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Clephas

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Clephas last won the day on September 21

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About Clephas

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    Infinite Stomach
  • Birthday 02/24/1982

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    http://clephasstomach.blogspot.com/?zx=719f8f42705b40c5

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    VNs, anthropology, writing, reading, translation, anime, video games, sharp things, firearms
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  1. Clephas

    Seishun Fragile

    I took a look at it and rejected it. To be honest, Fragile's humor was the thing that kept me going, and Saga Planets has never been that good with humor. They are best when they make outright plotge or dark nakige. Whenever they try to make something light-hearted, the quality falls drastically.
  2. Clephas

    Seishun Fragile

    What bothered me most about Liz's path is that her issues are issues that should have hit more in the common path than in her own path, save for the encounter with 'you know who'. The central conflict of the story, that which makes Setsuna as the main heroine, pops up in all the paths. However, I felt that Liz's issues should have been partially addressed in the common route then given complexity and depth in her own route, instead of treating it as a nonexistent issue outside of her own path. To be blunt, this was an issue that came up with all the heroines. All of the heroines have at least some issues that should have come out in the common route but instead were restricted solely to their own paths. Moreover, while Liz's reactions make a LOT more sense after you've seen the flashback chapter in Setsuna's path, it is not really addressed in her path, which makes little sense. In other words, this was a case of poor handling of the game as a whole on Purple Software's part, which is why I gave this lower than an 8 rating on vndb (meaning it wouldn't have been a VN of the Month candidate under my old rules). There were a ton of ways this issue could have been handled more effectively than it was, and it seemed like they made a lot of terrifyingly amateurish mistakes considering the polish seen in more recent entries.
  3. I took my first steps onto the road of the otaku in 1992, when I watched the poorly dubbed (all dubs were godawful back then) Record of Lodoss War Volume 1 OVA VCR tape. Now, I was already a heavy fantasy addict, having been introduced to the Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance in 1990, and my obsession was at its peak at the time. When I watched Record of Lodoss War, I saw the typical 'elven maiden with human hero' romance in a new way (incidentally, this is a pretty typical romantic theme in those days, less so nowadays). I also saw oddities that stood out as odd to me precisely because of the oddly black and white point of view enforced on one by the various D&D universes. Of course, I was a chuunibyou brat by that time, already, so it should surprise no one that I got obsessed. It got ten times worse, however, when I encountered Chrono Trigger as it was played on my cousin's SNES. Chrono Trigger is still, to this day, one of the single best rpgs ever made. Looking back, considering all that has been done since then, it is almost TERRIFYING that someone was able to do what was done with Chrono Trigger with the limitations placed by using the SNES system. The story, the world, and the various layers of time were put together into such a subtly complex experience that, to this day, I've yet to see any other rpg manage it. Chrono Cross would manage to imitate some elements of this with its parallel world jumping, but Chrono Trigger's jumping around in time gave you impetus to explore how every aspect of the world could change based on how and when you did certain things. Rumors constantly abounded that there were secret endings (such as the infamous 'vampire Chrono' or 'Save Schala' fake rumors, which some believe led to the way the Chrono Cross storyline was handled), and people - such as me - would play the game repeatedly, using all the meager saves allowed by the cartridge limitations of the time, in hopes that they might trigger those endings or find a way to discover something new. In all honesty, Chrono Trigger being the game that got me into jrpgs probably ruined me for life. It set my standards to a ridiculously high level on a subconscious plane, resulting in me comparing every single jrpg experience since then to it. Aesthetically, musically, and structurally, it was a true jrpg kamige. It was also the game that turned jrpgs into my second otaku obsession. During the SNES-PS2 eras, I literally bought and played EVERY jrpg that came out. I still own them, in fact. I played most of the PS1 and SNES era games multiple times. However, it was also in the PS2 era (often called the 'dawn of the mainstream jrpg') that jrpg quality began to fall off drastically. The kind of genius and artistic flair using minimal resources you saw in previous eras was lost entirely within a few years of the release of FFX (FFX being a good game that also turned VO from a