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Mr Poltroon

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Blog Entries posted by Mr Poltroon

  1. Mr Poltroon
    I've been seeing people wondering about Daitoshokan's translation, so I'm making this compilation of screenshots just to show what the experience is like in English.
    The further down you go, the further into the game you are. But these screenshots are all from the first half of the common route and earlier, so I wouldn't worry terribly.
    I think the VN is super fun, and really, that's all I care about, to be honest.
  2. Mr Poltroon
    Just a video of me playing the puzzle mode of this game. I plan to do more of them, but I won't make a blog post for each one. Instead, they'll be replies on this one, probably.
    That said, I do plan to make something in this game involving the Fuwa community at a later date.
  3. Mr Poltroon
    This post will contain mild spoilers (though nothing really happens in it, so it's not really spoilers) for the common route section. Because of the large amount of screenshots, I've decided to make Hiiragi's specific events their own segment. I might even divide it between her events and the talk conversations. And I think I'll leave my screenshot spam at that.
     
  4. Mr Poltroon
    So I've been playing Fureraba for the whole day, and I have to say I really like it.
    Since I like it so much, I'm going to walk through the first few hours. Only real spoilers it might included would be for the first hour. Otherwise, just an endless torrent of funny scenes.
    And that's it for the scenes before we start getting choices.
    Next time, probably screenshots of a route, and those will contain spoilers for the route.
  5. Mr Poltroon
    Cinderella Phenomenon is a FREEeeee Otome game which you can get on Steam or itch.io. This is the story of Lucette (or whatever you choose to name her), the Crown Princess for the Kingdom of Angielle.
    Like all other Otome games I've played, this game has an ongoing mystery and a plot, and so I'd actually recommend the following route order: Rod Karma Rumpel Fritz (locked at start) Waltz (locked at start) Turns out this is also the order the developers recommend. Such a shame I only noticed this today, after having already played it.
    Common Route (Light Spoilers):
    One idea I've always found interesting is the idea of having a Tsundere be a protagonist. Not those cheap Tsunderes who are only violent to hide their embarrassment. I mean the real Tsunderes who, for one reason or another, have a distaste for people and are generally verbally or physically aggressive towards most others. Do not take 'Tsundere' to be a degrading term that marks the protagonist as a simple 2D cut-out with no real personality. A person may be a Tsundere for any number of reasons. That is what 'depth' is. Her motivations, desires and thoughts are what makes her a character, and not simply the way she acts.
    Lucette is called 'Ice Princess' by the denizens of her Kingdom, due to her icy cold heart. That should give you an idea of what kind of protagonist we're dealing with. Because of this protagonist, however, the story was truly unique to read through. It is not often that one gets to see the inner workings of a Tsundere, and I was astonished by how mean she was to everybody, and how selfish she seemed. Towards the start of the game, I quite disliked Lucette, but it's interesting to note this dynamic: Seeing a Tsundere from the outside makes me want to gain her trust, become her friend, melt her cold interior. But seeing her from inside her own head? Knowing her thoughts and thought processes? More often than not I was sad or mad at her. How could she be so... not good?
    Regardless, this common route also contained most of the funnier moments of the game. It's always interesting to see Lucette dishing out the sass and verbal abuse, and she even has worthy rivals in the sarcasm department. There's also something quite charming about a Princess struggling with a broom.
    A number of characters are introduced during the common route.
    Parfait is an incredibly powerful person that, unfortunately, overworks herself to no end, and this is reflected in her sprite, being the most sickly-looking character in the cast. I actually really like that they were able to convey this tidbit through the character sprite. She is a very good person, which makes it all the more hilarious when her honesty lets slip certain scathing comments about people.
    Delora is perhaps Lucette's only true rival in vitriol, though perhaps without any real ill-intent. Capable, witty, and, most infuriatingly of all, generally right.
    Waltz is a young boy that does puppet shows in the streets, gathering tips in the process. Also known as resident nice guy.
    Karma is a person whose narcissism is immense, comparable only to their apparent laziness.
    Rod is Lucette's step-brother, who has generally avoided interacting with her.
    Fritz is Lucette's personal knight and perhaps the only person she doesn't actively degrade. What a feat.
    Rumpel is an amnesiac. He is also an unparalleled flirt. One of the main sources of comedy in this story.
    (From here on, spoilers in spoilers, silly)
    Rod's Route:
    Rod's route is the route which least delves into the real intrigue of the story. For this reason, it is the recommended route to start with.
    I just feel bad for the writer. Writing 'Emelaigne' so many times must have been hard.
    Karma's Route:
    In this route we're given some pieces of the puzzle, but are left mostly in the dark.
    Rumpel's Route:
    This route throws all the pieces at our face and then doesn't do anything with them. It's great for teasing stuff, I guess.
    For the love of god, don't start with this one.
    My favourite romance in the whole Visual Novel.
    Fritz's Route:
    I really like knights. There's something about servitude and dedication... Wait, that doesn't sound good for a healthy relationship.
    Waltz's Route:
    The culmination of everything. Highly recommended that you read all else first. It will definitely better your experience.
     
    Cinderella Phenomenon's greatest feat is perhaps how the story forms a coherent whole. It is a story of stories, and in each of those stories different characters are given the spotlight. This makes it so that, by the end of the entire experience, you have had an opportunity to know everyone, and bond with everyone. Each route is as if a chessboard were laid out with only slightly a different arrangement of the pieces, and we, once again, watch the game slowly play out. At the start, we don't know anything about the other pieces or the board. But as we play through the routes we start learning where the other pieces are, and what they are. We become capable of telling in which direction the game is going, but we have precious little control over it. Lucette may be the protagonist, but we do not truly command her.
    It's precisely this feeling of wanting to unravel the mysteries that could become a weakness. I failed to follow the recommended route order and started with Rumpel. Unfortunately for me, Rumpel's route reveals far more of the setting than the other two routes available at the start. While this made Rumpel's route extremely satisfying as my initial experience, it is now hard for me to tell if starting with Rod's route would have made the overall experience more satisfying.
    As I said, though, each route tries to tackle different characters and turns of events, meaning that even if you know a lot about the overall mystery, there's always little mysteries and backstory to find in each route that you'll come across in no other.
    But I'll be honest. The main reason I read this story, as with most others I read, was for the romance. This game delivered.
    Because Lucette is a Tsundere, these are some of my favourite romance stories: melting the ice queen. With cute and kissing CGs to go with them, each romantic interest had a dynamic with our protagonist. I felt some had more chemistry with her, but that is likely just me and others would think differently. The romance is not always the focus, but it is there, and it makes me happy.
    And so, by mixing all of the events together, by knowing everybody's stories and ambitions we can choose the perfect story for ourselves. Who did she end up with? With whom did she interact? None of the events is necessarily stuck to any one route, and the possibilities are limitless. If you're willing to, you can imagine your own perfect world, in which you decide what Lucette and those around her did, and how the events unfolded.
    If I were to come up with a negative, then it'd be that the choices have no rhyme or reason to them. I didn't even notice I had made the wrong choices until suddenly everything was dead and I got an achievement for it. Thankfully, they have a system specifically for preventing this, so you don't have to consult external guides to get a good ending, and it can even be quite interesting to see how dialogue changes depending on your choice.
    Speaking of negatives, the Common Route is an essential component of the story. What this means is that your first route will be better specifically because you can better judge the main character's character growth. Once you finish the first route, if you skip the common route, you'll have 'forgotten' how Lucette was at the start of story, and her growth as a character won't be as vivid and heart-warming in future routes.
     
    P.S. I've had this post sitting as a blog Draft for over a week. Only know did I get to finish leaving a few spoiler comments (You can probably tell which ones by how much I don't remember any more).
  6. Mr Poltroon
    Allow me to write down a short complaint.
    Why is it that, so often in manga, I find myself unable to even understand what is drawn? Never mind ugly drawings, when the reader can't understand what's represented on the panel, something is seriously wrong.
    I can forgive H-Scenes for this. Shot angles in those are traditionally bonkers and I've given up understanding what kind of anatomy those characters have, as its certainly not human (how'd you even get your leg over there?).
    Now, when I'm trying to follow my action story, or even just a simple romance, and I can't tell what's happening, something is seriously off. Most recently, I'm accusing Sankarea of this, but it's definitely not the only one, or a particularly bad offender. Were I to try and find a pattern, I'd say that older works tend to be harder to follow, but it's definitely no hard rule.
    There's nothing like a good camera shot that seems to be focusing on... a wall??? Or is that the ground? A step in a staircase? A corner? A windowsill??
     
