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Mr Poltroon

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  1. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to Flutterz for a blog entry, Reading Ginharu Very Slowly #14   
    I've gotta live up to the name of the blog, ya know?
    Actually I recently found about about the Hoshi Ori patch that's being worked on right now, and that made me want to revisit Ginharu. I was considering just reading it on my own without updating the blog but that felt wrong. I'll probably end up disappearing for another year after a few entries, but we'll see. In the meantime, I'll probably have fewer screenshots and more summarization because I'm lazy.
    Also it turns out that I never even published the previous entry in September of 2017, so here it is I guess
    Now onto the stuff I read recently and not over a year ago
  2. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to Plk_Lesiak for a blog entry, 2018 Curator Connect Clean-up, part 1   
    Since I’ve established my Steam Curator profile last winter I’ve been sent a number of games, some of which received full reviews on the site (ex. Sable’s Grimoire or Crystalline), while others, for various reasons, did not get covered at all. In most cases, the games I didn’t write posts about were small or low-budget titles, hardly giving enough material for an in-depth review – still, as I don’t like the idea of ignoring people that were generous enough to offer me their work for free, I’ve decided to dedicate this and next week’s posts to giving a short overview of things that were given to me through Curator Connect in 2018, but didn’t get to appear on the blog. Just as in the mini-reviews series, every entry will be concluded with a simple rating on a scale from “Highly Recommended” to “Not Recommended”. So, let’s get this party started!
    Silenced: The House

    If someone asked me to define “wasted potential”, showing them this game would be an easy way to thoroughly explore the concept. Silenced starts with a slightly edgy, but appealing and unusual concept. You play as a villain (although to a large extent manipulated rather than plain evil) – a girl adept in the occult, who lures a group of some particularly obnoxious teenager to a secluded mansion, as a sacrifice to a malevolent spirit. There, things quickly goe out of control and our protagonist has to struggle both to satisfy the demon she’s forced to serve and keep her life while fighting off against vengeful ghosts that come after her “companions” and uncover the sins from their pasts.
                The general set up and the simplistic, but well-stylized art are fairly promising, but that impression quickly falls apart as you experience the game’s clunky and often cringe-worthy writing style – to some extent a victim of the less-than-perfect translation from Russian, but having problems that go far beyond what poor localization could explain. The unnatural English, overly-contrived metaphors and edgy internal monologues of the protagonist quickly makes the whole thing unpleasant to read and while the storyline has its moments (the backstories and hidden motivations of the characters are kind of fun to explore, especially after the intrigue picks up), it’s just ultimately not enjoyable to go through. The game is also technically clunky, adding to the cheap feel of the whole experience – even the large number of CGs and effective use of gore can’t save it from being a poor VN.
                Unless you’re able to read the original, Russian version, this one is simply not worth buying – but I also hope that the devs behind it will try creating something similar in the future and improve on the formula, because as disappointing as this game was, it was also not very far from becoming something genuinely interesting. Time will tell.
    Final rating: Not Recommended
    Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  3. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to Ranzo for a blog entry, Ten More Yuri Series You Need To Read Before I Destroy You, And Everything You Have Ever Loved   
    Ten More Yuri Series You Need To Read Before I Destroy You, And Everything You Have Ever Loved

    And welcome to yet another top ten yuri reading list. This is where I attach a arbitrary rank to something based on my general enjoyment of it.
    This time around I want to focus more attention on relatively obscure yuri series that might have been passed up or forgotten. This is for people who are tired of the old standard yuri tale and need something different. So, on that note, here is 10 more yuri series that you should read before I destroy you and everything you ever held dear. (Oh and if you haven't check out my first yuri list here.)
    Number 1. After Hours
    by Yuhta Nishio
    Statues: Complete, with two volume released in English

    If there is one thing that the yuri sub genre needs more than anything else is a change in location. For so long most yuri mangaka have been content to only ever set their creations in a High School the most boring setting of them all. Not only that but they were for the most part all girl schools with nary a male in sight. After Hours is a different beast all together and features actual adults in actual adult situations doing adult things. It is nothing short of a revelation. After Hours is a manga about the adventures of two women in Kei and Emi in the vibrant nightlife of Tokyo. Emi, a 24 year old unemployed young woman meets Kei at a nightclub after being ditched by her friend.
    Emi ends up going home with Kei that night and they begin something of a interesting relationship. One of the most striking things about this story is how plausible it all is. The fact that she meets Kei at a club and goes home with her sounds so realistic. Emi's struggle in trying to find her footing in the world also feels more relatable since it is coming from an actual adult instead of some high school girl. Many times the world that a yuri story takes place in seems so far removed from our world. They exist in some fantasy version of Japan where no men exist except in a few crowd shots. After Hours goes a different route and feels connected to the real world even if it is still a work of fiction. Not only that but it features a diverse cast of characters other than the two leads and they are each unique and distinct. So many times in manga and anime in general the only difference between certain characters are their hairstyle. That is not the case with this cast and they strengthen the story and help give it shape. The combination of all those factors make After Hours into a rewarding and engaging read.

    Number 2. Pieta
    By, Haruno Nanae
    Status: Completed

    There are some manga series that come along that are true gems that deserve to be noticed. Pieta is that sort of manga, it is beautiful and impactful. Named after the iconic statue by Michelangelo Pieta tells the story of the budding relationship between Sahoko and Rio. One thing that is striking about the manga is its melancholy nature and it seeps through the pages. Haruno is unafraid to tackle tough topics like depression and handles it in a way that I haven't seen in other similar series. Many yuri series feature so called damaged girls that have gone through trauma of some nature, but something about it seems a bit unreal.
    Pieta, on the other hand is completely grounded and has characters actually talk about their emotions and troubles. Pieta also has a physiologist couple who provide an even stronger framework around the series. This really makes it stand apart from the crowd and gives it a character all of its own. The art is very unique as well and add to it's bittersweet charm. Like a cherry on top, Sahoko is one of the strongest and most emotionally mature protagonists I've encountered in a story. There really needs to be more stories like this one.

    Number 3. Yuunagi Marbled
    by Momono Moto 
    Status: Completed

    Personally, I think the one thing every so called great story needs is a strong protagonist. It is not always provided and unless the plot or other characters are able to do some series heavy lifting the story will fall apart. For the yuri genre a lot of the protagonists have not deviated much from the blueprint set out in the first yuri ever Shiroi Heya no Futari. They are usually very angsty indecisive and are often easily jerked around by the quintessential dark haired beauty that every yuri are court ordered to have. This particular manga is different however and it is also the reason it is so high on my list. All of it has to deal with the strength of the protagonist. One evening Enna is walking her dog down a strip of coastline when she spots a forlorn dark haired girl standing in the shallows. She is initially confused as to why she is there and wonders if it might be a suicide attempt. They lock eyes and Enna goes on her way.
    The next day at school she and her class gets ready to greet a new transfer student that just so happens to be the mysterious beauty she encountered the other day. Enna increasingly finds herself drawn to the lonely girl named Mshio without quite understanding why. What makes Enna so great is that she acts completely opposite to how we assume typical yuri protagonist would act. She is self assured and proactive and unwilling to be consumed with angst and indecisiveness like some other protagonists I could mention (you know who they are.) With a great degree of care and sweetness she sets to work on her "broken girl" and begins the healing process with seconds to spare.
    This story could have easily have lasted over ten volumes if it had any other protagonist helming it but with Enna in control it lasts for only two very satisfying volumes. There were so many times in the manga where Enna would break from the established angsty norm in exciting ways.
    For example, when Mishio kisses Enna for the first time Enna pushes her away but not because she is disgusted or shocked by the idea that two girls are kissing. No, it is because she simply doesn't know how to breath while being kissed. It is so unlike Moto to write a story like this since some of her other yuri manga's feature some of the most angsty protagonists around. The glory of Enna should definitely be witnessed first hand.

    (Behold Enna, the Breaker of Angst)
    Number 4. Cirque Arachne
    By, Saida Nika
    Status: Complete

    I've never been to the circus though I did want to go just to see how it was, and a part of me thought about running away to the circus like every young kid. If it is anything like Cirque Arachne then I've been really missing out. This story named after the weaver cursed by Athena into becoming the first spider is about love found on the tight rope. Teti is the principal star of this tale and she takes center stage and shines all the more brilliantly for it. She is a traveling performer who finds a welcome home at the Cirque Arachne.
    There, she meets the lovely acrobat Charlotte who is a very driven woman determined not to let anyone into the little world she's created for herself. They are partnered together and inevitably the two become closer. Now, they must determine what to do with their complicated feeling intermingled with their differences. What really makes this story stand out from the crowd is the absolutely beautiful artwork. It is visually stunning the way it flows and how fluid their movements are. The term poetry in motion is thrown out a lot but it is very applicable here. The story is another standout and it is told skillfully with a great degree of warmth and sincerity. It deserves to be read.
    Number 5. Qualia the Purple
    by Tsunashima Shirou and Ueo Hisamitsu
    Status: Complete

    One of the flaws of many yuri series is their narrow scope, narratively speaking. They are primarily concerned with the development and fruition of the relationship between two women. Now, there might be an underlying story and conflicts that may come between them but for the most part it is chiefly about romance. The problem with this is the that it causes the genre as a whole to seem somewhat static and predictable. Many series hit familiar story beats you've seen time and time again, and are forced to rely on the strength of their characters to make it stand out from the pack.
    Qualia the Purple is such a different story from what we view as the norm that I have no comparisons to make, at least in the yuri genre. Qualia the Purple was originally a light novel by Ueo Hisamitsu that was then made into a manga with artwork by Tsunasima Shirou. This utterly unique story is very hard to explain and is honestly something that should just be read for yourself, so I won't go into much detail. The basic rundown is the odd friendship between a average tomboyish young girl named Hatou Manabu and her odd friend Marii Yukari. Yukari is a purple eyed girl who claims that people are robots instead of humans. While she just seems to be at first to be nothing but a bit of an oddball, until things soon start to happen that puts her in a different light. Surprisingly, this is at its core a deep and complex science fiction story and later on the revelations and new developments come fast and hot. Expect the unexpected with this story.
    Number 6. Clover
    By, Otsu Hiyori
    Status: Completed

    Otsu Hiyori is probably one of my favorite manga authors around and she has a distinctive style all her own, from her stories to her characters to her writing. The characters in the stories are normally very unique and quirky and the art style is wonderful. Clover is an interesting story about the relationships of one specific family. It is told in a different style that forgoes typical chronological formatting and tells each story out of order.
    It starts with a story about the youngest daughter of the family and goes up the oldest before bringing it back to the second youngest again. Each story is self contained and deals with the daughters relationship with different women. It serves as an good introduction to Otsu Hiyori's work.

    Number 7. Silver Gymnasium 
    By, Hiruno Tsukiko
    Status: Complete

    Silver Gymnasium is by far one of the most beautiful and just sad entries on this list. It is unique as it is set in an orphanage for young girls, and follows the trials and tribulations of several girls that reside there. It is often at once achingly and also extremely depressing.
    The writing and art style contributes to its melancholiness. I was really hit hard by it because I didn't see it coming. It is cold and bleak as the winter snow but carries with it the promise of spring. Just, remember to bring a tissue.

    Number 8. Lonely Wolf, Lonely Sheep 
    By Mizutani Fuuka
    Status: Complete

    Do you believe in fate? Personally, I've never been one that ascribed to that particular belief. I think the only thing I'm really fated to do is be buried in the ground when I've reached the ed of my days. Still, fate makes for some pretty good stories including this one, Lonely Wolf, Lonely Sheep. This somewhat unusual story concerns two girls who meet one day in a hospital. Not only are their names both Imari Kakimoto but they are in the hospital for the same injury.
    In fact, the only thing they don't have in common is that their birthdays are a day apart. Due in part by this extraordinary happenstance they become friends, however, both are harboring secrets that could put their relationship in jeopardy. This story while being short rich and dramatic, and also has one of the best character reversals I have seen. Read it, and you might start believing in fate as well.
    Number 9. Honey Crush
    By Asu Tsubaki
    Status: Complete

    Like a kick in the shin and a sock in the mouth from your best girl, here's another angsty yuri story set in a high school! Wait, where are you going? No, this is really great I swear! This one is about a ghost! Okay, good you stuck around. It would have been a shame if I had to drag you back by force.
    Honey Crush is a quirky story about the misadventures of Mitsu Amemiya who harbors a deep unrequited love for a girl from another school. She's also a bit of a stalker as well, but the cute kind okay? Like the kind that watch their crush from afar and wish them nothing but the best, not the ones that dig in through their trash, and plot detailed kidnapping simulations in their spare time. On one of her stalking escapades she crosses the street and this happens to her...

    When Mitsu comes to she realizes that not only is she dead but that she is also a ghost. Anchored to this world by her unrequited love and without any hope of becoming a spirit detective, Mitsu now must content herself with watching over her crush like a young Swayze. However, her plans are throttled yet again by the arrival of a new transfer student who not only has a prior relationship to Mitsu's crush, but is also the only one who can actually see her! This is a really heartwarming story that at times can be sweet, sad, and funny all at once. It has got a lot of charm to it and it will squeeze your heart in a vice grip while your not looking.
    Number 10. I decided to fake a marriage with my junior (♀️) to shut my parents up
    By Kodama Naoko
    Status: Complete

    I started with adult yuri and by God, am I going to end it with adult yuri! Okay, so the name basically says it all, isn't that nice when that happens? Like the title said, this short series is about a adult woman named Machi whom is convinced by a friend to marry her so she won't be bugged by her parents anymore. While this has the longest name on this list it is also the shortest.
    What makes this unusual is that I am completely fine with it! If you know yuri at all then the name Kodama Naoko is one that you have at the very least a passing familiarity with. She's well known for her twisted characters and soap opera like drama, with NTR: Netsuzou Trap being her most infamous creation. What makes I fake married my junior(I'm not going to type in that long a title every time I reference this) so great is that it is completely different from her other works. Machi is another one of these rare specimens who can break through angst and make clear and decisive choices when called upon. Gone are the indecisive protagonists that are only dragged along by their femme fatales. It is time for a new day, and the dawn brings Machi!

    Well, there you have it folks, I have gifted you with some quality yuri handpicked by yours truly. Now get out of my sight. You disgust me. Oh, and by the way...

