Zander reacted to Ramaladni for a blog entry, Great Ace Attorney - Impressions
Finally got around to publishing this after letting it sit in the oven for four months. Life happened, I guess. Anyway, instead of doing what I usually do and copy-pasting my article here on fuwa, I thought I'd just leave the link to my blog. Feel free to make use of the comment section below, however, as we're still working on setting up Disqus. I tried to make the article as spoiler-free as possible, so that those who haven't yet played the game can enjoy it nonetheless.
This article was written on May 3rd. There's a chance that some of the information might be outdated regarding the fan translation group Scarlet Study. However, this should not affect the content of the article itself.
Also, a huge shoutout to @Tyrosyn for working tirelessly on the new website design and making everything look nice, as well as his countless suggestions to improve my work. I'd also like to thank @Zander for giving my article a quick editing pass, that which finally forced me to finally getting around to publish it. Although I call it an impressions article, it grew wild beyond my expectations. With that out of the way, please do enjoy reading my review.
Zander reacted to MaggieROBOT for a blog entry, Yes, I'm still among the living
Heya, people! It's such a long time I don't see you guys, I almost forgot my password to this forum. Guess Fuwa is still alive and kicking just like me, huh. First of all, sorry I disappeared from the face of the Earth and if I disappointed any fans I might had in this site (silly me). Since last time I posted back in February, a lot of things happened so if anyone's curious (maybe the aforementioned imaginary fans of mine) about what the hell's been happening with me, do keep reading. I talk about VNs, anime, and other disgusting weeb things, but it does include some personal shit. Well, a blog is a blog.
1) Maybe I mentioned this a huge while ago at some point, but I'm pursuing a master's degree in the structural engineering field. All was going well and good, but now it came the time for me to write my thesis. Oof. So yeah, that's the main reason I became a ghost as my weekday free times went down the drain along with my hopes and dreams. It doesn't help my thesis requires some programming knowledge that may be more than what I can chew, sasuga me (whining aside, it's coming along fine as of now, let's hope I can keep it up).
2) Not only my free time evaporated but also my attention spam. I'm honestly having a hard time staying focused for more than 40 minutes in the same task. When that happens, I usually take a short break to relax before going back. Except I move on to something else, oops.
3) Related to the problem mentioned in 2, I fearfully discovered a new wonderful world that's now high in my interests list: gacha games. Their content is usually bite sized (except in events, but I don't play all that seriously... I think), I can auto play to grind, and I can play on the train going to uni. No huge time investment at once required, so what can possibly go wrong (dramatic zoom on my face)? Fortunately, I'm still keeping my two accounts (yep) free-to-play and I feel that I grew a lot on the self control department because of this www. Seriously though, never invite me to a casino trip, I may have an undiscovered gamble addiction and I don't want to open that door. But yeah, if anyone else plays Opera Omnia or Shining Live send me a friend inviteeeeeeeeeeeeee!
4) Even with all that going on, I still find time to at least watch my anime and read my VNs, surprisingly. Thank God for weekend. Guess cutting yourself off of social media truly does wonders too, huh. Not that I check Twitter on occasion to look at art or anything... Soooo about that weeb shit...
4.1) La Squadra was right all along
4.2) I'm still a proud BL trash. From what I recently finished, the highlights are Sweet Pool and Nie no Machi. Both are really really amazing games, both scored higher than 9 in my book, and I definitely want to write a review for them at some point. Spread that love, Maggie!
4.3) I'm actually a bit slow on the otomege department, sorry >.< I did get Steam Prison and read both of the Prisoner Routes, but I'm not in the right mindset to keep going with it. I wouldn't enjoy it if I force myself through it. Eltcreed and Ulrik were striking my fancy, so I want to savor them. ......Okay, that came out wrong.
4.4) EVN ftw, I always find some time to read them. Nanoreno gave me some nice short experiences, the highlight being Monochrome Blues despite the ending kek. Oh, and read Heart of the Woods, people. It's an order. High quality shit right there.
4.5) Also I keep stumbling upon horror games and I'm okay with this. Recently I played Death Mark. As usual, I went without a walkthrough, solving every mystery by myself. Totally worth it. And it also have very good sound design. Mashita best boi.
4.6) It does sounds like a lot, but there's nothing much more than what I mentioned wwwwww
4.7) Did I mentioned La Squadra? (<-- edit that bit out, I totally did, as I should)
5) Now, about my Fuwa life. I'll probably remain on indefinite hiatus, but every time I find the file I wrote some ideas for Dank a Ronpa, I feel sad. "How could I write such a shit story?" Jokes aside, I can try to maybe finish it at some point when Derg finished his battle royale. Such a rude, I gave him such a brutal death in my story and I didn't even debut on his smh. But yeah, I accept suggestion of what to do with it? Give it a Berserk treatment and finish it soon TM? Write all the bad ideas I had for it and let you guys fill the blanks yourselves in a very lazy way? Make each one of you write a chapter, put everything together, approve it as canon and call it a day? Decisions, decisions. Actually, I'm actually paying a homage to it in this post, as I'm not proof reading anything, hope you spot the reference.
Aaaaaaaaaaaand that's it, I guess. For all of you that reach this line without pressing page down 3 times in less than 3 seconds, a big thank you. Please smash that like button and subscribe to someone's channel that's more active than me. Love, peace, and hope to see you all eventually when I get my degree! Until them!
Zander reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, The problem with reviews and reviewers
Anyone who has read one of my reviews knows I'm something of a cynic and a pessimist. I try to think the best about every VN I go into, but my first impulse is to see what is wrong, rather than what is right.
Whether it is optimism and rose-colored glasses or pessimism and cynicism, and excess of either is often a negative influence on the quality of a review. Generally speaking, I usually make an effort to find something I like about a VN's concept before going in, then I start the VN trying to enjoy it as an outgrowth of that. By the end, this usually results in me having experienced both the negative and positive aspects of the VN... the problem is, when reviewing, it is all too easy to forget what is good about the VN.
As a result, when I'm writing up a review, the first thing I do is write up a list of the good points I found, ignoring the mitigating negative factors. I then build the review around these and include the negative points in with the rest... but you can probably tell that being positive just doesn't come naturally to me, since I tend to be pretty harsh.
However, by using this system, I've found dozens of VN gems over the years that I probably would have discarded for perceived negative qualities if I didn't use this process. Indeed, early on in my reading of untranslated VNs, I dropped numerous ones simply because they had a negative aspect that I got obsessed with. I would later go back and replay them, only to find that the negative aspect wasn't as big a deal as I thought at the time, since I made the effort to go back with a differing perspective.
A poor quality in a reviewer is the tendency to ignore the negatives about something you like. Another one is to rate things entirely based on aspects you only have a vague grasp or focus on (in my case, due to my eye problems, I'm not the best judge of artwork, and my musical sense is entirely based on how it enhances the atmosphere, rather than raw quality comprehension). I'm a story reviewer. I review almost exclusively based on the story, characters, and presentation. As such, art and sound rarely have a place in my reviews, since I don't think I'm qualified to evaluate them except in the most general of terms.
I can tell when a VA did an exceptional job, because it stands out enough for me to notice. I will even mention this in the review, since it takes a lot for a performance to stand out to me. However, I never pretend to know the ins and outs of specific aspects of VA or musical quality. I simply don't have the right kind of ear for that kind of thing, not being musically inclined.
One thing I've noticed in some reviewers who prefer niche genres (such as myself) is to display a tendency I refer to as PGRD (or Popular Game Reactionary Disorder). It is a fictional mental disease that many of us who have a distinct preference for a niche genre display that causes us to have a knee-jerk negative reaction to popular works, simply because they are mainstream. This is a problem that is particularly common in Western otakus of around my age, who became fanboys during a time when watching anime, playing Japanese video games, and reading manga had a rather strong stigma that left us feeling isolated and defensive. However, it is also present in people who prefer niche genres (I get the double whammy, being both). That sense of isolation leads to a tendency to over-praise our favorite materials and bash anything that we see as being too popular.
In reverse, there are those who automatically dismiss anything that isn't mainstream. Both types are reactionary in nature and have little to do with the quality of the materials in question. Being a long-time sci-fi addict, I can't understand why anyone would enjoy Avatar (the movie). However, if I make the mistake of saying that in front of a fanboy of the movie, I will inevitably get a vociferous lecture on how misunderstood the movie is by science fiction fans...
There are many such examples of such behavior I have experienced over the years, both in myself and in others. As such, a reviewer has to be willing to examine his own motives for liking or hating something. Are you being cynical for the sake of being cynical? Are you over-praising something to the point of overlooking the obvious problems with it? Are you making excuses while thinking you are making a reasoned argument? On the other side, are you ignoring the voice of reason to give you an excuse to dislike something?
In the end, bias is unavoidable... but it is a reviewer's duty to do their best to cast aside as much of it as possible, because people use our reviews as reference points when they pick what they want to play/read/watch.
Zander reacted to Ramaladni for a blog entry, VN of the Month December 2003 - Saya no Uta
You should read this over at https://j-addicts.de/vn-of-the-month-december-2003/ as not only does it have (some) juicier screenshots, but the formatting is much better.
First of all, I believe I should thank the j-addicts/Koutou Yuumin team for their knowledge and expertise. This article grew way beyond my expectations, and I would surely have lost my way without them. Also, to the several friends who gave me feedback and helped me out in various ways, thank you very much. Well then, shall we start?
This month has four masturpieces (get it?). They are Saishuu Chikan Densha 2, Kadowakashi, Christmas★Present, and Kizumono no Shoujo Gaiden. That being said, there are still several other quite decent games. The game that surprised me the most by the positive and my personal masturpiece is Jam 'n Limit, and the games that disappointed me much were Eisai Kyouiku and Yami no Koe III. If you're looking for this month's overall best game, the answer is probably something boring like Saya no Uta (the answer, not the game).
How are masturpieces decided, you ask? Introducing: the fap-o-meter!
In Erogamescape, it's possible to vote on how suitable the H-scenes were for fapping material, ranging from "Weren't useful at all" to "Were pretty useful." Thus, I will attribute a numerical score (from 0 to 5) for each of those and tally up the average. This will be known as the fap-o-meter.
This isn't a fallible and objective method, but it should give an idea of how much cummies the players were able to get out of these games.
To begin with, I decided which games to play based on EGS's database. This is because it's bound to have more games listed than vndb. Out of 107 releases, I checked out 31 games. There were 21 games I would've considered for review, except that I wasn't able to obtain them as nearly all of them are obscure doujin games, which were sold exclusively at Comiket. I blacklisted 55 games: 32 are moege/charage/plotge – basically, games that have too much plot or other crap in the way of my precious porn, 9 were re-releases, 7 were PS2 games or not VNs, 6 were all-ages and thus no porn, and 1 was listed incorrectly.
Please keep in mind that just because a game is ranked higher or lower, it's not an absolute indicator of its quality. Some games cater to one fetish exclusively, so they're not bound to please everyone.
The game titles have been localized by me, as I thought that's something that a predominantly English-speaking audience would appreciate. That is if they don't have one already. The same goes for the synopsis. Many of them are translated by me, and at times, I've had to replace what was very obviously nonsensical machine-translated garbage.
I am still in the process of learning Japanese, and translating is, well, challenging, but I can assure you that there are no lies, falsehoods, or made-up stuff on them. I will put any game descriptions that aren't mine between quotes and credit them appropriately.
The screenshots are at 75% of their original resolution, except for one of the games where I could only play the widescreen version, so it's at 50%.
If you're interested in a specific game, I'd advise for you to CTRL+F search for it. If you'd like to read my overall conclusions on this whole venture, search for My Thoughts and Conclusions.
One last thing: I did not rely on machine translation tools to play these games.
1. Midnight Sleazy Train 2
EGS-Score: 74 (442) Atelier Kaguya TEAM HEARTBEAT Fap-o-meter: 3.26 (91) Saishuu Chikan Densha 2 Main appeal: chikan, forceful sex, group sex 最終痴漢電車2
"Touch her/Lick her/Verbally abuse her"
Well, color me surprised! For some reason, this game has hundreds of votes, so I was curious about how that came to be. Perhaps a lot of people watched the H-OVA and became interested in the game that way? That's what I call a marketing success.
But that's not all. The game itself is a pretty good nukige. Beyond the beautiful art and hot H-scenes, the game bolsters a pretty robust map movement system. Unlike most games where you wander at random, hoping you'll run into the characters, the game tells if there's someone at the place you're about to visit. It sounds like something straightforward, but it doesn't matter how good the game's content is if the system doesn't facilitate the access to that very content.
Besides that, you also have verb-based interactivity during the H-scenes (filling up their lewdness level gauge), and this makes for perfect roleplaying. You're not just playing as a groping protagonist, you feel like the groper yourself. With all of these factors combined, it's no wonder that so many people enjoy this game and the series, yet to this very day.
Though, if you're not that big of a fan of uh...gangbangs, you might not enjoy it that much. Maybe watch the H-OVA first and see if it's something you'd like.
EGS-Score: 65 (41) ZyX Fap-o-meter: 3.25 (4) Kadowakashi Main appeal: sexual slavery 拐 ～カドワカシ～
Wow, uh, what a fast development. They really get straight to the action, huh. Within a couple of minutes, the protagonist rapes one of his students, Tomoko. I'm actually not a fan of justifying this as "lol deep dark desires," but I guess that's the setup they were going for.
The main meat of this game is to sexually train a trio of heroines. True to its name, with Tomoko's help, you kidnap two of your students and confine them in a locked room, starting off with Mizue.
What really makes this game stand out is the sheer variety in H content. The heroine has stats, most of them sexually-related, and you have to raise them to allow for even kinkier play. You have to be strategic with your options to train the ultimate sex slaves. Though, if you suck, you can play on Easy difficulty.
When I say variety, I mean that ALL of these options are available at the start (well, as long as the heroine "consents" to it). This means all kinds of play. You can choose to be kind or to be sadistic. You can make her service you or teach her pleasure through shamefulness. Ultimate freedom and variety.
That doesn't mean you can just do anything. If you're too harsh on her, she'll collapse. Have this happen enough times, and you'll get a game over. So please, be responsible, and take good care of your sex slaves!
When it comes to the staff members, the spotlight is on the game's artist, Mutou Keiji. He is responsible for the character design and art of many games I have played in the past, from Studio Triumph. It's extremely similar to JAST published Do You Like Horny Bunnies?. Perhaps they had the same teacher? It might seem odd at first, but I grew really fond of this style over time. The sex scenes are also animated, and for once, they actually look good. Nice!
EGS-Score: 70 (62) Ail [Team Riva] Fap-o-meter: 3.09 (11) Christmas★Present Main appeal: BDSM, forceful sex, comedy クリスマス★プレゼント
This was actually the game I was looking forward to playing the most. Considering this is the month of December, I really wanted to play at least one game that would really get me into the holiday spirit. It took me hours to figure out how to get it working, but man, was it worth it!
While the description is a bit grim and dark, the game is actually the complete opposite. It's always fun and filled with comedic moments. The best way to describe this game would perhaps be "bakage" (silly game) due to its sheer absurdity and ridiculousness.
Of note, the game has a sort of "affinity" system. Your actions will increase your "evil" points by a certain amount. So, you can abuse the powers of the Saint's Crest, which can make any wish come true, or you can be a good boy and play along as Santa's Little Helper, spreading happiness all over town.
