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AaronIsCrunchy

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  1. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy reacted to Fiddle for a blog entry, MYANIMELIST.NET IS LITERALLY HITLER   

    LET THE PEOPLE WRITE SHORTER REVIEWS, YOU TYRANTS.
  2. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy reacted to Fiddle for a blog entry, Use the Oxford comma in speech, too.   
    Recent events have compelled me to contemplate the Oxford comma to an even greater extent than usual, so let me share a story to convince you that, in addition to using the Oxford comma in writing, you should enunciate it in your speech.
    I was getting pizza some time ago. But I must note that it was one of those pizza places where they make little quadrilateral pizzas for a single person ("single" having two meanings, probably). I normally wouldn't concede to the expenses associated with such a bourgeois establishment, but the meal is quite cheap when one orders a full-sized square pizza―probably because they aren't meant to be eaten in one sitting―and, most notably, the meal comes with a free side order.
    As such, the cashier asked which side I would like, and I will transcribe this in such a manner as to accurately represent her enunciation: "You want bread chips or carrots?"
    I cannot think of how to tell this anecdote without now giving away the catch, which the keenest among you may have already ascertained: The sentence was actually, "You want bread, chips, or carrots?"
    But I am not the keenest among us, and the fact that there was no pause between the "chips" and "or" suggested, in my mind rightfully accustomed to the Oxford comma, that there were only two items: bread chips and carrots. I sought to confirm this, asking, "Bread chips?"
    And she, wielding the apathy of an employee who unwittingly tempts the manager into automating all the cashiers, recited the items with the selfsame cadence or lack thereof―"Bread chips or carrots?"
    This corroborated my confusion, and I thought to myself, I have no idea what bread chips are, but I know I don't want carrots. So I said, "BREAD CHIPS."
    She replied, "Chips?" And then I might have said "BREAD CHIPS" again―I forget―but apparently I conceded to chips eventually, and went to await the production of my comestibles thereafter. Not even at this point had I come to realize the situation, as my friend labored for some time to explain it to me.
    The Oxford comma was not the instigator in this story; it was a reluctant spectator, a single tear running down its cheek. I implore you to take this experience to heart.
  3. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy reacted to Fiddle for a blog entry, On the Important Matter Regarding Cats and Laser Pointers   
    While the final cause of my chronic insomnia has been a subject of much consternation on my part, the answer was none too subtle last night. Indeed, something weighed heavily on my heart, compounding the recurring problem of Arby's-induced arterial blockage.
    If I were to own a cat, would it ever catch on to my laser-pointing diversions? As any former or current participant in this activity can attest, it is very entertaining, such that one should enjoy it in the absence of concerns that it may someday become infeasible. I ruminated on this question after recalling this gif that tangentially addresses the matter.
    In other words, may I consider the feline mind analogous to that of a dog who, in a like manner, readily fetches the stick only to endure the same Sisyphean struggle moments later and without cessation?
  4. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Clephas Top 50 VNs   
    For the last two years or so, I've gotten repeated requests to unequivocally name my top VNs made up until the present, ignoring objectivity, my vndb votes, etc.  I've more or less just ignored most of those requests, because it is a pain in the ass to name a 'favorite' VN in the first place.  I've made lists of VNs I loved from various genres, and I've also made lists of VNs for a specific purpose.  However, I've avoided making a list like this one up until now, mostly because my 'favorites' switch out so often. 
    Let's get this straight for those who are going to criticize my choices... these are the VNs I like the most, not the fifty best VNs of all time.  I make no pretense to preeminence of opinion in this case, because I'm also discarding all attempts at objectivity.  What a person likes is ultimately a matter of personal tastes, not a matter of logic.
    Why did I make it fifty?  Because my number of VNs played, setting aside replays and nukige, is over six hundred already (with replays and nukige, it is closer to eight hundred...)... I'd be surprised if I didn't have this many VNs I considered wonderful. 
    Keep in mind that these aren't in a particular order.
     
    1.   Evolimit
    2.   Dies Irae (the one by Light)
    3.   Ikusa Megami Zero
    4.   Nanairo Reincarnation
    5.   Semiramis no Tenbin
    6.   Bradyon Veda
    7.   Vermilion Bind of Blood
    8.   Hapymaher
    9.   Tiny Dungeon (as a series)
    10.  Bullet Butlers
    11.  Chrono Belt
    12.  Ayakashibito
    13.  Otome ga Boku ni Koishiteiru 2
    14.  Chusingura
    15.  Draculius
    16.  Otome ga Tsumugu, Koi no Canvas
    17.  Silverio Vendetta
    18.  Konata yori Kanata Made
    19.  Grisaia series
    20.  Akatsuki no Goei series
    21.  Reminiscence series
    22.  Haruka ni Aogi, Uruwashi no
    23.  Harumade, Kururu
    24.  Soukou Akki Muramasa
    25.  Tokyo Babel
    26.  Tasogare no Sinsemilla
    27.  Komorebi no Nostalgica
    28.  Yurikago yori Tenshi Made
    29.  Izuna Zanshinken
    30.  Moshimo Ashita ga Harenaraba
    31.  Kamikaze Explorers
    32.  Devils Devel Concept
    33.  Suzunone Seven
    34.  Baldr Skydive series
    35.  Baldr Sky Zero series
    36.  Toppara Zashikiwarashi no Hanashi
    37.  Tsuisou no Augment (series)
    38.  Kikan Bakumatsu Ibun Last Cavalier
    39.  Shin Koihime Musou (series not including the original Koihime Musou)
    40.  Soshite Hatsukoi wa Imouto ni Naru
    41.  Tenshi no Hane o Fumanaide
    42.  Irotoridori no Sekai
    43.  Noble Works
    44.  Koisuru Otome to Shugo no Tate (series)
    45.  Kitto, Sumiwataru Asairo yori mo
    46.  Jingai Makyou
    47.  Sakura, Sakimashita
    48.  Abyss Homicide Club
    49.  Re:Birth Colony Lost Azurite
    50.  Owaru Sekai to Birthday
     
     
  5. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy reacted to Mr Poltroon for a blog entry, To 'Love', and to be 'In Love'   
    DISCLAIMER: All that I mention represent my views mixed with basic scientific theories floating around.
    To 'Love', and to be 'In Love'
    I believe these two to be different. One does not necessarily love those they are in love with, and one is not necessarily in love with those they love. Sound confusing? Allow me to elaborate.
    To make this as clear as possible, let's take "romantic feelings" out of the equation.
    Would you say you love your parents? Or that you are in love with them? Maybe both expressions work for you?
    The way I see it, one (generally) loves their family, yet is not in love of them.
    To be in love with someone is the sort of feeling you have towards a crush, that almost irrational slight obsession and redirection of your thoughts in their general direction. Perhaps your heart will beat faster, perhaps you will become slightly euphoric, perhaps you'll get embarrassed; all just by being near the person in question.
    What I've just described most certainly does not apply towards your parents (unless you're into some really weird nukige). But you still love them, right? You act kind towards them, you are affectionate with them, you take their presence for granted and would sacrifice immensely for their sake.
    Mayhap, this even applies to your friends? Friendship love. You see it all the time in manga, girls loving each other, but not being in love with each other. You care for your friends much like they care for you.
    Finally, for all you older folk out there, if you're a parent: would you say you love your children, or that you are in love with them? Because if it's the latter, that would make you the worst kind of scum in the eyes of society.
    Only when it comes to romance do these two things get interwoven together. Love is a complicated mess, which I will now attempt to arbitrarily classify in a way that makes sense to me.
    All the previously mentioned situations represent love, yet they are different from falling "in love".
    As you know, or should know, humans are animals, they are living beings whose purpose is to live. All animals, all plants and all living beings have that very same objective, and they evolve and adapt in order to make sure their species continues to live. One important thing about being a living being is our instinctual desire to reproduce. If we didn't reproduce, the species would go extinct - Giant Pandas are the resident experts on the topic.
    In order to compel the race to reproduce, our body releases various hormones impelling us to do various things. Falling "in love" is one of these.
    You'll find that often, the person you develop romantic feelings for, is not one that is particularly close to you. This is what I believe being "in love" is. When you develop feelings for a person, which serves as the selfish catalyst that leads to romance.
    Having fallen in love, we humans do a bunch of silly things involving spending time with our pleasurable partner, which makes us happy (due to the hormones), and containing our sexual desires, which are also stimulated by the hormones. Probably not the most romantic way of looking at it, but "falling in love" is a mere boost towards romantic love, but I do not think it is romantic love itself. On the contrary, trying to resist this "in love" feeling is, quite literally, against our instincts. Thankfully, human beings are, for the most part, able to resist their instincts given that their conditions are favourable. If everyone ended up marrying their first love, society would be rather different than what it is right now.
    Now then, I keep mentioning "romantic love", as if it weren't influenced by hormones. Really, you can say that just about anything is influenced by hormones and this is no exception. The usual situation will be for one to develop a romantic relationship with the one they fell in love with. In turn, this "in love" boost will eventually die down leaving you only with a person that you are intimate with, that you share your flaws with, that you care for... and your sexual partner. Sex is yet another source of rather pleasurable hormones, and one important for long-lasting relationships. After all, a proper relationship requires sacrifices, and most of us selfish humans wouldn't be all that interested in maintaining a relationship for little reward.
    This is, of course, another of our instinct's plans. If a couple doesn't stay together and does not reproduce, then the whole "falling in love" business will end up having been useless.
    All this said, let us surmise:
    Because of our innate need to reproduce, we fall in love. Falling in love gives us a boost and creates an easy path that will lead to loving someone. Eventually, this boost dies down - at this point, a good couple would love each other as is (or else, divorce. Good lord, today's society...), with the help of sex. The pleasure sex provides creates hormones that increase our affection for our partner and that generally makes us interested in sex, connecting directly to our species' main goal: Children.
    The way we look at it today, everybody wants to be with those they're in love with, and lose interest when the magic of "falling in love" dies down. I, however, firmly believe that people are able to love even those they are not in love with... provided the circumstances aren't dead set against you. The main example I wanted to tie this uncultured rant to is this relationship I saw in Ao Haru Ride...
     
    I'll elucidate you right off the bat: I didn't like Ao Haru Ride as a story. This does not, however, mean that it was bad. In fact, it gave me enough food for thought to write this whole pointless blog post because of it.
    In Ao Haru Ride, because both our protagonists fail to act on their feelings in a timely manner because "emotions", they, despite loving each other, end up entering a relationship with someone else. Spoilers ahead.
    Futaba is our main protagonist, and she clearly falls in love with Kou in the first few chapters. This Kou fellow is the main love interest, who is also in love with Futaba, but who, due to circumstances and "emotions", rejects her advances. Seeing this, another boy, called Touma, felt bad for Futaba, and this kickstarted his feelings, leading him to fall in love with her. Eventually, Futaba, seeing Touma's dedication and depictions of love, enters a relationship with him and tries to love him back.
    Given this scene, Kou, jealous, surpasses his "circumstances" and "emotions" and tries to win Futaba back. Futaba, on the other hand, doesn't want this. She is not aware of Kou's feelings and really wants to love Touma back - something I consider a most earnest and great wish. However, because that's just the way things are, Futaba is unable to love Touma whilst in love with someone else, and she wouldn't stop being in love so long as Kou didn't stop - and he had no intention of stopping.
    Therefore, Futaba breaks up with Touma and gets together with Kou. Happy end.
    This entire turn of events depresses me. I dislike when a main character enters a relationship which just wont last. Totally not the kind of stuff I read manga for. I really hate how she spent most of the manga dating someone who is not the main love interest and the one she'll end up with.
    Yet, it does bring something to the table I really admired, and those were Futaba's attempts at loving Touma back, even when she wasn't in love with him. People these days always seem to think that they should marry someone they're in love with and whatnot - when I'm a fervent believer that anyone is able to romantically love even those they aren't in love with. Still, even still, we're wired in such a way that we're rather likely to fall in love with those we attempt to love, anyway, so it's almost a moot point.
    I believe that what Futaba tried to achieve is one of the most idealistic, selfless and admirable forms of love - though that's precisely why it doesn't happen often. It is, after all, much more convenient to just love those you are in love with
    This is why historical romances interest me so. They're about loving the husband or wife that was arranged for you by your family and not by your hormones (who choose based on what amounts to a whim).
     
