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  • Kaguya

    Fabulous on Fuwa - February!

    By Kaguya

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

    Before starting this post, I suppose that I should give a brief introduction and summary for Subarashiki Hibi ~Furenzoku Sonzai (Our Wonderful Everyday ~Discontinuous Existence). However, Asceai in his review of the VN probably gave the best and most condensed summary for this fairly complicated story. So I will borrow his words:

    “Subarashiki Hibi is a story told in six chapters. The chapters are of varying lengths and structure, but for the most part, they cover the month of July 2012 from a number of different perspectives.

    The story begins in chapter #1, 'Down the Rabbit-Hole" on July 12, 2012. The protagonist; Minakami Yuki; lives a peaceful everyday life with Tsukasa and Kagami; her childhood friends; when one day she meets a mysterious girl, Takashima Zakuro (a girl in another class in Yuki's school, who seems to have met Yuki before but Yuki does not remember this).

    The next day, she learns that Takashima Zakuro has killed herself. Rumors in school are abuzz about predictions of the end of the world in 2012 - one of which is a Web site called the "Web Bot Project", a network of crawlers designed to harness the 'collective unconsciousness' to make predictions.

    A boy in Yuki's class named Mamiya Takuji stands up and makes an apocalyptic prediction, stating that the world will end on the 20th, and that Zakuro's death was the first sign. He speaks of an event he dubs "the Last Sky", where the world will be destroyed and reborn.

    The clock is ticking and more people die as the prophesied date draws closer and closer while Yuki attempts to get to the bottom of the identity of Mamiya Takuji, the Web Bot Project and the Last Sky.”

     

    Although this is a highly accurate plot summary of Suba Hibi that avoids spoilers, what a prospective reader of Suba Hibi should also know, is that the story is divided into two parts. The two parts are fundamentally interlinked, but are also kept separate. And it is this aspect of the visual novel that really defines it as a masterpiece. There is the part of the work that is a story, and then there is the part that is a philosophical work. Both parts are handled excellently well, and mix together in a fascinating and integral way. Simply, these chapters: Down the Rabbit Hole 2, It's My Own Invention, Looking-Glass Insects, Jabberwocky, Which Dreamed it, Jabberwocky 2, and the first two epilogues are a complete story. The VN very well could have been just these parts, and it would have been a damn good work of art. And yet, the visual novel is not just these parts. Down the Rabbit Hole 1, End Sky 2, and all the scenes with Ayana throughout all the chapters are included as well. And by virtue of just being there, it forces the reader to question why? These parts add nothing to the actual narrative of the story, and yet it is these parts that mark the very start and the very end of the story. With a mysterious girl named Ayana showing up periodically throughout the story to remind us not to get too caught up in the events of the story. That while the narrative part of the story is fascinating, and very easy to get lost in. There is a whole deeper layer to everything going on that we will only get a clue of at the very end.

    Down the Rabbit-Hole 1, which I will refer to as Chapter 0, gets a lot of flak for being considered a weak start to an otherwise excellent story. And although Down the Rabbit-Hole 1 does have a fair bit of fluff, it is an absolutely integral part of the story. As an introduction, Chapter 0 has the role of establishing what kind of mind set the reader should approach this story with. And it is for this reason that Chapter 0 is so important. Suba Hibi is a philosophical work above all else. Upon finishing this story, you get the feeling that Sca-ji (the primary creator) wanted to write a philosophical thesis of his own, but then decided to create a whole visual novel instead. And I'm so glad he chose that route. By using fiction to express these concepts, and forcing the reader to see the story not as a story but as a world of its own, it gets us to see the relevance of said philosophies. The whole story is essentially there to create a conversation about various philosophical topics, with solipsism being one of the big ones. This is what Chapter 0 exists for, to get the reader to understand that the events we will see unfold as the actual story progresses is not meant to be just mere entertainment (and oh boy is it a thrill ride), but to keep in mind that there is even deeper subtext to everything going on.

    Takashima Zakuro, the girl whose suicide is the triggering point, or perhaps even the direct cause of all the events that follow, plays an entirely different role in Chapter 0. With the exclusion of this chapter, she is a normal character and even the primary protagonist of the Looking Glass-Insect chapter. But in Chapter 0, she has the role of being a character that knows what is going on. A role that she shares only with Otonashi Ayana (except that Ayana retains that role throughout the entire duration of the story, not just in Chapter 0 as is Zakuro's case). When reading Chapter 0, we are told and even see some interesting and cryptic things, but have no way of piecing those things together. Thereby giving you enough information to be curious about the under workings of everything that is going on, but with no means of figuring that out yourself without continuing into the proverbial “Rabbit Hole”.

    It is for that reason that Suba Hibi is first and foremost a philosophical work, because above all else our purpose is to try to figure out what is going on. And once the story really gets rolling in Down the Rabbit-Hole 2, we experience the main events from a myriad of unreliable perspectives. Meaning that trying to figure out what is going on is less like a puzzle as would be in a typical mystery, but more about determining what makes the most sense from the scrambled information we get. In fact, without giving any major spoilers, it is made quite clear at the very end of the story that interpreting the story is the only solution we have, meaning that everything isn't laid out clearly by the end. Which once again, adds significance to Chapter 0.

    Upon finishing Suba Hibi (meaning reading End Sky 2), you will want to reread Chapter 0 since now we as readers will no longer be in Minakami Yuki's shoes as we were the first time. Throughout the whole first reading of the story, Chapter 0 was nothing but a source of questions. Upon the second time, it is our source for answers. We have the necessary knowledge to be sharing the table with Takashima Zakuro and Ayana, since this time around, like them we will also know what is going on. When Zakuro and Ayana spoke to Yuki in our first reading, it felt like the two characters with any sort knowledge of what was really going on were keeping us in the dark. They would give subtle clues, but those clues were useless at that time. In the second reading of chapter 0, as readers we are equals in knowledge to Ayana and Zakuro and can finally make use of those clues. And the VN understands this. In fact, Ayana first introduces herself in Chapter 0 by saying “It's been a while”, addressing herself not to Yuki, but to the audience. The true meaning of this remark is very apparent to a second time reader, and instantly reminds you of the conversation you had with Ayana in End Sky 2.Although in a first reading, you probably will easily disregarded this, thinking that Ayana and Yuki briefly met before, and that Yuki simply doesn't remember. And it is here where the role that Ayana and Zakuro play differ in Chapter 0.

    (Here is an upload of that entire first encounter with Ayana in Down the Rabbit Hole 1, English subtitles are available)

    When Zakuro speaks, she is speaking to Yuki the character, not us the audience. Ayana however, really speaks directly to us, the audience (in all the chapters of this story), and that “it's been a while” (久しぶり) is essentially proof of that. As you progress in the story and work through the other chapters, Takashima's role is quite different from Chapter 0's, and she is much more ignorant compared to her chapter 0 self. Ayana however, no matter what chapter you read (and therefore which character's perspective you are seeing), is the exact same. In a story so filled with inconsistency, she is always the one consistent factor. Which goes back to my first point, just as Chapter 0 and End Sky2 are separate from the main story, so is Otonashi Ayana.

    Suba Hibi is not a simple story, and it is not meant to be only enjoyed for its emotional highs and lows; it's strange beginning makes that clear. Furthermore, during the process of reading, in case you ever forget that, Ayana is always there to remind you of that fact. Especially with the appearances she makes near the climax of the story in various chapters.

    But perhaps what I love most is the use of perspective. Returning to a previous point, in your first reading of Chapter 0 you will naturally orient your own perspective with Yuki's since all the information we receive in that chapter is from her. In fact, the whole story is told from the first person perspective of various unreliable narrators. And in every chapter we will identify our understanding of things from that character's point of view.