The art is beautiful, the sex is hot, the banter between characters is great. This game would make for the perfect Christmas present.
4. Defiled Girls - Campus of Used Goods Side Story
EGS-Score: 70 (83) Rasen Fap-o-meter: 2.82 (17) Kizumono no Shoujo -Kizumono no Gakuen Gaiden- Main appeal: blackmail, forceful sex, group sex 傷モノの少女－傷モノの学園・外伝－
This an insult game. This game has insult scenes, the protagonist and his buddy insult the girls...wait, what? Duh, I mean, rape. Yes, that's the word. This game is basically a side story of the original Kizumono no Gakuen. You don't really need to have played the previous game as it's not a direct sequel.
Takeshi and Narumi's involvement in the previous incident is briefly explained - Takeshi was forced to film the girls being raped, under threat of being killed, and Narumi was one of the victims. Upon finding one of his old videos, he can no longer contain his excitement.
I prefer this game to the first one because I like seeing the gap between peaceful school life and the moments of higher tension. That's not to say that the battle royale setting isn't thrilling though. It also feels like more of a personal experience, since you have one protagonist instead of multiple ones/multiple POVs.
While you might initially think it to be a rape fest...it's just so much more than that. It capitalizes on human emotions: sorrow, anguish, sadness, loneliness...and instead of an abrupt chaotic state, it's gratifying to witness that transition. You can also expect exciting developments such as betrayals when you least see them coming.
The H-scenes are well, pretty good. There's nothing that bonds friends together any more than doing the same girl at the same time...the story is about the defilement of the girls, as much as it is about the corruption of the protagonist's psyche. Though it helps to have a friend who is crazier than you. At least in this game, the "villains" actually feel like villains as they delve into their intricate plots, instead of your casual rapists.
Of particular note, this game has a quite nice atmosphere, boosted by a quality soundtrack. Good faps are to be had with this game.
5. I'm a Booth Attendant - Heisaku and Kenta's Wild Tales
EGS-Score: 65 (35) Interheart Fap-o-meter: 2.75 (4) Oira wa Bandai ~Heisaku & Kenta no Yume Monogatari~ Main appeal: voyeurism オイラは番台～平作＆健太の夢物語～
One day, a police detective suddenly barged in a certain popular public bathhouse that the protagonist was in charge of.
"Dan Koutarou! You're under arrest, under suspicion of sexual assault!"
With a clack, he was handcuffed.
Several months passed, and after a hellish series of interrogations, his guilt was established.
"Why, why am I the only one serving a prison sentence?
Why are Heisaku and Kenta getting away scott free?
But, it seems that is my fate...
Even if they were to be caught, it does not mean that my punishment would go away, but...
Is the public bathhouse that I inherited from my pops done for?
I've really done something awful to him..."
Man, I can't believe we came out innocent. I feel kinda bad about pushing the blame solely on Koutarou, but this too is part of fate, huh. Kou-chan, just sit quietly in your cell! So, we were cleared of suspicion, but what should we do from now on? You're right...for now, how about we go back to Koutarou's shop, and peek in the bath once again?! There's also videos of those women we filmed that we haven't used yet! To begin with, let's change bathhouse's name! Enter Heisaku and Kenta's Wild Tales! This is a side story, continuing off the ending of the first game. I really recommend that you play that game first so that you'll get the most enjoyment out of the story.
Basically, this is a real-time, public bathhouse management game. You take in customers, and you can peek at them while they change clothes, are in the toilet or just chilling in the bath. You'll have to follow the schedule carefully and know the exact times when the heroines visit the bathhouse. The game's system is pretty helpful in this regard, but something like a tutorial would've been much appreciated. It takes some time to get used to the gameplay, as you also have to use and buy items that will help you in your peeping quest, but I find the experience to be worth the trouble.
If anything, the banter between characters is pretty well-done. Most of the characters are actually adults, which is a nice change of pace. I also like that the previous game's protagonist went to jail since that's what happens when you do bad things. The game is pretty similar to the first one, so once again, that's probably where you want to start.
Interheart themselves published a walkthrough for this game, and I wish I had noticed it before playing...oh well.
6. Please Teach Nanami and Konomi the ABC
EGS-Score: 68 (101) Studio Ring Fap-o-meter: 2.61 (18) Nanami to Konomi no Oshiete ABC Main appeal: lolicon ななみとこのみのおしえてA・B・C
Alright, so uh...yeah. Despite the pretty art and cutesy voice acting, I found this game to be not much more than wish fulfillment for lolicon.
To begin with, I'm not a fan of deredere, lovestruck heroines, but if you're into this type of content, you're probably going to enjoy it.
7. Lewd Little Sister BABY
EGS-Score: 65 (65) Image Craft Fap-o-meter: 2.58 (13) Inmai Baby Main appeal: lolicon 淫妹BABY
Right, so, uh...yeah. There are two main points of interest in this game. First, it's the art or overall art direction. Not only are the H-scenes fully animated, but the sprites are also constantly changing very fluidly. The artstyle might seem simple, but it's nice and colorful. Honestly, this game very much feels like an anime, to the point I'd almost unironically call it an "anime game".
The second point is the sheer amount and variety of endings. You have the freedom to craft the story as you please, but remember that everything you do has a consequence.
Strictly speaking, I'd only recommend this to fans of the genre.
8. Children Milk Parfait
EGS-Score: 66 (28) Shiritsu Sakuranbo Shouggakou Fap-o-meter: 2.57 (7) Kodomo Milk Parfait Main appeal: lolicon こどもみるくぱふぇ
I swear, I'm not doing it on purpose! Anyway, for this game, I actually had to make a decision, since if I included the votes of the 2007 DVD release, it would score much higher. To make things fair, I decided not to.
In my opinion, I found this game to be boring. The children don't act like children (more like naughty adults trapped in a child's body), and most scenes are teasing.
I also thought that the OP was really catchy, it even forced me to get up from my chair and bust my moves for a few minutes. The UI is also extremely cutesy, which fits the mood of the game.
9. Matty, the youngest child
EGS-Score: 61 (22) Complet's Fap-o-meter: 2.5 (6) Matty Main appeal: straight shotacon まってぃ
I actually completed two routes of this game...but it's difficult to call them routes to begin with. Okay, first of all, this is what will usually happen. At school, you get two alternating choices that decide what type of event will occur. When you're back home, you get four choices which are meaningless by themselves (e.g., kill time, go back to your room, watch TV, etc.), and if you're lucky you'll trigger some kind of event with the heroines.
When it's time to go to bed, you can choose between going to sleep right away, going to the restroom, or reading a porn magazine (there are like four to collect, can you get them all?!). The first two of those choices CAN trigger events, but 90% of the time nothing happens.
And this repeats every single day until the game ends. You have no idea which choices trigger what, you have to constantly savescum if you want to see events with a certain heroine (and of course, you'll have to try all the choices first, every time), and even then, more than half of the scenes are teasing. So all you're really doing is collecting events.
I hope I was able to convey the frustration I felt playing this game. Why couldn't they have employed a map movement system, where you could just visit everyone in their respective rooms? Why this lazy, inane system? And even worse, the heroine I was aiming for doesn't even have an H-scene or a proper ending. The game just ends abruptly. What a piece of crap.
Either way, the art by Mame is definitely the game's high point. I recommend that you read the prologue, download a complete save file, and check out the H-scenes. Or play a better game, by the same company.
10. Surrender - Ravished Body, Broken Heart
EGS-Score: 60 (3) X[iks] Fap-o-meter: 2.5 (2) Shikkan ~Hazukashimerareta Karada, Oreta Kokoro~ Main appeal: BDSM, forceful sex, mystery しっかん ～辱められた躰、折れた心～
This is a mystery game where the objective is to uncover the spy and the island's other mysteries. Who is the spy, and what are they after? What secrets does this hospital hold?
The navigation is done through a map movement system. I usually dislike these, but you can at least trust the characters to hang out in a specific place. There's the doctor who hangs out at her own office, the patient that stays inside her room, the two nurses in the nurse station and the nurse in the psychosomatic ward. If you check out the other areas, you can find out more about the game's world, side characters, and... special tools.
When you talk to the characters, there's also this interactive system, kinda like the old verb-based games. Except that it's with nouns, people's names, locations and so on.In conclusion, the game's system is kinda annoying, and honestly, I don't feel like doing bad things to the characters when they're so lovely... The dialogue and voice acting are built in such a way that they actually feel like real humans. Speaking of voice acting, it's pretty good! You might recognize some industry veterans...
I'd say that despite some annoyances, the journey does feel worth it. It's definitely a game I'd like to spend more time with.
11. Good Girl's Worries Counselling Room - Fantasy World's Immoral Guidance
EGS-Score: 65 (15) Collection Fap-o-meter: 2.33 (3) Yoi Ko no Nayami Soudanshitsu ~Mousou Sekai no Haitokuteki Shidou~ Main appeal: group sex, forceful sex よい娘の悩み相談室～妄想世界の背徳的指導～
Essentially, when his brother collapses from overwork, by sheer coincidence the protagonist manages to find out that he was in charge of a counseling website. The gameplay is simple: you check your inbox on the website, pick the e-mail you want to read, read it, and then the protagonist imagines the H-events described on the e-mail. After that, it is your job to give the girls advice through a series of choices.
I was initially disappointed, thinking it was kinda lame to not engage with the heroines directly, but I find this to be a really novel idea. They take what would be generic H-scenes and give them a backstory, aftermath, and the female character's perspective. The most fun I had with this game was reading those very e-mails and challenging myself to give good advice.
For example, there's a high school student who talks about how several boys confessed to her at once, and she ends indulging their wish of wanting to create "pleasant memories" with her. I told her that she needs to value her body more and that she should be responsible and pick only one of the guys to be her boyfriend. It really feels like a very personal experience, where I am crafting my own story, almost as if I was actually talking to a real high school student.
I did not get that far, but it seems, later on, you'll actually be able to meet the girls, so there's something to look forward to. After all, most of the game's H-scenes only occur inside the protagonist's fantasy world, not in reality...or do they?
Another point I'd make is that while the art might seem kinda amateurish, I actually think it's pretty hot. I like it!
12. Bright Future - Wet 'N Messy 2nd Time
EGS-Score: 70 (93) FlyingShine Black Fap-o-meter: 2.17 (12) Akarui Mirai ~Wet And Messy 2nd time~ Main appeal: forceful sex, group sex, wet and messy アカルイミライ Wet And Messy 2nd time
This is a mystery/drama game that also doubles as a nukige. You, as the leader of the newspaper club, are initially given the task to investigate the so-called "Honey Ghost." The rest is according to the description: you start talking to a girl from the past and then realize that she died. Your objective is to find out what happened and change her terrible fate to a bright future.
But that's not all. There are also several peculiarities happening in the present. There's the mysterious psychic treatment (psychosomatic) school club, which is in fact just a front for a group of rapists. While you are busy with your investigation, be careful not to let the heroines fall into their grasp...
True to its name, you can expect things to get really wet and messy, by a variety of fluids...be it water, essential oils (aromatherapy), milk, SEMEN...But while the art is beautiful and the story seems promising, the game actually suffers from the excessive H-scenes. Before you really have time to care about a heroine, you end up peeking on them having or being forced into sex by a group of guys. If the scenes were more spaced out, the game would actually feel like it has some tension. Overall, I Just feel like it's trying to do too many things at once.
While you get plenty of choices, only very few of them branch out the story. Most of them just give you an alternate or slightly different scene. They don't really have an impact on the story. The series was rebooted as the Kurai Mirai (Dark Future) or Crime Rhyme series. By the name alone, you can see the new direction that they took with the games, which I'm not of a fan of. Because no matter which manners of cruelties they must endure, at least the title name "Bright Future" gives you the hope that there is a way for the heroines to avoid their awful fate...even if not entirely.
I'm not a fan of these quasi-NTR gangrape games, where you're just walking around, peeking on others having sex, and not really doing much about it. That's not to say that some of the scenes aren't hot, especially if you like it...wet and messy. I like this scene where your previous choice changes whether the heroine calls you senpai or onii-chan. It's, uh, a nice touch since you're pretty much defining the relationship you have with her.
13. Mansion, the Prison of Lust
EGS-Score: 60 (12) Girl's Software Fap-o-meter: 2 (1) Ingoku no Yakata Main appeal: BDSM, sexual slavery, maids 淫獄の館
First, I suppose I should start with what I liked about this game. The art is gorgeous when it comes to the character design and HCGs, drawn by one of my favorite eroge artists. The sexual slavery scenes are quite varied, but there's also a good number of vanilla scenes. You basically get the choice to give in to your "deep dark desires," or to defy your captor.
To be honest, despite this being a nukige, what I enjoyed the most were the slice-of-life scenes and banter between characters. The music is a great mood-setter, but what made these scenes that much more enjoyable was the stellar voice acting performance. I'm sure that if you look at their names, you'll recognize several industry veterans. I'd point out Isshiki Hikaru, who voices the protagonist's sister in Cartagra as especially memorable. However, all of them were really good, and I also liked their performance in...other parts of the game. That's the thing, though. After spending all that time growing fond of the characters, I don't really want to do awful things to them.
For this game's negative points, I'd say that getting a good ending is really difficult without using a walkthrough, and otherwise, it just gets frustrating. I also disliked the spontaneous H-scenes during the first part of the game. This is because they are all "dream sequences," more like showing a possible future for the protagonist.
It feels as if those scenes were just thrown in there because the slice-of-life and comedy sections were too long, and they thought people would get bored if they didn't get some fap material, but eh. They feel entirely out of place because there's no context and no build-up for those scenes.Another point is that when I train my sex slaves, I don't like sharing them with others...especially dirty old men.
14. Stray Sheep - Disgraceful Confession Room
EGS-Score: 55 (4) Panda House Fap-o-meter: 2 (1) Stray Sheep ~Chijoku no Zangeshitsu~ Main appeal: BDSM, mystery STRAY SHEEP ～恥辱の懺悔室～
Stray Sheep doubles as mystery and hardcore BDSM game. The protagonist makes use of his privileged position as the school's new Father to search for the truth, little by time, at times employing more forceful means.
I did not find myself able to empathize with the protagonist and his revenge-filled heart. It's not that I'm not fond of revenge stories, but if you're going to do awful things to someone, then at least do it to people who deserve it.
If one thing though, both the CGs and character sprites sure are pretty. Reminds me a bit of Mink's artstyle of that time.
EGS-Score: 64 (14) Soft Circle Courreges Fap-o-meter: 2 (1) Masquerade Main appeal: maid, pure love story MASQUERADE
While the setting seems to be grimdark, it's actually kinda wrong to call it a nukige. In fact, you could complete the game while avoiding most of the sexual content.
I actually completed this game as it's relatively short, about one to two others long. I found the main story to be sweet and very much worth the time I spent with it. Some might find it generic, but I guess I'm fond of these pure love type of stories.
You can choose to either engage in sexual acts with your maid or to have conversations with her about a variety of topics, getting to know her better. By sexual acts, I mean that you don't force yourself upon her and that everything is done consensually, even if the protagonist is in a position of authority. On that front, it's kinda weak as a BDSM/sexual slavery game, but I appreciate the variety of content and the hot HCGs.
The negative side is that both these conversations and H-scenes repeat themselves. For example, if you want to unlock further conversations, you'll have to approach specific topics an X number of times. The problem is that the conversations are the exact same the second or third time, so you're gonna be skipping them. It's just annoying. Did they run out of content even though the game is so short? Why force you to repeat conversations? Anyway, you'll probably want to follow a walkthrough.
