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Continuing my musings on AJ Tilley that are interesting to no one but myself, I'm genuinely surprised by how decent Highschool Romance turned out to be. I'm pretty sure I liked it this much mostly through contrast with the absolute abominations that Sword of Asumi, Divine Slice of Life and Highschool Possession were, but still... It left me with only positive emotions and I even digged the cartoonish artstyle. It's all-around passable and that's so much more than I can say about most of those early Dharker games. I'm even slightly excited to watch a let's play of Magi Trials the next time I have 10 hours of boring office work to get through. :P

It also reminded me that while there are many possible layers of "good" when it goes to entertainment , there's way more layers of "terrible". It's my personal opinion that while there are limits on how brilliant something can get, there's nearly a botomless depth of dreadful out there and it's darkest chasms are not populated by people that don't give a fuck and spew shovelware, but those that genuinely think they're creating something interesting but have no freakin' idead what they're doing. :P

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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5 minutes ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

Continuing my musings on AJ Tilley that are interesting to no one but myself, I'm genuinely surprised by how decent Highschool Romance turned out to be. I'm pretty sure I liked it this much mostly through contrast with the absolute abominations that Sword of Asumi, Divine Slice of Life and Highschool Possession were, but still... It left me with only positive emotions and I even digged the cartoonish artstyle. It's all-around passable and that's so much more than I can say about most of those early Dharker games. I'm even slightly excited to watch a let's play of Magi Trials the next time I have 10 hours of boring office work to get through. :P

It also reminded me that while there are many possible layers of "good" when it goes to entertainment , there's way more layers of "terrible". It's my personal opinion that there are limits on how brilliant something can get, there's nearly a botomless depth of dreadful and it's darkest depth are not populated by people that don't give a fuck and spew shovelware, but those that genuinely think they're creating something interesting but have no freakin' idead what they're doing. :P

Good job. You've convinced me to try Highschool Romance.

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One thing that's been bugging me from that Rewrite route I mentioned in my previous post:
 

Spoiler

It's pretty clear at the end of the "paranormal" arc that Lucia's been fully aware all along of the fact that she's Asahi Haruka, so why was she surprised by the "don't wake me" message in the printer room early on in the route? She doesn't suffer from amnesia or multiple personality disorder, and there's no need for her to act surprised to fool Kotarou, since he wasn't there at the time.
Was that all just a terrible and completely illogical plot device added to prevent people from thinking that Lucia = Haruka too early?

 

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17 minutes ago, Mr Poltroon said:

Good job. You've convinced me to try Highschool Romance.

You're probably already aware of my awful standards, but I just wanted to make it clear it's still in the "readable trash" category, alongside things like Sakura Santa or Sakura Nova (although it's way less ecchi). You've been warned. :P

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2 minutes ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

You're probably already aware of my awful standards, but I just wanted to make it clear it's still in the "readable trash" category, alongside things like Sakura Santa or Sakura Nova (although it's way less ecchi). You've been warned. :P

I'm actually not sure where I stand. I don't typically actually try things in the "trash" category, so I don't know if I'm one of those that eats this sort of thing up or not. I just know that I like the art-style and that you have stricter standards (in some respects) than I do.

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1 hour ago, Mr Poltroon said:

I'm actually not sure where I stand. I don't typically actually try things in the "trash" category, so I don't know if I'm one of those that eats this sort of thing up or not. I just know that I like the art-style and that you have stricter standards (in some respects) than I do.

Well, if you ever decide to check it out, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. At the very least, I've found it very inoffensive, which is in direct opposition to most Dharker games, not just those super-early ones. :)

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Currently playing Ponkotsu Akuma (really good nukige) and today I finally cleared Michiru's route from Chrono Clock, which felt like a true chore at the start and middle but that had a nice end.

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8 hours ago, Seraphim88 said:

One thing that's been bugging me from that Rewrite route I mentioned in my previous post:
 

  Hide contents

It's pretty clear at the end of the "paranormal" arc that Lucia's been fully aware all along of the fact that she's Asahi Haruka, so why was she surprised by the "don't wake me" message in the printer room early on in the route? She doesn't suffer from amnesia or multiple personality disorder, and there's no need for her to act surprised to fool Kotarou, since he wasn't there at the time.
Was that all just a terrible and completely illogical plot device added to prevent people from thinking that Lucia = Haruka too early?

