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  1. Like
    Nyanko reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Rose Guns Days   
    First, I want to say thank you to those who patiently listened as I whined and complained about this VN as I played it. I should also explain what I was complaining about first, so that people don't get the impression that this is an awful VN, just because I have complaints about it. I'll place this in spoilers for people who don't care about my whining.

    Second, I should say that I have a firm belief that Ryukishi's VNs make better anime than they do VNs, because his scenario design is far better than his writing (not to mention his art). His love for torturing and killing his own characters is very similar to that of George Martin or Glen Cook, but he mixes it up with that peculiar disconnect from reality and surrealism that is unique to Japanese writers, especially when it comes to violence or sex, lol.

    The first part of this story looks like it comes out from a Japanese-colored version of our own film noir. To be honest, I found it pretty amusing and an overall fun ride. I cried and laughed with the characters, and I got to like the various people Rose and her crew met. The second part is somewhat less amusing, as it is mixed in with hope followed by a quick fall into despair, as things take a turn for the worse that never quite gets better. The third and last arc (there are four seasons but only three arcs, really) is devastatingly emotional and full of a despair far surpassing that of the first two. Friends die, others betray, and characters you have come to love suffer. In other words, it has all the ingredients you need for a good trilogy (which is what it feels like).

    The themes involved will probably confuse about fifty percent of those who read this who aren't from Asia. I'm not kidding. Simply put, it requires the ability to appreciate the character, weaknesses and strengths of the Chinese, Americans, and Japanese at the same time. As such, the learning curve for fully appreciating this VN is a bit steep. In fact, in some ways it is more steep than I/O because the matters it deals with aren't matters of science but of culture and people.

    I suggest anyone who wants to fully understand a lot of what they say - especially the exchanges between the Chinese mafia and Rose's people - read up on current events in the relations between Japan and China, because this story has been heavily influenced by the recent mess in diplomatic relations between the two. A lot of it is mixed up with the usual emotionalism that defines Japanese writing, but the core arguments are based in current events, rather than just ones of the distant past.

    Is this a good VN? That's an excellent question, me. To be honest, it is hard to say. There are a ridiculous number of flaws to the setting, and the writing, while much better than Ryuukishi07's past efforts, is still less than poetic (and his event descriptions are still as weak as ever). However, if you just look at the fun factor...? This is a fairly enjoyable experience. Oh, for those who hate to see characters they like suffer or die off or who can't deal with concepts like prostitution, organized crime, or corruption as a matter of daily life this would be a hard VN to read. In some ways, this is far darker than his past VNs, because the actual daily events include no sense of fantasy, save for the setting itself. As a result, people who could enjoy Higurashi, Umineko, and Higanbana with no problems might very well show signs of rejection with this one. At the same time, people who despised the others might very well like this one, because - while it does share all of Ryuukishi's usual habits - both bad and good - it is outside of his usual ballpark in the subject matter.

    Edit2: Whoops, the last edit was a bit too... sharp. To avoid controversy I have sealed it behind a spoiler tag. Read at your own risk.

  2. Like
    Nyanko reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, A Few Things about Clephas Part 1   
    I keep getting questions like, 'Who are you?' and 'Why should I listen to you at all about VNs?'... not to mention questions that are a bit more personal. So, I thought I'd answer those questions I'm willing to answer (feel free to ask more in the comments, and I'll answer those that I can in a second post).

    Full Handle Name: Clephas Aurenius

    Handle Origin: A unique character I made up for a fictional fantasy universe some ten years ago. I've been using it as my sole handle for eight years now.

    Age: 33

    Country and State of origin: Texas in the United States

    Hobbies: Gaming, VNs, reading (fiction and non-fiction), otakuism, mini-reviewing untranslated VNs, anthropology, linguistics, brewing rum and root beer, cooking, and attempting to define VN terms that are actually a lot more vague than I try to present them for the sake of convenience *smiles slyly*

    Profession: ghost writer (don't ask me about this, look it up)

    Dream: To build an underground house in a seismically inactive (inasmuch as that is possible) area and retire. Take a six-month trip to Japan and tour the hot springs, shrines, and temples.

    Likes: Efficient and/or cunning work. People with a non-harmful sense of humor. Pragmatism. Chuuni-fiction, fantasy, science fiction. Good stories.

    Dislikes: Wasting time (from my perspective). Being mentally inactive (this is actually painful for me). Foods with jalapeno or parsley in it. Sloppy work done when a more efficient method obviously exists. Political corruption (outside of reasonable limits).

    Personality: I have a rather massive temper, that I manage to restrict through breathing exercises and violent video games. I value thinking as something that is both necessary and enjoyable. I am excessively introspective, to the degree of actively mocking myself and being self-derisive when I think I might have been in the wrong on some level. I am a natural troll who reformed himself as best as possible. I tend to think that everything is funny on some level, even my own stupidity and outright disaster. I am a recovering megalomaniac.

    My role-play: The 'forums' Clephas is actually quite different from the original Clephas, in that he is a lot more comical and exaggerated. He is the megalomaniacal and overwhelmingly arrogant side of my personality, deliberately exaggerated to the very limits, to the point where it is actually funny. He is something of an insane deity who devours universes and envelops them in his infinite stomachs, using avatars to interact with those inside. He honestly thinks eating people (both whole and chewed) is an expression of love. He also does various seemingly (and most probably) meaningless things solely for the sake of his own amusement.

