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Everything posted by Clephas

  1. I thought about trying to explain the reasons... but they tend to vary from person to person. Some enjoy it because it makes them feel like they are better/more able than others, others purely like adding new vocabulary and grammar usage to their repertoire, and yet others just enjoy the magic of what can be done with languages if you are creative enough. To be blunt, I'm more of the last one at this point... early on, it was more a bit of reason one and two though. Nowadays, I've just gotten to the point where an interesting set of lines is enough to make me feel happy, which I know sounds weird. To be blunt, Japanese is a much, much more flexible language than English... at least American English, anyway. The Japanese language never quite abandoned indirectness, which is seen as dishonest by many English speakers. It is also one of the prime reasons why it is so difficult to translate Japanese to English and why I can still find new things to learn by replaying games like this over and over. Americans habitually avoid indirect language outside of trained creative writing and politics, and anyone seen using it is seen as smarmy or dishonest (unless you agree with them, of course, lol). Implied subjects, layered meanings, colloquialisms, etc etc... I can always find something new if I look hard enough in games like this.
  2. I ended up getting NP5 Ibaraki and Chiyome when I was going for Sitonai (three of one, two of the other). It was frustrating, since I never seem to get Ilya variants when I go after them.
  3. Heliotrope- Great theme, horrible execution. The protagonist is a total hetare, and the pacing is pretty screwy. I still replayed it last year, but my impression of it wasn't much better. Hanafubuki- An odd game... just odd. Not what it seems like on the surface. Maji Suki- Good game... not great.
  4. It happens, but you have to understand that people who read these types of games in the first place want to be drawn into a world of complexity and meaning. I never really had any problem with adding to my vocabulary in English or Japanese, so I usually just eagerly try to devour the meanings of any words I haven't encountered.
  5. Koko Yori, Haruka- One of 'those classics', games that generally came recommended when I was first getting started. I played it, I enjoyed it thoroughly (laughed and cried), then I promptly forgot about it. It's not that it isn't a good game (it is a good one), I've just never had the urge to revisit it, since I know all its mysteries. Boku no Te no Naka no Rakuen- This game is a lot like AXL's 'swords fantasy' SOL games, though not in quite in the same style and being less humor-focused. A good game, if not a kamige. W.L.O.- Considered a classic SOL comedy charage, I imagine a big portion of the people who started playing untranslated around the time it came out at least tried to play it. It is an excellent example of what is best about charage... but it is a charage. Baldr Sky Dive1- Does this even need an intro at this point?
  6. A few weeks ago, I picked up the Steam versions of Silverio Vendetta and Silverio Trinity. My reasons in the latter case were pretty self-explanatory... I wanted to read the append after story that Light so cavalierly and cruelly only included with the all-ages version previously only available on the Vita. Considering that the after story append serves as a bridge between Trinity and Ragnarok, as well as giving you what amounts to a four to five hour extension to the true route... I can say it was worth paying for, even though I essentially skipped through the entire game to unlock it. There are two new append stories included. The aforementioned after-story is one, and the other is Ashley Horizon's origin story. For those who haven't read the main game, this will contain major spoilers. The after-story append could have easily become the core of a fandisc for most games. It is extensive (about four-fifths to two-thirds as long as one of the heroine paths) and is action-packed, as well as being chock-full of content of the sort fanboys like me can't help but scream with glee about. (More spoilers below) Say what you want about Light, but their tradition of extensive append stories and gaiden stories is one I think more plotge companies should consider imitating. Too bad they went down with Masada's delusions of glory. Edit: I should note that there is currently no text hooks for the Steam versions of either game, so if you want to use a text-hooker, you'll have to either create an h-code for yourself or beg someone who already knows how. I had a huge headache from the usual Light 'I've got to gather all the rare kanji into a single sentence!' when I was done. If nothing else, it is worth it to see this.
  7. One thing I need to add in here is that the girls do actually love Sora. It's just that he has no corresponding emotion other than obsessive/possessive attachment. As for the rapist thing? Technically only one time applies, since the girls (except for a certain cat-girl) were all luring/manipulating him into it every time for their own reasons ( . It should also be noted that the base nature of the girls is almost identical to Sora's, albeit with more 'colors', because they are not as close to their own natures as he is. There isn't any romance in this because romantic love is fundamentally alien to Sora, and his reactions to the girls are a lot closer to a pet-like fondness or a wolf's attachment to his mate. I advise anyone going into this VN not to consider any of the main characters to be human, as they are only mimicking us at best, lol. It's more like a bunch of half-blood Cthulhu deity descendants than humans.
  8. Devils Devel Concept- The true heroine is Mei, who isn't even present until her own path. There is a recommended route order: Kanata>Akane>Mutsuki>Misora>Mei. Kanata is recommended to be done first because the entire path (the first ending, anyway) assumes that you ignorant due to the protagonist's lack of interest in what is going on when it doesn't effect him directly. Believe me, the art style grows on you as you read. There are really only two truly twisted h-scenes in the entire game (one each from each of Kanata's paths), but the game has a lot of story H (including bits and pieces of characterization and plot into h-scenes). If you don't like H as part of the story, the game might bother some people. Also, Sanity's End got prosecuted for trying to take money to translate this game, which is why the translation was aborted.