  4. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to Plk_Lesiak for a blog entry, Yuri Game Jam 2018 VNs, part 2   
    Welcome to the second part of my Yuri Game Jam 2018 summary! Just like the last week's article (if you haven't read part 1, check it out now!), this post will offer you a short overview of visual novels that entered the event this year, this time with the focus being solely on fully-released titles. While in the previous post there were very few surprises (with mostly the two titles I actually expected to deliver quality experiences standing out from the crowd), this time there were a few unexpected latecomers to the event and games that genuinely surpassed my expectations – Scrambled: Syd City being probably the most notable one, and quite possibly the best VN in YGJ this year. It will also make a small trip outside of the VN sphere, but what that is exactly about, you'll see at the end of the article... Enjoy!
    A Game About Ants

    This story about two colonies of anthropomorphized ants and two simply workers that brought those together despite the distrust and differences between them is one of the most charming and compelling stories in this year’s YGJ. Thanks to its relatively longer script (it takes around 2 hours to fully read through), A Game About Ants manages to not only convey an amusing “love beyond prejudice” main plot, but also set it in a pretty elaborate "political" context of a clash between the aforementioned ant nests (heavily inspired by actual species of ants, with their specific appearances, habits and social hierarchies). The end result is a really intriguing and visually pleasant experience, also featuring probably the most sensual scene of antennae “kiss” you’ll ever see in a visual novel... And, quite likely, anywhere else. Do you really want to miss out on that?
    Final Rating: Highly Recommended
    Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  5. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to Plk_Lesiak for a blog entry, Crystalline (Western VN Review)   
    Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of this game by the developer. All opinion presented here are solely my own.
    PixelFade is a studio that from the very beginning showed an unusually ambitious approach to EVN development. Their first project, Ace Academy, offered some features rarely seen in Western VN of similar scale (~10h of content), such as good-quality, full voice acting and lots of impressive-looking, stylistically consistent artwork. It was also pretty atypical in its storytelling, featuring a mostly college-age cast, choosing a very tame approach to romance and avoiding the fanservice endemic to this kind of lighthearted, SoL-focused VNs. Initially funded on Kickstarter as Kendo Crush, it went through a curious evolution from a generic-looking, sports-themed game into a futuristic story about mecha battles but regardless of all the tribulations, the end effect was a highly refreshing, all-ages experience with a satisfying mix of light drama, non-violent action and mystery. In my opinion, it’s still one of the best EVNs ever released, with few real issues beyond the somewhat abrupt, anticlimactic ending and the overly simplistic "gameplay" elements.
                Considering the relative success of Ace Academy, it was obvious that there would be high expectations connected to PixelFade’s second project, Crystalline – a lighthearted fantasy tale with a single romanceable heroine, which promised a longer story and even higher production qualities than their debut. After a successful Kickstarter campaign in early 2017, with gathered over 60k CAD (an amount pretty much unseen when it goes to original EVN projects), the game fairly quickly entered Steam on early access and was fully released in late August 2018 – the much anticipated final product offering truly impressive sound and visual design... And, in my opinion, a truly disappointing lack of compelling story content. But why is that exactly?
    Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  6. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to Plk_Lesiak for a blog entry, Plk_Lesiak’s Shovelware Adventures: Silver Cow Studios’ Ecchi VNs (non-Time Tenshi edition)   
    While Time Tenshi, which I covered two weeks ago, is definitely the flagship franchise for Silver Cow Studios, the company never settled for only producing new iterations of their breast-expansion/time-travel formula, releasing two other ecchi VNs since their debut in 2015. Those games, while they didn’t abandon the giant boobs and over-the-top storytelling that could be considered Silver Cow’s staple, offered their own twists to the fanservice-filled and trashy, but hentai-free format. The first one, Burokku Girls, appeared just three months after the first Time Tenshi game and… The lack of reasonable development time definitely showed, in a few ways. The second, Battleship Bishojo came out in early 2017, after Time Tenshi 2’s Special Edition and proved that the devs had their formula figured out much better by this point in time. Still, what exactly are these games about, besides exclusively-kyonyuu heroines and are they as good serviceable as Time Tenshi proved to be?
    Burokku Girls

    Burokku Girls (the first part of the title apparently represents the Japanese pronunciation of the word „block”) is quite possibly the most bizarre VN I’ve seen since Legends of Talia: Arcadia. Although it’s not as devoid of humour as the Winged Cloud’s unfortunate “dark fantasy adventure”, it still manages to mix incredibly trashy fanservice and character designs with a rather grimdark story about a last bastion of light in the world besieged by darkness – a conflict so hopeless that the people of the last town standing are pretty much just waiting for their final battle and inevitable demise. Our generic protagonist enters this world-ending scenario through a full-immersion VN machine, constructed by his father. The virtual reality set goes haywire in an inexplicable way and transports him to a reality built with the titular Blocks – voxel-like elements, which were used in past immemorial to create an artificial paradise for people to live in, but was since invaded by the “Underworlders”, exiles trapped in the dark chasms beneath the “Overworld” and sealed away with the Blocks.
    Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  7. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to sanahtlig for a blog entry, Strategy H-RPG Venus Blood Frontier Kickstarter: Why you should care   
    Support gameplay eroge, Ninetail and me by backing this on Kickstarter

    With your support, Venus Blood Frontier could drive a desperately-needed renaissance for English gameplay eroge.
    Strategy H-RPG Venus Blood Frontier Kickstarter: Why you should care

