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Everything posted by Plk_Lesiak

  1. Birthday thread

    All Best Wishes to @Dreamysyu!
  2. Spring Anime List of 2020

    Right, the first episode feels like another silly comedy, but it's also fun with the protagonist's over-the-top approach at correcting the mistakes of her character... And seems really wholesome, which is what I was hoping for. Maybe even this kind of story fits the anime format better than a WN or manga? It's just exactly the kind of show I want to watch when too tired/stressed out to even look at text longer than anime subs. :>
  3. Spring Anime List of 2020

    Hey guys, how the hell did we miss the Otome Villainess Isekai? It sounds lovely and the voice cast looks pretty awesome. I think it randomly became my most-anticipated series along with Kaguya-sama S2 and maybe SNAFU S3 (if I manage to catch up with that series before the lockdowns end). :3
  4. What Anime are you watching now?

    Even the artstyle looks really nice. I guess I'll add it to my massive "to watch" list. ^^ Anyway, I guess it's a nice moment to summarize my last week of anime watching. Tsukimonogatari was a pretty cool prologue to Final Season stuff, although it had the usual problems of an intermission/side story episode. The massive incestuous fanservice section at the beginning was just bonkers. On the other hand, I deeply appreciate the premise of I also very much like Yotsugi, so every episode that focuses on her is a good one in my book. Generally, it was a good spin on the formula, outside of the excessive middle-schooler-ogling. 7,5/10 Hanamonogatari (which I watched out of airing order, but it's Suruga's epilogue story, so it doesn't matter) was very good, in my opinion not very far from the Second Season stories (which are as good as this series ever gets). A serious story focusing on Kanbaru was kind of missing from every season outside of Bake and this explored her character really nicely. The plot was relatively straightforward and meaningful, with a melancholic, but satisfying conclusion. At first, I was kind of disappointed we won't ever get a real yuri subplot in this series, despite all the lily imagery and the title, but at least what was actually there was satisfying enough. 8/10 Owarimonogatari was pretty meh, to be completely honest. Oikura's arc came out of nowhere and was too over-the-top, without any satisfying mystery or solution. I guess its purpose was primarily to expand Koyomi's story, but I can't say I find his motivations or personality particularly compelling. I don't hate him as a character, but the lesson I took from Second Season is that the less of him there is in the story, the more interesting and enjoyable it becomes. And a whole arc about the roots of his self-righteous asocial tendencies? Borefest. The second arc was... OK, but felt strangely rushed. I think it needed a lot more time to develop the First Servant as a character and make the reader care about the rivalry with Koyomi. As it was, it felt empty despite clear attempts at creating some emotional impact/meaning. Ultimately, the season was a 7/10 for me, probably the weakest one alongside Kizu. Koyomimonogatari was nostalgic fun in the first episodes and I enjoy the idea of failed investigations without paranormal elements, showing that those grand events from previous series are not the only things happening in the characters' lives. The thing is, while it acts like a cute side story for the most part, it throws some crucial lore bombs and ends with a massively important arc leading straight into Owari S2. It seems there's no such thing as side story in the Monogatari Series, at least if you want to understand anything about what's going on... Anyway, a weird season, but I didn't hate it like some people. 7,5/10. This leaves me with Owari S2, which I already started watching, but to be honest, I have little drive to go forward. While I see all the story threads coming together... I kind of can't be bothered to care? I'm not even sure if I want some grand conclusion and I don't find Ougi that interesting as an antagonist. In a way, it's kind of antithetical to what I enjoyed in Monogatari to have so kind of grand resolution focusing on Araragi. Maybe it's just me, but while superfans really adore those late instalments, I don't think it can get even close to Second Season... Maybe I'll be proved wrong, but probably will switch to something else before I continue. Maybe it's just fatigue with the overall formula and I'll enjoy it more after a break. I've also finished the first three instalments of Initial D with my GF. I really like this series and while the first season was kind of slow in developing stuff, with the "clueless genius" protagonist and tons of other cliches kind of lowering my enjoyment, it really only got better over time. Second Stage and Third Stage were pretty awesome in my opinion, with characters being treated more seriously and showing more depth, animation and use of CGI improving massively, races getting genuinely intense... There are still some silly flaws, like over-the-top foreshadowing for some plot developments and overdone romance drama, but generally, a really fun, unique series that goes quite deep into its subject matter and generally strives for realism (that by itself is pretty refreshing). Overall, a solid 8/10 series. I think we're going to watch the cursed Extra Stage OVAs today before going to Stage Four, I wonder how that will go.
  5. Birthday thread

    All Best Wishes to @Dergonu! Though I feel like I was writing this just a few months ago? How it's a full year already? Time is passing disturbingly quickly...
  6. hi! I used to visit a long time ago!

