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Clephas

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Everything posted by Clephas

  1. One of only two games written by Kazutaka, the writer of the somewhat comically-named Doushite Daite Kurenai no!? Onna no Ko Datte Yaritai no! (incidentally, despite the title, the aforementioned game is not a nukige, which is in itself humorous, lol). It is also the game that gave substance to Ensemble's quest to define itself as a specialist company in trap protagonist and ojousama-ge. Ironically, it is also the flat-out best SOL game the company has ever made, which makes it somewhat sad for me that Kazutaka faded out after this game was released. I can say right out that the only reason I still try Ensemble games is because of the experience I had with this one. One of the parts anyone who first plays this game will notice is that the protagonist is voiced. More than that, 'Mizuki' is voiced by a female VA that was able to put a hint of androgyny into the voice, giving you the impression that it was quite natural that most people mistake him for a girl. Another part of this game that is obviously noticeable from the start is that the writer has really done his research into the art field. 'Mizuki' has an extremely wide and deep knowledge of all forms of art and their care, and this serves as one of his (actually, it is easier to think of him as a girl with a penis, lol) charm points for the reader, along with his obvious love of housework. One part that makes it easy to regard this game's path as being far more in-depth than the norm for an SOL-focused game is the way the choices are handled. Essentially, before you exit the prologue, you will have already chosen your heroine, since all choices are concentrated in a very short period of time at the beginning of the game. By choosing to essentially get the choices 'out of the way', the writer manages to avoid one of the most common pitfalls of VNs in general... breaking engrossment in the game by inserting choices into every important scene. This game essentially ignores the lie of player agency (Clephas: Player agency in a VN, pfft), which is definitely a positive in this case. This allows the protagonist's and the heroines' personalities and actions to become clear to the reader (and there is no doubt that you are a reader with this VN) without the interference of random choices or the need to keep which heroine you want to go for in the back of your mind constantly. Ootori Rena Rena is the game's obvious main heroine. She is the daughter of the town's owner and permanent mayor (literally, their business bought the town in which the game is based). She is also an art dealer from a family of art dealers. It is tempting, at first glance, to call her a tsundere... but for once, this archetypical characterization fails. Rena is very straightforward in how she expresses her feelings, having a policy of expressing her emotions openly regardless of what they are. She is also very mature in the sense that she has a solid grasp on what her responsibilities are to those around her, coming from her upbringing as the successor of a family of primary art dealers (art dealers that primarily 'raise' artists and sell their works as opposed to buying artists' works that already have an established market value). I say she is the main heroine, and indeed, her path is one of the few paths where the protagonist is forced to confront his own issues head on. For better or worse, in most of the paths, Shin/Mizuki manages to avoid directly confronting his past and his own weakness, making this path an obvious favorite for me. That said, this was the first path I played originally, so I couldn't help but play this one first again. Chiharu Chiharu is my yome! lol Seriously, if you were to ask me which heroine (as opposed to 'which girl' since Akie is my favorite girl... I love haraguro characters) touched my heartstrings (and my libido) the most, it would be Chiharu. Chiharu is the single-minded but kind-hearted bodyguard that serves Rena. She is very serious and kind-hearted, but it often shows in odd ways, because she is somewhat socially awkward. Her reactions are also driven by her early upbringing and profession, the former of which was strict and the latter of which is professional security. Chiharu's dere is... frighteningly powerful. Oh, this can be said of all the heroines, really, but Chiharu is a very loving soul. I love Chiharu's path for a lot of reasons, but the biggest reason is that she is, at heart, someone who just wants someone who can accept her from the bottom of their hearts, flaws, disabilities, and all. This very human worry is what turned Chiharu from a two-dimensional character to a person in my mind. Also: 「だって幽霊って死んでるんだよ、死霊って生きてないんだよ、生きてなければ殺傷することもできないじゃないか、刀で死人は斬れないよ怖いよ!!」 Chiharu "But ghosts are dead! Ghosts aren't alive! If they aren't alive, you can't kill them! You can't kill the dead with a katana! I'm scared!" 「いえ、テレビは斬れます。寮の器物損壊はやめてください」 Akie "No, but you can cut the TV. Please refrain from damaging dorm property." Shizuku Shizuku is an art auctioneer and the daughter of the head of the Karasuma Group, a company that specializes in the resale of art. She and Rena are on bad terms, not the least because their places in the art industry make it inevitable. To most people, she is a sharp-tongued (dokuzetsu) but elegant-looking girl who dominates her surroundings by her very presence. In private, she is an intensely loving and passionate woman who will do absolutely anything and everything for the person she loves. However, she has a bad habit of jumping to conclusions (something that can be said of the other two heroines above as well, though not of Yuki and Anastasia), especially when it comes to Shin. Tbh, this is the most frustrating of the routes to speak of, because so much of her profile is spoilers for the other routes. Let's just say there are some seriously hilarious antics that occur partly because of Shii-cha- *coughs* ahem, Shizuku's tendency to jump to conclusions, her willingness to do anything for the people she loves, and Rena's inevitable reactions, lol. This path is primarily hilarious, but it also gets into the more intimate elements of Shin's 'why' in a way that even Rena's path doesn't. Tbh, if I were to put a recommended route order up, it would be Rena>Shizuku>Chiharu>Yuki>Anastasia. My reasoning for this is because this game actually benefits from experiencing it in an order that could be seen as 'main to sub' instead of 'sub to main' as I would normally recommend. All the paths are good in their own ways, but the knowledge from Rena and Shizuku's paths enhance the experience of the other three paths to a rather large degree. Moreover, playing Anastasia's path without having played Rena's would make it somewhat confusing, and I'm pretty sure some important points would be missed by first-timers. For now, I'm going to stop, because I need to take a rest from SOL for a few days, but I'll finish this one up soon.
  2. Fate/Grand Order

