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Zalor

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  1. Like
    Zalor reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Random Translation: Silverio Trinity Countdown Video   
    "I have no regrets whatsoever about the fate I chose, bore, and walked to its end."
    "The reason is that I had only to but bear the burden alone.  It was a situation where the madman known as Valzeride was the only one that needed to suffer to the end."
    "If offering up the Monster of Light as a sacrifice would bring my homeland prosperity, then there need be no hesitation.  It truly was a perfect exchange.  As I desired, I ran through the infinite hells to their end."
    "Believing to the end that, beyond the holy war, a shining future where someone would be able to smile awaited..."
    "My vow to fight using my willpower is unchanged even now.  Even though I have fallen and become a Demon Star, I still feel that I must protect the goodness and peace of others."
    "For that reason, be at peace, Horizon.  Oh young man who is worthy of respect and the name of 'hero'"
    "Ruin will not come to you even in the final battle in two days.  As, if it is a matter where I alone must suffer, if the Lightning Emperor of Slaughter need only but suffer to the end..."
    "... if at the end, I am able to stop someone else's tears, then, as always, there is no need to hesitate."
    "The garbage known as 'the enemy of evil' is as foolishly invincible as ever."
    "I know.  That is why I wish to show you my answer."
    "I wish to prove it to my great predecessor."
    "I find that answer to be bright... no.  That's right."
    "I'll look forward to it."
  2. Like
    Zalor reacted to Plk_Lesiak for a blog entry, Random free EVNs worth reading #1   
    Welcome back my dear readers and welcome to this new, irregularly-posted segment on EVN Chronicles! 
    As some of you might know, beyond my general burnout which made me put the blog on indefinite hiatus, late last year I've developed some health problems that pretty much killed my will to read VNs and my ability to contribute meaningful content on Fuwa... For a while. As I come back to life, both physically and mentally, I've decided to resurrect this space and log my adventures through mostly short, free EVNs, sharing with you all the most notable finds among the game jam entries and random passion projects I read through. So, do you want to read some hidden gems, all available for the very reasonable price of $0.00? You're sure to find some on this little list, and the ones that come in the future!
    Optimal Conditions for a Sacrifice | Yuri/Fantasy/Comedy | ~20 min

    It's rare for extremely short VNs to charm me, but Optimal Conditions for a Sacrifice has just the perfect combination of humour, wit and well-delivered punchline to made this kind of tiny experience memorable. The game plays on mythological themes and a rich set if metaphors to construct an intriguing narrative about the nature of love – all while never taking itself seriously or trying too hard to be profound. And this last part is crucial – from the game's Ith.io page, through its net of riddles and on-the-nose social commentary and to the purposefully jumbled ending, you can feel the fun the author had writing all of it and molding it into a VN. And while this kind of experiment has always a high risk of missing the mark and becoming an unreadable mess, the genuine-feeling and relatable messaging it ends with makes it better than it had any right to be. And with a nice artstyle as a bonus... It's very much worth it to sacrifice 20 minutes of your time to check it out. 
    Itch.io Page
    My Dream Is To Be a Model, Not a Maid! | Yuri/Drama | ~1h 20 min

    Team ANPIM are regular authors of cliched G/G romance, always present for the annual Yuri Game Jam with a new piece of heartwarming fluff. While their output in the past three years was a bit of a mixed bag, often lacking interesting twists to keep the formula fun, My Dream Is To Be a Model, Not a Maid! is what I'd call a return to form. Starting with a silly premise of an aspiring (and awfully unsuccessful model) getting coerced into becoming a lived-in housekeeper for a young daughter of a CEO, it provides a well-paced and fun piece of romance between two people of vastly different backgrounds and live experiences. While the short runtime limits how deep the story can get and the overall structure of the romance plot is utterly typical, the characterisation and humour make it all solid enough to be a very enjoyable, one-sitting read. And with a bunch of really nice-looking CGs added to the mix, it's exactly what you would want from this kind of bite-sized piece of yuri fluff.
    Itch.io Page
    My Crush My Bully | Yuri/Drama | ~30 min

    Written by one of my favourite VN writers on the freeware/game jam side of the market, PunishedHag, My Crush My Bully is a short story about an awkward, nerdy girl who unexpectedly encounters her school tormentor on a trip to library. While trying to stealthily buy the newest book in her favourite fantasy series, she's caught by the titular bully, but there's something off with the interaction that follows... While the game is maybe a bit too short to reach its full potential, its strength lies not only in good characterisation of the main characters, but also in providing two vastly different viewpoints on the relationship it depicts. The perspective shift took me by surprise, providing a sombre, emotional backstory to the somewhat whacky-feeling romantic plot. Without it, the whole story would just be a decently-written piece of yuri fluff, but the additional depth and social commentary it adds makes the whole experience worthwhile despite the short length.
    Itch.io Page
    Wolfskin's Curse | Fantasy/Horror/Mystery | ~1h 30 min

    Probably the most involved and well-produced VN on today's list, Wolfskin's Curse offers a mystery plot about a former priestess and a werewolf running away from tragedy and persecution, only to be caught up in a new chain of deaths and being framed as perpetrators. A very climatic piece of dark fantasy, this short story offers most elements you would expect from the formula: a gloomy setting, tragic romance and a cast of ambiguous and tortured characters trying to survive in a hostile world. It also includes high-quality art and full voice acting – that last part being something I usually avoid in freeware projects due to it rarely being good enough to be more enjoyable than just reading the dialogue yourself, but here it was done with decent quality and care, particularly for a game jam entry. And whether you mute the voices or not, the VN will be an interesting and emotional journey – at least if you don't mind reading something pretty depressing in tone.
    Itch.io Page | Google Play
    And that's all for now! As I'm trying to take things slow, this segment will show up at random intervals and likely with different amounts of content. However, I'm going to keep the mission of spotlighting notable EVNs alive as long as I'm able to – if you're interested in those, be sure to follow the blog and if you have recommendations for free EVNs worth checking out, make sure to leave them in the comments. Thank you for reading!
  3. Like
    Zalor reacted to AmelieDoree for a blog entry, Jisatsu 101 (2001): A Messy & Brilliant Denpa Horror VN   
    In 2001, a little studio by the name of Duke released a game that would go on to influence some of the modern eras' most beloved VNs, and help to form an important sub-genre of psychological horror stories. Jisatsu 101 is that game; a beautiful, flawed, mess of a story with much to love and much to question.
     
     
  4. Like
    Zalor reacted to Zakamutt for a blog entry, Random translations #1   
    Over time, a bored translator tends to accumulate random pieces of translation they never went that far with, or did in 10 minutes for the shitpost for whatever reason, etc. Apart from that, I’ve personally done some scattered work for fan translations that may or may not ever see the light of day, some (very modestly) paid in ebooks. Anyway, here we go:
    1. Random demonbane fight/action scene
    I think this is from an expanded rerelease or something. There’s an absolutely meme error left in here where my brain read 拳 as 拳銃, even noticing my confusion in the comments but nevertheless failing to see the actual problem. I generally prefer translating directly in the script for VNs, so that’s what you’re getting. I did this one FOR FREE. I think this is about 3k-4k moji?
    2. Phantom of Inferno h-scene except there’s a lot of plot too
    This one’s funny because I was initially contacted about it because the guy thought I was a coomer translator doing mostly nukige. Ironically my actual skillset turned out to be very applicable to the script I chose to work on though, so whatever xD.
    Unfortunately I wasn’t doing the whole commenting out lines thing (and I changed the structure in places), so you can only really read this in something like a multi-file viewer. I promise the rest is better, okay? Anyway, here’s a zip with both the unaltered script and the translated script. I got paid for this with an ebook of shimeyuri, which I actually read afterwards. There’s a possible mistl in the script where 失禁 most likely (based on my expansive experience with illustrated japanese pornography) actually means wetting yourself and not “loosing your bowels” as I put it. I just couldn’t find as good a line that was more yellow than brown at the time so I coped. But it legitimately could mean both, so I leave the final decision up to someone who actually looked at the scene ingame.
    3. New tl for the subahibi soapbubble poem that’s actually from cyrano
    So yeah, this was originally French. And then through some route, it became Japanese, and was used in Subahibi. The current official localization uses a french to english translation, which is fair enough. But, well, the english translation, and espcially the lines chosen from it that I saw used in screenshots (idk I didnt actually read the english tl tho), seem to me to not quite be as clear as the Japanese. Since poems and such often change shape with translation, and Subahibi definitely wants to say something with its poems, I had to wonder if doing a translation from the Japanese might not be a better solution than merely choosing a translation from the French. Well, I could also consult the english translation too… Oh, and then I decided to specifically make sure to use words that would resonate with wittgensteinian thinking or whatever (“name” specifically. In formal logic you put “names” to stuff. Uhh anyway…). I haven’t actually finished subahibi, I stalled it in insects because the first part was really boring. ANYWAY, the poem, entirely devoid of annoying stuff like actually rhyming:
    Zaka adapted tl:
    We yearn
    Building castles of air from but a name
    Pining for a lover made of fantasy
    Take it, now
    This fantasy I made
    And make it into reality
    My romantic laments I have scattered far and wide
    Only you can give them a home at last
    Take them, now
    One day you will know
    I was not sincere; I was eloquent alone
    Original jp tl:
    ボクたちは
    ただ名ばかりでシャボン玉の様にふくらんでしまった……
    そんな空想の恋人に恋いこがれている……。
    さぁ、君、取りたまえ。
    この空想を、
    そして本物に変えるのは君だ。
    ボクは恋の嘆きとか書き散らかしたけど……、
    彷徨う鳥の留まるのを君は見る事が出来る人なんだ。
    さあ、取りたまえ。
    実はないだけ雄弁だと……
    君にも分かる日が来るから……。
    Fr->en (brian hooker, not the one used in the official tl):
    I have amused myself
    As we all do, we poets–writing vows
    To Chloris, Phyllis–any pretty name–
    You might have had a pocketful of them!
    Take it, and turn to facts my fantasies–
    I loosed these loves like doves into the air;
    Give them a habitation and a home.
    Here, take it– You will find me all the more
    Eloquent, being insincere! Come!

