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It all started on 4chan's /vg/ board in its regular visual novel thread:
The twitter account has some vague cyber-y tweets related to loading and then the trailer linked in the 4chan post. The unlisted video has English subtitles so some effort was put into it, though the "summer 2018" part is probably not happening. Also is it just me or is the tl of the "you betrayed me?!" line weird based on the voice clip? Like she doesn't sound surprised. oops getting tangential here...
So what does it all mean? well, SteppenWolf is apparently a team within the baldr series or something, and TGL is a company which has Giga, makers of baldr, as an imprint. But of course anyone could have made the twitter account and the 4chan post and incorporated just the right references to make things interesting. All in all until we get something more official there's no way to tell if this is a hoax or not; I would recommend not getting too hyped.
Okay zaka but where's the realdeal silly speculation at?
Very well, dear rhetorical-questioner-kun. So like you know how Aroduc was fan translating baldr sky and then sekai project licensed it and then negotiations broke down and it was basically
typical sekai projecta terrible fracas? The outside guess is that instead of actually quitting tl like he seemed to when he dropped off the scene he's been working on this. It even matches up with things I seem to remember him mentioning about baldr force being better but people wanting sky or something. Anyway take this with more salt than a room containing solidbatman, originalren, astro, steve, and itsangetime, but it's like, maybe possible. Maybe.
Y u no make forum thread?
I want to feel like a special snowflake. Also I figured this'd be a decent water-testing opportunity for this kind of content so here I go.
NEW INFO 17:00 swedish time 15/9:
Two new videos have been posted in /vn/ and on the twitter account:
I haven't posted anything particularly editorial in a while, nor have I landed a new FuwaReview in a while; I've been busy with one thing or another, and also I just haven't had that much to write about. However, today I finished reading new shiny new Kokoro Connect: Hito Random release, and when I finished, I knew I had to write something up about it.
I first watched Kokoro Connect way back when I didn't know who to ask for recommendations and was still finding my way around anime. I was mostly just going through things that were highly ranked on AnimeNewsNetwork's overall rankings, that were accessible without pirating, and that sounded interesting. But I didn't pick it up without some trepidation. Back then, I was a little put off by fanservice in general, and the show's description was selling the perverted body-swapping angle really hard, so I was concerned it was just some shallow fanservice show. Still, I decided to take the plunge anyway, thinking there had to be more to it given the show's reception, and boy was I ever glad I did.
Nothing pushes my buttons like Kokoro Connect. The story it tells is as closely tailored to my own preferences as anything I could ever ask for: coherent and interesting characters, immensely human drama, realistic romantic development, clear story beats and plot arcs accumulating to bigger themes, and a little spritz of magic to grease the wheels of the plot. Hell, the anime even got a great dub, featuring the immensely talented Luci Christian as best girl Inaba. It's an all-time favorite for me, something I can happily recommend to anyone.
One of my favorite elements of the show is that each arc feels so complete. In 3-5 episodes, a new twist emerges, a plot unfolds around it, the characters grow in response, and at the end it resolves fully, always in a satisfying way. The one season and the OVA together had four such arcs all together, and while I was immensely satisfied with where it ended after each one, when I finished the last OVA, I still thought to myself, man, I wish there was more of this. What I eventually learned, when I finished the show and went to read about its origins, was that the reason for the tight storytelling was that the show was based on an existing series of light novels, of which the show only covered the first four out of ten (eleven of you count a volume of short stories). There was a whole lot of content out there I hadn't seen yet! Except, it wasn't available in English...
And that brings us to today, when I got to read the first English volume of the English release. And let me tell you guys, it is gooood. The translation is fluid, natural, and well-written. The characters pop right out of the page, and the narration is consistently solid and occasionally beautiful. Props to the localization team on their work here! I do have a couple minor gripes, of course: leaving people's heights in centimeters, which is totally bizarre in an American English translation (sure I can do the calculation, but talk about kicking you out of the immersion. Fortunately this only happened once); and not translating the per-volume titles ("hito random" ain't exactly my idea of a punchy title).
So how did it hold up, revisiting the material again after all these years? It's still awesome! I had to stifle my laughter a few times so I didn't look like a weirdo laughing out loud in the middle of a plane flight. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, I felt tears welling up in my eyes at a couple of particularly touching scenes, and had to fight just as hard to hold them back.
And while there's nothing major that's new here, versus what you'd see in the first five volumes of the anime, there are little bits and pieces that make it worth the time, especially in the narration, something inherently missing from an anime.
So what are you waiting for? There's a criminally neglected property out there finally getting a great English release, and it deserves your attention. Go out and give it a try! https://j-novel.club/v/kokoro-connect-hito-random
I DON'T EVEN REMEMBER HOW LONG AGO: Not even time travel saved tymmur, but it's not like Dreamysyu, VirginSmasher and Zander would give up so fast! After finding a whopping amount of 1 (one) clue, our heroes started marching to the court room.
After whatever won the poll, our heroes finally reached a red velvet room, decorated with golden statues and chains. An extravagant atmosphere, that also made everyone dizzy, just like Ranzo's ego. Speaking of the Devil, he just started singing a Velvet Underground song. Back to the room's interior, we could also see a circle of golden platforms in the exact middle of the room, an arrangement that permitted them to see everyone else should they step behind the platforms. Well, not "should", "must", they have to do it, to save America, or whatever other noble reason. Maggiekuma's throne was located closer to the corner, in a higher ground where it was possible to see everything the plebeians bellow were doing.
