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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 8 points
    Live footage of rare JOPs hearing the bimonthly autistic EOP scream over some license Today I got to know that my blog's reader base has been very sad that my blog has been so quiet for a long time so I decided to do a little update. This time I'm gonna list you some reasons why you might want to learn Japanese! (Start it today or you will never start it just like this blog post) These reasons are not in any order (are) Can play Idol M@ster Shiny Colors (or any other idol game but Shiny Colors is the best one) Number 2: Kotose. Can become a true believer of the true god Can get all the Yuuko goodness (get cucked!!) Have a meme I made earlier this week but got deleted for """derailing""" CoC Get to know the difference between Keyakizaka46 and Keyakizaka46!! There is a difference trust me. Other idols in general such as Nogizaka46 and AKB48 Can watch all the idol bingos. Always wanted your favorite anime to have 10 seasons??? Well idolbingos do have more than 10 seasons and are of the same size as anime seasons! No more shitty scans or subs. Only godtier real source material. (Eats all your money but who the fuck cares just work a little and be rich xD) Make bad memes Get vampire GF Can make shit lists like this Did this motivate any of you my lovely readers? I hope it did! Now smart ones of you might have noticed where is all the eroge!??? Well to be honest eroge is not worth it. It fucking sucks and so does the community. Idols, soshage, anything, is better than eroge. Don't do eroge kids. Peace out!
  8. 7 points
    Here are pictures of all of my physical visual novels. Some of these I have already done a review of while the others are planned to at some point get a review once I have read them. There are also going to be more visual novels added here in the future. For instance have I backed physical tier of kickstarter for Island, Momoiro Closet and Newrin as well as having pre ordered the complete box for Grisaia. Some of my english visual novels More of my english visual novels Grisaia complete box My english visual novels with nsfw cover Japanese visual novels for PC More japanese visual novels for PC Some more japanese physicals, some of them have NSFW box My japanese visual novels for PS Vita My japanese visual novels for PS3 and PS4
  9. 7 points
    Emi

    Random drawing: my new fuwa-chan

    Nothing special, but was in drawing mood yesterday so started redesigning my fuwa-chan. with help from bats to decide on things. just got to lazy to get into more detail.
  10. 6 points
    Clephas

    Eushully's fantasy world

    I love Eushully's unique fantasy world, Dir Lifyna. Most of Eushully's games, save for a few oddball ones by the subsidiary Anastasia and Fortune Arterial, are based in this world, which began with the original Ikusa Megami (if this gets translated, somebody please smash the skull of anyone who translates the title, because they'll probably pick the worst permutation of it). The first thing that anyone going into this setting should know, if only for giggles, is that this was never intended to be an expansive setting containing ten or more games. Ikusa Megami was intended as a one-off game and was competing with Venus Blood, of all things. However, to the people who played the game, the setting was incredibly attractive, and they sold well enough to justify a sequel, which was even more well-received (if only because the dungeon-crawler elements were toned down to normal jrpg levels). The basic setting of the world is that, far in the past, a technologically-advanced human world created a gate/tunnel linking a world full of magic and demihumans, for reasons that pretty much boil down to boredom and stagnation as a species due to excessive technological development. Unfortunately, this accidentally caused the two worlds to begin to merge, causing a conflict between their denizens and their gods. An important common element to note between the two worlds is that gods existed in both worlds, but the gods of the human world had mostly ceased intervening in mortal affairs openly long before, causing the near death of faith. Since faith/belief is the source of all deities' power, the humans found themselves at a surprising disadvantage in the war, because their belief in their deities was almost nonexistent. Worse, magic was quite capable of countering most of the advantages of human tech based on pure physics. A faction of humanity chose to pursue the amalgamation of magic and tech, creating wonders and horrors (including artificial demons and gods), but over time (the war apparently lasted for generations), more and more humans switched sides, devoting themselves to gods on the other side, even as humanity's old gods were destroyed, sealed, or enslaved one by one. By the end of the war, humanity was just another race, perhaps more numerous than the others, in the service of the 'Living Gods', and the 'Old Gods' were relegated to dusty legend and actively considered evil by most, if they weren't in the service of a Living God. Human technology was, for the most part, wiped from the face of the new, merged world, and the only remnants can be found in ruins filled with monsters and/or automatic guardians. The dominant deity of the new world is Marsterria, a minor war god who enslaved and killed more Old Gods than any other. Most of his worshipers are humans, their prolific breeding and generations of faith having given him immense power. His followers are often at odds with the protagonist of the Ikusa Megami series and nonhuman races, because of their excessive zealotry and broad determination of what species are considered 'dark races'. Conflict between dark gods and their servants and the gods of light and theirs is a normal part of the world of Dir Lifyna, with neutral regions and nations often becoming the battlegrounds for said followers as a result. This is a world with a massive number of intelligent species, and that, in the end, is what makes it so much fun to look forward to each game, even if the flop ratio is over 50%, lol. Damn, it was hard to do that without spoiling anything. Edit: It should be noted that demons, angels, nagas, and a few other races were actually coexisting with humanity but hidden due to their more direct service to deities in the original human world. The nagas still maintain faith with old gods for the most part, and as a result, they are marginalized to an immense degree. Most angels 'fell' or serve one of the Living Gods now (or both), and demons are a plague, with more summoned on occasion since demon summoning was one of the few magics that remained to humanity when the worlds met.
  11. 6 points
    Flutterz

    Reading Ginharu Very Slowly #14

    I've gotta live up to the name of the blog, ya know? Actually I recently found about about the Hoshi Ori patch that's being worked on right now, and that made me want to revisit Ginharu. I was considering just reading it on my own without updating the blog but that felt wrong. I'll probably end up disappearing for another year after a few entries, but we'll see. In the meantime, I'll probably have fewer screenshots and more summarization because I'm lazy. Also it turns out that I never even published the previous entry in September of 2017, so here it is I guess Now onto the stuff I read recently and not over a year ago
  12. 6 points
    Zakamutt

    Biman1 tl is shit confirmed

    I'm sure there are legitimate complaints to be had about the biman 1 translation that cummed out today, but who has time for that shit when you see THIS? PLEASE IGNORE THE FACT THAT THIS IS A MEME PATCH WITH THE NAMES WRONG RIGHT (thanks @HMN), THE OTHER TEXT BITS WILL BE THE SAME OKAY. YES THAT'S RIGHT, THAT IS THE MOTHERFUCKING DOUBLE HYPHEN STANDIN FOR A PROPER EM DASH. THIS IS POSSIBLY THE UGLIEST PUNCTUATION SHORTCUT IN EXISTENCE. WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD USE THIS MONSTROSITY RATHER THAN EVEN A TECHNICALLY NOT APPROVED BY LIKE ANY STYLE GUIDE SPACED DASH? THE BIMAN 1 TL IS CONFIRMED SHIT. THANKS FOR COMING TO MY TED TALK ON LIVING IN A MOTHERFUCKING SOCIETY BOTTOM TEXT: UPDATE: MORE CRIMES AGAINST TYPOGRAPHY HAVE BEEN FOUND: BEHOLD THIS RIDICULOUS DOUBLE SPACING:
  13. 6 points
    Let's be clear... I have no reason to try to be fair to charage anymore. This might sound like a terrible statement to make, but the fact is, I've been a lot nicer than I wanted to be for years when it came to charage. I went out of my way to look for positive aspects, and when I found one, I deliberately put it in as positive a light I could without overdoing it. This was because the sensation I got coming out of most charage was fatigue. SOL, in small doses, is enjoyable and even relaxing... in the kind of doses I experienced over the last five years, it is downright toxic. Now, down to the game... CharaBration is what is termed a 'thematic charage'. This is a type of VN with a preset theme that all the heroines and possibly the protagonist all adhere to to one degree or another. In this case, it is the duality of the heroines/protagonist's character types. Each of the characters presents one face to the world and another in private... and in the case of this game, the gap between them is massive. The heroine who starts as the initial focus is Hai, the protagonist's cousin whom he thought was a sickly ojousama that he had to take care of... and is really the kind of tomboy who dominates all the males around her, with a coarse manner and foul language. Yukia, who is pretending to be her sister Mirei, presents herself normally as an arrogant leader who always dominates the room, but in private, she is shy and has trouble talking at all. Himeme is normally acts in a false male role, but she really prefers to act like the girl she really is. All the heroines are like this to one degree or another, and Rikka (the protagonist) ends up splitting his life between pretending to be a maid and attending school in his male form. Now... this is a game with a lot of potentially fun elements, and it would have been great if the 'hidden' character traits for Hai, who was presented as the main heroine at first, weren't so grating. Starting out with a positive hatred for Hai that never really faded even after I got into the heroine routes (her ojousama act just made me more irritated, due to that fake cough) was a huge drag on the experience for me, and it is the reason why I took so long to finish even the paths I did. Hai is annoying, to be straight about it. While her presence is necessary to create the situation going in, her persona (both of them) drove me up the wall. The fact that I actually liked the other heroines only made it worse, because whenever she came onto the scene, I just wanted to delete her character. I'm sure some will love her (there is someone for everyone, supposedly), but she isn't for me. Common Route Tbh, the common route spent so much time on Hai and stuff related to her that I'm tempted to erase it from my brain. However, it needs to be said that it does a good job of introducing the heroines and creating their relationships with Yuki/Rikka. Rikka is a standard 'I protest dressing up like a girl but I subconsciously am coming to love it' trap protagonist, and that creates a few moderately amusing scenes... However, I can't really said this did a good job of anything but introducing the heroines and creating those basic relationships. It is a pretty short common route, and the heroine routes afterward aren't long either, so it feels like more time and effort could have been spent deepening the relationships before they headed off into the romantic wilds. Yukia Yukia is easy to like, at least for me. Her helpful, kind nature is prevalent throughout much of the VN, and her other persona is mostly amusing (some of the ways she strings together lines to hold a conversation together make me laugh). Her relationship with her sister, Mirei, which comes out in her path, is amusing on several levels, and I like the way she grows as a character during the course of her path. That said, her ending is somewhat disappointing, as I would have liked to see what she and Rikka were like after graduation. Corona I chose Corona as the second heroine mostly because she is Yukia's opposite in so many ways... and because I rolled a pair of dice to decide which would be the second and final heroine I would play (I can't bring myself to play all the heroines in this type of game anymore). Umm... I really like her character, if only because it makes me laugh (an easily-embarrassed prime personality and a secondary personality that strips without a hint of hesitation and is obsessed with other women's breasts... definitely worth a laugh). In fact, this path is nicely weird, especially because of how those twin personalities interact with the romance. If Yukia's path was par for the course (predictable and staid as trap protagonist and ojousama heroines go), Corona's went pretty far out there. The epilogue and after story was also too close to the ending in chronology though, *sighs*. Conclusions Despite some high points, this game is pretty average as charage go. Like a lot of thematic charage, it makes the mistake of assuming that the theme is all-powerful, and, as a result, it falls short on a lot of minor points. I was particularly irritated at the way they handled the endings/epilogues, and I felt that the writer didn't really do Corona or Yukia justice, when it came down to it. Given more detail and time spent deepening character relationships in a believable fashion, it would have been much easier to engross myself in the setting. Unfortunately, that never happened here (the good parts of Yukia's and Corona's paths stand out so much precisely because they are the best parts of the VN by far). It felt like the writer wrote his favorite scenes first then sort of created a bare-bones framework to support it using the theme.
  14. 6 points
    MaggieROBOT