    Is this good? …Well my tl could probably use some polish, but I think the approach is interesting. Then again, apparently subahibbers goes and explains the poem later on, so you could probably insert your explanation then and be more pure (as pure as a fr->en tl is, though!) to the original, I guess. Overall it’s a wash but I’m happy I got to shitpost.
    4. The two first pages of Hige wo Soru, Soshite Joshikousei wo Hirou (LN)
    I was originally going to translate 10 pages as a work sample to troll one of my friends who was looking for people to translate LNs at the time, but I got too lazy to continue after finishing 2 pages. C’est la vie, innit? Also, the title given is my personal stab at a sensible title. Unfortunately the events in the book do not match the straightforward “X, then Y” structure of そして as commonly used, as Y actually happens before X in-story! Thus I choose to interpret it as listing two things that happened in no specific order.
    I actually translated this from scans, which is how I read higehiro 1. I have ebooks now to copy from though, so I’ll spare you the scan reader experience. Also maybe I should have used “beneath” instead of “under” the telophone pole? Whatever, man.
    ひげを剃る、そして女子高生を拾う。
    I took in a runaway girl and shaved my beard
    Page 10:
     失しつ恋れんをした。
     二つ年上の、同じ会社に勤める女性だ。名前は後ご藤とうさんといった。
     後藤さんは面めん倒どう見みが良く、研修の時から俺に良くしてくれた。笑え顔がおが淑しとやかで、気配りができて、社畜と化していた俺の心の支えだった。
    「男がいるなら最初から言えやァ……」
     もう何なん杯ばいビールを飲んだか分からない。向かいの席で他人ひと事ごとのように笑う同期の橋はし本もとの輪りん郭かくもぼやけて見える。
     そう、デートに行ったのだ。後藤さんと。勤続5年目にして、ようやく彼女をデートに誘さそった。快く誘いを受け入れられて、これは行けるのでは! と期待を膨ふくらませながらデートに行き、動物園を一いつ緒しよに歩いた。正直、動物よりも後藤さんの横顔ばかり見ていた。ときどき、乳も横目で見た。
     とにかく、このチャンスを無む駄だにしてはならないと、俺は張り切りに張り切っていた。動物園を回り終え、オシャレなフレンチの店で夕食をとった。味はもう覚えていない。
    プロローぐ
    電柱の下の女
    Prologue
    The girl under the telephone pole
    My love was unrequited.
    Gotou was two years older than me, and my superior at work. She took good care of her coworkers; ever since I was in training, she’d always treated me well. Her smile was graceful, her attention to others’ needs palpable — she was always there to support me as my threw myself into the life of a wage slave.
    “If she had a boyfriend she coulda told me from the start, man…” I whined.
    I’d already lost count of how many beers I’d downed. My coworker Hashimoto was sitting across from me, his profile peeking out of the dim barlight. He chuckled briefly at my outburst, clearly amused.
    We’d been on a date all right, me and Gotou. First we’d gone to the zoo. To be honest, I’d been looking less at the animals, more at her. Sometimes, I’d snuck in a sideways glance at her breasts.
    Anyway, I wasn’t about to lose my shot, so I’d gone all out afterwards. I’d taken her to a fancy restaurant for dinner. I can’t remember what it tasted like at all.
    Page 11:
    「このまま、俺の家に来ませんか」
     お互たがい大人である。この言葉の意味くらいは、すぐに理解できるだろう。期待と不安の入り混じった目で後藤さんを見ると、後藤さんは困ったように笑っていた。
     そして、首を横に振ふったのだった。
    「会社では秘密にしているんだけど、私、恋こい人びとがいるの」
       *
    「じゃあなんでデートに来たんだよッ!!!」
    「ああもう吉よし田だ、それ今日六回目だから」
    「一万回でも言ってやるよぉ……」
    「一万回も同じ話聞きたくないんだけど」
     俺がビールを呷あおるのを、橋本は苦く笑しようしながら見ていた。
    「そのへんにしときなよ」
    「馬ば鹿か、こんなんで俺の怒いかりがおさまるかってんだァ」
    「酒が回ってきた後の方がキレてるじゃん。埒らち明かねぇって」
     橋本は他人事だからそんなことを言えるのだ。今日は飲まないとやっていられない。
     後藤さんにフラれた直後、俺は茫ぼう然ぜん自じ失しつで小さな公園のベンチで項うな垂だれた。
     訊きくと、五年前から彼女には恋人がいたのだという。
     つまり、俺が彼女と知り合った時にはすでに男がいたということだ。
    「馬鹿みてぇだ……」
     男のいる女に五年も思いを寄せてしまっていた。
    I’d waited for the right time, and then I’d asked her: “Hey, would you like to see my place?” We weren’t kids — the implication was obvious. I had looked at her with uneasy anticipation as she gave me a troubled smile — and then, she had shook her head. “I’ve kept it a secret at work, but I’m afraid I’ve got a boyfriend.”
    ***
    “Then why the hell did you agree to the date?” I exclaimed.
    “Jeez, this is the sixth time you’ve said that today,” Yoshida said.
    “I’ll say it a thousand times over, damn it!”
    “I really would rather you not.”
    Yoshida watched me with a strained smile as I downed another swig of beer.
    “You really shouldn’t have any more to drink,” he said.
    “Dude, d’ya think I’m gonna forget how angry I am with just this much?”
    “Aren’t you just going to get more pissed off if you keep drinking? There’s no point to it.”

    5. Purposely bad “accurate” tl of song lyrics that I was going to show myself fixing in a blog post discussing kinda lame “accurate” lyric translation but I never did the work oops totally not coping no really I’m serious though
    Hahaha funny how things turn out right? anyway uhh

    カプチーノ ともさかりえ
    This is purposely sloppy and sort of meaning-only because I was going to write a post titled ‘how to make a typical youtube jp lyric tl’
    which then was going to feature a refinement of the lyrics
    or something to show the adaptations you actually
    should be doing if you’re subbing fucking songs
    I mean I’m not actually a god though so who knows
    if it was even a good idea
    but yeah that’s why this is garbage even if it is prolly ‘accurate’
    あと少しあたしの成長を待って
    あなたを夢中にさせたくて
    藻掻あたしを可愛がってね
    Wait for me to grow a bit more
    I want to make you enchanted with me
    So please spoil me while I struggle to do so
    今度逢う時はコートも要らないと
    そんなに普通に云えちゃうのが理解わからない
    ・・・ミルクの白に茶色が負けている
    I don’t get how you can just say
    You won’t even need a coat on when we next meet
    –The white of the milk is stronger than the brown
    何よりもあなたに逢って触れたいの
    全て味わって確かめて
    イーヴンな関係に成りたい
    変わりゆくあたしの温度を許して
    もし我が儘わがままが過ぎて居てもても
    黙って置いて行ったりしないでね
    I want to meet you, want touch you most of all
    To know every part of you
    To have an equal relationship between us
    Forgive me for running hot and cold
    I know I might be too selfish sometimes
    But don’t let that make you leave me on my own
    コーヒーの匂いを間あいだに挟んで
    優位の笑みを隠し切れない様子で居る
    ・・・苦いだけじゃ未だバランスが取れない
    The scent of coffee hangs between us
    And I can’t hide my overbearing smile
    –I’m all bitter, haven’t found the right balance
    梅の散る午後にもちゃんと二人は
    今日と同じ様に人混みを
    擦り抜けられるかしら
    それぞれがただ忙しくしてたら
    引く手の加減も曖昧に
    忘れちゃいそうで不安なのに
    When we next meet early spring afternoon as the plum blossoms fall
    Will we easily slip through the crowd
    As we were able to today?
    We just get busy with our own lives
    And I don’t know how hard to pull you towards me
    But I’m worried you’ll just forget me
    あなたが此処に居る約束など
    1つも交わして居ない
    いつの間にか淡色が当たり前に香り
    二人を支配しそう
    We never promised to meet
    Anywhere or anytime
    And the sense that our feelings will fade
    Is all around us
    誰よりもあたしをちゃんと見透かして
    口の悪さや強がりは”精一杯”の証拠だって
    See through me more than anyone else
    That I talk rough and act tough is proof of how serious I am
    何よりもあなたに逢って触れたいの
    全て味わって確かめて
    イーヴンな関係に成りたい
    変わりゆくあたしの温度を許して
    もし我が儘わがままが過ぎて居てもても
    黙って置いて行ったりしないでね
    I want to meet you touch you most of all
    To know every part of you
    To have an equal relationship between us
    Forgive me for running hot and cold
    I know I might be too selfish sometimes
    But don’t let that make you leave me on my own
    —-
    Very sorry about that one, folks.
    6. Literally just this one excerpt from the adashima LN (idk what volume anymore)
    I picked this as an interesting translation “challenge” for a server I was semi-active in at the time because the excerpt referenced a distinctly Japanese cultural thing in the kuroneko delivery service and I wanted to see different approaches to it. The rest is just general writing skill I guess. Nobody else submitted anything because THEY ARE COWARDS ahem. Anyway this has an official tl but I’ve never looked at it (yet, growth mindset) to compare. The official tl is done by my friend and actually good translator Verde though so it’s probably cool.
    鞄を机に置いてから、しまむらが布団の上に座り込む。先程までしまむら妹の使っていた黄色いクッションを「はい」とこっちに投げてきた。受け取って絵柄を見ると、宅急便のイメージキャラクターの黒猫と白猫が手を繋いでいた。その場に置いて、まずは座る。
    Shimamura laid her bag on the desk, then sat down on the futon. “Here,” she said, throwing me the yellow cushion her little sister had been using just before. I caught it and glanced at the motif: the familiar white and black cat mascots of the Kuroneko Yamato delivery service, holding hands. I put the cushion on the floor and sat down myself.
    7. Random line from I think dies irae or some other masada shit
    I was challenged for a take on this by a friend so I did. Then I did another take which was better so I’m listing both here. The context I was given was “context is, guy is standing on the bow of a magic warship during a big chuu2 battle and this is a description of what he looks like”.
    鋼鉄すら沸騰する灼熱地獄の只中で、吹き荒れる熱波に大外套を翻しながら口元を弦月の形に歪めている。 Take 2 (better):
    He stood in the midst of a raging firestorm, giant cape battened by its roiling currents. Unmoved by heat that could boil steel, his lips twisted into a crescent grin.
    Take 1 (does other stuff better maybe tho):
    He stood in the midst of a firestorm of ferocity sufficient to melt the toughest steel; his cloak billowed, spurred by the raging inferno, as his mouth crested unto a twisted smile.
    8. Mememasa poem with very little context because I shitpost hard okay
    This is pretty bad not going to lie. Anyway it’s a quick tl of part of the poem that is shown in the muramasa prologue (and presumable afterward as well?). Also it has a tl error where I should have said it’s the saint cursing the god and not the other way around oops.
    奇跡を行う聖人は衆生を赦い神を呪って嘔吐する
    黄金の兜の覇王は万里を征し愛馬と供に川底へ沈む
    湖の美姫は国を捨て愛を選び糞尿に溺れて刑死する
    孤赤児は蚯蚓の血を母の乳とし三夜して腹より腐る
    生命よこの賛歌を聞け笑い疲れた怨嗟を重ねて
    生命よこの祈りを聞け怒りおののく喜びを枕に
    百年の生は炎と剣の連環が幾重にも飾り立てよう
    七日の生は闇と静寂に守られ無垢に光り輝くだろう
    獣よ踊れ野を馳せよ唄い騒いで猛り駆けめぐれ
    いまや如何なる鎖も檻も汝の前には朽ちた土塊
    The saint performing miracles set to save mankind was cursed by God, to nausea
    The gold-crowned conqueror who ruled vast plains met his end when he drowned with his beloved horse, in the river
    The lady of the lake who forsook her country for love drowned in excrement, sentenced to death
    The orphan babe who drank maggotsblood for mother’s milk took three days to die, rotting from the inside
    Life, let my eulogy reach your tired ears and deepen your fury
    Life, hear my prayer and sleep soundly in thrashing joyous rage
    A hundred years’ worth of life was lost to fire and blade
    Seven days’ worth of life let to shine in innocence, guarded by stygian silence
    Frolic upon the fields, O beast, let loose your savage song
    No chain nor jail can stop you; all before you shall fall to dust