"Sooooooo, you guys are finally here!" said Maggiekuma, savoring some popcorn.
"And whose fault is it, that we're this late?" we can count on batman to rub salt on other people's wound.
"Okay, look, I already waste half a screen worth of space with that poll, so let's drop the issue about my lateness! You have better things to discuss!" angrily said Maggiekuma, throwing popcorn at our heroes. Kiri didn't seem offended.
"Yeah, like, we can discuss how h-scenes are important to the plot!" Dergonu proposed a circle jerking.
"We would stay here all day if we were to discuss that. Instead, shouldn't we discuss... I don't know... about tymmur's death???" Dreamysyu put his protagonism to good use.
"Oh right, we should honour the bugger." Poltroon said in a dignified way, almost contradicting his behaviour in the last chapter.
"You say that like we're disrespecting him, but these bunch of lines we're saying that never ends is a nice shout out to the fella." justified Fiddle.
"Now that's what I call a fantastic homage!" agreed Ranzo, even though deep down they thought that their performance of Fucking Wizard by Reverend Bizarre that was edited out of the story to not split the audience due to musical differences was better.
"Okay, I... think I can allow that. But can you guys at least, pretty please, babble while going to your designated seats?" not even I understand Maggiekuma's attempts to save time at this point.
"If I remember right here, we have to find the culprit hiding here and then vote for him here so we can continue to live here." littleshogun made a recap.
"So what, we just talk and talk about it until the culprit eventually blurts it all out?" Virgin proposed.
"That wouldn't be half as fun! So let me explain some additional rules to the trial session!"
Said Zander, with his now healed physical injury and forever persisting mental damage.
"No need. I microwaved my way through a time where we already listened to the rules before this, so I can tell you guys!" Kurisu saving the day.
"You could have, you know, looked for the culprit's name..." Or not.
"Well, in short, we have to talk non stop about the same things over and over again even if they are painfully obvious until someone with half a brain figures the bullshit in our arguments and fire a truth bullet through it. We can add some random babble in the conversation too, to make things more of a chore than harder per se."
"Putting it like this... god, this game sucks!" everything sucks for you, bats.
"So, all we gotta do is shoot first, eh?" said Lesiak, firing a bullet that would put Clint Eastwood's characters to shame. Sasuga, Ultimate Westerner. Too bad SeniorBlitz happened to be in front of him, so he ended with a bullet in his skull. Sasuga, Ultimate Westerner.
"Eeerr... that sounded like Lesiak put a... silencer in his gun." it looked like a very lame and inappropriate joke made by Dergonu, but it was also a nice shout out to Senior's pun habits.
"To be quite honest, I think this game will be much more balanced now. He was too overpowered with that guide of his." said the guy that claimed he knows everything about the progress of the story.
"I have to agree with that as well. One should not defy the gods." said the guy that defy the gods himself.
"Even if we don't like it, you have a point. Now everyone have a fair chance." said the tsun that can time travel. "I'm not a tsundere!" that's not what I said. "A-a-a-a-a-and I'm not just a tsun either!"
"Well, except the part about killing each other mid trial, even if I don't really care if you guys actually do it, the trial goes exactly like Kurisu explained. So start presenting some proof or something."
"Oh, I have some!" Kenshin finally got the ball rolling.
"I also happen to have some." Zander said calmly like this:
"I also have something to show." Virgin said proudly. Not even Dreamysyu, that was with him had any idea what kind of clue he found.
"Let's start with mine, since I raised my hand first! Okay, I gathered some pics from the crime scene. Maggiekuma, can you lend me a screen to project those?" said Kenshin.
"This is really necessary? I mean, we're handling guro material here..." Lesiak asked before I have to rate this fic 18+.
"Guro..." Dergonu seems to be controlling himself to not say anything else.
"About guro here, I think I could give my opinion on it, but since I'm not into strangling and tentacle anal rape here, I think I'll pass on this here." littleshogun gave his opinion.
".............Not only you're being awfully specific, but no one asked if anyone liked guro either." Ranzo tsukkomied for a moment.
"Eeerrr, but don't we just looked at the body? Ignoring that it was 2 eons ago outside the story. How 2D pics can be worse than the real deal?" Virgin asked.
"I'm not sure if this 2D vs 3D argument's going to fly on court, mister Virgin." you guys are already on court, mister Poltroon, but he was so naturally on mood for trials that he didn't even noticed his language quirk.
"To be honest, the only thing those pics will show is what I'm about to describe." Zander started. "I investigated the body and made a shocking discover: it wasn't the gif that killed tymmur, he was electrocuted!"
"Impossible. How such a detail went unnoticed by the gods?" bellowed Clephas, making a question that I didn't really think the answer to.
"His feet were stuck into a bucket full of water together with an electric wire. So it means... that someone entered the scene, probably knocked tymmur out cold, stuck his feet into the bucket, put the wire there, send the gif as a red flag and then fled." Dreamysyu put all the pieces together. "But... when did the culprit find the time to do all that?"
"He doesn't need time if they can time travel..." Ranzo preferred to chaotic-evilly accuse anyone without proof just for the lulz than actually help.