    Dank-a-Ronpa Ch.4

    I DON'T EVEN REMEMBER HOW LONG AGO: Not even time travel saved tymmur, but it's not like Dreamysyu, VirginSmasher and Zander would give up so fast! After finding a whopping amount of 1 (one) clue, our heroes started marching to the court room. After whatever won the poll, our heroes finally reached a red velvet room, decorated with golden statues and chains. An extravagant atmosphere, that also made everyone dizzy, just like Ranzo's ego. Speaking of the Devil, he just started singing a Velvet Underground song. Back to the room's interior, we could also see a circle of golden platforms in the exact middle of the room, an arrangement that permitted them to see everyone else should they step behind the platforms. Well, not "should", "must", they have to do it, to save America, or whatever other noble reason. Maggiekuma's throne was located closer to the corner, in a higher ground where it was possible to see everything the plebeians bellow were doing. "Sooooooo, you guys are finally here!" said Maggiekuma, savoring some popcorn. "And whose fault is it, that we're this late?" we can count on batman to rub salt on other people's wound. "Okay, look, I already waste half a screen worth of space with that poll, so let's drop the issue about my lateness! You have better things to discuss!" angrily said Maggiekuma, throwing popcorn at our heroes. Kiri didn't seem offended. "Yeah, like, we can discuss how h-scenes are important to the plot!" Dergonu proposed a circle jerking. "We would stay here all day if we were to discuss that. Instead, shouldn't we discuss... I don't know... about tymmur's death???" Dreamysyu put his protagonism to good use. "Oh right, we should honour the bugger." Poltroon said in a dignified way, almost contradicting his behaviour in the last chapter. "You say that like we're disrespecting him, but these bunch of lines we're saying that never ends is a nice shout out to the fella." justified Fiddle. "Now that's what I call a fantastic homage!" agreed Ranzo, even though deep down they thought that their performance of Fucking Wizard by Reverend Bizarre that was edited out of the story to not split the audience due to musical differences was better. "Okay, I... think I can allow that. But can you guys at least, pretty please, babble while going to your designated seats?" not even I understand Maggiekuma's attempts to save time at this point. "If I remember right here, we have to find the culprit hiding here and then vote for him here so we can continue to live here." littleshogun made a recap. "So what, we just talk and talk about it until the culprit eventually blurts it all out?" Virgin proposed. "That wouldn't be half as fun! So let me explain some additional rules to the trial session!" Said Zander, with his now healed physical injury and forever persisting mental damage. "No need. I microwaved my way through a time where we already listened to the rules before this, so I can tell you guys!" Kurisu saving the day. "You could have, you know, looked for the culprit's name..." Or not. "Well, in short, we have to talk non stop about the same things over and over again even if they are painfully obvious until someone with half a brain figures the bullshit in our arguments and fire a truth bullet through it. We can add some random babble in the conversation too, to make things more of a chore than harder per se." "Putting it like this... god, this game sucks!" everything sucks for you, bats. "So, all we gotta do is shoot first, eh?" said Lesiak, firing a bullet that would put Clint Eastwood's characters to shame. Sasuga, Ultimate Westerner. Too bad SeniorBlitz happened to be in front of him, so he ended with a bullet in his skull. Sasuga, Ultimate Westerner. RIP. "Eeerr... that sounded like Lesiak put a... silencer in his gun." it looked like a very lame and inappropriate joke made by Dergonu, but it was also a nice shout out to Senior's pun habits. "To be quite honest, I think this game will be much more balanced now. He was too overpowered with that guide of his." said the guy that claimed he knows everything about the progress of the story. "I have to agree with that as well. One should not defy the gods." said the guy that defy the gods himself. "Even if we don't like it, you have a point. Now everyone have a fair chance." said the tsun that can time travel. "I'm not a tsundere!" that's not what I said. "A-a-a-a-a-and I'm not just a tsun either!" "Well, except the part about killing each other mid trial, even if I don't really care if you guys actually do it, the trial goes exactly like Kurisu explained. So start presenting some proof or something." "Oh, I have some!" Kenshin finally got the ball rolling. "I also happen to have some." Zander said calmly like this: "I also have something to show." Virgin said proudly. Not even Dreamysyu, that was with him had any idea what kind of clue he found. "Let's start with mine, since I raised my hand first! Okay, I gathered some pics from the crime scene. Maggiekuma, can you lend me a screen to project those?" said Kenshin. "This is really necessary? I mean, we're handling guro material here..." Lesiak asked before I have to rate this fic 18+. "Guro..." Dergonu seems to be controlling himself to not say anything else. "About guro here, I think I could give my opinion on it, but since I'm not into strangling and tentacle anal rape here, I think I'll pass on this here." littleshogun gave his opinion. ".............Not only you're being awfully specific, but no one asked if anyone liked guro either." Ranzo tsukkomied for a moment. "Eeerrr, but don't we just looked at the body? Ignoring that it was 2 eons ago outside the story. How 2D pics can be worse than the real deal?" Virgin asked. "I'm not sure if this 2D vs 3D argument's going to fly on court, mister Virgin." you guys are already on court, mister Poltroon, but he was so naturally on mood for trials that he didn't even noticed his language quirk. "To be honest, the only thing those pics will show is what I'm about to describe." Zander started. "I investigated the body and made a shocking discover: it wasn't the gif that killed tymmur, he was electrocuted!" "Impossible. How such a detail went unnoticed by the gods?" bellowed Clephas, making a question that I didn't really think the answer to. "His feet were stuck into a bucket full of water together with an electric wire. So it means... that someone entered the scene, probably knocked tymmur out cold, stuck his feet into the bucket, put the wire there, send the gif as a red flag and then fled." Dreamysyu put all the pieces together. "But... when did the culprit find the time to do all that?" "He doesn't need time if they can time travel..." Ranzo preferred to chaotic-evilly accuse anyone without proof just for the lulz than actually help. "True that, but unfortunately for your lulz, I have some further proof I'm not the killer. Isn't that right, Kenshin_sama?!" Kurisu said, throwing their ace in the moment they judged to be the most dramatic! "Why people only present evidence on dramatic prompts and not, like, right at the start?" Danganronpa is to blame, bats. "Oh right! The message on the blackboard! I have a pic of it as well!" Kenshin said what they knew. "When both of us entered the scene, we saw this 'Podology services for free!' message written with pink chalk on the blackboard, so maybe that's what baited tymmur." "I don't even know what podology is supposed to be, what's your point?" Virgin didn't understand gay speak. "I'm not sure either, but maybe... you're trying to say that tymmur put his feet inside that bucket by himself??" dramatic song starts playing. "WHATA TWIIIIIIIIIIIST!" not really, Maggiekuma. You're the only one excited here. "Wait a moment. If that's true... why we didn't saw that message when we went to crime scene?" Lesiak questioned. "Because I eventually erased it to write a differences chart between the anime and the VN version of S;G 0 there." calmly explained Kurisu. "Destroying evidence, eh?" Poltroon suddenly became Canadian. "To be honest, it made the episode even more fun to watch, building that chart." the order of the words in Kenshin's explanation looks like something poorly translated from japanese. And then, everyone just removed Kenshin and Kurisu from the blame list because I don't want to drag this any longer. "Okay, I think it's finally time for me to shine!" Virgin raised from his seat, at least I hope I mentioned they were sitting before. "Oh yeah, you apparently had some evidence." Zander trusted Virgin as much as Virgin trusted him. "Yeah, and it's that now dead guy's guide!" "Wait, isn't this cheating?" Dergonu uphold the rules with seriousness. "Not when I'm the one doing it!" said Virgin, quickly turning the pages of Senior's guide. "Soooo, if I got to the right page, I think the way to advance is... to ask Dergonu to hack the system?" "Dergonu, care to explain?" Fiddle asked, judging his comrade. "Oh riiiiight, I was hacking the system to get access to the monitors early, so maybe I can do it again to check some unusual activity." I'm not sure if Dergonu can even do that, but Kaguya is not in the story so this have to do. After some *insert meme and oversimplified explanation of hacker doing stuff* in a laptop that Maggiekuma lent to them, Dergonu turned back to his friends with a sullen expression. "It's no use, I can't even see traces of Kurisu's magecraft there." "Some mod you are." Zander rolled his eyes. "☆=(ゝω・)/" Kiri intervene for the first time! "ヾ(`・ω・´)ノ" They said. "Can someone localize this?" "They're saying that maybe Poltroon or Clephas can try to get access to the system too. They aren't the Ultimate Mod, but maybe their permissions are wacky enough for that to work." Fiddle translated. "WHAT ARE YOU EVEN OBJECTING TO?????" Dreamysyu asked themselves if Maggie didn't do that just because she so wanted to use that pic. "Did Kiri really says all of that with just that smiley?" batman asked the real question. "Yes." Fiddle only nodded, because they know. And somehow everyone just accepted it and the plot moved forward. "Well, since batman stole my catchphrase..." not really, Mr. Edgeworth. "I'll hack into this system of yours instead, to finally make a grandiose entrance in this trial." I think it's a fair trade, solving plot problems instead of saying a meme catchphrase. And with that, his fingers danced through the keyboard of Maggiekuma's laptop. "Ohoooo... what is this?" "Cut the suspense, did you find out who send the gif?" "As a matter of fact, yes. And it was... someone named Dergonu!" DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN! "Absurd! It's not me!!! Just look into my account activity!!! It was pretty much inactive before Dreamysyu asked for my help earlier this morning!" Dergone yelled. "Just for the record, I'm not confirming this piece of information." Dreamysyu threw Dergonu under the bus. "TRAITOR!" "Fret not, my fellow moderator. I never said it was you that did it. I said an account with the name 'Dergonu' is the responsible for this mess, apparently. And for some reason, this Dergonu is also following your account." Poltroon explained. "But wasn't that Dergonu following Dergonu Dergonu themselves?" Kenshin put it in a confusing way, but it was the painful truth. "Oh yeah, that's right. So forget what I said about not fretting, Dergonu, please do fret." Poltroon dealt the final blow. "Wait, we're not doing that retarded rhythm game from Danganronpa now, are we?" Ranzo asked. Even if he was a music enthusiast, no one deserves that annoying game. "No lol, that minigame is stupid, I can go down without that and with my dignity instead, thank you very much." Dergonu explained. "So it WAS you the culprit here. You must be quite interested here in how to mouth those obviously delicious and long and thick bananas here to actually commit murder for it here." littleshogun disapproved. ".................I think you're the only one that still remembers that was supposed to be our motivation." Virgin felt some degeneration in the air. "Nah man, I didn't do it for some dumb book." Dergonu switched to their evil villain personality. For some reason, no one was really surprised. "So, why did you kill tymmur?" "For the ~~***GURO***~~, of course!" And them they started some chant that looked like a chuuni villain speech. "KILL, PUNCH, STAB, BLEEEEED!!!! Why is this frustrated Derg so mad? I hope you can't answer me, as your brains escape through your ears! Dance, Derg, at the rhythm of the falling severed fingers! Crawl in my direction leaving your intestines in your trails! You can't take your eyes of Derg, so I'll take them out for you maggots!" for some reason, Dergonu started talking about themselves in third person, something as bad as guro. "Okay, but where's the sexual part in those things you describe? That's just regular gore." asked Dreamysyu. "Well, I'm sexy (/ω\)" Kiri wasn't amused with Dergonu trying to copy them. "Is this... the real Dergonu?" Lesiak asked, somehow surprised that he didn't recognize his friend that had a whopping amount of maybe 5 lines in 3 chapters worth of characterization. "Actually, now everything is starting to make sense." Really? "They did that... because they wanted to be guroed themselves." "mWAHAHAKWAKWA~ mAYBE?! <3" Dergonu's maniacal laugh echoed in the chamber. "Well, if that's what this shell of a human being is asking for..." Clephas started a summoning spell. "KILL, PUNCH, STAB, BLEEEEED!!!!..." no, I won't create 2 mantras in a single chapter. "HOLD YOUR HORSES! I CAN HANDLE THIS!" said Maggiekuma, wanting to shine in this chapter as well. "The Punishment time is on the house! And I prepared some pretty cool Visual Novel style execution!" Saying that, Maggiekuma took an old grimoire whose cover was covered in a cat's hide. The Legendary Nekonomicon. It seems Senior's soul is still trapped in the courtroom, as the lame puns are out of control. Cutting off one of their finger and pouring the blood over the cursed book's page, Maggiekuma summoned Dergonu's executioner. "Who's better to punish bad Dergonu than the very own Empress of the Banished Lands?" In the next moment. The sky suddenly went dark. They were indoors, but they noticed it through a TV that Maggiekuma turned on in that instant or something. But the reason for that suddenly invaded the courtroom too. Wasps. A fuck ton of them. Their buzzing was quite loud, almost looking like they were omegaloling at the characters' misery. The characters that had closer ties with Hell knew what were those wasps. The poster boys (boys is even the right word here?) of the Banished Lands, the symbol of the Queen. And indeed, short after, she appeared. The High Mistress Neko, the Ultimate Catgirl. Clad in a beautiful samurai armor and carrying a giant samurai sword, she was danger incarnate. She also had massive breasts that were in fact just two gigantic spherical bombs just to be even more dangerous. She approached Dergonu with a smile on her face, the wasps flying around her now buzzing a chorus latin song to be even more chuuni. "Ahaha, so you're the boy who needs some punishment?" she asked in a voice that almost made you want to be punished. "Only if you don't be gentle with me." Well, apparently Dergonu DID wanted to be punished. "Desu wa~" said the Neko Queen in gratuitous japanese that didn't really make any sense here. "So, time to...!" [The content of Dergonu's execution was considered too extreme for Fuwa rules, so I removed it according. I count with the help of fans to restore this content! Thanks for the comprehension! Actually no, fuck you.] Even if the guroing was lazily cut, I didn't rewrite the scars it left in the other guys that lived and watched everything in horror. Although Ranzo did like the violent style of the High Mistress, so they actually took some notes of things to copy when they eventually tries to kill someone. It will be censored all the same to be honest. Eventually the Neko Samurai walked away with her wasp companions, what left our heroes begging for it to be just a dream. "Let me guess, you'll copy that 'Dreamysyu woke up in their usual seat blah blah blah' again next time, right?" now even Dreamysyu is snarking at me. NEXT TIME: Two more down, thirteen to go. What awaits our heroes next? "Hopefully not another long ass waiting again!" Virgin released one last drop of poison.
  15. 6 points
    As many (hopefully) of you know, I like to read a lot of different things, providing my stomach and the laws of my country allow it. My VNDB list will never reach Clephas level of completeness, so I'm aiming for something different instead: to have the most random, hipster, no prejudice, unlike any other VN list. Of course, as slow as I am, I can only hope to achieve this dream within the next 30 years or so, but hey I'm still young! I have conquered otomege, devoured BL, collected EVNs, discovered yuri, threaded in chuuni waters, tiptoed into nakige, read through memeges, tasted horror, and tried my hand with gameplay hybrids. But how can I call myself a Ultimate VN Reader if I never read a single nukige? No, I have to change that. I must to. So I decided to give a chance to the glorious fangame our friendly neighbors Asonn, Arcadeotic, Hanako, HMN, Jptje, Nandemonai, Zakamutt, and other sweeties (because the list is damn long), shared with the West: Maki Fes! What were the impressions of Maggie, guaranteed 12% female readership of Fuwa, someone who totally didn't went in for the memes and that totally knew something about Love Live beforehand? Find out now! There's a catchy song in the title screen, pretty much the only song I remember from the game. In Maki Fes!, you play as Matt yourself! The boyfriend (wait, it should be girlfriend if I had to play as myself. Well, I can stick with Matt just fine) of the cute red haired tsundereish Maki! How lucky are you? Nukige convenience is convenient, alright! Not a bad start to be honest, I was expecting something more stupid, but Maki Fes already proved itself as above average intellectual level than my preconceived opinion of what constitutes an average nukige. Anyway, Maki needs to write a song and you, as a good boyfriend, agree to help her get some inspiration. And yeeeeeees, that means lots of porn! Maki is pretty much the only character you'll meet through the entire game, since more girl means harem or yuri, right? And that's not what this doujinge is about. And she's fully voiced! The actress does a very good job for most part, except during those background moans that goes like a machine gun shooting fast going "a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a" that got annoying after two loops. The art is also quite pleasant to look at, Maki pouting and smiling are just the cutest. I enjoyed her character, but I don't know the original to say if she's going too OOC. So! The game provide you with the following scenarios, and all of them leads to porn. Yes, some of these choices leading to porn is quite creative, I know. The twist would be if the last option didn't, but that's not what happens here. Choices, oh choices. If you don't want to be spoilered, stop reading right here! Not that I consider sexual position a spoiler, but hey, there's weird folks of all kinds out there! So let's go over what I get out of each scenes. And no, it wasn't masturbatory material. "Let's recall our first time!": Exactly what it says on the tin. It was quite a sweet scene, where Matt the protagonist was mindful of Maki, and if she was feeling comfortable. Of course, she had to say the typical "you can be more rough, I know you're holding yourself back", but hey, at least they discussed it! Relationship is all about two people understanding and being respectful with each other after all! Another thing that I have to praise this game is that the classic "Cum inside/Cum outside" option only affect the CG right after it, and not the ending, so I could pick "Cum outside" to my heart's content. "Wear your maid outfit!": This one was nice too, as far as h-scenes goes. It's a blowjob scene and HEY, it have simple ANIMATIONS (*insert here the face of a surprised girl that never saw a animated VN before)! The translation of this scene was pretty good too, I was amazed with how many different porn sound effects this guy could came (get it? ) up with. It also had a marriage proposal discussion there that I liked, but I can guess 80% of the people that played this game didn't even noticed it. "Our good luck charm!": This was one of the last scenes I read, so there wasn't much of my patience left. I think it was something about writing good luck wishes on Maki's butt. Yep. Of course, not with a pen or a penis, but with his finger. Oh yeah, this guy goes on and on about Maki's cellulite free butt but this game don't have a single anal scene. For shame, game, for shame! "I'm hungry!": I can only say one thing. How Maki decided she wanted to feed this guy and do it like this??????????? "Dancing is inspiring!": Probably, but it was the very last scene I read and at that point I just wanted the game to end. Four scenes is my limit for h-scenes one after another. Multiple rounds indeed is a lie. Oh yeah, the scene. I think it was a cowgirl scene and... that's it. "Use traditional elements!": Was it on that scene that Maki came with the penetration alone? God, that was dumb. This guy have such lame foreplay skill it's a wonder Maki can even come once. Oh yeah, there's pee in this scene, weird that Zaka didn't work on this. How does her pee makes an arc in the air though? Pretty sure you need a penis to do that... "You need some excitement!": Man, this scene have one weird dick. It looked like a fishing hook. Animating it didn't make it any better. But I think this scene had some well crafted puns cumversation, so it was somewhat amusing. "I wanna fuck!": (Chorus: FUCK!)* Now that's a scene where Matt truly shines! And Maki as well. How could a forget when she uttered my favorite quote of the game, "My nipples are playing the blues!"? Now that's what I call talented nipples! *Joke stolen from ZakaTM After seeing all scenes, you can finally watch the desired True Ending, that I'll not spoil here. That was... tiring to be honest, but also educational (?) to say the least. It helped me to understand some before unexplored corners of the VN fandom. And I can't really doubt that it must be a nice game if used as intended. Should I be ashamed that this was my first contact with anything related to Love Live? Maybe. But now I can proudly (??) say that my VNDB list is one step closer to perfection. And since I already ticked the nukige checkbox, I can safely remove any other nukiges/games tagged with high sexual content from my wishlist! ...Wait, that one nukige is BL. ... Guess I'm making a nukige misadventures part 2. Unrelated PS: No, I didn't forget about Dankaronpa, chapter 4 is halfway done. Maybe next week!
  16. 6 points
    So i continue with wasting peoples times with old abandoned things found on my hdd. Once upon a time there used to be an attempt by some of fuwans to create a VN called Private eye victoria. and we had one of the worst temporary names in the history. Bread works united sadly i dont remember everyone who was in the group. but @solidbatman & @Katatsumuri was part of writing plots and routes. So i could barely even explain what it was about, Basicly a historic detective mystery vn. i was mainly drawing the concepts for characters. Wich i was too slow at. Here we have 3 of the main girls, Libby , Charlotte & Victoria I was mostly focusing on charlotte and victoria at first. tried to make expression sheet. As slow as i was Libby didnt get as much attention in expressions and so on. but she was the first one i colored "properly", i was pretty bad at it at the time. And libby became something i started joking around with, Making "fancy libby" wich i had fun with for awhile. With my lack of self motivation i started testing other things. like making the logo and ingame ui and things. But with mostly lack of work from me the project slowly died. now theres alot of old concepts and plot and routes that never will be used. things shifted focus and we did other things instead, me working on other art and mostly having fun talking instead. Rip worstnamegroup, you will be missed.
  17. 5 points
    As you can imagine, I got a lot of requests for a similar list over the years, but the thing is, I don't play VNs in English that didn't start out in English. As such, my recommendations are based entirely on my experience of the Japanese versions of these VNs, rather than the localization. As such, don't hold me responsible for your personal experiences, lol. I'm going to split these by genre so I don't have to answer questions along those lines. For the purposes of fairness, I won't include anything with a machine translation (which means no Chuushingura). Chuunige I/O (yes, I did indeed play this, and it was good despite being dated horribly) FSN (you saw that coming, right?) Tsukihime (again, you saw that coming, right?) Comyu (fantasy) Ayakashibito (fantasy) Tokyo Babel (fantasy) Dies Irae (fantasy) Demonbane (fantasy) Sorcery Jokers (fantasy) Hello, Lady (upcoming fantasy) Hatsuru Koto naki Mirai Yori (upcoming eventually, fantasy) Baldr Sky (whenever it comes out (*crosses fingers for your sake* sci-fi) Phantom of Inferno (despite all the problems with the localized version it is a great read) Muv-Luv Alternative (this one is borderline, because it makes you read two mediocre games prior just to understand it) Charage/Moege Noble Works Majikoi (classified this way as long as you don't include the true/last route) Da Capo (the original only, and only because it is wrong not to have the archetypical moege experience at least one time in your VN lifespan) Shuffle (truth be told, I'm basing this assessment off of the expanded version, not the version originally released over here) Sanoba Witch (Yuzu-soft and thus predictably overdone with the ichaicha since this is one of their less plotge-style ones) Dracu-riot (Wait until an official release comes out. The patch currently floating around is a nonentity in comparison) Senren Banka (Sadly not out yet, but something to look forward to) Chrono Clock (I listed it in this one rather than plotge because the 'plot' was a bit too thin) Akatsuki no Goei (the original falls, barely, into this category, despite some seriously disturbing shit involving Kaito's origin story that was dropped here and there and the dystopian nature of the setting. Fan patch will probably be released next year) Tsujidou-san no Jun'ai Road (yes, I put this here) Note: For those who wonder why my list is sparse on a lot of names beloved by those who play localized games obsessively... you do realize that a lot of the charage that get released over here are from the bottom of the pile, right? Nakige Hapymaher (probably my biggest recommendation for this genre) Haruka ni Aogi, Uruwashi no (for the distant future, something to look forward to) AstralAir no Shiroki Towa (whenever it releases) Hoshizora no Memoria (yes, I recommend it, lol) Irotoridori no Sekai (Eventually. And again, more Favorite... despite the fact that its staff idolize mysterious lolis) Koi ga Saku Koro Sakura doki (I was insanely surprised that this got localized at the time, considering the normal sluggishness of localization at the time) Plotge Koisuru Otome to Shugo no Tate (partial with two routes done. Definitely worth reading, if only to get an idea of what AXL is like) Cross Channel (weirdly, I've always had a fondness for this game and its clinically insane protagonist) Yume Miru Kusuri (yes, I played it. Yes, I liked it) Boku ga Tenshi ni Natta Wake (no idea when this will come out... but definitely a recommendation, for all the screwy shit that happens in it) Nanairo Reincarnation (upcoming soon hopefully for you, since that would mean two kamige releases in two years, lol) Hello,Goodbye (this was a possible for chuunige, but I put it here. This will supposedly release before the end of the year, but I'm guessing March) Gameplay Hybrid Eien no Aselia Seinarukana Ar Tonelico Ar Tonelico 2 (this and the one above can only be considered to be borderline VNs in an odd way, because they are mostly jrpgs with a few VN elements) Note: I don't include anything Eushully, because none of the good ones have a translation that isn't a machine one.
  18. 5 points
    I recommend reading this one on my blog as forum formatting makes tables look like shite. Your choice though. I’ve mentioned earlier that I think one of the reasons there haven’t been a lot of translation blogs on Fuwanovel is that a lot of advice the editing blogs are peddling could equally well be applied when translating. But how would that look? In this blog (and maybe series, but me and regular effort don’t tend to get along), I’ll try to show you the process of translating with an eye to using the structure of English writing rather than following the Japanese. The great thing about being the translator rather than the editor (or editing while knowing Japanese, but that’s a luxury) is that you don’t have to go ask the translator if the structure of the Japanese prose, when copied, looks weird. You can just make the adjustment yourself, without worrying that you’re distorting the original meaning too much. This post is primarily aimed at translators, but should hopefully be useful for editors as well. It is probable that some of the patterns shown here could just as well have been picked up by an editing blog; the main difference will be that I can also show how it looks in Japanese. I am by no means perfect, and any comments or suggestions are appreciated. In the spirit of leading by example, I’ll be quoting my in-occasional-progress translation of 私は今日ここで死にます (Watashi wa Kyou Koko de Shinimasu; ‘This is where I die today’). Me and Asonn have settled on the shorthand “shinimasu”, but the author’s comments actually use わた死 (“Watashi” with the last syllable using the kanji for ‘death’ that appears in “Shinimasu”). Thus the title. Let’s start with three lines from the very beginning of the novel. Our protagonist 京介 (Kyousuke) has just seen a girl jump off a bridge, gone after her by jumping himself, and managed to get her out of the river and onto land. The reader doesn’t know this yet, however – the start just talks about what you’d do if you saw someone about to kill themselves. Japanese Literalish translation Adapted translation 「入水自殺、か」 “Suicide by drowning, huh.” “Tried to drown yourself, huh…” ぽつりと呟きつつ、腕の中でぐったりとしている“それ”を見る。 While mumbling a few words in a staccato manner, I look at “that” resting limply in my arms. I look at the girl resting limply in my arms. まだあどけない顔をした少女だ。 It is a girl with a face that is yet cherubic*. Face innocent as a newborn babe’s. The adaptated first line is based on trying to get nuance right. While I mostly did it on instinct, we can motivate it more logically. In English, the literal version feels like something you’d say when starting to talk about a topic – I’d expect Kyou-boi to expound on the subject of suicide by drowning afterward. But in context he’s commenting on the specific act the girl in his arms has attempted. Another consideration is brought by the second line, which shows that Kyousuke is looking at said girl while saying this. So we’re looking for a line that sounds reasonable spoken to a person that can’t hear it. Which is a weird category now that I think of it, but not entirely uncommon. The ellipsis is questionable, especially when cutting ellipses is something editors do all the time in j>e translation, but I have a reason; it’ll be in the next line analysis. The second line features a thing frequently found in Japanese visual novel writing that doesn’t really agree with English style conventions at all: describing speech after it’s already been said. Frequently this is entirely redundant information in a visual novel due to speaker tags, but in some cases it will contain some kind of judgement or opinion of the viewpoint character that you might want to preserve. These kinds of redundant lines is a good reason to ask whoever’s doing technical work on your translation if you can just plain remove lines (for example, they might be able to program something that detects the translated line being exactly “SKIP” and cuts those lines.) However, it should be noted that cutting these redundant lines will change the flow of a text. If it’s frequently used in a passage, you may end up with a very different feel than the Japanese ― perhaps this is worth it, but it’s something to take into consideration. わた死 doesn’t do this that frequently, however, so we probably don’t need to worry. This gives a bit of motivation for adding the ellipsis in line #1; it makes the line more mutter-y in a way that doesn’t make it look weird. This is one strategy for dealing with structural incompatibility: move the piece of information where it does fit. There’s more. The line doesn’t mention “that” being a girl, revealing this in the next line. I’m not sure why the author did this -maybe the lines read better in Japanese that way, and Japanese lines in succession often depend on each other - but the technique just looks weird in English. Thus, we move the information from line 3 to line 2 in our adaptation. The third line is annoying because while we technically do have a word that fits あどけない fairly well, cherubic - angelic, innocent, and youthful - few people are likely to know it and it doesn’t really fit the register the Japanese word uses. As such I’ve tried to reword it, though honestly I’m not really satisfied. I’m also not entirely sure if I’m missing a nuance of まだ (yet in the literalish translation) I should be getting; it’s probably just consonant with あどけない as “still looking young”, but it could also be referring to her state of unconsciousness causing it or something. The next line that I’m not showing talks about her looking young for her age though, so we can at least use that. The other thing of structural interest is that we’ve moved the “girl” piece of information to the second line, as mentioned. …Man this took a while and I only did three lines. I think I’m just going to post. Like, comment, watch the Shinimasu translation progress here, design a double-sided daki with both Yukas on it for me if you’re feeling generous. As a bonus, have a few other examples of describing things after-the-fact and how I’ve currently handled them: As you can see the pattern isn’t limited to just speech. Here I decide to go IN and use context to write a line half new. Another thinking version. And here’s one with 返す. Also this has mixed speech and narration, which I’ve tried to work into the English as well. Though I’m going to go change this to present tense now since I picked that later, fuck. View the full article
  19. 5 points
    Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of this game by the developer. All opinion presented here are solely my own. PixelFade is a studio that from the very beginning showed an unusually ambitious approach to EVN development. Their first project, Ace Academy, offered some features rarely seen in Western VN of similar scale (~10h of content), such as good-quality, full voice acting and lots of impressive-looking, stylistically consistent artwork. It was also pretty atypical in its storytelling, featuring a mostly college-age cast, choosing a very tame approach to romance and avoiding the fanservice endemic to this kind of lighthearted, SoL-focused VNs. Initially funded on Kickstarter as Kendo Crush, it went through a curious evolution from a generic-looking, sports-themed game into a futuristic story about mecha battles but regardless of all the tribulations, the end effect was a highly refreshing, all-ages experience with a satisfying mix of light drama, non-violent action and mystery. In my opinion, it’s still one of the best EVNs ever released, with few real issues beyond the somewhat abrupt, anticlimactic ending and the overly simplistic "gameplay" elements. Considering the relative success of Ace Academy, it was obvious that there would be high expectations connected to PixelFade’s second project, Crystalline – a lighthearted fantasy tale with a single romanceable heroine, which promised a longer story and even higher production qualities than their debut. After a successful Kickstarter campaign in early 2017, with gathered over 60k CAD (an amount pretty much unseen when it goes to original EVN projects), the game fairly quickly entered Steam on early access and was fully released in late August 2018 – the much anticipated final product offering truly impressive sound and visual design... And, in my opinion, a truly disappointing lack of compelling story content. But why is that exactly? Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  20. 5 points
    Note: I was provided with a free review copy of this game by the developer. All opinions expressed here are solely my own. The multi-route mystery VN is not a format easy to pull off properly and for that reason not many EVN developers even attempt to tackle it. It requires creating a number of paths and characters, all interesting on their own and complementary to each other, while also keeping the overall quality high enough to motivate the reader to go through all of it in order to piece together the overarching story. This is both a challenge from the writing perspective and requires a fairly substantial amount of content to communicate the mystery effectively – usually, more than an average Western visual novel can provide with the humble resources at its creators' disposal. Still, all this makes exploring the few examples of such games done right by Western devs that more interesting. SoulSet, developed by NoBreadStudio and released on Steam in late 2016 is a particularly “orthodox” implementation of the formula, with every route and ending (including bad ones) adding to your understanding of the story and culminating in an unlockable “true route”, which resolves the crucial mysteries and tie all the previous paths together. It’s also, as I will try to argue, a damn fine game that positively stands out in the EVN market, in a few ways. Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  21. 5 points
    Today, we’ll be continuing our agon… I mean, out adventure through the world of free VNs by ebi-hime. While the earliest games we’ve covered, like Dejection and Is This the Life? were very visibly ebi’s early works, simple on the technical side of things and featuring minimalistic artwork, today we’re jumping straight into very recent projects, all released not earlier than 2017. Mostly staying true to the general climate of heavy, existential topics and endings that are never the typical happy, wish-fulfilment scenarios, these games are once more not far detached from ebi’s commercial projects and while smaller, could easily have a modest price tag attached to them, with few people being able to claim they didn’t get their money’s worth (especially in the cases of Lynne and Six Days of Snow). But what are they exactly about? Where the Sun Always Shines Where the Sun Always Shines is another bittersweet story, although in a wholly different climate than Lucky Me, Lucky You. Featuring a 32-years old writer, suffering from a deep depression after losing his wife, and a teenage girl from his neighbourhood with whom he forms an unlikely friendship with, the game explores themes of grief, inspiration and moving on after losing one’s feeling of purpose, but is also maybe the only title on this list that provides a truly positive, hopeful conclusion. Before it gets to that point however, it presents to the reader rather convincing descriptions of writer’s block, anxiety and self-pity of the leading character, along with interesting interaction with Sunny, the aforementioned teenager, who first visits him out of pity, but then forms a bond of sorts over their mutual interest in musical – all that accompanied by very decent artwork. In a way though, it’s maybe the least impactful of the ebi’s stories, being overall solid and enjoyable to read, but lacking any interesting twists or highly emotional moments from the previous games. Definitely a worthwhile VN, but not necessarily a must-read. Final Rating: Recommended Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  22. 5 points
    Clephas