    This leads right into the next issue, and that's crappy speech balloons. In Japanese, it's rather possible that characters speak very distinctly from each other, and that makes it so its not often necessary to clearly indicate who's saying what. However, in English it's not only harder to differentiate what's being said/speech patterns, the translations themselves are not good enough to do it (incidentally, anecdotally I've found that Yuri works have the best translations).
    Bad translations are by themselves a big problem, and they are likely to be even worse a problem than not being translated at all. Wedding 2 (the sequel) is likely the worst translation I have ever read in my life, making the whole sequel unintelligible -- you basically had to to go by the drawings. A translation existing severely decreases the chances that someone will pick it up again, but it's still possible. Case in point, I have reason to believe that more than one translation of this sequel exist, and that's something I'll have to investigate.
    Going back to the balloons, the first thing they should do is ban balloons without a 'tail'. Those (ironically) devilish things, when coupled with the ridiculous, stupid habit of focusing the camera on a character that is not currently speaking, make for some needlessly painful reading experiences. Then there's the conversations between characters, which are so tight and packed in like sardines, sometimes the tail is actually pointing to the wrong character. Or maybe, since the bubble are on top of one another, the author erases the borders, making for a multi-level bubble with speech from more than one person and only one tail.
    There are nice, generous authors that doodle the characters in the bubble to make it clear who's saying what, but I'm not sure whether to blame generic designs or lack of doodling skills, but those don't always help like they should.
     
    But alas, I still love manga. I just wish more of them were within my sphere of comprehension. And easier to buy.
  7. Mr Poltroon
    What would say if I told you that my pure self likes a VN about raising a slave?
    Let me explain my rationale.
    I have found that, in stories, one of the things I like most is "helping/curing" characters in whatever way possible, and that that help distinctly affects the person in question.
    This directly translates to my favourite types of heroines: Kuuderes and Tsunderes. Haruka in Never7 is a girl who is not particularly good at communicating, but the entirety of her route is spent on fixing that, with a good dose of love involved. To this day, that route is still one of my favourites. Tsugumi in Ever17 is yet another example of a character who slowly learnt to trust, through the power of hard work, abusing others, and love. That makes for another favourite character. And the pattern repeats for most of these archetypes. It's not a matter of "cool beauties" or some such nonsense, it's a matter of helping them and curing them of their problems.
    "Curing" isn't the only factor. "Causing change" is a pretty big factor in and of itself, an characters with great character development as a result of love always spark my interest. Most of the time, said 'development' ends up being an increase in happiness, which leads to some pretty dodgy 'development' that can basically be classified as turning the girl into a nymphomaniac.
    And its when you get to this extreme that some of the 'darker', more problematic sides of my preferences come out. When what I'm looking for is the process of "curing" a character, there's nothing that necessarily forbids breaking said character in the first place. And indeed, in some stories I've read the 'plot' involved getting the characters addicted to sex, and then learning moderation, which is a twisted way of interpreting the whole thing, but very much within my strike zone. First there's a heavy "change", and then some "healing".
    This leads to my fondness for games like Rance and Bunny Black. For the most part, Rance's objectives lie in increasing women's favour, leading to him helping them, and eventually having them fall in love with him. Otherwise, he can also cause a problem for the girl, and then fix it, or even force himself upon the person until they learn to love him. All means to an end, and a rather pleasing end -- making the woman happy, helping her in the process. Whilst there are many examples to call forth in the Rance series, the first one to come to mind is the sex slave you can get in Kichkuou Rance. There, you get the option to rehabilitate her. And the whole process is a painful/happy experience, with her finally attaining happiness at the end. But Rance can also leave me hanging, such as Elizabeth at the end of Rance VI. Bunny Black works the same way, with a gentlemany-ish protagonist who may force himself upon women, but causes deep change within them. Even if it is turning them into nymphomaniacs... The idea is very clearly depicted in the character events. Initially they show a terrible hatred, which turns into dislike and slowly blossoms into love. Not in a pure way, most of the time (they just want sex), but it's something. Some of them fall in love with the "gentleness", which is a ridiculous notion as we're talking about rape here, but those are also some of the purest feelings.
    Which is why one of my favourite stories is definitely one about taking care of a slave who was previously badly treated. This gives one the opportunity to "rehabilitate" the person, teaching them that they're allowed to sleep on a bed, to wear good clothing, to eat a decent meal, to express themselves, to love. The character, then, undergoes deep change and growth, and it's all for the 'good'. There's also the option of causing change through sex, if you'd prefer that way. The same developer also made a VN about a bullied girl, who you treat well and 'rehabilitate/fix her life', which basically plays with the same ideas.
    It certainly is twisted that one would abuse (not in a physical sense) a person with mental scars to manipulate their emotions into liking us, who is helping her, but this fits nicely within my likes, and it's also good for the person, and also causes them to be happier. All's well that ends well, I say.
    If you want to bring my tastes to a better light, then you have Kamidori. Kamidori is, in many ways, a story about changing for the better. It is the story of a young alchemist who, through his hard work, attempts to make his city a better place and attempts to help all around him, including the 'monsters' and 'unknown beings', changing all of them, both humans and other races, so that they learn to live with one another. By helping these many races he lands, of course, all the cute girls, but that's only a side bonus.
     
    So then, do you know of any stories/VNs with these characteristics? I take on everything. For instance, the other day I was considering one of those dungeon games where the protagonist gets raped by monsters, except apparently the monsters really started to like him and end up following him.
  8. Mr Poltroon
    I was just about to do something productive. Thank god I thought to do this instead.
    Please feel free to recommend me romance manga, or ask for recommendations. I'd be happy to provide, or be provided with.

    This thread is to form a couple with this one, for I am somewhat well-versed in both areas:
    To begin with, it is important to highlight a few tags, which I'll be using for organisational purposes.
    Be fairly warned. I do not know what constitutes as a spoiler to you, so if you find things like whether or not there is a confession scene or how far the couple goes to be a spoiler, please avoid reading my comments.
     
