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  1. 24 points
    Disclaimer: At the end of this post I get pretty salty, so be aware of that. This post endorses MY and MY OPINION ONLY. The numbers about the costs of a translation team were researched before putting them here. Hello guys. Aizen-Sama here with another spicy rant. Although I haven’t been around the forums as long as other users who have spent their time here several years (I have spent around 7 months more or less at the present time being) I have seen that there’s a huge problem that I’ve mostly seen here, in Fuwanovel, more than any other site that congregates VN fans. In fact, I think that this doesn’t happen anywhere but here, but again, what do I know? I don’t really visit Reddit nor 4chan that much, let alone interact there. Anyways, what I want to address is a problem that has been going on since the beginning stages of this site, and that problem is the Translation Requests, or what I like to call “e-beggars” (yes, I know this term has been invented already). First and foremost, the majority of people that make these Translation Request posts are usually new users and I’m fully aware of that. But this has been blowing up lately. I know that 4 posts in the last month and a half doesn’t sound like that much, but the proposals are getting so ridiculous that it’s hard to believe sometimes if the guys asking these things are for real or if they’re straight out trolling. Let’s take this post as a quick example. You’re scrolling through the forums and see this post, and then the thought comes to mind “Another typical Request Post. Sigh. Let’s see what this guy’s asking for…” and then you see this: These posts show nothing more than ignorance and arrogance, as well as no interest towards these groups they are begging to translate something for them. Do these people even understand what it takes to translate a medium length VN? A medium length, around the 35-40k line mark in my opinion, could easily take a year. And the guy in this post begged for 5 medium and long length VN’s to be translated, one of them being >50 hours long. But don’t be mistaken, the worst part about that post wasn’t the amount of VN’s he was begging for nor their length. It was the last statement: “Thanks in advance”. Although it sounds stupid, that’s what triggered me the most. A shitty “thanks in advance” is not something that motivates people to do these things. People have to put themselves in a translators’ shoes sometimes. Not only him, but also the people who aren’t translating, but the ones who edit the text, proofread it, the image editors, the quality checkers, etc… Do they think that the task can be easily done if the guy in question knows Japanese? Not even close. The secret of a translation project. I know this is hard to believe for the e-beggars, but the translation of a game requires an enormous amount of time, and one year to finish the TRANSLATION, not editing, of a medium length VN is a very decent deadline. And I’m talking about a medium length game, not a long one. Majo Koi has around 47k lines. Supposing it had one sole translator and the translator in question did 100 lines a day, the game would be finished in around 470 days approximately, this taking into account he diligently does 100 lines a day, no skipping, no nothing. Let’s convert that into hours spent in total, since that tends to shock people more; 470 days doing 100 lines a day, if the translator is an experienced one, meaning that he has done this before or is a professional in the field, he could get rid of that task in about an hour. But an amateur translator, basically the bulk of the community in itself when it comes to fan translations, could take around 1,5 or 2 hours to do the exact same number of lines. That could mean than in total, just translating could take from 470 hours for the experienced translator, which means around 20 full days translating something, to 705-940 hours for the amateur translator, which is around 30-40 days translating nonstop. And this would be just translation, I’m purposely taking out the other processes such as editing and QC’ing. Do you e-beggars understand the amount of work is being put in these projects? This is why Translation Request posts should be completely banned off this site and instantly deleted. Then again, where would I put my insulting memes towards the op’s to gain likes for no reason? Let’s throw in another question now that we’re shifting towards that matter: Is fan-translating Visual Novels even worth it in the first place? Before I answer (although it’s probably known what I’m going to say, given my tone) let me address this: I by no means think that fan-translation is bad, in fact, it has been the reason why we’re getting official localizations now and I think that no amount of praise of thanks can equate the amount of work the translators of these projects did in order for this genre to be known better in the Western community. But, as sad as it sounds, fan translating at this moment is not worth it. Why? I’ll put in some of the reasons: - Although some members of the vocal community throw in the occasional thanks once the patch is out that’s all the team who translated the game gets. Nothing more, nothing less. Some people might say that recognition counts as some sort of reward as well, but personally I don’t think that’s the case. - No reviews of the translated VN’s are usually made (this is what in my opinion spreads the awareness of these games), only discussion threads are made, which is pretty sad in my opinion. - I’m going to quote something that Clephas said in one of my posts, that sums up this next point: “Another thing is that most people in the community will never even try to experience fantl from the other side of things... they don't realize how much time it eats up, that emptiness you feel when you realize you've used dozens of hours of your personal time only to put out a patch that people bash left and right for 'errors' and other shit.” - The work put in to translate the game itself is not worth, meaning that the compensation that the translator/team worked for it is not even close enough to what they should be getting. Lastly, I want to address the problem that comes with donations, awareness of localization costs/translation costs, and ignorance. I’ll cut to the chase; for the people that think that with donations alone you can “pay” a translator to do some kind of game, you’re WRONG. Let’s put an example of what could a medium VN translation cost: let’s suppose that the team consists of three persons, to translate a 1.5 million jp character VN (equating to a 45k line count approximately). The translator gets 1 cent per Japanese character, the editor gets 1 cent per English word and the QC gets a quarter of a cent for each English word. In total, the final price equates to 33k dollars JUST FOR THE TEAM TO TRANSLATE A SINGLE VN. And these prices are apparently pretty shitty for a translator, so yeah, there you go. Besides, why donating a random group of guys, who could easily run away with the money and machine translate the game, or not even translate the game at all, when you can just support the official localizers? Contrary to what some people think they are actually releasing more games than ever and the 18+ industry in the scene has never seen so many official releases ever. Summing up this 3 page-long essay of frustration: 1. Please for the love of god don’t e-beg or Request for translations. Just no, it triggers people off and it only shows how ignorant you are about what happens behind the scenes. 2. Fan Translating in this actual moment is NOT WORTH, only people who are very commited and have a strong resolution will be able to start one, and very few out of those will actually finish the project. 3. Donations are NOT a solution to encourage Fan Translation, it ruins the very concept of it and it’s also ILLEGAL. Don’t support an already illegal activity by paying it. 4. Before posting retarded shit on the forums please look for other posts similar to what you might want to post. Maybe looking at the responses could enlighten you and help the other users not waste their time by reading the same shit over and over again. 5. Before criticizing Translations and patches for “errors” and “typos” and being a little whining bitch how about you try to show interest on how much effort people put on the translation of these games behind the scenes? (This goes solely to the people that haven't experienced working on a fan translation and whine non-stop about "how bad the translation of this is" and blah blah blah.) Anyways, I think that’s all the rage out. For those of you who haven’t dozed off already have a nice day and all of that stuff. And if you smash that like button you will get your very own… DIES IRAE MACHINE TRANSLATED PATCH. Yes! This is not a scam at all, your own personal Dies Irae Machine Translated patch. If you leave a like you can choose between a Google, Bing, or a Skype translated patch. I’ve invested so many hours on them, it was totally worth though ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°).
  2. 22 points
    Clephas

    Happy Birthday to Me

    Well, as of thirty-nine minutes ago, it is officially my birthday (as of the time I checked at the beginning of making this post). I have a lot of things to reflect on this year. I am now thirty-six, settling into the beginnings of middle-age, knowing my lifestyle will probably kill me before I hit fifty. I'm a sugar addict, I love fatty foods, I make my own alcoholic drinks (this year, a mixed fruit wine that actually turned out well and was much easier than the rum and hard root beer I did last year). I sit on my ass eighty percent of the time, I am hugely fat... ... and I'm surprisingly happy. I won't say I don't have my down moments. Looking back, I regret not going for more athletic pursuits while my knees and back could still stand them. I regret not trying for a more regular and less... frustrating line of work. However, I can honestly say that, for all its frustrations, I actually seem to like being a fat, balding otaku who has pretensions at being some kind of VN guru (lol). I do wish that I could fit into a plane seat, lol. If I ever go to Japan, it is going to have to be a sea trip, since buying two plane tickets for one person is both embarrassing and more than a little expensive. I hate my work, but I'm good at it and, in good times, it pays well, so I keep doing it. So what would I change? Honestly, it is hard to say. I won't pretend I'm all love and joy when it comes to life. I have too much toxic waste going through my brain for that (I just happened to have gained just enough maturity not to feed the trolls constantly *smiles dryly*). I'm fundamentally a passive person once I set foot outside my hobbies, preferring not to do anything I don't absolutely have to do. I'm also negative and misanthropic... but is that stuff I actually want to change? *shrugs* I've never been any other way, so it is impossible to say. However, every year I hit this day and wonder what could have been, which probably says everything that needs to be said about my experiences with life, for all my proclamations of relative happiness.
  3. 19 points
    Introduction: When it comes to reading VN's in Japanese, required skills can be grouped into four areas: Vocab, grammar, basic parsing skill, and kanji skill. In this post, for each area I'm going to explain: -what knowing skills in the area are good for -how you might study them -how much you'll need to start reading. I'll also give some related tips. The requirements mentioned below are a conservative estimate. I've known people who've jumped in to playing VN's with less or much less, but I'm giving a safe estimate. A level which at most people, without any special knack for learning languages through immersion, should be able to gain traction. If you learn this much before starting an easyish VN, the amount you are completely lost should be significantly less than the percentage you are able to pick up and improve from. This is not a comprehensive how-to guide by any means. Just an informative post. ------------------ 1. Vocab Knowing enough vocab to study your grammar resource without being bogged down by vocab: -About 30 verbs and 50 other words for Genki 1/ Tae kim Basic. -By the time you get to Genki 2/Tae Kim Essential you'll want a good set of verbs (about 100), and maybe about 300 total vocabulary. -~600 words about how much you'll want to be able to study N3 grammar without getting bogged down in vocab. Having enough vocab to start your first VN: -I recommend over 1000, but anywhere from 800-1300 is good. I remember trying Clannad with only 800, and I felt like ramming my head into a wall. It's also important to pick an easy title. It will still feel hard no matter what, but an easy title will be much more helpful and rewarding to play. You also must just translation aggregator and ITH. They are the reason why Visual Novels are the best medium for learning Japanese out of anime/books/movies/drama/etc. Vocab Lists: There's a dedicated verb list here: http://nihongoichiban.com/2012/08/13/list-of-all-verbs-for-the-jlpt-n4/ Verbs are helpful to learn, because they are often the most important part of the sentence AND you need to to have stuff to conjugate. In general JLPT-based vocab list is here: http://www.tanos.co.uk/jlpt/jlpt5/vocab/ Regarding English definitions: Be mentally open and flexible. If the english definition doesn't quite add up, don't try and think about it too hard. Focus instead on associating the word with the situations where you see it. For example, you might be confused by the word 都合 and it's unhelpful definition J-E definition, but if you seen 都合がいい used in a situation where you know it means "is convenient for me" from context then remember that occurence. There might be (there are, in fact), other usages of the word 都合, but that doesn't hurt you in anyway. The next time you see 都合 you can pair it against this meaning and see if that makes any sense. 2. Grammar Skills With N5+N4 grammar you will be barely able to start making your way through a VN. Without N4, you will have quite limited gains in the long term from reading visual novels. (Equivalent to Genki 1+2.) -Required to be able to play VN's With N3 grammar, everything will feel a lot clearer, the amount of grammar you'll understand will exceed 60%. (Equiv. to Intermediate approach to Integrated Japanese). Highly recommended to study this before or soon after you start your first VN. N2 grammar further cuts the amount of unknown grammar you face in three. N1 is kind of like a bonus that gives you a lot of uncommon or formal expressions. It's NOT comprehensive at all, in terms of covered all Japanese phrases. From my experience, some of the phrases you learn in here show up often in novels (ばかり、んばかり), others quite less. Good to know, though Expressions not covered in JLPT There are a lot of patterns and phrases not covered in JLPT that you will see in typical native reading material. Examples (社長に議長, phrases like なんだと!? Xってなんだ? ですって!? ~てくれないかな。 オレって、なんてバカなんだ ) Not to worry, many of them can be picked up as you go. For the rest, once you get settled into reading, you can start noting down those phrases you don't get and google them or ask other people. Imabi for grammar You can also try studying from http://www.imabi.net/. It's a phenomenal reference, it's just goes into tons of depth, too much. I think there's 2 or 3 times as much information there is covered by JLPT up to JLPT 1. As such it's going to be overwhelming for a beginner and is much better suited as a reference for intermediate or advanced learners. 3. Basic Parsing Skill Knowing the different types of words (Covered by doing a vocab list of about 100 verbs, and then the JLPT 5 list. You also have to have done or be doing Tae Kim's Basic Guide, since he explains what na-adj's, i-adj's, and other word types are, etc.). -(nouns, suru-verbs/nouns, verbs, na-adj's, i-adj's, adverbs, temporal adverbs) -Required to be able to play VN's. Knowing the basic sentence structure and how words can modify each other and fit in a sentence.: (adjectives modifying nouns, verbs). The knowledge is covered by Tae Kim Basic + a mix of Essential Grammar and Genki 1/2. I personally find Tae Kim's explanation good even though the learning curve is steep and his lessons aren't good for review like Genki books are. He tries to convey to you the big picture. -Required to be able to play VN's. Being able to breakdown sentences and spot the different types of words based on their position. -you can practice this by reading bits of text in your genki textbook, but more likely, the first time you really gain this skill is going to be the first month in which you read a visual novel with TA. Heavily practiced during your first month or two of reading VN's. 4. Kanji Skill: Learning to spots radicals in kanji (could be covered by doing the 214 radicals, about 1 month. You could also do this ongoing basis, learning how to spot the radicals that make up a kanji, for the words you learn.) -not needed to read VN's with TL aggregator, but extremely helpful for learning new words which have new kanji. Learning to remember kanji, ie. start recognizing when words share the same kanji. (it is a long ongoing gradual process. You can start doing this with the vocab you learn once you are comfortable learning vocab. You can also pick out words you see in vn's and check whether they use the same kanji by typing them out (example 朝(あさ) and 朝食(ちょうしょく) use the same kanji.). Oh course, to be able to easily produce the kanji you want to compare you need to remember how to spell a word that contains it (in this case 朝). So, as your vocab expands, you'll be able to compare more kanji. Note that to be able to do this comparing you must be able to spot radicals in kanji (previous level skill). -moderately helpful for learning vocabs. The same way remembering radicals helps learning with kanji: if you know the kanji clearly, you can remember a word just by the two kanji it uses, which is very precise and doesn't take a lot of mental bandwidth. It also means that you will much more rarely confuse words which have similiar looking kanji. The following two skills are for more advanced, they won't be particularly useful until much later. You might not notice the problems they solve until later as well. I include them mainly for completeness. Learning on-yomi for many of the Jyouyou kanji (start when you are intermediate-advanced, a medium-long process) -helpful for exactly what it is, reading kanji words and compounds correctly. -don't need to worry about this. From learning vocab you might pick up some of the common ones, but there's no need to pursue this actively for a while. Learning kanji meaning: (start when you are advanced, and can use a J-J dictionary) -suffixes like 府、省、性、症, as well normal kanji whose different meanings apply to clusters of words. -helpful for kanji compounds which won't directly show up in dictionaries -helpful for developing a native level understanding of vocabulary (not everything can be learned by exposure). A lot of literary words are fairly influenced by their kanji meanings, though sometimes consulting the word differentiation explanations can be more helpful. One last topic... On learning enough grammar and jumping into works too difficult for you. Reading a VN isn't the best way to learn basic sentence structure. However, it's a great way to reinforce grammar points you've learned. It's also a great way to get an understanding of conversational patterns you won't find in textbooks or JLPT. But you won't have the presence of mind to pay attention to that if you are bogged down by not knowing basic grammar. There are benefits for venturing early into native material or difficult vn's, but you wouldn't give a grade two student Tolkien, or even Harry Potter to improve their English. All the fancy prose and unusual concept would distract you from the more immediately useful things like, say: basic sentence structure. There are works which are the right level, and there are VN's which you really want to read. For the best experience, it's best to find some combination of the two. ------------------ Ok that's all for now. Feel free to ask any questions: I didn't really go into the details of how to study, instead focusing on the, well, skills involved. But it's also hard to remember what it's like for someone just starting out. I remember parts of studying very clearly, but I forget the thousands of things I used to be puzzled through varying stages of understanding but now take for granted. The process was all I could think about for the longest time. Now I don't give it much thought, it's just a regular part of my life, reading and a bit of studying. It's not bad idea, to just find a type of study that you know is helpful, stop thinking about all the right ways and wrong ways and magic tricks which don't exist, and just do it, for a while. Regularly. For a month or three.
  4. 17 points
    Clephas

    Clephas Top 50 VNs

    For the last two years or so, I've gotten repeated requests to unequivocally name my top VNs made up until the present, ignoring objectivity, my vndb votes, etc. I've more or less just ignored most of those requests, because it is a pain in the ass to name a 'favorite' VN in the first place. I've made lists of VNs I loved from various genres, and I've also made lists of VNs for a specific purpose. However, I've avoided making a list like this one up until now, mostly because my 'favorites' switch out so often. Let's get this straight for those who are going to criticize my choices... these are the VNs I like the most, not the fifty best VNs of all time. I make no pretense to preeminence of opinion in this case, because I'm also discarding all attempts at objectivity. What a person likes is ultimately a matter of personal tastes, not a matter of logic. Why did I make it fifty? Because my number of VNs played, setting aside replays and nukige, is over six hundred already (with replays and nukige, it is closer to eight hundred...)... I'd be surprised if I didn't have this many VNs I considered wonderful. Keep in mind that these aren't in a particular order. 1. Evolimit 2. Dies Irae (the one by Light) 3. Ikusa Megami Zero 4. Nanairo Reincarnation 5. Semiramis no Tenbin 6. Bradyon Veda 7. Vermilion Bind of Blood 8. Hapymaher 9. Tiny Dungeon (as a series) 10. Bullet Butlers 11. Chrono Belt 12. Ayakashibito 13. Otome ga Boku ni Koishiteiru 2 14. Chusingura 15. Draculius 16. Otome ga Tsumugu, Koi no Canvas 17. Silverio Vendetta 18. Konata yori Kanata Made 19. Grisaia series 20. Akatsuki no Goei series 21. Reminiscence series 22. Haruka ni Aogi, Uruwashi no 23. Harumade, Kururu 24. Soukou Akki Muramasa 25. Tokyo Babel 26. Tasogare no Sinsemilla 27. Komorebi no Nostalgica 28. Yurikago yori Tenshi Made 29. Izuna Zanshinken 30. Moshimo Ashita ga Harenaraba 31. Kamikaze Explorers 32. Devils Devel Concept 33. Suzunone Seven 34. Baldr Skydive series 35. Baldr Sky Zero series 36. Toppara Zashikiwarashi no Hanashi 37. Tsuisou no Augment (series) 38. Kikan Bakumatsu Ibun Last Cavalier 39. Shin Koihime Musou (series not including the original Koihime Musou) 40. Soshite Hatsukoi wa Imouto ni Naru 41. Tenshi no Hane o Fumanaide 42. Irotoridori no Sekai 43. Noble Works 44. Koisuru Otome to Shugo no Tate (series) 45. Kitto, Sumiwataru Asairo yori mo 46. Jingai Makyou 47. Sakura, Sakimashita 48. Abyss Homicide Club 49. Re:Birth Colony Lost Azurite 50. Owaru Sekai to Birthday
  5. 17 points
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I wrote previously about a display bug in Dual Tail's strategy eroge Venus Blood -Hypno- that prevented interface text from displaying correctly in non-Japanese Windows. Fan hacker binaryfail generously donated a patch that fixes the issue. I sent this patch to Ninetail (parent company of Dual Tail) via Twitter, requesting that they include the fix on their official support page. Project manager and game designer Keimaru responded to me in broken English. His response, edited by me, is as follows. Original: I thanked him and went my way. A commentator on Reddit later informed me that Keimaru had posted a much longer comment in Japanese. This comment showed such sincere and thoughtful consideration of the issue, from a Japanese developer's standpoint, that I decided it needed to be relayed to the English audience. Japanese eroge developers are well known for their reluctance to get involved with the Western market. Packaging and splash screens prominently declare "For sale in Japan only". Westerners tend to dismiss this policy as apathy for foreign fans, even regarding the practice with contempt as just another manifestation of Japanese isolationism and xenophobia. When eroge companies block foreign IPs, they automatically assume that the company has closed its doors to Western release (despite abundant evidence to the contrary). "The companies are just being xenophobic," they say with bitter contempt. "Might as well just fan translate their titles, since they'll never officially release their games in English. They don't want dirty gaijin playing their games." It's about time that we get the other side of this story. And who better to deliver it than a prominent and well-loved Japanese developer--one puzzling over how to respond to a bug that prevents foreign fans from playing his games? I provide my translation of Keimaru's Twitter comments below. I regret that my translation skills could not fully convey the honest simplicity of the original message, but I did my best to at least get across the ideas and intent. We've been aware for some time that Venus Blood Hypno has a bug affecting users of non-Japanese Windows. This bug causes Japanese characters to display incorrectly, making certain interface elements unreadable. We had reports very early on from users of non-Japanese Windows about this, but we weren't able to resolve the issue. Today however, a DLL file that fixes the issue has been sent to us from what appears to be a user from overseas. On one hand, we're incredibly thankful! On the other hand, this presents a bit of a dilemma... In the past, certain distributors bought up Japanese eroge and sold them overseas without consulting Japanese developers. This led to an international scandal, causing considerable turmoil within Japan as well. Since then, we've been obligated to display warnings like "For sale in Japan only" during game start-up and on the packaging. This user's request raises a worrisome issue. While there's no issue if users want to play these games in Japan on a non-Japanese OS, if this is a request from overseas to support foreign OS's, then that's an entirely different matter. At that point, isn't it no longer just our company's problem? Should we respond to this request and support users that we were never supposed to be selling to in the first place, since selling to these users risks another incident? Is it even ok to support them? I'm not sure... Honestly, I'm torn. What to do...? If we officially support this patch, that would have to be our decision as a company [our stance on the matter]. To be honest, we could just leave things in a gray area, where we let good-intentioned users do as they please in the shadows while we stay silent on the matter... To be blunt, when we received very early reports of the bug from users we believed to be Chinese, our user support team felt they were really skirting the line with regards to the JP ONLY clause, thinking 'I hope these people are playing within the country.' They puzzled over how to handle the issue. If a user buys a game in Japan, returns to his home country, and plays it on his own PC purely for his own enjoyment--is that ok? Where's the line? As just one company of many in this industry, it's extremely hard to make such a decision. This nagging feeling... is there anyone who could resolve this issue? No, there probably isn't. A conclusion arrived at after some debate: after things have settled down let's quietly fix this. The issue seems like it would be resolved with the previous version of the KiriKiri engine. It--it's not like we're fixing it because the overseas user told us to! We're doing this voluntarily, because we feel like it (guh). However we're pretty busy so it might be a while before we get around to it. I don't know about you, but Ninetail just earned one new (very loud) fan. For an example of one of Ninetail's outstanding games, see my Venus Blood -Gaia- review! (NSFW version, SFW mirror) Special thanks to those of the Fuwanovel community who provided feedback on the translation, especially Majikoi fan translator dowolf.
  6. 16 points
    After ten years playing VNs, you would think I would have completely lost faith in them by now, especially considering just how many I've played (744 not counting most of the nukige, replays and incomplete/dropped ones). Most VNs that aren't nukige are SOL-fests that exist solely to promote nostalgic fantasies about life in high school and getting into bishoujos' pants... not that that is an entirely horrible goal, but it isn't something I want to see five hundred times over. The romance is usually puerile and has no relation to reality, the characters have all their hard edges filed away by the needs of the archetype, and drama is used solely to add 'spice' (like one sprinkle of pumpkin spice, not cracked red pepper) to an otherwise endlessly sweet and bland recipe. So how is it that someone who has experienced that much essentially boring and pointless repetition of the same scenarios able to continue to enjoy VNs, even if he can't stand meaningless SOL anymore? At one time, it was a sense of duty, a belief that I was doing the community good by digging gems out of the piles of crap that are the SOL genre. I also had a sense of pride that I made an effort of objectivity that I have literally seen no one else attempt. I played games no one else bothered with because they didn't have the time or patience, and I did it because I thought someone looking at the games would want to know what they were getting into. I paid a price in a growing sense of bitterness, of boredom, and of a sense that I was forgetting the reason why I began to read fiction in the first place. I paid a price in people continually being trolls and trying to draw me into fights over my opinions on these games. I had people start reddits and send me pms being sympathetic about the very conversations they'd started (yes that happens). I also had people who respected what I was doing, and I knew there were people in the community who benefited from the fact that I was doing it. I watched VNs I had pushed get localizations and fantls (usually to my surprise), and I saw others that I had labeled as mediocre get hyped to a ridiculous degree. I tried to get other people to help with what I was doing, only to find that, without a reading speed similar to mine, it was too much of a burden on their lives and ate up the time to read the VNs they wanted to read. The bad generally outweighed the good immensely while I was doing VN of the Month, and even after, I found that the after-effects of my years of playing games I wasn't interested in personally had left me with scars I was unable to feel while my sense of duty was keeping me going. However, I can say that I still haven't given up on VNs. Why? The reason is ridiculously simple and at the same time profound (at least to me). I love the medium. For someone who likes an experience that combines the reading, visual input, and music without the need for a lot of input from the one experiencing it, VNs provide a unique storytelling experience. Books are great for the imagination and can send our souls exploring across landscapes that exist only in our own minds, but VNs provide a more filled-out framework for those who don't necessarily have the imagination to fill in all the gaps on their own, without rotting the imagination to the degree manga and anime do. I've been able to get people who had trouble reading books into VNs, then led them straight back to books and opened the world of imagination to them. I've seen people who had begun to feel the otaku community offered nothing more to them come alive again after playing a chuunige or a charage. I've picked up a random moe-looking VN and found a deep and compelling story that remains within me dozens of times. In the end, it is moments, experiences like that that keep me coming back, believing in the possibilities of VNs even now. It is the desire to find more such experiences that keeps me looking at new releases each month, and it is the belief that those experiences will never entirely vanish that keeps me from condemning the industry as a whole for the way it sabotages itself at times.
  7. 15 points
    For better or worse, the VN localization industry in America and other Western nations is expanding rapidly, primarily due to the efforts of aggressive localization companies such as Mangagamer and Sekai Project, but also due to the increased interest on the part of at least some Japanese VN companies in making a few extra bucks through localization. I say 'for better or worse' because the increase in localizations has actually begun to outline what some of the biggest problems with VNs are, for those living in the West. What I've put down below is basic guidance... not all of which I follow myself, but which is mostly common sense (which a surprising number of new Fuwans seem to be ignorant of). Ethical/Legal problems 1. Piracy- To be blunt, prosecuting consumers of pirated games is a waste of time, and most companies are quite well aware of this. So, most of the fallout for this kind of thing is going to keep hitting the websites and individuals who promote the distribution end of things. A few examples will most likely be made of outspoken pirate consumers (the idiots, in other words), but the problem here is almost entirely ethical for most. Tell me, do you think it is right not to pay for content if you happen to have the money needed to pay for it? 2. Lolicon content- Seriously guys? When I saw that Maitetsu was getting a localization, even though it was an all-ages one, alarm bells went off in my head. Someone is inevitably going to put up an h-patch for the game, and that is going to cause a huge amount of controversy later on that could be a huge blow to the industry, in the short run. Loli content is one of the two nuclear bombs of Japanese eroge, and it is the one that honestly bothers me the most personally (not so much morally, as in a pragmatic sense). 3. Rapegames- I'm going to be blunt... considering the degree to which Western culture has come to consider rape a mortal sin, do you really think games focused around rape and extreme sexual situations (ie the entire Maggot Baits game) are safe for the industry to localize, if you consider their potential to backfire? There is no conceivable way that these games could be considered anything other than obscene by any reasonable critic (not a community one, in other words), and in the long run, games like these have an enormous potential to castrate the localization industry. 4. School-based games- Sadly, the excuse that 'all the heroines are over eighteen' is only going to take you so far in some countries... to be blunt, a judge is unlikely to listen to that kind of protestation if, for whatever insane reason, you end up dragged into court. Common sense issues 1. I don't think anyone has any business telling us we can't import Japanese games, including VNs. However, as a matter of common sense, you should probably avoid importing anything with a lot of content linked to the numbers 2 and 3 in the section above. I don't mean to piss on your bonfire, but if you are going to buy something with that kind of material, at least have the sense to use digital download purchases and/or don't display the packages for that type of eroge where casual visitors can see them. 2. Figurines and other side-junk- Within reason, there is no reason why a fan of a particular bit of otaku media shouldn't order figurines, statuettes, oppai mousepads, etc to decorate their room or gaming space. However, keep it within reason... I've seen otaku friends of mine go insane and overpurchase, even going into debt, over buying swag. If you aren't rich, have the sense to focus on the main material first, then expand at a reasonable pace into the swag. To an extent, the same can be said of the games themselves, considering the costs of the actual purchases plus import costs. 3. Anonymity is your best friend. Don't pull stupid crap like linking your Facebook profile to your dlsite or getchu account... for that matter, don't link them to your Fuwanovel account, if you are a fan of 'deep' eroge content. Leaving that kind of data around for casual skimmers to find is just plain stupid. 4. If you are a fantranslator, number 3 applies emphatically unless you are about to go 'legit' by handing your translation to a localization company. 5. During scandal times (like when the media is making a big deal over an eroge-related issue such as during the infamous Rapelay incident) have the sense to take cover and avoid conversing on rapegames and lolige publicly. 6. Know the difference between being open about your libido and being excessive *remembers Steve* A final comment Needless to say, almost all the issues above revolve around controversial sexual content. Part of that is that many people, both inside and outside the VN fanbase, have trouble marking the difference between fiction and reality when it comes to otaku media (an insanity that I can understand but am long past). As a legal argument, it (as in the argument that figments of an artist's or writer's imagination, as opposed to real women, cannot be considered underaged and cannot be considered victims in any way, form, or fashion) actually has a lot of merit... but that doesn't mean that they'll rule in your favor, in the end, lol. The West is prudish, to the extreme. There is no telling when religious interests will slip a noose around our necks, and general moralists are just as bad. I'm not perfect about taking my own advice. I'm a VN junkie, and I really don't have any morals when it comes to my search for good VN stories. I might be disgusted by some content, but that won't prevent me from experiencing the story, lol. However, a lot of the people around me seem to be utterly unaware of the risks of being an eroge reader... and I felt I had to put this out there, for the 'public' good, even though I'm certain I've already pissed off the anti-censorship and pro-piracy parts of the community, lol.
  8. 15 points
    Hello. Just want this post to be as brief as possible. I’m glad to announce the release of our first patch as a newly established group. I hope all the time we invested on it was worth it and that you guys enjoy it. We’d like to hear some feedback, so please once you guys get to play the patch please leave up your comments on it here. I personally want to thank everyone involved in the Majo Koi team who is or was involved and took part in some way or another to get it out. Thanks, everyone! I won’t drag this further, simply go to our downloads page and follow the instructions mentioned there. By the way guys, important stuff here: Only the “Primary” font option should be used and the other ones will lead to issues (Otherwise you’ll have to change that manually if the exe was started before the patch was applied, or delete the save folder in that case). Just use the primary font, otherwise issues will stack up. Anyways, thanks for reading and enjoy! PS: This is a patch for the trial version of the game released by Qoobrand, you can download said trial for free.
  9. 15 points
    My blog posts so far have mostly been about how to edit. That holds true for most every other VN editing blog I've ever seen as well. But I'm a really big believer in approaching any significant task from a "Why, What, How" perspective. So now, let's try to answer those first two questions. Even "What Is Editing" would be starting in too far (it made for a better title, so sue me). Let's start with this: why do translation projects, or even original fiction projects like novels, have editors? The goal of editing is to help the author achieve their goals. An author brings a whole lot of goals to the table: a story, characters with personalities and motivations, a setting, overarching motifs, style, ... probably a lot of other stuff I forgot. Anyway, you get the idea; there's a lot there which they're just trying to get out on paper (or bits, or whatever) and then into your brain. An editor doesn't bring any of that stuff. An editor instead strives to understand all of these things the author wants to communicate, finds the points where they can be better achieved, and refines the text to better achieve the author's goals. Although there's obviously some overlap, there are quite different skill sets involved in the raw writing and the editing, and thus the two roles are often fulfilled by two people. How about for a translated VN, rather than for, say, writing a novel? The story is roughly the same, actually. Although the translator has essentially the same goals as the editor in this case, the skill sets required are quite different, and thus differentiating the two roles is not uncommon and frequently beneficial to the project, for the same reasons as it is with original writing and editing. I'll also add that an original writer is usually considered "too close" to the original text to make a good editor. Even a writer who is also a great editor will benefit from having someone else edit their manuscript. I haven't heard the same thing said of translators, though, so that might not be relevant to this special case. But the skill set differentiation point still stands in the case of translation. Assuming you're satisfied with that explanation for Why, let's move on to What. Professional manuscript editing typically distinguishes four kinds of editing: developmental editing, line editing, copy editing, and proofreading. Those are ordered based on both the scope of changes they make, and also the chronological order in which you should do them: developmental editing is very macroscopic and happens first, while proofreading is very microscopic and happens last. Let's drill into each: Developmental Editing Developmental editing is, first, the act of identifying all of those authorial goals I mentioned, and second the act of cutting, rearranging, and adding large chunks (think: add this whole new scene, cut that whole character) in order to advance the author's goals. Obviously, that second half isn't applicable to VN translation. You're not going to cut whole scenes or change how characters behave. Those decisions have already long since been made by the original writers, hopefully with the help of an editor of their own ;). But the first half is essential, and is quite a bit harder in VN translation, since you generally can't actually talk to the writer. Read it all, understand the authorial goals, and build a strong, consistent interpretation of the plot, the characters, the motifs, the setting, the tone, everything you can think of. If you don't form an interpretation while translating/editing, you're liable to thwart the author's goals as part of your translation, and as a result accidentally obscure or entirely lose key points of the original intent. Of course, you'll occasionally make mistakes in your interpretation, resulting in mistakes in translation. But if you don't even form an interpretation, the result will actually be worse: you'll still make mistakes in the translation, and the resulting translation will certainly be internally inconsistent, but you won't notice those internal inconsistencies because you have no guiding interpretation. If you form a consistent interpretation and let it guide your translation, when the text goes against your interpretation, the resulting inconsistency means you'll notice it, correct your interpretation, and then go back and modify your translation to fit the corrected interpretation. Line Editing Line editing is about assessing and fixing the flow of a scene and the flow of a line. It's about logic, language, word choice, rhythm, the mechanics of a sentence, and the sound of human speech. It is not concerned with grammatical errors, punctuation, and spelling, but more with higher-level ideas like tone, emotion, and atmosphere. A line editor worries whether a sentence ought to be punchy or loquacious, not whether it has all the commas in all the right places. "Logic" probably seemed a bit out of place there, so let me give an example for that one in particular, since it's essential. For example, unless you're editing the VN equivalent of a Beckett play (and if you are, please point me to that VN, because I'm interested), one dialog line should generally be a logical response to the previous one. A canny line editor will ensure the logical flow from event to event, line to line, and even scene to scene, ensuring consistency of the narration. This is also where all that authorial intent mentioned above comes into play: an editor in this capacity should also be ensuring consistency of a line with those overarching goals. A good line editor will help ensure that characterization is consistent, for instance, or that a motif is not buried inappropriately. An editor, in their avatar as the keeper of consistency, is crucial to achieving those authorial goals. The prose side of line editing is also key simply because stilted speech, unnatural utterances, redundant repetition, awkward alliteration, and their ilk all kick you out of the immersion. Your brain wants to keep reading something when it flows well. And nothing hits softer than shitty prose. Line editing is the meat of VN editing. It's what most existing VN editing blogs are about, not coincidentally. If you're an editor for a VN, line editing is what you should be thinking about constantly. In addition to recommending other VN editing blogs, notably Darbury's blog (mostly about line editing, though all the punctuation ones are more about copy editing) and Moogy's now-ancient blog post (basically all about line editing), I'll also suggest you go read up on line editing in a general setting. A quick search for "what is line editing" will lead you to mountains of useful links. As a random example, this is one such useful link, and it's hilarious, well-written, and edifying: http://www.thereviewreview.net/publishing-tips/short-course-line-editing. There is a veritable sea of such articles on the internet. Read them. Copy Editing Copy editing is about the nuts and bolts of grammar, punctuation, and spelling. It's not the same as proofreading, but it's getting close. The copy editor typically should select and enforce an appropriate style manual (AP, Chicago, MLA, take your pick). The copy editor is the person who gets mad when you write "I baked 7 blackbirds into that pie." instead of "I baked seven blackbirds into that pie.", and who calmly, patiently replaces all your misused hyphens in the middle of sentences with em-dashes. You're unlikely to have a dedicated copy editor on a VN project; if you've got the "editor" role, you're probably it. I think this is along the lines of what most people think of already when they hear "editing" anyway, but really the line editing is the most important to the enjoyment of the text. Still, the picky people among us can get awfully uppity if you start putting in stuff like ellipses with four dots and inconsistent use of the Oxford comma (sidebar for the attentive: I'm for it, as you've already noticed). Copy editing is a particularly thankless job, since it's not like you can do an exceptional job of copy editing and really salvage a bad manuscript, but poor copy editing can certainly hurt an otherwise-good manuscript. So it's worth investing the time in doing it carefully. One important recommendation for copy editing: take notes and build up a style document and glossary for your VN as you go. Are honorifics being used? What about name order? If you're going to romanize some words, is your romanization consistent? Do you 1) always write "senpai", 2) always write "sempai", or 3) mix and match? I don't care if it's 1 or 2, but it better not be 3. Write conventions like this in a shared document and make sure everybody knows about the conventions and the document. Proofreading Proofreading is the final stage of this pipeline. The role includes checking for grammatical errors, spelling errors, punctuation errors, typos, and perhaps some more exotic things like incorrect English dialect. It's straightforward and mechanical. Like copy editing, it is essentially thankless. It is, nonetheless, important. While you're making big sweeping edits doing all the stuff above, you're going to create tons of errors at this level. They need to be fixed. Make sure you have someone (preferably not the "editor", because they're too close to the text) do a proofreading sweep. You can lump it into QC if you like, but make sure that whoever is assigned to do this is looking at it carefully. Check. Every. Single. Word. There are errors in there, I guarantee you, and they're embarrassing. Getting the number of errors down to near-zero before you release your translation is going to make both you and your audience happier. In Summary There's not one editor; there are four. In an ideal world, with original fiction, you'd actually have someone separate filling each role. For a translation you don't need a developmental editor, leaving you needing three editors. In the non-ideal world you live in, you've probably got at least two of those roles to yourself. Push for someone else to handle proofreading, at least (call it "QC" if you have to), and make sure said person has the necessary ability and attention to detail. If you're the "editor", then you're almost certainly doing both line editing and copy editing. When that happens, make sure you keep a balance amongst all the things you need to do: for instance, spend 10% of your effort trying to understand what the author is trying to achieve, 88% of your effort on line editing (it's the meat, after all), and 2% on copy editing the little details like punctuation, romanization, etc. And If You Can Only Remember One Thing Focus on line editing.
  10. 14 points
    Clephas