    But by the second reading of the story, because we have a complete picture of everything, there is a dichotomy between the reader, and the protagonist's narration. An artificial feeling that we are in a third perspective emerges. Because at this point we can balance what the protagonist perceives, with an objective understanding. Which causes us to identify with out own (third person) perspective of the story, rather than submitting to the protagonist's point of view. The more the reader develops their own personal perspective of things, the more they can relate to Ayana. The one character whose role is simply to be an objective observer.

    In a first reading, conversations with Ayana seem like she is teasing the reader for how little they actually know of what is going on. But this is because in a first reading, we identify with whichever protagonist's perspective we are seeing. Ayana is teasing us the reader by teasing the character she is talking to. The more we identify with the character's point of view, the more annoying and weird Ayana seems. But the more we identify with our own perspective (meaning by having read everything already), the more Ayana feels like an equal talking to us. Since just like the reader, she is the only other objective perspective on everything.

    In fact, this brings us back to the fact that unlike a book, where a first person narrative is without dispute a first person narrative. This is a visual novel, with choices. Even with all the information presented to us is in first person, it is by nature of its medium a third person experience since we dictate the story at certain key points. And Ayana is there to remind us that we like her, are experiencing things from an objective point of view.

  2. On May 11th, 2017 (ie, Thursday last week) the parody visual novel "Stay! Stay! Democratic People's Republic of Korea" was released. Most people probably know that I wrote it. Well, 90% or so of it, there were some humor changes and a couple last-minute changes to make some things make sense, those were done by the Project Leader. But for the vast majority of it, it's my handiwork.

    I actually got picked for the project because the developer advertised here on the boards. I submitted a sample, they liked it and brought me in. So without the boards, I wouldn't have had the chance to do the project. For that I'm extremely grateful.

    I'm actually really grateful because, in a sense, it's a comeback for me. A long time ago I wrote sports articles for newspapers. You may not think it's relevant, but the sports section is actually one of the places you're supposed to expect some creativity when it comes to writing. The last year I had done it, I was in New Hampshire at a weekly start-up in its infancy - The Connecticut Valley Spectator (it was owned by The Eagles Times, but they went kaput years ago during the first couple death waves to newspapers). They pretty much turned over most of the staff after about 8-9 months, including myself. To be fair, I was doing everything for the section then - stories, page layout, even photography. I was pretty burned out, and trying to get people on board for a new local weekly isn't easy. Once I was let go with the others, I hadn't really done a job in professional writing since.

    No, this isn't me trying to influence the forthcoming review. It is what it is and if the reviewer here loves it great, if not, I'm willing to listen to what they think would have been better. But the initial Steam reviews, both "real" and "shitposting real" have been really good.

    But it also just feels really nice to have written something that people are reading once again. And without the boards here, it wouldn't have happened. So this place - it's alright. :makina:

    And yes, you can tell me how much you loved or hated it if you read it. I don't bite. I'm actually super nice. :yumiko: WAIT WRONG ICON!!!

  3. ZYIbUPW.png

    Most probably you have already heard about this game before. Therefore, I don't feel the need to introduce the story and the characters. I simply wanted to recognize this game for being the best VN I have read so far, beating G-senjou no Maou in terms of emotional impact I received. I’m going to share my thoughts on the game, which can be very subjective. Please don’t comment spoilers.

     

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    やばい。この子超可愛い... 俺の、ワイフになってください!

     

    There are a lot of emotional scenes in the game, rooting from the protagonist's background and from the extreme situation the characters are facing. I had a lot of questions when I started reading. Most of them are basic ones which are usually given right away in the introduction of a setting. However, this VN slowly answered those questions, oftentimes in the form of flashbacks. Is this a good thing? It felt quite mysterious and new to me, so if you'll ask me I'd say it's good.

     

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    Some argue that Oumonbyou is vaguely described and it needed more information. I beg to differ. For readers like me who find infodumping mendoukusai, the writer of this game did a perfect job. If they go more scientific and specific, I might get bored and go with another VN like what I usually do. For me, the background of Oumonbyou is just about right, enough to make the readers realize that it's one heck of a fucking disease.

     

    Why do I love this game? There are three main reasons. First, it managed to hook me from start to finish by giving a serious premise and ending the game the way I wanted to. Second, I love the cast specially the protagonist. Third, it made me cry which is rare in my case. Personally, the best thing in this game would be the family theme because it was able to move me even more than the romance. Ryuuji's relationship with his parents and brother, the heroine's relationship with her sister and parents, and the relationship of Ryuuji with the heroine's family. It feels like, the world is unfair but is kind at the same time --- a good balance of frustrating and heartwarming moments.

     

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    時よ止まれ――おまえは美しい!

     

    Character development is excellent particularly in the romance theme. The progression of the relationship felt natural given the situation. This was even more emphasized in the last 5 hours of the game, where various emotions are presented in a way that gradually created huge tension, and eventually "snapped" on the ending leaving a strong impression. The ending of the game is my ideal ending, and the epilogue would be my favorite part. 何故でしょうかね!

     

    This VN is not for everybody. From the time you start the game, you'll immediately get an idea if you can take it or not. If you have enjoyed Kara no Shoujo series which is another awesome utsuge, you might like this game too. I love the background music that reinforces drama, suffering and the light/heartwarming scenes. The standing CGs are great but there are problems with some CGs (ie. body proportions). There are tons of hscenes and I skipped through most of them but some actually contributed to the plot. This is an easy read, for those wondering about the language difficulty.

     

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    The OP is as good as the story. The musical arrangement, the lyrics and of course the vocals accurately portray the feels of the game. When I first heard the song last year, I have played it again and again up until now. For those who don't know, Shimotsuki Haruka did OPs of Innocent Grey games and tons of other great VN songs like "Sketchbook" in Tokisoku, "Stellar dream" in Hoshimemo, Hakoniwa Logic, etc. She's one of my favorite artists. めっちゃええわ~ 声ホンマ天使やで~

     

    Four days have passed since I finished this but I still find it difficult to get up and pick my next VN. All I did was to sing Liblume over and over. :lol: Inochi no Spare will remain vivid in my memory for a long time.

     

    いわゆる1つの、甘くて切ない物語ってやつ!

     

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    "This is a story, about doing something for the sake of a love one." That original line sums up Inochi no Spare pretty well, but I'm not confident with my translation. tehe

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    Often when people talk about OELVNS, they fail to mention the otome games. I don't know if this is because the majority of VN readers are males who don't follow the OELVN otome scene, but either way, it's quite a shame. Many talk about how OELVNS follow Japanese tropes and try to be too Japanese. With otome games, I can sometimes see this due to the anime-inspired art, but there are really a lot of notable differences.

    For example, OELVN otome MCs tend to be more distinct. They certainly have distinct personalities and a lot of character- something I prefer since I don't self-insert. The MC of the recently released free otoge Cinderella Phenomenon for example, Lucette, is a cold-hearted, mean-spirited person. She is someone who is certainly very flawed but is also interesting as a person and a character. Throughout the story, it is evident that it is her story and a lot about her background is revealed. The characters do adhere to certain tropes but I didn't find that to be detrimental to the overall experience. Cinderella Phenomenon has a decent length and story, making it ideal for anyone who wants to try an indie otome game in English. It is also relatively high-quality compared to most indies.

    Another free indie otome is Lads in Distress. It has a finished NaNoRenO version with 170000+ words and three routes. It will have a more full-fleshed out version with longer routes and an additional 3 routes. The premise is centered on genderbent fairytale princesses with problems which the MC, Princess Charming, must work on. It has pretty decent art and story but it's really the characters who shine in this game. I loved how Princess Charming interacts with her love interests and her antics are amusing and fun to read. It is pretty lighthearted, although I suspect it won't be so when the full game comes out.