    ... I did two more ten rolls, and for some reason I got five Caster of Midrash. Yaay... now I have her at NP5... but no Abby. Sheesh. Edit: No more free missions left to strip for saint quartz, and I'm already over budget. Edit2: As a side note, I didn't have any serious ST damage-dealing Casters, so I guess it wasn't a bad thing. Still, it was frustrating. I now have all the 4 star lancers that aren't limited because of this crap (the ones I didn't have all spooked) and several of them at NP2 (none of the ones I actually like using, of course). ... I have to wonder if something is just wrong with my luck? I guess I need to give her burnt offerings to get her love back. Edit3: Though, I did manage to get Okita on a summon ticket a few weeks ago, so I guess I can't really say my luck is all bad... but by that time I was already on the verge of full-grailing Yagyu-sama and was working on upgrading the skills, so I had virtually no gems left for sabers, lol. I actually normally wouldn't be this obsessed... but I'm bored and I liked Abby in the Salem chapter. Same reason I wanted Ana and Caster Gil after playing Babylonia... collectors' disease. Edit4: Last edit, I promise... yeah, last edit... riiiight. *looks down at his shaking hands that are trying to make the motions of pulling the lever on a slot machine*
  3. Nukige x Nakige Discussion

    If the ending isn't happy, it isn't a nakige. By definition, a nakige exists to make you cry then salvage the situation into a happy ending. If the ending isn't happy, it is an utsuge.
  4. Atelier Sakura games (need help)

    Mmm... the only thing I can think of (from an amateur's perspective, since I'm not a coder) is that they must have changed something in the system when they made the game that made it bug out for you. Also, if this is a coding issue, you might need hacker help to make this work, if you want to put both names in. One potential choice would be to put only the initial for the surname in. However, I can almost guarantee that the aesthetics of that would annoy a lot of readers. Tbh, in English, having both names there is a bit aesthetically displeasing (and likely to annoy some people, whether you choose to follow Japanese order - surname then personal name - or Western order - personal name then surname), if useful if you forget names all the time.
  5. Atelier Sakura games (need help)

    Have you tried restricting it to the first name only? To be blunt, it might just be a space issue.
  6. Komorebi no Nostalgica. If I didn't speak about it regularly, it would be forgotten, lol.
  7. Fate/Grand Order