    Stubbornness and Burnout

    For those familiar with me, you know I spent year after year doing VN of the Month and that I ritualistically complained about how tired I was of this or that trope or bad habit that plagued the industry or games. I was asked repeatedly why I could still plow through so many VNs, despite the stress? The simple answer is that I have always been stubborn as hell. I've experienced 'burnout' numerous times in my life, mostly because I have a naturally obsessive personality. Once I start obsessing over something, I literally am incapable of ceasing to do so without something jarring me completely away from it for a time, which usually results in me realizing I burned out long ago and have just been hanging out of stubbornness. The same was the case for VNs. When I first started playing VNs, all VNs were worth at least trying. However, as time went on, I increasingly lost interest in most nukige and eventually my interest in 'everyday teenaged life SOL romance' (or 'the standard charage') began to fade. It was probably about 2016 when this reached the critical point, but it took another year and a two-week bout of flu where I couldn't think well enough to play anything to bump me out of my years-long trance. Part of it was that I rarely, if ever, took a break from VNs during those years. I was always playing at least one, and I had a tendency to barrel through them consecutively without even a short pause to rest, week after week, month after month. I used most of my free time to play them, I structured my work schedule and habits around playing them, and I generally existed solely to do so. I dunno how many of you can even imagine what living like that is like... but it was the fact that I am no longer driven to play game after game that is letting me sit back and enjoy the few I actually want to play. I go back and pull stuff out of my attic on a whim, I dig through my collection based on a desire to relive a single scene, and I generally just take pleasure in playing what I want to play. Would it be strange for you to hear that this all feels unnatural to me, after all these years? I've been playing third-rate charage I didn't want to even see, much less play, for years... and now I only play stuff that takes my interest, dropping them if I don't see any hope for the game to break out of the shell of mediocrity. I don't feel driven to blog about replays beyond when I feel like it or when I think I have something to add to a previous assessment, and I can actually sit back and enjoy the few charage I actually feel like I want to play. While I do have regrets, they aren't about the years spent obsessing and over-playing VNs, despite my previous words. I set out to do VN of the Month because, at the time, there was no way for people to have an idea of what they were getting into with most VNs. It was a bit startling how few people were seriously trying to let people know what kind of VNs were out there without spoiling everything from beginning to end. Even today, most reviewers can't seem to keep heavy spoilers out of the text, which saddens me. However, I no longer feel that it is my mission to 'fix' this. I've been there, I've done that, and I won't be doing it again. I will still play VNs, and I will still review them (on occasion), but don't expect me to be as prolific as I used to be, lol.
  11. 14 points
    The problem While spurred by recent events, this essay touches on something that seems to have been a pattern in site moderation for some time now. Let me make a claim: if a rule, especially one that is vaguely worded, is not enforced, for a decent amount of people that rule does not exist. This nonexistence integrates into the mental model of the rules that forum members construct, no matter what the formal rules may say. For members using this mental model, beginning to enforce a rule that was previously unenforced is equivalent to creating a new rule. As such, the same procedures as those used to notify forum members of new rules should be applied, possibly with some adaptation on the lines of "we will now actually enforce this rule", as the rule effectively did not previously exist. The ur-example of this is the loligeddon of yore. The takeaway from the loligeddon when it comes to this essay is this: mods repeatedly stated that no rules had actually been changed. Yet nevertheless the appearance and subsequent removal of a particularly problematic post sparked sweeping policy changes, a cleanup operation, a tl;dr post by the administrator explaining the changes, et cetera. This should make it clear that changing policy is a big deal, even if no written rules actually change. Recent policy changes, however, have been very different from what happened during the loligeddon. Frequently the only indication that effective rules have changed has been moderator action, sometimes fairly strict. In essentially all cases this action has been explained either inadequately or, most commonly, not at all. When this occurs the target(s) of moderation will likely feel that they have been unfairly, erratically targeted by a capricious, uncommunicative bully. What do you do when you get bullied? Well, you could talk to HR, but the mod that bullied you is probably in HR anyway and you might not even know who did it. Another option is to fight back. You annoy me, I pay you back in kind - and if I can get some fun at your expense, sure, why not? You're a bully, you deserve it.[1] I do not mean to suggest that we need to have a tl;dr writeup every time a rule is changed, but a simple statement of intent would be appreciated. I estimate that writing this should take no more than 20 minutes. As an example, here's a hypothetical notice regarding the changing of rules on gifs that took me ~10 minutes to write. Note that the policy mentioned here could be reversed or altered to be more specific if it turns out that it was unclear or did more harm than good, which is arguably more difficult to do if the rule has been made official.[2] In the light of this, I would like to present some recommendations. Recommendations When moderating, consider if your action is effectively creating or modifying rules Remember: in the minds of some of your users, unenforced rules may as well not exist. If you decide to moderate something that was previously typically not being moderated, this will cause confusion and consternation. As such, whenever you make a decision, ask yourself: am I changing the rules? If so, you need to consider both whether your action is actually justified, and how you are going to inform the public of your policy change. You are not a cop, you are a judge in a precedent-setting court. This is especially true due to the (understandable) current policy of supporting other mods' decisions near unconditionally. Do not make controversial decisions when following up is difficult On some occasions moderators have moderated while on vacation, using their phone, with bad connections et cetera. I strongly recommend against making anything close to a controversial decision in these conditions. You will end up both ruining your vacation and doing a bad job. Talk first, shoot later If you are performing a moderator action which reasonably should include notifying the target of the action, write up the informative PM or otherwise establish communication before enforcement. You could also consider writing up the notification of intent to change / differently enforce / clarify rules before moderating. Most of the time nobody is harmed much by leaving something up until you can handle it properly. For things that require more urgent management such as a fast-evolving derailment, consider either using a PM template for 1-2 people or making a post stating that you have removed derailing posts in the thread you moderated. Make people feel heard One key theme of this essay is the importance of communication. This extends beyond just notifying people of changes to the rules. I am under no illusions that your actions will go uncontested or that people won't meme and fling shit at you even if you try your best to communicate as advised in this essay. In part this is due to the frustration some people, and certainly I myself, consider you responsible for creating due to your actions up to this point. However, when hostility meets well-practiced civility its fires often run out of fuel. If you constructively engage with those who would oppose you, you can both soothe their frustration and create better, more precise final rules. Obviously there has to be a limit and ultimately you set the rules to follow. But explaining, refining, and justifying your position elevates it from that of a dim-witted bully with little justification for their actions to someone who has a well-grounded but different opinion of what the rules should be. The first one deserves punishment, the second, grudging respect. As a personal observation: in general, you should assume that much less of your decisions are obviously justified than you currently think. One man's common sense is another man's borderline acceptability is another man's utterly idiotic rule enforcement. Moderation is a hard job If this all seems like a lot of hard work to you, congratulations! That's what I thought too when the mod applications came along, so I didn't apply. Any moderators that cannot actually moderate disputes should either confine themselves to routine, uncontroversial moderation tasks or step down from their position. Believe me, nobody will die either way, and you'll get to spend your free time doing something that suits you better. Notes [1] I personally don't consider the mods bullies when I do this kind of thing, but I do consider them deserving of public ridicule. The intention is both to correct behaviour and to extract some entertainment out of people that deserve to be made fun of. And yeah, I have no respect for authority. None. I will judge you by your actions alone. [2] This is an assumption based on my conception of normie considerations like pride, sticking with your decision, whatever. Obviously if a rule does more harm than good it should be removed whether or not it was enforced temporarily, but it is probably easier to do so politically if it was in fact considered temporary. Look, I'm trying desperately not to kill all normies every day here. Give me a break.
  12. 14 points
    Hello everyone, Aizen-Sama here. I’ve been only around this community and forums for around 6 months by now, and even though I may not be the most knowledgeable when it comes to VN’s in general, I think that I possess enough knowledge about the translation scene. That’s right, today I’m not writing a post about Luna Translations, but one about my opinion on the translation scene, translation groups, and the community revolving them. Let us establish how this community and market actually exist in the first place. Piracy and fan translating, they are both mutually exclusive to each other and they are the foundations of what we consider as the “western visual novel community”. After some years where piracy slowly started to decrease and official releases started to be a thing I can safely assume that there are three types of people now, one who will support every single game localization and buy the Visual Novels instead of pirating them, one who will pirate everything and anything, or one that will mix between these two because either there is no other access to the game in Japanese to apply the English patch (in other words, you can’t buy the game legally because the Japanese market is already a very difficult place to access with Western VPN’s, mostly because Japanese publishers block them to not let people outside Japan buy these games online, which is usually the only way to get them in the first place) or the individual simply doesn’t support some releases or companies that release VN’s in particular (I’ll set people that want to buy legally a game with a fan-translated patch but can’t do it, so they have to pirate the VN even if they don’t want to as an example). This last example leads to another concerning issue, the relationship between translation groups and the community itself. It’s partly human nature; when a group establishes itself and releases a patch (no matter whether it’s full or partial) we automatically create what is called a “power level” between these two types of people, the users that translate and work on translating games in one way or another (editing, QC’ing, etc…) and the users that simply play the releases made by the first ones. This so called “power level” is what should be avoided at all costs, sometimes the community must remember that the people that belong to translation groups (whether they are official or not) are part of the community as well, and have their own stances and way of doing things. Those “power levels” are automatically made, and they are the primary reason of this community’s fragmentation into several “sub-communities”, which is a problem mainly for the translation groups. What I’m trying to say here is that what is constantly happening right now is that what this “power division” has made is to categorize groups by number of patches released (the more they have released the more praised they are) and that has ultimately lead to two things; groups distancing themselves from the community, which is a very bad thing for both of the parties involved, and groups distancing from each other. What I mean by this last statement is that there is no communication between teams, which leads to what is happening in the actual society that we live in: the individualization of people (Tl-teams in this case). But regarding that aspect, some groups have managed to find a solution to this matter. Let’s put @Arcadeotic's (Euphemic Translation) and @oystein's (Elevator TL) groups for example; both of them have found a way to make the community feel closer to their groups thanks to their “Public Discord Server Policy” (that’s how I call it) and both of them are in the TL Leaders Discord Server (basically a group to try to unite translation teams more, an initiative from Arcadeotic and I). That group has opened my eyes in many aspects regarding team stances towards piracy as well as opinions about the community and it's relation with the Tl teams. This group has also helped me in getting to know people that otherwise I would have never met even if we were active members of this forum and interacted with each other sometimes, like for example Dergonu, Oystein, Kardororororo, and many more. What I’m ultimately trying to say is that banding together is a rare thing for groups now, and this is the first step to create a community feel again, something that, in my opinion, is being lost little by little and needs to be stopped. I’ll mention another issue that many people find itchy, and that is the topic of “the sense of entitlement of a loud minority”. I’d like to make myself very clear about this; I know that there is a silent positive majority, and that compared to the amount of people that complain about things about projects and English patches this majority vastly overcomes the “minority”, but the matter of fact is that this “loud minority” is what gives people that are new to the community a bad impression about it from the start. I’ll set two examples to demonstrate the last point I mentioned: firstly, I’d like to address the Koiken Otome Project, one that took approximately three years to finish. It’s a topic full of controversy, firstly because people firstly speculated that Flying Pantsu was going to “definitely sell out to the localization companies” and they made a ruckus about it. First of all, what if they really “sold out” to one of them? That is, in my opinion, a good thing (primarily because I belong to the “buy everything” type of guy instead of pirating unless it can’t be avoided and tend to support official releases), but mostly because, the fact of the matter is that they spent working on an English patch of a game that contains more than 40K lines three years, and the entire effort is theirs, that means that even if they decided to not release the patch for whatever reason, I would have been totally in favor. Why? Because it’s THEIR work and THEY did it, not the people that feel entitled to have the English patch. Same goes with the problem that revolved around the time of release. Again, I’ll repeat, the matter of fact is that they could’ve released that patch whenever they wanted because since THEY did the patch, they decide when to release it, simple. The second example I’ll highlight in this post talks about Shinku Translations and the controversy that revolved around the SakuSaku patch. If you don’t know what happened regarding this project I’ll quickly sum it up: Shinku Translations made a deal with Sekai Project to release the game officially, what ultimately made people who were waiting for a fan-patch very pissed. The comments on their website were mostly full of “sellouts” and “I already bought the game in Japanese, now I’ll have to buy it again, gg boys” and many more that blew my mind. That was the perfect demonstration of the entitlement that people slowly begin to have when a project is close to being finished. I’ll repeat myself once again, just like Koiken Otome and Flying Pantsu, it was THEIR work, so they had the right to make a deal with Sekai Project and do whatever they wanted to the patch. And, as Akerou explained in one of the comments, it could lead to more titles being localized, which, in my opinion, are good news! People have to start realizing that sooner or later, the entire scope if not most of the translation scope will shift towards official releases instead of fan-patches. As a last argument regarding this matter, I’ll mention a couple of YouTube comments that I found in the official OP video of SakuSaku published by Sekai Project’s YouTube channel, they basically said this: “That's a low punch SP. That's just low. The guy translating it is almost done. If you buy the translation from him and release it in the next 2 months I might forgive you. If you do it less than a month you are forgiven.” “Well just pirate the release when it comes out. This is one of the cases when piracy is completely justified.” These two comments are part of the “entitlement problem” that I’ve addressed before, and I hope they highlight what I’ve been trying to tackle (take into account that these comments are just the surface, just look at the ones in Shinku’s page and you’ll get a grasp of what this community broods sometimes). Last but not least, I’d like to address Fuwanovel as a platform for translation projects and my opinion about it as a Leader of a translation group (in this case, Luna Translations). Don’t get me wrong when I say that. I love Fuwanovel as a site. It’s one of the principal, if not the main responsible for the appearance of a community that revolves around Visual Novels in general. I love this site, and I appreciate the people that back this site paying monthly (I hope I can do it as well when I get the chance) and the mods for doing their jobs correctly and every other person that supports this site. But, I’d like to tackle the issue of trying to host translation projects in a forum-based website. I’d like to point out that the system created in Fuwa worked very VERY well at the beginning stages of the creation of this community. Basically, the “Fan Translator Skills” thread and the “Translation Projects” thread were probably very useful and effective back when the community was niche and not a lot of projects and teams crowded the scene (I’m not directing this towards the “Fan TL Discussion” thread, by the way). But, as a leader of a translation team (and I’m sure that many people will agree with me on this) I just think that Fuwa’s way of hosting projects is not as effective as it was probably two or three years ago. What I’m trying to say here is that, just like VNDB exists, a platform that focuses solely on helping teams and individuals to work on projects will certainly appear at some point, or at least needs to appear at some point. Summing up, Fuwanovel as a forum focused on the discussion of Visual Novels and the fan translation scene is a very good and positive website, and it’s totally needed for the community to keep growing, but! Fuwanovel (the forums) used as a platform to support projects and teams may have been very effective in the past but not anymore, since now the scope is very broad and more complex compared to when all of this started. Finally, to close this rant, I’d like to say that if I had to sum up things probably the most important issue would be that the community is losing the sense of being together, and groups, as well as individuals, are distancing themselves from each other, which is something that has to be avoided at all costs. I’ll personally try to do whatever I can about this matter and little by little this problem will hopefully be solved in the future, because together we can do great things. Let’s try to make the translation world great again, as Trump as it sounds.
  13. 14 points
    Let’s not mince words here. The ellipsis is a blight upon English translations of visual novels. It must be uprooted and killed with fire. Before the slaughter begins, however, let’s review some basics. As the name suggests, the ellipsis represents an elision — that is to say, omitted content. It functions as the “yadda yadda” of the English language. It is the “Step 2: ???” before the all-important “Step 3: Profit!” A writer deploys those three little dots to indicate either the intentional removal of something that once was there, or the pointed absence of something that should have been there. That’s it. That’s what the ellipsis is supposed to do. You wouldn’t know this, however, by reading nearly any English translation of a Japanese visual novel. Ellipses are scattered across the text like so many rhinestones on the sweatshirt of a Midwestern mom. They’re at the beginning of sentences, the ends, stuck randomly in the middle — sometimes even chained end to end like a writhing Human Centipede of punctuation, each little dot in the chain crying, “Kill me now!” into the anus of the next. It’s an absolute abattoir in there. This particular road to hell is paved with good intentions, however. You see, all those ellipses are also present in the original Japanese and, in an attempt at faithful translation, the TL teams have left them all sitting there for you to enjoy. The original writer had a reason for putting them in, the reasoning goes, and it’s our job to offer the purest translation of his/her vision possible. This, of course, is bollocks. Punctuation operates differently in different languages. Japanese ellipses are used much more liberally than their Western forbearers, particularly in popular culture (e.g., manga. light novels, etc.) Want to indicate a pause? Ellipsis. Silence? Ellipsis. Passage of time? Ellipsis. Need to fill some empty space? Ellipsis. Is it Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday? Ellipsis, ellipsis, ellipsis. When ported over to English, most of these usages look less like carefully crafted sentences and more like a transcript of a particularly drunken Snapchat session. Put simply, what works in one language doesn’t always work in another. When I’m translating a Line of Text from German, for Example, I don’t capitalize all the Nouns because that’s how it was in the Original. I normalize it for English. The same needs to be done in any VN translation. My current rule of thumb while editing — I’ll bold it for you in red here — is as follows: Remove/replace all ellipses in a line of Japanese text unless doing so irreparably breaks the sentence or significantly changes its meaning. Luckily for us, English has a toolbox full of punctuation to get the job done. Commas, semicolons, periods, dashes — they’re all your friends. So let’s discuss some common situations in VNs and how we might handle them. The trailing ellipsis You’ll see lots of these littering the ends of sentences and lines, mostly to little effect. More often than not, they indicate a thought closing on anything other than a 100% full and decisive stop. Since they don’t hold the place of omitted text, we can almost always replace these ellipses with periods. There are a handful of situations, however, where keeping a trailing ellipsis makes sense. These include: The Pregnant Pause: When something’s strongly implied at the end of a sentence/line, but left unsaid for dramatic effect. The ellipsis fills the place of the implied content, so it gets to stay. (Fun bonus fact: pauses are the only things that can get pregnant in VNs.) The “And So On”: When a statement is implied to continue for an unspecified length beyond the end of the sentence/line. The ellipsis here indicates there may have been a few more beers after Michelob, but the writer has decided to spare us and jump straight to Bob’s objection. Had this been more interruptive in nature, with Bob cutting Joe off immediately after “Michelob,” the ellipses would have replaced with an em-dash (—). The Trail-Off: Similar to the “And So On,” but with the character choosing to let a statement taper off into nothingness, rather than the author. The opening ellipsis You’ll see these slightly less often, but they’re by no means infrequent. Typically, they indicate some slight hesitation at the beginning of a line of dialogue. But again, the nuance ends up being so slight and the impact so watered down through overuse that you’re almost always better off removing these ungainly beasts. An exception can be made for: The Reverse Pregnant Pause: Just like the original Pregnant Pause, but it appears at the beginning of a sentence. Often holds the place of something a character doesn’t want to say. Rather than just pausing in passing, Joe is actively not admitting he thinks Joe is a jackass. That makes this line a strong candidate for an ellipsis. The mid-sentence ellipsis So, so many of these. You’ll close your eyes at night and they’ll haunt you. They’re almost always meant to indicate a slight pause in speech or thought, but trying to the read the resulting text is an exercise in frustration. There are... just so... many unnecessary... gaps. (Full disclosure: When writing scripts for TV, I’ll use ellipses like this a lot. But that’s for a very specific purpose: helping to communicate the particular rhythm of a line to the actor(s). I always avoid this in audience-facing text.) In almost all cases, unless there’s a marked pivot in thought, a comma will suffice. If the ellipsis is holding together two complete yet interwoven thoughts, a semicolon will do nicely. If the ellipsis is holding together two complete and independent thoughts, a period should be used. If ellipses are used to indicate an interruptive thought, one that breaks the main flow of the sentence, em-dashes can be used. Again, there are a couple situations where these mid-sentence ellipses can remain: The Ta-Da: When a pause is used for obvious dramatic effect, the ellipsis should be kept. The Shatner: When halting or stilted speech is intended for dramatic/comedic effect, ellipses may be retained. The empty line ellipsis You’ll see a lot of these. Holdovers from manga and light novels, they are explicit indicators of silence, being at a loss for words, holding one’s tongue, etc. In English prose, these silences would normally be held with narration — e.g., “Baconator just sat there, dripping ketchup.” You’d never see a sentence such as: ‘Harry Potter said, “...” and continued looking out the window.’ That’s because, unlike most VNs, traditional novels don’t have the crutch of character sprites and name cards appearing alongside dialogue. Due to such VN conventions, along with the technical limitations of translation — it’s frequently impossible to replace character dialogue with unvoiced narration — you should almost always leave these ellipses in place. Based on your best judgement, you can also choose to leave such variants as the questioning silence ("...?") and the excited/alarmed silence ("...!"). It should be noted that such empty line ellipses can also be used outside of dialogue. Often, these will just indicate time passing. There’s also a long tradition in Japanese art of the “pillow” — a held moment of contemplative emptiness. It’s the bit of formal textual throat-clearing at the start of a poem. It’s the 10-second cutaway to a babbling brook that connects two scenes in a movie. In a VN, this pillow can evidence itself as a single line of narration, empty save for an ellipsis. There’s no good English alternative for this, so it should be kept wherever you encounter it. Extra credit: The multi-line ellipsis I saved this one for last, because it’s a bit of a special case. Against all my better instincts, it involves adding ellipses in places where the original text has none. It’s painful but it’s for a good cause. Sometimes, when editing or translating a VN, you’ll run across sentences that spill over onto two or more lines. Unlike in poetry, which uses line breaks to very deliberate effect, these multi-line monsters are almost always the result of the VN writer just running out of highway and choosing to keep on driving. Whenever possible, you should attempt to restructure such sentences so they don’t break across lines. Often, splitting an overly long sentence into two smaller ones will do the trick. If it resists your best efforts, however, maintain the break and indicate it with ellipses — one at the end of the first line, the other at the beginning of the second. How many dots? ALL THE DOTS! Another peculiarity of ellipses in Japanese VNs is that they don’t always have three dots. Depending on context and the arbitrary whims of the writer, you’ll typically see anywhere from two to six dots at a time. I’ve even seen 27 in a row once. I think it was a sex scene. Or a fight scene. Maybe both. Don’t let this worry you. If you’ve been following my advice, you’ve already purged most of the ellipses from the text. Of those that remain, almost all can be reduced down to familiar three-dot English ellipses. But as always, there’s at least one exception. Content-bearing pauses: In most cases, it’s of little concern to us whether an ellipsis consists of three, four, five, or even six dots. They’re all slight variations on the standard pause, but since English punctuation doesn’t make any such distinction, neither will we. An exception comes when the length of a pause not only adds flavor, but provides content. Consider the case of an ever-lengthening silence: The lengthening of the line suggests the passing of increasing amounts of time; the scene isn’t the same without it. Or consider an explosive outburst after a deafening silence: If you opt to stretch out an ellipsis like this, only do so in increments of three. If you’re musically inclined, think of three dots as a quarter note, six dots as a half note, etc., each one holding the silence just a bit longer than the last. Following the rule of threes keeps the text visually streamlined and helps if you ever need to convert a bunch of soft ellipses ( “...”) to hard ellipses (“…”) late in the translation process. A quick note about spacing I opt to keep things simple. If an ellipsis is at the start of a sentence or line, put one space between it and the first word. If it’s anywhere else, use no space before the ellipsis and one space after. If it’s a string of ellipses, it should be an uninterrupted series of dots with no spaces in between. There are also differing schools of thought as to whether an ellipsis at the end of a sentence should also be followed by a period, resulting in four dots total. Again, I opt for simplicity here and advise three dots in all cases. The mark of the beast It’s easy to tell professional translations from fan projects, it’s said; just count the number of dots. While not always true – plenty of slapdash commercial releases exist in the wild — there’s definitely something to this. More often than not, fewer ellipses are a sign that someone has taken the time to not just translate a text word for word, but thoughtfully localize it. Seriously, just dump the dots, folks. Your readers will thank you for it.
  14. 14 points
    I've been playing video games more or less constantly for over twenty-five years. That's a very simple statement that holds a surprising amount of meaning, considering how much video games have changed since I first began playing them. It began with the NES, for me... with Mario, Luigi, and the ducks. I shot ducks out of the air, I jumped Mario across gaps and on top of turtles, without ever really understanding what was going on. As a kid, this was fun, seriously. Understand, this is the biggest point I am going to try to get across here... the difference between addiction and fun with video games. I played rpgs, primarily jrpgs, throughout most of my first ten years as a gamer, starting with Dragon Warrior (Dragon Quest), eventually reaching levels of true love with Final Fantasy II and III (IV and VI), Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Secret of Evermore, and Ogre Battle. When the era of cd-gaming came, I played D&D dungeon-crawlers on a shitty dos computer setup, and I played every jrpg I could get my hands on, with a lot of shooters, strategy games, and sports games mixed in. Throughout all of that, I was still having fun. Fun was my reason for continuing (I've always been a story-centric player, so I tended to stick with jrpgs, but I did play a lot of other stuff) and my reason for playing in the first place. It was in the PS2 era that I first came to recognize the difference between taking pleasure in playing something and merely being addicted to it. I picked up FFXI and started playing it on the PS2 (yes, it was possible to play it on the PS2), and for the first time, I knew addiction... for the first time, I poured hour after hour, day after day, into a game that I wasn't having any fun at. I was constantly irritated, constantly driven to continue, whether for social reasons (friends I'd made in-game) or simply because I felt like I was 'almost there'. Then, one day, I suddenly looked up and realized... I was immensely depressed and not enjoying anything about the game. The sense of having wasted my time... sent me into a funk that lasted the better part of a year. I still played games, but the color seemed to leech out of the screen even as I played them. I realized that I was seeing bits of FFXI in other games, and that was enough of a reason for me to actively hate them. No game hit me this way more than FFXII... because FFXII's battle system is essentially that of FFXI with some tweaks. Visually, it was a nightmare, and the weak story and characters only made it worse for me. Ironically, it was the realization that I honestly didn't trust Squeenix to provide pleasurable games anymore that led me to start playing a lot of the weirder stuff out there... such as Eternal Darkness for the gamecube and the SMT series. Ultimately, because I'd become very much aware of the difference between pleasure and addiction, I lost interest in games that I would once have jumped onto simply because they were jrpgs or done in a style I found interesting. I started abusing Gamestop's used game 'seven-day return policy' to demo games, and I slowly but surely came to realize that I honestly and truly hate multiplayer games that aren't played in the same room. I am now an unabashed solo gamer, even outside of VNs. I won't play most multiplayer games at all, and I hate games where the social element is as or more important than the actual gameplay or story. Of course, if a game has an interesting concept, I'll try it... but if I feel that sensation I used to get from FFXI, I drop it immediately, cancelling all subscriptions and discarding all related materials without a second thought, even if I paid a good deal of money for them. To be blunt, life is too short to waste on playing something that is merely addictive (this coming from a VN junkie, I know). That sensation of false social interaction you get from online gaming and the high you get from winning in competitive games is highly addictive... but are you having fun, really? I wonder, how many younger gamers actually know what it is like to enjoy a video game, rather than simply being addicted to one? This is a question that seriously bothers me, as I saw my young cousin playing Call of Duty (whatever the latest one is) online, unsmiling, for two days straight while we were staying at their place a few months back. He really, really wasn't enjoying himself. He was angry, depressed, and frustrated, but I never saw even a hint of a smile when he won, only this vague expression of relief he probably thought was a smile. Was that relief that his team-mates weren't treating him like a worthless noob or an incompetent, or was it simply because the match was over and he could relax? I don't know, because I didn't ask. I know from experience that the difference between addiction and fun is fine enough that most people don't even recognize it is there until they are forced to. What are your experiences, gamers of Fuwa?
  15. 14 points
    There’s no getting around it. If you’re looking to edit visual novels, at some point you’re going to have roll up your sleeves, put on the rubber gloves, and get elbow-deep in some H. The good news is that if you come prepared, practice your technique, and set some clear boundaries, it can be a pleasurable experience for both you and the reader. First, a disclaimer: I don’t like pineapple on my pizza, and I don’t like H-scenes in my VNs. It’s not a prudish thing; it’s a narrative thing. They’re rarely well crafted — you can feel all the hallmarks of the B-team being brought in to write them — and they almost never add plot/characterization that couldn’t have been handled better some other way. (I’ll pause here so you can mention Amane’s route from Grisaia, an exception that helps prove the rule.) Let’s be honest: they’re shoehorned in to help sell product. It’s built into the economics of the eroge genre. And honestly, that’s fine. I try to be sanguine about it and think of H-scenes as banner ads or TV commercials. They’re profit centers that help support the content I’m actually interested in. (I suspect more than a few developers feel the same way.) Long story short, H-scenes ain’t going anywhere. So how do we deal with them? Go in with a game plan. [Warning, there will be some NSFW language from this point forward. Sorry! It’s all part of seeing how the sausage is made.] 1. Do your research In raw translation, sex scenes from a Japanese visual novel tend to be far from erotic. More often than not, they read like an obsessively detailed transcript of a gynecological exam. That’s not because the Japanese writing team suddenly forgot they were supposed to be penning a passionate sex scene. It’s just that what’s erotic in one culture isn’t always as erotic in another. It’s your job (along with the translator) to help bridge that cultural divide and come up with something that feels faithful to the original, yet still sexy in English. Your first stop? Research. Read some English-language erotica so you can get a better sense of what works and what doesn’t. Sites like literotica.com even have stories broken out into fairly specific categories, so if you know you’ll be editing BDSM, threesome, and footjob scripts, you’ll have no problem finding what you need. (If you have all three in a single scene, you still might be in luck.) There’s also a category called “First Time,” which is more broadly useful, given how fixated many VNs are on virgins. Read, read, and read some more. Pay attention to the verbs, the nouns, the pacing. Try to quickly form a model of what makes a sex scene successful, then look to carry those techniques over to your VN script. 2. Pack a box lunch If you take nothing else away from this post, remember this: bring a big bag of dicks; you’ll need them. Better pack a few pussies while you’re at it. By the time you’ve edited your third or fourth H-script, you’ll find you’ve run dry of good synonyms for the male and female genitalia. In KoiRizo, the raw script mostly used the word "thing" for the protag’s package, which ended up sounding childish and/or ambiguous in English. (I only kept it in a few instances where such a reaction might be appropriate — for example, when the route partner catches her very first glimpse of Lil’ Protag: “Is that your ... thing?”). The remainder of the original script was a mix of the clinical ("my mucous membrane”) and the hilarious (“my soiled meat stick”). As for ladyparts, the original script relied heavy on metaphor and indirect reference — lots of openings, entrances, gates, doors, depths, special places, overflowing pots of nectar, etc. So what’s missing from the above? The common English erotica standbys: “dick” and “cock” for men, “pussy” for women. There’s a reason for that. KoiRizo complicated things by using the Japanese equivalents of these very sparingly, reserving them mainly for shock effect in dialogue — “e.g., OMG, she just said ‘cock!’ Things must be getting real.” Moreover, when these words were finally hauled out, the devs bleeped the VO and censored the text string (e.g., “p*ssy”). That meant it was very obvious when those words were being used and when they weren’t. All of which presented quite a challenge to the team: if we were to preserve those “shocking” character moments, we couldn’t use the most common English terms 99% of the time. And so, I fell back on a shortlist of alternate references: pole, rod, erection, hard-on, manhood, etc. By the time I was done editing, however, this list felt far too limited; those words were overused pencils worn down to their nubs. This is one of those areas where, in hindsight, I feel like I could have done a better job with KoiRizo. The takeaway: If I ever tackle a VN this H-heavy again — doubtful — I’ll come packing a much longer list of euphemisms. 3. Bring a raincoat Compared to its English counterpart, Japanese erotica seems downright obsessed with fluids: saliva, vaginal secretions, semen, urine — you name it. The look, the sound, the feel, the taste, the smell, the volume. You’ll be describing a lot of liquids in a lot of ways, so get ready to break out the thesaurus. And an umbrella. 4. Embrace the improbable Let’s admit it: VN sex is over-the-top ridiculous. In a matter of seconds, sheepish virgins turn into seasoned pornstars, cramming 20 orgasms and 40 positions into a quickie broom closet hookup. (Oh so much cramming.) This is the nature of the genre, so don’t fight it; embrace it. Trying to force realism onto a typical H-scene would be like trying to force realism onto a Dragon Ball Z fight: everyone still looks constipated, but no one’s having any fun. If you’re that desperate to edit sadly mundane sex scenes, wait for the VN version of Michael Winterbottom’s 9 Songs to come out. Till then, work with what you have. I remember a tiny dustup a while back when another TL team supposedly wrote lubricant into an H-scene because they felt the acts described would be difficult or painful without it. It’s a minor thing, but if the original writer left the lube out, I’m inclined to do so too. These portions of the script are wish fulfillment at their best/worst, so just leave them be. Except ... 5. Reject the impossible ... Except when the improbable becomes the impossible. More often than not, this is either the result of a mistranslation or an error by the original writers. (As an example of the latter, KoiRizo was haunted by an entity we dubbed “phantom Riho.” A couple of times, the devs would forget they were writing another girl’s scene and use Riho’s name for a line or two instead. We fixed this in our version, but still ...) Anyway, as editor, it’s your job to keep an eye out for the impossible. Is the protag’s penis simultaneously in someone’s vagina, anus, mouth, and ear? Did the heroine’s hymen suddenly regenerate? (Starfish Girl is mah waifu!) Did a corded vibrator suddenly become a battery-operated one? Ask to have the TL double-checked and, if that still doesn’t resolve the issue, use your best judgement to fix the error while causing minimal disruption to the surrounding lines. 6. Set your limits This is important. Know what you’re comfortable with going into a project and make those boundaries abundantly clear. Some VNs can venture into very unpleasant territory — rape, abuse, gore, catgirls, etc. — and it’s best to ask yourself up front if you could, in good conscience, commit to editing that sort of content. Set your limits early on, then make sure your team’s fully aware of them. 7. Have a sense of humor At the end of the day, VNs are entertainment. Unless you’re editing Saya no Uta 2: Vom Harder, it’s probably okay to approach your H-scripts with a subtle sense of play. A decent chunk of your audience will either be fast-forwarding through these scenes outright, or paying far more attention to the visuals than the script. So think of these times as exhibition games in your script editing schedule. They’re opportunities to spread your wings a little bit, try a few stylistic experiments — maybe even slip in a sly joke or two. And even if everything doesn’t quite work, we’ll still respect you in the morning.
  16. 14 points
    astro