    Kare Kano - Shoujo, Drama
    When somebody thinks "Romance Manga" the first thing that comes into their minds is a teenage relationship. Meeting someone, falling in love and fulfilling your teenage dream. Kare Kano is one of the first things anybody recommends when you ask for a romance. Whilst that speaks for itself, allow me to corroborate it: Kare Kano is actually fantastic. It is the typical story of two teenagers falling in love with a lot of twists and turns in the middle, wonderfully comedic too. I could not have asked for more. If I were to complain about anything at all, I wasn't too keen on a particular facet of the main guy. I will mention that the protagonist is the female, I'm pretty positive. You can probably tell the story wasn't memorable enough for me to remember details, though...
    Bonnouji - Josei, H-Scenes
    Is my go to recommendation for a relaxing romance. That is all it is, literally. The female protagonist broke up with her boyfriend and is left somewhat broken. It is at this point she meets somebody who lives in the same building, and they become friends. Eventually, they fall in love. And that is it. Most if not all of the story is spent inside the flat of one of the two, and they relax, converse, play with packages they receive from a man they know and fall in love. Both of them are adults, sometimes they act like adults, their time is spent relaxing, playing and talking. You could say basically nothing happens in this manga and you'd be mostly right, and that's totally fine. When two people love each other there isn't much more to develop, truth be told. Wholehearted recommendation (although it's so short you may cry as a consequence).
    Orange Yane no Chiisana Ie - Other
    A divorced man with two male children and a divorced woman with two female children get conned and end up living in the same house. If you can somehow believe that both parties would accept living together for more than a few days, then you'll find a brilliant story of family bonding and love. Both families cooperate with each other, and then feud with each other, and then cooperate again. You can see the period of adaptation they go through, and I thought it was well done. Eventually they establish bonds, whether or not they admit it. Familial bonds and even love bonds. The manga could not possibly be better, mostly because I'm a sucker, pardon the expression, for family.
    Living Game - Other
    Where Orange is about two half-families living together, Living game is about two individuals, with a perceptible age gap, living together... sometimes. It's... complicated. A lot of stuff happens and sometimes they live together, and as should be predicted they fall in love and one's an adult and the other a teenager, yada yada. Sometimes it's even hard to guess who's the most infantile. Through all hoops and difficulties I ended up loving the two of them, they ended up loving each other, and I loved the manga. Here's to a romance about living together, which I'm also weak to!
    Boku ni Natta Watashi - Shoujo, Gender-Bending
    Here's another thing I'm weak to. Cross-dressing. Ok, I may not be weak to it per say, but I have to admit, I really loved this one for some reason. It's about a girl who is forced to enrol in a boy's only high school, with dormitories! I'll be completely honest. I don't remember much beyond the fact that I loved it. So, if my word is worth anything to you, go read it! Otherwise, next!
    HajiOtsu - Shoujo
    What if the very first scene of your manga was a confession scene? It wasn't the first time I'd seen such a premise, but it's certainly one of the better executions. The culmination of the shy girl trope, this story's protagonist, is deathly afraid of the male gender. However, she ends up confessing to a boy who lives nearby, and he accepted! Boyfriend acquired. Now all she needs is the courage to look at him. And speak to him, too -- I heard couples do that kind of stuff, right? There's nothing quite so cute as watching a couple slowly get used to one another, especially when both are ridiculously conscientious, and shy. Read as they warm up to one another and are supported by an excellent supporting cast that, just when it looked like they'd get some real development, were left to dry as the story abruptly ended. Indeed, this may very well leave you wanting for more, especially if you liked the main protagonists. Unfortunately, no more for you. The art is terribly clear and, consequently, very pretty.
    Last Game - Shoujo
    This manga is one of the best examples of "Melting the Ice Queen". It shows us the story of a rich man pursuing his crush all through his childhood, finally catching up with him in the present day, when both him and her are students in the same university. Indeed, for once it's a Shoujo not set in high-school, although the setting does not wildly diverge from it, either... As for Ms. Ice Queen herself, she is not so in the traditional sense, as she simply sucks at interacting with other people. This is the story of how she slowly realises how truly complicated human relationships are, and how she has been taking her "childhood friend" for granted. This story's main strength is, once again, the cuteness of our main heroine, and the pitiable existence of her crush, who has decided to make his advances very, very slowly, since he has all the time in the world. It dragged on a little at the end, as they tend to, but it was otherwise extremely cute, and the main couple is fantastic.
    Could be compared to the likes Kimi ni Todoke, assuming it ended after the confession, or Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, assuming the characters were way cuter and the drama was a tad less (Both of which I'd heartily recommend for the same reasons. Check my anime recommendations for more information. The manga version is even better).
    Eensy Weensy Monster - Shoujo
    This title asks you: "Do you have a little monster inside of you? A little, dark creature that makes you spill your innermost thoughts, even when you shouldn't?". This is exactly what this story is about. Our protagonist is an average, gentle soul who everybody regards as cheerful, never getting mad or sad; until one day, she came across a super popular guy. A pampered guy who has a beautiful face, good grades, is great at sports, and loved by all the girls, with little to no effort. And so, she blew up. Spitting vitriol in his face, she tells him exactly what nobody's bothered to tell him before, how much of a spoilt, pampered child he is. And so, the lives of our protagonists begin to change, with a girl that's just a little to honest, and a boy that never before knew the taste of harshness.
    One of its main draws is, without a doubt, how unexpected the developments are. I won't say it subverts all clichés, but it certainly threw me for a loop with the direction they went for. I expected something else entirely. Instead, just keep in mind that this is a comedy, and throws drama out the window at every turn.
    Kimi wa Pet - Josei, H-Scenes, Nudity
    Imagine keeping a human as a pet. A younger lad, in his early twenties. You also need to imagine that you're a woman, in case you aren't.
    The female protagonist in this story is no weak lady. We follow her as she lives her life with her "pet". A lot of the manga is dedicated to her stressful daily life, due to work or romance, and to her interactions with her "pet" -- her means of relaxation. Maybe you could claim that there's a love triangle. Maybe you can't. I wish I could say more, but I can't, for I just surmised it. Be prepared for excellent interaction and romance; both with her lover and her pet. Speaking of the pet, make no mistake. He is not some super horny male who keeps making advances on his owner or any such thing. He is very much an animal in bed.
    Angel Densetsu - Other
    This is the story of a man who looks so evil that everyone submits to his apparent strength. It is a story of misunderstandings.  When how good a person you are is proportional only to how evil you look, and you look really damn evil, hilarity ensues. It is one hell of a comedy. Read on as the nicest highscool boy you've ever met becomes the leader of the delinquents and makes any average person on the street run over in the opposite direction or turn over their wallet.
    The romance? Oh, yeah, that. There's this girl who actually figured out you're a nice guy. You can see how it goes. Just beware, it takes its time, but neither is it the focus, so I pardon it.
    And I feel you should be aware that the first many chapters have art that looks like the artist used the wrong hand and had his eyes closed while drawing. If you can put up with it, it gets better.
    Karakuri Odette - Shoujo, Nudity????
    Did you like Chobits? Excellent. This is even better. Maybe.
    Welcome to the story of a girl android. One of the better executed ones I've ever seen. Not in the sense that she feels like an android -- there's plenty of dubious technology and mechanics and ideas, as with any story containing a humanoid android -- but in the sense that it truly, really, feels like somebody learning to be human. From her earlier curious stoic self she develops into something with feelings and thoughts, opinions and who makes decisions. This is even better when contrasted with her earlier self or with any other androids present. The character development feels incredibly smooth, with no one chapter sticking out as personality changing, or her acting drastically to the point where it seems out of character. The side cast is also fantastic.
    I imagine the ending will be divisive. It is very much the kind of ending I'd typically hate -- not particularly conclusive, and with a thread left hanging -- but what happens next is implied to the point where I had no issues. It's also the kind of ending that'd make me revoke its "Romance" tag, but I'll be keeping it since she develops important bonds with many people, and that is romance in and of itself.
    Warau Kanoko-sama - Shoujo
    Finalizing the trilogy of pretty much not romances, this title introduces one of my favourite characters of all time: Kanoko Naedoko.
    The best thing about this manga is that the main character doesn't really change. wat is dis no character development wat wat arghdteggd,shs!!!!1!! Understand, the title in English would likely be something similar to "Laughing Kanoko-sama", and for good reason. Kanoko is someone who is primarily concerned with watching other people, and analysing/noting how the act and comport themselves. Understanding their feelings and rationale -- chuckling at their hypocrisy or interactions all the while. To achieve this, she must remain impartial and objective, and therefore, avoid befriending or interacting with anyone. And she does. Almost. She ends up 'befriending' a couple of people at her first school, and these people lead her to somewhat develop her beliefs, without intrinsically changing her personality, like many other manga tend to do.
    The story almost takes upon the format of a bunch of short stories that occur as Kanoko changes schools due to family circumstances. At each school, she ends up invariably interacting with people, though not through her desire in particular, and, through her coldness, bluntness, frankness, and analytical prowess, helping them. Even then, the majority of the time is spent looking at other people and their stories.
    Over the course of this manga the romance does not develop much, but that isn't the important part. For that there's a sequel, one I didn't like much, but fairly decent in its own right. Also, that one also takes a slowwwwww approach to romance. In general, this series just isn't the best in that particular department.
    Love Celeb - Shoujo, Nudity, H-Scenes, Smut
    Here's the story of a girl who aspires to be an artist. As it happens, she has the bad luck that her talent isn't extraordinary enough to attract the important people's attention, and that everyone else seems to be employing dirty tactics to get gigs and jobs. Oh, I do mean dirty very literally. In this depiction of the entertainment world, just about anybody looking to move up in the ranks does so by sleeping with the important people who decide if they get them or not. In this world, our pure hearted protagonist stands no chance. Unfortunately (or fortunately) for her, she happens to catch the eye of a super important guy, who proposes to buy her. Protagonist-chan is not amused.
    If you're reading this, you're reading it for the smut and/or "romance". I thought this was fairly racy, and really liked it as a result. There's little else of any worth, so far as I recall.
    Renai Shijou Shugi - Shoujo, Nudity, H-Scenes, Smut
    Much like the above, you won't find much in the way of coherent plot or logical progression. In fact, I am willing to bet you will find a lot of what goes on to be not only improbable and ridiculous, but also degrading. Regardless, something within it sparked something within me. The story goes from evil guy who almost rapes our protagonist to evil guy who almost/pretty much rapes our protagonist, where she ends up being saved by the male hero every time -- said hero also frequently has sex with her. Seeing a pattern yet?
    This is a story whose focus is on sex and love. Love buried by all the sex, but love nonetheless -- you can even see glimpses of it every now and then. The finale was also good. Once they were done with all the almost rape/pretty much rape/actual rape.
    Mint na Bokura - Shoujo, Gender-Bending
    There once were two twins who were very close to each other; a boy and a girl. One day, the girl fell for the coach of another school's basketball team, and decided to secretly transfer to said boarding school without telling her brother, who was very attached to her. Once she did, and he found out, he tried to transfer too, but there were no places left for boys! Well then, the solution is simple: transfer as a girl. And so he did. His main objective being, as the siscon he is, getting in the way of his sister's relationships.
    What makes this good? It feels like Josei. The characters aren't stupid or dense, and there's no 'one true love', characters pursuing multiple relationships, establishing bonds, and understanding when something doesn't work. It's also not only one couple and both the siblings are protagonists, to an extent. Essentially, the rivalries and relationships of highschool characters seem to be well represented without delving into unnecessary drama. There's also some good comedy.
    Difficult to explain, nevertheless a definite recommendation.
    Ultra Maniac - Shoujo
    By the same author as the above, this is a similar sort of story with a different premise. Expect multiple couples, good comedy, excellent characters and no melodrama. Things make sense and characters are neither dumb, nor do they act out of porportion with the issues they face. Other than that, it's a manga about a little witch who transfers into a human school and makes friends with a human girl, and her quest to be helpful with her magic despite being bad at magic.
    Spicy Pink - Josei
    Finally, my last recommendation by this author (though I'd actually recommend everything; for drama, Cappuccino). A depiction of a mangaka and her love life. Same traits as the previous: Wonderful characters, no melodrama, nice comedy. All three of these last recommendations are wondrous romances I'd recommend to anyone.
    Yeah, I know these are getting kinda short. That's mostly because they apply to all three and I'd like these to be more than just a rewrite of the manga synopsis. I'm just finding it difficult to better explain other than how much of a romance it is.
    Skill of Lure - Other
    Is this cheating? It probably is. This isn't actually a manga. Doesn't matter. It's still the best thing since the previous best thing.
    This is a story about your typical protagonist, who, by his panic-induced illogical actions, has a propensity to act as if he were a pervert, causing women to label him as such. But there's more. There's also his best friend, who you could label as a playboy, but a special kind of playboy -- one who thinks of the women first. His friend, then, decides to teach him how to interact with women, and how to pursue his love. And it's awesome. Putting aside how much of these life lessons are applicable in real life, it's fantastic to see him growing over the course of the story, and seeing his crush recognise him for who he really is. Other plotpoints and side stories are brought up, but those unrelated to our protagonists mostly end up dead in the water. And that's still fine, because the real story is about the protagonist and his friend, as well as the protagonist and his love interest, and how they sweet they are and such and such. You know, romance. The romance bit's well done, and the friendship bit is also well done, and that's what this list focuses on.
    Hapi Mari: Happy Marriage!? - Josei
    The premise is such that you are likely to have heard of it before. A woman whose family is buried in debt becomes engaged to the owner of a huge company. Even if you have heard of it before, though, that does not mean that the story goes on to be bad. Its main themes are learning to become a 'family', or, more specifically, learning to love each other, and it is in that way that it's very comparable to the Orange Yane no Chiisana Ie manga I mentioned way above. Which is also why it really appealed to me. It is not a story about following your passions and crushes, but about developing bonds and learning to love.
    Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji - Shoujo
    To truly appreciate this story you may need to thicken your skin a bit. The protagonist is, for the first fifth of the story, rather cold to the heroine, using her as his personal gopher and tricking her so as to make her think that he likes her. Whilst the transition from when he was tricking her to when he started just teasing, having fallen in love with her without realising it, is unclear, after they officially begun dating it became a story much to my taste. The focus was not always on the couple, but one the issues either one of them tackled, and how they supported each other to overcome them. They also had intimate moments aplenty, and strain the relationship, which they attempted to overcome. How lovely.
    Kanojo ni Naru Hi - Other, Gender-Bending, H-Scenes
    Be careful. This manga tackles the issues of changing gender and gender-specific urges/problems somewhat crudely, which may cause offence to some. If you're not bothered by any such things, you may find one of the greatest manga you have seen. Do you like couples fawning on each other? Do you like flirting and open displays of affection? Do you like the idea of lovers living together? Do you like to have each of them work toward their own goals, but support each other all the while? Perhaps this manga pushed my very particular buttons, but the vast majority of it represents a... peculiar relationship, due to the circumstances, but a real relationship nevertheless. If you've made it thus far, you know what I like: A couple working together to overcome their obstacles in life, establishing bonds and an open relationship and learning to love one another. And this title delivers that in spades.
     
