Jump to content

Blogs

Featured Entries

  • 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
    • 753 views

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. Foreword: Unlike Hidamari this AXL work has no superficial elements, so I'm starting it with heavy heart. Can AXL pull it out with a SOL story?

    bandicam%2B2020-04-05%2B16-52-53-286.jpg

    Synopsis: Naoya fails the university entrance examination, and starts to study at a preparatory school. He meets Sakura, Miyuki and Ouka there and enjoys his life. On the other hand, his father tells him to go and help the hotel, owned by his father. He also meets beautiful girls including Izumi, his childhood friend, there and enjoys his peaceful life. Naoya is busy with studying, loving and working! Sakura, Izumi and Miyuki... Love with girls, friendship with friends, long distance love and triple cohabitation...? What will happen to Naoya in the end?

    Youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqMbhWBS_vA&list=PLs4Gp5VU4Fv_GNDXkWAd8Vb9u1nwXBH6K

    Game type: Youth comedy

    Character Design rating: 8/10

    Protagonist rating: 7/10

    Story rating: 6/10

    Game quality: 9/10

    Overall rating: 8/10

    bandicam%2B2020-04-05%2B16-55-04-781.jpg

    Story is really absolutely normal, so I'm rather disappointed with it. But it's not a plotge, so game should be evaluated by different criteria. Still some words about the story. Naoya fails entrance exams to the university, so he attends a preparatory school for a year as a ronin. And it's a fantastic setting, actually. It's just a bit about school to get new acquaintances, but it's mostly free time to do anything characters want. Such a gracious way to avoid school-college-work dilemma. Recurring video addresses of Naoya's father is a huge repeating gag by itself, but among others it also gives an opportunity to help about family ryoukan. It's all about choice where to move now.

    bandicam%2B2020-04-05%2B16-56-44-373.jpg

    Here comes the structure. Game presents an unusually complex structure that can be treated positively and negatively. Basically, there are three routes that can be roughly described as distance romance relations, cohabitation with heroine, and cohabitation with multiple heroines turning into harem. First branch is much more to my liking. Moreover, it seems to be initial plan for the story due to game's title that can be translated as "I can hear your voice". First part is all about telephone talks and sending photos to the telephones. As for heroine routes, it's also not that simple...

    bandicam%2B2020-04-05%2B16-56-22-763.jpg

    There are three main heroines - step-sister Miyuki who comes to live together with Naoya, childhood friend and ryokan caretaker Izumi, genki classmate Sakura. Izumi and Sakura have an ending in each of three route branches while Miyuki has only one ending in third branch that can be described as harem. Can't stand Izumi, btw. There are also four sub-heroines that have just one ending each, but they are unjustly treated as bad endings. There is such feeling, because in every such branch choice there's either instant ending of sub-heroine or story continuation with several more choices for either Sakura or Izumi. It's ok for less funny heroines, but I feel that Ouka deserves better. 

    bandicam%2B2020-04-05%2B16-57-40-442.jpg

    But where game especially shines is humor. Common route is an absolute paragon for comedy. Everything serves humor purpose here. Only bright and funny heroines like Sakura, Ouka and Miyuki show up here to set the drive. Needless to say that each heroine meeting is done masterfully. But that's not all. There are two baka friends that bring so much fun with them - otaku Masamune and moderately stupid sportsman Kenta. As if it's not enough two more silly characters are added - a self-proclaimed best-friend Gonjuurou and homosexual Shirou. Every time this many hilarious characters gather together it's in for a blast.

    bandicam%2B2020-04-05%2B16-56-29-851.jpg

    As a result, Kimi no Koe ga Kikoeru is a fabulous comedy that deserves much more attention. I personally consider that game would win with only distance romance relations authentic branch present. It would be a cleaner and less confusing structure without loli step-sister Miyuki and harem additions. But bigger story can't possibly be described as disadvantage. Don't read extra routes if you don't want to. I just wish I knew that and read only first route.

    bandicam%2B2020-04-05%2B16-56-55-562.jpg

  3. Welcome to this week VNTS Review, and as for the title it's simply because we have one of heroine (Reina) work as the model in Makeover so I changed word 'Lovers' into 'Model'. For this week it's surely more lively compared to the last week, and the reason is simply because we finally have Nekonyan managed to release Makeover back at 3rd (I've been waiting for this). Other than Makeover, we also have Majikoi A-3 surprise release which should be a good addition for Majikoi's fans even though I think that it's mostly just fandisc because Majikoi itself was already completed ever since back at the original game (There's almost nothing in the plot that could justify the sequel like both of Kajitsu and Utawarerumono, so to me all of Majikoi games after original could be classify as fandiscs). Two releases aside, we also have several updates from both of fan translation and Nekonyan, and also we have a surpising update from Sekai in regard of Rewrite. Let's see what I can write for this week as well here.

    This week we have a new update for Rewrite in which it's been a while since the last update (If I remember, the last time they give the update is before the Kickstarter), and the progress is quite substantial with the main VN was at 60% retranslated. We also have them finally put the progress for Harvest Festa (ie Rewrite's fandisc), and they already finished halfway of the translation work for that. No much to say other than it good for Rewrite fans to see that finally they can see the progress for the fandisc after Ixrec started the work for this since back at 2014, and that Sekai is still on track for Rewrite here (Hopefully they'll be able to release this by November as promised). Almost forget to note that since it's almost spring, obviously JAST delayed their Sumaga release again and of course we wouldn't know on how long they'll delay it. Guess we have no choice other than more waiting here.

    Fan Translation

    For Majikoi A-3, while it's been a good surprise for Majikoi big fan in that they can see more Majikoi, my surprise is that finally we have another translated VN with 'passionate Hitomi Nabatame-voiced love-making' or in another word I'm only interested with the fact that finally we have Nabatame voicing a heroine in translated Majikoi VNs (She's Stacy's VA for the info). Almost forget that it's also contain Tsubame's after story, so good for Tsubame's fans. In the end, I guess I can say that it should be a nice addition for Majikoi's fan so go get A-3 and have fun. As for the continuation of Majikoi A translation, as of now still no plan to translating A-4 but we may have that in the future.

    From Alka we also have Angel Beat was at 81.84% translated, and more importantly they announced that they'll translate Kud Wafter which as we know is Little Busters fandisc focused on our cute Russian dog-lover Kud. For Kud Wafter, the plan is that Alka will translate both of all age and 18+ version, so you didn't need to worry about the censorship there even though KEY sex scenes is not something that we interested with. Other than Kud Wafter, they also already have plan to translate Reflection Blue (Summer Pockets Updated Re-Release) as well so let's see if they can finished it as well before Visual Arts decided to localized it seeing that they decided to drop it as soon as VA decided to localized it. Almost forgot to note that they still have some technical difficulty for Kud Wafter, which is make sense considering that Kud Wafter using RealLive engine while they already been used to work on Siglus engine that newer KEY VNs used. In any case, good luck to Alka in regard of their Kud Wafter translation.

    For the roundup of this section, we have Eustia was at 88.77% translated with side route was at 27.77% translated, 11,948 lines of Pure x Connect were translated, Loverable was at 81.64% edited, Yosuga no Sora was almost completed the translation (99%) with Motoka's route was at 93% translated along with 80% edited, and Miotsukushi Ura was at 11% translated. Still no update from Tsurezure in regard of Ginharu, but perhaps we may have some update at next week after Trip take care of his business at 8th tomorrow. That's all for this week fan translation roundup.

    Nekonyan

    Normally I would call this section as Other, but since we only have the updates from Nekonyan at this week I'd change the section title to Nekonyan. As for Nekonyan here, other than aforementioned Makeover release we also have their usual monthly update so here's the roundup for that. The roundup goes like we currently have Aokana EXTRA 1 was at 10% translated, IxSheTell was at 65% translated (By the way I know that the pun of the title is 'Aishiteru' which obviously Japanese word for 'I Love You'), Riddle Joker was at 85% translated along with three quarter edited, and Kirikoi was at halfway translated.