  8. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to MayoeruHitori for a blog entry, Summer Pockets Review   
    Summer Pockets Review
    Before I begin, I'd like to point out that the Frontline Japan review is excellent. The only part I didn't like is that they indirectly reference one of the most important hidden elements of the story (but it's possible some people won't notice or think too hard about it) and that they say it's too short.
    Edit - Just to re-emphasize, this is an atypical style of VN review. If you want a more normal review, check out the Frontline one.
    This is intended to be a spoiler-free review. I never reveal anything concrete about the story itself or its themes, that isn't clearly evident from the first hour, or assumed if you know anything about Key (like the fact their games are nakige).
    Key's Creative Intent
    If you didn't know, Summer Pockets is the next major Key title (not a short VN like Harmonia) that came out recently.
    In Key's promotional interview back in December of last year (translation), the director and writer Kai revealed that Key staff tried to have a "fresh approach" and come up with ideas for the next Key title internally, but didn't like any of the proposals. Then Maeda Jun spoke up and said, "Uh, I have this one idea..." And they said, "This is Maeda Jun!" and went with it. That's the core of Summer Pockets.
    Maeda was unable to write for Summer Pockets due to medical problems. Key had already hired Niijima Yuu by then, and Kai worked with Niijima to flesh out the story. Hasama and Imashina Rio also wrote part of the scenario.
    How Summer Pockets Actually Turned Out, Overall
    Summer Pockets is easily the most Key-like game since Clannad. It's not an unconventional title like Rewrite.
    Niijima's influence definitely stands out; he was responsible for many of the most important parts of the scenario, and from what I've seen, fans have praised those parts most. However, Kai's role shouldn't be understated, since he was the director and worked closely with Niijima.
    Despite some people's fears, Summer Pockets was not turned into a distinctly "Niijima" work like Majo Koi Nikki or Koikake. That was only to be expected, since Niijima didn't come up with the concept behind Summer Pockets, and he wasn't the sole planner either.
    Although Niijima is no Maeda, IMO he's the best Maeda they could possibly find, because their overall styles are similar. There was no sense of discord with Niijima as the lead writer.
    The parts not written by Niijima weren't problematic in any way, either. At the worst, you could say they were typical Key routes. To me, each route felt very unique, and each heroine had her own charm and appeal, so even if the prose didn't wow me, I always had fun.
    The production quality of the rest of Summer Pockets was also extremely solid. They seriously didn't skimp on the CGs this time. Since Angel Beats! -1st beat-, Key's art has been (in my personal opinion as a non-Itaru fan) much more beautiful and expressive. The seiyuu are top-notch too. But it's too bad that the male lead Hairi wasn't voiced. Key always has nice music, too; I've spent hours with the jukebox in the extras menu. Orito's tracks are typically my favorites, and I also like Maeda's "Sea,You Next" and "Pocket o Fukuramasete". Normally I'm a major Mizutsuki Ryou fan, so the fact she's overshadowed by two people just makes me think, "Yep, that's Key for you." My favorite track from her in Summer Pockets is "Yoru wa Mijikaku, Sora wa Tookute".
    What It Feels Like to Play Summer Pockets
    From here on out, this review will be "less spoiler-free" simply because I'll talk about stuff like... the extent to which the heroines interact with one another in the common route, or the common route's structure. Don't worry, I never reveal anything concrete about the story itself or its themes, that isn't clearly evident from the first hour.
    At the story's start, the male lead Hairi arrives on a small island that's located off the coast of his home city. He's ostensibly there to help his aunt dispose of his recently departed grandmother's possessions, but she tells him, "I'm still sorting through everything, and don't need your help yet. Go out and have fun!" So he has no choice but to wander around the island every day.
    A major part of the charm of Summer Pockets rests in the island and its inhabitants. As Hairi wanders around, he becomes friends with the handful of locals who are his own age. They already know each other well and have their various humorous character dynamics, so it's wonderful how they accept Hairi into their circle despite the fact he's not from around there. To quote someone on EGS, it's "an island atmosphere filled with kindness and consideration." Many people love this aspect of Summer Pockets. It probably appeals to players even more than the nakige aspect does (judging from the EGS tags).
    The fixed part of the common route is very short, and from then on you have to repeatedly choose who you want to spend time with in order to select a route. It's very typical.
    In the heroine routes, you'll learn about the hidden sides of the heroines and come into contact with various mysteries. Unless you've never heard of Key before and want zero expectations (don't confuse "intended to be spoiler-free" with "completely blind"!), I don't think it is a spoiler to say that you should expect to deal with drama that arises from supernatural plot devices.
    The average reading time of Summer Pockets on EGS is 30 hours. That's the same length as Air, and longer than Kanon. Of course, it's much shorter than Little Busters EX, Rewrite, or Clannad.
    The Bottom Line: How Good Summer Pockets Is
    Just look at the numbers. Summer Pockets has an extremely robust score on EGS, a median of 89 with 200+ votes. For comparison, the only clearly better-received VNs in the past 5 years are Sakura no Uta, Rance 10, and ChuSinGura 46+1. It's similarly well-rated on VNDB.
    What appeals to people most is, as you'd expect, that this VN successfully nails the Key formula: comedy, lovable characters, and of course, tears. As one person put it, "Key isn't dead. I've been convinced."
    And like I said earlier, the production values are excellent. Key's VNs used to be known to skimp on art (of course, the music was always solid) but they've broken away from that limitation. There are so many nice CGs in Summer Pockets, as well as sprites. It seriously improves the experience. Summer Pockets is truly a modern VN.
    There were other improvements over previous Key VNs, too. Kai probably deserves credit for them. He mentioned in the December interview that for Summer Pockets, they tried to make the heroines interact with each other more, and they also added handsome male side characters. Key pulled this off well; while the level of inter-heroine interaction still wasn't at the level I hoped for (I know I'm crazy to want harem love comedy situations in a Key VN...) it was still solid. The two boys, Tenzen and Ryouichi, resembled Kengo and Masato (from Little Busters) respectively. Although they clowned around a lot, and rarely seemed as reliable as the Little Busters boys. Not that they didn't have their cool sides. But if you're Kyousuke-sexual, you probably won't find what you want in Summer Pockets. If anyone, perhaps Ao was the "Kyousuke" of Summer Pockets, socially. Despite being a heroine, she's a friendly person who's easy to talk to and well-connected on the island, so there were plenty of roles for her to play in every route of Summer Pockets.
    I would say that Summer Pockets has 2 notable "flaws". The first is that some routes are better (worse) than others. Frankly, this should surprise no one who has read Key VNs--or VNs at all. Not all writers are equal, and Key often has multiple writers work on the same VN. But as I said before, none of the routes are especially bad in any way. I personally enjoyed every one of them. Only 1 of them felt fairly predictable. To offer you an idea of what my tastes are like, I was decently entertained by every route of Little Busters aside from the ones Tonokawa did (Komari and Kurugaya). So if you're someone who would say that every route but Refrain and maybe [some other route] was terrible, then maybe you actually will think that ~2 of the routes in Summer Pockets are terrible... Tastes vary.
    The second "flaw" is that it's fairly derivative of other Key VNs. Maybe now you see why at the start of this post, I related the little anecdote from the interview. It shows how Key attempted to innovative, but in the end, they went the safe route with a very Maeda-esque story. Since I read this interview before I played Summer Pockets, I didn't expect a revolution... Anyway, I personally don't think it makes Summer Pockets any less excellent, except to the extent that it doesn't blow anyone's mind because they've played VNs like this before. A lot of people realize that Clannad copied from a certain other classic VN, but that doesn't make Clannad any less of a masterpiece which achieved success beyond that classic. Even if Maeda recycled some themes or plot devices when he came up with Summer Pockets, the fact of the matter is that Summer Pockets delivers them in an unpredictable way, with plenty of red herrings. You can tell from the impressions people left on EGS that few people care about the parts that are derivative. And for the record, it's not completely derivative thematically. For example, the themes about summer and summer vacation are potent and unique to Summer Pockets. The final title drop especially wowed me.
    Niijima VS Maeda
    I want to talk about Niijima's style. A lot of people assumed that a Key VN wouldn't feel like a Key VN without Maeda Jun, with comparisons to Rewrite.
    But a Key miracle happened. Summer Pockets has been just as successful (I mean, when you adjust for the fact that the industry is smaller than it used to be) as many of Key's past titles, like Air. Credit where credit due: Niijima Yuu, the same person who wrote the hit Hatsuyuki Sakura (#1 VN of the year 2012, as voted by 2ch), who has been praised by many writers in the industry, did for Key what I presume someone hoped he would when they hired him: he utilized his Maeda-like style to capture the sort of atmosphere that they'd previously relied on Maeda to deliver.
    For the record, I'm not denying that there are still many people (even those who loved Summer Pockets) who, after they played it, still think, "I miss Maeda." Niijima and Maeda are not exactly the same. I personally love them both. From an objective standpoint, Maeda is probably better. However, Niijima has his own strengths.
    Both Niijima and Maeda like to write comedy that involves eccentric side characters, with male leads who tends to wander around like a loner. They both write scenarios that make the player cry at climactic moments. They both lean toward narratives with unlockable routes and true ends. They both tend to incorporate the supernatural into their plots, yet at the same time don't completely rely on it, or employ it as a kind of metaphor.
    A major part of what I feel is Maeda's charm is that there is a deep sense of intimacy, or camaraderie, between his characters. The characters don't subconsciously keep each other at a distance--they form a unique bond almost immediately which deepens as they come to know each other, in a way that every reader loves to see, especially more socially isolated Japanese readers. Niijima's flaw is that he can't quite do this--it wasn't until some of the scenes toward the latter part of Summer Pockets (perhaps not written by Niijima) that I really felt I could sense a heartfelt connection between Hairi and the side characters. There were many parts of Summer Pockets where a character would have some sort of comic reaction, where they became really upset or passionate, but then 2 sentences later when another character switched the subject to move on with the conversation, that upset character suddenly was calm and matched the pace of the conversation, as if they'd instantly quelled their emotions with zero explanation, or as if their previous reaction had been totally fake. I'm sure that Maeda would have depicted more smooth conversational transitions. Niijima's humor has its own brilliance, but often it feels like the characters just relate to one other with humorously eccentric behavior at a superficial level, without the sense of closeness of Maeda's character dynamics.
    On the other hand, Niijima's text appeals to me a lot more as a fan of eroge. His humor may not be quite as... hmm, "creative" and "unprecedented" as the weird situations Maeda comes up with, but it feels less childish too. One very Niijima-esque technique is to have a set of ~3 side characters who talk back and forth to each other about the male lead in the male lead's presence for comic effect. In other words, he pokes fun at misinformed attitudes and social expectations. Compared to Maeda, Niijima's humor is a bit more, hmm... "mean-spirited"? It feels like the humor often revolves around one character who teases another based on a misconception. Connected to that, it often feels like there's more of a flirty atmosphere. Well, honestly, Summer Pockets was still a lot less lewd than I expected from Niijima. The lewdest parts of the VN weren't even written by him. So the overall more "eroge-like" atmosphere of Summer Pockets may owe itself to the director Kai more than Niijima. But I think that Niijima's style is what enabled this. Anyway, this is the first Key VN I've read where I actually really wished it had ero.
    Still, as a Niijima fan, I wished I'd seen a little more of his style in the fabric of Summer Pockets. While it's true that the text definitely felt Niijima-like, and one of the routes that Niijima wrote deeply resembled a route he wrote in a certain other VN... Part of what I had really hoped to see Niijima introduce to Summer Pockets are elements of action. It's not like I expected the amount of combat to match Hatsusaku, but at least once or twice, I would've liked to see a few short battles. The nature of the way Niijima writes such clashes, as half-metaphors which emphasize differences in perspective, leaves the story's atmosphere intact, so it wouldn't have hurt. But I'm afraid that Kai may have wanted to avoid any Rewrite-like action, as Key attempted to return to their foundation with Summer Pockets. In any case, without this, Summer Pockets suffered from a deficiency of 盛り上がる要素 (excitement/tension). Despite the fact that in many ways Summer Pockets felt like a modernization of Key's style, it still lacked one of the most prominent elements of modern console ADVs--action.
    Kai may have perhaps clamped down on Niijima a little too much, but I'm still very happy with Niijima's role in Summer Pockets. The "summer vacation" that's at the core of the story (adjacent to the parts that Maeda came up with) as it's developed is 100% Niijima thematically, and is also the most memorable part of the story to me, besides just how fond I am of the characters.
    Key, After Summer Pockets
    Actually, I'd rather ask you, theoretical reader of this post. Do YOU know what Key plans next? Has anyone at Key said how they feel about the positive reception to Summer Pockets? I haven't heard any information yet, but then, Summer Pockets only came out recently.
    All I want to say is that Key's future is on my mind. I'm hopeful they will make a fandisk, because they've made a fandisk for every other major Key VN besides their first 2. If so, they will probably keep Niijima around for a little while more. I want Maeda back, but I think Key is an excellent fit for Niijima, and maybe Key can allow him a tiny bit more creative freedom next time to repay him for Summer Pockets. I wouldn't mind if they let him direct a smaller-scale project like Harmonia.
    That's all from me. Have a nice day.
  9. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to MaggieROBOT for a blog entry, Dank-a-Ronpa Ch.4   
    I DON'T EVEN REMEMBER HOW LONG AGO: Not even time travel saved tymmur, but it's not like Dreamysyu, VirginSmasher and Zander would give up so fast! After finding a whopping amount of 1 (one) clue, our heroes started marching to the court room.
        After whatever won the poll, our heroes finally reached a red velvet room, decorated with golden statues and chains. An extravagant atmosphere, that also made everyone dizzy, just like Ranzo's ego. Speaking of the Devil, he just started singing a Velvet Underground song. Back to the room's interior, we could also see a circle of golden platforms in the exact middle of the room, an arrangement that permitted them to see everyone else should they step behind the platforms. Well, not "should", "must", they have to do it, to save America, or whatever other noble reason. Maggiekuma's throne was located closer to the corner, in a higher ground where it was possible to see everything the plebeians bellow were doing. 
        "Sooooooo, you guys are finally here!" said Maggiekuma, savoring some popcorn.
        "And whose fault is it, that we're this late?" we can count on batman to rub salt on other people's wound.
        "Okay, look, I already waste half a screen worth of space with that poll, so let's drop the issue about my lateness! You have better things to discuss!" angrily said Maggiekuma, throwing popcorn at our heroes. Kiri didn't seem offended.
        "Yeah, like, we can discuss how h-scenes are important to the plot!" Dergonu proposed a circle jerking.  
        "We would stay here all day if we were to discuss that. Instead, shouldn't we discuss... I don't know... about tymmur's death???" Dreamysyu put his protagonism to good use.
        "Oh right, we should honour the bugger." Poltroon said in a dignified way, almost contradicting his behaviour in the last chapter.
        "You say that like we're disrespecting him, but these bunch of lines we're saying that never ends is a nice shout out to the fella." justified Fiddle.
        "Now that's what I call a fantastic homage!" agreed Ranzo, even though deep down they thought that their performance of Fucking Wizard by Reverend Bizarre that was edited out of the story to not split the audience due to musical differences was better.
        "Okay, I... think I can allow that. But can you guys at least, pretty please, babble while going to your designated seats?" not even I understand Maggiekuma's attempts to save time at this point.
        "If I remember right here, we have to find the culprit hiding here and then vote for him here so we can continue to live here." littleshogun made a recap.
        "So what, we just talk and talk about it until the culprit eventually blurts it all out?" Virgin proposed.
        "That wouldn't be half as fun! So let me explain some additional rules to the trial session!"
        Said Zander, with his now healed physical injury and forever persisting mental damage.
        "No need. I microwaved my way through a time where we already listened to the rules before this, so I can tell you guys!" Kurisu saving the day.
        "You could have, you know, looked for the culprit's name..." Or not.
        "Well, in short, we have to talk non stop about the same things over and over again even if they are painfully obvious until someone with half a brain figures the bullshit in our arguments and fire a truth bullet through it. We can add some random babble in the conversation too, to make things more of a chore than harder per se."
        "Putting it like this... god, this game sucks!" everything sucks for you, bats.
        "So, all we gotta do is shoot first, eh?" said Lesiak, firing a bullet that would put Clint Eastwood's characters to shame. Sasuga, Ultimate Westerner. Too bad SeniorBlitz happened to be in front of him, so he ended with a bullet in his skull. Sasuga, Ultimate Westerner.
        "Eeerr... that sounded like Lesiak put a... silencer in his gun." it looked like a very lame and inappropriate joke made by Dergonu, but it was also a nice shout out to Senior's pun habits.
        "To be quite honest, I think this game will be much more balanced now. He was too overpowered with that guide of his." said the guy that claimed he knows everything about the progress of the story.
        "I have to agree with that as well. One should not defy the gods." said the guy that defy the gods himself.
        "Even if we don't like it, you have a point. Now everyone have a fair chance." said the tsun that can time travel. "I'm not a tsundere!" that's not what I said. "A-a-a-a-a-and I'm not just a tsun either!"
        "Well, except the part about killing each other mid trial, even if I don't really care if you guys actually do it, the trial goes exactly like Kurisu explained. So start presenting some proof or something."
        "Oh, I have some!" Kenshin finally got the ball rolling.
        "I also happen to have some." Zander said calmly like this:
        "I also have something to show." Virgin said proudly. Not even Dreamysyu, that was with him had any idea what kind of clue he found.
        "Let's start with mine, since I raised my hand first! Okay, I gathered some pics from the crime scene. Maggiekuma, can you lend me a screen to project those?" said Kenshin.
        "This is really necessary? I mean, we're handling guro material here..." Lesiak asked before I have to rate this fic 18+.
        "Guro..." Dergonu seems to be controlling himself to not say anything else.
        "About guro here, I think I could give my opinion on it, but since I'm not into strangling and tentacle anal rape here, I think I'll pass on this here." littleshogun gave his opinion.
        ".............Not only you're being awfully specific, but no one asked if anyone liked guro either." Ranzo tsukkomied for a moment.
        "Eeerrr, but don't we just looked at the body? Ignoring that it was 2 eons ago outside the story. How 2D pics can be worse than the real deal?" Virgin asked.
        "I'm not sure if this 2D vs 3D argument's going to fly on court, mister Virgin." you guys are already on court, mister Poltroon, but he was so naturally on mood for trials that he didn't even noticed his language quirk.
        "To be honest, the only thing those pics will show is what I'm about to describe." Zander started. "I investigated the body and made a shocking discover: it wasn't the gif that killed tymmur, he was electrocuted!"
        "Impossible. How such a detail went unnoticed by the gods?" bellowed Clephas, making a question that I didn't really think the answer to.
        "His feet were stuck into a bucket full of water together with an electric wire. So it means... that someone entered the scene, probably knocked tymmur out cold, stuck his feet into the bucket, put the wire there, send the gif as a red flag and then fled." Dreamysyu put all the pieces together. "But... when did the culprit find the time to do all that?"
        "He doesn't need time if they can time travel..." Ranzo preferred to chaotic-evilly accuse anyone without proof just for the lulz than actually help.
        "True that, but unfortunately for your lulz, I have some further proof I'm not the killer. Isn't that right, Kenshin_sama?!" Kurisu said, throwing their ace in the moment they judged to be the most dramatic!
        "Why people only present evidence on dramatic prompts and not, like, right at the start?" Danganronpa is to blame, bats.
        "Oh right! The message on the blackboard! I have a pic of it as well!" Kenshin said what they knew. "When both of us entered the scene, we saw this 'Podology services for free!' message written with pink chalk on the blackboard, so maybe that's what baited tymmur."
        "I don't even know what podology is supposed to be, what's your point?" Virgin didn't understand gay speak.
        "I'm not sure either, but maybe... you're trying to say that tymmur put his feet inside that bucket by himself??" dramatic song starts playing.
        "WHATA TWIIIIIIIIIIIST!" not really, Maggiekuma. You're the only one excited here.
        "Wait a moment. If that's true... why we didn't saw that message when we went to crime scene?" Lesiak questioned.
        "Because I eventually erased it to write a differences chart between the anime and the VN version of S;G 0 there." calmly explained Kurisu.
        "Destroying evidence, eh?" Poltroon suddenly became Canadian.
        "To be honest, it made the episode even more fun to watch, building that chart." the order of the words in Kenshin's explanation looks like something poorly translated from japanese. And then, everyone just removed Kenshin and Kurisu from the blame list because I don't want to drag this any longer.
        "Okay, I think it's finally time for me to shine!" Virgin raised from his seat, at least I hope I mentioned they were sitting before.
        "Oh yeah, you apparently had some evidence." Zander trusted Virgin as much as Virgin trusted him.
        "Yeah, and it's that now dead guy's guide!"
        "Wait, isn't this cheating?" Dergonu uphold the rules with seriousness.
        "Not when I'm the one doing it!" said Virgin, quickly turning the pages of Senior's guide. "Soooo, if I got to the right page, I think the way to advance is... to ask Dergonu to hack the system?"
        "Dergonu, care to explain?" Fiddle asked, judging his comrade.
        "Oh riiiiight, I was hacking the system to get access to the monitors early, so maybe I can do it again to check some unusual activity." I'm not sure if Dergonu can even do that, but Kaguya is not in the story so this have to do. After some *insert meme and oversimplified explanation of hacker doing stuff* in a laptop that Maggiekuma lent to them, Dergonu turned back to his friends with a sullen expression. "It's no use, I can't even see traces of Kurisu's magecraft there."
        "Some mod you are." Zander rolled his eyes.
        "☆=(ゝω・)/" Kiri intervene for the first time! "ヾ(`・ω・´)ノ" They said.
        "Can someone localize this?"
        "They're saying that maybe Poltroon or Clephas can try to get access to the system too. They aren't the Ultimate Mod, but maybe their permissions are wacky enough for that to work." Fiddle translated.
        "WHAT ARE YOU EVEN OBJECTING TO?????" Dreamysyu asked themselves if Maggie didn't do that just because she so wanted to use that pic.
        "Did Kiri really says all of that with just that smiley?" batman asked the real question.
        "Yes." Fiddle only nodded, because they know. And somehow everyone just accepted it and the plot moved forward.
        "Well, since batman stole my catchphrase..." not really, Mr. Edgeworth. "I'll hack into this system of yours instead, to finally make a grandiose entrance in this trial." I think it's a fair trade, solving plot problems instead of saying a meme catchphrase. And with that, his fingers danced through the keyboard of Maggiekuma's laptop. "Ohoooo... what is this?"
        "Cut the suspense, did you find out who send the gif?"
        "As a matter of fact, yes. And it was... someone named Dergonu!"
        "Absurd! It's not me!!! Just look into my account activity!!! It was pretty much inactive before Dreamysyu asked for my help earlier this morning!" Dergone yelled.
        "Just for the record, I'm not confirming this piece of information." Dreamysyu threw Dergonu under the bus.
        "Fret not, my fellow moderator. I never said it was you that did it. I said an account with the name 'Dergonu' is the responsible for this mess, apparently. And for some reason, this Dergonu is also following your account." Poltroon explained.
        "But wasn't that Dergonu following Dergonu Dergonu themselves?" Kenshin put it in a confusing way, but it was the painful truth.
        "Oh yeah, that's right. So forget what I said about not fretting, Dergonu, please do fret." Poltroon dealt the final blow.
        "Wait, we're not doing that retarded rhythm game from Danganronpa now, are we?" Ranzo asked. Even if he was a music enthusiast, no one deserves that annoying game.
        "No lol, that minigame is stupid, I can go down without that and with my dignity instead, thank you very much." Dergonu explained.
        "So it WAS you the culprit here. You must be quite interested here in how to mouth those obviously delicious and long and thick bananas here to actually commit murder for it here." littleshogun disapproved.
        ".................I think you're the only one that still remembers that was supposed to be our motivation." Virgin felt some degeneration in the air.
        "Nah man, I didn't do it for some dumb book." Dergonu switched to their evil villain personality. For some reason, no one was really surprised.
        "So, why did you kill tymmur?"
        "For the ~~***GURO***~~, of course!" And them they started some chant that looked like a chuuni villain speech. "KILL, PUNCH, STAB, BLEEEEED!!!! Why is this frustrated Derg so mad? I hope you can't answer me, as your brains escape through your ears! Dance, Derg, at the rhythm of the falling severed fingers! Crawl in my direction leaving your intestines in your trails! You can't take your eyes of Derg, so I'll take them out for you maggots!" for some reason, Dergonu started talking about themselves in third person, something as bad as guro.
        "Okay, but where's the sexual part in those things you describe? That's just regular gore." asked Dreamysyu.
        "Well, I'm sexy (/ω\)" Kiri wasn't amused with Dergonu trying to copy them.
        "Is this... the real Dergonu?" Lesiak asked, somehow surprised that he didn't recognize his friend that had a whopping amount of maybe 5 lines in 3 chapters worth of characterization.
        "Actually, now everything is starting to make sense." Really? "They did that... because they wanted to be guroed themselves."
        "mWAHAHAKWAKWA~ mAYBE?! <3" Dergonu's maniacal laugh echoed in the chamber.
        "Well, if that's what this shell of a human being is asking for..." Clephas started a summoning spell. "KILL, PUNCH, STAB, BLEEEEED!!!!..." no, I won't create 2 mantras in a single chapter.
        "HOLD YOUR HORSES! I CAN HANDLE THIS!" said Maggiekuma, wanting to shine in this chapter as well. "The Punishment time is on the house! And I prepared some pretty cool Visual Novel style execution!" Saying that, Maggiekuma took an old grimoire whose cover was covered in a cat's hide. The Legendary Nekonomicon. It seems Senior's soul is still trapped in the courtroom, as the lame puns are out of control. Cutting off one of their finger and pouring the blood over the cursed book's page, Maggiekuma summoned Dergonu's executioner. "Who's better to punish bad Dergonu than the very own Empress of the Banished Lands?"
        In the next moment. The sky suddenly went dark. They were indoors, but they noticed it through a TV that Maggiekuma turned on in that instant or something. But the reason for that suddenly invaded the courtroom too. Wasps. A fuck ton of them. Their buzzing was quite loud, almost looking like they were omegaloling at the characters' misery. The characters that had closer ties with Hell knew what were those wasps. The poster boys (boys is even the right word here?) of the Banished Lands, the symbol of the Queen. And indeed, short after, she appeared. The High Mistress Neko, the Ultimate Catgirl. Clad in a beautiful samurai armor and carrying a giant samurai sword, she was danger incarnate. She also had massive breasts that were in fact just two gigantic spherical bombs just to be even more dangerous. She approached Dergonu with a smile on her face, the wasps flying around her now buzzing a chorus latin song to be even more chuuni.
        "Ahaha, so you're the boy who needs some punishment?" she asked in a voice that almost made you want to be punished.
        "Only if you don't be gentle with me." Well, apparently Dergonu DID wanted to be punished.
        "Desu wa~" said the Neko Queen in gratuitous japanese that didn't really make any sense here. "So, time to...!"
        [The content of Dergonu's execution was considered too extreme for Fuwa rules, so I removed it according. I count with the help of fans to restore this content! Thanks for the comprehension! Actually no, fuck you.]
        Even if the guroing was lazily cut, I didn't rewrite the scars it left in the other guys that lived and watched everything in horror. Although Ranzo did like the violent style of the High Mistress, so they actually took some notes of things to copy when they eventually tries to kill someone. It will be censored all the same to be honest. Eventually the Neko Samurai walked away with her wasp companions, what left our heroes begging for it to be just a dream.
        "Let me guess, you'll copy that 'Dreamysyu woke up in their usual seat blah blah blah' again next time, right?" now even Dreamysyu is snarking at me.
        NEXT TIME: Two more down, thirteen to go. What awaits our heroes next?
        "Hopefully not another long ass waiting again!" Virgin released one last drop of poison.
  10. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Sorcery Jokers: It surprised Clephas, will it surprise you?   
    First, I'll give you a quick run-down on this game... it is a game by 3rd Eye, a company known mostly for producing chuunige that are more moe-influenced than is the norm. This game is actually more of a mystery/chuuni/action/conspiracy type than a 'pure' chuunige. The world in which it is based is a future where, ten years before the story began, magic appeared on the scene. Large numbers of people became capable of using magic, and a new branch of science was built up solely for the purpose of utilizing magic as new energy source. The result of this is a society that is somewhat divided between the magical 'haves' and 'have-nots', though that isn't the focus of the story, despite what you might otherwise anticipate.

