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Everything posted by Plk_Lesiak

  1. So, lately I've noticed that few things give me as much joy as romance anime that take the romance part seriously - and by seriously I don't mean drama-filled, but quickly establishing the main girl, consistently developing the relationship between her and the protagonist (genders can be reversed), and concluding everything in a proper manner (the characters are clearly a couple by the end of it). This is something that majorly boosted my enjoyment of shows such as Bunnygirl Senpai, Yamada-san and the Seven Witches or even the initial arc of SAO. So, I kind of wanted to gather recommendations for shows that actually deliver in this department. Preferably in a lighthearted manner, but the anxiety-inducing drama is also acceptable if the payoff is worth it. Things I haven't seen yet, but probably fit my criteria are for example (correct me if I got any of those wrong): Your Name. You Lie in April ReLIFE My Love Story Golden Time You can find the general overview of what I saw and the shit taste I have in my MAL. Please, throw your vast knowledge at me senpais!
  2. Looking for VR visual novel.

    The only ones I'm aware of are the two Innocent Forest games by the same company that did Tokyo Chronos.
  3. Site Work 03/17/19

    Wow, so it was a seasonal one? I guess it makes sense, now that I look at it. It was way prettier though... :<
  4. Site Work 03/17/19

    Is it me, or did the logo just changed minutes ago? Is someone actually doing something with the site?
  5. Hello and welcome to this year’s first EVN Chronicles Steam Curator Clean-up, where I look at the games that were sent to me in the past six months through Steam’s Curator Connect, but were either too small to warrant a full review, or I simply couldn’t cover them in detail due to time constraints. When I first did this kind of posts last year (you can check them out here: Part 1, Part 2), some of the games featured there waited extremely long for being covered. Because of this, I’ve decided that from this point forward, I’ll make this a twice-a-year event, being sure that every VN given to me gets its space on the blog within a reasonable time period. As always, I’m extremely thankful to all the developers that send me their work for assessment and it saddens me whenever my impressions are negative. I hope, however, that the feedback I can offer will be valuable to them, while believe it’s my duty to my readers to warn them against buying a game I find lacking. So, setting the introductory drivel aside, I hope you enjoy this brief overview of these four interesting VNs sent to me during the first half of 2019! Snowed IN Snowed IN is an unusual yuri nukige, focusing on pair for soldiers in the distant future, where cybernetic enhancement of the human body has reached incredible levels of sophistication. The protagonist, Sigma, is an experienced spec-ops officer who has modified her body to the point where little of it remains organic. For an infiltration mission against a cell of anti-augmentation radicals, she’s assigned with a fresh, talented recruit – a full “natural” named Linde, whose presence in the military is connected with an affirmative action plan for those not augmented. The two polar-opposite individuals, both through their background and attitudes, have to work together to survive the extremely dangerous assignment – and the mission itself hides even more threats and twists then the initial setup would suggest. Sounds intriguing? It surely does, but the fact this is a nukige, and a very short one at that (up to an hour and a half of content), should be taken into account when setting your expectations. The game explores its main themes rather briefly, often switching to sex scenes that are only vaguely justifiable in the context of the tense plot – the writing and main intrigue are solid, but simply too rushed to provide a compelling narrative. There are also some highly-questionable elements to it, especially in the rather distasteful bad ending – that’s definitely one point at which h-content was very unnecessary, even if those scenes are the “main point” of the game. As a piece of yuri smut in an unusual setting, it's definitely not the worst thing around – just don't expect anything more than that. Final Rating: (Cautiously) Recommended The Great Voyage The retro-inspired, pixelart VN The Great Voyage is definitely the best piece of literature among the titles listed in today's post, despite being the shortest one out of them all. This kinetic novel, with only around an hour of content, tells the story of three refugees from a city sacked by a ruthless rebel army. Stuck on a fleet of ships escaped from the carnage, now desperately looking for a new home and avoiding inevitable pursue by the enemy, the three protagonists (young noblewomen Eugenie, a melancholic poet Vassan and a con-artist posing as a foreign ambassador, Memnon) have to cope with their new situation, the loss they experienced and even the sins of their pasts. All this leads to a highly-compelling narrative about vastly different individuals trying to survive against all odds, find a new meaning to their lives and manoeuvring events mostly outside of their control – a deeply un-heroic and rather pessimistic scenario, that nonetheless feels interesting and genuine just because of how imperfect and often powerless its main characters are. The story is presented with simple, but highly stylized art that greatly fits its gloomy climate (and the same can be said about the game's eerie soundtrack). Its main downside is, obviously, the tiny length of the whole experience (thankfully the pricing is appropriately scaled, with the game costing $2 both on Steam and Itch.io), but I can't say it left me unsatisfied in any major way. It did a surprisingly good job at both developing the main characters and resolving their arcs, and even creating an interesting and believable setting for their stories to play out in. The premise obviously held the potential to expand into a much grander tale, but it's not something I could seriously hold against The Great Voyage – it's simply a great short story that I can recommend wholeheartedly to anyone that looks for a satisfying literary experience in their VNs above anything else. Final Rating: Highly Recommended Manna for our Malices Today's Steam is full of extremely simple VNs that are put on the platform as cash-grab shovelware, early experiments with VN-making software or even straight-up trolling. And while Manna for our Malices might look like it belongs to one of those categories, with its simplistic visuals and over-the-top writing, there’s actually much more to it. In this short time-looping story, you take control of Ai, a foul-mouthed high school girl who, for an unknown reason, is killed by a knifer while coming back home after lessons, only to wake up in at the beginning of the same day. Throughout the game, you’ll go through this loop dozens of times (quite often with Ai commenting angrily about her poor luck), slowly uncovering the underlying conspiracies and the roles the protagonist and people around her play in the whole intrigue. With every new piece of information, the already-visited locations will provide new clues and new dialogue options will appear, until you’re ready to solve the puzzle and break Ai out of the endless cycle of waking up and being murdered. The game, for the most