    But then again... what the hell do I know about love?
  6. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy reacted to Kawasumi for a blog entry, LORN - STUCKINTHESYSTEM   
    I have been listening to this track a million times since yesterday and its just one of those tracks that make you as an artist, feel inferior in terms of creativity and overall emotion others are able to put in a track. LORN is one of these guys, he puts so much fucking feeling and soul into his tracks, it gives me shivers, it wants me to dance, cry, laugh, gives me so many cool images in my head, it does everything right and it just feels like its impossible for me as an artist to ever match up to this.
    I admire this guy so much for having such a distorted sound but still maintain a feeling of hope.
    It sounds like a space opera that you found on a really old LP.
    If I ever made a track called "endsky" then it would sound a little bit like this. (I wish I had read tsui no sora, since I feel like this music would fit it perfectly hence why I gave a nod to it just now and to subahibi for that matter)
    This also made me think about saya no uta and everything that makes me think of my favorite VN makes me happy, this would fit just as nice in the true end than the original music which is fucking gorgeous too.
    P.S if you know a VN thats written like LORN writes music, then please tell me asap.
     
  7. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy got a reaction from Dergonu for a blog entry, The winding down of community   
    Katawa Shoujo was a first for me in a few fields, which I might have discussed briefly in an earlier post. It was my first visual novel, and while I'm not exactly a font of knowledge of experience in the medium, it opened me up to a wonderful (if expensive and sometimes questionable) form of storytelling. It was the first exposure I had to a Japanese-style thing, and while not being actually Japanese itself, got me on that road too.
    It was also the first internet forum I got properly involved with, back in February 2014. I managed to rack up over 1,000 posts of mostly (if I'm honest) trying to figure out whether Emi or Rin is bestgirl, mooning over artwork, and just general mindless shitposting. Really, I look back on the time and it's a strange mixture of trying to figure out why I spent so much time there, and being sincerely glad I did. Just distracting myself on there and discussing essentially irrelevant bumph helped me out vastly during a crappy stage of my life, and for that I'm forever grateful towards it.
    However, being a forum based around a singular VN there's only so much somebody can contribute (at least, without being excellent at art or a damn good creative writer). The amount of times a lemon joke can be made, or a Rinfidel can be declared eventually dries up, and so after spending roughly a year on it, I basically stopped going on there. Every now and then I would pop my head back in to see if I was missing anything interesting, but then even those occasions started to disappear, and about 9-10 months went by.
    I figured that, today, I might just see how this little community was doing. I was never what I would call a major part of the community, but as I've already alluded to I was fond of it - I just had nothing left to offer. Yet, I opened it up and what greeted me was a sad state of inactivity. It was, I admit, never the fastest moving forum in the world, but typically things would move at a fair-t'-middling pace most of the time - a good 10 or so topics a day with at least one comment, perhaps one or two with a decent conversation on. But this time, there were 8 topics explored in the 'Public Discussion' field since the start of April. I found one or two conversations - short, but conversations nevertheless - that had taken place, largely among people who were regulars when I used to frequent, but very few new faces.
    To be fair, for what it is it's had a bloody good run (the forums themselves opened in 2007 in their current guise) and to call it dead would be unfair - it's not like nothing's happening - but it seems to be approaching a moribund, final state. Whether it happens next year, or the year after, who knows, but for myself it brings a very real feeling of sadness. I understand this is how forums work. People come and go, some stay for longer than others; this is just a fact of life in these places, and for more 'limited' forums one only expects a natural lifespan, obviously culminating in death. But to see a community start to fade, particularly one I held dear during my time there... Yeah, it does bring me down a little.
    And that got me thinking. I regularly partake in two internet communities, and it made me appreciate how much I actually feel towards these people; people who I've never met and am never likely to meet. Most will likely phase out as time goes by - be it days, months, years - and I fully expect it will be the same for me. I'll likely only think about them once in a while, a thought like "Oh, I wonder how such-and-such is getting on nowadays". The two I am part of are both far more expansive in their scope than the KS forums - Fuwanovel for... well, obviously visual novels, and the other for music - and I suppose that they will probably last longer than I give them my attention as a consequence. But the fact that these communities leave such an indelible mark on my being, however small I may think they are, means that one day I am likely to feel this feeling of sadness once again, whether I come back to find it nearly gone, or whether I stick around long enough to see it fall.
     
    Sorry for being a bit of a bummer, but this hit me a little harder than I suppose it might/should and wished to vent a little. Here's Renge singing
     
  8. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy got a reaction from Dergonu for a blog entry, The winding down of community   
    Katawa Shoujo was a first for me in a few fields, which I might have discussed briefly in an earlier post. It was my first visual novel, and while I'm not exactly a font of knowledge of experience in the medium, it opened me up to a wonderful (if expensive and sometimes questionable) form of storytelling. It was the first exposure I had to a Japanese-style thing, and while not being actually Japanese itself, got me on that road too.
    It was also the first internet forum I got properly involved with, back in February 2014. I managed to rack up over 1,000 posts of mostly (if I'm honest) trying to figure out whether Emi or Rin is bestgirl, mooning over artwork, and just general mindless shitposting. Really, I look back on the time and it's a strange mixture of trying to figure out why I spent so much time there, and being sincerely glad I did. Just distracting myself on there and discussing essentially irrelevant bumph helped me out vastly during a crappy stage of my life, and for that I'm forever grateful towards it.
    However, being a forum based around a singular VN there's only so much somebody can contribute (at least, without being excellent at art or a damn good creative writer). The amount of times a lemon joke can be made, or a Rinfidel can be declared eventually dries up, and so after spending roughly a year on it, I basically stopped going on there. Every now and then I would pop my head back in to see if I was missing anything interesting, but then even those occasions started to disappear, and about 9-10 months went by.
    I figured that, today, I might just see how this little community was doing. I was never what I would call a major part of the community, but as I've already alluded to I was fond of it - I just had nothing left to offer. Yet, I opened it up and what greeted me was a sad state of inactivity. It was, I admit, never the fastest moving forum in the world, but typically things would move at a fair-t'-middling pace most of the time - a good 10 or so topics a day with at least one comment, perhaps one or two with a decent conversation on. But this time, there were 8 topics explored in the 'Public Discussion' field since the start of April. I found one or two conversations - short, but conversations nevertheless - that had taken place, largely among people who were regulars when I used to frequent, but very few new faces.
    To be fair, for what it is it's had a bloody good run (the forums themselves opened in 2007 in their current guise) and to call it dead would be unfair - it's not like nothing's happening - but it seems to be approaching a moribund, final state. Whether it happens next year, or the year after, who knows, but for myself it brings a very real feeling of sadness. I understand this is how forums work. People come and go, some stay for longer than others; this is just a fact of life in these places, and for more 'limited' forums one only expects a natural lifespan, obviously culminating in death. But to see a community start to fade, particularly one I held dear during my time there... Yeah, it does bring me down a little.
    And that got me thinking. I regularly partake in two internet communities, and it made me appreciate how much I actually feel towards these people; people who I've never met and am never likely to meet. Most will likely phase out as time goes by - be it days, months, years - and I fully expect it will be the same for me. I'll likely only think about them once in a while, a thought like "Oh, I wonder how such-and-such is getting on nowadays". The two I am part of are both far more expansive in their scope than the KS forums - Fuwanovel for... well, obviously visual novels, and the other for music - and I suppose that they will probably last longer than I give them my attention as a consequence. But the fact that these communities leave such an indelible mark on my being, however small I may think they are, means that one day I am likely to feel this feeling of sadness once again, whether I come back to find it nearly gone, or whether I stick around long enough to see it fall.
     
    Sorry for being a bit of a bummer, but this hit me a little harder than I suppose it might/should and wished to vent a little. Here's Renge singing
     
  9. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy got a reaction from Dergonu for a blog entry, The winding down of community   
    Katawa Shoujo was a first for me in a few fields, which I might have discussed briefly in an earlier post. It was my first visual novel, and while I'm not exactly a font of knowledge of experience in the medium, it opened me up to a wonderful (if expensive and sometimes questionable) form of storytelling. It was the first exposure I had to a Japanese-style thing, and while not being actually Japanese itself, got me on that road too.
    It was also the first internet forum I got properly involved with, back in February 2014. I managed to rack up over 1,000 posts of mostly (if I'm honest) trying to figure out whether Emi or Rin is bestgirl, mooning over artwork, and just general mindless shitposting. Really, I look back on the time and it's a strange mixture of trying to figure out why I spent so much time there, and being sincerely glad I did. Just distracting myself on there and discussing essentially irrelevant bumph helped me out vastly during a crappy stage of my life, and for that I'm forever grateful towards it.
    However, being a forum based around a singular VN there's only so much somebody can contribute (at least, without being excellent at art or a damn good creative writer). The amount of times a lemon joke can be made, or a Rinfidel can be declared eventually dries up, and so after spending roughly a year on it, I basically stopped going on there. Every now and then I would pop my head back in to see if I was missing anything interesting, but then even those occasions started to disappear, and about 9-10 months went by.
    I figured that, today, I might just see how this little community was doing. I was never what I would call a major part of the community, but as I've already alluded to I was fond of it - I just had nothing left to offer. Yet, I opened it up and what greeted me was a sad state of inactivity. It was, I admit, never the fastest moving forum in the world, but typically things would move at a fair-t'-middling pace most of the time - a good 10 or so topics a day with at least one comment, perhaps one or two with a decent conversation on. But this time, there were 8 topics explored in the 'Public Discussion' field since the start of April. I found one or two conversations - short, but conversations nevertheless - that had taken place, largely among people who were regulars when I used to frequent, but very few new faces.
    To be fair, for what it is it's had a bloody good run (the forums themselves opened in 2007 in their current guise) and to call it dead would be unfair - it's not like nothing's happening - but it seems to be approaching a moribund, final state. Whether it happens next year, or the year after, who knows, but for myself it brings a very real feeling of sadness. I understand this is how forums work. People come and go, some stay for longer than others; this is just a fact of life in these places, and for more 'limited' forums one only expects a natural lifespan, obviously culminating in death. But to see a community start to fade, particularly one I held dear during my time there... Yeah, it does bring me down a little.
    And that got me thinking. I regularly partake in two internet communities, and it made me appreciate how much I actually feel towards these people; people who I've never met and am never likely to meet. Most will likely phase out as time goes by - be it days, months, years - and I fully expect it will be the same for me. I'll likely only think about them once in a while, a thought like "Oh, I wonder how such-and-such is getting on nowadays". The two I am part of are both far more expansive in their scope than the KS forums - Fuwanovel for... well, obviously visual novels, and the other for music - and I suppose that they will probably last longer than I give them my attention as a consequence. But the fact that these communities leave such an indelible mark on my being, however small I may think they are, means that one day I am likely to feel this feeling of sadness once again, whether I come back to find it nearly gone, or whether I stick around long enough to see it fall.
     