    The protagonists


    Senri is your classic 'bad-ass antihero protagonist'. He is clever, intelligent, and overall highly capable, with a razor-sharp mind and battle instincts that would put a Navy Seal to shame and make Golgo 13 look incompetent. His cold-blooded pursuit of his own interests, which are very opaque through most of the VN, is his primary defining feature... Oh, and he lies... a lot. He makes the protagonist of Sharin no Kuni seem honest.


    Haruto is a somewhat less beloved type of protagonist in chuunige... basically a 'justice freak' combined with being 'a young man driven against his will by the tides of fate'. He is a natural optimist and a believer in fairness above all. Unfortunately, he also has that bad habit a lot of similar chuunige protagonists have... of sticking his nose into situations he doesn't really need to get involved in. He grows a great deal during the course of the VN (as is typical of this type, if the writers don't suck), and by the end his viewpoint on the world has... been sharpened a great deal by experience. He is more likeable than a lot of similar protagonists, but it still isn't a type I prefer.

    The Heroines


    Fiona, at first glance, seems to be your classic clutzy/innocent nun-type heroine. She works as a nun at a run-down church in the city's... less reputable area and is well-loved by the delinquents who frequent the church. However, she, like most of the characters in this game, is hiding a lot of secrets... She is one of Senri's two heroines.


    An innocent, pure-hearted girl who is seen mostly as a ghost throughout the first part of the game. She has a really unique way of speaking, born partially from Senri's half-hearted efforts at education (mostly through handing her magazines and letting her watch AVs). To be honest, in the reading of this VN, interpreting her weird speech patterns was a bit difficult at first (she cuts apart words and puts them together in weird ways). She is the second of Senri's two heroines.


    Asahi is... a bit weird. Her personality itself is quite straightforward and honest, and she hates lies and general dishonesty with a passion. However, she is also compassionate to a fault and unwavering in the pursuit of her goals. Unfortunately - at least so it seems at first - there are a few loose screws rolling around in that head of hers. Even more so than Haruto, she is an eternal an unrepentant optimist and probably the single most trustworthy individual in the entire VN.


    Riku is, throughout the VN, perhaps the least expressive individual other than Senri himself. She almost never displays her emotions on her face, and she has an almost unnatural tendency to think objectively about anything and everything, including herself. That the writer managed to grant her so much depth without making her a protagonist was an impressive feat in and of itself... and one of the reasons why her interactions with Haruto and Asahi are so amusing. She really is almost as detached as she seems most of the time, which is one of the reasons it hits so hard when she does become emotional.

    The VN

    Sorcery Jokers is definitely VN of the Month material. I'll say that right off the bat. The depth of the story and characters is incomparable with previous games by this company, and while it falls slightly short of a kamige, it is nonetheless something worth taking note of. Normally, I can't stand dual protagonists, as many have heard me mention. I hated Subahibi for that, amongst a number of other sins, and one of the biggest reasons it took me so long to play I/O was because I don't like going into VNs with multiple protags.

    Fortunately, I managed to get past that, simply because the differing approaches to the story were the only thing that made it possible to grasp something even approaching the whole of the story as it happened. A single perspective wouldn't have done a bit of good as an approach to this VN's story, simply because there are too many things happening at too many different points for a single perspective to handle.

    The VN's structure is basically that of a kinetic novel, with the illusion of choice through a flow chart (for the first chapter, at least) where you pick and choose which events you want to see next (though you have to see them all anyway). To be honest, I could have done without the flow chart entirely... flow charts in general are an irritation more than a help, especially if they are made a central part of progressing the story. That said, as the actual switching around mostly ends after the first chapter, it isn't really a big deal (though it does make me wonder why they had a flow chart at all).

    The story's mystery and conspiracy elements feel a lot like peeling an onion, as there are layers within layers within layers. What you thought was the root of things turns out to be just another layer, more than once. As things come together near the end, the knowledge you've gained through the character perspectives deepens the experience nicely, making this one of the few part-mystery VNs I've played in recent years that I didn't immediately have 'read' relatively early on.

    That isn't to say there aren't points where the VN stumbles. Haruto, because of his role as the 'kid chuunige protag', is the game's Achilles Heel, as all protagonists of the type with his kind of temperament tend to be. However, his growth is enough to offset the cookie-cutter aspects of his character enough that I approved of his role... in the end. Asahi also threatens to tilt the balance of the VN into the realm of the silly a lot early on, simply because of her 'weirdness'. However, because that silliness is a vital ingredient in her growth as a character, it can't really said to be a true weakness, though it can be irritating at times.

    The endings are all branches off of the true end, one for each heroine (Noa or Fiona with Senri, and Asahi or Riku with Haruto). I had no problems with the epilogues for Noa or Fiona... but I thought that Haruto had devolved a lot in his heroine epilogues, which kind of brought me back to why I didn't like him in the first place.

    Overall, I felt that this VN is one of the more solid chuunige made in the last few years, especially in the sense of 'balance'. Silverio Vendetta, while it is a lot more exhilarating, also had the difficulty of disproportionately focusing the writer's attention on Vendetta, which weakened the other two paths greatly. Bansenjin suffers from reusing an uninspiring cast and being relatively boring throughout most of its length. In terms of a constant sense of tension and in terms of pacing of events, this VN definitely is the winner of Chuunige VN of the Year so far, though it isn't chuuni-crack in the sense that Silverio was. I'm actually quite proud of the fact that this company has evolved so much since its somewhat... unimpressive beginnings (Bloody Rondo), and I'm glad I stuck with the company. It is always nice to be surprised pleasantly by a VN.
  11. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to MaggieROBOT for a blog entry, Maki Fes! ~Maggie's nukige misadventures part 1~   
    As many (hopefully) of you know, I like to read a lot of different things, providing my stomach and the laws of my country allow it. My VNDB list will never reach Clephas level of completeness, so I'm aiming for something different instead: to have the most random, hipster, no prejudice, unlike any other VN list. Of course, as slow as I am, I can only hope to achieve this dream within the next 30 years or so, but hey I'm still young!
    I have conquered otomege, devoured BL, collected EVNs, discovered yuri, threaded in chuuni waters, tiptoed into nakige, read through memeges, tasted horror, and tried my hand with gameplay hybrids. But how can I call myself a Ultimate VN Reader if I never read a single nukige? No, I have to change that. I must to. So I decided to give a chance to the glorious fangame our friendly neighbors Asonn, Arcadeotic, Hanako, HMN, Jptje, Nandemonai, Zakamutt, and other sweeties (because the list is damn long), shared with the West: Maki Fes!
    What were the impressions of Maggie, guaranteed 12% female readership of Fuwa, someone who totally didn't went in for the memes and that totally knew something about Love Live beforehand? Find out now!

    There's a catchy song in the title screen, pretty much the only song I remember from the game.
    In Maki Fes!, you play as Matt yourself! The boyfriend (wait, it should be girlfriend if I had to play as myself. Well, I can stick with Matt just fine) of the cute red haired tsundereish Maki! How lucky are you? Nukige convenience is convenient, alright! Not a bad start to be honest, I was expecting something more stupid, but Maki Fes already proved itself as above average intellectual level than my preconceived opinion of what constitutes an average nukige. Anyway, Maki needs to write a song and you, as a good boyfriend, agree to help her get some inspiration. And yeeeeeees, that means lots of porn!
    Maki is pretty much the only character you'll meet through the entire game, since more girl means harem or yuri, right? And that's not what this doujinge is about. And she's fully voiced! The actress does a very good job for most part, except during those background moans that goes like a machine gun shooting fast going "a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a" that got annoying after two loops. The art is also quite pleasant to look at, Maki pouting and smiling are just the cutest. I enjoyed her character, but I don't know the original to say if she's going too OOC.
    So! The game provide you with the following scenarios, and all of them leads to porn. Yes, some of these choices leading to porn is quite creative, I know. The twist would be if the last option didn't, but that's not what happens here.

    Choices, oh choices.
    If you don't want to be spoilered, stop reading right here! Not that I consider sexual position a spoiler, but hey, there's weird folks of all kinds out there! So let's go over what I get out of each scenes. And no, it wasn't masturbatory material.
    "Let's recall our first time!": Exactly what it says on the tin. It was quite a sweet scene, where Matt the protagonist was mindful of Maki, and if she was feeling comfortable. Of course, she had to say the typical "you can be more rough, I know you're holding yourself back", but hey, at least they discussed it! Relationship is all about two people understanding and being respectful with each other after all! Another thing that I have to praise this game is that the classic "Cum inside/Cum outside" option only affect the CG right after it, and not the ending, so I could pick "Cum outside" to my heart's content.
    "Wear your maid outfit!": This one was nice too, as far as h-scenes goes. It's a blowjob scene and HEY, it have simple ANIMATIONS (*insert here the face of a surprised girl that never saw a animated VN before)! The translation of this scene was pretty good too, I was amazed with how many different porn sound effects this guy could came (get it? ) up with. It also had a marriage proposal discussion there that I liked, but I can guess 80% of the people that played this game didn't even noticed it.
    "Our good luck charm!": This was one of the last scenes I read, so there wasn't much of my patience left. I think it was something about writing good luck wishes on Maki's butt. Yep. Of course, not with a pen or a penis, but with his finger. Oh yeah, this guy goes on and on about Maki's cellulite free butt but this game don't have a single anal scene. For shame, game, for shame!
    "I'm hungry!": I can only say one thing. How Maki decided she wanted to feed this guy and do it like this???????????

    "Dancing is inspiring!": Probably, but it was the very last scene I read and at that point I just wanted the game to end. Four scenes is my limit for h-scenes one after another. Multiple rounds indeed is a lie. Oh yeah, the scene. I think it was a cowgirl scene and... that's it.
    "Use traditional elements!": Was it on that scene that Maki came with the penetration alone? God, that was dumb. This guy have such lame foreplay skill it's a wonder Maki can even come once. Oh yeah, there's pee in this scene, weird that Zaka didn't work on this. How does her pee makes an arc in the air though? Pretty sure you need a penis to do that...
    "You need some excitement!": Man, this scene have one weird dick. It looked like a fishing hook. Animating it didn't make it any better. But I think this scene had some well crafted puns cumversation, so it was somewhat amusing.
    "I wanna fuck!": (Chorus: FUCK!)* Now that's a scene where Matt truly shines! And Maki as well. How could a forget when she uttered my favorite quote of the game, "My nipples are playing the blues!"? Now that's what I call talented nipples!
    *Joke stolen from ZakaTM 
    After seeing all scenes, you can finally watch the desired True Ending, that I'll not spoil here. That was... tiring to be honest, but also educational (?) to say the least. It helped me to understand some before unexplored corners of the VN fandom. And I can't really doubt that it must be a nice game if used as intended. Should I be ashamed that this was my first contact with anything related to Love Live? Maybe. But now I can proudly (??) say that my VNDB list is one step closer to perfection. And since I already ticked the nukige checkbox, I can safely remove any other nukiges/games tagged with high sexual content from my wishlist!
    ...Wait, that one nukige is BL.
    Guess I'm making a nukige misadventures part 2.

