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When the Sand Crabs Cry Review - Top 10 Best Rated Translated VNs at 2009

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Seeing that nowadays we have many translated VNs, I figure that it would be nice if I can write about some VNs that was translated in the past (Before 2015) because after all there's no present without the past. Also it's always interesting to see on how much the translated VNs did develop in the past and how we'll compared it with the present, so here's my list for translated VNs at 2009. The rules is still the same in that there'll be no BL, otome, fandisc, and nukige VNs here.

10. Galaxy Angel (VNDB 7.50)

My encounter with this was started back at 2006 when I spent my Saturday morning watching this through Animax, and back then I thought that it's magical girl anime. Fast forward to 2011, back then I'm still new in VNs and decided to ask some recommendations from someone, and one of those is Galaxy Angels in which it'd interest me. After that I'd search it and find out that the VN is very different from the anime in that the VN itself did havr usual male MC. As for the VN itself, the premise is goes like we have our MC Tact who is a lieutenant from a space empire, and he's quite lazy. One day, the empire is destroyed thanks to a rebellious prince and suddenly Tact was handed the responsibilities to handle a squad who consist of five girls that was also known as Angel Squad. From there, our Tact who is known for being lazy was decided to handle the girls and hopefully will be able to romance a girl while at the same time put down the prince's rebellion. For more info, this VN was came in trilogy, translated by Aroduc, and that it have the gameplay in form of RTS combat in that the player must control the Angel Squad in order to beat the enemy. As for my opinion, I think it's still good if a bit outdated mostly because of the unintuitive way to save.

9. Kira Kira (VNDB 7.55)

This is my second serious VN after Shuffle and it's the most shocking one, mostly because a certain ending that was very surprising to me back then (At 2010 iirc) because I expected a happy ending like Shuffle. As for the premise, we have our MC Shikanosuke who have a very bitter experkence in that he was dropped off by his girlfriend after his performance on tennis were dropping significantly, and that he's obviously very depressed by that. At least until he met with Kirari who is his friend at the part time job, and he got the chance to watch a rock show with Kirari. Fascinated, Shikanosuke decided to perform as bassist together with Kirari as the vocalist in a band. Other than Kirari, there's Shikanosuke's childhood friend Chie as the drummer and rich girl Sarina as the guitarist for Shikanosuke's band, and they decided to perform at the school festival which to say was quite a hurdle seeing that the school is a strict traditional Catholic school. This VN is also one of first Mangagamer releases, so the translation here might be less refined compared to what we have nowadays (Not that it matter to me anyway). For last note here, the staff here is show a lot of knowledge in music because the producer himself (Bamboo) is also a band member.

8. Kanon (VNDB 7.71)

Very popular VN from back at 1999 seeing that it did established nakige that was mixed with slice of life back then, and also put KEY as the most successful VN developer seeing that it'd adopted to the two anime series along with console ports. One from back at 2002 by Toei in that Yuuichi's (The MC) face is very distorted, and another one from back at 2006 by Kyoto Animation with improved graphic. Since this is very popular VN it mean that there's a lot of VN that was influenced by this, such as Kana Imouto and Da Capo. As for the art, while granted Inoue's art is quite infamous at least it's not as bad like back at Koropokkur. As for the premise, we have Yuuichi coming back to the town where his aunt live after his last visit back at seven years ago, and that he forgot what happened back at his last visit. In there he met with a mysterious girl with the name Ayu, and then Yuuichi started to play more with Ayu while finding out what happened back at seven years ago. Other than Ayu, Yuuichi will encounter four other girls including his cousin (Nayuki), so we'll going to have five heroines in Kanon (Duh). As for the sex scenes, let's just say that you shouldn't play Kanon for the sex scenes even though it was initially sold as eroge.