    ...I would go on, but I fear I'd be here all year. Literally. This post was started on February of last year.
  9. Mr Poltroon
    This will actually be far too brief to make a blog post around, but alas...
    What is "overrated"? Many things, apparently, but so far as I can tell the word itself is used to describe something that too many people like, or that is well liked for little reason.
    This is an inherently subjective word. Infuriatingly so. At its most basic, it means "too many people have a different opinion than mine", which if phrased that way means nothing. Yet so many people employ the word. There is no such thing as "other people like X too much". It is precisely because people have different opinions that some thing's are successes and others are not, and if something is a success, then it is, for that very reason, not overrated -- if people like something, that something must've done something to deserve it, whether you understand what that is or not, because thousands of people don't like something "just because". And I suppose that's just where the issue lies. Once again, people have different opinions. It's that simple.
    Such a shame it doesn't stop me from hating the word. It has no purpose. It's obvious and always implied whenever anyone has an opinion, and it only serves to bring a bad connotation and disagree with other peoples' opinions. "Underrated" at least has a purpose (in this context. Other contexts, more similar to "underestimate" are a different, unrelated, story); not to say people don't "like something enough" or people "dislike something too much", which is also another way to spell "too many people have a different opinion from mine", but to say that not enough people know of a particular thing. "Not enough people know about X", or "Not enough people gave X a chance".
    You can use "overrated" properly. "The importance of X is overrated" can be used to describe situations where misinformation is popularly spread. But therein lies the key. Using it in "subjective" matters, in matters of opinion, means little. It's a way of complaining that other people have different opinions. And I dislike that, so I complain about it on forums online.
     
    This post was sponsored by that thread asking if CLANNAD deserves its popularity or if it's overrated. I'd say when something makes you ask if it is "overrated", that's because it is popular to a point where it must have done some things the proletariat likes, and therefore can't be overrated.
    Of course, that doesn't remove the merit of discussing what is "well done" or "badly done" according to other people.
     
  10. Mr Poltroon
    I'll let you in on a little secret. These posts are set to publish automatically, and so I actually forget about them often. Nº2 just came out today and I was surprised to see it. Had completely forgotten about it.
    bog -- as in toilet jackanapes abetting grass -- as in, informing the police waiver gizzard tawdry besotted lattice despite - as in, spite 19/03/2017 - 02/04/2017
  11. Mr Poltroon
    I'm worried I'll forget about this list someday, or not have enough entries. No more 20 names per entry, that was ridiculous.
    honker -- as in a nose be on the fritz soup -- the verb gobbledegook offal gristle sequin credenza merkin truncheon From 19/03/2017 until 19/03/2017
  12. Mr Poltroon
    Let's get a bit into the exact rules for the words on this list.
    One of two things must be true: Either it's the first time I hear a certain word, or that word has more meanings than I knew it had. Simply not remembering a word's meaning, which happens quite often, is not enough to get on this list. What could happen is that I forget I had ever heard a given word before, and in which case it gets onto the list just fine.
    sultry suss nugatory crick chiropractor abattoir perennial rum -- as in odd. apostate stiff -- as in, a dead body From 14/03/2017 to 19/03/2017
  13. Mr Poltroon
    I couldn't simply allow this day to pass without trying to do something.
    Here's a poem I think I may have tried before, I'm unsure, in all it's incomprehensible glory.
    But worry not, there's a second poetry reading, a bit more normal this time.
     