curiosity to a mainstream 'thing'). Musical direction, a role differing from composition, where someone was assigned to decide the timing of using a musical score and which ones fit which dungeons, which story scenes, disappeared in the middle of the PS2 era, as VO was used to fill the gaps of emotionality. However, this also meant that the subtlety of previous eras was lost with a swiftness that left me bewildered at the time. By the time the PS3 era came around, jrpgs were slowing down, due to what I now call 'flashy kusoge fatigue'. Oh, a few sub-genres, such as the Atelier series' alchemy obsessed SOL titles and the more action-based titles continued to be prolific, but what were called 'console-style rpgs' started to vanish. MMO elements were introduced into normal jrpgs, making progression and gameplay less interesting as a result (mostly because it seemed to have been done primarily to draw the WoW crowds into solo rpgs). Storytelling was dying a surprisingly swift death, as tedious gameplay elements (for loot and level-obsessed completionists) began to devour higher and higher proportions of each game's overall playtime. There is a very good reason why people go back and play so-called 'retro' jrpgs so much. There simply aren't that many more recent jrpgs that have that kind of flair and subtle genius. I know for a fact that one of the best ways to get people addicted to jrpgs is still just to let them play Chrono Trigger. Ironically, it was VNs that saved my soul. This was back in 2008, four years before I joined Fuwa. I was introduced to Tsukihime by a fellow anime fansubber, and, for the first time in over three years, I had something interesting enough (story-wise) that I was given a perspective on the nature of my growing irritation and fatigue with jrpgs in general. At the time, the JVN industry was still as vital and full of genius as the jrpg industry was in the PS1 era. Tsukihime and a few other major classics put out near the turn of the century had created the potential for a market of story-focused VNs that had allowed more and more creative people to get into the medium. Masada was releasing his latest version of Dies Irae, and there were literally hundreds of potentially interesting VNs for me to try. Needless to say, I lost my mind almost as badly as when I first played Chrono Trigger. I must have blown four grand of my meager savings on VNs within the first year, and I didn't regret a penny of it. Yes, roughly two-thirds of what I bought was pure crap. However, the gems I discovered gave me a taste of the potential of the medium in a way that was horribly addictive. Moreover, after a few years of being starved of any decent new stories, even the worst VNs had something that I could find I liked about them. In retrospect, I have an addictive personality. I get addicted to things easily, especially when they scratch my story bug. People have said to me, when it came to my jrpg obsession 'if you want a good story, why don't you read a book?', to which I usually gave them a blank stare and said 'I'm already reading good books. I just want stories in my games too.' Interestingly enough, there were a few bursts of true creativity in jrpgs in the years since, like Tales of Berseria and Nier: Automata, but they partially stand out due to the sheer bleakness of the genre landscape. People praise Octopath Traveler and Dragon Quest XI with intensity, and they practically worship Bravely Default. However, I have been shocked at how low-quality the presentation of these stories has been. It's like an entire generation has gotten used to ineptness in presentation to the point where they can be charmed by backhanded efforts at retro-nostalgia. Octopath has all the grind of the old SaGa Frontier games with none of the charm, the best part of each of the paths being at the beginning. Dragon Quest XI retains the horribly grindy nature of Dragon Quest games without improving on the formula in any real way. Moreover, locking so much content into the post-game annoys the hell out of me (I prefer new game +, obviously). JVNs have suffered their own decline, which is ironically due to the same demographics that inflated the medium in the first place (the dominance of the moe/charage lovers). VNs were always destined to be a niche medium, but the over-specialization of the industry has led to an inability to adapt to changing spending habits and demographics. Even if they wanted to regear for a new generation of consumers, most companies no longer have the access to the necessary talent to do so. I'm fairly sure that jrpgs suffer from a similar lack. Yes, there are some excellent composers and graphic designers in the jrpg industry, as well as access to the solid voice-acting industry of Japan and the growing one here in the US. However, there is a severe lack of writers capable of bringing a story to life, and there is no point in a top-tier OST that has no one to properly coordinate its use. The very fact that something like Undertale could bury so much of the commercial rpg industry, in the eyes of rpg fans, says everything about how far the industry has fallen. So what am I getting at? Not really anything, in truth. I just needed to blow off some steam. Thank you for reading.
  4. Clephas