part, does a really good job of implementing this concept, at least before the very last stretch – I had to consult the walkthrough to reach the true ending and I’m not sure I’d ever come up with the solution the VN expected me to find otherwise. The characters are heavily exaggerated, being either complete weirdos or walking anime tropes (this includes the protagonist and her closest friend Aoi, who’s a “deredere childhood friend” archetype on steroids). The humour is crude but effective, and after getting into the story I was strangely invested in solving the overall puzzle, while the “true” conclusion was properly fun and cheesy. The game play’s a lot on anime clichés, with an obvious understanding of the medium, which helps in making its visuals and writing seem like a deliberate choice, rather than just amateurishness. The end effect is trashy for sure, but strangely captivating – I had a lot of fun going through the various stages of the intrigue and uncovering layers upon layers of mystery beneath the at first mundane-looking setting. For this, I can quite confidently recommend giving Manna for our Malices a chance – although, for the amount of content it offers, the $5 asking price is just barely acceptable. Final Rating: Recommended Lyantei Lately, I’ve grown weary of tackling stat management games, as over time I find more and more of them pointlessly tedious and boring, with “simulation” aspects rarely being compelling and mostly distracting me from the parts of the game I’m actually interested in, that is, the story. Still, in the case of Lyantei, I think my biases are among the lesser reasons for which I did not enjoy playing it. At first glance, this story of a young girl/guy (you can choose the protagonist’s gender, which mostly affects the romance options available to you) traveling to a distant inn owned by their aunt, in order to help her pay off a debt seems like something I’d enjoy – more casual, slice-of-life stories in a fantasy setting are still a bit underexplored niche and offer great potential. The production values of the game, while simple, were also not bad enough to discourage me – I can put up with anything that isn’t straight-up ugly if what I read is interesting enough. Sadly, in Lyantei there’s barely any interesting narrative to speak of – the character arcs are incredibly cliched, which is only made worse by the awkward English writing and the protagonist who just comes out as pushy and weird, sticking his/her nose into everyone's business without any real reason. The game is also very short, which makes all the character arcs feel incredibly rushed. The romance especially comes pretty much out of nowhere, while lack of proper CGs make the story feel empty like few other VNs I’ve played. On top of that, the structure of the game drove me to utter frustration – to get into each hero/heroine arcs you have to stumble upon them early on, by doing various chores at the inn at the right moments. Absurdly-enough, the triggers lead to these scenes are quite obscure and it’s easy to miss most of the story in each of your runs. I see absolutely no logic behind that choice and with no guide available, I ended up dropping Lyantei without finishing all the routes, which I do very rarely, especially with games I receive review copies for. Little good can also be said about stat-management itself, which is basic and functional, but not in any way interesting. Your only goal is to earn enough money in 30 days to pay off your Aunt’s debt, by helping around the inn and selling potions you make with your alchemy skills, but with the short span of the game and no meaningful side objectives, there’s actually very little to it. In the end, while I feel that Lyantei is not an awful game at its core, it just doesn’t represent the quality I’m looking for in a commercial product and can’t recommend buying it under any conditions. If it was a free VN, with some additional polish and tweaks I could still consider it worth trying out – however, I don’t think the developer will be able to fix it enough to justify putting a price tag on it, and especially the $9 one it currently has. Maybe on their next try… Final Rating: Not Recommended Courage for a Kiss Mikołaj Spychał is a Polish VN developer that has recently released his second attempt at creating a perfectly-generic high school romance VN (after his debut Jake's Love Story and a quite unfortunate journey to the world of catgirls in the form of his second title, Nekokoro). And while you're probably thinking now that more cookie-cutter, teenage love stories is the last thing our niche needs, there are still things to appreciate in Courage for a Kiss, at least from the perspective of its author's growth. The main storyline here involves the protagonist and four girls somewhat reluctantly banding up to create a school play for a regional contest – the play itself is an interesting storytelling gimmick, as its content and the roles particular characters will perform depend on some of your choices. These changes are particularly fun to observe between routes, just as are minor variations in the dialogue that reflect your previous choices and the information you learn about the girls in different paths. While other than that the heroines and their stories are utterly generic and even a bit too similar to each other, this attention to detail makes the setting feel a bit deeper than you'd expect. Visually the game is simple, but pleasant to look at and is undeniably a huge improvement over this dev's earlier projects, with decent, mildly animated sprites and high-quality backgrounds. However, it suffers from a single, borderline-fatal flaw – an utter lack of proper CGs, which takes away quite a lot of impact from crucial moments in the story. The music is good for the most part, but sometimes kicks in a bit too strong, distracting from the scene rather than supporting it. All-in-all, it's a competent and reasonably satisfying, even if very basic and tame romance VN, and if you for some reason feel like reading another one of those, there are definitely worse options out there. Final Rating: (Cautiously) Recommended There weren't many “must reads” among the shorter VNs sent to me in the last few months, but I can’t say they didn’t offer surprises – the one game that I actually expected the least from, Manna for our Malices, managed to be the most enjoyable among them and something I wouldn’t mind seeing more of in the EVN scene – a witty play on the formula that didn’t treat itself seriously, but still strived to tell a fun story and surprise the reader with its twists. This kind of fun factor is what both Snowed IN and Lyantei visibly lacked, making them much more forgettable by the result. The Great Voyage, on the other hand, reminded me that VNs can be great not only as full-fledged video games, but also as a form of illustrated literature – focusing on a really compelling narrative is often worth a lot more than gameplay gimmicks and branching paths, then it goes to satisfaction you gan from the whole experience. And for the meantime, I hope you all enjoyed this little post – if the games that get sent to me warrant it, the next one will show up in December. You can also expect full-on reviews of larger games given to me through Steam Curation – I’ve received review copies of some very interesting titles, both new and old, that I really want to give the spotlight to. Have a great weekend everyone!
  6. Hey I'm new to fuwa!