 

As far as I'm aware the last thing you mentioned is how it is.

Rewrite has to have been the VN that I've read were it was most obvious that there were different writers for the routes. Their styles varies pretty wildly.

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Yesterday I completed another route in ToHeart.

This time it was second childhood friend - Shiho (well, technically they've met in middle school, but she fits the role ;))
6007.jpg

While I considered her just annoying gossiping brat when I played Akari's route, here she became quite likable. The route was quite funny, with their constant bickering and banter (which their classmates call just "lover's quarrels" ;)) , although a bit surprising, since it isn't really romance route - more of a friendship one.

Spoiler

 

Somewhere during the course of the route, Hiroyuki notices that the feelings for Shiho kind of crept up on him ;) It is also obvious that she likes him too, but cannot openly admit it. Finally he confesses, but she rejects him (it was a bit similar to Ageha's route from Konosora in this - like, to the very end she was unable to say that she loves MC). It turns out that she decided to give up on him for the sake of Akari, whom she considers her best friend - and who obviously likes Hiroyuki too. She even tried to kind of push the two of them together - very clumsily ;). Also, she's afraid of losing her group of friends - Hiroyuki, Akari and Masashi, and wishes that everything could stay the same forever. So they remain as best friends.

The epilogue is set four years later, with Hiroyuki running hopelessly late for lecture. Suddenly some beautiful lady in red convertible stops by, and offers to give him a ride. It turns out it's Shiho, who just got back from America, where she went after graduating. She became journalist - kind of continuing her "Shiho-chan's gossip news" activity from school ;) They get stuck in traffic jam, so Hiro is unable to make it in time for his lecture. Instead they drive to their old school, and engage in some nostalgic conversations. Shiho's quite grown up, and now considers that giving up on guy that she loved (and who loved her) was rather childish, and now she and Akari are love rivals.

 

So, there's a hint of a romance that may happen after the ending, but it isn't shown. Still, nice route, I had lots of fun with it.

Next one, according to walkthrough I'm using is Serika - quiet ojousama, and sole member of an occult club (does that remind you of anything? ;))
6010.jpg

 

Edited by adamstan

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11 hours ago, ArgentstR said:

Rewrite has to have been the VN that I've read were it was most obvious that there were different writers for the routes. Their styles varies pretty wildly.

Yeah, I think this and Katawa Shoujo are the most obvious ones I've read. During the Lucia route,

Spoiler

Kotarou suddenly became extremely oblivious, to the point where he's on par with, or maybe even surpasses, Yuuma from Hatsukoi. He goes on and on about how he doesn't understand what Lucia wants him to say to convince her to live, although it's completely obvious to any remotely sane person. I couldn't help but react to how out of place and uncharacteristic it felt, since he hadn't shown any such tendencies before.

 

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12 minutes ago, Seraphim88 said:

Yeah, I think this and Katawa Shoujo are the most obvious ones I've read. During the Lucia route,

  Hide contents

Kotarou suddenly became extremely oblivious, to the point where he's on par with, or maybe even surpasses, Yuuma from Hatsukoi. He goes on and on about how he doesn't understand what Lucia wants him to say to convince her to live, although it's completely obvious to any remotely sane person. I couldn't help but react to how out of place and uncharacteristic it felt, since he hadn't shown any such tendencies before.

 

Rewrite spoilers 

I'd say that at the end of Lucia's route both Lucia and Kotarou went full retard, and you never go full retard. 

:makina:

It's a shame since I really liked Lucia's character until that point... That is, until the moment she goes completely out of character. This is not even due to the fact that each route has a different writer, since we're talking about Kotarou and Lucia's personality within THAT same route. 

Overall I still liked it... But I won't deny that it left a bad aftertaste in my mouth. So if you feel the same, you are not alone. 

 

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17 minutes ago, Thyndd said:
Spoiler

It's a shame since I really liked Lucia's character until that point...

 

Spoiler

Couldn't agree more. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I actually liked Lucia's route at first. I thought it was shaping up to be the best one so far, but then it went south to the point of no return sometime during the second half of the route. It felt ridiculously out of character how she went homicidal/genocidal out of the blue, completely contradicting the gentle personality she had before, where she'd get upset to the point of crying by a flower wilting. I honestly can't think of another VN route that has managed to worsen my opinion of it to the same extent that Lucia's route did.