    Mirai Radio no Jinkou-Bato

    First, apologies to those who actually want to read about some of August's releases. I went on vacation (vacation being a word open to interpretation when it comes to sleeping in unfamiliar beds and helping with my brother's kids), and when I got back, I found I had absolutely no urge whatsoever to pick up a VN. I guess that taking a true break from VNs for the first time in almost a decade (no VNs for five days straight) was enough to free me from the spell of my obsession. That said, Jinkou Bato was pretty amusing, so I had every intention of getting back to it, eventually. This game is based fifty years in the future, fifteen years after a disaster caused by technology (deliberately) gone wrong wiped out the global internet and reduced people to using wires and letters to communicate. This disaster was caused by artificial lifeforms based on the pigeon that originally served as self-replicating flying antennas. The maker of these 'artificial pigeons' made them begin to 'eat' radio and electromagnetic waves, literally stopping all signals not passed through a wire. This resulted in innumerable deaths, and it was such a huge economic and technological blow that the characters of the story are quite aware of how they live in a much-reduced world. Sora, the protagonist, is an orphan who hates the artificial pigeons more than anyone, as he lost his parents the day of the disaster. Living with this adopted family, he succeeds in building a set of radios that can communicate with one another without being stopped by the pigeons, and from there the story begins. Mmm... I'm going to be straight about my feelings on this game. First, I like the character dynamics. There is a lot to laugh about early on, and the intensity of Sora and friends when they make a certain discovery is pleasing to me, as I'm a bit tired of characters living without a sense of purpose in my VNs, lol. That Sora and the others are college students at a vocational university rather than high schoolers is nice as well... and an adult heroine who is bisexual is also nice, hahaha. That said, both Mizuki's and Akina's paths are weaker than the Tsubaki and Kaguya paths due to the fact that only Tsubaki's and Kaguya's paths actually confront the central issues head on. Mizuki's and Akina's paths both stink of escapism, and while that is fine on its own... it left me feeling a sense of distaste for the characters involved (yes, I want my characters to be better or stronger people than me). Tsubaki and Kaguya's paths are the true path. No, I'm not saying that they are separately the true path... rather, together they form a single path, in a really weird (if familiar from other otaku media) way. The path is... extremely emotional, and I honestly felt that Sora, from beginning to end, fulfilled his potential as a character... something that is pretty unusual for VN protagonists in general. Lets be clear, this isn't a kamige or even VN of the Year material. This is a nakige with a great main path and two so-so side paths. I say 'great', but the game's pace is really fast after the initial, lighter stages of the story. That said, there is no sense of choppiness to the pacing, and it feels like the events actually occur in the time you see them happen in the game (less than two months), as there are no excess SOL scenes whatsoever. If you want a relatively quick nakige with some amusement early on, this is a good choice. I honestly can't recommend it for someone who wants a grand and sweeping opera, though.
  23. 5 points
    Welcome to another episode of Shovelware Adventures! This time, we'll take a break from our favourite, the Sakura series, to take a look at a much more obscure corner of the OELVN scene. The venture into commercial visual novel development by the German fan translator working under the label Yume Creations effected in some of the strangest VNs available on Steam and beyond. Combining competent art and interesting ideas with trashy ecchi, pieces of absolutely disastrous, bizarre writing and straight up failures in the English language, these projects are all experiences that will defy your expectations – just not necessarily in the ways their authors would want them to. Aozora Meikyuu A nukige without sex scenes, this little VN offers a rather charming heroine, who sadly gets involved in a totally nonsensical plot and various sexual scenarios that are never shown to the player. In the game’s story, our shut-in protagonist is forced to go out on a rare quest to buy groceries and on his way back home is nearly crashed to death by a (nude) girl falling from the sky. What follows, is a series of rather amusing interactions between the main character and the mysterious woman that invaded his life, which sadly can lead only to some literally incomprehensible and abrupt bad endings, or to a single positive one. The latter, admittedly, somewhat won me over by the virtue of being heartwarming, but was also based on some highly-questionable logic, making in turn everything that happened earlier rather hard to understand. The bad endings, which make little sense even after discovering the mystery central to the story and the true conclusion of the plot, along with the sexual tension constantly present in the game, building up towards non-existent hentai scenes, most likely suggest some heavily problematic development process. Because of all this, the final product is rather hard to recommend, even though I seriously enjoyed certain elements of it and ideas the author tried to implement – it is, indeed, a particularly unfortunate hunk of rabbit poo, not really offensive in any way, but hardly worth your attention. Final rating: Rabbit Poo Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  24. 5 points
    Foreword: Game first arouse my interest as alternative version of Subarashiki Hibi. Then I tried to get the glimpse of it by watching hentai OVA... and it was the worst hentai OVA I ever seen, so I was really infuriated since it did not say much about the game. Finally I've picked it up while investigating year 1999 and it struck me as something more serious than a nukige, especially after seeing those demon mind-screw CG. And it's been a while since I enjoyed a visual novel that much. Title: Tsui no Sora Developer: KeroQ Date: 1999-08-27 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v3246 Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLENAECnNmAq8vJwICEnwWJOz0Yf6ycKz3 Synopsis: Our guy got waked up by his childhood girl for school. Once they got to their classroom, they found out that a girl classmate jumped from their school roof yesterday. Soon, people started talking about end of the world on day 20th. Some even went crazy, lead by one guy. You get to see the events first through our guy's eyes, then his childhood girl's and two more people. Structure: There are two routes - for Kotomi and Ayana, then there's the route from Kotomi point of view, then the retro-route from Zakuro eyes, then villain route from Takuji viewpoint. And it all finishes with epilogue route for Kotomi and Ayana. Length: 7 hours 30 minutes. Game type: Mindscrew end of the world theme ADV. Difficulty: Easy since there are only 3-4 decisions to make. Character Design rating: 8/10 Protagonist rating: 8/10 Story rating: 10/10 Game quality: 7/10 Overall rating: 8/10 Rating comments: I did not expect such high scores. Characters aren't voiced, but somehow they manage to feel alive. There are so many protagonists in this game that the rest of characters are easy to understand and remember. If it was only for Yukito, protagonist would get a full 10. Story does not seem anything special on the first glance, but with each route it opens up new depths and raises new questions making it a very integral, memorable and personal experience. I can't rate game quality good for the lack of CG, unvoiced heroes and macromedia director engine. Protagonist: Yukita makes the perfect protagonist for me. He cites Kant, Wittgenstein, Kierkegaard, Bible all the time. He looks like a hooligan, but is absolutely faithful and reliable even though he tries to shrug it off with crude words. He's pretty much the only one who stays calm, trusts in logic and comes to everyone's rescue. Kotomi is Yukita's childhood friend. She is quite nice as a heroine, but when she becomes protagonist we get to see her constant hesitations and anxieties. It's a pain to see her crying "I don't know anything anymore", thinking "I must be alone and get stronger" and running away from Yukita at school. Zakuro is the classmate of Yukita and Kotomi. At the beginning of the game she's already dead having jumped from the roof. But her story was the most impressive one for me. But more of it in the story part. Takuji is the villain of the game. A shy small boy who at the same time wants to peel everyone naked and sentence to death. He's really cool as protagonist for having all kinds of hallucinations that make the game a mind-screw. Characters: Who do we have left? There's classmate Otonashi Ayana who has her own route, but is not a protagonist for she's the most mysterious character in the game and her manner of thinking should not be revealed. There's also classmate Yokoyama Yasuko who enters the same kendo club as Kotomi, but at the same time really sympathizes Takuji end of the world ideas. Yasuko brother is the biggest supporter of Takuji as well. There's also guy Ozawa that bullied Zakuro, but at the beginning of the game he's dead. There's a magical girl Riruro, but her existence is under a huge question, hehe. We also have medical department teacher. Story: I can't really tell about the story without some spoilers (although I'll try to hide heavy spoilers under a banner), so be aware. I. Game starts from Yukito perspective 7 days before the disaster and he can opt for either Kotomi or Ayana as the main heroine. The choice only determines couple short scenes of each heroine and determines whether Kotomi H event opens up or not. The contents remains the same. First two days are spent in mass neurosis as classmates keep jumping from the roof and rumors about the end of the world keep spreading. Then there are two days of open conflict of Takuji with the school that result in dangerous cult creation. Next two days are notable for Kotomi kidnapping by the Takuji group and her rescue by Yukito. The final day is not clearly shown. II. Then starts the route of Kotomi which is exactly the same route, but from the eyes of Kotomi. She's there mostly to add girlish thoughts to the narration and of course to show her two days of captivity and torments (read: H events) while kidnapped. So it's kind of non-important fan-service route. III. Well, when you think that the game is over, the next route opens up. And instead a week before the disaster we go to two weeks before the disaster to the body of Zakuro. She got raped and made photos of by bully Ozawa one day and from that time was blackmailed into intimate relations daily. But once she gets a letter saying "Rejoice, your torments will end tomorrow". Since it's the most impressive route for me I'd only tackle it under the spoiler banner. IV. The seven days before the disaster are shown yet again, but from the eyes of main villain Takuji. We get to see how his ideas are formed, what pushes him, how he recruits allies and eventually names himself the savior of humankind. From that point it's hard to determine delusions from truth as he sees monsters, magical girl Riruru, her spirit father and gets instructions from them, but most of the time he seems to just be talking with the graffiti wall. He starts as savior of humanity, but through demonic teachings soon recognizes the need to purify humans before the final skies by killing them. The longest and weirdest route, but at the same time it still feels light. V. Epilogues sheds light on events after the day X and give more questions than answers. HEAVY PLOT SPOILERS INSIDE CG: Too few! But characters standing sprites usually look so good that the lack of CG is not that grave. Sound: BGM includes few, but atmospheric short cycled compositions and there is no voicing at all. Humor: Apart of this funny moment of skirt flipping there was one real joke. Yukito and Ayano stay at the roof. Ayano asks "- What book do you hold in hands?" "- Kant" " Why would you need a book about girl's genitalia?" "Wrong! It's not about that!" "So it's called just CAN'T? Why would you need a book about impotence?" Then he tries to tell her Kant and Wittgenstein theories. "Wittgenstein? Is that the male apparatus?". I don't remember any more moments, but for me it's important to have at least one funny memorable moment. Themes: There are a lot of themes. 1) Is the end of the world possible? Yakuto tries to find an answer in Kant, Wittgenstein, Kierkegaard and Bible books. He uses Kant's antimony to make a conclusion that the beginning of the universe is not provable and thus there can't be the end of the world. 2) The war between light and darkness forces to impede/fasten the end of the world - is it real or imagination of fanatics? One certain route is devoted just to this theme. 3) Who actually saved the world? Was it Zakuro, Ayana or maybe even Takuji? All three came to contact to the higher essences and could influence that. Of maybe the world never needed to be saved and those are just superstition and ignorance? We have to figure it for ourselves. 4) The separate question is who is Ayana? Her every word is mysterious. She does not have parents, but she's always present at the most gruesome events late at night at the school. 5) What this game is even about? Again, you decide, the first two collages of screenshots allow to treat the game as spiritual mind-screw, youth criminal drama or eschatological religious confrontation of heroes and devils. Overall comments: I have not read Subarashiki Hibi and can only judge it by reviews and vndb. But what I see there is that the core of the plot and the characters are absolutely the same. SubaHibi was enlarged immensely to fit the modern demand, but such detail would not be possible without this little weird gem from the 1990s.
  25. 5 points
    First, I should note that this is a series that is right up the alley of people like Dergonu... it were a VN. This series, Under Jurisdiction by Susan R Matthews, mostly follows Andrej Koscuisko, a Drakonij Prince and would-be (though not by his own will) Inquisitor. Setting The Under Jurisdiction series is based in a sci-fi future where humanity, at some point, diversified so greatly that sub-specification has occurred (though most aren't quite separate species entirely. In this future, humanity (such as it is) is ruled by the judiciary, in the form of the Bench. All humans are subject to the law as proclaimed by the judicial forces, and punishments are mostly corporal... horribly so in some cases. In this setting, torture is not only allowed, it is actually carried out by licensed medical professionals trained to inflict the maximum amount of pain to gain confessions of crimes (regardless of how heavy the evidence is), and, where it is justified, to torture them to death in the most horrible of fashions. This legal use of torture as a deterrent to criminals has led to a gradual decay in the morale of the planets ruled by the Judges on the Bench, and rebellions have begun to occur on a regular basis by the time the protagonist, Andrej, takes his first steps into the world of the Fleet. Andrej Koscuisko Andrej is an extremely complex man... a man raised in a noble family of oligarchs who believe intensely and with absolute conviction in the duties of noblesse oblige and the duties to those under a lord's protection. He is also a young medical professional, a genius surgeon and chemist with a the kind of skill in actual surgical procedures that is seen so rarely as to be unheard of. He understands the human body (all races) to a degree that is often terrifying, and this is part of what becomes his plague... for when he begins his training, he discovers that, to his horror, the process of Inquisition brings out an intense, sick hunger to inflict pain upon and dominate the subjects that come under his hands. Coupled with his natural understanding of the body and human psychology, he comes out of his training as the most horrifyingly skilled Inquisitor in Bench history, an artist of pain eternally on the verge of madness due to the conflicting imperatives within him. He is only held back from the edge of the cliff by the efforts of his Bond Involuntaries, former criminals implanted with behavioral governors that force them to absolute obedience, so they can serve as his aides, and they are thus under his protection. Their care for him, for his sanity, for his health, and for his honor, is all that keeps the sadistic madness at bay as it fights with his honor and inherent compassion... The Story The story follows Andrej from his training as an Inquisitor and first encounter with a Bond Involuntary, to his first duty as a Fleet Inquisitor and beyond... His fight with madness as he tries to glean mercy and justice from the horrors he is forced to perform on others, his fight to keep his honor, to protect his Bond Involuntaries from others who would use them poorly, and his fight with his own, culturally-ingrained sense of filial duty are intense to read. For all the foreignness of his culture, Andrej's journeys through life leave behind an impact far out of proportion for the actual deeds he performs. Unfortunately, if you have a weak stomach, I can't recommend this story at all. The galaxy Under Jurisdiction is one of the most horrifying dystopian sci-fi systems I've ever seen... all the worse when you realize that it all began out of a desire for justice and fair play in a universe where human racism has, if anything, gotten worse thousands of years after leaving Earth.
  26. 5 points
    I've been meaning to do this for a longer while now, but various circumstances always prevented me from making it. Before we start, let me make this clear. I dislike value-based rating systems, where numbers are supposed to be an estimate on how "good" something is, or how much quality there is to it. In my opinion, those systems are all fair and square but don't really work the way we'd like them to, not to mention a simple number is vague as hell and doesn't really provide anything except a scale between "good", "bad" and "mediocre" in-between. Why is that? Because vns don't work that way, sadly. You can't really rate a visual novel in the same exact manner as a standard Hollywood movie, plastering a number on top of it; it's because vns are insanely diversified works with many unique sub-genres, built with particular audiences in mind. It's a world, where one fan's treasures are another fan's trash, often within the same genre trees. The same can be said about almost every other work medium belonging to japanese pop culture. Discarding this tiny nuance might actually have a pretty detrimental result in terms of ratings, that are either too vague, unfair or way too hedonist, without actually trying to get the gist of what the game actually is and to whom it is addressed. I'd rather want to think of actual ratings as something that helps in deciding how much a game is in line with one's personal interests and how high that goes. Different groups of players have different needs, therefore it's probably easier to explain the whole thing in form of a diagram: Don't think of it as "things consuming things", but more as "things supporting other things". Moege aren't particularly worse than high-rated vns, they simply have a completely different target audience, with completely different set of tastes and demands. Obviously, certain genres are more common - because there's a much higher demand for those, but at the same time it means lowering standards to match tastes of a far wider audience, which uniquely leads to genre blandness (this happened to moege and majority of charage already). The games higher on the list in terms of complexity are more streamlined and niche, requiring more refined tastes and greater knowledge in a variety of topics, which leads to them being far less approachable by majority of players. This by default leads to subsequent categorization and further alienation which is one of the major reasons why it's so hard to get into those games and communities that surround them. Those tiers are permanent and games belonging to them remain forever bound to their respective positions within the chain. It can't be changed, nor affected in any way, as accessibility by ease of understanding is the sole factor that decides about their fate. This also lead me to believe, that a proper rating system should actually take this into consideration. As much as you play a high-tier chuunige for it's cool story and characters, you play a simple charage not for the plot, but for character interactions and protagonist finally connecting with one of the heroines; you want to see where their relationships will lead to and it's the only actual thing you will care about. It's not really possible to compare both through the same exact value-based rating system. Obviously, we could argue about this forever, so without further ado - I present my new rating system, I'll be using onwards for my vn reviews. Basic ratings go as follows: Awful - When things get so bad, you might as well ask yourself what kind of wrong have you committed to end up with such game in your hands. Somehow, you ended up picking it along the way - maybe because it had a cute maid on the cover or a synopsis, which looked particularly interesting; who knows. The point is - the more you play, the less impressed you are and by the time you reach the end, you might be banging your head against the desk in utter disappointment and resentment you ever got yourself into vns. Looks can be deceiving, after all. Avoid whenever possible, since there's probably a thousand things more worth wasting your time on, than crap in p(r)etty disguise. Hopefully, I won't ever stumble upon a game, that will prompt me to give it a lower score. Imperfect - Games that strive to be good, but fail somewhere along the way - in one or more aspects. Typically a result of many problems piling up on the dev side of things, including lack of proper knowledge, skills, financial aspects, neglect, and/or faggotry. Those titles might (and prolly will) be enjoyable, but often most, the amount of issues outweighs positive aspects, successfully lowering the enjoyment factor to a large degree. They range from being mildly obnoxious in their issues to outright annoying and might be even riddled with bugs. Needless to say, they should be played in moderation to avoid salt overdose and in most cases, only the most devoted fans are arguably able to look past their flaws. For every imperfect game, you will find at least few similar titles that don't suck as badly. Mediocre - Games considered a widely accepted quality norm, stuck at their designated level. Mediocre titles tend to be far simpler in nature and typically offer fair value from a consumer standpoint, but lack in soul and technical aspects, making them cheap in comparison with anything above their tier. They tend to be mostly forgettable and don't leave a long-lasting impression (exceptions happen), but remain enjoyable while they last, giving you something to do for a bunch of cozy afternoons. In overall, they tend to leave players with hunger for more and unfulfilled dreams. Expect whatever being mass-produced at current moment to fall under this group, including majority of moege. At times, I tend to leave them with a tiny +, to indicate devs at least tried. Impressive - A game, which elevates itself above norm and skilfully uses tropes, settings and standards along with various medium-related mechanics to create memorable experiences. Those are typically good games by default, albeit not devoid of flaws, often times being a part of their very nature. They still tend to be far from perfect, but you'll love them regardless of those tiny mistakes and bumps, which remain an indicator of hand-crafted approach. Titles as such aren't uncommon, but more than often - they will leave you thirsty for more and that thirst is something, they aren't really capable to quench; after many of those, you will most probably want to delve deeper. They will purposefully tingle your ego, but don't expect them to give you clear answers, nor solutions to problems they create. They are more often about the voyage itself - asking questions and leaving their readers in a state of bewilderment - rather than the end result. Nonetheless, they are almost always a truly enjoyable ride till the very end. This group tends to attract simpler story-heavy games, as well as more ambitious charage titles. Outstanding - Very few games reach this sort of artistry, that could be only matched with writers' attention to detail and cleverness in which they build their settings and play with commonly found tropes, much to everyone's surprise and delight of their more hardcore fanbase. In those, the definition of up and down doesn't really exist and any sort of distinctions between what's considered widely accepted moral norms blur to the point of being almost indistinguishable. They rarely give a damn about normalfaggotry conceptions of the perceived genres. Such games will often have great heroes and even greater antagonists - actual people made of flesh and blood, driven by most primal human desires and emotions that will defy physics, bend time and space, obliterate entire armies and cause nations to fall. Such characters often find themselves fighting no less with their enemies, as much as themselves - their flaws, imperfections, inner demons hidden somewhere between the folds of their souls and enjoying to peek outside at times. In those tales, people will die and things get destroyed, with certain fates becoming far worse than a visit to the nearest afterworld. Don't expect your favourite characters getting selective treatment; in realm of outstanding stories, characters considered to be "redeeming" or "favourable" often go through even bigger hell than defeated antagonists - at most if they win - with worst possible cases including moral event horizon induced insanity, gruesome deaths or eternal suffering (preferably all in a never-ending cycle). Those stories will make you laugh, they will make you cry, they are frequently emotionally draining - and boy oh boy - entertaining as hell, provided you're capable to grasp concepts behind their inner workings. Considered a desired habitable zone by many aspiring and skilful writers, simply because it allows badassery to exist without hurting immersion in the process. Brilliant - Games that ultimately defy laws and conventions of genres they belong to, written by literate geniuses, capable to mould words into whatever the hell they want. Plot no longer functions like in normal space and characters are akin to visitors on a vast plane of reader's subconsciousness. Those games are typically considered difficult to grasp for most people and with a good reason, because you're expected to deal with creators themselves and whatever personal issues, grudges, hate and passions they throw at you, while you're trying to make sense of everything. They are extremely rare and as such, prone to complete subjectiveness, becoming battlefronts for fan-based warfare. They always attain a cult following and grow endless forests of epileptic trees, which serve as fuel for discussions, that will go on for years - AND YEARS, if not decades after release. Masterpiece - This, my ladies and gentlemen - is what any fan could consider a holy grail of eroge... if one would only exist. I doubt I'll ever come across a visual novel as good, to be able to freely - and without doubts - give it such a high rating. It didn't happen yet, perhaps I'm yet to read them, who knows. Most of the really good games I know fall somewhere between outstanding and brilliant, to give an example. This rating is more of a gimmick to keep myself at bay there are no perfect games. In addition, I use the following special tags as well: Highly recommended - Games I consider being capable of showing "how things should be done", both in terms of writing as well as genre standards and rules they operate under. Such works, are - more or less - exemplary and at the same time - provide both content and enjoyment in a way, that's easy to grasp even for novices and people unaccustomed with their tropes or elements. Guilty pleasure - You DON'T question why certain games get this tag. Period. This is something I typically reserve for titles, that might not really be the best or most worthy of attention or general context (I could quite possibly not play them under most circumstances), but definitely deliver elsewhere. Where the former doesn't apply, they simply have things I have a strong and particular fixation about and approach them in such an excellent way - including fetishes I can't really live without anymore - I'm able to forgive those games any other flaws. I don't really play them because of their depth or plot, I play them for my personal enjoyment on a very carnal level and you might find them of equal interest. Wicked - A game that breaks any contrived norms or standards and does it in a fashion, that's definitely worth praising. I use this tag specifically for games that are a cherry on the top amongst the more morally ambiguous titles, often scaling between "cute", "awful" and outright "disgusting". Those games usually throw players into a vortex of extreme emotions, crushing their hopes and uplifting them seconds after, only to cast them into despair once again; The sort of games, that leave you both with sense of a profound disapproval and an almighty grin on your face. TL&DR Games that are literally a blast to plough through, provided you are both physically and emotionally strong enough (lol). For those of you, who ever wondered how do I rate the games I play, or what's my perception of vns in general this hopefully clears things up, even if a little bit.
  27. 4 points
    Clephas