    Welcome to Fuwa! Hope you'll find our little community welcoming. '^^
  7. You mean a Windows tablet? Microsoft ones feel a bit overpriced for the specs they offer, so maybe you can try something like Lenovo 2in1 computers? It depends on the country you live in, but they usually have a good selection and while they're considered a budget brand, I had only good experiences with their products. Plus this kind of modular device will give a bit more/different functionality than an iPad, so it won't be completely redundant.
  8. Fuwanovel Confessions

    I dig it! Very trippy indeed, but I like this kind of stuff. ^^ I'll definitely use your advice too. Confession: I totaly derailed Fuwanovel Confessions thread into a retro JP music one.
  9. Fuwanovel Confessions

    That's a neat song. But the original is so gloriously 80s!
  10. Fuwanovel Confessions

    Yeah, I think those at least were among the groups that repelled me after 30-40 seconds of listening. ;p Yeah, I also noticed that while browsing Spotify, was quite surprised to find some very fresh songs in the style I was looking for. But still, it was a pretty tedious search without good points of reference, your response fixes this problem in an impressive manner, so huge thanks for that. ^^
  11. Fuwanovel Confessions

    Confession: For some reason, I decided to destroy the last pieces of human dignity I possessed and started researching Japanese idol groups. After checking out songs by a few supposedly popular ones I nearly died of cringe, even with my anime-induced resistance. However, whoever produces stuff for Keyakizaka46 (I think this group was the direct inspiration for Quasar in Shining Song Starnova, with the fan elections for choosing the center and all? - I guess AKB48 also do fan elections, but this group still kind of fits the image well?) definitely knows their stuff. BTW, can anyone recommend me some Japanese pop from 80s or 90s? There's a lot of pretty awesome, jazzy JP music from that period that I occasionally stumble upon (in vaporwave remixes for example), but don't really know how to even start looking for it...
  12. What Anime are you watching now?