    Unrelated PS: No, I didn't forget about Dankaronpa, chapter 4 is halfway done. Maybe next week!
  12. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, A few Thoughts on VN Trends   
    Before I go visit my remaining grandparents this weekend (my grandmother on my father's side and grandfather on my mother's side are both in extremely frail condition right now, so we are taking time to show my sister's kid to them), I thought I would give my thoughts on modern VN trends.
    Charage aren't going anywhere
    Though I frequently bash the industry for over-saturating the market with moege/charage/SOL, the fact is that the demand for this type of VN is never going to go away as long as the Japanese eroge VN market exists.  Why?  Because it is the single easiest way to present the formation of relationships of young people into a sexual one.  While the genre isn't that attractive for people in their late teens or early to mid-twenties (incidentally the reason this market is declining), the majority of any older generation is always going to prefer this.  The lesser numbers of young people in Japan compared to my generation and the lower relative amounts of income are the main reasons for the current contraction of the genre.
    Good Writers don't go into VNs anymore
    This is a truth that few of the plotge addicts like me want to admit.  Most of the best writers in the VN industry are getting into middle age or later now (or have already left it), and the new and upcoming writers are mostly up and coming LN writers who have a far looser grasp on how to write/narrate and (more importantly) complete a story.  This doesn't mean they won't evolve their styles to match the new medium eventually, but whenever I've read a VN written by one of these newbies, the plot holes and poor handling of the endings of their games stand out painfully.
    Chuunige are in decline
    I absolutely hate to say this.  However, it needs to be said.  Trends in the last nine years in chuunige have tended to result in far too much side-story exploitation and sequelitis.  There is also a distinct lack of innovation, and when innovation does come, it tends to come with a huge drop in quality in the final product (Sora no Baroque).   Fans of the genre are getting older, and some companies (such as Light) have been putting their games in non-ero form on consoles to try to grasp the hearts of younger VN lovers (this has actually succeeded to an extent), but the fact is that it takes a much longer time for a chuunige company to  make back its investment after a release.  This is exacerbated by economic issues in Japan, and the fact that these companies mostly suck at advertising (like many niche genre companies, they only put it up in places where those already 'in the know' will find them).
    VN Trends are always years behind the rest of Otaku-dom
    VN communities in Japan are insular.  Even moreso than they are in the US.  When rom-com anime vanished for the most part at the end of the last decade, it was replaced with cheap action-fantasy (shallow, weaker stories for the most part, with more emphasis put on 'cool' elements) and moeblob.  The glut of such anime is reaching its peak right now... and that influence is starting to overflow (interpreted through the lens of the hyper-conservative VN community, of course) into our side of things.  That said, this is a trend that is unlikely to take hold, because it requires a modicum of writing skill that doesn't involve dialogue, and most VN writers just don't have that.  Instead, VN companies that have been around for a while have been 'testing the waters' by making games that step out of their usual niches, hoping to diversify to deal with the changing trends.  Light went with going down a much darker path than usual with its most recent game, and Navel actually put up a half-assed plotge last month.  These, along with many other incidences in the last two years, make me wonder just what the market will look like five years from now. 
  13. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to Plk_Lesiak for a blog entry, Plk_Lesiak’s Shovelware Adventures: NewWestGames   
    An amazingly contradictory example of both ambition and trashiness, this Canadian company managed to create some of the most memorably-bad games available within the Western VN market. While they definitely never showed the kind of contempt for their audience and lack of dignity that emanates from pretty much every new Winged Cloud title or the Steam asset flip/achievement spam VNs (yes, those are a thing – I will get to them one day), their utter failures and misguided elements in their projects are not something you see every day – and, as they belong to commercial products that ask money from their readers, they’re open even for the more cruel kinds of scrutiny. And that’s exactly what I’m going to deliver upon them today.
    A Wild Catgirl Appears

    Yuri Game Jam entries usually are published for free, even though some of them offer quite impressive production values and interesting stories. A Wild Catgirl Appears is a double exception in this regard, as, sadly, it's neither free nor in any way compelling to play through. With extremely basic and mostly nonsensical plot, clunky dialogue and a plethora of technical issues, it's one of the least competent commercial VNs available on Steam (at least among actual games and disregarding the aforementioned asset flips and achievement spams). It might also be the only VN in which I count inclusion of catgirls as a negative, considering how superficial the reason behind their appearance is and how they take the focus from the only somewhat-interesting characters in the game. Even yuri romance couldn’t redeem this title to me, considering it’s generally miserable state – sadly not worth your time, and especially your money.
    Final rating: Smelly Poo
    Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  14. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to Plk_Lesiak for a blog entry, Loren the Amazon Princess (VN hybrid game review)   
    Winter Wolves is one of the oldest continuously active OELVN studios, which since the mid-2000s became fairly well-known for their straight-up VNs and dating sims, such as Roommates, as well as for fairly unique RPG-VN hybrids. Among the latter, probably the best known is Loren the Amazon Princess. Published in 2012, it kickstarted a whole series of games set in the fantasy world of Aravorn (including even a BL title Heirs and Graces) and gathered mostly positive reactions from the Western VN community. It’s also, to this day, the studio’s best-selling title on Steam, with around 80k owners on the platform.
                  Loren… also features a very rarely seen main premise – the player does not take the role of the titular heroine, but of a slave servant, whose role is to assist the Amazon princess in her quest to find her missing mother (and, of course, eventually save the world from a great and unexpected threat). This, along with the very explicit focus on romance, creates a pretty unique mixture, somewhat detached from both the typical RPG power fantasy and even most common fantasy VN tropes. Does it have any merits apart from being slightly different though?
    Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  15. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Yakusoku no Natsu, Mahoroba no Yume   
    I'll say this first off... this game actually needed locked paths or a true ending.  Like most Windmill games, the character interactions are pretty heavily reliant on easygoing manzai humor and running character personality and behavior jokes (in fact, most VN humor is based on that).   This game has a cast of four writers (one amateur, one h-scene specialist, and two established names), including Imashina Rio (Gin'iro Haruka and Hoshi Ori Yume Mirai) and Kagami Yuu (ef, Eden*, and Mirai Nostalgia).  Unfortunately, the styles of the two main writers are extremely different, and it is rather blatant when things shift... sometimes in the middle of scenes (this can be jarring and disturbs the flow at times).
    Understand, I started out liking this game... I like non-city settings (for some reason, city locales always end up being multi-date ichaicha fests even for heroines who wouldn't be interested in that kind of thing), and the interactions with the heroines and side-characters were amusing.  I even still liked how things were going early in my first heroine path (Serina), but after I headed into a second path, it became apparent they were abusing the 'osananajimi is scared of friend group falling apart' trope.  Oh, the way they abused it is different in each path, but the abuse is so rampant that I had to wince.
    Worse, the characters have these pretty much useless powers that only work on each other.  All the paths have the powers as part of the central conflict, but, considering how little the characters seemed to care about their powers in the common route (one way or the other) it felt unnatural how they became central in the actual heroine routes.
    Understand, I'm a fantasy freak, so characters having powers is (of course) fine with me... what bothered me was the artificial-feeling limitations and the way the characters so blithely accepted a revelation midway through the path that would have turned most games a bit gloomy.  Again, what's worse is that this was seemingly only utilized conveniently to explain why the other girls (all of whom are latently in love with the protagonist) stop pursuing him once you get on a particular heroine path.  I will say the way they did it was mildly funny (the pseudo-yuri in Himari's path was lol-worthy for instance), but it felt very, very forced to me.
    Another issue is that Rinka is rather blatantly the main heroine (the scene I mentioned above makes that very clear).  As a result, all the other paths proceed without resolving the issue of just why that certain event and the issues it brought to the surface came into being.  Of course, as a result, Rinka's path is a very obvious 'true path' and blows away all the others in terms of quality (and length), drawing on elements from the other paths that hinted around the edges about what is revealed in Rinka's path. 
    Anyone who plays this game should either only play Rinka's path or play the other paths first (like I did).  While the paths other than Rinka's have some serious issues (the biggest one being choppy pacing and poor use of the setting elements and plot devices), Rinka's path and the common route are definitely worth playing.  Sadly, I can't recommend this one for VN of the Month, but if you want a mildly funny plot-centric charage (yes, they coexist at times), this is a decent choice. 
  16. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to Plk_Lesiak for a blog entry, Plk_Lesiak’s Shovelware Adventures: free Sakura games   
    On a few occasions I’ve stated that I do now wish to give too much space to bad OELVNs, as it goes directly against the idea behind this blog: showing the real value within the Western VN industry and disproving negative stereotypes held by JP-oriented readers (and people less familiar with the formula altogether). There’s, however, no way to reasonably deny that the OELVN scene is full of games of questionable quality – many of which I, as someone exploring all corners and shady alleys of the VN world, end up playing. And while a large number, maybe even a majority of those games can be excused for their failures, considering they’re purely amateur, freeware projects (such as quickly-put-together game jam entries), many other are commercial products that, by the sheer fact of asking money from their audience, are fully open for scrutiny and even straight up shaming, if they deserve that.
                This new format will be focused on the exactly that kind of games – titles from most notorious, shovelware-spewing developers and all kinds of unfortunate, misguided failures that plague the OELVN industry. Torturing the games and their creators is not my main intention though – I want to both keep a lighthearted tone in my coverage and not forgot the humour, intentional or not, that can be found in bad games. For this reason, the mini-reviews presented will be at best semi-serious and to make that point clear, they’ll be made using a custom, 3-point scoring system:

    Golden Poo: Awarded to games that, while still definitely bad in many aspects, are either amusing with their absurdity or present some kind of trashy charm that make them, in certain contexts, a worthy experience.
    Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  17. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to Plk_Lesiak for a blog entry, Rebranding annoucement: Welcome to EVN Chronicles!   
    Hello there and welcome to the new iteration of my humble blog!
    Pride of the West was created, apart from fueling my personal megalomania, for a very specific goal: promoting and demystifying OELVNs within the Fuwa community, fighting the negative stereotypes and ridicule attached to them in minds of the many more JP-centric VN fans. For the last six months, I've spent countless hours exploring the EVN scene and channelling my impressions into the blog (with what I personally see as a very positive and encouraging response).
    I was, however, never really satisfied with the brand I've come up with last year and this was one of the problems that became apparent while my project became more fleshed out and grew in size, with attachments such as the Steam Curation and Twitter account. The second issue that became clear over time was the limitations of the Forums blogging tool, which guaranteed certain visibility, but gave me very little control over my own content and was shared between a large number of people, with only that much space for all of them in that little side-tab.
    For all these reasons, I've decided to go forward with some (long-coming) changes, the most important ones being establishing the external version of the blog and changing the name of the whole project to (slightly generic, but much less pretentious) EVN Chronicles. I've also moved the Steam Curator page to a new address, sadly being forced to forgo my previous, humble following in the process, but with the hope that the new setup can bring much more with time. So, as I've explained what's happening, I would like you to encourage you to:
    --> Check out (and consider following) EVN Chronicles' external site
    --> Follow my new Steam Curator page
    --> Follow me on Twitter for blog updates and various VN-related news
    Apart from setting up the blog, I've worked this week to bring you a new review format - Shovelware Adventures - in which I will go through notorious OELVN shovelware and give it semi-humorous assessments. The first post in this style will appear later today, both on Fuwa and the new site.
    For the time being, the Fuwanovel version of the blog will be updated along with the new one, while the external blog will also feature slightly-redacted reposts of the old reviews and posts along with announcements I wouldn't post here to avoid clogging the sidebar (those might appear on the blog's thread in the member's lounge). However, after a week, I will be cutting every new Fuwa post into a teaser version and adding a link to the external blog. Same will happen to the old posts, as they are gradually re-published on the new site.
    I hope you'll follow me in this new stage of my VN journey and have a lovely weekend everyone!
  18. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to Ranzo for a blog entry, Ten Yuri Series You Need To Read Before I Destroy You, And Everything You Have Ever Loved   
    Ten Yuri Series You Need To Read Before I Destroy You, And Everything You Have Ever Loved

    Now, I know what you are going to ask, "What is Yuri?" Well my pathetic and childless friend let me answer that for you. Yuri is a...
    (CAN YOU DIG IT?) I was first introduced to the Yuri genre back in my Sophomore year of High School when I was around 16 years old. I was just getting into anime after having been introduced to the best series ever, Galaxy Angel a year prior. That Yuri series happened to be Strawberry Panic!, and I really loved it. Now that I think about it was of the first romance series I actually sat through. It was several years later that I was introduced to Visual Novels and had my thirst for romance essentially quenched. It was only until recently that I was rediscovered my love of the genre and became the enlightened being that stands before you. Now, before I crush you and everything you have ever loved (along with things you just causally liked) here are ten manga series that you really should read.
    Number 1. Bloom Into You
    By Nakatani Nio
    Status: Ongoing

    This is what really kicked jumped my yuri obsession into high gear and it quickly became one of my overall favorite manga series.
    Bloom Into You, tells the story of Yuu Koito a first year high school student and her involvement with the beloved and enigmatic Touko Nanami. What makes it truly wonderful for me at least is the characters and the art. Yuu is a really strong and grounded protagonist and the fact that she is initially incapable of falling in love makes her quite intriguing, given that this is a romance manga after all. Touko is another really great character and I liked that she was a twist on the classic yuri trope of the perfect and mysterious senpai. Bloom Into You also has a large cast of side characters who flesh out the manga with their perspectives and interactions. The core cast all have a tremendous amount of character growth throughout the series and it has been nice to see them grow and change over time. More than simply being a yuri story Bloom Into You is a story about finding yourself and coming to terms with who you are. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone whether they like yuri or not.

    Number 2. The Kase San and...series
    By Hiromi Takashima
    Status: Completed (Continued in Yamada to Kase-san)

    The Kase-San and series is one of the warmest, gentlest, and endearing manga series I have ever come across. It positively oozes sentimentality and radiates sweetness. Such concentrated fluffy feelings exuded by the manga ought to be lethal. I'm surprised it's author Hiromi Takashima, has not been brought up on crimes of adorableness. It's really fucking cute is what I'm trying to convey to you okay? The Kase-San series is about the growing relationship between Yamada the one woman gardening committee representative, and Kase a beloved track and field star. It does a lot to make itself truly memorable inside and outside the yuri circle it was birthed in. It really bucks a common trope that the yuri genre is especially guilty of, which is that most yuri series ends with them becoming a couple. Most yuri manga's and VN's usually end at the mutual confession and kiss stage. It's for the most part a very cathartic ending that rewards all the time the two spent pining for each other. The problem with this ending is that you never get to see them as a couple, it's just presumed that they'll stay together forever and that's it. Kase-San is different in this way. By the end of the first volume they have already kissed and became a couple. The rest of the volumes deal with the trials and tribulations that normally spring up as the two try and understand each other. Both the leads are wonderfully sweet and really complement each other well. Yamada is a big ball of manic energy and cuteness and Kase is a big goof whom is utterly enraptured by Yamada. The art is very vivid and cartoony and every character has a huge range of expressions. I was struck by how much of it reminded me of Dr. Seuss' works. The art also has this amazing ability to turn from cute to sexy in a second. It is really quite the feat.

