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  • Kaguya

    Fabulous on Fuwa - February!

    By Kaguya

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

  1. Happiness+
    Latest Entry

    By Happiness+,

    Hey everyone!

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

    I apologize for the delay.

  2. Since we have Summer Pocket Tsumugi's patch release at the last week that somehow I missed it, I decided to reuse 'KEY All Stars Memories' title here and of course it's the second part of the review here. For the reminder here Summer Pocket is basically have the plots of older KEY VNs, while All Stars Memories here is parodied PreCure All Stars Memories in that it have inserted all 55 PreCures in a sloppy way. Welcome to this week VNTS Review and as for this week we have some Mangagamer's update along with Sekai surprisingly quite forward with their announcements, along with of course some regular updates from fan translation. As for the releases, after several big name titles this week we have a breather with lesser known title here, and perhaps it'll be going like this until December later so I'll going to look forward when suddenly we have many releases at that month later. Let's see what I can write for this week as well.

    Recently we have JAST announce new VN release called Amayakase, and they already have the release date announced in which it'll at 25th later. While granted it's only short nukige there, I really wish that JAST would apply the same speed at their more interesting announcements such as Yamizome if I need to compare it with another nukige here. Speaking about release date, turned out that Sol Press not surprisingly delayed their Shitsuaru from their supposed promised release date at 18th presumably because it caught the same bug as Kimiaogi. While on subject of those two VNs, I didn't really recall such instance happened when Koi Iru Chuu Lips was released (That VN was also developed by Pea Soft). But then again, if we recall Pea Soft did lose a number of no mosaic CG for accidentally delete the file so there's that. In any case, it mean that Sol Press only able to fulfill their AX promise for Onikiss release as of now.

    In case you need some horror VN, you can try Raging Loop in which it's been released by Lemnisca here, although you need to wait until December 5th for PC version though because currently it's only available for Switch and PS4 version. The premise it's goes like a deadly Werewolf game in which the MC discover the power to loop back tot the time before he got killed, and from there he decided to figure the mystery behind the game. In case you already interested with the VN (So far it's quite well received) and have either Switch or PS4, you can try Raging Loop there and have fun. We also have some update from redundant Sharin project, and currently they doing some debugging before doing the testing. So if you somehow still waiting for this even after we have 10 years old patch, you still to need more waiting before finally they manage to release it.

    From Mangagamer we have they submitted Bokuten for Steam review, so perhaps the time for the release is almost close after years of waiting. Speaking about almost released VN, we have Imopara 3 was already have the release build ready so if you prefer to have imouto (Little sisters) with colorful hair as opposed from Onikiss perhaps you didn't need to wait for long here (I'll just assume that they'll release it at December just like the prequel). For the roundup of the updates, we have Magic and Slash fully updated and currently in testing, Sideboob 2 was in testing, NyanCafe image editing was finished, 01 was at 57% edited, X was at 28% translated, Sona-Nyl was at 35% edited, Uchikano was past halfway (55%) edited, WanNyan was fully edited and in image editing, and Sakuramori's image editing was almost finished. We also have an name for Overdrive's Swan Song here, and the name is Musicus in which they'll release it at 2020 later. That's all for Mangagamer's updates here.

    This week Sekai released another VN, and the VN in question is Nekonin 3 in that it'll tell the story of three new catgirls in Haruki's (Nekonin's MC) harem. You can play it if you've been Nekonin's fan here, and have fun. I also like to note that currently Sekai like to have the release at the same time with the release from another company, in which it's sort of questionable here. Although I didn't really mind though, as long as it could help them to shaved some of their backlog. Speaking about backlog, currently we have them finally managed to run Tokeijikake in the new engine and right now they managed continuing work on that. For the progress, currently Daybreak was in QA and Morning Mist was in editing. If all goes well, they planned to release Daybreak at year's end (Along with Senren Banka if possible) and Morning Mist at the next year so good for them. Lastly we have Rewrite+ KS launched with the base goal was at 180,000 in which at least it's quite reasonable compared to Dei Gratia here. It's worth to note that Steiner will replace the late Conjueror to translate the rest 33% of Rewrite+ script and the KS was also to fund Harvest Fiesta (The FD) here, so good luck with the KS here (The main game was still redundant though).

    From Summer Pocket project, Alka did release Tsumugi's patch in which it did translate both of Shiroha's and Tsumugi's routes so if you've been wanting to play Tsumugi's route go ahead and have fun. Also while I know that KEY will release this overseas, just for reminder here Alka already stated that they'll continuing to work on Summer Pocket until either KEY launch C&D notice in any form or KEY released Summer Pocket before Alka finished their work. For the rest of the update, we have Miotsukushi Omote was at 37% translated, Eustia was at 79.39% translated (Eustia's chapter was at 6.34% translated) along with 53.36% TLC-ed, and currently we have Trip completed Hinata's route translation and overall Ginharu was at 43.87% translated (Keep in mind that this week Trip will be busy with conference, so perhaps he'll have no time to translate Momiji's route at the this week yet). There's also an update from Harugi, in which they're in need of second translator to translate Branch and the rest of the heroines routes, and since there's no much that can be done for the translation they'll focused on editing and QA work on Main (Hopefully they'll find the new translator to help them).

    That's all for this week VNTS Review, and see you next week.

