun not really knowing what secrets were hidden in the basement and the shady things the family did behind the scenes.
The characters were well writen, their distinctive personality really showed.
After the first few days they start having sexual lectures and I found it interesting not knowing what type of lecture the next day would bring. I felt that this was quite good for building up anticipation for what would happen next and keep you playing.
The VN has a rediculous amount of sexual content since it is a long nukige, I would estimate that the VN is about 40 hours long and most of it is just sex scenes.
It covers pretty much every fetish you can think of, excluding fetishes found only in fantasy VNs, you know like monters.
Some things that I didn't like
While the music is good there are few tracks compared to the length of the VN, this makes it feel somewhat repetative.
During one part of the VN there are a lot of scat scenes, the high amount of scat scenes was something I really didn't like that much.
Towards the end of the common route and during most of the endings I found the content to be too extreeme for my liking. During the last parts of the VN I honestly just wanted to get it over with. This is of course based on taste, but if you don't feel up for a lot of really messed up things I would advice avoiding the title.
Too many bad endings in my opinion.
I really hated the secound daugther of the family, though since the family are the villains of this VN I can't really call that a bad thing. Also while I despiced her I do remember being at the edge of my seat everytime she was involved with something just waiting for her to do something horrible. Guess this is more of a neutral point.
This is a high quality long nukige with good writing, art and music, but it is not for everyone. This title is only for those who really want a completely messed up nukige with a ton of fetishes ranging from slightly messed up to absolutely horrifyingly messed up. Personally I really enjoyed the first part, but as I got towards the end of it I found it to be way too extreeme for my liking. As for whether or not I would like to pick up any other VNs from Empress after this my answer is no, the reason being that I hated the later part of it. While I wouldn't pick up another similar title I am glad to have experienced this title since it was quite a unique experience that I haven't really had before.
As for the translation I found the translation itself to be really good, the lines had a good flow and captured the different characters personality quite well.
However one thing I found annoying about the translation was that there were a lot of typos.
It seemed to me like the one translating did a really good job, but that they then just didn't do proper quality control afterwards.
Pictures of the limited edition
In advance I would like to appologize about the pictures bellow not being that good, I am not really good at taking pictures and my iphone's camera isn't the best either.
I don't really know how to tag something as NSFW so I just put spoiler on the pictures
Outside of the limited edition boxSpoiler
The inside of the limited edition box. The artbook is to the left and the DVD case for the game is to the right.Spoiler
The game itself as well as a user manual and a card with a code for starless that can be used through Jast USA. Of course the DVD works for the game so the code is just an extra.Spoiler
User manual that contains the setup and different features.
If you look at the text under "Gallery Room" you can see that there is an obvious typo, a bit sad that typos made it into the physical copy itself.
Here is a sample from the artbook that shows of one of the servants of the mansion.Spoiler
Here is another sample from the artbook, the mother of the family to the left and her oldest daugther to the rightSpoiler
As for my review of the limited edition I would say that it is really worth it, the box looks really good and the artbook is really nice to take a look in. If you think of picking up the title I would really recommend going for the limited edition. When I checked the jlist page it seems like they now only have the option of buying the digital version, but it is still in stock at rigthstufanime at a sale for 30$, which is actually 5$ lower than the price for the download version. I would assume the low price is to just get rid of the remaining copies so I would assume that there aren't that many copies left.
Warning: This review isn't necessarily safe for work, but all the nsfw content remains hidden within the spoiler tags. Read at your own discretion.
Title: 妖幻天女 (The Bewitching Celestial Maiden)
After way too many vns in our existence all the plots slowly run together into one and character development stops being important. It is when we want to take a break and get our hands on something extra crispy - as long as it allows us to indulge in the deepest of desires, there's no place for needless banter. We are merely simple beings with simple needs... and being a simple guy, I couldn't neglect a game, one of my friends recommended me long ago. "Play this japanese erogi", he said. "You will reach true happiness.", he said. At that point I barely knew moon runes, so I couldn't care less. Now when things changed, I accidentally stumbled upon this magnificent piece of software, while browsing through more forgotten corners of the japanese net. Was it worth it?
If you're interested, please continue.
It's common for sons of well-established leaders to be mostly useless, good-for-nothing gallants. Raziel isn't an exception.
Prince Raziel is the successor to the demon throne, but his interests vary wildly from whatever his father keeps in stock, not to mention actual marriage. When his soon-to-be fiancée turns out to be an angel - a mortal enemy of the demon kind - Raziel takes a liking for the girl and decides to make her his bride, much to Demon King's disapproval. After a heated argument, king promises to approve of their relationship, but only if Raziel manages to bring her back to the demon realm. Clueless on how to begin, prince Raziel joins forces with his ever profit-hungry childhood friend Rosetta and together they embark on a fantastic journey through mystical realms, full of glorious dickings and endless hopes for treasure troves ready to be taken.
In this realm, your future half is revealed through divination, the rest does not seem to matter that much.
In order to reach the heavens above, our duo has to traverse through 魔界 ("Hell" for you, uneducated peasants) and obtain four elemental stones, which will allow them to open a magical portal leading to the mortal plane. From there onwards, they will have to pass through the Machine Country and Country of the Beasts, before they reach entrance to heavens. A seemingly simple task, if not for the fact the stones are being kept away within four great towers and each of them is supposedly protected by a powerful guardian. Obviously, the stones themselves contain tremendous powers that allow it's bearer to control the elemental energies and as such, shouldn't ever fall into anyone's hands, especially demon.
What a cutie. I'm obviously talking about Rosette.
No one really knows what lies beyond the mortal gates, but they're confident to push onwards. Such is their fate.
TL&DR version: It's a game about a demon prince, boning any females that stand on his way to achieve true happiness. Also, snakes. Lots of 'em.
Thanks for stating the obvious, Rosette.
Yougen Tennyo is a classic eroge, deeply rooted within the galgame realm of late 80's and early 90's. Game itself is divided into two parts - the usual story mode, presented in ADV fashion and a Qix-esque mini game, where your take control of our dark-winged protagonist trying to slash through maps compromised of tiles, avoiding and fighting against a variety of opponents. The capricious all-female guardians force him into a game of wits and wagers to prove his worthiness on being the next owner of the stones... and perhaps something else.
As you slowly progress through the game, you quickly find out the damn stones are as relevant as Raziel's fidelity. While each failure results in a classic "game over" screen, after which the game restarts, actual victories net you - the player - not only story progression, but the main reward - h-scenes, in which our protagonist has his way with the defeated ladies (sometimes likewise). And boy, oh boy - if you enjoy stories, where protagonists are either rogues or straight out bastards, while females constantly switch from prideful to poor, oppressed beings into lust-filled demons demanding your se- I mean, your unyielding attention - you'll love every minute of it. It's not a mystery to behold our dear ladies are of supernatural origin and being forever bound to a single place with no one to accompany them, they grew both very lonely and bored over the passing centuries. Surely - they might be ill-tempered and/or cautious (PMS, perhaps), but it's in your task to soften them up and judging from devs, the best possible way to do so is by being rough. Push onwards, traveller. Open all the gates!
The whole story is divided into seven arcs, not counting prologue and epilogue. There are four different towers and three realms our heroes will have to pass in order to reach ending. Each of the areas is a home to one of the game's heroines.
- The Earth Tower, inhabited by our shy nymph Raka (guarding the Earth Stone)
- Kingdom of Winds, home to the capricious sylph Sherra (guarding the Wind Stone)
- Tower of the Flames, guarded by the tsun fire sprite, Narsemi (guarding the Fire Stone)
- Rainy Kingdom, home to the tempting undine, Arga (guarding the Water Stone)
- Machine Country (human world), managed by the automaton Queen, Lia
- Country of the Beasts, supervised by proud centauress, Eija.
- Finally, the Heavenly Realm, where Raziel's fated bride - Oferina - resides.
As a reader, you will spend most of the time following Raziel and Rosetta from place to place and engage in battles with it's guardians; either chasing after the more timid gals, or confronting the powerful vixens directly, ultimately falling into their playful clutches. It's worthy to note despite game's initial simplicity, girls themselves prove to be pleasantly developed, both in terms of personalities and the less, but not less important bits (when it applied). Each of the encounters is different and has something else in stock - there's a nut for every bolt, as they say. Not all of them run away scared or remain hostile to the protagonist. Some - in fact - welcome him as a pleasant surprise in their realms, offering to exchange their stones (wew) for a friendly game of cat and mouse. Those games - often being contests of strength, wits and spirit - ultimately turn to time, where they slowly get to know each other and sadly - the only time where we can learn something more about them. Fans of Rance series might find themselves at home, as most of the events in the story are described in an ultimately comedic fashion, rather than being serious and you can't deny that Raziel - even for being a villainous sort of a protagonist - isn't inherently bad, or evil as his only ultimate goal is to find a way to heavens and meet with his fated fiancée. In other words, you quickly let certain things go past the radar, even when most of the acts committed by Raziel could easily be described as nothing else but forcey fun time.
Things get more hectic in the end, when you finally reach the Celestial Kingdom, that turns out to be less celestial, than you thought at first. A rather tiny, but surprising plot twist occurs, where you confront an unexpected guest and have to rescue Oferina from a fate far worse than death... I'd rather omit the details to avoid potential spoiling, but the whole final confrontation left me as much distressed and angry, as hilariously grinning for the remaining portion of the game.
And they all lived happily ever after... or did they?