    I've always been a Yog-Sototh fan though... and tbh, Hokusai might be the better Servant overall. However, I can't say I want to go out of my way to get her. Edit: To be clear, I hate the aesthetics on Hokusai's character design, so I'd probably never use her unless I had to. I'd look for excuses to use Abby though, lol. Edit2: Not to mention I'd already saved all the QP, mats, and embers necessary to max her skills.
  8. VN with strong heroines/smart mc

    https://vndb.org/v5909 To some extent, the one below https://vndb.org/v23501 https://vndb.org/v3767 Protagonist is highly intelligent and ambitious in the one below, but only one of the heroines is the 'muscle' type. https://vndb.org/v18881 The one below is one where the protag is a mentor to a competitor/fighter https://vndb.org/v21465 https://vndb.org/v13342 Edit: To clarify somewhat, HHG is the game I find to be the closest. However, no company does games specifically the way Minato Soft did Majikoi, so you won't find any exact analogues. I recommended Tamayura Mirai because the protagonist is a wise/intelligent guy who guides the often more generally capable heroines (with the exception of his 'older sister'). Technically, all the ones but the true heroine are more powerful than him, but they still depend on his knowledge and wisdom. Tiny Dungeon as a series is somewhat closer to what you are looking for. In Tiny Dungeon, an intelligent and determined protagonist earns the respect of a large group of extremely powerful heroines (I would put any of the three main heroines up against Momoyo, at least for a brief time). Ojou-sama no Hanbun wa Ren'ai de Dekiteimasu I recommended because the protagonist is an intelligent type and two of the heroines are capable on their own (though Alice is scary intelligent herself, whereas the kendo girl has a somewhat blinkered personality) Kizuna Kirameku Koi Iroha involves a weaponsmith serving as a tutor for several competitors in the Jindou competition, which involves using tech-enhanced mystical blades to fight one another in a duel. Kimikishi is perhaps the odd duck in this group. It is a plotge centering around an odd competition between 'knights' secretly drawn from local schools. The protagonist is his team's leader and strategist, though he isn't necessarily the most powerful.
  9. Fate/Grand Order

    Getting nothing but spooks on the Salem banner... after 420 saint quartz I still don't have Abby (looks sad).
  10. I remember playing this one and trying to recommend it to people... but everyone who played it other than me bashed it, so I gave up. It's nice to see someone was able to appreciate this game's good points.
  11. Baldr Sky (Available soon!)

    It's easier with a controller... to be honest, I recall buying a controller for it because of how it made my fingers stiff after a while. Also, it is hard to do diagonals without a thumbstick. Edit: The gameplay is actually fairly enjoyable once you get a wider variety of weapons and finishers. It is also fast-paced. However, you spend a pretty ridiculous amount of time fighting in the game, looking at it in retrospect. For early bosses, I was pretty dependent on the dual sub-machineguns, though. One of the earliest bosses moves way too fast for the close-range moves unless you have high gaming skills or are just obsessed with killing everything with melee attacks.
  12. Top storylines in gaming?

    I forgot: Chrono Trigger Shadow Hearts 1 and 2 (combined) Edit: One problem with my perception here is that my idea of what a good game story was formed when jrpgs were at their peak (1997-2004)... and, to be blunt, story has sort of fallen by the wayside in the last fifteen years both in the West and in the East. That's why games like Nier Automata and Tales of Berseria stand out so much nowadays. The rise of the MMO and reverse-transference from MMO's to normal games resulted in a dramatic reduction in story/plot quality in the years that followed. As a result, I see wince-worthy game plots being given high marks more and more often lately... well, either that or nostalgia grabs being overwhelmingly loved even though they don't meet the baseline of the rpg golden age. As an example, if Lunar were to come out today as a completely new game, it would probably get ridiculously high marks for story, but by the standards of the time when it came out, it was somewhere around the middle between the average and best games of the time. Think of it as a thirty percent markdown in expectations, lol. Edit2: Forgot to mention the other reason why story has sort of fallen by the wayside. It actually connects to the reason why story presentation has become so poor in recent years. As technology has progressed, a lot of the techniques used to present a story using the limited capabilities of a system in previous years have vanished. The first and most obvious aspect that fell by the wayside as music direction (as opposed to music composition). You can see the difference most dramatically if you play something like Star Ocean 4 after playing Chrono Trigger, which was not just known for its story but also for its exceptional soundtrack for the time. Each scene and area was situated with a particular track to enhance the atmosphere and emotions they wanted to drag out of the player, and the skill with which this was done was... magnificent. Pretty much the only games that have managed to do something similar (that I have played) in the last ten years have been the Nier series.
  13. Top storylines in gaming?