The similar happens with the H-scenes, where you can unlock extra scenes or variations of the same scene. Anyway, this is a pretty decent doujin game if you like maids, sweet but kinda corny love stories, are willing to press the skip button half the time, and use a walkthrough.
16. A Naughty Doctor
EGS-Score: 58 (7) Sol-fa-soft Fap-o-meter: 2 (1) H na Oisha-san Main appeal: lolicon Hなお医者さん
So I booted up this game, which is unvoiced and has the same looping soundtrack all the time. And on the very first few choices, I hit a little girl, was sent to jail and got a premature Happy Ending. Great game.
"HAPPY ENDING...hell if it is!"
But it's actually an enjoyable game. You touch the characters in places where you're not really supposed to, but get away with it with some convincing persuasion, and eventually get to do a more direct inspection.
I actually like this type of games where you play as a doctor and interact with a patient, deceiving them, and abusing their trust. For example, Studio Triumph's games. But well, this one doesn't even compare since the game is too damn short, as the whole thing is about 20-30 minutes long.
Apparently, there's a voiced version, but I couldn't get my hands on it. The game is decent for what it is, but it's nothing special. I think there should've been more bad endings.
17. Jam 'N Limit - LOCKED/ROOM/CON/FINE/MENT
EGS-Score: 53 (18) Studio Jikkenshitsu Fap-o-meter: 2 (2) Jam n' Limit ~Mis/shitsu/Kan/kin Main appeal: roleplay, forceful sex ジャムアンリミット～密/室/監/禁
The only reason I went ahead and made the description this long is that this is the type of philosophical musings that are constantly present in the game. You can only imagine my surprise, playing this game after I almost considered skipping it - from the cover it seems like a generic nukige, and the score reinforces that assumption. I'm very glad I did not.
Honestly, I can only do this game justice with a full review, which I'd like to do in the near future (maybe), so this will be a bit of a sample of what's to come. It comes with a fair warning though: this game isn't for everyone. It's probably only for sexual deviants like me.
I've played this up until I was done with the first heroine's section of the story. Instead of having character routes, you "conquer" one heroine after the other, so you follow the protagonist's journey through madness. That is to say, this is more the protagonist's story than anything else, but you only truly understand the depth of his madness when you have a "normal" person as a reference. But that isn't all, as they too will find their own "madness."
Your choices in-game have to do with the course of actions you take as much as the preparations you have to make. For example, for your plan to succeed, what kind of precautions should you take, what should you be most concerned about, how will you create the perfect locked room while avoiding suspicion, how will you psychologically corner your prey, how will prevent their escape, and what will you do in the event something unexpected happens.
Accompanied by an in-built flow-chart, you'll be making these decisions as you try to avoid the game's multiple bad endings.
I don't want to spoil the content of the H-scenes, but they've mostly based around..."personalized roleplay."For me, this is the best game I played this month and my personal master and masturpiece, or at least the one which surprised me the most, making this whole venture worth it. Please don't overlook it just because it has the "nukige" label.
It could also be that the game simply left a lasting first impression, which lead me to overhype it slightly. Either way, I look forward to finishing it and publishing a more detailed review, whether it lives up to my expectations or not. Maybe.
18. Gifted Education Frenzy
EGS-Score: 65 (89) Kuzuryuu Fap-o-meter: 1.93 (14) Eisai Kyouiku Main appeal: BDSM, sexual slavery 英才狂育
You might know this from the H-OVA "Study a Broad." With beautiful art from Innocent Grey's CEO Sugina Miki, renown artist responsible for Cartagra, Kara no Shoujo series and Flowers series, coupled with BDSM and sexual slavery themes, what could possibly go wrong with this game?
Put simply, this game sucks. Sugina Miki's art and the seiyuu's talents were put to waste with this game thanks to an awful gameplay system.
So, you have three phases during the day: morning, lunchtime, and after school. During those periods, you can visit different locations during the game, taking up one, two, and five time slots respectively. Oh, and I fail to mention that there are ten locations in the game? So, you have to visit the heroines at the RIGHT TIME in the RIGHT PLACE to trigger the events. What a load of crap.
This game is the ultimate proof that no matter how good your game's content is (in this case, H-scenes), it doesn't matter if it's locked behind a nonsensical and overly complicated system. Sure, you have an idea of where the characters are likely to hang out, but who would've thought that the flower arrangement club member likes to hang out on the rooftop?
So, definitely use a walkthrough. And don't try to pursue more than one heroine at a time, as the timeslots often clash. That's not everything, though. If you fuck up too much in the beginning, you can get a bad ending. And even if you follow a walkthrough, you probably won't get to see every event.
This game is as sadistic to its players as it is to the heroines. I actually completed one of the routes - the twins. And there I witnessed some of the most stupid teen drama I ever had the displeasure of going through in recent times. At the very least, the H-scenes are hot, but I don't think it's worth seeing them without the context behind them. How frustrating!
EGS-Score: 74 (21) Black Package Try Fap-o-meter: 1.8 (5) Shinshoku Main appeal: sexual slavery 浸蝕
I actually edited the first part of this synopsis from vndb because it was filled with lies, so I claim it as my own. Ahem.
This game unceremoniously starts with four H-scenes in a row. It sure doesn't waste any time, huh? On the very first scene, the setting is established. Toshiya, despite being of high school age, is somehow a hardcore sex slave trainer, all because his mother was a whore when he was a child. The orphanage's director is already his sex slave, as are other girls in school, and then he "infiltrates" this loving family intending to make them his sex slaves just for the lulz.
You witness the mother, who knows the protag for nothing but a few days (or like, 10 minutes in-game), masturbate while calling his name. I mean, what the fuck. Already? She hardly even knows him! This protagonist is literally the equivalent of an isekai anime protag who one-shots everything in sight on the first episode.
I did not find the art or the voice acting appealing either, but there's plenty of variety when it comes to the training scenes, I guess.
If I had to mention any positives, it would be that the game is quite technically advanced. There's an in-built flowchart, a read text marker, the ability to jump to the next and previous choices, and voice lines on the backlog.
All in all, this game is nothing more than rape fantasy and is completely disrespectful and demeaning towards women.
20. Last Order
EGS-Score: 70 (50) 13cm Fap-o-meter: 1.75 (8) Last Order Main appeal: sexual slavery, group sex ラストオーダー
This is a game which seemed to be nothing more than a generic nukige, but ended surprising me. If there were such a thing as a theme for this game, it'd be moratorium, the postponement of social responsibilities. The protagonist and other characters deal with this issue on different degrees: feeling like they're growing up too fast, being afraid to become a full-fledged adult, or being too attached to things of the past. As someone finding themselves within this very period of transition, I felt I was able to connect to the game on a personal level, if even slightly.
The sexual content mostly revolves around the use of devices for sexual training and bondage. With two new waitresses bolstering floréal's ranks, so are there two new prey for the protagonist to lay his hands on.
I have mentioned this several times before, I believe, but I'm not fond of sharing my sex slaves. After the slaves' training is cumplete, you have them serve the customers, often multiple at once, and this happens when you had just thought they became yours. I'd say that might be why the fap-o-meter is so low, even though this is actually a quite decent game.
21. Intense Pregnant Belly - Senpai, Please Acknowledge My Child!
EGS-Score: 41 (18) Acme X Fap-o-meter: 1.67 (3) Hageshiku Botebara! Senpai, Watashi no Ko, Mitomete Kudasai!! Main appeal: forceful sex, group sex, yuri 激しくボテ腹! ～センパイ、私のコ、認めてくださいっ!～
First of all, I gotta ask. Who the hell came up with such a dumb title?
This game is just a tasteless and senseless complete rapefest. It is disgustingly evil and cruel. I'm sorry, but I don't have much else to say. I dropped it because I'm not a masochist and there's hardly a redeeming factor to this piece of crap. I guess some people might be into it, but I'm not. Moving along.
22. Say Yah! Happy New Year 2003!
EGS-Score: 55 (9) Authoring Heaven Fap-o-meter: 1.6 (5) Say Yah! 2003 Main appeal: comedy, straight shotacon Say Yah! 2003
This game is not only a sequel to first Say Yah!, but it also features characters from other Authoring Heaven and Complet's games, as they're both imprints of the same stock company. You can expect similar kind of content and humor from the same games.
Basically, you have a map, and you choose which house to deliver presents to... in the form of sex. It's not really my cup of tea, but the game is kinda funny, if you're into that type of humor...
23. Married Woman Slave Coffee Shop 2
EGS-Score: 60 (20) Black Lilith Fap-o-meter: 1.6 (5) Hitozuma Dorei Kissa 2 Main appeal: sexual slavery, group sex, forceful sex 人妻奴隷喫茶2
"To think that you'd really take pictures like these...you're scum, human scum!"
I played the first game too just so I could understand this game better. Thus this will serve as a review for both games. They're about 20 mins each, so that wasn't an issue. But well, there isn't that much to say, except that the games suck.
On the first game, these three high school students with nothing better to do than wander around town manage to spot a lady shoplifting. And somehow, they make use of that knowledge to blackmail her into becoming her sex slave. After the first H-scene, it's scene after scene until the game ends.
On the second game, this chick finds The Three Stooges talking about how much they love sex, and apprehends their sex toys. After calling them human scum, she ends up fapping with those toys inside the classroom, and she follows them to the coffee shop because she's secretly a colossal pervert, I guess. The rest plays out the same as the first game.
The games have slight ero animations which kinda look good, but since it's a zoomed up close-up, they end up covering most of the CG. These games are cheap, they're too short, and they suck.
24. The Voice in the Night III - Summoning Circle Pentagram of the Three Desires
EGS-Score: 60 (45) Black Cyc Fap-o-meter: 1.5 (14) Yami no Koe III ~Gobou San'yoku Mahoujin~ Main appeal: corruption of characters 闇の声III ～五芒三欲魔方陣～
Wait, what is a Black Cyc game doing at the very bottom? To truly understand this, you'd have to play the first two games, as this one is part of the original Yami no Koe trilogy. Thankfully, I am perfectly suited for this review as I played all of the three games. However, this is a game that I would like to review at a greater length, so I'll try to keep this short.
Basically, this game sucks. No, it would be more correct to say that this would just be an average nukige, if not for its preceding legacy. Because it bears the Yami no Koe name, anyone who plays this game expects high-quality nukige, the same as the first two. But it's the complete opposite.
Here's how the gameplay goes: you have a box with several magical items, starting with five, and each one of them is supposed to awaken a dormant fetish within the heroines. Once you reach the second stage, you get up to ten items to use on the heroines.
Sounds awesome, right? Well, not really. The heroines are only receptive to one or two of the items in each stage. Most of your time is actually spent trying out different items, getting a generic "this item wasn't very effective" message, reloading, trying out a new item, getting the same crap all over again until you get it right. That's not all. While a heroine might've been receptive to an item at first, it might happen that they will not be interested in it in the future. So, it's save, reload, save, reload, save, reload. How about I just quit, uninstall this piece of crap, and never play it again?
Even worse, the protagonist doesn't interact with the heroines directly. Thanks to K's powers, he makes the item magically appear in front of the heroine, and they'll make up a suitable excuse on their own for why the item is there. What a load of bullshit. The only time you have sex with them is at the very end (if you managed to corrupt them all fully), on what feels like the developers' way of mocking and trolling the player.
You know when you play a sequel to one of your favorite games, and it's complete shit? Except that here, you can't blame EA, like with its sudden takeover of Bioware franchises such as Mass Effect or Dragon Age. No, it's literally the same writers, the same director, the very same team. They knew what they were doing with this game, and it's nothing more than a quick cash grab.
I hope I was able to convey my feelings on this matter accurately, and looking at the scoring, it's no surprise. Everyone felt let down by what is the weakest game of the Yami no Koe series.
The only good point to this game is the amazing art, by one of the best eroge/nukige artists. Even Conjueror agrees! However, he gave the second and third games the same score, so I wonder if he actually played them at all.
25. Rape Secretarial Office 2 -Midou Shirou's Chapter
EGS-Score: 65 (12) Maika Fap-o-meter: 1.5 (2) Ryoujoku Hishoshitsu 2 ~Midou Shirou Hen~ Main appeal: sexual slavery, mind control, forceful sex 凌辱秘書室2 ～御童志狼篇～
This game is about rape. It has rape in the title, and even the game's executable file is called "RAPE2.exe".
Basically, you have Midou Shirou, who can use some sort of mysterious power, which translated literally would be something incomprehensible such as "Obscene Vortex Core Fist." Probably some kind of wordplay.
When he says specific keywords, it triggers something within the heroines - there are no tools that need to be used, so it's just a special ability of his. And by special ability, I mean that it's a complete cheat.
After you meet all the heroines, you can choose one of them to be your trained sex slave, as in, it's something that already happened. I found that to be interesting at first, but it's actually kinda lame. Let's say you were interested in a character, would you want to conquer her or would you want the game to gift you her as your already trained slave?
Your objective is to obtain sensitive financial information and have lots of sex while you're at it. Your chosen sex slave will assist you in this task, so you already have six slightly different ways of playing the game. This all sounds awesome, but it's simply too easy. It's too easy to make the heroines fall thanks to Shirou's ability, having them call you "Master" by one H-scene's time.
To begin with, the protagonist is already a cool stud, does he really need this power? He doesn't have any interesting motivations or something you can empathize with. This game is just a trashy rapefest, which puts its beautiful art to waste.
26. I'll Grant Your Wish - A Gift Received in Winter
EGS-Score: 58 (17) High Soft Fap-o-meter: 1 (1) Kanaete Ageru ~Fuyu ga Kureta Okurimono~ Main appeal: group sex かなえてあげる～冬がくれた贈り物～
The premise is rather simple. The protagonist wants to have sex with his girlfriend, but it's totally not happening any time soon, and he faps to his sexual fantasies all day. Wow, he and I are not so different after all!
So, these girls suddenly appear in his room and make the proposal as mentioned earlier. The story is well, as you could imagine, nothing special. It's nothing but senseless H-scene after H-scene, without any thread linking the events together. Put simply, it's just boring to read/play.
You literally play as Santa's little helper, as you go from house to house, and research which present to give to the residents. Depending on the presents you pick, your relationship will improve with one of the heroines. This is a quite cumbersome system, and not very easy without a walkthrough. I wasn't able to find one...
Since the protagonist is the only one who can see the girls, it could also be that he's simply had one fap too many, and none of this is real. Yep, that's probably it.
27. Let me fuck 'ya, teach!
EGS-Score: 50 (11) Tryset Fap-o-meter: 1 (3) Yarasete! Teacher Main appeal: straight shotacon やらせてっ！てぃーちゃー
For a while, I thought I was playing a Complet's game, as this one has similar art, humor, and sexual content. You play as an overly perverted brat and constantly tease the new assistant teacher. Instead of proper routes, just like Matty (ugh), you collect events. The difference is that you trigger those events by moving around the school, as you pick the location you want to visit. I find this blind guessing system to be annoying, so I'd recommend a walkthrough once again.
I actually liked the H-scenes, and I'm pretty surprised this game is sitting here at the bottom, especially when you consider that it spawned a whole series. Maybe Tryset were off to a bad start with this one, or the players just found the system to be too cumbersome.