    taypls 6

    *** astro has shared contact details with Joe. *** Joe: Hi astro, I'm wondering can u pls translate Aiyoku no Eustia? Me: sorry I really don't have time to take on more projects right now Joe: But it's a rly good game Me: I'm sure it is. look, I hope that you're not asking me to do it for free at the very least - I don't even know who the heck you are Joe: Well how long will it take u to do it? I can pay u $2000 at most depending on how long it takes Me: ...Do you have any idea how long the game is? Joe: No idk japanese so I've never played it before ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Well, this isn't really Tay's fault, but my rule of thumb is to always blame Tay. taypls
  17. 13 points
    Ambiguity is a fascinating element of language, one an editor both struggles with and celebrates regularly. On the celebration side of things, ambiguity is an essential tool in the setup of a lot of short jokes, for one. As an example, an ambiguous statement leads to a misunderstanding, and in a VN said misunderstanding usually leads to an accidental love confession, resulting in the unfortunate victim stammering outrageously while blushing like a sunset. How cute. Ambiguity can also be a powerful tool in foreshadowing, since it allows a single statement to be interpreted in two ways, of which one can be applicable to the immediate present, thus making it a perfectly reasonable line to have in the present, and the other only meaningful when considering future events, usually causing the reader to look back and say, "Ahh-hah, now I see what it really meant." Ambiguity is also absolutely essential in writing clever blog post titles. But on the struggling side, ambiguity is often an enemy getting in the way of your reader enjoying your text. As you read, your brain furiously analyzes words as they come in, building up and tearing down many possible syntactical structures for the sentence and many possible semantic interpretations of the various words and phrases, before eventually trimming this all down to a single interpretation of the sentence, typically over the course of a tiny fraction of a second. However, there are many stumbling blocks which can lengthen this process or thwart it entirely, notably including actual errors (misspellings, dropped words, incorrect grammar, etc.,), which is probably the chief reason why such errors are so frowned-upon in typical writing. Slowing down the reader's understanding, or preventing it entirely, is generally not the author's goal, assuming said author is not James Joyce. Setting aside actual errors, ambiguity is one of the main impediments to a reader's understanding. Since one of a VN editor's chief goals is to ensure a script flows well for a reader, eliminating unintentional ambiguity is an important sub-goal. Even outside of intentional usage like in the cases mentioned in the first paragraph, ambiguity in English is still incredibly common, with small ambiguities cropping up constantly while reading essentially any text. Let's take a look at an example of a super-small ambiguity which slows down the reader just a tiny bit, a sentence containing my least favorite word: Looks fine, right? As a whole the sentence is totally unambiguous. But while you're reading it, you're going to run into "that", and "that"'s a problem. "That" is an incredibly flexible word in the English language: it's a pronoun, a determiner, an adverb, and a relative pronoun. It's actually even more flexible in British English, where it can act as a subordinating conjunction, and even though most VN translations are written in American English, the lines there are pretty fuzzy, and it wouldn't be surprising or confusing to see a sentence like "He asked that she go" in a VN. Now, in the sentence above, "that" is being used as a relative pronoun, but the prefix of this sentence, "I told you that" is also a perfectly well-formed English sentence in which it's instead being used as a pronoun, and if your brain follows such an interpretation immediately as you read the sentence, it'll take it a few extra milliseconds for your brain to unwedge itself, reorganize into treating "that" as a relative pronoun, and continue on forming the correct interpretation. All right, doesn't sound like a big deal, does it? You're right. This particular, single instance isn't. But they add up, and you can do better, so you might as well. To put it in super technical jargon I didn't know until I was writing up this post, English has a so-called "zero relative pronoun" which can be used in place of relative pronouns like "that" which are introducing restrictive relative clauses. To give an example, since the previous jargon is so technical as to be basically useless, instead of the above sentence, you can just drop "that" and write: Now, look, I'm not saying this makes a huge difference, but doesn't this version feel a tiny bit better when you read it? Eliminating usage of overly-flexible words like "that" is a good way to reduce some ambiguity, but keep in mind this is a single example of a specific case. It just happened to be the one which prompted this blog post. However, I assure you, if you start reading your work with a careful eye out for the clarity of each line, you'll find tons of small, unintentional ambiguities popping out at you which you want to correct. Training yourself to look for them and to clean them up is one part of helping your text flow better. I guess that's that. I hope you got something out of that, and I ask that, if you have questions, comments, or problems regarding this or "that", you leave a note below to that effect.
  18. 13 points
    This is a simple post putting forth my views on what the largest pitfalls are for a fantranslator, both in the immediate sense and the long-term. Immediate 1. Making promises: Anyone who starts a translation is bound to do something stupid... such as setting a deadline or predicting how long it will take them to do something. Even experienced translation groups trip and fall into this particular trap. Nothing good comes of making promises, primarily because rl exists. 2. Agreeing to translate/edit/proofread something you aren't interested in: This links to motivation. To be blunt, no fantl will be able to finish work on a VN if they don't enjoy the original or at least prefer the genre it is in. Fantls are a labor of love not a workplace with a set salary and a boss telling you to get back to work or he'll dock your pay. Passion about the subject matter is necessary to get anywhere on a fantl project. 3. Taking on a job you aren't qualified for: This mostly applies to beginner fantls... to be blunt, don't take on something you can't read easily. If you can't read and fully comprehend the text of the VN you've agreed to translate, don't even make the attempt. 4. Machine translations: Don't work. 5. Looking up your name/reputation/etc: Some people get addicted to looking for positive reactions to their work. Unfortunately, this also means that they stumble across the negative responses and can damage their confidence in ways that can destroy a project. Long-term 1. The choice to announce a project or not: Many who translate VNs use community comments to help them build motivation. However, choosing to involve the community in your project is a two-sided sword... it cuts both ways. Negative comments, people asking you when it will come out, and complaints about the translation of any partial you put out can obliterate your motivation and cripple the project. 2. Internal group chemistry and mechanics: No matter how you look at it, the translator is the origin and star of any given project. Without the translator it goes nowhere... but translators can't be the ones going around motivating the group to keep working. It's inefficient and emotionally draining for the person in question, and it is the number one cause of project failure I've seen related to group chemistry, when the translator finally falls apart. An editor's role only seems minor to a translator. It is actually a job that can be equally frustrating to that of the raw translation, and a decent translator's secondary job often becomes tlcing and explaining his own work to the editor. Thus, my advice to any fantranslator is find an editor you can talk to and get along with, or you'll regret it later. My advice to editors is: Be patient. Many translators really don't like going back over their own work, so just keep an eye out for potential signs that they are at their limit. 3. Burn-out: This can potentially happen to any fantl position. It is also related to all the things above, since it is a state where all motivation is lost and the individual in question basically just drops out of the project. Apathy toward the project and ignoring group members are fairly common signs of this. Whether it is permanent or not depends on the individual, but it can take years to recover mentally and emotionally once you've reached this stage *speaking from personal experience*
  19. 13 points
    Some people here already know that I hurt my knee falling down the stairs a while ago... what most of you don't know is that the stuff they have me on (non-narcotic pain drugs, sleep pills, and antibiotics) in combination make me a zombie for most of the day... I sleep around twelve hours a day, am fuzzy for two to three hours more, have to do rehab exercises for another two hours, and I spend around four hours of what is remaining working. Needless to say, this doesn't leave much time for anything else... which is why VN of the Month is so far behind. Normally, by this point I would have played through at least four or five of the month's VNs, and I would probably be considering which one - if any - was worth the VN of the month rating... as it is, it has taken me a little over seventeen days to finish just two VNs from April's releases. I'm basically venting my frustration right now... since I lose money with every day I can't work at full capacity and I go a little more stir crazy with every day I can't go out and get some fresh air without using crutches. For the first time in almost nine years, I actually had to use up my entire pay for a month for bills and food (the medical bills being the highest, obviously). Needless to say, I'm in a sour mood. If I seem harsh toward the remaining VNs this month, please forgive me. It is really, really hard to concentrate outside of work right now... and I'm actually having to reconsider a lot of my plans for the rest of the year based on the costs I project for the rest of the next few months. Nothing pisses me off more than being unable to rectify everyday money problems (which is why I work so much normally).... Anyway, that's enough moaning from me for now. The two key points are that the above are the reasons VN of the Month is so far behind and I so rarely post, despite the fact that I'm technically 'online' (I rarely if ever shut down the fuwanovel tab, lol) all the time. If I'm slow to respond, it is because I'm not myself, not because I'm not interested in doing so.
  20. 13 points
    This rant stemmed from a conversation on Twitter. I'm posting this here purely because posting this line by line on Twitter seemed retarded, and I'd disable the forum notifications for this post if I could. You can dig through my recent Twitter replies if you want to see the context. Have fun. *** The problem is a bit more complicated than "some people don't like what I have to say". Sure, there's that, but the majority of detractors don't like how I raise my voice to be heard through the din. The majority of eroge fans are content to stay within their walled communities and gossip amongst each other. A few bloggers have appeared, but again they keep to themselves and expect their audience to come to them. I've challenged this status quo. I've decided to be the black sheep that actually promotes his content: after all, why would anyone devote any amount of effort to writing for the smallest audience possible? I write to make a difference. I write to be recognized as a community leader. I'm not content with just being heard by a single insular community of hardcore fans. I can't accomplish anything like that. I consider myself an industry activist. I do what the industry refuses to do: market and promote itself. In a community where freeloading is the norm, active promotion is very much frowned upon. Yet spurring people to buy stuff is incredibly important if eroge fans want to have a say in English localization. I want to be the facilitator that bridges the gap between eroge companies and the VN community. I want to be the voice for eroge fans when companies cross the line, thinking that sales are more important than the wishes of the fanbase. I can't do all of this by just whining in threads on Fuwanovel about the success of the Sakura series while games like Seinarukana remain in obscurity. Mainstream activists make a living off what they do. I do what I do almost entirely for free, with the simple request that people click my affiliate links when they buy a game because of the content I provide. I would say that criticism of me is hypocritical, yet I realize that only a year ago I'd probably have said that what I do is distasteful. If things would get done without me, I'd be willing to pass the baton and go back to an online life of obscurity. If good content promoted itself, I wouldn't need to try to so hard to get the word out. But well, life isn't fair, honest effort isn't necessarily rewarded, and mediocrity is the formula for success. If I don't promote my content, no one else will. That's just how it is. Long rant. I'm not going to post this on Twitter line by line. Note: This is meant to be a conversation between me and my followers. If you say something unconstructive or just piss me off, I'll start deleting comments without warning. You have been warned.
  21. 13 points
    Mr. Meogii's First Recognition Post. Hello Guys ! Meogii here, bringing you your ever so loved members' highlight. Today we will be zoning in on Suikashoujo. She has been a member of our community for almost a year now and it pains me to see that the majority of us do not yet know what she's been up to. She enjoys singing, so much so that she has taken it upon herself to make song covers to go along with her music. I don't know about you, but I don't think I'd ever find enough courage to allow other people to listen to me sing. Be it in real life or over the Internet, such a feat requires confidence - something I'm sure Suikashoujo has in her great and pleasurable singing. Down below you'll find her latest video so if you like it, be sure to check out her channel for more awesomeness. From the community and myself, we wish you all the best regarding your future works. Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube....GMm-XabSB6VXgrA Latest Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJ9RxxZPm1c
  22. 12 points
    Clephas

    A few Thoughts on VN Trends

    Before I go visit my remaining grandparents this weekend (my grandmother on my father's side and grandfather on my mother's side are both in extremely frail condition right now, so we are taking time to show my sister's kid to them), I thought I would give my thoughts on modern VN trends. Charage aren't going anywhere Though I frequently bash the industry for over-saturating the market with moege/charage/SOL, the fact is that the demand for this type of VN is never going to go away as long as the Japanese eroge VN market exists. Why? Because it is the single easiest way to present the formation of relationships of young people into a sexual one. While the genre isn't that attractive for people in their late teens or early to mid-twenties (incidentally the reason this market is declining), the majority of any older generation is always going to prefer this. The lesser numbers of young people in Japan compared to my generation and the lower relative amounts of income are the main reasons for the current contraction of the genre. Good Writers don't go into VNs anymore This is a truth that few of the plotge addicts like me want to admit. Most of the best writers in the VN industry are getting into middle age or later now (or have already left it), and the new and upcoming writers are mostly up and coming LN writers who have a far looser grasp on how to write/narrate and (more importantly) complete a story. This doesn't mean they won't evolve their styles to match the new medium eventually, but whenever I've read a VN written by one of these newbies, the plot holes and poor handling of the endings of their games stand out painfully. Chuunige are in decline I absolutely hate to say this. However, it needs to be said. Trends in the last nine years in chuunige have tended to result in far too much side-story exploitation and sequelitis. There is also a distinct lack of innovation, and when innovation does come, it tends to come with a huge drop in quality in the final product (Sora no Baroque). Fans of the genre are getting older, and some companies (such as Light) have been putting their games in non-ero form on consoles to try to grasp the hearts of younger VN lovers (this has actually succeeded to an extent), but the fact is that it takes a much longer time for a chuunige company to make back its investment after a release. This is exacerbated by economic issues in Japan, and the fact that these companies mostly suck at advertising (like many niche genre companies, they only put it up in places where those already 'in the know' will find them). VN Trends are always years behind the rest of Otaku-dom VN communities in Japan are insular. Even moreso than they are in the US. When rom-com anime vanished for the most part at the end of the last decade, it was replaced with cheap action-fantasy (shallow, weaker stories for the most part, with more emphasis put on 'cool' elements) and moeblob. The glut of such anime is reaching its peak right now... and that influence is starting to overflow (interpreted through the lens of the hyper-conservative VN community, of course) into our side of things. That said, this is a trend that is unlikely to take hold, because it requires a modicum of writing skill that doesn't involve dialogue, and most VN writers just don't have that. Instead, VN companies that have been around for a while have been 'testing the waters' by making games that step out of their usual niches, hoping to diversify to deal with the changing trends. Light went with going down a much darker path than usual with its most recent game, and Navel actually put up a half-assed plotge last month. These, along with many other incidences in the last two years, make me wonder just what the market will look like five years from now.
  23. 12 points
    Did you know Fuwanovel was once almost called Hoshinovel? No? Well, you should. Today I am here to counter the travesty that is this website that was almost named after this game having two bad reviews giving it a 1/5. Now, I haven't played this game for years, never really liked it all that much and I don't remember half the plot points or really any of the character names. I did look at a CG gallery for two minutes while cropping this avatar so that should be a pretty good reminder of the story though. Under these circumstances, you might think that writing a defense of a game would be something only a moron would do - But the loli is pretty great and I've been called much worse. Now, I don't actually remember anything about this game other than a sex scene with this one girl dressed in a maid outfit carefully licking the protagonist's ochinchin (or was that in the fandisc? Doesn't really matter), so it's pretty hard to actually write something about it. Luckily, we have Fred's review, and coupled with my memory from looking at that HCG set we can just read that and explain why he's wrong. Well, without any more chatter, let's begin. Now there's really not a lot going on with his first two paragraphs - 15 lines and he talks about who made the game, explains the premise and says the release was shit. Now, we can already see this writer's limitations at the very beginning of this review. In its first 15 lines, Hoshizora no Memoria already gave you a solid idea of something and had a girl you wanted to fuck. Probably. I dunno. Shutup it's fiction, if we do it by percentages, this is a big portion of the review, think of how much hoshimemo managed to do with that same percentage of its play time. This is pretty undeniable straightforward proof that the author of this review is a worse writer than the author of hoshizora no memoria, and so has no place to criticize his writing (since author probably just didn't get the genius behind hoshimemo.) I will note that the review's author talks about how hanging out with a loli shinigami sounds actually neat, proving his taste at least isn't complete garbage. That is, until this: Now, twintails tsundere girl is the worst girl of the story and it's pretty terrible to put her as your review's first image. She is a tsundere, and as all tsunderes are, her existence is testament that Hoshizora no Memoria is a game that truly appeals to all crowds, including, *ahem*, special people, but putting a character that's meant for the dull and braindead alike as the game's poster and first impression for normal readers is nothing but intellectual dishonesty, and I question the author's intent in doing so. Past that, he says he'll talk about why he hates the game, but only says some broad stuff about the writing being bad and "failing the bigger picture" that you can apply to almost literally anything. There are VNs where you cannot apply this phrase to, but I haven't read them, so they don't exist. He says the game has no themes other than stars, but the game's title is clearly hoshizora no memoria, which means memory of starry sky. Him needing to say that shows the review's author isn't particularly fluent in japanese and as such he can't criticize the game's original writing because he never read it. I wonder how much fuwanovel pays these people, because I could probably do much better. He criticizes the game for the use of misunderstandings as a romantic tool, but 2009 anime kimi ni todoke had a misunderstanding and it's like one of the top most popular romance otaku works of all time, so all this servers to show is that this guy doesn't know shit about romance in our medium. He talks about how there's no substance or something to grab too, but I'll get back to it after this image. This is actually a pretty cute CG but I'd like to point out he posts the obnoxious text log no one cares about in front of the loli's face, just providing us extra proof he doesn't know or get anything about the appeal of this game. Literally no one cares about what these characters are saying, it's cute, she's talking about how girls want to get close to you and how you should only enter a girl's route after you already set your mind to fuck her, all stuff that's important to hear but that we all know already. This goes back to criticizing the game "not having anything for you to grab on" and complaining about themes, it's a moege not kafka, you're just supposed to want to fuck the girls, look at her beautiful eyes and hair and black dress with the little ribbon thing having space in between her tiny shoulders as the picture reveals her skin to the moonlight. This is one of the best parts of the game where you're supposed to be at 1000% and this guy is paying attention to stuff literally no one other than reviewers cares about, and he still dedicates a whole extra paragraph to talking about this shit. If that's not missing the point, I don't know what is. He goes on to talk about how the game doesn't know how to build and mantain tension but that's clearly not true because whenever I looked at the blue haired girl's face the sexual tension went up the roof and I wasn't even reading the game. He also complains about the game giving info to you (while clearly complaining about the game not giving info for you to grab on just one paragraph earlier) but it's totally ok because the problem is that the game didn't give you info the way he wanted it to give, which at this point is pretty clear to all smart readers that he's just looking for excuses to complain about this masterpiece and he doesn't care about truth at all. He talks some stuff about the characters but at this point it's pretty clear that he's a biased writer and I dunno who's who by name so we'll just skip over that. Here's some girls in maid outfits showing the game truly knows what's what. Then, I shit you not, this review goes completely grammar nazi and starts talking about all this random english shit literally no one other than an english literature college freshman would care about, not even his teachers, for what is like half of the entire review. I didn't count the words so it might be less but I had to scroll my screen to skip over that garbage fire so half of the review is probably correct. He goes on to talk about how he checked the japanese script and found out the localization was nonsense, but that's clearly untrue because we already proved he doesn't know any japanese in this rebuttal so no need to spend any more time on that. Now, even this guy can't deny the game is top tier 10/10 master artwork with pretty good ost, so he makes up some excuse about how the game's writing is bad so it's complete trash because it's a visual novel and you're suppoosed to read visual novels. Not true. The VN community in the west started with people who didn't know a single word of japanese buying porn games they'd fap to because images and voices are good enough. If writing was also so important, might as well not even have visuals in the first place. Anyway I think it's pretty clear FuwaReviews hates visual novels, doesn't want people to read the good ones in the west and wants everyone to read pretentious hipster book-ey shit instead. Because they took the effort to make fake propaganda about how this game is bad, I think it's blindingly obvious that it's 10/10 masterpiece and the best VN of all time. My face right now is just like the text below this loli's which is why I made her my avatar. Peace.
  24. 12 points
    The VN reading community likes to argue over the relative merits of so-called "literal" and "liberal" translation, with most people tending to perceive everyone else as being a hardline supporter of one or the other. While I'm sure everybody who knows my views would classify me as a proponent of liberal translation, I tend to think I'm more a proponent of being accurate to the intent of the original text. This blog post is going to outline a couple of specific uses of language which I believe show some of the weaknesses of attempting "literal translation." This isn't going to be anything like an attempt to provide an exhaustive argument against literal translation, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least trying to be a little bit convincing. Still, regardless of your position on that particular argument, you might at least find the examples enlightening. Broadly, I'm going to be talking about figurative language. That's a fancy phrase encompassing a lot of common expressions and classes of expression which exist in every natural human language, as far as I know, and certainly in both Japanese and English. Idioms, similes, metaphors, hyperbole, personification, symbolism: all of these are classes of figurative language. For starters, let's talk about idioms. The relevant definition of "idiom", per wiktionary, is, "An expression peculiar to or characteristic of a particular language, especially when the meaning is illogical or separate from the meanings of its component words." The argument pretty much writes itself, right? By definition, if you try to literally translate the words in an idiom, you're going to end up with something at best inaccurate, and at worst completely illogical. Just googling "Japanese idioms" and reading what you see is going to find you dozens of examples of cases where you have to either avoid literal translation or end up with a translation that doesn't make sense. For instance, translating 十人十色 as "ten men, ten colors" isn't going to be comprehensible to an English reader, but the venerable English idiom "different strokes for different folks," which is equivalent in meaning if not exactly in tone, is probably going to fit the bill. Idioms offer pretty much a slam dunk argument in favor of liberal translation*. That said, idioms are not that common an occurrence. However, there are also lesser examples: cases where literal translation yields something meaningful and accurate, but still less accurate than a liberal translation could manage. My personal favorite example of a Japanese expression which is not an idiom, but which still benefits massively from a "liberal" translation, is the combination of the noun 背中 (back) and the adjective 大きい (large, big). These two words are often put together in Japanese when praising men, as a way to say a man has a certain, protoypically masculine, attractive physical characteristic. The phrase also carries a subtextual metaphor of reliability: a big back can bear a lot of weight, presumably. Once you start looking for "big backs", you'll see them popping up in literal JP->EN translations all over the place, from Little Busters! to HoshiMemo. The problem is, there's a common English expression which means exactly the same thing as that Japanese expression: "broad shoulders." Now, no dictionary is going to tell you that you can correctly translate 背中, in isolation, as "shoulders." But what's amazing about this pair of Japanese and English expressions is that they not only have the same denotation, but also the same connotation. Both expressions describe the same physical trait, and they both also imply the same personality trait of reliability: a broad pair of shoulders, also, can be trusted to carry your burden. The expression "broad shoulders", like its Japanese cousin, sits somewhere between simple non-figurative use of language and an idiom: just knowing the definition of the individual words gets you to the correct meaning of the expression, and even the connotation of implied reliability, when present, is usually obvious. So, by definition, they aren't idioms. But even so, if translated literally in either direction, the original phrase will end up as a pale shadow of what it should be. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather be described as broad-shouldered than as big-backed. *Unless you believe the purpose of a translation is to teach you Japanese idioms, in which case there isn't enough common ground to even have an argument. I personally like to read translated fiction for the same reason I like to read fiction originally written in English: to enjoy a well-crafted story.
  25. 12 points
    Some veterans of reading untranslated VNs refer to the period between 2004 and 2010 as 'The Golden Age of Visual Novels'. However, you shouldn't really take that statement at face value, as the meaning is a bit more complex than you'd think. There are some significant differences between VNs today and VNs during that period that both made it the peak of the medium's sales in Japan and produced the greatest ratio of quality VNs to crap VNs. One of the primary differences was that, other than moege, there were no strict genre boundaries and genre conventions had yet to slide into place in the minds of fans and writers both. Companies were mostly experimenters during that time, sometimes basing their projects on previous works (Tsukihime and the Key games got a lot of knock-offs during this time, of varying levels of quality) and sometimes forging out on their own. Since there were few genre boundaries, companies were more likely to give the creative staff free reign as to what kind of story they could write, and - ironically - this actually helped define the various genres in the years to come, as people explored the boundaries of how they could stretch a concept or theme in a story. Some of these attempts were abortive (ie- thematic moege where all the heroines are of the same type, such as tsundere or yandere, generally didn't catch on) but others were immensely successful (ie- the definition of the chuunige genre and its gradual escape from gakuen battle mania). However, the point is that the writers, directors, and producers of the time were allowed to fiddle with the formula a lot more than they are now. Most major companies nowadays have a 'signature style', that was formed during that period, even if their greatest successes weren't during that period. This period also killed the 'pure moege' as a genre, ending the majority genre of the previous half-decade (moege having dominated during that period due to the Da Capo series and Key's games). The rise of the charage, a demi-moege genre that was much wider in scope and more adaptable, occurred during this period, mostly unrecognized until after the fact. At the same time, nakige, which had previously been enslaved to the moege genre through Key and others like them, came to define itself as a new, standalone genre that wasn't necessarily dependent on moe stylization. Even Key itself moved beyond pure moe, though it didn't entirely abandon some elements of it (as the existence of Kud testifies). However, this age was already ending in 2009, as clearly-delineated genre norms began to form, and charage became the driver for the industry, taking us back, in spirit, to the age before that. By 2011, the ratio of truly creative works to derivative works was overwhelmingly in favor of the latter, in comparison to the previous decade. That isn't to say that the years since haven't produced some great works. That is patently untrue in my experience... but the fact remains that fewer and fewer writers are able or willing to look outside the 'genre boxes' for answers as to what to write. I sometimes refer to our current age as the Age of Stagnation, where there is an overwhelming industry pressure to stick to genre norms and those that break the mold are so exceptional they stand out more than they should. It is possible to create a charage kamige... but it is much easier to make a kamige out of a game that breaks genre boundaries, lol.
  26. 12 points
    Last time I talked about trade-offs in editing and high-level motifs; macro-scale stuff. This time, I want to talk about a micro-scale topic: how to make an individual line better. As before, I'll be demonstrating this with examples drawn from recent editing experience. Before writing this post, I went around looking for other people talking about similar things, and I found this reference: http://kristensguide.com/Writing/powerful_sentences.asp. Frankly, it's great; probably better than what I have, especially in terms of breadth of topics. Give it a read and get your editing learning on. For this post, I'm going to deep dive into one single topic mentioned there, though, for which I've been saving up examples: putting the first and last words of your sentence to good use. The first and last words of a sentence are powerful. They're memorable. Forgetting the middle of a sentence is natural, so put a word at the end of a sentence when you really, really want that one word to be remembered. Okay, so what did you get from that last paragraph. I hope it was "first", "powerful", "memorable", "forgetting", and "remembered", because that's the point of this blog post. Anyway, let's look at some examples from my recent edits to Majo Koi Nikki, some to the prologue patch we're about to release, and some later. I'll point out other things that I changed as well and why, but this one point is going to be the running theme. Original: Looking in the mirror, she pondered for a second and answered with a shy smile on her face. Potential problems: - "on her face" is extraneous - that extraneous phrase is squatting on valuable real estate at the end of the sentence. Mine: Looking in the mirror, she pondered for a second, and then she answered with a shy smile. Changes: - drop "on her face" (for both reasons above - it's less verbose, and now I get "smile" as the last word in the sentence, which is great) - the comma after "she ponders for a second" is intended to give the reader that same mental pause as "she" has, to better set up the last part - "then she" somehow pushes you out of that mental pause and into the most important part: that shy smile, lingering at the end of the sentence. Original: Tokeizaka-san irritatedly flips through the book, but her hand stops suddenly. Potential problems: - With the benefit of spell-check, "irritatedly" => irritably - "suddenly" is often overused I actually really like the original; if you left it alone, aside from the spell-check correction, I wouldn't fault you for it. The verbs are great, "irritably" is a good use of a modifier, and the sentence communicates multiple events very concisely. But there's always room for improvement. Mine: Irritated, Tokeizaka-san flips through the book, until her hand suddenly stops. Changes: - Drop "suddenly." "Stops" is strong enough to carry that feeling of suddenness on its own, so "suddenly" is only making things weaker. I've also noticed a tendency for raw JP translations to overuse "suddenly", which makes me especially biased to remove it. It's the typical problem of overuse: if everything is happening suddenly, it might as well all be happening normally. - Move those good words, "irritably" and "stops" to the memorable points of the sentence. "Stops" we got for free, "irritably" requires a small bit of juggling. Unfortunately, Tokeizaka-san's family name is a bit unwieldy at best; better to bury it in the middle of the sentence and let the nice, emotive words take pride of place. - Swapping "but" for "until" made for a clearer plot to the sentence, I thought. Original: - The colorful beauty article are displayed neatly. Potential problems: - Engrish - Passive voice - Not flashy enough Mine: - Iridescent beauty products dot the shelves, arranged with flawless precision. On that last potential problem: normally my style is pretty spare. My typical goal is to drop adjectives and adverbs, and make verbs and nouns stronger to carry the weight of description, without going overboard on vocabulary. More often than not, I'm trying to make long sentences shorter and punchier. I didn't do that here. For context on why, it would help for you to hear the ridiculously high-brow BGM accompanying this scene and see the gorgeous background art. So, here: Background: BGM: Equally important for context, you need to know about the surrounding narration: basically, the narrator is currently marveling at just how amazing this beauty parlor is. One of the benefits of generally being spare with your adjectives and adverbs is that they then work a lot better when you actually do pull them out. A good mental model is that you have a budget: don't spend your nice words if you don't need to. Only pull them out when you're going for the razzle dazzle. The analogy breaks down fast, but basically, if you're constantly using flowery language and overdecorating the ordinary scenes, nobody's going to be impressed when something extraordinary happens, just like the overuse of "suddenly" I mentioned earlier. Since this actually is an extraordinary moment for our narrator, I'm spending a few nice words now. And again, I want to call attention to the first and last words of the sentence. Those are strong places in a sentence (or, especially in the case of a VN, a line). Previously there were pretty weak words there ("The colorful" and "neatly"); now we've got "iridescent" and "precision". Good words in good places. One last thing to mention. I wrote each of these up in the middle of editing, and then later edited that up into a blog post. I made changes to the edited line itself in the process of writing all this stuff up, which made it better. In fact, I even noticed a problem while writing up this blog post and further refined the line. You'll never know what it was (probably). The point being, simply spending time reflecting on an edit, and especially writing down your observations and motivations for certain choices, will help you do better work. You don't have to be this thorough all the time (I certainly am not), but every time you do an exercise like that, you'll learn from it, and then you can write up your own blog post and teach me something.
  27. 12 points
    Since I get asked questions constantly on this subject, I'll go ahead and list a few pieces of advice I felt apply to most beginners. 1) Use translation aggregator and a text hooker, even if you feel like you should be getting out your kanji dictionary, out of a sense of self-reliance. I'll be blunt, it is hard to enjoy something if you have to refer to a kanji dictionary for every other non-particle word. I am sometimes stunned at people bragging about spending 100 hours on an 8 hour moege because they chose not to use a text hooker. That is not an efficient way of using your time, even if you want to learn kanji. It is actually more efficient time-wise to do kanji exercises separately and read your VNs with a text hooker (you'll still be done with both in half the time it would have taken for you to read it using a kanji dictionary). 2) There are two methods you can choose to start your untranslated career... you can start off easy and work your way up, or you can smash your head into the walls of text of the harder VNs out there. I chose the latter, and most people choose the former. The walls of text method has the advantage of jump-starting your learning... but in exchange, you'll probably end up sleeping more to let you process all the new information you've gathered and you'll get frustrated more often. If you want to use the former method, I made a list here sometime ago ( http://forums.fuwanovel.net/topic/3493-for-love-of-vns-for-beginners/ ). 3) jparser in Translation aggregator isn't perfect, nor is Mecab. They are tools to give you a chance to parse the kanji faster, rather than a translation tool. However, there is a good side-benefit to the frequently weird choices of furigana they make... and that is that you'll naturally learn the path to understanding kanji puns without having to look them up later, and it will become ever more easy to dissect more difficult words even without the tools later on. 4) In the end, mastering reading untranslated VNs is an uphill battle for most people. Don't expect yourself or everything you use to be perfect from the beginning, as the very idea is absurd. You'll run into stumbling blocks constantly, and you'll worry endlessly about whether you really understood that last line for most of your first hundred VNs or so. 5) If you read slowly in your native language, you will also read slowly in Japanese. Reading is reading, and it is a skill honed by a simple process of practice, practice, practice that never ends. Yes, learning to read fast in your own language will help you learn to read fast in Japanese once you've gotten to a certain level. If you are barely competent in your own language, I'll be frank in saying that this isn't for you, not to be mean but because it is the same skill, regardless of the details. 6) Last of all, I'd suggest hitting a wide variety of genres early on, not just your favorite ones. Why? Because that sense of wonder and love for VNs is only going to last through your first twenty-five to forty VNs, and once you've gotten past that point, it is going to be harder and harder to grow beyond your limits on your own.
  28. 12 points
    I'm Ouraibaa Hjyuraa, the project leader over at the Maji de Watashi ni Koishinasai! ("Majikoi") Translation Project, and I just want everybody to know that we've done the impossible and 100% finished the game patch! Check out this post for more info and instructions on how to download it. There is also a uncensor patch included in the installer, which replaces all censored adult images with a fan-made, uncensored version, courtesy of Helvetica Standard. We hope you enjoy the TL, and be sure to leave feedback here. --The Project Team Ouraibaa Hjyuraa - Quality Checker, PR, and project leader Dowolf - Translator Helvetica Standard - Image Editor Slaves: Pseudodiego Twdarkeh NhKPaNdA CryingWestern Former members: Kosuna Maru - Original translator. Azengar - Original Programmer The dead Yandere Translations have already translated Common route, Yukie route, Yukie After Story, Kazuko route, Kazuko After Story, Momoyo route, Momoyo After Story, Chris route, Chris After Story, Teacher side route, all the menus, end skits, as well as some of the Miyako route and the Kazama side-route. All of Yandere's work (Except crack) has been included in the patch. Thank you for your time, and we hope you enjoy our work.
  29. 11 points
    ... I'm going to be blunt. It has been a while (think 2014) since any company has produced a nakige that compares to this one. The characters, their backgrounds, their personalities, and the setting all come together to form a story of deep affection, pain, and tears that had me crying more than a dozen times throughout the VN. In terms of heroines, this VN's imoutos are the best. Shinobu is the twisted, obsessive half-yandere, super-capable imouto who adores her niisan (with good reason). Tsubasa is the honest, affectionate, straightforward imouto who is incapable of hiding anything. While the other two heroines kind of pale compared to those two, their routes are another story entirely. I'm going to be straight... there are no bad or under-developed paths in this VN. The characters' emotional and real-life (to them) struggles are intense, engrossing, and emotional. Neneko's and Yuuka's paths are cases of the 'paths surpassing the heroines', a phenomenon that has become sadly rare in recent years, as writing quality has fallen drastically in the charage 'genre'. Technically, Tsubasa's is the true route, but none of the routes were neglected in favor of hers, though I could have wished for an epilogue based a few years later for Shinobu's path (a matter of personal taste). This is a mark of the skill of the writer and the person who designed the scenario, as the fact is that in most cases where there is a true or central heroine, the other heroines tend to be neglected, at least in my experience. The protagonist in this story will probably get mixed reactions out of people, if only because he is a bit angsty, especially when issues of parents come up. He has good reason, as he is a victim of child abuse (he doesn't hide this, and it is revealed within the first half-hour of reading). At heart, he is a good person, but he is very exclusive in the people he cares about and insanely protective of those chosen few. His obsession with his role as a big brother causes some big problems in Shinobu's route, but that is mostly because he is very hard-headed and straight-laced... the type of guy who makes a vow to himself and never breaks it, even in the particulars. Story-wise... this is classic non-Key nakige fare. The protagonist deals with his own issues (to varying degrees) while doing his best for the heroines, the troubles and drama along the way designed to drag the tears out of you, though it all ends happily eventually. I was particularly touched by the healing that occurs in the protagonist in Tsubasa and Neneko's endings (through different methods), and I, for once, wasn't frustrated with the protagonist and heroine's struggles in Shinobu's path. None of the characters' struggles felt forced or unnatural, the way many charage make them seem, which was impressive in and of itself. Overall, this is a first-class addition to anyone's nakige collection, and it is definitely going to be stiff competition for my VN of the Month for May. I wept, I laughed, and I suffered along with the characters and out of sympathy for them. I come out of this VN glad that I played it, a rare experience for a person who is as jaded as I am when it comes to VNs.
  30. 11 points
    It has been almost six months since I ceased VN of the Month. I can say now that while I do, surprisingly, miss some aspects of that particular column, the freedom giving it up has granted me is far greater compensation. When I was doing VN of the Month, I was literally the only person commenting on most of the non-nukige VNs in a given month. I was driven by a sense of obligation to those who read my blog to continue regardless of what it was doing to me and my life, and I can say now that that wasn't a healthy situation for me. I am still a VN addict. I probably always will be, just as I am a heavy reader in general and a lover of role-playing games. However, I still think the role I put it on myself to play was a necessary one. How many people who play untranslated VNs give honest opinions devoid of spoilers? For that matter, how many of them are honest about their biases when they feel they can't give a particular VN a fair chance? I made myself abide by a pretty strict set of rules when I was doing VN of the Month. One was that I would primarily evaluate VNs based on story, character development, and setting, while only mentioning visual and audio elements when they were obviously exceptional. My reason for this is that I lack the background to properly evaluate the technical aspects of audio-visual materials, whereas I have extensive experience with all sorts of reading material in general and fiction in particular. Another was that I would, on a regular basis, restate my particular biases, reminding people of the limitations of my objectivity. This was because I was writing on all VNs I played for the first time, and it would have been unfair for me to fail to state my biases beforehand when playing something that was outside my tastes or something that hit them spot on. The third was a resolve to avoid excessive spoilers. My standard was the Getchu page. If information was released on the Getchu page or the official site, I didn't consider it to be a spoiler, but I was to avoid spoiling things beyond that, except when absolutely necessary. The fourth and final rule was to strive for objectivity inasmuch as possible and be honest with myself and my readers when it wasn't possible. These rules were my guide posts for the years I did VN of the Month, and they served me well, generally... but I reached my limit. To be blunt, VN of the Month was only made possible because of my high reading speed and my willingness to structure my life solely around playing VNs and making money to buy more. Naturally, this way of doing things was doomed to failure eventually, but I got so caught up in actually doing it that I didn't notice it really at the time. Now, I play only what I want to play, and that makes me a much happier person, despite a few wistful moments where I wonder if I couldn't have done it a little while longer.
  31. 11 points
    I've been considering this for some time, but it has suddenly become a reality. To be blunt, I've come to my limit when it comes to playing pure SOL games. Oh, I can still enjoy many of them, but if you asked me whether I can look at them without my resentment of 'normal' SOL content blinding me, the answer is no. If I have to read through one more template date scene or see another osananajimi climb through the window from next door, I'm going to start tearing out the last remaining hairs atop my head. *coughs* Ahem, now that I've got that out, it needs to be said that I've been doing this since September of 2012... a ridiculous amount of time to be playing roughly 80% of all non-nukige VNs that come out (I'm figuring those I dropped or just couldn't play because they were just that bad into the twenty percent). Just to be clear, I will still continue to play VNs and comment on/review them in this blog. However, I will no longer play as many outside my tastes, nor will I go out of my way to seek gems from companies I hate reading from. I realized while I was playing Koisaku (Ensemble's latest game), that a few years ago, I would have read this game without any real problems, and I wouldn't even have blinked at the crap that now drives me up the wall. Oh sure, Ensemble's base quality has fallen massively, but when I took a step back, this is actually one of the better amongst their more recent games, with plenty of indications of real stories for the heroines in the background. However, I found I just couldn't tolerate it. It hit me in the date scene that occurs in the common route... I have no tolerance for date scenes at all anymore. Scenes like that exist for every heroine in every SOL VN, and they all turn out in almost an identical fashion. Reading it, even though it was basically a 'friend date', was like dragging my brain through mud. I just couldn't do it. I promised myself that I wouldn't BS myself on this particular matter years ago... and I knew the limit was coming. I just didn't realize that it would be this soon. So, I have to announce that this is the end of my VN of the Month column. Now, all that remains is my Random VNs and whatever VNs I choose to play each month. I will continue to play what I'm interested in, and that will probably include slice-of-life at times. However, I will no longer play SOL out of a sense of duty to my readers. My original reasons for starting VN of the Month When I first started Clephas' VN of the Month, it was because vndb gives nothing to you for info on their games beyond poor tls of the game summary from Getchu, character profiles, and sometimes tags (that might or might not be accurate). I felt that that didn't do most games justice, and I hated the way I had to go into a game blind on so many occasions. As such, I started putting up commentaries on just what kind of VN I was playing, with few or no spoilers. This was a need that, at the time, was not being fulfilled (and as far as I know, still isn't, since most reviewers include major spoilers because they are inconsiderate). Over time, my routine each month started with figuring out which games weren't nukige and which I would play first... and picking out which one was the best after I played them (the latter of course being entirely a matter of my opinion, informed as it might be). However, it is time to set down my burden. I tried handing off my work to others, and that worked for a while (thanks to @Dergonu@fun2novel@BookwormOtaku@Kiriririri for their help over the last year - yes, even you, Kiriririri). In the end, though, I'm just one man... and one middle-aged man with increasingly bad health isn't going to be able to keep this up any longer. Heck, I'm amazed i kept going this long. I do hope someone else takes up the torch of at least informing people of what to expect in newer games (and not just the ones from popular companies), but that isn't my job anymore. Thanks for reading, Clephas
  32. 11 points
    mnmnoko