    Sorry for being a bit of a bummer, but this hit me a little harder than I suppose it might/should and wished to vent a little. Here's Renge singing
     
  10. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy got a reaction from Dergonu for a blog entry, The winding down of community   
    Katawa Shoujo was a first for me in a few fields, which I might have discussed briefly in an earlier post. It was my first visual novel, and while I'm not exactly a font of knowledge of experience in the medium, it opened me up to a wonderful (if expensive and sometimes questionable) form of storytelling. It was the first exposure I had to a Japanese-style thing, and while not being actually Japanese itself, got me on that road too.
    It was also the first internet forum I got properly involved with, back in February 2014. I managed to rack up over 1,000 posts of mostly (if I'm honest) trying to figure out whether Emi or Rin is bestgirl, mooning over artwork, and just general mindless shitposting. Really, I look back on the time and it's a strange mixture of trying to figure out why I spent so much time there, and being sincerely glad I did. Just distracting myself on there and discussing essentially irrelevant bumph helped me out vastly during a crappy stage of my life, and for that I'm forever grateful towards it.
    However, being a forum based around a singular VN there's only so much somebody can contribute (at least, without being excellent at art or a damn good creative writer). The amount of times a lemon joke can be made, or a Rinfidel can be declared eventually dries up, and so after spending roughly a year on it, I basically stopped going on there. Every now and then I would pop my head back in to see if I was missing anything interesting, but then even those occasions started to disappear, and about 9-10 months went by.
    I figured that, today, I might just see how this little community was doing. I was never what I would call a major part of the community, but as I've already alluded to I was fond of it - I just had nothing left to offer. Yet, I opened it up and what greeted me was a sad state of inactivity. It was, I admit, never the fastest moving forum in the world, but typically things would move at a fair-t'-middling pace most of the time - a good 10 or so topics a day with at least one comment, perhaps one or two with a decent conversation on. But this time, there were 8 topics explored in the 'Public Discussion' field since the start of April. I found one or two conversations - short, but conversations nevertheless - that had taken place, largely among people who were regulars when I used to frequent, but very few new faces.
    To be fair, for what it is it's had a bloody good run (the forums themselves opened in 2007 in their current guise) and to call it dead would be unfair - it's not like nothing's happening - but it seems to be approaching a moribund, final state. Whether it happens next year, or the year after, who knows, but for myself it brings a very real feeling of sadness. I understand this is how forums work. People come and go, some stay for longer than others; this is just a fact of life in these places, and for more 'limited' forums one only expects a natural lifespan, obviously culminating in death. But to see a community start to fade, particularly one I held dear during my time there... Yeah, it does bring me down a little.
    And that got me thinking. I regularly partake in two internet communities, and it made me appreciate how much I actually feel towards these people; people who I've never met and am never likely to meet. Most will likely phase out as time goes by - be it days, months, years - and I fully expect it will be the same for me. I'll likely only think about them once in a while, a thought like "Oh, I wonder how such-and-such is getting on nowadays". The two I am part of are both far more expansive in their scope than the KS forums - Fuwanovel for... well, obviously visual novels, and the other for music - and I suppose that they will probably last longer than I give them my attention as a consequence. But the fact that these communities leave such an indelible mark on my being, however small I may think they are, means that one day I am likely to feel this feeling of sadness once again, whether I come back to find it nearly gone, or whether I stick around long enough to see it fall.
     
    Sorry for being a bit of a bummer, but this hit me a little harder than I suppose it might/should and wished to vent a little. Here's Renge singing
     
  11. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Otome ga Irodoru Koi no Essence   
    I'm going to be blunt... for some reason, the 'Otome' series of trap-protagonist ojousama-ge by Ensemble seems to be incapable of fulfilling the promise of Otome ga Tsumugu Koi no Canvas in any of its follow-up games.  Koi no Canvas was, for better or worse, one of the single best charage I've ever played, with strong characterizations for all of the characters (including the protagonist) full voices for all characters (later Otome series games all had voiced protagonists, though), and superlative individual paths with an actual story tailor-made to match both the protagonist and the individual heroines.  
    Unfortunately, none of the Otome series games since has gotten anywhere close to doing what Koi no Canvas managed, and this one isn't an exception.  I will say that it starts out really well... the protagonist is fully-voiced and capable in his own field (in this case cooking), and his actions throughout the VN show him to be competent... but the romantic portions, the characterization of the heroines, and the actual development of the heroine paths are all... second-rate.  The few good points in this VN stand out so well precisely because the rest is so poorly-done. 
    As an example, the humor is actually pretty good, and the protagonist's reactions to most situations are either funny or ones that leave you with a positive impression of him.
    Unfortunately, there are certain aspects that absolutely drive me insane reading this VN.  The heroine routes are truncated and devoid of drama (seriously, you can't have ojousama-ge without a controlling parent or a character with major personal issues, but none of that really exists here).  The romance is sudden and makes little sense.  Worse, it is pretty much impossible to develop an emotional connection even to the protagonist, because every time it seems like they might sadden you with his past (he is an orphan, for instance), they deliberately cut it short or interject the protagonist's general lack of care for the issue in question.
    After Koi no Canvas, this series has continually sabotaged itself with this kind of BS, and I'm actually crying right now at the sheer wasted potential of the characters in this story.  It is obvious the writer wanted to do more, as well... because there are a lot of signs throughout the heroine routes of cut scenes or abrupt story movements that seem awkward/amateurish.  Considering the experience of this team, even aside from this series, it seems a bit ridiculous that they would have tripped so many landmines in a single game (I mean, one of the writers worked on Sakura, Sakimashita... and that game is very, very good), and I honestly think that if Will wants to stop hemorrhaging cash, it needs to stop breaking up its best teams (the Evolimit team) or letting total incompetents get involved with story and characterization (referring to the Imouto Paradise writer who was also involved with this and the other Otome series games after Koi no Canvas).
  12. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy reacted to Dergonu for a blog entry, OTL (One Thousand Lies) review   

     
    So I know @Deep Blue made one of these a little while ago, but I really wanted to get one out myself as well. (I am also including pictures. You are too lazy man!  ) Now that the game is released, I feel it really deserves some coverage! 
    (Note that I read the beta version, and so some improvements will have been made to the final release. Also, I wrote this review in a littel bit of a subjective style, really because I want to get through my personal feelings that I experienced when I read the VN. It might make the review seem slightly biased, but I hope this doesn´t make the review seem less serious. I played the game with a completely objective state of mind, and this is just my honest opinion of the game. Anyways, on to the review:) 
     
     
    One thousand lies is a 5-10 hour OELVN made by Keinart Lobre, (@Keinart.) The VN is about a group of friends goofing around as they get closer to graduating from high-school, though there is a lot more to the novel than what initially meets the eye. 
    (Note, the novel has both a Spanish and English version. I read and proofread the English version.) 
     
    In One Thousand Lies we meet Ciaràn Endyein, a slightly delinquent-like teenager who, along with his best friend Ausse Ealdwine, pull of silly yet harmless shenanigans that always end up getting them in trouble. The two are also accompanied by the pretty and intelligent Ziva Shani, who constantly try to psychoanalyze Endyein. 
     
    At the beggining of the story, Endyein recieves a strange, mysterious email, telling him to go to a certain place without any more detailed instructions. The sender appears to have stolen a package Endyein was waiting for, so confused and angry, he decides to do what the email says. (With some persuasion from his friends.) This sends him down a fairly heavy psychological, yet heartwarming and slice of life-like journey. 
     
    Story and writing
    The story in the game starts of really light and funny. It´s a slice of life story that has refreshing and entertaining humor; it doesn´t use overused clichès that you have seen 100 times before. As you get further into the story, you will start to notice that not everything is exactly how it seems. It´s hard to talk about this without spoiling the entire story, so we are going to keep it short. The story is well written, has pretty good pacing and does a good job of hiding the real kicker until the very end. 
    The writing in the novel is, like I´ve already mentioned, really good. It is every editor´s dream, going through a novel that has essentially no mistakes, and that doesn´t repeat itself over and over, but instead offers new, refreshing words and phrases for each sentence. The language was almost a little bit too complex at times, as I felt it was unnecessary to use such big words for a normal, every-day setting. Still, the novel does use a lot of psychology terms and the likes, so it´s not like a complex language is a bad thing for it. 
    There isn´t much else to say about the story, as the novel is quite short, and giving any more information could possibly spoil it. All in all, story and writing is very well done, and deserves a good 9/10 rating. 
     

     
    Characters and art
    The characters in the novel are all diverse and interesting in their own way. You have Ausse, the slightly dumb but lovable rich kid who might or might not be the MC´s friend because of his financial situation. 
    Ziva, the beautiful and determined female friend who constantly gets on the MC´s nerves when she tries to diagnose him with different psychological disorders.
    Claire, the cute and shy girl who only opens up when in the presence of Endyein. 
    Luce, the playful and energic joker who always has a funny remark that will put the MC in his place. 
    And finally Diniz The Sloth. (I think that title should be sufficent in describing him.) 
     
    Each character has nice and well drawn sprites with several facial expressions that feels natural. 
    The CG in the game is very pretty, though certain facial features gets a little less "natural" in the CGs compared to the character sprites, especially Luce´s. Regardless of this though, the CG is very nice and well made. 
    The backgrounds are kind of like a painted sketch, which is a unique but interesting style that I personally found quite enjoyable. 
     
    The only complaint I would have about the characters is that Diniz seems to have very little screen time compared to the others, and therefore he has little time to become a part of the main cast. 
    Characters, 9/10, 
    Art 7.5/10
     
    Music and atmosphere
    The music in the novel is pretty good overall and seeing as the game is not voiced, this is a good thing. There are several comfortable soundtracks that helps bring out the emotion reflected in the scene, especially during the more enigmatic and mysterious situations the novel has to offer. 
    The music did not take me by storm, but it still did its job very well in filling the "silence" when playing the unvoiced game. 
    Not much more to say about it. Music gets a 6.5/10 score from me. 
    The atmosphere in the game is quite hard to put into words. During the reading experience, it is obvious that there is something there that is more than just a few teenagers messing around. There is some kind of heavy undertone in the writing that clearly tries to tell you something more, but its written in such a way that what exactly that is, doesnt become apperant until the very end. I think that the way this was done is really quite impressive. Each character has a part to him or her that helps hint to this, and each scene does put out tiny clues, though in the end, figuring out what the cause of such an atmosphere is before the credits roll is not easy. 
    This part of the game gets a clear 10/10 rating from me. It was quite the ride. 
     