  3. Foreword: This is a formal shameless review just to present a video and give score / personal impression. There is an abundance of reviews of this game in untranslated review sources (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8), and I did not even include reviews in the translated review sources. 

    VNDB: https://vndb.org/v646

    Youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkfbKBF3PZE&list=PLs4Gp5VU4Fv8HOd7D19oHjX9NAj_dJRkF

    bandicam%2B2019-10-18%2B23-09-58-297.jpg

    Synopsis: In face of human technological advancement during the Meiji Restoration, the youkai of Japan were forced to make a hard decision:

    1) To remain as youkai and watch over the land

    2) To return to the netherworld

    3) To give up their power and status as youkai and live amongst humans.

    While there were some that chose otherwise, the majority of the youkai decided it was best to become human. It was tough, but as time passed these youkai were able to blend in with the human world and live peacefully amongst them.

    However, blood is thicker than water. The offspring of these youkai displayed the powerful abilities of their ancestors in times of great anxiety, often manifesting in horrible and dangerous ways, and were labeled by society as monsters.

    Officially their condition was named "Acquired Systemic Special Heredity variety Syndrome", or "ASSHS" for short and treated as a non-contagious illness, but the common people began to refer to them as Jinyous (half-youkai) nevertheless.

    Of these Jinyous, most were sent to Kamizawa City: an isolated urban area walled off from the rest of Japan to keep all the Jinyous together and away from the human population. However, the ones that were deemed especially dangerous were sent to a medical facility on an uncharted island near the shores of Japan where they would be under constant surveillance.

    Takabe Ryouichi was one of those who were sent to said island at the age of five. This is a story about him along with the girl called Suzu, his only friend on the island, escaping to Kamizawa city to live a normal life. What they didn’t expect was that Suzu carried a secret that attracted much unwanted attention…

    bandicam%2B2019-10-18%2B23-07-59-405.jpg

    Game type: Action chunige with fantasy elements

    Character Design rating: 9/10

    Protagonist rating: 8/10

    Story rating: 6/10

    Game quality: 10/10

    Overall rating: 8/10

    I won't be original here. Game is a firm masterpiece with great action, funny SOL scenes and just perfect quality overall. But different people find different parts faulty. Some people blame protagonist Soushichi, but I actually like him a lot. He is really funny and human-like in conversations. Heroines are the main flavor of the game. They all are really well developed, and pretty much every one of them has fighting capabilities. Each route has a distinctive individuality.

    bandicam%2B2019-10-18%2B23-08-37-081.jpg

    Other people did not like story resolution, but - again - everything felt natural, don't see much of a problem here. My complaint is much more profound. I do not see an interesting story here at all. On a grand scale absolutely nothing happens. There is no intrigue. Basically we get to know from synopsis that Takabe Ryouichi escapes from a clinic for youkai and is searched by the organization controlling this clinic. So what happens during the course of the game? Organization goons finally find Takabe after a few years which is followed by confrontation. That's it. Where the hell is multiple route mystery featured among vndb tags? There is absolutely no need to play different routes to get the whole mystery picture, because there is no mystery. Yes, we have different girls as allies in different routes, and different sources of power are discovered to fight back. But that's not a mystery. There are even no big twists.

    bandicam%2B2019-10-18%2B23-08-55-791.jpg

    Ayakashibito is a great game, but its strength is not in depth and mystery. It's in width and details. The story is developed by constantly adding new characters and presenting their backgrounds and sometimes even small stories in great detail. I absolutely like writing, pacing and all. It's an enjoyable reading, but whenever I try to rationalize - why I keep reading - I can't find the answer, and overall evaluation degrades because of that. Ayakashibito remains a game about girls and their magnificent routes. Personally, I hoped for more mystery and twists.

    bandicam%2B2019-10-18%2B23-09-25-904.jpg

  4. EHchV6Z.jpg

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    QqP31Kg.png

  5. Hello there, all you good people still following my content-starved blog! There will be no regular review post this week (I’ll be catching up next week with one about Reine Work’s Our Lovely Escape, and hopefully a week after that with one of the long-overdue games sent to me for review), but I’ve wanted to take this opportunity to share the reasons behind the recent slowdown on the site and talk a bit my plans for the future. A warning: this will contain a lot of personal musings that most of you are probably not very interested in. However, I kind of need this opportunity to vent and reset. I’ll add a tl;dr version at the end of this post.

    Outside of my, not-extremely-successful attempt to jumpstart a new wave of activity on Fuwanovel, there have been a few other things happening behind the scenes. The major one was my academic project on visual novel fan translations, which led me to submitting a paper for an international fan studies conference in Cracow. Preparing the speech in English (this was the first time I wasn’t speaking in Polish on such an event), running a survey with people involved in fan translation projects… It all took a lot out of me and gave me little time and energy to actually enjoy VNs as such. It also coincided with a minor health issue, which despite its non-threatening nature made it impossible for me to sit straight for nearly two weeks – a truly infuriating thing when you should be working on your computer and are basically running out of time. This was probably a major factor which destroyed my motivation for working on the project, which in turn made it be the most painful and depressing one to date. I, however, still made my short presentation in the presence of prof. Matt Hills, one of the most influential researchers in my obscure field of study, and learned quite a lot from other speakers. Here’s some photographic proof, courtesy of my girlfriend who once more agreed to help me inflate my ego by documenting my speech. 😉

