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VN of the Month December 2016



Before I announce the VN of the Month, I'm going to go ahead and apologize to those who wanted me to play Honoguraki... to be blunt, I don't have the energy for it.  Ragnarok sucked me dry, and I need to get away from undead and demons for a while.  Moreover, I hate zombies in the first place (so many reasons), so I'd be unlikely to give a pleasant review or comment anyway.

Now... it is kind of startling how so many great games got packed into a single month.  December 2016 was a monster month for story-focused VNs, with a relative dearth of charage/moege (with only two released).  I played as much as I could, but after six games, including the monster known as Venus Blood Ragnarok, I feel drained and tired.  The main reason I don't deny the existence of charage utterly (other than the occasional shining diamond I find in the piles of icarabu shit) is because even I need a break from bloodshed and darkness sometimes.

There were three releases that had the potential to become VN of the Month this time around...

Akiyume Kukuru

Ryuukishi Bloody Saga

Ou no Mimi ni wa Todokanai!

Now, to be blunt, Ou no Mimi would be my first choice.  Why?  Because, without the art bigots interfering, it is the most solid of those three candidates by several degrees.  In fact, if this were six years ago, all things equal (including art), I would without hesitation have named it VN of the Month.  While AXL doesn't escape its own unique formula, there is a reason why this company is a consistent seller despite reusing character art and music constantly. 

However, we come to Ryuukishi, which is only a few steps behind story-wise and has the advantage of being an immensely creative story that doesn't fall back on tropes for the most part.  It also has a more modern art-style that is highly-detailed, illustrating battle scenes and some of the more shocking guro scenes in loving detail. 

Last of all, we have Akiyume Kukuru, which didn't fail to please as the third (and possibly final) game of Sumikko's 'Seasons' series.  As usual, it provides the kind of meta-science mystery combined with violent and sexual humor that the company has become infamous for.  For a certain type of reader, this VN is pure crack, though if you aren't the type it is aiming for, it will be a huge miss.

So what is the conclusion?  In the end it came down to Ryuukishi and Ou no Mimi.  I balanced Ou no Mimi's solid, well-narrated story against Ryuukishi's more innovative approach... and in the end I chose Ryuukishi Bloody Saga as VN of the Month December 2016.  While AXL's works are really 'at-home' for me, I felt that Ryuukishi will probably have a larger impact on the VN community as a whole in the long run... and they were dead even on how I enjoyed them. 

Now... look forward to VN of the Year 2016, which I probably won't finish considering until sometime next month.  Fortunately or unfortunately, 2016 was almost as good as 2014 and 2011 for VNs...


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