    Seishun Fragile

    Seishun Fragile is the latest of Purple Software's VNs. Purple Software is famous these days primarily for powerful nakige/borderline utsuge like Aoi Tori, Amatsutsumi, and Hapymaher. However, they also are responsible for Chrono Clock and Mirai Nostalgia which, while having an actual plot, are closer to charage than their more plot-centric brethren. This game is much closer to Mirai Nostalgia in style (based on a few comments inside the story, it is probably based some years after the latest point of Mirai Nostalgia, while utilizing the same world setting) than it is to the Hapymaher style, so the emotional impact is greatly reduced in comparison. However, it does have its high points. This game focuses on Yugahara, a hot springs resort town where a young man named Shiki Yuuto lives in a mansion that used to be a bed and breakfast. Other than the fact that he is a magic-user, there is nothing really remarkable about him. He has a lot of standard-issue charage harem protagonist qualities, like being insanely dense about his osananajimi's deredere attitude and accepting his fake imouto maid's service with a blase attitude, but he is surrounded by a few stranger characters, such as his self-proclaimed magic teacher Liz and his stalker (yes, she is stalking him for real) Setsuna. To be blunt, Setsuna is the main heroine of this game. The constant hints about a past (serious one) between Setsuna and Shiki, her very real stalking habits, and any number of cues will tip you off if you have been playing VNs as long as I have. She also has the type of heroine profile that has become typical of true/main heroines in recent Purple Soft games (though I can't reveal what it is without spoiling it for you). Despite that, I went ahead and played another path first, though. Liz Of course I played the foreigner girl path first. Yes, a ditzy blonde with no sense of self-control is weirdly attractive to me, even after so long. The fact that she can use magic is just icing on the cake. Liz's path was... uninspiring. To be honest, while it had some high moments (mostly comedic), I found the drama to be excessively derivative and disappointing for a Purple Soft game. Liz, despite her issues, has a rather straightforward personality, and the drama feels kind of forced because it requires a level of complexity that anyone who was reading the common route would have had difficulty reconciling with her characterization. While I liked the ending, it still felt like this path wasted my time, at least a little, despite my fondness for some of the more comedic moments. Setsuna Setsuna's path stands in direct contrast to Liz's. I will state this openly... Setsuna is yandere. Oh, she puts up a good face, but there is a ton of darkness hidden behind her joking manner and 'playful-seeming' stalking habits. To put it bluntly, Setsuna is more than a little dependent on Yuuto for her mental and emotional stability, and the reasons for it make absolute perfect sense after you get halfway through her path. To be honest, the degree to which this path differs in quality to Liz's pretty much finalized my viewpoint on who the main heroine was, if I hadn't already got it from the common route's cues. This path has much better emotional buildup than Liz's, and the drama toward the end is actually pretty enjoyable to read, though it made me feel even more like a voyeur of people's pain more than any of the recent works I've encountered. Toune Toune is Yuuto's fake imouto/maid. She is originally from a family that served his since their arrival from Britain a century and a half previously, and she has seemingly devoted her life to feeding her 'dame-oniichan' and cleaning up after him. Generally speaking, if you aren't in her path, Toune takes a supporting role, usually taking Yuuto down a few pegs when he looks to be getting full of himself. She has a cheerfully optimistic personality and a very strong sense of what she wants out of life, and she is a bit obsessed with resurrecting the B&B that the Shiki family used to run (out of their mansion). Most of her path is a normal 'I always loved you but it was more important for me to be with you than be your lover' transition. To be honest, this isn't one of my favorite tropes, but it works out all right in this case. Toune's path gets pretty emotional toward the end, but it lacks the darkness that was so evident in Setsuna's path, giving it less impact over all (more evidence to my Setsuna is the main heroine hypothesis). Hio Hio is Yuuto's osananajimi, the younger sister of Hibiki, who runs the Sakuranomiya ryoukan (Japanese inn). From early childhood, the two families have had close relations, while being sort-of rivals (obviously, that ended when the B&B went under, lol). Hio is a rather obvious tsundere with a tendency to retaliate against Yuuto's ever-present density (think nuclear reactor shielding thick) with pro-wrestling moves. To everyone but Yuuto himself, her feelings are ridiculously obvious, and she is horrible at hiding them even in the best of times (even for a tsundere). Ah... but about the path. 