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About this blog

This is a blog primarily focusing on but not limited to VNs.  It is primarily designed to express my opinion on otaku media (jrpgs, anime, manga, LNs, VNs, etc), individual VNs, and otaku community issues.   Most of the posts are related to my VN of the Month and Random VN columns, originally started in threads in the forums. 

As of March of 2017, I'm also looking for people to help with VN of the Month.

Entries in this blog

Nekotsuku, Sakura

*pukes a river of sugar* *wipes his mouth clean* Ok, I'm better.  This game is very much what you would expect if you came in knowing nothing of Lump of Sugar's past works and only knew the name of the company itself.  It is sugary sweet, adorable, and generally interminable to someone who likes a nice balance between the cuteness and ichaicha and other aspects of a VN. That's not to say it doesn't have good points... the common route is pretty funny, if you are a cat lover, and I

Clephas

Clephas

Random VN: Komorebi no Nostalgica

Yes, it is another Takaya Aya game... to be specific, his joint work with Morisaki Ryouto (known for his sci-fi bent and work with Applique).  This work is also considered to be one of his penultimate masterpieces, which is ironic, since the company he created got bought out almost immediately after this game was released, hahaha.   Anyway, Komorebi no Nostalgica was one of two contenders for my VN of the Year 2013 and lost out to Hapymaher.  However, given how Hapymaher has proven somewhat

Clephas

Clephas

Clephas' top AI/robot/android/etc heroines

This is a list of my favorite artificial (non-magical) heroines.  The reason I thought this up was because I am currently replaying Komorebi no Nostalgica, which is pretty much the top for an AI-focused VN.   Emmy from Akabanzu  https://vndb.org/c42670 Akabanzu itself is an unusual game in that it is a charage focused on a protagonist being forcibly rehabilitated from game addiction.  The AI in this game, Emmy, focuses on a support role, which makes for a surprisingly interesting (and

Clephas

Clephas

Random VN: Semiramis no Tenbin

Semiramis no Tenbin is a game by Caramel Box, best known in the West for the Otoboku series but who is more generally famous in Japan for being the home of Takaya Aya, one of the better writers in the industry.  This game... is unique.  I say this outright because there literally is no other VN like this.  It isn't the characters or the themes that make it unique (though those are part of it), but rather the sheer impact of Takaya Aya's 'side trip into thinking like a chuunibyou patient' as he p

Clephas

Clephas

Why I dropped Tenmei no Conquista

Normally, considering how far I got into this game, I would have just kept going (I got halfway through, literally).  However, it needs to be said that I only kept going in hopes the game would get more interesting as things went on. The answer was no. This game uses a system that draws partially from the early Fire Emblem games, partially from the Disgaea series by NIS, and partly is drawn from other Eushully games.  The Fire Emblem elements include the basic 'flow' of strategy rpg ba

Clephas

Clephas

Secret Agent Kishi Gakuen no Shinobi naru Mono

This game, is to some extent, a redemption of my hopes for Ensemble.  I say this from the beginning because I will inevitably be critical in a familiar way about some parts.  However, this game was far closer to Ensemble at its best than we've seen in the last six years. The story is set in an academic city in a school that has a weird setup where individuals who want to get involved with student government join the Knighthood, with Chevaliers and apprentices serving in roles from librarian

Clephas

Clephas

Shuffle! Episode 2

To be honest, I had great hopes for this game, based on the fact that Agobarrier wrote up the drafts for the story before his unfortunate passing.  I thought I'd see the peculiar humor, the deredere-MAX heroines, and the wacky antics that I associated with the original game.  I expected running jokes (frequently used as accents to various scenes), and I hoped that Navel would finally regain some of its original 'magic'. Unfortunately, it seems that those hopes are a bit too high.  Perhaps i

Clephas

Clephas

Draculius Characters

Ogishima (Brandole) Jun The son of Id Brandole and Yukari of the Ogishima family.  He was raised as a human by his mother, who sealed his vampiric nature on a regular basis since early childhood.  While he seems mild-mannered on the surface, he has an incredible capacity for rage and ruthlessness in defense of those he considers family.  He is highly intelligent, even brilliant.  At the beginning of the story, Belche arrives to inform him that, if she thinks he is fit to rule, he will take