    Tamayura Mirai

    Tamayura Mirai is the latest game by Azurite, the company behind Shinsou Noise and Akumade Kore wa. Unlike the previous two, it is not a guro mystery. Instead, it is a fantasy with an extremely similar setting to Monobeno (which had a great setting, even if the lolicon elements were outright disgusting). It also shares a writer (Touta) with such excellent games as Kin'iro Loveriche, Floral Flowlove, Gin'iro Haruka, and Ojousama wa Gokigen Naname. Before I go any further, I want to speak as to why I compared the setting to Monobeno. Fukano, the town/valley in which the story is set, is a backwater where youkai, humans, and deities coexist. Folk traditions, such as deities within the home, are still alive and well, if not entirely understood (the death of the last folk shaman in the area ensured that, from what is said). The protagonist's role is very similar to the role of the miko in Monobeno (keeping harmony and balance between the supernatural and mortal), and, though the younger generation isn't, a certain level of superstition remains in the older generation. In addition, the protagonist's choice to live isolated in the mountains in a run-down and modified old Japanese school (think the school from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni) also echoes the isolation of the protagonist's home in Monobeno. That said, the atmosphere in the game isn't as severe as Monobeno's, though the protagonist's 'duty' is harrowing at times. All that said, this is definitely its own game. The general atmosphere is a bit somber, and the characters all have some kind of serious problem that leaves them a lot less at peace than they seem on the surface (the protagonist included). The protagonist is a mage who wields runic magic (Norse shamanic style), and he has the role of keeping peace the mixed-origin supernatural community of Fukano, the setting. He lives in an abandoned school in the mountains with a succubus named Midari, who has the dual problems of being afraid of men and deeply fearing her own nature (though her upbringing shows through at the oddest times). At the school he attends, he frequently meets with a water spirit information broker named Hanako (one of the heroines). Occasionally, he meets up with his oppai-loli 'oneechan' (who is very childish and has a really poorly-executed accent that just comes off all wrong in the VA...). The story begins with his encounter with Yukina, a girl with naturally high levels of spiritual energy who is completely untrained (and is thus a danger to herself and everyone around her, since youkai and monsters can gain power by eating such people, and others make assumptions about what she can do based on her spiritual power). I won't go into details about their meeting, because this is a game best experienced the first time without too many preconceptions. This is essentially a nakige, and it does a pretty good job of bringing out the tears. The protagonist's duty often brings him into contact with situations where he must deal with various tragedies, sometimes from the present, sometimes from the past. His own previous life isn't exactly bright and flowery either, lol. The protagonist has a tendency to see himself as weak and selfish, but he has a seemingly endless capacity for getting obsessed with solving other people's problems... which actually makes him perfect for his work (considering the nature of the mountain deity and certain hints given during the common route, it is pretty clear that he was given his role specifically because of that tendency). The heroine routes, quite naturally, focus on the issues with the heroines... to be specific, dealing with the issues that bother them the most deeply. Equally quite naturally, the first heroine I picked was Midari, the succubus. Midari Midari is a member of the succubus nobility who was exiled from her homeland because of her fear of men and inability to feed properly (essentially have sex with men...and lots of them, preferably). Worse (from her perspective), she fell in love with the protagonist on their first meeting, thus dooming her in the eyes of her people and filling her with a constant conflict between her impulses and her love for the protagonist. Midari has a very gentle and refined manner, and she has the grace that one would expect from a noblewoman... However, on occasion, she makes remarks (usual casual references to sex acts or her sisters and mother's sluttiness) that reveal rather blatantly that she isn't human and her basic upbringing wasn't either. Her path is all about dealing with her internal conflict and its real-world consequences... and this leads to a lot of nice emotional drama and a decent catharsis... though, to be honest, the cathartic scenes two-thirds of the way through the common route were better. Hanako For those who understand the reference, yes Hanako does hang around in the girls' toilet. Hanako is a water youkai that came over from China six hundred years before the story began and eventually rose to become one of the top figures of all the water youkai in Fukano. She is actually pretty powerful, and she serves as an information broker for Mutsuki (the protagonist) as he performs his duty as the Mage of Fukano. Hanako's route is a weird one and it isn't as emotional as Midari's route was. To be honest, a large part of the reason why is that the relationship part starts really quickly and feels somewhat forced... Hanako has a reason to like Mutsuki, but Mutsuki doesn't really have a good reason to fall in love with her, so it feels weird. This is in opposition to Midari, who has been at his side for some time when the story began and is insanely devoted to his well-being (not to mention sexy and graceful at the same time, lol). This route could have been handled much better by using a tactic similar to the Midari route, where they become closer during the course of him carrying out his duties... unfortunately, the way the route was handled was sadly inept for such a potentially interesting heroine. Yukina Yukina is a young woman with a natural gift for the use of spiritual power (so much so that she can attack youkai with her bare hands and blasts of raw energy). Her characterization is a straight out tsundere, so anyone who reads this VN with some experience with the character type will probably be able to predict her reactions in most situations. I started laughing at a few points when she said something so typically tsundere that I couldn't believe any writer would still use the lines...lol Yukina's route is all about her personal issues, both her past and her present ones. I do feel that this route's romance was far too hurried (like Hanako's) in the sense that their relationship should have had more time to develop into something deeper before things began to accelerate. That said, the actual events after the romance solidifies are well-written and described, and you gain a lot more insight into Mutsuki's motivations and the depth of his personality than you do in the other paths. I recommend this path be read after the other two heroines available at the beginning, simply because the revelations made here are too overarching to allow you to truly enjoy the other paths without reservation. Shiro Shiro is the protagonist's loli-oppai oneechan, who speaks with a weird houben (regional accent) that is poorly used by the VA to the point of being wince-worthy (yes, this is worth mentioning again). Shiro and Mutsuki's issues are the core of everything that has shaped Mutsuki to be the person he is. As such, it was only natural that Shiro would end up as the true path heroine... indeed, her path begins after the end of a non-romantic Yukina path. I'm not going to spoil what those issues are, but I should note that Shiro was the motivation that drove Mutsuki to become a magus. In the setting, magi are seekers of forbidden truths, similar in some ways to the magi of the Nasuverse save that they don't seem to have a large-scale organization or influence on the mundane world. As such, they frequently take actions that are amoral in the pursuit of their path of research, and many naturally think in ways that are out of sync with humanity. The Mage of Fukano is a rare exception, in that the deities of Fukano have made a role for the holder of the position in the natural existence of the valley and mountains. Mutsuki's path of research is about as immoral as it gets, even if he still has a conscience and his motivations come from a very human place. As such, it takes a central role in the major dilemma of the path, as anyone who has read Yukina's path would guess anyway. In the end, this was the path (other than the common route) which drew out the most tears from me. Shiro and Mutsuki's story is full of sorrow but ends with joy, so I can honestly say this falls into the classic 'nakige' style. Conclusions I have a few things left I want to say before bowing out on this game. First, I wanted a Feles (Mephistopheles) route, since Feles is ridiculously deredere (in a yandere way) over the protagonist. Another issue is that I thought that leaving the protagonist's deeper issues out of Midari's and Hanako's paths was something of a poor choice. Yukina is presented as a mirror to the protagonist as well as a heroine, so it is understandable that she would play such a vital role for setting up the true path. However, I felt that failing to properly deal with his personal issues in either of those two paths was a mistake. Mutsuki does have VERY serious issues that can't really be glossed over... not to mention that I seriously doubt Midari's issues would end just with what we saw in the path (living with a succubus in a state of perpetual near-starvation will inevitably have its ups and downs).
  28. 4 points
    Sekai Project VN Start of Kickstarter Estimated delivery Actual delivery World End Economica June 2014 May 2015 Not yet delivered Clannad November 11th 2014 October 2015 March 2016 Grisaia Trilogy December 2014 October 2015 April 2018 Memory’s Dogma June 2015 December 2016 Not yet delivered The Human Reignition Project June 2015 December 2016 Not yet delivered Narcissu 10th Anniversary Anthology Project October 2015 April 2016 Not yet delivered Root Double January 2016 March 2016 November 2016 Chrono Clock August 2016 April 2017 Not yet delivered A Clockwork Ley-Line Febuary 2017 January 2018 Not yet delivered Fatal Twelve March 2017 January 2018 November 2018 Hoshizora No Memoria May 2017 September 2018 Not yet delivered Shining Song Starnova August 2017 August 2018 June 2019 A light in the Dark February 2018 June 2018 Not yet delivered Tokyo Chronos July 2018 April 2019 Not yet delivered Frontwing VN Start of Kickstarter Estimated delivery Actual delivery Corona Blossom vol 1 June 2016 October 2016 Not yet delivered Corona Blossom vol 2 September 2016 December 2016 Not yet delivered Sharin no Kuni November 2016 October 2017 Not yet delivered Corona Blossom vol 3 December 2016 March 2017 Not yet delivered Grisaia Phantom Trigger Volume 1 and 2 March 2017 June 2017 March 2019 Grisaia Complete box (part of Grisaia Phantom Trigger Volume 1 and 2 kickstarter) March 2017 Q4 2017 Febuary 2019 Grisaia Phantom Trigger Volume 3 June 2017 September 2017 Not yet delivered Wonderful Everyday August 2017 January 2018 Not yet delivered Grisaia Phantom Trigger Volume 4 November 2017 April 2018 Not yet delivered Momoiro Closet Febuary 2018 July 2018 Not yet delivered Grisaia Phantom Trigger Volume 5 June 2018 October 2018 Not yet delivered Island August 2018 December 2018 Not yet delivered Sol Press VN Start of Kickstarter Estimated delivery Actual delivery Sakura Sakura August 2017 December 2017 Not yet delivered Newton and the Apple Tree December 2017 May 2018 Not yet delivered Irotoridori no Sekai Febuary 2019 December 2021 Not yet delivered Others VN Start of Kickstarter Estimated delivery Actual delivery Muv-Luv September 2015 September 2016 July 2018 Libra of the Vampire Princess December 2015 November 2016 May 2017 Dies Irae December 2016 May 2017 April 2018 Koropokkur March 2018 September 2018 October 2018 Venusblood Frontier September 2018 December 2019 Not yet delivered Seven Days September 2018 January 2019 Not yet delivered
  29. 4 points
    Heya, people! It's such a long time I don't see you guys, I almost forgot my password to this forum. Guess Fuwa is still alive and kicking just like me, huh. First of all, sorry I disappeared from the face of the Earth and if I disappointed any fans I might had in this site (silly me). Since last time I posted back in February, a lot of things happened so if anyone's curious (maybe the aforementioned imaginary fans of mine) about what the hell's been happening with me, do keep reading. I talk about VNs, anime, and other disgusting weeb things, but it does include some personal shit. Well, a blog is a blog. 1) Maybe I mentioned this a huge while ago at some point, but I'm pursuing a master's degree in the structural engineering field. All was going well and good, but now it came the time for me to write my thesis. Oof. So yeah, that's the main reason I became a ghost as my weekday free times went down the drain along with my hopes and dreams. It doesn't help my thesis requires some programming knowledge that may be more than what I can chew, sasuga me (whining aside, it's coming along fine as of now, let's hope I can keep it up). 2) Not only my free time evaporated but also my attention spam. I'm honestly having a hard time staying focused for more than 40 minutes in the same task. When that happens, I usually take a short break to relax before going back. Except I move on to something else, oops. 3) Related to the problem mentioned in 2, I fearfully discovered a new wonderful world that's now high in my interests list: gacha games. Their content is usually bite sized (except in events, but I don't play all that seriously... I think), I can auto play to grind, and I can play on the train going to uni. No huge time investment at once required, so what can possibly go wrong (dramatic zoom on my face)? Fortunately, I'm still keeping my two accounts (yep) free-to-play and I feel that I grew a lot on the self control department because of this www. Seriously though, never invite me to a casino trip, I may have an undiscovered gamble addiction and I don't want to open that door. But yeah, if anyone else plays Opera Omnia or Shining Live send me a friend inviteeeeeeeeeeeeee! 4) Even with all that going on, I still find time to at least watch my anime and read my VNs, surprisingly. Thank God for weekend. Guess cutting yourself off of social media truly does wonders too, huh. Not that I check Twitter on occasion to look at art or anything... Soooo about that weeb shit... 4.1) La Squadra was right all along 4.2) I'm still a proud BL trash. From what I recently finished, the highlights are Sweet Pool and Nie no Machi. Both are really really amazing games, both scored higher than 9 in my book, and I definitely want to write a review for them at some point. Spread that love, Maggie! 4.3) I'm actually a bit slow on the otomege department, sorry >.< I did get Steam Prison and read both of the Prisoner Routes, but I'm not in the right mindset to keep going with it. I wouldn't enjoy it if I force myself through it. Eltcreed and Ulrik were striking my fancy, so I want to savor them. ......Okay, that came out wrong. 4.4) EVN ftw, I always find some time to read them. Nanoreno gave me some nice short experiences, the highlight being Monochrome Blues despite the ending kek. Oh, and read Heart of the Woods, people. It's an order. High quality shit right there. 4.5) Also I keep stumbling upon horror games and I'm okay with this. Recently I played Death Mark. As usual, I went without a walkthrough, solving every mystery by myself. Totally worth it. And it also have very good sound design. Mashita best boi. 4.6) It does sounds like a lot, but there's nothing much more than what I mentioned wwwwww 4.7) Did I mentioned La Squadra? (<-- edit that bit out, I totally did, as I should) 5) Now, about my Fuwa life. I'll probably remain on indefinite hiatus, but every time I find the file I wrote some ideas for Dank a Ronpa, I feel sad. "How could I write such a shit story?" Jokes aside, I can try to maybe finish it at some point when Derg finished his battle royale. Such a rude, I gave him such a brutal death in my story and I didn't even debut on his smh. But yeah, I accept suggestion of what to do with it? Give it a Berserk treatment and finish it soon TM? Write all the bad ideas I had for it and let you guys fill the blanks yourselves in a very lazy way? Make each one of you write a chapter, put everything together, approve it as canon and call it a day? Decisions, decisions. Actually, I'm actually paying a homage to it in this post, as I'm not proof reading anything, hope you spot the reference. Aaaaaaaaaaaand that's it, I guess. For all of you that reach this line without pressing page down 3 times in less than 3 seconds, a big thank you. Please smash that like button and subscribe to someone's channel that's more active than me. Love, peace, and hope to see you all eventually when I get my degree! Until them!
  30. 4 points
    Protagonists perceived as weak seem to be something a lot of people reading VNs complain about, and as this is an interesting topic imo, I've been spending some time trying to organise my thoughts on it and write them up in a way that's not completely incoherent. In the process I started reflecting on main characters and their role in fiction on a more fundamental level and came up with a very basic way to categorise main characters, by comparing their personalities to how much it advances the plot in their respective stories. I even made a very professional looking diagram to explain my thinking: As you can see, the y-axis is supposed to be a measure for the MC's personality, while the x-axis shows how much they actively influence the plot. As each quadrant marks a certain general category of protagonist, I also named those in a way I found fitting (in italic) and added a few examples from VNs I read. The measure for personality I chose is a mixture of a protagonist's general determination to face problems head on and to which degree they are actually able to solve the ones the plot poses. I know this is kind of a soft category but this whole thing isn't supposed to be a scientific essay and I couldn't come up with anything better so it will have to do. On the top end of this scale you would have someone like Superman, on the bottom end probably Bella Swan. The question about how proactive a protagonist is at least in this metric boils down to if they mainly react to plot points happening or if they themselves make plot points happen. This category also isn't perfect though. For example almost any character arc involving a protagonist in the "weak" category is about them turning stronger. In my opinion this doesn't make a character more proactive though as this is usually driven by plot necessity. In this metric you can define four broader types of protagonists. The weak protagonist is someone who usually stumbled into his situation and mainly goes with the flow. The strong protagonist makes his own destiny. The observer is someone who isn't getting too actively involved in the things going on around him, either by their own choice or some external reason. As for the fourth category, I don't know if there actually are protagonists that combine being incapable or weak willed with being proactive. I used Phoenix Wright as an example as you could at least argue that he's only getting by through luck while he always keeps fighting till the end, but that should also move him further up on the personality scale. You will probably also disagree with other choices I made about where to put certain characters. So as you can see, this is more of an orientation to think about characters and their roles in fictional media than an objective measure. It also doesn't tell us anything about how well a character is written. There are bland action heroes as well as super well developed wimps. I still thought this self-made graphic might be an interesting thing to share. It might also turn out to be a good place for me to reference whenever I might think about writing something about an MC. At least until someone comes along and completely destroys all of my personal theories I based this on. edit: I thought I'd add and explain a few examples for each category (except the useful idiot as I can't confidently name any) from other media so people who don't know any of the guys in the chart or find my explanations too abstract or incomprehensible can get a grasp on what I mean. But first to give an example of what I mean by proactive vs. passive, because just doing a lot of things is not the same as being proactive: Imagine a story where someone dear to the protagonist gets murdered. If this turns into them killing everyone responsible, the MC is extremely proactive. they could just wait for the judicial system to prosecute the bad guys and testify as a witness, but his thirst for revenge drives everything happening from then on. A passive protagonist in such a scenario might be someone who struggles with the loss and is overwhelmed by everyone else not caring and instead fighting over the inheritance. But now for the protagonist types: Weak protagonist: Harry Potter - Although everyone in universe talks about how special he is Harry Potter doesn't have that much of a personality, does he? The Sorting Hat talking about how he would be a good fit for any house is true (except for Slytherin as that's basically the Hat telling you you're a bigot) as he shows reasonable degrees of bravery, intelligence and blandness. He doesn't have the magical skills to beat the most powerful wizards either and more often than not gets bailed out by his mother's love or whatever. His personal struggles are always pretty similar to what any kid his age goes through and rarely impact the plot in any major way. In most books he either ends up as a part of the main either through witnessing certain