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Blog Comments posted by Clephas

  1. 1 hour ago, Riku said:

    I'm actually reading it right now. Just entered Kaja's route. I didn't know which order to go with, so just went with the order the choices give Kaja > Itsuki > Flow > Akira (also the order in which they appear at the end of the OP).

    But looking at what you said, it might be better to have Akira before Itsuki if I want the most emotional last? Or continue with this order as Akira's route is about Tenchou and it continues in Last episode, so better read them one after the other?

    Anyway, I'm doing other stuff on the side so i'm slower than usual, but I'm liking it so far. A shame Shouta is only partially voiced, though.

    Do it in whatever order you please... though, to be honest, Kaja route's version of the common route makes me feel like I'm tormenting Flow, since you have to make so many choices that disappoint her.

  2. 21 hours ago, Mr Poltroon said:

    The game really really surprised me positively. I expected an ace attorney rip-off and some sex scenes at the end to call it an eroge, but I've found that both those areas are actually remarkably good!

    I left most of the game to fun2novel during my period of offloading games I wasn't interested in, but the roles of magistrates in Edo-era Japan included roles of judge, jury, and investigator head.  One of the reasons this led to so much corruption in the later part of the era was because it essentially offloaded all responsibilities of keeping order for an individual area of a town, region, or area to a single individual with only the tacit understanding that they were to make sure as little trouble as possible would make its way up the grapevine.  As long as there was no real unrest in the populace and incidents were resolved quickly, the higher officials were happy with the magistrates in question.  There were declarations and laws that absolutely had to be followed (sakoku for instance), but magistrates were given a great deal of discretion to either deal with things or not.  This is why the yakuza and police are usually so thoroughly in bed with one another in Japan's major population centers... as long as the yakuza don't cause trouble in the open, the officials don't care what they do beneath the surface.  It's tradition, lol.

    Well, my point is that when the judge and jury are the same person and people aren't allowed representation, it isn't going to be like Ace Attorney, hahaha.

  3. 34 minutes ago, littleshogun said:

    Out of all those VNs, I only remember Ar Tonelico 2 in which it's sort of the VN that I only played on the console (PS2) along with the first one, and it's also one of the game that my sister play (I'm not lying here). Of course back then we have a hard time to understand it seeing that the plot did really going political, and not to mention that the antagonists are not quite clear (At least Laude being the villain is very clear). I also remember that I only try this because I see the website for this, and back then I thought that the girls are looking good so I'm interested to try it. Never thought that it's actually a VN with gameplay instead of pure RPG, and with a bad system in that you can't save in the VN section (Well it was developed as RPG in the first place).

    As for GUST Ar Tonelico here is actually more like passion project from one of GUST's employee (Tsuchiya Akira), while their main series is still Atelier which including Mana Khemia as well in that contrary to people think actually Atelier's main series instead of spin off. Also actually I want to try Ar Nosurge as well (Ar Tonelico sort of continuation), only that KOEI still not ported it to the PC while at the same time they already ported all of their newer Atelier series into the PC (My laptop can only play Rorona to Shallie though).

    In the end, I guess I'll try Ar Tonelico 2 again if there's a chance for that, although I don't know when though.

    Ar no Surge is a non-canon prequel.

    Technically, the Iris series was the first mainline arc of the Atelier series.  However, most of the fans of the first two Iris games hate the rest of the series, lol.

  4. On 6/16/2020 at 7:56 PM, Zalor said:


    It also seems that you agree that VNs are more immersive, which is the main point I want to get at. I know it might seem obvious to most VN veterans that they are an immersive medium, but I think its an important ground point to establish when thinking about the question "what are the appeal of VNs?"

    One thing I've noticed about the best Japanese VN companies is that they manage to keep all elements of their VNs at a high level or at least an aesthetically pleasing level.  Visual elements are pleasing (though the Japanese baseline is much, much higher due to a near-standardization of the art quality in commercial vns, than the Western one), music direction is still a thing (you know, the thing that vanished after the PSX era from regular games, due to the arrival of voice acting), and voice-acting is even more refined (for the most part, though there are exceptions) than what you see in anime.  