 

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10 hours ago, Dreamysyu said:

Continuing with Steam Prison. And it does get better. You know, right now it feels like the best otome I've tried so far. It's good that I didn't stop my attempts to get into this genre even though my initial impression wasn't that great.

Where are you at right now? I've finished this pretty recently so I'd love to talk about it. I only know of a few other people playing otome (not that I play many myself).

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17 minutes ago, Mr Poltroon said:

Where are you at right now?

According to the walkthrough I follow, right before the first route split. I guess, it's still the very beginning of the game.

Spoiler

Last time I played I stopped where Cyrus was released from the punishment cell where she was put after she protected Rielith from some Hounds guy.

Well, considering that I'm currently switching between this and a few other things, it will most likely take a while before I finish it. :)

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1 hour ago, Dreamysyu said:

According to the walkthrough I follow, right before the first route split. I guess, it's still the very beginning of the game.

  Reveal hidden contents

Last time I played I stopped where Cyrus was released from the punishment cell where she was put after she protected Rielith from some Hounds guy.

Well, considering that I'm currently switching between this and a few other things, it will most likely take a while before I finish it. :)

Nice.

Spoiler

Yes. When I started the game I also thought it wasn't that well written (or at least I didn't like it much. Especially the very first scene just made me bleh).

Things changed, however, when it came to being outside her country. Indeed, the setting is a very strong point.
I will also note here that I ended up liking a bunch of the characters once I got to know them. None of which show up during the prologue scenes.

Actually, the very moment where my opinion began to turn was when she met the Saint. From there on my opinion only went up.

(Doesn't spoil anything for you)

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f6a4ecedf197cd61dc1207ea4f72afdbe644eac5

So, I'm currently also poaching in otome territory and finished Hakuouki - Kyoto Winds, the first part of the saga with the second part Edo Blossoms to follow. While Ozmafia left we with somewhat mixed feelings due to a wonky plot, this was overall a vastly better experience. I think this is also the first VN that I've read that could be called historic fiction, following a group of Shinsengumi samurai through the fall of the shogunate during the second half of the 19th century. I liked the two anime seasons and therefore always wanted to read the visual novels too. The first part does focus on the events in Kyoto and the conflict with the Satsuma domain.

Surprisingly, despite being an otome and playing a female protagonist, this didn't feel 'girly' at all. Although the characters are certainly a bit romanticized, the whole atmosphere and setting was serious and mature. Although the VN has many hero routes and choices, it's still more of a plot focused kinetic story. The chapters focus on certain historic events involving the Shinsengumi and the choices mostly decide which characters to follow. The romance was at least in this part very light - there was not even a kissing scene. It's more bromance than romance. The protagonist was also so passive that she often appeared more like an independent observer instead of a fully involved character. The VN is clearly more about the story and the interaction of its characters and less about the interaction with the protagonist. I think there was even a choice to switch off romance at the start, but I didn't use it since I wasn't sure what I'd miss.

Ironically, this often felt more like a well written chuunige due to its focus on cool guys and sword fighting action. You won't find your typical idiot friend here. The characters were a real blast, not only the Shinsengumi themselves, but also their enemies and the Choshu clan in particular. I think only Fate and Dies Irae put so much attention into their male characters. 

019231_psp_hakuoki_demon_of_the_fleeting

Although this is a historic VN, it also has some fantasy elements. There are furies - vampire-like individuals with special powers (that's not even a spoiler since it's already shown in the prologue) - and the Choshu also aren't exactly normal. Overall, my favorite character was Hijikata, the commander of the Shinsengumi whose route I played first. Then I played the route of the Choshu leader Kazama and Saito's afterwards. I thought about playing Harada's route as well, but with each route there's less new stuff and only the endings are a bit different, so I passed on it. Amagiri was also pretty cool despite being just a side character. Though those were only my favorites, since I liked most characters.

The production values of the VN are very high. Great art even with animated mouths, good music, top voice actors and lots of drawn and voiced characters in general. It's hard to believe that this VN is already more than 10 years old.

Overall, I'd rate this part an 8/10. I'd even given it a higher rating if the protagonist would have been better developed and more pro-active, but it was also not a big hassle, since she was more passive and not annoying. Looking forward to the second part. :rolleyes:

Edited by ChaosRaven

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Hmm, romance or not, protagonist feeling like she's not part of the plot is not a good sign that :/ what's the point of a protagonist if he/she is redundant in the story?