    Once again the release that Nekonyan have here is Makeover, in which it's most interesting release to me here because I've been looking forward to this ever since back when they announced it back at December 2018. For the VN itself, it's about a man named Kazuma (You can rename him by the way) who want to find a love through the normal way in that his family been waiting for their future daughter in law, and by chance he come across five girls including his stepsister that one way or another will become his couple. While granted it sounds cliche, please remember that the developer for Makeover here is Smee, and by that I mean Makeover got some interesting feature in that the comedy is exaggerated and I like it. While granted that the MC is already graduated from university instead of usual high school student is interesting on it's own, my focus here is more on the comedy like back at Fureraba. Get Makeover from one of many shop if you've been understandably interested with it, and have fun.

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

  4. Orefuka is the newest game by Hulotte, a company infamous for making extremely ecchi charage with actual plot.  In this game, the protagonist, Haruki, is given pills that make him invisible by a net idol named Kusunoha Chitose, and he begins using it to stand in the same room while the heroines get naked, masturbate, etc without even a hint of hesitation.

    Haruki is a young man who sees everything around him as an opportunity for fun, and he sees not having fun as a waste of time.  If he finds an idea or activity interesting, he will do it without hesitation, and he doesn't hide the fact that he wants to see all the heroines naked at all.  That said, he is not just an open pervert protagonist.  Rather, he uses his open perversion to hide a tendency toward quietly helping those around him, though he isn't always aware that is what he is doing.

    The common path is an endless series of him sneaking in to see the heroines naked along with comical reactions, and SOL scenes full of heroines either going along with his 'nori' or acting in the tsukkomi position.  

    Nayuri

    Nayuri is the student council president, a brilliant young woman with an eidetic memory, as well as one of the heroines who goes along with the protagonist, constantly dropping hints that she doesn't have any problem with him going through with his openly-stated desires involving her.  Her route is... extremely ecchi.  There is serious drama in toward the end, but it is resolved in a classic manner that was so predictable I had to shrug and give a wry smile.  I did like that she turned out to be a total nympho and she wasn't kidding at all in the common route.

    Ame

    Ame is the protagonist's cousin who lives with him and her older sister.  She refers to him as 'nii-san' and is fairly obviously in love with him, even before a certain scene in the common route.  She is very serious and straight-laced on the surface, but under the surface is an endless lake of deredere brocon imouto jelly.  As the game's resident tsundere, quite naturally her dere is pretty ridiculously adorable.  However, the sheer amount of effort it takes to get to that point in her route is seriously ridiculous.  It doesn't help that her route is one of those 'sex before confession of love' routes.

    Kohaku

    On the surface, Kohaku is what is referred to as a 'cool beauty'.  She doesn't show her emotions, and she has a tendency to just quietly do what is required of her without complaint.  However, she is actually has the most common sense of all the heroines (including Ame, who is essentially a pool of molten dere inside whose common sense melts away when it comes to nii-san), and it shows in the way she gets together with Haruki.  Unlike the two paths above, it isn't a 'sex before confession' route, and it makes sense that way, seeing as she is the most 'distant' of the four heroines initially available (Chitose being locked).  The lack of intensive previously-existing intimacy (emotional or physical) means their relationship comes together in a more natural form.  

    Kohaku's path after the romance is formed is a bit more of a 'kandou' (touching in a non-cathartic way) type, as opposed to the somewhat nakige (and nearly identical) drama at the end of the previous two paths.  Kohaku is also a lot more straight-up adorable than Ame and Nayuri from the beginning (Ame being a tsundere and Nayuri being a mischief-making oneesan type).  

    Towa

    Towa is what is called a 'gyaru' heroine, a heroine who dresses and does makeup in such a way that it is both flashy and fashionable (by Japanese standards).  One thing I should note about these heroines is that there is a huge gap between them in nukige and charage/moege.  Gyaru heroines in charage/moege are usually using their fashion-love to cover up a fragile but kind/sweet heart and/or some kind of trauma.  In nukige, they are usually nymphos who are selling their bodies on the side.  Keep in mind that this is one area where the two umbrella genres split rather dramatically.

    Towa is a kind-hearted kouhai with a love of gaming who is very weak to peer pressure.  She is pretty obviously deredere over Haruki (like most of the heroines) from the beginning, but she isn't self-aware enough to realize it.  Her path stands out in the way it handles the plot device that played such a huge role in Nayuri and Ame's paths, as well as the 'different' approach it had.  Sorry I can't go into specifics without spoiling it, but this particular template was used in a very conventional fashion in Nayuri's and Ame's paths, whereas Towa's path gives it something of a twist.  Towa and Haruki's relationship is something of a traditional 'transition from good friends to lovers' path, albeit without quite as much in the way of relationship drama as such situations tend to bring up in charage that don't have a story to provide real drama.  Towa does have a personal issue that becomes central to the path in general, but it isn't quite as severe as Nayuri's or Ame's.  Overall, it was a good path, though not a godly one.

    Chitose

    Chitose is the game's true heroine and the provider (AKA drug dealer) who provides Haruki with the invisibility pills.  She is a virtual idol who attracts her followers through a mix of random daytime talk, cute mannerisms, and humorous interactions with them through paid comments.  Haruki is also one of her most devoted followers.  While she seems whimsical and easygoing on the surface, underneath lies an endless sea of desperate loneliness and self-denigration.  

    That said, her path seems to be one of hope regained, despite the way it begins (incidentally, the scene where things start to tip toward romance is unbelievably rofl-worthy, hahaha), up until the point where you run into her underlying trauma...  though, needless to say, this trauma is resolved to an extent (as you would expect, since this isn't an utsuge) and she is 'saved' (truthfully, after playing this path, I wince to think of her fate in the ones besides Towa's).

    Harem Scenes

    This is basically an extra scenario where you can pick from a number of sub-heroine and threesome 'endings' that don't have any story.  It doesn't add anything but fap material and laughs, lol.

    Conclusion

    Overall, this is a decent game for someone who wants a charage with high ecchi and H content and a central storyline.  I'll probably forget this game fairly soon (charage are usually forgettable, even when they have stories), but I can still honestly say it is a good VN.  In particular, the way the protagonist uses the invisibility and gets used to staring at Ame naked regardless of the path (it becomes routine, which his funny in and of itself) makes me laugh.

  5. ddtcv59-bff7a86b-0272-4529-86ef-12fa137d14cf.png?token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJzdWIiOiJ1cm46YXBwOjdlMGQxODg5ODIyNjQzNzNhNWYwZDQxNWVhMGQyNmUwIiwiaXNzIjoidXJuOmFwcDo3ZTBkMTg4OTgyMjY0MzczYTVmMGQ0MTVlYTBkMjZlMCIsIm9iaiI6W1t7InBhdGgiOiJcL2ZcL2E4Yjg4MzU1LWM4YzctNGIxNi04YTdhLTRhYTlmYzFiMDRmZlwvZGR0Y3Y1OS1iZmY3YTg2Yi0wMjcyLTQ1MjktODZlZi0xMmZhMTM3ZDE0Y2YucG5nIn1dXSwiYXVkIjpbInVybjpzZXJ2aWNlOmZpbGUuZG93bmxvYWQiXX0.0Squsb_uWzlST1UyXs7lo23tgujMj7PGvJ4vjS3GQ2U

    Human beings are contradictory creatures, whose behaviour is rarely as consistent as we would like to see and whose motivations are often complex, to the point they’re not fully understood even by the specific person themselves. This fact is often minimized in fiction, which instinctively strives for clear narratives and characters that are ultimately possible to fully understand and assess according to some kind of moral standards. At the same time, there’s undeniable value in exploring the ambiguity of the human condition and ebi-hime is one of the EVN authors that do it with a borderline-painful consistency, often creating harsh or melancholic plots and populating her stories with deeply flawed, realistic-feeling characters. And her latest release, The End of an Actress, definitely do not break this trend.