I found the whole concept of the game symbolic at times. Embarking from the depths of the netherworld, collecting elements that form the basis of universe, passing through the human realm, reaching the kingdom representing nature itself (one that will always remain above humanity) and finally reaching heavens, representing self-understanding all create a somewhat mystic feeling. Each of the realms seems to be a self-sufficient, closed-off state - more of a dream, where our heroines reside, mostly alone, if not counting their faithful servitors. The lack of humans within their own world is thought-provoking and you start to wonder, what happened. Did we lost ourselves in our never-ending pursuit of perfection or perhaps the mechanical puppets themselves are what remained of our own kind? In contrast to this, the Country of the Beasts seems like a bliss, akin to ancient descriptions of Promised Land, or Eden. We see all the animals in the backgrounds - both herbivores and carnivores - living in perfect harmony. A place of eternal happiness and ultimately something we cannot return to. The Celestial world above seems very cold and empty, with ancient ruins older than the universe itself. It reflects in Oferina's eyes - distant, melancholic and filled with solitude.
All those states form what could be seemingly described as our own consciousness. Quite artsy, to be honest.
This is what happens, when you allow greedy lolis to do as they please.
In overall, I found the whole story to be pleasant and really enjoyable, if not a bit repetitive. Despite being plain and very much straightforward, the entire voyage got me hooked until the very end. For that I have to thank the game's heroines and Rosetta's constant antics.
Though the developers consider Yougen Tennyo a mix between ADV and Qix, the mini-game portion itself feels closer to Bomberman, rather than similar puzzle/arcade titles.
The mechanics are very simple. Your primary task is to clear each stage from all the tiles scattered on the floor. There's a timer running, so you have to hurry up, because when it reaches zero it's instant game over.
Raziel moves across the tiles, leaving a flaming trail behind him which can be used to close them in simple geometric patterns. When you succeed, all tiles contained inside turn into elemental bullets and shoot in a direction our character was last facing. Those can be used to damage and kill the servitors sent by the guardians to hinder our progress. Killed enemies will sometimes leave power-ups. Those are divided into few different types - offensive, defensive and utility, ranging from instant bombs and bonus lives to additional time or stop it for a while, prevent opponents from spawning on the map or summon Rosette's lovely pet companion - Grimarkin (actually, it's a female as well... hopefully) - to either destroy tiles or launch attacks at the opponents. Again, despite it's simplicity, the mini game turned out to be a lot more engaging than I expected. It's feels very balanced and provides constant challenge, while not being an overly frustrating addition. If you will play straight from the beginning and have some skill with arcade games, you shouldn't have any problems in reaching the end, considering how generous stages can be at times, raining you with constant stream of 1-UP's.
You're also gifted with Rosetta's presence in the bottom-left window, cheerfully commenting on your achievements and mishaps, because all we need is more sarcasm.
My only note is that the game could still use a bit more variety in map design and puzzle elements. If not for the slight changes in terrain graphics and opponents, you could be as well playing the same exact thing, over and over again.
The whole game is divided into 7 different worlds and each of them contains four stages. The first one is considered more or less an introduction. The second one adds more opponents. Sub-bosses appear in third stage. Those are usually powerful beings and each of them comes with a fairly different set of skills, requiring different approach to clean stages. They can be killed, but attempting to do so can be quite tricky, considering their toughness.
In the final stage, you will confront the guardian heroines themselves. Similar to sub-bosses, ladies have different skills and attacks, becoming progressively more dangerous and difficult to beat as the game progresses. Personally, I found Eija to be the most challenging opponent, truly worthy of her character. Heroines can be defeated as well, but they are one of the toughest opponents existing, requiring a lot of effort. Regadless, as your main task is to clear all the tiles, beating them is not required, but purely optional.
Regarding boss fights, it's worth to remember about Rosetta's treasure hunting requests, if you want to earn her gratitude. As to why, I will leave it for players to deduce themselves
Art & Music
There is "music" in this game.
Jokes, aside - it's all simple FM-midi tunes. Those might have been good around thirty years ago, but not anymore. Regardless, they are fitting and create a good background noise for all the action.
Queen Eija is a lovely lady, but the bottom part seems incompatible.
What really does shine, though is the art. For a game of it's time, Yougen Tennyo managed to reach a peculiar mix between simplicity and utmost artistry. The majority of art, including character concepts was done by Minoru Murao (of Knights, Last Exile, Burst Angel and 707R fame, amongst other works), remaining nothing less than gorgeous. It's obvious Minoru was heavily inspired by Arabian Nights (visible in character designs and setting) and Art Nouveau with it's flowery patterns, thick outlines, minimal shading, subtly drawn faces and beautiful anatomy. All of this is a true feast for eyes to look upon. The unique mix between erotica and high art - the subtle embrace of delicate female beauty portrayed against the flowery plains, contrasting with the primal joviality of our dark-winged demon protagonist turned out to be a really tasteful and unique approach for a visual novel of this kind.
It's a shame the game is so old and as such, former hardware limitations prevented higher resolution graphics.
Because our protagonist is a an awful, awful person.
The cherry on the top.
If you're a fan of 100% consensual vanilla H, stay the hell away from this game, as some of the scenes might end in complete disgust to all things japanese, possibly combined with police knocking on your doors.
If otherwise, this - my friend - will be one of the most memorable experiences in your life, you might feel ashamed of but won't ever regret.Spoiler
Regarding the last one with centauress Eija - spell stopped working ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
This is, obviously just a tiny portion of the game's h-art. If you want to see the rest, I highly encourage you - by all means - to play the game.
Not only you get beautiful gals, as they pant and tussle in ecstasy, there's a lot more in store for all the fans of dirty erotica. Our protagonist is a shape shifting dweller of the netherworld himself, capable to turn into a gigantic snake and command a whole flock of scale-covered familiars, ready to pursue his every single order. He is not afraid to use them to the fullest potential (don't click that link at work, seriously). The game offers a wide variety of heroines with different personalities, sexual experience and level of kinkiness, which results in a lot of funny situations (mostly for us, less for them), not to mention preceding sexual innuendos and dirty talking. As an seemingly inconspicuous but powerful apex predator - demonic avatar of lust and depravity - you will slowly drive your unsuspecting victims into a corner, devoid them of their dignity and work them up to new heights of carnal pleasure, they never experienced before.
Even tentacles in this game come as one of the most beautiful I've ever came across and quite cuddly in their own way
If you ever thought how females felt during the age of myth, play this game. Being forcefully taken against your own will is just the very beginning of a never-ending circle of perversion, our ancestors excelled at. Not only we loved to imagine how things are done within the celestial realm, but the cleverness behind the sex acts themselves could only equal to cunning tactics, our demigod brethren (and possibly sisters) employed to seduce their targets. Bulls, swans, sneks, golden rain, fog, treasure chests, spiders, mirrors, more sneks, wine, eagles, even more sneks, larks, mysterious objects(?) were all just a tip of an iceberg floating within a sea of wriggling snakes.
This game just loves snakes. I won't be surprised you too might start to like them afterwards.
I can't forget to mention how hard Yougen Tennyo is to obtain nowadays (if you're a collector) and how even more difficult is to make it run on any modern PC at all. Since the game is basically a self-extracting software CD from circa 2001, it does not recognize modern display standards. I had to hack the executable in order to make it work on a 16:9 screen, although it did manage to open properly on another machine running Windows 7 on a 5:4 monitor, in 1280x1024 resolution. I suspect a windows hooker, such as DxWnd might be able to run it as well. If you own the original CD, an optical drive is surely required.
If you're a fan of oldschool eroge, looking for something nice and not overly long nor difficult to play, this game - despite it's complete obscurity - is a true gem in the rough and shouldn't be omitted.
- Gorgeous, highly stylized art
- Six different heroines standing on your path, plus Rosetta and your would-be fiancée
- Despite the themes, story is mostly light and comedic, akin to Rance games
- Plenty of well drawn and varied h-cgs with pretty, fairy-like gals
- You get to bang a haughty centauress 👌
- Rosetta is cute af and she gets her screen time as well (provided you know what to do)
- You get cucked
- No catgirls (sub-boss in the penultimate map doesn't count)
- The story can be considered shallow and characters could include more depth
- The mini-game could use more variety in terms of mechanics
- The game is a pain in the ass to run on modern systems, unless you own a retro pc
- Lack of possibility to save, skip and fast-forward the text
- the old style censorship with it's invisible weenies and huge mosaics gets really annoying at times
- If resident lolis weren't enough, Narsemi's arc might be an actual deal breaker for a lot of people (YMMV)
- You get cucked
Foreword - Because as of now we still didn't have VNTS again (Although Decay apparently promised will prepare one later), I decided to create another VNTS Review without the VNTS itself. I hope that you'll enjoy my review here.
As for the title, because we have both of Tsumihoroboshi release and Hapymaher exact release date announced here, I decided to made the title based on those two VNs. For more info, in Hapymaher we'll gonna have MC who has constant lucid dream, and as for Tsumihoroboshi is in regard of Higurashi in which like I said earlier is full of conspiracies - Tsumihoroboshi is a part of Higurashi for the reminder. Therefore we have 'The Lucid Conspiracies' as VNTS Review title for this week, and funny enough there's a blog with the name Lucid Conspiracy. It should be obvious that I won't cover the blog contents here, so let's move on to the main topic here. As for this week, I like that we already have Hapymaher exact release date. Also as expected we have Mangagamer monthly update which is good in case some people was keep an eye on Sona-Nyl or Amatarasu. Other than Mangagamer updates, we also still have some updates from fan translation, Sol Press, and Sekai as well so more or less it's just normal week for those three. Let's see what I can write for this week as well.
