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Today, I made the most famous Karaage (から揚げ). I do make this often and today I thought why not start a blog with this delicious content.
Spoiler: I didn't let my chicken rest enough so it had some excess potato starch on it... but the heck with it.
- Corn/Potato Starch
- Ginger (just a bit! we will only use the sweet juices)
- Soy Sauce
- Chicken ( cut them a bit larger than your normal bites, as it has a lot of fiber so it will shrink when frying)
Secret frying process:
Fry them 3 times. For best results go with 2 min on 190C, then let them rest for 1 minute. fry them again on 190C this time for 1 min, rest 30 sec. and then once again 1 minute on 190C.
I couldn't be bothered this time, probably also the reason why I have still corn on my finished product. It still tasty af tho.
Tip: use Japanese 7 spice mix (七味唐辛子) on your mayo.
Here is a video of me actually making it. unedited. (I didn't film the whole frying process as I couldn't be bothered...)
Enjoy the Cringe : )
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Disclaimer: I played the recent fan translation and from my (limited) knowledge of Japanese, I found it to be quite accurate. I was actually surprised by how the translator made certain sentences work and I can't recall an instance where I thought the translation looked strange.
When Hajimete no Okaa-san's fan translation came out, it caused a tiny yet significant uproar on certain visual novel related communities. The English idiom that spans over a century - don't judge a book by its cover - could possibly have been created for this very moment. I hope that by writing this review, I can clear up any misconceptions about this novel, teach you to not judge a work by its outward appearance and give you the courage to read a truly touching story.
Dealing with the loss of a loved isn't easy, no matter if you're an adult or a child, and even more so if the person in question is an irreplaceable person that you've vowed eternity to or that defines your complete existence.
When our unnamed protagonist, who I will refer to as "Papa", loses his beloved wife to a traffic accident, he is left with the troublesome task of single parenting. Confronting the sorrows of one who has been turned into pure white ash, he finds solace in the one and only person who could understand him and also the one who might be suffering the most - his one and only daughter Chiyori (Chii).
Hajimete no Okaa-san is a very special Visual Novel. Unlike the disappointing standard of recent releases, it treats both its audience and characters with the respect they deserve. The most significant difference between this novel and the many others is the fact that its willing to portray the characters as real human beings. Please allow me to mention that there exist only eight translated visual novels with the "Widower Protagonist" and likely no other that focuses as deeply on the theme of single parenting.
The rather simplistic approach to emotions is surprisingly expressive, although one could argue about the emotional depth of a 6-year old, I was able to completely grasp both the personality of Chii through the brilliant performance of seiyuu Amakawa Milk (a respectable veteran in her own right with a wide palette of roles) and the internal monologues of Papa.
The beginning is rather surprising. The amount of effort that the creators have put into this work is nearly palpable, often leaving one surprised at how nicely written and how well the narrative flows. Starting with ordinary slice-of-life scenes, we're thrown into the daily life of Papa and her daughter Chii. Starting with the smallest things like learning how to write hiragana and her own name in Kanji, the basics of arithmetic, giving up one's fork and knife and mastering the use of chopsticks - they are all endearing moments that help us connect with Chii as a character and reminding us of times long past of our childhood when everything was much simpler. It is this genuine and pure simplicity that initially made this novel stand out.
In contrast to this feeling, enter "Chii wa kodomo janai!" - Chii is no longer a child. Her own desire to find a way to deal with her own sorrows, all the while supporting the one person she loves most in her world, one of the most satisfying factors of reading through this novel is observing Chii's maturity as a character.
Despite the more lighthearted scenes, the novel is plentiful with well-timed drama which never for a moment felt excessive or artificial. Papa is stuck in a constant internal moral debate which at times stops him from realising the suffering of those who are right in front of his eyes.
As far as storytelling goes, one of the biggest attributes ishow the reader has the freedom to change the course of the story (albeit into premature ends). As for this aspect, I would like to divide the story in three or four parts (I will just say that the forth part is a Web Omake, essentially a short epilogue that portrays the life of our two, now three characters after the events of the main game).
The first being the first two hours where we accompany the characters until the inevitable H-scene. Here, the reader is given the choice to not go through it at all and completely avoid the H-scene, ending the game prematurely. To not give in to his dark desires and not abandoning one's morals, is too a possible answer that Papa can find.
The second part and probably the longest, accompanies our two characters as their relationship develops. The most important aspect that I'd like to bring up is that the whole theme of pregnancy is treated. In many eroge, pregnancy is either completely ignored, allowing our most likely 16-year old protagonist to let out his seed without any worries in the world, or treated as an afterthought, perhaps featured in one last H-scene before the game ends. In this novel, not only do we see their relationship flourish but the passage of time, told by the growth of Chii's belly and change of hairstyle (over five different character sprites!), shows us that this is aspect that is willing to be embraced, often being the case for worry for our protagonist.
At the end of the second part, the reader is given another important choice: to go beyond mere carnal desires and a parent's desire to protect his child and thus taking their relationship to the next level, or to once again fall into self-hatred and not take responsibility for one's actions. Thus begins the third part: "I want Papa to always be by my side". While perhaps as long as the first part, it's perhaps the one with the most emotional impact. Vowing to combat loneliness, Papa and Chii realise that being surrounded by the people you love is far more important than having a peaceful life. Chii does not become a replacement - she is her own person and the most important thing in the world to our protagonist. As long as two people can love each other, that is more than enough.
And as long as there is love, there is warmth. A new family is born. The two become three, the warmth keeps rising and it spreads to others around. When I finished reading Hajimete no Okaa-san, I felt a warmth deep inside of me because I realised I had just been through a really special experience. With this review, I hope that I convinced you to read this beautiful story and too come to have warmth in your heart. Thank you for reading.
https://imgur.com/a/FpPkAxp (This might be a little of a spoiler so I won't post it as an image, but it's the last and most impactful scene of the novel)
I am open to criticism and would be happy if you could help me improve as a reviewer.
I see it in tld VN chats all the time. "I read flowers, I read kindred spirits on the roof and I read half of katahane and dropped it. What gay girls can I read next?"
Why, I have just the answer for you. Spend 4 hours reading yuukuri panic escalation then despair at the lack of yuri once more. Also, finish Katahane!
Yuukuri panic escalation tells the story of Rie-chan - a shy, reserved and easily flustered girl with a traumatic(?) past who moves to a christian boarding school, can play the piano and ultimately finds gay love.
This might seem similar to flowers to you, but it's not. That would be an insult to this masterpiece. You might think I'm overselling this, but does Flowers have a spiked dildo they call the lance of longinus?
I thought not.
Rie-chan is a good girl who liked her sensei, but was too scared to fuck him. Then sensei fucked her mom instead and now she's in an all-girls school to get away from this two-sided betrayal.
Rie doesn't really know what sex is or how you do it, which is pretty funny given how she's in heat all the time.
Random oji-san from mind control harem fantasy game move away, this is probably the horniest protagonist out of any eroge I've read, despite her not knowing what masturbation is. Literally immediately orgasms from seeing two girls go at it for a second, despite not understanding why people do lewd things.
It's quite funny seeing her wanting to masturbate but not knowing how to. Poor girl. They use drugs on her at a point, but it makes her reactions no different from normal H scenes, probably because she's a bunny in heat all the time.
There are two routes in this game. You can choose to have Rie-chan be dominated by the cool, elegant onee-sama or by the girl the onee-sama normally dominates. The latter is unexpectedly hotter. Sex scenes are all SM, but really mild SM. Still good, though. Protagonist's VA is also great for some reason.
Game actually has a lot of plot twists, despite being so short. Finishing every ending should take about an hour and a half.
"But Kaguya, what's up with that 80's arcade gameplay you talked about earlier?"
Well, as you've probably figured out, it's where the rest of your 2 and a half hours will be sunk if you so choose to go that way.
See, this game's story doesn't have enough space for all the sex scenes they wanted to put in, so instead they made a whole different side game that has its own story (that is mainly an excuse to put a bunch of random sex scenes together.)
Characters are all the same, but to reach the sex scenes you must play qix over CGs that lose their clothes as you progress while the girls talk about how good your gameplay is (of course in a very sexual way.)
This is a surprisingly good yuri porn game no one ever talks about (probably because everyone who read it read it 10 years ago. I know I had forgotten all about it until I saw it in my old notebook recently.)
Please try it out.
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In response to my friend @Mr Poltroon's grammatically-questionable-but-nevertheless-generous patronage, I've decided to utilize my artistic skills and produce a drawing that does justice to his favorite character, Kilometers Edgeworth.
In short, I labored to reproduce the following piece that I found on an insider artists' hub known as Google Images:
(I forgot to replace the transparency in his eyes with whiteness, so please don't use a dark skin or he'll look scary and deformed.)
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Magical Marriage Lunatics is an rom-com VN with heavy moe elements bought to you by the same company and scenario writer as the fan-favorite Princess Evangile, and available for purchase at MangaGamer.
Plot / main theme of the VN is pretty thin; There are a total of 6 Heroines. The protagonist slipped into 4 alternate dimensions when he was a child and each time he met a girl there (btw this part is never fully explained; He simply just slips into the other dimensions in the past and the VN left it at that). Some weak excuse of an encounter happened afterwards and he made marriage pacts with them (The last 2 girls' pacts were made on earth realm). After coming to age, the 6 girls approached the protagonist all at once to make good of the pact made, but he must choose only 1 among the 6.
First of all, I must say the most important thing to do in order to enjoy this game is to come into it with a blank state of mind and without expectations. I was sorely disappointed with this VN because I am a big P.E fan and I came into the VN expecting something similar in quality. Suffice to say, MML is nowhere near that. The breakdown:
Graphics - Very moe in nature with hi-res colourful artwork, high contrast (overly so imo), and very cute heroine design:
Not much to say here; It's a moe lover's dream come true, while people like @VirginSmasher will hate it
Music - Average in quality. Much like P.E, not bad overall, but nothing particularly memorable or catchy to me.
Characters - Not bad. The heroines are cute and likeable. The protagonist is written decently but his character is cliche-filled and nothing special about him stood out.
Storyline - This is the part which disappointed me the most; It lacks depth, and the quality is nowhere near the likes of P.E at all. The biggest issue is the common route is excruciatingly boring. It's mainly just a bunch of random events which was very uninterestingly written and has almost nothing to do with the main theme of the VN; the marriage pacts. The storyline is not structured very well too imo; at the start, you meet all 6 girls and are given some thin backstory on the marriage pacts ---> SoL common route ----> choose a route to go into. End of story. Little effort, too, was given to develop the backstory between the Protagonist and the girls.
The routes are better, but mainly because the common route is so bad it makes them look so. The quality of the writing here is nothing special and full of cliches. Not even close to P.E standard.
This title also requires you to suspend your disbelief very heavily as it makes no attempts at all at being even remotely realistic (although I know this is a work of fiction, I still can't stomach the fact a talking bat can just waltz into our realm, talk to normal people, and even go shopping out in the open without causing anything near to a commotion). A lot of the story also makes heavy use of deux machina and feels very random; for instance events that happen inside a particular route (an example being what happened in the incident between the protagonist and Luce's father and his army after he revisited their realm in Luce's route) will go completely unmentioned elsewhere.