7. Aoishiro (VNDB 7.73)

The most graphically beautiful VN when it's translated back at 2009, and I think it's still can be on par with nowadays VNs graphically wise. Also since this is ported from the console (PS2), obviously there'll be no sex scenes. The premise is goes like one day our female MC Shouko as the kendo club captain going to the Southern area in order to do the training camp, and that the area itself did have the legend in regard of the demon extermination. At night Shouko saw some mysterious beautiful girl got washed at the shore, and little did Shouko know back then that the girl did have a lot of connection between the legend and Shouko herself. While the story did have a lot of action and supernatural element, there's also a lot of food talk so you may dislike that element. Although the most infamous thing that this VN did have a lot of endings with only five of them were good, so the guide is very neccesary if you want to avoid the bad endings. That said the technical aspect of Aoishiro here is definitely very good, like the aforementioned graphic and also the music in that one of those resembled one of Ar Tonelico 1 hymnos song (Same singer as well). Almost forget to say that this is a GL VN, and there'll be a lot of actions.

6. Sekien no Inganock -What a Beautiful People- (VNDB 7.87)

The second Amaterasu's project after Cross Channel, and one that was based on the poll. Back then Ixrec decided to ask the reader to do the poll in order to determine which next VN that he want to translated, and out of many candidates Inganock here came as the first one in the poll. And so we have Inganock being translated here which also mark the first 'What A Beautiful' Steampunk VN series that was translated into the English (There's also Sona-Nyl that was localized by Mangagamer as well). As for the writer it's said that Sakurai Hikaru here is like to write in repetition, so it's inevitable if someone dislike that kind of writing especially with the Strictly Formula that Inganock have (At least the art here is looking very artistic with the watercolor and sketchbook look). As for Inganock's premise, we have Gii who is an illegal doctor who recover the poor for free and that he live in a city that was affected by mysterious phenomenon known as Revival, in which it caused some disturbance in that some of human being were mutated into part animal. Gii as the one who still looking normal decided to look into the town's mystery along with his old friend (Ati) who's been mutated into the catgirl and a mysterious girl (Kia) that Gii encountered. Almost forget that if you want full voice, you can play the Full Voice version that was already translated as well.

5. Saya no Uta (VNDB 8.14)

The third translated Nitroplus VN after Phantom of Inferno and Chaos Head with the former was written by the same writer (Gen Urobochi), and the background for this VN is the most creepy one with meat and all. The premise goes like we have Fuminori was saved by a brain operation after he suffered a fatal accident, only to have his perception was twisted thanks to the possible mistake in the operation and that he perceive the other human as grotesque creature with inaudible voice. Of course Fuminori being paranoid that he'll become the experiment subject, he decided to not tell his story to the doctor. One day in the hospital he see a young girl in white cloth with the name Saya, and seeing that Fuminori already goes insane thanks to his perception he just accept Saya as it is without wondering what Saya really is. From there both of Fuminori and Saya did the things that is normal in Urobochi's work, and let's just say it'll full of death and all because Urobochi like to killing the characters in his works (Just see both of Fate/Zero and Madoka, in which both of those are his famous works). This VN also picked up and rereleased by JAST at 2011, although it's a redundant release though because there's no change between fan translation and official version.

4. Sharin no Kuni Himawari no Shoujo (VNDB 8.24)

While we have Frontwing crowdfund this VN and they still didn't managed to deliver it, actually we didn't really need to wait in order to play this because we already have Sharin being translated since back at 2009 (ie redundant). If anything at least Frontwing still managed to give us the updates, unlike Sekai who more or less already abandoned their Yuzusoft VNs license. As for the premise, we have a very capable MC Morita Kenichi who come back to his hometown in order to supervise three criminals who coincidentally are girls with one of the girls was his childhood friend as told by his supervisor who also happened to be his teacher. From there, Kenichi did his best to supervise the girls. As for the setting, it's a unique one in that each criminal would be punished by wearing the badge and the wearer must bey the condition that the badge impose, otherwise the criminal would be severely punished. Naturally it mean that Kenichi will find out what's really happening in the girl's life that cause them to face the punishment, and it's Kenichi's job to improve the girls situations. As of Sharin itself, I guess it's quite influential in that Yuuji from Grisaia franchise dd resemble Kenichi to a degree, and that both of Sharin and Grisaia did have the fandisc that resolve the story in the main VN.

