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Clephas last won the day on October 7

Clephas had the most liked content!

About Clephas

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    Infinite Stomach
  • Birthday 02/24/1982

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    VNs, anthropology, writing, reading, translation, anime, video games, sharp things, firearms
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  1. Let's be clear... I have no reason to try to be fair to charage anymore. This might sound like a terrible statement to make, but the fact is, I've been a lot nicer than I wanted to be for years when it came to charage. I went out of my way to look for positive aspects, and when I found one, I deliberately put it in as positive a light I could without overdoing it. This was because the sensation I got coming out of most charage was fatigue. SOL, in small doses, is enjoyable and even relaxing... in the kind of doses I experienced over the last five years, it is downright toxic. Now, down to the game... CharaBration is what is termed a 'thematic charage'. This is a type of VN with a preset theme that all the heroines and possibly the protagonist all adhere to to one degree or another. In this case, it is the duality of the heroines/protagonist's character types. Each of the characters presents one face to the world and another in private... and in the case of this game, the gap between them is massive. The heroine who starts as the initial focus is Hai, the protagonist's cousin whom he thought was a sickly ojousama that he had to take care of... and is really the kind of tomboy who dominates all the males around her, with a coarse manner and foul language. Yukia, who is pretending to be her sister Mirei, presents herself normally as an arrogant leader who always dominates the room, but in private, she is shy and has trouble talking at all. Himeme is normally acts in a false male role, but she really prefers to act like the girl she really is. All the heroines are like this to one degree or another, and Rikka (the protagonist) ends up splitting his life between pretending to be a maid and attending school in his male form. Now... this is a game with a lot of potentially fun elements, and it would have been great if the 'hidden' character traits for Hai, who was presented as the main heroine at first, weren't so grating. Starting out with a positive hatred for Hai that never really faded even after I got into the heroine routes (her ojousama act just made me more irritated, due to that fake cough) was a huge drag on the experience for me, and it is the reason why I took so long to finish even the paths I did. Hai is annoying, to be straight about it. While her presence is necessary to create the situation going in, her persona (both of them) drove me up the wall. The fact that I actually liked the other heroines only made it worse, because whenever she came onto the scene, I just wanted to delete her character. I'm sure some will love her (there is someone for everyone, supposedly), but she isn't for me. Common Route Tbh, the common route spent so much time on Hai and stuff related to her that I'm tempted to erase it from my brain. However, it needs to be said that it does a good job of introducing the heroines and creating their relationships with Yuki/Rikka. Rikka is a standard 'I protest dressing up like a girl but I subconsciously am coming to love it' trap protagonist, and that creates a few moderately amusing scenes... However, I can't really said this did a good job of anything but introducing the heroines and creating those basic relationships. It is a pretty short common route, and the heroine routes afterward aren't long either, so it feels like more time and effort could have been spent deepening the relationships before they headed off into the romantic wilds. Yukia Yukia is easy to like, at least for me. Her helpful, kind nature is prevalent throughout much of the VN, and her other persona is mostly amusing (some of the ways she strings together lines to hold a conversation together make me laugh). Her relationship with her sister, Mirei, which comes out in her path, is amusing on several levels, and I like the way she grows as a character during the course of her path. That said, her ending is somewhat disappointing, as I would have liked to see what she and Rikka were like after graduation. Corona I chose Corona as the second heroine mostly because she is Yukia's opposite in so many ways... and because I rolled a pair of dice to decide which would be the second and final heroine I would play (I can't bring myself to play all the heroines in this type of game anymore). Umm... I really like her character, if only because it makes me laugh (an easily-embarrassed prime personality and a secondary personality that strips without a hint of hesitation and is obsessed with other women's breasts... definitely worth a laugh). In fact, this path is nicely weird, especially because of how those twin personalities interact with the romance. If Yukia's path was par for the course (predictable and staid as trap protagonist and ojousama heroines go), Corona's went pretty far out there. The epilogue and after story was also too close to the ending in chronology though, *sighs*. Conclusions Despite some high points, this game is pretty average as charage go. Like a lot of thematic charage, it makes the mistake of assuming that the theme is all-powerful, and, as a result, it falls short on a lot of minor points. I was particularly irritated at the way they handled the endings/epilogues, and I felt that the writer didn't really do Corona or Yukia justice, when it came down to it. Given more detail and time spent deepening character relationships in a believable fashion, it would have been much easier to engross myself in the setting. Unfortunately, that never happened here (the good parts of Yukia's and Corona's paths stand out so much precisely because they are the best parts of the VN by far). It felt like the writer wrote his favorite scenes first then sort of created a bare-bones framework to support it using the theme.
  2. Addressing the topic author... ... translation purity is a load of shit. Good translators of any stripe basically argue over how far they go toward Americanization or retention of Japanese concepts. Honestly, speaking as a translator myself, I can say that there is no such thing as a perfect translation or localization. However, that is no excuse for poor work. Not everything is possible to translate. It is a miracle that games like Tokyo Babel and Dies Irae are readable and still relatively enjoyable in English, considering how much of a pain the butt it must have been for the translator to deal with the emotional aspects of his work (for one thing, Dies Irae's preexisting fanbase is full of jaded a-holes like me, so he was going to get bashed regardless of what he did). I will state this outright: Japanese translation is a pain in the ass as well as an oxymoron. Japanese doesn't translate, it just gets interpreted into another language with concepts that approximate the meaning while completely missing nuance and subtlety. Machine translation is annoying because it doesn't even meet the baseline of a Japanese translation... interpretation of the original material into comprehensible English that doesn't go off into the wilds and ignore all context (this is the baseline of an acceptable but not necessarily good translation/localization). First, I've yet to encounter a machine translator that consistently produces English sentences that makes sense. Second, I've yet to encounter a machine translator that succeeded in figuring out the correct kanji conjugations to produce words it needs to translate to another language (thus resulting in some seriously weird outputs). Furigana parsers just barely manage to pass muster, and even there you have to disregard the suggestions about anywhere from 30%-60% of of the time (meaning a high level of Japanese and English knowledge is necessary, in any case), based on the favored kanji of the writer and the parser's ability to handle unusual kanji choices (all parsers have their quirks).
  3. Revisiting an old memory