Overall, I do not recommend this title even to moege lovers. At 45 USD, it isn't cheap and there are a ton of better moeges out there in the market you can get at this price (or cheaper). While it's not a bad VN overall, comparatively it just can't compete. Only consider this VN if you can come in blank and without expectations. Otherwise, you will inevitably compare it to other (better) titles, notice the flaws, and be sorely disappointed with your purchase.
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About a year and a half ago, I completed the Suda51 title, Killer is Dead. I honestly am not sure what happened but I will do my best to sort it out. Despite me not knowing really what was happening, something aside from the mediocre gameplay kept me going. It was the ａｅｓｔｈｅｔｉｃｓ. I'm done with that bit now btw.
The whole point of this post isn't to discuss the story or the quality of the game Killer is Dead, but rather to examine the art style and how it made me want to complete the game. Killer is Dead is a hack and slash game from the mind of Suda51. Opinions on his ability to craft a good game aside, his art direction tends to be on the more creative side. The art of Killer is Dead is why I set aside my qualms I had for the gameplay and story and found myself continuing to play it to completion. Take David for example...
He some sort of king or something living on the dark side of the moon. But what stands out to me isn't his story. It's his god damn gold clothes. When the first major boss of the game looks like this, I cannot help but be intrigued. I honestly remember nothing about David except that the little shit shows up and ruins breakfast at one point in the game while wearing a stupid shit eating grin as shown here.
This is a man set on ruining your breakfast. I think he might have been your brother or something but he time traveled and killed your mom at breakfast . But lets take a look at some of the other screenshots from the game.
I honestly don't remember what any of these are from in the game, but the actual visuals of the game are what stick with me after all this time. Not the gameplay, or the story, but just the visuals. That leads me to my rambling point that I haven't argued. Graphics can totally be the only thing a game has going for it and that is fine. Killer is Dead is a prime example of this. The gameplay is forgettable, while the story is only memorable because it is driven entirely by the unique art direction of the game. Killer is Dead was entirely worth the time and money I spent on the game for one reason: it was so damn interesting to look at.
Now I want to look at a more mainstream example of a game with a strong, unique, direction of art. Persona 5. Now now, I am not shitting on the game right now. That is for an upcoming blog post. But, when we get down into the nitty gritty details of the gameplay of the sequel, it really isn't much of a step forward for the Persona series as a whole. Some interviews from the development team likened to jump from 4 to 5 like the jump from the P2 duology to Persona 3 . What we got, however, was just an expanded 4 with most mechanics renamed and a mild rehash of the story from 4. What makes the game seem as if it is a completely new leap forward for Persona, in my eyes, is the amazingly slick visuals and art direction. The art sets the game completely apart from Persona 3 and 4 with character cut ins and super stylized labels and text. Persona 5, unlike Killer is Dead, has much more solid gameplay that actually does hold up on its own without the eye popping art direction.
I'm not so sure that if Killer is Dead featured a more bland style of art, that I would remember it, or even finished it. Lets take another Suda51 game as an example; Lollipop Chainsaw. I never could finish the game. The game's poor frame rates and some what repetitive gameplay killed it for me, but what had kept me going was the candy popping colors of the game. Then I got stuck on some part and stopped caring, but before that, the art direction, once again, had kept me going in that pretty mediocre game.
What is the final point I want to make? Well, that I am a fucking idiot that lets pretty colors dictate what games I finish and what I set aside. Also look at this unicorn from Killer is Dead
So I recently finished playing "Tales of Berseria" (JRPG game by Bandai Namco) and I thought I would round up my thoughts about the game here (the review should be mostly spoiler free, otherwise notify me and I'll change it).
The story tells the tale of young Velvet Crowe and her adventurous crew (surmounting to 6 by the end of the game) who set out to put an end to a trauma of Velvet's past by all manner of means, ranging from fishing and cooking to straight up fighting. Well mostly the latter. You see while you might be fooled by an early cutesy introduction the meat of the game is truly in its dark undertones which, for a game with a age rating of 16, is a fair amount of the content.
I found also that the content was fairly philosophical at times (perhaps not in the amount of some VNs though). In the game you namely find yourself fighting between different values, ideas and perspectives, something the game manages in my opinion to do with fluidity and better than most games and VNs. This philosophy comes from the intimite and delicate relation the game places between cutscenes, extra dialogue (dialogue you can choose to straight up never open) and world building in which you get to take a part of not a straight up philosophy lesson but instead a smaller amount of nit picks of philosophy. In this regard I found the game interesting above the brute force gameplay and story (we will get to that later) and found myself able to enjoy not skipping every single dialogue line, something I admittedly find myself doing all too often in games.
The story is very good and interesting throughout the whole game, if somewhat trope-ish (what can one expect from a JRPG game?) and while the story never managed to grab me to the point of tears it certainly has its moments for both the ones liking darker and (somewhat) lighter storylines. Is this good? Well, perhaps. I personally did not really enjoy the sudden shift the game took towards the end to become so light namely and I sort of wished the story had stuck purely to the largely dark undertones it held in the beginning, since this shift sort of opened up the door for it being trope-ish for the (in my opinion good) ending. Did this largely influence my enjoyment? Certainly not, but just something to note for those not able to stand JRPGs love for tropes.
In terms of voice acting I can not speak for the English side but with Japanese voices the dialogue is very nicely voiced.
The fighting (which is 50%> of the game in my opinion) is focused on different, so called, artes (attacks basically) which have different effects, elements, level upgrading (..., I was literally still getting new tutorial messages for fights 1 hour before the, ~40-ish hour, game ended). If you are like me however you will notice the little blue bar (so called "souls") next to people's faces and that is, truth be told, the MVP meter, 80% of your time will be spent waiting for this to go up to three bars and then pressing R to do some, so called, break soul ability, which is basically code name for stun lock, invincibility frames and damage central (if you want some NG+ level fighting, I am not your guy, I am the R spammer). If you do not have this bar filled you will be in the living hell mode, where you can get stun locked into the next century and can get absolutely destroyed by different AI unless you run around in circles (blocking does exist but did not work very well in my experience compared to dashing away) and wait for your blue bar (basically working as a stamina bar) to refill by attacking with basic artes and running.
Is the fighting enjoyable? Yes. Is it repetitive? Yes, especially if you need to farm for levels where your life basically becomes turning down the volume to next to nought to not have to use hearing aid in the near future due to the EXTREMELY loud battle sounds (one reason I cannot really speak for the music) and getting perhaps slightly bored of seeing the same cat on a wand for the 30th time. Personally I would have perhaps liked some other battle system (with an lessened focus on stuns and the "souls" (stamina bar) and an increased focus on leveling) but I can also see the enjoyment it brings when you absolutely destroy your enemies with OP and nice animated powers. Beware however, the AOE stun of doom is real in this game so if you screw up your blue bar of destiny you are a bit in the toilet when an enemy does an AOE of half the battleground and you can neither run away, get up your souls (since it takes forever to do so) or attack (due to the extreme damage some bosses do).
In terms of bosses the game too offers a wide arrange, though arguably they are later on narrowed down in terms of difficulty to their AOE attack size and ability to stun lock you and your AI friends (which are actually pretty good in my experience of not needlessly dying), since in my experience that is where the real trouble late game comes up and minor changes in attack patterns become minor.
The characters are also really enjoyable and funny, making me chuckle more than once and not making one character that one guy which is boring compared to the others. The relations between the different antagonists and characters later on get really interesting too, tying in nicely with good story overall.
In terms of graphics the game is generally really good, if perhaps somewhat randomly pixely at some points (I laughed when an antagonist got an 144p background randomly smashed up behind himself while he kept the same quality as the rest of the game). Out doors the quality stays pretty good too and most of the views of the game are pretty nice if looked from afar, if somewhat dulled out if you get close up.
Though focusing (perhaps too much) on the the battle system, Tales of Berseria is something to truly enjoy for its story and characters, which is something that brought me back to game and made the experience all the more worth it.
Ah, Assassins Creed, when did it go oh so wrong? Did you tire out your welcome with new entries to the series coming out every single year? Was it the repetitive missions and game play that carried from one game to the next? Or was it just because it wasn't interesting anymore? Could be all of them. Well, they're still making money with every new major Assassins Creed game so what do I know? I do know that after Black Flag came out in 2013 for the 360 I began to really not care about the series. I mean, Black Flag was the high point of the series. You played as a pirate with all the Assassins Creed mechanics plus new ones for the ship combat and movement. But the game itself has no real replay value because of the fucking insane amount of trailing missions the game throws at you. I don't remember these being an issue when first playing the game because I was an idiot but now it's so painfully obvious that this game can have the pace of a snail race in molasses on a cold winter morning. The pacing for the player feels forced as most missions rely on the pacing of others. You can't just jump down on people and say "HEY! Give me what I want or I will kill you!" NO! You have to tail the guy/guys until they reach their destination while also not being spotted in the process. One of the first missions in the game is fucking chasing someone and you will not catch them until the game wants you to.
Then you have the modern day stuff going on as you play a faceless nobody playing a simulation of a real world event. At least with Desmond the guy had some kind of arc going on. He was beginning to slowly understand he was having a bigger role in the world to saving it or destroying it. I actually like the real world events in Assassins Creed back in the day. It was a hell of a lot interesting than some faceless mute being told what to do every step of the way by either some voice in a headset or by that chick from Jurassic World
I wonder if Ubisoft was aware of what they were doing when creating the faceless muted character that you control from a first person perspective? You have no input on the events happening around you, you just go along without question. You literally have no voice for this big corporation and mindlessly play a game on a computer. Well, the jokes on them since my computer is such a piece of crap, I PLAYED ON THE 360! Take that, Ubisoft!
So you play a pirate name Jack pr something in a time when "Pirates are just looking for freedom." I mean, sure, there was a slight tad oppression on the people from the governments but don't try and spoon feed me shit about pirates just wanting to be free. You know, pirates? The ones that sailed the sea from port to port pillaging and killing anyone and everyone along the way. Those guys? Yeah, they were just looking for freedom from their understandable oppressive government.
But anyway, you play a man named James who impersonates an assassin and travel to where he was supposed to go in his stead because he will get money somehow. I forget what the point of this was. I do remember that when asked why he can climb stuff so well, Jake responds with "A true fisherman has each individual be as strong as a fishhooks." Sure, that explains everything. So Jeremy goes to the meeting and er... does a thing... and then gets a ship! The details are pretty fuzzy but Blackbeard is in it. I remember he died very differently from in real life... for some reason. No clue why. Maybe it was just so Juan can see him die. Well, Cleopatra is a sex symbol in Origins so it seems Ubisoft doesn't actually care about historical accuracy. Even though they claim these stories to be inspired by historical events.
Details are fuzzy, characters forgettable and overall, I just don't care about it anymore. I haven't played an AC game since this one for good reason. Even if they changed everything about AC I wouldn't care.
This post will contain mild spoilers (though nothing really happens in it, so it's not really spoilers) for the common route section. Because of the large amount of screenshots, I've decided to make Hiiragi's specific events their own segment. I might even divide it between her events and the talk conversations. And I think I'll leave my screenshot spam at that.Spoiler
Next day, we go walk the neighbour's dog, Sashimi, in the park. Unfortunately, he seems to be a bit... hyperactive, so to speak.
When we get to class, though, we are introduced to a concept hitherto unheard of.
Truly mysterious. The teacher agrees, though.