    ok so that’s all I can think of right now. I’m sure there’s more somewhere. I hope you enjoyed it if you actually read any of this kuso shit
    View the full article
  5. Like
    Zalor reacted to kivandopulus for a blog entry, VN of the Month November 2021 - Sousaku Kanojo no Ren'ai Koushiki   
    There are as many as two games about GameDev, and since there's not much else to look at, one of them Sousaku Kanojo no Ren'ai Koushiki becomes game of the Month.  
    1. Yuru Camp△ - Have a Nice Day! ゆるキャン△ Have a nice day! [211111] MAGES. GAME Take on the roles of Kagamihara Nadeshiko and Shima Rin, and enjoy a branching story where the camp contents change in a big way based on your choices. With “what if” scenarios not depicted in the TV anime, this is a game Laid-Back Camp fans will not want to miss. The game features various "what if" scenarios. What if everyone went to the Takabocchi Highlands, where Rin originally went solo? What if Rin camped solo at Shibire Lake, where she originally went with Nadeshiko? What if Rin brought a portable grill to Lake Motosu? Despite featuring the same scenes as the anime, you can still enjoy a fresh camping experience! In Laid-Back Camp: Have a Nice Day!, you can relive the Laid-Back Camp experience by visiting Lake Motosu, Fumoto Campsite, Eastwood Campsite, Takabocchi Highlands, Shibire Lake, Jinbagatayama Campsite, and Fujinomiya. Furthermore, Lake Tanuki Campsite, which only appears by name in the original comic, has also been added as a campground. But whether you are able to camp there depends on your actions. Anime Spin-Off  
    2. NinNinDays 2 [21118] qureate A young man is dazing off while working the night shift at a convenience store, when a girl stops in to ask for a meat bun. The one next to her appears to be her boyfriend, and after doing their shopping, the two of them link arms affectionately and take off. Just when the young man is thinking how nice it would be to have a girlfriend, a pair of girls in ninja cosplay show up. The girls just stare at the shop goods without buying anything in particular. Even worse, they're even chatting about ninja techniques or something along those lines. When he calls out to them to prevent theft, it becomes apparent that they have no money. Despite suspecting that they might try to steal something, he gives in and buys a bento for the two desperately pleading girls. The life of that young man is turned upside down from the moment of his encounter with the two young women. A roommate life with two female ninja, one a Chuunibyou, and the other a fanservice machine, is about to begin?! And so begins a new love story with two ninja girls! Sequel is released in English  
    3. Asatsugutori アサツグトリ [211125] Nippon Ichi Software Hibari wakes up in a strange room alongside seven other girls. An announcement from above confused the girls. "Only one person who survives till the end can leave the building." "We recommend that you give it all your best to survive for as long as possible even just for one second, and you may be able to use magic." A few days after the girls' mysterious communal life begins, an incident finally occurred. Hibari regrets not being able to stop the scene of death that happened in front of her. "If only I could go back before she died…" The next day, when Hibari wakes up and goes to the cafeteria, she saw the girl who died the day prior. The ability to travel back in time "With this power, you can start over as many times as you like. No one will ever die again." Console exclusive detective  
    4. Hoshi no Otome to Rikka no Shimai 星の乙女と六華の姉妹 [211126] ensemble Main character Yuki is a popular  streamer. Despite his cute looks he is actually a man. He impersonates as his sister to attend top high school for idols that is forbidden for men. Traps is not my thing  
    5. Sousaku Kanojo no Ren'ai Koushiki 創作彼女の恋愛公式 [211126] Aino+Links 1 Our protagonist, Toshiki Kagami, is headed to Tokyo, where he will begin living with his cousin and her family. Unbeknownst to others, he harbors a desire within himself. He wants to rekindle that creative spark he all but lost now. He had a childhood friend, Aisa Ayase. They were two peas in a pod, always competing against each other, seeing who could create better stories. However, as they grew older, their thoughts and mindset slowly started differing more and more from each other. In the end, Aisa moved with her family to Tokyo. The now separated Aisa and Toshiki would still send letters to each other, talking about their current lives and, of course, sending each other stories for the other to read. However, once the prospect of entering high school drew ever so closer, the letters from Aisa all but disappeared. Nonetheless, Toshiki continued writing stories, making doujin games and eventually, he would debut with his first commercial light novel. And while the cultivation of his creative prowess was growing steadily, he hit a slump half a year ago. And so, he postulated that perhaps spending time with similarly aged creators would help him break free of his slump. Steeling himself, Toshiki enrolled in Saika Private Academy, a school designed for creators to gather in one space. With that, spring rolls around and Toshiki is in Tokyo, ready to start his new school life. And it is there that he reunites with Aisa once more. There are English reviews  
    6. Uchi wa Mou, Enki Dekinai. ウチはもう、延期できない。[211126] Sonora 1 Spring break. Miyamura Miku, a hobby writer of light novels, is approached by her older sister Miyamura Karin, who reveals to her that she's working as a voice actress for erotic games. "The company I am working for right now needs someone to assist with writing the sex scenes!" Karin asks for Miku's assistance. "Wait, I'm still a virgin, you know? I have no clue how to write such a thing!" At the same time the protagonist, Shiiba Masashi, is getting a sudden call from his big sister. "Jeez, we can't! We're delaying. Can't. Impossible. We delay." The one who keeps repeating these phrases like a broken record, is the protagonist's older sister, Shiiba Sayaka - CEO as well as scenario writer of the popular upstart eroge brand "Hades Soft". "If we delay now, then we're done for. The sponsors will be chasing us for the rest of our life in order to reclaim the cash. We have to find a solution or I'll be to the neck in debt! I'll come haunt you if this kills me, okay?!" And so, Masashi ends up being roped into helping them with their eroge development?! This game is centering around eccentric heroines like the key animator Suzumoto Chisa (pen name: Suzuse Akiko) and the reclusive graphic designer Sakakibara Ai. Here comes an ADV about creating eroge that's a little on the weirder side. IF YOU LOVE EROGE, DON'T JOIN AN EROGE COMPANY! There is an English review  
  6. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Gibberish for a blog entry, I Am War: An Exploration of an Archetype   
    “War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner.”
    ~Judge Holden (Blood Meridian)
    “My love is destruction. Its flames ache to devour all that exist: Heaven and Hell, God and Satan; all things in Creation, from the first universe that was, to the last that will ever be.”
    ~Reinhard Heydrich (Dies Irae)
     
    The archetype of a sentient embodiment of war continues to persist, and has morphed considerably from its mythological origins. Having finished Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, considered by some literary critics to be the great American novel. I am left transfixed by a particular figure, a haunting presence that defies death: the Judge, Judge Holden. The Judge is a complex figure, and there are many interpretations as to who he really is. One common interpretation is that he is the embodiment of war itself. This, along with his function in the novel, reminded me quite of bit of Reinhard Heydrich from Dies Irae.
    Reinhard proudly claims to be war itself, and so in this respect he is not subtle. What makes Reinhard standout as a villain, is how evil yet seductively charming he is. He wants destruction for its own sake, or really; for his amusement. To him war is fun, and an eternity spent warring couldn't be a more ideal form of the afterlife in his conception. He would be in complete agreement with the judge on this point:
    “Men are born for games. Nothing else. Every child knows that play is nobler than work. He knows too that the worth or merit of a game is not inherent in the game itself but rather in the value of that which is put at hazard. Games of chance require a wager to have meaning at all. Games of sport involve the skill and strength of the opponents and the humiliation of defeat and the pride of victory are in themselves sufficient stake because they inhere the worth of the principals and define them. But trial of chance or trial of worth all games aspire to the condition of war for here which is wagered swallows up game, player, all.”
    Easily some of the best parts of both Blood Meridian and Dies Irae are the speeches and dialogues given by Judge Holden and Reinhard respectively. At some point Reinhard in the midst of battle famously states, “I love everything, therefore I will destroy everything”. The judge says something essentially to that effect as well. Possessing a near expert level of knowledge on nearly every subject (something true of Reinhard as well), he is once asked by a fellow crew member why he always meticulously jots notes of artifacts they pass by. The Judge responds, “to expunge them from the memory of man”. What he's saying there is that he wants to record everything so that he can keep track of what he destroys, with his ultimate goal of destroying everything from the “memory of man”. This ties into another famous quote of his, “Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent.” In order to have dominion over everything (to become a “suzerain” in his own words), you must first know everything. For you cannot conquer what you don't know.
    There is however a key point of contrast between these two characters who share this same archetype. Judge Holden is visibly terrifying, with the image I included in this post being my favorite depiction of him. Reinhard on the other hand, is gorgeous. Compared to the Judge's bald head and completely hairless body, Reinhard is characterized with a mane of flowing blonde hair. The importance of this contrast in outward appearances is that the two characters signify different aspects of war.
    Reinhard best represents the seduction of war, and the glory as well as rewards it promises. In the prologue alone, he convinces countless Nazi soldiers faced with imminent defeat and slaughter against the Russian troops storming Berlin, to instead give up their own lives and souls to him. Encouraging them to participate in a group suicide that would put the largest of death-cults to shame. They went along with his command, because he promised the glory that Hitler failed to deliver on. It is also noted when that happened, “This could not have been the first time.”
    If Reinhard is the seducer of war, then the judge is its rapist. Indeed, there are several instances in the novel where it is heavily suggested that the judge was responsible for a brutal rape, but it is never concretely confirmed. But his fetish for violence is no secret. While the judge is capable of persuasive charm, his preference for violence is clear. Even when he does display his persuasive abilities, the threat of violence that his domineering stature imposes must surely add a feeling of extortion to any request he makes. To list the unfathomably gruesome cruelty of the judge would still not accurately communicate how truly horrifying he is. I think the best example is when he was left in charge of the gang and a group of hostages when the gang leader, Glanton, had to leave for other business. When Glanton finally returns, one of the hostages comes desperately running to him only able to say, “That man, that man.” What Judge Holden personifies, is the horror of war itself.
    I suppose the last point of comparison I would like to touch on, is how both Reinhard and judge Holden are based on real people. Reinhard Heydrich was a high ranking Nazi official. They tie this in an interesting way in Dies Irae, but obviously the overall depiction of Reinhard in Dies Irae is mostly fictional. Judge Holden on the other hand is much more mysterious.
    Both the real and fictional Judge Holden was the second in command of the Glanton Gang; mercenaries who in 1849 temporarily worked for the Mexican government to genocide Apache Indians. However, the Glanton gang (lead by John Glanton) also slaughtered peaceful tribes in order to collect more Indian scalps which they could exchange for a higher bounty. At the end of 1849 the state of Chihuahua outlawed the gang, and put bounties on their heads. Samuel Chamberlain, who at one time worked for the Glanton gang wrote about his experiences with them in his memoir: My Confession: The Recollections of a Rogue. Mentioned several times in the memoir, it's the only document that attests to the existence of Judge Holden. In it he is described as, “a man of gigantic size called "Judge" Holden of Texas. Who or what he was no one knew but a cooler blooded villain never went unhung; he stood six feet six in his moccasins, had a large fleshy frame, a dull tallow colored face destitute of hair and all expression. His desires was blood and women.” In the memoir he also notes, “Holden was by far the best educated man in northern Mexico; he conversed with all in their own language, spoke in several Indian lingos, at a fandango would take the Harp or Guitar from the hands of the musicians and charm all with his wonderful performance.”
    It is the fact that the only testimony of the Judge's existence is in several pages of an obscure, forgotten memoir that makes him more terrifying for me. Given how similar the description of the real Judge Holden, and the fictional one is, it makes it that much more difficult to draw the line between fiction and reality.
    What can be said though is that “war endures”. As long as there are masses of people desperate for glory, then Reinhard will be there to seduce them. And as long as there are blood soaked battlefields, the towing silhouette of the judge will be there to lead men to their doom.
  7. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Bolverk for a blog entry, I Am War: An Exploration of an Archetype   
    “War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner.”
    ~Judge Holden (Blood Meridian)
    “My love is destruction. Its flames ache to devour all that exist: Heaven and Hell, God and Satan; all things in Creation, from the first universe that was, to the last that will ever be.”
    ~Reinhard Heydrich (Dies Irae)
     