From Sol Press, not much that I could write here other than Newton VN was finished the QA, and Yotsunoha translation was almost finished with 95% translated (Along with 87% edited). That said Sol Press here definitely need to change the release estimation for Newton VN, because they still listed it as early this month and I'm sure that right now we about to enter last third of June ie no early month anymore.
Sekai's 4th secret project was at 95% translated, and I'm sure that nobody know what's their secret project is so they can only speculate as of now. The only way of knowing the project is just waiting for Sekai to tell us, so in the end it's just the matter of waiting. Speaking about waiting, they also need to waiting for the third party in regard of Nanairo as well so anyone who wait for Nanairo will need to wait for a while (Including me). If anything, at least they already have Nanairo in QA so perhaps the release would be happen in near future (Maybe).
As of this week we have Eustia was at 46.26% translated and 34.36% edited, and what I can comment is that it's good that at least it looks stable looking from the usual weekly progress. There's still some progress from Shin Koihime Musou as well, but as long as the percentage didn't change I wouldn't report the progress here (The line count itself is quite big with 102,893 lines), and for the record the current progress is 30,230 lines were already edited.
Other than those two above, we have Harugi with the translation progress for both of main school and branch school common route was coming along at the same time, but before going to the progress since this'll be gonna confusing if I didn't make a term for Harugi branching here I'll try to explain about Harugi's structure first. For the explanation, actually Harugi's setting here have two prominent school here and our MC will have involved with teaching at the two schools (Forgot to say that the MC himself is the teacher). Also from what I read, each branch did have their own heroines. So from now on if we talk about main school common route I'll use term 'Main', and for branch school common route I'll use 'Branch'. My very uncreative terms aside, the progress right now is that Main was at 11% translated and Branch was at 10% translated along with 3% TLC-ed. Also as for the prologue itself right now it was already fully TLC-ed and 67% edited.
As for Mangagamer, congratulation for both of Tsumihoroboshi release and Hapymaher exact release date announcement in which it'll be at July 12th later. I think we should already knew what Tsumihoroboshi is, and for the reminder here it was Chapter 6 of Higurashi. While I'm more or less already guessed that they gonna announced Hapymaher release date along with Tsumihoroboshi release, I'm still hapy (Pun was intended, sorry) that we finally get it because I'm already accepted if they'll going to release Hapymaher at 2020. Other than that, if some of you want Mangagamer's version of Umineko hardcopy edition then be glad because they'll also announced the release date for that as well, in which it'll be released at the same date as Hapymaher release. As for Umineko hardcopy, it's more or less just redundant to me but at least I can say that if JAST was stubbornly want to keep releasing the hardcopy then they can take some page from Mangagamer here.
As expected, right now they did announced their monthly updates, so let's do the roundup for that. For the updates, we have Tsui Yuri is currently in the testing so it probably mean that it'll be released in the near future, Sona-Nyl was at 47% translated, Trinoline was fully translated and 69% edited, Maggot Bait was at 86.5% translated and 42% edited, Steam Prison was almost completed both of translating and editing process with the progress for both was at 98%, Amatarasu was at 86% translated and 33% edited, Kyonyuu Fantasy 2 was at 63.5% translated and 625 edited, and Rance Quest was fully tranlsated along with 84% edited. As for Rance uest, while I admit that I look forward to this back at Otakon announcement, now that we already have very epic Rance X I wouldn't sure if I would have same interest like back at the announcement, and moreso if we knew that Evenicle did finished the story with one installment while Rance need 10 installments. For the last updates, Mangagamer will bring three announcements at AX later with two of those from new partners, and for now I can't comment much on this other than I hope the announcements it'll be interesting.
That's all for this week VNTS Review, and see you next week.
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While spurred by recent events, this essay touches on something that seems to have been a pattern in site moderation for some time now.
Let me make a claim: if a rule, especially one that is vaguely worded, is not enforced, for a decent amount of people that rule does not exist. This nonexistence integrates into the mental model of the rules that forum members construct, no matter what the formal rules may say. For members using this mental model, beginning to enforce a rule that was previously unenforced is equivalent to creating a new rule. As such, the same procedures as those used to notify forum members of new rules should be applied, possibly with some adaptation on the lines of "we will now actually enforce this rule", as the rule effectively did not previously exist.
The ur-example of this is the loligeddon of yore. The takeaway from the loligeddon when it comes to this essay is this: mods repeatedly stated that no rules had actually been changed. Yet nevertheless the appearance and subsequent removal of a particularly problematic post sparked sweeping policy changes, a cleanup operation, a tl;dr post by the administrator explaining the changes, et cetera. This should make it clear that changing policy is a big deal, even if no written rules actually change.
Recent policy changes, however, have been very different from what happened during the loligeddon. Frequently the only indication that effective rules have changed has been moderator action, sometimes fairly strict. In essentially all cases this action has been explained either inadequately or, most commonly, not at all. When this occurs the target(s) of moderation will likely feel that they have been unfairly, erratically targeted by a capricious, uncommunicative bully. What do you do when you get bullied? Well, you could talk to HR, but the mod that bullied you is probably in HR anyway and you might not even know who did it. Another option is to fight back. You annoy me, I pay you back in kind - and if I can get some fun at your expense, sure, why not? You're a bully, you deserve it.
I do not mean to suggest that we need to have a tl;dr writeup every time a rule is changed, but a simple statement of intent would be appreciated. I estimate that writing this should take no more than 20 minutes. As an example, here's a hypothetical notice regarding the changing of rules on gifs that took me ~10 minutes to write. Note that the policy mentioned here could be reversed or altered to be more specific if it turns out that it was unclear or did more harm than good, which is arguably more difficult to do if the rule has been made official.
In the light of this, I would like to present some recommendations.
When moderating, consider if your action is effectively creating or modifying rules
Remember: in the minds of some of your users, unenforced rules may as well not exist. If you decide to moderate something that was previously typically not being moderated, this will cause confusion and consternation.
As such, whenever you make a decision, ask yourself: am I changing the rules? If so, you need to consider both whether your action is actually justified, and how you are going to inform the public of your policy change. You are not a cop, you are a judge in a precedent-setting court. This is especially true due to the (understandable) current policy of supporting other mods' decisions near unconditionally.
Do not make controversial decisions when following up is difficult
On some occasions moderators have moderated while on vacation, using their phone, with bad connections et cetera. I strongly recommend against making anything close to a controversial decision in these conditions. You will end up both ruining your vacation and doing a bad job.
Talk first, shoot later
If you are performing a moderator action which reasonably should include notifying the target of the action, write up the informative PM or otherwise establish communication before enforcement. You could also consider writing up the notification of intent to change / differently enforce / clarify rules before moderating. Most of the time nobody is harmed much by leaving something up until you can handle it properly. For things that require more urgent management such as a fast-evolving derailment, consider either using a PM template for 1-2 people or making a post stating that you have removed derailing posts in the thread you moderated.
Make people feel heard
One key theme of this essay is the importance of communication. This extends beyond just notifying people of changes to the rules. I am under no illusions that your actions will go uncontested or that people won't meme and fling shit at you even if you try your best to communicate as advised in this essay. In part this is due to the frustration some people, and certainly I myself, consider you responsible for creating due to your actions up to this point. However, when hostility meets well-practiced civility its fires often run out of fuel. If you constructively engage with those who would oppose you, you can both soothe their frustration and create better, more precise final rules.
Obviously there has to be a limit and ultimately you set the rules to follow. But explaining, refining, and justifying your position elevates it from that of a dim-witted bully with little justification for their actions to someone who has a well-grounded but different opinion of what the rules should be. The first one deserves punishment, the second, grudging respect.
As a personal observation: in general, you should assume that much less of your decisions are obviously justified than you currently think. One man's common sense is another man's borderline acceptability is another man's utterly idiotic rule enforcement.
Moderation is a hard job
If this all seems like a lot of hard work to you, congratulations! That's what I thought too when the mod applications came along, so I didn't apply. Any moderators that cannot actually moderate disputes should either confine themselves to routine, uncontroversial moderation tasks or step down from their position. Believe me, nobody will die either way, and you'll get to spend your free time doing something that suits you better.
I personally don't consider the mods bullies when I do this kind of thing, but I do consider them deserving of public ridicule. The intention is both to correct behaviour and to extract some entertainment out of people that deserve to be made fun of.
And yeah, I have no respect for authority. None. I will judge you by your actions alone.
This is an assumption based on my conception of normie considerations like pride, sticking with your decision, whatever.
Obviously if a rule does more harm than good it should be removed whether or not it was enforced temporarily, but it is probably easier to do so politically if it was in fact considered temporary.
Look, I'm trying desperately not to kill all normies every day here. Give me a break.
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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.
Ten Yuri Series You Need To Read Before I Destroy You, And Everything You Have Ever Loved
Now, I know what you are going to ask, "What is Yuri?" Well my pathetic and childless friend let me answer that for you. Yuri is a...
I was first introduced to the Yuri genre back in my Sophomore year of High School when I was around 16 years old. I was just getting into anime after having been introduced to the best series ever, Galaxy Angel a year prior. That Yuri series happened to be Strawberry Panic!, and I really loved it. Now that I think about it was of the first romance series I actually sat through. It was several years later that I was introduced to Visual Novels and had my thirst for romance essentially quenched. It was only until recently that I was rediscovered my love of the genre and became the enlightened being that stands before you. Now, before I crush you and everything you have ever loved (along with things you just causally liked) here are ten manga series that you really should read.