    Welcome back to (now half-dead) Fuwa!
  7. Hey there people! I apologize for my arguable overreach, but I've decided to take down the original thread as I felt troubled by the direction it was going. While everyone's free to discuss the pandemic, I strongly plead to everyone to keep the thread as fact-based as possible and focus on things we can do to keep ourself safe in this crisis. There's a lot of information floating around there and I won't allow this site to be another source of counter-productive panic, at least as long as other admins don't overturn my decision – you're free to appeal to them if you disagree, but for my part, I will observe this thread closely and act decisively. In Poland, situation so far seems somewhat under control, but it's also because the government introduced some harsh preventive measures real quick. In other parts of the world, in Italy in particular, it's much worse. I'm myself probably going to be stuck at home for a few weeks while our family's company mostly switched to remote work and this is basically the main appeal to everyone, whether the virus is already spread out in your country or only starting to show up – stay at homes whenever you can and do research on what steps you can take to keep yourself safe when going out. Even things like masks are only effective if you use them right. If you are not worried about getting sick yourself, think whether there are vulnerable people around you: elderly, those with chronic conditions or weaker immunity. And, in the end, don't panic or obsess over preventive measures either. There's only that much you can do, but those few crucial things like hygiene and minimizing contact with strangers are actually very likely to keep you safe. This will pass and if you keep acting responsibly, it'll pass sooner. Stay strong guys!
  8. Very much this, although thankfully my serious responsibilities are pretty limited ATM. Still, I'm quite disgusted with how little I'm able to get done despite being mostly in one place, able to set my own schedule... Although, nearly all shopping for my household is currently on me. This, along with limited remote work and just managing the fact of being constantly stuck with two other people in a relatively small space is surprisingly time and energy consuming. Other than that, I'm mostly binging anime. I'm pretty close to finishing the whole Monogatari series and I'm watching stuff with my gf every evening (we're going through the second season of Initial D now). I have little mental energy for VNs though...
  9. Fuwanovel's 1st Maggie fanclub event

    1 - c 2 - a 3 - c c c !C! 4 - b 5 - b 6 - b 7 - c By the way, I would have no idea it's April Fools if not for that Jast x MG event that shouted to me on Twitter. I think the holiday itself got infected and died of pneumonia before it could even start.
  10. List of VNs with official english release

    There's a lot of them, but mostly they're small teams. Studio Elan, PixelFade and Love in Space are notable, relatively large ones. Also, many of my favourite Western-produced VNs are made by solo devs like ebi-hime or Hanako Games. There's dozens of those.
  11. wazzup homies

    Well, this gives me quite a different vibe than the actual name... Anyway, welcome to Fuwanovel! That's... Quite a username and avatar you have there. ^^
  12. I'm not sure if it's just my impression, but it feels like male VAs doing BL are less secretive about it than most female seiyuus that do eroge. Like, the former is treated like a fun piece of trivia/something to joke about and the latter like a dirty secret (outside of those few that really dedicate their careers to eroge and don't seem to give a fuck, but that seems to be a small minority)...
  13. What Anime are you watching now?

    Oh, I totally agree, but those arcs are actually standout ones IMO, while the series also has tons of avant-garde nonsense and semi-random babble that people will dig through for meaning that really isn't there. And their conclusion will be that the whole thing is some kind of esoteric masterpiece that most people are simply to dumb to understand, which I don't think is the case. Still, I was very close to calling Second Season a masterpiece regardless, for reasons stated above.
  14. What Anime are you watching now?