Clephas

Clephas

Random VN: Ou no Mimi ni wa Todokanai

Ou no Mimi ni wa Todokanai is one of my favorite games by AXL, which has consistently made high-quality games since the middle of the last decade.  Ou no Mimi is based in a medieval fantasy village in a nation that is still recovering from a war that wasted most of an entire generation of young men's lives.  The protagonist, Cactus (generally called Cas), lives his daily life as a self-proclaimed bodyguard for Baree Village while skipping out on working in the potato fields and taking long naps

Clephas

Clephas

Silverio Ragnarok

The final game in the Silverio series enters with a whimper and exits with a bang. First, this game absolutely requires that you have played the previous two to appreciate.  Too much of what is going on requires understanding of concepts that aren't reintroduced but constantly referenced throughout the game.  This game is based only a few years after Trinity in Canterbury, the theocratic state ruled by a Japanophilic religion based on seeing old Japan as a sort of El Dorado.   I should

Clephas

Clephas

Random VN: Kanojo-tachi no Ryuugi

Kanojo-tachi no Ryuugi is a game made by 130cm back in 2006, during the 'golden age of VN innovation'.  Like many of the games made during this period, it is far less bound by convention than you see in modern VNs, which has its ups and downs (as most games from this era do).  In this case, the most striking element for modern VN readers would probably be the fact that the protagonist is fully voiced.  The second is that, in most of the H-scenes (of which there are plenty), the females are the d

Clephas

Clephas

Shukusei no Girlfriend 2 and 3 and Fujiko disc

I hadn't paid attention, but this series was apparently made by a subsidiary of the same company that owns Minato Soft... which explains the familiarity of the humor and the sound effects. Shukusei no Girlfriend 2 This entry in the series focuses on Maya, the heroine who serves as an antagonist initially in the first game.  Maya is a very straightforward girl with a strong desire to take care of those younger than her.  She is very much a warrior maiden with a strong motherly side (whi

Clephas

Clephas

Random VN: Shukusei no Girlfriend

Shukusei no Girlfriend is the first of three games in the series, based in a world where mahou shoujo-like girls calling themselves Stars fight demons to protect humanity... a pretty standard setting that, in most games, would mean lots of tentacles, aku-ochi, and general mayhem that would range from the mildly distasteful to the outright disgusting.  While in anime (non-hentai) most mahou shoujo are fairly straightforward and rigidly formulaic battle anime, in VNs, mahou shoujo usually end up o

Clephas

Clephas

Book series: The Recluce Saga

The Recluce Saga, despite being a somewhat niche 'high fantasy' novel series, is perhaps one of the largest and most monolithic such series to have been written in the last forty years.  Beginning back in the eighties and spanning more than twenty books now, it is LE Modesitt Jr.'s signature series, the series that propelled him from a somewhat eccentric author of varying science fantasy and science fiction novels and series to one of the quiet dominators of high fantasy as a genre.   The R

Clephas

Clephas

Ore no Sugata ga, Toumei ni!? Invisible to Suuki na Unmei

Orefuka is the newest game by Hulotte, a company infamous for making extremely ecchi charage with actual plot.  In this game, the protagonist, Haruki, is given pills that make him invisible by a net idol named Kusunoha Chitose, and he begins using it to stand in the same room while the heroines get naked, masturbate, etc without even a hint of hesitation. Haruki is a young man who sees everything around him as an opportunity for fun, and he sees not having fun as a waste of time.  If he fin

Clephas

Clephas

Impressions: Soushin no Ars Magna

To be clear, I dropped this game today after about nine hours of playtime, mostly because I wasn't getting any joy out of it.  That's not to say the story wasn't interesting, but... Anyway, Soushin no Ars Magna is the most recent release from Ninetail, the rpg-focused sister brand of Dual Tail, the makers of the Venus Blood series... and it shows.   This game reuses a modified version of the gameplay from Venus Blood Brave, which was a more dungeon-exploration oriented game than previo

Clephas

Clephas

Kami-sama no You na Kimi e

Kami-sama no You na Kimi e is the latest game by Cube, and it is based in a near-future setting where AIs run just about every aspect of society.  In this society, people have gotten past that raw terror of AI horror stories and have pretty much accepted the the ease and luxury of having AI run most of the important things that make civilization possible.   At the beginning of the story, the protagonist, Kaito, is hacking into Central AI, the AI based on the Moon that runs most of the world

Clephas

Clephas

Random VN: Erect!