    Mystic Destinies: Serendipity of Aeons is a commercial otome game available on Steam. It follows the pay-per-route format one sees in mobile otome games. Normally, I wouldn't touch it until it's complete and everything is available at once, but I caved in the end. My decision did not disappoint me as the writing, art, CGs, and music are of a higher quality than those mobile otoges I used to purchase. It's even more astounding when those mobages are produced by well-established companies while MD:SOA is produced by an indie team. I would recommend this to those who play mobages and are just getting into PC otome. Mystic destinies has a decent-length for its price, a well-written story, a good cast of characters, and excellent art. The music is also great. The money also goes towards developing the game as the routes are released after it's developed. The writing itself is quite good in contrast to many indies.

    A cursory glance at the Lemmasoft forums will reveal a lot of otome games in development which is why I believe that it's a shame that it's so often overlooked. Two otome games in development I want to highlight are Changeling and The Pirate Mermaid. Changeling, developed by Steamberry studios is an otome game focused on the supernatural. It has a cast of characters based on folklore and mythology. From what I can see from the demo, the lore is also well-thought of. It has recently been funded through kickstarter and the dev regularly updates through tumblr. The artstyle is also very western and might turn off some people. I don't mind the art, however, as I am more drawn to the story. It follows Nora who due to some strange events in her childhood ends up being estranged with her twin brother. She moves back to a small town and meets the love interests who are all connected to the supernatural world in one way or another. The writing in this game, as with MD:SOA is rather well-done.

    What I'm really excited about however, is The Pirate Mermaid. I played the demo a long time ago and then forgot about it. However, I started checking out their blog again recently and they have a Steam Greenlight campaign going on. The MC is a pirate captain whose crew abandons her and turns into a mermaid in search of mermaid treasure. I love her character design personally, it's rare to see an otome MC who looks like me. I don't self-insert but to me (and I believe, some otoge fans out there), the representation means a lot. That aside, I'm impressed with the production values so far. It seems that it will feature a Ren'Py 3d camera and something incredibly rare: English and Japanese VAs. I will probably play the game with Japanese voice acting as I like it more based on what I've heard so far. The art is also done well and it has a story I'm interested in.

    In conclusion, a big part of the OELVN scene are otome games and I think they deserve to be more represented when it comes to EVN discussions. The indie otome scene has been continuously growing these past few years and I'm excited to see the direction they're going. It seems that as time goes on, the writing does get better as the developers gain experience. The art may be subjective but I enjoy seeing both western-style art and anime-style art. I don't think EVN devs should be criticized for drawing what they can and want to draw. In the end, as the community grows, more EVN developers will get serious and release quality VNs. I'm excited as I've been watching it for two years now and I can see more groups starting to be serious and working on commercial titles that shows serious effort.

  4. Arcadeotic
    Latest Entry

    FrRVG6Q.png

     

    Well, I guess it’s time to show something.

    Don’t worry, dearest follower of this site, I’m not dead, I’ve just been incredibly busy. I’ve had exams left and right, and thus, I’ve felt a little demotivated. But, I’ve never given up on this project, there’s no way I can. I mean, it’s been over a year since I started this “passion project”, and I still intend to finish it with all of my power.

    I won’t give up, there’s no way I’ll allow myself that. This project is important to me, way more than you think. And yes, for a while, I’ve been incredibly dead, I’ve still answered every question coming my way on Twitter, and I’m still active as ever on my Discord server. There’s no need to worry, Biman -1- will see the light of day.

    As for a “beta” patch some people have been asking, I will be looking for two beta-testers after proofreading is done, and after the testing, I will ship the translation out to the masses, and then focus on Biman -2.5- that I’ve neglected, and then onto bigger things.

    I’ve been pretty horrible with my way of keeping all of you above water, but all I can do at this point is to ask for all of you to wait patiently and to have faith in me.

    Okay?

     

    Well then, this’ll be another sporadic update that won’t become the norm for a while, but the next planned update is the recruitment of those before mentioned beta-testers.

    Until then, everyone!

  5. Miu

    Well, he was right. This is not a route, but a mini-route. That can be finished in 15 minutes tops.

    The content is itself not bad, just standard charage stuff. Don't expect anything great.

     

    Final thoughts

    On hindsight, I might not have needed to split the whole VN into so many posts. But I thought of writing them as soon as I finished them, so it ended up being that format.

    Anyway, I'll just list down my complaints first:

    1. The central plot device could have been explained better. Especially why the routes are ordered like they are. I understand they have tried to put forward a world lines theory of sorts, but that doesn't hold candle in terms of clarity and usage when compared to a certain other famous VN with world lines as its genre.

    2. Was there really a need for a Michiru route, at all? She plays a brilliant support character in the other routes, so was it needed?

    All that being said, I enjoyed almost all the routes, each in their own ways. Misaki's route had me grinning like anything, Makoto's route was really exciting, and Cro's route was an awesome ride and the best of the lot.

    And I really liked the different route format, i.e. the climax is almost always about the confession, enabling ichaicha to be kept to a bare minimum (*glares at Senren Banka*).

    So yeah, apart from Cro's route, this is your average charage I guess, with a more classic galge-type route structure. That's it.

     

    Maybe I'll resume Rena's route in Senren Banka next. Aka long flurry of posts should calm down for a while, lol.

  6. So, as the poll doesn't seem to give me an answer any time soon, I decided to start with this one.

    For those who don't know, ableist means prejudice against those with disabilities. As most people in society are able-bodied, disabled people, as a minority, have to cope with toxic words and expressions that hurt them. By saying this words in a negative way, you are basically saying that disabled people are inferior. It's the same as using 'gay' as an insult. As those expressions are by no means necessary, we all can police ourselves in order to avoid them. 

    Also, when I say 'ableist expressions', I'm not saying those who use them are ableist. Most people aren't even aware of the ableist connotations, so they aren't the ones to fault, society is.

    Here are some of the expressions and why they are ableist:

    1. Blinded by ignorance, fear, etc. (offends blind people)

    2. Crazy (offends people with mental diseases)

    3. Cripple (a very offensive word for people with physical disabilities)

    4. Dumb (refers to deaf people, or individuals with communication disorders)

    5. Idiot (intellectual disabilities)

    6. Imbecile (same as 5)

    7. Lame (offends people who have mobility disabilities)

    8. Stupid (same as 5)

    9. Moron (same as 5)

    10. Nuts (same as 5)

    11. Psycho (same as 5)

    12. Retarded (same as 5)

    13. Special needs (an euphemism that is actually offensive. It's better to use the word "disabled")

     

    There are, of course, many other offensive expressions, unfortunately. But this list is just to give you an idea in hope to convince you be more careful with your words from now on.

     

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    dfbreezy
    Latest Entry

    Hello again Fuwanovel, it's Dfbreezy (now named Kotario). This new entry is going to talk about the problems when motivating team members to work and to commune.

    There are alot of problems with development. The ones that are most known, are funding, recruitment and meeting deadlines. Yes, those exist and are very well known because Devs highlight that very frequently. But one other element that is largely overlooked is team motivation or involvement. How is this a problem? Read further to find out.

    Picture you have a nice concept. In fact you've completed the first draft of the said concept. You then go into recruitment based on the summary of the concept... not the concept itself. Of course the recruitee does a passover of the summary, checks whether the genres fit with him, and inquire about their all important pay.

    This process is done and repeated over and over again in the EVN sector. It's basic practice to some extent. But that is where the problem begins friends. After the payment is settled, almost every team member (minus writers) never actually takes the time to assess the content of the project until it's over and done with. All the ask is for what you need and References.