    What Fuwanovel means to me: In a lot of ways, Fuwanovel is my last community. I've just seen too many otaku communities collapse under their own weight to willingly involve myself with several at once, anymore. In many ways, I joined Fuwa solely because I thought it would be fun to argue with Aaeru (and it was immensely fun). I respected her for the strength of her beliefs, even if I disagreed with her on a number of points (pragmatists rarely agree fully with any idealist). Fuwa now is the community I've come to love, with the people I've come to love (Marie, Tay, solidbatman, Nayleen, fun2novel, Flutterz, Zakamutt, Mephisto, etc. etc), and so I'm more or less in it for the long haul. I chose this community because it was a lot easier to talk about VNs here than in the more Jaded tlwiki-related communites.

    What are VNs to me: I like VNs, both as an enjoyable storytelling medium and as one with an immense potential for growth (if someone can just kick the industry out of its nukige/moege and cookie-cutter chuunige rut). They are emotional and intellectual rides (better on the emotions in most cases), that frequently have an impact far out of proportion with their actual quality.

    My VN Experience: Tsukihime was my first VN... and it stunned me when I first played it back in 2007. I immediately devoured every single translated VN, in a marathon that lasted about two months... then dove into my first untranslated - Jingai Makyou - on 9/14/2008. As I'd been fansubbing for over a year by then, I'd thought I had a full grasp on Japanese as a language... but it was a rather rude kick in the butt. Translation Aggregator with Jparser presented me with a challenge that allowed me to get around the lack of kanji knowledge on my part... in exchange for mastering how Japanese syllables were put together in reverse (normally a skill learned through kanji, rather than learning it first, then learning kanji).

    A few last comments: No, I do not have and will never have a Facebook or Twitter account. If you really want to chat with me live, pm me and ask me to get on IRC (rizon). Do not ask me to help translate more than one scene of a moege, as doing more than that (even for a friend) would make me want to scream. I do not have a lot of free time, other than that which I use to play VNs, so no I don't go to otaku conventions. I can cook a traditional Japanese breakfast... but sadly, the only parts I really like are the natto, the miso soup, and the pickled vegetables (cooked fish that tastes like cooked fish makes me feel sick). I have a fourteen-year-old calico cat, whom I adore and who tolerates me as a favor to me as her devoted slave.
  3. Like
    Nyanko reacted to LinovaA for a blog entry, First Untranslated Route FIN - What It Means To Me   
    I Did It

    So anybody who interacts with me on a regular basis probably has heard me be really hyped about the fact that I have finished my first route. Another indicator of my happiness over this would be the fact that... you know:

    So I am writing this up, because I want to mark this as a milestone in my learning process. While sure, it may not seem like a big deal... but for me it is pretty huge for me. For the longest time before I got the chance to start learning Japanese, I always saw it as an uncrackable code. Something I could never even hope to read. This was mostly due to the fact that the only other language I had ever learnt was French, which uses my native character set. Also, whenever my friends and I talked about languages, we had decided that the seemingly hardest languages to learn were Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese.

    So there was this sort of barrier for me, that basically always told me that I would never be able to understand Japanese. I still have those barriers in place for Arabic and Chinese, although that is loosening as I learn kanji in the case of Chinese.

    So needless to say. I am pretty happy right now.
    After finishing Tae's route and wiping the tears away, I was filled with this strange sense of euphoria.
    'Cause after like... 3 weeks of improvement.
    I had finally done it.
    I had cracked this so called uncrackable code. So to speak.

    Sure I had to rely a lot on ITH and JParser, but you know what... I learnt quite a bit in this one route. My understanding of sentence structure, and the size of my Japanese lexicon have both improved significantly. And that was only over the course of one route! I still have four more to go in AkaGoei!

    It was really hard at first. I could not wrap my head around what I was reading, and there were times in the beginning where I was just clicking to see if I could figure out the next line. I don't do that now, but that is how it was when I first opened up the VN.

    The key to improving, when you want to be able to read VNs, is to just stop making excuses as to why you can't. Maybe I am still too much of a noob to be saying such things, but I really think that this is the case. I mean yes, if you haven't studied JP at all yet, you probably shouldn't jump in, but if you have been studying for a while and aren't sure if you are ready, stop thinking you aren't ready. I made excuses for half a year when my knowledge of grammar was sitting at an agreeable level for reading VNs that are not written by Masada~

    Sure you will hit snags. You will find grammar you are unfamiliar with and lots of words and phrases that will make no sense when you translate them into English no matter what you do. That is all part of the learning process. I decided that my best bet was to take my failings in Japanese in stride and just charge straight in.

    So yeah, finishing this route is a huge moment for me. The next one will be when I finish the entire VN. After that, we'll see.
    I'll remember the date for sure: March 14th 2015

    Thanks for listening to me ramble on this one guys. As I said, it isn't really THAT big of a deal... but it means a lot to me. So I needed to put my ramblings somewhere!~
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