'Predictable' is the word I'd use for the romance portions. To be honest, if you have seen a tsundere osananajimi heroine get together with a dense protagonist often enough, you've probably seen a variation on this path. There is some serious drama, but the drama is even weaker than Liz's path. Hio is pretty adorable as a girlfriend, but again, that is fairly typical of tsundere heroines once they lose most of the tsun. Probably the best part of this path was the protagonist's firm belief that sexually harassing Hio doesn't count as sexual harassment (no basis in fact). Use of that particular running joke was spaced out just enough that it didn't get boring. Yura Extra Anyone who reads the common route probably likes Yura. Yura is an occult-obsessed yurufuwa girl who can generally be trusted to make the situation funnier. Honestly, other than Setsuna, she was my favorite female character in this game, so I had hopes that this would be an actual path... ... unfortunately, it was just a brief set of scenes with Yura and Hibiki, followed by an H-scene with each. To be honest, I was saddened, since I liked both characters. Maybe we'll see an actual path in a future fandisc? Especially considering that this game doesn't have an official true ending. Conclusion By charage standards, this would be a top-level game. By nakige standards, it is undeniably sub-par. To be honest, if this game had only had Setsuna's path or if there was more complexity to the other paths (maybe removing Hio's path, since it was the weakest), this game might be worthy of replaying in the future. However, as it is, this one is unlikely to drift to the top of my list anytime soon. Setsuna's emotional darkness and traumas made her path interesting, but the other paths feel like half-assed attempts at nakige paths (Toune's path was reasonably good at drawing at the emotions, but Liz and Hio's path didn't manage it).
  5. Assuming that localization companies are excluded... Relatively few groups bother with low-quality games (unless the translator is not involved in the selection), because it usually isn't worth the effort. Generally speaking, translators usually select the game that is to be translated, and that usually means it is a game that the translator has played, finished, and enjoyed a great deal. That said, every once in a while, you get a newbie translator who wants something easy, so he selects a random charage he hasn't finished (as @Zakamutt said) and ends up hating both it and himself by the end. On the other hand, you have just as many translators who select excellent games that are too difficult for them to handle, and they end up either producing a severely sub-par translation or burn out and drop it partway through. Non-localization translations have become extremely rare in the last few years, primarily because the number of VNs being localized every year (that aren't nukige) has increased greatly in recent years, and many of those are 'classics' or first-rate games that people desperately wanted to play already (though there are exceptions like Wagamama High Spec).
  6. I pushed Akeiro, Silverio Vendetta (since Akabei has an in), and Aoi Tori.
  7. *Clephas cackles wildly as the dark energy begins to gather, his tentacles writhing with mad joy as his orange-eyed followers bestow love in the form of a feeding frenzy upon the world* And so it begins... the Fuwapocalypse.
  8. The Akagoei Fandisc has the advantage of being one of the best fandiscs out there, actually adding substantial after-stories to the original game, as well as a path/flashback that covers Kaito's life up until the point he meets the principal who drags him into being a bodyguard. This story is one of the most brutal stories I've seen in a game that appears moe on the surface, to the point where I honestly recommend that it only be played by those that aren't faint of heart. For those interested in playing Reminiscence, I highly recommend you play Tae's path (both versions) so you'll get the link between the two games (basically, Reminiscence is based off of a canon where Kaito had relations with multiple heroines, at the very least including Reika and Tae). Yosuga no Sora is a game where the only decent path is the twincest one. Not kidding. Crimson Empire was a pretty crappy otomege I played during my three month 'excursion' into the genre about five years ago. I played roughly twenty otomege during that time that had themes that caught my interest, and this one, like the others, was a perfect example of why the genre exists only to perpetuate stereotypes about the Damsel-in-Distress-Disorder (or DIDD) female protagonist.