    At the dawn

    As a Japanese Otaku, I, was hugely affected by VNs/eroge in my youth, have wanted to organize what I experienced on VNs and the culture around them in Japan. There are some critical texts on VNs and their history much better than mine on the Internet or books, but sometimes personal view like this could be useful, so I'm writing this now. As you might already know, a thinker or critic Hiroki Azuma actively was writing on Otaku culture from around 1993 to 2007, and he was surely in a central position of criticism about some kind of modern Japanese popular culture. Simply putting, he is a Postmodern theorist studied under other modern Japanese thinkers. As for me, I was a late teen and interested in contemporary art or paintings (I liked Jackson Pollock and Gerhard Richter) at that time, knew about him around 2004-2005 through researching Takashi Murakami, a famous Japanese artist. Those days, maybe because Azuma was impressed by the advent of a VN (Shizuku, by Leaf, 1996) and its rapid growth of narrative and structure (e.g., YU-NO, ONE, Kanon, Tsukihime), he published one book referring VNs from a renowned publisher Kodansha in 2001 and two self-publishing books only about VNs in 2004. I used to read his book and website repeatedly then, and inevitably, fascinated by old school VNs that had a queer, immature yet beautiful allure. Sadly enough, the golden age can't last forever. Around the end of 2005, Azuma said that the VNs' craze ended, and started concentrating on social criticism. When I think of it now, he might lack a responsibility to the culture he led in some sense. I was able to figure out what he meant, however. Around that time, Type-Moon changed into a company from a doujin circle, CLANNAD was released without adult contents, Leaf/AQUAPLUS gradually became interested in the all-aged console market. If I might say, VNs grew into a full-fledged genre of Otaku culture, and at the same time, it had to lose verdant attraction that only a growing genre can have. (I must say I would prefer modern VNs at present, and modern VNs tend to have great quality - especially graphics quality.) Anyhow, I needed to find my own criterion of what VNs are great for me, since I almost relied on his opinion, in other words, I had to stand on my own feet as an independent Otaku. In the end, what criterion have I found out? In short, I regard a character design as important, in particular, cuteness, glamour, and how to paint characters (not only drawing). I like paintings after all. The technique of Bishoujo pictures (Moe-e) surely has a fashion, and I have been wondering where cuteness and the modernity of Bishoujo girls arise from. Um, I'm being derailed a little, so, I will stop droning on. When I get a definite idea about something, I would like to write again. Thank you for reading!
  33. 11 points
    Despite there being a few good editing blogs on Fuwanovel, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of translation blogs. I think part of the reason for this is that editors in the fan translation scene are often doing things the translator could very well be doing themselves, often to the detriment of the final product. Look at, say, the “big back” entry Fred wrote. Now tell me why this issue couldn’t be avoided back at the translation stage. There are two reasons why you would do this: one, you don’t know Japanese well enough to understand what is actually meant, so you put down whatever it says literally. In this case, the sane way to handle the issue is to ask someone who knows Japanese better than you for advice. Two, you’re just lazy. Who actually thinks “the date changed” sounds right in English? An edge case of this is prioritizing speed; Ixrec and MDZ* both prioritized speed and neither had very good results to show for it, but they did complete things. Personally I still think this is ultimately lazy; it is significantly more simple to translate literally than to try to actually write well. In this case, ask yourself if you really want to produce a shitty translation. What I’m trying to get at is this: if you actually want to produce something good, you can’t just leave writing the thing up to the editor. Editors are not miracle workers; they have to deal with what they’re given. Furthermore, many editors working on fan translations, and well, translations period, are not very good at the job. Any time you leave something bad in, there is always the possibility of it sticking around in the final product. I’m not saying you have to be perfect. I’m saying this: for the love of visual novels, try. If you ask me, before you hand your script to the editor, you should have already done an editing pass on it. Or two. The lines should connect with each other rather than float like islands in a sea of prose, there should be at least an attempt at character voice, and all ugly stock translations should be kawari-fucking-mashita’d, much like the 日付 at midnight, with extreme prejudice. Sometimes you’re still going to come up short. Sometimes it just won’t sound right whatever you try. That’s when you should pray that your editor knows better than you – leave a note at the line explaining the problem, move on, and hope to hell that your editor is actually good enough to work it out. That’s what the editor is for. The editor should not be translating from weeb to English. The editor should not be doing your job. *Its not just the fan translation scene that does this, by the way – there are companies, like Aksys, which demand its translators write a colorless literal translation to be punched up by superstar editors later. Unsurprisingly, they’ve put out some real stinkers; I have a lot of respect for Ben Bateman’s work on 999 for this reason. View the full article
  34. 11 points
    There is a secret language spoken in the darkest corners of the visual novel world, a cant so ancient and intricate that none know its origins. To be initiated in its ways, one must drink from the Dread Chalice and be reborn in fire. Only then will the caul be drawn from your eyes. You shall know onomatopoeia. And you shall know fear. Sploosh 101: What is onomatopoeia? Before we jump in with both feet — *splash!* — let’s do a quick primer on terminology. An onomatopoeia is a word that imitates, resembles, or suggests the source of the sound it describes — i.e, it sounds like what it is. Like clink, yip, kaboom, swish, meow, oink. (That’s the verbatim transcript of my bachelor party, in case anyone’s wondering.) This is different from a word that describes a sound or action, but doesn’t actually imitate it — e.g., sneeze vs. achoo, punch vs. kapow, close vs. slam. The latter are onomatopoeia; the former, I call ononotopoeia. For the sake of brevity, let’s refer to these O and not-O. The Japanese language is rich in O. There’s a sound effect for everything. There’s probably a sound effect for there being a sound effect for everything. (If there isn’t, I’d like to propose one now: darubu.) There are even sound effects for things that don’t actually make sound — e.g., “jii” for staring. While it’s woven into the fabric of the modern Japanese language, O is especially prevalent in manga and, to a somewhat lesser extent, anime. Since visual novels draw heavily from these two worlds, they too feature lots and lots of these words. English is relatively impoverished in O by comparison, and therein lies the challenge for VN translators and editors. Do you leave these essentially untranslatable sound effects as they are? Or do you try to translate them, losing some of their immediacy and, for lack of a better word, oomph? Across the great divide The VN community seems to be fairly split on that question. In one camp, we have the purists. By and large, these are readers who are already comfortable with Japanese O through manga and anime. They consider it part and parcel of the VN experience. Learning and appreciating such terms is simply part of becoming an accomplished reader. It’d be like going to a fine dining restaurant and, instead of the chef presenting you with “the amuse-bouche,” he just came out and said, “Here’s this small appetizer thingy I made. Hope you like it.” The vocabulary is part of the experience. In the other camp, we have the reformists. To them, leaving O untouched isn’t translation; it’s mere transliteration. It denies meaningful content to the uninitiated English reader — e.g., if you don’t know "munyu" means to grope someone, you’ll be clueless when the best girl hauls off and smacks the protagonist in the very next line. To extend the fine dining metaphor, it’d be like going to the same restaurant, being handed a menu that was all in French, and having the waitstaff snootily refuse to tell you what anything meant. Hope you like thymus glands, mon ami, because that’s what you just ordered. When it came to KoiRizo, I was a reformist editor on a purist project. I joined the team after the translation had been completed and a lot of the big up-front decisions had already been made: Will this be a literal translation or liberal? (Literal.) Will we keep all the honorifics? (Yes.) Will we keep all the onomatopoeia? (Yes.) MDZ, the KoiRizo project lead, was very up-front about all this. And that was fine. The job of a VN editor is to facilitate and execute on the project lead’s vision. It’s great if you’re involved early enough to shape that vision, but it’s ultimately his/her show, not yours. (If you’re not okay with that, go start your own TL project.) So with that in mind, I did the best purist editing job I could. But what if I had carte blanche in how I approached O? What would I do differently? As luck would have it, I’ve given that some thought. Onomatopoeia in standard scripts For the majority of scripts, it helps to separate O-words into two groups: content-light ad content-heavy. The content-light group tends to consist of interjections, exclamations, grunts, groans, laughs, etc. These are mostly self-explanatory terms, communicating very little other than the fact that they’re a familiar sound. Some examples include: HoEAHehUuuAt most, I’ll clean these up to make them friendlier to Western eyes — “A! A sea cucumber!” becomes “Ah! A sea cucumber!” (In this case, it’d be too easy to mistake the “A” sound for a stammering repetition of the indefinite article “a.”) Otherwise, I’m happy to leave them be. On the other side, we have the content-heavy O-words. These are either (1) terms that have a very specific meaning you’d never be able to guess at without prior knowledge, or (2) common sounds that are rendered much differently in English than Japanese. These are the words that, if you ignore them, will result in meaningful content being lost in translation. Some examples include: Kakkun = the “sound” of hitting someone in the back of the knees. Based on a kids’ game.Su = the sound of something suddenly appearing (among other meanings)Gusu = the sound of a whimpering sobHakushon = the sound of sneezingChikutaku = the sound a clock makesOur first line of attack is to see if there’s any suitable English onomatopoeia we can swap in. It’s rare that it works out so neatly, but it does happen. So "hakushon" becomes “achoo,” "chikutaku" becomes “tick tock,” etc. If this doesn’t work, we fall back on another common approach: turning not-O English words into O by enclosing them in asterisks. So: “Gusu. Why won’t you return any of my calls?" becomes: *whimper* “Why won’t you return any of my calls?” As your final line of defense, you might consider abandoning O altogether, instead relying on some explanatory text to flesh out the intended meaning. So: Su. “Where do you think you’re going, jerk?” becomes: She appeared out of nowhere. “Where do you think you’re going, jerk?” I’d recommend turning to this as a last resort, however, since you can see a certain staccato elegance gets lost in translation. As for where you can find out what all these untranslated O-words mean, there are all sorts of online resources to be had out there. I tend to use the Japanese > English SFX dictionary over at The JADED Network, but I’m sure there are plenty of others just as good. Onomatopoeia in H-scenes Sex scenes are something of a special case. You’ll find there are large blocks of text that are nothing but wall-to-wall O. (I see what you did there, you sly dog you ...) Here are some sample lines from KoiRizo: Sango: “Nafufu. Fumu, Juru, Zuzuzu." Sango: "Rero, Chu, Chuu ..." Sango: "Hamu, Chuu, Chuu ... Rero, Juupu, Zuzu." Sango: "Jupo, Gupo, Zu." Sango: "Juzuzuzuzu." Sango: "Fumu? Fua ..." During editing, I liked to call these sections “word salad.” They’re an unholy mishmash of content-heavy O, content-light O, and nonsensical fuck-grunts. It’s a tangled mess of syllables that can make even the bravest editor or translator turn tail and run. In my earlier post on editing H-scenes, one of the commenters — smile for the camera, Ittaku! — suggested it might just be better to replace these sections with ellipses and let the VO do all the heavy lifting. It’s a tempting thought. But despite all appearances, there’s content to be had there — content the Japanese reader would have understood, and which the English reader will miss out on ... unless you take action. Let’s see what happens if we (somewhat liberally) run it through the techniques we’ve discussed so far. Sango: "Ummph. Umm." *slurp* *sluuurp* Sango: “Mmm.” *suuuck* Sango: *nibble* *suck* “Mmmm ...” *bob* *sluuurp* Sango: *sucksuck* *slurp* Sango: *slurpslurpslurpsluuurp* Sango: "Mmmph? Ahhh ..." Okay, it ain’t poetry, but at least we’ve transformed our tossed salad it into something with actual meaning. Even without having read the rest of the scene, you can guess that Sango is vigorously polishing the protagonist’s knob. Or is trapped in a vat of ramen and eating her way to freedom. It can be improved upon, of course; all those asterisks start getting visually distracting, so if the VN engine supports it, italics might be a better choice here. But I’d argue it’s much better than what we started with. Feeling more confident? Good. Go forth and sploosh.
  35. 11 points
    This blog is all about owning my mistakes and putting them on public display, so let’s do this. And yeah, I knew this one was going to come back and bite me in the ass. This was my albatross. This was my giant ass-biting albatross. The great “tricky” debacle of 2015 So there’s this word that shows up in the English translation of Koisuru Natsu no Last Resort. If you’ve read it, you might have noticed it once or twice. “Tricky.” Umi, the main heroine, falls back on this word a lot to describe the protagonist. She uses it when he’s being nice. And when he’s being a jerk. And when he’s chewing food. And any other opportunity she can think of. Basically, I think she gets paid 100 yen every time she manages to work that word into a sentence. And let me tell you: girl is pulling down bank. Of course, this is a translation, so she’s not actually saying “tricky.” She’s saying something similar in Japanese. And therein lies a tale of woe and sorrow. The backstory But let’s rewind a bit first. When I came aboard the KoiRizo team, it was to edit a single route: Nagisa’s. Makes sense — I was a first-time VN editor, and Nagisa’s route was the shortest in the game. Moreover, it was an unlockable, which meant that comparatively few people would end up reading it. Other editors were already hacking away at most of the remaining routes anyway, so that was all fine by me. As I worked my way through Nagisa’s scripts, I saw the word “tricky” pop up once or twice in Umi’s dialogue as a personal insult and it just seemed ... odd to me. Tough math problems are tricky. Opening a stubborn jar of peanut butter is tricky. People? Less so. I’m an editor, though, not a translator, so I did what I was supposed to do: flagged it for TLC review, left a comment with my concerns, edited the line as best I could, then moved along. The translator on the project had made it clear he wouldn’t be reviewing any edits until all the routes were finished being edited, so that’s about all I could do at the time. When I finished cleaning up Nagisa’s route, I was asked if I wouldn’t mind tackling Shiori’s scripts as well, which no other editor had gotten around to yet. “Sure,” I said, and set about tidying that up as well. The word “tricky” popped up a couple more times, so I did the same thing: flagged it, reiterated my concerns, then kept on editing. I finished Shiori, and was asked if I’d pick up the common route and Umi’s route; the editing on both of these had apparently stalled. Okay, what had started out as a quickie project for me was slowly turning into something much more time-consuming. I could see that. But I was still having fun, so I agreed. I started with the common route, where Umi has more screen time, which meant I started seeing the word “tricky” a little more often. And I started to worry. I flagged it, left a comment along the lines of “See my earlier notes on tricky,” and kept editing. I was determined not to get hung up on one silly word. It was becoming clear that this was sort of a catchphrase word for Umi, and I didn’t want to change the translation in my scripts if all the other editors’ scripts were keeping it as is. It’d be like if a screenwriter on The Simpsons decided that “D’oh!” sounded dumb, so Homer should say “Ooops!” instead — but only on the episodes he/she worked on. Anyway, I finished the common route and moved onto Umi’s. And lo, I gazed into a bottomless abyss of trickiness. You sly dumbass, you. Now let’s talk about the actual word. In Japanese, it’s “ずるい” — “zurui.” And, true to its definition, zurui’s a tricky word to pin down. It’s often translated as “unfair.” (Or so I’ve been told. Again, I’m an editor, not a translator. I took a Japanese class or two a few years back, so I have a basic familiarity with the rudiments of grammar and vocabulary. I’m good for: “Hello, I only speak a little Japanese. Sorry! What time is it? Where is the train? I am a very cute peach.” And that’s about it.) But there’s a little more nuance to it than that. Getting cancer is unfair. Having your advisor take credit for your thesis is unfair. “Zurui” implies a level of deviousness, impishness, slyness, craftiness, and yes, even trickiness. Someone who’s being “zurui” knows they’re getting away with something — and they’re okay with that. Moreover, it has a secondary meaning of being miserly, which is something that definitely applies to Soutarou, the protagonist of KoiRizo. I have to imagine that wordplay was not lost on the writers ... or the characters. There’s no one good English word to capture all those layers of meaning. When Umi uses this word to describe the protagonist in KoiRizo, it’s clear from context that her emotional shading varies from line to line. Sometimes she’s straight-up pissed at him and is telling him off: “You jackass.” Other times, she’s more of a late-game tsundere and says it playfully, even affectionately: “You sly dog you.” But she uses the same Japanese word every single time. Sometimes she’ll even say it six or seven times in a row without taking a breath. “Zurui. Zurui. Zurui. Zurui. Zurui. ZURUI!” It was her catchphrase. And in pretty much every instance, it had been translated as “tricky.” If the word only appeared once or twice in KoiRizo, I could have swapped in the contextually appropriate English replacements and been done with it. (I actually did this in a handful of places throughout the VN, usually when it was clear she was at one extreme of the word or the other.) But given how often it showed up, I felt somehow obligated to honor authorial intent. This was Umi’s pet phrase for this guy she’d fallen in love with. At one point, I think she even uses it as all the parts of speech in a single sentence. If I started changing “zurui” to different words every time, she’d lose a fairly important character quirk. After looking at all the options, the translator’s choice of “tricky” started seeming like it wasn’t a half-bad compromise after all. It got across that Umi thought the protag was dealing from the bottom of the emotional deck, but it also had a playful, teasing quality. It was never the best word in any particular instance, but it seemed like it might be flexible enough to be just sorta kinda okay in all instances. That argument makes sense, right? I thought so at the time, anyway. And so I left “tricky” as it was. Boy, was I wrong. Mea culpa I overthought it, plain and simple. I forgot my personal rule of writing and editing: Make the journey as frictionless for the readers as possible. Don’t let them get snagged on odd phrasings or slightly off words. Keep them immersed in the story. I’d forgotten how jarring that “tricky” word seemed those first few times I saw it in translation. As the months passed, some sort of editing Stockholm Syndrome set in and I actually started thinking it might be an acceptable option. In short, I messed up. When I read Umineko for the first time, Battler’s use (and abuse) of the word “useless” seemed so ill-fitting to me in English prose that I almost gave up reading the VN right then and there. But now, I sort of understand how the Witch Hunt team might have, over time, come to see this ungainly adjective as the best compromise for their main character’s catchphrase. It doesn’t make me like it much more, but I can see how they ended up there. (But don’t get me started on “turn the chessboard over” vs. “turn the chessboard around.” The latter works; the former leaves you with a bunch of chess pieces on the ground.) So here's the deal: It doesn’t matter that I had to make literally hundreds of judgment calls like this over the course of editing KoiRizo — what to do with Yuuhi’s numerous nicknames for the protagonist, as just one example — and 99% of them turned out okay (I hope). What matters is there’s a big lump of tricky sitting in the middle of the visual novel. And it doesn't work. I signed off on it. And I take full responsibility for that. So what to do? Not much, to be honest. It’s one of those things I’d love to revisit if given the chance, but a 2.0 KoiRizo patch seems unlikely at this time. MDZ keeps his own counsel, but he seems to have moved onto other pursuits. And that, as they say, is that. Postscript As I mentioned, the original intent of this blog was to put a spotlight on my many missteps as a first-time VN editor. That hasn’t changed. I might also try to throw in some helpful life advice from time to time, but I’m mainly happy to let my blunders serve as good object lessons for other aspiring editors. That means you should feel free to discuss any boneheaded decisions you think I might have made. Odds are I’ll own up to them. I've got a very thick skin, after all. I just ask two things: 1. This blog is about editing. If you have issues with someone’s translation choices, I kindly ask that you take it elsewhere. I hear Fuwa has really nice forums for that sort of thing, y'know? But if you have issues with how I edited someone's translation, then bring it on. 2. Please don’t be a giant pixelated dick about it. No one likes a pixel pick.
  36. 11 points
    Hello guys. This is going to be some long ass post because there are several things that I need to inform everyone who follows both our current project (Majo Koi Nikki) and the people who follow the Witch’s Garden project. First of all, the people who follow the latter know that Witch’s Garden suffered a major setback some time ago, meaning that they would stall the project. Well, not anymore because we’re taking over. From now on Luna Translations will work on two projects at the same time, the second one being Witch’s Garden, we basically merged with the last team working on it and we’ll oversee the operations from now on. Now, I’ll brief everyone regarding what will happen from now on and how will we handle this project: 1. First and foremost, what we noticed before we agreed to help here is that their main problem was TLC progress. This means that ALL of our focus will go into TLC primarily. The translator who was in charge before us had a line fail rate of around 20% , so heavy TLC will be needed. 2. Progress and updates will be given WEEKLY, just like we do with Majo Koi Nikki. 3. The editing done so far in their project won’t be used by us, since we believe it doesn’t possess the quality standards we want, so we’ll scrape it off. Our editing progress will be steadier and faster than the last team. 4. This one might get some people salty, but we intend to take down the prologue patch that the old team released. The quality of the translation in it is poor as well as the editing. In exchange, we’ll be releasing a longer partial patch, which will contain Prologue + Common or part of the common route+ translated interface, that’ll be decided later though. 5. I’m still setting up the team to work on it, although we will start fairly soon once we set up the scripts correctly. If anyone is interested to help all positions except editors are open (QC, Proofreading, Translation and TLC). 6. Expect a very high quality end result. Anyways, I’ll present the current team roster: Aizen-Sama (Coordinator) Unnamed (Translator) Forte (TLC/Translator) Rime (TLC) Hellcat (Editor) Porygon (Interface/ Hacker) Tymmur (Hacker) *This is NOT the final team and we’re still recruiting people. Anyways, I think that’s a quick brief for now. If you guys have any questions just post a comment below and I’ll try to answer all of them. Have a nice day.
  37. 11 points
    First, I'll give you a quick run-down on this game... it is a game by 3rd Eye, a company known mostly for producing chuunige that are more moe-influenced than is the norm. This game is actually more of a mystery/chuuni/action/conspiracy type than a 'pure' chuunige. The world in which it is based is a future where, ten years before the story began, magic appeared on the scene. Large numbers of people became capable of using magic, and a new branch of science was built up solely for the purpose of utilizing magic as new energy source. The result of this is a society that is somewhat divided between the magical 'haves' and 'have-nots', though that isn't the focus of the story, despite what you might otherwise anticipate. The protagonists Senri Senri is your classic 'bad-ass antihero protagonist'. He is clever, intelligent, and overall highly capable, with a razor-sharp mind and battle instincts that would put a Navy Seal to shame and make Golgo 13 look incompetent. His cold-blooded pursuit of his own interests, which are very opaque through most of the VN, is his primary defining feature... Oh, and he lies... a lot. He makes the protagonist of Sharin no Kuni seem honest. Haruto Haruto is a somewhat less beloved type of protagonist in chuunige... basically a 'justice freak' combined with being 'a young man driven against his will by the tides of fate'. He is a natural optimist and a believer in fairness above all. Unfortunately, he also has that bad habit a lot of similar chuunige protagonists have... of sticking his nose into situations he doesn't really need to get involved in. He grows a great deal during the course of the VN (as is typical of this type, if the writers don't suck), and by the end his viewpoint on the world has... been sharpened a great deal by experience. He is more likeable than a lot of similar protagonists, but it still isn't a type I prefer. The Heroines Fiona Fiona, at first glance, seems to be your classic clutzy/innocent nun-type heroine. She works as a nun at a run-down church in the city's... less reputable area and is well-loved by the delinquents who frequent the church. However, she, like most of the characters in this game, is hiding a lot of secrets... She is one of Senri's two heroines. Noa An innocent, pure-hearted girl who is seen mostly as a ghost throughout the first part of the game. She has a really unique way of speaking, born partially from Senri's half-hearted efforts at education (mostly through handing her magazines and letting her watch AVs). To be honest, in the reading of this VN, interpreting her weird speech patterns was a bit difficult at first (she cuts apart words and puts them together in weird ways). She is the second of Senri's two heroines. Asahi Asahi is... a bit weird. Her personality itself is quite straightforward and honest, and she hates lies and general dishonesty with a passion. However, she is also compassionate to a fault and unwavering in the pursuit of her goals. Unfortunately - at least so it seems at first - there are a few loose screws rolling around in that head of hers. Even more so than Haruto, she is an eternal an unrepentant optimist and probably the single most trustworthy individual in the entire VN. Riku Riku is, throughout the VN, perhaps the least expressive individual other than Senri himself. She almost never displays her emotions on her face, and she has an almost unnatural tendency to think objectively about anything and everything, including herself. That the writer managed to grant her so much depth without making her a protagonist was an impressive feat in and of itself... and one of the reasons why her interactions with Haruto and Asahi are so amusing. She really is almost as detached as she seems most of the time, which is one of the reasons it hits so hard when she does become emotional. The VN Sorcery Jokers is definitely VN of the Month material. I'll say that right off the bat. The depth of the story and characters is incomparable with previous games by this company, and while it falls slightly short of a kamige, it is nonetheless something worth taking note of. Normally, I can't stand dual protagonists, as many have heard me mention. I hated Subahibi for that, amongst a number of other sins, and one of the biggest reasons it took me so long to play I/O was because I don't like going into VNs with multiple protags. Fortunately, I managed to get past that, simply because the differing approaches to the story were the only thing that made it possible to grasp something even approaching the whole of the story as it happened. A single perspective wouldn't have done a bit of good as an approach to this VN's story, simply because there are too many things happening at too many different points for a single perspective to handle. The VN's structure is basically that of a kinetic novel, with the illusion of choice through a flow chart (for the first chapter, at least) where you pick and choose which events you want to see next (though you have to see them all anyway). To be honest, I could have done without the flow chart entirely... flow charts in general are an irritation more than a help, especially if they are made a central part of progressing the story. That said, as the actual switching around mostly ends after the first chapter, it isn't really a big deal (though it does make me wonder why they had a flow chart at all). The story's mystery and conspiracy elements feel a lot like peeling an onion, as there are layers within layers within layers. What you thought was the root of things turns out to be just another layer, more than once. As things come together near the end, the knowledge you've gained through the character perspectives deepens the experience nicely, making this one of the few part-mystery VNs I've played in recent years that I didn't immediately have 'read' relatively early on. That isn't to say there aren't points where the VN stumbles. Haruto, because of his role as the 'kid chuunige protag', is the game's Achilles Heel, as all protagonists of the type with his kind of temperament tend to be. However, his growth is enough to offset the cookie-cutter aspects of his character enough that I approved of his role... in the end. Asahi also threatens to tilt the balance of the VN into the realm of the silly a lot early on, simply because of her 'weirdness'. However, because that silliness is a vital ingredient in her growth as a character, it can't really said to be a true weakness, though it can be irritating at times. The endings are all branches off of the true end, one for each heroine (Noa or Fiona with Senri, and Asahi or Riku with Haruto). I had no problems with the epilogues for Noa or Fiona... but I thought that Haruto had devolved a lot in his heroine epilogues, which kind of brought me back to why I didn't like him in the first place. Overall, I felt that this VN is one of the more solid chuunige made in the last few years, especially in the sense of 'balance'. Silverio Vendetta, while it is a lot more exhilarating, also had the difficulty of disproportionately focusing the writer's attention on Vendetta, which weakened the other two paths greatly. Bansenjin suffers from reusing an uninspiring cast and being relatively boring throughout most of its length. In terms of a constant sense of tension and in terms of pacing of events, this VN definitely is the winner of Chuunige VN of the Year so far, though it isn't chuuni-crack in the sense that Silverio was. I'm actually quite proud of the fact that this company has evolved so much since its somewhat... unimpressive beginnings (Bloody Rondo), and I'm glad I stuck with the company. It is always nice to be surprised pleasantly by a VN.
  38. 11 points
    How do you eat an entire whale? One bite at a time. Preferably with Cholula. How do you edit/translate/whatever a visual novel? One line at a time. Preferably with bourbon. Whether you’re a fan of the final product or not, one of the things that impresses me most about MDZ’s fan translation of Koisuru Natsu no Last Resort is that it got released, period. As in, if you were so inclined, you could download the installer right now, patch the original Japanese game, and go play the thing on your new-fangled Windows Pee-Cee. No demos, no one-route partial patches. The whole damned VN in English, finished on schedule and out there in the world. The project didn’t stall. It didn’t wind up in no-updates-in-six-months-but-we-think-they’re-still-working-on-it hell. It didn’t climb into that white panel van with Little Busters EX, never to be heard from again. The nice man was lying to you, Little Busters EX — there were no cute little puppies in the back. What were you thinking?! The KoiRizo team did nothing particularly special to make this happen. We just ate the whale one bite at a time. The rhythm method By his own account, MDZ worked very methodically on the project, spending an average of 30 minutes every day translating scripts into English. Not when he felt like it. Not when inspiration struck. Not when enough people harassed him with all-caps emails asking why the HELL hadn’t there been any progress updates on the KoiRizo tracker lately. He made it an expected part of his routine, like brushing his teeth or eating dinner. He scheduled regular translation sessions between classes or before heading out in the morning. He did a little bit. Every. Single. Day. There’s a word for that: consistency. That’s what gets things done in the real world, not 48-hour marathons every random.randint(1,6) weekends fueled by Red Bull, Hot Pockets, and intense self-loathing. Consistency keeps you from getting burned out. Consistency lets you make reasonable schedules and estimates, then stick to them. Consistency is like goddamned black magic. Over the course of the project, MDZ had consistency in spades. If he can maintain that approach to life, I have a feeling he’ll be successful at whatever he puts his mind to after college. When I came on board as an editor, I kept a somewhat similar schedule. I resolved to set aside my commuting time each workday for editing. And so for 40 minutes in the morning and 40 minutes in the evening, Monday through Friday, I’d park my butt in a train seat, break out my laptop, and just edit. Weekdays were reserved for my family. If you’re married with kids, you know there is no such thing as free time on weekends. If you’re not married and don’t have kids, please tell me what the outside world is like. I hear they came out with a PlayStation 2? That’s gotta be pretty awesome. Anyway, that’s what I ended up doing. Edit every single workday. For six months. Until it was done. (Six months? That long to edit a medium-length visual novel? Yeah, that long. KoiRizo weighs in at 36,000+ lines. Over six months, that works out to about 1,400 lines a week, or 210 lines per hour. That’s an edited line every 17 seconds or so, with most of the lines needing substantial polishing/rewriting. I have no idea what pace other VN editors work at, but I felt like this was one I could maintain over the long haul. Call it the distance runner’s lope.) Special topics in calamity physics So why all this rambling about whales and consistency? Because I just got back from vacation a few days ago and I’ve been surprised at how long it’s taken me to get my head back into the various projects I’ve been working on (or even writing this blog). And then I got to wondering how often something small like that snowballs into a stalled or even failed project. A missed day turns into a skipped week turns into a skipped month turns into a dead translation. Which then got me thinking about the coefficient of friction. It’s basic physics, which I excelled at (failing repeatedly). In layman’s terms, it’s a ratio (μ) that gives you a sense how much force two surfaces exert on each other and, therefore, how much force you need to exert to get something moving from a dead stop. Wooden block on ice? Low coefficient of friction. Wooden block on shag carpet? High coefficient of friction ... and a senseless crime against tasteful décor. Once you overcome that initial friction, it takes comparatively little force to keep an object in motion. I can easily imagine there’s a coefficient of friction between us and our work, some quantifiable level of resistance that needs be overcome before we get our asses in gear and be productive. And unlike the one in Physics 101, which is constant for any two materials, this one is different every single day. It depends on a bunch of different factors: how interested we are in our projects, how appreciated we feel, what other projects we’ve got going on at the same time, how much sleep we’ve gotten, what else is going on in our lives, whether or not the Mets are currently in the World Series, etc. Let’s call it the coefficient of slackitude. Once we get started on a project and make it part of our everyday routine, we can largely ignore this number. We’ve overcome the initial slackitude and, with moderate effort, can keep things rolling along fairly smoothly. But each time we let things coast to a stop, even for a few days, we’ve got to overcome the slackitude all over again. And since that value is variable, it might be much harder the second time around. In fact, it probably will be. Eventually, we’ll fail to do so. And our project will die. The takeaway So other than the fact that I had no business being anywhere near a physics classroom, what can we take away from my incoherent ramblings? A couple things: The easiest way to make sure your project gets finished is to stick to a regular schedule. Eat the whale a little at a time — every day if you can. Minimize the gaps. Avoid having to face off against that nasty coefficient of slackitude more than once.The easiest way to make sure your project gets started at all is to pick a time when that coefficient of slackitude is low — when you’re excited by the prospect, when you’re well-rested, when you have relatively few competing interests. When you can focus. Use that time to build your momentum, so when your interest wanes or real life intrudes — it always does and it always will — the project is so embedded in your routine that you can just ride it out.We need more finished translations in the world. So pull up a chair and eat your whale. Do it for your team. Do it for yourself. Do it for poor Little Busters EX, drugged and ball-gagged in a basement somewhere, forever wondering when it’ll finally get to see the puppies.
  39. 10 points
    You should read this over at https://j-addicts.de/vn-of-the-month-december-2003/ as not only does it have (some) juicier screenshots, but the formatting is much better. First of all, I believe I should thank the j-addicts/Koutou Yuumin team for their knowledge and expertise. This article grew way beyond my expectations, and I would surely have lost my way without them. Also, to the several friends who gave me feedback and helped me out in various ways, thank you very much. Well then, shall we start? This month has four masturpieces (get it?). They are Saishuu Chikan Densha 2, Kadowakashi, Christmas★Present, and Kizumono no Shoujo Gaiden. That being said, there are still several other quite decent games. The game that surprised me the most by the positive and my personal masturpiece is Jam 'n Limit, and the games that disappointed me much were Eisai Kyouiku and Yami no Koe III. If you're looking for this month's overall best game, the answer is probably something boring like Saya no Uta (the answer, not the game). How are masturpieces decided, you ask? Introducing: the fap-o-meter! In Erogamescape, it's possible to vote on how suitable the H-scenes were for fapping material, ranging from "Weren't useful at all" to "Were pretty useful." Thus, I will attribute a numerical score (from 0 to 5) for each of those and tally up the average. This will be known as the fap-o-meter. This isn't a fallible and objective method, but it should give an idea of how much cummies the players were able to get out of these games. The Games To begin with, I decided which games to play based on EGS's database. This is because it's bound to have more games listed than vndb. Out of 107 releases, I checked out 31 games. There were 21 games I would've considered for review, except that I wasn't able to obtain them as nearly all of them are obscure doujin games, which were sold exclusively at Comiket. I blacklisted 55 games: 32 are moege/charage/plotge – basically, games that have too much plot or other crap in the way of my precious porn, 9 were re-releases, 7 were PS2 games or not VNs, 6 were all-ages and thus no porn, and 1 was listed incorrectly. Please keep in mind that just because a game is ranked higher or lower, it's not an absolute indicator of its quality. Some games cater to one fetish exclusively, so they're not bound to please everyone. The game titles have been localized by me, as I thought that's something that a predominantly English-speaking audience would appreciate. That is if they don't have one already. The same goes for the synopsis. Many of them are translated by me, and at times, I've had to replace what was very obviously nonsensical machine-translated garbage. I am still in the process of learning Japanese, and translating is, well, challenging, but I can assure you that there are no lies, falsehoods, or made-up stuff on them. I will put any game descriptions that aren't mine between quotes and credit them appropriately. The screenshots are at 75% of their original resolution, except for one of the games where I could only play the widescreen version, so it's at 50%. If you're interested in a specific game, I'd advise for you to CTRL+F search for it. If you'd like to read my overall conclusions on this whole venture, search for My Thoughts and Conclusions. One last thing: I did not rely on machine translation tools to play these games. 1. Midnight Sleazy Train 2 EGS-Score: 74 (442) Atelier Kaguya TEAM HEARTBEAT Fap-o-meter: 3.26 (91) Saishuu Chikan Densha 2 Main appeal: chikan, forceful sex, group sex 最終痴漢電車2 "Touch her/Lick her/Verbally abuse her" "Some towns have legends of haunted houses or underground communities in the sewers. But in Takumi’s town, the ultimate urban legend is the Midnight Sleazy Train. Desperate for a spot on the train, Takumi waits by the station after hours. But he finds that you can’t just buy a ticket. Only by bringing the perfect female guest can you ensure permission to come aboard." http://anidb.net/perl-bin/animedb.pl?show=anime&aid=2444 Well, color me surprised! For some reason, this game has hundreds of votes, so I was curious about how that came to be. Perhaps a lot of people watched the H-OVA and became interested in the game that way? That's what I call a marketing success. But that's not all. The game itself is a pretty good nukige. Beyond the beautiful art and hot H-scenes, the game bolsters a pretty robust map movement system. Unlike most games where you wander at random, hoping you'll run into the characters, the game tells if there's someone at the place you're about to visit. It sounds like something straightforward, but it doesn't matter how good the game's content is if the system doesn't facilitate the access to that very content. Besides that, you also have verb-based interactivity during the H-scenes (filling up their lewdness level gauge), and this makes for perfect roleplaying. You're not just playing as a groping protagonist, you feel like the groper yourself. With all of these factors combined, it's no wonder that so many people enjoy this game and the series, yet to this very day. Though, if you're not that big of a fan of uh...gangbangs, you might not enjoy it that much. Maybe watch the H-OVA first and see if it's something you'd like. 2. Kidnapping EGS-Score: 65 (41) ZyX Fap-o-meter: 3.25 (4) Kadowakashi Main appeal: sexual slavery 拐 ~カドワカシ~ There was a certain man, an all-girls school art lecturer. One day, he came across Tomoko, a student who was being bullied, and saved her from her predicament. However, this very event triggered his innermost sadistic desires. Suddenly, he could no longer hold back, and forced himself upon her. To our protagonist who had awakened to his sadistic desires, Tomoko proposed that he sexually train one of her classmates, Yazawa Mizue, a pure girl, ignorant of the ways of the world. While being aware that Tomoko was hiding something, the protagonist decided to play along with her plan. Could he become such an individual that could rule others into submission? Not out of simple, mere lust, he earnestly wanted to find the answer to that very question. Will he really be able to rule over the heroines as if they were his own possession, or else, will he end up as nothing more than Tomoko's puppet? Wow, uh, what a fast development. They really get straight to the action, huh. Within a couple of minutes, the protagonist rapes one of his students, Tomoko. I'm actually not a fan of justifying this as "lol deep dark desires," but I guess that's the setup they were going for. The main meat of this game is to sexually train a trio of heroines. True to its name, with Tomoko's help, you kidnap two of your students and confine them in a locked room, starting off with Mizue. What really makes this game stand out is the sheer variety in H content. The heroine has stats, most of them sexually-related, and you have to raise them to allow for even kinkier play. You have to be strategic with your options to train the ultimate sex slaves. Though, if you suck, you can play on Easy difficulty. When I say variety, I mean that ALL of these options are available at the start (well, as long as the heroine "consents" to it). This means all kinds of play. You can choose to be kind or to be sadistic. You can make her service you or teach her pleasure through shamefulness. Ultimate freedom and variety. That doesn't mean you can just do anything. If you're too harsh on her, she'll collapse. Have this happen enough times, and you'll get a game over. So please, be responsible, and take good care of your sex slaves! When it comes to the staff members, the spotlight is on the game's artist, Mutou Keiji. He is responsible for the character design and art of many games I have played in the past, from Studio Triumph. It's extremely similar to JAST published Do You Like Horny Bunnies?. Perhaps they had the same teacher? It might seem odd at first, but I grew really fond of this style over time. The sex scenes are also animated, and for once, they actually look good. Nice! 3. Christmas★Present EGS-Score: 70 (62) Ail [Team Riva] Fap-o-meter: 3.09 (11) Christmas★Present Main appeal: BDSM, forceful sex, comedy クリスマス★プレゼント On the night of December 16th, with Christmas close by… In the corner of a town wrapped in the holiday spirit, our protagonist, Sajima Yuuji, was once again completely absorbed in picking fights with delinquents. All of a sudden, a girl in Santa Claus's garments fell from the sky, crashing into him. Carrying the collapsed girl who to his room, he raped her without waiting for her to regain consciousness. And so, the very next morning, this one Santa's apprentice came to her senses. Upon realizing the situation she was in, she was bewildered. "No...it can't be!" Not only did he deprive her of her precious symbol of maidenhood, but also the source of her powers: her precious Saint's Crest. And so, promising to return the crest, he set the following terms: "Until the day of Christmas, you'll be my slave." Abusing these powers, and laying his hands not only on this Santa's apprentice, but also his stepsister Yuzu, stepmother Honami, and other women…what will become of this year's Christmas? This was actually the game I was looking forward to playing the most. Considering this is the month of December, I really wanted to play at least one game that would really get me into the holiday spirit. It took me hours to figure out how to get it working, but man, was it worth it! While the description is a bit grim and dark, the game is actually the complete opposite. It's always fun and filled with comedic moments. The best way to describe this game would perhaps be "bakage" (silly game) due to its sheer absurdity and ridiculousness. Of note, the game has a sort of "affinity" system. Your actions will increase your "evil" points by a certain amount. So, you can abuse the powers of the Saint's Crest, which can make any wish come true, or you can be a good boy and play along as Santa's Little Helper, spreading happiness all over town. The art is beautiful, the sex is hot, the banter between characters is great. This game would make for the perfect Christmas present. 4. Defiled Girls - Campus of Used Goods Side Story EGS-Score: 70 (83) Rasen Fap-o-meter: 2.82 (17) Kizumono no Shoujo -Kizumono no Gakuen Gaiden- Main appeal: blackmail, forceful sex, group sex 傷モノの少女-傷モノの学園・外伝- The "Kazaoto Academy Student Guerrilla Incident". An incident where roughly all survivors suffered greatly. The women, raped. The men who refused to rape, killed. And now, once again, a new humiliation play was about to begin... After the terrifying incident took place, part of the students who attended Kazaoto Academy transfered schools. And so, the stage changes to the preparatory school, Mizuto Academy, which two of the incident's victims attended. They were Oomura Takeshi and Shindou Narumi. In the middle of winter, when he had just gotten used to his new school life, Takeshi discovered a laptop which contained a video of Narumi being gang raped. While he was in shock at this devastating sight, his friend Kaneda Masaru saw the video by accident. Unflinchingly, Kaneda comes up with ways to use this video to blackmail Narumi. Without being able to refuse Kaneda's suggestion, Takeshi, while holding complicated feelings in his chest, ends up agreeing to blackmail and rape Narumi. And so, asides from Narumi, they gradually went on to defile the other girls surrounding them... This an insult game. This game has insult scenes, the protagonist and his buddy insult the girls...wait, what? Duh, I mean, rape. Yes, that's the word. This game is basically a side story of the original Kizumono no Gakuen. You don't really need to have played the previous game as it's not a direct sequel. Takeshi and Narumi's involvement in the previous incident is briefly explained - Takeshi was forced to film the girls being raped, under threat of being killed, and Narumi was one of the victims. Upon finding one of his old videos, he can no longer contain his excitement. I prefer this game to the first one because I like seeing the gap between peaceful school life and the moments of higher tension. That's not to say that the battle royale setting isn't thrilling though. It also feels like more of a personal experience, since you have one protagonist instead of multiple ones/multiple POVs. While you might initially think it to be a rape fest...it's just so much more than that. It capitalizes on human emotions: sorrow, anguish, sadness, loneliness...and instead of an abrupt chaotic state, it's gratifying to witness that transition. You can also expect exciting developments such as betrayals when you least see them coming. The H-scenes are well, pretty good. There's nothing that bonds friends together any more than doing the same girl at the same time...the story is about the defilement of the girls, as much as it is about the corruption of the protagonist's psyche. Though it helps to have a friend who is crazier than you. At least in this game, the "villains" actually feel like villains as they delve into their intricate plots, instead of your casual rapists. Of particular note, this game has a quite nice atmosphere, boosted by a quality soundtrack. Good faps are to be had with this game. 5. I'm a Booth Attendant - Heisaku and Kenta's Wild Tales EGS-Score: 65 (35) Interheart Fap-o-meter: 2.75 (4) Oira wa Bandai ~Heisaku & Kenta no Yume Monogatari~ Main appeal: voyeurism オイラは番台~平作&健太の夢物語~ One day, a police detective suddenly barged in a certain popular public bathhouse that the protagonist was in charge of. "Dan Koutarou! You're under arrest, under suspicion of sexual assault!" With a clack, he was handcuffed. Several months passed, and after a hellish series of interrogations, his guilt was established. "Why, why am I the only one serving a prison sentence? Why are Heisaku and Kenta getting away scott free? But, it seems that is my fate... Even if they were to be caught, it does not mean that my punishment would go away, but... Is the public bathhouse that I inherited from my pops done for? I've really done something awful to him..." Man, I can't believe we came out innocent. I feel kinda bad about pushing the blame solely on Koutarou, but this too is part of fate, huh. Kou-chan, just sit quietly in your cell! So, we were cleared of suspicion, but what should we do from now on? You're right...for now, how about we go back to Koutarou's shop, and peek in the bath once again?! There's also videos of those women we filmed that we haven't used yet! To begin with, let's change bathhouse's name! Enter Heisaku and Kenta's Wild Tales! This is a side story, continuing off the ending of the first game. I really recommend that you play that game first so that you'll get the most enjoyment out of the story. Basically, this is a real-time, public bathhouse management game. You take in customers, and you can peek at them while they change clothes, are in the toilet or just chilling in the bath. You'll have to follow the schedule carefully and know the exact times when the heroines visit the bathhouse. The game's system is pretty helpful in this regard, but something like a tutorial would've been much appreciated. It takes some time to get used to the gameplay, as you also have to use and buy items that will help you in your peeping quest, but I find the experience to be worth the trouble. If anything, the banter between characters is pretty well-done. Most of the characters are actually adults, which is a nice change of pace. I also like that the previous game's protagonist went to jail since that's what happens when you do bad things. The game is pretty similar to the first one, so once again, that's probably where you want to start. Interheart themselves published a walkthrough for this game, and I wish I had noticed it before playing...oh well. 6. Please Teach Nanami and Konomi the ABC EGS-Score: 68 (101) Studio Ring Fap-o-meter: 2.61 (18) Nanami to Konomi no Oshiete ABC Main appeal: lolicon ななみとこのみのおしえてA・B・C "You're a college student on summer vacation. In your neighbourhood live two extremely friendly cute twin girls, Nanami and Konomi Nishimura. One day their mother asks you to tutor the two of them. "Nanami wants to study with onii-chan!" "Onii-chan, will you teach Konomi?" Of course, onii-chan immediately replies. "Sure, if you want me to, it'd be my pleasure." "He didn't say no... thank goodness." "Yay!" And thus begins your summer "lessons" with Nanami and Konomi." https://vndb.org/v1620 Alright, so uh...yeah. Despite the pretty art and cutesy voice acting, I found this game to be not much more than wish fulfillment for lolicon. To begin with, I'm not a fan of deredere, lovestruck heroines, but if you're into this type of content, you're probably going to enjoy it. 7. Lewd Little Sister BABY EGS-Score: 65 (65) Image Craft Fap-o-meter: 2.58 (13) Inmai Baby Main appeal: lolicon 淫妹BABY "The protagonist is a young man. He lives with his younger stepsister Mana in the same house, together brother and sister discover a lot of games (with sometimes interesting toys) and they have a lot of fun." https://vndb.org/v3153 Right, so, uh...yeah. There are two main points of interest in this game. First, it's the art or overall art direction. Not only are the H-scenes fully animated, but the sprites are also constantly changing very fluidly. The artstyle might seem simple, but it's nice and colorful. Honestly, this game very much feels like an anime, to the point I'd almost unironically call it an "anime game". The second point is the sheer amount and variety of endings. You have the freedom to craft the story as you please, but remember that everything you do has a consequence. Strictly speaking, I'd only recommend this to fans of the genre. 