28. Day-care worker <3
EGS-Score: 45 (9) Triangle-delta Fap-o-meter: 1 (1) Hobo-san Chu! Main appeal: roleplay 保母さんちゅ！
Thought I'd start by giving a warning that, despite the protagonist's profession and the game's setting, all participants in sexual activities are consenting adults.
That already makes for strange setting though. Who thought about mixing up daycare work with...roleplay? The worst part is that they do a pretty poor job at explaining the need for such a thing in the first place. I mean, I don't think it helps her understand the kids' feelings any better by changing adult diapers or making her piss on the ground.
Overall, the setting just feels at odds with the game's sexual content, but it does make for an interesting premise, I guess. I do commend them for trying out something different, and I do find the H-scenes to be not that bad...
The main highlights are the beautiful OP (no need to listen past 2:10) and yet another casting by Isshiki Hikaru.
29. Petite Idols - Disgraceful Fan Appreciation Day
EGS-Score: 52 (14) Black Lilith Fap-o-meter: 1 (3) Puchi Idol ~ Chijoku no Fan Kansha Day Main appeal: lolicon, cosplay, forceful sex, group sex ぷちアイドル～ちじょくのファン感謝デー
This is just bad. I feel like I really hit the bottom of the barrel with this one. It comes with a really stupid reasoning for revenge: the two idols are cheeky and foul-mouthed and treat their greasy, sweaty, disgusting otaku fans with the disrespect they deserve. But then came fan appreciation day...
30. Nestle Close III - Manager Hibiki
EGS-Score: 70 (3) Haikara Kissa Fap-o-meter: 0.5 (2) Nestle Close III Main appeal: onee-san, big breasts, glasses Nestle Close III
I physically cannot play this game, as short-haired heroines with glasses are the worst. Next.
31. Soft and Tender Lesson
EGS-Score: 50 (11) Trabulance Fap-o-meter: 0 (1) Pururn Jugyou Main appeal: breasts, big breasts, big tiddies, tits, oppai ぷるるん授業
As advertised, the heroines have enormous breasts to the point that it's sure to cause back problems. If you're into this type of thing, you might get some enjoyment out of it. However, I found the game to be a completely average nukige.
Of particular note, there is a toggle correct choice indicator. Interact with the same heroine enough times, and you'll have sex with them. Wow, now that I put that in words, it seems that'd describe most games. Either way, despite being thrown to the very bottom, it's certainly not THAT bad. Then again, there's only one vote which is... mine.
My Thoughts and Conclusions
First of all, thanks to everyone who stuck with me until the very end. Or perhaps you're one of the people who scrolled down to the very bottom? It's alright, I don't blame you.
The truth is, this format sucks. Usually, you'd first find a game you like, play it, and then maybe review it, not the other way around. This would've worked much better if I had a team of perverts working with me. Each one of us could pick a game that we might like, play it, and then review it. This was way too much work for one person, as this was all my own, original commentary, but I did my very best for the quality not to suffer.
The very idea of reviewing eroge and excluding nukige would be ridiculous, as despite bearing the "stigma" that comes with the nukige tag, there are some pretty good games amongst those that I reviewed. Making people aware of that was my initial objective, and I hope to have realized it.
Not surprisingly, there's a good number of games focused in particular fetishes. I think it's interesting that there wasn't a single Netorare game amongst these, perhaps the genre hadn't taken off yet. There's a big divide between games with consensual sex and games with forceful sex. The first usually focuses on lighter fetishes, while the second group often goes all the way with hardcore sexual slavery.
I play my games on fullscreen, so I wasn't bothered by the resolution. And there are plenty of games with beautiful art, mood-setting soundtrack, and stellar voice acting performances nonetheless.
The most significant conclusion I'd take is that most of these games, well, suffer from too much gameplay at times. Like I've said on my very first review, it doesn't matter how good your content is if the system is cumbersome in a way that players have too much of a hard time accessing it. You can have a map movement system like Eisai Kyouiku's, which forces you to check a walkthrough every 10 seconds, or you can have one like Saishuu Chikan Densha 2's, where you can worry less about optimization and focus more on having fun. The second is one where the creator really thought about the player experience, how would people actually feel playing the game.
I also found it interesting that most protagonists are actually adults. There are several university students, but you have them do all kinds of jobs: ordinary salarymen, teachers, daycare worker, clerk, doctors, idol manager, grocer, businessman, restaurant floor manager, tutor, even a priest... You also have many different kinds of settings, as if everyone was trying hard to carve their own niche. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside thinking about how everyone, even the little guys, was working hard, giving up precious time during the holiday season to provide us with great fapping material. God bless you.
Oh, you’re probably wondering why I didn’t talk about Saya no Uta. Well, it’s the title that needs no introductions, so I decided to go ahead and not talk about it at all to make my job easier. The point of this article was to have short reviews and summaries for lesser known games of the month, so I can’t just feature the most popular ones and not or just dismissively ignorant talk about the rest. The fap-o-meter is astonishingly low, which is complete blasphemy. This is one of the hottest english published eroge out there, with also one of the best translations available. There’s a story about how Makoto wouldn’t sell his translation until his writer parents approved it, so you can be certain of its quality.
As a closing statement, please, by all means, do try some of these games and enjoy yourself to your heart's content. If you have any questions you'd like to ask me, please go ahead and message me or leave a comment below. As always, thank you for reading, and I appreciate any and all feedback.
Zander reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, The two ways to view the Akagoei series
Akatsuki no Goei is something of an oddball if you ignore the existence of Grisaia, but they share some major traits. Both have a relatively 'peaceful' (if dramatic) first game that involves romantic paths that are mostly irrelevant to the third game. Both have a psychologically-scarred, killer protagonist with a criminal past. Both have a quirky sense of humor that is mostly generated by the protagonist's abnormal actions... I could go on, but I'll move on to my point.
The most blatantly obvious similarity is that both series have three games, the first, the fandisc, then the third as a conclusion. In both cases, the conclusion is more serious, but that is where the similarities end. Whereas Grisaia's third game went down the kinetic novel path, giving you only one ending to see, Akagoei's third game, Tsumibukaki Shuumatsuron actually has three main routes with over fifteen endings, each with a different heroine.
Now, I'm going to hit the titular reason why I wrote this post. Akagoei can be seen one of two ways, based on knowledge gained from playing Reminiscence. You can either see the fandisc as irrelevant save for the long experience of Kaito's past seen in Anzu's route, giving you the background knowledge to give flavor to the third game.... or you can see the FD's endings as an alternative to the ones in Tsumibukaki Shuumatsuron, a conclusion that a lot of the fans of the SOL and comedy elements of the series picked.
This is actually very typical of Kinugasa Shougo. Kinugasa, from all accounts, hates canon endings. He doesn't like to produce firm conclusions, and he always wants to leave the reader guessing on one level or another. I'm about 90% sure Kinugasa created Tigre and made Reminiscence solely to make people confused, because it draws elements from all three games into the background, while not telling you what actually happened at all. A few of those elements include: Akemi's path events in 3, Tae after-story from the FD, Reika path events from 1 and 3, and any number of other things. It is also pretty clear, probably intentionally so, that a lot of the characters from Akagoei left descendants to appear in Reminiscence, though you can only guess who is who by appearance and their roles in the underground society.
In other words, feel free to draw your own conclusions when it comes to this series... that's about half the fun.
Zander reacted to Yuuko for a blog entry, Top 10 Reasons To Learn Japanese (or not)
Live footage of rare JOPs hearing the bimonthly autistic EOP scream over some license
Today I got to know that my blog's reader base has been very sad that my blog has been so quiet for a long time so I decided to do a little update. This time I'm gonna list you some reasons why you might want to learn Japanese! (Start it today or you will never start it just like this blog post)
These reasons are not in any order (are)
Can play Idol M@ster Shiny Colors (or any other idol game but Shiny Colors is the best one)
Number 2: Kotose. Can become a true believer of the true god
Can get all the Yuuko goodness (get cucked!!) Have a meme I made earlier this week but got deleted for """derailing""" CoC
Get to know the difference between Keyakizaka46 and Keyakizaka46!! There is a difference trust me.
Other idols in general such as Nogizaka46 and AKB48
Can watch all the idol bingos. Always wanted your favorite anime to have 10 seasons??? Well idolbingos do have more than 10 seasons and are of the same size as anime seasons!
No more shitty scans or subs. Only godtier real source material. (Eats all your money but who the fuck cares just work a little and be rich xD)
Make bad memes
Get vampire GF
Can make shit lists like this
Did this motivate any of you my lovely readers? I hope it did! Now smart ones of you might have noticed where is all the eroge!??? Well to be honest eroge is not worth it. It fucking sucks and so does the community. Idols, soshage, anything, is better than eroge. Don't do eroge kids. Peace out!
Zander reacted to Plk_Lesiak for a blog entry, Crystalline (Western VN Review)
Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of this game by the developer. All opinion presented here are solely my own.
PixelFade is a studio that from the very beginning showed an unusually ambitious approach to EVN development. Their first project, Ace Academy, offered some features rarely seen in Western VN of similar scale (~10h of content), such as good-quality, full voice acting and lots of impressive-looking, stylistically consistent artwork. It was also pretty atypical in its storytelling, featuring a mostly college-age cast, choosing a very tame approach to romance and avoiding the fanservice endemic to this kind of lighthearted, SoL-focused VNs. Initially funded on Kickstarter as Kendo Crush, it went through a curious evolution from a generic-looking, sports-themed game into a futuristic story about mecha battles but regardless of all the tribulations, the end effect was a highly refreshing, all-ages experience with a satisfying mix of light drama, non-violent action and mystery. In my opinion, it’s still one of the best EVNs ever released, with few real issues beyond the somewhat abrupt, anticlimactic ending and the overly simplistic "gameplay" elements.
Considering the relative success of Ace Academy, it was obvious that there would be high expectations connected to PixelFade’s second project, Crystalline – a lighthearted fantasy tale with a single romanceable heroine, which promised a longer story and even higher production qualities than their debut. After a successful Kickstarter campaign in early 2017, with gathered over 60k CAD (an amount pretty much unseen when it goes to original EVN projects), the game fairly quickly entered Steam on early access and was fully released in late August 2018 – the much anticipated final product offering truly impressive sound and visual design... And, in my opinion, a truly disappointing lack of compelling story content. But why is that exactly?
Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
Zander reacted to Plk_Lesiak for a blog entry, SoulSet (Western VN Review)
Note: I was provided with a free review copy of this game by the developer. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.
The multi-route mystery VN is not a format easy to pull off properly and for that reason not many EVN developers even attempt to tackle it. It requires creating a number of paths and characters, all interesting on their own and complementary to each other, while also keeping the overall quality high enough to motivate the reader to go through all of it in order to piece together the overarching story. This is both a challenge from the writing perspective and requires a fairly substantial amount of content to communicate the mystery effectively – usually, more than an average Western visual novel can provide with the humble resources at its creators' disposal.
Still, all this makes exploring the few examples of such games done right by Western devs that more interesting. SoulSet, developed by NoBreadStudio and released on Steam in late 2016 is a particularly “orthodox” implementation of the formula, with every route and ending (including bad ones) adding to your understanding of the story and culminating in an unlockable “true route”, which resolves the crucial mysteries and tie all the previous paths together. It’s also, as I will try to argue, a damn fine game that positively stands out in the EVN market, in a few ways.
Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
Zander reacted to Zakamutt for a blog entry, Biman1 tl is shit confirmed
I'm sure there are legitimate complaints to be had about the biman 1 translation that cummed out today, but who has time for that shit when you see THIS?
PLEASE IGNORE THE FACT THAT THIS IS A MEME PATCH WITH THE NAMES WRONG RIGHT (thanks @HMN), THE OTHER TEXT BITS WILL BE THE SAME OKAY.
YES THAT'S RIGHT, THAT IS THE MOTHERFUCKING DOUBLE HYPHEN STANDIN FOR A PROPER EM DASH. THIS IS POSSIBLY THE UGLIEST PUNCTUATION SHORTCUT IN EXISTENCE. WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD USE THIS MONSTROSITY RATHER THAN EVEN A TECHNICALLY NOT APPROVED BY LIKE ANY STYLE GUIDE SPACED DASH?
THE BIMAN 1 TL IS CONFIRMED SHIT. THANKS FOR COMING TO MY TED TALK ON LIVING IN A MOTHERFUCKING SOCIETY
UPDATE: MORE CRIMES AGAINST TYPOGRAPHY HAVE BEEN FOUND: BEHOLD THIS RIDICULOUS DOUBLE SPACING:
Zander reacted to Plk_Lesiak for a blog entry, OELVN Developer Spotlight: ebi-hime (Interview)
For the last month, we were going through the impressive catalogue of free VNs by ebi-hime, one of the most celebrated creators within the Western VN scene. As a conclusion to this series, it’s my great pleasure to bring you a short interview with none other than ebi herself. During our conversation, I’ve focused on the dominating themes in ebi’s works and topics directly connected to the freeware titles I was reviewing lately – if you want a more general overview of her inspirations and questions connected to her other work, consider reading the interviews done in the past by The Yuri Nation and Sekai Project. Also, if you’re not familiar with ebi’s free VNs, check out my previous posts about them (Part 1; Part 2) – they should give you the context necessary to understand what we’re talking about in the more context-specific questions. So, here it comes – hope you’ll all enjoy it!
Plk_Lesiak: Thank you for accepting my invitation! I don't think there are many Western VN fans who wouldn't be familiar with your work, but can you share something about the person behind the ebi-hime label?
ebi-hime: I’m ebi and I like cute things, maids, and magical girl anime... And that’s about it! Honestly, I’m not very interesting.
PL: As you talked about your inspirations and interests in other interviews, I would like to focus on the dominant themes in your games. You're one of the few EVN authors that frequently set their stories in the West. Do you have a favourite setting to write about?
ebi: I think England is probably my favourite setting to write about, because it’s the country I live in and I’m reasonably familiar with it (though I don’t know everything about England, of course). It’s easier to place my characters in a setting I know relatively well, as I don’t have to do as much research, and the end result feels more ‘authentic’.
I also like setting stories in Japan because I got into VNs through reading a lot of Japanese VNs which were (what a surprise!) set in Japan. I also watch a lot of anime, and I went through a period where I exclusively read Japanese crime fiction, so I’m fond of Japanese settings! If I don’t feel like setting my stories in England or Japan, I’ll usually pick a European country I’m somewhat familiar with, like France or Italy.
Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
Zander reacted to Narcosis for a blog entry, Revised rating system and the eroge food chain or "why certain genres can't attain enlightment"
I've been meaning to do this for a longer while now, but various circumstances always prevented me from making it.