  9. Hmm... it would depend on what you are interested in. For fantasy action (also called chuunige), I'd suggest Tokyo Babel or Dies Irae. For your straight moe-moe slice of life, I'd probably recommend Clannad. If you want a game that is just going to you break down in tears, then I recommend Nanairo Reincarnation or Hapymaher. Generally speaking, there is a VN for everyone (except people who hate to read, but then are people that hate to read even people? *honestly wonders*) Edit: Oh and for hard sci-fi or cyberpunk, I'd go for Baldr Sky or I/O.
  10. atled- Played the remake. Tbh, I don't like time travel stories unless they are one-way trips, for various reasons. As a story, it is good, but I honestly can't list it as a favorite. Engage Links- I barely recall this game, but I don't think it was that good. Concerto Note- Last year, I wrote a review for this in my blog. It was good and I liked the main characters. It is a plotge with a true ending that has real impact. I'm particularly fond of the genius main heroine, who makes an appearance in the sequel.
  11. Easily the best Venus Blood game, story-wise and gameplay-wise. Not to mention the protagonist and main heroine have an insanely strong personal bond that makes you really root for them, though they are evil.
  12. Just because I have to compulsively tempt you
  13. For most people who play VNs, taking a break is a normal thing. Even taking a hiatus of a few months or a year seems to be standard for many in our little community. For ten years, for me, it wasn't. My new addiction to litrpgs succeeded in breaking me of my compulsive VN-reading for the first time in a decade. While some might consider this a bad thing (and have told me so), others have said that it was a good one. Personally, as I've started playing Purple Soft's latest game, Seishun Fragile, I'm leaning more towards good than bad. Many things that had ceased to be joyful in recent years have regained their luster, such as cheap manzai humor, obvious moe, and general donkan harem protagonist antics. I won't say I love that last part (ha, like that would happen), but I can say that my viewpoint on it is less... bitter and jaded than it was before. I've had a refresh, and I don't regret it, despite how much it built up my backlog with those few games I bought anyway despite not starting any. One thing I find interesting is that I find it easier to find good stopping points than before, instead of just forging on ahead for a straight twelve hours and then flopping into bed. I no longer stare at the screen for entire days while downing endless snacks and bottled water. I also didn't want to get rusty on my Japanese, which is why I started up a new VN today. It was then that I realized that I no longer felt the pressure that still remained, even after I tossed aside VN of the Month. To me, this was an amazing sensation, harking back to my third year playing VNs, when my love of the medium was at its most fanatical. I've advised many people to take a step back and rest from VNs when they have started to lose their way, but this was the first time I took my own advice... and it worked (even if it was by accident).
  14. I've been sort of out of it since April, but Silverio Ragnarok comes to mind, for untranslated. The conclusion of the Silverio series is as impressive in its own way as the first two entries.
