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VN of the Month January 2024


kivandopulus

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The beginning of the year is not just doujins, so already great.
 
1For the GHOSTs  [240107]
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1. Spectre, Spirit, Phantom, Apparition
2. A faint trace of something
3. A slight chance or small possibility
4. [On TVs, displays, etc.] ◆ A thin image that appears close to the original image. In televisions, this occurs due to reflected radio waves and interference.
5. People who should be somewhere but are not ◆ People who are mistakenly recorded as being somewhere but are not
6.〈Ancient〉《Religious》Human spirit, Soul
What can you do for Ghosts?
Neither living nor dead, everywhere yet nowhere, visible and invisible.
These girls want to chat, share what they like, have hot drinks, and so on, so let's get to know everyone by engaging in lots of chitchat.
And from the bits and pieces that mingle among the chatter, figure out what's going on with everyone and what you need to do.
Small doujin immersive chat rather than a game.
 
2. Shizumeru Rakuen  沈める楽園 [240122] Hitori Circle "Sajinage-bu"
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Two college girls committed suicide by throwing themselves onto the isolated island of Rakubijima in the Seto Inland Sea at the end of summer. Why did they choose to die? What happened during their "last day" on the island? What is the "answer" you will give after tracing the memories of the two girls and learning the truth and the end of the story......?
Another doujin that's notorious for being sfw and released in Steam, but theme and style hardly make it appealing. 
 
3. Sudama Relation すだまリレイシヨン [240125] ENTERGRAM
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Onibushichou is a rural town in a basin surrounded by mountains, close to Sea of Japan. Further in from there is the even more rural village of Koubou.
Today, April 6, 2023, is the day of the entrance ceremony for Koubou’s only school, Keijou Academy High School. At this school, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary and is understood by no one as to why it was opened in such an underpopulated area, a new student arrives. His name is En Ayakari.
“Go back to Koubou.”
As his mother’s dying wish, he moved from the city to Koubou, where he has memories of living as a child. While there was no meaning or significance to coming back now, new and familiar encounters drag him into the restless “Seven Wonders of the Academy” selection swamp. At Keijou Academy High School, the seven wonders of the academy did not yet exist.
In a land where demons lie, a strange bond is formed. This is a story woven by humans and mountain demons (Sudama).
Sfw school investigation story. Setting sounds pretty boring and even developers understood that as they tried to delay the game over and over in attempt to improve things. Looks cheap and does not seem to be a breakthrough, although there aren't normal reviews yet. 
 
4. Boku no Suki na Hito no Suki na Hito wa, Josou Shita Boku Deshita 僕の好きな人の好きな人は、女装した僕でした [240126] ensemble SWEET
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Due to his parents' work, the protagonist Keino Haruki, lived with his family overseas, but when his older sister Keino Chizuru, forced him to dress in girls' clothes made by her and uploaded them on social media, he received an unexpected reaction. At that time, Chizuru's career as a world-renowned fashion designer began, while Haruki is viewed as his sister's exclusive model, and continued cross-dressing in order to help with his household income. However, his sister could not adjust to living overseas, so she decided to return to Japan with him.
Two weeks after he returns to Japan, a girl, who at first glance, looks like an ojousama from a respectable family, comes to his house.
"C, Could it be, you are..."
"Hotaru......! You're Hotaru, right? It's me, don't you remember......!?"
Haruki looks at the excited girl's face, memories of his childhood suddenly come to his mind. No matter how many years have passed, they never fade, he remembers her face instantly. The face of the girl who has captivated his heart.
The face of the girl he loves――
But there is also one thing he remembers.
At the time when he met her, he was dressing up like a girl for his sister as well. When he takes the girl to his room to explain the situation, she finds a picture of a boy.
"What's the meaning of this!? This boy!"
Haruki thinks his cross-dressing is exposed.
"By any chance, is this the boy you like!?"
"Because you like the boy in this picture...... You cannot go out with me?"
"I will never lose to a boy like this! I'm going to marry Hotaru!"
The girl makes the situation more confusing.
Little does she know that the girl before her and the boy are one and the same.
In this complicated love triangle, will Haruki able to make his love come true?
I abandoned the idea to understand trap games a long time ago
 
5. Hakkenden 八剱伝 [240126] IRODORI
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Washing blood with blood, in an era when people wage wars earnestly for a small plot of land, the Sengoku period.
Kanto region, in the small mountains, even though autumn has ended for some time, the crimson leaves still blossom, the blooming and falling of these crimson leaves seemingly continue eternally.
At first, everyone wonders, but their suspicion gradually fades. After a while, the influential people at the time name this era "Kowa".
With the leaves slowly spreading throughout the region, a small cult worshiping the crimson leaves, calling themselves Shuukyou, has risen among the people.
Time passes, and it is now the 18th year of Kowa. When the hapless fates of those who live in this harsh world intertwine, the end of an era begins.
There's a lot of repeating content throughout different routes, plus all the zapping between multiple characters and chronology shuffle is confusing. Yet the core of samurai drama is enjoyable, and that's what matters.

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I was hesitant about Hakkenden because the original story of the nineteenth century novel by Kyoukutei Bakin was a bit too moralistic for my tastes.  It was the second Japanese classic novel that I read (after Genji Monogatari).  It was also the most annoying to read, since the version I got hadn't been redone in modern language (unlike the version of the Tale of Genji I read), probably because the original version was still readable (barely).  

Lots of bad memories there... 

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For January 2024, interesting to note that it seems Japanese and overseas have different preference when it come to two of the best release of this month, Boku no Suki and Hakkenden, with Japanese prefer the latter (From Erogamescape) and overseas prefer the former (From VNDB). That said, VNDB votes is kind of unreliable anyway since the voters for both VNs are consist of different people, which obviously mean different taste between the voters. As for VN of the Month, well, let's just say that I would chose Hakkenden if only for the (Relatively) high production value. By the way, I know there are five VNs, but out of those only Boku no Suki and Hakkenden are notable enough. No info that I can find about the two doujin VN, and it's interesting to see Sudama Relation has bad reception. Anyway, let me comment on the two VNs below.

Hakkenden - Once again it has higher production value, and it's a new VN from Irodori which as we know has released Ouka Sabaki with the gameplay similar to Ace Attorney (Which turned out it's not the coincidence because the writer did work on several Touhou fangame with Ace Attorney parody). That said, from what I see it seems Japanese is probably have more knowledge about Hakkenden compared to the overseas, so perhaps it's the reason why the VN has better reception in there. Seeing that Shiravune has Ouka Sabaki, I hope that they can also localize Hakkenden sometimes in the future.

Boku no Suki - It's more or less another ensemble VN with trap MC, with the premise his childhood friend suddenly have jealousy toward the MC boy's form because the childhood friend only know when the MC do crossdress as cute girl, so obviously the MC will have some explaining toward his childhood friend before finally become the couple. While the VN has two other heroines (The MC older sister and the childhood friend maid), the VN itself apparently quite short so the main focus is the childhood friend, at least looking from the CG count.

That's all for what I can comment in regard of January 2024 release.

Edited by littleshogun
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