                    Released on Steam in late February 2020, this new title by ebi is loosely based on the last years of Marie Antoinette’s life, where she was imprisoned by the revolutionaries and eventually executed for her perceived crimes against the French people. It transfers these core events and many features of the queen’s biography into a fictional setting, closely resembling 18th-century France, but without any pretences for full historical accuracy. However, instead of a grant political tale, what plays out on this stage is a very intimate drama involving the deposed queen, Liliane, and Marcus, a revolutionary who led the assault on her palace and unwittingly became her jailor. In isolation and hopelessness, the relationship between the two will be redefined in a few possible directions, fluctuating between naïve fascination, hate and, possibly, mutual understanding and affection, making for a rather captivating literary experience and one of my new favourites in ebi’s catalogue. But what makes it this special?

    ss_67191df504013f0fd528a9122f329be1cbc88f25.1920x1080.jpg?t=1582320596

    Considering its inspiration, the game’s plot leads to some predictably grim conclusions – however, it’s hardly a full-on utsuge, featuring many ambivalent, and even hopeful moments

    Me calling The End of an Actress “intimate” is connected less to its romantic elements and more to its storytelling formula, focused very heavily on interactions between Liliane and Marcus, with other characters present in a purely episodic manner, usually without even having sprites. After capturing the queen, Marcus is tasked with keeping her imprisoned in her palace until she can be tried for her crimes – a process that is constantly prolonged by the legal and political disputes between the revolutionaries. With Liliane permanently confined to her bedroom and Marcus, as the most trusted agent of the revolution’s leadership, unable to leave his post as her jailor, the two become the only meaningful sources of human interaction for each other for months-on-end. In this time they have many opportunities to rework their preconceptions about each other and the peculiar “relationship” they shared – a hopeless fascination of a poor orphan, sparked by the queen that once embodied hope and national pride, but became the reviled symbol of monarchy’s corruption, turning all that love into disappointment and hate.

                    While we observe the story primarily from Marcus’ perspective, the most interesting part of it is probably still the queen. Proud and arrogant, she never allows herself to show fear or weakness, even when her life is threatened by the revolutionaries. She also seems to show little remorse for the disastrous reign, despite being confronted with her failings by Marcus on multiple occasions. Over time, however, she shows more of her true thoughts, as fatigue and new tragedies striking her family make her persona crumble. Her relationship with Markus evolves accordingly, although how far this change will go depends on the player’s choices. There’s even an option in which Markus kills Liliane immediately after storming the palace, which is more or less the outcome she hoped for, allowing her to escape the humiliation of being imprisoned and executed like a criminal. Other endings, while also tragic in their own ways, involve Marcus and Liliane getting closer to understanding each other and forming a genuine bond – with the “best” ending blooming into a short, hopeless romance.

    ss_c899d48d0c38500f3cc092e6d2dcd5baf7869fbb.1920x1080.jpg?t=1582320596

    The game’s art, with its level of detail and otome-feeling character designs, does a good job of presenting the quasi-historical setting and building appropriate climate

    While the game definitely has an utsuge vibe, with no “happy ending” that could fully circumvent the characters’ hopeless circumstances, I wouldn’t necessarily call it depressing. It focuses less on the impending death that is awaiting Liliane, and more on the paths that led her and Markus to this point, along with their clashing personalities and ideals. The true strength of the VN lies exactly with how compelling they are as characters – both are essentially wearing masks, playing roles they think they’re obliged to perform while hiding their true feeling and the pain the current situation brings them. The more their façades crack, the more complex things become, with internal conflict, regrets and vulnerabilities showing up on each side. Particularly the character of Liliane is, even at her most sympathetic moments, highly ambiguous, quite like her historical counterpart. Her unhappiness and limited influence in no way absolving her selfishness and careless pursuit of pleasure at the time when her kingdom was crumbling, but lets the reader understand her better. At the point they’re at, neither Liliane nor Markus can hope for redemption, but they can achieve some kind of closure and the endings in which this happens are, in my opinion, more touching than plain sad.

                    In the “best” route, the romance between the queen and Marcus leads to the game’s sole sex scene, which is quite like the one I complimented last year in ebi's The Language of Love – not overly explicit and very much story-relevant. I was quite worried it would feel out of place considering the dire circumstances the characters are at, particularly in the later parts of the story, but it felt like an appropriate and believable conclusion to the troubled romance, exploring the characters in new ways. I find this “softcore” formula a lot more meaningful than the typical h-scenes and I’m glad that’s how the erotic content was dealt with in this case. And speaking more broadly, I have a hard time pointing out something I didn’t like about the story in The End of an Actress. The biggest one I can think of is that between the 5 different endings, not all of them are very distinct. Also, not everyone will be satisfied with its small-scale, melodramatic approach to topic, resembling a minimalistic stage play rather than an epic political drama, but I think that it was excellent in what it was trying to achieve. Even the way the queen’s character has been modified, being younger and less politically involved than her historical inspiration, shows that this was meant to be, above all, the story of her and Markus as people, very much succeeding in this task.

    doaa_by_szafalesiaka_ddsr7g3-pre.jpg?token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJzdWIiOiJ1cm46YXBwOjdlMGQxODg5ODIyNjQzNzNhNWYwZDQxNWVhMGQyNmUwIiwiaXNzIjoidXJuOmFwcDo3ZTBkMTg4OTgyMjY0MzczYTVmMGQ0MTVlYTBkMjZlMCIsIm9iaiI6W1t7ImhlaWdodCI6Ijw9NzE2IiwicGF0aCI6IlwvZlwvYThiODgzNTUtYzhjNy00YjE2LThhN2EtNGFhOWZjMWIwNGZmXC9kZHNyN2czLTkyZTYwYWQwLWY5ZTUtNGMwMy1hZDNmLTQwMDc4OTAxMjIzZC5qcGciLCJ3aWR0aCI6Ijw9MTI4MCJ9XV0sImF1ZCI6WyJ1cm46c2VydmljZTppbWFnZS5vcGVyYXRpb25zIl19.rrrOkvHHqjP5zJHavKP__jQoTeQ4pyUTPz78BeEnqsA

    The typos in the initial release often showed up in most unfortunate moments, but in my experience, such details are pretty much as far as this game’s flaws go

    Visually, the game uses a rather detailed artstyle somewhat resembling otome games, which are also quite often period dramas – this also applies to Markus’ design, as he could easily pass as an ikemen in an Otomate title. The setting, while fictionalized, represents XVIII-century France in a rather believable manner, with environments and various details of daily life seeming decently-researched and consistent. For history buffs, the highly-simplified version of the French Revolution, starting with the abolition of monarchy and imprisonment of the royal family, might be something of a disappointment, but it's believable-enough as its own story and gives all the necessary context for the core narrative, that is one about the relationship between Lilian and Markus. The minimalism of the story also made it possible for the few backgrounds and CGs being decently-detailed and while the game does not linger on the extravagance of the royal palace or show much of Liliane’s life before imprisonment, it gives a good-enough impression of its lavishness. And finally, the music consisting mostly of classical tunes, would not be out of place in a good TV drama set in the same period – it's nice to listen to, despite the overall sad tone and enhances the climate of the whole experience. There's even an original song that kicks in during some of the most touching moments of the story and although I usually prefer instrumental background music in VNs, this one blended in very well without taking me out of the experience.