    konf_1_by_szafalesiaka_ddikbnr-pre.jpg?token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJzdWIiOiJ1cm46YXBwOjdlMGQxODg5ODIyNjQzNzNhNWYwZDQxNWVhMGQyNmUwIiwiaXNzIjoidXJuOmFwcDo3ZTBkMTg4OTgyMjY0MzczYTVmMGQ0MTVlYTBkMjZlMCIsIm9iaiI6W1t7ImhlaWdodCI6Ijw9OTc4IiwicGF0aCI6IlwvZlwvYThiODgzNTUtYzhjNy00YjE2LThhN2EtNGFhOWZjMWIwNGZmXC9kZGlrYm5yLTFiNzg0ZTc4LWE2MjUtNDhkNy1iNTA5LTZjYWQyYTNkNmFmYi5qcGciLCJ3aWR0aCI6Ijw9MTI4MCJ9XV0sImF1ZCI6WyJ1cm46c2VydmljZTppbWFnZS5vcGVyYXRpb25zIl19.33V6GBGfFAEvOMRIai6fwamU57d75S9rNMM8bopQuwQ

    As you can see, I was asking the Heavens to help me and my listeners to get through those 20+ minutes of my horrible English accent. Not sure to what degree my prayers were heard, but at least there were no fatalities. Oh, and in the lower-left corner, it’s Matt Hills. That was both awesome and terrifying.

    konf_2_by_szafalesiaka_ddikbms-pre.jpg?token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJzdWIiOiJ1cm46YXBwOjdlMGQxODg5ODIyNjQzNzNhNWYwZDQxNWVhMGQyNmUwIiwiaXNzIjoidXJuOmFwcDo3ZTBkMTg4OTgyMjY0MzczYTVmMGQ0MTVlYTBkMjZlMCIsIm9iaiI6W1t7ImhlaWdodCI6Ijw9ODA1IiwicGF0aCI6IlwvZlwvYThiODgzNTUtYzhjNy00YjE2LThhN2EtNGFhOWZjMWIwNGZmXC9kZGlrYm1zLTg5MTk5ZjE4LWMzYjctNGVjZi05MDdhLTJhMTNhYzkyYmM3Yi5qcGciLCJ3aWR0aCI6Ijw9MTI4MCJ9XV0sImF1ZCI6WyJ1cm46c2VydmljZTppbWFnZS5vcGVyYXRpb25zIl19.0bBLU0qfqVqmLpZvmXVN0tnjkTKgvMU1D4eNNgNYgY4

    And here’s a rare moment where my conference ID wasn’t hanging backwards! You can see the fear in my eyes – one would think after nearly 10 similar presentations I’d be a little bit calmer, but it’s apparently in my nature to stress out over everything.

    konf_3_by_szafalesiaka_ddikblj-pre.jpg?token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJzdWIiOiJ1cm46YXBwOjdlMGQxODg5ODIyNjQzNzNhNWYwZDQxNWVhMGQyNmUwIiwiaXNzIjoidXJuOmFwcDo3ZTBkMTg4OTgyMjY0MzczYTVmMGQ0MTVlYTBkMjZlMCIsIm9iaiI6W1t7ImhlaWdodCI6Ijw9MTQ4MyIsInBhdGgiOiJcL2ZcL2E4Yjg4MzU1LWM4YzctNGIxNi04YTdhLTRhYTlmYzFiMDRmZlwvZGRpa2Jsai02OGQ5NGFlNC1hMTJlLTQyMGMtYThlYi04NTNhOTkyY2ZhYTcuanBnIiwid2lkdGgiOiI8PTEyODAifV1dLCJhdWQiOlsidXJuOnNlcnZpY2U6aW1hZ2Uub3BlcmF0aW9ucyJdfQ._R9xZrQwIYp3dfftRTKBozQcWxa_Xo_V5NoB7H2hO7A

    And here’s me taking one of two questions that were still possible to ask after I’ve used all the discussion time for my way-too-long PowerPoint slideshow. And yup, I will insert Flowers whenever that's even remotely appropriate. Suou x Rikka forever. You can't stop me!

    While, in general, my project was fruitful and I’m satisfied with my performance, I also ended up so physically and emotionally drained that I’ve ditched the other two days of the conference, just enjoying my time in Cracow. Even after coming back, I had a day of what could be described as a full-on breakdown before I kind of got my shit together. All this, of course, has some very real consequences for the blog: for quite a while, I didn’t have the time and energy to really read VNs. And, obviously, without any new material to cover, I didn’t write anything either. It’s the first time since establishing the Blogger site that I have no “emergency” posts to use or quick ideas to supplement more involved write-ups with, even despite switching to the biweekly schedule. And honestly, I don’t expect to write much in-advance anymore. The “one post every two weeks” frequency is here to stay and I’m going to be flexible about it, switching content and dates when necessary.

    The other thing is that I still want to make the blog a little bit more of my personal space. I’ve kept up the regular stream of content both to become a better writer and to prove a few things to myself. I think I’m satisfied with what I’ve achieved, and while I’m definitely not discarding the general profile of the blog and the responsibilities I’ve taken upon myself (like covering the games sent to me), I’m going to have fun with it too. Write silly stuff connected to the weeb culture and my peculiar experience with it. I’ve already hinted at this at the beginning of the summer, but I’m even more determined to make it happen now. No hobby I’ve picked up over the years was this intellectually stimulating and satisfying as this one and I want to do all I can to keep it this way– I can't let things go too stale.