    The archetype of a sentient embodiment of war continues to persist, and has morphed considerably from its mythological origins. Having finished Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, considered by some literary critics to be the great American novel. I am left transfixed by a particular figure, a haunting presence that defies death: the Judge, Judge Holden. The Judge is a complex figure, and there are many interpretations as to who he really is. One common interpretation is that he is the embodiment of war itself. This, along with his function in the novel, reminded me quite of bit of Reinhard Heydrich from Dies Irae.
    Reinhard proudly claims to be war itself, and so in this respect he is not subtle. What makes Reinhard standout as a villain, is how evil yet seductively charming he is. He wants destruction for its own sake, or really; for his amusement. To him war is fun, and an eternity spent warring couldn't be a more ideal form of the afterlife in his conception. He would be in complete agreement with the judge on this point:
    “Men are born for games. Nothing else. Every child knows that play is nobler than work. He knows too that the worth or merit of a game is not inherent in the game itself but rather in the value of that which is put at hazard. Games of chance require a wager to have meaning at all. Games of sport involve the skill and strength of the opponents and the humiliation of defeat and the pride of victory are in themselves sufficient stake because they inhere the worth of the principals and define them. But trial of chance or trial of worth all games aspire to the condition of war for here which is wagered swallows up game, player, all.”
    Easily some of the best parts of both Blood Meridian and Dies Irae are the speeches and dialogues given by Judge Holden and Reinhard respectively. At some point Reinhard in the midst of battle famously states, “I love everything, therefore I will destroy everything”. The judge says something essentially to that effect as well. Possessing a near expert level of knowledge on nearly every subject (something true of Reinhard as well), he is once asked by a fellow crew member why he always meticulously jots notes of artifacts they pass by. The Judge responds, “to expunge them from the memory of man”. What he's saying there is that he wants to record everything so that he can keep track of what he destroys, with his ultimate goal of destroying everything from the “memory of man”. This ties into another famous quote of his, “Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent.” In order to have dominion over everything (to become a “suzerain” in his own words), you must first know everything. For you cannot conquer what you don't know.
    There is however a key point of contrast between these two characters who share this same archetype. Judge Holden is visibly terrifying, with the image I included in this post being my favorite depiction of him. Reinhard on the other hand, is gorgeous. Compared to the Judge's bald head and completely hairless body, Reinhard is characterized with a mane of flowing blonde hair. The importance of this contrast in outward appearances is that the two characters signify different aspects of war.
    Reinhard best represents the seduction of war, and the glory as well as rewards it promises. In the prologue alone, he convinces countless Nazi soldiers faced with imminent defeat and slaughter against the Russian troops storming Berlin, to instead give up their own lives and souls to him. Encouraging them to participate in a group suicide that would put the largest of death-cults to shame. They went along with his command, because he promised the glory that Hitler failed to deliver on. It is also noted when that happened, “This could not have been the first time.”
    If Reinhard is the seducer of war, then the judge is its rapist. Indeed, there are several instances in the novel where it is heavily suggested that the judge was responsible for a brutal rape, but it is never concretely confirmed. But his fetish for violence is no secret. While the judge is capable of persuasive charm, his preference for violence is clear. Even when he does display his persuasive abilities, the threat of violence that his domineering stature imposes must surely add a feeling of extortion to any request he makes. To list the unfathomably gruesome cruelty of the judge would still not accurately communicate how truly horrifying he is. I think the best example is when he was left in charge of the gang and a group of hostages when the gang leader, Glanton, had to leave for other business. When Glanton finally returns, one of the hostages comes desperately running to him only able to say, “That man, that man.” What Judge Holden personifies, is the horror of war itself.
    I suppose the last point of comparison I would like to touch on, is how both Reinhard and judge Holden are based on real people. Reinhard Heydrich was a high ranking Nazi official. They tie this in an interesting way in Dies Irae, but obviously the overall depiction of Reinhard in Dies Irae is mostly fictional. Judge Holden on the other hand is much more mysterious.
    Both the real and fictional Judge Holden was the second in command of the Glanton Gang; mercenaries who in 1849 temporarily worked for the Mexican government to genocide Apache Indians. However, the Glanton gang (lead by John Glanton) also slaughtered peaceful tribes in order to collect more Indian scalps which they could exchange for a higher bounty. At the end of 1849 the state of Chihuahua outlawed the gang, and put bounties on their heads. Samuel Chamberlain, who at one time worked for the Glanton gang wrote about his experiences with them in his memoir: My Confession: The Recollections of a Rogue. Mentioned several times in the memoir, it's the only document that attests to the existence of Judge Holden. In it he is described as, “a man of gigantic size called "Judge" Holden of Texas. Who or what he was no one knew but a cooler blooded villain never went unhung; he stood six feet six in his moccasins, had a large fleshy frame, a dull tallow colored face destitute of hair and all expression. His desires was blood and women.” In the memoir he also notes, “Holden was by far the best educated man in northern Mexico; he conversed with all in their own language, spoke in several Indian lingos, at a fandango would take the Harp or Guitar from the hands of the musicians and charm all with his wonderful performance.”
    It is the fact that the only testimony of the Judge's existence is in several pages of an obscure, forgotten memoir that makes him more terrifying for me. Given how similar the description of the real Judge Holden, and the fictional one is, it makes it that much more difficult to draw the line between fiction and reality.
    What can be said though is that “war endures”. As long as there are masses of people desperate for glory, then Reinhard will be there to seduce them. And as long as there are blood soaked battlefields, the towing silhouette of the judge will be there to lead men to their doom.
  8. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Rose for a blog entry, I Am War: An Exploration of an Archetype   
    “War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner.”
    ~Judge Holden (Blood Meridian)
    “My love is destruction. Its flames ache to devour all that exist: Heaven and Hell, God and Satan; all things in Creation, from the first universe that was, to the last that will ever be.”
    ~Reinhard Heydrich (Dies Irae)
     
    The archetype of a sentient embodiment of war continues to persist, and has morphed considerably from its mythological origins. Having finished Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, considered by some literary critics to be the great American novel. I am left transfixed by a particular figure, a haunting presence that defies death: the Judge, Judge Holden. The Judge is a complex figure, and there are many interpretations as to who he really is. One common interpretation is that he is the embodiment of war itself. This, along with his function in the novel, reminded me quite of bit of Reinhard Heydrich from Dies Irae.
    Reinhard proudly claims to be war itself, and so in this respect he is not subtle. What makes Reinhard standout as a villain, is how evil yet seductively charming he is. He wants destruction for its own sake, or really; for his amusement. To him war is fun, and an eternity spent warring couldn't be a more ideal form of the afterlife in his conception. He would be in complete agreement with the judge on this point:
    “Men are born for games. Nothing else. Every child knows that play is nobler than work. He knows too that the worth or merit of a game is not inherent in the game itself but rather in the value of that which is put at hazard. Games of chance require a wager to have meaning at all. Games of sport involve the skill and strength of the opponents and the humiliation of defeat and the pride of victory are in themselves sufficient stake because they inhere the worth of the principals and define them. But trial of chance or trial of worth all games aspire to the condition of war for here which is wagered swallows up game, player, all.”
    Easily some of the best parts of both Blood Meridian and Dies Irae are the speeches and dialogues given by Judge Holden and Reinhard respectively. At some point Reinhard in the midst of battle famously states, “I love everything, therefore I will destroy everything”. The judge says something essentially to that effect as well. Possessing a near expert level of knowledge on nearly every subject (something true of Reinhard as well), he is once asked by a fellow crew member why he always meticulously jots notes of artifacts they pass by. The Judge responds, “to expunge them from the memory of man”. What he's saying there is that he wants to record everything so that he can keep track of what he destroys, with his ultimate goal of destroying everything from the “memory of man”. This ties into another famous quote of his, “Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent.” In order to have dominion over everything (to become a “suzerain” in his own words), you must first know everything. For you cannot conquer what you don't know.
    There is however a key point of contrast between these two characters who share this same archetype. Judge Holden is visibly terrifying, with the image I included in this post being my favorite depiction of him. Reinhard on the other hand, is gorgeous. Compared to the Judge's bald head and completely hairless body, Reinhard is characterized with a mane of flowing blonde hair. The importance of this contrast in outward appearances is that the two characters signify different aspects of war.
    Reinhard best represents the seduction of war, and the glory as well as rewards it promises. In the prologue alone, he convinces countless Nazi soldiers faced with imminent defeat and slaughter against the Russian troops storming Berlin, to instead give up their own lives and souls to him. Encouraging them to participate in a group suicide that would put the largest of death-cults to shame. They went along with his command, because he promised the glory that Hitler failed to deliver on. It is also noted when that happened, “This could not have been the first time.”
    If Reinhard is the seducer of war, then the judge is its rapist. Indeed, there are several instances in the novel where it is heavily suggested that the judge was responsible for a brutal rape, but it is never concretely confirmed. But his fetish for violence is no secret. While the judge is capable of persuasive charm, his preference for violence is clear. Even when he does display his persuasive abilities, the threat of violence that his domineering stature imposes must surely add a feeling of extortion to any request he makes. To list the unfathomably gruesome cruelty of the judge would still not accurately communicate how truly horrifying he is. I think the best example is when he was left in charge of the gang and a group of hostages when the gang leader, Glanton, had to leave for other business. When Glanton finally returns, one of the hostages comes desperately running to him only able to say, “That man, that man.” What Judge Holden personifies, is the horror of war itself.
    I suppose the last point of comparison I would like to touch on, is how both Reinhard and judge Holden are based on real people. Reinhard Heydrich was a high ranking Nazi official. They tie this in an interesting way in Dies Irae, but obviously the overall depiction of Reinhard in Dies Irae is mostly fictional. Judge Holden on the other hand is much more mysterious.
    Both the real and fictional Judge Holden was the second in command of the Glanton Gang; mercenaries who in 1849 temporarily worked for the Mexican government to genocide Apache Indians. However, the Glanton gang (lead by John Glanton) also slaughtered peaceful tribes in order to collect more Indian scalps which they could exchange for a higher bounty. At the end of 1849 the state of Chihuahua outlawed the gang, and put bounties on their heads. Samuel Chamberlain, who at one time worked for the Glanton gang wrote about his experiences with them in his memoir: My Confession: The Recollections of a Rogue. Mentioned several times in the memoir, it's the only document that attests to the existence of Judge Holden. In it he is described as, “a man of gigantic size called "Judge" Holden of Texas. Who or what he was no one knew but a cooler blooded villain never went unhung; he stood six feet six in his moccasins, had a large fleshy frame, a dull tallow colored face destitute of hair and all expression. His desires was blood and women.” In the memoir he also notes, “Holden was by far the best educated man in northern Mexico; he conversed with all in their own language, spoke in several Indian lingos, at a fandango would take the Harp or Guitar from the hands of the musicians and charm all with his wonderful performance.”
    It is the fact that the only testimony of the Judge's existence is in several pages of an obscure, forgotten memoir that makes him more terrifying for me. Given how similar the description of the real Judge Holden, and the fictional one is, it makes it that much more difficult to draw the line between fiction and reality.
    What can be said though is that “war endures”. As long as there are masses of people desperate for glory, then Reinhard will be there to seduce them. And as long as there are blood soaked battlefields, the towing silhouette of the judge will be there to lead men to their doom.
  9. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from onorub for a blog entry, I Am War: An Exploration of an Archetype   
    “War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner.”
    ~Judge Holden (Blood Meridian)
    “My love is destruction. Its flames ache to devour all that exist: Heaven and Hell, God and Satan; all things in Creation, from the first universe that was, to the last that will ever be.”
    ~Reinhard Heydrich (Dies Irae)
     