Number 1. Bloom Into You
By Nakatani Nio
This is what really kicked jumped my yuri obsession into high gear and it quickly became one of my overall favorite manga series.
Bloom Into You, tells the story of Yuu Koito a first year high school student and her involvement with the beloved and enigmatic Touko Nanami. What makes it truly wonderful for me at least is the characters and the art. Yuu is a really strong and grounded protagonist and the fact that she is initially incapable of falling in love makes her quite intriguing, given that this is a romance manga after all. Touko is another really great character and I liked that she was a twist on the classic yuri trope of the perfect and mysterious senpai. Bloom Into You also has a large cast of side characters who flesh out the manga with their perspectives and interactions. The core cast all have a tremendous amount of character growth throughout the series and it has been nice to see them grow and change over time. More than simply being a yuri story Bloom Into You is a story about finding yourself and coming to terms with who you are. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone whether they like yuri or not.
Number 2. The Kase San and...series
By Hiromi Takashima
Status: Completed (Continued in Yamada to Kase-san)
The Kase-San and series is one of the warmest, gentlest, and endearing manga series I have ever come across. It positively oozes sentimentality and radiates sweetness. Such concentrated fluffy feelings exuded by the manga ought to be lethal. I'm surprised it's author Hiromi Takashima, has not been brought up on crimes of adorableness. It's really fucking cute is what I'm trying to convey to you okay? The Kase-San series is about the growing relationship between Yamada the one woman gardening committee representative, and Kase a beloved track and field star. It does a lot to make itself truly memorable inside and outside the yuri circle it was birthed in. It really bucks a common trope that the yuri genre is especially guilty of, which is that most yuri series ends with them becoming a couple. Most yuri manga's and VN's usually end at the mutual confession and kiss stage. It's for the most part a very cathartic ending that rewards all the time the two spent pining for each other. The problem with this ending is that you never get to see them as a couple, it's just presumed that they'll stay together forever and that's it. Kase-San is different in this way. By the end of the first volume they have already kissed and became a couple. The rest of the volumes deal with the trials and tribulations that normally spring up as the two try and understand each other. Both the leads are wonderfully sweet and really complement each other well. Yamada is a big ball of manic energy and cuteness and Kase is a big goof whom is utterly enraptured by Yamada. The art is very vivid and cartoony and every character has a huge range of expressions. I was struck by how much of it reminded me of Dr. Seuss' works. The art also has this amazing ability to turn from cute to sexy in a second. It is really quite the feat.
Number 3. Octave
By Akiyama Haru
Now, I've already covered how much I love this manga in the review so I'll just include a link for it here. It's a great read for those who are sick and tired of high school settings, and hunger for delicious angst.
Number 4. Nettaigyo wa Yuki ni Kogareru
By Makoto Hagino
That's still the best new pickup line I've seen in a while. I'm not sure of it's effectiveness so you should try it out yourself. I have been in love with this manga since the first chapter. It tells the story of Konatsu Amano who moves to a brand new school, in a brand new town while her father is away oversees. There she meets Koyuki Honami a beloved and seemingly perfect older girl (Are you seeing a pattern here?) and their friendship begins. Koyuki is another subversion of that perfect senpai role as she is just a incredibly shy and awkward girl, with no real friends. Their interactions are very honest and believable and they make such a adorkable paring. There are also fun dads in abundance which is interesting because typically family figures are virtually nonexistent when it comes to most yuri mangas. That subtext tag is making me very nervous though.
Number 5. Notes From The Garden Of Lilies
By Suga Atsushi
Why do the best things in the world only come in two volumes? This is how I feel about this particular manga. I love the budding relationship between the two leads. Both are characters that I absolutely adored the moment I encountered them and the way they both bounce off each other is fabulous. I wish there were twenty volumes of this but I suppose I must content myself with only two. The world is so unfair sometimes...
Number 6. The Real Her
By Imamura Youko
...and so it continues. This great yuri love story is only one volume long which I think is absolutely criminal. The Real Her tells the love story of the hardcore masochistic Moe, and the budding sadist Yuuka. Like Notes From The Garden Of Lilies the greatness in this manga is all in the character interaction. It's delightfully funny, and it really satisfied the sadistic side of me.
Number 7. Pulse
By Ratana Satis
Looks like Drama is back on the menu boys! Pulse tells the very adult story about Mel, a beautiful surgeon who is determined to never fall in love again and Lynn, a college student with a life threatening heart condition. It's a very tender story that also manages to be damn sexy. The drama was handled very well and I really liked Lynn much more than I thought I would. I have never been a fan of characters with a affliction because more often than not, they are but a fountain for tears. Lynn never came across to me as being that way and I liked her personality. Mel is also a very strong character and her growth was very believable. If you need a good dose of adult romantic drama then consider this as your prescription covered. Side effects might include lots of tears.
Number 8. It Would Be Great if You Didn't Exist
The drama train is still at the station and oh boy, is this one a doozy. The basic premise is that Guk-Hwa finds out that her dirt-bag boyfriend has been cheating on her with another woman. When she goes to confront the two of them she is struck by how attractive she finds the other woman. I have not really a premise like it before so I was immediately intrigued. The two leads really complement each other and they are very well developed. The humor which is prevalent throughout the series is also pretty fantastic. However, it would be unwise to let your guard down because this series is great about hammer striking you repeatedly with drama laden fists.
Number 9. Hana to Hoshi
By Suzukin Kario
Looks like it's back to high school, I swear I can't escape it no matter how hard I try. I guess the only way would be to avoid anything remotely Japanese but since I can't do that let's get on with this already. Hana used to be table top champion until she was unseated by a newcomer with scary eyes. Unable to handle her newfound loosing streak she was forced to retire from the sport. Hania plans to start over a fresh leaf in her first year of high school only to come face to face with her former rival. This is another one of those slow burns that is helped along greatly by the fantastic back and forth between the two characters. The story opens up further when a romantic rival appears on the scene. The only unfortunate thing about this manga is that it feels a bit cut short. It's a manga that is only two volumes long but it could have easily been four or five.
Number 10. Fragtime
Okay, so it was really hard to decide which one would should end this top ten list but I ultimately decided to go with Fragtime. The premise is what really got my attention. Fragtime is about a young woman named Misuzu who has the power to freeze time for three minutes a day. Instead of using her powerful but limited power for evil she instead uses it to look up the skirt of a girl that she has a crush on. (What a wholesome girl) Unfortunately for her this happens to be the panties belonging to the one person whom is immune to her powers. Even though this is such a goofy premise it still ends up being a very powerful and poignant series. I am so lucky I was able to stumble upon it.
Oh And This Isn't Quite Yuri But I Want It On This List
By Yuuki Kamatani
Okay this might be cheating a little bit but this is not in fact wholly a yuri series. Still, it feels almost criminal to not include it on this list so here it goes. Shimanami Tasogare is about a young boy named Tasuku Kaname who is nearly driven to suicide after nearly being outed as being gay. He is stopped by a strange woman named Anonymous who invites him to a tea house frequented by other social outcasts. I included this manga on the list because there is a lesbian side couple that are very well developed and have a meaningful relationship that has more depth than many yuri manga's. In fact, nearly the whole spectrum of the LGBTQA community is represented in this manga. What's more is that it is done in a way that feels authentic and real. It never once felt fake or phony to me. The characters are all very fleshed out and they are not depicted as perfect beings and they all have their own hangups and problems. It's rare to ever see any real world drama in a yuri manga, in fact it's barely touched on if at all. The situation for gay and lesbian peoples is still one of hardship especially in Japan where gay marriage is still illegal. Tasogare thankfully does not gloss over this and instead provides a very emotional and compelling story.
The Runners Up
This is all for those that I liked but didn't quite make the cut.
By Higashiyama Shou
This was all set to be a really amazing series with a great couple but unfortunately the author was accused of tracing and it was canceled after only six chapters. Truly, it is one of the greatest tragedies of the modern age. Mourn what could have been.
The Feelings We Must All Endure
By Amano Shuninta
This is a great manga to read if are tired of uplifting yuri stories and want to read something that is angsty as all hell. I would rate it higher on my list since it is one of the few series that involves College at all, but they do some haphazard character assassination in the last few chapters and I don't like that. Don't expect a good time while reading this manga, expect a bad time. Still, it's set in a goddamn university! Why the fuck aren't you going to read it?
By Milk Morinaga
I really liked this series because the girls portrayed in it felt like real high school girls dealing with the typical high school problems. There was level of authenticity to their concerns about fashion or dieting because high school girls are real superficial. The gradual romance in this manga series is really sweet and wonderful but there is just one major problem I have with this series and it is the abundance of misunderstandings. The couple in this series have so many moments of jumping to the wrong conclusion or assuming the worst that it gets a bit aggravating after a while. It's like you just want to shake the both of them and scream, "YOU BOTH FUCKING LOVE EACH OTHER, OKAY??" Oh and don't get me started on poorly timed interruptions because this series has plenty of those to spare. Despite those issues Girl Friends is truly a wonderful love story.