events by chance or because the bad guy plots to get him killed. And most times he gets a "becoming a stronger person and beating the bad guy" arc without him actually groing as a person that much. Harry Potter is also a good example of why a weak protagonist isn't necessarily a bad thing. When the world around the main character or the plot are the actual star of the story, a too strong protagonist could take away from that. The role the protagonist fills is basically to go through the world with the same sense of wonder the audience would while providing an "everyday person becoming a hero" arc. Which is probably the reason why people who don't like the Harry Potter franchise in general are usually the ones complaining about its protagonist. Frodo would be another example for this kind of protagonist. As mentioned above I'm going to write another blog post about why I think weak protagonists are very common in certain types of VN and why they often seem more annoying than in other fictional media. Strong protagonist: James Bond - While his stories always start out with him getting a mission he certainly approaches them in a very unique fashion. I don't know if I have to write a lot more about him. Most iconic action heroes fall into this category. Observer: This type of protagonist seems to be more common in Japanese than in western media. Stories with this kind of protagonist usually have them coming in contact with the plot through either coincidence or their line of work and often involve them providing some kind of service while the narrative focus is on the ones the MC comes into contact with and these side characters tend to have the biggest arc. To name an example in western media Mad Max (at least from the second movie on) is pretty good at surviving in the post-apocalypse but he doesn't have some higher goal beyond that. In Fury Road he might be the main character, but the plot is driven by Furiosa's goals and he just happens to help out as it aligns with him trying to flee from the same people. He still helps out a lot, but technically it's just not his story. Which is why he just leaves at the end. As for Japanese Media Gingko in Mushi-Shi might be the prime example. The anime has more than 40 episodes and three specials, still we learn next to nothing about him. Every time he walks into someone else's story, helps them realise their respective arcs without ever getting too personally involved, and leaves again. Violet Evergarden also fits the description for the major part of the anime. She is a killing machine and apparently quickly becomes very good at her new job as well, yet, while there are episodes focusing on her, in most of them she just helps someone else come to terms with their emotions through providing them the service of writing a letter. Violet Evergarden also shows that it's possible to develop protagonists in episodes not focusing on them. edit 2: So I managed to come up with an example for a"useful idiot" (although I don't really like that name, I couldn't think of a better one): many characters in movies by the Coen brothers fit this category. While the protagonists themselves usually are straight man characters, the plots (especially in Fargo and Burn after Reading) often revolve around how bad decisions by incompetent characters lead to catastrophies.
  31. 4 points
    I recently finished Euphoria so I figured I should make a review of it. As for the general story of Euphoria I feel like talking about anything other than the start could be a potetial spoiler so I will refrain from doing so. Euphoria starts with the main character waking up in a white room with a door. As he walks through the door he finds himself in another white room along with six girls. Of the six girls there are five students who are in the same school as the main character as well as one of his teachers. Once they are all gathered a mechanical voice tells them that to get out they need to unlock five doors, these doors are unlocked after the main character has done a sexual act with one of the girls, with him being free to choose who. One of the girls then refuses to participate, everything becomes black and when they can see again she is locked to an electric chair where she is electricuted to death. Now with the five remaining girls the main character need to complete the game to get out of there alive. So the first part here which I have given a short introduction to works pretty much like a nukige in that it contains a lot of sex scenes and that there are many fetishes involved. There are also some questions raised during this part as well as its importance in character building though all in all I would call this part of the VN a well written nukige. As for the later half, which I don't want to go into due to spoilers, well it contains way less sex scenes while doing a much better job at storytelling with giving you more hints as to what is actually going on. The recommended way to go though Euphoria is to read it in this order, Rika, Natsuki, Rinne, Nemu and Kanae, with Rika as the first route and Kanae as the last route. The reason this is the prefered way to play it is that it gives the best experience in terms of piecing together information from the different routes. As for what I think is best to categorize Euphora as I would say it is a mystery psychological horror visual novel. Well now that my introduction to Euphoria is over I suppose I can start the actual review of it. Firstly I want to talk a bit about what I though about each route induvidually. I guess I should start with Rika, well her route is pretty bad. The first part of her route was to me the worst part of Euphoria. The main character came of as an irredeemable evil person and Rika is just really annoying. This caused me to not really enjoy the sex scenes or any of the other scenes where you interacted with Rika. As for the later half I found it to be much better. I would say this part is pretty decent and the story here is pretty interesting, Rika also becomes much more tolerable and the main character comes of as a much better person than he did in the first part of her route. The next route is Natsuki (the teacher), I found her early route to be much much better than the early route of Rika. The back and forth between her and the main character was quite interesting and she is a really likable as a character. Due to her being very good at pushing back against the main character he also became a lot more interesting as his internal strugle became quite clear. As for the later half I liked it quite a lot, her later half I would say is a bit like a horror action story. Next up is Rinne, as for her first half I though it was quite good, her sex scenes really did a good job at showcasing her personality and there were also some really interesting conversations with her during the first part. As for the secound part of her route, well I found it absolutely amazing, it was just such a good twisted physological horror story and it had me at the edge of my seat the entire time. I remember just being in awe at how interesting this route was. I also think this route is the one that did the best job at implemeting sex scenes, it worked really well with the story and with the atmosphere of the route. Due to this route I got completely hooked on Euphoria and marathoned the rest of it. As for the nemu route, well I think she has the best first part. Her sex scenes were quite extreeme, but you don't feel bad for her at all since it is Nemu. Other than being quite extreeme her first part also raises some questions about her as a character showing that there may be more under her surface than what can be seen. As for the secound part of her route I found it really interesting though not quite as good as the secound half of the Rinne route. The route was really cruel, but also had quite an interesting story. Then lastly is the Kanae route. Her sex scenes during the early part is okay, not really that good or that bad. Though the early part does a pretty good job at forshadowing some things. As for the secound half of her route I suppose I should split it into two parts since there are two ways her route can play out. One is a route that has the main character doing really horrible things and seem to be there mainly for people who really want to see messed up sex scenes. This is a rather short route and doesn't really feel that important. The other route is the true ending route. This route was to me the best part of Euphoria. This route start of as a complete mindfuck that I just found extreemly interesting. After that the route then start to explain in details what has actually happened and it becomes a really emotional story that had me almost crying at times. The last part of it was just wonderful to experience and it was just such an emotional roller coaster which at the end left me really satisfied. While this route answered most of the things in the story I was still left with some questions about certain things, though I think those are meant to be left as mysteries. As for my final thoughts, well I absolutely love Euphoria. It started of pretty bad with the Rika route and at that point my expectations were a bit low, though as I played through more routes it really sucked me in. I think it did a really good job at mixing the sex scenes with the story and I liked to play it all in its entirety. Even though it has a lot of sex scenes I would still recommend it even if you have no interest in the sex scenes. The story on its own is extreemly good and is definitely the highlight of the VN. While I said the first part of it can be considered a nukige the same can not be said for Euphoria as a whole, the story part take center stage once the first part of the route is done and the later halfs of each route is just so much better than the first part. Most of the time the sex scenes aren't really important to read and it is enough just to generally know what happend which means they can be skipped. As for which sex scenes I think would be most important to read if you are fine with reading them but want to skip most of them, well I think the sex scenes in the Rinne route as well as early Nemu route is the most important ones to read as these actually feel like they add to the characters and story, though I would still say their routes are very good even without going through these scenes. Here is the cover of the physical edition Here is the back of the physical edition Here is the disc of the physical edition The other side of the reversible cover Limited time bonus BGM collection. As for my review of the physical edition, well this is a pretty standard hardcopy. There really isn't anything extra other than the BGM collection, which I don't know if still follows with the hardcopy since it is a limited time bonus (I got it when I bought mine in November last year). Since the physical edition is quite standard I would only recommend getting it for people who just want to have a physical edition of their VNs. One thing that I think was quite nice is that the cover doesn't show any nudity, this is nice since it is then less likely for there to be problems in customs when importing it. Also if you want the nudity on the cover you can just turn the cover around and display it that way since it has a reversible cover.
  32. 4 points
    First, I'm going to state that all charage/moege are harem-ge (with the exception of kinetic novels with only a single heroine). In all these cases, you have a bevy of heroines that are, at the very least, friendly with or somehow attached to the protagonist. There are a three standard types of harem that I consider to be general umbrella types. These harems do not include nukige sex-only harems or the type of harems that pop up in gameplay hybrid VNs, as these often have distinctive story-exclusive reasons for harem formation. The Disconnected Harem This is the standard-issue harem for modern charage/moege. In this harem situation, the protagonist is independently connected to most of the heroines, with very little or no interaction between the members of his harem of latent deredere troopers. The reason this has become the dominant harem in the charage genre in the last seven years or so is because it is the one that is the most 'tasteful' to monogamists and traditionalists. In this case, the heroines either have no real connection with one another or only weak connections that become tenuous the second the heroine path begins. Games that have these harems tend to have extremely weak casts of characters in general, and there is usually very little or no real conflict between the characters (low incidence of love triangles, few jealousy attacks, etc). As a result, games with this type of harem tend to have weak or nonexistent plots, lackluster SOL outside of ichaicha dating, and 'convenient' drama that is resolved so quickly it might as well not even exist. These harems generally disband at the end of the common route, as the protagonist seems to completely forget any attraction he had to the other girls and they fade into the background. The Dominant-Sharing Harem The Dominant-sharing Harem is defined by the members of the harem being at least somewhat familiar with each other (often friends, family, or members of a group or club) and able to be cooperative to an extent while competing for the protagonist's love and attention. Girls in this kind of harem situation (Shuffle is a prime example of it) are ok with the idea of sharing the protagonist in the abstract, but in practice they want to be the 'first wife' or the 'wife' and relegate the other heroines to the mistress or concubine status (though it isn't always stated this bluntly). This is perhaps the most realistic harem situation, as, historically, real harems - other than royal ones - have usually been structured with a head or first wife and a number of secondary wives, often married with the permission of or by the choice of the first wife, lol. The Everybody's Equal Harem The Everybody's Equal Harem is, just as the name indicates, a harem where the protagonist essentially loves and treats all the heroines equally and the heroines accept this situation, albeit often with a tacit understanding between one another that they won't stop aiming for a Dominant-Sharing type situation. As such, this can often be considered a prelude to a Dominant-Sharing Harem result in practical terms. A classic example of this would be the end of the Grisaia series or the ending of Strawberry Feels, where the protagonist himself never forms a preference, even if the heroines do build a sort of pecking order based on dominance of personality or circumstance. Tiny Dungeon's Endless Dungeon ending can also be considered this kind of ending, whereas the individual routes represented by the first three games would be considered Dominant-Sharing harems. Why I bothered with this post Anyone who has been an otaku as long as I have been has to accept that harem-thinking is essential to SOL otaku-ism. As early as Love Hina and Tenchi Muyo, rom-coms have been creating wacky harems and weird situations that result. This is because romantic comedy is the easiest type of comedy for anyone to get into, and the easiest one to empathize with... and comedy used to be the dominant genre in otaku media (though romance always came a close second). The evolution from that type of loose harem (though in later incarnations, the Tenchi universe threw off all pretense of not being harem-ist) to the current situation took decades, but it was a natural evolution in visual novels in particular, due to the fact that most visual novels are multi-route, heroine-focused affairs. Charage in particular, with their focus on SOL, inevitably give off a sense that the protagonist is the center of a harem, even if it is only in the common route. Since this kind of situation appeals to the more primitive parts of the male psyche (males are genetically predisposed to seeking multiple mates, though socialization and emotional attachment overwhelm this in modern settings), eroge tend to abuse this flagrantly. Oh yeah, if you haven't figured it out, I like harem endings that aren't sex-heavy... but that isn't so much because I have a thing for 'collecting' bishoujos. Rather, I like the various situations that result in VNs, as they are often intellectually interesting, heart-warming, or hilarious (or all three). Nukige-style harem endings are boring and make me roll my eyes, mostly because I question whether anyone has that kind of stamina, and because ignoring the emotional and practical aspects entirely like that makes it hard to suspend disbelief. If a plotge can make me think a harem would work, I want to see it work, lol.
  33. 4 points
    Sakura, Moyu is the latest game by Favorite, the producers of Hoshimemo and the Irotoridori series. For those who aren't yet familiar with Favorite, I should tell you that there are three things this company is known for. For one, they produce first-class 'nakige' in a unique style full of pastel colors and manipulation of visual and narrative perspectives. Second, they are known for their excellent stories and characters, regardless of which writer they have on the job. Last of all, they are known for being lolicons (lol). No, I'm not kidding. The fact that every one of their true heroines at least looks like a loli at first glance says everything, hahahaha. Sakura, Moyu was written by Urushibara Yukito, the same writer as the Irotoridori games. As such, it should surprise no one that the setting is layered and complex and the story not at all what it seems on the surface. It should also surprise no one that there is a lot of emotionality in this game... but I don't think anyone was expecting just how emotional this game is. To be blunt, I spent roughly 80% of this game either on the verge of or in tears. Considering that the game is one of the longest games I've ever played (at least partially so because I so thoroughly relished Urushibara's writing style), that's a lot of tears... and a lot of tissues *glances at the overfull wastebasket next to his pc and the empty tissue boxes lying around it*. However, there are some issues with this game that need to be mentioned to get them out of the way. Few games are perfect, and this one is no exception. To be specific, Urushibara has always been mediocre at the romantic elements of his games. Unless the romance exists at the end of a path full of suffering and despair or occurs in an incredibly stressful situation, he can't seem to write it very well (in other words, he is good at dramatic love but only a bit less than average at everyday love). As a result, the romance in the first two paths (Chiwa's and Hiyori's) feels abrupt and forced... not to mention the fact that the beginning of Chiwa's path is so at odds at first with the game's atmosphere that I had to put the game down for two days to get past the emotional disconnect it created. Hiyori's path is somewhat less problematic but still feels forced and abrupt, so I'm basically saying that readers who have high hopes for romance in these two paths will probably be disappointed, at least to an extent. One other issue that always nags at you as you play the numerous paths is the treatment of Kuro, the game's true heroine... to be blunt, like all of the Favorite true heroines, the story is set up so that if you aren't on her path, she gets screwed over to one extent or another. Now, if you don't instantly fall in love with Kuro during the opening scenes, like I did, this might not be a problem for you, but one reason I spent the end of every path in tears and couldn't empathize with the characters' happiness was precisely because of this. This game is very much a story of self-sacrifice... to the extent that it feels like every time you turn around, someone is sacrificing something for the sake of someone else. The creatures of the Night (the underworld-like dream realm the characters fought in ten years before the story's beginning) are, as is openly stated, driven to feel unconditional love for humans, and as such, their excessively kind hearts spend much of this game suffering as a result of human actions and the tendency of humans to disregard their own happiness at the oddest of times. This is also a game full of loneliness... to a degree that 'loneliness' or 'lonely' (さみしさ and さみしい) are the two most common words in the game by an exponential level. All of the main characters in this game suffer from loneliness to one degree or another at some point. Some take it on of their own will, others have it inflicted upon them, and yet others endure it because it is their fate. As such, there are very few points outside of the relatively few standard SOL scenes (compared to the game's over length) where the game isn't somber in atmosphere. This game is also unbelievably layered and complex... so much so that it reminds me of games like Harumade Kururu and Ever17 in retrospect. It has been a long time since a writer managed to keep me so thoroughly in the dark about so much of the game's general story for so long (the last time was Bradyon Veda), and, in that sense, I'm grateful for this game's existence. I do, in fact, like how it all (the main story) ends, and I even liked how each of the individual paths ended, taken by themselves (If i ignore how Kuro gets screwed over). I also found myself to be completely satisfied once I finished the game... to the extent that I don't think I'll ever be able to replay this game. This game was very high stress in the sense that I was constantly being bombarded with the characters' emotions, and as such, it isn't a game that would be easy to come back to any time soon. The sheer length of the game also adds to this. In conclusion, this is a game that is worthy of the legacy of Favorite as a company, worthy of being the first mainline project since the release of AstralAir in 2014. It has problems and the game is probably one that is emotionally stressful. However, for catharsis addicts, it is a worthy addition to their collection of nakige and utsuge, lol.
  34. 4 points
    Flutterz