    Conclusion:
    In conclusion, OTL is an entertaining and innovative OELVN that doesnt try to do all those things we have already seen in Japanese VNs, but instead it uses original humor, exceptional writing and an interesting and thrilling psychological aspect to make the entire reading experience a blast. 
    I had no idea what I was getting into when I started reading this, and simply voulenteered to proofread / test the game because of Deep Blue´s interest in it. Needless to say, I was not dissapointed. 
    Final rating: 9/10. 
    Here is a link to the thread for the game here on Fuwanovel:

     
  13. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy reacted to littleshogun for a blog entry, Densha Collection Review   
    Visual Novel Translation Status (03/26/2016)
    Since Tay, Decay, and Zakamutt always submit their thought in every week at VN Translation Update, might as well try to write my thought here. The title format would be the image header of VNTS derivative word and Review, and since this week header image was Maitetsu girl train, so I'll use Densha Collection for the title (Densha mean train in Japan) and collection, well you should knew if you watch Kancolle). Note that maybe I'll deliver my though for VNTS late. And below was my review for VNTS this week.
    For this week, once again the announcement at Saturday surely was underwhelming. Especially from Mangagamer which I'd already wrote my very long post about speculation for Mangagamer, which from 10 result of vote I guess Type-Moon as their future partner, oh well. But this time Sekai surprised us with Maitetsu and Tokeijikake announcement. I'll try to type my though here later but first I'll try to round up the translation progress. For all of the update, what I'd interested was only Astral Air and Karakara. As for Astral Air, good work for stable progress, but if each week we had update only at 0.4% we'll probably had 100% of Astral Air translated at 2017 (Hopefully not). For Karakara, I could not comment much other than good work for reaching 46.42% translation progress.
    Now for Mangagamer announcement, we had 4. The announcement were Free Friend hardcopy, Bokuten Steam version, Yurirei drama CD, and Imopara 2.
    For Free Friend hardcopy, no comment other than as long as people had necessary device like DVD RW and Free Friend download edition, they could made the hardcopy easily (Then again, maybe there was some fan who like to collect the box from every eroge hardcopy). For Bokuten, since according to Tyrosyn the H-Scene was important for character development, maybe Overdrive will try to substitute H-Scenes with porn free scene (I think they could made it just had black screen when in H-Scene or had the characters sleep and taking about their problem). Normally this VN was the one I'd looking forward the most, but Mangagamer already translating it and at this moment the progress was at 77%, so it's still a while. About drama CD, I knew GundamAce had translated Ever17 Drama CD at Animesuki forum. Here's the link for Drama CD Translation (Beware spoiler from Ever17 though). Although with this kind of arrangement, I'd wonder if Mangagamer will release it in Japan voice with translated script or either will hire local VA and had them voicing drama CD. First option will save cost, but to enjoy Drama CD required good listening and always need to read the script, while second option was more expensive because Mangagamer need to pay both VA and translator, but it'll allow us to understand Drama CD easily. Either way, it'll be interesting that Mangagamer will release their first Drama CD and hopefully it'll satisfied Yurirei fan, although Decay said he was satisfied enough. Imopara 2, I think my comment was Momoka sprite copied Aya sprite (Down to seiyuu) from first Imopara. Other than that I think it'll be standard nukige involving incest between cousins and imouto, because the cousins was born from different mother, and the mothers actually was Imopara 1 heroines (I mean back in Imopara 1 MC was involved in incest with his 5 imouto). And don't ask me why all imouto and cousins in this series attracted to MC other than the reason MC was nice guy. For Sekai, they announce Taiwan VN, South Korea VN, Sakura Spirit Ecchi Manga adaptation, Indonesia VN, Maitetsu, and Tokeijikake. For Taiwan, I think it was more eden like since it was said that the world will be destroyed because of the star. South Korea VN was more like dark love story involving NTR, I think. For Indonesian VN, well it's leaning toward dating sim and the premise was like fighting alien with you as the commander of 5 girls. The reaction from Indonesian anime community as expected quite positive. Here's the news at Jurnal Otaku Indonesia, and if some Indonesian user or lurker read that, you'll understand the news (If some of non Indonesian curious, you could just copy and paste the word to Google Translate). But the summary from the news and the comment the reaction was quite positive. For more info about Indonesian VN company, here's the website. As for Sakura Spirit Manga, no comment. And here I'll try my best to comment 2 big announcement from Sekai.
    Maitetsu, what I saw it was already gather some controversy regarding censorship and loli thing. Although my interest was of course not those 2 unrelated thing, instead it was more to release date and the seiyuu as usual, beside there should be enough heat if we talk about censorship and loli. The release date actually was very new, in face one day before announcement or in America the night when this VN released. In other word it was the fastest translation news delivered (Not counting Nekopara since it was planned to be released in English at the same time for Japanese release), only few hours after released in original language. As for the seiyuu they got Kawashima Rino and Kadowaki Mai there. We obviously didn't need to doubt Kawashima experience, and Kadowaki also quite famous for Fate fan as Ilya. Another interesing note that we also had our MC voiced here. Well, let's see it later. Tokeijikake, the opening was quite good. I'd knew that this game was translated since Shinikiss translation finished. But since this is first part of trilogy, not interested because I'd heard that the first part end with cliffhanger. Well, hopefully Sekai could also announce and release part 2 and part 3 quickly (Although I knew it's like hoping that Yandere translation translating Aiyoku no Eustia though ie impossible since the leader already too busy at work). Oh, for the seiyuu they got Kawashima Rino here too and also another name to note was Ogura Yui (Himiko from Eiyuu Senki, Eika from Ikikoi) and Moka Choko (Ageha from Konosora, Otome from Da Capo 2). Sekai promised this game will be released at 2016. I think that's all I could comment from Sekai announcement. And one last note, could we got confirmation from Sekai if Root Double will be released at March or not. If not it's okay then, although what I understand that the flame will be going to Sekai, and many people who waiting for translated Root Double will said profanity. Well, at least we had one certain release came from Mangagamer (Tokyo Babel). For JAST, we still wait when they'll announce release date for Seinarukana.
    I think that's all of my review of VNTL progress. And sorry for my bad English here.
  14. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, A bit of Hapymaher, as a motivator and because I'm evil   
    Before anyone asks, no I'm not translating this VN as a whole.  For one thing, it is long and I'm lazy.  For another, it actually has a small chance of coming over here, so I'm not going to do something that will spoil the whole game for them (I want this officially localized).  This is a fully narrated version (narrated by the poster of the video) of the first few scenes of Hapymaher, which was my VN of the Year 2013.  This VN has ridiculously good music... and a frequently heartbreaking story. 
    2:38-14:42  The youtube guy voices the narration and the protagonist, in a way that is pretty good... and this is a translation.
    There is no need for you to do anything. Just leave everything to me. 
     
    Also, when it comes to your 'true desires', they are something you just think you understand.
     
    Misfortune, happiness, difficulties, weeping, pain, pleasure, and fun… I will provide them all.
     
    I know for certain what to do to make it so, after all.
     
    But even so, you will still force yourself to go on.
     
    You like to give up as well, don’t you?
     
    That’s why I’ll capture you.
     
    You like that as well, don’t you?
     
    You always need to be looked after, after all.
     
    That place was an extravagant room.
     
    In the center was a wide, heavily-built table.
     
    Upon the table, a pot with steam wafting from it and colorful candies and treats were lined up.
     
    The fluffy couch and the handwoven rug upon the floor were all intended for the guests that came here.
     
    Here, the preparations for a tea party are always complete.
     
    That room, which seemed like it had lept out of a dream or a story, looked like a bad joke to me.
     
    That was because of the coloring… black, white, red, purple, pink, blue… all the colors I could see were vivid ones.  It was as if the room were decorated like a butterfly.
     
    Though it was a room that seemed as if it was from an aristocrat’s mansion, the color made it seem as if it had tossed aside all forms of dignity.
     
    It wasn’t just the inside of the room that was strange.
     
    Outside the window, vegetation grew so thickly that it was if it were a botanical garden.
     
    The only light was the flickering light of the stars and the moon.  However, even that was blocked by the thick growth of the forest.
     
    Thin trees, thick trees, flowers blooming despite the fact that it was night, and the overgrowth of grass, vines, and leaves.
     
    The excess of plant growth around the room seemed to indicate that no human hand had intervened there in centuries.
     
    However, the room itself was new, in all ways.
     
    That strange place was filled with the silence of the forest and the presence of living things.
     
    Suddenly, a single shadow appeared in the room.
     
    Roses, which were not amongst the flowers blooming outside, began to bloom as if in order to conceal the shadow. 
     
    The white roses, which seemed to grow in fast forward, began to give off the sweet smell of burning honey as they bloomed, as if someone had set fire to them.
     
    The roses spread slowly like spilled water, giving off the scents of tea, honey, sweets, and the deep forest. 
     
    And then the shadow took on the form of a young girl and stood there as if she had been there from the beginning.
     
    The girl who stood amongst the white roses laughed quietly.
     
    “Since I’ve been called, I must treat you to my hospitality.”
     
    With a mien of mixed enjoyment and sorrow she whispered.
    Opening
     
    Second Scene
    And so, I dream once again today.
     
    When I came to, I was lying in the forest at night.
     
    “Why am I dreaming this dream again…?”
     
    There is no point in complaining.  I rise and begin to walk through the forest in my dreams.  I walk, I walk.
     
    In that deep forest, the light of the stars and moon filtered through the trees is all the ilumination.
     
    Even though the forest holds the sense of no presence other than “ours”, even though it is perfectly silent…
     
    Even so, I can’t seem to believe there is no one else there.
     
    A beast, a bird, a person, or perhaps even something like a ghost.
     
    I’m not sure, but I sought to leave that forest, holding her hand amidst the intense sensation that something is there.
     
    I almost trip over thick roots and stumble over buried stones.
     
    Even so, I continue to walk holding the hand of the silent presence following me.
     
    I know that this is a dream.
     
    In the end, a dream is a dream.
     
    I know.  This is the past.
     
    Even if this actually occurred in the past, what I am seeing is merely a dream.
     
    So, what I am seeing here is utterly meaningless.
     
    This is a dream.
     
    I know that better than anyone.  I know!
     
    However, even so.  No matter how well I know it is meaningless, I can’t bring myself to let go of this hand I'm holding.
     
    “It will be all right ______.  Let’s return home.”
     
    There is no answer, nor is there a sense of a nod.
     
    However, I don’t release that hand.
     
    I know what will happen after this.  It is a dream I’ve seen countless times.
     
    I can leave this forest.  It is a dark forest where I can’t figure out where I am, but I can return.
     
    However…
     
    “Ah… will we be able to go home?”
     
    The direction of the light changes changes.
     
    The forest goes from deep forest of the inside to the shallow forest of that which is close to the outside.
     
    The trees are thin, the young ones begin to stand out, and the light filtering through the trees increases.
     
    “We will return for sure this time… together this time for sure…!”
     
    My legs shiver from walking through the forest, and I’m not sure my voice is coming out.
     
    Even so, the sensation of the hand gripping mine was there.
     
    -I know what happens after this.
     
    ---Please stop.
     
    I can also here my own voice screaming those words.
     
    However, I also think ‘this time for sure’.
     
    .It’s just a dream!  Why give up if it is only a dream?!  Even if it is just in a dream…!
     
    We walk, step by step, toward the outside.
     
    If we get through this forest, we can return home.
     
    The light from the outside gets stronger.  The area becomes brighter.
     
    And when I exited the forest…
     
    … the hand I was supposed to be holding was no longer there.
     
    “Why?!  Why…?!”
     
    I knew it.  I knew it would be this way.
     
    Only I can leave the forest.
     
    We will never be able to return together.
     
    “Why...?!”
     
    You gave up didn’t you?  You know, don’t you?
     
    I should already know… know that only I returned.
     
    It took me a long time to understand and I caused a lot of trouble in the process, but shouldn’t I have figured this out by now?
     
    “That’s… even so…!”
     
    And… Even if you returned together in the dream --- it isn’t like she’ll come back, will she?
     
    After all, this is just a dream.
     
    It changes nothing.  It is just self-satisfaction.  Even if I know it is a dream, it can’t have any effect on reality.
     
    Yes, I know.  In the end, a dream is a dream.
     
    I can’t return with her…
     
    “Then, if you could return with her?”
  15. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy got a reaction from Fred the Barber for a blog entry, Figuring out figurines   
    Figurines are the one common item of anime/manga/VN paraphernalia that I just can't wrap my head around. I can definitely understand the appeal of the limited edition box set due to my love of limited-run music releases. The little added extras, the presentation of the box as you open it, containing the disk, album art and any other odds and sods they decide to throw in (I got a tiny jar of tealeaves in one with a note attached once...) just do it for me. Plus I admit the sense of exclusivity is pretty damn nice too, to make myself sound a complete dick. I can understand posters; a glorious visual representation of your favourite character, emblazened across your wall, simultaneously making the room a brighter place while adding a clear sense of personality to the surroundings. I even understand the dakimakura... cos let's face it, hugs are fucking great. But figurines... I just struggle to get excited about, or see the appeal.
    Rika Furude's life was painfully repetitive enough, without being cast in PVC to stand still for eternity.

    I'd like to qualify right now that this isn't a rant against figurines as such, and certainly not against the people that may collect them. Now I've qualified that, in the event I kinda lose track and it becomes a rant, it's not a rant, because I said so.
     