    That is the problem. You, in reading the content, should know what is needed based on the description of the scenes in the concept material. But most of that is waived based on "I'm working on multiple projects". 

    I myself have had this problem with my team, with only 50% of the team actually reading the content. Luckily my character artist falls in that category. Because of that, i feel we have a distinctive disadvantage against other studios whose members actively take part in shaping the story itself, not just the VN aspect.

    It may just be my assumption and speculation at this point, but what if team immersion could affect the final product positively and make it far better than it normally is? Some good food for thought, i'd say. 

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  7. Disclaimer: At the end of this post I get pretty salty, so be aware of that. This post endorses MY and MY OPINION ONLY. The numbers about the costs of a translation team were researched before putting them here.

    Hello guys. Aizen-Sama here with another spicy rant. Although I haven’t been around the forums as long as other users who have spent their time here several years (I have spent around 7 months more or less at the present time being) I have seen that there’s a huge problem that I’ve mostly seen here, in Fuwanovel, more than any other site that congregates VN fans. In fact, I think that this doesn’t happen anywhere but here, but again, what do I know? I don’t really visit Reddit nor 4chan that much, let alone interact there.

    Anyways, what I want to address is a problem that has been going on since the beginning stages of this site, and that problem is the Translation Requests, or what I like to call “e-beggars” (yes, I know this term has been invented already).

    First and foremost, the majority of people that make these Translation Request posts are usually new users and I’m fully aware of that. But this has been blowing up lately. I know that 4 posts in the last month and a half doesn’t sound like that much, but the proposals are getting so ridiculous that it’s hard to believe sometimes if the guys asking these things are for real or if they’re straight out trolling.

    Let’s take this post as a quick example. You’re scrolling through the forums and see this post, and then the thought comes to mind “Another typical Request Post. Sigh. Let’s see what this guy’s asking for…” and then you see this:

    These posts show nothing more than ignorance and arrogance, as well as no interest towards these groups they are begging to translate something for them. Do these people even understand what it takes to translate a medium length VN? A medium length, around the 35-40k line mark in my opinion, could easily take a year. And the guy in this post begged for 5 medium and long length VN’s to be translated, one of them being >50 hours long.

    But don’t be mistaken, the worst part about that post wasn’t the amount of VN’s he was begging for nor their length. It was the last statement: “Thanks in advance”. Although it sounds stupid, that’s what triggered me the most. A shitty “thanks in advance” is not something that motivates people to do these things. People have to put themselves in a translators’ shoes sometimes. Not only him, but also the people who aren’t translating, but the ones who edit the text, proofread it, the image editors, the quality checkers, etc… Do they think that the task can be easily done if the guy in question knows Japanese? Not even close.

    The secret of a translation project.

    I know this is hard to believe for the e-beggars, but the translation of a game requires an enormous amount of time, and one year to finish the TRANSLATION, not editing, of a medium length VN is a very decent deadline. And I’m talking about a medium length game, not a long one. Majo Koi has around 47k lines. Supposing it had one sole translator and the translator in question did 100 lines a day, the game would be finished in around 470 days approximately, this taking into account he diligently does 100 lines a day, no skipping, no nothing. Let’s convert that into hours spent in total, since that tends to shock people more; 470 days doing 100 lines a day, if the translator is an experienced one, meaning that he has done this before or is a professional in the field, he could get rid of that task in about an hour. But an amateur translator, basically the bulk of the community in itself when it comes to fan translations, could take around 1,5 or 2 hours to do the exact same number of lines. That could mean than in total, just translating could take from 470 hours for the experienced translator, which means around 20 full days translating something, to 705-940 hours for the amateur translator, which is around 30-40 days translating nonstop. And this would be just translation, I’m purposely taking out the other processes such as editing and QC’ing. Do you e-beggars understand the amount of work is being put in these projects? This is why Translation Request posts should be completely banned off this site and instantly deleted. Then again, where would I put my insulting memes towards the op’s to gain likes for no reason?

    Let’s throw in another question now that we’re shifting towards that matter: Is fan-translating Visual Novels even worth it in the first place?

    Before I answer (although it’s probably known what I’m going to say, given my tone) let me address this: I by no means think that fan-translation is bad, in fact, it has been the reason why we’re getting official localizations now and I think that no amount of praise of thanks can equate the amount of work the translators of these projects did in order for this genre to be known better in the Western community.

    But, as sad as it sounds, fan translating at this moment is not worth it. Why? I’ll put in some of the reasons:

    • -          Although some members of the vocal community throw in the occasional thanks once the patch is out that’s all the team who translated the game gets. Nothing more, nothing less. Some people might say that recognition counts as some sort of reward as well, but personally I don’t think that’s the case.

    • -          No reviews of the translated VN’s are usually made (this is what in my opinion spreads the awareness of these games), only discussion threads are made, which is pretty sad in my opinion.

    • -          I’m going to quote something that Clephas said in one of my posts, that sums up this next point:  “Another thing is that most people in the community will never even try to experience fantl from the other side of things... they don't realize how much time it eats up, that emptiness you feel when you realize you've used dozens of hours of your personal time only to put out a patch that people bash left and right for 'errors' and other shit.”

    • -          The work put in to translate the game itself is not worth, meaning that the compensation that the translator/team worked for it is not even close enough to what they should be getting.

    Lastly, I want to address the problem that comes with donations, awareness of localization costs/translation costs, and ignorance.

    I’ll cut to the chase; for the people that think that with donations alone you can “pay” a translator to do some kind of game, you’re WRONG. Let’s put an example of what could a medium VN translation cost: let’s suppose that the team consists of three persons, to translate a 1.5 million jp character VN (equating to a 45k line count approximately). The translator gets 1 cent per Japanese character, the editor gets 1 cent per English word and the QC gets a quarter of a cent for each English word. In total, the final price equates to 33k dollars JUST FOR THE TEAM TO TRANSLATE A SINGLE VN. And these prices are apparently pretty shitty for a translator, so yeah, there you go. Besides, why donating a random group of guys, who could easily run away with the money and machine translate the game, or not even translate the game at all, when you can just support the official localizers? Contrary to what some people think they are actually releasing more games than ever and the 18+ industry in the scene has never seen so many official releases ever.

    Summing up this 3 page-long essay of frustration:

    • 1.       Please for the love of god don’t e-beg or Request for translations. Just no, it triggers people off and it only shows how ignorant you are about what happens behind the scenes.

    • 2.       Fan Translating in this actual moment is NOT WORTH, only people who are very commited and have a strong resolution will be able to start one, and very few out of those will actually finish the project.

    • 3.       Donations are NOT a solution to encourage Fan Translation, it ruins the very concept of it and it’s also ILLEGAL. Don’t support an already illegal activity by paying it.

    • 4.       Before posting retarded shit on the forums please look for other posts similar to what you might want to post. Maybe looking at the responses could enlighten you and help the other users not waste their time by reading the same shit over and over again.

    • 5.       Before criticizing Translations and patches for “errors” and “typos” and being a little whining bitch how about you try to show interest on how much effort people put on the translation of these games behind the scenes? (This goes solely to the people that haven't experienced working on a fan translation and whine non-stop about "how bad the translation of this is" and blah blah blah.)

    Anyways, I think that’s all the rage out. For those of you who haven’t dozed off already have a nice day and all of that stuff.

    And if you smash that like button you will get your very own… DIES IRAE MACHINE TRANSLATED PATCH. Yes! This is not a scam at all, your own personal Dies Irae Machine Translated patch. If you leave a like you can choose between a Google, Bing, or a Skype translated patch. I’ve invested so many hours on them, it was totally worth though ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°).