    Finished Monogatari Series: Second Season and... It was excellent, to the point I was considering rating it 10/10, although my final one will be 9/10. It's everything I hoped for this series to be and a bit more. I loved the focus going away from Araraki and other characters having their time as protagonists, including an unlikely one like Kaiki. I enjoyed all the storylines, particularly the opening and final arc, but every one of them left me with a strong impression. Also, I now want Sengoku to just drop dead and never be seen again, although another part of me really wants to see how she changes after what she went through. Really, this is the point where the overall formula was already perfected by unlike Nise and Neko: Black, the actual storytelling is also really, really cool. I still don't think this series is extremely deep, but it really doesn't have to be. Its main strengths are the unique form, and unpredictability that set it apart from your typical anime narratives. At the same time, this season was actually emotional and thought-provoking on top of all that. Disturbing at times, but not through visual grotesque that I disliked in Bake and Kizu, but through actual story developments. I'm looking forward to Owarimonogatari now, but I'm probably going to take a break after watching Tsuki... Maybe I'll try Dance in the Vampire Bund? It looks like the kind of bloody mess to be mindlessly enjoyed between more intensive shows. :> Edit: And I managed to forget about Hanamonogatari? Damn, this series' timeline is so confusing. Anyway, I get I'll get that one done before Vampire Bund too. '^^ Oh, and Beatless was a disappointment. I stalled after episode 8 and I'm not sure I'll ever come back – sadly, it proved to be less comically bad and more straight-up obnoxious. Possible the worst, most hamfisted "do androids have souls?" kind of plot I've seen to date, and there's plenty of bad ones...
  15. Human beings are contradictory creatures, whose behaviour is rarely as consistent as we would like to see and whose motivations are often complex, to the point they’re not fully understood even by the specific person themselves. This fact is often minimized in fiction, which instinctively strives for clear narratives and characters that are ultimately possible to fully understand and assess according to some kind of moral standards. At the same time, there’s undeniable value in exploring the ambiguity of the human condition and ebi-hime is one of the EVN authors that do it with a borderline-painful consistency, often creating harsh or melancholic plots and populating her stories with deeply flawed, realistic-feeling characters. And her latest release, The End of an Actress, definitely do not break this trend. Released on Steam in late February 2020, this new title by ebi is loosely based on the last years of Marie Antoinette’s life, where she was imprisoned by the revolutionaries and eventually executed for her perceived crimes against the French people. It transfers these core events and many features of the queen’s biography into a fictional setting, closely resembling 18th-century France, but without any pretences for full historical accuracy. However, instead of a grant political tale, what plays out on this stage is a very intimate drama involving the deposed queen, Liliane, and Marcus, a revolutionary who led the assault on her palace and unwittingly became her jailor. In isolation and hopelessness, the relationship between the two will be redefined in a few possible directions, fluctuating between naïve fascination, hate and, possibly, mutual understanding and affection, making for a rather captivating literary experience and one of my new favourites in ebi’s catalogue. But what makes it this special? Considering its inspiration, the game’s plot leads to some predictably grim conclusions – however, it’s hardly a full-on utsuge, featuring many ambivalent, and even hopeful moments Me calling The End of an Actress “intimate” is connected less to its romantic elements and more to its storytelling formula, focused very heavily on interactions between Liliane and Marcus, with other characters present in a purely episodic manner, usually without even having sprites. After capturing the queen, Marcus is tasked with keeping her imprisoned in her palace until she can be tried for her crimes – a process that is constantly prolonged by the legal and political disputes between the revolutionaries. With Liliane permanently confined to her bedroom and Marcus, as the most trusted agent of the revolution’s leadership, unable to leave his post as her jailor, the two become the only meaningful sources of human interaction for each other for months-on-end. In this time they have many opportunities to rework their preconceptions about each other and the peculiar “relationship” they shared – a hopeless fascination of a poor orphan, sparked by the queen that once embodied hope and national pride, but became the reviled symbol of monarchy’s corruption, turning all that love into disappointment and hate. While we observe the story primarily from Marcus’ perspective, the most interesting part of it is probably still the queen. Proud and arrogant, she never allows herself to show fear or weakness, even when her life is threatened by the revolutionaries. She also seems to show little remorse for the disastrous reign, despite being confronted with her failings by Marcus on multiple occasions. Over time, however, she shows more of her true thoughts, as fatigue and new tragedies striking her family make her persona crumble. Her relationship with Markus evolves accordingly, although how far this change will go depends on the player’s choices. There’s even an option in which Markus kills Liliane immediately after storming the palace, which is more or less the outcome she hoped for, allowing her to escape the humiliation of being imprisoned and executed like a criminal. Other endings, while also tragic in their own ways, involve Marcus and Liliane getting closer to understanding each other and forming a genuine