You don't say?
But class starts and a question is posed. Should we give up or seat on the bus or the train for an old lady? Well, of course we-
Ahh! Now this REAL morals. Debating ethics and issues on more than a superficial level.
What an orator.
Look at him successfully converting people to the dark side.
Including the teacher.
Crap! We're being called out on our BS.
Not a problem. We must simply change our argument a bit. What if
And so morals class ends with everyone praying these hypothetical situations never come to pass.
Next day, our dearest friend Genki tells us he's thinking of sneaking out of school to buy food outside. And we place our order...
What a mysterious currency. Since we obviously cannot pay in that foreign coin, let us devise a plan... A plan so sly you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel.
Later on, it seems Genki trying to get someone to give them a picture. I wonder what he could want them for...?
Well, if the pretty boy can't help, it's up to us, I guess.
We are, of course, a master of the art.
Some other day, Momo seems to be looking for a job. What would he need a job for?
Ah. But of course.
No. It's our turn first. But thankfully, a teacher comes by before a murder does take place, and he gives us a healthy done of reality. Good for reducing privilege.
Working in a convenience store:
Reality is harsh.
Later on, Genki seems to be lamenting about something.
Incidentally, I am looking for somebody to 'have a blast' with.
We then go to the arcade with some friends, and it's on our way there we realise,
We really how much to learn, especially about the English language.
Nah, just kidding. It's actually
Next day, the boys have awakened to stay-at-home dads are all the vogue, so they talk about raising children. Thankfully, the ever-helpful teach is there to tell us like it is. His wife after the first child:
Ohh. It's like he's a real teacher all of a sudden.
After school, we go with Momo to visit a store. Turns out Hiiragi was there.
She will make a 'delicacy' out of you. You need to install a filter between your brain and your mouth.
Which doesn't mean you're wrong, of course.
On the next day, we have a touching show of friendship.
Same tbh (Is that how the cool kids type these days? I went with 'ez' up above, too).
But the day goes on even without money. That's just our reality.
Desperate times call for desperate measure, I guess.
By next morning, though, desperate times are not yet over. We're running late.
But I no hot guy that never stress
Thankfully, we have a cunning plan before the disciplinary council member.
What a vile creature, this Genki. Attacking innocent pedestrians, and, more importantly,
...engaging in plagiarism!
But the day goes on and it's time for lunch.
That's mildly inconvenient.
Worse still, we had part-time after school.
Adult wisdom for our playboy.
Also, have some random screenshots I had no idea where to put:
The stuff would be gone. Yes it would. It would indeed.
Or maybe, by the time you get there, it will be gone.
Yes, yes. Very backed up, those shows.
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Chapter 3: Madness
The mastermind behind the Fuwanovel death game watched the two screens on the desk before him/her with a wicked smile.
"Seven dead already, heh. This is going well."
The video from the past two weeks of the battle royale had been playing on the screens in a loop for hours, with the faces of the four picked for the current week displayed on a different monitor above.
"Hehe. Now, let's see, what kind of arena should I put these four in?"
"Mind if I handle that?"
Taken completely aback by the presence of someone else in the control room, <??> nearly fell out of his/her chair.
"How the hell did you get in here?!"
"Hmph. You think your weak magic can control me? Please. I was bored, so I figured I'd join in on this weird game you have going on. So, with that said, I'll be taking over for a bit, heh."
With that, Clephas devoured <??>, trapping them in one of his stomachs.
"Now, let's have some fun. Hmm, these four, huh? Alright. Let's begin."
Using his powers to summon the four members from their cells, Clephas devoured them all in an instant.
The First Stomach - alden_0023 & Thatcomicguy
The first thing Thatcomicguy noticed was the smell of blood. Opening his eyes, he could tell that he was no longer in his cell.
"Come on... Was I picked again?"
Getting off the floor, he shook his head in frustration. He had fought for his life against another Fuwanovel user in the death game just two weeks before. He was hoping he would be able to avoid being picked again for at least a few more weeks. But, he had no such luck.
"Where the hell am I...?"
Looking around in confusion, he could tell he was in a classroom. The windows in the room were shattered, and the walls were riddled with holes and cracks. The floor was also badly damaged, covered in claw marks of all things.
What on earth had happened there before he woke up?
Noticing some rustling coming from the other side of the classroom, Thatcomicguy gripped his spear and got ready for a possible fight.
"Ugh, my head..."
Alden_0023 rubbed his forehead, slowly getting to his feet. The moment he spotted Thatcomicguy standing in the other side of the classroom, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
Then, in the next moment.
Drawing his bow with incredible speed, he sent an arrow flying through the room. Barely managing to block the arrow with his shield, Thatcomicguy started running through the room towards the door, trying to escape.
Another arrow flew towards him, barely missing his neck before digging into a nearby desk. Having reached the door, Thatcomicguy kicked it as hard as he could, making the door fly open. His hands were full because of his weapon and shield, and he had no time to spare, as Alden prepared another arrow.
But, the moment the door flew open, both men suddenly froze in place. It was a natural reaction. Anyone would be shocked by the sight that waited on the other side of that door.
A group of six small figures sat hunched over a corpse, happily chewing at its flesh. They had already eaten a great deal of the corpse, and their small bodies were covered in fresh blood.
"Wh-What... the fuck?"
The group of small girls suddenly stopped eating, and turned towards the two men in the classroom. While they might have looked like normal young girls at first glance, they had two features that no human child had. First, their teeth. The mouths of the girls were covered in shark like teeth, each tooth about ten centimeter in length. As a result, it was impossible for the girls to even close their mouths. Their eyes were glowing in a bright red color, and their pupils were completely gone. The entire eye was simply covered entirely in the red light.
"Cannibal... lolis... Seriously?"
Thatcomicguy uttered in a voice dyed in confusion and dread.
Realizing the situation was quite dire, Alden lowered his bow, and ran towards one of the broken windows along the classroom wall, then leapt through it.
"HEY! ARE YOU LEAVING ME WITH THESE THINGS?!"
Ignoring Thatcomicguy, Alden performed a forward flip in the air, then prepared his body for the fall. It seemed like the school they had woken up in was quite big, and they were on the sixth floor. But, contrary to his expectations, Alden's body did not fall at all. Instead, he was pulled up, flying towards the roof of the school.
"What in the..."
Soaring up past classroom after classroom, Alden reached the roof of the building, but his body showed no signs of stopping. He was literally falling upwards.
Clicking his tongue, Alden grabbed a hold of the railing covering the school roof, managing to stop his "fall" in the last second. Pulling his body towards the roof, he gripped the railing as he slowly moved towards the fire escape leading back into the school. The moment his foot moved inside the school building, he force pulling him upwards let go.
It seemed like moving outside the school was out of the question. The bizarre arena was nothing like the arenas used the previous weeks.
"What on earth is going on..."
"AHHH, get away, get away, get away, AHHH!"
Thatcomicguy screamed, as he ran as fast as he could through the dark hallways of the school. Just a few meters behind him were five of the six small girls, giggling as they chased him.
He had managed to kill one of them with his spear in his escape from the classroom. This did not seem to anger the rest at all, as they chased happily after Thatcomicguy. It seemed like the girls had the ability to retract their teeth, and were now humming and laughing. Still, their eyes glowed. It was clear that their eyes were filled with bloodlust. If he stopped for just a moment, they'd probably rip him to shreds.
"Tehehe, I love playing tag."
"We're gonna get you, we're gonna get you ~~"
"GO PLAY WITH SOMEONE ELSE, AHH!"
Still screaming, Thatcomicguy kept running at full speed down the hallway, until...
He reached a dead end. The stairs leading down to the floor below were blocked by a massive pile of rubble. The roof above had collapsed, also covering the stairs going up in the process. In other words, he was trapped.
The small girls were now just half a meter away.
"Tag. You're it!"
The girls opened their mouths, and their fangs once again sprouted out.
Preparing for what would most likely be his final battle, Thatcomicguy took a deep breath.
"I'm naked in front of a group of lolis, pointing a spear at them. That's a headline for yah."
A sound coming from above made Thatcomicguy look up towards the roof, and soon after, a big chunk of the ceiling came crashing down, landing on top of two of the girls, squishing them.
Sitting on top of the rubble was Alden, his body covered in small cuts. Or, were they bite marks?
Realizing what that meant, Thatcomicguy looked towards the hole in the roof, and sure enough, peeking down from above were even more of the rabid lolis, looking at Alden like he was a delicious looking plate of food.
"... Sorry dude, looks like this isn't your day."
With that, Thatcomicguy stood completely still, as the hoard of cannibalistic lolis swarmed Alden, biting through his flesh and bones like it was nothing. The sight was horrifying, making Thatcomicguy look away in disgust.
Taking advantage of the situation, he quietly snuck past the hoard of killer lolis, covering his eyes the entire time. He then started making his way down the hallway, leaving the little monsters to their dinner.Spoiler
Thatcomicguy, Status: Alive
Alden_0023 - Dead End
The Second Stomach - xGreyHound & Jazid-Kun
A jungle of mysterious plants in all sorts of colors stretched as far as the eye could see. A nearby river was filled not with water, but lava, and the sky was dyed red, not blue.
In the middle of this impossible jungle stood Jazid-Kun, looking around him with a smile.
"What a fitting stage for bloodbath. Heh."
Striking a cool pose, Jazid spoke in a dramatic tone of voice. Wearing a black school uniform and with an eye patch covering his left eye, Jazid did not exactly look like he belonged in the strange jungle. If not for the two large swords in crossed sheathes on his back, he would have just looked like any other high-school student.
"Chaos shall rain! Today, we dine with death himself!"
"... The hell are you on kid?"
xGreyHound sent Jazid a confused look, gripping his AK-47 firmly. He was on guard, prepared for the worst. The arena he had been placed in seemed even crazier than any of the previous ones.
GreyHound did not have it in him to kill a kid like Jazid, so he had approached Jazid with the suggestion of an alliance. Jazid accepted, though now he was going on some kind of chuunibyou rant, which made GreyHound instantly regret his decision.
"Please kid, be quiet..."
"Let the curtain fall on this blood drenched play! Let the games begin!"
Jazid shouted, stretching his arms up towards the red sky.
"... I swear, I will smack you over the head if you don't quiet down."
"Hah! A mere mortal like yourself? You wouldn't be able to lay a finger on me."
A nearby plant started stirring. GreyHound quickly pointed his gun in the direction of the sound. Another plant started to move, then another. Before long, every single plant in their vicinity had started to move. At first, GreyHound thought the movement was caused by something moving through the plants, but... that wasn't it. The plants themselves were moving.
Clearly a little weirded out by the moving plants, Jazid moved a few steps closer to GreyHound.
"I, uh... I shall protect you, mortal!"
"Yeah, whatever, just draw your weapons at least."
"Kukuku. You mean these?"
Jazid gestured towards his swords.
"I cannot simply draw them out of their sheathe without the proper chant. They are sealed by a powerful—"
GreyHound pushed Jazid to the side, as a giant vine shot out from one of the strange flowers. The vine was covered in strange spikes, reminiscent of teeth. It slammed into the ground mercilessly, making its sharp spikes dig into the dirt.
"Y-You cannot scare me, for I am... I am..."
"Shut up and run!"
GreyHound turned around and darted into a clearing, as several more giant plant monsters approached the two.