Before we start, let me make this clear. I dislike value-based rating systems, where numbers are supposed to be an estimate on how "good" something is, or how much quality there is to it. In my opinion, those systems are all fair and square but don't really work the way we'd like them to, not to mention a simple number is vague as hell and doesn't really provide anything except a scale between "good", "bad" and "mediocre" in-between. Why is that? Because vns don't work that way, sadly. You can't really rate a visual novel in the same exact manner as a standard Hollywood movie, plastering a number on top of it; it's because vns are insanely diversified works with many unique sub-genres, built with particular audiences in mind. It's a world, where one fan's treasures are another fan's trash, often within the same genre trees. The same can be said about almost every other work medium belonging to japanese pop culture. Discarding this tiny nuance might actually have a pretty detrimental result in terms of ratings, that are either too vague, unfair or way too hedonist, without actually trying to get the gist of what the game actually is and to whom it is addressed. I'd rather want to think of actual ratings as something that helps in deciding how much a game is in line with one's personal interests and how high that goes. Different groups of players have different needs, therefore it's probably easier to explain the whole thing in form of a diagram:
Don't think of it as "things consuming things", but more as "things supporting other things". Moege aren't particularly worse than high-rated vns, they simply have a completely different target audience, with completely different set of tastes and demands. Obviously, certain genres are more common - because there's a much higher demand for those, but at the same time it means lowering standards to match tastes of a far wider audience, which uniquely leads to genre blandness (this happened to moege and majority of charage already). The games higher on the list in terms of complexity are more streamlined and niche, requiring more refined tastes and greater knowledge in a variety of topics, which leads to them being far less approachable by majority of players. This by default leads to subsequent categorization and further alienation which is one of the major reasons why it's so hard to get into those games and communities that surround them.
Those tiers are permanent and games belonging to them remain forever bound to their respective positions within the chain. It can't be changed, nor affected in any way, as accessibility by ease of understanding is the sole factor that decides about their fate. This also lead me to believe, that a proper rating system should actually take this into consideration. As much as you play a high-tier chuunige for it's cool story and characters, you play a simple charage not for the plot, but for character interactions and protagonist finally connecting with one of the heroines; you want to see where their relationships will lead to and it's the only actual thing you will care about. It's not really possible to compare both through the same exact value-based rating system.
Obviously, we could argue about this forever, so without further ado - I present my new rating system, I'll be using onwards for my vn reviews.
Basic ratings go as follows:
Awful - When things get so bad, you might as well ask yourself what kind of wrong have you committed to end up with such game in your hands. Somehow, you ended up picking it along the way - maybe because it had a cute maid on the cover or a synopsis, which looked particularly interesting; who knows. The point is - the more you play, the less impressed you are and by the time you reach the end, you might be banging your head against the desk in utter disappointment and resentment you ever got yourself into vns. Looks can be deceiving, after all. Avoid whenever possible, since there's probably a thousand things more worth wasting your time on, than crap in p(r)etty disguise.
Hopefully, I won't ever stumble upon a game, that will prompt me to give it a lower score.
Imperfect - Games that strive to be good, but fail somewhere along the way - in one or more aspects. Typically a result of many problems piling up on the dev side of things, including lack of proper knowledge, skills, financial aspects, neglect, and/or faggotry. Those titles might (and prolly will) be enjoyable, but often most, the amount of issues outweighs positive aspects, successfully lowering the enjoyment factor to a large degree. They range from being mildly obnoxious in their issues to outright annoying and might be even riddled with bugs. Needless to say, they should be played in moderation to avoid salt overdose and in most cases, only the most devoted fans are arguably able to look past their flaws. For every imperfect game, you will find at least few similar titles that don't suck as badly.
Mediocre - Games considered a widely accepted quality norm, stuck at their designated level. Mediocre titles tend to be far simpler in nature and typically offer fair value from a consumer standpoint, but lack in soul and technical aspects, making them cheap in comparison with anything above their tier. They tend to be mostly forgettable and don't leave a long-lasting impression (exceptions happen), but remain enjoyable while they last, giving you something to do for a bunch of cozy afternoons. In overall, they tend to leave players with hunger for more and unfulfilled dreams. Expect whatever being mass-produced at current moment to fall under this group, including majority of moege. At times, I tend to leave them with a tiny +, to indicate devs at least tried.
Impressive - A game, which elevates itself above norm and skilfully uses tropes, settings and standards along with various medium-related mechanics to create memorable experiences. Those are typically good games by default, albeit not devoid of flaws, often times being a part of their very nature. They still tend to be far from perfect, but you'll love them regardless of those tiny mistakes and bumps, which remain an indicator of hand-crafted approach. Titles as such aren't uncommon, but more than often - they will leave you thirsty for more and that thirst is something, they aren't really capable to quench; after many of those, you will most probably want to delve deeper. They will purposefully tingle your ego, but don't expect them to give you clear answers, nor solutions to problems they create. They are more often about the voyage itself - asking questions and leaving their readers in a state of bewilderment - rather than the end result. Nonetheless, they are almost always a truly enjoyable ride till the very end. This group tends to attract simpler story-heavy games, as well as more ambitious charage titles.
Outstanding - Very few games reach this sort of artistry, that could be only matched with writers' attention to detail and cleverness in which they build their settings and play with commonly found tropes, much to everyone's surprise and delight of their more hardcore fanbase. In those, the definition of up and down doesn't really exist and any sort of distinctions between what's considered widely accepted moral norms blur to the point of being almost indistinguishable. They rarely give a damn about normalfaggotry conceptions of the perceived genres. Such games will often have great heroes and even greater antagonists - actual people made of flesh and blood, driven by most primal human desires and emotions that will defy physics, bend time and space, obliterate entire armies and cause nations to fall. Such characters often find themselves fighting no less with their enemies, as much as themselves - their flaws, imperfections, inner demons hidden somewhere between the folds of their souls and enjoying to peek outside at times. In those tales, people will die and things get destroyed, with certain fates becoming far worse than a visit to the nearest afterworld. Don't expect your favourite characters getting selective treatment; in realm of outstanding stories, characters considered to be "redeeming" or "favourable" often go through even bigger hell than defeated antagonists - at most if they win - with worst possible cases including moral event horizon induced insanity, gruesome deaths or eternal suffering (preferably all in a never-ending cycle). Those stories will make you laugh, they will make you cry, they are frequently emotionally draining - and boy oh boy - entertaining as hell, provided you're capable to grasp concepts behind their inner workings.
Considered a desired habitable zone by many aspiring and skilful writers, simply because it allows badassery to exist without hurting immersion in the process.
Brilliant - Games that ultimately defy laws and conventions of genres they belong to, written by literate geniuses, capable to mould words into whatever the hell they want. Plot no longer functions like in normal space and characters are akin to visitors on a vast plane of reader's subconsciousness. Those games are typically considered difficult to grasp for most people and with a good reason, because you're expected to deal with creators themselves and whatever personal issues, grudges, hate and passions they throw at you, while you're trying to make sense of everything. They are extremely rare and as such, prone to complete subjectiveness, becoming battlefronts for fan-based warfare. They always attain a cult following and grow endless forests of epileptic trees, which serve as fuel for discussions, that will go on for years - AND YEARS, if not decades after release.
Masterpiece - This, my ladies and gentlemen - is what any fan could consider a holy grail of eroge... if one would only exist. I doubt I'll ever come across a visual novel as good, to be able to freely - and without doubts - give it such a high rating. It didn't happen yet, perhaps I'm yet to read them, who knows. Most of the really good games I know fall somewhere between outstanding and brilliant, to give an example. This rating is more of a gimmick to keep myself at bay there are no perfect games.
In addition, I use the following special tags as well:
Highly recommended - Games I consider being capable of showing "how things should be done", both in terms of writing as well as genre standards and rules they operate under. Such works, are - more or less - exemplary and at the same time - provide both content and enjoyment in a way, that's easy to grasp even for novices and people unaccustomed with their tropes or elements.
Guilty pleasure - You DON'T question why certain games get this tag. Period.
This is something I typically reserve for titles, that might not really be the best or most worthy of attention or general context (I could quite possibly not play them under most circumstances), but definitely deliver elsewhere. Where the former doesn't apply, they simply have things I have a strong and particular fixation about and approach them in such an excellent way - including fetishes I can't really live without anymore - I'm able to forgive those games any other flaws. I don't really play them because of their depth or plot, I play them for my personal enjoyment on a very carnal level and you might find them of equal interest.
Wicked - A game that breaks any contrived norms or standards and does it in a fashion, that's definitely worth praising. I use this tag specifically for games that are a cherry on the top amongst the more morally ambiguous titles, often scaling between "cute", "awful" and outright "disgusting". Those games usually throw players into a vortex of extreme emotions, crushing their hopes and uplifting them seconds after, only to cast them into despair once again; The sort of games, that leave you both with sense of a profound disapproval and an almighty grin on your face. TL&DR Games that are literally a blast to plough through, provided you are both physically and emotionally strong enough (lol).
For those of you, who ever wondered how do I rate the games I play, or what's my perception of vns in general this hopefully clears things up, even if a little bit.
Zander reacted to Ramaladni for a blog entry, Hajimete no Okaa-san - a misunderstood gem
Disclaimer: I played the recent fan translation and from my (limited) knowledge of Japanese, I found it to be quite accurate. I was actually surprised by how the translator made certain sentences work and I can't recall an instance where I thought the translation looked strange.
When Hajimete no Okaa-san's fan translation came out, it caused a tiny yet significant uproar on certain visual novel related communities. The English idiom that spans over a century - don't judge a book by its cover - could possibly have been created for this very moment. I hope that by writing this review, I can clear up any misconceptions about this novel, teach you to not judge a work by its outward appearance and give you the courage to read a truly touching story.
Dealing with the loss of a loved isn't easy, no matter if you're an adult or a child, and even more so if the person in question is an irreplaceable person that you've vowed eternity to or that defines your complete existence.
When our unnamed protagonist, who I will refer to as "Papa", loses his beloved wife to a traffic accident, he is left with the troublesome task of single parenting. Confronting the sorrows of one who has been turned into pure white ash, he finds solace in the one and only person who could understand him and also the one who might be suffering the most - his one and only daughter Chiyori (Chii).
Hajimete no Okaa-san is a very special Visual Novel. Unlike the disappointing standard of recent releases, it treats both its audience and characters with the respect they deserve. The most significant difference between this novel and the many others is the fact that its willing to portray the characters as real human beings. Please allow me to mention that there exist only eight translated visual novels with the "Widower Protagonist" and likely no other that focuses as deeply on the theme of single parenting.
The rather simplistic approach to emotions is surprisingly expressive, although one could argue about the emotional depth of a 6-year old, I was able to completely grasp both the personality of Chii through the brilliant performance of seiyuu Amakawa Milk (a respectable veteran in her own right with a wide palette of roles) and the internal monologues of Papa.
The beginning is rather surprising. The amount of effort that the creators have put into this work is nearly palpable, often leaving one surprised at how nicely written and how well the narrative flows. Starting with ordinary slice-of-life scenes, we're thrown into the daily life of Papa and her daughter Chii. Starting with the smallest things like learning how to write hiragana and her own name in Kanji, the basics of arithmetic, giving up one's fork and knife and mastering the use of chopsticks - they are all endearing moments that help us connect with Chii as a character and reminding us of times long past of our childhood when everything was much simpler. It is this genuine and pure simplicity that initially made this novel stand out.
In contrast to this feeling, enter "Chii wa kodomo janai!" - Chii is no longer a child. Her own desire to find a way to deal with her own sorrows, all the while supporting the one person she loves most in her world, one of the most satisfying factors of reading through this novel is observing Chii's maturity as a character.
Despite the more lighthearted scenes, the novel is plentiful with well-timed drama which never for a moment felt excessive or artificial. Papa is stuck in a constant internal moral debate which at times stops him from realising the suffering of those who are right in front of his eyes.
As far as storytelling goes, one of the biggest attributes ishow the reader has the freedom to change the course of the story (albeit into premature ends). As for this aspect, I would like to divide the story in three or four parts (I will just say that the forth part is a Web Omake, essentially a short epilogue that portrays the life of our two, now three characters after the events of the main game).
The first being the first two hours where we accompany the characters until the inevitable H-scene. Here, the reader is given the choice to not go through it at all and completely avoid the H-scene, ending the game prematurely. To not give in to his dark desires and not abandoning one's morals, is too a possible answer that Papa can find.
The second part and probably the longest, accompanies our two characters as their relationship develops. The most important aspect that I'd like to bring up is that the whole theme of pregnancy is treated. In many eroge, pregnancy is either completely ignored, allowing our most likely 16-year old protagonist to let out his seed without any worries in the world, or treated as an afterthought, perhaps featured in one last H-scene before the game ends. In this novel, not only do we see their relationship flourish but the passage of time, told by the growth of Chii's belly and change of hairstyle (over five different character sprites!), shows us that this is aspect that is willing to be embraced, often being the case for worry for our protagonist.
At the end of the second part, the reader is given another important choice: to go beyond mere carnal desires and a parent's desire to protect his child and thus taking their relationship to the next level, or to once again fall into self-hatred and not take responsibility for one's actions. Thus begins the third part: "I want Papa to always be by my side". While perhaps as long as the first part, it's perhaps the one with the most emotional impact. Vowing to combat loneliness, Papa and Chii realise that being surrounded by the people you love is far more important than having a peaceful life. Chii does not become a replacement - she is her own person and the most important thing in the world to our protagonist. As long as two people can love each other, that is more than enough.
And as long as there is love, there is warmth. A new family is born. The two become three, the warmth keeps rising and it spreads to others around. When I finished reading Hajimete no Okaa-san, I felt a warmth deep inside of me because I realised I had just been through a really special experience. With this review, I hope that I convinced you to read this beautiful story and too come to have warmth in your heart. Thank you for reading.
https://imgur.com/a/FpPkAxp (This might be a little of a spoiler so I won't post it as an image, but it's the last and most impactful scene of the novel)
I am open to criticism and would be happy if you could help me improve as a reviewer.
Zander reacted to Ranzo for a blog entry, Ten Yuri Series You Need To Read Before I Destroy You, And Everything You Have Ever Loved
Ten Yuri Series You Need To Read Before I Destroy You, And Everything You Have Ever Loved
Now, I know what you are going to ask, "What is Yuri?" Well my pathetic and childless friend let me answer that for you. Yuri is a...
(CAN YOU DIG IT?) I was first introduced to the Yuri genre back in my Sophomore year of High School when I was around 16 years old. I was just getting into anime after having been introduced to the best series ever, Galaxy Angel a year prior. That Yuri series happened to be Strawberry Panic!, and I really loved it. Now that I think about it was of the first romance series I actually sat through. It was several years later that I was introduced to Visual Novels and had my thirst for romance essentially quenched. It was only until recently that I was rediscovered my love of the genre and became the enlightened being that stands before you. Now, before I crush you and everything you have ever loved (along with things you just causally liked) here are ten manga series that you really should read.
Number 1. Bloom Into You
By Nakatani Nio
This is what really kicked jumped my yuri obsession into high gear and it quickly became one of my overall favorite manga series.
Bloom Into You, tells the story of Yuu Koito a first year high school student and her involvement with the beloved and enigmatic Touko Nanami. What makes it truly wonderful for me at least is the characters and the art. Yuu is a really strong and grounded protagonist and the fact that she is initially incapable of falling in love makes her quite intriguing, given that this is a romance manga after all. Touko is another really great character and I liked that she was a twist on the classic yuri trope of the perfect and mysterious senpai. Bloom Into You also has a large cast of side characters who flesh out the manga with their perspectives and interactions. The core cast all have a tremendous amount of character growth throughout the series and it has been nice to see them grow and change over time. More than simply being a yuri story Bloom Into You is a story about finding yourself and coming to terms with who you are. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone whether they like yuri or not.