I'm not going to lie... Erect is an appropriate name for this game in a number of ways.  However, this game is, despite the name, not a pure nukige.  Rather, it is more of a romantic (actually romantic, not just playing at it) charage with high sexual content (about 6 H-scenes in the common route and something like eight to ten in each path).  Now, this is the game that got me paying attention to Astronauts as a company, and it is from Astronauts: Spica, a subsidiary that has so far only produce

Clephas

Clephas

Random Translation: Silverio Trinity (Dainsleif rant)

「かつて、核爆弾という殲滅兵器があったらしい。旧暦二十世紀に誕生した破壊の炎は、長らく人類を焼き尽くせる破壊の象徴だったんだとよ。 2500年代にもなればどの国でも当たり前の基本装備になり、それぞれが世界を焼き尽くせる量を保有しつつ、それぞれの領土へ常に矛先を向けていたそうだ。おまえ達が撃って来たらこっちも撃ち込んで滅ぼしてやる、という感じでな――いわゆる核抑止論というやつだ」 Dainsleif "In the distant past, there used to be a weapon of annihilation known as the nuclear bomb.  This destructive flame, born in the twentieth century of the old calendar, was for a long time the symbol of humanity's ability to destroy itself.  By 2500, it was basic equipment for every nation, ever

Clephas

Clephas

Random VN: Silverio Trinity

In preparation for the release of the Silverio series' conclusion, Silverio Ragnarok, next month, I decided to replay Silverio Trinity, one of my favorite chuunige.  First, I should note that I consider the Silverio series to be one of the three most well-designed VN settings in existence.  One is Eushully's Dir Lifyna, the other being the Nasuverse (Type-Moon's Fate and Tsukihime universe).  In terms of details, unique aspects, and generally fascinating fun, they all have their high points.  Di

Clephas

Clephas

Mononokei Kanojo

Yes I played this, for obvious reasons.  This is one of those rare nukige that makes an attempt at escaping being a nukige.  It attempts to have a story, has an interesting setting, and even has interesting heroines with dark pasts... Unfortunately, there are places where it stumbles (and no, I'm not talking about the high H content).  The most obvious place it stumbles, for someone just starting it, is the horrible way the music is handled.  It cuts out in some scenes, has little connectio

Clephas

Clephas

Love Destination

Umm... wow? This game is seriously out there.   Yes, I needed to start with that.  Love Destination's every aspect is more than a little crazy.  It starts with a salaryman in his late thirties dying in a car accident and being told by the lazy-ass woman at the gates that she accidentally killed him on a whim.  She offers him a chance to start over from the branching point of his life (after several other attempts to cover her own incompetence), and he ends up going back in time... only

Clephas

Clephas

The Value of Catharsis

For those who read my reviews, you will have probably heard me refer to catharsis as a positive element in VNs.  I push catharsis like it is the best new designer drug on the market I'm dealing and you are my customers.  So... the question that occurred to me recently was, what is the meaning and value of catharsis? First, while the strict dictionary definition of catharsis in literature refers to a emotional, moral, and spiritual release or cleansing, I can honestly say that the word as I

Clephas

Clephas

HaremKingdom

First, Smee is one of the few companies I've never bothered with in the past.  There were a number of reasons, but it all came down to one issue in the end... I don't like VNs where you name the protagonist.  Naming the protagonist inevitably means the protagonist is a shallow cipher/non-person whose personality and characterization can be changed to fit which heroine he is with.  As such, I tend to avoid games where it is possible to do so. HaremKingdom was an exception for two reasons...

Clephas

Clephas

Random VN: Kanzume Shoujo no Shuumatsu Sekai

First, it should be noted that this game was planned and written by Watanabe Ryouichi, who also wrote the Harumade series (Harumade Kururu, Natsukumo Yururu, etc).  As such, it is - quite predictably - a mindfuck game.  Don't expect SOL romance in the traditional sense, because that isn't the kind of game this is. This game has two protagonists... the first is the normal-seeming Koumi Masataka, who begins the story by encountering Sarasa, the game's main heroine, as she eats canned saba mis

Clephas

Clephas

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