    Soo, I couldn't sleep much today, but on the bright side, I was able to binge the rest of Mahoutsukai no Yome and... Eh, it was kind of disappointing - in the end the series felt 40% brilliant and 60% pompous, overstylized mess. I was absolutely charmed by the prequel OVA, as they showed the best elements of the show: awesome production quality, climate-building and Chise herself, who's consistently an interesting and compelling protagonist. The main series however was very hit and miss, often feeling just weird and overindulgent. The further it went, the more inconsistent it got, leaving me with seriously mixed feelings. And that's a real shame, because I really for this series to be special and its main building blocks - the characters of Chise and Elias, their backstories and the peculiar relationship that grows between them - are quite excellent. As a whole, this anime has its share of 10/10, deeply touching moments, but even more 6/10 or 5/10 ones - it all sums up to a fairly weak 8, although the prequel story and the first few episodes of the main show are still a solid 9. And well, I guess even a weak 8 sounds pretty good in the end, but it could've easily been much more than that...
  13. What Anime are you watching now?

    Maybe it was just me, but I find this show tastefully sexy if anything. The fanservice is either super tongue-in-cheek or just kissing scenes (which are also constantly mixed with parodistic scenes where Yamada has to kiss guys etc.). The harem is super mild, with Urara wnd Yamada being into each other pretty much from the first episode and the romance between them steady developing, and other witches being clearly in the background. We watched one episode so far, but she liked it. The most fancervice'y part I can remember is episode 2 or 3 ending, where everyone in the supernatural investigations club kiss each other switching bodies, but even that was rather funny and cute IMO. That's really a major factor why I was so stoked about this show, an ecchi series that never gets gross and offers actual romance is such a rare treat.
  14. The fastest you've ever dropped a VN?

    I literally dropped like 3 VNs in total (my complitionist compulsions don't let me do that much), but the fastest one would be a Yuri Game Jam VN SpeedDemonz. In theory it sounded like something I could enjoy, but in reality it was so dull and visually unappealing I gave up after like 8 minutes of reading. If there was something witty or interesting further down the line, I guess we'll never truly know...
  15. What Anime are you watching now?

    Done with Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches and I kind of loved this show, although I've seen from other people's reviews that it might not be "objectively" this great, but simply fits directly into my preferences. It has those light ecchi/harem elements, but immidiately establishes who the main heroine is and develops really satisfying, conclusive romance - Urara grows into a great character and the last few episodes with Yamada fighting to reconnect with her are genuinely touching. On the fun side, the body swapping gimmick comes with awesome performances by the voice actors, with main ones pretty much playing a few different characters on a regular basis. Plot wise, it's not that original (it's kind of Monogatari-light, with the protagonist going around solving problems of the titular witches, basically saving them from themselves) and some of the subplots are rather forgettable, but it's still very fun and the main cast is great, Yamada himself combining being a bit of a dumbass and having a reputation of a delinquent with being genuinely good person – there's some great chemistry between him and all the other major characters. In the end, I give it an extremely biased 9/10 (I think it'll be an 8 or very solid 7 if you don't buy into its formula as much as I did). Will definitely try to give it a rewatch with my gf, I hope she don't hate it. :3 Now I guess I should get back to Ancient Magus' Bride, another one I stalled a while ago...
  16. I'm usually very nice to newcomers unless they come in just to spew bullshit and teach us how to behave from some imaginary moral highground. Your post had little to do with the topic at hand and was full of obnoxious assumptions and "advice" no one had any interest in. So sorry if I wasn't receptive, but it simply added nothing of value and none of it had anything to do with "elitism", which BTW is less of an issue on Fuwa than in most fan communities I've known over the years. Plus I guess I'm ill and your post struck exactly into my years-long frustration over the creeping death of this site. But I'm not sorry, really I'm not and you still fail to make a valid point.
  17. What Anime are you watching now?