    And while I’m doing all this weird stuff and overthinking things, I hope you guys will stay and still read my crappy writing. Exploring the creativity and passion of EVN devs is not something I’ll ever get tired of, and I hope we can enjoy their stuff together for years to come. Thank you all for following my work, and until next week!

     

    tl;dr I’ve been to a fan studies conference which, together with minor health issues, ate a month and a half of my life. I’ll get back to “serious” posting next week, returning to the bi-weekly schedule. I might sneak in some weird posts about Japanese popculture between “proper” EVN ones. EVNs are love, EVNs are life (still). See you next week for actual content!

  6. This scene is the opening of Silverio Vendetta, and the two monologues (one from Zephyr, one from a spoiler character who isn't named in the scene) define the nature of the game's theme.

    “勝利”とは、何だ?

    What is victory?

    “栄光”とは、何だ?

    What is glory?

    それを得れば、何も失わずに済むのだろうか

    I choose that path, will I be able to live without losing anything?

    救えるのか。守れるのか。本当に、幸せになれるのだろうか

    Can I save what is mine?  Can I protect it?  Can I really find happiness?

     問いは切実。なぜなら、勝利というものはとても恐ろしいものだから。それが輝きの内に秘めている毒牙を、俺は誰より痛感している。

    I ask this earnestly.  For victory is by nature frightening to me.  I know the poisoned fangs hidden within its glorious light better than anyone.

      身の丈を超えた栄誉、使い切れないほどの大金、人目に付かざるを得ない大成功……そういったものはどうしても過剰摂取してしまった途端、逆に所有者を苦しめにかかる。

    Honors that leave capability in the dust, more money than one can spend, success that can't help but be noticed...  Those things can't help but cause the holder suffering the moment they overdose upon them.

      つまりは反作用。

    In other words, it is a reaction.

      分かりやすいところでは敗者からの妬みつらみに有名税、人物像の一人歩きに、あらぬ期待や噂話。過激なものでは殺害予告、崇拝脅迫などなどと……

    Amongst the more obvious would be jealousy from the defeated, the price of fame, the public's view differing from reality, and unfounded rumors and expectations.  The more extreme end can even go to death threats, worship, blackmail, etc...

     悪意か、あるいは逆に暴走した善意ゆえか。どちらにしても恐ろしいことには変わりなく。

    Whether it is malice or berserk good will, they are both terrifying.

      それは時として単純な敗北を上回る激痛と化し、更なる破滅の呼び水となる。

    At times, that even becomes a suffering far more terrible than simple defeat, and it can even become the cause of utter ruin.

      大きな事業が成功した代償に、愛する家族に累が及べば本末転倒。それと同じだ。

    It is the same as losing your family as the cost for succeeding in business.  It's counterproductive.

      時としてここは負けておくだとか、少し遠慮をしてみせるとか、そういった配慮が必要な瞬間は間違いなく存在している。勝てば官軍とは早々いかない

    It is an absolute truth that there are times when it is best to consider allowing defeat or showing humility. 

     無論、だからといって勝利するなと言っているわけでもないのだ。そんなことを真剣に語るやつは心底馬鹿だし、目が曇っていると言う他ない。

    Of course, I'm not saying 'don't win'.  Anyone who says that is a total idiot and is blind to reality.

      人ならば誰しも、いいやどんな生物であろうと例外なく勝利という結果を目指す。それが自然で、当たり前の行動原理だ。そもそも負けてばかりでは生きることさえ難しく、無制限に敗者を許してくれるほど世の中は甘い形に出来てはいない。

    Humans... no all living things regardless of origin seek a victorious result.  That way of being is perfectly natural and a matter of course.  It is truly rare that victory is unadulterated.  In the first place, if you are always on the losing side, it is hard to even live, and the world isn't so kind as to infinitely forgive the defeated. 

      だからそいつの器に見合った勝利と、妥協できる程度の敗北。その一線を見極めて行動するのが充実した人生を送るコツではなかろうかと、思わざるを得ないのだ。

    That's why the ideal is to seek victories one is capable of handling and defeats one is capable of accepting.  I can't help but believe that the key to living a full life is acting while keeping an eye on that thin line. 

    大きな夢を目指すことで惨めに敗れるくらいなら、最初から挑戦せずにそこそこの勝負で済ませておくのが最も賢く、傷も浅い……と。

    'Rather than suffering a terrible defeat as the result of pursuing a great dream, it is much smarter and less painful to avoid challenging your limits and be satisfied with minor victories and losses...'

    反吐の出そうな弱者の論理展開だがこれを口にしているやつは存外多く、かくいう俺もその一人。

    That's the nauseating thought process of the weak, but there are a lot of people out there who talk this way... and I am one of them.

    卑小? 凡人? そうだな、指摘されてもその通り。自分自身でよく分かっているよ。予め負けた時のために予防線を張っているだけだろうと誹られても、まったく、ぐうの音も出ない

    Pathetic?  Mediocre?  Yes, what you are saying is correct.  I know that very well.  Even if you say I'm just making excuses for the time I lose in advance, I can't refute you. 