Number 2. The Kase San and...series
By Hiromi Takashima
Status: Completed (Continued in Yamada to Kase-san)
The Kase-San and series is one of the warmest, gentlest, and endearing manga series I have ever come across. It positively oozes sentimentality and radiates sweetness. Such concentrated fluffy feelings exuded by the manga ought to be lethal. I'm surprised it's author Hiromi Takashima, has not been brought up on crimes of adorableness. It's really fucking cute is what I'm trying to convey to you okay? The Kase-San series is about the growing relationship between Yamada the one woman gardening committee representative, and Kase a beloved track and field star. It does a lot to make itself truly memorable inside and outside the yuri circle it was birthed in. It really bucks a common trope that the yuri genre is especially guilty of, which is that most yuri series ends with them becoming a couple. Most yuri manga's and VN's usually end at the mutual confession and kiss stage. It's for the most part a very cathartic ending that rewards all the time the two spent pining for each other. The problem with this ending is that you never get to see them as a couple, it's just presumed that they'll stay together forever and that's it. Kase-San is different in this way. By the end of the first volume they have already kissed and became a couple. The rest of the volumes deal with the trials and tribulations that normally spring up as the two try and understand each other. Both the leads are wonderfully sweet and really complement each other well. Yamada is a big ball of manic energy and cuteness and Kase is a big goof whom is utterly enraptured by Yamada. The art is very vivid and cartoony and every character has a huge range of expressions. I was struck by how much of it reminded me of Dr. Seuss' works. The art also has this amazing ability to turn from cute to sexy in a second. It is really quite the feat.
Number 3. Octave
By Akiyama Haru
Now, I've already covered how much I love this manga in the review so I'll just include a link for it here. It's a great read for those who are sick and tired of high school settings, and hunger for delicious angst.
Number 4. Nettaigyo wa Yuki ni Kogareru
By Makoto Hagino
That's still the best new pickup line I've seen in a while. I'm not sure of it's effectiveness so you should try it out yourself. I have been in love with this manga since the first chapter. It tells the story of Konatsu Amano who moves to a brand new school, in a brand new town while her father is away oversees. There she meets Koyuki Honami a beloved and seemingly perfect older girl (Are you seeing a pattern here?) and their friendship begins. Koyuki is another subversion of that perfect senpai role as she is just a incredibly shy and awkward girl, with no real friends. Their interactions are very honest and believable and they make such a adorkable paring. There are also fun dads in abundance which is interesting because typically family figures are virtually nonexistent when it comes to most yuri mangas. That subtext tag is making me very nervous though.
Number 5. Notes From The Garden Of Lilies
By Suga Atsushi
Why do the best things in the world only come in two volumes? This is how I feel about this particular manga. I love the budding relationship between the two leads. Both are characters that I absolutely adored the moment I encountered them and the way they both bounce off each other is fabulous. I wish there were twenty volumes of this but I suppose I must content myself with only two. The world is so unfair sometimes...
Number 6. The Real Her
By Imamura Youko
...and so it continues. This great yuri love story is only one volume long which I think is absolutely criminal. The Real Her tells the love story of the hardcore masochistic Moe, and the budding sadist Yuuka. Like Notes From The Garden Of Lilies the greatness in this manga is all in the character interaction. It's delightfully funny, and it really satisfied the sadistic side of me.
Number 7. Pulse
By Ratana Satis
Looks like Drama is back on the menu boys! Pulse tells the very adult story about Mel, a beautiful surgeon who is determined to never fall in love again and Lynn, a college student with a life threatening heart condition. It's a very tender story that also manages to be damn sexy. The drama was handled very well and I really liked Lynn much more than I thought I would. I have never been a fan of characters with a affliction because more often than not, they are but a fountain for tears. Lynn never came across to me as being that way and I liked her personality. Mel is also a very strong character and her growth was very believable. If you need a good dose of adult romantic drama then consider this as your prescription covered. Side effects might include lots of tears.
Number 8. It Would Be Great if You Didn't Exist
The drama train is still at the station and oh boy, is this one a doozy. The basic premise is that Guk-Hwa finds out that her dirt-bag boyfriend has been cheating on her with another woman. When she goes to confront the two of them she is struck by how attractive she finds the other woman. I have not really a premise like it before so I was immediately intrigued. The two leads really complement each other and they are very well developed. The humor which is prevalent throughout the series is also pretty fantastic. However, it would be unwise to let your guard down because this series is great about hammer striking you repeatedly with drama laden fists.
Number 9. Hana to Hoshi
By Suzukin Kario
Looks like it's back to high school, I swear I can't escape it no matter how hard I try. I guess the only way would be to avoid anything remotely Japanese but since I can't do that let's get on with this already. Hana used to be table top champion until she was unseated by a newcomer with scary eyes. Unable to handle her newfound loosing streak she was forced to retire from the sport. Hania plans to start over a fresh leaf in her first year of high school only to come face to face with her former rival. This is another one of those slow burns that is helped along greatly by the fantastic back and forth between the two characters. The story opens up further when a romantic rival appears on the scene. The only unfortunate thing about this manga is that it feels a bit cut short. It's a manga that is only two volumes long but it could have easily been four or five.
Number 10. Fragtime
Okay, so it was really hard to decide which one would should end this top ten list but I ultimately decided to go with Fragtime. The premise is what really got my attention. Fragtime is about a young woman named Misuzu who has the power to freeze time for three minutes a day. Instead of using her powerful but limited power for evil she instead uses it to look up the skirt of a girl that she has a crush on. (What a wholesome girl) Unfortunately for her this happens to be the panties belonging to the one person whom is immune to her powers. Even though this is such a goofy premise it still ends up being a very powerful and poignant series. I am so lucky I was able to stumble upon it.
Oh And This Isn't Quite Yuri But I Want It On This List
By Yuuki Kamatani
Okay this might be cheating a little bit but this is not in fact wholly a yuri series. Still, it feels almost criminal to not include it on this list so here it goes. Shimanami Tasogare is about a young boy named Tasuku Kaname who is nearly driven to suicide after nearly being outed as being gay. He is stopped by a strange woman named Anonymous who invites him to a tea house frequented by other social outcasts. I included this manga on the list because there is a lesbian side couple that are very well developed and have a meaningful relationship that has more depth than many yuri manga's. In fact, nearly the whole spectrum of the LGBTQA community is represented in this manga. What's more is that it is done in a way that feels authentic and real. It never once felt fake or phony to me. The characters are all very fleshed out and they are not depicted as perfect beings and they all have their own hangups and problems. It's rare to ever see any real world drama in a yuri manga, in fact it's barely touched on if at all. The situation for gay and lesbian peoples is still one of hardship especially in Japan where gay marriage is still illegal. Tasogare thankfully does not gloss over this and instead provides a very emotional and compelling story.
The Runners Up
This is all for those that I liked but didn't quite make the cut.
By Higashiyama Shou
This was all set to be a really amazing series with a great couple but unfortunately the author was accused of tracing and it was canceled after only six chapters. Truly, it is one of the greatest tragedies of the modern age. Mourn what could have been.
The Feelings We Must All Endure
By Amano Shuninta
This is a great manga to read if are tired of uplifting yuri stories and want to read something that is angsty as all hell. I would rate it higher on my list since it is one of the few series that involves College at all, but they do some haphazard character assassination in the last few chapters and I don't like that. Don't expect a good time while reading this manga, expect a bad time. Still, it's set in a goddamn university! Why the fuck aren't you going to read it?
By Milk Morinaga
I really liked this series because the girls portrayed in it felt like real high school girls dealing with the typical high school problems. There was level of authenticity to their concerns about fashion or dieting because high school girls are real superficial. The gradual romance in this manga series is really sweet and wonderful but there is just one major problem I have with this series and it is the abundance of misunderstandings. The couple in this series have so many moments of jumping to the wrong conclusion or assuming the worst that it gets a bit aggravating after a while. It's like you just want to shake the both of them and scream, "YOU BOTH FUCKING LOVE EACH OTHER, OKAY??" Oh and don't get me started on poorly timed interruptions because this series has plenty of those to spare. Despite those issues Girl Friends is truly a wonderful love story.
Look, I know Citrus is a bit trashy and bit soap opera-y but it's got several really good merits. The first one is that it has Harumin in it and Harumin is the fucking best, okay? She's the fucking best! She's like the reincarnation of Chikaru Minamoto she's that great. She's like a steady helmsman during a raging sea. The second one is the protagonist Yuzu. She's a really strong protagonist with a distinct and interesting personality. Sure, a lot of potential is squandered by her near obsession with Mei but she's still a really great character. The third and final thing is that the series has finally decided to get serious. The problem that I had with the last couple of volumes of Citrus is that the would operate a sort of rouges gallery of girls that would try and break up Yuzu's and Mei's budding relationship. It got a bit stale but thankfully the last few chapters has been a thankful punch in the gut.
Bright And Cheery Amnesia
Really, this image is all you really need to see if you want to know the premise of this manga. It's got a really simplistic plot but it makes up for that with a great deal of warmth and heart. You can't help but read this and not end up smiling like a goddamn fool. It's just that bright and cheery.
Well anyway there is my list I hope you enjoyed it! Oh and before I decimate your pathetic existence I hope you enjoy these various series and...
Zander reacted to Plk_Lesiak for a blog entry, Sunrider: Mark of Arcadius (VN-hybrid game review)
Sunrider: Mask of Arcadius is one of the best-known and probably most appreciated western visual novels. Developed by Love in Space and published for free by Sekai Project in July 2014, it was downloaded on Steam by around 600 thousand players and spawned a successful franchise, with its commercial sequel, Liberation Day and dating sim spin-off, Sunrider Academy, both reaching impressive sale numbers and mostly positive feedback from the community.
What’s interesting, Mask of Arcadius is also a hybrid title, possibly more ambitious and refined with its strategy game elements than “pure” visual novel segments. Most likely, it is exactly that part of the game that gave it a much broader appeal than that of typical VNs and made its spectacular success on Steam possible. Does it, however, still have a similar entertainment value for dedicated VN readers, on a much more saturated, diverse market, as it had in 2014?
Read the full review at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
Zander reacted to kivandopulus for a blog entry, Rabyni ラブィーニ [C's Ware]
Foreword: A C's Ware game at the mature period of company development, past DESIRE, Xenon and Eve:Burst Error. That's already enough to hook me. It has other attractiveness factors like title mystery that is Russian word Рабыни for "female slave". But why bother with Russian title in a nukige? Another reason is that cover has absolutely no premise for slavery. So mayhaps it's a sly puzzle that the company prepared for us? I'm more than willing to discover.
Developer: C's Ware
Synopsis: Reiji is a loser high school student. He likes to peek after girls and girls detest him for that. He only has one childhood friend Misaki who brings him to school and helps him with studies. But everything changes after Reiji is caught by the teacher red-handed taking camera shots in girls' changing room...
Structure: Single road.
Length: Took me 9 hours
Game type: Command selection ADV
Difficulty: Easy, but all the command selection moving around the same areas over and over again makes it exhausting
Character Design rating: 8/10
Protagonist rating: 5/10
Story rating: 5/10
Game quality: 4/10
Overall rating: 6/10
Rating comments: I can divide the whole game into three parts. Beginning part prior to being caught red-handed was actually a blast. First first five minutes of the game hero just decides on a very important question - to go to school or to skip school. That's a very amusing monologue. Next he picks up on every girl discussing their body proportions and each girl gets angry in her own way. It's a very nice comedy in the first part with nice characters and dialogues. I put a firm 8/10 to the first part.
Middle part changes the game drastically. His teacher blackmails him into becoming her slave under the threat of kicking him out of school with making his secret camera shots public. But it's not about sexual slavery that much - she rewards him with intimacy if Reiji has excellent marks and does the home chores like cleaning and cooking properly. In just couple days Reiji evolves greatly and becomes the best student in the class and starts to attract different girls attention. That's a hard to believe change, but still this part is very close to a romance work with getting to know girls better and helping solve their problems. I'd rate this part below the masterpiece level, but still quite highly, at 6/10.
Then comes the last part and the title of the game starts to kick in. Reiji becomes dissatisfied with constant treasons of Yoko-sensei and one day just coerces her to his will putting her to slave position instead. And from then on this master-slave attitude starts to shift to girls. Girls stop being subjects. Even though there is nothing about sexual slavery, Reiji starts to behave like a master easily punishing any of girls for misbehavior. That stopped looking good anymore and ending failed to impress. So this part is worth 4/10 for me.
The sum of those marks is 6/10 and the overall quality of the game prevents it from reaching masterpiece level. Game has no voice, repeating command selection gameplay, few locations and even fewer non-HCG.
Protagonist: Reiji is a nice protagonist while he's a looser. Then he's suddenly reliable good guy with a secret in his his closet. And then he's a master who treats girls around him like punishable objects. That's a bit of too much change for a single game, isn't it? That quickly severs the link between him and the readers.
Characters: There are some 6 girls, I think. But surprisingly enough two girls don't really have their H events. I don't really want to focus on girls since neither of them has their own route. Still girls are cute and dialogues with them makes the most enjoyable part of the game.
Story: I happened to retell the story in the rating comments section.
CG: Very few CG and few locations make the game look bleak. Animated H scenes don't help much since same scene may repeat over and over at different times and there's no dialogue in the mids. Palette is dim.
Sound: Nothing special and no voicing really hurt.
Overall comments: Game was not bad while I tried to evaluate it in the beginning and middle part, but final part spoilt it all creating an inevitably poor impression overall. Still I felt C's Ware puzzling feeling. There was even one scene when you suddenly make it from №300-sh to №1 in grades and have to participate in spontaneous test to prove your ability. It took me some 20 minutes to answer 8 out of 10 repeating questions correct, because many of those questions were different each time and I failed to understand how the knowledge of japanese baseball or which coin can be put to an envelope actually qualified as school knowledge.
Game has a complex nature and is a treat for C's Ware fan like me. I'm really glad it turned out to be a quirky romance comedy rather that fall into fetishism.
Zander reacted to MaggieROBOT for a blog entry, Dank-a-Ronpa Ch.3
TWO WEEKS AGO: Some bananas happened and then tymmur was murdered and our heroes were too powerless to do something about it because I couldn't write this chapter sooner.
"At least we could strengthen our friendship in the meantime..." contemplated Dreamysyu, sitting in the corridor alongside Dergonu, Mitchnomi and Ranzo. The last time we saw them, they were staring the cursed gif looping at the monitor at classroom 2-B. If they were still staring at it, two weeks later, by now they would have nor eyes nor brains nor anything, as every cell of their body would be as pulverized as an unlucky member of the Avengers. Instead, they got the hell out of the room and decided to have a picnic in the corridor. It was enough time for them to max out all Social Links between themselves, while doing aaaaaaaall the things that good close male friends do together, like drink beer, have sex with each other, tell inside jokes, karaoke, a blood pact and read the h-scenes of euphoria. Actually, scratch that, Ranzo was the only one singing. They started with Bleeding Eyes by Masterplan, but after seeing Rinne's enema h-scene, they're now stuck with a looping Suicide Song by Hatsune Miku.
"Maaaaan, that was good! But I think we're supposed to do something else now..." pondered Dergonu. Mitchnomi could have explained the rules about the investigation about now, since they were one of the higher ups, and also a bear, but sadly they died of hepatitis B after the blood pact part.
"Oh yeah, we gotta investigate tymmur's murder! Rest in peace, man..." said Dreamysyu, putting his main character cape once again. With that, they enter the crime scene once again to see...
...KURISU-CHAN WATCHING STEINS;GATE 0!
"...Wait, what? Here too?"