"True that, but unfortunately for your lulz, I have some further proof I'm not the killer. Isn't that right, Kenshin_sama?!" Kurisu said, throwing their ace in the moment they judged to be the most dramatic!
"Why people only present evidence on dramatic prompts and not, like, right at the start?" Danganronpa is to blame, bats.
"Oh right! The message on the blackboard! I have a pic of it as well!" Kenshin said what they knew. "When both of us entered the scene, we saw this 'Podology services for free!' message written with pink chalk on the blackboard, so maybe that's what baited tymmur."
"I don't even know what podology is supposed to be, what's your point?" Virgin didn't understand gay speak.
"I'm not sure either, but maybe... you're trying to say that tymmur put his feet inside that bucket by himself??" dramatic song starts playing.
"WHATA TWIIIIIIIIIIIST!" not really, Maggiekuma. You're the only one excited here.
"Wait a moment. If that's true... why we didn't saw that message when we went to crime scene?" Lesiak questioned.
"Because I eventually erased it to write a differences chart between the anime and the VN version of S;G 0 there." calmly explained Kurisu.
"Destroying evidence, eh?" Poltroon suddenly became Canadian.
"To be honest, it made the episode even more fun to watch, building that chart." the order of the words in Kenshin's explanation looks like something poorly translated from japanese. And then, everyone just removed Kenshin and Kurisu from the blame list because I don't want to drag this any longer.
"Okay, I think it's finally time for me to shine!" Virgin raised from his seat, at least I hope I mentioned they were sitting before.
"Oh yeah, you apparently had some evidence." Zander trusted Virgin as much as Virgin trusted him.
"Yeah, and it's that now dead guy's guide!"
"Wait, isn't this cheating?" Dergonu uphold the rules with seriousness.
"Not when I'm the one doing it!" said Virgin, quickly turning the pages of Senior's guide. "Soooo, if I got to the right page, I think the way to advance is... to ask Dergonu to hack the system?"
"Dergonu, care to explain?" Fiddle asked, judging his comrade.
"Oh riiiiight, I was hacking the system to get access to the monitors early, so maybe I can do it again to check some unusual activity." I'm not sure if Dergonu can even do that, but Kaguya is not in the story so this have to do. After some *insert meme and oversimplified explanation of hacker doing stuff* in a laptop that Maggiekuma lent to them, Dergonu turned back to his friends with a sullen expression. "It's no use, I can't even see traces of Kurisu's magecraft there."
"Some mod you are." Zander rolled his eyes.
"☆=(ゝω･)/" Kiri intervene for the first time! "ヾ(｀・ω・´)ノ" They said.
"Can someone localize this?"
"They're saying that maybe Poltroon or Clephas can try to get access to the system too. They aren't the Ultimate Mod, but maybe their permissions are wacky enough for that to work." Fiddle translated.
"WHAT ARE YOU EVEN OBJECTING TO?????" Dreamysyu asked themselves if Maggie didn't do that just because she so wanted to use that pic.
"Did Kiri really says all of that with just that smiley?" batman asked the real question.
"Yes." Fiddle only nodded, because they know. And somehow everyone just accepted it and the plot moved forward.
"Well, since batman stole my catchphrase..." not really, Mr. Edgeworth. "I'll hack into this system of yours instead, to finally make a grandiose entrance in this trial." I think it's a fair trade, solving plot problems instead of saying a meme catchphrase. And with that, his fingers danced through the keyboard of Maggiekuma's laptop. "Ohoooo... what is this?"
"Cut the suspense, did you find out who send the gif?"
"As a matter of fact, yes. And it was... someone named Dergonu!"
DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN!
"Absurd! It's not me!!! Just look into my account activity!!! It was pretty much inactive before Dreamysyu asked for my help earlier this morning!" Dergone yelled.
"Just for the record, I'm not confirming this piece of information." Dreamysyu threw Dergonu under the bus.
"Fret not, my fellow moderator. I never said it was you that did it. I said an account with the name 'Dergonu' is the responsible for this mess, apparently. And for some reason, this Dergonu is also following your account." Poltroon explained.
"But wasn't that Dergonu following Dergonu Dergonu themselves?" Kenshin put it in a confusing way, but it was the painful truth.
"Oh yeah, that's right. So forget what I said about not fretting, Dergonu, please do fret." Poltroon dealt the final blow.
"Wait, we're not doing that retarded rhythm game from Danganronpa now, are we?" Ranzo asked. Even if he was a music enthusiast, no one deserves that annoying game.
"No lol, that minigame is stupid, I can go down without that and with my dignity instead, thank you very much." Dergonu explained.
"So it WAS you the culprit here. You must be quite interested here in how to mouth those obviously delicious and long and thick bananas here to actually commit murder for it here." littleshogun disapproved.
".................I think you're the only one that still remembers that was supposed to be our motivation." Virgin felt some degeneration in the air.
"Nah man, I didn't do it for some dumb book." Dergonu switched to their evil villain personality. For some reason, no one was really surprised.
"So, why did you kill tymmur?"
"For the ~~***GURO***~~, of course!" And them they started some chant that looked like a chuuni villain speech. "KILL, PUNCH, STAB, BLEEEEED!!!! Why is this frustrated Derg so mad? I hope you can't answer me, as your brains escape through your ears! Dance, Derg, at the rhythm of the falling severed fingers! Crawl in my direction leaving your intestines in your trails! You can't take your eyes of Derg, so I'll take them out for you maggots!" for some reason, Dergonu started talking about themselves in third person, something as bad as guro.