bond – with the “best” ending blooming into a short, hopeless romance. The game’s art, with its level of detail and otome-feeling character designs, does a good job of presenting the quasi-historical setting and building appropriate climate While the game definitely has an utsuge vibe, with no “happy ending” that could fully circumvent the characters’ hopeless circumstances, I wouldn’t necessarily call it depressing. It focuses less on the impending death that is awaiting Liliane, and more on the paths that led her and Markus to this point, along with their clashing personalities and ideals. The true strength of the VN lies exactly with how compelling they are as characters – both are essentially wearing masks, playing roles they think they’re obliged to perform while hiding their true feeling and the pain the current situation brings them. The more their façades crack, the more complex things become, with internal conflict, regrets and vulnerabilities showing up on each side. Particularly the character of Liliane is, even at her most sympathetic moments, highly ambiguous, quite like her historical counterpart. Her unhappiness and limited influence in no way absolving her selfishness and careless pursuit of pleasure at the time when her kingdom was crumbling, but lets the reader understand her better. At the point they’re at, neither Liliane nor Markus can hope for redemption, but they can achieve some kind of closure and the endings in which this happens are, in my opinion, more touching than plain sad. In the “best” route, the romance between the queen and Marcus leads to the game’s sole sex scene, which is quite like the one I complimented last year in ebi's The Language of Love – not overly explicit and very much story-relevant. I was quite worried it would feel out of place considering the dire circumstances the characters are at, particularly in the later parts of the story, but it felt like an appropriate and believable conclusion to the troubled romance, exploring the characters in new ways. I find this “softcore” formula a lot more meaningful than the typical h-scenes and I’m glad that’s how the erotic content was dealt with in this case. And speaking more broadly, I have a hard time pointing out something I didn’t like about the story in The End of an Actress. The biggest one I can think of is that between the 5 different endings, not all of them are very distinct. Also, not everyone will be satisfied with its small-scale, melodramatic approach to topic, resembling a minimalistic stage play rather than an epic political drama, but I think that it was excellent in what it was trying to achieve. Even the way the queen’s character has been modified, being younger and less politically involved than her historical inspiration, shows that this was meant to be, above all, the story of her and Markus as people, very much succeeding in this task. The typos in the initial release often showed up in most unfortunate moments, but in my experience, such details are pretty much as far as this game’s flaws go Visually, the game uses a rather detailed artstyle somewhat resembling otome games, which are also quite often period dramas – this also applies to Markus’ design, as he could easily pass as an ikemen in an Otomate title. The setting, while fictionalized, represents XVIII-century France in a rather believable manner, with environments and various details of daily life seeming decently-researched and consistent. For history buffs, the highly-simplified version of the French Revolution, starting with the abolition of monarchy and imprisonment of the royal family, might be something of a disappointment, but it's believable-enough as its own story and gives all the necessary context for the core narrative, that is one about the relationship between Lilian and Markus. The minimalism of the story also made it possible for the few backgrounds and CGs being decently-detailed and while the game does not linger on the extravagance of the royal palace or show much of Liliane’s life before imprisonment, it gives a good-enough impression of its lavishness. And finally, the music consisting mostly of classical tunes, would not be out of place in a good TV drama set in the same period – it's nice to listen to, despite the overall sad tone and enhances the climate of the whole experience. There's even an original song that kicks in during some of the most touching moments of the story and although I usually prefer instrumental background music in VNs, this one blended in very well without taking me out of the experience. Ultimately, The End of an Actress was a highly refreshing and satisfying experience for me, using a formula heavily under-utilized in VNs other than otome and telling a genuinely emotional, impactful story. While its clear focus on personal drama and romance will not appeal to everyone, it delivered on its promises and kept good pacing and climate all the way through. While I had a somewhat ambivalent experience reading ebi's previous period drama, Blackberry Honey, being tired of the persecution the protagonist constantly suffered through and the extremely slow story progression, here I was kept engaged by the character progression and thought-provoking ambiguity of the events. It wasn't perfect, as the romance didn't avoid a few cheesy moments and the first bad ending CG got a clearly-unintended chuckle out of me, but such details could not really undermine my overall, extremely positive impression. If this kind of story is even remotely within your preference, I deeply recommend giving this VN a try – in its category, there are few better ones. Final Rating: 4,5/5 Pros: + An interesting, complex relationship between the main characters + Well-constructed quasi-historical setting + High-quality art + Climatic soundtrack Cons: – Some endings feel similar to each other/repetitive – The political context is only vaguely portrayed, as a background for the personal/romance drama VNDB Page Buy The End of an Actress on Steam or Itch.io
  16. How do you guys find new visual novels to play