Look, I know Citrus is a bit trashy and bit soap opera-y but it's got several really good merits. The first one is that it has Harumin in it and Harumin is the fucking best, okay? She's the fucking best! She's like the reincarnation of Chikaru Minamoto she's that great. She's like a steady helmsman during a raging sea. The second one is the protagonist Yuzu. She's a really strong protagonist with a distinct and interesting personality. Sure, a lot of potential is squandered by her near obsession with Mei but she's still a really great character. The third and final thing is that the series has finally decided to get serious. The problem that I had with the last couple of volumes of Citrus is that the would operate a sort of rouges gallery of girls that would try and break up Yuzu's and Mei's budding relationship. It got a bit stale but thankfully the last few chapters has been a thankful punch in the gut.
Bright And Cheery Amnesia
Really, this image is all you really need to see if you want to know the premise of this manga. It's got a really simplistic plot but it makes up for that with a great deal of warmth and heart. You can't help but read this and not end up smiling like a goddamn fool. It's just that bright and cheery.
Well anyway there is my list I hope you enjoyed it! Oh and before I decimate your pathetic existence I hope you enjoy these various series and...
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.
TWO WEEKS AGO: Some bananas happened and then tymmur was murdered and our heroes were too powerless to do something about it because I couldn't write this chapter sooner.
"At least we could strengthen our friendship in the meantime..." contemplated Dreamysyu, sitting in the corridor alongside Dergonu, Mitchnomi and Ranzo. The last time we saw them, they were staring the cursed gif looping at the monitor at classroom 2-B. If they were still staring at it, two weeks later, by now they would have nor eyes nor brains nor anything, as every cell of their body would be as pulverized as an unlucky member of the Avengers. Instead, they got the hell out of the room and decided to have a picnic in the corridor. It was enough time for them to max out all Social Links between themselves, while doing aaaaaaaall the things that good close male friends do together, like drink beer, have sex with each other, tell inside jokes, karaoke, a blood pact and read the h-scenes of euphoria. Actually, scratch that, Ranzo was the only one singing. They started with Bleeding Eyes by Masterplan, but after seeing Rinne's enema h-scene, they're now stuck with a looping Suicide Song by Hatsune Miku.
"Maaaaan, that was good! But I think we're supposed to do something else now..." pondered Dergonu. Mitchnomi could have explained the rules about the investigation about now, since they were one of the higher ups, and also a bear, but sadly they died of hepatitis B after the blood pact part.
"Oh yeah, we gotta investigate tymmur's murder! Rest in peace, man..." said Dreamysyu, putting his main character cape once again. With that, they enter the crime scene once again to see...
...KURISU-CHAN WATCHING STEINS;GATE 0!
"...Wait, what? Here too?"
"Yeah, I noticed that no one was using this room so I invited Kenshin to a two-weeks-long anime marathon consisting of the original S;G and all the released S;G 0 episodes." explained Kurisu.
"I thought that you did your hackerman thing everywhere but here..." me too, Dergonu.
"That was right, so I went back in time and fixed that."
"...Wait, at least you saved tymmur, or any of us, while you did that???"
"They saved ME, because now I finally catch up with S;G 0!" replied Kenshin, making Dreamysyu feel a bit NTRed.
"Actually tymmur is right here." pointed Ranzo to the same chair tymmur was last time. Still dead tho.
"But if the screen now is showing only S;G 0 reruns, what killed him in this timeline?"
"The same thing, I'm afraid. Check his phone, someone PMed him the thing." said Dreamysyu, quickly averting his gaze before their eyes exploded.
"Looks like this fic needs the Meaningless Choices tag, 'cause whatever we do, we can't save tymmur." said Senior, creepily appearing behind them. The rest soon followed, led by an angry Maggiekuma trying to put the story back on track.
"Jumping Christ, I tried to make a Corpse Discovery Announcement but I couldn't even access my own system! I knew I should have put Nayleen in this fic... Oh well, guess I'll have to explain it in person. As I weebly explained last time... do you guys even remember it?"
"How could we forget?" said Zander, proudly covering his war scars.
"Gotcha, the thing is, someone is trying to leave this place sacrificing all the remaining students. Sooo what you guys are waiting for? Foil his plan! If the murderer doesn't get away with it, they alone will be punished. The clock's ticking, so let's start this scavenger hunt for clues! No murder is perfect after all, so look for some fingerprints or whatever." Maggiekuma's limited knowledge about detective stuff is somewhat sad.
"Playing games after one of our mates met such a fate... This is indeed remarkably sick..." Poltroon expressed his disgust.
"Everything for the views!"
"I would like to ask how many minutes will we have for this task, but it's probably an indeterminate amount that will end conveniently after all clues were found." Fiddle correctly said.
"Yeah, works for me! Also, here. ZA MAGGIEKUMA FAIRU! 'All info you couldn't possibly discover just investigating' edition! I'll leave it at the main character's hand! Now, happy hunting!~" Maggiekuma outed.
"Even if we didn't start anything here, I would like to say that batman is the most suspicious one here. He is always using gifs here after all." littleshogun gave their opinion.
"Bitch please, that's clearly not barbaric enough to be something made by my hand!"
"I would say that Kenshin is the most suspicious actually. They appeared here out of nowhere and not many people here have a cell phone with them..." Ranzo continued with the distrusting one another atmosphere for the hell of it.
"But they have a strong alibi, AKA me." Kurisu didn't want to lose a fellow Steins;Gater.
"How do we even remember what happened in other timelines?" pondered Virgin, but not really, since he hardly cares anymore.
"(￣`Д´￣)9" Kiri tried to help clearing Kenshin's suspicion, showing that they have a cell phone as well. And surprisingly, no one started to suspect them, as everyone agreed that Kiri only use his phone to play Kirikoi, tweet and other moe stuff.
"Guys, instead of trying to guess who's the killer, how about we start investigating? The correct answer will appear naturally then." Lesiak made everyone shut the fuck up.
"I'm with you. I'm with this feeling... that the cause of his death isn't what it seems. It looks more that all of this... it's just to confuse us." Dreamysyu's not wrong, this fic is hardly cohesive.
"They'll try to push drugs that keep us all dumbed down and hope that we will never see the truth around!" So come on! Oh yeah, this one I can sing along!
"I'll help you investigate. Mystery is right up my alley." Virgin suggested a partnership.
"Oh, let me join too! Just give me a minute to look for the choice that let me join your party!" since it'll take quite some time for Senior to skip his black bible of choices, let's just focus on what the other guys are doing.
"First, let's read the Maggikuma File. EVERYONE, GATHER HERE!" and they did so.
"Okay. Name of the victim: tymmur. Time of death: around 11 AM. Age: 79 (maybe more, since he's a wizard). Height: 1,80 cm. Orientation: homosexual. Favorite Musumaker h-scene..." Dreamysyu blue screened for a while. "...What any of this have to do with the investigation...?"
"Better look at the body directly." Virgin tried to steal Dreamysyu's spotlight, when both of them were alone again.
"I prefer to collect some testimonies first."
"And why's that?"
"Everyone's fictional counterpart in this story is fucking stupid, someone will probably spill the beans if pressured."
"Let's start with Clephas."
"Are you suggesting that I, the Lord of the JOPs, would mingle with you, inferior beings? And just for a senseless slaughter that fails to appease even goddesses such as Ishtar?" Clephas had a point, I don't think Musumaker's h-scenes would please a goddess of sexuality. Since Clephas knew way more h-scenes than Dreamysyu or Virgin, they just leave it to him to calm the gods and kept investigating.
"Let's talk with Poltroon now."
"..." Poltroon brilliantly said.
"What are you even doing, man?"
"Honoring the memory of our fallen comrade. Let me dedicate this moment of silence to him."
"Dude, it's way past one minute now."
"For someone such as tymmur, one minute is not enough. Not a single one of his lines would fit in that interval."
"...That's something the Ultimate Gentleman would do, I suppose." said Dreamysyu and Virgin at the same time, as they left him alone and went to talk with the others.
"Sigh... This is going nowhere..." Dreamysyu was trying hard to stay positive.
"Let's see what we do have. Dergonu, Ranzo and you were together so all of you have alibis. Kenshin and Kurisu have alibis as well. Fiddle said himself, he's the final boss, so I don't think he would try something as early as chapter 3. Kiri seems harmless, but they play moege, suspicious af. Batman and Clephas would probably do something more barbaric than this. I'm not the culprit and that's true 'cause I'm always right. That leaves us with Lesiak, shogun, Blitz, Poltroon, and Zander. Of all of those, Zander is the most suspicious."
"Are they? I can't remember them doing anything strange..."
"Just look at him!"
"Despite my ear damage last chapter, and the damage that my brain sustains every time I found a grammatical error in this mess, I can hear you quite well, Virgin." speaking of the devil.
"Whatever. What are you so-not-suspiciously doing?"
"I'm investigating the body."
"Huh? Someone actually listened to my idea???" Virgin thought that was pure madness.
"...Enough with the hearing puns."
"Anyway. Did you find something out?"
"Oh, most certainly! Look at his feet!"
"I prefer hips, myself." I'll let you choose who said this.
"Not like that! Look, they're stuffed right into a bucket full of water together with this electric wire. Thoughts?"
"I knew the gif was only a distraction! It was a false flag all along!!" Dreamysyu, for the first time in a while, thought that the fic is finally making some sense.
"Actually, the gif was a big fucking clue, since it was a vibrating gif of an anime girl being electrocuted. A goof from the murderer, most likely."
"Why no one noticed this before????? And why only his eyes exploded????? What kinda electrocution is that????" Virgin thought otherwise.