Following suit, Jazid ran as fast as he could after his teammate. Just a second after, five more giant veins slammed into the place he had been standing.
"Wh-What are those thin—"
Interrupting Jazid once again, GreyHound shouted a command and pointed his gun toward Jazid's face. Doing as he was told Jazid quickly ducked down, and the massive mouth of a bizarre plant closed right above him, catching some of his hair in its massive jaws.
GreyHound fired several rounds into the head of the strange plant, making green goo fly everywhere. The plant let out a deafening screech and backed up a few steps, hissing at the two. It's mouth was layered with more teeth than a shark, each one at least five centimeters long. In addition to its killer bite, it also had several long vines covered in spikes sprouting from its body. It was the height of a human man, and moved incredibly fast.
"Over there! Run to the lava!"
"L-Lava? Are you crazy? I-I mean, lava would have no power over my immortal body, of course, but you are just a normal human, so it would surely be in trouble."
"Just shut up and run."
Turning back towards the way they had come, the two started running towards the strange lava stream, about fifty meters away. The stream was no more than one meter in width, but if GreyHound's theory was right, it would do.
"We're jumping over that. Get ready."
Not waiting for his ally to reply, GreyHound leapt across the lava stream. The intense heat from just being in the vicinity of the lava made even just breathing hurt, but it was better than being devoured by flesh eating plants the size of humans.
Jazid made it across the lava soon after GreyHound.
"Kuku. Looks like our plant friends were not so smart after all."
At least twenty of the killer plants tried to follow them, but they all let out loud shrieks as they approached the lava, and took several swift steps back. They were clearly not fond of the heat.
"We have no time to waste here. There could be more. Come on."
As GreyHound turned his back on the plants and started to walk in the other direction, several of the strange creatures sent their vines flying towards the two humans. It seemed like there was no real limit to how far the vines could stretch, and they approached GreyHound's back with great speed.
But, just moments before they were about to tear GreyHound to shreds, the vines themselves got cut into tiny pieces.
"Hmph. To think you'd make me take off my eye patch. I'm surprised you'd push me this far."
GreyHound turned around to see what had happened. Sure enough, Jazid's eye patch was gone, revealing an eye with a different color from the other. He had also drawn his swords, which were covered in green goo from cutting apart the vines.
Jazid had somehow managed to remove his eye patch, draw his swords, then cut several vines within a matter of seconds. GreyHound could not help but be amazed at the spectacle, and thanked his teammate for saving his life.
Something started moving in the leaves behind the killer plants, and Jazid stood rooted in place, watching whatever it was intently.
"Come on kid, more of those things are coming from the looks of things. We gotta go."
GreyHound did not wait for a reply, and started to walk away from the lava and the plants. But, Jazid did not move.
"Kid, I will leave you, I swear! What are you even... looking... at..."
GreyHound's voice began to falter, as he too laid eyes on the creature on the other side of the lava. It took the form of the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life. She wasn't wearing a thing, and on top of her head were two pretty cat ears. Wagging back and forth behind her legs was a fuzzy tail. It was, without a doubt, a catgirl. An incredibly beautiful one, too.
Being fans of visual novels and the likes, both men knew very well what she was. While she appeared harmless, the fact that the plants were not killing her was a clear warning sign in GreyHound's mind.
"We gotta get the hell out of here, now!"
Jazid did not respond, but instead started to move slowly towards the catgirl, dropping his swords on the ground.
"Wait, what the hell are you doing!"
Jazid showed no interest in GreyHound, and kept on slowly approaching the catgirl, who looked back at them with an enchanting smile.
"Dude, this is not the time for your weird ass fantasies! We have to get out of here. Guh?!"
GreyHound tried to reach out for Jazid's hand, but he had gotten so close to the lava, the heat made GreyHound jump back in reflex.
There was nothing GreyHound could do but watch, as Jazid slowly walked into the scorching heat of the lava, seemingly under some kind of spell cast by the mysterious catgirl. He did not even blink at the pain from having his foot melted by the incredible heat. All he did was watch the catgirl on the other side of the lava stream, with a smile on his face.
After a few seconds, Jazid's body had been completely consumed by the lava.
"Y-You bitch, what did you do to him?!"
Pointing his gun at the catgirl in anger, GreyHound's body shook in terror. The creature simply returned a brilliant smile, and started to walk back into the depths of the strange jungle. The flesh eating plants followed suit, leaving GreyHound alone with nothing but the smell of burning flesh, and a sense of dread.Spoiler
Jazid-Kun: Dead End
xGreyHound: Status = Alive
Dead This Week:
#2 Mr Poltroon
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.
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.
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!
Alright, we're back to Cupid with bumblebeary, and we're going to finish up chapter one today!
Turn on some music; stretch; dance; do whatever makes you feel good, and let's get started.
Intermission: You get so into the story that you totally forget that you're stretching, moving, and working your body. Over time, this just becomes a pleasure for you, and you'll find that you look forward to some relaxing exercise. It makes you more alert; helps you sleep better; and it's so easy to do just a little bit every day. And you want to watch the VNs!
Okay, so a lot happened before that was over.
So many new characters. Let's get started!
We learn that the little girl is named Catherine, and that she's a musical prodigy.
We meet the Marquis, whom bumblebeary does not trust. You can tell she has had some experience with men like this before (both in and out of VNs). Everything he says is suspect to our adorable streamer, and it so much fun to watch the play between the VN and our hostess!
But the Marquis is playing everyone, it seems.
Catherine's father is a widower who melts for the Marquis. Fine wine, a stipend, patronage for Catherine, and a new piano; however--as our lovely bumblebeary points out--gifts are rarely free.
We meet Catherine's older sister, Emilie and she's very interesting. Nearly married, and living in the house of another family, she wants to suspect the Marquis of so many foul things. She's heard the rumours, that the Marquis is a seducer and a viper of the heart, but he seems so sad. We know that he's just amazingly manipulative, don't we, bumblebeary? But Emilie gets a few lines in before she starts to literally fantasize about having the Marquis future babies. Oh, he wants to settle down? Was he looking at me when he said that?
The major plot twist comes when Catherine decides to adopt poor Rosa. Her father doesn't quite like the idea, and the Marquis doesn't enjoy being put on the spot. But what can you do? Kids, right?
The Marquis plays it well, neatly arranging for all the girls to spend time at his manor. It seems like he wants to put his greedy, slutty fingers into all the pies.
As bumblebeary put it (and I'm probably paraphrasing here), "Eeew, please don't make me hate you, Marquis!"
End of chapter one!
This is a good place to check out another streamer, who does great voices. I'll have a new link for you tomorrow. I do know we will be back to bumblebeary before we're done, though. There are not a lot of great playthroughs of Cupid, and bumblebeary has been fantastic so far.
So say goodbye for now, and please make sure to thank her by Subscribing to her channel and Liking her videos.
We'll be back with her soon enough!
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The Shawshank Redemption is a critically acclaimed visual novel that was of huge importance to the VN industry today, made by writer Setoguchi Ren'ya together with the FlyingShine staff team, who would later go on to produce Mahou no Tenshi Creamy Mami one year later in 1995. Setoguchi is unfortunately more well-known for his work on swan song and as that one guy who chose to burn your waifu to death in kirakira, but this was his first work, and it's very hard to describe how important this work was to Setoguchi's career and, I dare say, to visual novels as a whole.
Today I am here to talk about this oddly forgotten masterpiece and uncover exactly why it's not talked about in VN circles. Before getting to the big stuff, I would like to first uncover the personal mystery related to it. Why do people not list Setoguchi as a writer for this anymore? Why did he wait 10 years to make another visual novel after Redemption's release? Well, I believe the answers to these questions are hidden in Swan Song, and we are going to finally blow the cover on this conspiracy once and for all.
Right off the bat, the similarities between these stories are obvious. The Shawshank Redemption is about a banker, Andy Dufresne being wrongfully convicted of a murder he did not commit and being sent to prision to serve two life sentences, while Swan Song is about a man named Amako Tsukasa unwillingly having to deal with a snowy apocalypse. Both are dramatic stories about men who had their worlds collapse around them, and now have to deal with a new world, a world that completely shows mankind's ugliness, with both stories not shying away from heavy acts such as murder, rape and corruption.
And yet, there are crucial differences between them. One is the difference in symbolism and imagery in the two works, and while some people might attribute that to Setoguchi's growth as a writer allowing him to more easily tackle abstract storytelling, the conclusions I have reached after analyzing this shocking tale instead lead me to believe that he did not have a choice. The messages in Swan Song are hidden not because Setoguchi wanted to hide them, but because he was forced to. More on that later, though.
The second difference is in the conclusions to these stories. If The Shawshank Redemption is ultimately a story with a hopeful ending and escaping the prision you were put into, Swan Song is a story about the absolute despair when that escape is not possible anymore. But what turned the previously dark but hopeful story into this?
And what of the elephant in the room? Autism. Andy Dufresne was a weirdo, and while Tsukasa is arguably odd as well, you get the feeling he doesn't want to communicate with people, instead of Andy, who clearly doesn't know how to, as shown by the numerous scenes where people fail to understand his intentions or he puts his life in danger due to miscommunication, such as when a guard almost throws him off a roof for making fun of him while Andy was simply trying to help the man with his bills.
Well, Swan Song does also have an autistic character, and one that stays by Tsukasa's side at almost all times, being around since the beginning of the story as well, Aroe. Andy dealt with both his sadness and his autism, but here he's been split into two, with one half of him in Tsukasa dealing with the sadness and the other half represented by Aroe dealing with the autism. Further proof is in the actions these characters are subjugated to - while Andy Dufresne was raped, Tsukasa is spared from that, as Aroe is subject to the vile sexual assault instead.
I believe these characters are both a representation of the author itself. When Setoguchi released The Shawshank Redemption, he was a 17 year old boy, and being a weeb, had a rather nebulous future ahead. Andy represented his struggle to indulge in his autism while dealing with his sadness, and the hopefuly conclusion he expected to lie ahead. Shortly after The Shawshank Redemption's release, however, he was forced to drop his otaku hobby and pursue a normal career. After dealing with depression for 10 years, however, he decided to go back to being an otaku, but now his being was split. While one half tried to childishly indulge in his autism, the other had to constantly suffer the pain of it. Andy fought against his sexual assailants, and sometimes managed to beat them, but when Aroe is violated she doesn't even understand it's happening to her, an obvious reference to how otaku around the world close their eyes to how their habits hurt them.
This becomes even clearer when he would write kira kira later, burning the main heroine to death as an angry, rebelling move against the moe shackles that bind him and ruin his life.
The staff didn't let him write Swan Song as clearly as he had wanted because it was dumb and gay, so he had to carefully sneak those messages in there. Because fans of edgy stuff like swan song are usually 12 and they hate doing anything other than reading new releases and watching seasonal anime, none of them have been able to understand the messages hidden in swan song... Until now.
Detective Kaguya, out.