    I came down with a flu today and as I don't have many resposibilities ATM, decided to spend the next few days catching up with anime. After getting to the current episodes in simulcasts, I've resumed watching Yanada-kun and the Seven Witches which I stalled a while ago and damn, so far it's hands down the best ecchi comedy I've ever seen. Extremely fun and quite cleverly-written, with the kissing scenes (the premise is that the protagonist randomly discovers he has magic powers that work throught a kiss) and mild fanservice being kind of constantly present, but never vulgar or coming out of nowhere... Why can't more shows be like that?
  18. Wow, no shit? Who would've have thought that the site's owner, the only one with access to most of it, going AWOL for literal years and everything but the Forums slowly breaking down would kill a site. I'm sure no one in the community ever noticed that or expressed powerless frustration at the current state of affairs. Thank you enlightening us with your outside perspective. Like we're ever going to get this much initiative from the top. ^^
  19. Reading VN is masochistic

    Is it life though? It feels more like that last rush of activity before finally dropping dead. We only need Tay to once more come back promising site update and disappearing without a trace after 15 minutes to complete the cycle, then we can all move on to the afterlife.
  20. Reading VN is masochistic

    This thread and Funya's somehow compliment each other perfectly. ^^ Like any place on the internet is free from autistic posts like this. :>
  21. I'm pretty sure you're thinking about Funya's post. I only argued that I don't completely agree they're similar, as I think sexual stuff influences us on a slightly deeper level and, on average, have more of an effect on our lives and behaviour than most other things we get from media. It should be quite easy to substitute violent video game with some other entertainment in all but most extreme cases, but if you develop a strong sexual fetish... But even that is us talking about those borderline cases that no one really knows the actual scale of? In general, you don't need to convince me of this stuff, even if I'd be more wary of the influence extreme porn has on people, I don't think the proofs of that influence are solid enough to justify bans, especially considering how poorly those work most of the time. The real challenge is spreading this awereness to the sea of normies that surround us, with torches and pitchforks ready at slightest sign of "peadophilia". I don't think that will happen any time soon and we as VN fans have to take that into account, whether we like it or not. :>
  22. Well, you can't keep the determined ones out, but you can keep some basic precautions. Which is more than we're doing now... Or with characters that are literal middle schoolers. That's always fun to see. But, the issue is, law is usually quite a rough instrument. Even the bans on "real" child porn create absurdities, as a teen that makes a nude selfie and sends it to someone literally committing a felony of child porn production and distribution in some countries. At the same time, the level of emotion around this issue is so high that it's pretty much inconceivable for anyone to lax these laws for something as "secondary" as freedom of artistic expression. Try to poll average people on whether it would be justified to burn all otaku media to not enable pedophiles... We could easily get some very sad results, espetially if we get the press and TV news to demagogue on the issue a bit. :> And whether we like lolicon or not, we're all pretty much on the same thin ice, with some people happily jumping around trying to crash the surface.
  23. I know that the thirst step that led into this was banning "manipulated" child porn, that is manips (photoshoping children into porn scenes) and real child abuse material that was heavily processed, basically to not leave any loopholes that would let paedophiles circumvent the law. The fully-fictional representation ban is much more problematic, but I imagine it came mostly from the same place - making it easier to prosecute owners and distributors of child porn. I don't imagine its broader consequences, like the absurd limitations it brings on fiction (notice that is bans any depiction with underage characters and that threshold is pretty much universally 18, so you often can't portray fictional sex with characters over the age of consent...) were even considered by people that crafted these laws. It's also not like the general public would care about a bunch of weebs or fan fiction writers. Legally and public-image-wise we're at a huge disadvantage here so as much as I have problems with how anti child porn laws are constructed, I'm amazed how much people in the community don't see the need to tread carefully on this. Mostly they are underinformed on the legal side of the issue, but the rest should be pretty clear even for them... Yeah, yeah, I'm sure you're right on principle. I won't stop you from testing it thoroughly on your own site. ^^
  24. I was partially joking. But really, I'd not wish on anyone having to use the "it's unconstitutional" argument when dealing with your hosting service dropping you. Or in court. I'm really not sure how the federal law on child pornography looks like, as I've only studied examples of European and international ones, but if major companies like Valve, having all the money in the world for lawyers, are scared to publish anything that could be considered child porn, I wouldn't risk it running a niche site either.
  25. Yeah, but I've been referring to Sanahtlig's claim that discussion is forbidden. We (vaguely) can't discuss lolis specifically, but that's not really the main thing that prevented Funya's points from starting a legitimate discussion, as he placed lolis among broader spectrum of objectionable content we can very much talk about. The problem is that his rhetoric itself derailed any possibility of having a conversation, while people most likely to respond to him have views so directly opposed to his that it was already most likely to devolve into a futile flamewar. I hardly even see how "but admins won't let us talk" argument fits into this, unless we refer to overzealous post hiding.