"Probably because this development was rushed for the views or for the feels or whatever, making it as poorly planned as the game night of someone going through a KEY VN without a walkthrough." salt is the main reason batman worked alone.
"...Want me to take some pictures to use as evidence?" Kenshin wanted to be helpful.
"Oh, do that! It's pretty much the only clue I found here."
"...The ONLY clue?"
"So. It is time." Fiddle eerily prophesied.
"I finally found the choice! I just don't understand why I'll join the party if I say "Panties ahoy!" to Kiri..." I think people hardly care about it now, Senior.
"Ding ding ding, TAIMU APU!" announced Maggiekuma over the monitor, that plotholely was again under their command. "Now hurry your asses over here!" and the asses went there.
NEXT TIME: The first trial! Place your bets now, who killed tymmur?
"..." and that was the sound of Poltroon, still in silence.
"Enjoy the silence..." sang Ranzo, like any other chapter ending.
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In response to my friend @Mr Poltroon's grammatically-questionable-but-nevertheless-generous patronage, I've decided to utilize my artistic skills and produce a drawing that does justice to his favorite character, Kilometers Edgeworth.
In short, I labored to reproduce the following piece that I found on an insider artists' hub known as Google Images:
(I forgot to replace the transparency in his eyes with whiteness, so please don't use a dark skin or he'll look scary and deformed.)
- Read more...
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Ninetail announces an upcoming Kickstarter for an English version of Venus Blood Frontier, a corruption-focused strategy RPG with Law and Chaos routes.
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Magical Marriage Lunatics is an rom-com VN with heavy moe elements bought to you by the same company and scenario writer as the fan-favorite Princess Evangile, and available for purchase at MangaGamer.
Plot / main theme of the VN is pretty thin; There are a total of 6 Heroines. The protagonist slipped into 4 alternate dimensions when he was a child and each time he met a girl there (btw this part is never fully explained; He simply just slips into the other dimensions in the past and the VN left it at that). Some weak excuse of an encounter happened afterwards and he made marriage pacts with them (The last 2 girls' pacts were made on earth realm). After coming to age, the 6 girls approached the protagonist all at once to make good of the pact made, but he must choose only 1 among the 6.
First of all, I must say the most important thing to do in order to enjoy this game is to come into it with a blank state of mind and without expectations. I was sorely disappointed with this VN because I am a big P.E fan and I came into the VN expecting something similar in quality. Suffice to say, MML is nowhere near that. The breakdown:
Graphics - Very moe in nature with hi-res colourful artwork, high contrast (overly so imo), and very cute heroine design:
Not much to say here; It's a moe lover's dream come true, while people like @VirginSmasher will hate it
Music - Average in quality. Much like P.E, not bad overall, but nothing particularly memorable or catchy to me.
Characters - Not bad. The heroines are cute and likeable. The protagonist is written decently but his character is cliche-filled and nothing special about him stood out.
Storyline - This is the part which disappointed me the most; It lacks depth, and the quality is nowhere near the likes of P.E at all. The biggest issue is the common route is excruciatingly boring. It's mainly just a bunch of random events which was very uninterestingly written and has almost nothing to do with the main theme of the VN; the marriage pacts. The storyline is not structured very well too imo; at the start, you meet all 6 girls and are given some thin backstory on the marriage pacts ---> SoL common route ----> choose a route to go into. End of story. Little effort, too, was given to develop the backstory between the Protagonist and the girls.
The routes are better, but mainly because the common route is so bad it makes them look so. The quality of the writing here is nothing special and full of cliches. Not even close to P.E standard.
This title also requires you to suspend your disbelief very heavily as it makes no attempts at all at being even remotely realistic (although I know this is a work of fiction, I still can't stomach the fact a talking bat can just waltz into our realm, talk to normal people, and even go shopping out in the open without causing anything near to a commotion). A lot of the story also makes heavy use of deux machina and feels very random; for instance events that happen inside a particular route (an example being what happened in the incident between the protagonist and Luce's father and his army after he revisited their realm in Luce's route) will go completely unmentioned elsewhere.
Overall, I do not recommend this title even to moege lovers. At 45 USD, it isn't cheap and there are a ton of better moeges out there in the market you can get at this price (or cheaper). While it's not a bad VN overall, comparatively it just can't compete. Only consider this VN if you can come in blank and without expectations. Otherwise, you will inevitably compare it to other (better) titles, notice the flaws, and be sorely disappointed with your purchase.
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About a year and a half ago, I completed the Suda51 title, Killer is Dead. I honestly am not sure what happened but I will do my best to sort it out. Despite me not knowing really what was happening, something aside from the mediocre gameplay kept me going. It was the ａｅｓｔｈｅｔｉｃｓ. I'm done with that bit now btw.
The whole point of this post isn't to discuss the story or the quality of the game Killer is Dead, but rather to examine the art style and how it made me want to complete the game. Killer is Dead is a hack and slash game from the mind of Suda51. Opinions on his ability to craft a good game aside, his art direction tends to be on the more creative side. The art of Killer is Dead is why I set aside my qualms I had for the gameplay and story and found myself continuing to play it to completion. Take David for example...
He some sort of king or something living on the dark side of the moon. But what stands out to me isn't his story. It's his god damn gold clothes. When the first major boss of the game looks like this, I cannot help but be intrigued. I honestly remember nothing about David except that the little shit shows up and ruins breakfast at one point in the game while wearing a stupid shit eating grin as shown here.
This is a man set on ruining your breakfast. I think he might have been your brother or something but he time traveled and killed your mom at breakfast . But lets take a look at some of the other screenshots from the game.
I honestly don't remember what any of these are from in the game, but the actual visuals of the game are what stick with me after all this time. Not the gameplay, or the story, but just the visuals. That leads me to my rambling point that I haven't argued. Graphics can totally be the only thing a game has going for it and that is fine. Killer is Dead is a prime example of this. The gameplay is forgettable, while the story is only memorable because it is driven entirely by the unique art direction of the game. Killer is Dead was entirely worth the time and money I spent on the game for one reason: it was so damn interesting to look at.
Now I want to look at a more mainstream example of a game with a strong, unique, direction of art. Persona 5. Now now, I am not shitting on the game right now. That is for an upcoming blog post. But, when we get down into the nitty gritty details of the gameplay of the sequel, it really isn't much of a step forward for the Persona series as a whole. Some interviews from the development team likened to jump from 4 to 5 like the jump from the P2 duology to Persona 3 . What we got, however, was just an expanded 4 with most mechanics renamed and a mild rehash of the story from 4. What makes the game seem as if it is a completely new leap forward for Persona, in my eyes, is the amazingly slick visuals and art direction. The art sets the game completely apart from Persona 3 and 4 with character cut ins and super stylized labels and text. Persona 5, unlike Killer is Dead, has much more solid gameplay that actually does hold up on its own without the eye popping art direction.
I'm not so sure that if Killer is Dead featured a more bland style of art, that I would remember it, or even finished it. Lets take another Suda51 game as an example; Lollipop Chainsaw. I never could finish the game. The game's poor frame rates and some what repetitive gameplay killed it for me, but what had kept me going was the candy popping colors of the game. Then I got stuck on some part and stopped caring, but before that, the art direction, once again, had kept me going in that pretty mediocre game.
What is the final point I want to make? Well, that I am a fucking idiot that lets pretty colors dictate what games I finish and what I set aside. Also look at this unicorn from Killer is Dead
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Persona 5 was a game that I was expecting for a long time, given that I'm a fan of the series and Persona 4 was pretty good. Too bad it quickly earned the title of "biggest disappointment of the year" for me. The way people were praising it didn't help either because I was expecting a masterpiece and found something so-so at best. The epitome of style over substance, I played half the game to see that everything I liked in that game some older game in the franchise already did it, and did it better. But enough of those unrelated complaints, as this blog is about gay things. So here comes another one of my many nitpicks: I don't play Persona to self-insert myself in the MC, so I couldn't care less about not having a female MC (although that would be super cool, and at the same time disappointing, as ATLUS let it very clear that the last time they gave us the option her storyline was NOT canon), but please at least give me the option to pick any love interest I want! This is optional, you know, that thing that's you're not forced to pick to go on, so it shouldn't offend anyone, right?
Wrong. Have your blank protagonist that have no info about him except that he's heterosexual. Have fun.
I wouldn't really write a salty blog post about this if at least the girls were as interesting and cool as they were in Persona 4 (even if best bro Yosuke was still the best pairing, just saying). If. The girls from your party are all (okay, maybe not Haru, because I didn't met her) a stereotyped bore, their lines are either predictable or inconsequential things that could have being said by anyone. Okay, that's not only the girls, even your best bro is just a generic bro. And the one girl that aren't in my party that could be a good love interest stole 100000 yen from me when I was barely being able to buy all guns from the shop so of course I wouldn't give that witch a piece of my love. There was only two characters that managed to make me care about them: Yusuke, the eccentric ikemen, and Mishima, our loyal fanboy. But the game only let us be best friends forever, now I'll die for you, but kiss nah that's too much. Game, stop cockblocking my character!!!
But I don't wanna be just friends...
But it's not that there's no gay character in this game! We go to Shinjuku, and the Shinjuku Ni-chōme area is a thing after all. But eeerrr... the only gay characters I met in Shinjuku was a very stereotyped pair that appear just for a stereotyped joke scene. Twice even. It wasn't particularly funny in the first time, ATLUS, repeating it definetly won't make it funnier. It actually just rub salt in my wounds because you won't let me date Yusuke!
