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How To Read Moege 101 - A Comprehensive Guide Preface Many people struggle with learning a second language. If it just so happens that you're trying to learn Japanese, you can probably already tell by now that it's not an easy task. I can relate to the tormenting frustration of desperately wanting to read a certain VN, but being unable to merely due to a lack of Japanese proficiency. Having to look up every word in the dictionary is not only time consuming - it's also actually not that productive because chances are, you won't remember half of what you read. You shouldn't dive into a visual novel that's way above your difficulty level. You need to prepare body and soul with some hearty foreplay. Yes, foreplay. But alas, you don't have the slightest idea as to how you should go about doing that. You have my condolences. That's why I am writing this guide - not to teach you how to read Japanese per se, but to make it easier for you to read your very first untranslated 'moege'. After reading a few on your own, you will start to get the feel of Japanese writing, humour, expressions, and maybe even pick up some kanji. I am merely dropping you off at the doorstep - you still have a long road ahead of you. Good luck. 1) Understanding How Moege Work Moege is derived from the two words, "moe" and "game" (self-explanatory). You're usually going to be paying attention to the characters more than anything else in the game. Sure, they look nice, but what I really mean is their personality. Indeed, personality. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that personality is more important than looks! That only happens in 3D (but let's not get to that right now)... Anyway, there are a select few 'generic' and frankly 'stereotypical' heroine-types that you will find in pretty much every moege. I won't go into too much detail, but I'll describe a few of their unique traits. This will not only help you connect to the heroines better, but it will also help you guess or 'predict' what they are saying (even if you can't read the Japanese) which will be further explained in the next section. I am only going to list five, though I'm sure there are many more out there waiting to assault their onii-chans.The stereotypical heroine archetypes I am going to expand on are: The Tsundere The Senpai The Onee-chan The Klutz The Osananajimi (Childhood Friend) Now, I realize that there may be a tsundere senpai onee-chan klutz osananajimi somewhere out there, but let's leave that for now. Due to popular demand, I will unveil a brand new section for everyone's favourite (including mine) - the imouto. The Imouto 2) Reading Between The Lines Now that you have most of the basic heroine-types nailed down, it's time to learn how to read between the lines (or, "I don't know these words, but judging from their facial expressions, tone, the situation at hand, and their stereotype, I can probably guess what's going on!" for short). The point is that you shouldn't get stuck on a few words you don't know. Sometimes it's best to read through context instead. Like I said before, foreplay. You can grind (hue) all those difficult kanji symbols (that you may or may not ever see again) later. That's all just memorization, and a whole lot of studying. But right now we're tackling a more technical aspect of the Japanese language. Now's the time to sit down and enjoy a moege. 3) Kanji/Vocab You Should Probably Know These are kanji or basic vocab words that you will see in almost every moege. I will add to this list as necessary, so feel free to leave a comment if you think I missed anything key. I will cut it off somewhere so people don't get overwhelmed though, so pick the ones you think show up in 99% of exclusively moege. For now, I will briefly go through them all: 4) Where To Start Honestly, there isn't really a list of VNs I can give you. Besides, that wouldn't be fun. You should read things you think you'll really enjoy. But if moege are not for you, then suck it up. You have to learn to walk before you can learn to run. I guess all I have to say for now is that Cube, ALcot, and Favorite (albeit games by Favorite are harder reads) are all companies that make great moege that are, at the same time, relatively easy to read. If you find yourself bored to death starting out, feel free to pick another game. If you think it's still too hard for you (this is kinda late but make sure you've mastered basic hiragana and katakana), push on through. Don't stumble every time you come across a word you don't know, or you don't know what's going on. Just playing through will help you, even if just a little.