    My biggest problem with the figurine is the justification of the price for what they are. In the interests of myself not getting shouted at I won't name any company names that sell them, but generally speaking the ones I have found start at roughly ¥4000 and go up from there. Once postage is taken into account, this is normally just shy of £30, and that's a cheaper one. For £30, I can feed myself for at least 2 weeks, buy an entire series of literature to read (or a translated visual novel) or change the strings on my guitar 3 to 4 times. If I was to buy a figurine, I would likely forget its existence after a month tops due to its lack of practical application (something I will touch upon in a bit), and this is only if they look nice enough to warrant even considering in the first place, which many just...don't. The ones that do actually look good enough that I would even consider buying them would set me back in excess of £60-70, and I can't justify that for a glorified ornament.
    To my eyes anyway, the clean way most characters are drawn does not translate well to 3D, and this is reflected in the model's appearance 90% of the time. Furthermore, they're typically made out of PVC, which only serves to compound the clean-cut presentation of many figurines. Granted, this does in theory provide the purchase with greater durability, but the amount of times I have read about or spoken to someone talking about a broken figurine just puts me off on that front too. Thanks to its PVC makeup this can be corrected by superglue, but surely it's better to have something which can be assembled without having to perform corrective surgery on it?
    The other thing I don't understand particularly is their purpose. I mentioned earlier that I can understand the interest in purchasing a poster, which to my mind performs the same purpose as a figurine but looks better, is cheaper and has a greater impact on the feel of a room. As with everything that has a purely aesthetic purpose, unless they're really, really into something then the most of a reaction it will elicit from people is an 'ah, nice' or a 'looks cool'... and then that's that. There's no real scope for discussion, not much to set the imagination going and not even really much in the way of a point in lending it to someone. In fact, the primary practical function I can make out that they have is a 'certain practice' which I've seen pictures of on /b/, and that's just grim.
    I've never really been one for owning things with a lack of practical application, so I suspect my lack of understanding of the figurine's appeal is largely a reflection upon my slightly dull self. In my explanation I earnestly hope that I've not annoyed anyone, as if collecting them makes you happy then that's all I could really ask. That being said, if anyone does collect them and wants to let me know why, I'd be very curious to hear
    Laters potaters!
  16. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy got a reaction from Darbury for a blog entry, How... did I get here?   
    Hey Fuwans! I've never done a blog before (or at least, not one that wasn't a work of fiction... is that still a blog?) and therefore I may lack the basic principles of layout, appropriate language, and possibly the most important factor of being slightly interesting. Still, I figured I'd give it a crack, partially to try to understand the events in my life leading up to where I am now and partially to offer my pearls of wisdom on various facets of all things Japanese and fun. I hope that in the very least it's a vaguely entertaining read, and that it might occasionally spark a blob of discussion!
    --------
    A few days ago I found myself wondering, while browsing the forums in a way that can only be described as a procrastinatory fashion, at what stage in my life I started to become interested in Japanese things. As a child, I never watched Pokémon, nor owned a Nintendo device, nor played Yu-Gi-Oh! round the back of the playground shed (cards were banned at my infant and primary schools for some reason). I used to like the shape of Japan on maps, but then again I liked the shape of many places on maps - including my first national love of Finland. I used to randomly drop Finnish words into conversation (still do on occasion...), spend ages reading instruction manuals with the Finnish language in, and would watch any film with Finnish subtitles because it seemed cool. In some ways, I was a Finland weeb, if that ever could be a thing.
    Over time, this spread to an interest in language generally, leading to me collating words from anything I could find in a big diary, divided and split into their separate categories with unconnected words scrawled in. I guess I liked thinking how different these things were. However, even this eventually petered out, and for a while I had little more than a passing inquisitive interest in anything outside of my cosy little life in southeast England.
    After school, I went to college, and it was here that I had my first definite experience with things of a Japanese nature. On my second or third day, I started talking to someone - or rather, he started talking to me - about an online roleplaying game which he was an active member of. He was describing to me his current character, telling me all about her personality and appearance, when he said that she was a 'tsundere'. I had no bloody idea what that was, so I naturally asked him (actually, I asked him what's a sundern', which I later found out is a town in Nord Rhine-Westphalia). Following his description, I became curious about why such a trait would exist, although I had no real reference point to go on. This friend went on to play a key role in getting me interested in anime, as at his suggestion I watched Kill La Kill, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai and Tokyo Ghoul. I sadly don't talk much with him anymore as I left college and we went our separate ways, but we still chat every now and then.
    Also while at college, I was surfing that halcyon land of the internet formally known as 4chan, when I came across a Katawa Shoujo thread. I'd seen them previously, but never really paid much attention - but, through a mixture of people talking about 'feels' (I liked to think I was somewhat impervious to emotion... ), cute drawn girls and the only vaguely fun 'community' I could find on /b/, I gave it a bash.
    Hanako showing a somewhat accurate portrayal of my experience playing Katawa Shoujo for the first time.
    Yeah. That. My outlook on life was pretty shit at the time, so having something which made me feel so strongly felt like some kind of emotional release for me that I had never had before (Wiosna, its theme tune, still makes me feel rather emotional to this day). It was due to this experience that I started to look out for other visual novels - in the following months, I played True Remembrance, Marry Me Misato!, Homeward, Yandere-chan, and my homeboy at college sourced me a copy of Fate/Stay Night, which with my very basic awareness at the time I'd heard was 'alright'. I started to open up socially again - not only in my actual life, but in my virtual life too, as I joined my first internet community in the Katawa Shoujo forums. It was great to be able to talk to such a wide variety of people about something I couldn't adequately discuss with anyone in the 'real world'.
    How I learned what a 'yandere' was. Hmm.
    Over the course of the next 12 months or so (so I guess April 2014 - April 2015) my interest in things drawn and Japanese-based waned somewhat. After running out of things to say on the KS forums, leaving college and starting university, I just got doing other things - mostly involving playing guitar and habitually cursing my decision of taking mathematics. However, for some reason one day I decided to Google 'visual novels'  and I came across a list of 50 VNs on some site called forums.fuwanovel.net by a user called Kaguya. Now, I'm not gonna say I danced on the rooftops (metaphorically or physically) but needless to say I became very intrigued, researching and reading about and around the titles on this list, as well as starting to make a concerted effort at learning Japanese. At roughly the same time, a friend of mine recommended that I checked out a guy called 'Gackt', in particular his first two albums. I was blown away, and so started to check as many different facets of the Japanese music scene as I could (visual kei, J-Pop, shibuya-kei... and grindcore ). Not two months later, I signed up to this glorious forum and things have only really continued from there!
    This past 5 or 6 months have been a bit like Alice wandering through Wonderland for me. Through my investigations into all things Japan, there have been things that have amused me greatly, things that have appalled me, and some that have just left me thinking what a truly interesting place it is. I still consider myself somewhat of a newbie to things, and that is in part what this blog is going to be about: feeling kinda like a tourist to a largely unfamiliar world, and trying to learn as much as possible along the way.
     
    Please be patient with me.
  17. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy reacted to Darbury for a blog entry, A Few Thoughts on Cheese   

    You need to know something about me: I love cheese. Lovelovelove it.
    Don’t know what to get me for my birthday? Cheese. Want to cheer me up at the end of a long day? Cheese. Watching the timer tick down on the bad guy’s bomb and you don’t know which wire to cut? Cheese. That doesn’t even make sense and I don’t care. You know why? Cheese.
    And since you were kind enough to bring up the topic of cheese, I’ll go one step further and say the following: not much in life measures up to a good unpasteurized cheese. Something really rich and complex and made from raw milk. The good stuff. The real stuff. Something that makes you feel (and smell) like you’ve died and gone to cheese heaven. I’m talking cheese with a capital C.
    But here’s the problem: I live in the United States, and here on this side of the pond, the FDA takes a dim view of unpasteurized dairy products such as these. In fact, it’s actually illegal to import or sell certain kinds of raw milk cheese here in the States — a traditional Camembert, for instance. There’s been some debate among foodies about the factual basis for that decision, but since I don’t know much about the science one way or the other, I’ll leave those debates to wiser minds than mine.
    Anyway, in theory, the FDA ban shouldn’t really affect me much. The kinds of raw milk cheeses I prefer — funky, nuanced, mature — all pass these FDA requirements with flying colors. Yup, I should just be able to buy my curds and be on my whey. (Yeah, I did just write that. And no, I’m not taking it back.) But the reality of things isn’t nearly so kind. Most big chain supermarkets won’t carry unpasteurized cheeses at all, regardless of their provenance or if they’ve been approved for sale by the FDA. And why should they? Too much work for too little reward. Not only does unpasteurized cheese carry a certain stigma of food-borne illness, it requires extra care in shipping, handling, staff education, selling — and the demand just isn’t there yet to justify such efforts.
    Sure, there are specialty cheese shops where one can go to buy the good stuff. (They’re called cheesemongers, which sounds pretty baller if you ask me.) And if you’re in the know, you might even have ways of getting some unadulterated cheese from the curd-loving community — unofficial food co-ops and that sort of thing. But for many people, unpasteurized cheese is simply something they don’t know much about or have easy access to. And so, they don’t buy it.