    The area where the Japanese stumble is writing.  Due to the 'crutch' of voiced dialogue, there is a tendency for many writers to try to tell most of the story with dialogue and sprite poses.  However, that is like using only black and white when you have a full color palette available.  If there was one thing that struck me immediately playing my first VNs, it was the sheer impact of combining first-class narration with the other elements of a visual novel (as well as coordinating those elements).  Heck, I've even encountered games where the appropriate use of music, narrative, and voices have carried the game past lower quality artwork to startling heights (Devils Devel Concept being a premier example) that only get better the more times you play it.  

    When everything is high level, however, you wouldn't believe the degree to which it blows you away... the first time I played Dies Irae (In Japanese) it destroyed me completely.  Everything about it quite simply was so different from what I'd experienced previously, while using many of the same elements.  Bradyon Veda did something similar to me, as did Sakura, Moyu and Kitto, Sumiwataru Asairo yori mo,.  To put it simply, there are works out there that utilize the full 'palette' of what the medium is capable of.  However, I can tell you that very few companies would have the wherewithal to gather the talent that can create such games.  

    First, writers with that kind of sheer brilliance are rare.  Second, companies that might gather such writers would not be able to handle them, because each one needs different things to work at 100%.  Third, maintaining all the other parts of a game (Art, VA, Music, and direction) at the same high level even if you have the writing staff has got to be a serious pain in the rear.  

    To be blunt, Visual novels have a lot of moving parts, and just throwing extra people at it doesn't usually work (very few games with multiple main scenario writers or artists have turned out well, though assistants sometimes work out fine).  In retrospect, is is amazing that I can name double digits worth of games that have drawn on every element of the medium to its fullest, considering what a pain it must have been to put it all together.

  5. Ar Tonelico 2- Ah Ar Tonelico, Gust's best series.  Ar Tonelico 2 has the best story of the three games, as well as the best protagonist.  Gameplay-wise, it was a refinement of the first game, with extra elements to make it feel fresh.  It still annoys me today that 3 didn't inherit this game's style and gameplay.

    Xvain is one of those games I picked up because it looked good on paper, then dropped because it annoyed me.  As such, the only thing left in my memory is annoyance.

    Boku ga Sadame- It took me four tries to play this the first time, nine the second, and fourteen the third.  Needless to say, I haven't even tried since.  It is very hard to get into this game, which is very unusual for something by Akatsuki Works, a chuunige company that specializes in grasping you from the beginning.  Once you are actually into the game, it is pretty good, but the prologue and first chapter are a hurdle that is hard to get past.

  6. I've mostly given up on anyone in Japan utilizing the medium properly.  The ones who do don't seem to prosper (Light for instance) or are entirely reliant on a single genius (Caramel Box, Propeller before it disbanded after two failures in a row without Higashide).  I think the reason for this is that the medium got defined really early on as an ero and romance focused medium, due to the twin dominance of the moege and nukige genres.  While there are a number of VNs out there that qualify as true literature, it takes someone with a lot of patience to find them in the first place.  

    I don't have the knowledge to speak definitively about the Western market, however.

    Edit: Part of the reason the Japanese market is so awful is that Japanese find it difficult to ignore preconceptions.  It took even longer than it did here for otakus to stop being treated as second-class citizens, and even now, that prejudice is pretty strong in some quarters (particularly the over-sixty generations).  This tendency to simply believe the preconceptions created by others' words and initial impressions have led to mostly people interested in ero and idealized romances to take an interest in consumer visual novels in Japan, meaning that a greater majority of the games are made to satisfy that type of consumer.  The market is currently contracting (yes it is contracting) and as a result, a disproportionate number of games escape the 'moege' label than in previous years.  However, this is simply because the makers who cater to people who want actual plots or something else in their visual novels still have about the same number of consumers, not because there are a great many more such in an absolute sense.  In time, this shift might result in more serious works gaining an advantage, but that is only if the moege/nukige genres don't bounce back.