    Recently, @Dreamysyu liked one of my older posts, and I felt it was worth revisiting three years later, simply because it has become an even more valid post in light of current events. At the time I wrote this post, I was pretty angry. Why? I'd had the misfortune to see several fellow otakus who happened to be female being subtly (and not so subtly) denigrated by other male otakus at a small gathering at a local gaming event. The girls were obviously enjoying their cosplay (it was a cosplay-allowed private event for jrpg-lovers of various ages without about fifty people), and they were discussing their favorite games as heatedly as you would expect from the obsessed types that show up at such events (I'm just as bad, obviously). Unfortunately, about halfway through, several male members of the conversation turned the discussion to eroge, and sexual innuendos started flying at the girls mixed in with various poorly-used Japanese phrases that would have made me wince even if I hadn't hated the content of their statements. This was disgusting in and of itself, but it was obvious that the males in question were losing their grasp on the line between reality and eroge (exactly how is that possible, really?). They started fantasizing openly about what would happen to the character versions of the girls' cosplay if they were put in an eroge... and things just got out of hand from there. Now, this is just one event that I attended on a whim (under my real name) because I got an invite from an old friend. However, I had to wonder afterwards... how many of us fail to understand just how warped the sexual viewpoints in VNs are? I've always been well-aware of it, but I got the impression that those males (listed as 'kids' in my mind, due to my extreme old age of 34 at the time) had no understanding of just how warped those viewpoints are. I've always understood that most of the Japanese VNs I've read are fundamentally sexist on some level (some weren't, but most were), but I felt like I was listening to someone born in a different universe at that moment. Perhaps it is because I really don't see rl women as subjects of sexual attraction anymore, but I honestly couldn't comprehend on a gut level falling into that kind of pattern of behavior with someone I was conversing with in a congenial manner only moments before. It bothered me then and it bothers me now that others could.
  4. September 2018 Releases That I'm not Playing [Edited}

    I should have clarified... games I'm not playing for September 2018. These are the ones I cut off from the beginning.
  5. Spooky VN Challenge Palooza