    This obviously poses a problem for cheese importers. Their business model is simple: acquire product from cheesemakers overseas, ship it to the United States, then repackage and sell it for enough to cover the costs of importing — plus a small profit. If the potential market is too small, however, it’s often not worth the cost of bringing the cheese over at all; they’d never recoup their initial investment. In that scenario, the importers go out of business, and we’re all stuck eating great big orange hunks of Velveeta™ brand cheeze food product instead.
    So what some importers have started doing, in partnership with the international cheesemakers themselves, is offering alternate pasteurized versions of these very same cheeses for import and resale in America. They’re a little different from the originals — the pasteurization process has stripped away some of the quirkiness and complexity that made the cheeses so interesting in the first place — but they’re products that the big supermarket chains are now willing to stock and sell. And for many people, a good pasteurized cheese that’s somewhat close to the original is better than no cheese at all. As a bonus, the sales volume generated by the pasteurized cheeses often (but not always) allows the importers to bring over the unpasteurized version to those specialty shops stateside.
    Win-win, right? Depends who you ask.
    For example, a foodie friend of mine is absolutely livid, saying this whole pasteurized cheese business has left a bad taste in his mouth. He’s so upset, in fact, that he’s vowed never to support these particular cheese importers again. “Don’t you get it, Darbury?” he demands of me. “This is cheese censorship!”
    He’s a good guy, my friend, but he has a flair for the dramatic.
    “They’re selling people bastardized versions of these cheeses. Shoppers see Camembert on the label, but they’re not actually getting the real unpasteurized Camembert that people in France are eating. It might have started out that way, but they sucked the soul out of it for the sake of more sales here in America. And unless people research their cheese ahead of time, they won’t even know they’re not getting the real thing. The cheese importers are lying to us for a quick buck!”
    Like I said, dramatic.
    While I can’t swear to it, I tell him, I doubt the import companies are trying to systematically deceive the cheese eaters of America. I mean, the Camembert says “pasteurized” right there on the label. How much more notice do they have to give consumers? A giant red sticker that says, “WARNING! THIS CAMEMBERT IS NOT THE SAME AS THE UNPASTEURIZED CAMEMBERT YOU CAN GET IN FRANCE! IF YOU HAVE ANY RESPECT FOR YOURSELF, DON’T BUY THIS”? Besides, I say, now people are getting exposed to all sorts of different cheeses they might not have had access to otherwise. And even if those cheeses aren’t the pure and unadulterated experiences of the originals, they’re pretty close. Plus, those pasteurized alternatives are broadening the market for cheese in general, which means more foreign cheesemakers will be interested in importing their products to the States in the future. And hey, once the public demand is large enough, more big supermarkets might consider carrying unpasteurized cheese.
    “What, do you work for the cheese importers or something? Why are you sticking up for them? They’re just rolling around in big piles of money and Brie right now, laughing at us. People deserve the cheeses that their makers originally intended. Simple as that. Either give us the original cheese, or don’t bother. Anything else is disrespectful to the vision of the dairy farmer. Anyway, I’m not interested in expanding the general audience for dairy products. I just want to be able to buy the cheeses I like, the way that I like them.”
    But wait, I say. Aren’t a lot of the cheese importers also bringing over the unpasteurized originals as part of the deal that lets them sell the pasteurized versions?
    “Seriously, Darbury — how much are they paying you to say stuff like this? There’s no guarantee they’ll ever bring over that original cheese. They just dump the pasteurized version on store shelves with some vague promise that, if enough people buy it, they might bring over the unpasteurized one. Whatever. And even when they do follow through, they do a crap-ass job of it. You know about Casu Marzu, right? It’s this amazing cheese made in Sardinia, filled with thousands of live, wriggling maggots. Sounds totally intense, right? You cut it open and they all come pouring out. But when the importers bring that cheese to America, you know what? There are no maggots in it. None.”
    Well yeah, I say. I think that’s against every single customs regulation on the books. You can’t bring live maggots into the country. It’s straight up illegal. And kind of disgusting.
    “Duh. Of course it is. Unlike some people, Darbury, I try to actually know what I’m talking about before I open my big mouth. What I’m trying to tell you is that if the importers really cared about what the cheese-enthusiast community thought, they’d put maggots back into the cheese before reselling it here. But they don’t. Because they’re greedy and lazy. And that’s why they’ll never see another dollar of my money.”
    Wait, I say. Hold up. You want them to put maggots back into the cheese?
    “Yeah. The original cheese had maggots before it was imported, so it should have maggots when I buy it here. Anything else is a lie.”
    But they’re not even the same maggots, I say. Replacement maggots are no more authentic than the absence of maggots would be.
    “Stop arguing semantics with me, Darbury. Censorship is censorship. If there aren’t any maggots in it, then it’s not Casu Marzu. And I won’t support cheese censorship. This is how Nazi Germany started.”
    I slowly back away.
    “Don’t let them win, Darbury! If you really care about cheese, it’s time to buy a cow and a couple of goats and learn how to make your own raw milk cheese. That way, you don’t have to sit around waiting for whatever those lying cheese importers are willing to foist on you.”
    Then my friend throws a smoke bomb at the ground directly in front of him and vanishes, bad-ass ninja style.
    "Don't let them win, Darburrrryyyyyy..."
    Like I said, dramatic.
    I’m glad he disappeared when he did, because what I was going to say next would have driven him completely over the edge. Here’s the thing: while I love raw milk cheese, I also enjoy having the pasteurized option available to me. For various reasons, most of my cheese eating is done in public places like trains or planes, and I’d prefer not to have random people look over and catch me noshing on something that smells like an elk just shat out a gangrenous foot. Certain things should be enjoyed in the privacy of one’s home; it’s just common courtesy. I don’t want to be That Guy on the Train, and those pasteurized cheeses go a long way toward helping me not be Him.
    There’s more I could say about cheese, but — crap! — I just remembered this was supposed to be a blog about visual novels. Sorry! I honestly don’t know what came over me. Never sit down to write a post when you’re feeling hungry, amirite?
    Lesson learned. Next time, I promise I’ll write something about visual novels. Unlike this blog post, which was clearly about cheese.
  18. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy got a reaction from Darbury for a blog entry, How... did I get here?   
    Hey Fuwans! I've never done a blog before (or at least, not one that wasn't a work of fiction... is that still a blog?) and therefore I may lack the basic principles of layout, appropriate language, and possibly the most important factor of being slightly interesting. Still, I figured I'd give it a crack, partially to try to understand the events in my life leading up to where I am now and partially to offer my pearls of wisdom on various facets of all things Japanese and fun. I hope that in the very least it's a vaguely entertaining read, and that it might occasionally spark a blob of discussion!
    --------
    A few days ago I found myself wondering, while browsing the forums in a way that can only be described as a procrastinatory fashion, at what stage in my life I started to become interested in Japanese things. As a child, I never watched Pokémon, nor owned a Nintendo device, nor played Yu-Gi-Oh! round the back of the playground shed (cards were banned at my infant and primary schools for some reason). I used to like the shape of Japan on maps, but then again I liked the shape of many places on maps - including my first national love of Finland. I used to randomly drop Finnish words into conversation (still do on occasion...), spend ages reading instruction manuals with the Finnish language in, and would watch any film with Finnish subtitles because it seemed cool. In some ways, I was a Finland weeb, if that ever could be a thing.
    Over time, this spread to an interest in language generally, leading to me collating words from anything I could find in a big diary, divided and split into their separate categories with unconnected words scrawled in. I guess I liked thinking how different these things were. However, even this eventually petered out, and for a while I had little more than a passing inquisitive interest in anything outside of my cosy little life in southeast England.
    After school, I went to college, and it was here that I had my first definite experience with things of a Japanese nature. On my second or third day, I started talking to someone - or rather, he started talking to me - about an online roleplaying game which he was an active member of. He was describing to me his current character, telling me all about her personality and appearance, when he said that she was a 'tsundere'. I had no bloody idea what that was, so I naturally asked him (actually, I asked him what's a sundern', which I later found out is a town in Nord Rhine-Westphalia). Following his description, I became curious about why such a trait would exist, although I had no real reference point to go on. This friend went on to play a key role in getting me interested in anime, as at his suggestion I watched Kill La Kill, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai and Tokyo Ghoul. I sadly don't talk much with him anymore as I left college and we went our separate ways, but we still chat every now and then.
    Also while at college, I was surfing that halcyon land of the internet formally known as 4chan, when I came across a Katawa Shoujo thread. I'd seen them previously, but never really paid much attention - but, through a mixture of people talking about 'feels' (I liked to think I was somewhat impervious to emotion... ), cute drawn girls and the only vaguely fun 'community' I could find on /b/, I gave it a bash.
    Hanako showing a somewhat accurate portrayal of my experience playing Katawa Shoujo for the first time.
    Yeah. That. My outlook on life was pretty shit at the time, so having something which made me feel so strongly felt like some kind of emotional release for me that I had never had before (Wiosna, its theme tune, still makes me feel rather emotional to this day). It was due to this experience that I started to look out for other visual novels - in the following months, I played True Remembrance, Marry Me Misato!, Homeward, Yandere-chan, and my homeboy at college sourced me a copy of Fate/Stay Night, which with my very basic awareness at the time I'd heard was 'alright'. I started to open up socially again - not only in my actual life, but in my virtual life too, as I joined my first internet community in the Katawa Shoujo forums. It was great to be able to talk to such a wide variety of people about something I couldn't adequately discuss with anyone in the 'real world'.
    How I learned what a 'yandere' was. Hmm.
    Over the course of the next 12 months or so (so I guess April 2014 - April 2015) my interest in things drawn and Japanese-based waned somewhat. After running out of things to say on the KS forums, leaving college and starting university, I just got doing other things - mostly involving playing guitar and habitually cursing my decision of taking mathematics. However, for some reason one day I decided to Google 'visual novels'  and I came across a list of 50 VNs on some site called forums.fuwanovel.net by a user called Kaguya. Now, I'm not gonna say I danced on the rooftops (metaphorically or physically) but needless to say I became very intrigued, researching and reading about and around the titles on this list, as well as starting to make a concerted effort at learning Japanese. At roughly the same time, a friend of mine recommended that I checked out a guy called 'Gackt', in particular his first two albums. I was blown away, and so started to check as many different facets of the Japanese music scene as I could (visual kei, J-Pop, shibuya-kei... and grindcore ). Not two months later, I signed up to this glorious forum and things have only really continued from there!
    This past 5 or 6 months have been a bit like Alice wandering through Wonderland for me. Through my investigations into all things Japan, there have been things that have amused me greatly, things that have appalled me, and some that have just left me thinking what a truly interesting place it is. I still consider myself somewhat of a newbie to things, and that is in part what this blog is going to be about: feeling kinda like a tourist to a largely unfamiliar world, and trying to learn as much as possible along the way.
     
    Please be patient with me.
  19. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy got a reaction from Darbury for a blog entry, How... did I get here?   
    Hey Fuwans! I've never done a blog before (or at least, not one that wasn't a work of fiction... is that still a blog?) and therefore I may lack the basic principles of layout, appropriate language, and possibly the most important factor of being slightly interesting. Still, I figured I'd give it a crack, partially to try to understand the events in my life leading up to where I am now and partially to offer my pearls of wisdom on various facets of all things Japanese and fun. I hope that in the very least it's a vaguely entertaining read, and that it might occasionally spark a blob of discussion!
    --------
    A few days ago I found myself wondering, while browsing the forums in a way that can only be described as a procrastinatory fashion, at what stage in my life I started to become interested in Japanese things. As a child, I never watched Pokémon, nor owned a Nintendo device, nor played Yu-Gi-Oh! round the back of the playground shed (cards were banned at my infant and primary schools for some reason). I used to like the shape of Japan on maps, but then again I liked the shape of many places on maps - including my first national love of Finland. I used to randomly drop Finnish words into conversation (still do on occasion...), spend ages reading instruction manuals with the Finnish language in, and would watch any film with Finnish subtitles because it seemed cool. In some ways, I was a Finland weeb, if that ever could be a thing.
    Over time, this spread to an interest in language generally, leading to me collating words from anything I could find in a big diary, divided and split into their separate categories with unconnected words scrawled in. I guess I liked thinking how different these things were. However, even this eventually petered out, and for a while I had little more than a passing inquisitive interest in anything outside of my cosy little life in southeast England.
    After school, I went to college, and it was here that I had my first definite experience with things of a Japanese nature. On my second or third day, I started talking to someone - or rather, he started talking to me - about an online roleplaying game which he was an active member of. He was describing to me his current character, telling me all about her personality and appearance, when he said that she was a 'tsundere'. I had no bloody idea what that was, so I naturally asked him (actually, I asked him what's a sundern', which I later found out is a town in Nord Rhine-Westphalia). Following his description, I became curious about why such a trait would exist, although I had no real reference point to go on. This friend went on to play a key role in getting me interested in anime, as at his suggestion I watched Kill La Kill, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai and Tokyo Ghoul. I sadly don't talk much with him anymore as I left college and we went our separate ways, but we still chat every now and then.
    Also while at college, I was surfing that halcyon land of the internet formally known as 4chan, when I came across a Katawa Shoujo thread. I'd seen them previously, but never really paid much attention - but, through a mixture of people talking about 'feels' (I liked to think I was somewhat impervious to emotion... ), cute drawn girls and the only vaguely fun 'community' I could find on /b/, I gave it a bash.
    Hanako showing a somewhat accurate portrayal of my experience playing Katawa Shoujo for the first time.
    Yeah. That. My outlook on life was pretty shit at the time, so having something which made me feel so strongly felt like some kind of emotional release for me that I had never had before (Wiosna, its theme tune, still makes me feel rather emotional to this day). It was due to this experience that I started to look out for other visual novels - in the following months, I played True Remembrance, Marry Me Misato!, Homeward, Yandere-chan, and my homeboy at college sourced me a copy of Fate/Stay Night, which with my very basic awareness at the time I'd heard was 'alright'. I started to open up socially again - not only in my actual life, but in my virtual life too, as I joined my first internet community in the Katawa Shoujo forums. It was great to be able to talk to such a wide variety of people about something I couldn't adequately discuss with anyone in the 'real world'.
    How I learned what a 'yandere' was. Hmm.
    Over the course of the next 12 months or so (so I guess April 2014 - April 2015) my interest in things drawn and Japanese-based waned somewhat. After running out of things to say on the KS forums, leaving college and starting university, I just got doing other things - mostly involving playing guitar and habitually cursing my decision of taking mathematics. However, for some reason one day I decided to Google 'visual novels'  and I came across a list of 50 VNs on some site called forums.fuwanovel.net by a user called Kaguya. Now, I'm not gonna say I danced on the rooftops (metaphorically or physically) but needless to say I became very intrigued, researching and reading about and around the titles on this list, as well as starting to make a concerted effort at learning Japanese. At roughly the same time, a friend of mine recommended that I checked out a guy called 'Gackt', in particular his first two albums. I was blown away, and so started to check as many different facets of the Japanese music scene as I could (visual kei, J-Pop, shibuya-kei... and grindcore ). Not two months later, I signed up to this glorious forum and things have only really continued from there!
    This past 5 or 6 months have been a bit like Alice wandering through Wonderland for me. Through my investigations into all things Japan, there have been things that have amused me greatly, things that have appalled me, and some that have just left me thinking what a truly interesting place it is. I still consider myself somewhat of a newbie to things, and that is in part what this blog is going to be about: feeling kinda like a tourist to a largely unfamiliar world, and trying to learn as much as possible along the way.
     