  7. 3 hours ago, littleshogun said:

    If Rin didn't ended up with harem, then perhaps it mean that the writer only follow what the late Argobarrier has in regard of the couple, in which I'm sure that Argobarrier set Rin with Shia while the new writer probably prefer Rin being faithful to one heroine. That, or Argobarrier did forgot to add special privilege of being married with God in his draft, namely that it should be possible for Rin to have harem as long as he marry Shia first. So of course Argo here would likely set that Rin is have his own harem, and that so-called Nerine's adoptive granddaughter was probably set as Nerine's blood granddaughter by Argobarrier in his mind before the new writer decided to mess that as well. While in the end the writer point out that there's a possibility where Rin have his harem, it's probably only serve as damage control from the players outrage who probably didn't like to see Rin only marry one heroine (Well technically two as Shia's route show us).

    In the end, I guess Navel here really want to reboot this series with less harem. Although whether I'll play this or not if this is translated, I guess I'll skip it. That said first Shuffle here is still my first proper VN though, and that fact will not change.

    PS - Actually the Da Capo writer himself is quite good in that he's the one who wrote true common route along with both of Himeno's and Ricca's routes, but of course Da Capo style here obviously would be clash with what Argobarrier have in mind.

    The original Da Capo isn't horrible, the rest are fluff.

    I agree that Agobarrier probably had it set as a harem.  Considering very little of what was included was the kind of things he would have included, it is probable that they essentially took the character names and races and just plopped them down into an entirely different setup.  I say this because of the massive gap between the content on the official site and the actual game itself, in particular relating to the heroines.

  8. 16 hours ago, Primulover said:
      Reveal hidden contents

    if they live that long how come did they die prematurely? I thought Shia and Nerine died a natural cause. I presume it's because of Rin's early demise. and did they have a child? Rin's descendant(s) should be a major thing in Eps 2, but I don't see any hint

    and about Asa and Kaede, did they moved on and had their own family? I only know them based on Primula's story, both taught her how to make delish cheesecakes (Fuyou-style and Shigure-style) and had something to do with the drama club.

    It kind of looks like they both stayed single.  

  9. 1 hour ago, Primulover said:

    Well, many negative reviews about the game but Primula's character is still great though, probably due to her writing already well-established in the past.

      Reveal hidden contents

    I thought Divine and Demon races are live longer, but heck they are already long since passed away, and I thought Rin died due to old age? But yeah, according to Primula's story, his demise is likely related to the disaster. ... and I thought Shia has a longer lifespan due to her divine blood or something, but I might misread them, as my Japanese is not good enough

    Feels bad for Nerine though, she died lovelessly, as she only loved Rin.

    Limes route is essentially Mary (Primula) magically giving birth to Jesus (Limes) as the next savior of multiverses :'))

    Primula is so powerful that she can manipulate time and space, but it has some downsides apparently as mini-accelerating time (60 min baking process to only 15 min) caused Citrine to felt a jet-lag and a bit confusion, and she also mentioned that seeing the future can cause an unwanted twist of fate. However, despite all of these, she still prophetically predicted that Limes will always smile with Raito at her sides in her vision lol.


    Primula's character is great yeah... but to answer you...


    It is made clear in Rishia's path that both Mazoku and Shinzoku (demons and gods) live 120 years on average, compared to an average of 80 for humans in Shuffle's world.  So they live about 1.5 times as long.


  10. 6 hours ago, tahu157 said:

    Been wondering what you thought of Episode 2 since you've mentioned several times that you really enjoy the originals. Sorry to hear it wasn't all that great though.