    Reading Ginharu Very Slowly #15

    Wow, I actually made another entry. Nobody saw that coming.
  35. 4 points
    The New Year is just a few days away, so why not take a look today at another appropriately-themed VN? Ebi-hime is probably best known for both yuri romances and horror VNs, but in reality created a huge variety of slice-of-life and mystery titles, both borrowing from different formulas and simultaneously breaking their rules, ultimately escaping any kind of easy classification. Games like Empty Horizons or Asphyxia are clearly identified with common labels such as “otome” or “yuri”, but they pretty much never cater to the reader’s expectations taken from reading other visual novels within those genres. There are also certain elements extremely common for ebi’s work, regardless of topics or conventions she’s trying to tackle. Deeply flawed, painfully realistic characters, extensive internal monologues of the protagonists and a nostalgic aura are almost constant elements of her writing, making most of her stories fairly easily recognizable and differentiating them from the typical Western-produced VNs. Ebi’s latest release, A Winter’s Daydream, while at first glance might look like a silly comedy, can be accurately described in only one way. It’s an ebi-hime VN through and through: slow-paced, introspective and handling serious, existential topics despite any humorous elements and the wacky premise. And, as you can easily expect from this particular author, it does all those things in a thoroughly satisfying way. Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  36. 4 points
    Chuunige is one of the visual novel genres that are barely present in OELVN scene, at least to any “serious” capacity – among the more popular and high-quality releases there’s very few that would even loosely fit the “fighting VN” formula, or especially effectively replicate the unique feel of this particular current in Japanese fiction. Recently, however, a fledgeling studio under the name of Epic Works decided to remedy this sorry state of affairs by creating a content-rich, Fate-inspired EVN called Episicava. The first volume, of what was apparently planned to become a longer series, was released on Steam in April 2018, in a slightly disastrous state – full of graphical bugs and various technical issues, the game made a rather poor first impression. However, since those problems were mostly fixed with patches in the months after launch, it’s a good moment to look at Episicava and ask the most important question – did it manage, in its improved state, to capture some of the magic of Fate/Stay Night or Dies Irae in a downscaled, low-budget form of an EVN? Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  37. 4 points
    Clephas