  14. Mr Poltroon
    Here goes post two, double the words. Remember that both expressions and words count.
    happy hour chav trollop bottle -- in the sense of having courage shoot the crow breeches ponce fracas the Old Bill bevy forthwith uppity spastic -- as an insult tosspot josh -- teasing squatter blithely quid pro quo take a pew knothole Date: 11/03/17 to 14/03/17
  15. Mr Poltroon
    Despite my constant attempts at widening my vocabulary and introducing some variance to my word usage, it is doubtless that my knowledge remains meagre at best. In English and Portuguese both.
    Therefore, I have taken it upon myself to make a series of blog posts detailing the various words, and expressions, that leave me befuddled when I fail to grasp their meaning.
    The greatest advantage this method confers is that I'll not only surprise everyone with how little I actually read (Visual Novels are the closest things to books I read in any language -- although I have read some Spice and Wolf), but it'll also forever remain as an archive which I can consult as proves necessary. I guess writing these things down may also help me remember them, but I'm not counting on it.
    Without further ado, each post in this series will contain 10 words or expressions:
    doddle coltish dingy lunkhead -- though it isn't particularly hard to figure out what something like this means rump sanguine -- I mean the adjective compositing disaffected kecks lush -- as in, a heavy drinker Date: 10/03/17 to 11/03/17
  16. Mr Poltroon
    DISCLAIMER: All that I mention represent my views mixed with basic scientific theories floating around.
    To 'Love', and to be 'In Love'
    I believe these two to be different. One does not necessarily love those they are in love with, and one is not necessarily in love with those they love. Sound confusing? Allow me to elaborate.
    To make this as clear as possible, let's take "romantic feelings" out of the equation.
    Would you say you love your parents? Or that you are in love with them? Maybe both expressions work for you?
    The way I see it, one (generally) loves their family, yet is not in love of them.
    To be in love with someone is the sort of feeling you have towards a crush, that almost irrational slight obsession and redirection of your thoughts in their general direction. Perhaps your heart will beat faster, perhaps you will become slightly euphoric, perhaps you'll get embarrassed; all just by being near the person in question.
    What I've just described most certainly does not apply towards your parents (unless you're into some really weird nukige). But you still love them, right? You act kind towards them, you are affectionate with them, you take their presence for granted and would sacrifice immensely for their sake.
    Mayhap, this even applies to your friends? Friendship love. You see it all the time in manga, girls loving each other, but not being in love with each other. You care for your friends much like they care for you.
    Finally, for all you older folk out there, if you're a parent: would you say you love your children, or that you are in love with them? Because if it's the latter, that would make you the worst kind of scum in the eyes of society.
    Only when it comes to romance do these two things get interwoven together. Love is a complicated mess, which I will now attempt to arbitrarily classify in a way that makes sense to me.
    All the previously mentioned situations represent love, yet they are different from falling "in love".
    As you know, or should know, humans are animals, they are living beings whose purpose is to live. All animals, all plants and all living beings have that very same objective, and they evolve and adapt in order to make sure their species continues to live. One important thing about being a living being is our instinctual desire to reproduce. If we didn't reproduce, the species would go extinct - Giant Pandas are the resident experts on the topic.
    In order to compel the race to reproduce, our body releases various hormones impelling us to do various things. Falling "in love" is one of these.
    You'll find that often, the person you develop romantic feelings for, is not one that is particularly close to you. This is what I believe being "in love" is. When you develop feelings for a person, which serves as the selfish catalyst that leads to romance.
    Having fallen in love, we humans do a bunch of silly things involving spending time with our pleasurable partner, which makes us happy (due to the hormones), and containing our sexual desires, which are also stimulated by the hormones. Probably not the most romantic way of looking at it, but "falling in love" is a mere boost towards romantic love, but I do not think it is romantic love itself. On the contrary, trying to resist this "in love" feeling is, quite literally, against our instincts. Thankfully, human beings are, for the most part, able to resist their instincts given that their conditions are favourable. If everyone ended up marrying their first love, society would be rather different than what it is right now.
    Now then, I keep mentioning "romantic love", as if it weren't influenced by hormones. Really, you can say that just about anything is influenced by hormones and this is no exception. The usual situation will be for one to develop a romantic relationship with the one they fell in love with. In turn, this "in love" boost will eventually die down leaving you only with a person that you are intimate with, that you share your flaws with, that you care for... and your sexual partner. Sex is yet another source of rather pleasurable hormones, and one important for long-lasting relationships. After all, a proper relationship requires sacrifices, and most of us selfish humans wouldn't be all that interested in maintaining a relationship for little reward.
    This is, of course, another of our instinct's plans. If a couple doesn't stay together and does not reproduce, then the whole "falling in love" business will end up having been useless.
    All this said, let us surmise:
    Because of our innate need to reproduce, we fall in love. Falling in love gives us a boost and creates an easy path that will lead to loving someone. Eventually, this boost dies down - at this point, a good couple would love each other as is (or else, divorce. Good lord, today's society...), with the help of sex. The pleasure sex provides creates hormones that increase our affection for our partner and that generally makes us interested in sex, connecting directly to our species' main goal: Children.
    The way we look at it today, everybody wants to be with those they're in love with, and lose interest when the magic of "falling in love" dies down. I, however, firmly believe that people are able to love even those they are not in love with... provided the circumstances aren't dead set against you. The main example I wanted to tie this uncultured rant to is this relationship I saw in Ao Haru Ride...
     
    I'll elucidate you right off the bat: I didn't like Ao Haru Ride as a story. This does not, however, mean that it was bad. In fact, it gave me enough food for thought to write this whole pointless blog post because of it.
    In Ao Haru Ride, because both our protagonists fail to act on their feelings in a timely manner because "emotions", they, despite loving each other, end up entering a relationship with someone else. Spoilers ahead.
    Futaba is our main protagonist, and she clearly falls in love with Kou in the first few chapters. This Kou fellow is the main love interest, who is also in love with Futaba, but who, due to circumstances and "emotions", rejects her advances. Seeing this, another boy, called Touma, felt bad for Futaba, and this kickstarted his feelings, leading him to fall in love with her. Eventually, Futaba, seeing Touma's dedication and depictions of love, enters a relationship with him and tries to love him back.
    Given this scene, Kou, jealous, surpasses his "circumstances" and "emotions" and tries to win Futaba back. Futaba, on the other hand, doesn't want this. She is not aware of Kou's feelings and really wants to love Touma back - something I consider a most earnest and great wish. However, because that's just the way things are, Futaba is unable to love Touma whilst in love with someone else, and she wouldn't stop being in love so long as Kou didn't stop - and he had no intention of stopping.
    Therefore, Futaba breaks up with Touma and gets together with Kou. Happy end.
    This entire turn of events depresses me. I dislike when a main character enters a relationship which just wont last. Totally not the kind of stuff I read manga for. I really hate how she spent most of the manga dating someone who is not the main love interest and the one she'll end up with.
    Yet, it does bring something to the table I really admired, and those were Futaba's attempts at loving Touma back, even when she wasn't in love with him. People these days always seem to think that they should marry someone they're in love with and whatnot - when I'm a fervent believer that anyone is able to romantically love even those they aren't in love with. Still, even still, we're wired in such a way that we're rather likely to fall in love with those we attempt to love, anyway, so it's almost a moot point.
    I believe that what Futaba tried to achieve is one of the most idealistic, selfless and admirable forms of love - though that's precisely why it doesn't happen often. It is, after all, much more convenient to just love those you are in love with
    This is why historical romances interest me so. They're about loving the husband or wife that was arranged for you by your family and not by your hormones (who choose based on what amounts to a whim).
     