    It was probably inevitable, without Agobarrier alive to bring life to his creation.  The DC writers were never at his level (most generic writers in the old guard at Navel), and Jackson's style is pretty different.  Trying to use Agobarrier's drafts without his style or talent was doomed to disaster from the beginning... and if they were going to transform it, they should have done so in a way that wasn't annoying.

  11. Bullet Butlers is a game I specifically wrote up in a blog post on 'VNs whose stories transcend the heroines'.  Most VNs, for better or worse, are to some degree defined by the quality of their heroines.  However, Higashide - the writer of this game - has a genius for that kind of transcendence.  It is why he now works for Type-Moon, lol.

  12. Iroha- An excellent inaka youkai fantasy.  It isn't a kamige, but if you like slow life in the countryside with a side of youkai heroines and mild mystery, it is a good choice.

    Django- I dropped this after the prologue... like some other Nitroplus games, it has overwhelming problems with presentation that will either make you love it immediately or come to hate it.

    Bullet Butlers- One of Higashide's 'Four Masterpieces' (Ayakashibito, Bullet Butlers, Chrono Belt, and Evolimit), and the one with the most unique setting.  It is based in a detective noir atmosphere in a world where elves, dragons, goblins, orcs, and lizardmen coexist while constantly struggling against those who worship the deceased god of undeath (incidentally, the summary above gets the name of the Mystic One wrong... it is Rand - Randall in full).   

  13. One thing one needs to keep in mind when playing Shugotate, especially if one has already played trap protagonist VNs before, is that it came out in the era before the tropes had solidified into what they are now.

    Why is this significant?  Because it was one of the games that created those tropes, along with the first Otoboku.

    In retrospect, this game's opening scenes at the school are some of the single most painful trap protagonist moments I've ever experienced.  A lot of it is that far too much emphasis is placed upon the protagonist thinking people will find out he is a guy just based on looking at him (or rather, the protagonist's worries over it).  This is more than a little irritating, and the whole freckles and overhanging hair wig thing just made it worse, lol.

    Anyway, where this game always excelled was in its weirdly comical action and story scenes... at the time, I laughed my ass off at it, but it comes across as tame now, having come back after over a dozen such games.  I will say that Bara no Seibo, the sequel, goes a lot darker than this game, and there is none of that painful beginning part to bother the reader, showing both the degree to which the genre had matured and AXL's recognition of that fact.

    That is probably why they went through the trouble to reboot the game recently... though they kept the painful first scenes (albeit with more CGs and detailed writing).  

  14. ExE, as I mentioned before, is a perfect example of early chuunige, with a core of school life, a protagonist who starts normal and gains powers, and a mysterious connection to what is going on behind the scenes.  This is what is called the 'Tsukihime formula' or the 'Gakuen Battle Formula', and most early chuunige vns were of this type.

  15. Shugotate - One of the two series that gave life to a curiosity sub-genre, the trap protagonist.  In this case, it created the 'combat-capable trap protagonist in a plotge' sub-genre, which turned out to have a weird life of its own after this came out.  A complete remake recently came out, with mostly aesthetic upgrades, though I haven't really played it yet.  This game has all the elements you would expect of the genre, from the protagonist constantly worrying about getting caught while being disappointed no one realizes he is a man, as well as the comedy, characters, and writing of an AXL game.

    Ouzoku- SofthouseChara's most famous game.  To be honest, this is one of those Rance-type games with a good story despite the fact that the protagonist is the worst kind of womanizer.  The gameplay is decent, but it is somewhat reminiscent of Langrisser, with the need to heavily budget-manage as well as put out units that can be effective on the individual battlefields you are deploying them to.  As such, it is not in any way suited for beginners to turn-based tactical gameplay.  It also doesn't have a decent tutorial to help you learn the ropes, so most people will end up restarting from the beginning after running out of money partway through.