  8. twitter_header.jpg 

    so, since im the lazy sidekick for the TL, it was only fitting that I finished this fucking amazing gory mess of a vn after everybody else was done lol. So here is my review, in super lazy edition

    +superb endings

    +/- great BGM, short loops (around a minute each) (favorite bgm track: https://clyp.it/epwzo4pz )

    + the voice acting is amazing

    - the main antagonist wasnt voiced

    + great suspense all around

    +well constructed scenario with great characters

    +ruby-sama <3

    +lots of nice scenes for guro fanatics (they even fuck you over with surprise feels in the middle of over the top guro scenes, thats quite impressive tbh)

    - Mia as a protag is really nice, but her character doesnt stand out as much as the others. But shes fucking moe in a good way, also banya is amazing at writing female characters thats just plain awesome in general, so its not because shes a pushover or the regular danzel in distress (im looking at you grisaia writers) but because her personality can feel kinda dull at times

    - can be kinda predictable for some, but to its defense, it feels like the writer accounted for this and had different theory "traps" set all over the plot that was there to confuse you

    this gets a solid 9/10 from me, it made me feel the same way that saya no uta did and its only a very very small portion of vns that does this. good job banya. Cant wait to read extravaganza now for sure.

  9. Damn. It's September. Everyone's going back to school/university/work and I'm just drowning in research papers and work assignments. I have been playing the same visual novels since the last time I posted. It's Red Spider Vengeance and I also picked up The House in Fata Morgana. I'm kind of getting tired of Red Spider Vengeance?  It has a bangn' OST that matches with it's Noir concept, but damn it's kind of slow for being Noir and it's all dialogue. Yes, I get it, VNs are about dialogue. But there's nothing stylish about the writing. It's just plain old talk. And I usually like minimalist prose. But there's no...no... punch to it? No vivid descriptions, very little emotional expression, and I'm not saying that because the character models look like Slenderman, but the writing is kind of basic and there's no color to it. Just like my blog post.

    While The House in Fata Morgana is a wonderful experience, I've always been a sucker for gothic victorian stuff. The music just gives me chills, the bleakness, and the elegant English prose, it's great. It reminds me of classics with a bit of a modern twist. Which yes, some of the prose is a little too modern for the time period, but what can you do? It's a visual novel? There has to be a balance where it isn't too wordy for the reader to get tired, but enough to fill in the box and make it opulent, especially for this genre, where it's all about that fancy. And I also know that this VN is pretty popular, so I don't think I will say much since it won't be different from anyone else. Although, this Bestia part is kind of a drag, not as suspenseful as the first chapter, and it's killing me. Maybe, the school work is giving me a funk? 

    The other VNs I haven't touched in a long time. So I guess this is the end of my post. 

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    As someone with a lot of experience playing old games, I've realized that two types of obscure games exist: the type which were never recognized, and complete garbage that should never have been created. I was really hoping that this game would be the former, but it's the latter. (This is why I'm never playing a free VN ever again, by the way.)

    I first encountered Mukou no Yume on a VNDB random title binge I was doing. The game looked interesting, and it had an English translation, so I downloaded the torrent file and loaded it up in Deluge. Of course, I've got zero peers. Looking back on it, this was the first red flag.

    But back then, I figured that it was an obscure title, so I just found a mirror online and downloaded it.

    The second red flag was the title screen music. I've heard the default Windows GM soundfont enough times to recognize it anywhere, and it's generally not an indicator of quality. On the other hand, a lot of older visual novels used MIDI files for their soundtrack because space was much more limited than nowadays, so this isn't necessarily bad on its own.

    As far as I know, the soundtrack for this game was taken from an online MIDI library. I'm not entirely sure, but it seems to be the simplest answer, and I honestly don't want to spend any longer looking this stuff up than I absolutely have to. Loading the MIDI files into the Arachno soundfont actually creates generally listenable results, so I recommend it if you absolutely need to play this game and don't want to suffer through default MIDI hell.

    I'll admit it, one of the main draws for this game is its art. It's by far the best part of the game, and deserving of a far better scenario than this one. At one or two points, I could've sworn the art was ripped from somewhere else, for just how unfitting the script is. I'd honestly play through an entire game with this type of art.

     

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    So far, with everything I've talked about, Mukou no Yume looks outright decent, if not good.

    Unfortunately, it all goes to crap as soon as we start talking about the story.

    First things first: this game is SHORT. I beat it in around 10-15 minutes.

    Now, there are good games that are this short. But I'd like you to examine this chart from VNStat:

     

    hVQ7XnO.png

    Longer games are usually higher rated on VNDB. There are a lot of reasons for this, but suffice it to say that things are not looking up for shorter VNs such as this one.

    The story of Mukou no Yume is impossible to explain without giving spoilers, due to the length, so...

    SPOILER ALERT!

     

    A miko commits suicide for unclear reasons, her sister joining her soon after. A fish man is sent to find the girls by their mother, he finds them, then the mother comes down and reunites with her daughters. This is followed by an ending scene where the main character addresses the player for summoning her, then the game ends.

    There's nothing more to the story than that. The prose, or at least the translation, is sloppy at best and cheesy at worst. Generally, even in the worst translation, some of the original text comes through. In the case of this game, I can't tell whether it wants to be taken seriously or lightly. On one hand, the miko's sister is heavily toted as comic relief, but on the other she kills herself just to see her sister again.

    The ending...oh boy. It just stops in the middle, without ever climaxing or resolving. The story builds up to literally nothing.

    In the end, I can't recommend Mukou no Yume to anyone. It's one of the worst games I've ever played, and the presentation can't save the god-awful story.

     

    Rating 27/100

    Don't play this. Please.

     

  10. Ushinawareta Mirai o Motomete

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    Current Situation:

    We are trying to get this game translated, and had a somewhat functioning team back in December, where we had enough people to make decent progress. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, I'm the only translator left and the group, out of the two members we're left with, and am quite busy for the year, so I'm going really slow with the translations.

    What's been done?

    Most of the TL progress has gone to Airi, with the other routes having practically no progress. Minimal editing has been done, but is not recorded.

    Progress:

    • Kaori 556/8159 6.81%
    • Airi 4837/7236 65.6%
    • Nagisa 0/7356 0%
    • Yui 120/8334 1.44%
    • Others 0/3839 0%

    Total Progress: 4282/35056 (15.7%)

    What we need:

    In order of decreasing importance,

    1. Translators
    2. Editors
    3. Translation checkers

    Translators:

    I'd be happy with even one new translator, because it will mean that the project would not be stagnating as much as it is now. What we need you to be is someone who will stick around to the end. Our last translator just disappeared on us, so I hope whoever comes next won't leave without saying anything. Hopefully, you'd have enough free time to make up for my really slow pace, to give this project some bit of progress. Joining us, you have a choice on any of the routes that isn't Airi. You'll be starting from scratch with the route, for better or for worse. Now if you're interested in this position, simply PM me.

    What now?

    Our plan now, is to finish up the translation route by route, followed by a round of editing, and finally a TLC/QC. One plan of action we are considering is for us to release a partial patch for each of the routes, because they do mostly make sense on their own (with the exception of Yui's route). However, this is not confirmed, and might change in the future.

    I hope we can get the support necessary to finish this translation. If not, we'd have to put this project on hiatus until November or when we get another translator, whichever comes first. If you'd like to help, simply PM me, or even just leave a post in our thread.

