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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

 

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

 

Random VN: Blade x Bullet Kinrin no Soleil

Whatever else you can say about Skyfish's Soleil series, they never do the same thing (precisely) twice in a row. The Soleil series is based in a multiverse that comes into existence after the end of Ragnarok, the final battle of the gods from Norse mythology.  Previous entries in the series have ranged from your typical old-style chuunige (Shirogane no Soleil) to crazed ventures into chaotic medlies of Norse, Chinese, and Cthulhu Mythos (Gouen no Soleil).   Blade x Bullet is perhaps t

Clephas

Clephas

 

For JVN Beginners: Clephas's Fantasy/sci-fi/science fantasy SOL/charage recs

First, I should state for those who are unfamiliar with my history that I have played a seriously ridiculous number of SOL romance/charage over the past decade.  While the sheer number I played exhausted me and I frequently desired something else to play, I don't think I ever came to truly hate the genre, regardless of how much it bored me.  What I liked most were ones that contained science fiction, fantasy, or science fantasy elements.   Now, for those who are unclear about the difference

Clephas

Clephas

 

Random VN: Haruru Minamo ni

Haruru Minamo ni is one of my favorite games by one of my favorite charage companies, Clochette.  Clochette is known for a combination of decent stories, moe-ero (sexy and moe) heroines, and fantasy/sci-fi settings.  Haruru Minamo ni is based in the same world as Amatsu Misora Ni, which is - ironically - my least favorite Clochette game.  In this world, the idea and existence of Japanese-style deities is a self-evident reality.  This is partly due to the fact that 'arahitogami' (kami who take a

Clephas

Clephas

 

Amairo Chocolata

This is the second mimikko game from January's releases, a pure moege made by Cabbage Soft, the makers of two other games, both of which I disliked (perfect examples of charage/moege slogs in the sugary and brainless mud).  I can't honestly say that Amairo Chocolata is that different from the company's other games... but I'm willing to forgive a lot for mimikko heroines. This game is pretty short, so short I finished it in just under eight hours (it's been a while since I bothered with a ga

Clephas

Clephas

 

Kamisama no Shippo ~Etogami-sama no Ongaeshi

First, this was written partially by Morima Marimo, one of Light and Campus's writers who specializes in naki-scenes and SOL.  Marimo has always sort of stood in the shadows of the other Light writers, but in terms of multi-genre versatility, he (she?) is worlds above the other writers employed by Light. This game is one of the few 'ladder-style' story structure games that haven't driven me into a rage.  The simple reason is that the main story is more interesting than the little side trips

Clephas

Clephas

 

Clephas' top ten Imouto paths

Yes, I'm going to go there.  I've actually been asked this more by my Japanese friend/supplier than anyone else, but I've always refrained from answering except to name one or two that I liked.  However, I made the mistake of watching a few imouto anime on a binge a few weeks ago, and I began seriously considering which little sister paths were the best in the VNs I've played up until now.  Note that I say these are the best 'paths', not necessarily the best imouto heroines.  To be blunt, imouto

Clephas

Clephas

 

Random VN: Otome ga Musubu Tsukiyo no Kirameki

Ototsuki is one of the few, in fact the only, Ensemble trap protagonist game I hadn't at least tried.  There were a number of reasons for this, but the biggest one was that it came out after my burnout on SOL reached its peak.  By that time, I had no energy for any kind of SOL VNs, even ones in genres I normally liked.  In retrospect, I'm glad I waited until I recovered before playing this, because this is the game that proves that Ensemble still has potential as a company, despite the last five

Clephas

Clephas

 

The rules of a Good Trap Protagonist game

I will say it, yes, games with trap protagonists are one of my secret pleasures.  While there are numerous types of this particular niche in VNs, and there are a disproportionate number of this type of game compared to ten years ago, there are some rules shared by all the greats that I thought I'd put out there. 1.  A good trap protagonist is a voiced protagonist.  Most trap protagonists are voiced.  There are a number of reasons for this, but, regardless of the reason, almost all the 'good

Clephas

Clephas

 

The nature of an infodump

In plotge of all types, whether they are chuunige, kinetic novels, horror suspense, or mysteries, infodumps are ubiquitous throughout the VN world.  Infodumping in and of itself isn't a horrible thing to do to the reader (as some people claim), but it is a tool that is often abused by writers who want to expound on their beloved world and its characters.   First, the definition of an infodump is a scene with little or no dialogue where background information is provided without directly pro

Clephas

Clephas

 

What makes a great VN battle scene?

I had someone ask me why I consider some VN battle scenes to be good and others to be low quality just the other day, and I thought I would address this here.   First, I should state that while visuals definitely have an effect on the quality of a battle scene, the quality of visuals is less than 15% of the reasons why I pick one VN's battle scenes over another's.  The considerations when it comes to visuals are raw quality (artist skill, detail, etc), number of combat-related CGs and sprit

Clephas

Clephas

 

Clephas' Favorite VNs: Minamijuujisei Renka

Say what you want about Studio Ryokucha, but their weird plotge/charage hybrids are some of my quirkier favorites.  To be specific, Minamijuujisei Renka is my favorite game by this company, at least partially because of how deftly they sidestepped the worst of the 'high school' tropes while keeping the advantages of familiarity.   Minamijuujisei Renka is based on a fictional island still ruled by a post-colonial Caucasian aristocracy that long-since lost its connection with its long-dead or

Clephas

Clephas

 

How to know if you have a true favorite VN

People who drop themselves into the abyss of otaku media tend to have their sense for things dull over time.  Action scenes don't excite like they used to, rom-coms aren't as funny, ecchi isn't as hot, and only the densest stories succeed in scratching the itch.  This is what I (and some others) call becoming a 'jaded veteran otaku'.  Jaded veteran otakus often become 'genre specialists' (meaning they only play one type of game, watch one type of anime, and/or refuse to play specific types), and

Clephas

Clephas

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