    JRPG: Growlanser IV

    The Growlanser series is one of those weird, hardly known jrpg series that died out after the ps2 era (mostly because its gameplay was too traditional, but also because the transition to 2.5D sprites failed so miserably in V and VI, along with the derivative, predictable story). However, before its death, it produced four first-class games, three of them linked in a single chronology. IV, also known as Wayfarer of Time, is the exception in the series as a whole, being the only entirely standalone game. Growlanser IV's Western release was on the PSP (also playable on the Vita and PSTV) with a modified main route and an 'evil' route that you could access on NG+. The first four Growlanser games can be said to be very attractive to those who like player agency. This is because, depending on how you fight, how you play, and what conversation choices you make (three of the four protagonists are silent ones whose) you could not only alter your own perceptions of the main character, but you could also alter the ending and even the game flow as a whole dramatically. Growlanser IV isn't an exception to this, but in a way it is easier. One reason is that you aren't required to get the highest rating on all story missions to get access to the 'true' ending. Rather, it uses a 'fate alteration' system which allows you to take on sidequests, take various actions in combat, and make choices in conversations that alter how the game ends, who lives, and who dies. The 'Modified Route', which is pretty much the 'good' route, pretty much requires you to alter every possible character's fate in order to create the result of ten major characters still being alive past the turning point of the story and the end. With some of these characters, it is as simple as saving them in a certain story battle, with others it requires making the right choices in conversations with them in order to change how they act, thus preventing their deaths. In this way, I came out of Growlanser IV feeling that, for the first time in a long time, that player agency actually mattered. Hell, I never thought scolding a girl about throwing things then showing her kindness would give me an opportunity to save her soul later. The main story itself is heavy on war politics, much like all the other games in the series. In this case, it is a war story spread across about four years (my estimate) that ends up involving the whole of the known world. The protagonist, raised in a mercenary outfit, ends up getting involved with saving the world and the nations in it... but you rarely see him being treated like a 'chosen one' outside of a few of his own companions. Rather, most reactions are based in that person's standpoint and affiliation, which made both the enemies and allies feel real to me in a way few jrpgs ever manage. This game manages to avoid the traditional pitfalls of the average jrpg. What do I mean? I mean that tendency toward hot-blooded idealism and dew-eyed innocence about human nature that ruin 90% of JRPGs storywise. I mean, a king isn't interested in saving the world... he is interested in enriching his country. Good people in the wrong position will do bad things, and bad people who can benefit from it will do good things. The characters feel like people, and I don't feel like I'm talking to carbon copies of characters from a thousand other jrpgs like I do with most mainline jrpgs. The battle system in this game is a combination of turn-based and real-time strategy. Generally speaking, you start out at a certain point of the map, and your characters move in real time when you aren't making choices about their next action. It is possible to alter their course, and you can block enemies' routes with your warriors' bodies. Knacks (non-magic activation skills) can be used to strike hard, slow enemies' turns,or slow their chanting of magic. Magic takes a while to chant, but in exchange you can take normal actions immediately afterward, and spells can be canceled at any time just by pressing the triangle button and going to the character in question. Perhaps the game's biggest overt weak point gameplay-wise is the way you learn skills (passives), Knacks (instant-use attack/support/debuff/buffs), and magic. They are learned by attaching spellstones to the characters' ring weapons (three to a weapon, with the level of the stone you can attach limited by the ring's slots) and killing enemies in battle. The reason why this is a problem is simple... only the character who deals the fatal blow to an enemy gains ability points for their... abilities. A warrior who can take out five enemies at once with the use of the circle strike knack is going to find it easier to learn abilities than a mage or archer that can only strike one enemy at a time (synchronize spells later on to cast area spells utilizing multiple characters... but it still can't beat the quickness of AOE knacks). The greatest help to the player is the fact that you can buff before going into battle using spells, thus eliminating the need to tie up magic users in buffing for the first part of a battle. Considering that most story battles have time limits, this is an issue. This game rewards clever use of the systems like the arena and buff spells and will seriously sodomize you if you go through the game without thinking or preparing. Overall, Growlanser IV was the series' peak, and it saddens me greatly that the series was killed in the PS2 era. This game is about sixty hours long for the first playthrough (successive playthroughs are easier), and it is one of the better rpg stories I've ever played, being somewhat reminiscent of Suikoden, which is funny, considering they rose to cult popularity around the same time.
  38. 4 points
    For the last month, we were going through the impressive catalogue of free VNs by ebi-hime, one of the most celebrated creators within the Western VN scene. As a conclusion to this series, it’s my great pleasure to bring you a short interview with none other than ebi herself. During our conversation, I’ve focused on the dominating themes in ebi’s works and topics directly connected to the freeware titles I was reviewing lately – if you want a more general overview of her inspirations and questions connected to her other work, consider reading the interviews done in the past by The Yuri Nation and Sekai Project. Also, if you’re not familiar with ebi’s free VNs, check out my previous posts about them (Part 1; Part 2) – they should give you the context necessary to understand what we’re talking about in the more context-specific questions. So, here it comes – hope you’ll all enjoy it! --------------------------------------------------------------- Plk_Lesiak: Thank you for accepting my invitation! I don't think there are many Western VN fans who wouldn't be familiar with your work, but can you share something about the person behind the ebi-hime label? ebi-hime: I’m ebi and I like cute things, maids, and magical girl anime... And that’s about it! Honestly, I’m not very interesting. PL: As you talked about your inspirations and interests in other interviews, I would like to focus on the dominant themes in your games. You're one of the few EVN authors that frequently set their stories in the West. Do you have a favourite setting to write about? ebi: I think England is probably my favourite setting to write about, because it’s the country I live in and I’m reasonably familiar with it (though I don’t know everything about England, of course). It’s easier to place my characters in a setting I know relatively well, as I don’t have to do as much research, and the end result feels more ‘authentic’. I also like setting stories in Japan because I got into VNs through reading a lot of Japanese VNs which were (what a surprise!) set in Japan. I also watch a lot of anime, and I went through a period where I exclusively read Japanese crime fiction, so I’m fond of Japanese settings! If I don’t feel like setting my stories in England or Japan, I’ll usually pick a European country I’m somewhat familiar with, like France or Italy. Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  39. 4 points
    Support gameplay eroge, Ninetail and me by backing this on Kickstarter With your support, Venus Blood Frontier could drive a desperately-needed renaissance for English gameplay eroge. Strategy H-RPG Venus Blood Frontier Kickstarter: Why you should care
  40. 4 points
    Index Hello and welcome to my Learning How To Learn Japanese guide series! My name is Kenshin_sama, and today I’d like to go over a basic overview of what these guides will be about. What I aim to accomplish with this series is share some of the observations I made while studying in hopes that they aid you in finding a sustainable method for yourself. While many of the techniques I discuss can be applied to almost any area of study, I’ll be writing these guides specifically for those who want to learn Japanese. Guide format: After dedicating several hours to writing this guide, I came to the realization that I’ve put in far too much information to consume all at once; and after some deliberation, I decided to break my guide into a series of smaller guides to provide moderate break points and make it a little less intimidating. Each guide will be dedicated to certain lifestyle aspects or learning techniques that can make the process of learning Japanese easier. Every time I create a new guide, I'll add a link to an index at the top of each entry for convenient navigation. What you should know before you start learning Japanese: Gaining proficiency in any new language is going to require a substantial time investment throughout the entirety your life; make sure you can justify that kind of commitment to yourself before getting started. There are plenty of reasons you might want to consider learning Japanese other than for increased enjoyment of your hobbies, but make sure they’re enough to keep you motivated. The key to studying effectively is studying consistently. In the wise words of James Raymond Watkins, “A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” If you can spend more time studying, great, but it is imperative that you take the time to study almost every day, even if it’s only for a short duration. I’m not sure if this is still a commonly held belief, but I think I’ll go ahead and address this argument in case you get the wrong idea. It is not impractical to learn a completely new language as an adult. You may have heard it said on occasion that the best time to learn any new language is at a young age. I’m not willing to verify the accuracy of that statement since it’s not exactly relevant to this guide (I’m not writing this for 5-year-olds), but I can say with some certainty that it is never too late to get started. I’ve heard plenty of stories about people who’ve started learning their second language in their late 20s or older, and have achieved fluency in that language with enough practice. Just know that it’s perfectly normal to suck at learning a new language at first; your age is not to blame. Afterword: Thank you very much for reading. It was not my intention to make the introduction post this long, but I wanted to be sure I made some of my points as clear as possible. I'd greatly appreciate it if any of you would be kind enough to share your thoughts on this guide. In part 2, I’ll be going over a certain method of learning Japanese grammar through Anki. I'm almost positive that this method won't take over as the primary go-to for learning grammar, but I figured it'd be worth sharing anyways since it's working well for me and I haven't seen it brought up in any other JP guide (at least the ones promoted on this site). Hope to see you there!
  41. 4 points
    An amazingly contradictory example of both ambition and trashiness, this Canadian company managed to create some of the most memorably-bad games available within the Western VN market. While they definitely never showed the kind of contempt for their audience and lack of dignity that emanates from pretty much every new Winged Cloud title or the Steam asset flip/achievement spam VNs (yes, those are a thing – I will get to them one day), their utter failures and misguided elements in their projects are not something you see every day – and, as they belong to commercial products that ask money from their readers, they’re open even for the more cruel kinds of scrutiny. And that’s exactly what I’m going to deliver upon them today. -------------------------------- A Wild Catgirl Appears Yuri Game Jam entries usually are published for free, even though some of them offer quite impressive production values and interesting stories. A Wild Catgirl Appears is a double exception in this regard, as, sadly, it's neither free nor in any way compelling to play through. With extremely basic and mostly nonsensical plot, clunky dialogue and a plethora of technical issues, it's one of the least competent commercial VNs available on Steam (at least among actual games and disregarding the aforementioned asset flips and achievement spams). It might also be the only VN in which I count inclusion of catgirls as a negative, considering how superficial the reason behind their appearance is and how they take the focus from the only somewhat-interesting characters in the game. Even yuri romance couldn’t redeem this title to me, considering it’s generally miserable state – sadly not worth your time, and especially your money. Final rating: Smelly Poo Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  42. 4 points
    Clephas

    Curio Dealer

    This is the latest VN by AXL, and it is also the latest in its 'swords fantasy' (there is very little magic in these games) series (I say series, but they are just a line of similarly-designed games). The previous games in this series include Princess Frontier, Hyakka Ryouran Elixir, Racial Merge, and Ou no Mimi ni wa Todokanai. This is also AXL's fifteenth game, making it one of the most prolific companies (ignoring subsidiaries) still active. Like all the games in this series, it is based in a world whose tech level is medieval with bits and pieces of higher levels of technological development here and there. This one falls in an area similar to Ou no Mimi, rather than Princess Frontier or Hyakka Ryouran, meaning it has a somewhat more violent turn almost from the beginning. The protagonist is an antique dealer (thus the game's name) named Rowan who, due to the loss of his parents during an adventure at the highest levels of the tower, has had to deal with an aversion to the tower that is at the center of the town that serves as the center of the game's story. This changes when a young girl bearing a greatsword named Linaria comes into the picture, and he finds himself guiding a young group of adventurers through the lower levels of the tower. Rowan is not only an antique dealer but an exceptionally talented dagger-user and toolmaker. He is also the only individual in the town that can repair the various machines that come down from the tower. If I were to pick his class, I'd consider him to be a cross between an engineer and a rogue, with excellent crowd-control techniques and stuns. Like a lot of mature protagonists, there is a disconnect between his emotions and rational behavior, and as a result, he will often take the logical path, even when it conflicts with what his heart wants, thus leading to him being a bit dense about emotions in general. The tower is much like a lot of roguelike rpg towers (though this game isn't an rpg) where people climb the tower to gather treasure, fighting monsters and robot-like Guardians as they do so. The power gems taken from the Guardians can be used in various devices made from parts taken from the tower, and this is the source of most of the setting's higher technology. The tower itself is self-repairing and self-defending, deploying seemingly endless numbers of Guardians and monsters. No one knows how high it goes. The three heroines are the young princess Karin, the protagonist's adoptive sister Mira, and the newbie adventurer girl Linaria. Karin is a sort-of tsundere who very obviously is in love with Rowan from the beginning. Her father is the second King of the country (that consists of the tower, the town, and the land around it), but she only realized she was a princess at a relatively late age due to the closeness of the royal family to the people. Mira is a responsible girl who takes care of most of the chores and the account books at Rowan's shop... and has an unnatural attachment to the spiky ball and chain she uses as a weapon (the first time you see her flushing after squashing an enemy says everything). Linaria is the daughter of a deceased adventurer who came to find out why her father abandoned his family in order to seek fame and wealth in the tower. Though she resents adventurers as a profession, she is too kind-hearted to actually take it out on anyone. Common Route The common route mostly accounts the trials and tribulations of Rowan and company as they rise through the lower levels of the tower to be acknowledged as full-fledged adventurers (novices are called 'virgins' until they reach town on the Twentieth Floor). If you like AXL games' style of character interaction, you'll like the slice-of-life elements, and the battles are actually tactically interesting (something that is unusual for AXL). There are a few emotional moments dealing with Rowan's past, but the common route mostly serves to familiarize you with the characters. Normal Ending This is an ending you get if you fail to pick one of the three main heroines. It is basically a joke ending where the results of his actions in the common route come home to roost, lol. Karin Karin's path starts out with a lot of light ichaicha and a somewhat annoying get-together sequence. However, at roughly the halfway point, it suddenly turns dark and violent... and outright bloody. The violence in this path startled me a bit, as it is out of character for AXL (AXL generally restricts violence to one or two scenes in a given path, and never on this kind of scale). However, the story was interesting, and I left the path feeling satisfied. The actual progression from lighter atmosphere to darker one is common on AXL's games, and anyone who has played one will probably recognize the pattern... That didn't bother me, though, since it was interesting in and of itself. Linaria I recommend that anyone that plays this game play this path last. The reason is is that this is the only path that deals with the tower itself and climbing to the top as its subject matter. It is also the only path where certain major issues involving the protagonist are completely and finally resolved in a direct manner. This is perhaps not surprising, seeing as Linaria was being presented as the 'main heroine' almost from the beginning. However, it is a situation where anyone who plays this path will be a bit displeased with the other two if they played it first. The path itself is a lot less bloody than Karin's (to be blunt, Karin's path is the only one that gets bloody and serious to that degree), but it is still a good path, with a more emotional focus than Karin's. Mira Mira is my favorite of the three heroines, so I left her for last this time. She is the protagonist's adoptive little sister, and she falls under the archetype of the 'imouto who scolds her beloved oniichan but adores him'. Mira is a serious girl who cares deeply about the antique shop they are running, and as a result, most of her path deals with the economic issues of the city and the tower. It was when I finished this path that I came to the conclusion that Mira's path is the 'merchant' path, Karin's is the 'nation' path, and Linaria's is the 'adventurer' path. Mira's path is full of secrets and conspiracies, and it has some really good moments for Verbena (who is incidentally my favorite character in this game). It is also frequently humorous in ways the other two paths didn't manage, which was a plus for me. Some thoughts A few thoughts/complaints about this game. I honestly liked this game a great deal... but it seriously needed a grand route to put the themes of the other paths into a single one. The issues in each path weren't going to go away just because they weren't dealt with in those individual paths, and it bugs the hell out of me that there was no single path that brought them all to a resolution. I also think Verbena should have had a path other than the normal ending. Sure, she is a slut, a heavy drinker, and takes pleasure in unleashing her spiky weapons (ranging from morning stars to kusarikama)... but her personality is just awesome. Seeing that kind of character go all deredere is one of my favorite AXL events (AXL does really good 'haraguro' heroines). Conclusion If you liked any of the other 'swords fantasy' AXL games, you'll like this one. It has all the elements that make those games great, such as the protagonist being equally or more important than the heroines, decent action without being focused on the action, and a mix of light humor and serious story that keeps slice of life from getting out of hand. I'll be the first to admit that AXL doesn't change its art style or character archetypes, but that never seems to effect whether their games are good or not.
  43. 4 points
    Clephas

    Haru to Yuki

    This is the latest game released by Akabeisoft3, the bastard company made by Akabeisoft2 to take in all the subsidiaries of its parent company other than itself, Applique, and Akatsuki Works. The game was written by Nakajima Taiga, who first made his name as the writer of Dekinai Watashi ga, Kurikaesu and gained yet more fame with the utsuge Inochi no Spare. This game is a nakige, though it is one that leaves a lot more bitter in with the sweet than is normal. It is based in a Japanese inn called Yuki, where ghosts can interact with the physical world in order to complete the desire that keeps them in the world. In order to hide the fact that they are ghosts from the normal customers, the employees wear cosplay to make the unusual or out of season clothing the ghosts are often wearing not stand out. The protagonist, Haruto is the bantou, the male in charge of greeting customers arriving and taking reservations. He has been there for ten years and is seen as a reliable employee by the younger staff. He is very much a workaholic, performing his duties with absolute devotion and no real hesitation... it is just that those duties involve arranging the things that 'non-reservation customers' (the ghosts) need to fulfill their last desires. These desires are often simple things like wanting to say something or leave a message for a loved one, but can also be somewhat crazy things like wanting to get into a swordfight to the death. Haruto takes on all these requests without hesitation or any real emotional disturbance. Nonetheless, he does care. The partings in this game are probably the most vivid aspect... naturally, you come to know the ghosts' stories, and when the time for parting comes, it is always sad, even if you know they are going away happy and satisfied. I cried repeatedly during these scenes. There are four heroines in this game: Neko, the ghost of a girl who wanted to live freely but was unable to when alive; San, a cheery girl who gets along with everyone and enjoys her work; Kohane, a nervous otaku girl whose dream is to become a professional cook; and Sakine, a somewhat gloomy woman in her mid to late twenties who decided to work at the inn on impulse. Neko Neko was the first heroine I pursued, mostly because I have a thing for girls who say ~nyaa. Neko is a seemingly whimsical girl who loves to hang around the protagonist and constantly makes false attempts to play hooky from her work... but never really does so. Her path starts out as a soft romance between two souls with a lot in common... ... but the fact is that Neko is a ghost, and there was no way it was going to have a purely happy ending. Neko's path is full of small happiness and frequent sorrow, and the desire that binds her to the world is heartbreaking in and of itself. I honestly found myself crying for the entirety of the last hour of the path, to the point where I developed a sinus headache. Kohane Kohane is the assistant to Makoto, the fake homosexual cook (the story behind how that happened is hilarious in retrospect but it is part of a sad scene). She is shy and is very negative about herself, but there is enough iron in her core that she has managed to stay for one year under Makoto's extremely harsh tutelage. Kohane is a living heroine (as opposed to Neko, who was a ghost), and her path differs accordingly. Kohane's personal issues were actually fairly interesting... enough so that I was honestly able to empathize with the last scene and cry my eyes out (again). The last scenes in this path are all highly emotional, but there is a lot less bitter in with the sweet than Neko's ending, which feels more bitter. One issue that is common to both this one and Neko's path is that the protagonist's own issues aren't addressed, sadly for him, though it doesn't seem to bother him much (which is understandable once you know about him). It isn't a negative issue, since it makes sense within the context of the story. Sakina Sakina is the only full adult heroine in this VN (by the story, I'm guessing 27 or 28). Having quit her job previous to coming to stay at the inn, she decides to work there soon after the game begins. She is quiet, shy, and a bit gloomy at times. However, she is also kind and thoughtful. Unlike the other heroines, you will only rarely see her smile, but those few smiles are the ones that get you. Sakina's path is... tied up with the protagonist's past. The way this route turns out is different from the previous two (though I can't tell you why without spoiling), but it was interesting in and of itself. I didn't end up crying my way through the whole later part of the game, but the ending was uplifting and bright. San San is the game's central heroine. Her personality is bright and sunny, generous and giving by nature with a strong spirit. San is a student as well as one of the inn's hostesses (a job shared by Neko and Sakina), and her favored cosplay are a dog-girl, a maid, and a new wafuu (Japanese style) idol. Her path, like many central heroine paths, is the only one where all the major character issues are resolved (though only speculatively based on the epilogue in a few cases), and it is also the only one where the protagonist's own major issue is resolved. Like Neko's path, this one is very bittersweet, and like many cases in this VN, the partings here had me in tears for long periods of time, leading to sinus headaches (this game took me longer than it would have otherwise because I kept having to stop playing after I cried myself into a headache). I will say that I consider the ending to be a happy one, but, thinking of how San had to feel in the time between the ending and the epilogue breaks my heart even now... Overall Overall, this is an excellent nakige by a writer who seems to be able to write across all the genres and involving characters of all types and ages. For those who want a lot of catharsis, this is a great choice, but be prepared for a bit more 'bitter' in with the 'sweet' than is normal with a nakige (though it is still a nakige, rather than an utsuge). Despite my remarks on how bittersweet this game is as a whole, it should be noted that the atmosphere at Yuki, the ryokan (Japanese-style inn) that serves the setting, is very warm, welcoming, and downright familial to the point that I found myself wanting to jump into the game and stay a night there. I liked all the characters, including the side-ones, like Sentarou (the night security guard and exorcist that bears a passing resemblance to Archer from FSN), Toki (the century and a half hold ghost owner of the inn), and Makoto (the macho fake homosexual head cook). This isn't a kamige, though I'm tempted to call it one based on my general level of satisfaction, but it comes pretty damned close.
  44. 4 points
    Yuuko, aka the best waifu EOPs will never get if I can do something to stop it. (Looking at you MG be careful!!) Hey what's up guys in this new blog entry I will be talking about the best girl in Hapymaher Kirikoi. Her name is Toriumi Yuuko, the perfect girl if you ask me. Those of you who are playing Hapymaher Kirikoi get cucked. She pretty much only appears in the fan disc that is not translated *insert evil laugh here*. (Wait Kirikoi is not translated in the first place. Anyways here is a list what makes Yuuko so good. Is cute Has short hair Has big bobs Pukes on you Needs you to protect her Very wife Here is a list of pics of Yuuko being cute: Despite her weak body Yuuko is very good at fencing Also Yuuko is a genius piano player Yuuko is also friends with the Scandinavian princesses Yuuko watches movies with her lonely neighbor girl Yuuko knows how to eat very stylish dinner Yuuko can also take the lead when needed Yuuko is a bowling pro Yuuko is also a crocodile Thanks for reading folk. Remember to smash that like and subscribe button if you want more high quality content like this.
  45. 4 points
    Today, I made the most famous Karaage (から揚げ). I do make this often and today I thought why not start a blog with this delicious content. Spoiler: I didn't let my chicken rest enough so it had some excess potato starch on it... but the heck with it. Preparation: Sake Corn/Potato Starch sugar Ginger (just a bit! we will only use the sweet juices) Soy Sauce Chicken ( cut them a bit larger than your normal bites, as it has a lot of fiber so it will shrink when frying) Secret frying process: Fry them 3 times. For best results go with 2 min on 190C, then let them rest for 1 minute. fry them again on 190C this time for 1 min, rest 30 sec. and then once again 1 minute on 190C. I couldn't be bothered this time, probably also the reason why I have still corn on my finished product. It still tasty af tho. Tip: use Japanese 7 spice mix (七味唐辛子) on your mayo. Here is a video of me actually making it. unedited. (I didn't film the whole frying process as I couldn't be bothered...) Enjoy the Cringe : )
  46. 4 points
    Clephas