    The archetype of a sentient embodiment of war continues to persist, and has morphed considerably from its mythological origins. Having finished Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, considered by some literary critics to be the great American novel. I am left transfixed by a particular figure, a haunting presence that defies death: the Judge, Judge Holden. The Judge is a complex figure, and there are many interpretations as to who he really is. One common interpretation is that he is the embodiment of war itself. This, along with his function in the novel, reminded me quite of bit of Reinhard Heydrich from Dies Irae.
    Reinhard proudly claims to be war itself, and so in this respect he is not subtle. What makes Reinhard standout as a villain, is how evil yet seductively charming he is. He wants destruction for its own sake, or really; for his amusement. To him war is fun, and an eternity spent warring couldn't be a more ideal form of the afterlife in his conception. He would be in complete agreement with the judge on this point:
    “Men are born for games. Nothing else. Every child knows that play is nobler than work. He knows too that the worth or merit of a game is not inherent in the game itself but rather in the value of that which is put at hazard. Games of chance require a wager to have meaning at all. Games of sport involve the skill and strength of the opponents and the humiliation of defeat and the pride of victory are in themselves sufficient stake because they inhere the worth of the principals and define them. But trial of chance or trial of worth all games aspire to the condition of war for here which is wagered swallows up game, player, all.”
    Easily some of the best parts of both Blood Meridian and Dies Irae are the speeches and dialogues given by Judge Holden and Reinhard respectively. At some point Reinhard in the midst of battle famously states, “I love everything, therefore I will destroy everything”. The judge says something essentially to that effect as well. Possessing a near expert level of knowledge on nearly every subject (something true of Reinhard as well), he is once asked by a fellow crew member why he always meticulously jots notes of artifacts they pass by. The Judge responds, “to expunge them from the memory of man”. What he's saying there is that he wants to record everything so that he can keep track of what he destroys, with his ultimate goal of destroying everything from the “memory of man”. This ties into another famous quote of his, “Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent.” In order to have dominion over everything (to become a “suzerain” in his own words), you must first know everything. For you cannot conquer what you don't know.
    There is however a key point of contrast between these two characters who share this same archetype. Judge Holden is visibly terrifying, with the image I included in this post being my favorite depiction of him. Reinhard on the other hand, is gorgeous. Compared to the Judge's bald head and completely hairless body, Reinhard is characterized with a mane of flowing blonde hair. The importance of this contrast in outward appearances is that the two characters signify different aspects of war.
    Reinhard best represents the seduction of war, and the glory as well as rewards it promises. In the prologue alone, he convinces countless Nazi soldiers faced with imminent defeat and slaughter against the Russian troops storming Berlin, to instead give up their own lives and souls to him. Encouraging them to participate in a group suicide that would put the largest of death-cults to shame. They went along with his command, because he promised the glory that Hitler failed to deliver on. It is also noted when that happened, “This could not have been the first time.”
    If Reinhard is the seducer of war, then the judge is its rapist. Indeed, there are several instances in the novel where it is heavily suggested that the judge was responsible for a brutal rape, but it is never concretely confirmed. But his fetish for violence is no secret. While the judge is capable of persuasive charm, his preference for violence is clear. Even when he does display his persuasive abilities, the threat of violence that his domineering stature imposes must surely add a feeling of extortion to any request he makes. To list the unfathomably gruesome cruelty of the judge would still not accurately communicate how truly horrifying he is. I think the best example is when he was left in charge of the gang and a group of hostages when the gang leader, Glanton, had to leave for other business. When Glanton finally returns, one of the hostages comes desperately running to him only able to say, “That man, that man.” What Judge Holden personifies, is the horror of war itself.
    I suppose the last point of comparison I would like to touch on, is how both Reinhard and judge Holden are based on real people. Reinhard Heydrich was a high ranking Nazi official. They tie this in an interesting way in Dies Irae, but obviously the overall depiction of Reinhard in Dies Irae is mostly fictional. Judge Holden on the other hand is much more mysterious.
    Both the real and fictional Judge Holden was the second in command of the Glanton Gang; mercenaries who in 1849 temporarily worked for the Mexican government to genocide Apache Indians. However, the Glanton gang (lead by John Glanton) also slaughtered peaceful tribes in order to collect more Indian scalps which they could exchange for a higher bounty. At the end of 1849 the state of Chihuahua outlawed the gang, and put bounties on their heads. Samuel Chamberlain, who at one time worked for the Glanton gang wrote about his experiences with them in his memoir: My Confession: The Recollections of a Rogue. Mentioned several times in the memoir, it's the only document that attests to the existence of Judge Holden. In it he is described as, “a man of gigantic size called "Judge" Holden of Texas. Who or what he was no one knew but a cooler blooded villain never went unhung; he stood six feet six in his moccasins, had a large fleshy frame, a dull tallow colored face destitute of hair and all expression. His desires was blood and women.” In the memoir he also notes, “Holden was by far the best educated man in northern Mexico; he conversed with all in their own language, spoke in several Indian lingos, at a fandango would take the Harp or Guitar from the hands of the musicians and charm all with his wonderful performance.”
    It is the fact that the only testimony of the Judge's existence is in several pages of an obscure, forgotten memoir that makes him more terrifying for me. Given how similar the description of the real Judge Holden, and the fictional one is, it makes it that much more difficult to draw the line between fiction and reality.
    What can be said though is that “war endures”. As long as there are masses of people desperate for glory, then Reinhard will be there to seduce them. And as long as there are blood soaked battlefields, the towing silhouette of the judge will be there to lead men to their doom.
  10. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from di.gi.wav for a blog entry, Serial Experiments Lain Is Our Current Reality   
    Instead of a blogpost I did this one as an amateur documentary. I'm 100% serious about my claim. It might sound crazy, but if you watch the video I'm sure you'll at least see that my claim has a logical foundation to it. You don't need to have watched Lain to follow the video either. So if the topic interests you by all means check it out. 
     
  11. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Chronopolis for a blog entry, Serial Experiments Lain Is Our Current Reality   
    Instead of a blogpost I did this one as an amateur documentary. I'm 100% serious about my claim. It might sound crazy, but if you watch the video I'm sure you'll at least see that my claim has a logical foundation to it. You don't need to have watched Lain to follow the video either. So if the topic interests you by all means check it out. 
     
  12. Like
    Zalor reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Top Ten VN/Anime/video game villains/antagonists   
    In action stories, often the story's quality is determined by the quality of the antagonist as much as the quality of the main characters.  The antagonist acts and the main characters react, creating the drama that pulls at our heart strings and excites us.  The more complex the story, the more likely the need for a strong antagonist will exist, at least in modern fiction.  I decided to put down my top ten and my reasons for making them my top ten here.  These are my top ten, but there isn't a particular order to them, save for the top five being the absolute best.
    1- Shannon Wordsworth-
    2- Mercurius-
    3- Kefka- Final Fantasy VI's main antagonist.  He is frequently listed as one of the craziest bad guys in all of gaming history, with good reason.  He is the nihilistic result of experiments with granting humans magic, and as a result he gets the bright idea to destroy the world... and actually succeeds.  His psychotic laughter (in 16 bit sound) is familiar to anyone who played the game, and his psycho clown character traumatized an entire generation of gamers into thinking clowns are inherently evil.
    4- Christopher Valzeride- The heroic antagonist of Silverio Vendetta. 
    5- Reinhardt Lohengrin- Legend of the Galactic Heroes- While he can also be considered the protagonist of the massive space opera, he is also an ongoing antagonist.  Reinhardt is an ambitious young man whose meteoric rise in the militaristic and expansionistic Galactic Empire are driven by his twin desires to wrench his sister away from her position as the incompetent emperor's mistress and conquer the galaxy.  A fierce man with a warrior's demeanor that usually only serves to fuel his strategic and tactical victories, he honors both enemies and allies who show ability and contempt for those who rise above their level of competency.  As a ruler, he is ruthlessly fair with those of ability who are capable of loyalty and brutally ruthless with those who are incapable of it.  As an enemy, he is one of the most frightening (non-magical) men in any anime, game, or VN I've ever seen.
    6-
    7- Mikado Ruri-
    9-
    10-
     
  13. Like
    Zalor reacted to alpacaman for a blog entry, Blog: Why is everyone reading Umineko the "wrong" way? [spoilers]   
    If I had to summarize the experience I had when reading the first half of Umineko for the first time, it would go something like this: At least for the first three episodes I mainly tried to identify the culprit with a typical mystery reader mindset. Even when it became obvious the game told its story from a fantasy standpoint, my focus was on discerning which parts could be taken at face value and which were made up by Beatrice. Even as I was able to see how this approach was getting deconstructed, I was still waiting for Battler to come up with the one logic argument able to solve it all. Even as Beatrice kept repeating "without love it cannot be seen" (or WLICBS, as I am going to call it for the rest of this post)) I took this mainly as an incentive to look at all the romantic and fantastical scenes from the "detective" angle and tried to spot if anyone had unintentionally slipped up. I dismissed the scenes where "real" characters chatted with fantastical ones as merely character building because to me they weren't actually happening. If the discussions of Umineko on this forum and especially in the "What are playing" thread are anything to go by, most readers have a somewhat similar experience. Even the ones whose theories get quite close to the truth usually base them on secondary clues like character designs.
    Recently I started rereading Umineko, and well, now I know what the "it" in WLICBS is about. The scene where Maria is searching for the wilting rose isn't primarily setup for the first mini-mystery, namely who gave her the umbrella, it's a tale about a small girl who, being overwhelmed by the loss something precious to her and getting abused by the one who should console her, gets saved by love. The first hour or so of episode 2 isn't just Shannon and Kanon bonding with their love interests and a witch, it is important context for establishing the culprit's motive. Which is way more helpful when trying to figure out who is behind the Rokkenjima killings than guessing how the culprit could have killed someone inside a room locked with a key chain. Thinking about why Shannon and Kanon don't see themselves as full humans deserving of love brings you closer to the truth than pondering on some howdunnit.
    So why do most readers seem to not pick up on this the first time, even when it is right in front of them? Why is everyone reading Umineko the wrong way at first?
    Yeah I know, it is a polemic question. There is no objective right or wrong way to read something. However, more or less every piece of media contains some form of message or subtext, either explicitely stated or at least implied by its author, often intentionally although it doesn't have to be, and which can be read into.* Depending on your own view of the handled topics and which motive you assume the author to have, your interpretation can change (as well as your overall enjoyment of the work). To name one example and shamelessly plug one my other blog posts**, in my analysis about Steins;Gate I argue the common interpretation of its message that fate can't be changed doesn't really get at the core of S;G but that rather it's a story about growing up and learning to make your own fortune. I came to this conclusion based on the true ending contradicting the former reading. If you assume it wasn't included for some deeper reason, but rather the writers feeling like
    that is also valid, keeping the "inescapable fate" interpretation as the most reasonable one (although a message definitely becomes weaker when it gets contradicted by the story itself).*** Of course that doesn't mean all interpretations of pieces of media are created equal. They should be somewhat rooted in the plot, characters, themes and so on.**** If your main takeaway from Steins;Gate is that microwave radiation is evil, you are either a troll or should seriously work on your reading comprehension skills.*****
    So is there even one "correct" reading of Umineko? Not really, though luckily the game more or less directly states that it wants you to read "with love" for lack of a better term, and not just Umineko but in general. The concept is pretty complex and it takes Ryukishi07 the whole 60+ hours of Chiru to explain it. The basic idea is to base your mindset while reading on the motivations of the characters and the author. Umineko is not even secretive about this or makes it some unexpected twist. Beatrice says WLICBS for the first time at the beginning of episode 2, and over the course of the VN this sentence gets repeated many, many times. So why does it often take readers so long to adapt this mindset, besides it seeming somewhat abstract at first?
    I would say it is because Umineko intentionally tricks you into reading it as a mystery story at first. It deliberately frames itself as a murder mystery. This begins with its setting where a rich family fights over an inheritance while at a remote mansion with a mysterious backstory and then people start dying under strange circumstances. Of course you would want to know what is going on there and the seemingly easiest and most logical way to do so is to look for inconsistencies in the alibis and shown series of events. If Umineko wanted to be read as a story about love from the beginning it would have built up the interpersonal drama first and then culminated in the serial killings. Also each episode has a new set of murder mysteries, constantly giving your inner detective more fodder. After the first game board the battle of wits between Battler and Beatrice gets presented as the central conflict. The latter is a witch claiming to be the culprit and killing people in the most ridiculous and unrealistic fashion possible, so of course you would take the viewpoint of her opponent who tries to explain the killings as "real" murder mysteries and try to solve everything his way******. Umineko's structure caused me (and presumably others too) to not really think about what all the scenes of characters talking about the nature of love and miracles and such are trying to convey, but rather search them for clues for the whodunnits and howdunnits, which made me miss the core of the story.
    Which is the point of telling it this way: "Mystery literature" thought patterns don't just not help you to solve Umineko. In fact they get you further away from being able to see the truth, even though it is right in front of you the whole time. Umineko basically forces you into adopting the "mystery" mindset to make its deconstruction hit you harder. By gently, but decisively shoving you into taking a certain perspective you start to have a personal stake in the story, which makes the takedown of said viewpoint so much more effective.******* Only by utterly defeating your own seemingly logical default approach it becomes apparent why the alternative Umineko proposes is superior.********
    There is one huge downside to this approach though: Most readers wont get even half of what is going on in Umineko on the first reading. Which is a big deal when your VN is so long most people won't bother going through it a second time. Those that do though get rewarded with an experience that is even better than the first readthrough. Or as Kinzo would put it: The bigger the sacrifice, the greater the magic that results.*********
     
     
     
    * This topic does a great job exposing (probably, hopefully) unintentional subtext in a certain subgenre of VNs. Not to say this only happens in trashy media, whenever something is considered to "not have aged well" it usually has to do with some its implicit assumptions about how the world works not being considered acceptable anymore in today's society.
    ** Originally I thought about naming my blog "Paca Plugs" which would have been an amazing pun, if I dare say so myself. I decided against it because I didn't actually plan on doing any plugging. I don't orgle on here either though so maybe I should have gone with my original idea…
    *** I have to admit that after having read Steins;Gate 0 and Chaos;Child, both of which seem very confused about what they want to communicate, I've become much more inclined to accept this admittedly more cynical interpretation, and have started to see Steins;Gate as more of a case of a broken clock showing the right time twice a day within the SciAdv series. I hope Robotics;Notes manages to prove me wrong…
    **** I mention this mainly for the sake of completeness, to preemptively invalidate the "if any interpretation is possible, no interpretation can be true, thus interpretation is pointless" argument, not because it ties into where this post is going.
    ***** Here, have another footnote where I apologize for the length of the sentences in this paragraph and for adding so many footnotes. There's just too many possible ways to get sidetracked with this topic. I thought about adding another one later on where I would rant about Kimi to Kanojo to Kanojo no Koi and why I thought the way it forces the reader into becoming complicit doesn't work, especially when compared to how clever Umineko achieves this, but then decided not to.
    ****** One of the greatest ironies in Umineko is that the "real" murder mysteries in the games are just as made up by Beatrice as her fantasy explanations. And just like she keeps adding characters to a closed circle, I keep adding footnotes to a post that would work just as well without them. Without my boredom during proofreading "it" cannot be seen.
    ******* So about why Totono doesn't work in comparison: Where Umineko lets you make the choice how you want to read it in your head, Totono literally forces you to take the approach to its choice system it is trying to deconstruct if you want to progress beyond its first few hours. Because of this it is easy for you to divorce yourself from your in-game decisions. So when the game scolds you for picking them, you can rightfully shrug it off because your only alternative would have been dropping the VN. I can't imagine Nitroplus praising you for asking for a refund in that case though.
    ******** The more I think about Umineko's concept of love, the more I find myself actually disagreeing with it. No, I won't go into more detail here because it would take me another blog post of this length to properly explain why. Weirdly enough despite this my enjoyment of the VN hasn't suffered at all.
    ********* Oh my, this post has gotten really really long. Thanks a lot to everyone who actually bothered to read through all of it! Yes, all three of you!
  14. Like
    Zalor reacted to Plk_Lesiak for a blog entry, Thank you all for coming along for this ride! (Indefinite Hiatus)   
    Hey there all!
     