    Number 3. Octave
    By Akiyama Haru
    Status: Completed

    Now, I've already covered how much I love this manga in the review so I'll just include a link for it here. It's a great read for those who are sick and tired of high school settings, and hunger for delicious angst.
    Number 4. Nettaigyo wa Yuki ni Kogareru
    By Makoto Hagino
    Status: Ongoing

    That's still the best new pickup line I've seen in a while. I'm not sure of it's effectiveness so you should try it out yourself. I have been in love with this manga since the first chapter. It tells the story of Konatsu Amano who moves to a brand new school, in a brand new town while her father is away oversees. There she meets Koyuki Honami a beloved and seemingly perfect older girl (Are you seeing a pattern here?) and their friendship begins. Koyuki is another subversion of that perfect senpai role as she is just a incredibly shy and awkward girl, with no real friends. Their interactions are very honest and believable and they make such a adorkable paring. There are also fun dads in abundance which is interesting because typically family figures are virtually nonexistent when it comes to most yuri mangas. That subtext tag is making me very nervous though.
    Number 5. Notes From The Garden Of Lilies
    By Suga Atsushi
    Status: Completed

    Why do the best things in the world only come in two volumes? This is how I feel about this particular manga. I love the budding relationship between the two leads. Both are characters that I absolutely adored the moment I encountered them and the way they both bounce off each other is fabulous. I wish there were twenty volumes of this but I suppose I must content myself with only two. The world is so unfair sometimes...
    Number 6. The Real Her
    By Imamura Youko
    Status, Completed

    ...and so it continues. This great yuri love story is only one volume long which I think is absolutely criminal. The Real Her tells the love story of the hardcore masochistic Moe, and the budding sadist Yuuka. Like Notes From The Garden Of Lilies the greatness in this manga is all in the character interaction. It's delightfully funny, and it really satisfied the sadistic side of me.
    Number 7. Pulse
    By Ratana Satis
    Status, Completed

    Looks like Drama is back on the menu boys! Pulse tells the very adult story about Mel, a beautiful surgeon who is determined to never fall in love again and Lynn, a college student with a life threatening heart condition. It's a very tender story that also manages to be damn sexy. The drama was handled very well and I really liked Lynn much more than I thought I would. I have never been a fan of characters with a affliction because more often than not, they are but a fountain for tears. Lynn never came across to me as being that way and I liked her personality. Mel is also a very strong character and her growth was very believable. If you need a good dose of adult romantic drama then consider this as your prescription covered. Side effects might include lots of tears.
    Number 8. It Would Be Great if You Didn't Exist
    By Carbonara
    Status, Ongoing?

    The drama train is still at the station and oh boy, is this one a doozy. The basic premise is that Guk-Hwa finds out that her dirt-bag boyfriend has been cheating on her with another woman. When she goes to confront the two of them she is struck by how attractive she finds the other woman. I have not really a premise like it before so I was immediately intrigued. The two leads really complement each other and they are very well developed. The humor which is prevalent throughout the series is also pretty fantastic. However, it would be unwise to let your guard down because this series is great about hammer striking you repeatedly with drama laden fists.
    Number 9. Hana to Hoshi
    By Suzukin Kario
    Status, Completed

    Looks like it's back to high school, I swear I can't escape it no matter how hard I try. I guess the only way would be to avoid anything remotely Japanese but since I can't do that let's get on with this already. Hana used to be table top champion until she was unseated by a newcomer with scary eyes. Unable to handle her newfound loosing streak she was forced to retire from the sport. Hania plans to start over a fresh leaf in her first year of high school only to come face to face with her former rival. This is another one of those slow burns that is helped along greatly by the fantastic back and forth between the two characters. The story opens up further when a romantic rival appears on the scene. The only unfortunate thing about this manga is that it feels a bit cut short. It's a manga that is only two volumes long but it could have easily been four or five.

    Number 10. Fragtime
    By Sato
    Status, Completed

    Okay, so it was really hard to decide which one would should end this top ten list but I ultimately decided to go with Fragtime. The premise is what really got my attention. Fragtime is about a young woman named Misuzu who has the power to freeze time for three minutes a day. Instead of using her powerful but limited power for evil she instead uses it to look up the skirt of a girl that she has a crush on. (What a wholesome girl) Unfortunately for her this happens to be the panties belonging to the one person whom is immune to her powers. Even though this is such a goofy premise it still ends up being a very powerful and poignant series. I am so lucky I was able to stumble upon it.
    Oh And This Isn't Quite Yuri But I Want It On This List
    Shimanami Tasogare
    By Yuuki Kamatani
    Status: Completed

    Okay this might be cheating a little bit but this is not in fact wholly a yuri series. Still, it feels almost criminal to not include it on this list so here it goes. Shimanami Tasogare is about a young boy named Tasuku Kaname who is nearly driven to suicide after nearly being outed as being gay. He is stopped by a strange woman named Anonymous who invites him to a tea house frequented by other social outcasts. I included this manga on the list because there is a lesbian side couple that are very well developed and have a meaningful relationship that has more depth than many yuri manga's. In fact, nearly the whole spectrum of the LGBTQA community is represented in this manga. What's more is that it is done in a way that feels authentic and real. It never once felt fake or phony to me. The characters are all very fleshed out and they are not depicted as perfect beings and they all have their own hangups and problems. It's rare to ever see any real world drama in a yuri manga, in fact it's barely touched on if at all. The situation for gay and lesbian peoples is still one of hardship especially in Japan where gay marriage is still illegal. Tasogare thankfully does not gloss over this and instead provides a very emotional and compelling story.
    The Runners Up
    This is all for those that I liked but didn't quite make the cut.
    By Higashiyama Shou
    Status: Canceled

    This was all set to be a really amazing series with a great couple but unfortunately the author was accused of tracing and it was canceled after only six chapters. Truly, it is one of the greatest tragedies of the modern age. Mourn what could have been.
    The Feelings We Must All Endure
    By Amano Shuninta
    Status: Complete

    This is a great manga to read if are tired of uplifting yuri stories and want to read something that is angsty as all hell. I would rate it higher on my list since it is one of the few series that involves College at all, but they do some haphazard character assassination in the last few chapters and I don't like that. Don't expect a good time while reading this manga, expect a bad time. Still, it's set in a goddamn university! Why the fuck aren't you going to read it?
    Girl Friends
    By Milk Morinaga
    Status: Complete

    I really liked this series because the girls portrayed in it felt like real high school girls dealing with the typical high school problems. There was level of authenticity to their concerns about fashion or dieting because high school girls are real superficial. The gradual romance in this manga series is really sweet and wonderful but there is just one major problem I have with this series and it is the abundance of misunderstandings. The couple in this series have so many moments of jumping to the wrong conclusion or assuming the worst that it gets a bit aggravating after a while. It's like you  just want to shake the both of them and scream, "YOU BOTH FUCKING LOVE EACH OTHER, OKAY??" Oh and don't get me started on poorly timed interruptions because this series has plenty of those to spare. Despite those issues Girl Friends is truly a wonderful love story.
    By Saburouta
    Status: Ongoing

    Look, I know Citrus is a bit trashy and bit soap opera-y but it's got several really good merits. The first one is that it has Harumin in it and Harumin is the fucking best, okay? She's the fucking best! She's like the reincarnation of Chikaru Minamoto she's that great. She's like a steady helmsman during a raging sea. The second one is the protagonist Yuzu. She's a really strong protagonist with a distinct and interesting personality. Sure, a lot of potential is squandered by her near obsession with Mei but she's still a really great character. The third and final thing is that the series has finally decided to get serious. The problem that I had with the last couple of volumes of Citrus is that the would operate a sort of rouges gallery of girls that would try and break up Yuzu's and Mei's budding relationship. It got a bit stale but thankfully the last few chapters has been a thankful punch in the gut.
    Bright And Cheery Amnesia
    By Tamamusi
    Status: Ongoing

    Really, this image is all you really need to see if you want to know the premise of this manga. It's got a really simplistic plot but it makes up for that with a great deal of warmth and heart. You can't help but read this and not end up smiling like a goddamn fool. It's just that bright and cheery.
    Well anyway there is my list I hope you enjoyed it! Oh and before I decimate your pathetic existence I hope you enjoy these various series and...

  19. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to MaggieROBOT for a blog entry, Dank-a-Ronpa Ch.3   
    TWO WEEKS AGO: Some bananas happened and then tymmur was murdered and our heroes were too powerless to do something about it because I couldn't write this chapter sooner.
        "At least we could strengthen our friendship in the meantime..." contemplated Dreamysyu, sitting in the corridor alongside Dergonu, Mitchnomi and Ranzo. The last time we saw them, they were staring the cursed gif looping at the monitor at classroom 2-B. If they were still staring at it, two weeks later, by now they would have nor eyes nor brains nor anything, as every cell of their body would be as pulverized as an unlucky member of the Avengers. Instead, they got the hell out of the room and decided to have a picnic in the corridor. It was enough time for them to max out all Social Links between themselves, while doing aaaaaaaall the things that good close male friends do together, like drink beer, have sex with each other, tell inside jokes, karaoke, a blood pact and read the h-scenes of euphoria. Actually, scratch that, Ranzo was the only one singing. They started with Bleeding Eyes by Masterplan, but after seeing Rinne's enema h-scene, they're now stuck with a looping Suicide Song by Hatsune Miku.
        "Maaaaan, that was good! But I think we're supposed to do something else now..." pondered Dergonu. Mitchnomi could have explained the rules about the investigation about now, since they were one of the higher ups, and also a bear, but sadly they died of hepatitis B after the blood pact part.
        "Oh yeah, we gotta investigate tymmur's murder! Rest in peace, man..." said Dreamysyu, putting his main character cape once again. With that, they enter the crime scene once again to see...
        "...Wait, what? Here too?"
        "Yeah, I noticed that no one was using this room so I invited Kenshin to a two-weeks-long anime marathon consisting of the original S;G and all the released S;G 0 episodes." explained Kurisu.
        "I thought that you did your hackerman thing everywhere but here..." me too, Dergonu.
        "That was right, so I went back in time and fixed that."
        "...Wait, at least you saved tymmur, or any of us, while you did that???"
        "They saved ME, because now I finally catch up with S;G 0!" replied Kenshin, making Dreamysyu feel a bit NTRed.
        "Actually tymmur is right here." pointed Ranzo to the same chair tymmur was last time. Still dead tho.
        "But if the screen now is showing only S;G 0 reruns, what killed him in this timeline?"
        "The same thing, I'm afraid. Check his phone, someone PMed him the thing." said Dreamysyu, quickly averting his gaze before their eyes exploded.
        "Looks like this fic needs the Meaningless Choices tag, 'cause whatever we do, we can't save tymmur." said Senior, creepily appearing behind them. The rest soon followed, led by an angry Maggiekuma trying to put the story back on track.
        "Jumping Christ, I tried to make a Corpse Discovery Announcement but I couldn't even access my own system! I knew I should have put Nayleen in this fic... Oh well, guess I'll have to explain it in person. As I weebly explained last time... do you guys even remember it?"
        "How could we forget?" said Zander, proudly covering his war scars.
        "Gotcha, the thing is, someone is trying to leave this place sacrificing all the remaining students. Sooo what you guys are waiting for? Foil his plan! If the murderer doesn't get away with it, they alone will be punished. The clock's ticking, so let's start this scavenger hunt for clues! No murder is perfect after all, so look for some fingerprints or whatever." Maggiekuma's limited knowledge about detective stuff is somewhat sad.
        "Playing games after one of our mates met such a fate... This is indeed remarkably sick..." Poltroon expressed his disgust.
        "Everything for the views!"
        "I would like to ask how many minutes will we have for this task, but it's probably an indeterminate amount that will end conveniently after all clues were found." Fiddle correctly said.
        "Yeah, works for me! Also, here. ZA MAGGIEKUMA FAIRU! 'All info you couldn't possibly discover just investigating' edition! I'll leave it at the main character's hand! Now, happy hunting!~" Maggiekuma outed.
        "Even if we didn't start anything here, I would like to say that batman is the most suspicious one here. He is always using gifs here after all." littleshogun gave their opinion.
        "Bitch please, that's clearly not barbaric enough to be something made by my hand!"
        "I would say that Kenshin is the most suspicious actually. They appeared here out of nowhere and not many people here have a cell phone with them..." Ranzo continued with the distrusting one another atmosphere for the hell of it.
        "But they have a strong alibi, AKA me." Kurisu didn't want to lose a fellow Steins;Gater.
        "How do we even remember what happened in other timelines?" pondered Virgin, but not really, since he hardly cares anymore.
        "( ̄`Д´ ̄)9" Kiri tried to help clearing Kenshin's suspicion, showing that they have a cell phone as well. And surprisingly, no one started to suspect them, as everyone agreed that Kiri only use his phone to play Kirikoi, tweet and other moe stuff.
        "Guys, instead of trying to guess who's the killer, how about we start investigating? The correct answer will appear naturally then." Lesiak made everyone shut the fuck up.
        "I'm with you. I'm with this feeling... that the cause of his death isn't what it seems. It looks more that all of this... it's just to confuse us." Dreamysyu's not wrong, this fic is hardly cohesive.
        "They'll try to push drugs that keep us all dumbed down and hope that we will never see the truth around!" So come on! Oh yeah, this one I can sing along!
        "I'll help you investigate. Mystery is right up my alley." Virgin suggested a partnership.
        "Oh, let me join too! Just give me a minute to look for the choice that let me join your party!" since it'll take quite some time for Senior to skip his black bible of choices, let's just focus on what the other guys are doing.
        "First, let's read the Maggikuma File. EVERYONE, GATHER HERE!" and they did so.
        "Okay. Name of the victim: tymmur. Time of death: around 11 AM. Age: 79 (maybe more, since he's a wizard). Height: 1,80 cm. Orientation: homosexual. Favorite Musumaker h-scene..." Dreamysyu blue screened for a while. "...What any of this have to do with the investigation...?"
        "Better look at the body directly." Virgin tried to steal Dreamysyu's spotlight, when both of them were alone again.
        "I prefer to collect some testimonies first."
        "And why's that?"
        "Everyone's fictional counterpart in this story is fucking stupid, someone will probably spill the beans if pressured."
        "Let's start with Clephas."
        "Are you suggesting that I, the Lord of the JOPs, would mingle with you, inferior beings? And just for a senseless slaughter that fails to appease even goddesses such as Ishtar?" Clephas had a point, I don't think Musumaker's h-scenes would please a goddess of sexuality. Since Clephas knew way more h-scenes than Dreamysyu or Virgin, they just leave it to him to calm the gods and kept investigating.
        "Let's talk with Poltroon now."
        "..." Poltroon brilliantly said.
        "What are you even doing, man?"
        "Honoring the memory of our fallen comrade. Let me dedicate this moment of silence to him."
        "Dude, it's way past one minute now."
        "For someone such as tymmur, one minute is not enough. Not a single one of his lines would fit in that interval."
        "...That's something the Ultimate Gentleman would do, I suppose." said Dreamysyu and Virgin at the same time, as they left him alone and went to talk with the others.
        "Sigh... This is going nowhere..." Dreamysyu was trying hard to stay positive.
        "Let's see what we do have. Dergonu, Ranzo and you were together so all of you have alibis. Kenshin and Kurisu have alibis as well. Fiddle said himself, he's the final boss, so I don't think he would try something as early as chapter 3. Kiri seems harmless, but they play moege, suspicious af. Batman and Clephas would probably do something more barbaric than this. I'm not the culprit and that's true 'cause I'm always right. That leaves us with Lesiak, shogun, Blitz, Poltroon, and Zander. Of all of those, Zander is the most suspicious."
        "Are they? I can't remember them doing anything strange..."
        "Just look at him!"
        "Despite my ear damage last chapter, and the damage that my brain sustains every time I found a grammatical error in this mess, I can hear you quite well, Virgin." speaking of the devil.
        "Whatever. What are you so-not-suspiciously doing?"
        "I'm investigating the body."
        "Huh? Someone actually listened to my idea???" Virgin thought that was pure madness.
        "...Enough with the hearing puns."
        "Anyway. Did you find something out?"
        "Oh, most certainly! Look at his feet!"
        "I prefer hips, myself." I'll let you choose who said this.
        "Not like that! Look, they're stuffed right into a bucket full of water together with this electric wire. Thoughts?"
        "I knew the gif was only a distraction! It was a false flag all along!!" Dreamysyu, for the first time in a while, thought that the fic is finally making some sense.
        "Actually, the gif was a big fucking clue, since it was a vibrating gif of an anime girl being electrocuted. A goof from the murderer, most likely."
        "Why no one noticed this before????? And why only his eyes exploded????? What kinda electrocution is that????" Virgin thought otherwise.