  11. So , i just finished reading Shikkoku no Sharnoth -What a Beautiful Tomorrow- , and here is my opinion about it.

    Story:

    Quote

    The year is 1905 in the capital of the British Empire, the Engine City London, where the air is so thick with smoke that a mere glimpse of the blue sky is considered a miracle. The protagonist, Mary Clarissa Christie, is a girl living by herself while her mother works abroad. She attends university with her friends, Angelica Derleth and Charlotte Bronte, and lives a peaceful life.

    However, through a chance encounter, she finds herself drawn into another side of London- spoken of only as rumors of "Metacreatures" who roam the night and attack people. She forms a contract with a strange man in a black suit, known as 'M', and begins to help him hunt these creatures...

    I like how the story begins  and i liked some of  the characters , the middle part of the story disappointed me , the plot twists were really predictable  , and the the ending would be prefect if they had removed just one thing from it  ( i will talk a lot about the later part of the story , with a lot of details , so if you still did not read the vn , it will have a lot of spoiler , and i recommend not reading it.) .

    Spoiler

    I was  really liking the later part of the story , i loved the Jane Doe chapter (act 7 and 8 ) , i liked when Mary and Moran were attacked by Ed O'Neal , and later the confrontation   between Mary and Charlotte , but the thing that makes  me go insane , and does not let me be completely satisfied with the ending is because of the scenes after the credits , when it shows a flashback of Mary and Charlotte as a child , but in the end of it , it appears a red eye , suggesting that its still not completely over, and i love my story having loose ends :mare:.

    Gameplay: 

    Most people , i know complained about the mini-game that is in this vn , i actuality kind of did not bother it , i thought it would be a nonsense , but it was so easy that i was like " i can waste 10 minutes on this with no problems".

    Art and Ost:

    So the art is your typical Liar-soft art from they steampunk visual novels , and i like that art .

    I did not care about the ost , the only one i liked was this one.

    Final thoughts:

    Story-7/10- The middle was really bad , but i feel like the ending was good enough to get at least this score.

    Gameplay-6-It was ok 

    Art-8- I am a fan of Liar-soft art , so its no surprise i will give this score 

    ost-5.5-Only liked one song of it.

    So this vn is a 6.6/10

    Thank you for reading this :sachi:

     

     

     

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  13. 2JS5rt2.jpg

    Another quick project plug: Luna Translations just released their v1.0 English patch for the Majo Koi Nikki (a.k.a. Witch's Love Diary) demo. And guess what? You should totally go get it. I've been helping out with their proofreading, and I can tell you they've done a bang-up job so far.

    Best part? It's super easy to obtain. Qoobrand offers the trial, which covers the game's prologue, as a free download on their site. (You'll want to grab the first one, not Trial 2.) Just download it, patch it up, and Robert's your mother's brother. Just so you know, he gets a little grabby after two or three scotches.

    It should also be said that Qoobrand jammed a bunch of H-scenes into the early hours of MajoKoi. Consider that fair warning... or the clang of a dinner bell, if you're hungry for that sort of thing. Unlike a lot of VNs, however, those sections are there for a reason.* MajoKoi is set up as an intricate puzzle, and the oddly early placement of the H is all part of the larger mystery.

    So go on — pull up a chair, order yourself a Dragon Burger (medium rare), and settle in for a small taste of what Majo Koi Nikki has to offer.

    Trial download: http://qoo.amuse-c.jp/01_mazyokoi/download.html
    English patch download: https://lunatranslationstestsite.wordpress.com/downloads/

    * Not a good reason. But a better reason than most, at least.

  14. At first I intended to make a review for Fuwareviews, but it wouldn't be fair. I tell you, I felt bad about it. (Of course I'd be so so happy if Bats let me do it, but I think I have to explain everything first) And I'm writing in the most mumble-jumble way I can, but that's how my thought process is right now. Earlier this year, and based on the demo only, VNDB just sort of let VA-11 HALL-A be added to the database. There was resistance and I understand why would there be, yet the argument I had made was that the bartending was not so much a system in itself as it was a choice system. I was hoping for it to keep this way just so it could be kept on VNDB because, in case you guys don't know, that's a prerequisite for us to make a Fuwareview (either the game is on VNDB or was made by a company that made VNs before and has kept enough VN elements for us to review it as one. I think it's kind of my fault that we have these parameters. Black Closet is even less of a VN than LLtQ, but we reviewed it anyway and Ryechu had to come up with a reason to justify it being there. Or that's how I see it. Sorry if I missed the mark, Ryechu), but

    Turns out in the full version the money you get has its uses and sometimes you will use the system for the system's sake, that is, make a more expensive drink just to get more money so that you can pay the electricity bill. I didn't know what happens if you don't pay it, but it doesn't matter because I thought it would be a game over or something. It wasn't. It just makes Jill distracted, which in turn makes her not remember what drink people asked for (and so it's you who has to remember. Not quite the "VN-breaker" if you ask me, because all the information is still in the text, but still feels so much more like a sim game when it happens). Otherwise the bartending system is indeed a choice system, and an incredibly clever one at that. The point I'm trying to get across is that I can't call VA-11 HALL-A a VN... yet.

    Because it's what I hope VNs will become one day.

    Absolutely everything works for the story in ways you seriously wouldn't expect. For instance, the fact that bartending is your choice system means your choices have a scope and that means when someone doesn't show up for God knows how many days, you know that there's nothing you can do about it. You can't rescue them with drinks if it comes down to it. This alone makes choices more meaningful, because there's only so much you can do for your friends. You can hear them out, give them the drink that cheers them up, but that's about it. The fact that you enter a story knowing your place and everything works for the story (like I said, in the end every possible consequence, including not being able to pay for your rent, changes the story ultimately instead of being a progression in itself (mostly. You can unlock more songs and buy stuff to decorate Jill's room)) makes every relationship you build, every story they tell count. And not because you need the information to get more money, but because it's the people you care about. You want them to cheer up. The game systems are a means to tell the story and the story is playable. It's not that oh the game helps telling the story. It's the fucking same thing. It always is. And SukebanGames realized it before every other VN company out there, making the whole thing far more relatable than literally every other VN out there. It hits close to home not in spite of the numbers and the "gameplay" but because of them. Because they're your tool to reach out to the people who live in that universe, including Jill. By acknowleding the game and digital nature of VNs, they overcame it, much likethe old adventure games VNs are based on anyway did.

    It does narrate, but doesn't need narration. News outlets, Glitch City's own 4chan, Jill's thoughts etc. It is exclusively dedicated to its text format, but doesn't fear treating it as a puzzle and as a source of meaning at the same time. If it can't be considered a VN, it's because it's VNs that have to catch up - or go back to, in some ways.

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    I decided to make a blog so I can rant about all the manga I read and hopefully get more people into the medium and perhaps even discover some interesting titles. Granted not everything I will review will be positive, but I will always try to see how a manga could be interesting to other people besides myself as well. Thanks to @Kawasumi for giving me this amazing title for the blog.


    For my first post I'd like to talk about one of my favorite manga, Prunus Girl

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    This light hearted series tells the story of Maki Makito who meets a young girl named Aikawa Kizuna during the entrance exams for his high school. She looks like a true beauty and both he and his classmates are entranced by her. But there's a catch, Aikawa Kizuna is actually a crossdressing boy!

    Now I know those of you who dislike yaoi might already be cringing at the thought of reading this, but I'd like to ask you to read this entire review and perhaps give this great manga a chance, because I really think this is one of those cases where a manga knows how to play the tropes to its advantages and reach a wider audience you wouldn't normally see with these kinds of stories.

    Starting off with the story itself, there really isn't an overarching plot per se, as each chapter is pretty much its own self contained arc, with a few exceptions that span over 3 or 4 chapters. They all mostly involve Maki and Aikawa in some crazy situation and Aikawa attempting to steal Maki's heart in the process. Although you might think this becomes stale quickly, I believe one of the things that kept me going was the fact that with each chapter the two characters seemed to grow closer to each other. Their relationship isn't a constant back and forward, they actually do develop a mutual bond and it doesn't cause any frustration at all because you know from the get go the two are meant to be together.

