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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

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

Devils Devel Concept: Heroines

I realized that I've always focused excessively on Sora, the protagonist, when I was describing this game, so I thought (on a whim) that I would go ahead and introduce the heroines to you all.      SPOILER WARNING     1.  Amatsu Kanata https://vndb.org/c8804 Amatsu Kanata is the first heroine in the recommended play order and perhaps the heroine who comes closest to Sora in personality.  Selfish, cold-hearted, ruthless, and in possession of an iron will that wo

Clephas

Clephas

Random Translation: Devils Devel Concept Opening scene

(The first few lines of this can't be hooked, and I've never had the scripts extracted, so forgive me for not presenting the Japanese for them) Half of this world is made up of 'evil'.  'Evil' is desire. That which humans spill out as easily as breathing. (Clephas: combination of two lines, due to this VN being NVL style, it is often necessary to translate multiple lines together) That is an unseen crystallization of people's emotions. That is desire. That is 'evil'

Clephas

Clephas

Random VN: Primal x Hearts

Primal Hearts is a game I have an odd relationship with.  At the time I first played it, I don't think I gave it a completely fair assessment.  The reason why?  I was hitting the first of my many 'charage doldrums' periods.  However, in retrospect, it grew on me... sort of like mold. First, I should note that the game is actually fairly old-fashioned, despite its modern visuals.  The wacky concept, larger-than-life characters, and the sometimes ridiculous 'coincidences' that pop in all hear

Clephas

Clephas

Cafe Stella to Shinigami no Chou Part 1?

To be blunt, I might or might not continue playing this game, so I thought I'd go ahead and get my thoughts down now, after finishing one path.  More and more these days, I only play one path of a game before moving on, after all. Shinigami no Chou is Yuzusoft's latest release, and it is more along the lines of its more SOL-focused games like Sanoba Witch, as opposed to its more plot-focused ones like Dracu-riot or Senren Banka.  As such, the ichaicha and H-scenes are a bit overly long and

Clephas

Clephas

Clephas' Favorite VNs: Otome ga Tsumugu Koi no Canvas part 1

One of only two games written by Kazutaka, the writer of the somewhat comically-named Doushite Daite Kurenai no!?  Onna no Ko Datte Yaritai no! (incidentally, despite the title, the aforementioned game is not a nukige, which is in itself humorous, lol).  It is also the game that gave substance to Ensemble's quest to define itself as a specialist company in trap protagonist and ojousama-ge.  Ironically, it is also the flat-out best SOL game the company has ever made, which makes it somewhat sad f

Clephas

Clephas

Docchi no i ga Suki Desu ka?

First, I should state that I went into this game with a specific heroine in mind from the beginning.  I might go back later and play one of the other heroine routes, but I played this game specifically because I thought the concept was interesting and I liked Hanna's character description.  This game is by Hook Soft, a company primarily known for its combination of lovey-dovey relationships, mild comedy, and surprisingly long paths.  This company generally produces high-quality charage, but

Clephas

Clephas

A year or so later: My change in outlook

Since ceasing VN of the Month, I've been slowly recovering from my years of over-reading VNs, the vast majority of them ones I normally wouldn't have taken an interest in.  While I still play VNs regularly, I do so at a slower pace, reading more conventional literature and playing normal games as much as I do them. I recently began to regain some of my VN stamina (though I will never get back to where I was), and I've found that even the SOL VNs I choose to play are far less stressful than

Clephas

Clephas

Random VN: Boku ga Tenshi ni Natta Wake

This is perhaps one of the few games from my first five years playing untranslated VNs that isn't a chuunige that I remembered vividly.  I decided to pick this up again because I wanted some good catharsis, and I was tired of waiting for Mangagamer to get off their butts and actually release this.  Boku ga Tenshi ni Natta wake is what is called a 'soft utsuge', in the sense that there are no good endings but it focuses more on the bittersweet sorrow rather than the absolute despair of a 'ha

Clephas

Clephas

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