    そうだとも、俺は小物だ。

    That's right, I'm a pathetic man.

    人としても男としても、小さな器しか持っていない。

    Whether as a person or a man, I am only capable of so much.

    大した理想や信念もなくその日暮らしの金銭さえ手に入れられれば満足という、翻弄される風見鶏。

    I live without any real ideals or convictions, an opportunist who is quite satisfied as long as he can make enough money to live day by day.

    受動的、かつ厭世的。ただ一言、情けない。

    I'm passive as well as pessimistic.  To sum me up in a single word... pathetic.

    けれど──

    However...

    それでもただ一つ、言い訳をさせてもらうなら悟ったまでの人生について具申したい。

    Still, if you'll let me make one excuse, I would like to report on the life I lived until I came to this realization.

    俺は何も負け続けたからこうなったわけではなく、求めてもいない勝利のせいでこうなってしまったのだから。

    I didn't end up this way because I kept losing but rather because of an unwanted set of victories.

    そう──勝てば碌なことにはならない。

    That's right... nothing good comes of winning.

    必ず、より強大な姿となって次の苦難が訪れる。

    Without fail, the next, much larger tribulation follows it up.

    それは冗談みたいな言葉だが俺にとっては紛うことなく真実だった。

    That might seem like some kind of joke... but it was an absolute truth for me.

    本当に、ああ本当に、いつもいつも、いつもいつもいつもいつも……

    Really, oh really... every time, always, always always...

    敵に、任務に、難問に、勝負に、勝ったところで状況が一向に改善されない。それどころか、難易度がアップした状態で似たような事態が連続するという始末。まったく訳が分からない。

    Whether an enemy, a mission, a difficult question, or a competition, achieving victory fails to improve the situation.  Moreover, I found myself facing similar situations at escalating levels of difficulty.  Seriously, what's with that?

    身をすり減らして勝った途端、より恐るべき難題が必ず目の前にふりかかる。

    The moment I won by running myself ragged, an even worse problem would always, without exception, pop up before me.

    血反吐をはいて生き抜いた途端、どこからか容易に超えざる大敵が次は俺の番だと出現してくる。

    The moment I came out victorious, puking blood, another great enemy would appear before me.

    まるで運命という宝箱をぶちまけでもしたかのように。際限なく湧き出てくる次の問題、次の敵、次の次の次の次の──勝者が負わねばならぬ義務。

    It was almost as if the contents of fate's treasure box were scattered before me.  Problems, enemies, and every tribulation you could possibly imagine welling forth endlessly... the duty a victor must bear.

    おまえは見事に勝ったのだから、栄光を手にしたのだから、次のステージに進むのは当然でより相応しい争いに身を投じなければならないとでも?

    Is the world saying that, since I won, since I achieved glory that proceeding to the next stage is a matter of course, and I have to throw myself into a more fitting conflict?

    それが勝者の宿命だから? ふざけろよ、こんな馬鹿げた話があるか

    Because that is the duty of a victor?  Screw that!  Can there be anything more idiotic than this?!

    誰しもみな現状をより良くしたいから勝利や栄光を願うのに、なぜか俺に限ってはそれが自らの首を絞めていくのだから、不条理という他ないだろう。

    Everyone seeks victory and glory to make their present better, but for some reason, in my case, that just strangles me.  You can't call that anything other than absurdity.

    そして当然、凡人なのだから負けもする。いいやむしろ、何も出来ずに地を這う方が多いくらいだ。

    And of course, since I'm just a normal person, I lose as well.  No, it was actually more common for me to be crawling the earth, helpless.

    それが嫌だから研鑽を積み、慣れない努力に手を伸ばしたこともある。

    There was a time when, because I didn't like that, I took the unfamiliar path of working hard.

    けれど勝てば、決まって訪れる次の困難。永遠に脱出不能の蟻地獄。頭がどうにかなりそうだった。

    However, if I won, I was doomed to face the next tribulation.  It was a hellish existence I was incapable of escaping.  I felt like I was going to go mad.

    そんな状態に置かれて尚不屈の意志を保てるほど、人の心は強くない。

    Placed into that kind of situation, the human heart isn't so strong as to be able to maintain an indomitable will.

    だから、俺はもう十分だと疲れ果てて。

    And so, I decided I had enough, exhausted.

    このまま、ただ流されて生きることを選択し。

    I chose to live going with the flow.

    自分が塵だということを、嫌になるほど受け入れたのに。

    Though I hated it, I even accepted the fact that I was worthless trash.

    けれど──

    However...

    それでも、守らなければならない子が出来たから。

    Yest still, I found a girl I had to protect.

    彼女を救うために、このちっぽけな命を懸けると誓った。ゆえに後もう一度だけと奮い立たせて、再起する。

    I vowed to use this pathetic life to save her.  For that reason, I forced myself to stand and go forth once again.

    一世一代、最後の博打。そして俺は何の因果か勝ってしまい……

    It was a once in a lifetime, final gamble... and for some reason I won...

    どうしようもなく“勝利”を手にしてしまったのだ。

    And I achieved yet another terrible victory.

    それがすなわち、地獄への片道切符に変貌するということをついぞ甘くみたままに……

    I foolishly failed to realize that that was doomed to transform into a one-way trip to hell...