                    Ultimately, The End of an Actress was a highly refreshing and satisfying experience for me, using a formula heavily under-utilized in VNs other than otome and telling a genuinely emotional, impactful story. While its clear focus on personal drama and romance will not appeal to everyone, it delivered on its promises and kept good pacing and climate all the way through. While I had a somewhat ambivalent experience reading ebi's previous period drama, Blackberry Honey, being tired of the persecution the protagonist constantly suffered through and the extremely slow story progression, here I was kept engaged by the character progression and thought-provoking ambiguity of the events. It wasn't perfect, as the romance didn't avoid a few cheesy moments and the first bad ending CG got a clearly-unintended chuckle out of me, but such details could not really undermine my overall, extremely positive impression. If this kind of story is even remotely within your preference, I deeply recommend giving this VN a try – in its category, there are few better ones.

     

    Final Rating: 4,5/5

     

    Pros:

    + An interesting, complex relationship between the main characters

    + Well-constructed quasi-historical setting

    + High-quality art

    + Climatic soundtrack

    Cons:

    – Some endings feel similar to each other/repetitive

    The political context is only vaguely portrayed, as a background for the personal/romance drama

     

    VNDB Page

    Buy The End of an Actress on Steam or Itch.io

  6. Countdown_to_silence_2020-03-26_01-18-38

    The story of how I came to read this EVN is kind of like Countdown to silence itself. It started out with a bit of comic relief mingled with human drama (The dev came in and posted a link on the Fuwanovel discord and I grilled him for a bit because my ego is large and my opinions voluminous, but he managed to at least catch my interest). Then trouble struck (My Internet’s been down for hours now and it’s doing a number on me), but this led to some exciting events (I played the VN on a whim and it turned out to actually be good). The ending… well, my Internet’s still not back on, can someone tell the wankers over at Comhem to hurry up and get my router a bloody IP address? Thanks in advance.

    13 hours later, I finally have the connection necessary to post this. Holy fuck.

    Countdown_to_silence_2020-03-26_01-24-27

    Countdown to Silence takes place in a world where (entirely benevolent and harmless) experiments intended to give humans superpowers have succeeded, but in an unexpected fashion: only their kids got a splash with the supe brush. This ability is called IO for “Information Overlay”, and true to its name it presents itself as an overlay showing you certain information – with varying levels of usefulness depending on your specific ability. The protagonist and (voiced!) narrator, Josh, didn’t get particularly lucky with his: all it shows him is a countdown to when people will speak to him next. While there are _some_ uses for this, it mostly doesn’t give him much benefit. His best friend Kyle has a much better ability: seeing potential conversation choices when talking to people, potentially revealing their secrets but also making him a great guy to talk to. The setting and abilities are used surprisingly well in the story, but don’t expect anything about uncovering government conspiracies or rebelling against society or whatever, it’s just accepted as a Thing in universe. You could probably rewrite the thing without the abilities, but it wouldn’t have the same zing to it, so I can’t say I’m bothered.

    Countdown_to_silence_2020-03-26_02-01-57

    No, but self-isolation does, so basically half of us are in the system now.

    The VN walks a delicate line between drama and comedy, and will frequently take the edge off tense moments with a comedic segment before ramping up the tension again. Thankfully, it succeeds in the balancing act; neither the comedy nor the drama are cheapened too much by its counterpart. The humor does have indulgent parts; the main character is a weeb into magical girl shows for kids. This doesn’t get too grating in my opinion, and it’s only mentioned in like three scenes, but after reading this many EVNs I still feel it’s a bit cliché. Otherwise, I would describe it as… a bit camp, I guess? On the low end of the scale though. I swear to god if the creator of this isn’t British I need to get my tea-dar fixed.

    Countdown_to_silence_2020-03-26_01-25-44

    Nisemonogatari >>> Bakemonogatari

    So why do I like it so much? Well, first of all, the plotting is tight: it doesn’t waste time, keeps you interested, and things slide into place from foreshadowing in pleasing ways.

    Second, the voiced narration actually adds a lot for me. There’s a constant echo-ish effect to it, it’s clearly not a super high quality recording, but I find it charming. Combined with the rest of the voices in this fully voiced VN (not badly acted, but certainly not recorded with the best equipment), the weird style convention of leaving off most ending periods in text boxes, and the uhh, funky backgrounds, it feels very doujin. Alone, any of these elements would be less than ideal, but together it forms a gestalt I find strangely palatable. Though I still must insist that you really should still end your text boxes with periods – I got used to the style because it was consistent and repetition legitimizes, but it’s not going to be a good fit for most stories and arguably made even this one worse. Anyway, the aesthetic fits the drama-comedy flow of the story pretty well. I’m left with the impression that it all shouldn’t fit together so well, and yet it just does.

    So yeah, I really recommend this for a fun and engaging 30-60 minutes or so of content. Extremely positively surprised.

    Download free at: https://plotline-progenitor.itch.io/countdown-to-silence

    Countdown_to_silence_2020-03-26_01-37-50

    Okay, but as we all know I have autism, so let’s nitpick the craft a bit instead as I think the writer has potential and might read this. If you’re not into that, feel free to skip the rest of this.

    Hotkeys:
    Page up/down do nothing, despite the fact that they’re listed on the Help page! No hotkey to show message history, the SUPERIOR history function.

    UI:
    There’s no way to replay voice lines besides going back from a later line with rollback (and then they always play due to renpy rollback.) Rollback is the default backlog for mousewheel (my JVN soul cries for it to activate the backlog instead and then have scenario jump and voice replay buttons in that history). Uses default UI rather than anything custom as far as I can tell, though at least the modern Ren’Py default doesn’t make me want to tear my eyes out.

    Sound:
    Some voices are too hard to hear at the default music volume (full) while others are perfectly fine. I remember a scene where this made me have to go into the settings and lower the music volume to like half (which I left it at). I feel like this could have been avoided with more careful sound design.

    Qca4pm3.png

    Why put this on your download page when you can just change the default settings???

    Music doesn’t fade out, it just cuts, which makes scene transitions feel unnecessarily and jarringly sudden. Especially the final line of the game suffers from this – it really needed a soft fadeout to mimic the emotion at that point. Overall, think about transitions more when scripting.
    Voices sometimes do not fully match the written line, though the wording is often better than the actual text. One voiced line even adds a word that was accidentally omitted in the text!

    Text:
    Apart from the aforementioned thing where sentences just end without punctuation half the time, there’s a few typos that could’ve been caught by a careful eye. The phrasing style, and well, the style in general is unusual and feels like veering into the relaxed conventions of, I don’t know, fanfic writing? With everything else it kind of works, but it certainly won’t work for just any tone, and you’ll need to be careful with this in the future. The voiced narration does help sell some fairly long sentences without punctuation, so it’s good we have it.

    …And that’s about it, I think.


    View the full article

  7. Lately I have started reading a bunch of short visual novels (mostly EVNs) and since Covid leaves me with a lot of free time, I decided to write a series of posts containing several short reviews for them. I will focus on ones I recently purchased but maybe there will even be time to go through my backlog of short titles, even the ones I got in bundles and probably would not touch under normal circumstances. So let's dive right in.

     

    The Agony by KishMish Games & Talentplace

    This one I picked up for 49ct or something like that because Steam reviews said it was hilariously bad, and, well, they weren't wrong about at least one of those two words. We follow the story of Oleg, who is very masculine (which he never fails to point out in his inner monologues), and his girlfriend Olga/Olia, whose character traits are that she is very beautiful and in love with Oleg. They get lost in the underground maze beneath their home city after having to run from a couple of bad dudes and Olga/Olia gets kidnapped by someone or something lurking down there. Can Oleg rescue his loved one and defeat the evil lurking in the dark?

    Personally, I didn't bother to find out after reaching the first ending telling me everything going on isn't real (spoilers, I guess). The whole thing reads like one of those bad fantasy fan-fictions where the author makes stuff up as they go with incompetence showing at every level. The English translation from the original Russian is, to put it nicely, not that great either. It starts out with the titlecard for the opening chapter saying "Oleg and Olga" and then the next sentence calling her Olia. I know, transcribing names from different alphabets can be complicated, but the inconsistency in the spelling points to how little care was put into the translation, which is full of grammar errors and weird sentence structures (yes, I know my English isn't perfect either, but I don't charge anyone for reading my stuff).