It's like having an Indiana Jones movie where he is sidelined the entire movie. Would be terrible. Point is, the story belongs to the protagonist, otherwise it's best to tell the story from an outside perspective (not sure how to explain this) or jump between the characters the writers give a crap about as the story goes.

Edited by Stormwolf

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Well, she's an important character for reasons I don't want to spoil here, but since she's not a fighter like the others she's usually more at the side lines while the others do the job. I didn't really hold that against her since she's just a weak girl. You frequently get the choice to the best thing from her perspective which was okay for me. But she does interact with the others, she's just not particular useful in combat situations.

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3 hours ago, ChaosRaven said:

Well, she's an important character for reasons I don't want to spoil here, but since she's not a fighter like the others she's usually more at the side lines while the others do the job. I didn't really hold that against her since she's just a weak girl. You frequently get the choice to the best thing from her perspective which was okay for me. But she does interact with the others, she's just not particular useful in combat situations.

Sounds like it's mostly just the same as male oriented vn's. Male oriented vn's have a weak male protagonist and strong female heroines, this is true most of the cases.

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8 hours ago, Stormwolf said:

Hmm, romance or not, protagonist feeling like she's not part of the plot is not a good sign that :/ what's the point of a protagonist if he/she is redundant in the story?

It's like having an Indiana Jones movie where he is sidelined the entire movie. Would be terrible. Point is, the story belongs to the protagonist, otherwise it's best to tell the story from an outside perspective (not sure how to explain this) or jump between the characters the writers give a crap about as the story goes.

It's completely common in fictional media to have a protagonist who isn't the focus of the story. Most comedies have a straight man character as protagonist who gets thrown into other peoples shenanigans. Detectives in crime stories usually aren't the center of attention. Mad Max in Fury Road just happens to tumble into someone else's story. It seems to be even more common in Japanese media (which is one of the reasons I like VNs). The protagonist's role in these stories is mainly to be the perspective the reader or viewer witnesses the story through. That's why so many VNs with character routes have weak protagonists. If the protagonist just went along and solved everyone else's problems the heroines' routes wouldn't be very interesting most of the time. If you just switched to a character's perspectives once you enter their arc the story would feel very disjointed, which is why it's usually only used for short sequences or in fandiscs. It can make a lot of sense to have the protagonist mainly be a spectator depending on what kind of story you want to tell. Which isn't to say they shouldn't have a personality or their own arcs.

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Sakura no Uta-been really looking forward to this after hearing about it from sca-di fans and seeing videos on youtube of it. unfortunately, i'm not that comfortable with my japanese skills yet, so i decided to read it in spanish. i'm still on the first chapter, but i've been enjoying it so far, and i'm excited for when things really start to get going.

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I decided not to go back to Chrono clock just yet Wei123 and pushed forward with some Grisaia.

I'm not as far through Meikyuu as would have liked, spent far too much time onboard this trip due to broken generator circuits... several full earths I had to chase down. Anyhow I just wanted to say that the first Asako/JB H scene was truly spectacular, genuinely hilarious to the point of weeping eyes in places. I think I'm about halfway so will probably advance onto Rakuen this trip.

Although after seeing several fan art CGs I'm really interested in Hapymaher; so maybe that'll be on the cards next (when I'm home).

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Reading ever17.

Spoiler

Cant say its all that gripping. Setting is fine, but the characters? Not so much. They're pointlessly secretive, generally passive and every character is annoying different ways, and some character revelations are pretty nonsensical. So much so that i cant take it seriously. Virus granting immortality? Please... The coco virus is better though, but its enough with 1 disease in such a story.

 

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Muv-Luv Alternative and Grisaia no Kajitsu. I started MLA right after finishing Unllimited and was really into it at first (played for 7 hours straight) but I've honestly been struggling to get back into the mood since. I know it's going to be great though. Same goes for Grisaia, I'm not a slice of life fan but the comedy is right up my alley. Not really making any progress because I'm not in a great place mentally and I want to make sure I actually enjoy both of them. 

I'm going to be away from my PC next week because I'm going back home for my break from Uni, going to try and finish MYTH during that time because it's the only VN I have on my Macbook. I have really mixed feelings about it, and I've heard bad things about the ending, but hopefully it'll be an enjoyable experience.

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