    (at this point, it changes narrators from Zephyr to another)

    死神が呼び寄せられる。手に負えない艱難辛苦が訪れる。

    The grim reaper is called forth.  Trials and tribulations beyond my ability to handle arrive.

    守り抜くなど絶対不可能。勝者へは永遠に至れない。

    Protecting her to the end is absolutely impossible.  He will never become a true victor.

    訪れる次の大敵──次の不幸。次の苦難。次の破滅。

    What comes is another enemy, another misfortune, another tribulation, another ruin.

    掴み取ったはずの未来は暗黒に蝕まれたまま続行していく。

    The future he thought he'd reached continues to move forward, eaten away by darkness.

    むしろ手にした奇跡を呼び水に、よりおぞましい新たな試練を組み込んで運命を駆動させるのだ。

    Rather, the miracle he managed to create becomes fuel for another challenge, turning the wheels of fate.

    それが“逆襲”と呼ばれるものの本質。

    That is the nature of a 'counterattack'.

    弱者が強者を滅ぼすからこそ成立する概念は、ゆえ逆説的に、勝利の栄華を手にしてしまえば執行資格を失ってしまう。

    As it is a concept that exists through the weak destroying the strong, if the glory of victory is achieved, the right to use it is lost.

    ……彼は永遠の負け犬、呪われた銀の人狼。

    ... He is an eternal loser, the cursed silver werewolf.

    常に敗亡の淵で嘆きながらあらゆる敵を巨大な咢門で噛み砕く、痩せさらばえた負の害獣。

    The gaunt evil beast who crushes all enemies in its great jaws while howling its despair from the depths of defeat.

    次にやって来る狩人が更に凶悪な存在になると分かっていても、自分自身の宿命から逃れられずに足掻いている。

    He continues to struggle, even though he knows that the next hunter will be even more terrible than the last, unable to escape his destiny.

    “勝利”からは逃げられない。

    It is impossible to escape from victory.

    “勝利”からは逃げられない。

    It is impossible to escape from victory.

    “勝利”からは逃げられない。

    It is impossible to escape from victory.

    「ならば────」

    "Then..."

    ──さあ、どうするか?

    ... now, what will you do?

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

    MORE INFO HERE

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

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

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

    New entries are underlined.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

     

  10. Aojiru verse introduction #2: In'Youchuu

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

    BKvvtsT.png

    Introduction:

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

    rs420fb.png

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

    In'Youchuu


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

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

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    From left to right we have Yoru, Mikoto and Takeru

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    And here is Yamato

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

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  12. Having just finished all the endings of the Haiyore! Nyaruko-san PS vita VN i figured I would share my disappointment so those interested in know more about the VN.

    The first half of the VN is a retelling of the first season of the anime with a few new scenes and lots of lots of CGs, almost all of which are just art taken from the anime. The remaning half is a decent enough story but nothing special, my main problem with it is that the comedy is very repetaive with things that used to be funny early on being overplayed to the point where it loses most of its comedic value. The really bad thing about this VN however is its route system and endings. There are 8 different endings though 6 of them have 2 variations so quite a lot of endings. These endings are short 2-3 min and the part of the route of the character that leads up to the endings are lackluster with the same events playing out each time but with a different character which means some of the dialoge is changed. The main problem here is how much of a pain in the ass it is to get to a new ending once you have completed the VN. Most of the scenes are the same for all routes and the more routes you do the less scenes are left to read in the other routes. This means a lot of skipping and the problem with this is that the skipping in the VN is a bit slow as it uses time to load the different sprites and background. Because of this skipping through the VN while not reading a single scene will take roughly 1 hour and there are probably 40-50 options to choose between so it will stop you up as you skip through it constantly. This system is a pain in the ass to deal with as you need to read the VN 8 times for all the endings and 6 of these times you need to read from roughly 70% complete to the end twice. So once you are done with your first route you will just switch between reading short segments and skipping with the later ones being pretty much pure skipping until the end. I would estimate I used roughly as long time skipping on this VN as I  actually did reading it and if I weren't a completionist by heart I would have dropped it someplace during my 2nd read through. So the only ones I would recommend to pick this up are people who really just want some more Nyaruko and just plan on reading one route before quiting.

    Front of the vita case

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    Back of the vita case

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    The cartradge

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

    Spoiler

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    ???: "Don't forget"

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

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    ???" "Bang..."

    And then we go to the less abstract real world.

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

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

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

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

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    "Suddenly my reading was interrupted"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    "She had transferred in just this spring."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Kanata: "Huh, me?"

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

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

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

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    Touka: *panting*

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    Touka: "Hide me!"

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    Touka: "I'm being chased!"

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

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    Touka: "The guidance counselor!"

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

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

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    Touka: "...hey"

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    Kanata: "Shh! What?"

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

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

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

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

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    Touka: "Hmmm... is that so"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Touka: "Whaaaat?! Really?"

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

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    Kanata: "Wrong."

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

    Well, she got it right, but backwards.

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    Kanata: "Now you're just guessing blindly"

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

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    Kanata: "Right in front of you"

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

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

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    Touka: "My name is Araya Touka"

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

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

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

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    Touka: "I see, I see"

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

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    Touka: "So tell me your name"

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    Kanata: "...Kurono Kanata"

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

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

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    Touka: "Kanatacchi"

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    Kanata: "Drop the "cchi""

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    Touka: "Kanata, then"

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    Kanata: "You didn't add a honorific"

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

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    Touka: "So then, Kanata"

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    Touka: "Thanks for helping me"

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

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

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

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    Touka: "Get me something sweet"

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

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

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

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

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

    Finally, she finishes reading and drinks her coffee.