"Okay, but where's the sexual part in those things you describe? That's just regular gore." asked Dreamysyu.
"Well, I'm sexy (/ω＼)" Kiri wasn't amused with Dergonu trying to copy them.
"Is this... the real Dergonu?" Lesiak asked, somehow surprised that he didn't recognize his friend that had a whopping amount of maybe 5 lines in 3 chapters worth of characterization.
"Actually, now everything is starting to make sense." Really? "They did that... because they wanted to be guroed themselves."
"mWAHAHAKWAKWA~ mAYBE?! <3" Dergonu's maniacal laugh echoed in the chamber.
"Well, if that's what this shell of a human being is asking for..." Clephas started a summoning spell. "KILL, PUNCH, STAB, BLEEEEED!!!!..." no, I won't create 2 mantras in a single chapter.
"HOLD YOUR HORSES! I CAN HANDLE THIS!" said Maggiekuma, wanting to shine in this chapter as well. "The Punishment time is on the house! And I prepared some pretty cool Visual Novel style execution!" Saying that, Maggiekuma took an old grimoire whose cover was covered in a cat's hide. The Legendary Nekonomicon. It seems Senior's soul is still trapped in the courtroom, as the lame puns are out of control. Cutting off one of their finger and pouring the blood over the cursed book's page, Maggiekuma summoned Dergonu's executioner. "Who's better to punish bad Dergonu than the very own Empress of the Banished Lands?"
In the next moment. The sky suddenly went dark. They were indoors, but they noticed it through a TV that Maggiekuma turned on in that instant or something. But the reason for that suddenly invaded the courtroom too. Wasps. A fuck ton of them. Their buzzing was quite loud, almost looking like they were omegaloling at the characters' misery. The characters that had closer ties with Hell knew what were those wasps. The poster boys (boys is even the right word here?) of the Banished Lands, the symbol of the Queen. And indeed, short after, she appeared. The High Mistress Neko, the Ultimate Catgirl. Clad in a beautiful samurai armor and carrying a giant samurai sword, she was danger incarnate. She also had massive breasts that were in fact just two gigantic spherical bombs just to be even more dangerous. She approached Dergonu with a smile on her face, the wasps flying around her now buzzing a chorus latin song to be even more chuuni.
"Ahaha, so you're the boy who needs some punishment?" she asked in a voice that almost made you want to be punished.
"Only if you don't be gentle with me." Well, apparently Dergonu DID wanted to be punished.
"Desu wa~" said the Neko Queen in gratuitous japanese that didn't really make any sense here. "So, time to...!"
[The content of Dergonu's execution was considered too extreme for Fuwa rules, so I removed it according. I count with the help of fans to restore this content! Thanks for the comprehension!
Actually no, fuck you.]
Even if the guroing was lazily cut, I didn't rewrite the scars it left in the other guys that lived and watched everything in horror. Although Ranzo did like the violent style of the High Mistress, so they actually took some notes of things to copy when they eventually tries to kill someone. It will be censored all the same to be honest. Eventually the Neko Samurai walked away with her wasp companions, what left our heroes begging for it to be just a dream.
"Let me guess, you'll copy that 'Dreamysyu woke up in their usual seat blah blah blah' again next time, right?" now even Dreamysyu is snarking at me.
NEXT TIME: Two more down, thirteen to go. What awaits our heroes next?
"Hopefully not another long ass waiting again!" Virgin released one last drop of poison.
Recent EntriesLatest Entry
As many (hopefully) of you know, I like to read a lot of different things, providing my stomach and the laws of my country allow it. My VNDB list will never reach Clephas level of completeness, so I'm aiming for something different instead: to have the most random, hipster, no prejudice, unlike any other VN list. Of course, as slow as I am, I can only hope to achieve this dream within the next 30 years or so, but hey I'm still young!
I have conquered otomege, devoured BL, collected EVNs, discovered yuri, threaded in chuuni waters, tiptoed into nakige, read through memeges, tasted horror, and tried my hand with gameplay hybrids. But how can I call myself a Ultimate VN Reader if I never read a single nukige? No, I have to change that. I must to. So I decided to give a chance to the glorious fangame our friendly neighbors Asonn, Arcadeotic, Hanako, HMN, Jptje, Nandemonai, Zakamutt, and other sweeties (because the list is damn long), shared with the West: Maki Fes!
What were the impressions of Maggie, guaranteed 12% female readership of Fuwa, someone who totally didn't went in for the memes and that totally knew something about Love Live beforehand? Find out now!
There's a catchy song in the title screen, pretty much the only song I remember from the game.
In Maki Fes!, you play as
Mattyourself! The boyfriend (wait, it should be girlfriend if I had to play as myself. Well, I can stick with Matt just fine)of the cute red haired tsundereish Maki! How lucky are you? Nukige convenience is convenient, alright! Not a bad start to be honest, I was expecting something more stupid, but Maki Fes already proved itself as above average intellectual level than my preconceived opinion of what constitutes an average nukige. Anyway, Maki needs to write a song and you, as a good boyfriend, agree to help her get some inspiration. And yeeeeeees, that means lots of porn!