8. Children Milk Parfait EGS-Score: 66 (28) Shiritsu Sakuranbo Shouggakou Fap-o-meter: 2.57 (7) Kodomo Milk Parfait Main appeal: lolicon こどもみるくぱふぇ "You're a college student and while you love the many beautiful girls you see around you in college you prefer elementary school girls. Your girlfriend is 10 year old 5th grade elementary school girl Ai Hasegawa. She's happy to be your girlfriend but discovers that her best friend Aya Sakurai has a crush on you too! Ai loves both you and Aya so she decides it's ok to share! She brings Aya to your apartment and asks you to take her first kiss. Where will you go from there?" https://vndb.org/v4244 I swear, I'm not doing it on purpose! Anyway, for this game, I actually had to make a decision, since if I included the votes of the 2007 DVD release, it would score much higher. To make things fair, I decided not to. In my opinion, I found this game to be boring. The children don't act like children (more like naughty adults trapped in a child's body), and most scenes are teasing. I also thought that the OP was really catchy, it even forced me to get up from my chair and bust my moves for a few minutes. The UI is also extremely cutesy, which fits the mood of the game. 9. Matty, the youngest child EGS-Score: 61 (22) Complet's Fap-o-meter: 2.5 (6) Matty Main appeal: straight shotacon まってぃ Due to certain circumstances, Ryouta was sent to live with his parent's relatives, becoming a freeloader of the Okano household. However, in this house, he is treated as nothing more than the "youngest child". As the youngest child, he is constantly teased, submitted to unreasonable requests, and sent to do errands. However, he is simply not in a position where he can refuse. The eldest daughter and office lady, Sena; the second daughter and tomboy, Kana; and the youngest daughter and his classmate, Mana. These three, without exception, do as much as they like with their new younger brother. On the other hand, his aunt Kaori dotes excessively on him. In the middle of such an exciting daily life, embarrassing and fortunate events occur...what will happen to Ryouta? I actually completed two routes of this game...but it's difficult to call them routes to begin with. Okay, first of all, this is what will usually happen. At school, you get two alternating choices that decide what type of event will occur. When you're back home, you get four choices which are meaningless by themselves (e.g., kill time, go back to your room, watch TV, etc.), and if you're lucky you'll trigger some kind of event with the heroines. When it's time to go to bed, you can choose between going to sleep right away, going to the restroom, or reading a porn magazine (there are like four to collect, can you get them all?!). The first two of those choices CAN trigger events, but 90% of the time nothing happens. And this repeats every single day until the game ends. You have no idea which choices trigger what, you have to constantly savescum if you want to see events with a certain heroine (and of course, you'll have to try all the choices first, every time), and even then, more than half of the scenes are teasing. So all you're really doing is collecting events. I hope I was able to convey the frustration I felt playing this game. Why couldn't they have employed a map movement system, where you could just visit everyone in their respective rooms? Why this lazy, inane system? And even worse, the heroine I was aiming for doesn't even have an H-scene or a proper ending. The game just ends abruptly. What a piece of crap. Either way, the art by Mame is definitely the game's high point. I recommend that you read the prologue, download a complete save file, and check out the H-scenes. Or play a better game, by the same company. 10. Surrender - Ravished Body, Broken Heart EGS-Score: 60 (3) X[iks] Fap-o-meter: 2.5 (2) Shikkan ~Hazukashimerareta Karada, Oreta Kokoro~ Main appeal: BDSM, forceful sex, mystery しっかん ~辱められた躰、折れた心~ On a solitary island, somewhere in the distant seas, there laid a certain hospital. Upon embarking on a ship towards the island, and arriving at the facilities, the protagonist received a request from his brother, the hospital's director, to investigate the spy the who had snuck in. Taking on the guise of a doctor, he will interrogate the various suspects through any and all kinds of methods. However, in the midst of the swamp where anticipation and expectations intertwine, the evil that remained dormant within the darkness reared its ugly head. This is a mystery game where the objective is to uncover the spy and the island's other mysteries. Who is the spy, and what are they after? What secrets does this hospital hold? The navigation is done through a map movement system. I usually dislike these, but you can at least trust the characters to hang out in a specific place. There's the doctor who hangs out at her own office, the patient that stays inside her room, the two nurses in the nurse station and the nurse in the psychosomatic ward. If you check out the other areas, you can find out more about the game's world, side characters, and... special tools. When you talk to the characters, there's also this interactive system, kinda like the old verb-based games. Except that it's with nouns, people's names, locations and so on.In conclusion, the game's system is kinda annoying, and honestly, I don't feel like doing bad things to the characters when they're so lovely... The dialogue and voice acting are built in such a way that they actually feel like real humans. Speaking of voice acting, it's pretty good! You might recognize some industry veterans... I'd say that despite some annoyances, the journey does feel worth it. It's definitely a game I'd like to spend more time with. 11. Good Girl's Worries Counselling Room - Fantasy World's Immoral Guidance EGS-Score: 65 (15) Collection Fap-o-meter: 2.33 (3) Yoi Ko no Nayami Soudanshitsu ~Mousou Sekai no Haitokuteki Shidou~ Main appeal: group sex, forceful sex よい娘の悩み相談室~妄想世界の背徳的指導~ The game's protagonist manages a counselling website called "Good Girl's Worries Counseling Room". Officially, it is a well-renown website where volunteers give counsel to its female users, easing their worries. However, if you seize their trust by giving them appropriate advice, you will be able to meet them directly for a sexy time! In the meanwhile, the protagonist, upon reading the contents of their e-mails, flies off to a fantasy world, where his imagination takes hold of the events they describe. Essentially, when his brother collapses from overwork, by sheer coincidence the protagonist manages to find out that he was in charge of a counseling website. The gameplay is simple: you check your inbox on the website, pick the e-mail you want to read, read it, and then the protagonist imagines the H-events described on the e-mail. After that, it is your job to give the girls advice through a series of choices. I was initially disappointed, thinking it was kinda lame to not engage with the heroines directly, but I find this to be a really novel idea. They take what would be generic H-scenes and give them a backstory, aftermath, and the female character's perspective. The most fun I had with this game was reading those very e-mails and challenging myself to give good advice. For example, there's a high school student who talks about how several boys confessed to her at once, and she ends indulging their wish of wanting to create "pleasant memories" with her. I told her that she needs to value her body more and that she should be responsible and pick only one of the guys to be her boyfriend. It really feels like a very personal experience, where I am crafting my own story, almost as if I was actually talking to a real high school student. I did not get that far, but it seems, later on, you'll actually be able to meet the girls, so there's something to look forward to. After all, most of the game's H-scenes only occur inside the protagonist's fantasy world, not in reality...or do they? Another point I'd make is that while the art might seem kinda amateurish, I actually think it's pretty hot. I like it! 12. Bright Future - Wet 'N Messy 2nd Time EGS-Score: 70 (93) FlyingShine Black Fap-o-meter: 2.17 (12) Akarui Mirai ~Wet And Messy 2nd time~ Main appeal: forceful sex, group sex, wet and messy アカルイミライ Wet And Messy 2nd time "In Azami High School, the stage of this game, there is a rumor about a ghost. According to witnesses, that ghost is surprisingly beautiful and her scent is luscious. Masaki starts to examine the fact about the ghost and one day, he happens to talk with a girl who exists in the past, Sakura. But the fact is that she doesn't exist in the present. She was killed in the past and Masaki tries to change her future to save her...." https://vndb.org/v546 This is a mystery/drama game that also doubles as a nukige. You, as the leader of the newspaper club, are initially given the task to investigate the so-called "Honey Ghost." The rest is according to the description: you start talking to a girl from the past and then realize that she died. Your objective is to find out what happened and change her terrible fate to a bright future. But that's not all. There are also several peculiarities happening in the present. There's the mysterious psychic treatment (psychosomatic) school club, which is in fact just a front for a group of rapists. While you are busy with your investigation, be careful not to let the heroines fall into their grasp... True to its name, you can expect things to get really wet and messy, by a variety of fluids...be it water, essential oils (aromatherapy), milk, SEMEN...But while the art is beautiful and the story seems promising, the game actually suffers from the excessive H-scenes. Before you really have time to care about a heroine, you end up peeking on them having or being forced into sex by a group of guys. If the scenes were more spaced out, the game would actually feel like it has some tension. Overall, I Just feel like it's trying to do too many things at once. While you get plenty of choices, only very few of them branch out the story. Most of them just give you an alternate or slightly different scene. They don't really have an impact on the story. The series was rebooted as the Kurai Mirai (Dark Future) or Crime Rhyme series. By the name alone, you can see the new direction that they took with the games, which I'm not of a fan of. Because no matter which manners of cruelties they must endure, at least the title name "Bright Future" gives you the hope that there is a way for the heroines to avoid their awful fate...even if not entirely. I'm not a fan of these quasi-NTR gangrape games, where you're just walking around, peeking on others having sex, and not really doing much about it. That's not to say that some of the scenes aren't hot, especially if you like it...wet and messy. I like this scene where your previous choice changes whether the heroine calls you senpai or onii-chan. It's, uh, a nice touch since you're pretty much defining the relationship you have with her. 13. Mansion, the Prison of Lust EGS-Score: 60 (12) Girl's Software Fap-o-meter: 2 (1) Ingoku no Yakata Main appeal: BDSM, sexual slavery, maids 淫獄の館 The ultimate immoral adventure game - combining extreme humiliation and sexual assault elements with the component of sexual slavery. Taking a remote western-styled mansion as the game's stage, train these beautiful and lovely maids into your sex slaves! Will you accept your fate, exhausting the limits of rape and sexual slavery? Or else, will you continue opposing those who hold you captive until the very end? If you were to take a single step within this mansion, you too would end up becoming its prisoner... First, I suppose I should start with what I liked about this game. The art is gorgeous when it comes to the character design and HCGs, drawn by one of my favorite eroge artists. The sexual slavery scenes are quite varied, but there's also a good number of vanilla scenes. You basically get the choice to give in to your "deep dark desires," or to defy your captor. To be honest, despite this being a nukige, what I enjoyed the most were the slice-of-life scenes and banter between characters. The music is a great mood-setter, but what made these scenes that much more enjoyable was the stellar voice acting performance. I'm sure that if you look at their names, you'll recognize several industry veterans. I'd point out Isshiki Hikaru, who voices the protagonist's sister in Cartagra as especially memorable. However, all of them were really good, and I also liked their performance in...other parts of the game. That's the thing, though. After spending all that time growing fond of the characters, I don't really want to do awful things to them. For this game's negative points, I'd say that getting a good ending is really difficult without using a walkthrough, and otherwise, it just gets frustrating. I also disliked the spontaneous H-scenes during the first part of the game. This is because they are all "dream sequences," more like showing a possible future for the protagonist. It feels as if those scenes were just thrown in there because the slice-of-life and comedy sections were too long, and they thought people would get bored if they didn't get some fap material, but eh. They feel entirely out of place because there's no context and no build-up for those scenes.Another point is that when I train my sex slaves, I don't like sharing them with others...especially dirty old men. 14. Stray Sheep - Disgraceful Confession Room EGS-Score: 55 (4) Panda House Fap-o-meter: 2 (1) Stray Sheep ~Chijoku no Zangeshitsu~ Main appeal: BDSM, mystery STRAY SHEEP ~恥辱の懺悔室~ For yet but an ephemeral moment, a rape scene that makes one's sadist heart boil strongly with passion. A tale that does not confine itself to the boundaries of desire. In order to solve the mystery surrounding his sister's death, our protagonist headed towards St. Raffine Mission Girls' High School. And for the sake of his unsatisfiable, boundless desire, he infiltrates the school, takes on the mantle of a clergyman. In this place, there yet wandered innocent lambs...however, a feast that would push the very limits of shame and disgrace was awaiting them. These Stray Sheep will kneel before one who borrowed God's name to find the truth at any cost. Stray Sheep doubles as mystery and hardcore BDSM game. The protagonist makes use of his privileged position as the school's new Father to search for the truth, little by time, at times employing more forceful means. I did not find myself able to empathize with the protagonist and his revenge-filled heart. It's not that I'm not fond of revenge stories, but if you're going to do awful things to someone, then at least do it to people who deserve it. If one thing though, both the CGs and character sprites sure are pretty. Reminds me a bit of Mink's artstyle of that time. 15. Masquerade EGS-Score: 64 (14) Soft Circle Courreges Fap-o-meter: 2 (1) Masquerade Main appeal: maid, pure love story MASQUERADE Under the strong duress that was succeeding my father's legacy, my life resumed itself to dedicating myself to my work. Finding absolutely no joy to this monotous, repetitive routine, I soon found myself to be a mere husk of a man, caring about nothing but maximing profits and running a successful business. But then, there she was. Elena Garshis. Following the death of her mother, she was taken into my household, working as a maid. I want to see her scream and shout, to dye her pure white skin with my jet black desire. Yes, the very same Elena who does not lose her perfect, radiant smile, no matter what the task...If it's her, she will accept me with no protest. Over time, I came to be consumed by such feelings, and finally, I was able to satisfy my desires. Taking shelter from the coldness of Winter, a small story took place in a certain mansion. And with it, so did develop a pure yet depraved love that taught me the warmth and true meaning of Christmas, together with the one most important to me. While the setting seems to be grimdark, it's actually kinda wrong to call it a nukige. In fact, you could complete the game while avoiding most of the sexual content. I actually completed this game as it's relatively short, about one to two others long. I found the main story to be sweet and very much worth the time I spent with it. Some might find it generic, but I guess I'm fond of these pure love type of stories. You can choose to either engage in sexual acts with your maid or to have conversations with her about a variety of topics, getting to know her better. By sexual acts, I mean that you don't force yourself upon her and that everything is done consensually, even if the protagonist is in a position of authority. On that front, it's kinda weak as a BDSM/sexual slavery game, but I appreciate the variety of content and the hot HCGs. The negative side is that both these conversations and H-scenes repeat themselves. For example, if you want to unlock further conversations, you'll have to approach specific topics an X number of times. The problem is that the conversations are the exact same the second or third time, so you're gonna be skipping them. It's just annoying. Did they run out of content even though the game is so short? Why force you to repeat conversations? Anyway, you'll probably want to follow a walkthrough. The similar happens with the H-scenes, where you can unlock extra scenes or variations of the same scene. Anyway, this is a pretty decent doujin game if you like maids, sweet but kinda corny love stories, are willing to press the skip button half the time, and use a walkthrough. 16. A Naughty Doctor EGS-Score: 58 (7) Sol-fa-soft Fap-o-meter: 2 (1) H na Oisha-san Main appeal: lolicon Hなお医者さん "A somewhat naughty doctor has come to take medical examinations. He is supposed to inspect their bodies, but all he's doing is touching the young girls all over." https://www.dlsite.com/ecchi-eng/work/=/product_id/RE039687.html So I booted up this game, which is unvoiced and has the same looping soundtrack all the time. And on the very first few choices, I hit a little girl, was sent to jail and got a premature Happy Ending. Great game. "HAPPY ENDING...hell if it is!" But it's actually an enjoyable game. You touch the characters in places where you're not really supposed to, but get away with it with some convincing persuasion, and eventually get to do a more direct inspection. I actually like this type of games where you play as a doctor and interact with a patient, deceiving them, and abusing their trust. For example, Studio Triumph's games. But well, this one doesn't even compare since the game is too damn short, as the whole thing is about 20-30 minutes long. Apparently, there's a voiced version, but I couldn't get my hands on it. The game is decent for what it is, but it's nothing special. I think there should've been more bad endings. 17. Jam 'N Limit - LOCKED/ROOM/CON/FINE/MENT EGS-Score: 53 (18) Studio Jikkenshitsu Fap-o-meter: 2 (2) Jam n' Limit ~Mis/shitsu/Kan/kin Main appeal: roleplay, forceful sex ジャムアンリミット~密/室/監/禁 Ever since I was a child, I had always questioned myself. Yes, I've always hated those so-called moral lessons. "Do not hate or harm others. Try to be mindful of other people's feelings. Plants and animals are living beings too, so treat them kindly." I wonder if there is anyone who actually puts these lessons in practice? To begin with, it is impossible for one person to adequately understand the feelings of another person. Also, treat other living things kindly, they say? Should such a line come from someone who eats meat? Who gave them the right to preach such hypocritical nonsense? Even if I were to narrow down the topic to human beings…for example, a person who raises funds for the sake of the homeless or those in greater need…I wonder if they're as great as they seem to be. Helping elderly people cross the street, giving directions to those who ask, offering your seat on the bus or train… wouldn't that be nothing more than feeding one's superiority complex, feeling of self-satisfaction, or just your typical social propaganda? Considering that I ponder these issues on a daily basis, I'm quite certain that society would just say I'm "going crazy". However, as far as I'm concerned, this is completely "normal" to me. If the world is to think that I've gone crazy, then I must prove that they are the ones who have gone mad. Thus, I shall find a suitable target for this "experiment", to show the world that I am the one who is normal. The only reason I went ahead and made the description this long is that this is the type of philosophical musings that are constantly present in the game. You can only imagine my surprise, playing this game after I almost considered skipping it - from the cover it seems like a generic nukige, and the score reinforces that assumption. I'm very glad I did not. Honestly, I can only do this game justice with a full review, which I'd like to do in the near future (maybe), so this will be a bit of a sample of what's to come. It comes with a fair warning though: this game isn't for everyone. It's probably only for sexual deviants like me. I've played this up until I was done with the first heroine's section of the story. Instead of having character routes, you "conquer" one heroine after the other, so you follow the protagonist's journey through madness. That is to say, this is more the protagonist's story than anything else, but you only truly understand the depth of his madness when you have a "normal" person as a reference. But that isn't all, as they too will find their own "madness." Your choices in-game have to do with the course of actions you take as much as the preparations you have to make. For example, for your plan to succeed, what kind of precautions should you take, what should you be most concerned about, how will you create the perfect locked room while avoiding suspicion, how will you psychologically corner your prey, how will prevent their escape, and what will you do in the event something unexpected happens. Accompanied by an in-built flow-chart, you'll be making these decisions as you try to avoid the game's multiple bad endings. I don't want to spoil the content of the H-scenes, but they've mostly based around..."personalized roleplay."For me, this is the best game I played this month and my personal master and masturpiece, or at least the one which surprised me the most, making this whole venture worth it. Please don't overlook it just because it has the "nukige" label. It could also be that the game simply left a lasting first impression, which lead me to overhype it slightly. Either way, I look forward to finishing it and publishing a more detailed review, whether it lives up to my expectations or not. Maybe. 18. Gifted Education Frenzy EGS-Score: 65 (89) Kuzuryuu Fap-o-meter: 1.93 (14) Eisai Kyouiku Main appeal: BDSM, sexual slavery 英才狂育 "Certain subjects being taught these days at college aren't always on the curriculum... Sex education is one of them. Here at our all-girls school, one male teacher takes it upon himself to best educate students in the ways of carnal knowledge. Using (and abusing) his authority, he lures the hottest students into his lair and has his sleazy way with them. In the end, these girls will learn some lessons they'll never forget." https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=8497 You might know this from the H-OVA "Study a Broad." With beautiful art from Innocent Grey's CEO Sugina Miki, renown artist responsible for Cartagra, Kara no Shoujo series and Flowers series, coupled with BDSM and sexual slavery themes, what could possibly go wrong with this game? Put simply, this game sucks. Sugina Miki's art and the seiyuu's talents were put to waste with this game thanks to an awful gameplay system. So, you have three phases during the day: morning, lunchtime, and after school. During those periods, you can visit different locations during the game, taking up one, two, and five time slots respectively. Oh, and I fail to mention that there are ten locations in the game? So, you have to visit the heroines at the RIGHT TIME in the RIGHT PLACE to trigger the events. What a load of crap. This game is the ultimate proof that no matter how good your game's content is (in this case, H-scenes), it doesn't matter if it's locked behind a nonsensical and overly complicated system. Sure, you have an idea of where the characters are likely to hang out, but who would've thought that the flower arrangement club member likes to hang out on the rooftop? So, definitely use a walkthrough. And don't try to pursue more than one heroine at a time, as the timeslots often clash. That's not everything, though. If you fuck up too much in the beginning, you can get a bad ending. And even if you follow a walkthrough, you probably won't get to see every event. This game is as sadistic to its players as it is to the heroines. I actually completed one of the routes - the twins. And there I witnessed some of the most stupid teen drama I ever had the displeasure of going through in recent times. At the very least, the H-scenes are hot, but I don't think it's worth seeing them without the context behind them. How frustrating! 19. Erosion EGS-Score: 74 (21) Black Package Try Fap-o-meter: 1.8 (5) Shinshoku Main appeal: sexual slavery 浸蝕 The protagonist, Kokubo Toshiya, is adopted by the loving Kitagawa family. In truth, he was in cahoots with the orphanage's director, and aimed to turn the women of this family into his prey. Despite conducting himself as a mature and overly polite child, Kokubo Toshiya secretly harbors dark thoughts, this twisted personality being a result of a traumatic childhood experience. Gradually, he starts to show his true personality just before starting his plans on his stepmother and stepsister. While his stepfather is away from home, Toshiya puts his plan in practice. Using a photo of his stepsister shoplifting, he starts with her stepmother, and soon he also reaches his hand on his stepsister. I actually edited the first part of this synopsis from vndb because it was filled with lies, so I claim it as my own. Ahem. This game unceremoniously starts with four H-scenes in a row. It sure doesn't waste any time, huh? On the very first scene, the setting is established. Toshiya, despite being of high school age, is somehow a hardcore sex slave trainer, all because his mother was a whore when he was a child. The orphanage's director is already his sex slave, as are other girls in school, and then he "infiltrates" this loving family intending to make them his sex slaves just for the lulz. You witness the mother, who knows the protag for nothing but a few days (or like, 10 minutes in-game), masturbate while calling his name. I mean, what the fuck. Already? She hardly even knows him! This protagonist is literally the equivalent of an isekai anime protag who one-shots everything in sight on the first episode. I did not find the art or the voice acting appealing either, but there's plenty of variety when it comes to the training scenes, I guess. If I had to mention any positives, it would be that the game is quite technically advanced. There's an in-built flowchart, a read text marker, the ability to jump to the next and previous choices, and voice lines on the backlog. All in all, this game is nothing more than rape fantasy and is completely disrespectful and demeaning towards women. 20. Last Order EGS-Score: 70 (50) 13cm Fap-o-meter: 1.75 (8) Last Order Main appeal: sexual slavery, group sex ラストオーダー The stage of this game is a family restaurant named flóreal. As an able floor manager, the protagonist enjoys the trust of his fellow staff members and respect of his superiors. However, there was another side to this man. He gets closer to the female employees while feigning kindness... By the time he has attained their trust, he discovers and exploits their weaknesses, and forcefully makes them his own possession. In reality, all of the women who work at this restaurant have already become his sex slaves. However, one day, two new job applications had come, and at that very moment, the protagonist had already decided on his next prey. Although she seems to be a quiet, docile girl, in reality, she keeps hidden an unparalleled lewd side of hers. Not letting this go unseen, the protagonist comes up with numerous ploys in order to completely put his new prey to shame. This is a game which seemed to be nothing more than a generic nukige, but ended surprising me. If there were such a thing as a theme for this game, it'd be moratorium, the postponement of social responsibilities. The protagonist and other characters deal with this issue on different degrees: feeling like they're growing up too fast, being afraid to become a full-fledged adult, or being too attached to things of the past. As someone finding themselves within this very period of transition, I felt I was able to connect to the game on a personal level, if even slightly. The sexual content mostly revolves around the use of devices for sexual training and bondage. With two new waitresses bolstering floréal's ranks, so are there two new prey for the protagonist to lay his hands on. I have mentioned this several times before, I believe, but I'm not fond of sharing my sex slaves. After the slaves' training is cumplete, you have them serve the customers, often multiple at once, and this happens when you had just thought they became yours. I'd say that might be why the fap-o-meter is so low, even though this is actually a quite decent game. 21. Intense Pregnant Belly - Senpai, Please Acknowledge My Child! EGS-Score: 41 (18) Acme X Fap-o-meter: 1.67 (3) Hageshiku Botebara! Senpai, Watashi no Ko, Mitomete Kudasai!! Main appeal: forceful sex, group sex, yuri 激しくボテ腹! ~センパイ、私のコ、認めてくださいっ!~ "It's a creampie without contraception!" Thus were the words of the savage brutes who targetted her… Nami, a pure and naive who always has her head up in the clouds, whose only noteworthy feature is her liveliness. Letting her heart be filled with high hopes and expectations, she begins attending the same school as the senpai that she admired. The very picture of a typical shoujo manga heroine, Nami lived her life blissfully ignorant of how truly scary men can be. However, nothing but terrifying fiends awaited her in this school, be them men or women. Her volleyball club adviser, fellow club members, classmates, dormitory roommates and the dormitory manager… Even the surrounding neighbourhood's bums, all of them constantly aimed at Nami's fresh and ripe body. Will she really be able to offer her chastity to her beloved senpai? First of all, I gotta ask. Who the hell came up with such a dumb title? This game is just a tasteless and senseless complete rapefest. It is disgustingly evil and cruel. I'm sorry, but I don't have much else to say. I dropped it because I'm not a masochist and there's hardly a redeeming factor to this piece of crap. I guess some people might be into it, but I'm not. Moving along. 22. Say Yah! Happy New Year 2003! EGS-Score: 55 (9) Authoring Heaven Fap-o-meter: 1.6 (5) Say Yah! 2003 Main appeal: comedy, straight shotacon Say Yah! 2003 This is a sequel to Say Yah!. This time around, in order to pay back Old Man Klaus, Aria has officially acquired her Santa Practitioner License, and distributes presents all over town to various houses. There reside a shotacon mother, a lesbian chick, and even a sister got dragged into it! This Christmas Eve, you'll be cumming down their chimney! This game is not only a sequel to first Say Yah!, but it also features characters from other Authoring Heaven and Complet's games, as they're both imprints of the same stock company. You can expect similar kind of content and humor from the same games. Basically, you have a map, and you choose which house to deliver presents to... in the form of sex. It's not really my cup of tea, but the game is kinda funny, if you're into that type of humor... 23. Married Woman Slave Coffee Shop 2 EGS-Score: 60 (20) Black Lilith Fap-o-meter: 1.6 (5) Hitozuma Dorei Kissa 2 Main appeal: sexual slavery, group sex, forceful sex 人妻奴隷喫茶2 "To think that you'd really take pictures like these...you're scum, human scum!" Wild beasts lust after the body of a beautiful married woman, who manages a coffee shop. With a new sacrifice being offered to these very beasts, they will squeeze out every single drop of these two cows' lewd tits! I played the first game too just so I could understand this game better. Thus this will serve as a review for both games. They're about 20 mins each, so that wasn't an issue. But well, there isn't that much to say, except that the games suck. On the first game, these three high school students with nothing better to do than wander around town manage to spot a lady shoplifting. And somehow, they make use of that knowledge to blackmail her into becoming her sex slave. After the first H-scene, it's scene after scene until the game ends. On the second game, this chick finds The Three Stooges talking about how much they love sex, and apprehends their sex toys. After calling them human scum, she ends up fapping with those toys inside the classroom, and she follows them to the coffee shop because she's secretly a colossal pervert, I guess. The rest plays out the same as the first game. The games have slight ero animations which kinda look good, but since it's a zoomed up close-up, they end up covering most of the CG. These games are cheap, they're too short, and they suck. 24. The Voice in the Night III - Summoning Circle Pentagram of the Three Desires EGS-Score: 60 (45) Black Cyc Fap-o-meter: 1.5 (14) Yami no Koe III ~Gobou San'yoku Mahoujin~ Main appeal: corruption of characters 闇の声III ~五芒三欲魔方陣~ "K is trapped within the academy, and recruits a passerby to find girls in various locations outside the academy in order to break the barrier. To accomplish this, she lends him her bag containing clothing and apparel with a degenerating influence." https://vndb.org/v3336 Wait, what is a Black Cyc game doing at the very bottom? To truly understand this, you'd have to play the first two games, as this one is part of the original Yami no Koe trilogy. Thankfully, I am perfectly suited for this review as I played all of the three games. However, this is a game that I would like to review at a greater length, so I'll try to keep this short. Basically, this game sucks. No, it would be more correct to say that this would just be an average nukige, if not for its preceding legacy. Because it bears the Yami no Koe name, anyone who plays this game expects high-quality nukige, the same as the first two. But it's the complete opposite. Here's how the gameplay goes: you have a box with several magical items, starting with five, and each one of them is supposed to awaken a dormant fetish within the heroines. Once you reach the second stage, you get up to ten items to use on the heroines. Sounds awesome, right? Well, not really. The heroines are only receptive to one or two of the items in each stage. Most of your time is actually spent trying out different items, getting a generic "this item wasn't very effective" message, reloading, trying out a new item, getting the same crap all over again until you get it right. That's not all. While a heroine might've been receptive to an item at first, it might happen that they will not be interested in it in the future. So, it's save, reload, save, reload, save, reload. How about I just quit, uninstall this piece of crap, and never play it again? Even worse, the protagonist doesn't interact with the heroines directly. Thanks to K's powers, he makes the item magically appear in front of the heroine, and they'll make up a suitable excuse on their own for why the item is there. What a load of bullshit. The only time you have sex with them is at the very end (if you managed to corrupt them all fully), on what feels like the developers' way of mocking and trolling the player. You know when you play a sequel to one of your favorite games, and it's complete shit? Except that here, you can't blame EA, like with its sudden takeover of Bioware franchises such as Mass Effect or Dragon Age. No, it's literally the same writers, the same director, the very same team. They knew what they were doing with this game, and it's nothing more than a quick cash grab. I hope I was able to convey my feelings on this matter accurately, and looking at the scoring, it's no surprise. Everyone felt let down by what is the weakest game of the Yami no Koe series. The only good point to this game is the amazing art, by one of the best eroge/nukige artists. Even Conjueror agrees! However, he gave the second and third games the same score, so I wonder if he actually played them at all. 25. Rape Secretarial Office 2 -Midou Shirou's Chapter EGS-Score: 65 (12) Maika Fap-o-meter: 1.5 (2) Ryoujoku Hishoshitsu 2 ~Midou Shirou Hen~ Main appeal: sexual slavery, mind control, forceful sex 凌辱秘書室2 ~御童志狼篇~ Midou Shirou manipulates females' body and mind at will, as the legitimate successor of the dreadful, evil fist, the "Obscene Vortex Core Fist". Of course, that is nothing but his secret identity. He worked as a respectable employee of a high-tech development enterprise, until... One day, the situation suddenly changed, ever since he was confronted with a mysterious conspiracy. He receives a missive from Yuuzuki Yukino, Internal Investigation Bureau's top agent dispatched directly from headquarters, to settle this incident once and for all. This game is about rape. It has rape in the title, and even the game's executable file is called "RAPE2.exe". Basically, you have Midou Shirou, who can use some sort of mysterious power, which translated literally would be something incomprehensible such as "Obscene Vortex Core Fist." Probably some kind of wordplay. When he says specific keywords, it triggers something within the heroines - there are no tools that need to be used, so it's just a special ability of his. And by special ability, I mean that it's a complete cheat. After you meet all the heroines, you can choose one of them to be your trained sex slave, as in, it's something that already happened. I found that to be interesting at first, but it's actually kinda lame. Let's say you were interested in a character, would you want to conquer her or would you want the game to gift you her as your already trained slave? Your objective is to obtain sensitive financial information and have lots of sex while you're at it. Your chosen sex slave will assist you in this task, so you already have six slightly different ways of playing the game. This all sounds awesome, but it's simply too easy. It's too easy to make the heroines fall thanks to Shirou's ability, having them call you "Master" by one H-scene's time. To begin with, the protagonist is already a cool stud, does he really need this power? He doesn't have any interesting motivations or something you can empathize with. This game is just a trashy rapefest, which puts its beautiful art to waste. 26. I'll Grant Your Wish - A Gift Received in Winter EGS-Score: 58 (17) High Soft Fap-o-meter: 1 (1) Kanaete Ageru ~Fuyu ga Kureta Okurimono~ Main appeal: group sex かなえてあげる~冬がくれた贈り物~ The protagonist is a university student, a complete bookworm who has been enamorated with reading ever since he was a child. He was confessed to by his bright and cheerful childhood friend, Shiraishi Yuri, and they became a couple just before highschool graduation. However, even to this day, the two have yet to engage in lewd acts, as Yuri has developed some sort of complex, thanks to her huge breasts. Ever since he was a middle schooler, he eased his worries and feelings of gloominess by engrossing himself in reading. Being immersed in that world, he was able to reduce his stress with the power of his imagination. However, as one would expect of one who had just become a university student, such a thing is simply no longer possible. His accumulating sexual desire. His increasing sexual fantasies. That wasn't only towards his girlfriend Yuri, but other women as well. However, one day, with the day of Christmas approaching. A group of women, introducing themselves as Santa Claus, suddenly appeared. "In exchange for helping us, we will make your dreams come true." And so, taking on a four-year period contract, the protagonist accepts their proposal. Will his sexual fantasies remain in the world of dreams, or else...? The premise is rather simple. The protagonist wants to have sex with his girlfriend, but it's totally not happening any time soon, and he faps to his sexual fantasies all day. Wow, he and I are not so different after all! So, these girls suddenly appear in his room and make the proposal as mentioned earlier. The story is well, as you could imagine, nothing special. It's nothing but senseless H-scene after H-scene, without any thread linking the events together. Put simply, it's just boring to read/play. You literally play as Santa's little helper, as you go from house to house, and research which present to give to the residents. Depending on the presents you pick, your relationship will improve with one of the heroines. This is a quite cumbersome system, and not very easy without a walkthrough. I wasn't able to find one... Since the protagonist is the only one who can see the girls, it could also be that he's simply had one fap too many, and none of this is real. Yep, that's probably it. 27. Let me fuck 'ya, teach! EGS-Score: 50 (11) Tryset Fap-o-meter: 1 (3) Yarasete! Teacher Main appeal: straight shotacon やらせてっ!てぃーちゃー "Ishibasha Yuuta is young, but already way too much interested in erotic things, to the point that at school he is considered a pervert! There is a new temporary teacher at school: her name is Riko Okamoto and she's there to assist the actual teacher during 2 weeks. She makes the perfect target for Yuuta to tease..." https://vndb.org/v5884 For a while, I thought I was playing a Complet's game, as this one has similar art, humor, and sexual content. You play as an overly perverted brat and constantly tease the new assistant teacher. Instead of proper routes, just like Matty (ugh), you collect events. The difference is that you trigger those events by moving around the school, as you pick the location you want to visit. I find this blind guessing system to be annoying, so I'd recommend a walkthrough once again. I actually liked the H-scenes, and I'm pretty surprised this game is sitting here at the bottom, especially when you consider that it spawned a whole series. Maybe Tryset were off to a bad start with this one, or the players just found the system to be too cumbersome. 28. Day-care worker <3 EGS-Score: 45 (9) Triangle-delta Fap-o-meter: 1 (1) Hobo-san Chu! Main appeal: roleplay 保母さんちゅ! Kasuga Shin'ichi works at the Kazamizawa Daycare Center. Together with Osamura Natsumi and other daycare workers, their daily routine resumes itself to taking care of and supervising the growth of multiple children. One day, the cute and lively Shima Chiaki joins them as a new daycare worker. However, she ends up causing lots of problems as she can't get used to the various tasks related to taking care of the children's needs. As her senior on the job, Shin'ichi is instructed to put into practice a special curriculum, which they came to mention as "night training". Witnessing Chiaki in low spirits over not being able to perform at her dream job, he steels his heart in order to turn her into a proper daycare worker. Thought I'd start by giving a warning that, despite the protagonist's profession and the game's setting, all participants in sexual activities are consenting adults. That already makes for strange setting though. Who thought about mixing up daycare work with...roleplay? The worst part is that they do a pretty poor job at explaining the need for such a thing in the first place. I mean, I don't think it helps her understand the kids' feelings any better by changing adult diapers or making her piss on the ground. Overall, the setting just feels at odds with the game's sexual content, but it does make for an interesting premise, I guess. I do commend them for trying out something different, and I do find the H-scenes to be not that bad... The main highlights are the beautiful OP (no need to listen past 2:10) and yet another casting by Isshiki Hikaru. 29. Petite Idols - Disgraceful Fan Appreciation Day EGS-Score: 52 (14) Black Lilith Fap-o-meter: 1 (3) Puchi Idol ~ Chijoku no Fan Kansha Day Main appeal: lolicon, cosplay, forceful sex, group sex ぷちアイドル~ちじょくのファン感謝デー "It's time for fans to punish these two little selfish idols!" https://vndb.org/v6957 This is just bad. I feel like I really hit the bottom of the barrel with this one. It comes with a really stupid reasoning for revenge: the two idols are cheeky and foul-mouthed and treat their greasy, sweaty, disgusting otaku fans with the disrespect they deserve. But then came fan appreciation day... 30. Nestle Close III - Manager Hibiki EGS-Score: 70 (3) Haikara Kissa Fap-o-meter: 0.5 (2) Nestle Close III Main appeal: onee-san, big breasts, glasses Nestle Close III "A pretty girl who is a daughter of your apartment house's owner is asked to take care of the building during the owner's two weeks absence. How do you get along with her? https://www.dlsite.com/ecchi-eng/work/=/product_id/RE024315.html I physically cannot play this game, as short-haired heroines with glasses are the worst. Next. 31. Soft and Tender Lesson EGS-Score: 50 (11) Trabulance Fap-o-meter: 0 (1) Pururn Jugyou Main appeal: breasts, big breasts, big tiddies, tits, oppai ぷるるん授業 The ultimate game for lovers of huge, enormous breasts! The heroines are all female teachers, mature beauties featuring a bust size of over 100cm! As it is the specialty of Trabulence, the H-scenes are fully packed with all sorts of juicy big tiddies! As advertised, the heroines have enormous breasts to the point that it's sure to cause back problems. If you're into this type of thing, you might get some enjoyment out of it. However, I found the game to be a completely average nukige. Of particular note, there is a toggle correct choice indicator. Interact with the same heroine enough times, and you'll have sex with them. Wow, now that I put that in words, it seems that'd describe most games. Either way, despite being thrown to the very bottom, it's certainly not THAT bad. Then again, there's only one vote which is... mine. My Thoughts and Conclusions First of all, thanks to everyone who stuck with me until the very end. Or perhaps you're one of the people who scrolled down to the very bottom? It's alright, I don't blame you. The truth is, this format sucks. Usually, you'd first find a game you like, play it, and then maybe review it, not the other way around. This would've worked much better if I had a team of perverts working with me. Each one of us could pick a game that we might like, play it, and then review it. This was way too much work for one person, as this was all my own, original commentary, but I did my very best for the quality not to suffer. The very idea of reviewing eroge and excluding nukige would be ridiculous, as despite bearing the "stigma" that comes with the nukige tag, there are some pretty good games amongst those that I reviewed. Making people aware of that was my initial objective, and I hope to have realized it. Not surprisingly, there's a good number of games focused in particular fetishes. I think it's interesting that there wasn't a single Netorare game amongst these, perhaps the genre hadn't taken off yet. There's a big divide between games with consensual sex and games with forceful sex. The first usually focuses on lighter fetishes, while the second group often goes all the way with hardcore sexual slavery. I play my games on fullscreen, so I wasn't bothered by the resolution. And there are plenty of games with beautiful art, mood-setting soundtrack, and stellar voice acting performances nonetheless. The most significant conclusion I'd take is that most of these games, well, suffer from too much gameplay at times. Like I've said on my very first review, it doesn't matter how good your content is if the system is cumbersome in a way that players have too much of a hard time accessing it. You can have a map movement system like Eisai Kyouiku's, which forces you to check a walkthrough every 10 seconds, or you can have one like Saishuu Chikan Densha 2's, where you can worry less about optimization and focus more on having fun. The second is one where the creator really thought about the player experience, how would people actually feel playing the game. I also found it interesting that most protagonists are actually adults. There are several university students, but you have them do all kinds of jobs: ordinary salarymen, teachers, daycare worker, clerk, doctors, idol manager, grocer, businessman, restaurant floor manager, tutor, even a priest... You also have many different kinds of settings, as if everyone was trying hard to carve their own niche. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside thinking about how everyone, even the little guys, was working hard, giving up precious time during the holiday season to provide us with great fapping material. God bless you. Oh, you’re probably wondering why I didn’t talk about Saya no Uta. Well, it’s the title that needs no introductions, so I decided to go ahead and not talk about it at all to make my job easier. The point of this article was to have short reviews and summaries for lesser known games of the month, so I can’t just feature the most popular ones and not or just dismissively ignorant talk about the rest. The fap-o-meter is astonishingly low, which is complete blasphemy. This is one of the hottest english published eroge out there, with also one of the best translations available. There’s a story about how Makoto wouldn’t sell his translation until his writer parents approved it, so you can be certain of its quality. As a closing statement, please, by all means, do try some of these games and enjoy yourself to your heart's content. If you have any questions you'd like to ask me, please go ahead and message me or leave a comment below. As always, thank you for reading, and I appreciate any and all feedback.
  40. 10 points
    MaggieROBOT