    I will start with saying  that I really treasure my time spent writing this blog and interacting with various people involved in the EVN community. You guys were awesome company in this journey and despite the obscurity of this project, I feel like it benefited me personally in many ways and maybe even helped people appreciate the value within the non-JP visual novel scene. I'm really thankful to all the people that read my blog, the devs that offered me their time and gave me their games for review – they all made these 2+ years into something special.
    When I started this project, there were two main things that motivated me. The first one was the frustration over dismissal of EVNs which is still common sense in the large parts of the VN fan community – belittling of the very games that made me fall in love with the visual novel formula. I wanted to create a space that is fully dedicated to discussion and promotion of EVNs as worthwhile and significant part of the genre. The second part was even more personal – my personal struggles with video game addiction and other issues, my ambition to shift my focus into a more challenging and creative activity. In many ways, I consider both my goals relative successes. While slowly, the perception of EVNs is changing and the scene evolving in interesting ways – while it shares pretty much all the suffering of other indie niches, with PC gaming in general being oversaturated and hard to navigate, I feel that it at least established itself as a significant formula that is attractive for story-oriented devs and appreciated by a significant audience. In other words, EVNs are here to stay and in time fewer and fewer people will be able to easily dismiss them as poor imitations of Japanese games. Whether my work had any impact in this regard? Apart from a bunch of people on Fuwanovel that I know I influenced in personal interactions, I honestly have no idea. I want to think there was some minor impact, but I had enough fun in the process and learned enough that I don't mind either way. I did my best and changed a few things about myself, which was the most important part for me.
    Of course, I'm in no way saying that I'm putting the blog on hiatus because my job here is done. The real reason is much more prosaic – I just can't keep up with it. The last month was particularly devastating in this regard, with very little time for me to either read or write. And while an obvious answer would be to just work at my own pace and publish stuff whenever I'm able to, it's not really something that would work out for me. Missing deadlines, thinking about future projects, it all became a source of stress rather than a source of fun, and I feel it would only get worse with time. While I really wanted to keep the project alive, I don't want to do so at any cost. I feel burned out. I barely read VNs for fun. I don't watch anime for a few months now. I need a change of pace and ability to rediscover my love for these hobbies. The blog, sadly, became a prime obstacle in this.
    So, what's going to happen now? The blog will cease to get updates, unless something special happens. I might still do game jam summaries, as those are something I massively enjoy. I might also publish something on Fuwanovel from time to time – I'm theoretically still an editor there. The one part of the project that's definitely here to stay is the Steam Curator account. The devs that sent me their games deserve to at least get a Steam review and, generally, an evaluation of their work. I will also use my Twitter to publish updates about new games listed on the Curator account. The Steam reviews themselves will likely be a bit more polished – not that much though, I don't want to jump straight into the same burnout-inducing rabbit whole.
     
    So, once more, thank you for sticking around and I hope my project gave you some amusement. And, of course, see you around – I'm not giving up on EVNs and the community around them any time soon.
  15. Like
    Zalor reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Reflecting on my Otaku Origins   
    I took my first steps onto the road of the otaku in 1992, when I watched the poorly dubbed (all dubs were godawful back then) Record of Lodoss War Volume 1 OVA VCR tape.  Now, I was already a heavy fantasy addict, having been introduced to the Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance in 1990, and my obsession was at its peak at the time.  When I watched Record of Lodoss War, I saw the typical 'elven maiden with human hero' romance in a new way (incidentally, this is a pretty typical romantic theme in those days, less so nowadays).  I also saw oddities that stood out as odd to me precisely because of the oddly black and white point of view enforced on one by the various D&D universes.  
    Of course, I was a chuunibyou brat by that time, already, so it should surprise no one that I got obsessed.  It got ten times worse, however, when I encountered Chrono Trigger as it was played on my cousin's SNES.  Chrono Trigger is still, to this day, one of the single best rpgs ever made.  Looking back, considering all that has been done since then, it is almost TERRIFYING that someone was able to do what was done with Chrono Trigger with the limitations placed by using the SNES system.  The story, the world, and the various layers of time were put together into such a subtly complex experience that, to this day, I've yet to see any other rpg manage it.  Chrono Cross would manage to imitate some elements of this with its parallel world jumping, but Chrono Trigger's jumping around in time gave you impetus to explore how every aspect of the world could change based on how and when you did certain things.  Rumors constantly abounded that there were secret endings (such as the infamous 'vampire Chrono' or 'Save Schala' fake rumors, which some believe led to the way the Chrono Cross storyline was handled), and people - such as me - would play the game repeatedly, using all the meager saves allowed by the cartridge limitations of the time, in hopes that they might trigger those endings or find a way to discover something new.  
    In all honesty, Chrono Trigger being the game that got me into jrpgs probably ruined me for life.  It set my standards to a ridiculously high level on a subconscious plane, resulting in me comparing every single jrpg experience since then to it.  Aesthetically, musically, and structurally, it was a true jrpg kamige.  It was also the game that turned jrpgs into my second otaku obsession.
    During the SNES-PS2 eras, I literally bought and played EVERY jrpg that came out.  I still own them, in fact.  I played most of the PS1 and SNES era games multiple times.
    However, it was also in the PS2 era (often called the 'dawn of the mainstream jrpg') that jrpg quality began to fall off drastically.  The kind of genius and artistic flair using minimal resources you saw in previous eras was lost entirely within a few years of the release of FFX (FFX being a good game that also turned VO from a curiosity to a mainstream 'thing').  Musical direction, a role differing from composition, where someone was assigned to decide the timing of using a musical score and which ones fit which dungeons, which story scenes, disappeared in the middle of the PS2 era, as VO was used to fill the gaps of emotionality.  However, this also meant that the subtlety of previous eras was lost with a swiftness that left me bewildered at the time.  
    By the time the PS3 era came around, jrpgs were slowing down, due to what I now call 'flashy kusoge fatigue'.  Oh, a few sub-genres, such as the Atelier series' alchemy obsessed SOL titles and the more action-based titles continued to be prolific, but what were called 'console-style rpgs' started to vanish.  MMO elements were introduced into normal jrpgs, making progression and gameplay less interesting as a result (mostly because it seemed to have been done primarily to draw the WoW crowds into solo rpgs).  Storytelling was dying a surprisingly swift death, as tedious gameplay elements (for loot and level-obsessed completionists) began to devour higher and higher proportions of each game's overall playtime.  
    There is a very good reason why people go back and play so-called 'retro' jrpgs so much.  There simply aren't that many more recent jrpgs that have that kind of flair and subtle genius.  I know for a fact that one of the best ways to get people addicted to jrpgs is still just to let them play Chrono Trigger.  
    Ironically, it was VNs that saved my soul.  This was back in 2008, four years before I joined Fuwa.  I was introduced to Tsukihime by a fellow anime fansubber, and, for the first time in over three years, I had something interesting enough (story-wise) that I was given a perspective on the nature of my growing irritation and fatigue with jrpgs in general.  At the time, the JVN industry was still as vital and full of genius as the jrpg industry was in the PS1 era.  Tsukihime and a few other major classics put out near the turn of the century had created the potential for a market of story-focused VNs that had allowed more and more creative people to get into the medium.  Masada was releasing his latest version of Dies Irae, and there were literally hundreds of potentially interesting VNs for me to try.
    Needless to say, I lost my mind almost as badly as when I first played Chrono Trigger.  I must have blown four grand of my meager savings on VNs within the first year, and I didn't regret a penny of it.  Yes, roughly two-thirds of what I bought was pure crap.  However, the gems I discovered gave me a taste of the potential of the medium in a way that was horribly addictive.  Moreover, after a few years of being starved of any decent new stories, even the worst VNs had something that I could find I liked about them.  
    In retrospect, I have an addictive personality.  I get addicted to things easily, especially when they scratch my story bug.  People have said to me, when it came to my jrpg obsession 'if you want a good story, why don't you read a book?', to which I usually gave them a blank stare and said 'I'm already reading good books.  I just want stories in my games too.'  
    Interestingly enough, there were a few bursts of true creativity in jrpgs in the years since, like Tales of Berseria and Nier: Automata, but they partially stand out due to the sheer bleakness of the genre landscape.  People praise Octopath Traveler and Dragon Quest XI with intensity, and they practically worship Bravely Default.  However, I have been shocked at how low-quality the presentation of these stories has been.  It's like an entire generation has gotten used to ineptness in presentation to the point where they can be charmed by backhanded efforts at retro-nostalgia.  Octopath has all the grind of the old SaGa Frontier games with none of the charm, the best part of each of the paths being at the beginning.  Dragon Quest XI retains the horribly grindy nature of Dragon Quest games without improving on the formula in any real way.  Moreover, locking so much content into the post-game annoys the hell out of me (I prefer new game +, obviously).  
    JVNs have suffered their own decline, which is ironically due to the same demographics that inflated the medium in the first place (the dominance of the moe/charage lovers).  VNs were always destined to be a niche medium, but the over-specialization of the industry has led to an inability to adapt to changing spending habits and demographics.  Even if they wanted to regear for a new generation of consumers, most companies no longer have the access to the necessary talent to do so.
    I'm fairly sure that jrpgs suffer from a similar lack.  Yes, there are some excellent composers and graphic designers in the jrpg industry, as well as access to the solid voice-acting industry of Japan and the growing one here in the US.  However, there is a severe lack of writers capable of bringing a story to life, and there is no point in a top-tier OST that has no one to properly coordinate its use.  The very fact that something like Undertale could bury so much of the commercial rpg industry, in the eyes of rpg fans, says everything about how far the industry has fallen.
    So what am I getting at?  Not really anything, in truth.  I just needed to blow off some steam.  Thank you for reading.
  16. Like
    Zalor reacted to alpacaman for a blog entry, Umineko's opening scene   
    The recent discussions about Umineko here on the forum made me want to pick up the whole damn thing again. Only this time I'm going spend even more time on it because I'm taking notes. I'll take the game's advice though and not focus on the howdunnits (which it argues are trivial and unimportant), but rather on what meaning is hidden inbetween. I'm doing this mostly for myself, though every now and then I might feel like turning my thoughts and interpretations into a blog post like this one.
    The German realist author Theodor Fontane (1819-1898) once said "the first chapter is always the main point, and within the first chapter the first page, almost the first line." While I think he is exaggerating a little bit and tbh I only opened with a quote of his to get a chance to mention how much I hate his writing (some of his novels are required reading in high-school in parts of Germany), it is true that the opening to a novel or any piece of fictional media can be a more important part of the work than it is often given credit for. Which brings us to Umineko's first scene. While it might not be the most spectacular example out there, I think it does what it sets out to do so well that it is worth taking a look at it from an analytical standpoint. I'm going to mention one or two twists that happen at later points in the VN, so you might not want read any further if you do not want to get spoiled.
    The scene takes place at an unspecified point in time in Kinzo's study with him, Nanjo (his doctor) and Genji (his head servant) present. It starts out with Nanjo telling Kinzo to lay off the alcohol as the medicine he prescribed to keep him alive won't work otherwise. Kinzo responds by saying the liquor (which has a sweet scent and a venomous green colour) has been with him longer than Nanjo, and that it is what is actually keeping him alive, not the medicine. Then he orders Genji to serve him another glass, but water it down a bit. Kinzo asks Nanjo how much time he has left, to which the doctor replies by comparing it to their chess match which is apparently entering its final stages and where Kinzo managed to corner Nanjo's king.  The physician suggests Kinzo should write a will, which the latter one heavily objects to: "...And what is a will, Nanjo? Handwritten instructions to the vultures on how to devour and scatter my corpse?" He wants to leave nothing behind and insists everything he built up during his life shall disappear with him, as it is part of the deal he made. He goes on to speak about his only regret, which is not being able to see the smile of the witch Beatrice once more, resulting in him screaming at thin air offering his remaining life to her for her to appear before him one last time. Opening Credits roll.
    The main thread running through the scene is a lingering conflict between what is "real" and what isn't, already introducing one of the main themes of the VN. This starts with the setting and props: There is no real indication if what you see takes place in the real world or some fantasy realm nor does it properly fit into any specific timeframe. The occult study, Kinzo's gown and the venomous green liquor all make the whole scene look surreal, but then there is also a real world physician doing standard medical examinations. In this sense the whole dialogue between Nanjo and Kanzo can be read as a conflict between material reality and fantasy, with Nanjo and his medicine or science representing the former and Kinzo having completely embraced the latter. Nanjo tries to bring Kinzo to care about his own physical wellbeing and his remains (stand-ins for material reality), both of which the latter one doesn't care at all about. The liquor in this context is basically a metaphor for fantasy. It has an inviting scent but looks like venom. It poisons Kinzo and according to him is what actually keeps him alive at the same time. His addiction turns his health and life miserable (as well as those of his children), while it is also what keeps him going. The booze or rather fantasy keeping him alive is also rather funny imo considering we later learn that, while he is part of all the "non-real" scenarios, in "real life" he has already been dead for quite a while. [It has been some time since I read the VN the first time so I don't really remember if the booze motif gets used at other points but it is one of the things I am going to keep an eye on this time around.]
    One of the main and more obvious purposes of an opening scene is to make the audience want to read on, usually by using a narrative hook. In this case it is the question about Beatrice's existence. You immediately ask yourself what the deal is with a witch that might or might not be real and that some weird and menacing old man is apparently trying to summon. Her (non-)presence is one of the main threads running through the whole VN and it gets established in the very first scene. This hook also ties right back into the overarching uncertainty of the scene about what is "real" and thus one of the main themes of the VN.
    The whole scene imo exemplifies pretty well what Umineko excels at, namely tying its separate narrative layers together. From the outset, characterization, plot, horror, fantasy, metaphor and theme are never truly separable but form a coherent and interwoven whole. I only implicitely talked about characterization and didn't even talk about why Genji is present in the scene at all or about the introduction of the chess motif (or the Kinzo being dead before the end of the game part). But since I already spent too much time writing this I'll keep it with one of Umineko's core messages and let you figure out how these things tie into the rest yourselves.
  17. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Mr Poltroon for a blog entry, Umineko Final Impressions (Spoiler free)   
    I literally just finished reading Umineko around an hour ago. So these are my raw thoughts and immediate reflections after completing it. I will probably do a more comprehensive overview of Umineko after I've had it digest for a couple of days.
    What a beast... I first began this journey in mid May, and I've just finished it now. So in around 4 months time, I have clocked in at a total play time of 141 hours. In that time I've not only finished University, worked on multiple projects (both personal and academic), read several books, but I've also moved and started a job. This is to say, I've been quite busy in between reading Umineko. And I've taken multiple breaks from it. It has not been a completely consistent ride from beginning to end. But also, it feels weird to part with it now. Even if I wouldn't touch it for a stretch of weeks sometimes, in the back of my mind it was always present and I felt a pressure to get back to reading it whenever I could.
    The ending was fantastic, and I feel fully satisfied with it. But now it feels like I have to part with a friend I got to know very well. And despite being quite happy with most of the twists this story had to offer, I can't deny that at times it was a slog. Reading the last part of Ep.8 today I thought I was nearly finished, and yet it still took me ~4 hours to complete. This was mostly due to a very dragged out fight/battle sequence that while interesting in parts (especially at its end), mostly felt bloated. And this criticism of bloat is by no means reserved for only this part, but rather is a consistent issue throughout. The highlights of Umineko are so great, that when you do get to those parts often you instantly forgive the frequency of tedious and dragged out scenes you had to suffer through in order to get to the truly exciting bits. Yet none the less, even if forgivable, these bloated scenes are no joke.
    If you have an average reading speed like I do, these tedious sections can sometimes take up hours of your time. This was part of the reason I frequently took breaks from Umineko. As often I would finish a fantastic climactic scene and call it a day. But then I knew that the next part would be one of those mundane sections which made it hard to get back into reading the VN the next day. I would actually procrastinate reading Umineko at times precisely because I knew I was facing a part that would be dull and stretch out for a couple of hours. And when its a nice Saturday evening and you can do literally whatever you want, resigning yourself to reading something that you know will be boring for the next 2 hours is a hard decision to make. Even if you know that by powering through those 2 hours of boredom, you will be rewarded thoroughly in the 3rd or 4th hour.
    If Ryukishi07 got himself a decent editor I think Umineko could have been a quarter or maybe even half as long, and still be just as good. Actually it would probably be better, because then you wouldn't have the unnecessary excess anymore. Despite that though, when Umineko is good it truly is at the level of masterpiece. There really is nothing like it.
    The entire cast, for the most part, is very strong and memorable. I think that is Ryukishi07's greatest strength as a writer. He consistently creates very interesting characters. And even if his writing often drags on, you still put up with it because you want to see more interactions with these characters and what will happen to them.
    The introduction of Furudo Erika in the second half was a great treat, and I enjoyed her sadistic and incredibly cruel personality immensely. It was great fun to watch her do intellectual battle and make enemies with everyone. Then there was also Bernkastel, who has been a favorite of mine since early on. In general, all of the witch and supernatural characters were great in my mind.
    George, Jessica, Kanon, and Shanon never quite fully grew on me, though I did eventually grow more sympathetic to them. However, I definitely found the parts that focused on them the least interesting bits.
    From episode 1, watching what seems to be the setup for a typical murder mystery evolve so much in scope over the various episodes, I am at awe reflecting on it all now. The story goes in so many different directions, and yet it feels entirely consistent with itself. It's a mystery like no other. It manages to literally breaks all the rules, and yet somehow sticks to them. That in itself, honestly, is proof to me that magic exists.
    For anyone that enjoys great fiction, Umineko is certainly a work worth reading.
  18. Like
    Zalor reacted to Plk_Lesiak for a blog entry, Synergia (Yuri VN Review)   
    Have you seen Blade Runner 2049? The cyberpunk epic that charms the viewer with its climate and polished visuals, but is probably a bit too convoluted for its own good and offers relatively little payoff for its massive, multi-layered plot? Now, imagine watching that movie without the context of original Blade Runner and accompanying shorts, all offering crucial pieces of worldbuilding and linking the main entries in the franchise together. How much meaning the sequel would lose and how hard to follow some of its subplots would be?
                    This “Blade Runner 2049 without context” metaphor is the best way to explain my feelings about Synergia, the long-anticipated cyberpunk EVN by Radi Art. First announced in mid-2017, the project gathered a lot of attention with its well-defined, gloomy aesthetic and an appealing story outline. After that, it went through a number of hiatuses, with the creator behind it often going silent for long months and many assuming the project was dead. In mid-2019, however, the full development of the game was resumed and after a successful Kickstarter campaign (and another series of delays), we finally received a finished product in August 2020 – one that, in my opinion, proved way less mystery-filled and more flawed than the promotional materials made us hope for. But why is that exactly and to is this game actually bad, or just not living up to the hype?