    I didn't get far enough into the VN to find out what the title refers to, so from now I'll pretend that it's supposed to describe your experience reading it. Avoid it, unless you really want to laugh at how bad it is.

     

    Cyber City 2157 by Harotobira

    Speaking of bad translations from Russian to English, this game taught me to read the text in the screenshots on the shop page before buying a VN instead of just looking at the visuals, and I only mention this game here to tell you to not pick it up unless you can read Russian. Because unlike The Agony, CC2157 seems like it has some artistic ambition behind it and seems to rely heavily on verbal images and metaphors. The English version is so garbled that I probably wouldn't even be able to figure out if the effort was brilliant or terribly misguided, so I dropped it shortly after the opening sequence.

     

    Alone with You by Benjamin Rivers Inc.

    Alone with You is a hybrid between 2D adventure and visual novel (it doesn't have a vndb page), where you lead your unnamed protagonist through the ruins of a deserted space colony originally designed to terraform a planet that is hostile to human life. Your only companions are the AI that controlled all systems of the colony before its crew went extinct and the virtual replications of four former engineers and scientists whose memories it uploaded. As energy reserves are low you can only spend time with one of them at a time. During the day you explore the colony's facilities together with the AI in search of things you can use to make your escape vessel work, finding clues to where and why things went wrong on your way. At night you talk to one of the alter egos about their work and what their life was like.

    Despite being wildly different from the outside, the closest thing to compare AWY to when it comes to the overall experience in my opinion would be Analogue: A Hate Story. It has a similar back-tracking structure where you first work your way closer to finding out how a certain catastrophe could happen in the past (only in this case its through exploring areas in the colony instead of reading logs), interrupted by sections where you talk to a witness of the events about the details (there even is a little romance involved). Where Analogue tries to paint the picture of a collapsed society though, AWY is more introspective, focusing on themes of loneliness, self doubt, regretting past decisions and how people behave in the face of an inescapable disaster. The gameplay sections as well as the brilliantly done visual and sound design give you a real sense of desolation and solitude, although they can get a little repetitive and the game can feel too long at times.

    So if you're willing take in its atmosphere, Alone With You is definitely worth checking out. If you need something to happen at all times, better pick something else.

     

    Ghosts of Miami by Pillow Fight Games

    I really wanted to like Ghosts of Miami, with it being a detective story set in 1980s Miami and its cool visuals. Sadly I found it to be pretty mediocre. My main complaint is that it often struggles to find the right tone. It tries to capture the hedonistic happiness of the era as well as issues of race, sexual minorities, drugs and cartels, but then never fully commits to either side of its story, dulling the 80s-ness and failing to make an emotional impact in its darker moments at the same time. I wouldn't recommend picking it up, especially not at full price (which is 15€).

     

    Lily's Day Off / Lily's Night Off by Kyuppin

    These two short VNs share the same premise and are made by the same person, so it makes sense two review them together. Both revolve around an unnamed protagonist coming to his senses and the first thing he sees being famous tsundere pop idol Lilypad Lily. What makes these games unique is that the only thing fixed in each (very short) playthrough is the setup, but the plot and even characters' memories and motivations can change completely depending on your choices. So it's basically a collection of joke endings which can mean anything from cutesy romance to cat aliens. They are kind of hit and miss, but at least Lily's Night Off with its significantly higher production value than its predecessor, including short character animations that do wonders for the comedic timing and a CG for each ending (each drawn by a different artist), is a fun way to kill an hour or two. And I just love its Secret True Ending.

  8. JAST Blue is slowly but surely releasing Nitro+ CHIRAL's catalogue in the west. While these games had their patch long ago and every person with a passing interest in BL probably already read them, these releases certainly made it easier for fans of physical versions, HD CGs, uncensored dicks, merch or just our good old users of windows 10, as the original have a hard time to even run properly in our favorite OS (N+C did release compatibility versions, but it's not like the old patches even work with those).

    This year it's Togainu no Chi's time, N+C's very first game and the most edgy of the bunch. I DID review this game in the past but huh... it REALLY doesn't do a good job at promoting the game...

    Okay, so, if I didn't like this title in the first place, why am I even here? Because I really feel it's worth mentioning the demo of the game (you can grab it here (JAST) or here (Steam)) contain one whole route for free and it's most likely porn-free even, so if you ever get slightly interested in this but not enough to spend money, hey, today is your luck day! It's only the third best boy, but they can't be THAT generous now, can they?

    Is this a good game to get into the BL side of Nitroplus? Well, if you ask me, no. But I won't pretend parent Nitroplus isn't edgy af too and this game is actually pretty popular to this day, even among Japanese fans, so maybe I'm the one with shit taste here! :P 

  9. The premise of Boku to Koisuru Ponkotsu Akuma, henceforth Ponkotsu Akuma is that the main character has a not related by blood little sister who is a total brocon and a childhood friend who clearly likes him and is bad with anything sexual. Because of the little sister being way too much of a brocon and the childhood friend being bad with sexual stuff the mother of the childhood friend which also takes care of the main character due to his parents being away all the time who is also the principle at their school send them off to a special dorm to get over their problems. The day the main character gets to the dorm he finds out that all the other residence of the dorm who are of course all girls are also some different kind of Demon (Akuma) that all are considered useless. His sister is an angel who is just way too much of a brocon, the childhood friend is a succubus who has trouble dealing with perverted stuff, then there is the kohai who is a friend of his little sister that is a mummy who because trauma related to tight bandages have trouble wearing clothes often going around nude when not in public, the transferee student yuki-onna who is bad at dealing with cold and the senpai witch who wants to make medicine but is bad at studying.

     

    Ponkotsu Akuma is divided into one common route and five main heroine routes focusing on the five girls living in the Ponkotsu dorm as well as three smaller routes one focusing on their loli teacher, one on the mother of the childhood friend and one on a tiger girl who is friends with the little sister and the mummy girl. The fandisc has an after story for each of the routes in the main VN as well as having a harem route and a joke route for a mascot character. The afterstories are nice and manage to wrap up their routes better than the original could. As for the harem route it is quite crazy and sex filled, it quickly goes through how they got to the harem situation with the heroines only getting a few lines each for the build-up of the harem and then it jumps straight into the craziness of the situation.

     

    The visual novel is clearly a nukige and thus mainly focus on sexual content as well as on the characters who does the sexual content. The characters each have their own quirky personalities which works well for comedic moments as well as making them likeable which I think is the most important thing to do for what it tries to do as a nukige. They do lack depth as characters though so if you are expecting a lot of character depth this title is probably not for you. Ponkotsu Akuma is very light on drama with any dramatic thing being treated light-hearted and lasting for a short period of time. The comedy is mainly focused on the absurdity of the characters as well as some of the situations they are in, so I think anyone who likes absurd comedy will really enjoy it, but those who don’t will probably have a hard time reading it. As for the characters themselves I don’t want to go into all of them, but in my opinion they are all really likeable and fun and I consider them really good nukige heroines. As for the sex scenes I think they are handled really well, with the dialog of the sex scenes in my opinion being among the better dialog I have seen in sex scenes, the art being fantastic and a good focus on variety in fetish and location.

     

    Also one thing to mention is that Ponkotsu Akuma is very similar to Nekopara in its comedy structure and building of characters with character quirks and artwork. Ponkotsu Akuma and Nekopara are both illustrated by Sayori and one of the 3 scenario writers of Ponkotsu Akuma is the same as the scenario writer for the Nekopara series and this scenario writer is the only one listed for the Fandisc for Ponkotsu Akuma. While Ponkotsu Akuma is lewder than Nekopara I would say they in general are very similar and that if you like one you  are very likely to like the other and if you dislike one you will likely dislike the other.