    I've already spoken of VNs countless times now, so I'll stay with games. These aren't in any particular order. 1) Suikoden II 2) Growlanser IV 3) Eternal Darkness 4) SMT: Digital Devil Saga 5) Final Fantasy Tactics (regardless of how I feel about most of the series, FFT had a great story) 6) Final Fantasy VI 7) Growlanser III 8- Tales of Berseria 9) Legend of Dragoon 10) Knights of the Old Republic 11) Xenogears 12) Xenosaga series 13) Nier (the original)
  14. I particularly like the drastic differences in endings and progression depending on which path you go for on each of the heroines, lol.
  15. Our tastes seem to run in similar directions, so it is no big deal. One thing about Devils Devel Concept. Despite having high sexual content, I've never seen it as a nukige... especially considering how relation-defining the H-scenes in that game generally are. Hell, if you don't read the h-scenes, you won't understand half of the story, since the heroines throw out hints at what is going on behind the scenes on a regular basis (which he, quite naturally, ignores). Pretty much the only heroine who doesn't fall into this particular trap of revealing her intentions/nature during sex is Kanata... and Kanata is almost as messed up as Sora, if in a way that makes her seem more normal on a surface level to those who aren't directly involved with her. Tbh, Mutsuki's route is the only one I'm sometimes tempted to call a nukige route, despite how deep it can be... I mean, Mutsuki is just... eroero.
  16. ooh... good taste. I've been trying to get people to play Abyss and DDC for the better part of a decade... but the art bigots always turn their noses, lol. Strong/exceptional Protagonists Draculius (protagonist who grows into his power but has a good baseline from the beginning) Karenai Sekai to Owaru Hana (self-sacrificing protagonist) Evolimit (classic flawed hero protagonist with a pervy side) Kikan Bakumatsu Ibun Last Cavalier (protagonist is Okita Souji of the Shinsengumi in a version of history where stones turn women into superpowered, highly intelligent beings in exchange for the loss of their fertility) Silverio Vendetta (probably the only dameningen protagonist in anime or VN that I don't hate, lol) Silverio Trinity Tokyo Necro (say what you like about the two protagonists, but they are interesting... though the setting may be a bit wretch-worthy at times) Aoi Tori (protagonist is seriously twisted while seeming normal, even good-hearted at first glance) Bradyon Veda (though the game can be seriously obscure at times) Floral Flowlove (strong protagonist, though he doesn't completely escape the plague of non-chuunige protags) Hatsuru Koto Naki Mirai Yori (... extremely funny protagonist, though he is essentially a brutal drill sergeant turned into a VN protag) Inochi no Spare (if you don't mind spending the entire VN crying) Kitto, Sumiwataru Asairo yori mo (well-known kamige. Protag has serious depths) Konata yori Kanata made (tbh, this guy's story is hard on the tear ducts) Ou no Mimi ni wa Todokanai (good former assassin/spy protag living in a tiny border village. Game is heavy on SOL, but protag is excellent) Ryuukishi Bloody Saga (excellent VN... if you have a weak stomach, I recommend only asking someone for an outline of the prequel - Ryakudatsusha no In'en - though. It is closer to Clock up material than anything else) Sakura Moyu (protagonist is extremely self-sacrificing... but this is yet another tear-jerker) Sorcery Jokers (one protag is a fail, but the other one is godly) Sengoku Koihime (think a much more proactive, intelligent, and generally capable version of the Shin Koihime series protagonist) Tenshi no Hane o Fumanaide (strong-willed, skilled fighter protagonist... who happens to be cross-dressing) Tiny Dungeon (Protagonist grows immensely during the course of the VN, but he is also a classic case of standing up to intense prejudice and not letting it get him down) Tokyo Babel (Self-hating protagonist who is nonetheless extremely powerful) Vermilion Bind of Blood (samurai vampire... what else needs to be said?) Yurikago yori Tenshi made (protagonist reminds me of a somewhat psychotic version of Yuusuke from Yu Yu Hakusho) Houkago no Futekikakusha (protagonist is gloomy... but once you see the reason why, you'll understand, lol) Zero Infinity (warrior philosopher protagonist) Venus Blood Hypno (if you don't mind tentacles, this protagonist - and his relationship with his somewhat psychopathically yandere sister Anora - is awesome) World Election (if you want an SOL romance with a good protagonist, this is a good choice. Protag is casually selfless while having low self-esteem... despite being one of the most personally - as in non-politically or financially - powerful human beings in existence) Tasogare no Folklore (no matter how people bash this game, I loved the way it portrayed the protagonist and heroine... and their seriously screwy relationship) Electro Arms (think super-intelligent battle-loving punk protagonist) Blade x Bullet (requires some previous knowledge of the series as a whole to understand the details, but the protagonist is nicely villainous without being disgusting) Bullet Butlers (half-elf wielding a cursed soul-eating revolver made from the flesh of the deposed god of death) Re:Birth Colony (social spy and hacker protagonist who is utterly ruthless in dealing with those who harm the few people he values, while being pragmatic otherwise) Izuna Zanshinken (vigilante assassin in service to a yakuza family... who is seemingly harmless by day) Ojou-sama wa Gokigen Naname (ruthlessly intelligent butler protagonist who will do anything necessary to protect his ojousama and adoptive sister) Tamayura Mirai (difficult to describe, but the protagonist in this one is fairly unique. Recommend you play the succubus's route even if you decide against the rest) Toko o Tsumugu Yakusoku (independently-minded and responsible protagonist who centers his life around protecting his adoptive daughter)
  17. Are they really over 18?