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

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    Touka: "It was interesting"

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    Touka: "Really interesting"

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    Touka: "But what happens at the end?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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    Recent Entries

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

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

    Start of Rambling

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

    Image result for capo

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

    Common Route

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    Time Taken: 2 - 3 hours

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

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

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

    Yoshino Sakura

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    Time Taken: 2 - 3 hours

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

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

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

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

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

    Asakura Nemu

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    Time Taken: 2 - 3 hours

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

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

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

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

    Shirakawa Kotori

    da_capo104.jpg

    Time Taken: 1.5 - 2 hours

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

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

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

    Mizukoshi Moe

    da_capo167.jpg

    Time Taken: 1.5 - 2 hours

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

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

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

    Mizukoshi Mako

    da_capo206.jpg

    Time Taken: 1 hour

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

    Spoiler

    Image result for nisekoi

    Nisekoi, but worse.

    Amakase Miharu

    da_capo137.jpg

    Time Taken: 1 - 1.5 hours

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

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

    Spoiler

    Image result for mechanical banana

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

    Sagisawa Yoriko

    da_capo212.jpg

    Time Taken: 1.5 - 2 hours

    Spoiler

    Image result for kitten cherry blossoms

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

    That sex scene was hella unnecessary though.

    Da Capo

    da_capo095.jpg

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

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

    Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

     

     

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

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

  15.  

    Sekai Project

    VN

    Start of Kickstarter

    Estimated delivery

    Actual delivery

    World End Economica

    June 2014

    May 2015

    Not yet delivered

    Clannad

    November 11th 2014

    October 2015

    March 2016

    Grisaia Trilogy

    December 2014

    October 2015

    April 2018

    Memory’s Dogma

    June 2015

    December 2016

    Not yet delivered

    The Human Reignition Project

    June 2015

    December 2016

    Not yet delivered

    Narcissu 10th Anniversary Anthology Project

    October 2015

    April 2016

    Not yet delivered

    Root Double

    January 2016

    March 2016

    November 2016

    Chrono Clock

    August 2016

    April 2017

    Not yet delivered

    A Clockwork Ley-Line

    Febuary 2017

    January 2018

    Not yet delivered

    Fatal Twelve

    March 2017

    January 2018

    November 2018

    Hoshizora No Memoria

    May 2017

    September 2018

    Not yet delivered

    Shining Song Starnova

    August 2017

    August 2018

    June 2019

    A light in the Dark

    February 2018

    June 2018

    Not yet delivered

    Tokyo Chronos

    July 2018

    April 2019

    Not yet delivered

     

    Frontwing

    VN

    Start of Kickstarter

    Estimated delivery

    Actual delivery

    Corona Blossom vol 1

    June 2016

    October 2016

    July 2019

    Corona Blossom vol 2

    September 2016

    December 2016

    July 2019

    Sharin no Kuni

    November 2016

    October 2017

    Not yet delivered

    Corona Blossom vol 3

    December 2016

    March 2017

    July 2019

    Grisaia Phantom Trigger Volume 1 and 2

    March 2017

    June 2017

    March 2019

    Grisaia Complete box

    March 2017

    Q4 2017

    Febuary 2019

    Grisaia Phantom Trigger Volume 3

    June 2017

    September 2017

    Not yet delivered

    Wonderful Everyday

    August 2017

    January 2018

    Not yet delivered

    Grisaia Phantom Trigger Volume 4

    November 2017

    April 2018

    Not yet delivered

    Momoiro Closet

    Febuary 2018

    July 2018

    Not yet delivered

    Grisaia Phantom Trigger Volume 5

    June 2018

    October 2018

    Not yet delivered

    Island

    August 2018

    December 2018

    Not yet delivered

     

     

    Sol Press

    VN

    Start of Kickstarter

    Estimated delivery

    Actual delivery

    Sakura Sakura

    August 2017

    December 2017

    Not yet delivered

    Newton and the Apple Tree

    December 2017

    May 2018

    Not yet delivered

    Irotoridori no Sekai

    Febuary 2019

    December 2021

    Not yet delivered

     

    Others

    VN

    Start of Kickstarter

    Estimated delivery

    Actual delivery

    Muv-Luv

    September 2015

    September 2016

    July 2018

    Libra of the Vampire Princess

    December 2015

    November 2016

    May 2017

    Dies Irae

    December 2016

    May 2017

    April 2018

    Koropokkur

    March 2018

    September 2018

    October 2018

    Venusblood Frontier

    September 2018

    December 2019

    Not yet delivered

    Seven Days

    September 2018

    January 2019

    Not yet delivered

    Aokana

    June 2019

    December 2019

    Not yet delivered

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    Recent Entries

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    Lab-Rats-Incest-Trainer-Brainwashing-Dev

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  16. Heya, people! It's such a long time I don't see you guys, I almost forgot my password to this forum. Guess Fuwa is still alive and kicking just like me, huh. First of all, sorry I disappeared from the face of the Earth and if I disappointed any fans I might had in this site (silly me). Since last time I posted back in February, a lot of things happened so if anyone's curious (maybe the aforementioned imaginary fans of mine) about what the hell's been happening with me, do keep reading. I talk about VNs, anime, and other disgusting weeb things, but it does include some personal shit. Well, a blog is a blog.