"Yeah, I noticed that no one was using this room so I invited Kenshin to a two-weeks-long anime marathon consisting of the original S;G and all the released S;G 0 episodes." explained Kurisu.
"I thought that you did your hackerman thing everywhere but here..." me too, Dergonu.
"That was right, so I went back in time and fixed that."
"...Wait, at least you saved tymmur, or any of us, while you did that???"
"They saved ME, because now I finally catch up with S;G 0!" replied Kenshin, making Dreamysyu feel a bit NTRed.
"Actually tymmur is right here." pointed Ranzo to the same chair tymmur was last time. Still dead tho.
"But if the screen now is showing only S;G 0 reruns, what killed him in this timeline?"
"The same thing, I'm afraid. Check his phone, someone PMed him the thing." said Dreamysyu, quickly averting his gaze before their eyes exploded.
"Looks like this fic needs the Meaningless Choices tag, 'cause whatever we do, we can't save tymmur." said Senior, creepily appearing behind them. The rest soon followed, led by an angry Maggiekuma trying to put the story back on track.
"Jumping Christ, I tried to make a Corpse Discovery Announcement but I couldn't even access my own system! I knew I should have put Nayleen in this fic... Oh well, guess I'll have to explain it in person. As I weebly explained last time... do you guys even remember it?"
"How could we forget?" said Zander, proudly covering his war scars.
"Gotcha, the thing is, someone is trying to leave this place sacrificing all the remaining students. Sooo what you guys are waiting for? Foil his plan! If the murderer doesn't get away with it, they alone will be punished. The clock's ticking, so let's start this scavenger hunt for clues! No murder is perfect after all, so look for some fingerprints or whatever." Maggiekuma's limited knowledge about detective stuff is somewhat sad.
"Playing games after one of our mates met such a fate... This is indeed remarkably sick..." Poltroon expressed his disgust.
"Everything for the views!"
"I would like to ask how many minutes will we have for this task, but it's probably an indeterminate amount that will end conveniently after all clues were found." Fiddle correctly said.
"Yeah, works for me! Also, here. ZA MAGGIEKUMA FAIRU! 'All info you couldn't possibly discover just investigating' edition! I'll leave it at the main character's hand! Now, happy hunting!~" Maggiekuma outed.
"Even if we didn't start anything here, I would like to say that batman is the most suspicious one here. He is always using gifs here after all." littleshogun gave their opinion.
"Bitch please, that's clearly not barbaric enough to be something made by my hand!"
"I would say that Kenshin is the most suspicious actually. They appeared here out of nowhere and not many people here have a cell phone with them..." Ranzo continued with the distrusting one another atmosphere for the hell of it.
"But they have a strong alibi, AKA me." Kurisu didn't want to lose a fellow Steins;Gater.
"How do we even remember what happened in other timelines?" pondered Virgin, but not really, since he hardly cares anymore.
"(￣`Д´￣)9" Kiri tried to help clearing Kenshin's suspicion, showing that they have a cell phone as well. And surprisingly, no one started to suspect them, as everyone agreed that Kiri only use his phone to play Kirikoi, tweet and other moe stuff.
"Guys, instead of trying to guess who's the killer, how about we start investigating? The correct answer will appear naturally then." Lesiak made everyone shut the fuck up.
"I'm with you. I'm with this feeling... that the cause of his death isn't what it seems. It looks more that all of this... it's just to confuse us." Dreamysyu's not wrong, this fic is hardly cohesive.
"They'll try to push drugs that keep us all dumbed down and hope that we will never see the truth around!" So come on! Oh yeah, this one I can sing along!
"I'll help you investigate. Mystery is right up my alley." Virgin suggested a partnership.
"Oh, let me join too! Just give me a minute to look for the choice that let me join your party!" since it'll take quite some time for Senior to skip his black bible of choices, let's just focus on what the other guys are doing.
"First, let's read the Maggikuma File. EVERYONE, GATHER HERE!" and they did so.
"Okay. Name of the victim: tymmur. Time of death: around 11 AM. Age: 79 (maybe more, since he's a wizard). Height: 1,80 cm. Orientation: homosexual. Favorite Musumaker h-scene..." Dreamysyu blue screened for a while. "...What any of this have to do with the investigation...?"
"Better look at the body directly." Virgin tried to steal Dreamysyu's spotlight, when both of them were alone again.
"I prefer to collect some testimonies first."
"And why's that?"
"Everyone's fictional counterpart in this story is fucking stupid, someone will probably spill the beans if pressured."
"Let's start with Clephas."
"Are you suggesting that I, the Lord of the JOPs, would mingle with you, inferior beings? And just for a senseless slaughter that fails to appease even goddesses such as Ishtar?" Clephas had a point, I don't think Musumaker's h-scenes would please a goddess of sexuality. Since Clephas knew way more h-scenes than Dreamysyu or Virgin, they just leave it to him to calm the gods and kept investigating.
"Let's talk with Poltroon now."
"..." Poltroon brilliantly said.
"What are you even doing, man?"
"Honoring the memory of our fallen comrade. Let me dedicate this moment of silence to him."
"Dude, it's way past one minute now."
"For someone such as tymmur, one minute is not enough. Not a single one of his lines would fit in that interval."
"...That's something the Ultimate Gentleman would do, I suppose." said Dreamysyu and Virgin at the same time, as they left him alone and went to talk with the others.
"Sigh... This is going nowhere..." Dreamysyu was trying hard to stay positive.
"Let's see what we do have. Dergonu, Ranzo and you were together so all of you have alibis. Kenshin and Kurisu have alibis as well. Fiddle said himself, he's the final boss, so I don't think he would try something as early as chapter 3. Kiri seems harmless, but they play moege, suspicious af. Batman and Clephas would probably do something more barbaric than this. I'm not the culprit and that's true 'cause I'm always right. That leaves us with Lesiak, shogun, Blitz, Poltroon, and Zander. Of all of those, Zander is the most suspicious."
"Are they? I can't remember them doing anything strange..."
"Just look at him!"
"Despite my ear damage last chapter, and the damage that my brain sustains every time I found a grammatical error in this mess, I can hear you quite well, Virgin." speaking of the devil.
"Whatever. What are you so-not-suspiciously doing?"
"I'm investigating the body."
"Huh? Someone actually listened to my idea???" Virgin thought that was pure madness.
"...Enough with the hearing puns."
"Anyway. Did you find something out?"
"Oh, most certainly! Look at his feet!"
"I prefer hips, myself." I'll let you choose who said this.
"Not like that! Look, they're stuffed right into a bucket full of water together with this electric wire. Thoughts?"
"I knew the gif was only a distraction! It was a false flag all along!!" Dreamysyu, for the first time in a while, thought that the fic is finally making some sense.
"Actually, the gif was a big fucking clue, since it was a vibrating gif of an anime girl being electrocuted. A goof from the murderer, most likely."
"Why no one noticed this before????? And why only his eyes exploded????? What kinda electrocution is that????" Virgin thought otherwise.
"Probably because this development was rushed for the views or for the feels or whatever, making it as poorly planned as the game night of someone going through a KEY VN without a walkthrough." salt is the main reason batman worked alone.
"...Want me to take some pictures to use as evidence?" Kenshin wanted to be helpful.
"Oh, do that! It's pretty much the only clue I found here."
"...The ONLY clue?"
"So. It is time." Fiddle eerily prophesied.
"I finally found the choice! I just don't understand why I'll join the party if I say "Panties ahoy!" to Kiri..." I think people hardly care about it now, Senior.
"Ding ding ding, TAIMU APU!" announced Maggiekuma over the monitor, that plotholely was again under their command. "Now hurry your asses over here!" and the asses went there.
NEXT TIME: The first trial! Place your bets now, who killed tymmur?
"..." and that was the sound of Poltroon, still in silence.
"Enjoy the silence..." sang Ranzo, like any other chapter ending.
Zander reacted to MaggieROBOT for a blog entry, Otome game writers
In one particular thread about otome games, fellow Fuwan Plk_Lesiak said something that made me think. "It looks like a lot of japanese otome games are written by men" (along these lines). I can't really describe why is that, but I have the same feeling. But hey, maybe we're both wrong so I decide to do a little research. I looked into the team of some big japanese otome companies and tried to find their scenario writers. Here's what I found!
Code:Realize, a very popular JP otomege, was written by five people and the main one is Nishimura Yuu, a male who's a freelancer LN writer. In the game's fandisc though, that's more romance oriented I should add, a woman named Kojima Nao is credited instead.
Collar x Mallice was written by three people, two of them I couldn't find information about their gender. The remaining one, Sahara Yuki, is a woman. She also helped with Rejet's Black Wolves Saga, Ken ga Kimi and Bad Medicine. The director is also a female.
Kokuchou no Psychedelica was written by a team of three females and also directed by a female.
7'scarlet is the first one I found that only one person is credit. And this person is Kanazawa Tomio, male.
Period Cube also has a single person credited: Seki Ryouko, female.
Amnesia was written by two females.
Tokyo Yamanote Boys (at least the first one because it's such a long series) was written by one male and one female.
Tiny x Machinegun's plot was written by Yamada Yuumi, female.
The Dot Kareshi series also have multiple writers, but the main one for the 2nd and 3rd games (the best ones imo) is Urai Anna, female, nice comedy there girl I loved that game.
There's way more games here with very little information about the writer compared to Otomate...
Re:Birthday Song, jeez, there are ten people credited there, at least the three main ones are female.
Ayakashi Gohan, same as above.
Starry Sky series have less writers, but still, all of them are female.
No info about Little Miss Lonesome or Kami-sama Nante Yondenai!, but Torikago no Marriage was written by two females. One look at its VNDB page and you'll see how different the latter is in comparison with the other two games. It doesn't even seem like it's by the same company!
For Karin Entertainment (this is not as famous, but just to do a comparison):
Princess Nightmare and Eikoku Tantei Mysteria were written by one female (the same one, in fact). Zettai Meikyuu Himitsu no Oyayubi-hime and Danzai no Maria were written by two females.
So, what can I say after all this research? It seems that as the company gets bigger, we have less females, less information and more Frankenstein's creature of a plot, dear lord, I couldn't get over ten people yet...
Zander reacted to Plk_Lesiak for a blog entry, Sakura Dungeon (VN-hybrid game review)
Warning: This is review is based on the Steam version of the game, without the 18+ content unlocked. The free uncensored patch unlocks two dozens of CG, including straight-up hentai scenes and adds more nudity to the "clothing damage" system. The "clean" version, however, is still very heavy on sexual themes and can be considered "complete" when it goes to the story.
Among the dedicated fans of visual novels the infamous Sakura games by Winged Cloud are one of the most despised and ridiculed elements of the Western VN market. But, as much as we might not like it, it is also a very popular and in many ways seriously influential series, one that played an important role in popularization of visual novels in the West (and, most likely, did a lot to cement the very poor perception of the genre in the PC gaming community). After the surprising success of Sakura Spirit in mid-2014, with its viral spread all over the Internet and nearly 500k copies sold on Steam, Sakura franchise spawned a huge number of titles – mostly very lazy, relatively short VNs filled with tons of fanservice, uninspired writing and poorly-executed popcultural references. At the same time, the company behind it became unquestionably successful, with decent sale numbers throughout the years and a thriving base of Patreon supporters.
The ecchi formula established by Winged Cloud, throwing nudity and mild sexual themes at the player at every possibility while never going into actual pornography, proved once again that in the VN world “sex sells”, even without actual sex or any other merits that the game could offer outside of pleasant visuals. A bit later, the company expanded into the world of actual eroge, adding hentai scenes to their brand of trashy, shallow VNs with paper-thin plots and stylisation. There were, however, two times when Sakura series tried to offer a little bit more than that. The first one was Sakura Fantasy, a yuri VN in which obvious effort at crafting a better story and giving slightly more meaning to the sexual content was appreciated by the players – however, what was meant to be an episodic game, forever stopped at the first chapter. Maybe the production costs associated with actually giving a f*** proved too high? At this point, no one truly knows. The second attempt at innovation on Winged Cloud’s part produced probably the most interesting (and definitely highest-rated) game in the series – the yuri-themed VN/dungeon crawler hybrid called Sakura Dungeon, that I will be taking a closer look on today.
Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
Zander reacted to MaggieROBOT for a blog entry, Dank-a-Ronpa Ch.2
LAST WEEK: Dreamysyu was all alone in the school, but not really. They then found a bunch of new friends, but not really. After a lot of bitching, Maggiekuma arrives and gives them shocking news, but not really.
"Of course, I'm only saying da shocking rules... NOW!"
"I only care about them if everything is allowed." Zander was in a rebellious mood.
"Whatever happens, the torrents are still not allowed. Let's keep the Fuwa spirit!" said Dergonu, forever trying to moderate.
"Okay, listen up now! You guys have to kill each other. And if the murderer gets away with it, they can leave this place."
"................................Did we really wait a full week just for this???????????" I hope Dreamysyu wasn't the only one expecting something more epic in this part.
"No worries, everyone is waiting for the part where someone dies, as announced." Thank you very much, Fiddle.
"It is better that way, too. We would not be able to abuse a loophole otherwise." Poltroon was getting ready for the game like the white dot that is a moogle in the image below.
"This guy gets it! And of course, I'll also be able to change the rules as I see fit in the middle of the game..." Totally not because of unplanned plot holes.
"Sooo, can I kill everyone right now and just leave?" batman the killjoy said.
"No, I want to hear more about the rules!" To the untrained ear, it looked like Senior just choose the "hear the tutorial again" option because they pressed X so mechanically after the long-winded explanation that ended up picking the wrong option just because it was the one highlighted, but no. He picked the option on purpose, to force Maggiekuma to tell them the details, thus ruining any plan they, Poltroon, batman, and probably Ranzo, were making. That, and because it would unlock one more CG.
"Ooooookay." Said Maggiekuma in a pout that made tymmur's eyes turn into glittering hearts. "Omaera will kill one hito per week, so this fic doesn't owari that hayaku, and the hitogoroshi will be the kuro. Then we'll do a saiban to found out who's the kuro. If omaera guess correctly the kuro, only the kuro will receive oshioki. But if the guiltless omaera were ooooh so wrong, minna receives oshioki except the kuro, that'll be free to go!" Maggiekuma finishes murdering grammar and making my fingers bleed to type that. Apparently the option also unlocked full weeb language for the game.
"...Can you repeat that, but now in english?" Zander's ears were also bleeding. But not for long, because Clephas quickly collected it with some gravity-defying powers to give it as a sacrifice for some God as old as him.
"d(*ﾟーﾟ*)" Kiri, on the other hand, understood everything perfectly.
"So, happy killing!~"
"I think I know who I'll kill first..." Kurisu-chan announced proudly.
"It CAN'T be me." Maggiekuma added, since they were too cute to die.
"Oh..." At least 8 people went tsk.
"Of course, kill the shota first. It's always the young and pure anime characters that have to go first... You guys should be ashamed of promoting such stereotyped behaviour against lolis and shotas, just for the sake of you people feeling superior and..." And so the first day on this weird school ended, and it ended before tymmur's speech that totally missed the point that everyone was trying to kill the villain of the fic.
Dreamysyu wakes up in his usual third seat of the roll beside the window, the setting sun coloring their majestic white hair orange. Just with this tiny introduction we can already see how they have all the needed traits to be the Ultimate Protagonist, and that's why we're following them now. They are already used to have a narrator describing every single thought that pop into their head. Like this one:
"Fuck, I'm on a time loop!" but before they could look for weird kids in a small shrine in the woods, they remembered that the narrator always bulli them, so it was safe to ignore them.