    Over eighteen is their age. Didn't you know that denizens of the digital realm are all immortals who are eternally over eighteen?
  18. This is a decent threesome VN. I won't say it is godly, but it is a good read.
  19. Since ceasing VN of the Month, I've been slowly recovering from my years of over-reading VNs, the vast majority of them ones I normally wouldn't have taken an interest in. While I still play VNs regularly, I do so at a slower pace, reading more conventional literature and playing normal games as much as I do them. I recently began to regain some of my VN stamina (though I will never get back to where I was), and I've found that even the SOL VNs I choose to play are far less stressful than before. It is nice to reconfirm that I truly love VNs, after so many years playing far too many charage threatened to make me hate them. However, I've also noticed that I am far less tolerant of obvious blunders and poor choices on the part of writers, regardless of genre. When something touches on my pet peeves, I immediately drop the VN, and I lose all urge to play it, often for months after. This was the case with Sorceress Alive and it is also the case with Raillore to Ryakudatsusha (dameningen protagonists with no interesting or redeeming traits are one of my pet peeves). On the other hand, my stamina for 'sweetness' and 'ichaicha' in a VN has recovered somewhat, and I can play a route in a charage with no troubles... However, I no longer desire to play any routes other than that of my favorite heroine. I used to mechanically run through all the heroines in a VN without hesitation or slowing down, but now I only go for the one or two heroines that interest me, ignoring the others entirely. This change in my own behavior leaves me somewhat bemused, though I can see where it comes from rationally. I simply got tired of plowing through huge numbers of boring heroines that almost buried the good ones, lol.
  20. Favorite Romance Pairing

    One issue with Japanese GxB/otomege is that they are an outgrowth of what is called 'classic shoujo manga style'. Almost all Japanese GxB is written with a female protagonist being dominated by a cast of male alphas. For me, it is immensely frustrating, since I started playing otomege thinking there would be some strong women, at least in the chuunige-like ones. However, this wasn't the case, unfortunately... The only otomege that ever managed not to annoy me was Sanzen Sekai Yuugi. It is partially an outgrowth of the same bad literary habits that gave birth to the non-person protagonist in moege/charage, but another part of it is an ingrained cultural image of the place of women in Japanese culture that remains even now. To be blunt, I'm not a submissive by nature. I can be passive if I don't have an interest in an argument, an object, or a discussion. However, I have to actually rein myself in from going after what I want fighting tooth and nail. As such, beta protagonists drive me crazy, and protagonists who don't have a set personality are just as bad. Edit: I can make exception for beta protagonists who are capable in other areas/are stubborn about the things they care about, but that exception doesn't really cover as many as you'd think.
  21. Docchi no i ga Suki Desu ka?