    The few characters central to the Synergia’s plot showed great promise, however, most of them remained relatively unexplored and their stories left without closure
    Synergia tells the story of Cila, a police operative and negotiator specialized in dealing with androids, living on a far-future, desert-covered colony planet. Serving as a private contractor to the oppressive imperial government, the dominant polity of the unnamed world, she’s depressed and demotivated, barely managing to fulfil her duties despite being highly-trained and skilful in dealing with both AI and augmented humans. Soon after the game's start, however, her apathetic routine is broken when her best friend Yoko, a shady android merchant and gang leader, gifts her a replacement to her recently-defunct companion android. The new robot, Mara, seems incredibly advanced and human-like – arguably more human than the repressed and corrupt population of the imperial capital – and astonished Cila with her unpredictable and independent behaviour. Soon her unclear origins and level of intelligence, suggesting the use of illegal forms of AI, become signs of trouble, which Cila is unsure how to deal with. However, even she does not expect the real depth of the conspiracy and the significance the android might have to the future of her country (and, possibly, the whole colony).
    Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  19. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Chronopolis for a blog entry, The Other 4chan VN   
    Lesser known than its more popular sister, The Dandelion Girl is another VN that at least started its development by anonymous users on 4chan. And like Katawa Shoujo it's quite good, although very different. And in fact, I think it contrasts quite nicely with Katawa Shoujo.
    Katawa Shoujo very intentionally strove to conform to the standard visual novel formula. Hence why it takes place in Japan, in a high school, has branching routes with various heroines, and even included H-scenes. I think the goal of Katawa Shoujo was to make a solid entry in the visual novel landscape within the standards commonly set by the High School romance genre it chose.
    The Dandelion Girl on the other hand is not an original story, being an adaptation of a short-story of the same name by Robert F. Young. To me this was a breath of fresh air, as I always welcome VNs that see themselves more as digital books then as games. The early to mid 2000's doujin scene seemed to embrace this mentality a bit with works like Narcissu and True Remembrance, and accordingly the art style of The Dandelion Girl somewhat reminds me of True Remembrance.
    In fact as a whole the Kinetic Novel genre/medium seems to be a weird bastard child of VNs that probably would see more success with print novel readers rather than with it's current target demographic of VN readers. Which is probably at least among the reasons that The Dandelion Girl seems to be languishing in relative obscurity. But it is a solid adaptation which really places the reader in the world of the original short story.
    Its opening scene where the screen fades into a view of a blue sky with a melancholic piano piece playing in the background creates a strong ambiance which contextualizes the writing quite nicely. Overall the music and visuals do a good job supporting the writing. Never interfering with it by being overly flashy, nor contradicting the mood of the prose. It serves its purpose by distracting your eyes and ears, and allowing your mind to effortlessly focus on the story. And before you know it, you'll be finished with the heart warming tale and left with a cozy feeling inside.
    If Katawa Shoujo is nice meal, than The Dandelion Girl is a nice evening snack to accompany your tea.
  20. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from alpacaman for a blog entry, The Other 4chan VN   
    Lesser known than its more popular sister, The Dandelion Girl is another VN that at least started its development by anonymous users on 4chan. And like Katawa Shoujo it's quite good, although very different. And in fact, I think it contrasts quite nicely with Katawa Shoujo.
    Katawa Shoujo very intentionally strove to conform to the standard visual novel formula. Hence why it takes place in Japan, in a high school, has branching routes with various heroines, and even included H-scenes. I think the goal of Katawa Shoujo was to make a solid entry in the visual novel landscape within the standards commonly set by the High School romance genre it chose.
    The Dandelion Girl on the other hand is not an original story, being an adaptation of a short-story of the same name by Robert F. Young. To me this was a breath of fresh air, as I always welcome VNs that see themselves more as digital books then as games. The early to mid 2000's doujin scene seemed to embrace this mentality a bit with works like Narcissu and True Remembrance, and accordingly the art style of The Dandelion Girl somewhat reminds me of True Remembrance.
    In fact as a whole the Kinetic Novel genre/medium seems to be a weird bastard child of VNs that probably would see more success with print novel readers rather than with it's current target demographic of VN readers. Which is probably at least among the reasons that The Dandelion Girl seems to be languishing in relative obscurity. But it is a solid adaptation which really places the reader in the world of the original short story.
    Its opening scene where the screen fades into a view of a blue sky with a melancholic piano piece playing in the background creates a strong ambiance which contextualizes the writing quite nicely. Overall the music and visuals do a good job supporting the writing. Never interfering with it by being overly flashy, nor contradicting the mood of the prose. It serves its purpose by distracting your eyes and ears, and allowing your mind to effortlessly focus on the story. And before you know it, you'll be finished with the heart warming tale and left with a cozy feeling inside.
    If Katawa Shoujo is nice meal, than The Dandelion Girl is a nice evening snack to accompany your tea.
  21. Love
    Zalor got a reaction from Plk_Lesiak for a blog entry, The Other 4chan VN   
    Lesser known than its more popular sister, The Dandelion Girl is another VN that at least started its development by anonymous users on 4chan. And like Katawa Shoujo it's quite good, although very different. And in fact, I think it contrasts quite nicely with Katawa Shoujo.
    Katawa Shoujo very intentionally strove to conform to the standard visual novel formula. Hence why it takes place in Japan, in a high school, has branching routes with various heroines, and even included H-scenes. I think the goal of Katawa Shoujo was to make a solid entry in the visual novel landscape within the standards commonly set by the High School romance genre it chose.
    The Dandelion Girl on the other hand is not an original story, being an adaptation of a short-story of the same name by Robert F. Young. To me this was a breath of fresh air, as I always welcome VNs that see themselves more as digital books then as games. The early to mid 2000's doujin scene seemed to embrace this mentality a bit with works like Narcissu and True Remembrance, and accordingly the art style of The Dandelion Girl somewhat reminds me of True Remembrance.
    In fact as a whole the Kinetic Novel genre/medium seems to be a weird bastard child of VNs that probably would see more success with print novel readers rather than with it's current target demographic of VN readers. Which is probably at least among the reasons that The Dandelion Girl seems to be languishing in relative obscurity. But it is a solid adaptation which really places the reader in the world of the original short story.
    Its opening scene where the screen fades into a view of a blue sky with a melancholic piano piece playing in the background creates a strong ambiance which contextualizes the writing quite nicely. Overall the music and visuals do a good job supporting the writing. Never interfering with it by being overly flashy, nor contradicting the mood of the prose. It serves its purpose by distracting your eyes and ears, and allowing your mind to effortlessly focus on the story. And before you know it, you'll be finished with the heart warming tale and left with a cozy feeling inside.
    If Katawa Shoujo is nice meal, than The Dandelion Girl is a nice evening snack to accompany your tea.
  22. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Fuez for a blog entry, The Other 4chan VN   
    Lesser known than its more popular sister, The Dandelion Girl is another VN that at least started its development by anonymous users on 4chan. And like Katawa Shoujo it's quite good, although very different. And in fact, I think it contrasts quite nicely with Katawa Shoujo.
    Katawa Shoujo very intentionally strove to conform to the standard visual novel formula. Hence why it takes place in Japan, in a high school, has branching routes with various heroines, and even included H-scenes. I think the goal of Katawa Shoujo was to make a solid entry in the visual novel landscape within the standards commonly set by the High School romance genre it chose.
    The Dandelion Girl on the other hand is not an original story, being an adaptation of a short-story of the same name by Robert F. Young. To me this was a breath of fresh air, as I always welcome VNs that see themselves more as digital books then as games. The early to mid 2000's doujin scene seemed to embrace this mentality a bit with works like Narcissu and True Remembrance, and accordingly the art style of The Dandelion Girl somewhat reminds me of True Remembrance.
    In fact as a whole the Kinetic Novel genre/medium seems to be a weird bastard child of VNs that probably would see more success with print novel readers rather than with it's current target demographic of VN readers. Which is probably at least among the reasons that The Dandelion Girl seems to be languishing in relative obscurity. But it is a solid adaptation which really places the reader in the world of the original short story.
    Its opening scene where the screen fades into a view of a blue sky with a melancholic piano piece playing in the background creates a strong ambiance which contextualizes the writing quite nicely. Overall the music and visuals do a good job supporting the writing. Never interfering with it by being overly flashy, nor contradicting the mood of the prose. It serves its purpose by distracting your eyes and ears, and allowing your mind to effortlessly focus on the story. And before you know it, you'll be finished with the heart warming tale and left with a cozy feeling inside.
    If Katawa Shoujo is nice meal, than The Dandelion Girl is a nice evening snack to accompany your tea.
  23. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Narcosis for a blog entry, The Other 4chan VN   
    Lesser known than its more popular sister, The Dandelion Girl is another VN that at least started its development by anonymous users on 4chan. And like Katawa Shoujo it's quite good, although very different. And in fact, I think it contrasts quite nicely with Katawa Shoujo.
    Katawa Shoujo very intentionally strove to conform to the standard visual novel formula. Hence why it takes place in Japan, in a high school, has branching routes with various heroines, and even included H-scenes. I think the goal of Katawa Shoujo was to make a solid entry in the visual novel landscape within the standards commonly set by the High School romance genre it chose.
    The Dandelion Girl on the other hand is not an original story, being an adaptation of a short-story of the same name by Robert F. Young. To me this was a breath of fresh air, as I always welcome VNs that see themselves more as digital books then as games. The early to mid 2000's doujin scene seemed to embrace this mentality a bit with works like Narcissu and True Remembrance, and accordingly the art style of The Dandelion Girl somewhat reminds me of True Remembrance.
    In fact as a whole the Kinetic Novel genre/medium seems to be a weird bastard child of VNs that probably would see more success with print novel readers rather than with it's current target demographic of VN readers. Which is probably at least among the reasons that The Dandelion Girl seems to be languishing in relative obscurity. But it is a solid adaptation which really places the reader in the world of the original short story.
    Its opening scene where the screen fades into a view of a blue sky with a melancholic piano piece playing in the background creates a strong ambiance which contextualizes the writing quite nicely. Overall the music and visuals do a good job supporting the writing. Never interfering with it by being overly flashy, nor contradicting the mood of the prose. It serves its purpose by distracting your eyes and ears, and allowing your mind to effortlessly focus on the story. And before you know it, you'll be finished with the heart warming tale and left with a cozy feeling inside.
    If Katawa Shoujo is nice meal, than The Dandelion Girl is a nice evening snack to accompany your tea.
  24. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Gibberish for a blog entry, The Function of Ellipses in VNs   
    VNs sometimes get criticized for their overuse of the ellipse (…). And I suppose I'll start my defense of the use of ellipses in VNs, by extending an olive branch. VNs do misuse the ellipse to an astounding degree, and I have an interesting little anecdote demonstrating this point. In college, me and some friends decided to spend a Friday night getting drunk and reading the worst VNs we could find. We stumbled upon Gender Bender DNA Twister Extreme. There is a LOT wrong with this VN, but a glaringly consistent detail of bad writing we all noticed was the excessive use of ellipses. After we all collectively noticed and pointed out how often ellipses were being used, we decided to start counting every instance of an ellipse we spotted. Keep in mind, they had already been used plenty before we even started to count. Before we even reached a total playtime of 1 hour, we counted over 100 uses of ellipses, and gave up counting after that. I share this anecdote for two reasons. Firstly, as a petty example that Gender Bender DNA Twister Extreme is horrible and I almost want to say it has no right to exist. And secondly that overall I am in agreement that ellipses do get misused often in VNs. So I am not entirely attacking this point of criticism, but I do think that many who do champion this specific criticism of VN writing miss one very important function that the ellipses achieves in VN writing, that it can't achieve in traditional print.
    The written word as it is presented in VNs is transient. With each click you typically receive one line at a time. And after a certain point all the lines disappear and you are greeted with fresh words from the top of the screen if NVL, or the top of the dialogue box if ADV. Furthermore often (though not always), sentences aren't displayed whole at once. But rather they get displayed in a sort of typewriter effect. This means that regardless of whether the narrative is in past tense or present tense, the occurrence of the text and the story to the reader will always be in the present. Character dialogue, internal monologues, narrative descriptions, it is all being presented to us in real time.
    A book on the other hand has everything written out and open to display. You can scan the whole page as well as the next page, and you have equal access to every page of the book at any given time. Want to skip to the ending? Well the medium can't stop you. This is not true of VNs. You can fast-forward, but you can't just skip to the end. The only way you can typically access specific parts of a VN is by creating a save point and therefore being able to load it up whenever you want. But you only have that option for everything you already read, you can't just pick and load sections you haven't experienced yet. Because for all intense and purposes, that's in the future. It hasn't happened yet. In other words, there is a sense of time in how the narrative of a VN gets expressed.
    Well in VNs, the ellipse can be used to demarcate time and expression. In this way, VNs can literally show the passage of time, without having to tell it. And I always thought the golden rule of writing was “show don't tell”, in this function the ellipse is being used optimally to show and not tell.
    Here is an example of how I would write a certain passage if I were writing it for a book/short-story, and then I will proceed to rewrite it for a VN.
     