        "Probably because this development was rushed for the views or for the feels or whatever, making it as poorly planned as the game night of someone going through a KEY VN without a walkthrough." salt is the main reason batman worked alone.
        "...Want me to take some pictures to use as evidence?" Kenshin wanted to be helpful.
        "Oh, do that! It's pretty much the only clue I found here."
        "...The ONLY clue?"
        "So. It is time." Fiddle eerily prophesied.
        "I finally found the choice! I just don't understand why I'll join the party if I say "Panties ahoy!" to Kiri..." I think people hardly care about it now, Senior.
        "Ding ding ding, TAIMU APU!" announced Maggiekuma over the monitor, that plotholely was again under their command. "Now hurry your asses over here!" and the asses went there.
        NEXT TIME: The first trial! Place your bets now, who killed tymmur?
        "..." and that was the sound of Poltroon, still in silence.
        "Enjoy the silence..." sang Ranzo, like any other chapter ending.
  20. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to Plk_Lesiak for a blog entry, Sakura Dungeon (VN-hybrid game review)   
    Warning: This is review is based on the Steam version of the game, without the 18+ content unlocked. The free uncensored patch unlocks two dozens of CG, including straight-up hentai scenes and adds more nudity to the "clothing damage" system. The "clean" version, however, is still very heavy on sexual themes and can be considered "complete" when it goes to the story.
    Among the dedicated fans of visual novels the infamous Sakura games by Winged Cloud are one of the most despised and ridiculed elements of the Western VN market. But, as much as we might not like it, it is also a very popular and in many ways seriously influential series, one that played an important role in popularization of visual novels in the West (and, most likely, did a lot to cement the very poor perception of the genre in the PC gaming community). After the surprising success of Sakura Spirit in mid-2014, with its viral spread all over the Internet and nearly 500k copies sold on Steam, Sakura franchise spawned a huge number of titles – mostly very lazy, relatively short VNs filled with tons of fanservice, uninspired writing and poorly-executed popcultural references. At the same time, the company behind it became unquestionably successful, with decent sale numbers throughout the years and a thriving base of Patreon supporters. 
                The ecchi formula established by Winged Cloud, throwing nudity and mild sexual themes at the player at every possibility while never going into actual pornography, proved once again that in the VN world “sex sells”, even without actual sex or any other merits that the game could offer outside of pleasant visuals. A bit later, the company expanded into the world of actual eroge, adding hentai scenes to their brand of trashy, shallow VNs with paper-thin plots and stylisation. There were, however, two times when Sakura series tried to offer a little bit more than that. The first one was Sakura Fantasy, a yuri VN in which obvious effort at crafting a better story and giving slightly more meaning to the sexual content was appreciated by the players – however, what was meant to be an episodic game, forever stopped at the first chapter. Maybe the production costs associated with actually giving a f*** proved too high? At this point, no one truly knows. The second attempt at innovation on Winged Cloud’s part produced probably the most interesting (and definitely highest-rated) game in the series – the yuri-themed VN/dungeon crawler hybrid called Sakura Dungeon, that I will be taking a closer look on today.
    Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  21. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to Plk_Lesiak for a blog entry, Ruler by Default (western VN review)   
    Disclaimer: I was provided with a free review copy of this game by the developer. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.
    OELVN scene is, for many years now, heavily reliant on crowdfunding, with many small and high-profile projects made possible through Kickstarter and, more and more often, regular contributions of fans on Patreon. While these methods of financing VN development created opportunities that wouldn’t be available to the developers in the past and brought us many memorable titles, they go with their share if risk and problems – weak safeguards guaranteeing the final product delivering on its promises or even being completed at all, being the most crucial one. Crowdfunded projects disappointing their audience, getting stuck in development hell or simply never coming to fruition are at least just as much a reality as they are in the “normal” game development scene. However, in these cases, the consequences are falling mostly on the average backer, who took the double role of the consumer and the investor, hoping for nothing more than a compelling piece of entertainment in return.
               For this reasons, I very much enjoy seeing crowdfunded projects overcoming extreme difficulties and delivering even when everyone pretty much forgot about them or stopped hoping for a positive resolution. Lately, we’ve seen the release and warm reception of AIdol – a game that spent more than half a decade in development, went through both a failed Kickstarter campaign and changes in staff, eventually being claimed by Ebi-Hime, originally only the writer for the project, and released under her name. Today, I’ll look at another long-forgotten project, Pistachi Studio’s Ruler by Default, successfully crowdfunded in 2014 and released on Steam on May 4th this year, exactly 3 years after the initial goal.
    Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  22. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to MaggieROBOT for a blog entry, Dank-a-Ronpa Ch.2   
    LAST WEEK: Dreamysyu was all alone in the school, but not really. They then found a bunch of new friends, but not really. After a lot of bitching, Maggiekuma arrives and gives them shocking news, but not really.
        "Of course, I'm only saying da shocking rules... NOW!"
        "I only care about them if everything is allowed." Zander was in a rebellious mood.
        "Whatever happens, the torrents are still not allowed. Let's keep the Fuwa spirit!" said Dergonu, forever trying to moderate.
        "Okay, listen up now! You guys have to kill each other. And if the murderer gets away with it, they can leave this place."
        "................................Did we really wait a full week just for this???????????" I hope Dreamysyu wasn't the only one expecting something more epic in this part.
        "No worries, everyone is waiting for the part where someone dies, as announced." Thank you very much, Fiddle.
        "It is better that way, too. We would not be able to abuse a loophole otherwise." Poltroon was getting ready for the game like the white dot that is a moogle in the image below.

        "This guy gets it! And of course, I'll also be able to change the rules as I see fit in the middle of the game..." Totally not because of unplanned plot holes.
        "Sooo, can I kill everyone right now and just leave?" batman the killjoy said.
        "No, I want to hear more about the rules!" To the untrained ear, it looked like Senior just choose the "hear the tutorial again" option because they pressed X so mechanically after the long-winded explanation that ended up picking the wrong option just because it was the one highlighted, but no. He picked the option on purpose, to force Maggiekuma to tell them the details, thus ruining any plan they, Poltroon, batman, and probably Ranzo, were making. That, and because it would unlock one more CG.
        "Ooooookay." Said Maggiekuma in a pout that made tymmur's eyes turn into glittering hearts. "Omaera will kill one hito per week, so this fic doesn't owari that hayaku, and the hitogoroshi will be the kuro. Then we'll do a saiban to found out who's the kuro. If omaera guess correctly the kuro, only the kuro will receive oshioki. But if the guiltless omaera were ooooh so wrong, minna receives oshioki except the kuro, that'll be free to go!" Maggiekuma finishes murdering grammar and making my fingers bleed to type that. Apparently the option also unlocked full weeb language for the game.
        "...Can you repeat that, but now in english?" Zander's ears were also bleeding. But not for long, because Clephas quickly collected it with some gravity-defying powers to give it as a sacrifice for some God as old as him.
        "d(*゚ー゚*)" Kiri, on the other hand, understood everything perfectly.
        "So, happy killing!~"
        "I think I know who I'll kill first..." Kurisu-chan announced proudly.
        "It CAN'T be me." Maggiekuma added, since they were too cute to die.
        "Oh..." At least 8 people went tsk.
        "Of course, kill the shota first. It's always the young and pure anime characters that have to go first... You guys should be ashamed of promoting such stereotyped behaviour against lolis and shotas, just for the sake of you people feeling superior and..." And so the first day on this weird school ended, and it ended before tymmur's speech that totally missed the point that everyone was trying to kill the villain of the fic.
        Dreamysyu wakes up in his usual third seat of the roll beside the window, the setting sun coloring their majestic white hair orange. Just with this tiny introduction we can already see how they have all the needed traits to be the Ultimate Protagonist, and that's why we're following them now. They are already used to have a narrator describing every single thought that pop into their head. Like this one:
        "Fuck, I'm on a time loop!" but before they could look for weird kids in a small shrine in the woods, they remembered that the narrator always bulli them, so it was safe to ignore them.
        "Hey, there you are, Dreamy-chan!" said Kenshin, approaching while jumping up and down. Wiggle wiggle, would remember Ranzo if they were around.
        "How's everyone today, Kenshin?"
        "I haven't found everyone yet, but I don't think they changed much, since we have only one greatly exaggerated trait..."
        "I see..."
        "They're probably in the cafeteria already, so we should join them too!" Kenshin almost grabbed Dreamysyu's hand, but Dreamysyu backed. Nevermind the fact that they shouldn't trust anyone so easily in a setting like this, but handholding is a bit too lewd. And they didn't want to enter any routes if both of them are about to die.
        "No, Kenshin, I think... we should keep some distance between us..."
        "Why's that?"
        "We're on this battle royale..." (AN: I almost wrote beetle royale, that would make an awesome alternative version, but that's for some other time)
        "Fuck, that author's note almost made me forget what I was saying. Anyway, we shouldn't be too friendly with each other because... I'm the main character. If we become friends, then you'll probably have a horrible and painful death just so I can angst and go in a roaring rampage of revenge and... It'll definitely not end well for you!"
        "I think you could have a bit more faith in the others." He definitely shouldn't tho. "Besides, I'll be fine! After so many dimensional travels, I finally got the rare dual wield skill, so my strength is unbeatable now!"
        "...........Hey, who's supposed to be the main character here?" Dreamysyu slowly realised maybe they weren't the badass protag, but the average guy one.
        After that, both of them went to the cafeteria. The breakfast was only a bunch of bananas. Everyone except tymmur, Fiddle and Clephas had such a hard time to find a way to eat it in a non-sexy manner that the breakfast became dinner and then the day ended.
        Dreamysyu woke up normally because they aren't that stupid to be fooled twice in the same chapter. And the first person they saw was Mitchnomi, pissed because they couldn't do a "good morning message" stream because all the monitors were showing episode 4 of Steins;Gate 0, probably because of some sorcery pulled by Kurisu-chan. Since Dreamysyu didn't want to hear any good morning message in Mitchnomi's voice, they just walked away, letting the rabbit girl cursing behind.
        Back to the cafeteria. Still bananas.
        "At this rate, we'll all die from starvation instead. We have to do something." pointed Lesiak, trying to avoid a pretty lame conclusion.
        "You puny mortals fail to absorb even such a simple and inferior plant... when the time comes, I'll just watch while you are absorbed like these fruits by more advanced species..." Clephas decided to do an armageddon premonition instead.
        "ヽ(゚∀。)ノ" Kiri took Clephas' advice the wrong way and started to use an IV thing to eat, or whatever, the banana. It worked only because it's a fic, don't try this at home.
        "Without the IV part here, Kiri's idea is not bad. We can mash the bananas and eat them here." suggested shogun.
        "The levels of hygiene in your idea, considering what we have here, are touching, please continue." salted Zander.
        "I have a better idea!" said... Maggikuma???
        "Let me guess, here comes another cliffhanger..." smartassed Virgin.
        "Even better. I'll give you guys a MOTIVE for committing murder!"
        "I want to dig your grave. I want to collect your shadow. I want to terminate your body. I want to commit murder!" Ranzo started singing a weird song from some Swedish metal band not known enough for anyone to sing along.
        "...I think we already have enough motives to be honest." but batman wasn't enough to stop Maggiekuma.
         "Okay, if you commit murder now, you'll get this book on "how to eat bananas in a non-suggestive way" totally free of charge! Just need to call!"
        "......................That's the motive???" Kenshin was transitioning to the "leave isekai" arc.
        "Hey, it's not like we d-don't know how to eat a s-simple banana or anything..." Kurisu-chan protested or something.
        "Weeeeeeeell, if you guys don't want it... happy starving!~" Maggikuma poofed out of there.
        "I-it will be fine! I-I'm sure my guide has some choice that says what's the best way... to eat it." Senior tried to make everyone feel daijoubu, but only silence answered him...
        "You need not worry, we will find another way to get the wank out of this sodding contraption." Poltroon ended the conversation, even of no one was sure what he meant.
        Later that day, Dreamysyu found Mitchnomi... again cursing the monitors. Wait, was Kurisu-chan still watching old episodes of Steins;Gate 0 (probably yes)? Pitying the poor bunny girl, Dreamysyu decided to help. After calling Dergonu, to use his mod powers to see what was wrong with the monitors, Mitchnomi finally calmed down. Even more after Dergonu found out that one monitor in classroom 2-B was apparently free from Kurisu-chan's tyranny. And the monitor there was very big too, hooray Mitchnomi! The three of them run there, but what they found...
        ...WAS A DEAD BODY!
        tymmur's. His eyeballs apparently exploded and glittering blood was escaping from the holes. No one was supposed to be outside, but you could hear a lot of gays' crying and lolis being relieved. And in the monitor... a single gif, vibrating so violently it would break Fuwa's rules to even post something similar here...    But even then... the three couldn't take their eyes off it...
        "Oh, this reminds me of a song!" entered Ranzo, ruining once again the punchline of the chapter.
        NEXT TIME: only 15 students now! Will the group investigate the death properly? And what song did Ranzo remember?
  23. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to MaggieROBOT for a blog entry, Dank-a-Ronpa Ch.1   
    DISCLAIMER: I didn't ask for anyone's permission before deciding who's gonna be killed here, sorry actually not sorry about that. That's a dankier representation of these guys that may or may not reflect how they are in real life. I tried to use you guys' avatar or username as base for your appearances and everyone using a cute girl avatar must now be grateful. This entire story had zero proofreading and makes zero sense. Support the official Danganronpa release if you want a quality story, and the patch for the PSP is the best version for the first game, thanks for asking.