    But then again... what the hell do I know about love?
  17. Mr Poltroon
    Did I say shoujo? I meant just about every sodding romance manga.
    Back when I started reading manga, most of what I read were shoujo manga's. Very, very long shoujo manga where the couple only get together at the very end, if at all.
    Whilst I nowadays stand against this practice, for reasons I will later disclose, I can understand how one would enjoy the "dramatic" situations, "romantic" moments, standard "comedy", and stories about friendship and high school experiences. What I just described composes 90% of all manga I've read. After all, these elements are to my taste.
    Unless done badly, as they are many a time. Typical plot development goes something like this:
    Female Protagonist is a loner or has bad friends. Love interest resolves these issues. Alternatively, skip step one and start with good friends already. Because of some random event or plot convenience, the Female Protagonist is either attracted to or forced to interact with Love Interest. Tales of Friendship and slightly romantic events ensue. Eventually, one (or both) of them realise how close they've become, and consequently act overly conscious. This leads to their partner misunderstanding the situation. Somehow, the issue is resolved, and the couple grows closer still. When things are looking particularly good for our couple, the love rival arrives, and somehow makes more progress in two chapters than the main couple in twenty. Misunderstandings ensue. They clarify the misunderstanding, still, some other event causes yet another. Rinse and Repeat. (Optional) The couple actually enters a relationship. Done well, I can live with it. After the initial misunderstandings, it's only natural for the couple to realise how much they actually care for each other and confess. But that's not how it goes in manga. Oh, no. The only ones they are fooling is themselves Scratch that, They aren't even fooling themselves. After a certain point, the main couple is very much in love, and very much care for each other. Yet, for some mind-boggling reason, the author must find a way to ensure they are not in any condition to confess, either due to unforeseeable or uncontrollable circumstances, or because of some incomprehensible misunderstanding that always pops up at that opportune moment for a confession.
    This can still be done well, assuming I'm not reading a 200 chapter manga. But guess what? A great deal of manga prefer to be segmented into smaller chapters with a spread out story; and it shows. I can hardly imagine the amount of money the mangaka would lose if they condensed their "150 chapter" manga into a measly 40. What if instead of having a new misunderstanding crop up every couple of chapters, they actually acted on their feelings? Boring. It'd end in no time at all. Because, as should be obvious, it must end after the confession. Any more than that and you're into blasphemous territory.
    I kid. If the manga has the guts to progress past the confession, I will almost certainly enjoy it. So those aren't the ones I'm fulminating against. If out of 100 chapters, 40 of them involve an after confession relationship, then you get my seal of approval. Go ask Kimi ni Todoke (which, for some reason, just refuses to end).
    Back into our slow romances, I can't claim to be particularly satisfied when out of over 200 chapters, only about a couple of them involve an official relationship. Looking at you, Mr. Hana yori Dango. Then perhaps something more accessible, say, about 88 chapters, would be better? Shiawase Kissa 3-choume didn't bother to grace us with so much as a kiss, so I'm not sure about that (not that a kiss is necessary in a romance - CLANNAD knows what's up).
    If you want a slow romance done well, follow Cross Game's example: Make it more of a side thing that's continuously going on, but don't ride the plot on it. Until an official relationship is established, romance doesn't make for all that strong a mount. Don't like sports? You prefer more "shoujo-like" topics, like friendship and goodness? Fruits Basket has you covered.
    Though I guess those are kind of avoiding the issue. Can you make something almost purely romantic entertaining, even if there's no official relationship? Dengeki Daisy says yes. Even if it's about 100 chapters? "Why not?" answers Kaichou wa Maid-sama.
    Clearly it can be done well. This all on the table, can someone explain to me how the highly rated Ao Haru Ride manages to be one of the most irritating romance manga I've read? It has a quarter of Hana yori Dango's size and triple the pointless drama! In one chapter, the couple (who still hasn't confessed to each other) go from kissing to having the biggest distance between them yet. And things just keep getting worse and worse. Despite how literally everyone, including themselves, know they love each other.
    This whole manga is very painful to digest as is, so I had to go add copious amounts of . It should now be fine.
  18. Mr Poltroon
    I have never really understood the term "sexy". I simply have no definition for it. I classify girls as "cute", "not cute", and "provocative" (in media only, obviously). The first two are self explanatory, but that latter one refers to characters who opt for revealing clothing, scandalous outfits or who have, either by choice of wear, or by the author's drawings, certain body parts unnecessarily emphasized. I dislike provocative characters, or perhaps its better to put it as "I couldn't care less." Sort of like the beach scenes in so many anime I've watched. To add to this, having played many eroge, I may have been rendered even more numb to any such provocations.
    When I read in many novels about "temptations", "carnal desire" and simply being "alluring", I have no mental image to go off of. I base myself on what I have heard, read, and been taught. Apparently, red, black and leopard are all clothing choices fit for tempting characters. Skin exposure is important, too.
    At most, with me, all these characteristics manage is a dry laugh; and if it goes too far, it may provoke my prudishness, leading to embarrassment and eye-averting.
    I had thought it would always be like this, but two characters have managed to give me something to go off of when thinking "alluring", "tempting" and "sexy"; without simultaneously tingling my prudishness:


    That's all for this list, because as I said, I'm not often captivated, and even when I am, it's certainly not due to a character's sexiness.
    In a trivial note, neither of these two series (Fullmetal Alchemist or Denpa Kyoushi) were finished by me. I didn't complete either in their entirety.
     
    For this post, I am merely basing myself on physical looks. In my next post about favourite female characters I will elaborate on a subject I am more familiar with, providing examples and minding the characters' personality. It is rather shameful to start a series of posts on such a superficial post, but it was also the most peculiar and shortest.
     
  19. Mr Poltroon
    As it happens, my younger sister had to write a text for a Portuguese test, and I like it. Therefore, I translated it (probably not too well) and decided to read it aloud. In both languages:
    There exist various characteristics that can be considered crucial for surpassing the most difficult difficulties and reaching the most faraway goals.
    For an argument as simple as "Attempt, be daring, be courageous and persevere", many will ignore it outright. After all, just because we try to do something, just because we are stubborn, we do not obtain instant results. Various situations are, clearly, impossible. To this, there's nothing I can do but point toward the history of this country.
    How many times has Portugal not achieved the impossible? A mere county, led by a teenager, becomes a country among countries triple, quadruple its size, fighting against Moors and Castilian Kings. One of Europe's smallest countries was given half the world by the Pope. A country in plain dictatorship, achieves a revolution without a single casualty.
    I understand that some may not believe that tenacity and audacity enable the impossible, but something I can guarantee: Without attempt, there will be no success.
    ----
      Existem várias características que podem ser consideradas cruciais para ultrapassar as mais diffíceis dificuldades e alcançar os mais longínquos objetivos.
       Para um argumento tão simples como "Tenta, sê ousado, sê corajoso e persevera", muitos ignorá-lo-ão de imediato. Afinal, só por tentarmos fazer algo, só por sermos teimosos, não obtemos resultados de imediato. Várias situações são, claramente, impossíveis. A isto, nada posso responder senão apontar para a história deste país.
       Quantas vezes não realizou Portugal o impossível? Um mero condado, liderado por um adolescente, torna-se num país entre países com o triplo, o quádruplo do seu tamanho, lutando contra mouros e reis castelhanos. Um dos países mais pequenos da Europa recebeu metade do mundo do Papa. Um país em plena ditadura, realiza uma revolução sem um único ferido.
       Compreendo que alguns não acreditem que tenacidade e ousadia permitam o impossível, mas algo posso garantir: Sem tentativa, não haverá successo de forma alguma.
    -M.F.V. (Poltroon)
     