But what happened with ATLUS these past years? They let me date my childhood friend Jun (that's pretty much Yusuke but more shy and more gay) back in Persona 2. Even when the game didn't have friend simulator mechanics. That game also had Hitler as one of the final bosses in a way that makes sense in the plot, so I guess they could never make a game as amazing as that. Best Persona. But anyway, I guess the problem is exactly the friend simulator thing, that also doubles as girlfriend simulator. You see, no matter what choice you pick, all girls always fall for you, no fail. So yeah, including male love interests means that they would have to make them by the end of the social links all blushy and shy and wanting to hold your hand and... ARGH, BUT THAT WOULD BE ADORABLE, DAMN ATLUS! But like I was saying, the social link as they are now are very poorly implemented. Hell, in Persona 3, you were actually forced to date all girls and four-timing made the game even harder because you could make one of them pissed if you were spending your weekend with another girl. Well, duh. But yeeeeeah, what can I do? The girls keep coming even if I only agree with whatever they are saying just so I can max the social link with her and finally unlock this beast to use in battle:
Wait a minute, that Persona over there was from a guy's social link! But I can't remember any useful Persona that unlocks with a girl's social link............... Why did I even try again? Not that I tried too much in Persona 3...
Hey, but it could be a lot lot worse! Remember No One But You? Okay, me neither, I spent a good time looking for the name of this VN. We have a best friend route there, but it's mostly a joke and pity and pornless route because the poor guy didn't get any girl. Oooooh who would even think of going for him from the start! Althought, looking at the CGs in VNDB, the porn seems to suck anyway. Well, the text always sucks, but in this case the CGs sucks too. And we also have Mass Effect Andromeda! We have option for both gender and orientation, but I hope you didn't want to see the boys/aliens going for more than kiss because the male MC and male love interest is the only combination where the super tame porn included in the game doesn't exists, it just fades to black. Then again, the facial expressions of the characters sucks more than No One But You sex scenes, so guess we didn't lose much here either. And for the final example, a date sim/nukige made by Illusion, of all things, that lets you choose your gender and orientation and clearly lets you make an all-boys harem. Oh right, I just forgot to mention that male on male scenes don't exist in the game, fade to black again, het and yuri are fine though. Yeeeeeep, you can play a nukige without any porn. Why even give me the gay option then?????? Fortunately, the game is for PC so kind people quickly modded the damn thing and now it's a 11/10 ge.
And now I'll complain that those devs are slowly making their games more gay but it's still not enough gay because I need to title drop somewhere in this post. Let's get out of our confort zone, AAA devs! And yet, some sensitive people complain on how the gay pandering is ruining the industry with our incredible 0.5% of non-indie games that actually gives people a decent and totally optional choice, sure. And it's not like I'm trying to make every game gay,
I'm not against that, butI can see it doesn't work well in every single place. Some canon het pairings in single heroine games wouldn't be as perfect if we included more options. It DOES works wonderfully with blank slates MCs like Persona ones, but we need some good guys too. In multiple-times-mentioned Persona 3 I would totally go for a girl anyway, because the girls from my party were mostly good while my best bro Junpei is so bro that he would probably stab me to take my place if I ever let my guard down around him. It would totally be a trap, but not that trap. And I can't risk dying outside the dungeons.
I'll finish Persona 5 regardless, eventually. It's a solid 7/10 game for now (DISCLAIMER: in my ratings, 7 is usually okay, it was entertaining but either had hard-to-ignore flaws or it's a bit forgetable). But I have to confirm that the last two dungeons won't save it of being my least favorite Persona game. Shin Megami Tensei 5 when btw?
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I have so much to talk about, good things and… bad things.
If you don’t know, Lamento is considered somewhat of a Kamige in the BL community; I lot of people love it and glorify it as some kind of perfect masterpiece.
But this is no masterpiece.
Protagonist seeing the cursed markings for the first time.
1. The Premise and Plot:
Konoe (the MC) lives in a small village called Karou, where, because of a phenomenon called “The Void” has its inhabitants practice acts of cannibalism to survive. Even with such conditions, Konoe insists on living in the village because of his attachment to his home.
One day, our protagonist starts having dreams of snakes entering his body, and after four nights of nightmares, cursed markings appeared on his body, and, to make things worst he was selected to be the next sacrifice in line.
With things taking a turn for the worst, Konoe is obligated to leave his village in order to look for answers…
Overall the premise really caught my interest, even with the slow pace on the start of the game; they manage to establish a sense of tension and mystery that kept my interested through the common route. The sense of journey as Konoe goes from location to location was also pretty good, and I was curious to know how each city and place worked within the setting.
2. The Characters:
Lamento has a nice amount of characters, mostly males because, y’know… dystopian BL setting clichés, but, there are some females that get to shine and even have their own backstories which is pretty cool.
Bardo, Rai and Asato respectively. In the middle is Konoe our MC.
There are three main heroes in Lamento, Rai, a very cold and somewhat arrogant cat from the city of Setsura; he is a Classic Tsundere which is a plus in my book. XoP
We then have Asato, a shy and recluse cat from the remote and conservative village of Kira, with a child-like personality and very kind attitude, he stole my heart from the moment he spoke (
I love the the “Adorkable” archetype way too much). BEST BOI !
And finally we have the “bi-daddy” tiger, also from Setsura, Bardo, he is pretty much Motomi from Togainu no Chi with cooking abilities. Kek. Though he was enjoyable.
We also have Leaks’, our antagonist, the poet, a mysterious figure who guides Konoe on bad times and other characters like the demons, but, I won’t talk much about because of
We also have Konoe, our MC, way better lead than Akira, even though he does suffer from the “uke in distress” syndrome that I hate, but, he does some courageous things (especially in Asato's good end).
3. Art and Music:
As expected from a budget Nitro+ title, Lamento has high production values, the art is pretty good and most of the in-game characters have at least a sprite to them, and the pre-rendered backgrounds are an improvement over N+C’s previous game (though that may be due to the fact the Lamento is on a fantasy world with forests and such, instead of a urban dystopian setting).
Rai and Konoe on the city of Ransen.
The music is simply incredible, with varied and fitting tracks for the scenes, and even different songs for each of the endings. My favorite ending song is definitely “When The End” the theme that plays on Rai’s and Bardo’s respective bad ends (
more emotional than the actual ends IMO).
Now… this is the part where my complaints start to appear, but, I’ll first note what I found good about the routes.
- None of the routes use the “Rape=Love” trope that I utterly despise and as matter of fact, all of the rape scenes are avoidable and are located on the Bad Ends which is always a plus.
- The character arcs also have backstories to other support or main, non-hero characters (apparent in Asato’s route).
- Asato’s route has pretty nice romance.
Now let’s talk about the thing that I hate the most about this game: Repetition, oh my fucking god do they love to copy and paste ENTIRE sequence of events on each and every single one of the routes, it is so dumb, to make things worse the routes all follow the same formula, and by the time you enter your second path you’ll already know how some events and how things will play out, which made some parts a chore to get through. The routes aren’t unique enough for me to have to talk about them individually.
To make things worse, they don’t even utilize the setting they created to the fullest, the sense of journey that you had on the common route is simply abandoned when you enter the character arcs, as Konoe stays on the same city from beginning to end, all of the terms and interesting locations that they presented at first are simply not used to their fullest potential. I could say the same for Konoe that has abilities introduced that are simply forgotten for the most part. Places like Setsura and Kira are simply forgotten, and you only know the basics of it and nothing in-depth.
The romance in some of the routes didn’t feel that natural (especially in Bardo’s that comes out of nowhere since he isn’t a present enough character in the common route), and the endings are also somewhat underwhelming, the Bad Ends could have been longer and more interesting and the good ends less formulated. The game can also be very “Guide Dang it!”, while some common route choices are obvious, most are pretty cryptic and don’t make much sense on the first playthrough.
I also feel obligated to talk about Leaks, the villain, he simply isn’t that threatening during the routes he barely appears aside from a specific sequence of events that play in each of the paths.
Also Bardo’s path should have been locked, it spoils way too much about Rai for it to be available from start.
While Lamento is far from bad, it isn’t the Kamige that people seem to consider it, the repetition and lack of use of the setting it creates are glaring problems that hold back a VN that could have been great, that now it is just “good”. Be aware of these problems if you’re gonna play it.
So I recently finished playing "Tales of Berseria" (JRPG game by Bandai Namco) and I thought I would round up my thoughts about the game here (the review should be mostly spoiler free, otherwise notify me and I'll change it).
The story tells the tale of young Velvet Crowe and her adventurous crew (surmounting to 6 by the end of the game) who set out to put an end to a trauma of Velvet's past by all manner of means, ranging from fishing and cooking to straight up fighting. Well mostly the latter. You see while you might be fooled by an early cutesy introduction the meat of the game is truly in its dark undertones which, for a game with a age rating of 16, is a fair amount of the content.
I found also that the content was fairly philosophical at times (perhaps not in the amount of some VNs though). In the game you namely find yourself fighting between different values, ideas and perspectives, something the game manages in my opinion to do with fluidity and better than most games and VNs. This philosophy comes from the intimite and delicate relation the game places between cutscenes, extra dialogue (dialogue you can choose to straight up never open) and world building in which you get to take a part of not a straight up philosophy lesson but instead a smaller amount of nit picks of philosophy. In this regard I found the game interesting above the brute force gameplay and story (we will get to that later) and found myself able to enjoy not skipping every single dialogue line, something I admittedly find myself doing all too often in games.