    First, I should state that I went into this game with a specific heroine in mind from the beginning. I might go back later and play one of the other heroine routes, but I played this game specifically because I thought the concept was interesting and I liked Hanna's character description. This game is by Hook Soft, a company primarily known for its combination of lovey-dovey relationships, mild comedy, and surprisingly long paths. This company generally produces high-quality charage, but I always found it hard to play their games because of the sheer amount of ichaicha involved (it is probably more than you are imagining). Their protagonists are usually reasonably capable (so far, none of the ones I've played has had an average or stupid protagonist), and their heroines tend to have their own strong moe-characterizations (this company is a bit heavy-handed on the moe sometimes). This game is no exception. The protagonist, while having the usual 'light and joking' qualities of a charage protagonist, is mostly an honor student who lives alone, works part-time to pay for his living expenses, and keeps his grades up for the sake of his scholarship. As such, it immediately passed the first 'charage hurdle' without a problem (charage hurdles being stupid tropes that ruin everything but are endemic to the genre). This game's theme is also its gimmick. As the title hints, you have a choice after the heroine is locked in as to whether the protagonist will take the lead in the relationship or the heroine will. This results in differing outcomes and h-scenes, which provide some extra depth to the experiences with the heroine in general. The heroine I focused on, Hanna, is technically a foreign transfer (not exchange) student, having moved to Japan with her parents and little sister Lisa some time before the game begins (relatively recently). She attends a rich girls' (ojousama) school in the area and is an object of admiration for her grace and beauty both in and outside the school. She is a gentle-mannered girl from beginning to end, meaning you'll only rarely see her angry... but she does get jealous (in an adorable fashion). I liked how the path and common route both hand the protagonist learning what kind of person she was, her circumstances, and filling in the gaps between his initial perceptions and the reality as it went. I really want to praise this company for the smooth transition from the common route to the heroine route. It felt so natural that I wouldn't have even noticed if it weren't for the choice as to who was to take the lead in the relationship. In fact, I've rarely encountered VNs that were this smooth and well-paced, which reminds me of why I kept trying to play this company's games despite the fact that the huge amounts of ichaicha could wear on me at times. Hanna- Protagonist Lead The path where the protagonist leads is pretty straightforward. As they spend time together, Hanna gradually changes, losing some of her hesitance to rely on others, and she gradually comes to rely on the protagonist deeply. This is generally a path where an already adorable Hanna becomes even more adorable and reveals more facets to her personality and her relationship to her family. There is a ton of ichaicha, as is common for Hook soft games, and the 'small drama' common to charage heroine paths is fairly easily resolved in a way that provides a neat conclusion to the path. The epilogue is fairly cute, and it made me smile. Hanna- Heroine Lead The first thing I noticed was that the confession scene was completely different. Where the protagonist was the one desperately pushing himself to confess to her in the previous route, in this route, it was her trying to find a way around her hangups to confess to him. The interesting thing is the difference in how the initial hangups are resolved between the paths, and I thought it was a clever gimmick. While some key parts and details are echoed between the path, they are presented differently, and in this path, Hanna is far more aggressive about the relationship, whereas the protagonist is slightly more passive (this route actually feels more like a standard charage route, given how most charage protags only have fake personalities). From a visual perspective, Hanna's everyday-wear outfit is changed in this path from the other and the common route (indicating that you were meant, at least in her case, to play the other one first - yay me! - most likely). In addition, this path has short scenes from Hanna's perspective, something the other path lacked, probably because it was a path focused on the protagonist leading the relationship. What is most marked about this path in comparison to the other is Hanna's personal growth. She quickly goes from your standard 'passive ojousama' to a strong personality that dominates the relationship without crushing the protagonist's personality or pride. I liked that they changed up how Hana acts in every way while not ruining her basic characterization, and I had to appreciate how carefully thought out it must have been in advance. Indeed, there are facets of Hanna that come out only in this path, which makes it worth playing on its own. Conclusion A Hooksoft charage with an interesting gimmick/concept, some good comedy, and a lot of heavy ichaicha. If you want the 'gold standard' for charage, Hooksoft is one of the companies to look to.
  22. Favorite Romance Pairing

    Maybe... tbh, with me, it is all about the genre. I would never play a shounen ai or yuri romance, because I have no interest in either... I got that out of my system relatively early on. I have problems with otomege because almost all protagonists in otomege are damsels in distress (which ups my blood pressure). However, I'll at least try any fantasy or sci-fi action if the romance doesn't distract from it, lol.
  23. Favorite Romance Pairing

    While I'm fine with yuri on occasion, my preference is for the standard relationship types (female dominant or male dominant is fine). Generally speaking, I don't have a strong attachment to romance as a plot element in general, though... so if there are no h-scenes, I can even play shounen ai, lol.
  24. What are you playing?