     

    My overall thoughts on Ponkotsu Akuma is that it is really good at what it tries to do, the comedy is great for those into that type of comedy, the characters are quirky and likeable, and the sex scenes are well done. There is also a lot of effort put into the music, the visual and extra features which makes it stand out as a high quality nukige. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a fun cute nukige that doesn’t take itself seriously. Though for anyone who don’t feel like this sounds interesting the title is likely not for you as it doesn’t try to focus on anything else than this.

     

    Physical copy of Ponkotsu Akuma

    qhIYTFQ.jpg

    Backside of physical copy of Ponkotsu Akuma

    Spoiler

    pXTU3Ev.jpg

    Disc of Ponkotsu Akuma

    wR8hJeN.jpg

    Physical copy of Ponkotsu Akuma Suggoi Ecchi (the fandisc)

    fQnjWV4.jpg

    Backside of physical copy of Ponkotsu Akuma Suggoi Ecchi

    Spoiler

    0RZO906.jpg

    Disc of Ponkotsu Akuma Suggoi Ecchi

    dmC4XxG.jpg

  10. Welcome to my blog.

    Where have we been? Where are we going?

    TIMELINE

    1980s:
    - Early eroge largely consist of still art (what we call pixel art now), very short dialogue/narrative elements, and some primitive interactive elements, while spanning many genres.

    1990s:
    - The point-and-click adventure game, which has its roots in 1980s video games, establishes itself as one of the most popular genres of eroge. Many games emerge which have interfaces that are visually similar to those of most point-and-click adventure games, but with gradually differing gameplay. These games are all collectively called "adventure games" or "ADV" in Japanese. The general style of having an interface which consists of a rectangular text box at the bottom of the screen, and a collage of visual elements meant to serve as a guide for what the main character sees, is also called "ADV". In other words, ADV becomes a genre that embodies a style of presentation.
    - The non-adult game company Chunsoft puts out Otogirisou, a kind of illustrated story in which pictures are placed in the background as visual aids while the full narrative is conveyed as overlaid text. This style of presentation is called a "novel game" or "NVL" in Japanese. The gameplay of Otogirisou purely consists of the player making choices on where to take the story, similar to "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, a simple yet powerful narrative tool which would prove influential to ADV as a whole.
    - Two major eroge brands that specialize in ADV, elf and Leaf, create popular games like Doukyuusei and To Heart. These games stand out from their competitors by the way they utilize talented artists and writers to focus on the personalities of charming heroines, rather than treating pixel porn as what matters and the characterization as an afterthought. This character-centric evolution is called a charage (character game) and encompasses both NVL (like Kizuato) and ADV. And with the release of YU-NO and Kamaitachi no Yoru, two ADV/NVL games that have well-written stories, the term scenarioge (scenario game) becomes more popular.

    1999:
    - Kanon is released by Key. It's the first time a large number of players became very emotionally moved by the story of an eroge, or any ADV at that. Even someone like Baba from Visual Arts, who was just a businessman without much personal interest in ADV, became interested after Kanon. Aside from inventing the nakige (naki game, which means "crying game") genre, it awakened in players a desire for longer scenarios as necessary to deepen their attachment to the heroines. But its most significant role is being the first major moege (moe game) at a time when the term "moe" wasn't even very well known.

    2000:
    - The doujin NVL Tsukihime comes out, and its quality lets it rank among the very top, if not at the very top, of both scenarioge and charage. See Popular Views on What Defines the Chuuni Genre for more info on the influence of Type-Moon's works.

    2000-2006:
    - Now that Kanon and Tsukihime have come out, it seems like a dam bursts and a flood of popular and influential ADV/NVL are released. There are comparatively fewer in 2001, with the most notable ones in my mind being Kiminozo and Kazokei. But in 2002 you have Ever17, Higurashi, Kusarihime, Baldr Force, Hello world, Da Capo, and others. And every year after that just has more and more top quality ADV/NVL. The biggest year is 2004, which sees the release of both Clannad and Fate/stay night (successors to Kanon and Tsukihime, respectively).
    - Around the middle of the decade, the term "visual novel" is invented among English speaking fans of these games, and basically refers to any game which has an ADV/NVL-style interface and a strong and constant narrative. Since the rest of the world directly bypassed the early history of Japanese eroge and ADV/NVL, they didn't bother with the origins of these styles of games, and just chose a term which seemed to more naturally describe the most famous and representative ADV/NVL. Since then, the term "visual novel" has been recognized by the Japanese too, although the broader Japanese playerbase still commonly thinks that VN is synonymous with "adventure game". In any case, the term is excellent and I like it.
    - Over the course of this decade, the major tropes and popular genres of VNs, which were mostly foreshadowed in the late 1990s, are firmly established and standardized. They include TIPs, unlockable routes/end, true ends, bad ends, hidden heroines, time loops/leaps, moe, chuuni, nakige, utsuge, imouto games, and many more. The diverse and awkward gameplay of the 1980s and 1990s more or less disappears.
    - Meanwhile, many of the most successful eroge companies like Key, Type-Moon, and Leaf/Aqua-Plus successfully rebrand themselves and reduce their focus on adult content for the sake of marketing their works to the rest of the Japanese "otaku" industries. They adopt the label of "bishoujo game maker". Many of their most popular IPs (intellectual properties) receive anime adaptations or evolve into multimedia franchises, with "Fate" being the most famous example. On the other hand, as these industries embrace VNs, they also learn from them and try to emulate that same appeal within their own IPs; Fate/stay night is especially influential as a progenitor of the "chuuni" genre.

    2006:
    - Statistically, eroge sales begin to decline. The industry itself doesn't immediately begin to decline, though, because investors take time to notice and react to such trends, companies are still in the midst of developing games, and they will try to shift strategies to fight the trend. The decline in sales won't slow down until 2012.

    WHY

    Causes of the trend? This was fiercely debated for years and still hasn't been completely settled. But it's more or less clear.

    VNs served as a creative outlet without rivals for several years.

    At first, in the early 1990s, nobody expect much from eroge. But as we entered the later part of the decade, that changed. Eroge was always a venue for weird and exciting scenarios that wouldn't be accepted elsewhere, and it was easier than ever to make quality audiovisual experiences, with multiple free or cheap VN engines available. Writers like Maeda Jun and Nasu took advantage of the medium's ease of entry, along with the freedom of expression it afforded. It was a fresh, mature alternative to the LN industry. However, that didn't last forever. Major publishers in other mediums distilled the parts of eroge that appealed most to players: the nakige components, the moe components, the fanservice and unapologetic harems, the handy sci-fi tropes, the balloon breasts. Everything except the deep emotional and mental investment that's only possible with literature. And of course, the mature themes and content.

    Above all, what VNs brought to the table was no longer as fresh to people. Without a sense of excitement, the fact that VNs require people to sit down and actually read continuously for hours became... problematic. The era of smartphones and social media also heralded the era of low attention spans. People came to think that "adventure games" = "boring". This was coupled with the fact that more and more people play bishoujo games on their smartphones, and who wants to play eroge in public?

    Waifu/husbando social games like Fate/Grand Order and Granblue Fantasy dealt especially heavy blows to players' interest in VNs. They let players pick between countless more waifus and husbandos than VNs, have more exciting plots to engage casual players (not some ordinary school life drama), have the slutty outfits and exaggerated figures of nukige heroines, continually put out new content for the most popular characters, let you put your waifu/husbando in your home screen so you can constantly look at her, and tap on the portrait of her/him to hear some flirty line voiced by a popular anime seiyuu. They even copied the feature of some VNs where you can give your favorite hero or heroine chocolates on Valentine's Day or White Day. The proof is in the recent anime Chuubyou Gekihatsu Boy where the "guy who's only interested in 2D girls" stereotype no longer involves VNs on a PSP, but rather depicts a social game on a phone. To be frank, even the latest Fire Emblem game probably makes VNs less appealing by comparison. The main draw of VNs was always the cute and flirty heroines and romance, but these elements have been thoroughly exported.