    Butterfly Seeker
  6. Charages with actual plot

    Nakige don't end on depressing notes, by definition. The definition of a nakige is a game with moderate to strong emotional catharsis with crises that are resolved in a manner that doesn't leave a bad aftertaste. The most classic examples are Key's games. Nakige Recommendations Moshimo Ashita ga Harenaraba Komorebi no Nostalgica (My number 1 recommendation from this list) Koisuru Doll to Omoi no Kiseki Mirai Nostalgia Yomegami Haru to Yuki Haruka ni Aogi, Uruwashi no Soshite Hatsukoi ga Imouto ni Naru Hikoukigumo no Mukougawa (If you only play one path, play Eiri's) Toki o Tsumugu Yakusoku Plotge you might be interested in Izayoi no Fortuna Fake Azure Arcology Re:Birth Colony Hatsuyuki Sakura Ojou-sama wa Gokigen Naname (if you don't mind the evil aunt being creepy as hell) Sakura, Sakimashita Goofy Stuff that has a story/central plot World Election Senren Banka
  7. Kemono Musume no Sodatekata

    This is the newest game by Sweet & Tea, the makers of the near-kamige (kamige in my heart) Karenai Sekai to Owaru Hana. This has a different set of writers, with Ban'ya of Kuroinu and Mugen Renkan handling the sweaty H-scenes and NYAON, the writer of Moshimo Ashita ga Harenaraba (and a few charage and nakige besides that) as the main writer. Now, this is a kinetic 3P lovey-dovey nakige about a girl named Iroha who, after spending ten years trapped in a divine realm by accident with a wolf god, is returned to that realm... with wolf-ears! (lol) I say it is about Iroha mostly because of my fetish, but it is really about her, the protagonist Shuuji, his girlfriend Kana, and the people around them. Now, a few things to get out of the way before I put down my own feelings and impressions... for those who don't like cheater protagonists, I'm going to come out with it straight up. He cheats on Kana with Iroha. The fact that this is mostly a comedic element is because of Iroha's animalistic/innocent manner (she's actually just aggressive about what she wants and more knowledgeable than her speech patterns indicate), and the fact that Kana has pretty much been the seducer/brainwasher side of the relationship with Shuuji, who tends to be the type to give in to the girls he cares about in just about everything. Now, this game never goes really dark. It has some bad moments for the characters emotionally (the protagonist has his own issues and ten years is a LONG time), but that is all properly resolved in a cathartic way, as is the way with nakige. Unlike Karenai Hana, there is no aura of terrible suffering and despair, and the protagonist is mostly about compassion and love rather than self-sacrificing love and guilt. While this game is pretty short (think about four hours for me, six to seven hours for the average reader), it doesn't feel unsatisfying for what it is. I did want a more extensive epilogue, but the one I got was hilariously H, so I came out of this feeling mostly satisfied. Perhaps my sole real reservation is the fact that this didn't become a 4P with Chihiro, who is obviously interested in Shuuji (even moreso by the end). I'm thinking that they will eventually make a followup, sequel, or fandisc to advance the whole story more. However, with the immediate issues all resolved, the game doesn't feel as truncated as I usually feel with games setting up for sequels or fandiscs from the beginning.
  8. Good VN youtube channels

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_FH22NOgXLwPCBYb_3rECA I've been following this guy's videos for over six years... but that probably isn't what you are asking about. I couldn't resist though.
  9. Just make it a 'professionally approved' tag. Giving one person that kind of ego boost never leads to anything good.
  10. Which VNs have you legally bought in some way?