As a Japanese Otaku, I, was hugely affected by VNs/eroge in my youth, have wanted to organize what I experienced on VNs and the culture around them in Japan. There are some critical texts on VNs and their history much better than mine on the Internet or books, but sometimes personal view like this could be useful, so I'm writing this now.As you might already know, a thinker or critic Hiroki Azuma actively was writing on Otaku culture from around 1993 to 2007, and he was surely in a central position of criticism about some kind of modern Japanese popular culture. Simply putting, he is a Postmodern theorist studied under other modern Japanese thinkers. As for me, I was a late teen and interested in contemporary art or paintings (I liked Jackson Pollock and Gerhard Richter) at that time, knew about him around 2004-2005 through researching Takashi Murakami, a famous Japanese artist. Those days, maybe because Azuma was impressed by the advent of a VN (Shizuku, by Leaf, 1996) and its rapid growth of narrative and structure (e.g., YU-NO, ONE, Kanon, Tsukihime), he published one book referring VNs from a renowned publisher Kodansha in 2001 and two self-publishing books only about VNs in 2004. I used to read his book and website repeatedly then, and inevitably, fascinated by old school VNs that had a queer, immature yet beautiful allure.Sadly enough, the golden age can't last forever. Around the end of 2005, Azuma said that the VNs' craze ended, and started concentrating on social criticism. When I think of it now, he might lack a responsibility to the culture he led in some sense. I was able to figure out what he meant, however. Around that time, Type-Moon changed into a company from a doujin circle, CLANNAD was released without adult contents, Leaf/AQUAPLUS gradually became interested in the all-aged console market. If I might say, VNs grew into a full-fledged genre of Otaku culture, and at the same time, it had to lose verdant attraction that only a growing genre can have. (I must say I would prefer modern VNs at present, and modern VNs tend to have great quality - especially graphics quality.) Anyhow, I needed to find my own criterion of what VNs are great for me, since I almost relied on his opinion, in other words, I had to stand on my own feet as an independent Otaku.In the end, what criterion have I found out? In short, I regard a character design as important, in particular, cuteness, glamour, and how to paint characters (not only drawing). I like paintings after all. The technique of Bishoujo pictures (Moe-e) surely has a fashion, and I have been wondering where cuteness and the modernity of Bishoujo girls arise from. Um, I'm being derailed a little, so, I will stop droning on. When I get a definite idea about something, I would like to write again. Thank you for reading!
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Hey, what’s up. This is Bee, or better known as Barry. So far, my activity on this forum has been limited to just spam troll comments and threads, and while that is, for the most part, funny and entertaining, I thought that I should make a serious post about something just to counter the not-so-serious ones I’ve been pumping out so far.
I decided to start this blog with a series of posts, which I have named “New Companies: Good or Bad?.”It’s a series in which I’ll “analyze” and, hopefully, try to convince people that might be interested in supporting these companies to at least give some thought to where they’re getting their money into. Since this is a very broad subject I’ll be splitting this up into a series, in which I’ll be taking on the different companies and also give some of my opinion in general of them in every aspect that concerns localizations, such as meeting deadlines, having professional PR/workers and so on and so forth.
Disclaimer: In these blog posts I’ll be reviewing the newer companies (although I might go over the old ones as well) detailing their pros and cons contrasted with my opinion. Remember that I am VERY biased and that my opinion is as worthless as anyone else’s, so take it with a grain of salt.
Anyways, without further ado, I’ll start this episode talking about the newer company that has risen from the depths of hell (moe hell, to be precise), and this one being NekoNyan
NekoNyan seems to be the newest company that has appeared in what I’d call the “Massification of VN’s” era, one in which people are just spawning new companies in an attempt to compete against the current monsters that gobble the industry, being MangaGamer and Sekai Project primarily (I’ll leave JAST and FrontWing aside because I do not consider them being very relevant in the market at the moment.)
NekoNyan seems to follow the same pattern of thought as SolPress, this being their “core beliefs” if I’d call it like that.
- “We believe that we’ve learned the mistakes other companies have made.” - This is a general phrase that these new companies have been selling us; they assure that they’ve learned from past mistakes companies like Sekai Project have made (a fair example would be the latest releases of Hoshimemo and Leyline). Very strange that they’re saying this, because the main two members of Hoshimemo’s disaster (Akerou, CEO & Translator of NekoNyan, and Chuee, Editor at NekoNyan as well) are working in that company in the first place. I mean, I believe in the fact that people can change, but to be completely honest those two (especially you, Chuee) don’t really give me the good vibes. Especially from someone who is not critical about himself and refuses to improve his work. In summary, they seem to have a better scope of things, but I don't see much difference regarding other companies. How about being more open about what you do? *Daily reminder that Hoshimemo’s disaster was not because of these two alone, but they were part of the problem.
- “We strive to bring Japanese culture and to connect fans with developers.” This sounds awfully close to what Sekai Project says in their website. It’s not inherently a bad thing, but as far as I’ve grasped they’re using the same method of team compositions as Sekai Project. Hopefully their project coordinator (whoever that is) either exists in the first place (SP has none afaik, at least not a good one) or knows his shit, because otherwise prepare to see fiestas like Leyline.
- This is a very difficult and broad subject to touch but I find it funny how these people pride themselves for being professional at what they do. I don’t think that’s the case, though. One of the many definitions of professional by the cambridge university says as follows: “having the qualities that you connect with trained and skilled people, such as effectiveness, skill, organization, and seriousness of manner,” aka, you have to have the skills in order to be a professional, it’s not only about being paid for translating or editing something. I’ve been paid numerous times for working on the English department in some Light Novels, does that mean that I’m automatically a “professional”? Not in my eyes, at least. Working on SakuSaku and Hoshimemo doesn’t mean you’re up for professional work, neither does having your edits released by Sekai Project. I’m not going to debate here whether the rest of the staff is up for it or not because I have yet to see something from them (not all, though, I genuinely believe that some of their staff is good) but before something comes out I’m going to say that the final product won’t be anything outstanding and won’t break any expectations compared to other companies. This talking about a translation quality standpoint, in the case of PR, Project Management and coordination we'll have to wait and see.
- About the choice of games they went for; to be honest I can’t blame them. Moege is, in my eyes, insufferable trash, but it’s what sells and what Steam users usually prefer. Not all of them seem like full moege/slice of life stuff, but in a general sense they’re more focused on a selling standpoint, meaning that they won’t take risks and will probably go after moege, which is what sells. What does this mean? Even though this means more VN’s getting localized, it doesn’t mean that they’re going to be good. In fact, I dare to say that they’re just going to oversaturate the market (it’s already saturated IMO, but even more now).
To sum things up;
Do I think NekoNyan will be the “saviour of VN’s and have a “unique personality” compared to other companies, like say, MangaGamer? No. Their choices are bland, most of their staff seems the same staff that every other company has (let’s remember that the same people are always the ones working for every single company) and my general distrust towards some of the staff members just doesn’t make it up for me. As for unique personality goes, I don’t think they’ll be any different than SolPress, for example. ALthough their focus seems to be specified on VN’s only (maybe they expand to LN’s and Manga like everyone else in due time, we’ll have to see.)
Are their practices better than Sekai Project’s, for example? As far as consumer-focus goes, a very big yes. They appeal to a broader audience and they seem to have taken some very important steps in order to make things generally better and not bring shame upon themselves (thank god they’re not kickstarting their projects, that’s a big plus and deserves respect). As far as internal focus goes, we’ll have to wait and see. Same goes with PR, so far, nothing wrong. Hopefully they’ll hire someone actually competent at that job instead of random people.
Should people instantly follow them like lambs and praising their work even if they haven't even read an excerpt of what they've translated? No. This is a recurrent problem nowadays, when people see something new they always tend to think it's better. And the matter of fact is that that's not the case, at least here. Companies like SolPress are already being labelled as the "saviours" of translations, when, as far as I've seen from their work it's nothing different compared to a decent translation work made by MG or even SP. Hopefully people will be more skeptic about new companies like these ones, but that's obviously not going to be the case and droolers will start appearing sooner or later. Tldr: they're nothing different from what we've seen so far.
Unrelated to the post;
- Please leave your opinion on the format of the post and the display of topic in general: Did you like it? Would you add more info or less info? Would you like more company “reviews”? Was I too harsh? Constructive criticism so I can improve my blog posting is very appreciated.
- Since this is a very new company with no games released yet I retrained myself about commenting about other elements that are core when translating VN's, I'll probably make a more detailed post about NekoNyan in the future, once we've seen a full scope of their intentions and quality.
- Before someone raises the question: “Then who do you consider a good professional?” I’ll answer with people like: Conjueror, Garejei, Makoto, Koestl and Ambigravity for example, there are more but these are the better known people in my book.
- Another thing I need to reiterate: this is not a hate thread towards certain people (some will get the wrong idea reading "1."). If I mention names I just want to be clear about my intentions: I'm not here to hate on anybody.
- Thanks for reading so far (if you actually did).
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This is my first ever review, so I would love feedback on this or even general advice on review writing!
Danganronpa is a murder-filled mystery told over six chapters. Fifteen students are gathered at a school (ironically named Hope’s Peak) by an emotionally unstable teddy bear (Monukuma). The only way to leave the school is by playing Monukuma’s twisted game - to commit murder, without being caught. If the murderer is caught, he is brutally executed, if he succeeds he is set free while the remaining students are executed.
Chapters are divided into three parts, Daily Life, Deadly Life and the Class Trial.
Daily Life is where you the initial character development takes place. In this phase you can walk around and talk to other people, advancing the plot. You are also given “Free Time” where you can get closer to specific characters, which then unlocks power-ups that can be used in the class trial mini-games. The “Daily Life” period usually ends once a murder occurs. The nature of the game, makes most of these murders of the “whodunit” type. These tended to be fun and lasted around an hour each.
Deadly Life is the investigative period. You explore your murder scene and examine items as you look for clues to help solve your mystery. This holds several similarities to “Phoenix Wright” investigations.
The Court-Trials were basically the final showdown in each chapter where you solved the mystery. These were fast paced and interesting. The trial-system itself was horrible though. It was littered with some of the most irritating mini-games of all time. Several obvious statements that can be inferred from the evidence, have to be explicitly found through multiple mini games. On the other hand, the comic-style closing arguments was done very well.
The PC port was horrible. The controls were not mapped out well at all, and to advance text, you are forced to use your mouse rather than the enter key or spacebar. This was very irritating and definitely affected my overall experience with the game.
The BGM is very catchy, the kind that ends up sticking in your head for a while. While not all of it is amazing, there will probably be at least one or two tracks that you will enjoy.
The CG’s and graphics are beautiful and the video-clips are well made. One thing that could have been better was the gore. All blood and wounds, were a bright pink color. If it actually looked like blood, a lot of the gruesome deaths would have impacted me a bit more.
Danganronpa starts of very strong. The very first case tries to drive home that anyone can die. I enjoyed the first two cases the most. The third and fourth cases were good as well, but by then the number of people remaining had reduced making it easier to identify the culprit. The last two chapters, were basically the same case. While I enjoyed them a lot some things have still not been explained.Spoiler
the tragedy, what has happened in the outside world-
. Overall several good mysteries with innovative solutions. Also Danganronpa is Kinetic in nature. If you are given a choice, you either advance, or it loops back until you pick the right choice. The epilogue doesn’t really conclude the story well and is very open/teaserish in nature. (Most Spike Chunsoft games seem to do this, like 999)
Most of the characters were strong personalities, the kind which would naturally end up being the center of their groups. Gathering them all in one place would naturally cause conflict. Most of them exemplified a single quality to an exaggerated degree, almost to the extent where their whole personality could be built around it. Each character was unique and interesting, which lead to interesting motives as well as murderers. While I could never support the murderer, I found myself understanding and sympathizing with the killers as well as the victims in some of the cases.