Maki is pretty much the only character you'll meet through the entire game, since more girl means harem or yuri, right? And that's not what this doujinge is about. And she's fully voiced! The actress does a very good job for most part, except during those background moans that goes like a machine gun shooting fast going "a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a" that got annoying after two loops. The art is also quite pleasant to look at, Maki pouting and smiling are just the cutest. I enjoyed her character, but I don't know the original to say if she's going too OOC.
So! The game provide you with the following scenarios, and all of them leads to porn. Yes, some of these choices leading to porn is quite creative, I know. The twist would be if the last option didn't, but that's not what happens here.
Choices, oh choices.
If you don't want to be spoilered, stop reading right here! Not that I consider sexual position a spoiler, but hey, there's weird folks of all kinds out there! So let's go over what I get out of each scenes. And no, it wasn't masturbatory material.
"Let's recall our first time!": Exactly what it says on the tin. It was quite a sweet scene, where
Mattthe protagonist was mindful of Maki, and if she was feeling comfortable. Of course, she had to say the typical "you can be more rough, I know you're holding yourself back", but hey, at least they discussed it! Relationship is all about two people understanding and being respectful with each other after all! Another thing that I have to praise this game is that the classic "Cum inside/Cum outside" option only affect the CG right after it, and not the ending, so I could pick "Cum outside" to my heart's content.
"Wear your maid outfit!": This one was nice too, as far as h-scenes goes. It's a blowjob scene and HEY, it have simple ANIMATIONS (*insert here the face of a surprised girl that never saw a animated VN before)! The translation of this scene was pretty good too, I was amazed with how many different porn sound effects this guy could came (get it? ) up with. It also had a marriage proposal discussion there that I liked, but I can guess 80% of the people that played this game didn't even noticed it.
"Our good luck charm!": This was one of the last scenes I read, so there wasn't much of my patience left. I think it was something about writing good luck wishes on Maki's butt. Yep. Of course, not with a pen or a penis, but with his finger. Oh yeah, this guy goes on and on about Maki's cellulite free butt but this game don't have a single anal scene. For shame, game, for shame!
"I'm hungry!": I can only say one thing. How Maki decided she wanted to feed this guy and do it like this???????????
"Dancing is inspiring!": Probably, but it was the very last scene I read and at that point I just wanted the game to end. Four scenes is my limit for h-scenes one after another. Multiple rounds indeed is a lie. Oh yeah, the scene. I think it was a cowgirl scene and... that's it.
"Use traditional elements!": Was it on that scene that Maki came with the penetration alone? God, that was dumb. This guy have such lame foreplay skill it's a wonder Maki can even come once. Oh yeah, there's pee in this scene, weird that Zaka didn't work on this. How does her pee makes an arc in the air though? Pretty sure you need a penis to do that...
"You need some excitement!": Man, this scene have one weird dick. It looked like a fishing hook. Animating it didn't make it any better. But I think this scene had some well crafted
punscumversation, so it was somewhat amusing.
"I wanna fuck!": (Chorus: FUCK!)* Now that's a scene where Matt truly shines! And Maki as well. How could a forget when she uttered my favorite quote of the game, "My nipples are playing the blues!"? Now that's what I call talented nipples!
*Joke stolen from ZakaTM
After seeing all scenes, you can finally watch the desired True Ending, that I'll not spoil here. That was... tiring to be honest, but also educational (?) to say the least. It helped me to understand some before unexplored corners of the VN fandom. And I can't really doubt that it must be a nice game if used as intended. Should I be ashamed that this was my first contact with anything related to Love Live? Maybe. But now I can proudly (??) say that my VNDB list is one step closer to perfection. And since I already ticked the nukige checkbox, I can safely remove any other nukiges/games tagged with high sexual content from my wishlist!
...Wait, that one nukige is BL.
Guess I'm making a nukige misadventures part 2.
Unrelated PS: No, I didn't forget about Dankaronpa, chapter 4 is halfway done. Maybe next week!
I’m so good at writing reviews that my last one was months ago. If I continue like that I’ll eventually beat @Plk_Lesiak on the review count (
we all know that is a lie).
Anyway gonna drop the structure of my last two reviews and freely type, I’ll still go over all of the topics presented there, but without separating them in topics, this way I can freely write what I want without feeling limited to a certain space.
Also I wouldn't call this a "review" in the literal sense, it is just my spouting my impressions of the game without properly analyzing all the aspects.
BUT enough rambling, know let’s talk about the matter at hand.
You know a EVN is good when our official OELVN hater approves it (
this is a joke btw not trying to personally offend him, you never know on the internet )
DAMN this game, it is been a while since a story engaged me to such level; I literally read it from start to finish in one sitting.
Where do I start… okay…
this game does Denpa way better than DDLC. Our protagonist, Mercy lives in remote town of Phada (cultist type of town), she is constantly bullied and harassed because of her “cursed” vision which cause her too see a corrupted world filled with red and black beetles. The town’s main figure of worship is the “holy woman” whose purpose is to receive energy and messages from “god”.
So after the accidental death of such, suddenly two holy women appears at the town, and one of them approaches Mercy claiming that she also has a cursed vision. Mercy finally starts seeing the good side of life with the help of this girl, but…
Strange things happen, and the girl starts acting out of character….
The rest you’ll have to discover by yourself. ;o)
Some of the CGs are pretty awesome from characterization alone.