    Dank-a-Ronpa Ch.1

    DISCLAIMER: I didn't ask for anyone's permission before deciding who's gonna be killed here, sorry actually not sorry about that. That's a dankier representation of these guys that may or may not reflect how they are in real life. I tried to use you guys' avatar or username as base for your appearances and everyone using a cute girl avatar must now be grateful. This entire story had zero proofreading and makes zero sense. Support the official Danganronpa release if you want a quality story, and the patch for the PSP is the best version for the first game, thanks for asking. Dreamysyu wakes up in his usual third seat of the roll beside the window, the setting sun coloring their majestic white hair orange. Just with this tiny introduction we can already see how they have all the needed traits to be the Ultimate Protagonist, and that's why we're following them now. They are already used to have a narrator describing every single thought that pop in their head. "No, and please stop doing that." was what they are thinking but honestly I don't give a damn. Anyway, seeing that the school was deserted, Dreamysyu's first thought was that they overslept and missed the entirety of philosophy class, that happened to be their favorite subject but not the author's so it was natural it was skipped here. If that was the case, it was almost time for horse riding club activities with their cute kouhai. Or just the kouhai riding because they're the protagonist. But as soon as they stepped outside they noticed something. The school was deserted. Not a single soul or background character was in sight. It's almost like... they were transported to an eroge school that's only populated by the main cast. Looking outside the window, Dreamysyu saw an unnatural amount of cherry trees in full bloom in the middle of July and the ocean not far in every single direction meaning they were in some non existing island near Japan. Way too eroge. Now the kouhai riding scene seems to be even closer to their grasp. Oh yeah, but most likely there's no kouhai anymore. Why even live as a protagonist like this? Right as Dreamysyu thought at least one girl must be around and everything would go back to normal by the end of the story so no need to panic... they heard voices. More than one. Coming from the auditorium... "My harem!" wasn't what they are thinking, but I can mess with them a little bit~ Dreamysyu opened the door and found 15 other bizarre students, almost all of them somewhat angry. "Tsk, another one?" someone said. "This must be the last one." another one that played Danganronpa before answered. Despite the hostile atmosphere, and Dreamysyu hostile appearance itself, a person approaches them. A cute girl with blue twintails, that managed to stay cheerful despite everything. Well, nothing happened yet, maybe that's why. "Hiiiiiii, and welcome to the Survivors' Club!" they already decided everybody else was killed, figures. "I'm Dergonu and I'll be glad to help you if you have any questions!" Dreamysyu was ready to raise an eyebrow but stopped. Dergonu. They remember that name. They are the Ultimate Mod, someone that did so good a job as a mod that they pretty much wiped out three forums into oblivion, such was the extension of the shitposting there. So mostly likely they know some behind the scenes stuff, it wouldn't hurt to stick around them... "No, I'm the one that truly knows everything." said a bespectacled dark haired woman with a hat that I'm guessing is a beret. Wait, did they just answered the narration? "Fiddle-samaaaaaaaaaaaa!! <3" yelled Dergonu before Fiddle could yet again answer the narration. And that name explained everything. Fiddle was known as the Ultimate Mastermind, said to have manipulated dozen other fanfics Fuwa users dared to write. Dreamysyu asked if this one would be any different, and Fiddle promptly shaked his head in a no, maybe spoiling the whole thing in the first chapter. "I can, and I will." "Wow, way to ruin the mystery. As expected of someone who liked Noble Works." said angrily a white haired guy with a gas mask. Although he's also white haired and faceless to boot, he wasn't the main character, maybe because there's way too much moe around for him to care about it. Because of that display, Dreamysyu recognized him in an instant: that was VirginSmasher, the Ultimate EOP. Said to have read all english non moege VNs in a spam of a single month, the experiment clearly corrupted his soul and it shows. In fact, he was already displeased to being forced to participate of such third-rate fanfic. "1/10 VN already, if we can even call this that." Virgin wasn't the only one that was displeased, that was indeed quite enough salt in the room. But the person that said the last line takes the cake. solidbatman, the Ultimate Salt. Even the Black Sea tried to steal the title from him, and lost. They can't drop out of the story because only I can decide that, but they already rate this a 1/10 in the middle of the prologue. Sasuga, jeez. And for all effects, solidbatman looks exactly like Batman because everything is better with Batman. "D-d-don't give it such a poor score so fast! After you read all scenes and read all text, I'm sure you'll give it at least a 8! And it does improve after the third choice of the second common route!" said a horned guy, going all technical. He had a huge encyclopedia in his arms, and he seemed to be looking at it right at this moment to know what exactly he was supposed to say next. Needless to say, that could only be SeniorBlitz, the Ultimate Guide, the guy said to be the only one that read the entire "book of answers for everything" that he now holds, and not just the tl;dr version that consisted of a tiny post-it with a 42 on it. "To be fair, you have to go multiple extra playthrough to fully understand Ste... I mean, this fic." said a cool with an almost zombie expression red haired girl with an out of place christmas hat. They were pretty well know, even more now that Steins;Gate 0 is airing. "Oh, it's Kurisu-chan, the Ultimate Tsundere!" said a poor soul, asking to be berated. "It's ULTIMATE STEINS;GATE FAN! I'm not even a Tsundere, how can I even be the Ultimate one! -Taku!" and then they proceed to talk about the last episode of S;G 0 unprompted just to prove their point of being the Ultimate S;G fan. Whoever was watching it too joined the conversation eventually. "This problem here does not change the fact that we have lots of Ultimates here." said an adorable blonde girl with a magical girl outfit. littleshogun, the Ultimate Magical Girl, seemed unfazed by everyone else, probably because of their experience with weird encounters with evil forces during all of their years working as a magical girl. "The purity of this magical girl... stirs the darkness. O Old Ones, lord of tentacled infernal beasts... I hope I can hold your thirst back with these hands of mine..." calmly stated a long haired blond, majestic and evil-looking man, even if that was in no way a calm matter. Even if he said that he hopes he can hold something or other, he probably can, single handed. That was the power of Clephas, the Ultimate Chuuni. He saw things, he did things... Even the Old Ones must be scared of him at this point. "Hey hey, enough with all this weebness. Moe kids already are a bit more than what I can handle, don't include tentacles too!" said another person from the pissed crowd. They were a beautiful brunette in a wedding dress that had all the right of being pissed if this story prevented them to marry his favorite boy. Oh well. The judge of anything weeb with strong sarcasm that I will not emulate all too well, probably, the new angry person is Zander, the Ultimate Outsider. "I might add that probably a weeb that gave me my Ultimate name, I'm not outside anything. Well, maybe outside a list of people going to jail, hell or both..." "You DO know that tentacle are a common japanese trope that's almost a history class on weebness if you actually look for the origin of the correlation between Magical Girls and tentacles, right?" said a glasses guy that looked all so smart. His face screams confidence, as expected of an Ultimate, but also passion for all the knowledge he acquired in the filthy pool of weeb hobbies. That was Pl_Lesiak, the man who looked at weebness in the eyes and came back victorious. Although he likes western weeb inspired things a bit too much, that's why his title quickly changed to Ultimate Westerner. Okay now, this title seems like he did some cowboy movies, and that's precisely why I decided to give him twin pistols in this story. The reason for that can be because a lot of people thought the same and then he went "why not?", I don't know. "'Twas indeed a bloody confusion." thought the red-claded young man besides Lesiak, after he told him his tale some time during my narration. He also had a dignified air and a posture as elegant and powerful as someone doing a gentle motion to raise their dead servants with necromancy. It couldn't be anyone else other than Mr Poltroon, the Ultimate Gentleman. And if someone have a better idea of how to write a gentleman without him sounding like an old brit, be my guest. "But now everything is A-Okay!" said a bubbly blue haired maid. Dreamysyu approached them because for a moment I almost forgot to use my protagonist for anything. But was it really necessary to ask who are they? Everyone there knew Kenshin_sama, the Ultimate Isekaier. Travelling to different worlds time and time again, the world within this tale is no different, so they were actually excited to explore one more world. They used their smartphone that they got in yet another world to take a lot of photos already and post everything in Jun Inoue's thread. Without them noticing, Kurisu-chan used the chance to complain about Re:Zero for a bit. "(ᗒᗨᗕ)" said another Ultimate, agreeing with Kenshin. Not that Zander allowed themselves to understand such a weebty so alien and far from proper english. Not that the cute pink haired girl cared, they just continued going (^ω^) around. If someone asked for the name of the tiny pink haired moe, they'll probably answer (⁎˃ᆺ˂) or something, so Dreamysyu did his protagonist part and told everyone they're Kiriririri, the Ultimate Moeblob. "I'm going to vomit if the happiness mood keeps going for too long. Can we kill each other yet?" said another short girl with some curtained bangs and pink eyes, spoiling yet another plot point if we can believe Fiddle's words that they already spoiled one. Stars appeared in their eyes as soon as they said the word "murder", what made them wave around happily, knocking Senior's encyclopedia on the floor on purpose just because. The book was so thick it could have opened a hole in the floor, but I'm not letting them escape this easily, so it just made a loud sound like whatever an elephant's fart sounds like. Even if they just look like a bully for now, in fact Ranzo is the Ultimate Bastard, hellbent on destruction and everyone else's disgrace. They couldn't simply leave all the fun to Clephas, or all the hatred to batman. They wanted a time to shine, even if killing everyone else was necessary for this. It actually was necessary, so of course they were enjoying this fic, and sadly maybe they're the only one. "I must agree that some people here are way too happy, even though everyone in school suddenly vanished and we're now trapped in a cheap imitation of the facility in some weird island and..." he actually said 34 more lines, but let's cut to the chase, shall we? tymmur, the Ultimate Orator, also had issues with how slow this story was going. Said to have recited the whole bible, Rewrite and France Shoujo before breathing in again, he looked like a wise old man in a glittered rainbow shirt that would totally be followed by some slave lolis if those still existed in the school. Well, there's Kiri, but I digress. "How horrible! How could a nice guy do something like this?" though the reader, but you need not worry. He's actually pretty nice with shotas, especially if they hook up with other shotas, he's just like this with 2D prostitute lolis that aren't protected by any 3D law. "For the sake of my sanity, I'll disagree." said Zander, what prompted tymmur to say another 67 lines, but since this chapter is almost over I'll skip it again. "Pardon my interruption of thy argument, sir, but I'm afraid we are not alone in this school..." said Poltroon, with a fierce expression of wanting to draw his sword if he had one. An annoying nihihi echoed through the room and it was coming... from the monitor on the wall that suddenly went on with a stream! "I see your all getting along! Yay! Welcome to the..." "*You're." Fiddle corrected before the naked girl could utter another mistake. Still feeling bad, eventually they introduced themselves as Mitchnomi, a 1/3 bear, a 1/3 rabbit, a 1/3 comic relif, all bad. They are doing the role of Monomi so naturaly they got shooed away not long after by the students. "KYAAAAAAAAAA!" screamed the rabbit girl, that apparently got shooed away in the other side of the monitor too. "...Can we just pretend this didn't happen and go back to... whatever was happening in the story?" batman asked and then everyone remembered what Poltroon said. It was really just about Mitchnomi? For once, everyone shut up and paid attention to the surrounding sounds. Something... was coming from the corridor. A stupid laugh soon echoed. "Upupupu... Pupupu... Upupupupupu!" "Da fuck is this?" is what Dreamysyu should have asked at the very beginning of the story. "Upupupu... Upupupwahahahahahahaha!" the laugh got even louder. Well, of course, the person laughing just entered the room, flames erupting behind them for whatever epic reason. Ranzo found it amazing and set fire to the curtain too. Clephas wanted to summon some things too, but decided against because it was still too early in the story for final boss moments. "Who... are you?" asked Dergonu, hoping for something not stupid. "Bitch please, who else could I be? The one and only, powerful and sexy, MAGGIEKUMA!" "I am not seeing a bear here." littleshogun pointed to the pretty boy that's now in front of the kids. They had white hair and black clothes so it totally fits the mono part of the name, even the 2B plushie they're carrying fits, but noooo I had to pick the kuma part. You can all agree with me that Monomaggie doesn't sound just as good. "Who caaaaaaaaaaaaaaares if I'm not a bear! Moe is the new thing, so hopefully pretty boys are here to stay." Maggiekuma explained why they decided to stick with the 9S in their avatar and not 2B. "They will, if you choose the second choice and then the fourth after [SPOILERS] dies! That way, you'll rule the world and make everyone likes whatever you want" Senior just gave me a dangerous but awesome idea. "∠(^ー^)" Kiri doesn't seem to mind. "Good thing I didn't have any expectation for this story." Virgin already gave up. "But you can end all of this... Killing everyone!" dramatic close up in Maggiekuma's face. "All according to the keikaku!" said Ranzo with a grim, even if they didn't really have a fucking plan. NEXT TIME: The rules of the deathgame and... Someone dies! But that's a twist!
  41. 10 points
    Dergonu