     
  20. Mr Poltroon
    You can find the original post here: http://forums.fuwanovel.net/topic/12218-gahkthun-of-the-golden-lightning-released/?do=findComment&comment=379071
    In a timely reply to Eclipsed's pertinent question.
    ----
    When I first started this VN, I'll admit, I had high hopes.
    To start with, it had Koestl as a translator, and his translation of Grisaia no Kajitsu very much made for half the VN's greatness. In my eyes, he proved himself as entirely capable of "translating", a broad term that can mean anything from converting a bunch of words from a language into appropriate synonyms of another language; to picking up the meaning of a sentence or paragraph and rewriting it in another language whilst attempting to maintain the same style, word usage and meaning. I'm specifically referring to the latter here: For examples, check many of Grisaia's word puns, language usage and referential/cultural jokes which, in the hands of many other translators, would have lost their significance in a western language.
    I was not disappointed on this front. I do not know the Japanese language. I could not possibly know (much like with Grisaia) whether the speech style, narration style, word usage, terminology or what have you has been faithfully translated. What I can vouch for is that it's certainly a cohesive, natural and, to many, I'm sure, beautiful work in its own right. I'm not here to debate whether "Gahkthun of the Golden Lightning" is Sakurai's story that has been respectfully converted into our language, or merely Koestl's modified copy. I'm here to state that, so far as I believe, "Gahkthun of the Golden Lightning" is a wonderfully written story. The English is phenomenal, in that it is anything beyond what I could ever write, has a vocabulary that is evidently larger than my own and, all throughout, the various stylistic choices make sense in context and work to make an entire cohesive, natural and beautiful work.
    Take this with as many grains of salt as you will, for I am not a native, nor have I ever read anything beyond the standard fare of Visual Novels, which certainly don't even compare. Most of what I've read does not even try to be written this way.
    That's a good point. What do I even mean by "written this way"? I find myself at a loss when asked to describe the writing style, so I'll instead broach my thoughts and opinions on the various aspects of the writing. From here on out, expect spoilers.
    Narration. Three chapters into this VN and I'd put it on the back burner. The VN itself was not bad, but there were things that very much irked me. Not the last of which was the omniscient narrator. Mind you, by themselves, I actually prefer a narrator who is aware of everything, who can describe everything with a degree of accuracy. What I hate, what I despise, is this characteristic combined with various others: Contradiction of facts for emphasis, his omniscience conveniently fails where the situation is most dire, for emphasis, repetition of the same sentences with slight or hardly any alteration, and hyperboles and metaphors.
    I'll try to exemplify these:
    The many times Tesla dodged undodgeable attacks, or avoided unavoidable contraptions. A quote where there were "Ten, twenty, thirty... countless numbers of knives were launched toward him."  is the first to spring to mind.
    You'll notice these hardly qualify as bad writing or anything even remotely close. These are nothing but my own personal preference and I hate every last one of these writing tropes. It's these, in tandem with my general disinterest toward descriptions of battle where most of it is so hyperbolic that it's not possible for me to picture... that made me skip most action/battle scenes. Not just in Gahkthun, either. In Muv-Luv Alternative, in Rewrite, in Fate/Stay: Night, Tsukihime may forever burn in hell for it, and I couldn't even read more than an hour of I/O: revision II - I still don't know what this one's about, only that the writing made me steer bloody clear of it. I want to make lucid I am not absolutely bonkers and contradicting what I've said just earlier: The writing is indeed exceptional. Everything else but these literary devices were parts I loved, and I'm pretty sure that, to just about anyone else, what I've pointed out aren't even flaws, but commendable use of the language.
    After later on being urged to continue reading by multiple users of Fuwanovel itself, I ended up continuing the visual novel, and by no means did I regret it. Some of the literary devices I actually came to find quite charming: "Of the many rumours surrounding the Governing Council, this is one of the very few that happens to be true." x12 - Not that I really know much about writing or its devices. This "omniscient" narrator and blatant contradiction of previously stated facts can actually be used in a rather effective way, methinks. The way the narrator constantly switches with a characters inner monologue is effective. Very much so. It goes a long way to accurately represent the panic, confusion and emotional strife of a character, when we are given such a glaring contrast between narration styles... I can say it was highly effective with me. I could also tolerate the highly hyperbolic descriptions because of how... ridiculous the setting is as a whole. I would actually not be surprised if Nightingale had died a thousand times just by being looked at by... murderous red eyes in the sky.
    Another peculiar thing about the structure of the story, and this goes on to connect with the story and plot more than the writing itself, are the exercises for the reader - or fairytales.
    This Visual Novel is divided into twelve chapters. Each chapter starts with a small introduction, it either expands the setting, introduces new characters or starts smack dab in the middle of an already ongoing plot. When the VN first threw these "reading exercises" at my face I was pretty... intrigued. How weird. Such a strange way to tell a story. What's their purpose? What do they do? Initially, I was quite confused. They were minimalistic, and, more often than not, they seemed to have no real correlation to anything that was going on. How ignorant I was. How foolish of me. There were two aspects I was particularly fond of:
    These exercises, as a whole, required input from the player, and I believe that, for the most part, all of them tried to teach something. To showcase various paths for radiance. And let it be known, radiance, despite the name and main theme behind Tesla, does not always imply good and just. I'll come back to this later.
    The second part I really liked is how effective they turned out to be with me. I cried various times over the course of the VN, probably four or thereabout. The smashing majority were during these exercises. The music and the minimalistic images joined together, the narration and context derived from the main story itself, they come together and fill in all the holes forming a wonderful and emotional tale. The main story shows you the present, which you deem mostly incomprehensible a great deal the time, or fail to understand the context. Afterward, or sometimes in the very middle of what appears to be the climax, these calm, relaxing exercises suddenly appear and fill in all the holes. You learn the motivations. You relate the exercise characters to the real characters, you find out their past through this, and it is altogether more effective than flat out stating it all.
    These brought their own problems. After learning of the nature of these exercises, you start to spot patterns and can immediately deduce who the story will focus on within the first few minutes: See Émile's chapter with Louis-Charles. On the other hand, this can still be used effectively to induce false conclusions. See Berta's chapter - the exercises lead us to believe she is the woman in question (and in turn, may render the "she's actually female" reveal, rather stale) when she is actually her daughter. Not much of a twist, but it does show the writer was probably well aware of the flaw, with how they toy with is like this.
    Moving on from the reading exercises, I'll continue with the setting.
    I found it rather interesting if a bit depressing with a tinge of hopefulness. A Steampunk setting doesn't really speak to me. I have no strong opinions either way. Since this is a Steampunk setting and I'm not interested either way, that's out in regards as to why I found it interesting. This leaves an alternate history setting, which I liked, and copious amounts of references to a living, breathing world out there all throughout the story. Situations like Holmes existing, various historical personages with their own roles in history and my very own dictionary with a good deal of backstory all within. Add to all this how the characters and omniscient narrator refer to previous events constantly, things we don't know about, things we might have known about, were we an actual character in the story, and this works wonders for immersion.
    Of course, hating all things "bad" and "evil" like I do, I was very much saddened at the polluted and irreversible society they lived in. Also not a fan of how most of the "new" technology were things that have only recently been invented or things we can't even mimic with today's technology: See all the giant robots, androids and machines that make you learn on your own (I am guessing they were actually effective beyond being used for the chairman's schemes, here).
    As for the plot, I can say I  actually didn't see it going anywhere far, which is why the last three or so chapters surprised me. For the first few chapters, I thought every chapter we'd get new characters and solve a mystery and help people. Of course, this sort of come and go episodic format doesn't do much for plot, unless they are all connected, and they certainly didn't seem all that connected, early on. I would actually have been fine if it kept up until the end. I liked the format and the various little stories. To me that was fine. But in those last three chapters they picked up the slack, kicked up the drama a notch, let the big bad go free, and made one of those "all those you've helped in the past band together and (in soviet russia) help you" sort of stories. Being a sucker for that sort of thing, I was rather satisfied. Of course, given how the VN had thus far focused the climaxes on the battles, It was rather anti-climatic when Tesla insta-kills the big bad after reuniting with Neon. Turns out the zenith of the chapter had been her trip to Tesla, not the fight itself.
    To go into further details, I feel I should focus on the characters and their respective chapters.
    Starting with Tesla. Because the narrator does not lie (even though he is omniscient: Umineko could stand to learn a few things about not lying to the reader in a mystery), we know right from the start that most of his claims are true, his true nature is one who does not lie, one who pursues justice, one who fights evil. We can also plainly see he is arrogant, brutally honest, curt and that he does not mince words. All of these are pluses to me, provided the arrogance has justification - which it does - in both skill and age. Speaking of age, given how he cannot lie, why is it that he was able to declare he was younger than he actually was? Whilst this made for a small comedic gag about not wanting to seem too old, I don't deem it as worth breaking character or principles for.
    Tesla makes, therefore, for one of my favourite male characters to speak of, in ideals and personality both.
    If I had to find a negative, him deciding he would need to atone for his existence with Neon, that he caused her love life such unnecessary strife because of his predetermined decision... would be my main flaw. Had he simply said, "My existence caused their deaths; by the time I found out, it was already to late.", had he simply explained the circumstances... the whole final chapter could have been avoided, really. Optimal scenario doesn't really make for much of a story, I suppose.
    Surprisingly enough, Neon's friends did not get much in the way of development.
    We know a bit about Annabeth's father and her methods as well of personality. Of Neon's friends, she was the one who appeared the most. Not that that helped me understand what her relation with JJ actually was, in the end.
    We never did get to find out Izumi's secret with the "headband" and tail, though foreshadowing made it obvious enough.
    Poor Albert was hardly present. At least JJ and Louis-Charles had chapters where they could be present more often, but no such mercy for Albert. Being kicked out of the beach chapter deeply hurt his overall presence in the VN.
    These general characters mentioned, I believe I should get some order around here and backtrack all the way to the first chapter... To the very start of the Visual Novel.
    It certainly knew how to make an impression. We start playing as this seemingly nice girl who goes to school and appears to be awfully shy... only to find out her real circumstances aren't anything so nice. We see her deluding herself, all in an attempt to stay at this academy for reasons yet unknown. All we know is that she had to, somehow. We slowly, or maybe rather quickly, see her breaking down, no matter what she herself claimed. We see the nature of the people she is dealing with. When, after a long, long, while, we see that she lost her highly unstable job, and that her boss was quite indeed on the verge of coming on top of her...
    It ends.
    I'm not sure if that's where the chapter ends, but I do know that the story perspective stops there, and we don't find out exactly what took place until... the bloody final chapter. I'll give you this: There's no reason we couldn't have found out about what happened earlier... but I guess it's fine.
    From here we see Neon in a rather shameless position for a while and are introduced to our main character, where he does a wonderful job showcasing the traits I've referred to above. Also, Jelly Beans - we'll come back to those. Speaking of things we'll come back to, try not to forget about the various "Q:"s we were put through at the start.
    Chapter 2 - or are we still in chapter 1? - does some things I very much enjoyed. After that dark and demoralising first impression, we are introduced to the hero who fixes everything, and he did fix everything, and this touched some of my favourite situations in media: A slave being given freedom or being treated like a human. It is actually rather strange how she found the audacity to complain at her new "Master" about all sorts of things...
    That aside, this chapter (or is it the next one?) includes the very first battle in the VN, with Walther. I wasn't really a fan of it, at all. Sure, I like to see overpowered characters using highly exaggerated powers with silly names as much as the next guy, but this is assuming the next guy doesn't like them much. On the other hand, I came to like Walther himself. The character we see here, this terrible first impression he gives us as... plainly evil, really... it disappears. Or at least, over the course of the visual novel, in the incredibly brief appearances he made over the course of the rest of the visual novel, my animosity toward him just simply up and vanished, getting replaced with love, of all things! By the time I got to the end I loved the guy, and it really is mysterious how it all came to be. Perhaps there's something wrong with my head, besides the obvious?
    It was in some random scene after this point that I temporarily halted the VN. When I got back to it, I found myself in Odile's chapter. This is the point where I thought I'd figured out the VN's structure with the various exercises for the reader and "mystery of the week" format. For the chapter itself, I don't have much in the way of impressions, beyond this being the first point in time Neon struck me as remotely interesting. More specifically, in the manner which she manages to read the emotions of a person somewhat accurately. Perhaps I like this trait because I'm a dimwit at it myself?
    Next up was probably Anne's, the iron lady's, chapter. Each chapter shows us a different form of radiance, some more twisted than others, and Anne's? Anne's radiance seemed to be in the right place all the way through. She simply needed to be more aware she cannot be an iron lady toward everything, all the time, no matter how much she wishes it. This chapter focused on showing us the various other sides of the Marshal and revealing a bit of JJ's backstory. All in all, I liked it. She seemed to have something going on with JJ, but we never saw anything too informative, so I suppose it'll forever remain a mystery. Not even our "omniscient" narrator seemed to be fully aware of it.
    Berta's chapter was set up to be the silliest thing yet. The story decided to break the rules of its own setting - or perhaps better put, take advantage of the Academia's constant bending of them - and include a beach episode. It can be said it most certainly came out of the left field. It was nevertheless appreciated: The reader mostly follows Tesla's point of view, and for good reason. The many lines he spouts during these scenes made some quite gold material. The whole love drama with Jo was entirely dispensable... but let's focus on what I really loved about this chapter: The reading exercises.
    The story they told caused many a tear to jump out from my eyes. I can only assume this VN is so overpowered it gushed dust particles in my general direction during these scenes. Either that, or these scenes touched on the right subjects for me, those being family, bonds, and love. I may or may not a have bawled a bit. I didn't quite understand all that much about her whole plot for revenge... I'm just glad she came to her senses in the end. I felt satisfied after finishing this chapter. From here on I was actually rather captivated for every scene about the council, as more and more of the members came to change their views and thoughts.
    Next up was Émile's chapter, which is also where I first understood how there were many sorts of radiance. Her thoughts and beliefs on how a ruler should behave, they all... seemed correct to me. And yet, simultaneously... no human being should have to be put through that. No friends, no emotions, no impartiality... that's what Tesla was trying to point out about her radiance. This is all the more amazing when you consider he's doing precisely the same thing, Tesla, by taking all burden up himself, so that others may live unhindered. Really makes you think about the many kinds of "radiance" out there. What is "just", what is "good", what is "tastiest? Chocolate or Jelly Beans?" This made the entire chapter interesting to me, this battle of ideals. I ended up really liking the resolution, with her "friend" trying to reach out to her, and said friend being helped by her own friends to do it. This is the point in the VN where I liked Neon the most, a girl who is perceptive with others' emotions, and believes in her friends through it all. Louis-Charles also got most of his development from Émile's chapter, not that I ever cared about him, much.
    Chapter 9, or whatever that really short chapter with the gate to hell was, is what I considered filler with a capital F, at First. Upon thinking about it further, even though it had no connection with everything else that was going on in the background, it showed some really good sides of Neon. Her ability to trust Tesla with all her heart, enough to put herself in harm's way just to help a random student, I loved that. Her apparent "No big deal, but would you kindly get rid of the monster now? It's trying to molest me, here." attitude also made for a rather amusing scene.
    Jo's chapter wasn't too interesting by my standards. I was unable to understand the conflict, and Neon's jealously irked me so. Still, I am a fan of mentally broken characters, especially when they come to heal, so I manage to salvage some enjoyment out of this chapter.
    From here, we go on to the big final chapters, and this is where everything culminated. It is almost strange how they managed to address so many plot points then and there. Why the Chateu d'if (or whatever the name is) was one of the first things present on the island, why the students were so easily manipulated, Tesla's backstory, and many other things. If I were to speak of what I liked? Anything after Neon regained here memories. What I disliked? Anything involving Neon before that point. How all the governing council members were related, plus Neon and the society member, is probably the most difficult thing to believe. In my eyes, that was entirely unnecessary. It would have been fine if only Neon was related, but everyone? A wee bit too much, I thought.
    A few more random impressions on the finale: Wilhelm's (...or was it Reich?) fall from glory happened far too fast, and we didn't get to see him until the end, where he still hadn't learnt his lesson. The big bad was about as absurd as expected. Florence never had a real chance to show off her powers, what with getting killed thousands of times over by the second. Tesla and Smilja's backstory really was the best here, it let me cry a bit more. Remember the Jelly Beans? Oh, so that's why. Remember the questions the game posed at the start? What do you think, now that you had time to think it over?
    The very best part was, as I've said over and over, Neon recovering her memories... for no apparent reason, actually; and going on her trip to save Tesla. Meeting all the people you've seen over the course of this VN, if only for the briefest of moments, to the sound of epic music, was epic in and of itself.
    ...I believe that is all I wanted to say. My impressions of this VN were mostly positive, and the finale succeeded in captivating and satisfying me. There is nothing else I could ask of a story. Since I don't want to offend certain people, certain dice, I won't put a numerical value that can be easily spotted from far away, and instead I'll say that it's a nine out of ten, and hide away in an unimportant corner most people won't ever bother reading. The best place to hide a tree is a forest, after all.
     