The story is very good and interesting throughout the whole game, if somewhat trope-ish (what can one expect from a JRPG game?) and while the story never managed to grab me to the point of tears it certainly has its moments for both the ones liking darker and (somewhat) lighter storylines. Is this good? Well, perhaps. I personally did not really enjoy the sudden shift the game took towards the end to become so light namely and I sort of wished the story had stuck purely to the largely dark undertones it held in the beginning, since this shift sort of opened up the door for it being trope-ish for the (in my opinion good) ending. Did this largely influence my enjoyment? Certainly not, but just something to note for those not able to stand JRPGs love for tropes.
In terms of voice acting I can not speak for the English side but with Japanese voices the dialogue is very nicely voiced.
The fighting (which is 50%> of the game in my opinion) is focused on different, so called, artes (attacks basically) which have different effects, elements, level upgrading (..., I was literally still getting new tutorial messages for fights 1 hour before the, ~40-ish hour, game ended). If you are like me however you will notice the little blue bar (so called "souls") next to people's faces and that is, truth be told, the MVP meter, 80% of your time will be spent waiting for this to go up to three bars and then pressing R to do some, so called, break soul ability, which is basically code name for stun lock, invincibility frames and damage central (if you want some NG+ level fighting, I am not your guy, I am the R spammer). If you do not have this bar filled you will be in the living hell mode, where you can get stun locked into the next century and can get absolutely destroyed by different AI unless you run around in circles (blocking does exist but did not work very well in my experience compared to dashing away) and wait for your blue bar (basically working as a stamina bar) to refill by attacking with basic artes and running.
Is the fighting enjoyable? Yes. Is it repetitive? Yes, especially if you need to farm for levels where your life basically becomes turning down the volume to next to nought to not have to use hearing aid in the near future due to the EXTREMELY loud battle sounds (one reason I cannot really speak for the music) and getting perhaps slightly bored of seeing the same cat on a wand for the 30th time. Personally I would have perhaps liked some other battle system (with an lessened focus on stuns and the "souls" (stamina bar) and an increased focus on leveling) but I can also see the enjoyment it brings when you absolutely destroy your enemies with OP and nice animated powers. Beware however, the AOE stun of doom is real in this game so if you screw up your blue bar of destiny you are a bit in the toilet when an enemy does an AOE of half the battleground and you can neither run away, get up your souls (since it takes forever to do so) or attack (due to the extreme damage some bosses do).
In terms of bosses the game too offers a wide arrange, though arguably they are later on narrowed down in terms of difficulty to their AOE attack size and ability to stun lock you and your AI friends (which are actually pretty good in my experience of not needlessly dying), since in my experience that is where the real trouble late game comes up and minor changes in attack patterns become minor.
The characters are also really enjoyable and funny, making me chuckle more than once and not making one character that one guy which is boring compared to the others. The relations between the different antagonists and characters later on get really interesting too, tying in nicely with good story overall.
In terms of graphics the game is generally really good, if perhaps somewhat randomly pixely at some points (I laughed when an antagonist got an 144p background randomly smashed up behind himself while he kept the same quality as the rest of the game). Out doors the quality stays pretty good too and most of the views of the game are pretty nice if looked from afar, if somewhat dulled out if you get close up.
Though focusing (perhaps too much) on the the battle system, Tales of Berseria is something to truly enjoy for its story and characters, which is something that brought me back to game and made the experience all the more worth it.
Ah, Assassins Creed, when did it go oh so wrong? Did you tire out your welcome with new entries to the series coming out every single year? Was it the repetitive missions and game play that carried from one game to the next? Or was it just because it wasn't interesting anymore? Could be all of them. Well, they're still making money with every new major Assassins Creed game so what do I know? I do know that after Black Flag came out in 2013 for the 360 I began to really not care about the series. I mean, Black Flag was the high point of the series. You played as a pirate with all the Assassins Creed mechanics plus new ones for the ship combat and movement. But the game itself has no real replay value because of the fucking insane amount of trailing missions the game throws at you. I don't remember these being an issue when first playing the game because I was an idiot but now it's so painfully obvious that this game can have the pace of a snail race in molasses on a cold winter morning. The pacing for the player feels forced as most missions rely on the pacing of others. You can't just jump down on people and say "HEY! Give me what I want or I will kill you!" NO! You have to tail the guy/guys until they reach their destination while also not being spotted in the process. One of the first missions in the game is fucking chasing someone and you will not catch them until the game wants you to.
Then you have the modern day stuff going on as you play a faceless nobody playing a simulation of a real world event. At least with Desmond the guy had some kind of arc going on. He was beginning to slowly understand he was having a bigger role in the world to saving it or destroying it. I actually like the real world events in Assassins Creed back in the day. It was a hell of a lot interesting than some faceless mute being told what to do every step of the way by either some voice in a headset or by that chick from Jurassic World
I wonder if Ubisoft was aware of what they were doing when creating the faceless muted character that you control from a first person perspective? You have no input on the events happening around you, you just go along without question. You literally have no voice for this big corporation and mindlessly play a game on a computer. Well, the jokes on them since my computer is such a piece of crap, I PLAYED ON THE 360! Take that, Ubisoft!
So you play a pirate name Jack pr something in a time when "Pirates are just looking for freedom." I mean, sure, there was a slight tad oppression on the people from the governments but don't try and spoon feed me shit about pirates just wanting to be free. You know, pirates? The ones that sailed the sea from port to port pillaging and killing anyone and everyone along the way. Those guys? Yeah, they were just looking for freedom from their understandable oppressive government.
But anyway, you play a man named James who impersonates an assassin and travel to where he was supposed to go in his stead because he will get money somehow. I forget what the point of this was. I do remember that when asked why he can climb stuff so well, Jake responds with "A true fisherman has each individual be as strong as a fishhooks." Sure, that explains everything. So Jeremy goes to the meeting and er... does a thing... and then gets a ship! The details are pretty fuzzy but Blackbeard is in it. I remember he died very differently from in real life... for some reason. No clue why. Maybe it was just so Juan can see him die. Well, Cleopatra is a sex symbol in Origins so it seems Ubisoft doesn't actually care about historical accuracy. Even though they claim these stories to be inspired by historical events.
Details are fuzzy, characters forgettable and overall, I just don't care about it anymore. I haven't played an AC game since this one for good reason. Even if they changed everything about AC I wouldn't care.
This post will contain mild spoilers (though nothing really happens in it, so it's not really spoilers) for the common route section. Because of the large amount of screenshots, I've decided to make Hiiragi's specific events their own segment. I might even divide it between her events and the talk conversations. And I think I'll leave my screenshot spam at that.Spoiler
Next day, we go walk the neighbour's dog, Sashimi, in the park. Unfortunately, he seems to be a bit... hyperactive, so to speak.
When we get to class, though, we are introduced to a concept hitherto unheard of.
Truly mysterious. The teacher agrees, though.
You don't say?
But class starts and a question is posed. Should we give up or seat on the bus or the train for an old lady? Well, of course we-
Ahh! Now this REAL morals. Debating ethics and issues on more than a superficial level.
What an orator.
Look at him successfully converting people to the dark side.
Including the teacher.
Crap! We're being called out on our BS.
Not a problem. We must simply change our argument a bit. What if
And so morals class ends with everyone praying these hypothetical situations never come to pass.
Next day, our dearest friend Genki tells us he's thinking of sneaking out of school to buy food outside. And we place our order...
What a mysterious currency. Since we obviously cannot pay in that foreign coin, let us devise a plan... A plan so sly you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel.
Later on, it seems Genki trying to get someone to give them a picture. I wonder what he could want them for...?
Well, if the pretty boy can't help, it's up to us, I guess.
We are, of course, a master of the art.
Some other day, Momo seems to be looking for a job. What would he need a job for?
Ah. But of course.
No. It's our turn first. But thankfully, a teacher comes by before a murder does take place, and he gives us a healthy done of reality. Good for reducing privilege.
Working in a convenience store:
Reality is harsh.
Later on, Genki seems to be lamenting about something.
Incidentally, I am looking for somebody to 'have a blast' with.
We then go to the arcade with some friends, and it's on our way there we realise,
We really how much to learn, especially about the English language.
Nah, just kidding. It's actually
Next day, the boys have awakened to stay-at-home dads are all the vogue, so they talk about raising children. Thankfully, the ever-helpful teach is there to tell us like it is. His wife after the first child:
Ohh. It's like he's a real teacher all of a sudden.
After school, we go with Momo to visit a store. Turns out Hiiragi was there.
She will make a 'delicacy' out of you. You need to install a filter between your brain and your mouth.
Which doesn't mean you're wrong, of course.
On the next day, we have a touching show of friendship.
Same tbh (Is that how the cool kids type these days? I went with 'ez' up above, too).
But the day goes on even without money. That's just our reality.
Desperate times call for desperate measure, I guess.
By next morning, though, desperate times are not yet over. We're running late.
But I no hot guy that never stress
Thankfully, we have a cunning plan before the disciplinary council member.
What a vile creature, this Genki. Attacking innocent pedestrians, and, more importantly,
...engaging in plagiarism!
But the day goes on and it's time for lunch.
That's mildly inconvenient.
Worse still, we had part-time after school.
Adult wisdom for our playboy.
Also, have some random screenshots I had no idea where to put:
The stuff would be gone. Yes it would. It would indeed.
Or maybe, by the time you get there, it will be gone.
Yes, yes. Very backed up, those shows.
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