    ExE- Yuzusoft's first chuunige.  Actually, its only chuunige.  It is very much a representative of the early genre that was born with Tsukihime, with a school-going protagonist who suddenly begins to get powerful rather than having any skills of his own previously, a seemingly devious plot that the protagonist stumbles upon by accident that somehow has deep links to his tragic past, and heroines who mysteriously fall for him inside an hour of gameplay.  In other words, it is a decent game, but it has all the flaws of the early chuunige genre to annoy the experienced while probably being one of the easiest entryways for people new to untranslated to try the genre.

  16. I've reviewed this game on three separate occasions, so I don't think I should add anything except to say that playing the joke path is fairly hilarious if you've already played the true one.  The joke path is a joke path for a reason, but half of it doesn't make sense if you haven't played the true path.  

    It needs to be noted that while Jun is the protagonist, it is Belche who provides the glue to that sticks the entire setting together.  Her attitude, her way of thinking, her treatment of Jun, her past, her reputation, etc all serve to bring the entirety of the setting to life early on.  Not to mention she is a total badass when she lets loose and a scary capable maid (I mean, who else could turn Gatorade into new body parts?).  

  17. Draculius is a kamige, if you only play the true path.  There is also a comedy side path, but I only recommend it if you aren't interested in seeing some interesting fights and character evolution.  Kyuuketsuki no Libra was also an attempt to copy Draculius's success, though it failed due to a lack of a good protagonist and a character as strong as Belche.

    Kimi ga Aruji is a decent Minato soft game... but it isn't great.  Tbh, it feels like a prototype for Majikoi without the sheer depth of characters.

    Touka Gettan is creepy.  I don't say this because I dislike the game but because that is part of how the game was designed.  For a certain type of reader, it is a good choice, but its approach to its themes can be disturbing.

  18. Shinjitougeki Carnival is the only one on that list I've played to the end (I tried Zwei but it was boring).   To be honest, all Talestune games are hard to describe, because they are 'you had to be there' experiences.  Technically speaking, it is a chuuni kinetic novel, but that pretty much tells you nothing.  If you've played Touka Gettan, you'll probably recognize the atmosphere, if not the themes.

  19. The Soleil series is all over the place in terms of quality and setting.  Part of this seems to be because Cthulhu Mythos mixes in at times, and because it is essentially a linked multiverse (unlinked multiverses being those like Type-Moon's Fate/Tsukihime series) where a near infinite number of versions of the post-Ragnarok world have come into existence.  Gouen no Soleil is pretty much 50% Cthulhu, 30% Norse, and 20% Taoist, whereas in other cases it only mixes in slightly.  However, every game in the series is a dark chuunige (I say dark, because most chuunige, especially modern ones, generally don't go as far as these games when it comes to the themes and bad endings).   

    Shin Shirogane is not precisely an alternative version but rather a close sibling game.  Essentially, huge parts of the characters' roles, personalities, and origins get shattered and remixed with others, and this creates a much more chaotic and darker situation.  Honestly, I think it is the worst game in the series, because it was evident the writer couldn't decide what he wanted to do.

    The chronological sequel to Shirogane is actually Soukyuu no Soleil, though I won't spoil it for you.

    So far, the best game in the series is probably Gouen or Blade X Bullet.

  20. 2 hours ago, BookwormOtaku said:

    Okay, since the trilogy stuck the landing I guess I'll try making room for starting it in my untranslated VN backlog, maybe I'll tackle the first once I've finished Sengoku Koihime X.

    Good choices of games all around... 

  21. Shirogane no Soleil was the first Soleil game and the one that defined the  most essential elements of how the Runes, Valkyries, and other elements were treated within the multiverse (though a lot has been retconned since then).  It is also a very old-style chuunige.  The protagonist starts out as a normie, the girls are more powerful than him, and there is a horrible cost for using their powers.  The heroines will seem somewhat archetypical in comparison to modern chuunige heroines, but that doesn't hurt the game as much as you would think.  If you intend to play other games in the series, you should also pay attention to what happens to the various heroines, as some of it 'ripples' outward through the multiverse and has effects on their alternative versions.