    Fuwa Battle Royale - Week 1 -

    Fuwanovel Battle Royale - Volume 2 - Chapter 1: The Beginning <??> Watched the screen in front of <him/her?> intently. Everything was ready. The time had finally come. All that planning, all that preparation. It had all been for this moment. “All the pieces are in place. Well then, let’s start the game, shall we?” <??> Pressed the button before <him/her?> with a wicked smile. “Hear me, members of Fuwanovel. You are here for a single purpose; to entertain me! Those who have their name announced over these broadcasts shall enter the arena, and fight to the death! Anyone and anything you see out in the arenas will be an enemy, so be careful… And ruthless. As far as the rules go… There are none, heh. Good luck.” Day 1: Members in this chapter: “The game has begun. Good luck.” “‘Alright, time to hunt.” Ranzo jumped down from the platform he was standing on, numbered ‘11’. He had woken up inside an unfamiliar room just moments before, where he had found his suit and weapons. After a short, confusing briefing from the person in charge, Ranzo’s <cell?> had opened, and he could walk out. What greeted him was a massive forest, full of large trees towering high above him. The large trees blocked out almost all the sunlight, making it hard for Ranzo to see where he was going. But, it was either straight ahead, or back to the cell, so Ranzo chose to keep walking. The “briefing” had been simple. “You are stuck here. You are to fight anything and anyone you come across. If you are the last alive after the game is over, you win. If you die, you lose.” “Gee, really? If I die, I lose? That’s a shocker.” Ranzo spun his scythe around his body with precision while he walked, clearly used to handling the weapon. A sabre hung from his waist in a makeshift sheathe, crafted from his belt. After having advanced through the forest for a good ten minutes, Ranzo reached a suspicious looking cave, marked with a number— “7”. “Hm, another contender?” Ranzo whispered, and gripped the handle of his scythe firmly while he scanned his surroundings. If his hunch was right, the numbers represented contenders in the “game”. He was 11, and “7” was a different Fuwanovel user, also entered in the game. Crack. Ranzo spun around instinctively at the sound of a branch breaking behind him, and in the same motion, he threw his scythe forwards. The sound of metal colliding with metal made Ranzo flinch for a brief second, and he lost sight of the person who had knocked his scythe out of the air. “Tch.” Ranzo gripped his sabre and chased the mystery person, like a wolf rushing towards a sheep. He had no plan. The only thing going through his head was: kill it. Whoever or whatever it was; kill it. Meanwhile SeniorBlitz ran as fast as he could through the forest, like he had the grim reaper himself on his heels. That was in fact what Senior had thought for a second when he saw the scythe fly towards him just moments before. Senior was not well versed in any kind of combat. He had, in fact, never been in a fight in his entire life. What he did have, however, was a special ability. The ability to know what to do, where to go. He couldn’t explain it well, but there was something guiding him at all times. If he was about to trip and fall, something in his mind would tell him to stop. If he ever got lost, something would guide him back home, even if he had no idea where he was. It was thanks to that power, that guide, that Senior was still alive. He had seen the scythe coming seconds before it was thrown, and had used the sword that was given to him at the start of the game to block its path. He had sadly dropped the sword in his escape, and was therefore now unarmed. “Stop running my friend, I wish you no harm!” His attacker was shouting at Senior from behind. Thanks to his ability, Senior knew that he would be able to shake off his tail if he just kept following the path laid out in his mind. He did not look back, he did not falter. “Tch, you little… How long do you plan on running for?” “I’ll catch you eventually you little slime! Just you wait, I’m coming for you!” The voice of his attacker grew distant, as Senior just kept on running through the forest. Before long, he had completely shaken off the madman running after him. “Haah, haah, haah…” Senior finally had the opportunity to stop for a breath. With his hands on his knees, he spent a few minutes calming down. He knew that the man behind him would not be able to find him for at least another ten minutes, thanks to his ability. “Alright, time to find a better place to hide.” Senior got back up, and started walking through the dense forest, looking for shelter. He figured it would be smart to find someplace safe to gather his thoughts. It would be best to do so before nightfall, so he started walking faster, following the path lit up in his mind. “Just about another hundred meters this way, and— Huh?!” “GRAARGH!” Senior was so focused on following the path to “safety”, he paid no mind to his surroundings, and did not notice the strange creature approaching from his left. Whatever it was, its massive jaw closed around Senior’s chest, and he was lifted up into the air and shook brutally back and forth, the sharp teeth of the beast ripping his flesh apart with each movement. “GYAAAAH!” Senior let out a primal scream, and tried to punch the creature with his free arm, but it was no use. The beast’s iron jaw remained closed, and the life soon drained from Senior’s body, as most of his organs and blood poured down onto the grass below him. His entire torso had been ripped to bits, and what was left of him was soon devoured by the beast, leaving only pools of blood and a few chunks of flesh behind. About an hour later, Ranzo arrived at the scene of Senior’s death. Taking one look at the pool of blood and gore, Ranzo clicked his tongue, and turned back. “Guess someone got to him before me. Oh well, time to look for the next guy, I guess.” Whistling a song to himself, Ranzo spun his scythe around, matching the song’s rhythm as he walked back into the depths of the forest, looking for new prey to hunt. Elsewhere: Arcadeotic sat at the end of a cliff, looking at the waterfall below him with a emotionless expression, balancing a katana on his feet. A single sudden motion would surely send the sword tumbling down the fifty meter long drop. Arcadeotic was wearing a blue yukata, stained red with the blood of a pack of wild boars he had killed an hour ago. After cooking some of their meat on a fire, he had eaten some for himself, then tossed the rest down into the abyss. He had no intentions of sharing the meat with anyone else, nor did he want the smell of the meat to attract possible predators. He had extinguished the fire as soon as he was done cooking the meat, but it might still have notified someone of his location. Nevertheless, Arcadeotic sat completely still on the cliff, staring out into nothingness. Sure enough, after another few minutes, the sound of footsteps could be heard behind him. Still, Arcadeotic remaind motionless, not facing his attacker. Sneaking up behind him was Thatcomicguy, clutching his spear with his right hand. In his free arm was a wooden shield, covered in thick leather. Other than his weapons, Thatcomicguy was completely naked, though his body was covered in blue war paint. Thatcomicguy snuck up to Arcadeotic until he was a mere two meters away, then stabbed at Arcadeotic’s back with his spear. Right before the spear hit Arcadeotic’s back, he jumped straight up into the air, grabbed his katana, and in the same motion as he drew it from its sheath, he cut at Thatcomicguy’s chest. Thatcomicguy barely had time to block the slice with his shield, and was forced back a few steps from the impact. Meanwhile, Arcadeotic landed gracefully on the edge of the cliff, and quickly moved in for another attack, cutting at Thatcomicguy’s left foot. Arcadeotic closed the distance between them in a second, and mercilessly sliced a deep cut in Thatcomicguy’s calf. “Ugh…” Thatcomicguy groaned in pain, and pushed his shield forward defensively, hitting Arcadeotic in the chest. Arcadeotic fell backwards, but quickly regained his balance. For the first time in the fight, Arcadeotic glanced at his opponent, and chuckled. “You look ridiculous.” Thatcomicguy paid him no mind, and tried to focus on his plan of attack. He should have the upper hand, even with the cut on his leg, as he had the longest reach thanks to his spear, and a shield to block the katana’s slashes. The leather on his shield had taken a hit already, and was already starting to come apart. It probably wouldn’t last too long. Seemingly having come up with a plan, Thatcomicguy stepped forward. Although the pain in his leg was nothing to joke about, he did not let it stop him. “Yeah, well, we’ll see who gets the last laugh.” Keeping just enough distance between himself and his opponent, so that the katana would not be able to reach him, Thatcomicguy thrust his spear towards Arcadeotic. Arcadeotic easily deflected the thrust, but as he was about to counterattack, Thatcomicguy swiftly changed his grip, turning his spear downwards towards Arcadeotic leg, and dug the tip of his spear into Arcadeotic’s knee. Arcadeotic winced in response, but didn’t let the pain stop him from fighting. Not wasting any time, Arcadeotic slashed two times, but both attacks were blocked by Thatcomicguy’s pesky shield. “Tch.” It became impossible for Arcadeotic to stand on his wounded leg, which meant he would be at an even bigger disadvantage than before. His strongest point was his speed, but without his full mobility, he would be unable to close the distance between himself and his opponent fast enough to stop the spear from keeping him at bay. “... An eye for an eye, huh?” Arcadeotic said to himself, as he tried to come up with a way out of the dire situation. He had cut his opponent’s leg, but in return, his own knee had been damaged. Both of them were less mobile, but it seemed like his own injury was a bit more serious. “Well, what can you do.” Arcadeotic walked forward with awkward steps, his wounded leg mostly just being dragged along the ground. “I’ll end this with one strike.” The bold statement from Arcadeotic made Thatcomicguy snicker. “Oh, is that so? Well by all means, come at me.” Thatcomicguy spat back, readied his spear, and covered his chest with his shield. There was no way Arcadeotic would be able to attack his opponent’s torso. And yet… “Hmph!” With a grunt, Arcadeotic jumped forward, and with all his might, he slammed the flat side of his sword into the wooden shield. The impact made Thatcomicguy stagger, and he let out a painful groan as he put all his weight on his wounded leg. Still in the air, Arcadeotic slashed downwards. His sword moved along the rough leather covering the wooden shield, until it reached Thatcomicguy’s exposed shoulder. The sharp blade slashed open the naked shoulder, making Thatcomicguy drop his shield. Unfortunately for Arcadeotic, he was unable to brace himself properly after the attack, and he crashed into the ground, dropping his katana. The air was knocked out of him as his chest collided with the rough ground. But, he wasn’t done there. Although the world around him was spinning, he used his healthy leg to kick violently at Thatcomicguy’s wounded foot. “Guaaah!” Thatcomicguy screamed, as he too fell to the ground, paralyzed by pain. Crawling towards his katana, Arcadeotic was ready to deliver the finishing blow. He gripped the hilt of his weapon, and turned towards his fallen enemy. Although every part of his body hurt, Arcadeotic somehow managed to stand, and moved towards his prey with clumsy movements. “Hya!” As he reached his target, he brought his katana above his shoulder, and slashed mercilessly at Thatcomicguy's neck. Clink. The sound of something breaking made Arcadeotic look at his sword in confusion. The katana’s blade had snapped in half, most likely a result from his fall. And since the blade had broken mid swing, he had not actually hit his opponent. “Well, shi—” Before Arcadeotic could finish his sentence, the tip of a spear dug into his throat, making a spray of fresh blood shoot out from the wound, dying Thatcomicguy’s skin in red. As Arcadeotic’s dead body hit the floor, Thatcomicguy dropped his spear, as the strength began to leave his body. “You… Tough bastard…” With those words, he passed out. Meanwhile, at the outskirts of the forest: “How’s this place?” “Hmm, looks good. We’ll camp here for now. Someone start a fire.” “Ugh, do you think there are any more of those things out there? I’m not sure I’m comfortable sleeping here, out in the open…” “Don’t worry, we’ll take shifts keeping guard. #28, #6, you two take the first shift.” “Huh? Who died and made you the boss?” Four figures, covered in mud and blood, were talking under the cover of a giant tree, just half a kilometer from the edge of the forest. The four of them were members of Fuwanovel, and contenders in the death game that had started previously that day. But, neither of them wanted to kill their fellow members, and as a result, they had formed a team. Shortly after they teamed up, however, they were attacked by giant monsters that seemed to live in the depths of the forest. Hungry and tired, the four of them had finally reached a seemingly peaceful area, and were setting up camp with what little resources they had. The four members were Sayaka (#28), Norleas (#9), Shikomizue (#13) and Kiriririri (#6). Shikomizue was the natural leader type, and had taken the lead of the group as a result, something that did not sit well with Sayaka. “Why do I have to listen to your orders, huh? I’m tired too! I want to sleep just as much as the next guy!” “Look, I don’t mean to be rude here, but in terms of actual combat abilities, me and #9 are the strongest. We need our rest, so that we can protect this group when the time comes. You and #6 are… Well you know.” Shikomizue gestured towards Kiriririri, a small girl with silver hair, who was poking the ground with a wooden stick, paying no mind to the conversation that was happening around her. So far, she had not participated in the fighting at all. “Okay, I’ll give you her, but we’re not that crazy! Master and I helped you in the fight against those… Those things, didn’t we?!” Sayaka pointed in the direction they had come from, where the group had fought against numerous strange beasts. Shikomizue scratched his head awkwardly in response. He did not want the group to start fighting among each other, as that would just make things worse. He wanted to figure out what was going on, and how to get out of it. In order to do that, he needed to get as many people as possible to form a team. If no one killed each other, the “game” or whatever it was, had to come to a stop. That was the conclusion he had reached. “Fine, I’ll take the first shift, along with… Her.” Shikomizue looked towards Kiriririri, who had just finished drawing a strange symbol in the grass. “Alright then, let’s get that fire going and—” “Get down, something is coming.” Norleas reached behind his back and fished out the two daggers he was storing in his jacket, then crouched down, signaling for the others to do the same. The group gathered together, and those who had them drew their weapons. “What did you see?” Shikomizue did not have to wait for a response, as a large bear, covered in metal plating, walked past them. It was looking around, like it was searching for the group. It looked… Off. It looked intelligent, just like the other beasts they had fought that day. “Something is definitely not right with these things. They started attacking us right after we formed a team. Almost like… Someone doesn’t want us to team up.” Shikomizue thought to himself, as he recalled the days events. Actually, every time they had been away for combat for a certain period of time, something would come and attack them. Almost like something, or someone, were controlling them. If that was the case, then... “Master, behind you!” Sayaka shouted to himself, and jumped forward. In the next second, a large paw covered in metal slammed down on the very spot Sayaka had been standing. Reaching into his maid uniform, Sayaka fished out a strange statue, in the shape of an anime figure. “They know we’re here master, so we might as well make some noise.” Turning the head of the statue around 180 degrees, Sayaka threw it behind the tree, where the second bear had attacked from. “Everyone, if you don’t want to go boom, I suggest you run!” Moments later, the figure exploded, turning the ground beneath it to ash, blowing the bear to bits in the process. The other bear was alerted to their presence, and jumped at Norleas, who slashed at its snout with his daggers before it had time to react. The beast roared in pain, and slammed its massive paw towards Norleas, who elegantly jumped out of the paws path, and went in for another attack. While the plate armor proved to be an obstacle, Norleas still managed to bring the massive beast down in a matter of seconds, as a flurry of dagger cuts tore into its hide like it was butter, always finding the unprotected parts of the bears body. Meanwhile, Shikomizue was fending of two wolves with his wakizashi katanas, holding back one wolf with each blade, as he pressed them against the wolves sharp fangs. “Where is #6? Someone cover her.” “Yes, yes, Master and I got her, don’t worry.” Throwing explosive statues at everything that moved inside the forest, Sayaka jumped around Kiriririri, who was sitting on the ground, watching the fighting happen around her with an indifferent expression. “Ohh, we’re gonna make master so proud, yes we are, tralala.” Sayaka sang as he looked up at the sky, throwing statues now seemingly at random. A few landed close to Norleas, but he simply moved out of their path with incredible speed each time, still slashing and stabbing any beast that came in his way with his daggers. The group fended off countless beasts, until finally, only one remained. It was a massive tiger, also covered in metal plating like the bears from before. The beast’s eyes were glowing in a strange blue light, and it moved faster than any other creature they had fought so far. Sayaka had tried throwing several statues at it, but it always got out of the blast zone before it was damaged. Norleas was unable to get close to the beast as well, as it was simply too fast. Shikomizue knew they were out of options. “Tch… Is this really how it ends?” He clicked his tongue, and started to walk towards the beast while he shook his head. “Am I really doing this?” After glancing over his shoulder, taking another look at his three teammates, Shikomizue nodded, and closed his eyes. “Listen up. I know what’s going on. These things are being controlled by someone. As long as we’re in a group, we’ll be sitting ducks. They are either being controlled by whoever started this fucked up game... Someone who wants us to keep fighting, or it’s another contender, in which case we should split up to try and find the bastard. So... Guys, split up. Run. For now, just get as far away from each other as possible.” “GRAAWRH!” Like it understood what Shikomizue was saying, the tiger roared, and charged at the group. It was not happy. “Yes come on, you stupid cat.” Shikomizue charged as well, running straight ahead, towards the beast’s fangs. Then… “GUAAH!” Shikomizue screamed in pain, as the tiger bit him, its large fangs digging into his left side. “I’ll keep this thing at bay… You guys… Run away… Now!” Lifting up his free arm, Shikomizue gripped his katana firmly, and slashed at the tiger’s front legs, which were not covered by armor. That should slow it down. The thing was, it would have been impossible to target its legs without making it stop first. And, the only way to do that was to make it stop moving, for instance, by letting it bite one of them. Shikomizue had realized this a while ago, as he watched his comrades fail to hit the beast, and he had given his own life so that the other three could live. “You guys better figure out what the fuck is going on here, and stop this ‘game’, alright?” Shikomizue looked over his shoulder, watching as his allies ran into different directions. No beasts chased them. Pleased that he his plan had worked, Shikomizue fished out a cigarette from pocket, and moved it to his mouth, his hand shaking. He didn’t have anything to light it with, but he still put it in his mouth, and took a deep breath, closing his eyes. That was his last breath. Norleas walked through the forest in silence. His daggers were still dripping with blood from the countless monsters he had killed. Still, he had not even broken a sweat. Killing was his job, after all. It was a breath of fresh air for him to kill beasts instead of people. It was strange. The person whose job was to take people’s lives had chosen to join an alliance to avoid killing others. It was different this time, after all. The people in question were his friends. His fellow Fuwanovel users. There was no way he could kill them. Sensing something moving behind him, Norleas gripped his dagger, and prepared for battle. But… “Oh, it’s just you.” He lowered his weapons. Behind him stood the strange girl from before, Kiriririri. “What, didn’t you hear what the boss said? We’re supposed to split up. What, are you scared in the dark by yourself?” Kiriririri didn't’ say anything. She simply lifted her arm, pointing into the darkness behind Norleas. “What? What is… It…” Norleas turned around to look at what she was pointing at, and suddenly felt a sharp pain in his abdomen. Looking down at his own stomach, he saw a silvery blade sticking out from his chest, covered in fresh blood. “Wh-What…” “Hehe.” The laughter of a little girl was the last thing he heard, as his lifeless body fell to the floor. Kiriririri pulled the sword out of Norleas’ corpse, and it soon turned into light particles, vanishing into thin air. Kiriririri then simply kept walking through the forest with an emotionless expression. Kiriririri: Status = Alive Sayaka: Status = Alive Wildcards This Week? None Dead This Week: Still Alive:
  42. 10 points
    Recent events have compelled me to contemplate the Oxford comma to an even greater extent than usual, so let me share a story to convince you that, in addition to using the Oxford comma in writing, you should enunciate it in your speech. I was getting pizza some time ago. But I must note that it was one of those pizza places where they make little quadrilateral pizzas for a single person ("single" having two meanings, probably). I normally wouldn't concede to the expenses associated with such a bourgeois establishment, but the meal is quite cheap when one orders a full-sized square pizza―probably because they aren't meant to be eaten in one sitting―and, most notably, the meal comes with a free side order. As such, the cashier asked which side I would like, and I will transcribe this in such a manner as to accurately represent her enunciation: "You want bread chips or carrots?" I cannot think of how to tell this anecdote without now giving away the catch, which the keenest among you may have already ascertained: The sentence was actually, "You want bread, chips, or carrots?" But I am not the keenest among us, and the fact that there was no pause between the "chips" and "or" suggested, in my mind rightfully accustomed to the Oxford comma, that there were only two items: bread chips and carrots. I sought to confirm this, asking, "Bread chips?" And she, wielding the apathy of an employee who unwittingly tempts the manager into automating all the cashiers, recited the items with the selfsame cadence or lack thereof―"Bread chips or carrots?" This corroborated my confusion, and I thought to myself, I have no idea what bread chips are, but I know I don't want carrots. So I said, "BREAD CHIPS." She replied, "Chips?" And then I might have said "BREAD CHIPS" again―I forget―but apparently I conceded to chips eventually, and went to await the production of my comestibles thereafter. Not even at this point had I come to realize the situation, as my friend labored for some time to explain it to me. The Oxford comma was not the instigator in this story; it was a reluctant spectator, a single tear running down its cheek. I implore you to take this experience to heart.
  43. 10 points
    Clephas

    Amatsutsumi

    ... it's been a while since my feelings on a VN have been as complex as my feelings for this one are. I say 'feelings' because this VN has massive emotional impact... not as much as Hapymaher, but nonetheless a lot of emotional impact. To be blunt, Makoto is nothing like Hapymaher's protagonist, so if you were hoping for more of his 'consumed by sorrow and despair but still living my life' personality, sorry, no luck here. Makoto is... a blank slate. I don't say this in a bad way. For better or worse, Makoto has lived his life in an isolated village where people literally don't talk any more than is absolutely necessary, lest they accidentally compel one another with their power, 'kotodama'. Makoto has a fiance named Mana (and no, not that kind of lukewarm, 'distant fiance' sort of thing you see in some VNs, since they actually get down to business), and a rather nice, slow life in that village... However, he yearns for the outside world, where people can talk to people without restrictions. He escapes from the village and collapses from hunger in a small town four days later, where he is saved by the first of four heroines, Kokoro. From there the story begins, as he makes the journey from an innocent 'kami' to a real human being with all the baggage that comes along with it. A lot of the most interesting parts of this game come from the fact that he naturally doesn't understand much about the outside world. Makoto's innocent, unstained viewpoint, combined with his natural kindness and willingness to embrace new experiences, feel surprisingly refreshing. Things other 'normal' protagonists would worry over don't even occur to him, and he is so laid back he makes the drugged hippies of US in the sixties seem tense. While he does change as part of the story, his personal 'lens', through which he sees the world, remains remarkably clean throughout... not to mention the guy has absolutely no sense of sexual morality (in other words, his idea of sexual morality is 'don't use his power to compel people to have sex with him'). The first of the heroines, Kokoro, is a shojo manga addict who has fantasies about immoral relations with older brothers. She is a natural at unconsciously grasping the hearts of others around her without trying, and she is pretty much the picture of a heroine who 'exists to be loved by everyone'. The second heroine, Kyouko, is a miko that can see dead people (yes, I went there). She has huge self-esteem problems and is more than a little weird... for one thing, her reaction to Makoto is one of the more unique heroine reactions to a protagonist I've encountered over the years... for another, she is abnormally self-derogatory in both action and word. Mana... is the protagonist's fiance from the village. She is pretty much apathetic about other people, unless they have the decency to provide her with food (from her point of view, people who give her food move up from 'stone in the road' to 'slightly adorable insect' in most cases). She is a bit of an S, when it comes to Makoto, and Makoto is pretty much her reason for living. Because of a careless use of kotodama by another member of the village, she is always cold and in her eyes, it is always snowing. Hotaru... is the true heroine of this story. Cheerful and active, not to mention highly intelligent and perceptive... she is actually a fairly attractive heroine from the start. However, she has less initial impact than Mana or Kokoro, for reasons that are fairly apparent. Since that is by design, I actually am not complaining about this, though. Now, to get to the downside of this game... it uses the G-senjou 'ladder' story structure, wherein the story progresses arcs where you choose to either pursue the heroine associated with that arc to an ending or move on with the main story. I can say that the path endings for the non-true heroines were actually pretty good, but having played the true path, they are comparatively low-impact. A lot of this is the fact that the major events of their 'paths' are in the arcs they branched off from, so little is added by their endings save for more sex and some minor tying up of loose ends. To get back to the main game... the true path is the impact I was talking about. The main arcs were all emotional, so I guess you can say that the other heroines' 'paths' were also emotional, but, as I mentioned above, there is a definite sense that very little was added by choosing one of the other heroines. Hotaru's path is easily the most powerful 'arc'. In fact, it is so emotional and powerful that there are two ends for it. The first one (which you are required to watch first) is... sad, to say the least. It isn't a bad ending, but it is a sad one. I know I cried. For the second ending... well, let's just say it is a good one and leave it at that. Overall, my viewpoint on this game is... just as mixed as I said above. My conclusions on the G-Senjou story structure are unchanged in the least. I still believe that all VNs that use that story structure should be changed to kinetic novels, just so I don't have to deal with heroine endings that are neglected by the creators of the stories themselves. While all stories with true heroines inevitably put a much larger emphasis on the true heroine, the way this story structure trivializes the other heroines is really irritating, especially when they are good heroines, like these were. However, if you take the arcs, characters, and the true endings separate from that source of irritation, it is a great VN. It just happens to use the single worst VN story structure in existence. Indeed, that story structure and the inevitable realities it brings along with it are the only thing that kept me from naming this as a kamige. PS: I will erase any and all comments that spoil anything in the last arc. I say this because this is the type of VN that can only be enjoyed to the fullest once, not the type that merely changes flavor with each playthrough, like Devils Devil Concept. Anyone who spoils this VN should have their skin sliced open, drawn back, then have salt rubbed into the exposed flesh. ... *Clephas drools and goes off to make BBQ*
  44. 10 points
    Pop quiz, hotshot. There’s an untranslated (i.e, romaji) word sitting there in the script you're editing, staring right up at you. It’s been left like that because the TL team figured people ought to know what it means. But will they really? And what are the ramifications if they don’t? You’re running out of time, and patch release day is breathing down your neck. What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO? In the case of KoiRizo, I ended up relying on a journalistic standard commonly called “the first reference rule.” Here’s how it works. Visual novels for all! Let’s say you’re a journalist writing an article about efforts to improve educational standards in underdeveloped nations. At some point, you might find yourself needing to refer to The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, aka UNESCO. But if just you dropped the acronym “UNESCO” in there, most people wouldn’t know what the bloody hell you were talking about. And if you went with “The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization” every time, your prose would be about as ungainly as me at my prom. So a compromise gets struck: you explain the term on your first reference to it, then use the shorter form thereafter. An example first reference: “The director-general of The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), pledged to make visual novels part of the global curriculum by 2025.” Or: “The director-general of UNESCO, the UN agency focused on international education efforts, pledged to make visual novels part of the global curriculum by 2025.” At this point, you’d be free to use “UNESCO” in any future references, since you’ve already explained the term. Everyone wins: the reader understands what you’re talking about, and you only have to use one word instead of eight. Ojousamas for all! The same holds true for visual novels. Let’s say an untranslated term like “ojousama” shows up in your script. if the reader has consumed a fair number of anime/manga/VNs, they might know this describes a young woman of certain means and refinement. It’s a common VN archetype, after all. But a relative newcomer to these genres would have no way of knowing that. They’d be lost if you just started dropping O-bombs out of the blue. So the first thing to do is determine context. Is this a one-off reference? If so, you can probably just fully translate the line and be done with it. (“She takes a limo to school? She must be an ojousama” becomes, “She takes a limo to school? She must come from money.”) In the case of KoiRizo, however, the word “ojousama” is used several dozen times. In fact, a character’s ojousama-ness becomes the focal point of an entire route. It would be a fool’s errand to try and excise it, particularly when there’s no one English word to replace it. So we apply the first reference rule. The initial mention in the translated KoiRizo script reads: “Because she's an ojousama, it'd be a given that she wouldn't worry about matters like money.” It hints at the meaning, but doesn't quite go far enough. So applying our rule, we update it to: “She's a proper young lady of means — an ojousama — so you'd expect her not to worry about things like money.” We’ve now defined the word “ojousama” in context and set the stage for its future use. This will make the rest of the VN flow much more smoothly for both new readers and purists who prefer their tropey terms untranslated. If several hours go by without us using the word again, it’s common courtesy to provide a reminder of its definition, but otherwise we should be good to go. All for gruel! You can even apply the rule in reverse. Here, two characters are about to spend 50 or so lines talking about a certain home-cooked dish. Original translation below: A: “Okay ... What's in the pot?” B: “Rice gruel with egg broth.” We don’t want to spend the next 50 lines saying “Rice gruel with egg broth.” Nor do we want to just say “gruel,” which sounds like something ladled out in a Depression-era orphanage. In fact, this is a steaming bowl of Japanese comfort food deliciousness. So we apply the rule in reverse, and bring back the untranslated term from the original script: A: “Okay ... What's in the pot?” B: “Ojiya — rice end egg porridge.” Now we can safely use the term “ojiya” for the next 50 lines. This ends up working better on several levels: it makes the dish sound more traditionally Japanese, it strikes the right emotional tone, and it helps us shave extra words from our lines. P.S. - If anyone knows where I can get a really good bowl of ojiya in New York City, I’m all ears.
  45. 10 points
    If I could give you any two pieces of advice, gentle reader, they would be: don’t eat unopened mussels, and don’t proofread anything you’ve edited. Neither will end well for you. I always scratch my head when I see a visual novel translation project with the same person listed as Editor and Proofreader. Or worse yet, Translator, Editor, and Proofreader. Or (and I know I’ve seen this at least once) Translator, TLC, Editor, and Proofreader. I’m all for DIY, but that's a disaster waiting to happen. Here’s the rule: If you’ve touched a piece of copy in any one of these roles, it’s tainted for you in all others. Sorry, that’s just how it is. These jobs are meant to be a series of checks and balances to help ensure the quality and accuracy of the content. If a single person takes on two or more of these roles, you’ve got problems. If one or more of these positions goes completely unfilled, you’ve got problems. It’s not that you wouldn’t be capable — many editors are amazing at proofreading, and tons of translators are wonderful at TLC — but once you’ve worked with the text in one capacity, your familiarity with it makes you far less effective in any other role. Our stupid, stupid brains Like so many things in life, it all comes down our stupid brains being more helpful than we want — kind of like an overeager toddler who just handed you your iPhone. In the shower. (Thank god for Applecare+.) Whenever our brains see a gap in content, they try to fill it whether we want them to or not. “Hi, I’m your brain. Hey, is there a word missing there? Can I make a fairly good guess as to what it is? Wheee! I’ll just pretend like it was there and we read it and nothing’s wrong. Now let’s go think about boobies some more! BOO-BEES! BOO-BEES!” And the more familiar your brain is with the work in question, the easier it is for it to fill in those gaps. It already knows what to expect, and it’s just waiting to jump in and save the day. Our brains must be stopped before they kill again. The easiest way to do this is, at each step of the creation and revision process, have someone ready look at the content with fresh eyes and no preconceptions. Simple as that. You wouldn't go get a second opinion from the doctor who just provided your first opinion, would you? So don’t do it here. Don't double-up on jobs, and don’t leave positions unfilled. The final product will be better for it. Yeah, yeah, I know. Easier said than done. Finding good volunteers is tough and people flake out or have RL commitments all the time. So what then? The nuclear option When I got my first job in advertising, I was an idiot. Thankfully, my first creative director was not. A highly accomplished copywriter, she’d penned dozens of the brand slogans that had littered my youth. Suffice to say, she knew her stuff. (You’d probably know her stuff too, if you saw it.) And this was one of the first things she taught me: “Never, ever proofread your own work. But if you have to ...” That’s right, she had a trick. A big red button on the wall of her brain that said, “PUSH ONLY IN CASE OF EMERGENCY.” You never want to proof your own work, but sometimes you don’t have a choice. Sometimes you’ve rewritten the copy deck five minutes before the big pitch and there’s no time to send it back for proofreading. That’s where the trick comes in. Read it backwards. Start at the very last word and read your way back until you hit the first. This strips away all meaning from the text — your brain isn’t leaping in with a guess as to what comes next — so you can focus on minutiae like spelling, punctuation, repeated words, etc. This is a relatively laborious process, unfortunately, and it doesn’t scale well to an entire visual novel. But I mention it here in case you find yourself with a few lines or even a short script that needs a proofing pass and you’re the only one around to do it. .it of habit a make don’t Just. Full disclosure By the way, I’ll be the first one to admit that v1.0 of the KoiRizo English patch has typos. In my role as editor, I tried to work as cleanly as possible, but over the course of 36,000+ lines — I figure that’s gotta be at least 250,000 words — a few foxes got into the henhouse. The team didn’t have any proofreaders, and the QC process wasn’t nearly as robust as had initially been hoped. (Zakamutt touches on that here.) But you know what? For all of that, I think the launch product came out comparatively clean. I still want to drink bleach and die every time I see a typo report, of course, but that comes with the territory. And with any luck, there will be patch updates forthcoming that address some of these lingering issues. Which is good, since I’m running low on bleach. And lives.
  46. 10 points
    Rose

    Majikoi complete patch is live!