    The exact same situation arose with Japanese web novels on the site Shousetsuka ni Narou. An initial wave of authors pioneered new genres with certain distinctive tropes, most of them related to isekai, and started a trend which has dominated the Japanese web novel scene. But the mainstream LN industry quickly learned and started to put out its own isekai LNs, as well as aggressively recruit these authors (who naturally didn't object to being paid for what they'd initially put out for free online). A few years later, Narou's talents have more or less moved out, and the stories at the top of the popularity charts haven't been supplanted by any new talents. In any case, the major difference between Narou and the VN industry is that Narou authors are overall much better off with editors, whereas the transition from VNs to LNs/anime is absolutely a creative downgrade.

    WHAT DO

    1. Copy FGO.

    Social games are a natural evolution of the appeal of many VNs. Unfortunately, they're also largely vapid experiences with have less voice acting, silent protagonists, a massive cast of heroines who receive little character development, a disjointed narrative, a story that's mostly dialogue and constantly interrupted by battles, and many other flaws that prevent them from achieving literary excellence.

    These games have invariably underestimated how popular they'll become and worked with cheap art assets and flimsy storytelling, only to fix this by hiring better artists and writers for the more recent arcs of their ongoing main storylines. However, even those recent arcs are still shallow experiences compared to VNs. The best they can do is have good comedy--no one will ever feel as empathetic toward the characters as they do in VNs.

    But of course, despite the problems with social games' storytelling, they are still... inevitable. They will still successfully rake in cash from people with personalities prone to gambling addiction. So one VN company after another has tried to become the next FGO. Eushully, light, August, Key, Lilith, Frontwing, Nitroplus and many others have pursued social games, virtually all of which failed to really take off like FGO--in part because they weren't very well-made, and in part because the Fate franchise is more popular with more devoted fans.

    Frankly, this solution has been thoroughly pursued by all sorts of VN companies, and we know exactly what happens: it fails unless they're very lucky.

    2. Give up.

    This is a wise and fine choice. The river of life flows ever onward. Sometimes it's best to accept defeat.

    3. Make NOT a visual novel.

    Be Kodaka Kazutaka. Start from the idea that you want to make an adventure game. Then to appease your producer, call it a detective game instead, and add a 3D world with gameplay that takes place within it while occupying a lot of the player's time, so it in no way feels like a pure ADV. Make the narrative largely dialogue-driven. Write in a way that wastes less time on subtlety and imagery and takes more advantage of humor, twists, and action. Then call it Danganronpa and be successful, while feeling that you tricked the world by making an adventure game with the quality storytelling of an adventure game that doesn't feel like an adventure game.

    Too Kyo Games plans to water down a full-fledged ADV-quality scenario with meaningful realtime gameplay, by partnering with studios that actually know how to make fun games. It's a long-term experiment on tricking people into playing adventure games.

    4. Make a visual novel, but be better.

    Find a slightly new angle. Gather the A-Team. Target non-traditional markets. Cultivate one's prestige. In short, reorganize and rebrand. But still make a visual novel, with ordinary 2D art and probably little to no gameplay.

    The only problem is that people don't like VNs anymore because smartphones shrunk their brains until they had flea-sized attention spans. So at best, such "better" VNs will simply exist in the top tier of modern VNs, able to survive and maybe make a little profit. These are VNs for the sake of creators who want to stay in the VN industry despite how comparatively little it pays.

    Aniplex.exe, a new VN brand started under Aniplex that Makura staff like Sca-ji are involved with, seems to fall under this category. They're identifying as makers of "novel games" probably because that sounds more respectable these days than bishoujo game. I'm frankly more interested in Sca-ji's other still unannounced projects (but that's just because I'm not personally a fan of Konno Asta or Umihara Nozomu).

    5. Copy FGO, but EVOLVE.

    Before Light's "Pantheon" mobile game died mid-development, Masada planned for it to have a substantial scenario. That kind of story would fatally clash, like matter and dark matter, with social games as they exist today. Unless they rethought the entire premise from scratch, I assume they'd have to at the very least dilute such a lengthy narrative into segments with constant breaks, rewards, and mini-games. And they'd have to make a tough choice about whether they seriously want to market it for smartphones, or stick to PC like Granblue Fantasy.

    It's easier to not evolve or just give up. But moreover, I think industry veterans are just pissed off and unable to accept that something as amazing as VNs can't find its consumers anymore. So they will struggle. Visual Arts will struggle, for sure. Key pretended to be half-dead in their 20th anniversary message, but they were actually hard at work. They've let Maeda take on the scenario of a high budget smartphone game called "Heaven Burns Red". Will he be able to do for social games with "Heaven Burns Red" what he did for VNs with "Kanon"? I'm not too optimistic, since I haven't seen any indication that the overall story concept was Maeda's.

    6. ???

    To quote Sca-ji, a writer who's qualified to talk about the unique worth of eroge, from late October: "People across various otaku industries have said, 'I want the wonderful culture of eroge to stay alive.' They're going out of their way and doing many things to make that happen. If I'm pessimistic, this might be our last chance to revive this industry, so I'm cheering them on. Do your best. ... People around their late twenties to thirty years old have started to take positions of power in society, praising eroge and doing many things for us."

    ZZZ

    「Kanon」や「CLANNAD」「Angel Beats!」など…「泣きゲー」からアニメ原作まで、美少女IPを仕掛け続けた28年! ビジュアルアーツのユニークなブランド戦略と経営思想を馬場隆博社長に聞いてみた
    『ダンガンロンパ』、『東京クロノス』、『グノーシア』の開発者が語る。「アドベンチャーゲームは滅ぶのか?」緊急座談会
    「なぜエロゲ業界は衰退してるのか」 それをまとめた画像が話題にwwwww
    https://twitter.com/gannbattemasenn/status/1015644154271973376
    https://enty.jp/avestan
    https://twitter.com/sca_di
    https://vndb.org/

    EPILOGUE

    A new decade is upon is, and we're in the midst of a wave of 20th anniversaries that inevitably prompt retrospection.

    What I'm keeping an eye on, out of concern for the industry, as we enter it:
    - Too Kyo Games
    - Heaven Burns Red (unveiling on February 28) and Visual Arts as a whole
    - Sca-ji's Twitter account
    - Aniplex.exe as a whole
    - Any news from Masada about new publishers for Pantheon
    - Major non-adult scenarioge companies like Spike-Chunsoft and Mages (they may absorb some talent or try to carry on eroge culture)
    - Any actual new VNs from Nasu, like the Tsukihime remake

    ADDENDUM I: A Note on Death VS Decline (added 1/28)

    Spoiler

     

    I just read an interview where Yoshimune responds to claims of the "death" of VNs. His response minimizes people's concerns, and I understand why he said it, but it still triggered me a little, so I want to talk about this.

    Yeah, there is no immediate indication that the VN niche will die out completely in favor of other types of otaku media like social games.

    For example, there are at least 2 mainstays of the VN industry that I personally consider very secure:
    1. Lighthearted moege like Yuzusoft's VNs (because the kind of deep sexual and emotional intimacy you find in these VNs has earned itself a loyal consumer base)
    2. Labors of love (typically scenario-oriented games put out by talented teams who have a history working in the industry and don't want to leave it)

    Death and decline are different. But when people say "death" it's really only hyperbole for "decline". And the industry is undeniably in decline. The absolute top tier of VNs, the most culturally impactful and wonderful works out there, were only possible because for a brief time the entire otaku industry seemed to revolve around VNs, but that time has ended (due to, as I just outlined, shifts in the rest of the otaku industry and in consumer interests).

    Even intuitively you can't deny the VN industry has declined, because in the past VNs were popular and prestigious, and now that enthusiasm has waned. Companies like Key, that benefited most from prestige, suffered the steepest relative downturn.