    Maki might often brush off Aikawa's advances, but ultimately the two are made for each other, and it shows with each chapter. The thing that I really enjoyed the most amidst all this is how Aikawa's gender barely ever comes into play. Yes, it's used as a gag to some degree, but not as a way to say "these two can't be together because they're both boys". It was great to read a story where there really isn't a great wall to climb over in order for love to happen, it was a mere question of time for the characters to form a strong enough bond to be together. Their relationship is honestly one of the most natural I've seen.

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    Moving on to the characters, this manga actually has a surprisingly diverse cast to look at, and what's more, all of them are pretty accepting of Aikawa's crossdressing. There really isn't much of a rivalry outside of Maki fighting all the boys off of Aikawa in order to protect him. There are a few characters that try to meddle with their relationship, but ultimately nothing really gets out of proportion and all the conflicts between the characters are easily solved at the end of the day.

    At 42 chapters, you might think this manga can get stale due to how little "plot" there is, but trust me, these characters manage to grow on you quicker than you'd expect, and you'll find yourself cheering them on and wanting to know what kind of antics they'll be up to next. There's even certain characters that get their own arc, so you'll never feel like a certain character didn't get what they deserved.

    Aikawa and Maki might be the center, but their surroundings do a lot to help bring this manga to life, and it's wonderful to see an author knowing how to not disappoint their reader when it comes to side character development.

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    In terms of artstyle, the manga doesn't particularly shine through I must say. The characters themselves don't get a lot of detail (even the main ones) and backgrounds and few and far between, with the ones that exist not having a ton of detail either. But I think the characters have distinct enough features to at least not have same-face syndrome, so that's something. I also don't believe the art is bad in terms of aesthetics, mind you, it just that it's not particularly detailed. You be the judge I guess.

    To close this off, I'd like to at least address the elephant in the room, and that is of course the gay relationship between the two main characters and the question of gender identity as whole. Of course, despite being a romantic comedy, this manga is still ultimately about two guys falling in love with each other (well, it feels more like a bromance, but alas!). I have to be honest and say I do very much enjoy trap characters, so I was obviously biased from the get go when I read this manga, but I think the light heartedness with which the manga takes itself, as well as the fact the characters are all accepting of the situation, makes the reader question things less and instead just presents a fun tale anyone can enjoy. Even at the end, Aikawa's gender really isn't a big deal for anyonee, and I think one key elements of the story is the acceptance of his crossdressing and the fact that, before he's a boy or a girl, he's just a person with a wonderful personality, and that's all that matters.

    Prunus Girl is a very fun, easy to read manga. Albeit the subject matter is clearly not one most people are into, I believe the story does a fantastic job of just taking itself lightly and instead focusing on its lively cast of characters and their antics, shifting the focus from a guy on guy relationship to a mere relationship between two people.

    I hope people give it a chance, because I think it might really open up the window to this genre to some. I at least have never found a proper manga that works with the theme of crossdressing and gay relationships as well as this one.

  15. Gathering MOE has been a bit slow, not as many intro threads, but I persevere for the sake of MOE!

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    So, Kaguya. The final boss of Touhou 8, Imperishable Night, and also the character my whole profile is based on, and my favorite touhou character, all in all.  

    A long time ago, a bamboo cutter found a baby girl while working.

    She was unlike all other babies he had ever seen, being really small, and much more fragile.

    While he was a simple bamboo cutter, and didn't have much to provide, after some thought, he decided to adopt her.

    And so he took the baby, and he and his wife continued to live their lives normally.

     

    However, after adopting the baby, the man was blessed with fortune. Mysteriously finding gold while working, amongst other things. Everything in his life was working out more than perfectly, to ridiculous levels, and they became a very wealthy family over the years.

    During that time, the girl grew up, with unnatural health and beauty. 

    The girl's beauty was unlike anything ever seen before on earth, and word of Princess Kaguya spread accross the land with shocking speed. 

    And so, tens, if not hundreds of men came to see the rumored princess. All of them proposed to her, and she refused all of them. 

     

    Even after being refused several times, however, 5 nobles would absolutely not give up on marrying her. Kaguya was conflicted, and decided to set them for a trial. She then set 5 impossible requests to bring her different treasures; She would marry the man who managed to bring her one of the treasures first. 

    The first request was to bring her the stone begging bowl of Buddha. The second was to take a jeweled branch from Mount Hourai. The third was to find the robe of the fire-rat of China. The fourth was to retrieve a colored jewel from a dragon's neck. The final task was to find the legendary Cowry treasure of the swallows.

    Upon facing these requests, 2 of the nobles gave up, one tried to swindle her with a fake treasure and one decided to propose to her without any treasure. 

    One man, however, decided to seek the treasure to the very end, and tragically died in a storm, before he could even reach his destination.

     

    With all of them rejected, word of the princess reched the emperor of Japan, who arranged a meeting with her.

    Upon seeing her beauty, he too, could not help but propose to her, which she also rejected, wishing only to live with her family in peace.

    Unlike the nobles, however, the emperor kept contact with her, and they would trade letters as friends for a long time to come.

     

    With the passage of time, however, Kaguya began to act weirdly. She would be seen sobbing at night, and acting troubled and depressed.

    It would later be revealed that she recovered her memories, and that she wasn't human, but rather a being from a species that lived in the moon, exiled to the earth temporarily as a way to pay for her crime of developing and using a drug that brough her immortality, thus leaving her unclean to the eyes of the lunarians. 

    That penitence, however, was about to end, and soon she would have to return to the moon. 

    Not wishing to return, she then decided to hide, and run away. 

    As a last apology, she made and left one drink of the potion of immortality, asking it to be delivered to her closest friend, the emperor of Japan. 

    And that would be the end of it, if not for Mokou. 

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    Mokou is the Extra stage boss of IN, and she's quite an interesting one - She was the daughter of the Fujiwara family; The noble who died while doing his impossible request was her father. 

    She viewed Kaguya as a figure that's almost a demon - someone who charmed and tricked her father to his death.

    She then decided that she would have her vengeance, no matter what. And then she stole the drug of immortality, and took it, determined to make Kaguya pay. The drug was completely beyond her expectations, and she felt tricked yet again, being forced into a curse of never dying, no matter what. Realizing her revenge was pointless, but still determined to have it, it's said that Mokou went on a ramapage for 200 years, burning everything that entered her sight to ashes, be it human or youkai, all the while she felt the pain of the fire in her body, searching Kaguya to make her suffer the same.

    And that's the start of their story, basically. Though I haven't covered Reisen, Tewi or Eirin, all who are quite important for Kaguya. There's also a lot to expand on Mokou, but I'll leave that for when I explain Imperishable Night. 

    For now, cheers! 

     

  17. Katawa Shoujo was a first for me in a few fields, which I might have discussed briefly in an earlier post. It was my first visual novel, and while I'm not exactly a font of knowledge of experience in the medium, it opened me up to a wonderful (if expensive and sometimes questionable) form of storytelling. It was the first exposure I had to a Japanese-style thing, and while not being actually Japanese itself, got me on that road too.

    It was also the first internet forum I got properly involved with, back in February 2014. I managed to rack up over 1,000 posts of mostly (if I'm honest) trying to figure out whether Emi or Rin is bestgirl, mooning over artwork, and just general mindless shitposting. Really, I look back on the time and it's a strange mixture of trying to figure out why I spent so much time there, and being sincerely glad I did. Just distracting myself on there and discussing essentially irrelevant bumph helped me out vastly during a crappy stage of my life, and for that I'm forever grateful towards it.