    This was the original conclusion to my post, for those interested:
    This VN is a bad VN. I wanted it to end a certain way and it didn't. I wanted it to have routes and it didn't. I didn't like some of the purposeful choices in narration. Some sprites and CG's were disproportionate and the UI and menus did not feel smooth as butter. 4/10 VN.
     
    Final note:
    While writing this I had a desk lamp next to me, pointed at some work I was supposed to have been doing, and every time I got up I seemed to get hit by said lamp. So I decided to make a counter for it.
    Hit my head on lamp count: 6
     
    Post Scriptum Final Notum:
  21. Mr Poltroon
    Edit:
    I have uploaded it either way, so enjoy.


    In the process of recording myself playing Higurashi, it seems I didn't do enough testing beforehand and recorded nearly an hour of a pretty much blank screen.
    However, sound and music are just fine, and I read aloud every single line (no voices). Would anyone still be interested in seeing me play/read this?
    *posts on the blog where nobody ever reads*

    Sample of my technical issues:

    Now then, if you'll excuse me while I despair over this turn of events.
  22. Mr Poltroon
    After digging in the "Post pics you like" I found this little gem, and did not hesitate to record it for all eternity.
    Here, I present it to you, please use the image as support:
    https://youtu.be/Bj8Tx3jpQcM

    Now, if you'll let me be excused.
  23. Mr Poltroon
    As could have probably been easily predicted, I last left off 5 minutes near the end of the demo. As a consequence, the final one ended up being the shortest episode. Still, I've included a little bonus at the end, although equally short. This video is also in high quality, at least when compared to the rest.


    As for what I'm doing next, which is assuredly not the question first and foremost on your mind, I'll actually leave it up to your capable minds. I can do most everything except that which I haven't personally approved.

    Until then, excuse me.
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