    Novel/Short-story:
    “I don't know about that,” she briefly paused while biting her lip, “you sure it will be okay?”
    Visual Novel coded in Renpy:
    “I don't know about that...{w=1.5} you sure it will be okay?”
     
    The {w=1.5} is a wait command in Renpy that pauses the text for 1.5 seconds before resuming the rest of the line. Without having to tell the reader “she briefly paused”, we literally showed the pause by manipulating the speed in which the text gets displayed. The ellipse helps signal to the reader that the character is hesitating to express her thoughts, while the {w=1.5} command is running in the background.
    Now if the detail of “biting her lip” is also important to you. You would have to script things slightly differently, but you could make it that after the ellipse her sprite changes and bites her lip and you hold on that image for 1.5 seconds, before transitioning back to her previous expression and continue the text. So now you not only showed her hesitation and the gap in time it took for her to finish her thought, but you also showed her expression change. This is a way you can “show and not tell” with VNs that you could never achieve when writing for traditional print media.
  25. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Gibberish for a blog entry, Visual Novels are a Hot Medium   
    Firstly, by “Hot” I mean purely in the Mcluhanistic sense of the word. Though I think we all acknowledge that VNs can be a very “hot” medium in the erotic sense as well. But seriously speaking, VNs are a hot, highly intensive medium; and this is precisely why I see so much artistic potential in them even if relatively few as of yet have fully capitalized on this potential.
    To provide a brief definition of hot and cold media I think the simplest explanation is the more immersive a medium is the more hot it is. The less immersive, and the more causal the experience of it is, the more cool it is. Reality TV is probably the best example of cold media. You can enjoy an episode of Terrace House or Jersery Shore or whatever (insert reality TV show) while paying relatively little attention to it. In fact dumb television's appeal is precisely because you can passively enjoy it while watching it with friends and family. Honestly this is why I think most Japanese TV (I'm intentionally exuding anime here) is so bad, but that's probably a rant for another time.
    Hotter media require more focus and attention from the participant. The best example of this would be literature. While reading a book, you need to pay sole focus to the words. And so this involves a hyper concentration. Hence it is high intensity, thus hot (seriously I didn't come up with these terms, famed academic Marshal Mcluhan did half a century ago).
    So then why do I do think, and more importantly why do I boldly claim that VNs are fundamentally a hot medium. Well, because for the best VNs and and the most memorable experiences VNs induce, we are highly involved in the moment. Practically there ourselves. And this is because the combination of text, audio, and visuals create a sensory experience which practically places us in the fictional scenes that are being depicted. It's the same reason why Lets Plays of Visual Novels just don't feel right to most VN fans. At least not as a first time experience to a particular VN. Because the first time you experience a particular VN it is a deeply intimate experience.
    I mean sure there are kusuge which are probably more fun to play with friends or in a live stream then they are to read individually. But then again they are called kusuge for a reason. Precisely because they aren't good, and more specifically don't conform to the medium's strengths. 
    So where am I going with this? I don't exactly know. Maybe to start a discussion about VNs as a medium of their own; which I think they are. That is to say I think they exist in a separate category from video games. Though I acknowledge there can be VNs with gameplay. I think a “VN with gameplay” is very different from a “game”. And I suspect most gamers would also agree.
    Anyway, its in my nature to make bold claims when I believe something. But if you disagree with me I'd be happy to discuss it with you. More then anything I like to create conversation about concepts which interest me. And if you agree with me, well I'll be happy to know I'm not alone.
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