3. Sengoku Rance (VNDB 8.35)

The first Rance series to be translated (By Takajun), and also the first Alicesoft VN to be translated. As for the premise, it's very simple with our selfish Rance want to have sex with two princesses and one of his target is Kouhime who happened to be JAPAN's princess (Or Nippon's princess as Arunaru translate it), only to found out that Kouhime was still underage and Rance still have some standard to not going lolicon. After being fast friend with Kouhime's brother Nobunaga (Yeah that Oda Nobunaga), Rance decided to help him to conquer some Nippon territories seeing that his heath is very bad along with his territory is declining and our Rance didn't want to see Kouhime being sad. Like other Rance series, Sengoku here did have gameplay element and after I see some LP of previous Rance VNs along with playing VI I can say that Alicesoft here really refined their gameplay element in here (It also help that Sengoku did set up the big Myth Arc for the franchise despite the lighter premise compared to VI). We also have this being localized by Mangagamer and retranslated by Arunaru, although seeing that there's no much problem with the translation (And Arunaru's reputation as translator is slightly gotten worse) I can say that Sengoku's license by Mangagamer here is a redundant one (At least it's nice that people can get this in English legally).

2. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (VNDB 8.47)

Once upon a time, there's man who was inspired by KEY's VNs. And thus he created a doujin VN that was attempted to recapture the success, but instead of nakige element the man decided to add horror and paranoia instead (With the man's drawing that was very bad). Also like KEY, his product is very successful so much that it became the man's Cash Cow Franchise. As for the man, he's Ryukishi07 and the product is obviously Higurashi. As for the premise, we have Keiichi who transfer to a rural town called Himanizawa and he managed to be friend with some unique girls. While at first Hinamizawa is very calm and relaxing, beneath that there's a lot of covered secrets that may cost a life to be uncovered, and our Keiichi was realized that as well. And so Keiichi decided to investigate what's really happen in the peaceful Hinamizawa, although too bad that his investigation was already doomed to be failed. Again and again. As for Higurashi itself, it's divided into eight arcs and the first part did covered the four arcs. As for the opening song here, since the original didn't have the opening I'll use Matsuri one (It's very good anyway). Almost forget that Mangagamer did localized this, and if you didn't like the default arc you can use the art from PS3.

1. Umineko no Naku Koro ni (VNDB 8.82)

After being successful with Higurashi, Ryukshi07 decided to tackle another new series in When They Cry and this time he'd write about murder mystery. The premise goes like there's a very rich family that was trapped in the secluded island because of the storm. To make it worse turn out that each of the head's children did have some slight financial problem and the only solution to resolve their problem is a mysterious fortune that the head hide (Also rumored to be borrowed from the witch (Beatrice)). Things not going to be easy seeing that the clue to find the fortune is like a murder pattern, and all of the siblings are more than likely to commit the murder because they are very hostile to each other. As for who is the MC for Umineko, we have Battler (The head's grandson) who was challenged by Beatrice who claimed that she can kill the whole family using the magic. Refused to believe in magic, Battler decided to challenge Beatrice into a game of wits in that he must proof that it's possible for human to do the crime. Like Higurashi, Umineko here is also localized by Mangagamer with the help of a fan group (Witch Hunt) back at 2017, although it's redundant though because there's already a patch to insert PS3 art and Ryukishi's drawing is still bad (He improved at least), and of course already translated.

I guess that's all for 2009 translated VNs, and as you can see most of those are still fan translated (Eight out of 10 VNs) so we can say that 2009 here is the start of fan translation golden era. Also back then Mangagamer was just starting their operation, so it's normal for them to have little number of released VNs (ie Kira Kira and Higurashi) compared to what we have nowadays. Also back then we obviously still didn't have Sekai yet and JAST did release less compared to the last years, so yeah thanks to the fans we can have a lot of good translated VNs whereas most people would categorized VNs as the porn games back at 2009. As for the next plan, I think I'll cover the translated VN release from 2010 up to 2014.

PS - For the title I decided to joined two animal that was noted in both of 'When They Cry' series, and since we have both of cicada from Higurashi and seagull from Umineko I joined two animal into 'When the Sand Crabs Cry'. The reason is simply because sand crabs is also known as sea cicada, and besides it's not the first time someone use 'Umi' part from Umineko seeing that we have When the Seacats Cry doujin VN (TL Note: Umi mean sea). 

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