       1) Maybe I mentioned this a huge while ago at some point, but I'm pursuing a master's degree in the structural engineering field. All was going well and good, but now it came the time for me to write my thesis. Oof. So yeah, that's the main reason I became a ghost as my weekday free times went down the drain along with my hopes and dreams. It doesn't help my thesis requires some programming knowledge that may be more than what I can chew, sasuga me (whining aside, it's coming along fine as of now, let's hope I can keep it up).

       2) Not only my free time evaporated but also my attention spam. I'm honestly having a hard time staying focused for more than 40 minutes in the same task. When that happens, I usually take a short break to relax before going back. Except I move on to something else, oops.

       3) Related to the problem mentioned in 2, I fearfully discovered a new wonderful world that's now high in my interests list: gacha games. Their content is usually bite sized (except in events, but I don't play all that seriously... I think), I can auto play to grind, and I can play on the train going to uni. No huge time investment at once required, so what can possibly go wrong (dramatic zoom on my face)? Fortunately, I'm still keeping my two accounts (yep) free-to-play and I feel that I grew a lot on the self control department because of this www. Seriously though, never invite me to a casino trip, I may have an undiscovered gamble addiction and I don't want to open that door. But yeah, if anyone else plays Opera Omnia or Shining Live send me a friend inviteeeeeeeeeeeeee!

       4) Even with all that going on, I still find time to at least watch my anime and read my VNs, surprisingly. Thank God for weekend. Guess cutting yourself off of social media truly does wonders too, huh. Not that I check Twitter on occasion to look at art or anything... Soooo about that weeb shit...

          4.1) La Squadra was right all along

          4.2) I'm still a proud BL trash. From what I recently finished, the highlights are Sweet Pool and Nie no Machi. Both are really really amazing games, both scored higher than 9 in my book, and I definitely want to write a review for them at some point. Spread that love, Maggie!

          4.3) I'm actually a bit slow on the otomege department, sorry >.<  I did get Steam Prison and read both of the Prisoner Routes, but I'm not in the right mindset to keep going with it. I wouldn't enjoy it if I force myself through it. Eltcreed and Ulrik were striking my fancy, so I want to savor them. ......Okay, that came out wrong.

          4.4) EVN ftw, I always find some time to read them. Nanoreno gave me some nice short experiences, the highlight being Monochrome Blues despite the ending kek. Oh, and read Heart of the Woods, people. It's an order. High quality shit right there.

          4.5) Also I keep stumbling upon horror games and I'm okay with this. Recently I played Death Mark. As usual, I went without a walkthrough, solving every mystery by myself. Totally worth it. And it also have very good sound design. Mashita best boi.

          4.6) It does sounds like a lot, but there's nothing much more than what I mentioned wwwwww

          4.7) Did I mentioned La Squadra? (<-- edit that bit out, I totally did, as I should)

       5) Now, about my Fuwa life. I'll probably remain on indefinite hiatus, but every time I find the file I wrote some ideas for Dank a Ronpa, I feel sad. "How could I write such a shit story?" Jokes aside, I can try to maybe finish it at some point when Derg finished his battle royale. Such a rude, I gave him such a brutal death in my story and I didn't even debut on his smh. But yeah, I accept suggestion of what to do with it? Give it a Berserk treatment and finish it soon TM? Write all the bad ideas I had for it and let you guys fill the blanks yourselves in a very lazy way? Make each one of you write a chapter, put everything together, approve it as canon and call it a day? Decisions, decisions. Actually, I'm actually paying a homage to it in this post, as I'm not proof reading anything, hope you spot the reference.

    Aaaaaaaaaaaand that's it, I guess. For all of you that reach this line without pressing page down 3 times in less than 3 seconds, a big thank you. Please smash that like button and subscribe to someone's channel that's more active than me. Love, peace, and hope to see you all eventually when I get my degree! Until them!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    今も会いたい。それだけだ。


    View the full article

  18. Originally posted on Pixels, Polygons, Prose.

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

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

    screenshot0001

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

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

    screenshot0003

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

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

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

    aftertheend

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

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

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

    screenshot0001

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

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

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

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

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

    screenshot0004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Spoiler

    Wp3x0WY.png

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

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

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    Finally a game I can empathise with.

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

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

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    Bless you.

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    I don't even like oysters.

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

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    The face of innocence.

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    Operation: "Call her tiny"

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    What slander.

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    Sluggo is lit 8)

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    You have my tacit agreement.

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

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

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    We needed to fill our quote of quintessentially Japanese conversations.

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    Whatever. Femininity isn't worth this...

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    Today's youth is hitting tragic levels of cynicism.

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    These things happen... you know.

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

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    Alas... Farewell, Reggie.

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    The (not tiny) face of innocence.

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    People should fix their habits of asking questions before thinking.

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

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    A nice, polite talk between nice, polite girls.

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    I do love a protagonist capable of talking back.

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    How he is loved by his junior.

    A story in two parts:

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

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

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

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    Croak

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

     

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

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

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