    https://vndb.org/u10917/list Plus about two dozen nukige I didn't rate. Edit: Being fiscally solvent while doing so required an insane amount of work and the fact that I don't have a wife or kids. Also, offloading physical copies of stuff I played but didn't like was harder than I originally thought (I paid my dues, literally, so why do I have to have kusoge cluttering up my attic and closet?). I really didn't mind when most of the charage I lent out never came back... and there is a reason why I go for a download copy in every case that it is possible... there is just a point where the sheer physical mass of the games becomes overwhelming, even when they don't have those ridiculous oversized packages (for older stuff, I actually asked my contact to look for second-hand disc-only versions whenever possible, lol). The swag was easier to get rid of, lol.
  11. This is a list of next month's releases that I'm not playing (that aren't nukige) and my thoughts on each, based on the Getchu and official pages, as well as my experience with the writers and companies involved. Raspberry Cube This is from the makers of Wagamama High Spec, one of the most average charage in existence *Clephas sticks out his tongue defiantly at the inevitable protestors, accidentally allowing several demons he was eating to escape* First, the good signs... this game's initial presentation is that of a comedy charage. The heroine character profiles are wacky, the initial description is also goofy, and the CGs presented are not 100% h-scene material. On the negative side, however, they rather blatantly avoid any real description of the protagonist beyond his position as a 'former delinquent'. It is generally not a good sign that the heroines have about the equivalent of three paragraphs of detailed info and the protagonist has one short one. In addition, there is a general sense I get from the official site that they are trying to impress you with their moe-moe atmosphere... but they did that with Wagamama High Spec and their other games as well. As such, my initial impression of this game goes in is a 'probable 6, maybe 6.5'. Hime to Otome no Yakimochi Love I'm going to be blunt, the company and its obsession with princess/ojousama-themed games doesn't really do much for me. Oh, I do have a fondness for ojousama-ge, but this company never hits the right notes and it tends to go for the 'standard' themes with its paths for the rich girls involved, regardless of the writer. The writer, in this case, is the same person who wrote Primal Hearts and Primal Hearts 2, so there is hope for the comedy aspect. However, he is also very inconsistent as a writer, sometimes showing flashes of sheer genius, at others stumbling over his own feet in attempts to make poorly-chosen tropes work. The heroine descriptions are all a standard templates for various princess and ojousama heroine types, so it is hard to get up much of an interest in them, at least for me. The protagonist in this one is described well and seems like he might be a strong presence... at first glance. Unfortunately, it is rather evident just from the material available that he is probably going to spend much of the game being as dense as the lead used to shield nuclear reactors and stumble at all the right moments to make him seem like an idiot despite being supposedly a highly intelligent jock. I'd probably predict a similar rating to the game above, if for different reasons. Another thought about the two above It is never a good sign when two charage come out in one month using the same writer. Sono Hana ga Saitara, Mata Boku wa Kimi ni Deau This is the latest game in Campus's now-massive series of kinetic novels based in its two-faced school of normals and hidden magical beings. I'm going to be a bit blunt... if you played Hatsukoi Syndrome, you will figure out from just the character description of the heroine exactly what is going on. Magicians/sorcerers in this setting have one serious peculiarity that plays a role in their love lives (curses them, pretty much), and it is pretty clear what is going to happen based on that fact. While Campus has yet to make a bad game in this setting, it is something of a buzzkill (at least to me), that they went out of their way to pick a mage heroine and immediately gave you big rotting fish of a hint before you even play the game as to the central conflict.
  12. Something like Akatsuki no Goei

    The first three I list below are the closest to what you want. I'd honestly recommend any of the games on this list for individuals who hide their abilities from others, but Hello, Lady's Narita Shinri and Devils Devel Concept's Shigure Sora are the closest to Kaito in terms of 'hiding abilities and comparitively stronger/more capable than those around them'. Hello, Lady (Akatsuki Works) Devils Devel Concept (Akatsuki works) Hyper→Highspeed→Genius Floral Flowlove Ou no Mimi ni wa Todokanai Yami to Hikari no Sanctuary Izuna Zanshinken World Election Abyss Homicide Club (though the protag sucks at hiding his abilities)
  13. VN with a heroine who is a villain/rival to the MC

    This one is in spoilers because it is spoilers: Dies Irae (Kei) Ayakashibito (Kaoru) Vermilion Bind of Blood (Ariya Takajou) Yurikago yori Tenshi Made (Aria) Hello, Lady (protagonist is villain to heroines in a way due to his intentions toward other characters) Electro-Arms (rivals/competitors)
  14. Mirai Radio no Jinkou-Bato

    I chose not to disagree... but Newton was pretty mediocre, and I'm kind of bemused by the reception it is getting from some. The writer seems to do most of his best work away from Laplacian, lol