Well explored characters
Fun investigations/Large World to explore
Court System/ Case Arguments
Pink fake blood/gore
Some plot points left unexplained
Court System/Bullet Time Battle (This had no purpose but to infuriate anyone playing the game)
Verdict – 9/10
There are a lot of ways to start a written piece that would have been more stylish than starting by complaining you couldn't find a way to be stylish enough, but this will have to do for now.
After all, this is the third or fourth time I've attempted to write this -- and I'm not even really sure why I'm doing it, since this isn't really needed or welcome. It's gone through the stages of an apology letter, a comeback statement, a continuation of something (like the pursuit of Western genres for visual novels) as if nothing had happened and now it's even past the stage of a dismissal of itself, although it may not seem so for its first two paragraphs but should seem so due to the fact that it's being published here at all.
Well, I'm convalescing, I think. This is probably a sign.
I vanished from this website and from the internet at large last year. I crumbled too hard, too fast, and left everyone behind. Didn't leave everything -- you can't stop, after all -- but I did leave Fuwanovel in general and the reviews team in particular. During a tough time and in a position where I should be doing things, even. So, to the reviews team, yes -- I should be apologizing. So, I'm sorry. At the very least, for not writing reviews in the past months. Also, for still be using dashes instead of parentheses after all this time if I can help it. I can still help it.
The visual novel I'm making broke me down. I was not, and still am not prepared for a project this large. However, all aspects of my life became entangled with it - it's my final project for University, I have a contract with the government that legally forces me to finish it and make it a source of income both for me and for my team so that we're revealed as the city's new gamedev talents and I put so much personal stuff in it that making it is now both the one place I run to when I have something personal to talk about and the only place I have to run to. Which, as you maybe can spot as a positive feedback cycle, has made me consume myself using it. So there you have it. Visual novels finally brought me down, because I wasn't prepared for them.
Not that I'd ever give up on it -- rather, it's the one thing making me give up on everything else, including friends and other things I like, including -- which is ironic, considering -- Fuwanovel. I won't talk about the process here, this is not an ad. I'd just like to tell you I'm convalescing, I'd like to apologize to the Reviews Team and if any of you every wondered where I was, it was the place furthest away from visual novels I could: the innards of one.
As I still am.
Summer Pockets Review
Before I begin, I'd like to point out that the Frontline Japan review is excellent. The only part I didn't like is that they indirectly reference one of the most important hidden elements of the story (but it's possible some people won't notice or think too hard about it) and that they say it's too short.
Edit - Just to re-emphasize, this is an atypical style of VN review. If you want a more normal review, check out the Frontline one.
This is intended to be a spoiler-free review. I never reveal anything concrete about the story itself or its themes, that isn't clearly evident from the first hour, or assumed if you know anything about Key (like the fact their games are nakige).
Key's Creative Intent
In Key's promotional interview back in December of last year (translation), the director and writer Kai revealed that Key staff tried to have a "fresh approach" and come up with ideas for the next Key title internally, but didn't like any of the proposals. Then Maeda Jun spoke up and said, "Uh, I have this one idea..." And they said, "This is Maeda Jun!" and went with it. That's the core of Summer Pockets.
Maeda was unable to write for Summer Pockets due to medical problems. Key had already hired Niijima Yuu by then, and Kai worked with Niijima to flesh out the story. Hasama and Imashina Rio also wrote part of the scenario.
How Summer Pockets Actually Turned Out, Overall
Niijima's influence definitely stands out; he was responsible for many of the most important parts of the scenario, and from what I've seen, fans have praised those parts most. However, Kai's role shouldn't be understated, since he was the director and worked closely with Niijima.
Despite some people's fears, Summer Pockets was not turned into a distinctly "Niijima" work like Majo Koi Nikki or Koikake. That was only to be expected, since Niijima didn't come up with the concept behind Summer Pockets, and he wasn't the sole planner either.
Although Niijima is no Maeda, IMO he's the best Maeda they could possibly find, because their overall styles are similar. There was no sense of discord with Niijima as the lead writer.
The parts not written by Niijima weren't problematic in any way, either. At the worst, you could say they were typical Key routes. To me, each route felt very unique, and each heroine had her own charm and appeal, so even if the prose didn't wow me, I always had fun.
The production quality of the rest of Summer Pockets was also extremely solid. They seriously didn't skimp on the CGs this time. Since Angel Beats! -1st beat-, Key's art has been (in my personal opinion as a non-Itaru fan) much more beautiful and expressive. The seiyuu are top-notch too. But it's too bad that the male lead Hairi wasn't voiced. Key always has nice music, too; I've spent hours with the jukebox in the extras menu. Orito's tracks are typically my favorites, and I also like Maeda's "Sea,You Next" and "Pocket o Fukuramasete". Normally I'm a major Mizutsuki Ryou fan, so the fact she's overshadowed by two people just makes me think, "Yep, that's Key for you." My favorite track from her in Summer Pockets is "Yoru wa Mijikaku, Sora wa Tookute".
What It Feels Like to Play Summer Pockets
From here on out, this review will be "less spoiler-free" simply because I'll talk about stuff like... the extent to which the heroines interact with one another in the common route, or the common route's structure. Don't worry, I never reveal anything concrete about the story itself or its themes, that isn't clearly evident from the first hour.
At the story's start, the male lead Hairi arrives on a small island that's located off the coast of his home city. He's ostensibly there to help his aunt dispose of his recently departed grandmother's possessions, but she tells him, "I'm still sorting through everything, and don't need your help yet. Go out and have fun!" So he has no choice but to wander around the island every day.
A major part of the charm of Summer Pockets rests in the island and its inhabitants. As Hairi wanders around, he becomes friends with the handful of locals who are his own age. They already know each other well and have their various humorous character dynamics, so it's wonderful how they accept Hairi into their circle despite the fact he's not from around there. To quote someone on EGS, it's "an island atmosphere filled with kindness and consideration." Many people love this aspect of Summer Pockets. It probably appeals to players even more than the nakige aspect does (judging from the EGS tags).
The fixed part of the common route is very short, and from then on you have to repeatedly choose who you want to spend time with in order to select a route. It's very typical.
In the heroine routes, you'll learn about the hidden sides of the heroines and come into contact with various mysteries. Unless you've never heard of Key before and want zero expectations (don't confuse "intended to be spoiler-free" with "completely blind"!), I don't think it is a spoiler to say that you should expect to deal with drama that arises from supernatural plot devices.
The Bottom Line: How Good Summer Pockets Is
Just look at the numbers. Summer Pockets has an extremely robust score on EGS, a median of 89 with 200+ votes. For comparison, the only clearly better-received VNs in the past 5 years are Sakura no Uta, Rance 10, and ChuSinGura 46+1. It's similarly well-rated on VNDB.
What appeals to people most is, as you'd expect, that this VN successfully nails the Key formula: comedy, lovable characters, and of course, tears. As one person put it, "Key isn't dead. I've been convinced."
And like I said earlier, the production values are excellent. Key's VNs used to be known to skimp on art (of course, the music was always solid) but they've broken away from that limitation. There are so many nice CGs in Summer Pockets, as well as sprites. It seriously improves the experience. Summer Pockets is truly a modern VN.
There were other improvements over previous Key VNs, too. Kai probably deserves credit for them. He mentioned in the December interview that for Summer Pockets, they tried to make the heroines interact with each other more, and they also added handsome male side characters. Key pulled this off well; while the level of inter-heroine interaction still wasn't at the level I hoped for (I know I'm crazy to want harem love comedy situations in a Key VN...) it was still solid. The two boys, Tenzen and Ryouichi, resembled Kengo and Masato (from Little Busters) respectively. Although they clowned around a lot, and rarely seemed as reliable as the Little Busters boys. Not that they didn't have their cool sides. But if you're Kyousuke-sexual, you probably won't find what you want in Summer Pockets. If anyone, perhaps Ao was the "Kyousuke" of Summer Pockets, socially. Despite being a heroine, she's a friendly person who's easy to talk to and well-connected on the island, so there were plenty of roles for her to play in every route of Summer Pockets.
I would say that Summer Pockets has 2 notable "flaws". The first is that some routes are better (worse) than others. Frankly, this should surprise no one who has read Key VNs--or VNs at all. Not all writers are equal, and Key often has multiple writers work on the same VN. But as I said before, none of the routes are especially bad in any way. I personally enjoyed every one of them. Only 1 of them felt fairly predictable. To offer you an idea of what my tastes are like, I was decently entertained by every route of Little Busters aside from the ones Tonokawa did (Komari and Kurugaya). So if you're someone who would say that every route but Refrain and maybe [some other route] was terrible, then maybe you actually will think that ~2 of the routes in Summer Pockets are terrible... Tastes vary.
The second "flaw" is that it's fairly derivative of other Key VNs. Maybe now you see why at the start of this post, I related the little anecdote from the interview. It shows how Key attempted to innovative, but in the end, they went the safe route with a very Maeda-esque story. Since I read this interview before I played Summer Pockets, I didn't expect a revolution... Anyway, I personally don't think it makes Summer Pockets any less excellent, except to the extent that it doesn't blow anyone's mind because they've played VNs like this before. A lot of people realize that Clannad copied from a certain other classic VN, but that doesn't make Clannad any less of a masterpiece which achieved success beyond that classic. Even if Maeda recycled some themes or plot devices when he came up with Summer Pockets, the fact of the matter is that Summer Pockets delivers them in an unpredictable way, with plenty of red herrings. You can tell from the impressions people left on EGS that few people care about the parts that are derivative. And for the record, it's not completely derivative thematically. For example, the themes about summer and summer vacation are potent and unique to Summer Pockets. The final title drop especially wowed me.
Niijima VS Maeda
I want to talk about Niijima's style. A lot of people assumed that a Key VN wouldn't feel like a Key VN without Maeda Jun, with comparisons to Rewrite.
But a Key miracle happened. Summer Pockets has been just as successful (I mean, when you adjust for the fact that the industry is smaller than it used to be) as many of Key's past titles, like Air. Credit where credit due: Niijima Yuu, the same person who wrote the hit Hatsuyuki Sakura (#1 VN of the year 2012, as voted by 2ch), who has been praised by many writers in the industry, did for Key what I presume someone hoped he would when they hired him: he utilized his Maeda-like style to capture the sort of atmosphere that they'd previously relied on Maeda to deliver.
For the record, I'm not denying that there are still many people (even those who loved Summer Pockets) who, after they played it, still think, "I miss Maeda." Niijima and Maeda are not exactly the same. I personally love them both. From an objective standpoint, Maeda is probably better. However, Niijima has his own strengths.
Both Niijima and Maeda like to write comedy that involves eccentric side characters, with male leads who tends to wander around like a loner. They both write scenarios that make the player cry at climactic moments. They both lean toward narratives with unlockable routes and true ends. They both tend to incorporate the supernatural into their plots, yet at the same time don't completely rely on it, or employ it as a kind of metaphor.