    Hello everyone, quick post and no time for introductions this time, for if you didn't received the news, then there you have it: After four years in development, the Majikoi translation project is finally complete! So if you plan to read this game or was waiting for the complete patch to finish it, then go thank the team in the discussion thread, you can find their profile links in the translation thread if you feel like PMing then as well. Thanks a lot everyone on the team, you guys are amazing and our deepest gratitude!
  47. 9 points
    This is an opinion that has been a long time in forming, but I am coming around to an opinion that the more simplistic viewpoints I've possessed on the differences between American approaches to storytelling and Japanese ones are somewhat off the mark. Note: This is a rant, it should be treated as a rant, and if it doesn't make sense to you, that is because it is my brain leaking into text on this blog. First, my original opinion: To put it simply, it was my belief that the Japanese had a tendency to go for emotional surrealism (in other words, emotional bombardment) and visual excess (exaggeration) to tell their stories. In opposition, Americans tend to go for the 'gritty and realistic', with straight out bullet to the head realism. This was a generalization that, while based on my experiences with Japanese video games that told a story (both VNs and jrpgs) and Western games that more or less tried to do the same (Isometric RPGs, Bethesda-style games, etc), was never meant to be an absolute statement but just a general opinion of the tendencies I'd encountered. Second, my new opinion: First, I've come to the conclusion that American gaming companies don't know how to tell a story anymore (since Bioware has gone crappy, Obsidian is about to get absorbed/has been absorbed by a company that has no idea of what it is doing, and the Witcher was made by Polish people). Second, the Japanese seem to suffer from a similar malaise... and the source is, quite ironically, fairly similar in the cases of mainstream games. It is the disease I call the 'MMO virus'. Yes, you who actually read my blog know my opinion on online multiplayer games and what they have done to erode storytelling games in general, but my recent conclusion is that this erosion has actually reached a critical point in the last five years. Rebellions against the progression of this disease have occurred (Tales of Berseria, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and Nier: Automata come to mind for the Japanese, and Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire for America), but these have been relatively minor upthrusts against the toxins released by the cloud of mission-based 'stories' you see in games nowadays. Bethesda has also contributed to this plague (fetch quests and hunt the monster quests being a common plague for them as well), and it seems like every time I turn around, I see another game trying to tell its story through an obvious mission or quest system is sitting right there. Sure, the systems had their roots in D&D games, but the way they've developed is the result of the plague that infected the world using games like WoW as its vector. I first began to see signs of this disease back in the PS2 era, though it was mostly limited to 'high end' games at the time, like Final Fantasy (XII having essentially repurposed and altered XI's MMO battle system for a single-player model), I was honestly horrified to see how easy it was to let myself get led around by the nose from objective to objective in hopes that I'd find the story in there somewhere. The problem was, once the objectives became my reason for playing (as was inevitable, because that is the tactic they use to draw you in), I increasingly realized that I couldn't enjoy what story was being told, because I was impatient to get to the next objective, even though I didn't find any of that searching for objectives to be fun in the least. VNs suffer from a different set of problems. While jrpgs and western games suffer from the simple fact that the current generation of makers grew up obsessing over pathetic attempts to graft stories onto multiplayer games, VNs suffer from the fact that the best and brightest of their creators are... getting old. Hell, some of them even died in between projects. Worse, no one of equal capability has replaced them, leading to an unfortunate confluence of near-universal incompetence and corporate inability to grasp the reasons for failure and fix it. No, I'm not saying that all new VNs suck. Hell, if they all sucked, I wouldn't still be trying to go back and play them, like the burnt-out junkie I am. No, my issue is that there is a sudden dearth of developed talent within the world of VNs that has gotten horrible in the last five years. Most of the major names are retired, have moved on to 'greater' things, or are dead. Shumon Yuu is silent, Hino Wataru seems to have gone underground, Masada is probably off in his own little world, Fujisaki Ryuuta is circling in place, Kurashiki Tatsuya is off indulging his inner sadist with half-assed games, Kazuki Fumi can't seem to stick with one thing long enough to make it great since Akeiro Kaikitan, and Agobarrier is three years dead. That isn't even mentioning all the formerly major names that have just decided to retire without telling anyone or got hired away by mainstream video game companies. What is replacing them are primarily LN writers... who, unfortunately, tend to write like middle school street kids on crack (and not in a good way). They often have great ideas, but they are fuzzy about execution and lacking in technique. As a result, you get a bunch of third-rate one-off VNs that no one really likes. Artists aren't a problem. There will always be plenty of skilled otaku artists who can draw h-scenes. The issue is and always will be writers... because it is the writer that decides whether a VN will become remembered for years to come or be dropped back into the dung at the bottom of the latrine.
  48. 9 points
    DISCLAIMER: All that I mention represent my views mixed with basic scientific theories floating around. To 'Love', and to be 'In Love' I believe these two to be different. One does not necessarily love those they are in love with, and one is not necessarily in love with those they love. Sound confusing? Allow me to elaborate. To make this as clear as possible, let's take "romantic feelings" out of the equation. Would you say you love your parents? Or that you are in love with them? Maybe both expressions work for you? The way I see it, one (generally) loves their family, yet is not in love of them. To be in love with someone is the sort of feeling you have towards a crush, that almost irrational slight obsession and redirection of your thoughts in their general direction. Perhaps your heart will beat faster, perhaps you will become slightly euphoric, perhaps you'll get embarrassed; all just by being near the person in question. What I've just described most certainly does not apply towards your parents (unless you're into some really weird nukige). But you still love them, right? You act kind towards them, you are affectionate with them, you take their presence for granted and would sacrifice immensely for their sake. Mayhap, this even applies to your friends? Friendship love. You see it all the time in manga, girls loving each other, but not being in love with each other. You care for your friends much like they care for you. Finally, for all you older folk out there, if you're a parent: would you say you love your children, or that you are in love with them? Because if it's the latter, that would make you the worst kind of scum in the eyes of society. Only when it comes to romance do these two things get interwoven together. Love is a complicated mess, which I will now attempt to arbitrarily classify in a way that makes sense to me. All the previously mentioned situations represent love, yet they are different from falling "in love". As you know, or should know, humans are animals, they are living beings whose purpose is to live. All animals, all plants and all living beings have that very same objective, and they evolve and adapt in order to make sure their species continues to live. One important thing about being a living being is our instinctual desire to reproduce. If we didn't reproduce, the species would go extinct - Giant Pandas are the resident experts on the topic. In order to compel the race to reproduce, our body releases various hormones impelling us to do various things. Falling "in love" is one of these. You'll find that often, the person you develop romantic feelings for, is not one that is particularly close to you. This is what I believe being "in love" is. When you develop feelings for a person, which serves as the selfish catalyst that leads to romance. Having fallen in love, we humans do a bunch of silly things involving spending time with our pleasurable partner, which makes us happy (due to the hormones), and containing our sexual desires, which are also stimulated by the hormones. Probably not the most romantic way of looking at it, but "falling in love" is a mere boost towards romantic love, but I do not think it is romantic love itself. On the contrary, trying to resist this "in love" feeling is, quite literally, against our instincts. Thankfully, human beings are, for the most part, able to resist their instincts given that their conditions are favourable. If everyone ended up marrying their first love, society would be rather different than what it is right now. Now then, I keep mentioning "romantic love", as if it weren't influenced by hormones. Really, you can say that just about anything is influenced by hormones and this is no exception. The usual situation will be for one to develop a romantic relationship with the one they fell in love with. In turn, this "in love" boost will eventually die down leaving you only with a person that you are intimate with, that you share your flaws with, that you care for... and your sexual partner. Sex is yet another source of rather pleasurable hormones, and one important for long-lasting relationships. After all, a proper relationship requires sacrifices, and most of us selfish humans wouldn't be all that interested in maintaining a relationship for little reward. This is, of course, another of our instinct's plans. If a couple doesn't stay together and does not reproduce, then the whole "falling in love" business will end up having been useless. All this said, let us surmise: Because of our innate need to reproduce, we fall in love. Falling in love gives us a boost and creates an easy path that will lead to loving someone. Eventually, this boost dies down - at this point, a good couple would love each other as is (or else, divorce. Good lord, today's society...), with the help of sex. The pleasure sex provides creates hormones that increase our affection for our partner and that generally makes us interested in sex, connecting directly to our species' main goal: Children. The way we look at it today, everybody wants to be with those they're in love with, and lose interest when the magic of "falling in love" dies down. I, however, firmly believe that people are able to love even those they are not in love with... provided the circumstances aren't dead set against you. The main example I wanted to tie this uncultured rant to is this relationship I saw in Ao Haru Ride... I'll elucidate you right off the bat: I didn't like Ao Haru Ride as a story. This does not, however, mean that it was bad. In fact, it gave me enough food for thought to write this whole pointless blog post because of it. In Ao Haru Ride, because both our protagonists fail to act on their feelings in a timely manner because "emotions", they, despite loving each other, end up entering a relationship with someone else. Spoilers ahead. Futaba is our main protagonist, and she clearly falls in love with Kou in the first few chapters. This Kou fellow is the main love interest, who is also in love with Futaba, but who, due to circumstances and "emotions", rejects her advances. Seeing this, another boy, called Touma, felt bad for Futaba, and this kickstarted his feelings, leading him to fall in love with her. Eventually, Futaba, seeing Touma's dedication and depictions of love, enters a relationship with him and tries to love him back. Given this scene, Kou, jealous, surpasses his "circumstances" and "emotions" and tries to win Futaba back. Futaba, on the other hand, doesn't want this. She is not aware of Kou's feelings and really wants to love Touma back - something I consider a most earnest and great wish. However, because that's just the way things are, Futaba is unable to love Touma whilst in love with someone else, and she wouldn't stop being in love so long as Kou didn't stop - and he had no intention of stopping. Therefore, Futaba breaks up with Touma and gets together with Kou. Happy end. This entire turn of events depresses me. I dislike when a main character enters a relationship which just wont last. Totally not the kind of stuff I read manga for. I really hate how she spent most of the manga dating someone who is not the main love interest and the one she'll end up with. Yet, it does bring something to the table I really admired, and those were Futaba's attempts at loving Touma back, even when she wasn't in love with him. People these days always seem to think that they should marry someone they're in love with and whatnot - when I'm a fervent believer that anyone is able to romantically love even those they aren't in love with. Still, even still, we're wired in such a way that we're rather likely to fall in love with those we attempt to love, anyway, so it's almost a moot point. I believe that what Futaba tried to achieve is one of the most idealistic, selfless and admirable forms of love - though that's precisely why it doesn't happen often. It is, after all, much more convenient to just love those you are in love with This is why historical romances interest me so. They're about loving the husband or wife that was arranged for you by your family and not by your hormones (who choose based on what amounts to a whim). But then again... what the hell do I know about love?
  49. 9 points
    Dergonu

    The Last GM Standing - Chapter 1!

    The last GM standing Q&A: Link to the thread: Would you rather read the chapter in a PDF document? Click here! Chapter 1: 20/03-2016, Location: Fuwanovel headquarters Nayleen and Tay were relaxing in their seats, exhausted after a long day of work. The past few weeks had taken a toll on them, but they were staying strong, keeping Fuwanovel safe from DDOS attacks and global mods breaking stuff. As they fall asleep, gathering their strength for another day of defending the forum, a shadow glides into the room. The shadow moves quickly, slithering across the floor, sneaking up behind Nayleen's chair. The shadow splits in two as it reaches its target. One part wraps itself around Nayleen, the other moves over to Tay and wraps itself around him. ... The next day. Nayleen looks over at Tay with a mischievous smile on his face. "The global mods have gotten too soft lately. I think it's time we taught them a lesson." Tay turns his head, meeting Nayleen's gaze. "What exactly did you have in mind?" Nayleen looks down at the chess board in front of him. This was no ordinary chess board. Each piece on the board represents certain members of the Fuwanovel forum. In addition, there was three sets of pieces, meaning there was a total of three kings. Picking up two of the kings with the tip of his fingers, Nayleen breaks them in half. "Three global mods, only one can remain in their position." Tay nods, letting out a subtle, evil laugh. "Who will come out alive?" Nayleen joins in. "Who will come out as the winner?" He turned his gaze towards the broken chess pieces that had fallen to the floor. "Now then... How will this end?" Their laughter continued into the night, as the two made preparations for the fight that was to come. .......... Chapter 1 The three armies It was a cold day. A dark sky filled with clouds that never seemed to disappear was hanging over the battlefield. It was quiet; so quiet that one could hear the heartbeats of the people around you. The battlefield was a huge piece of land that went on for miles and miles. With terrain ranging from harsh deserts to big forests and steep waterfalls, it was truly an overwhelming place. Standing in a line in front of their commander, Kaguya's forces were prepared for battle. It had been four hours since the battle had started, and yet no one had reached Kaguya's base yet. He thought it was a good idea to remain in his base and wait for someone to attack, instead of wasting his fighter's energy by charging through the huge landmass. It was possible that the other moderators were thinking the same, and if that was the case, the day would end without a drop of blood being spilled. Thinking back on the previous day, Kaguya rubbed his temples in anger and exhaustion. The three global moderators had suddenly been summoned by the admins. They had no idea what was going on, and they did not have the time to ask. The second they were teleported to the administrator's location, they realized something was amiss. In front of them were huge racks filled with weapons, armor and the likes. Ranging from big swords, crossbows, shields and kunai knives, it was quite a scary sight. Next to the equipment there was a grand, black stone tablet with red letters written across it. It read: "The time has come. Three global moderators, only one can remain. Recruit those you can from the forum within the next hour, prepare for battle with the equipment before you and then ... Go to war. Good luck." Neither one of the moderators knew what to do. They stood still, immobilized by confusion and fear. They were sure this had to be some kind of a twisted joke. "Alright, this is stupid. What the hell is going on?" Breaking the silence, Kaguya shouted that as he surveyed his surroundings. A dark voice suddenly echoed through the area. It was impossible to tell where the voice came from; it was a thundering roar that made all the moderators flinch. "Select your fighters, or face the consequences! This is not a joke. This is a matter of life and death!" The sudden overpowering voice made the mods even more uneasy, but they still didn't act. This was a mistake. Suddenly, a strange black sphere appeared before them. It was about the size of a football, and for a few seconds it merely floated in mid air. It gave of a strange crackling noise, similar to an electric current. Slowly but surely, the sphere started increasing in size, until it was big enough to fit a small car. Then, a big rift of pure white light split the sphere in two, and the figures of two people suddenly appeared in its stead. It took a few seconds for the moderators to recognize the people in front of them, but they soon realized, they were Fuwanovel members; 12kami and XionsProphecy. They both look terrified, as if they had just seen the devil himself. XionsProphecy took a step forward and approached Kaguya. "W-What is going on?! Where am I?!" Before Kaguya had the time to respond, the overpowering voice once again erupted throughout the area. "You will do as we say, or the consequences will be grave!" And with that, a red magic circle appeared under the feet of XionsProphecy and a pillar of fire burst out beneath him. The sound of his screams and the smell of burning flesh made all the people present stare at the spectacle in shock. Terrified he would be next, 12Kami tried to run away, but chains sprouted from the ground and wrapped around him violently. "Now, what will you do?" "S-Stop it!" Nosebleed shouted. "... Very well. If you are ready to begin, let me explain the rules. Each one of the moderators can recruit members from the forum to join their ranks. The moderators can use their own powers any way they want. Make your own fighters stronger by lending them your strength, directly attack your opponents army, make shields protecting your warriors. The game will be over once only one global moderator remains. Oh, and one last thing. You can name one of your fighters a general. This person will have ... A second chance at life, should something tragic occur." As the voice finished explaining the rules, an evil laughter followed. Soon after, all that was left was dead silence. ___________________________________________________________________________ "That was four hours ago, huh..." Kaguya whispered to himself as he looked at the quiet battlefield. In the end, no one knows what happened to 12Kami. Was he killed too? Was he released? When the moderators chose their armies, only a handful of the forum's members were selected. It seemed that only the ones who volunteered for the battle could be picked. Looking over the warriors in front of him, Kaguya made a decision; he had waited long enough. "You two, move out!" The two soldiers saluted, and then they sprinted into the darkness of the forest ahead. ........ Eight warriors were scattered across the battlefield on the first day. Among them were team Down's soldiers Nashetania, Funyarinpa, Fred the Barber, their general Tiagofvarela and Moekyun. From team Kaguya, Dergonu and Velociraptor were deployed, and from team Nosebleed, only < ?? >was sent out to fight. ........ In a forest, 2 km from Kaguya's base Dergonu and Velociraptor were headed for Down's territory, when a sudden fireball shot out from the depths of the forest. Barely dodging it by a hair, the two were separated from each other. Losing track of Velociraptor, Dergonu turned to face the person who fired the fireball. He was protected by Kaguya's armor, but the amount of energy put into each warrior's shield was small, meaning he couldn't take more than one or two of those attacks. Who had fired it? Was it someone from Nosebleed's team or Down? "Who's there?!" Calling out for the person hiding in the darkness, Dergonu readied his mace. The weapon of his choice had been a huge metal mace, almost as big as himself, with menacing spikes. It was a weapon he couldn't dream of lifting without the strength given to him by his commander, Kaguya. A shadow suddenly burst out from the forest. Before Dergonu could react, two throwing knives collided with his armor. Both of them hit right around the heart, but they were stopped by the thick, red armor. Not wasting any time, the attacker nimbly closed in the distance. It took a second for Dergonu to recognize the attacker due to their speed, but he soon saw that is was MoeKyun from Down's army. The shimmering green garb he wore had several chains filled with throwing knives. Reaching for two more, MoeKyun made sure to stay so close to Dergonu that swinging his mace was impossible. Taking the opportunity when Dergonu was unable to do anything, MoeKyun stabbed at Dergonu's armor repeatedly. It didn't take long for the attacks to completely remove the protective shield made by Kaguya, and the knives started poking small holes in Dergonu's armor. "Tch." Clicking his tongue, Dergonu tried to think of a way to get out of the situation. But before he could think of anything, one of MoeKyun's knives hit Dergonu's collarbone, sending a sharp pain through his body. Taking a step back and readying his knife, MoeKyun was preparing to deliver the final blow, when he suddenly froze up. Turning his head to depths of the forest from which he came, his mouth dropped open in surprise. "N-No way ... G-General..." Not wasting any time, Dergonu used the chance to take a step backwards and swung his mace straight at MoeKyun's chest. A green barrier deflected the hit and made sure the mace didn't break the skin, but MoeKyun was knocked down from the impact. Landing on the ground with the air knocked out of his lungs, he never stood a chance. The giant mace came down, hitting his head. Once again, Down's protective barrier blocked the attack, but every part of Moekyun's body felt like it was lit on fire from the pain. "This time..." As he said that, Dergonu lifted the mace over his head one last time and brought it down on MoeKyun. What followed was a gruesome crack like sound, like breaking a branch of a tree. Team Down MoeKyun- DEAD END ___________________________________________________________________________ A few minutes earlier, 100 meters from Nosebleed's base. Down's general, Tiagofvarela, was making his way towards Nosebleed's base. Compared to Down and Kaguya, Nosebleed had a significantly smaller army, and so Down thought it was best to target him first. Because of this, Down had sent his strongest fighter in an ambush. If Nosebleed wanted to participate in the fight, he had to send several of his forces out into the battle, meaning his base would be exposed. It would be a fast, quick attack. Take out whoever is there and get the hell out. For his weapon, Tiago had chosen a long katana, which rested in a sheath strapped to his left side. He was wearing a green garb, woven by powerful silk threads imbued by Down's own energy. His garb was slightly different from the others in Down's army. This one was specially created for the general. The biggest difference was the big crest on the chest and back, with the word leader written in kanji. As he spotted Nosebleed's base, Tiago took a deep breath and drew his katana. The blade was about a meter long, with beautiful markings. "Let's do this." Preparing for his attack, Tiago steeled his nerves and readied his blade. Then, he charged. "Perish." A soft whisper suddenly reached Tiago's ear, and a strong sense of despair washed over him. The voice sent a chill down his spine. It was as if the voice literally grabbed a hold of him, preventing him from moving. Before he could do anything, a man in a pink and black cloak stood before him. It was impossible to identify who it was, as the large cloak covered his head and body completely. The man simply snapped his fingers, and a huge explosion knocked Tiago several meters back. He felt his barrier slowly draining. Whoever attacked him was truly powerful. "How did he notice me?!" He asked himself, trying to calm his hammering heartbeat. "Game over." Suddenly, a different voice could be heard behind Tiago, and something cold cut through his chest. Looking down at his own body, he saw a long spear sticking out of his stomach. "W-Who..?" He never got the answer to that question. Tiago's body fell to the ground, lifeless. Team Down, Tiagofvarela- DEAD END ___________________________________________________________________________ The volcanic region, 3 km from Down's base Fred the Barber from team Down was positioned behind a large rock. The area around him was filled with smoke, ash and fire, and the only thing stopping him from being burned alive was his commander's protective garb. This was a volcano located a few km away from Down's base. Fred had been in a battle with one of Nosebleed's men for several minutes, when he suddenly felt it. His general, Tiagofvarela, had fallen. Hit by the sudden shock of losing one of his leaders, he fled from the battle in order to gather his thoughts. It was a strange feeling. Tiago had been his friend, and in this crazy battle, he had been his general. A powerful sadness welled up in him as he shook his head, holding back his tears. Why? Why was this happening? Just a day ago they were messing around on the forum, having fun like any other day. And now? Now they were here, caught in some insane death game. "I ... I want this to be over." He whispered as he placed his hand on his forehead and closed his eyes. "Then die." A sudden hostile voice made Fred jump backwards, and just as he opened his eyes, he saw a fist slam into the rock he was leaning against, crushing it into small rubble. It was him; the fighter from nosebleed's army that he had been in a scuffle with a few minutes ago. Because of his cloak which covered every part of his body, it was impossible to identify who the attacker was. The cloak was black, with pink markings all over. The attacker was unarmed, but his hands glowed in a bright purple light. Clearly, he was using his energy to make his punches stronger. Whoever this person was, he was powerful. Had they underestimated team Nosebleed? Fred's general had fallen in nosebleed's territory, and this person was clearly using energy to make his fists into lethal killing machines. How could Fred fight such a fearful foe in his current state? "No... I can do this. I have to avenge Tiago!" Encouraging himself, Fred got to his feet and readied his weapon. It was dagger with a fairly long, curved blade. The tip was emitting a faint green glow and the blade itself was black as the night. Of all the weapons on the weapon racks, this was the only thing Fred felt comfortable wielding. Carefully taking a stance preparing for the fight, Fred calmed his breathing and grasped his dagger tightly. The attacker moved first. His movements were really fast and precise. Fred managed to dodge the first punch, but the second one followed right after. The assailant's fist hit Fred in the left flank, causing him to fall backwards. But as his body fell to the ground he moved his arm holding the dagger downwards and cut a deep gash in the attacker's cloak. It didn't look like the blade pierced his flesh, but Fred felt the resistance of his opponents barrier. He had done some damage to it at the very least. The problem was that he had taken a strong hit himself, and wasn't able to move very well. His opponent quickly regained his posture and moved in for the kill. Just then, an arrow flew past Fred's cheek and hit the attacker in the stomach. The impact of the arrow sent him flying. "You okay Fred?" Turning his head to see who had come to help him, he was met by Funyarinpa's gentle smile. In his hands was a beautiful green longbow. "Come on. Let's retreat for now. Whoever that guy is, he isn't normal." As he said that, Funya reached out for Fred's hand and helped him up. Tilting his head slightly, Fred wondered what Funya meant. "Isn't normal? I think we can take him if it's the two of us." Funya simply shook his head in response. "I got word from Down to come and get you. There is something wrong with Nosebleed's army. We have to go back to the base and ..." Before he could finish his sentence, a purple light flew past Fred's field of vision and collided with Funya. His bow was crushed into pieces and Funya was knocked down, his barrier broken. "FUNYA!" Screaming for his fallen comrade, Fred turned to face the attacker. It was the same cloaked man from before. The arrow was still sticking out of his chest but he moved around like it was nothing. "..." The man said nothing, but approached Fred with his fists raised. The purple light which surrounded his hands flickered about intimidatingly. The man jumped at Fred, knocking him to the ground. After that, he made sure to grab Fred's blade and throw it away. "..." The man still didn't say anything, but Fred could see a hint of an evil smile under the darkness of the attacker's hood. Raising his fists above his head, he prepared to bash Fred's head in. But he had made one miscalculation. The arrow that was sticking out of his chest was within Fred's reach. Fred had merely pretended to be defenseless when he lost his dagger to get an opening. Grabbing the arrow with all his might, Fred pulled it out of the man's chest and thrust it upwards into his throat. The arrowhead pierced his Adam's apple and blood started spewing out from the open wound. Making a disgusting gurgling sound, the man slowly lost all strength in his body. The endless stream of blood poured out, staining Fred's clothing in red. After defeating his opponent, Fred checked on Funya. He was too late. The attacker had crushed his entire rib cage, and one of the bone splinters had hit his heart. "Who ... WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?!" Screaming in anger, Fred ripped off the attacker's hood. All he could do once he removed the hood was gasp, and fall to his knees. "W-What the fuck..?" Lying on the scorched ground in front of him was ... Team Down, Funyarinpa- DEAD END. Team Nosebleed, < ?? > - DEAD END. ___________________________________________________________________________ Meanwhile, at Nosebleed's base "Hmm, it seems our puppet has been destroyed." "Aww, I thought it would at least take out a few more enemies before it broke." "Hmph. It doesn't matter, it did its job just fine. Now we know ... They work." Three men were sitting around a fire with their weapons next to them. They wore black cloaks with pink symbols; the armor given to them by their commander, Nosebleed. The three men were chosen as guards, and were protecting the base of Nosebleed. Nosebleed's army consisted of about half the number of warriors that Down and Kaguya had, but Nosebleed had a trick up his sleeve. Using the life force of the fallen general from Down's army, Tiago, he had created clones of his own warriors. These warriors were as strong as Tiago himself, and took the place of his own fighters on the battlefield. They didn't have the extra life that came with the role of general, but other than that, they were powerful and loyal. Each clone was linked to one of Nosebleed's soldiers. The one that had been killed in battle had been the clone of Kiriririri, but Nosebleed had made the clone itself wear the face of Tiago. That would assure him an edge in any fight versus a team Down member. Sadly, that trick only worked once, as the body of Tiago himself had been used to create the clone. All the other clones were identical to the person they copied. Basically, it was as if nosebleed literally had two of each of his fighters, except for Kiriririri who had just lost his clone. With this, the difference in numbers between the three armies meant nothing. A sly smile spread across Nosebleed's face as he looked at his own general, Mitchhamilton. He held a long, golden spear stained with blood. "Now... Who is next?" ___________________________________________________________________________ * Quick note, the clones in Nosebleed's army works just like a normal fighter. This was done so that each commander has the same amount of fighters, making the first week of the RNG rolls completely even. Each clone will die just like a normal team member, though the person won't get a DEAD END unless he has lost his clone already. (Like Kiriririri has now.) Mitchhamilton, Nosebleed's general, does NOT get a clone, as he is a general and already has 2 lives. ___________________________________________________________________________ A forest, about 2 km from Kaguya's base Having lost sight of his comrade, Dergonu, Velociraptor was making his way through the forest. Who had attacked them? Was it an attacker from Nosebleed or Down's army? Well, it didn't matter. All he could do now was search for his opponent and hope that Dergonu hadn't fallen in the time they were separated. "Hm?" As he was running through the dense forest, Velociraptor spotted a strange light about 30 meters away. Was it an enemy? The light seemed to be flickering ever so slightly, though because of the tree cover it was hard to see what it was. Preparing for a potential fight, Velo readied his weapon and ran towards the source. He was surprised to find a member of Down's army sleeping near a fire. Was he for real..? Not only had he approached Kaguya's territory, he had lit a fire and then he went to sleep?! Who the hell was this guy?! Taking a step closer, he saw that the fighter was Nashetania. "Hmph... A free kill I guess." Whispering to himself, he readied his weapon. It was an extension of his hand; a glove with long, sharp claws. Each claw was at least 10 cm long. The glove itself was made out of tough leather, and the claws were metal. Lifting the glove above his head, he brought it down on Nash, who was sleeping peacefully. Or so Velo thought. As the glove was about to make contact with Nash, he quickly spun around and brought his fist upward. It hit Velo right in the face, making him stagger backwards. "Well would you look at that. Like a moth to a flame." Nash moved his hand behind his back and brought out a large battleaxe from inside his garb. "RAAAWR!" Jumping forward, Nash struck at Velo with full force. Barely dodging the attack, Velo sidestepped and cut at Nashetania's exposed back. The claws hit, but something tough was stopping them from doing any damage. "Damnit, a barrier?" Putting some distance between them, Velo ran a few steps backwards, positioning himself behind the fire Nash had lit. "You can't cut me! Down gave me the strongest barrier among all his men! No matter how many times you hit me, a blade won't ever cut through it!" After taunting Velo, Nash launched another attack, swinging his battleaxe around like a madman. Velo was faster and had a lighter weapon, but just like Nash had said, his attacks were useless against the barrier. Had this been Down's tactic? Draw someone in close to his soldier, then have him crush the attacker when he least expects it? Seeing has he had put so much energy into the barrier protecting Nash, it must have been the plan all along. "Damnit..." If only Dergonu was with him they would have the upper hand, but because of the attack earlier, they were separated in the forest. "What's the matter? Tired?" Smiling from ear to ear, Nash relentlessly attacked Velo with his battleaxe. A few of the attacks hit, sending strong waves of numb pain through Velo's body. "Think! THINK!!! How can I beat him?!" Trying to figure out a way to win, Velo looked around. "An opening!" As Nash yelled that, he spun around quickly and his battleaxe hit Velo in the chest, sending him flying over to the fire. He landed hard, most likely breaking a few bones in the process. Had Nash been the one who attacked them earlier? Was his plan to split them up, then draw them in one by one with the use of the campfire? ... Wait a minute... Fire! Nash had said that no blades could cut through his barrier. Could that mean it had little defense against magic? Was that the reason he was trying to lure his attacker into close combat? "DIE!" Running towards Velo who had fallen to the ground, Nash prepared to crush his defenseless prey with a final attack. "Now or never!" Velo brought his hands together and focused all his remaining strength on tapping the flames from the campfire besides him. Just the act of moving his arms hurt like hell, but he had no choice but to fight through the pain. As Nash was about to strike, Velo released all the flames in a vortex that wrapped itself around Nash. The flames ate through his barrier like it was nothing, and soon started burning away his flesh. Screaming and swinging his battleaxe around like a lunatic, Nash moved around desperately. In order to not get caught in the frenzy, Velo crawled away, sinking his glove's claws into the soft ground and pulling his body forward. "I ... Lost..." With those final words, the burning figure collapsed. Team Down, Nashetania- DEAD END ___________________________________________________________________________ Deaths this week: Team Nosebleed: Kiriririri (clone) Team Down: Nashetania, Funyarinpa, Tiagofvarela, Moekyun, Team Kaguya: None ___________________________________________________________________________ To be continued ...
  50. 9 points
    As any translator can probably tell you, Japanese jokes are a huge pain to capture in English. There are unfamiliar memes, cultural references, wordplay, riffs on kanji characters — none of which are particularly easy to convey to Western audiences. If you get lucky, a few nips and tucks in editing are all you need to make one of these unwieldy beasts work in English. If you get unlucky, however, you end up having to grab the rib spreader and do some major linguistic surgery. Sometimes the patients pull through. Sometimes they die on the operating table. These are their stories. Joke 1: Pearls before swine In this scene from KoiRizo, Soutarou has just finished giving one of the girls a bit of helpful advice passed down to him by his grandfather. The raw translation is below: Soutarou: “... That's the motto that they followed back then, I think. Well you know, according to my grandfather.” Riho: “Your grandfather's ball bag?” Soutarou: “A-Although I think that he got it from my grandmother...” Riho: “Ha ...?!” Soutarou: “...” Riho: “I just said a really strange thing ―!” Get it? Get it? No, of course you don’t. KoiRizo was intended as a literal translation, and read literally, this makes zero sense. At this point in my editing, the only choice I had was to go back to the original script, break out the Japanese > English dictionaries, and see if I could figure out what the hell was going on here. As near as I could figure, Riho meant to use the word “chiebukuro” — literally, “sack of wisdom.” She intended to say something about Soutarou’s pop-pop being a pretty smart guy, chock full of good advice. Instead, she uses “tamafukuro” — literally, “ball sack.” You can understand Soutarou’s confusion when Riho starts talking about his grandfather’s wrinkly old nuts. Nice guy that he is, however, Souatrou tries to give her a graceful out, suggesting it was actually his grandmother who provided the advice. Riho realizes her error and is appropriately mortified. Great. We’ve puzzled it out ... but at this point, the joke still doesn’t work in translation. “Sack of wisdom” isn’t a common English phrase, so the reader won’t catch the intended meaning behind Riho’s mistake. It just sounds like a plain old non sequitur right now. So our next task is to change her line to something that (1) works as a Freudian slip, (2) comes out of the blue, and (3) is sexually shocking enough to catch Soutarou off guard. The version I eventually settled on ran something like this: Soutarou: “... That was the common advice back then, I think. Well, you know, according to my grandfather.” Riho: “Your grandfather must have really liked giving you pearl necklaces, huh?” Soutarou: “A-Actually, it might have been my grandmother who liked giving out pearls of wisdom ...” Riho: “Ha ...?!” Soutarou: “...” Riho: “I can’t believe I just said that ―!” Here, we’ve keep the same basic structure, but rather than “sack of wisdom,” Riho tries (and fails) to say “pearls of wisdom,” a much more common English idiom. And now, rather than Grandpa’s gnarly ballsack, we have the even more shocking image of the old guy giving his grandson pearl necklaces on a regular basis. Soutarou still gets to save the day by pivoting to his grandmother, and then the rest of the joke plays out pretty much as originally written. Does it work? I hope so, but one could just as easily argue that I broke it. It’s a different gag; there’s no doubting that. But at the end of the day, I’d rather have a joke that works and maintains the original’s spirit than one that’s accurate to a fault. Joke 2: Deflowering the girls Here’s a joke I know I broke during editing. Smashed it to the ground and danced on the pieces. In my defense, it was looking at me funny. In the raw translation of this scene, resort manager Nagisa has just asked the staff to gather in their swimsuits for a big announcement: Nagisa: “I have a reason for calling you all here like this today.” Nagisa: “I'd like everyone to become the 'detergent' of the facilities.” Sango: “Detergent? Us?” Nagisa: “Oh, sorry. By detergent, I was referring more to advertising material.... In other words, I need you guys to photograph for an advertisement.” Again, another joke that makes no sense when read literally. And the only TL note I had to go on said, “This translation won't work in English.” Agreed. So I hauled out the J>E dictionary again, but had much less luck this time. At best, I came away with a wisp of a shred of a guess. My hunch was that Nagisa was using one very specific meaning of the word “senzai”— the foremost part of a garden, the loveliest flowers intended to set the stage and entice visitors in deeper — and Sango interpreted it as another more common meaning of “senzai” — namely, detergent. Nagisa clarifies her meaning, everyone has a chuckle, and the scene continues. I wasn’t sure if I was right — I’m an editor, not a translator — but lacking any better options, I decided to go with it. And I promptly flailed about like a clown being drowned in a bathtub. Right off the bat, I knew there weren’t any good English sound-alikes that would work here. So instead, I wrote about a dozen variations on garden and flower puns, but none of them managed to weave plausible misunderstanding with Nagisa’s actual meaning. Worse yet, they just weren’t funny. Next, I tried a few bawdier versions, but quickly abandoned those as well. This scene is going to get more risqué in a minute, but throwing in a sex joke right now would be tipping our hand too soon. (In one draft, I had Nagisa say she wants the girls to be the hook that lures visitors to the island. Sango replies, “What?! You want us to hook for you?” — i.e., she thought her boss wanted to pimp them out as resort hookers.) Having hit brick wall after brick wall, I decided to strip the joke down to its essence. What’s the basic structure here? Nagisa says she wants to use the girls to help sell the resort. Sango suffers a comic misunderstanding. Nagisa corrects her. The end. So that’s what I wrote: Nagisa: “There’s a reason why I’ve called everyone here like this today.” Nagisa: “I've decided to sell you.” Sango: “Sell us? Is that even legal?” Nagisa: “Oh, sorry. By ‘sell,’ I meant using you to help advertise the resort ... In layman’s terms, I need you guys to model for some publicity photos.” We lose the poeticism of the original — that image of the girls as flowers drawing visitors in — but in exchange, we get something that actually works as wordplay in English while still delivering the necessary plot info (Nagisa’s marketing brainstorm). It’s still not a particularly hilarious gag, but then again, neither was the original. In both examples, I ended up completely rewriting large chunks of each joke. And while I'm not entirely satisfied — I wish I could have kept more of the original language — I'm okay with the result. Editing is a balancing act. You want to remain as faithful to the original text as possible while maintaining the audience’s immersion in the work. If the reader suddenly comes across a joke that clearly doesn’t parse in English, that immersion is broken. They stop. They scroll back and re-read it a few times, trying to make sense of it. They wonder if they’re missing something, or if the TL team just messed it up. BAM. They’re now completely out of the world of the visual novel. The magic is broken. Because magic is only magic until you notice the strings. Or that dead clown in the bathtub.
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