First off, can I say how much I love the presentation of the game, the art and music fits so well and the atmosphere is so perfect, it weirdly reminded me of silent hill with all the red imagery and the unintelligible speech of people around mercy.
Other thing I have to praise is how none of the characters feel useless, all of them are developed, have their motivations and. The game deals with dark themes like bullying and abuse very well, the tone is consistent and it never feel like the novel is trying to be “edgy”, and it genuinely makes you feel bad for the protagonist, you just feel like jumping into the game and giving her a hug, because you feel like she doesn’t deserve any of the things that happen to her.
The mystery and Denpa aspects of the game are also incredibly implemented, like I said, the story was very engaging and I couldn’t stop reading it until I reach its conclusion, and the messages it passes with the ending is very beautiful.
Some persons just don't know how rude it is to garble a bunch of nonsense from their scribbled faces.
But I shall say no more, this game is free, not that long and there are no branches, so no save scumming to get extra CGs is required ;o). So, go download it, this VN proves that not all EVN’s are trash and that there are some genuine gems out there.
The Heart of Chuuni
My previous blog posts were about analyzing common definitions and attitudes toward the word "chuuni" and the chuuni genre. I was establishing a baseline. But now it's time to delve into the essence.
Most VN fans have heard an "explanation" of the chuuni genre before.
"It's stuff like Dies irae"
"It's hotblooded and over-the-top action"
"It's about detailed settings with cool characters"
"It's edgy shit"
"It's a story with characters who act chuunibyou, except nobody tsukkomi's them"
"It's people with heterochromia or special powers and victim complexes"
"It's shounen for adults"
Whatever you may have heard, there's one thing I'm sure about: it's vague. Most people zero in on a specific element of chuuni that holds their attention or that they like about it, and say, "This is chuuni!"
In truth, though, chuuni is a broad genre that encompasses many literary mediums, many sources of appeal, many tropes, and many cases where the trope is hard to describe. People are expected to experience a lot of chuuni works, and experience a lot of references to "chuuni" within other Japanese works, and thus by cultural osmosis, form an abstract concept of what is "chuuni".
But do we really have to settle for that? Can't we precisely say what exactly is and isn't "chuuni", at least in spirit? I believe we can.
Let's throw out popular perceptions and attitudes, along with all the baggage associated with the word "chuunibyou" that formed the basis of the word chuuni. Let's move beyond the cultural background that has been established in my previous post, discard all preconceptions, and finally... approach the true heart of chuuni.
The Path to Chuuni
What follow are largely my own informed inferences. They lack evidence, because there's no easy way to prove a cultural trend. If anyone has an alternative theory, they're free to present it in the comments or their own blog post.
Early manga was expected to conform to the "common sense" of society. Or rather, there was little market for contrarian works.
Works that targeted the youth often centered around "heroes" who were expected to help maintain the peace of society, living according virtues such as kindness and mercy, and achieved success and peer recognition as a result. Works that targeted adults, on the other hand, might be more cynical, but they still revolved around adult protagonists who had conformed to society.
For a parallel outside Japan, look to Western comic book heroes like Superman, who stood tall amid the Comics Code Authority regulations. In fact, the style of early manga was significantly inspired by its Western counterpart.
But society doesn't stay the same forever. Decades passed, and people's sensibilities changed along with their attitudes.
...No one can possibly trace chuuni to its origin point, because there is no such thing. Throughout history, there have always been isolated elements within works of literature that speak to our chuuni hearts. Like, for a fairly "recent" example, everything about the style of Hiei from Yuu Yuu Hakusho. If there is an origin of chuuni as a genre, it occurred when those elements fused together. But what degree of fusion is necessary to birth a "genre"? The only point by which it's absolutely certain a "genre" had come into existence was the advent of Fate/stay night.
What We Desired
So, what is chuuni?
Chuuni is completely pointless from a practical standpoint; it just sounds cool. Chuuni-style nicknames, throwing in random German, or donning a scarf or a cape.
Chuuni doesn't serve to create a conflict, or add necessary depth in ways typical of fantasy stories. Rather, it serves to emphasize the special coolness of the lead character. Having a "unique infection", wrestling with madness, experiencing an "awakening", or possessing memories of a past life.
Chuuni depicts the "alternate truths" that contradict what others think and feel. A morality that is not subordinated. Killing to survive, references to the food chain, massacre as self-expression, or a rebellion against the natural order of a hypocritical "God".
Chuuni reveals the "hidden truths" about society that have scarred the people within it. Conspiracies, cover-ups, or human experimentation.
At the heart, chuuni is a celebration of the virtue of "chuuni" characters--and the chuuni fans who recognize them--as the true heroes of this world, in touch with a reality the masses can't conceive of, capable of facing harsh truths and shouldering emotional burdens that typical, mundane people would be overwhelmed by--because those people lack character, lack mental strength, and are emotionally weak, capable only of clinging to the foolish perceptions, beliefs, and morals espoused by society. I believe that everything that chuuni has become started from that.
Young people in society often experience alienation, or some kind of frustration with their inability to perfectly conform. Such people are often tempted by a certain wild idea, and think like this:
"I feel like shit because no one sees the world the same way as me. But even after I've let myself stew in this rotten emotion, I still can't make myself be just like everyone else... What if everyone else is actually deluded, and I'm correct? In that case, my perception is superior to others, and I'm aware of truths they aren't, AND I had the boldness to stick with my beliefs instead of delude myself and conform like the rest of them. Aren't I quite awesome?"