    Trinoline

    Written by Kiririri and edited by fun2novel and Me Trinoline If there ever was a time when the quality of a story was judged purely on its aesthetics then minori’s games would be tough opponents to defeat. Trinoline continues in the same tradition as many other minori games. High-budget top-quality visuals with a ridiculous level of attention to details. This includes blinking eyes and well done lip syncing, top-notch high quality CGs, and unusual camera angles, where you walk and look to the side at a character walking next to you while a long non repeating background scrolls by. All that and more put this at the top of one of the most visually polished games around. Fortunately, visual novels aren’t judged purely on how good they look. Not usually at least. Trinoline asks valuable questions and explores some very interesting themes and ideas. It is set in a world where the science has advanced far enough to manufacture real, lifelike androids. Events become more complicated when our protagonist’s little sister dies only to later come back as an android. She is just an android and not his real sister of course, only an illusion of the real thing. However, the twist is that she has all of the little sister’s memories inside her, and the question is, 'does it matter if she is real or not?' Do memories make her his sister or is she just a replacement for what was lost to tragic events? What happens if your loved one comes back in android form? Are they the still the same person? Are androids even capable of love, even if they don’t have a heart? Do they dream of electric ships? Trinoline features three heroines. Yuuri, the childhood friend, skips school often. However, nothing is what it seems on the surface. What does she hide behind that cheerful upbeat smile of hers? Her route was the least interesting, and it is a bit of a downer for much of it. Shirone, plays the role our protagonist’s “little sister”. She is the Trino (android) with the protagonist’s little sister’s memories inside her. It explores how and if love can bloom between a human and an android. Sara is the other childhood friend. She had a leading role in developing the Trino, a new kind of android. Because of her work, she and the protagonist haven’t seen each other in a long time. Her route is considered the true route and it explores the difficulties of developing an android and the problems in their thinking. The game is pretty equally divided between the common and all the other three routes, and it touches on very interesting issues. However, at the end of the day I don’t know how I really feel about it. I can't help but wonder if I actually enjoyed the game or not. It doesn’t help how stupid the protagonist acts in some scenes and changes his opinions about androids from one route to the next with no consistency, with no regard for his personality. I wanted to like the game because I thought the heroines are really great. In addition, if it wasn’t iterated enough previously, the game is really beautiful. Unfortunately, the constant depressing atmosphere kept up throughout the game pretty much crushed me and every false hope I had for it. I don’t want to further elaborate on that to avoid spoilers. The game has a lot of great moments, but it also has many points that will split opinions. If you’re looking for a deep and exhilarating science fiction story, you won’t find it here. The narrative is slow-paced and takes its sweet time to build up. This is a game for those looking for a character driven nakige with some light sci-fi elements. However, it might keep you depressed most of the time, so take care if you don't like that sort of thing.
  47. 3 points
    Welcome to the second and last part of my 2018 Curator Connect Clean-up (if you missed the first half, check it out here)! The horror themes were strong in the VNs sent to me this year and while it will be less explicit in this part, they’re not completely gone either, mostly represented by Perseverance – an episodic, postapocalyptic game which strives to prove that story-driven experience featuring zombies is still not passée in 2018 (and, possibly, that the Telltale storytelling formula is not as dead as the studio that created it). Other than that, we’ll get to experience an ominous sci-fi mystery Event-D and two low-budget, simple romance VNs, all of them holding some surprises… Not always positive ones, though. The Wilting Amaranth I have pretty complicated feelings about Reine Works’ visual novels – on one hand, they show genuine effort, have decent visuals and are not cynically exploitative even when implementing sexual content. On the other, they always struggle when it goes writing and characterisation, to the point they always short of being genuinely good and compelling. The Wilting Amaranth showcases these problems especially well – while the set-up protagonist’s personality and her backstory are all simple (a lesbian-in-denial princess, pressured by her parents into an arranged marriage, is accidentally summoned by a witch to her remote tower), they’re interesting enough to carry a simple, romantic plot. Where it pretty much falls apart is the heroines and how their characters are developed: the witch is shy and stuttering to the point she’s barely able to hold a conversation at any point of the plot and her quirks grow tiring very fast. The other possible love interest, a prisoner of the witch who tried to assassinate her for a bounty, is a first-class sociopath who can do all kinds of despicable things if it makes her some money, but switching her attitude in certain scenarios for no clear reason. Even with how short the game is (around 3-4 hours of reading) there’s no real justification for how these characters are developed and sadly, it takes away quite a lot of fun from the experience, with contains not-awful production values and some fairly cool ideas. While reading it is not a complete waste of time, it’s also not something I would ever strongly recommend, even for yuri fans. Final rating: (Cautiously) Recommended Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  48. 3 points
    For those who suffer from any sort of mental health issue, you are probably going to have the worst time staying committed to studying. But with the right kind of mindset and a practical approach, you may find yourself well within reach of your goal. While this guide is not a suitable replacement for real treatment from a specialist, it may give you a few ideas on how to deal with your own issues. But everyone has their own unique issues and complications, so there isn’t a single correct answer for everybody. Oh and be very careful about self-diagnosing these types of illnesses. Mental health is a complicated subject that requires a lot of training to make the correct judgment, so please seek confirmation from a professional before you decide to take on that kind of baggage. Sadness and fear, even on a regular basis, are normal human emotions. It’s only when they affect you in an abnormal way (which, again, needs a proper diagnosis) that you need to be concerned. Okay, so some of you may have noticed I’ve been severely behind on updating my blog. Well, as it turns out, the solution I had in mind for anxiety didn’t pan out very well. I had gone through another bout of anxiety, lagged behind on my homework, and was left with virtually no time to put out another post. But I’m actually really happy I delayed it since I’ve gained so much valuable knowledge about anxiety since September. When I initially started writing this entry, I had written about the success I was having with positive self-talk. At the time, I was extremely focused on repeating a single line to myself in order to stay motivated, and it was working for a good while. But see, once the idea had lost its novelty after a couple months, I wasn’t getting any kind of benefit from it. I did feel a sense of confidence I hadn’t felt in a long time, and it was making me more productive, but it wasn’t the answer I was looking for. What I’ve learned since then is that I need more than false confidence to drive me forward, and I think I may have come up with a more reliable way of coping with my emotions. I’m still using positive self-talk in order to combat negative thinking, but I’m doing so in a much less specific way. For my most recent episode, I was unable to pull myself out of it, but I had managed to escape after two whole months of misery by focusing on the more crucial flaws with my mindset. I happened upon a simple, yet insightful comment on Quora that helped me ground my thoughts and properly outline my path to improvement. One of my key takeaways from this was to focus on what could happen rather than what has happened already. If your mind is stuck in the past and all you can do is think about is how much you haven’t accomplished, you won’t have much to look forward to. Additionally, you need to accept the problems you have in front of you and see them more as opportunities for growth rather than as barriers. If you can find a solution to the problem at hand, then you’ve exercised the part of your brain that solves problems. And if you can’t find a solution, then your accomplishments will be much more meaningful because you had to jump through extra hoops to succeed. Another issue I’ve had the most difficulty with is blaming my problems on everything. I can’t get good sleep because of my noisy surroundings, I’m not losing weight because of all the sweets around the house, I can’t concentrate well because I’m under a lot of stress, I’m unhappy because I can’t afford to support my emotional needs, my life sucks because society sucks, my parents are the reason I’m not that smart, and so on and so forth. I was always thinking about how much crap I had working against me, and yet I never wanted to see myself as the source of my misfortune. Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to preach personal responsibility or anything as mundane as that. I do understand that the human mind is easily susceptible to influence, and that we aren’t in full control of our decisions or circumstances. However, I do think there is something to be gained by taking ownership of your problems. What this does is take you out of a state of hopelessness and entrapment, and empowers you to pursue your goals further. When you decide to take life into your own hands, you can then mold it into something you want it to be. Probably the most important lesson I’ve learned is to accept myself for who am. I am a nervous wreck. I freak out whenever I set out to do any kind of improvement. Having to make major life adjustments always puts me on edge. I will panic even as I’m handing in a homework assignment, terrified of how the professor will grade it. And my response to these dilemmas has been to either pretend the fear isn’t there, convince myself that I can’t keep living this way, or beat myself up when I let my nervousness get the better of me. But instead of just working against my anxiety, I decided it was time I started working alongside it and let it be. What I’ve come to understand since then is that fear hurts my motivation a lot more than it does my performance, so I don’t even need to acknowledge it as an obstacle. I eventually came to the conclusion that it’s better to focus on resolving issues that I have immediate control over rather than the ones I can’t do anything about. There is still chance I’ll be able to find a fix eventually, but I have no way of knowing what that is at this very moment. And you know what? I’m perfectly fine with that. And to wrap things up, I’ll jot a few quick tips you may have heard about already, but are still important to know. There won’t always be an ideal time to get something done; do it anyways. Try to focus on what went right rather than the opposite. Don’t be afraid to work hard; working hard will generally give you advantage over others. Finish what you’ve started, even after it loses its novelty. Don’t ever feel discouraged if you can’t solve a problem in a timely manner. Afterword: So, did anyone miss me at all? Yeah, this one was a real doozy. I was putting myself through even more stress trying to find time for this blog during college, but I wound up having to wait until Winter break to finish writing this entry. Thankfully I won’t have any more classes to take until next year, so I’ll have all the time I need to keep this blog up and running… and to get caught up on all the dust I’ve let accumulate in my room and bathroom. Oh and I started my Japanese studies back up again yesterday too! I’ve been kinda behind on them up until now due to excessive stress (to the point of neck injury) and my scramble to get homework turned in on time, but I’m 50% sure I’ll be fine in the near future. Next week’s topic will be on living a healthy lifestyle. Once you’re able to find proper coping methods, the next step toward building momentum is figuring out how to best optimize all the other factors that impact your brain’s performance.
  49. 3 points
    While Time Tenshi, which I covered two weeks ago, is definitely the flagship franchise for Silver Cow Studios, the company never settled for only producing new iterations of their breast-expansion/time-travel formula, releasing two other ecchi VNs since their debut in 2015. Those games, while they didn’t abandon the giant boobs and over-the-top storytelling that could be considered Silver Cow’s staple, offered their own twists to the fanservice-filled and trashy, but hentai-free format. The first one, Burokku Girls, appeared just three months after the first Time Tenshi game and… The lack of reasonable development time definitely showed, in a few ways. The second, Battleship Bishojo came out in early 2017, after Time Tenshi 2’s Special Edition and proved that the devs had their formula figured out much better by this point in time. Still, what exactly are these games about, besides exclusively-kyonyuu heroines and are they as good serviceable as Time Tenshi proved to be? Burokku Girls Burokku Girls (the first part of the title apparently represents the Japanese pronunciation of the word „block”) is quite possibly the most bizarre VN I’ve seen since Legends of Talia: Arcadia. Although it’s not as devoid of humour as the Winged Cloud’s unfortunate “dark fantasy adventure”, it still manages to mix incredibly trashy fanservice and character designs with a rather grimdark story about a last bastion of light in the world besieged by darkness – a conflict so hopeless that the people of the last town standing are pretty much just waiting for their final battle and inevitable demise. Our generic protagonist enters this world-ending scenario through a full-immersion VN machine, constructed by his father. The virtual reality set goes haywire in an inexplicable way and transports him to a reality built with the titular Blocks – voxel-like elements, which were used in past immemorial to create an artificial paradise for people to live in, but was since invaded by the “Underworlders”, exiles trapped in the dark chasms beneath the “Overworld” and sealed away with the Blocks. Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  50. 3 points
    Are you the kind of guy that loves stews but hates having to prep all the shit going into them? If so you’re uncomfortably close to being me holy shit stop. Anyway if you try to google up recipes for a pork stew using wine you inevitably get something that could be much simpler. Here’s my attempt at such a thing; I’ve cooked this twice and IMO it’s excellent. INGREDIENTS (serves 2 if you’re me and my dad) ~500g pork meat cut into medium pieces 1 bouillon cube ~200ml red wine ~100ml water 1 onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, chopped chili flakes to taste LITERALLY THREE PLUS ONE FUCKING STEPS BECAUSE I PUT THE PREPARATION STEPS IN THE INGREDIENTS PART 1. Brown the meat in your fat of choice on high heat in a saute pan. Salt and pepper those shits for good measure, though honestly idk if it matters so I cba to put them in the list. 2. Turn down to low heat and add wine, water, onion, garlic, chili flakes, and crumble in the bouillon cube. I usually mix it all together but who knows if this is even needed? Not le watakushi. 3. Let stew w/ lid on for as long as it takes for the meat to be nice and tender. 4. Serve with magically appearing rice I didn’t tell you about. QUESTIONS How do I know how long the meat will take to cook? Since this is a general recipe I can’t tell you, but pork chops took ~1h 15m and store-tenderized pork chop meat took like an hour. Tougher cuts made for stewing might take as much as 2 hours 45 minutes or more. I also recommend the “google it” and “ask your mum” options if available. On your first time using a new kind of meat, I recommend sampling the meat at likely points. This will fuck with your rice timing which sucks, but so does life so nothing new there really. How do I make this efficiently timewise? The main timewaster is the slow boiling process, so the goal should be to get that started as soon as possible. Start by cutting the meat into pieces unless it is already. After that use any downtime, for example when the fat’s warming in the pan or when you’ve just put the meat in and are letting it rest for some surface, to chop the onion / garlic. It’s not particularly important to add the garlic or onion or really anything to the stew at the same time as you add the wine, just get them in once you finish processing them. Ok but I have beef not pork Then do the exact same things and it will probably still work lol. Ok but I have chicken not pork Then make this high effort recipe instead. Or just try anyway. Cooking time will be much shorter though. Ok but I have <other kind of meat> We live in a society, dear reader. I’m sure you can figure it out. That’s still too many ingredients Fair enough. I don’t think the garlic is essential and chopping it is annoying so take it out if you wish. The chili flakes are also a bit of a flourish and you might not even like them so omit them if you want. I would not omit the onion but if you’re a hater it probably won’t kill the dish entirely to take that out too, I’m never actually going to try that myself though so good luck. Ok but I don’t have a bouillon cube I will assume you have liquid broth then, use that. Otherwise supply your goddamn kitchen. Since broth will increase the total amount of liquid you probably want to cut down on or use no water at all. I have not tried this at home but like it’s a stew it’ll work out. Actually I think a few more ingredients would be ok I would suggest looking up more traditional recipes at this point but here are some things I have not tried: mushrooms seem like they’d fit in well. Carrots are also often mentioned though idk if I like the idea as much. I can also see bell pepper but I have a bell pepper fetish. As for spices you could try grated fresh ginger (obviously ditch some or all of the chili then I’m not responsible if you kill yourself with this) or maybe szechuan pepper. Where’s the obligatory shitty picture? View the full article
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