A major part of what I feel is Maeda's charm is that there is a deep sense of intimacy, or camaraderie, between his characters. The characters don't subconsciously keep each other at a distance--they form a unique bond almost immediately which deepens as they come to know each other, in a way that every reader loves to see, especially more socially isolated Japanese readers. Niijima's flaw is that he can't quite do this--it wasn't until some of the scenes toward the latter part of Summer Pockets (perhaps not written by Niijima) that I really felt I could sense a heartfelt connection between Hairi and the side characters. There were many parts of Summer Pockets where a character would have some sort of comic reaction, where they became really upset or passionate, but then 2 sentences later when another character switched the subject to move on with the conversation, that upset character suddenly was calm and matched the pace of the conversation, as if they'd instantly quelled their emotions with zero explanation, or as if their previous reaction had been totally fake. I'm sure that Maeda would have depicted more smooth conversational transitions. Niijima's humor has its own brilliance, but often it feels like the characters just relate to one other with humorously eccentric behavior at a superficial level, without the sense of closeness of Maeda's character dynamics.
On the other hand, Niijima's text appeals to me a lot more as a fan of eroge. His humor may not be quite as... hmm, "creative" and "unprecedented" as the weird situations Maeda comes up with, but it feels less childish too. One very Niijima-esque technique is to have a set of ~3 side characters who talk back and forth to each other about the male lead in the male lead's presence for comic effect. In other words, he pokes fun at misinformed attitudes and social expectations. Compared to Maeda, Niijima's humor is a bit more, hmm... "mean-spirited"? It feels like the humor often revolves around one character who teases another based on a misconception. Connected to that, it often feels like there's more of a flirty atmosphere. Well, honestly, Summer Pockets was still a lot less lewd than I expected from Niijima. The lewdest parts of the VN weren't even written by him. So the overall more "eroge-like" atmosphere of Summer Pockets may owe itself to the director Kai more than Niijima. But I think that Niijima's style is what enabled this. Anyway, this is the first Key VN I've read where I actually really wished it had ero.
Still, as a Niijima fan, I wished I'd seen a little more of his style in the fabric of Summer Pockets. While it's true that the text definitely felt Niijima-like, and one of the routes that Niijima wrote deeply resembled a route he wrote in a certain other VN... Part of what I had really hoped to see Niijima introduce to Summer Pockets are elements of action. It's not like I expected the amount of combat to match Hatsusaku, but at least once or twice, I would've liked to see a few short battles. The nature of the way Niijima writes such clashes, as half-metaphors which emphasize differences in perspective, leaves the story's atmosphere intact, so it wouldn't have hurt. But I'm afraid that Kai may have wanted to avoid any Rewrite-like action, as Key attempted to return to their foundation with Summer Pockets. In any case, without this, Summer Pockets suffered from a deficiency of 盛り上がる要素 (excitement/tension). Despite the fact that in many ways Summer Pockets felt like a modernization of Key's style, it still lacked one of the most prominent elements of modern console ADVs--action.
Kai may have perhaps clamped down on Niijima a little too much, but I'm still very happy with Niijima's role in Summer Pockets. The "summer vacation" that's at the core of the story (adjacent to the parts that Maeda came up with) as it's developed is 100% Niijima thematically, and is also the most memorable part of the story to me, besides just how fond I am of the characters.
Key, After Summer Pockets
Actually, I'd rather ask you, theoretical reader of this post. Do YOU know what Key plans next? Has anyone at Key said how they feel about the positive reception to Summer Pockets? I haven't heard any information yet, but then, Summer Pockets only came out recently.
All I want to say is that Key's future is on my mind. I'm hopeful they will make a fandisk, because they've made a fandisk for every other major Key VN besides their first 2. If so, they will probably keep Niijima around for a little while more. I want Maeda back, but I think Key is an excellent fit for Niijima, and maybe Key can allow him a tiny bit more creative freedom next time to repay him for Summer Pockets. I wouldn't mind if they let him direct a smaller-scale project like Harmonia.
That's all from me. Have a nice day.
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Urobuchi Gen and Nitroplus have proven themselves to be quite an irresistible lethal combination of dark gritty stories and highly quality stylized production values pinpointing straight into the heart of those visual novel gamers who look for something more serious and unusual, especially when compared to what their contemporaries are doing.
Vampirdzhija Vjedonia is Nitroplus’s only the 2nd game but unsurprisingly it keeps the company’s focus on pushing the envelope and trying something fresh and different with their every game but still build upon their recognized stylistic brand. This time Urobuchi (who is also the director) went for a combination cheesy Kaiju, specifically Kamen Raider (bike and mask included), mutated vampire monsters, and the western comic Blade. The premise is very cheesy, in fact so much that you can almost smell the pizza in the oven, it’s sticky and rubbery but sure can be tasty.
Somehow Urobuchi made it all work, even with hot thick layers of cheese the story is very dark and serious with almost no humor but plenty of gore. This all gets even darker and stranger as the plot progresses to a point that things might even feel uncomfortable for some. However this is not to make things darker for the sake of being dark but plays a crucial role in the plot and style of this visual novel. The game does a really great job of pulling your interest and keeps you wanting to know more about what’s going to happen next. It introduces new characters with critical roles to an overarching plot, conspiracies, science experiments, and lots of action. In terms of pacing the story almost never wastes your time. The story is presented as a series of episodes, each episode starts with an opening and an end credits videos which really gives it that Kaiju series feel, even if the tone is a lot more mature.
Speaking of presentation, this is where the game might be a hit or miss for some. In terms of visuals the game looks really good, at least for such an old game from 2001-2003, characters look great and are well designed with a really great color palette and cloth designs. The backgrounds are 3DCG, not surprising since Nitroplus relies a lot on computer graphics for their backgrounds. However the problem with the presentation is, first of all the music is bland and there are NO voices at all. No voices doesn’t mean it’s not a fun vn to play but it takes away from some of the more dramatic moments. Another problem are the monster designs, they aren’t just Ultraman cheesy, they have really bad designs and at times even funny, that is when you aren’t left asking yourself wtf am I even looking at.
An even bigger problem with Vampirdzhija Vjedogonia is that it has gameplay, and it’s a bad gameplay. Since the story plays out like an episodic monster of the week series (with an overarching plot), almost every episode has an action scene where the main character has to fight at least one of these monsters. Before the main character goes on a mission to kill the monster he can choose from a variety of weapons to take with him. As a player you have to pick your weapons carefully, some are better against certain monsters than others. Once you encounter the enemy you enter this really strange rpg style battle with menu selections. The problem is that sometimes whether you hit or miss are just random results. Other times it’s just knowing a patter, select the right choice in response to what the monster is doing. Sometimes the battles can take a long time to finish because you either keep missing or your attacks do very little damage. The end result is that it’s just a waste of time.
With all the praises the game gets it’s also important to know that the game was developed on a quite an old technology. It was only the 2nd game Nitroplus ever released and as far as I know back then they didn’t have their own engine back then and the game looks very primitive on a technological level. Their first game, Phantom of Inferno, was originally developed on Macromedia Director, today known as Adobe Director. For those who aren’t aware, Director was a multimedia content creation editor and was very popular in the 90’s. Think of it sort of like Flash. You can make animations, films, and even interactive games in it, a lot of people used it to make adventure games. The first Phantom of Inferno version looks extremely primitive and Nitro+ probably doesn’t want you to see it, however Vampirdzhija Vjedogonia on the other hand is a little more advanced with a much better, smoother, and more colorful art and better quality sound. So in terms of production values Vampirdzhija Vjedogonia is still playable but don’t expect the sound or the technology to wow you. Also, find a way to cheat through the gameplay parts and you’ll surely enjoy this little known game.
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Hello guys, I'm Calendula and I'll be reviewing moeakamige.
This is the first of hopefully many little eroge reviews I decided to write, mostly for older and more obscure games since these are the games I find most interesting and like to talk about.
You can use these reviews to find something for you to read (I will try to avoid spoiler as much as possible) but since I know that most people probably aren't interested in actually playing these games and might only be interested in reading about them, I will also add a spoiler section at the end of each review where I talk about the themes and endings of the games in depth and tell you about my personal feelings and impressions that can't be talked about without giving away the meat of the story.
Hajimari no Kisetsu ~Izakaya Fuyu Monogatari~ (do not look at the tags or the screenshots on its entry because they are all spoilers) is the second visual novel by R.A.N.Software, a little eroge company which was active in 1997 till 2000 and you probably never have heard of.
It's written by someone who never has written any other eroge again (at least not under this pseudonym) and drawn by people who either vanished like the writer or continued to work on eroge but never used the same art style again.
All in all, Hajimari no Kisetsu seems like a pretty unique game, so why don't we take the time to look at this strange little eroge in detail?
Our nameable protagonist is in his last year of his university life. His girlfriend Kaori already graduated and works now as an office lady for a very big company. Because of her work he doesn't see her as often anymore and when she finds the time to meet with him for a few hours, they don't know what to talk about since their lives are so different now.
The protagonist remembers the happy memories he had with her, especially when they went skiing a year ago and to rekindle their love he wants to go with her to the same ski resort again.
Protagonist meets Kaori for the first time in a flashback
Eroge are escapism. We all know it. What annoys me, especially with eroge in the last few years, is how safe-spacey they became. If you play a feel-good game, you know you will get feel-good scenes ... and nothing else. Erogamer became fragile and eroge companies know that. Drama in most charage is cheap, light and will be resolved in just a few scenes. We don't want to upset the player, he might even think that being in a relationship is not just fun and happy times! Or worse, he might get the impression that his waifu has other things on her mind than him, maybe even has her own life! And if a writer tries to break out of this limitation, it often seems like trolling and the readers are rightfully angry at the game; having a bittersweet resolution at the end of a route that consisted only of sugar and rainbows is neither appropriate nor meaningful; it's just mean-spirited.
But this is also true for different genres; NTR heroines are most of the time unredeemable sluts and you have to wonder why the protagonist married her in the first place. It seems logical that an NTR game consists of only NTR scenes, but without the right buildup and good characterization, it can never be more than simple fetish fuel.
And I really have to wonder why Nakige and Utsuge are oftentimes so painfully obvious labeled as such; how can you be emotionally invested when you already know how it ends?
Well, the answer to this is probably that people want to get their emotional thrills in a safe environment. Being invested in a relationship with problems is only nice, if you know that the relationship can be saved at the end. If you are invested in this situation and the situation ends badly for the characters involved, you will feel bad yourself and that is not the feeling you wanted to have when you decided to read this story.
This leads to a dilemma; do you want to be safe but never really that emotional attached or do you want to experience something surprising and truly thrilling but with the risk that you might get extremely disappointed and depressed by the outcome?
The innkeeper knows that the only solution to problems is drowning them in alcohol.
Hajimari no Kisetsu is certainly not a safe space. Right from the beginning, you notice that something is wrong. Kaori isn't satisfied with the restaurant you choose for your meeting with her, even though it's the same restaurant where you meet her for the first time. She isn't too thrilled about the idea of drinking beer and would instead rather take a glass of wine. And she also doesn't show much interest in your ordinary life and prefers to talk about her new designer handbag. Where did she even get this thing from? Looks expensive... mhm...
Chances are you have experienced this kind of human interaction in your own real life, too. This steady process of people changing and slowly drifting apart. It's irritating, but you can't do anything against it. When the protagonist tries to invoke nostalgia in her, hoping that she shows signs that the old Kaori is still somewhere in her, she reacts coldly. A career woman like her has no interest in the past.
Someone here seems a little out of place...