People who feel like this, even if it's just a slight inclination rather than full-blown chuunibyou, tend to admire and seek out characters and stories with a chuuni spirit.
When Fate/stay night came out, it was like a bomb went off. Fate hit just the right note with its moral complexity, the mystique of the rich world it depicted, a lawless secret world of the supernatural, ordinary people depicted as clueless sacrificial sheep, a male lead whose evolution is a condemnation of traditional moralistic leads, and so on. People with an inclination toward chuuni tropes flocked to it in droves, plus everyone else, because Fate/stay night was just that good.
That said, in the present day, what we (especially VN fans) call "chuuni" often refers more to famous tropes from chuuni works, and what those tropes have evolved into, and doesn't necessarily seek as its audience the sort of person I just described. But it's worth keeping in mind the origin of this genre.
More Human than Humans
I'll close with this wonderful piece of prose that truly captures the essence of chuuni.
They, who wandered and pursued that formless “humanness,”
who couldn’t see any significance in their existence outside of battle,
who, because of their hearts becoming akin to blades, didn’t know how to grasp any hands extended to them,
who never had anyone understand their beauty, and had no choice but to seclude themselves among each other,
who had no choice but to estrange themselves with fake smiles when with other people so they could maintain themselves,
who couldn’t pride themselves in anything but destruction,
who therefore were particularly cynical and were born with inhumane powers, and therefore were continuously called monsters, were, more than anyone and anything else, human.
-- Excerpt from "Psyren: Another Call 2" by Iwashiro Toshiaki, translated by himetsuri
I'm not entirely satisfied with this post, so I may revise it later.
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Today, I made the most famous Karaage (から揚げ). I do make this often and today I thought why not start a blog with this delicious content.
Spoiler: I didn't let my chicken rest enough so it had some excess potato starch on it... but the heck with it.
- Corn/Potato Starch
- Ginger (just a bit! we will only use the sweet juices)
- Soy Sauce
- Chicken ( cut them a bit larger than your normal bites, as it has a lot of fiber so it will shrink when frying)
Secret frying process:
Fry them 3 times. For best results go with 2 min on 190C, then let them rest for 1 minute. fry them again on 190C this time for 1 min, rest 30 sec. and then once again 1 minute on 190C.
I couldn't be bothered this time, probably also the reason why I have still corn on my finished product. It still tasty af tho.
Tip: use Japanese 7 spice mix (七味唐辛子) on your mayo.
Here is a video of me actually making it. unedited. (I didn't film the whole frying process as I couldn't be bothered...)
Enjoy the Cringe : )
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Disclaimer: I played the recent fan translation and from my (limited) knowledge of Japanese, I found it to be quite accurate. I was actually surprised by how the translator made certain sentences work and I can't recall an instance where I thought the translation looked strange.
When Hajimete no Okaa-san's fan translation came out, it caused a tiny yet significant uproar on certain visual novel related communities. The English idiom that spans over a century - don't judge a book by its cover - could possibly have been created for this very moment. I hope that by writing this review, I can clear up any misconceptions about this novel, teach you to not judge a work by its outward appearance and give you the courage to read a truly touching story.
Dealing with the loss of a loved isn't easy, no matter if you're an adult or a child, and even more so if the person in question is an irreplaceable person that you've vowed eternity to or that defines your complete existence.
When our unnamed protagonist, who I will refer to as "Papa", loses his beloved wife to a traffic accident, he is left with the troublesome task of single parenting. Confronting the sorrows of one who has been turned into pure white ash, he finds solace in the one and only person who could understand him and also the one who might be suffering the most - his one and only daughter Chiyori (Chii).
Hajimete no Okaa-san is a very special Visual Novel. Unlike the disappointing standard of recent releases, it treats both its audience and characters with the respect they deserve. The most significant difference between this novel and the many others is the fact that its willing to portray the characters as real human beings. Please allow me to mention that there exist only eight translated visual novels with the "Widower Protagonist" and likely no other that focuses as deeply on the theme of single parenting.
The rather simplistic approach to emotions is surprisingly expressive, although one could argue about the emotional depth of a 6-year old, I was able to completely grasp both the personality of Chii through the brilliant performance of seiyuu Amakawa Milk (a respectable veteran in her own right with a wide palette of roles) and the internal monologues of Papa.
The beginning is rather surprising. The amount of effort that the creators have put into this work is nearly palpable, often leaving one surprised at how nicely written and how well the narrative flows. Starting with ordinary slice-of-life scenes, we're thrown into the daily life of Papa and her daughter Chii. Starting with the smallest things like learning how to write hiragana and her own name in Kanji, the basics of arithmetic, giving up one's fork and knife and mastering the use of chopsticks - they are all endearing moments that help us connect with Chii as a character and reminding us of times long past of our childhood when everything was much simpler. It is this genuine and pure simplicity that initially made this novel stand out.
In contrast to this feeling, enter "Chii wa kodomo janai!" - Chii is no longer a child. Her own desire to find a way to deal with her own sorrows, all the while supporting the one person she loves most in her world, one of the most satisfying factors of reading through this novel is observing Chii's maturity as a character.