  9. Suzunone Seven was the first of Clochette's good oppai charage and still considered a classic by many readers. Having replayed it last year, I can say it has aged well, and while the story isn't great, I liked the protagonist well enough.
  10. Since I'm still messing around with Cabbit's new game, I thought I'd drop a short review of a litrpg series I just finished reading. Project Crysalis is based in a future where Earth has been abandoned (not because it is ruined anymore, but because the first non-Terrestrial human nation forced people to leave) in favor of living in colonies all across our solar system. The main political and scientific power in the first three books is Lunar, a nation built on the Moon that began when a private corporation morphed into its own nation-state and managed to completely defeat the Terrestrial nations when they tried to challenge their independence. That said, it is still a solar system of many nations, with Lunar essentially being the mammoth whale in the room that everyone pretends not to be scared by. The protagonist of the story, known for most of the story by his preferred game handle of Sagie, was one of many orphans that were presented with their first parents - in a virtual realm - at the age of twelve, when he was first allowed the use of a full immersion pod. While he experiences a brief period of blissful happiness (mostly due to how good of a fit he is with his new family), a horrid betrayal by someone he trusts ends up with him exiled to the in-game Hell, where he is subject to the kind of suffering (and the pain is real) that is really, really hard to picture, even with vivid descriptions from the author, John Gold. As for how he handles it... well, Sagie isn't exactly a fragile sort. Rather than rerolling, like most would expect, his desire to return to his virtual (but realer than life) family drives him to climb his way up through a very horribly realistic Hell, inuring himself to suffering and gaining power along the way. For those with a weak stomach, most of the ways he gains power are pretty morbid. He uses blood rituals, necromancy, eats demons, and deliberately goes out of his way to strengthen his resistance to the various types of damage and pain Hell can dish out. Sagie, while he was extremely focused even before his fall into Hell, becomes focused to the point that it is almost painful to read his story at times. The first four books basically focus on his adventures in Project Crysalis, as the virtual world essentially shits on him at every turn (Shield Hero had it easy in comparison). He tries to help people, he's seen as a monster. He tries to defend himself, he is seen as a monster. To be honest, I cried more than once for him, just because it was so godawful. The last two books are... a different animal entirely. To be honest, in order to avoid spoiling it, I'll only say that those who came to love Sagie in the first three books will be frustrated for large portions of the second three. I know I was. That's not to say it wasn't interesting, it was immensely so. However, I often felt cheated, because I loved following that manic little demon while looking over his shoulder in fascination to see what crazy idea he will come up with next (and many of his ideas really are insane). The last two books are full of conspiracy, horror, and self-sacrifice on a grand scale. Even just taken on their own, they would be first-class books. There just isn't that much of Sagie there until the final entry, where you get to see him up to his usual craziness, albeit in a way that is quite different from before. Overall, it is an excellent book series. It has its bumpy parts and can be frequently frustrating or emotionally painful to read, but for those willing to delve into it, it is completely worth it.
  11. While there are some genres I prefer not to get involved with (mystery, sports), I reviewed a rather large number of non-nukige over the years in my blog. The truth is that JVNs aren't that diverse in terms of genre. Most that get released are your standard slice-of-life, with a minority being plot-centric, mystery, or action-focused. The reason that so many minor sub-genres have been formed in VNs (nakige, utsuge, etc) is precisely because of a lack of diversity on that end.
  12. Ayakashibito and Bullet Butlers both had this. In Ayakashibito it was more innocent, but there was a rather... interesting romance Edit: I generally consider h-scenes to have limited utility in telling a story, and I don't go out of my way to 'collect' them in normal VNs. I pretty much only bother with h-scenes that fit my fetishes, and the rest I just blow through without even really looking. Some h-scenes add a great deal to a story, but these are generally an exception to the rule. There are also some writers who delight in h-scenes that are fundamentally humorous (Jingai Makyou's Kaze no Ushiro ni Ayumu Mono - yes, that is her name - has only one, very hilarious, h-scene that definitely adds to her characterization).
  13. My first Gundam was Wing... but my first mecha was Voltron.
  14. *yawns* nothing but crap in the way of Servants (in the English version) lately... guess nothing interesting until Shuten-Caster charity later this month. I also hate this Halloween re-run... because no Lostbelt mats in the shop. I really need stuff to finish up Skadi and Valkyrie, and I'm too lazy to grind the Lostbelt.
  15. Laplacian's games never really do a good job of making me feel the love. Midori no Umi is pretty heavy on the psychological horror, and what has been done to the characters involved is about as awful as it gets. I can recommend it if you like that kind of thing, but it is a pretty surreal+stressful experience.