    I'm playing Dochi no I ga Suki Desu Ka by Hooksoft. So far it is typical for the company (straightforward SOL with a decent protagonist). I'll probably switch over to Crystalia's new game if the only route I'm interested in turns out to be boring.
  25. This is perhaps one of the few games from my first five years playing untranslated VNs that isn't a chuunige that I remembered vividly. I decided to pick this up again because I wanted some good catharsis, and I was tired of waiting for Mangagamer to get off their butts and actually release this. Boku ga Tenshi ni Natta wake is what is called a 'soft utsuge', in the sense that there are no good endings but it focuses more on the bittersweet sorrow rather than the absolute despair of a 'hard utsuge' like Houkago no Futekikakusha. Each of the first three heroines has a bad and a normal ending, and no matter what you choose, darkness awaits. The fourth heroine, the angel Aine, is the true heroine and only has one ending (the true ending) which is also bittersweet, though there is some sense of salvation for the protagonist, albeit at a price. The first three heroines are the aggressively helpful osananajimi (who is the only one of the heroines who knows his past) Naruko, the soft-mannered but somehow gloomy Yuri, and the standoffish Minamo. Thankfully, only Naruko falls into an archetypical role (osananajimi characters have a very limited range of roles), which is nice for someone looking for something with unusual heroines. This game focuses on a sort of tug of war between the apparently apathetic Kirinokojima Tomoe, who actively loathes romance in general, and the optimistic clumsy angel Aine, who believes in romance as the ultimate force for human happiness with all her heart. Tomoe is kind-hearted under his apparently apathetic exterior, inevitably caring about what happens to the people Aine wants to help, but his belief that romance only brings suffering and is a force for evil in the world is so strong that he is constantly wavering on whether to go along with Aine or not. This conflict, though it is not one born of malice, defines the main storyline, as the characters worry about what is best for the people involved. The first six chapters of the game are the common route, and each chapter covers a different romantic mess that draws Aine's attention. These messes are never simple nor easily resolved, and regardless of which path Tomoe chooses in the end, nothing turns out perfectly. The seventh chapter covers the heroine routes, which are much more intimate and have an impact that quite naturally surpasses that of the arcs of the common route. Yuri I advise anyone who plays this game to play Naruko's route third, regardless of which of the other two paths you do first. I say this because Aine's (the true path) splits off immediately before you would otherwise head into Naruko's route... Yuri's route is pretty... sick-minded. Sorry, the writer of this game probably has a serious mental illness, and I shouldn't be insensitive about it, lol. Anyway, there are hints of what Yuri's conflict is in the common route, but it escalates rapidly once you actually get to her route and her personal issues are laid bare. Tbh, Yuri's route is the most horrifying of the initial three routes for reasons that become obvious to anyone who plays it, and I wept at the normal ending and was somewhat disgusted at the bad ending (both times). Minamo Minamo's route is a bit less psychotic than Yuri's... but in exchange, the issues are more 'worldly' and familiar to the average reader. The central conflict involves Minamo's work as an idol and a combination of her past issues, family issues, and the inevitable problems of a celebrity in Japan getting involved romantically with someone else. While this path is milder than Yuri's, it is a lot easier to empathize with, and it also epitomizes Tomoe's nature to a greater degree than the other two paths. I didn't bother with the bad ending this time, instead going for just the normal one. The normal ending is bittersweet and strikes me as the ending that most fits Tomoe's personality outside of the true ending. It is sad, though. Naruko This is by far my least favorite path in the game, though it isn't just because I dislike osananajimi paths. I won't go deep into why I didn't like this path either time I played it, because I don't want to spoil anything important, but I will go ahead and cover the spoiler-free issues. This path is the only one of the first three paths that actually touches upon the reason for Tomoe's apathetic/asexual personality, and it also is the only one that touches upon the truth of what the angels work is. As such, it is absolutely vital that you play it before the true route even if you want to go straight to it, since the explanation isn't repeated in the true route. Moreover, Naruko's route's normal ending serves as an example of the game's true central conflict that is vital for understanding the true route. True Route What can I say about the true route/Aine route? It is by far the best path in the game (though the ending is still deeply bittersweet), and after you finish it, there is a sense of salvation for Tomoe that doesn't exist in any of the other paths. I say a sense of salvation, but it is salvation at a cost, as is typical of every blessing any character in this game experiences. This path reveals the fullness of why Tomoe hates himself to the point where he rejects all possibility of happiness for himself, and, to be honest, I replayed the rest of the paths solely so I could re-experience the heart-jerking events of this route in the same manner I did the first time. I can recommend this to someone who wants catharsis and doesn't mind a darker atmosphere than you would see in a nakige. It is also something I can recommend to utsuge lovers (if you liked Swan Song for the emotional elements, there is a good chance you'll like this). I do not recommend this for people who want undiluted happy endings.
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