    However, being a forum based around a singular VN there's only so much somebody can contribute (at least, without being excellent at art or a damn good creative writer). The amount of times a lemon joke can be made, or a Rinfidel can be declared eventually dries up, and so after spending roughly a year on it, I basically stopped going on there. Every now and then I would pop my head back in to see if I was missing anything interesting, but then even those occasions started to disappear, and about 9-10 months went by.

    I figured that, today, I might just see how this little community was doing. I was never what I would call a major part of the community, but as I've already alluded to I was fond of it - I just had nothing left to offer. Yet, I opened it up and what greeted me was a sad state of inactivity. It was, I admit, never the fastest moving forum in the world, but typically things would move at a fair-t'-middling pace most of the time - a good 10 or so topics a day with at least one comment, perhaps one or two with a decent conversation on. But this time, there were 8 topics explored in the 'Public Discussion' field since the start of April. I found one or two conversations - short, but conversations nevertheless - that had taken place, largely among people who were regulars when I used to frequent, but very few new faces.

    To be fair, for what it is it's had a bloody good run (the forums themselves opened in 2007 in their current guise) and to call it dead would be unfair - it's not like nothing's happening - but it seems to be approaching a moribund, final state. Whether it happens next year, or the year after, who knows, but for myself it brings a very real feeling of sadness. I understand this is how forums work. People come and go, some stay for longer than others; this is just a fact of life in these places, and for more 'limited' forums one only expects a natural lifespan, obviously culminating in death. But to see a community start to fade, particularly one I held dear during my time there... Yeah, it does bring me down a little.

    And that got me thinking. I regularly partake in two internet communities, and it made me appreciate how much I actually feel towards these people; people who I've never met and am never likely to meet. Most will likely phase out as time goes by - be it days, months, years - and I fully expect it will be the same for me. I'll likely only think about them once in a while, a thought like "Oh, I wonder how such-and-such is getting on nowadays". The two I am part of are both far more expansive in their scope than the KS forums - Fuwanovel for... well, obviously visual novels, and the other for music - and I suppose that they will probably last longer than I give them my attention as a consequence. But the fact that these communities leave such an indelible mark on my being, however small I may think they are, means that one day I am likely to feel this feeling of sadness once again, whether I come back to find it nearly gone, or whether I stick around long enough to see it fall.

     

    Sorry for being a bit of a bummer, but this hit me a little harder than I suppose it might/should and wished to vent a little. Here's Renge singing :wafuu:

     

  18. I won't lie, I enjoyed HuniePop. It was a fun little Bejeweled clone + vestigial eroge + cynical message about base human nature. It was fun to play, fun to replay and even fun to try and 100%-complete. Fun, fun, fun.

    The developer's second game is, in many ways, an entirely different animal, at least as far as gameplay and graphics are concerned. Sex scenes are gone, the art style is markedly different, and the genre is probably best-described as a real-time click-happy time management game. In HunieCam Studio, the player takes control of a camwhore operation and has to keep it running by recruiting and managing up to 18 different girls (including the entire "basic" cast of HuniePop, complete with shamelessly reused voice assets).

    After employing girls, you can have them perform various activities, the most important of which are (obviously) camming, which earns you money, and posing for dirty photoshoots, which earns you fans. More fans = more money earned from subsequent cam sessions. Fans themselves are attracted to particular fetishes (teen, latina, etc etc), and when a girl performs a photoshoot, she earns new fans based on fetishes she satisfies. Similarly, only fans attracted to a particular fetish will watch the cam session. Each girl starts with two distinct fetishes (distributed in such way that no two girls share both) and can acquire more by means of accessories that you can procure from the adult shop. Each girl also has two skill attributes that can be trained. Talent increases money earned from camming, while Style gets her more fans from the photoshoots. It's all rather straightforward.

    Other activities girls can perform include shopping for alcohol or cigarettes (some girls drink and/or smoke, and you have to keep the supply up or they'll get stressed), performing at the strip club (which increases Talent), shopping for clothes (which increases Style), recruiting new girls at the model agency, browsing the adult shop (which lets you pick up one of six random accessories upon completion), relaxing at the spa in order to remove stress, and... visiting a hotel for some "private time" with rich clients. Yes, you can actually be a pimp in this game. I wonder if Steam folks are even aware of that.

    All of this happens in nigh-unpausable real time. I mean, sure, you can pause easily by bringing up various management screens, but it's not the kind of game that lends itself to tinkering with things at your leisure. Virtually every resource you earn (money, fans, booze, even friggin' skill points) must also be manually extracted from corresponding buildings by rapidly clicking them (or, mercifully, by clicking and holding LMB). The process can be automated via upgrades, but even then resources trickle very slowly when you're not actively extracting them, and since you can't manually extract them from multiple buildings simultaneously, you're forced to prioritize. Furthermore, you can speed up any current activity using the same method, but ain't nobody got time for that when you're busy gathering the money. All in all, I more or less hated the gameplay in HunieCam Studio. It's simultaneously stressful and boring (I didn't even know that was possible), and all novelty wears off within half an hour, leaving nothing but grind to look forward to. Once you get to 4-5 employed girls, the game turns into the proverbial equivalent of herding cats.

    Moreover, some elements of the gameplay system are a bit... illogical. For example, since fans are attracted to a fetish (and NOT to a particular girl), you can have a girl with maxed-out Style do all the photoshoots, and have another girl with maxed-out Talent (and same fetish) do all cam sessions. I'm not an expert at this sort of thing ((c) Kazami Yuuji), but wouldn't at least some of those imaginary people want to see a cam show starring the girl they've actually seen in photos, rather than some other girl who also happens to have Huge Tits or Thick Ass? Not to mention that the above approach is actually more efficient for the player, in terms of both income and time management. Girls' salaries increase exponentially with each skill point earned, and it makes very little sense to level one girl in both Style and Talent. After all, she can't be in two places at the same time, and two girls trained in Talent or Style, respectively, will earn you the same amount of money or fans (and their combined salaries will be lower), with the added bonus of, y'know, being able to do two things instead of one. The game makes specialization in a narrow range of fetishes much more appealing than diversification, but purposefully inhibits your initial ability to specialize. This is solved by hiring girls with matching fetishes (as I said above, no two girls have two identical fetishes, so there is some recruiting strategy involved) and equipping them with identical accessories, thus giving them more matching fetishes. So yes, specialization in both skills and fetishes is the best way to play...

    But why would you do that to yourself? Once you get the message, check out all the bios (some of them are admittedly funny), listen to girls' soundbites the first few times and click on things for a while, HunieCam Studio has nothing more to offer you. Now, I hear you can unlock outfits and hairstyles in a similar vein to HuniePop, but I couldn't even get that far. At some point it became clear to me that I'm wasting my fucking time, which is a minor miracle considering how much of said time I generally waste on games without stumbling upon the above realization.

    Maybe I'm just not the kind of person that gets hooked on a game like HunieCam Studio, that is a definite possibility. So, you know, I wouldn't advise against buying it. Hell, I had my share of mild chuckles over the course of 2 hours I spent in it. Maybe I'll even go back and resume managing my collection of DFCs (it's one of the easier fetishes to build around, what with two girls who don't demand a lot of money and can be specialized... I wanted to build around fiery latinas at first (cause, you know, thatsmyfetish.gif), but the goddamn Brazilian chick with pre-maxed skills drove me to bankruptcy, so there's that). But the bottom line is, the gameplay is just not very fun unless you're a grind monkey addicted to floating numbers. 'Tis a shame.

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