Despite the more lighthearted scenes, the novel is plentiful with well-timed drama which never for a moment felt excessive or artificial. Papa is stuck in a constant internal moral debate which at times stops him from realising the suffering of those who are right in front of his eyes.
As far as storytelling goes, one of the biggest attributes ishow the reader has the freedom to change the course of the story (albeit into premature ends). As for this aspect, I would like to divide the story in three or four parts (I will just say that the forth part is a Web Omake, essentially a short epilogue that portrays the life of our two, now three characters after the events of the main game).
The first being the first two hours where we accompany the characters until the inevitable H-scene. Here, the reader is given the choice to not go through it at all and completely avoid the H-scene, ending the game prematurely. To not give in to his dark desires and not abandoning one's morals, is too a possible answer that Papa can find.
The second part and probably the longest, accompanies our two characters as their relationship develops. The most important aspect that I'd like to bring up is that the whole theme of pregnancy is treated. In many eroge, pregnancy is either completely ignored, allowing our most likely 16-year old protagonist to let out his seed without any worries in the world, or treated as an afterthought, perhaps featured in one last H-scene before the game ends. In this novel, not only do we see their relationship flourish but the passage of time, told by the growth of Chii's belly and change of hairstyle (over five different character sprites!), shows us that this is aspect that is willing to be embraced, often being the case for worry for our protagonist.
At the end of the second part, the reader is given another important choice: to go beyond mere carnal desires and a parent's desire to protect his child and thus taking their relationship to the next level, or to once again fall into self-hatred and not take responsibility for one's actions. Thus begins the third part: "I want Papa to always be by my side". While perhaps as long as the first part, it's perhaps the one with the most emotional impact. Vowing to combat loneliness, Papa and Chii realise that being surrounded by the people you love is far more important than having a peaceful life. Chii does not become a replacement - she is her own person and the most important thing in the world to our protagonist. As long as two people can love each other, that is more than enough.
And as long as there is love, there is warmth. A new family is born. The two become three, the warmth keeps rising and it spreads to others around. When I finished reading Hajimete no Okaa-san, I felt a warmth deep inside of me because I realised I had just been through a really special experience. With this review, I hope that I convinced you to read this beautiful story and too come to have warmth in your heart. Thank you for reading.
https://imgur.com/a/FpPkAxp (This might be a little of a spoiler so I won't post it as an image, but it's the last and most impactful scene of the novel)
I am open to criticism and would be happy if you could help me improve as a reviewer.
I see it in tld VN chats all the time. "I read flowers, I read kindred spirits on the roof and I read half of katahane and dropped it. What gay girls can I read next?"
Why, I have just the answer for you. Spend 4 hours reading yuukuri panic escalation then despair at the lack of yuri once more. Also, finish Katahane!
Yuukuri panic escalation tells the story of Rie-chan - a shy, reserved and easily flustered girl with a traumatic(?) past who moves to a christian boarding school, can play the piano and ultimately finds gay love.
This might seem similar to flowers to you, but it's not. That would be an insult to this masterpiece. You might think I'm overselling this, but does Flowers have a spiked dildo they call the lance of longinus?
I thought not.
Rie-chan is a good girl who liked her sensei, but was too scared to fuck him. Then sensei fucked her mom instead and now she's in an all-girls school to get away from this two-sided betrayal.
Rie doesn't really know what sex is or how you do it, which is pretty funny given how she's in heat all the time.
Random oji-san from mind control harem fantasy game move away, this is probably the horniest protagonist out of any eroge I've read, despite her not knowing what masturbation is. Literally immediately orgasms from seeing two girls go at it for a second, despite not understanding why people do lewd things.
It's quite funny seeing her wanting to masturbate but not knowing how to. Poor girl. They use drugs on her at a point, but it makes her reactions no different from normal H scenes, probably because she's a bunny in heat all the time.
There are two routes in this game. You can choose to have Rie-chan be dominated by the cool, elegant onee-sama or by the girl the onee-sama normally dominates. The latter is unexpectedly hotter. Sex scenes are all SM, but really mild SM. Still good, though. Protagonist's VA is also great for some reason.
Game actually has a lot of plot twists, despite being so short. Finishing every ending should take about an hour and a half.
"But Kaguya, what's up with that 80's arcade gameplay you talked about earlier?"
Well, as you've probably figured out, it's where the rest of your 2 and a half hours will be sunk if you so choose to go that way.
See, this game's story doesn't have enough space for all the sex scenes they wanted to put in, so instead they made a whole different side game that has its own story (that is mainly an excuse to put a bunch of random sex scenes together.)
Characters are all the same, but to reach the sex scenes you must play qix over CGs that lose their clothes as you progress while the girls talk about how good your gameplay is (of course in a very sexual way.)
This is a surprisingly good yuri porn game no one ever talks about (probably because everyone who read it read it 10 years ago. I know I had forgotten all about it until I saw it in my old notebook recently.)
Please try it out.
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In response to my friend @Mr Poltroon's grammatically-questionable-but-nevertheless-generous patronage, I've decided to utilize my artistic skills and produce a drawing that does justice to his favorite character, Kilometers Edgeworth.
In short, I labored to reproduce the following piece that I found on an insider artists' hub known as Google Images:
(I forgot to replace the transparency in his eyes with whiteness, so please don't use a dark skin or he'll look scary and deformed.)
- Read more...
- 0 comments
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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.
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.
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.