    By getting sent more review keys that I can ever go through. It seems that just by being something as rare as a dedicated VN reviewer you get quite a lot of people willing to give you stuff, even when you're beyond the point where you can promise coverage with any kind of certainty... Oh, also VNDB tags, game jams, recommendations from fellow Fuwans... The backlog never stops growing.
  17. What are you listening to right now?

    Akina Nakamori singing Momoe Yamaguchi's song... I wish there was a whole album of this, it would literally be the best things ever.
  18. Countdown to silence: a VN recommendation/review

    Hah, how interesting! I actually found Nise meandering and (relatively) boring. Basically everything between Bake and Second Season felt like filler, not bad really, but nowhere near as captivating. I'm always amazed with how people's opinions differ. That EVN though, looks quite interesting. Might check it out this weekend, considering how short it is... My reading output is at disastrous levels though. I should start working on NaNoRenO coverage soon and if this quarantine apathy doesn't leave me I think I'll be working on it for the next three months.
  19. Countdown to silence: a VN recommendation/review

    You invalidated the whole review with just one line of text. So sad.
  20. Round One - FIGHT!

    Welcome to Fuwa and good luck with your project! Looks quite unique and ambitious.
  21. Birthday thread

    (Belated) Happy Birthday to @BookwormOtaku!
  22. What Anime are you watching now?

    Nisemonogatari... Was interesting, but not as memorable as the first season. There was both less to hate in it (macabre and fanservice were kind of toned down) and less to love (openings were nowhere as catchy and stories were less focused and memorable, occasionally devolving into meandering nonsense I was wary of when approaching this series). I'm also still wondering whether the visuals and the general flow of the series were a little saner or I've just got used to it to this degree... But I think they actually are less over-the-top and I was missing the constant innovation and craziness of Bake. Maybe it's just not doable in the long run, but if I had to give something to Kizu movies is they managed to keep things fresh despite how late in the series' life they showed up... What I liked about it still is the relationship between Araraki and Senjougahara. People write a lot of weird shit about who is the "main girl" and the romance in Monogatari, but so far it's really straightforward and consistent. With all the harem vibes in this series, Senjougahara's place as Araraki's partner is never really threatened and is developing over time, even when it's not the focus of the current arcs. I'm actually very positively surprised by this and it makes me much more eager to continue watching. I'm not super impressed by the Araraki sisters and their stories, but as the focus is soon going to the "core" heroines, I'm excited to see more... 7.5/10 Edit: And Nekomonogatari: Kuro was... OK. I really don't get what they're going for with the overall lore of this setting sometimes and this arc was spoiled a bit too heavily in the flashbacks to be genuinely interesting. Also, Hanekawa is my least favourite of the core characters at this point. Kind of a shame that Monogatari Series: Second Season opens with another arc of hers, but at least I don't know what that one is about... 7/10
  23. Oh, hey, I reached 2000 rep today! I'd make an AMA if I believed there was anything interesting/worth asking about me. ^_^

  24. What are you listening to right now?

    I won't lie, I think one of the reasons I enjoyed Bakemonogatari is how excellent most of the OPs and the ED were...
  25. 10283 posts less than Nosebleed - AMA

    Have you ever read a guro VN that felt too extreme for your taste? Are there any forms of guro/tags that would make you avoid a VN altogether?