        Dreamysyu wakes up in his usual third seat of the roll beside the window, the setting sun coloring their majestic white hair orange. Just with this tiny introduction we can already see how they have all the needed traits to be the Ultimate Protagonist, and that's why we're following them now. They are already used to have a narrator describing every single thought that pop in their head.
        "No, and please stop doing that." was what they are thinking but honestly I don't give a damn. 
        Anyway, seeing that the school was deserted, Dreamysyu's first thought was that they overslept and missed the entirety of philosophy class, that happened to be their favorite subject but not the author's so it was natural it was skipped here. If that was the case, it was almost time for horse riding club activities with their cute kouhai. Or just the kouhai riding because they're the protagonist. But as soon as they stepped outside they noticed something. The school was deserted. Not a single soul or background character was in sight. It's almost like... they were transported to an eroge school that's only populated by the main cast. Looking outside the window, Dreamysyu saw an unnatural amount of cherry trees in full bloom in the middle of July and the ocean not far in every single direction meaning they were in some non existing island near Japan. Way too eroge. Now the kouhai riding scene seems to be even closer to their grasp. Oh yeah, but most likely there's no kouhai anymore. Why even live as a protagonist like this?
        Right as Dreamysyu thought at least one girl must be around and everything would go back to normal by the end of the story so no need to panic... they heard voices. More than one. Coming from the auditorium...
        "My harem!" wasn't what they are thinking, but I can mess with them a little bit~
        Dreamysyu opened the door and found 15 other bizarre students, almost all of them somewhat angry. "Tsk, another one?" someone said. "This must be the last one." another one that played Danganronpa before answered. Despite the hostile atmosphere, and Dreamysyu hostile appearance itself, a person approaches them. A cute girl with blue twintails, that managed to stay cheerful despite everything. Well, nothing happened yet, maybe that's why.
        "Hiiiiiii, and welcome to the Survivors' Club!" they already decided everybody else was killed, figures. "I'm Dergonu and I'll be glad to help you if you have any questions!"
        Dreamysyu was ready to raise an eyebrow but stopped. Dergonu. They remember that name. They are the Ultimate Mod, someone that did so good a job as a mod that they pretty much wiped out three forums into oblivion, such was the extension of the shitposting there. So mostly likely they know some behind the scenes stuff, it wouldn't hurt to stick around them...
        "No, I'm the one that truly knows everything." said a bespectacled dark haired woman with a hat that I'm guessing is a beret. Wait, did they just answered the narration?
        "Fiddle-samaaaaaaaaaaaa!! <3" yelled Dergonu before Fiddle could yet again answer the narration. And that name explained everything. Fiddle was known as the Ultimate Mastermind, said to have manipulated dozen other fanfics Fuwa users dared to write. Dreamysyu asked if this one would be any different, and Fiddle promptly shaked his head in a no, maybe spoiling the whole thing in the first chapter.
        "I can, and I will."
        "Wow, way to ruin the mystery. As expected of someone who liked Noble Works." said angrily a white haired guy with a gas mask. Although he's also white haired and faceless to boot, he wasn't the main character, maybe because there's way too much moe around for him to care about it. Because of that display, Dreamysyu recognized him in an instant: that was VirginSmasher, the Ultimate EOP. Said to have read all english non moege VNs in a spam of a single month, the experiment clearly corrupted his soul and it shows. In fact, he was already displeased to being forced to participate of such third-rate fanfic.
        "1/10 VN already, if we can even call this that." Virgin wasn't the only one that was displeased, that was indeed quite enough salt in the room. But the person that said the last line takes the cake. solidbatman, the Ultimate Salt. Even the Black Sea tried to steal the title from him, and lost. They can't drop out of the story because only I can decide that, but they already rate this a 1/10 in the middle of the prologue. Sasuga, jeez. And for all effects, solidbatman looks exactly like Batman because everything is better with Batman.
        "D-d-don't give it such a poor score so fast! After you read all scenes and read all text, I'm sure you'll give it at least a 8! And it does improve after the third choice of the second common route!" said a horned guy, going all technical. He had a huge encyclopedia in his arms, and he seemed to be looking at it right at this moment to know what exactly he was supposed to say next. Needless to say, that could only be SeniorBlitz, the Ultimate Guide, the guy said to be the only one that read the entire "book of answers for everything" that he now holds, and not just the tl;dr version that consisted of a tiny post-it with a 42 on it.
        "To be fair, you have to go multiple extra playthrough to fully understand Ste... I mean, this fic." said a cool with an almost zombie expression red haired girl with an out of place christmas hat. They were pretty well know, even more now that Steins;Gate 0 is airing.
        "Oh, it's Kurisu-chan, the Ultimate Tsundere!" said a poor soul, asking to be berated.
        "It's ULTIMATE STEINS;GATE FAN! I'm not even a Tsundere, how can I even be the Ultimate one! -Taku!" and then they proceed to talk about the last episode of S;G 0 unprompted just to prove their point of being the Ultimate S;G fan. Whoever was watching it too joined the conversation eventually.
        "This problem here does not change the fact that we have lots of Ultimates here." said an adorable blonde girl with a magical girl outfit. littleshogun, the Ultimate Magical Girl, seemed unfazed by everyone else, probably because of their experience with weird encounters with evil forces during all of their years working as a magical girl.
        "The purity of this magical girl... stirs the darkness. O Old Ones, lord of tentacled infernal beasts... I hope I can hold your thirst back with these hands of mine..." calmly stated a long haired blond, majestic and evil-looking man, even if that was in no way a calm matter. Even if he said that he hopes he can hold something or other, he probably can, single handed. That was the power of Clephas, the Ultimate Chuuni. He saw things, he did things... Even the Old Ones must be scared of him at this point.
        "Hey hey, enough with all this weebness. Moe kids already are a bit more than what I can handle, don't include tentacles too!" said another person from the pissed crowd. They were a beautiful brunette in a wedding dress that had all the right of being pissed if this story prevented them to marry his favorite boy. Oh well. The judge of anything weeb with strong sarcasm that I will not emulate all too well, probably, the new angry person is Zander, the Ultimate Outsider.
        "I might add that probably a weeb that gave me my Ultimate name, I'm not outside anything. Well, maybe outside a list of people going to jail, hell or both..."
        "You DO know that tentacle are a common japanese trope that's almost a history class on weebness if you actually look for the origin of the correlation between Magical Girls and tentacles, right?" said a glasses guy that looked all so smart. His face screams confidence, as expected of an Ultimate, but also passion for all the knowledge he acquired in the filthy pool of weeb hobbies. That was Pl_Lesiak, the man who looked at weebness in the eyes and came back victorious. Although he likes western weeb inspired things a bit too much, that's why his title quickly changed to Ultimate Westerner. Okay now, this title seems like he did some cowboy movies, and that's precisely why I decided to give him twin pistols in this story. The reason for that can be because a lot of people thought the same and then he went "why not?", I don't know.
        "'Twas indeed a bloody confusion." thought the red-claded young man besides Lesiak, after he told him his tale some time during my narration. He also had a dignified air and a posture as elegant and powerful as someone doing a gentle motion to raise their dead servants with necromancy. It couldn't be anyone else other than Mr Poltroon, the Ultimate Gentleman. And if someone have a better idea of how to write a gentleman without him sounding like an old brit, be my guest.
        "But now everything is A-Okay!" said a bubbly blue haired maid. Dreamysyu approached them because for a moment I almost forgot to use my protagonist for anything. But was it really necessary to ask who are they? Everyone there knew Kenshin_sama, the Ultimate Isekaier. Travelling to different worlds time and time again, the world within this tale is no different, so they were actually excited to explore one more world. They used their smartphone that they got in yet another world to take a lot of photos already and post everything in Jun Inoue's thread. Without them noticing, Kurisu-chan used the chance to complain about Re:Zero for a bit.
        "(ᗒᗨᗕ)" said another Ultimate, agreeing with Kenshin. Not that Zander allowed themselves to understand such a weebty so alien and far from proper english. Not that the cute pink haired girl cared, they just continued going (^ω^) around. If someone asked for the name of the tiny pink haired moe, they'll probably answer (⁎˃ᆺ˂) or something, so Dreamysyu did his protagonist part and told everyone they're Kiriririri, the Ultimate Moeblob.
        "I'm going to vomit if the happiness mood keeps going for too long. Can we kill each other yet?" said another short girl with some curtained bangs and pink eyes, spoiling yet another plot point if we can believe Fiddle's words that they already spoiled one. Stars appeared in their eyes as soon as they said the word "murder", what made them wave around happily, knocking Senior's encyclopedia on the floor on purpose just because. The book was so thick it could have opened a hole in the floor, but I'm not letting them escape this easily, so it just made a loud sound like whatever an elephant's fart sounds like. Even if they just look like a bully for now, in fact Ranzo is the Ultimate Bastard, hellbent on destruction and everyone else's disgrace. They couldn't simply leave all the fun to Clephas, or all the hatred to batman. They wanted a time to shine, even if killing everyone else was necessary for this. It actually was necessary, so of course they were enjoying this fic, and sadly maybe they're the only one.
        "I must agree that some people here are way too happy, even though everyone in school suddenly vanished and we're now trapped in a cheap imitation of the facility in some weird island and..." he actually said 34 more lines, but let's cut to the chase, shall we? tymmur, the Ultimate Orator, also had issues with how slow this story was going. Said to have recited the whole bible, Rewrite and France Shoujo before breathing in again, he looked like a wise old man in a glittered rainbow shirt that would totally be followed by some slave lolis if those still existed in the school. Well, there's Kiri, but I digress.
        "How horrible! How could a nice guy do something like this?" though the reader, but you need not worry. He's actually pretty nice with shotas, especially if they hook up with other shotas, he's just like this with 2D prostitute lolis that aren't protected by any 3D law.
        "For the sake of my sanity, I'll disagree." said Zander, what prompted tymmur to say another 67 lines, but since this chapter is almost over I'll skip it again.
        "Pardon my interruption of thy argument, sir, but I'm afraid we are not alone in this school..." said Poltroon, with a fierce expression of wanting to draw his sword if he had one. An annoying nihihi echoed through the room and it was coming... from the monitor on the wall that suddenly went on with a stream!
        "I see your all getting along! Yay! Welcome to the..."
        "*You're." Fiddle corrected before the naked girl could utter another mistake. Still feeling bad, eventually they introduced themselves as Mitchnomi, a 1/3 bear, a 1/3 rabbit, a 1/3 comic relif, all bad. They are doing the role of Monomi so naturaly they got shooed away not long after by the students.
        "KYAAAAAAAAAA!" screamed the rabbit girl, that apparently got shooed away in the other side of the monitor too.
        "...Can we just pretend this didn't happen and go back to... whatever was happening in the story?" batman asked and then everyone remembered what Poltroon said. It was really just about Mitchnomi? For once, everyone shut up and paid attention to the surrounding sounds. Something... was coming from the corridor. A stupid laugh soon echoed.
        "Upupupu... Pupupu... Upupupupupu!"
        "Da fuck is this?" is what Dreamysyu should have asked at the very beginning of the story.
        "Upupupu... Upupupwahahahahahahaha!" the laugh got even louder. Well, of course, the person laughing just entered the room, flames erupting behind them for whatever epic reason. Ranzo found it amazing and set fire to the curtain too. Clephas wanted to summon some things too, but decided against because it was still too early in the story for final boss moments.
        "Who... are you?" asked Dergonu, hoping for something not stupid.
        "Bitch please, who else could I be? The one and only, powerful and sexy, MAGGIEKUMA!"
        "I am not seeing a bear here." littleshogun pointed to the pretty boy that's now in front of the kids. They had white hair and black clothes so it totally fits the mono part of the name, even the 2B plushie they're carrying fits, but noooo I had to pick the kuma part. You can all agree with me that Monomaggie doesn't sound just as good.
        "Who caaaaaaaaaaaaaaares if I'm not a bear! Moe is the new thing, so hopefully pretty boys are here to stay." Maggiekuma explained why they decided to stick with the 9S in their avatar and not 2B.
        "They will, if you choose the second choice and then the fourth after [SPOILERS] dies! That way, you'll rule the world and make everyone likes whatever you want" Senior just gave me a dangerous but awesome idea.
        "∠(^ー^)" Kiri doesn't seem to mind.
        "Good thing I didn't have any expectation for this story." Virgin already gave up.
        "But you can end all of this... Killing everyone!" dramatic close up in Maggiekuma's face.
        "All according to the keikaku!" said Ranzo with a grim, even if they didn't really have a fucking plan.

        NEXT TIME: The rules of the deathgame and... Someone dies! But that's a twist!
  24. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to Fiddle for a blog entry, A Tribute to Tiag   
    In response to my friend @Mr Poltroon's grammatically-questionable-but-nevertheless-generous patronage, I've decided to utilize my artistic skills and produce a drawing that does justice to his favorite character, Kilometers Edgeworth.
    In short, I labored to reproduce the following piece that I found on an insider artists' hub known as Google Images:

    (I forgot to replace the transparency in his eyes with whiteness, so please don't use a dark skin or he'll look scary and deformed.)
  25. Like
    Mr Poltroon reacted to sanahtlig for a blog entry, SRPG eroge Venus Blood Frontier to get an English Kickstarter   
    Ninetail announces an upcoming Kickstarter for an English version of Venus Blood Frontier, a corruption-focused strategy RPG with Law and Chaos routes.
    SRPG eroge Venus Blood Frontier to get an English Kickstarter
    Discussion thread
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