Hajimari's greatest achievement is that the game portraits its characters so humanly. Kaori is not a bad woman for having different goals in life than the protagonist. It's also not necessary a bad thing that she changed over time. It's a human thing to do. Maybe it's even the protagonist who stays a child and simply can't keep up with her? ... but also, is it so wrong to not change and being happy with who you are?
This winter, our protagonist will find the answers to these questions. He will find out what he wants to do with his life and, even more importantly, what kind of human being he wants to be.
I like the protagonist of this story. He speaks in Kansai-ben which makes the game a little bit harder to read, but really helps to bring the point across that he has more in common with a country bumpkin than a well-spoken member of the high society even though he is by no means stupid. He is not very strong or confident, but also not useless or weak-minded. He is just a normal guy, who wants to do the right thing, but is seldom in the position to actually act on it. In fact, even though he always wants to do something, he rarely is able to actual do anything. Not because the game does not give the player the choice to do, but because it's simply impossible for him.
This is not a story, where the protagonist solves every problem the heroine has. This is a story, where the protagonist gives the heroine the strength by being on her side, so she can overcome the problems herself. And to be honest, there are really far too few eroge like this.
One of my favorite endings is actually a bad end you can get rather quickly by simply saying "I don't want that, I go home." The protagonist proves his worth by standing up to himself, and even though the bad ending credits roll, the usual bad end BGM is replaced by a more hopeful tune, emphasizing that the protagonist grew up a little and might have a better future in front of him now. Because somehow, this is more important than bedding your waifu.
A side-character has to rescue the protagonist who wanted to rescue a woman...
Speaking of endings, there are 24 "bad ends" and 4 "good ends". They are all interesting and one of the reasons (the other being spoilers) you shouldn't use a guide (there doesn't exist one anyway) to go straight to one of the good ends. Sadly, there are many choices that are badly designed because there is no indication that some of them are a hard route fork (like "going to the first floor" or "second floor"). But there are also some quite interesting choices which help forming the story in a meaningful way. For example, there is a choice during your already achieved happy end where you can choose between uncovering the secrets of your heroine's past or decide not to do it. You will get your happy end either way, but your choice does make difference in how you approach your eventual relationship with her.
When you get a bad end, there is some hint for you telling you what you should have done differently, but it's really not important since in most cases it comes simply down to changing the decision of your last choice.
I found everything the game has to offer easily on my own except for one good end which is a little bit non-obvious but makes sense in hindsight. I even had to use the Waybackmachine and read some random Japanese comment on a random Japanese website to get the necessary hint to unlock it. I will not spoil it here, so you can feel the same despair I felt.
Choose wisely how to approach her, if at all. Emotional women are dangerous.
Hajimari no Kisetsu is not a long game and every route can easily be finished in one reading session. The game tells short, romantic stories. They are a little bit cliché'd, but very nice and well-intentioned. There are scenes that make you feel good and some that make you feel depressed, but there is always a nice balance between the two extremes. And it's well earned. Even if you forget some of the details of the story a few months after you read it, you probably wont forget some of the scenes. At least for me that was the case. I did not regret spending my time with this game.
Sound and Art:
Let's talk about some technical aspects. This game was released in 1998 and sadly it shows.
The biggest misstep is to not have any voices. Especially the kind of seiyuu work of the late 90s would have been perfect for this kind of game. There are many dramatic scenes which would be even better with some passionate dubbing.
The soundtrack is very nice. Every character has its own theme, themes have several variations and the melodies are pleasant to listen to. You can choose between CD-Audio and MIDI, but the MIDI version, depending on your MIDI configuration of course, is not much worse. Seems to me the CD-Tracks are simple MIDI recordings. That could have been better.
The game has no backlog and no "already read" skip function which is really a problem when you try to find all the different endings. You might think that you are on a known path because you skipped over slight text variations when in fact it's the beginning of a new route.
The game has an old school omake room, where you can check CGs, endings and music by talking with the characters.
Hentai scenes are short, tastefully written and quite romantic.
Aside from the nice story, the art is the best feature of this eroge. Your mileage may vary, but to me it captures perfectly the whimsical, romantic and melancholic mood of the winter days. Sadly the artists never worked on another game, or at least not with this art style.
Speaking of the staff, the writer also was never read again. What a shame.
This makes this game even more unique though. Heh.
Don't get the impression that this game is a masterpiece. It's not. It's just a nice little gem. It's not mind-blowing, but certainly thought-provoking. Not flashy, but pleasant ... except when it isn't.
If you are alone on a cold, rainy evening and want to read something appropriate you can immerse yourself in for a short time, this is a good recommendation. This will not be the best thing you've ever read, but it will become a bittersweet memory you'll remember fondly.
Now onto the spoiler discussion. Read this only if you've played the game or you don't care and just want to know what it's about:Spoiler
The thing you want to know the most is probably: Is Kaori cheating on you? The answer is: pretty much yes. I say "pretty much" because, you see, in her route, she is not. To get into her route, you must not go to the hotel with her which is the place where you normally see her cheating on you. By not going there and not seeing this happening with your own eyes, the game simply chooses to not let this actually happen in Kaori's route at all, even suggesting that she never had any intentions to do this. I was really disappointed with this cheap trick.
Kaori is obviously my favorite character, but sadly her route really was the worst of all, simply because the writer chose to not explore the complicated relationship with the protagonist she has in all the other routes any further and instead decided to give the reader a simple happy end. The ending is actually not bad, it's nice to see how she changed, how she learned to embrace the simple but beautiful things in life and stopped being a career woman... but it's not really earned. Maybe earned for the player, who had to watch her cheat on the main character in the other routes, but not earned in this particular time line.
The new Kaori likes beer more than wine.
Her best scene was actually in the innkeeper's route. During the happy ending, when the protagonist is already in a happy relationship with the innkeeper, she visits him, apologizes for being a bitch and asks him to make a new start with her. It's a beautiful, bittersweetly sad scene. There is no hate, no grudge, only regret, on both sides. The protagonist never badmouths Kaori by the way, even if his friends might do it, he never starts to hate her, he is just sad and disappointed. This is why this visual novel feels so much more mature than most other eroge. I wish the Kaori route would have been spawned from this scene, it would have been so much more meaningful.
Kaori is also the reason for most of the awesome scenes in the other routes. Going on a date with your new waifu and meeting your ex-girlfriend with the guy she cheated on you is thrillingly awkward and makes for perfect human drama. The novel captures perfectly the anxiety you feel in this situation. There is also a scene where your new waifu wants to go to a restaurant you visited with Kaori before and while your waifu has fun and doesn't know what's up with you, you feel depressed and uneasy and just want to leave as soon as possible because the memories are killing you. Beautiful.
I would have accepted her proposal, if I had the choice, to be honest...
I liked the other routes too. We have the innkeeper route, a route for her little sister and one for her friend.
The innkeeper was once the concubine of the father of Kaori's boss, but after he didn't want her anymore, he pushed her aside and she opened her little inn. Her friend is still a hostess and has problems with some yakuza clients of her. Her sister helps at the inn, but actually wants to study abroad. All the routes deal with financial problems which our protagonist, who, disappointed with life after seeing Kaori cheating on him literally next door, decided to stay for a few days at the inn where he made memories with Kaori one year earlier, can not help with, but he bonds with the women which helps them to turn their life around, even just slightly. Sometimes the correct choice is to not do anything and trust the person (meddling leads to a bad end), which I found to be a refreshing take on relationships.
In my review, I mentioned a choice during one of the good ends. When you get together with the hostess and she chooses to start a new life with you, you have the choice to look at some pictures, evidence of her former life. I choose to not to look and the protagonists burned the pictures without looking at them. Somehow this really left a strong impression with me, particularly because you had the chance to look and could still get your happy end, but you didn't. It wasn't something the writer decided but you. Just a small thing but it makes a story so much more engaging. And perfectly reflects the theme of the novel; coming of age, in its truest sense.
Thanks for reading. If you have questions, suggestions or something else on your mind, feel free to comment.
The next time, I will talk about the sickest eroge I have ever read and explain why it's not as sick as you expected but far more sick than you thought.
HEY YOU, YES YOU!
Are you sad?
Are you single and isnt likely to get a relationship in the foreseeable future?
Are you sad that you cant pleasure yourself to chinese powerpoints more without getting sore?
Can you look at this picture and think "this is definitely me"?
WELL FEAR NOT MOTHERFUCKER, SUMI-NEE IS HERE.
But now you might ask "but kawasumi-san, my crippling depression is not gonna go away just because you tell me to go out and get a fucking life". But fret not, you can safely read further because this is not what we're going through today. Today its about something different
JUST IMAGINE FOR A SECOND:
CUMMING OVER AND OVER AGAIN WITHOUT GETTING SORE
GO FULL AHEGAO LIKE THE GIRLS IN YOUR FAVORITE PORN GAMES
CUM MORE THAN YAMATO IN MAJIKOI IN JUST ONE SESSION
THIS SOUNDS FUCKING GREAT RIGHT?
It does and if you think otherwise you're lying to yourself
ARE YOU READY FOR THE BIG SECRET?
THE ULTIMATE TIP?
YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT YOU ARE AND ITSSpoiler
ANAL MASTURBATION OF FUCKING COURSE
Now, before I loose you, lets look at some pros and cons!
1. It feels fucking amazing, you will NEVER achieve something like this with just polishing the pole
2. Massaging your prostate actually reduces the risk of cancer
3. Multiple orgasms, youll be able to cum over and over again from the same spot and your thirst will never quench completely, thus the ahegao cycle begins
1. some are not able to obtain an orgasm through this and I feel legit really sorry for you if this is you in this case (and if you havent tried but you somehow "know" then no, no you dont you faggot, go do it)
2. it also takes time, it will feel good but mostly wierd the first time, then it will feel better and better and better. The more you do it, the better it will be
but now you might ask "but sumi-sankunchansama thats fucking gay"
You also know whats fucking gay? PLAYING JAPANESE PORN GAMES.
people also think that its gross, but lets be real here, what about those nachos you have stashed in the corner of your room and havent touched for months? yep, I know.
With that cleared out lets get started shall we?
The prostate is what you wanna aim for here , its a little lump thats located between the bladder and the penis and is about the same size as a walnut (if not, then you should go see a doctor ASAP).
As you might have seen in your filthy hentai doujins, theres a lot of nice toys to massage this little wonder in your anus, BUT.all you need are your hands, you can even wear plastic gloves if you cant get over your bacteria fear (I personally do enema's but its tiresome gotta admit lol).
now for lube, if you're an organic fag like me you wanna use water lube, simply because its just fucking water, but oil based is better if you wanna go at it for hours (also water based lube dries the entrance out if you use it a bit and needs to be put on more frequently so yeah)
Do you remember that little thing you do with your hand? like you're using your middle fingers and grinding them upwards? yes that. just stick your fingers up there and grind away! Massage that damn thing like its the only thing that matters, grab your favorite porn game, play around with your willy a little, whatever works.
YES, ITS ACTUALLY THIS FUCKING SIMPLE.
now go out on your new glorious prostate massaging adventure, you might even like it so much that you're going to end up like me
if you end up liking it too much you might also end up like this guy, but lets face it, youll never get a gf anyway so you dont have anything to loose anyway
Now go out and make your onee-san proud and fap with your ass to your hearts content!