  15. I have only recently 'discovered' the litrpg genre (for those unfamiliar with this, the most similar examples I can give are Overlord, SAO, and Log Horizon) of novels. As such, I'm not going to presume to review things like stat systems and how the stories 'played'. It would be ridiculous for me to do so (since I'm not a min-max freak who loves all that math), and it would also be boring as hell to listen to here, lol. I will note some classic tropes: Protagonists who jump to wrong conclusions about the 'systems', meaninglessly horrific tribulations that seem tailor-made to force the protagonist to grow, a higher tendency toward gamer brain (dual-thinking amorality, a tendency to consider people not from Earth to be soulless NPCs, etc), and min-maxing and/or crafting obsessed protagonists. The Chaos Seeds In the Chaos Seeds, a dark force plotting on a Jupiter-sized world called the Land decides to summon humans from Earth using a video game, whereupon he believes the Chaotic nature of the humans of Earth (who all have a bit of Chaos in their souls) will destroy the seals holding his kind. Richter, the protagonist, is one of the first such individuals. Richter is a clever man who was also a heavy gamer on Earth, and his reaction to be ripped from his homeworld is oddly muted (at first). Rather, he quickly throws himself into adapting to his new world, making the best of it, mostly forgetting Earth as irrelevant. This story has a lot of fighting, crafting, and town-building for those interested in those things. I will also say that it doesn't make one of the greater mistakes some litrpgs make, such as making brain-shots non-fatal if the individual has high hp, lol. Singularity Online To be honest, this is one of my favorites (a relatively recent one). Essentially, the protagonist, a guy named Jeff from a future that seems just one step removed from the horrors of Giga's Baldr series, is a programmer involved with the company making a VRMMO named Singularity Online. The setting of the game is an interesting combo of Lord of the Rings and Wheel of Time setups, with corrupted races, a powerful and unkillable ultimate evil, and enclaves of the Light surrounded by Blight and Darkness. Jeff, who is a genius programmer and scientist, through the game's system, manages to gain the class of Sorcerer, which allows him to make his own spells (yes, very D&D), though this requires imagination, inspiration, will, and passion to succeed. Jeff is a pretty all-around awesome guy, in that he has a powerful sense of self, a strong sense of compassion, and a knack for figuring out stuff he wasn't supposed to. Reading his story as he works is one of the better litrpg experiences out there, at least so far. The Silver Fox and Western Hero I'll be honest. This is actually more Wuxia than litrpg, with the only litrpg element being the protagonist's ability to look at his progression in cultivation. The protagonist of this story suffers from racism constantly throughout the story, with only rare individuals considering him on a personal level instead of a racial level. Not only this, he is constantly forced to weather assaults from all fronts in his path toward ascendance, with allies suffering for getting involved with him and those he loves constantly under the most horrific of threats. He is an insanely stubborn individual, determined to find his own path, forever denying the easy way. While this series can be immensely stressful, it is also very good, so far. Ten Realms This series begins with the Two Week Curse, which is both the name of the first book and the name of a phenomena where people from Earth spontaneously begin displaying semi-magical abilities before suddenly disappearing two weeks later. Erik and Rugrat are mercenaries, playing bodyguard to people from a parasite corporation in a war-torn African nation (unnamed), until they get ambushed (due to their client being a total moron) and Erik loses his legs and gets the Two Week Curse. They immediately begin to prepare, with Erik using his newfound mana to create a healing spell that lets him regrow his legs and Rugrat building a capsule full of guns and supplies to take with them. They are then taken to the new world, the Ten Realms, a game-like world with a mix of traditional leveling and cultivation. Most of the series, so far, has Erik and Rugrat forging a path of progression while dragging their increasing (rapidly) number of followers in their wake. Erik is the one who constantly pushes the limits of what is possible, while Rugrat tends to rest a little more on his natural talent than his friend, while also supporting him in various ways. One of the most important things of this series is the soldiers' bond between Erik and Rugrat, that of two men who trust each other utterly, knowing both their own abilities and those of their partner. It adds a rather unusual flavor to the usual litrpg/Wuxia combo. Conclusion These are the series that have left the best impression on me over the last three months. While I've read almost forty series and ninety books, these are the ones that stood out the most.
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