  16. I haven't decided which of these VNs I will play this month, but I thought I'd let yall in on my thought processes. Basic Impressions (based off of previews, official pages, and Getchu pages) Hamidashi Creative- This looks like a solid charage, just from the way they actually decided to handle the intros. https://vndb.org/v27449/chars?view=2S-7Nx23xHY#chars 1) No protagonist intro- Speaking from experience, when the protagonist doesn't even have a brief introduction on the official or Getchu sites, that usually means there is a good chance of a kusoge. This is because it usually signals the writers' intention to twist the protagonist's personality to fit the heroines in each path, rather than giving him an actual solid characterization. 2) The story summary actually describes something valid to the story, giving you at least an impression of what the game might be like- This might not seem that important, but games that avoid giving such impressions, focusing 90% on introducing the heroines only, are basically moe-whore-bait. Very few aren't kusoge in those cases, and the ones that aren't are because the writers were actually hiding a story behind the fluff they put up beforehand (a tactic that tends to have negative consequences, but still some companies do it). 3) The existence of an imouto heroine- Very few charage that don't have an imouto heroine or imouto support character are any good. I don't say this because I love imouto characters (though I am moderately fond of them), but rather because for some reason, imoutos as support characters tend to help characterize the protagonist and heroines both. For some reason, charage writers seem to have trouble making heroines feel real if there isn't a token imouto standing by in the wings. 4) One of the heroines is presented as being 'whimsical'- This might seem like a weird sign for me to mention, but if at least one of the heroines (preferably an older one) or support characters is a whimsical and influential individual, the game tends to be more amusing and/or interesting. This is because the whims of this character can break up the monotony that plagues the average SOL game in ways that keep the reader interested, even if it isn't their favorite genre. Sakura no Kumo * Scarlet no Koi https://vndb.org/v26664 1) NOT based in the modern era- This in itself can make things interesting, depending on how it is handled. Generally speaking, the 'present-day SOL school setting' is the most abused and overused setting in all of JVNs and visual novels in general. 2) Possibly a mystery VN? To be honest, this isn't that much of a draw for me. However, sending a modern-day guy back to the Taishou era (twenty years previous to WWII, before the extremist fires of Imperial Japan reached their peak) sounds like an interesting premise (technically Hachimyoujin did something similar, but it isn't the same thing). As such, I will definitely play this eventually, even if it isn't picked for this month. 3) Protagonist is introduced in the official and Getchu pages AND he has a sprite- This really is important, because it shows how much, in the way of resources the makers of this game are putting into it. Most of the time, even if the best friend and support characters have sprites, the protagonist won't, mostly using a FP perspective as an excuse (and it is an excuse). That he doesn't have VA is a downer, but VAs for protags outside of chuunige are rare, at best. Kagi o Kakushita Kago no Tori https://vndb.org/v25670 1) Cabbit game- All Cabbit games are weird. No, I'm not kidding. They can be SOL one moment, with mild-mannered heroines doing normal things, then turn creepy as all hell the next moment, depending on choices or the events of the story. Midori no Umi was creepy from the beginning, but their other games were a bit more up and down. You can never tell what a Cabbit game will be like just by looking at it, so I'm interested to see what they'll do to my brain this time. 2) Androphobic heroine- This might not seem like a positive element, but the act of slowly getting past the guard of an androphobic heroine can be extremely therapeutic for the reader. It is also often interesting (unless they go the dark nukige route) to watch. Of course, depending on how it is handled, this can destroy the game too, lol. 3) Murder Mystery- This isn't the first time I've played a Cabbit game with a murder mystery, and, considering how they handled it in the other games, it is probably going to surprise the hell out of me. That said, I've already guessed the two most likely perps, but I'm still interested to see if I'm right (cues in character descriptions).
  17. lol, don't spoil it for the newbies. We want to make them buy Drakengard and Drakengard 3, after all.
  18. Story-wise, the original Nier is an excellent game. While the gameplay suffers from the usual issues with camera angles that were endemic to most of the ps2 and ps3 era action-jrpgs, it was more than solid enough for a solo title more focused on plot than gameplay. Despite the somewhat iffy nature of English dubs, I found Nier's cast to be superlative. The titular protagonist, Nier was a man with a very clear-cut motive and a powerful driving personality that was constantly razor-focused on his daughter's well-being and, later, that of his friends and companions. Kaine, the game's sole heroine, is a foul-mouthed girl possessed by an insane serial-killer Shadow. Throughout much of the game, her role is to kick characters' butts when they start to brood, but, depending on the ending you get, her role changes drastically. Like many such characters with dark personalities and foul mouths in jrpgs, she has a heart of gold (though it is really, really hidden outside of specific moments). Emil, the sole character seen in both Nier games, is a young man in the original game, suffering from blindness and from numerous other issues. He is the most innocent of the characters, with the possible exception of the oft-missing Yona, serving as a strong contrast to the somewhat antagonistic relationship between Nier, Grimoire Weiss, and Kaine.
  19. Clephas

    Seishun Fragile

    I might consider it... but the heroines just don't do anything for me. They all seem to be standard-issue moege heroines, with none of the qualities that are interesting for me. If even one was interesting, I would consider just doing her path and using a save to get to the true ending, but that isn't the case with Kakenuke.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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).
  24. 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).
  25. I pushed Akeiro, Silverio Vendetta (since Akabei has an in), and Aoi Tori.
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