"Hey, there you are, Dreamy-chan!" said Kenshin, approaching while jumping up and down. Wiggle wiggle, would remember Ranzo if they were around.
"How's everyone today, Kenshin?"
"I haven't found everyone yet, but I don't think they changed much, since we have only one greatly exaggerated trait..."
"They're probably in the cafeteria already, so we should join them too!" Kenshin almost grabbed Dreamysyu's hand, but Dreamysyu backed. Nevermind the fact that they shouldn't trust anyone so easily in a setting like this, but handholding is a bit too lewd. And they didn't want to enter any routes if both of them are about to die.
"No, Kenshin, I think... we should keep some distance between us..."
"We're on this battle royale..." (AN: I almost wrote beetle royale, that would make an awesome alternative version, but that's for some other time)
"Fuck, that author's note almost made me forget what I was saying. Anyway, we shouldn't be too friendly with each other because... I'm the main character. If we become friends, then you'll probably have a horrible and painful death just so I can angst and go in a roaring rampage of revenge and... It'll definitely not end well for you!"
"I think you could have a bit more faith in the others." He definitely shouldn't tho. "Besides, I'll be fine! After so many dimensional travels, I finally got the rare dual wield skill, so my strength is unbeatable now!"
"...........Hey, who's supposed to be the main character here?" Dreamysyu slowly realised maybe they weren't the badass protag, but the average guy one.
After that, both of them went to the cafeteria. The breakfast was only a bunch of bananas. Everyone except tymmur, Fiddle and Clephas had such a hard time to find a way to eat it in a non-sexy manner that the breakfast became dinner and then the day ended.
Dreamysyu woke up normally because they aren't that stupid to be fooled twice in the same chapter. And the first person they saw was Mitchnomi, pissed because they couldn't do a "good morning message" stream because all the monitors were showing episode 4 of Steins;Gate 0, probably because of some sorcery pulled by Kurisu-chan. Since Dreamysyu didn't want to hear any good morning message in Mitchnomi's voice, they just walked away, letting the rabbit girl cursing behind.
Back to the cafeteria. Still bananas.
"At this rate, we'll all die from starvation instead. We have to do something." pointed Lesiak, trying to avoid a pretty lame conclusion.
"You puny mortals fail to absorb even such a simple and inferior plant... when the time comes, I'll just watch while you are absorbed like these fruits by more advanced species..." Clephas decided to do an armageddon premonition instead.
"ヽ(ﾟ∀｡)ﾉ" Kiri took Clephas' advice the wrong way and started to use an IV thing to eat, or whatever, the banana. It worked only because it's a fic, don't try this at home.
"Without the IV part here, Kiri's idea is not bad. We can mash the bananas and eat them here." suggested shogun.
"The levels of hygiene in your idea, considering what we have here, are touching, please continue." salted Zander.
"I have a better idea!" said... Maggikuma???
"Let me guess, here comes another cliffhanger..." smartassed Virgin.
"Even better. I'll give you guys a MOTIVE for committing murder!"
"I want to dig your grave. I want to collect your shadow. I want to terminate your body. I want to commit murder!" Ranzo started singing a weird song from some Swedish metal band not known enough for anyone to sing along.
"...I think we already have enough motives to be honest." but batman wasn't enough to stop Maggiekuma.
"Okay, if you commit murder now, you'll get this book on "how to eat bananas in a non-suggestive way" totally free of charge! Just need to call!"
"......................That's the motive???" Kenshin was transitioning to the "leave isekai" arc.
"Hey, it's not like we d-don't know how to eat a s-simple banana or anything..." Kurisu-chan protested or something.
"Weeeeeeeell, if you guys don't want it... happy starving!~" Maggikuma poofed out of there.
"I-it will be fine! I-I'm sure my guide has some choice that says what's the best way... to eat it." Senior tried to make everyone feel daijoubu, but only silence answered him...
"You need not worry, we will find another way to get the wank out of this sodding contraption." Poltroon ended the conversation, even of no one was sure what he meant.
Later that day, Dreamysyu found Mitchnomi... again cursing the monitors. Wait, was Kurisu-chan still watching old episodes of Steins;Gate 0 (probably yes)? Pitying the poor bunny girl, Dreamysyu decided to help. After calling Dergonu, to use his mod powers to see what was wrong with the monitors, Mitchnomi finally calmed down. Even more after Dergonu found out that one monitor in classroom 2-B was apparently free from Kurisu-chan's tyranny. And the monitor there was very big too, hooray Mitchnomi! The three of them run there, but what they found...
...WAS A DEAD BODY!
tymmur's. His eyeballs apparently exploded and glittering blood was escaping from the holes. No one was supposed to be outside, but you could hear a lot of gays' crying and lolis being relieved. And in the monitor... a single gif, vibrating so violently it would break Fuwa's rules to even post something similar here... But even then... the three couldn't take their eyes off it...
"Oh, this reminds me of a song!" entered Ranzo, ruining once again the punchline of the chapter.
NEXT TIME: only 15 students now! Will the group investigate the death properly? And what song did Ranzo remember?
Zander reacted to Plk_Lesiak for a blog entry, Lesbian Visibility Day rant
Hello there! It's not Friday, so it has to be an unusual post and it definitely is one...
It will be a bit chaotic too - only now, late in the evening, after taking a day off and pursuing the only lesbian romance route in Tales of Aravorn: Seasons of the Wolf for most of it, I've realized that today is Lesbian Visibility Day. For me, both as a fan of yuri and as an appreciator of OELVNs it probably should be one important holiday - definitely worthy of a few moments/words of reflection.
Visibility as something inherently positive is a curious idea. It's based on a very important and reasonable assumption, that to make something a public issue and fight for social change, you have to make people aware of that phenonenon's existence, scale and the consequences it might have for those most affected by it. To fight for the acceptance of gay people and systemic change that will give them equality before the law (and, hopefully, equality of opportunities), you cannot accept the conservative argument that sets sexual orientation as a purely "private" matter - the long-lived stance that wants people to visibly adhere to social "norm" and not "bother" others with the fact they're different. Most often, if you want your rights to be respected as a member of a minority group, you have to be loud, you have to be bold to the point of possibly being obnoxious and offensive to some people. You have to fight tooth-and-nail to make sure you won't be trampled by the majority's concepts of what's "normal" and "proper". In many Western countries, for lesbians that fight is to a large extent already "won" - the majority of people see them as a legitimate group worth respecting. Not everywhere though and it's not clear to what degree these gains are permanent.
But is all visibility a good thing? Paraphrasing painfully accurate thought by @Fiddle, we don't really praise Adolf Hitler for bringing attention to Jewish issues in Mein Kampf. Yuri, is, obviously, not nazism. It's not in any inherent way a negative phenomenon for the lesbian cause. But it's also not automatically an ally of any progressive agenda. Japanese media is full of depictions of lesbian romance, which reaches a society that ignores LGBT issues in a way more persistent than pretty much any other highly developed country. For me, it's not especially surprising - just like the saturation of Pornhub with lesbian porn probably doesn't lead to people watching it going to their local Pride parade, fetishized, male-oriented yuri themes in anime and VNs do not have to translate into any kind of educated attitude towards RL queer women. And Japanese yuri, at least until recently, didn't really have an ambition of grounding its narrative into any kind of reality of homosexual romance. SonoHana series is the perfect example of completely isolated, imaginary "yuritopia" (to borrow a handy term from Yurirei), where a huge number of young females live in a world where males exists only in passing references, pretty much everyone's gay by default and there's no prejudice or social stigma connected to that fact - which, of course, make possible a gigantic number of voyeuristic porn scenes. Is it a bad thing by itself? Not really. Does it make people more aware of the situation of sexual minorities as a social issue? Hell no.
Admittedly, some Japanese depictions of yuri romance are probably too lovely and heartwarming to say anything bad about them...
Obviously, there's a lot of issues with representation of women in anime and VNs and I don't want to write a book here. I want to make a slightly different point and this goes to yuri romance in English VNs. This is also not a black and white picture - many EOLVNs directly copy the Japanese formula or give slight twists to it, while still keeping the "lesbian porn for guys" premise. However, for every Negligee and Sakura Fantasy our VN scene produces maybe even a couple of projects that are genuine expressions and/or appreciations of lesbian identity and realities of lesbian relationships. Throughout the various editions of Yuri Game Jam, NaNoRenO and in many commercial titles, I've seen lovely, touching, thought-provoking depictions of f/f romance that gave me huge pleasure as a reader, but also made me empathise with people different than me. Christine Love's work I think holds a special place here, with powerful and persuasive depictions of discrimination and her courage in exploring themes that commercial games rarely dare to go anywhere close to, from Analogue to Ladykiller in a Bind. Lately, Brianna Mei's Butterfly Soup gained similar notoriety, also through a genuine message and creative passion involved. But even small, cute and silly games such as those by Nami can have a genuinely positive role to play, confronting people with diversity in an approachable and lovely way.
One other thing that OELVNs regularly prove to me is that some small, indie games can have more soul in them than many giant, high-budget productions...
I, in all of this, have a pretty questionable position of a straight guy that finds lesbian romance lovely and, to a certain extent, hot. The more genuine the romance depicted is, the more I'm probably a bit of a creepy voyeur getting a high out of something that for other people is part of their identity. But no matter how we see that problem, this genuineness depicted above is something I absolutely love many yuri OELVNs for and a thing to be shared and appreciated. And that's my message for this day.
Thank you for reading!
Zander reacted to Narcosis for a blog entry, Nemurenu Hitsuji to Kodoku na Ookami - first impressions
Warning: this post contains screenshots and (very) minor spoilers from the trial version. If you completely don't want to spoil yourself, or haven't played the trial yet, I'd highly advise to postpone reading until you finish the game first.
If you did not yet stumble upon one of those TIME TO LEARN JAPANESE reminders, you have a damn good reason to finally consider studying moon runes.
Title: 眠れぬ羊と孤独な狼－A Tale of Love, and Cutthroat－ (trial ver.)
(eng. Sleepless Sheep and Lonesome Wolf - A Tale of Love, and Cutthroat / Yourou for short)
Genre: Psychological thriller
Rating: AO/18+ as f*ck
I always had a mixed opinion about ClockUp and their games. It's one of those studios, you will either love or hate with a profound passion and one that's going to be blocked by many game news outlets, websites and forums. Gods forbid you from even talking about their games, unless you're a member of some obscure corner of the internet (like this one) or a member of the perverted sect, known as filthy eroge players. Why? Because their blockbuster games are not only addictive, but often delve into topics, that are - to be blunt - plain repulsive and/or very uncomfortable for most average people to tackle. When they aren't working on their next serious game, they typically tend to churn out low budget porn games, that borderline on rape and mind corruption, with occasional gems in-between (yes, I am looking at you, Zwei Vorter). Joyful, right?
Yourou is their latest addition to that wonderful lineup, best described as a "thrilling crime tale". In comparison to their previous games, Tatsuya dropped fantasy based concepts in favor of a more down-to-earth setting. Yourou seems to focus more broadly on the environment itself, rather than portraying the lives of single characters or a particular group. In that manner, main characters play more of a central role, rather than just being forced into hero/heroine roles. This makes the whole game feel more akin to an actual digital story, rather than a classic visual novel, where everything is told mostly from protagonist's perspective. In all honesty, this was a perfect choice, as the world presented within becomes much more colourful, playing an important role itself, instead of being just a backdrop for the characters to play on.
Heavy filtered, neon-like photographic backgrounds with an added touch of grunge stylistics remind of the reality within - coarse, twisted and brutal, yet insanely vivid. It's a world of prostitutes, carnal pleasures, yakuza and bustling nightlife.
Yourou tells a tale of Takeo - a young man, living in your typical, run-of-the-mill love hotel in Kabukicho district, commonly known as the biggest entertainment zone of Tokyo, Japan. Takeo suffers from chronic insomnia, which turned his whole life upside down. His life is filled with nearly endless days that span across the weeks, while he earns his living as a janitor, cleaning up after guests. We quickly learn of his problems. His daily job is nothing but a cover for his true rason d'etre. In order to survive his disability, Takeo takes upon the offer of one of the leading gang's Bosses and works as an assassin during the nights; killing is the only way he can actually experience sleep.
For both Takeo and Azami - back then still complete strangers, this was ought to be a night like any other. Little did they knew, the following events will make their paths cross again.
This changes, after he meets Azami - a mysterious girl, he spots one day upon leaving to work, as usual. A pretty, young call girl, en-route to her client. Takeo didn't put much thought into it, until the next day his group discovers a dead body in the same exact room, she was supposedly to meet up; A pretty gruesome discovery too boot. upon finding out the man was actually an important member of the neighbourhooding group, Takeo's boss - Mamoru - orders him to find the culprit at all costs and bring her alive to prevent a potential gang war. At this point, Takeo couldn't care less about that, since he already had a reason of his own. Until now, Takeo considered himself a killer sheep - because he only killed upon a direct order. The sole fact of another killer like him, capable to bring down and gut a man of this size, regardless of consequences - an indicator of free will - makes Takeo boil with anger. For him, the mysterious girl becomes an actual wolf, which directly puts his life on the line. Unable to rest in peace, he vouches to find the girl himself at all costs and bloody murder her, so he can finally get a good night's sleep.
Takeo's personal investigation takes him across the streets of Kabukicho. Soon, he discovers the girl he chased after sports nearly inhuman strength and reflexes far beyond his own capabilities; he's forced to run for his own life. As it turns out, this was just the beginning of a wild road, that will inevitably bring an end to his current, peaceful existence.
The trial version covers exactly, what could be considered a prologue to the whole story. It's incredibly well paced, drawing you into a vividly painted image of Kabukicho's underworld - back alleys, host clubs, brothels and many of it's criminal groups, fighting for supremacy in this world filled to the brim with human dreams and desires. I was honestly surprised with the amount of detail, that went into every single aspect of the game. Tatsuya is well known for his prose, that often shifts more into psychological side of things and Yourou uses it surprisingly well to create a colourful cast of characters teeming with life. It's one of those rare stories, that make you feel emotionally invested with heroes of the story and you'll often find yourself cheering for them, even though you know they aren't necessarily good people. In fact, the world of Yourou is painted with grey and greyer shades, while it's characters aren't some superfluous paper dolls, but plain people with their own dreams and goals. This is especially prevalent for both Takeo and Azami, as they aren't guided by some invisible hand, but act entirely based on their own assumptions, choices and more than often - emotions - which in turn makes for some really interesting situations. Things don't "just happen"; if they happen, they do happen for a reason.
Each criminal group within the story is given a proper introduction, without sparing any details. This kind of intricate world-building greatly enriches the game and makes you emotionally invested with characters, no matter who they are.
Nemurenu Hitsuji to Kodoku na Ookami convinces me there are still studios capable of creating original, adult-oriented, purely story driven experiences, instead of this uninspired trash relying on commonly found otaku tropes. I have high expectations of this game and - of course - can't wait for the release. No matter if you're a fan of ClockUp, or someone who's looking for a more mature story - one without highly-pitched animu gals, fawning over protag's virtually infinite manhood - Yourou might be what you're looking for.
As of now, Yourou is scheduled for release on 22th of December. I couldn't ask for a better Christmas present.
PS. Azami is a fantastic heroine. Read the game and you'll understand why