    Many major writers around the end of the 2000s had ambitious plans for new VNs, but those plans went up in smoke and the VNs never materialized, in part because there was no money anymore, in part because the writers were seduced into other industries. Taiyou no Ko, Shoujobyou, Conquistador, and Occultum are the names of just a few of those now-mythical high-profile projects.

    Muv-Luv Alternative would not have been funded, if someone wanted to make it in today's VN industry. That's also why Muv-Luv Alternative 2 never went anywhere (until recently, when age suddenly seemed revitalized). In short, you simply can't create in today's industry what you could in 2004's industry, even if there are creators who want to do so. The funds aren't there, and many of the major creators aren't there, because VNs don't sell as well anymore. That's what it means to have declined. And it's a serious issue, because the whole point of VNs is play kamige. Ten thousand average manga aren't worth a single One Piece.

     

     

  11. 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

  12. 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).

    • 1
      entry
    • 0
      comments
    • 205
      views

    Recent Entries

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

  13. 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

  14. (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.

     

     

  15. 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 )

    LHgks6r.png

    From left to right we have Yoru, Mikoto and Takeru

    XMwLtFK.png

    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.

    79xcsrI.png

    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.

    xPl1cHp.png

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

    7N02K6R.png

    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.

    jB2mdHD.png

    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.

  16. 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?!

    dHZo0Ey.png

  17. 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

    5LcRHfU.png

    ???: "Don't forget"

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

    LzbXcxc.jpg

    ???" "Bang..."

    And then we go to the less abstract real world.

    gsnkMvZ.jpg

    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

    kySN5A6.jpg

    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

    mPRy33E.jpg

    "Suddenly my reading was interrupted"

    O27nUmj.jpg

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

    9ASW6WF.jpg

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

    2lQVCUo.jpg

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

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

    r1mYxJP.jpg

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

    bEMaCBR.jpg

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

    Lt8Bx9b.jpg

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

    yqpBELZ.jpg

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

    WoUTGfG.jpg

    "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)

    d7rNvpj.jpg

    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.

    ZQpv6WU.png

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

    TkXFaUK.jpg

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

    Sdg3eIo.jpg

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

    6dbGmr8.jpg

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

    pQ61QSY.jpg

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

    VET0MBc.jpg

    "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.

    QmKWxHa.jpg

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

    gOSNxiS.jpg

    "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.

    L701VNj.jpg

    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."

    iwbZVe5.jpg

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

    5v1RAl0.jpg

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

    DkvM5Mt.jpg

    Kanata: "Huh, me?"

    B9WUfE8.jpg

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

    NqBeTRG.jpg

    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...

    f154CRW.jpg

    Touka: *panting*

    sinIgv8.jpg

    Touka: "Hide me!"

    04KYnVf.jpg

    Touka: "I'm being chased!"

    cz4abNq.jpg

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

    K6ELKoc.jpg

    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.

    3FiA578.jpg

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

    Ta8BJn2.jpg

    Touka: "...hey"

    RkDlPo2.jpg

    Kanata: "Shh! What?"

    fPuLhH1.jpg

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

    elquJm4.jpg

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

    xelwjob.jpg

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

    5Qe9yp9.jpg

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

    S7x5nZk.jpg

    Touka: "Hmmm... is that so"

    QglF29X.jpg

    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.

    LCl1L5s.jpg

    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

    2Lo7MhE.jpg

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

    MHASJWZ.jpg

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

    t8bGZFE.jpg

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

    dBegrkh.jpg

    Touka: "Whaaaat?! Really?"

    mjkuDit.jpg

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

    eF8StN1.jpg

    Kanata: "Wrong."

    Hbp21F2.jpg

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

    Well, she got it right, but backwards.

    1RTcRlh.jpg

    Kanata: "Now you're just guessing blindly"

    LQa0xo8.jpg

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

    gicscQX.jpg

    Kanata: "Right in front of you"

    C8nTpli.jpg

    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.

    4b4DK6w.jpg

    Touka: "My name is Araya Touka"

    XIkb2CM.jpg

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

    yBbCXUS.jpg

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

    WMqvdDa.jpg

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

    rUcW0JL.jpg

    Touka: "I see, I see"

    WRYl5ta.jpg

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

    sKkiXKU.jpg

    Touka: "So tell me your name"

    t3Tupg5.jpg

    Kanata: "...Kurono Kanata"

    0rEByT8.jpg

    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".

    EVNPpfX.jpg

    Touka: "Kanatacchi"

    enMwCED.jpg

    Kanata: "Drop the "cchi""

    CxYnKaU.jpg

    Touka: "Kanata, then"

    SGj7srd.jpg

    Kanata: "You didn't add a honorific"

    zA9zG9M.jpg

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

    SFHLVU1.jpg

    Touka: "So then, Kanata"

    cdzTbTO.jpg

    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.

    41xtwHe.jpg

    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.

    1gF0Jwb.jpg

    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.

    QVWoTc9.jpg

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

    LNlgk82.jpg

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

    4preKAA.jpg

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

    BvlJd5a.jpg

    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.

    TCrCM2p.jpg

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

    Fwpm3DF.jpg

    Touka: "It was interesting"

    k2vQY3c.jpg

    Touka: "Really interesting"

    Md2AMiH.jpg

    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.

    aE4bDgm.jpg

    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.

    0NB8qE6.jpg

    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:

     

    • 1
      entry
    • 2
      comments
    • 379
      views

    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

    Zi93zSk.png

    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

    Related image

    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

    da_capo008.jpg

    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.

  18.  

    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

    December 2019

    Seven Days

    September 2018

    January 2019

    Not yet delivered

    Aokana

    June 2019

    December 2019

    Not yet delivered

    • 1
      entry
    • 0
      comments
    • 355
      views

    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

    More Info Here

  19. 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.

    screenshot0002

    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.

    screenshot0035

    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.

    screenshot0003

    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.

    screenshot0002

    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.

    screenshot0002

    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.

    screenshot0002

    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.

    screenshot0002

    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.

    screenshot0001

    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.

    screenshot0007

    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.

  20. 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.

    QjdHEYT.png

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

    uLdz69f.png

    Finally a game I can empathise with.

    t8KgsEy.png

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

    cCRWXQz.png

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

    azdzAHP.png

    Bless you.

    QEO7KwK.png

    I don't even like oysters.

    kdBfrhu.png

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

    gh3BVsU.png

    The face of innocence.

    l8tBtWK.png

    Operation: "Call her tiny"

    g7Q47WR.png

    What slander.

    T6hvZDW.png

    Sluggo is lit 8)

    SqOHuOF.png

    You have my tacit agreement.

    qWSBqhc.png

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

    C9tJOYG.png

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

    bzg1TZB.png

    We needed to fill our quote of quintessentially Japanese conversations.

    5HhdSK3.png

    Whatever. Femininity isn't worth this...

    JoMRnbx.png

    Today's youth is hitting tragic levels of cynicism.

    Ui3zXs3.png

    These things happen... you know.

    p4LkOUt.png

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

    cqlp6wH.png

    Alas... Farewell, Reggie.

    I587pH0.png

    The (not tiny) face of innocence.

    oi75I12.png

    People should fix their habits of asking questions before thinking.

    s1lM487.png

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

    GeB8WnX.png

    A nice, polite talk between nice, polite girls.

    4je4p9L.png

    I do love a protagonist capable of talking back.

    noDUc5j.png

    How he is loved by his junior.

    A story in two parts:

    kBhyUQ4.png

    boCqVi2.png

     

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

    m0So7BE.png

    9JarZx9.png

    DwwcFkN.png

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

    U0o4jWz.png

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

    HHcEpeL.png

    Croak

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

    • 4
      entries
    • 0
      comments
    • 1210
      views

    Recent Entries

    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…

×