    Please be patient with me.
  20. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Renai Phase: No VN of the Month, as expected   

    As I’ve said before, Giga is at its best when it is doing the Baldr series.  Why?  Because their high production values really shine in a more serious setting, as it gives so many more tools for presentation.  That’s not all… for some reason, in my experience Giga seems to be incapable of making a non-Baldr gem.  Their stuff is inevitably visually beautiful and has great sound… but in exchange, the stories tend to be deeply flawed or poorly paced compared to other companies with less money power.
    This VN is no exception.  I’ll be honest… this VN hit several of my major pet peeves from the very beginning.  For one thing, they let you name the protagonist… and despite the immense amount of money the studio possesses, they didn’t even have the default name voiced by the heroines, which seems a waste.  As such, this pissed me off from the very beginning.  Making it worse is that the early VN is too openly a koukan-do type choice system, where you have to say what the heroines want to hear.  This gets old fast, as it actually makes sounds and has a visual effect, which ironically gives me the ‘businesslike’ feeling I prefer to avoid in VNs.
    The heroine routes… are not something worthy of writing home about.  I’ll be honest, I probably would have rated this game a bit higher if it weren’t for the first part of the game… but the heroine routes just don’t have much depth.  It is like one long avalanche of ichaicha and H-scenes, making the game as a whole feel even more ‘businesslike’ to me, after the baptism of fire that was the common route.  Making it worse is that there is no real depth to the heroines, which kind of defeats the point of having individual routes, as the protagonist is a non-entity self-insert ragdoll. 
    Overall, this VN is a really flashy plaster covering over a lot of mediocre content.  I was actually surprised at how bad this VN is, as Giga usually manages to do a little better (albeit not a great deal more so) than this with its non-Baldr games.

  21. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Why September (probably) isn't going to have a VN of the Month   

    I've played a number of releases from September's releases, and I'm currently playing Renai Phase (which I'd promised not to, as Giga is incapable of making anything truly great outside of Baldr). However, this month really doesn't have anything I'd really consider VN of the Month material... Seikishi had its fingertips on the vague possibility, and it is undeniably the best thing I played from September. Unfortunately, 'the best from September' is not good enough.
     
    The reason I'm already putting a 'batsu' mark on Renai Phase, even though I'm only halfway through it... is because the 'koukan do' system intrudes into the VN in a manner that breaks the storytelling completely. Whereas in most VNs, you have to guess which choices do what with how the heroines feel about you, this VN commits the sin of making a noise and showing a little visual effect every time... and it is really intrusive. I know this might sound like nitpicking, but the sheer number of choices in this VN means that this is hair-pulling level annoying. Not only that, but the protagonist in this VN is fully nameable, without the brilliant system Hoshi ori used that allowed it to have redeeming value. Last of all, the greatest sin of this VN is that, from the very beginning, the protagonist is setting out to get a girlfriend on a whim. To be honest, VNs that steal from dating sims piss me off in general, but this one is particularly offensive, in my eyes. Unless the heroine paths are superlative, in my opinion, this VN has already axed any hope of being VN of the Month material.
  22. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy reacted to sanahtlig for a blog entry, [Fuwa exclusive][Rant] Promoting VNs in a culture of apathy   

    This rant stemmed from a conversation on Twitter. I'm posting this here purely because posting this line by line on Twitter seemed retarded, and I'd disable the forum notifications for this post if I could. You can dig through my recent Twitter replies if you want to see the context. Have fun.
    ***
    The problem is a bit more complicated than "some people don't like what I have to say". Sure, there's that, but the majority of detractors don't like how I raise my voice to be heard through the din. The majority of eroge fans are content to stay within their walled communities and gossip amongst each other. A few bloggers have appeared, but again they keep to themselves and expect their audience to come to them.
    I've challenged this status quo. I've decided to be the black sheep that actually promotes his content: after all, why would anyone devote any amount of effort to writing for the smallest audience possible? I write to make a difference. I write to be recognized as a community leader. I'm not content with just being heard by a single insular community of hardcore fans. I can't accomplish anything like that.
    I consider myself an industry activist. I do what the industry refuses to do: market and promote itself. In a community where freeloading is the norm, active promotion is very much frowned upon. Yet spurring people to buy stuff is incredibly important if eroge fans want to have a say in English localization. I want to be the facilitator that bridges the gap between eroge companies and the VN community. I want to be the voice for eroge fans when companies cross the line, thinking that sales are more important than the wishes of the fanbase. I can't do all of this by just whining in threads on Fuwanovel about the success of the Sakura series while games like Seinarukana remain in obscurity.
    Mainstream activists make a living off what they do. I do what I do almost entirely for free, with the simple request that people click my affiliate links when they buy a game because of the content I provide. I would say that criticism of me is hypocritical, yet I realize that only a year ago I'd probably have said that what I do is distasteful. If things would get done without me, I'd be willing to pass the baton and go back to an online life of obscurity. If good content promoted itself, I wouldn't need to try to so hard to get the word out. But well, life isn't fair, honest effort isn't necessarily rewarded, and mediocrity is the formula for success. If I don't promote my content, no one else will. That's just how it is.
    Long rant. I'm not going to post this on Twitter line by line.
    Note: This is meant to be a conversation between me and my followers. If you say something unconstructive or just piss me off, I'll start deleting comments without warning. You have been warned.
  23. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy reacted to Chronopolis for a blog entry, Japanese Learning for VN's: Skills   
    Introduction:
     
    When it comes to reading VN's in Japanese, required skills can be grouped into four areas: Vocab, grammar, basic parsing skill, and kanji skill. In this post, for each area I'm going to explain:
    -what knowing skills in the area are good for
    -how you might study them
    -how much you'll need to start reading.
    I'll also give some related tips.
     
    The requirements mentioned below are a conservative estimate. I've known people who've jumped in to playing VN's with less or much less, but I'm giving a safe estimate. A level which at most people, without any special knack for learning languages through immersion, should be able to gain traction. If you learn this much before starting an easyish VN, the amount you are completely lost should be significantly less than the percentage you are able to pick up and improve from.
     
    This is not a comprehensive how-to guide by any means. Just an informative post.
     
    ------------------
     
    1. Vocab
     
    Knowing enough vocab to study your grammar resource without being bogged down by vocab:
    -About 30 verbs and 50 other words for Genki 1/ Tae kim Basic.
    -By the time you get to Genki 2/Tae Kim Essential you'll want a good set of verbs (about 100), and maybe about 300 total vocabulary.
    -~600 words about how much you'll want to be able to study N3 grammar without getting bogged down in vocab.
     
    Having enough vocab to start your first VN:
    -I recommend over 1000, but anywhere from 800-1300 is good. I remember trying Clannad with only 800, and I felt like ramming my head into a wall. It's also important to pick an easy title. It will still feel hard no matter what, but an easy title will be much more helpful and rewarding to play. You also must just translation aggregator and ITH. They are the reason why Visual Novels are the best medium for learning Japanese out of anime/books/movies/drama/etc.
     
    Vocab Lists:
    There's a dedicated verb list here: http://nihongoichiban.com/2012/08/13/list-of-all-verbs-for-the-jlpt-n4/
    Verbs are helpful to learn, because they are often the most important part of the sentence AND you need to to have stuff to conjugate.
    In general JLPT-based vocab list is here: http://www.tanos.co.uk/jlpt/jlpt5/vocab/
     
    Regarding English definitions:
    Be mentally open and flexible. If the english definition doesn't quite add up, don't try and think about it too hard. Focus instead on associating the word with the situations where you see it.
    For example, you might be confused by the word 都合 and it's unhelpful definition J-E definition, but if you seen 都合がいい used in a situation where you know it means "is convenient for me" from context then remember that occurence. There might be (there are, in fact), other usages of the word 都合, but that doesn't hurt you in anyway. The next time you see 都合 you can pair it against this meaning and see if that makes any sense.
     
    2. Grammar Skills
     
    With N5+N4 grammar you will be barely able to start making your way through a VN. Without N4, you will have quite limited gains in the long term from reading visual novels. (Equivalent to Genki 1+2.)
    -Required to be able to play VN's
     
    With N3 grammar, everything will feel a lot clearer, the amount of grammar you'll understand will exceed 60%. (Equiv. to Intermediate approach to Integrated Japanese). Highly recommended to study this before or soon after you start your first VN.
     
    N2 grammar further cuts the amount of unknown grammar you face in three.
     
    N1 is kind of like a bonus that gives you a lot of uncommon or formal expressions. It's NOT comprehensive at all, in terms of covered all Japanese phrases. From my experience, some of the phrases you learn in here show up often in novels (ばかり、んばかり), others quite less. Good to know, though
     
    Expressions not covered in JLPT
    There are a lot of patterns and phrases not covered in JLPT that you will see in typical native reading material. Examples (社長に議長, phrases like なんだと!? Xってなんだ? ですって!? ~てくれないかな。 オレって、なんてバカなんだ ) Not to worry, many of them can be picked up as you go. For the rest, once you get settled into reading, you can start noting down those phrases you don't get and google them or ask other people.
     
    Imabi for grammar
    You can also try studying from http://www.imabi.net/. It's a phenomenal reference, it's just goes into tons of depth, too much. I think there's 2 or 3 times as much information there is covered by JLPT up to JLPT 1. As such it's going to be overwhelming for a beginner and is much better suited as a reference for intermediate or advanced learners.
     
    3. Basic Parsing Skill
     
    Knowing the different types of words (Covered by doing a vocab list of about 100 verbs, and then the JLPT 5 list. You also have to have done or be doing Tae Kim's Basic Guide, since he explains what na-adj's, i-adj's, and other word types are, etc.).
    -(nouns, suru-verbs/nouns, verbs, na-adj's, i-adj's, adverbs, temporal adverbs)
    -Required to be able to play VN's.
     
    Knowing the basic sentence structure and how words can modify each other and fit in a sentence.: (adjectives modifying nouns, verbs).
    The knowledge is covered by Tae Kim Basic + a mix of Essential Grammar and Genki 1/2. I personally find Tae Kim's explanation good even though the learning curve is steep and his lessons aren't good for review like Genki books are. He tries to convey to you the big picture.
    -Required to be able to play VN's.
     
    Being able to breakdown sentences and spot the different types of words based on their position.
    -you can practice this by reading bits of text in your genki textbook, but more likely, the first time you really gain this skill is going to be the first month in which you read a visual novel with TA. Heavily practiced during your first month or two of reading VN's.
     
    4. Kanji Skill:
     
    Learning to spots radicals in kanji (could be covered by doing the 214 radicals, about 1 month. You could also do this ongoing basis, learning how to spot the radicals that make up a kanji, for the words you learn.)
    -not needed to read VN's with TL aggregator, but extremely helpful for learning new words which have new kanji.
     
    Learning to remember kanji, ie. start recognizing when words share the same kanji. (it is a long ongoing gradual process. You can start doing this with the vocab you learn once you are comfortable learning vocab. You can also pick out words you see in vn's and check whether they use the same kanji by typing them out (example 朝(あさ) and 朝食(ちょうしょく) use the same kanji.). Oh course, to be able to easily produce the kanji you want to compare you need to remember how to spell a word that contains it (in this case 朝). So, as your vocab expands, you'll be able to compare more kanji. Note that to be able to do this comparing you must be able to spot radicals in kanji (previous level skill).
    -moderately helpful for learning vocabs. The same way remembering radicals helps learning with kanji: if you know the kanji clearly, you can remember a word just by the two kanji it uses, which is very precise and doesn't take a lot of mental bandwidth. It also means that you will much more rarely confuse words which have similiar looking kanji.
     
    The following two skills are for more advanced, they won't be particularly useful until much later. You might not notice the problems they solve until later as well. I include them mainly for completeness.
    Learning on-yomi for many of the Jyouyou kanji (start when you are intermediate-advanced, a medium-long process)
    -helpful for exactly what it is, reading kanji words and compounds correctly.
    -don't need to worry about this. From learning vocab you might pick up some of the common ones, but there's no need to pursue this actively for a while.
     
    Learning kanji meaning: (start when you are advanced, and can use a J-J dictionary)
    -suffixes like 府、省、性、症, as well normal kanji whose different meanings apply to clusters of words.
    -helpful for kanji compounds which won't directly show up in dictionaries
    -helpful for developing a native level understanding of vocabulary (not everything can be learned by exposure). A lot of literary words are fairly influenced by their kanji meanings, though sometimes consulting the word differentiation explanations can be more helpful.
     
     
     
    One last topic...
     
    On learning enough grammar and jumping into works too difficult for you.
    Reading a VN isn't the best way to learn basic sentence structure. However, it's a great way to reinforce grammar points you've learned. It's also a great way to get an understanding of conversational patterns you won't find in textbooks or JLPT. But you won't have the presence of mind to pay attention to that if you are bogged down by not knowing basic grammar.
    There are benefits for venturing early into native material or difficult vn's, but you wouldn't give a grade two student Tolkien, or even Harry Potter to improve their English. All the fancy prose and unusual concept would distract you from the more immediately useful things like, say: basic sentence structure.
    There are works which are the right level, and there are VN's which you really want to read. For the best experience, it's best to find some combination of the two.
     
    ------------------
     
    Ok that's all for now. Feel free to ask any questions: I didn't really go into the details of how to study, instead focusing on the, well, skills involved. But it's also hard to remember what it's like for someone just starting out. I remember parts of studying very clearly, but I forget the thousands of things I used to be puzzled through varying stages of understanding but now take for granted.
    The process was all I could think about for the longest time. Now I don't give it much thought, it's just a regular part of my life, reading and a bit of studying. It's not bad idea, to just find a type of study that you know is helpful, stop thinking about all the right ways and wrong ways and magic tricks which don't exist, and just do it, for a while. Regularly. For a month or three.
  24. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy reacted to Darbury for a blog entry, On Bloodstains and Editing Visual Novels   
    I’m a research junkie. Before taking on any new venture, I tend to waste stupid amounts time reading up on whatever it is I’m about to tackle. So when I got it in my head earlier this year to try editing a visual novel, the first thing I did was start googling like mad:
    “visual novel editing tips” “visual novel editing advice” “visual novel editing examples” “should my baby’s poop be this color?”   (Okay, I was multitasking. The answer is “yes,” by the way, but call your pediatrician if it stays like that for more than two or three days.)

    It didn’t look good. I stumbled on a blog post Moogy had written on VN editing way back in 2009, but that was pretty much it. Still, to paraphrase Cadillac cribbing Brené Brown quoting Teddy Roosevelt, better to dare greatly and fail than just sit around and whine. So I dove in head-first … and landed head-first. I’d been hoping my experience in writing and editing ad campaigns would help me make short work of things. I mean, how different could it be?



    Very different, as it turns out. I made a ton of rookie mistakes, followed by a bunch of slightly less rookie mistakes, topped off by several “Did you seriously just do that?” whoppers near the very end. Yet somehow, 36,000+ lines later, I managed to stumble across the finish line, just having edited my first visual novel. The result, MDZ’s translation of Koisuru Natsu no Last Resort, turned out pretty nicely, all things considered. (It should be releasing any day now. I’ll link to the patch when it does.) Of course, I still can’t read any of the scripts without obsessing over the countless things I wish I’d done differently.

    Which brings me to the point of this blog. Back when I first started, I couldn’t find any good resources on VN editing. Don’t worry – this won’t be one either. I’m still a rank amateur by any standard, so I wouldn’t presume to offer authoritative advice to anyone. But what I can do is discuss the various editing challenges I faced, my approach to them, and the many, many different ways I fell flat on my face. I might not have the right answers, but at least I can point out some of the things you might want to start considering if you’re planning on editing a VN.

    Here's another way to think about it: In the (insanely great) Dark Souls games, there are bloodstains scattered throughout the game world marking places where other players have met their demise. Activate one, and you can see a spectral re-enactment of their final few seconds. Point being, if you see a bunch of bloodstains massed around a door, you can be sure something there’s something truly nasty lurking on the other side. It's probably a good idea to stop, watch, and learn from others' mistakes before going any further.

    Let me be your Yoko Ono bloodstain.  
  25. Like
    AaronIsCrunchy reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Sorcery Jokers: It surprised Clephas, will it surprise you?   
    First, I'll give you a quick run-down on this game... it is a game by 3rd Eye, a company known mostly for producing chuunige that are more moe-influenced than is the norm. This game is actually more of a mystery/chuuni/action/conspiracy type than a 'pure' chuunige. The world in which it is based is a future where, ten years before the story began, magic appeared on the scene. Large numbers of people became capable of using magic, and a new branch of science was built up solely for the purpose of utilizing magic as new energy source. The result of this is a society that is somewhat divided between the magical 'haves' and 'have-nots', though that isn't the focus of the story, despite what you might otherwise anticipate.

    The protagonists

    Senri


    Senri is your classic 'bad-ass antihero protagonist'. He is clever, intelligent, and overall highly capable, with a razor-sharp mind and battle instincts that would put a Navy Seal to shame and make Golgo 13 look incompetent. His cold-blooded pursuit of his own interests, which are very opaque through most of the VN, is his primary defining feature... Oh, and he lies... a lot. He makes the protagonist of Sharin no Kuni seem honest.

    Haruto

    Haruto is a somewhat less beloved type of protagonist in chuunige... basically a 'justice freak' combined with being 'a young man driven against his will by the tides of fate'. He is a natural optimist and a believer in fairness above all. Unfortunately, he also has that bad habit a lot of similar chuunige protagonists have... of sticking his nose into situations he doesn't really need to get involved in. He grows a great deal during the course of the VN (as is typical of this type, if the writers don't suck), and by the end his viewpoint on the world has... been sharpened a great deal by experience. He is more likeable than a lot of similar protagonists, but it still isn't a type I prefer.

    The Heroines

    Fiona


    Fiona, at first glance, seems to be your classic clutzy/innocent nun-type heroine. She works as a nun at a run-down church in the city's... less reputable area and is well-loved by the delinquents who frequent the church. However, she, like most of the characters in this game, is hiding a lot of secrets... She is one of Senri's two heroines.

    Noa

    An innocent, pure-hearted girl who is seen mostly as a ghost throughout the first part of the game. She has a really unique way of speaking, born partially from Senri's half-hearted efforts at education (mostly through handing her magazines and letting her watch AVs). To be honest, in the reading of this VN, interpreting her weird speech patterns was a bit difficult at first (she cuts apart words and puts them together in weird ways). She is the second of Senri's two heroines.

    Asahi

    Asahi is... a bit weird. Her personality itself is quite straightforward and honest, and she hates lies and general dishonesty with a passion. However, she is also compassionate to a fault and unwavering in the pursuit of her goals. Unfortunately - at least so it seems at first - there are a few loose screws rolling around in that head of hers. Even more so than Haruto, she is an eternal an unrepentant optimist and probably the single most trustworthy individual in the entire VN.

    Riku


    Riku is, throughout the VN, perhaps the least expressive individual other than Senri himself. She almost never displays her emotions on her face, and she has an almost unnatural tendency to think objectively about anything and everything, including herself. That the writer managed to grant her so much depth without making her a protagonist was an impressive feat in and of itself... and one of the reasons why her interactions with Haruto and Asahi are so amusing. She really is almost as detached as she seems most of the time, which is one of the reasons it hits so hard when she does become emotional.

    The VN

    Sorcery Jokers is definitely VN of the Month material. I'll say that right off the bat. The depth of the story and characters is incomparable with previous games by this company, and while it falls slightly short of a kamige, it is nonetheless something worth taking note of. Normally, I can't stand dual protagonists, as many have heard me mention. I hated Subahibi for that, amongst a number of other sins, and one of the biggest reasons it took me so long to play I/O was because I don't like going into VNs with multiple protags.

    Fortunately, I managed to get past that, simply because the differing approaches to the story were the only thing that made it possible to grasp something even approaching the whole of the story as it happened. A single perspective wouldn't have done a bit of good as an approach to this VN's story, simply because there are too many things happening at too many different points for a single perspective to handle.

    The VN's structure is basically that of a kinetic novel, with the illusion of choice through a flow chart (for the first chapter, at least) where you pick and choose which events you want to see next (though you have to see them all anyway). To be honest, I could have done without the flow chart entirely... flow charts in general are an irritation more than a help, especially if they are made a central part of progressing the story. That said, as the actual switching around mostly ends after the first chapter, it isn't really a big deal (though it does make me wonder why they had a flow chart at all).

    The story's mystery and conspiracy elements feel a lot like peeling an onion, as there are layers within layers within layers. What you thought was the root of things turns out to be just another layer, more than once. As things come together near the end, the knowledge you've gained through the character perspectives deepens the experience nicely, making this one of the few part-mystery VNs I've played in recent years that I didn't immediately have 'read' relatively early on.

    That isn't to say there aren't points where the VN stumbles. Haruto, because of his role as the 'kid chuunige protag', is the game's Achilles Heel, as all protagonists of the type with his kind of temperament tend to be. However, his growth is enough to offset the cookie-cutter aspects of his character enough that I approved of his role... in the end. Asahi also threatens to tilt the balance of the VN into the realm of the silly a lot early on, simply because of her 'weirdness'. However, because that silliness is a vital ingredient in her growth as a character, it can't really said to be a true weakness, though it can be irritating at times.

    The endings are all branches off of the true end, one for each heroine (Noa or Fiona with Senri, and Asahi or Riku with Haruto). I had no problems with the epilogues for Noa or Fiona... but I thought that Haruto had devolved a lot in his heroine epilogues, which kind of brought me back to why I didn't like him in the first place.

    Overall, I felt that this VN is one of the more solid chuunige made in the last few years, especially in the sense of 'balance'. Silverio Vendetta, while it is a lot more exhilarating, also had the difficulty of disproportionately focusing the writer's attention on Vendetta, which weakened the other two paths greatly. Bansenjin suffers from reusing an uninspiring cast and being relatively boring throughout most of its length. In terms of a constant sense of tension and in terms of pacing of events, this VN definitely is the winner of Chuunige VN of the Year so far, though it isn't chuuni-crack in the sense that Silverio was. I'm actually quite proud of the fact that this company has evolved so much since its somewhat... unimpressive beginnings (Bloody Rondo), and I'm glad I stuck with the company. It is always nice to be surprised pleasantly by a VN.
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