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Well then, I finally finished my rereading of Higurashi: Watanagashi! It was less impactful than the first time I read it, but that was to be expected; however, I did relearn a LOT of things I had forgotten :reasparkle:

Chapter 3:

Spoiler

FYExnk5.png
it's making ME nervous, fully knowing how she was in chapter 1... *sweats*

Chapter 5:

Spoiler

KSEfVWm.png
this is one of the reasons I love Keiichi ❤️

UPHSpHp.png
Ouch; Mion, don't mind her, you're perfect already!! *sobs*

Chapter 6:

Spoiler

I know it's kind of a stretch but could it be... Takano is somehow related to Satoko and Satoshi? I mean, they are all blond and their eyes look the same...

Also, that white screen transition from the mod... I'm suspecting Rena has more to do with the whole story than I expected... hmmm...

Chapter 7:

Spoiler

aBxiW2i.png
dyPoQCj.png
Oh, that IS interesting! :sugoi: never thought abt it like that!

Reading the new TIPS... is that notebook Takano's?

Chapter 9:

Spoiler

hxNVg0h.png
Lemme have some hope, c'mon! :yuzusad:

Chapter 11:

Spoiler

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holy shit, I did NOT remember that... this gave me chills noooo Mion don't kill me- yikes

(Man, fascism is such a great track!! :watame:

MxCQC0h.png
I usually don't really like Keiichi's screams but damn, this one gave me chills; poor Keiichi... :(((

Chapter 12:

Spoiler

xo5l5NT.png
Wouldn't be the first time...

f0SdW0F.png
0/10 why is Higurashi making me cry - I asked for chills, not tears

eneB7K1.png
aaaaAAAAAA STOP UGH I DON'T WANNA CRY AGAIN-

( Whaaa I could have sworn Mion's grandma was alive when Rena and Keiichi came to visit Mion the first time I read this chapter... weird. )

BONUS CHAPTER:

Spoiler

About Shion's death: it's more realistic to say it was probably just her delusions again, but after Mion stabbed Keiichi, she said "You were the last person I wanted to kill", so that meant she had killed Shion already... hmm... W-Wait... Mion was dead already? And... Takano?! Wha- I have thought about it and... if I want this to make sense, it could only mean that somehow, Keiichi, being all delusional, went outside, thinking he saw Mion, and stabbed himself so she could finally get rid of him (the regret and guilt were too much to bear, maybe).

lUQv5uF.png
that's... not bad at all! I was relying too much on the "You were the last person I wanted to kill" line from Mion (Shion?), but if she puts it like that...

It definitely wasn't as good of an experience as the first read, but as I said earlier, that's to be expected: I already knew and remembered most plot twists lol
That said, I'll give this chapter a solid 7,8/10
 :abipog:

Next is Higurashi: Tatarigoroshi (aka the third chapter!); until then, bye bye! :iamslain:

Edited by Fujoneko
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On 6/18/2021 at 1:34 AM, Eclipsed said:

Missed opportunity btw not having Town, Flow of Time, People as the VN's title theme btw. I would've always looked forward to booting up CLANNAD if I had this boppin' theme to listen to:

 

I definitely agree about it being a missed opportunity. I can't say much about the VN as I still haven't finished reading it, but this is one of the best VN songs I've come across. It is SO good and emotive. Within a minute of listening I always wind up feeling melancholic lol.

Edited by snowbell55
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Ok so

Y'know how I'm high off the CLANNAD hype train what with spending a month reading the VN and then watching the anime (which btw, I'd vouch for Tiago's "just watch the anime" if you just want to experience the story that is CLANNAD because, yes, the anime is imo the "definitive" edition of CLANNAD and is easily 9+/10 compared to the 8/10 I gave the VN simply because instead of doing the usual "trololol anime is too rushed, trying to condense a 30+hr VN into 12 episodes ggez RIP," they actually manage to condense the BEST parts of CLANNAD and cut out all the fluff; like I said, I spent a MONTH reading the VN which was a slogging, isolated behemoth and the anime cuts out that slogginess while capturing all the main story beats wonderfully and involving the cast more often in the story). Not to say I regretted reading the VN; I'm the type who loves reading the VN and then watching the anime to see everything animated. And I may have enjoyed the anime even more because of having read the VN first and being able to see everything they did right.

But I digress. I needed more Key, so I was about to yolo-screw-waiting-for-Reflection-Blue,-it's-just-four-extra-heroine-routes-and-I-definitely-skipped-like-half-the-heroines-in-CLANNAD-wcgw- and dive into Summer Pockets, but then I ran into:

dyUeral.png

Umi. This ISLAND Rinne clone complete with a sailor hat is quite the cutie, has pink hair, BUT SHE ONLY GETS A ROUTE IN REFLECTION BLUE?!@# FK ME

Still tempted to just yolo read vanilla Summer Pockets, but goddamn why did Key have to shoot themselves in the foot by releasing a 'definitive' version of Summer Pockets, thus making everyone do the whole "Oh, don't need to buy base Summer Pockets then, just wait for Reflection Blue!!" 

 

~~
Blah...I'll wait. I'm not really the type to double back for extra content, so if I read SP now, there'll be like 0% chance for me to bother with RB.

I think I'm gonna check out Himawari: The Sunflower. It's another Frontwing thingy with the same scenario writer who did ISLAND, and we got the same amnesiac protagonist, multiple route mystery, science fiction tags... Err, I hope it's not TOO similar l0l.

Sidenote: jfc Naruto just had to grow up and and have a daughter named Himawari and so she litters the search results page -.-

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Eclipsed said:

BUT SHE ONLY GETS A ROUTE IN REFLECTION BLUE?!@# FK ME

That's not exactly correct. True route is mostly about Umi. And I don't think she really needs a "character route" in the first part.

Edited by adamstan
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11 hours ago, Eclipsed said:

Ok so

Y'know how I'm high off the CLANNAD hype train what with spending a month reading the VN and then watching the anime (which btw, I'd vouch for Tiago's "just watch the anime" if you just want to experience the story that is CLANNAD because, yes, the anime is imo the "definitive" edition of CLANNAD and is easily 9+/10 compared to the 8/10 I gave the VN simply because instead of doing the usual "trololol anime is too rushed, trying to condense a 30+hr VN into 12 episodes ggez RIP," they actually manage to condense the BEST parts of CLANNAD and cut out all the fluff; like I said, I spent a MONTH reading the VN which was a slogging, isolated behemoth and the anime cuts out that slogginess while capturing all the main story beats wonderfully and involving the cast more often in the story). Not to say I regretted reading the VN; I'm the type who loves reading the VN and then watching the anime to see everything animated. And I may have enjoyed the anime even more because of having read the VN first and being able to see everything they did right.

But I digress. I needed more Key, so I was about to yolo-screw-waiting-for-Reflection-Blue,-it's-just-four-extra-heroine-routes-and-I-definitely-skipped-like-half-the-heroines-in-CLANNAD-wcgw- and dive into Summer Pockets, but then I ran into:

dyUeral.png

Umi. This ISLAND Rinne clone complete with a sailor hat is quite the cutie, has pink hair, BUT SHE ONLY GETS A ROUTE IN REFLECTION BLUE?!@# FK ME

Still tempted to just yolo read vanilla Summer Pockets, but goddamn why did Key have to shoot themselves in the foot by releasing a 'definitive' version of Summer Pockets, thus making everyone do the whole "Oh, don't need to buy base Summer Pockets then, just wait for Reflection Blue!!" 

 

~~
Blah...I'll wait. I'm not really the type to double back for extra content, so if I read SP now, there'll be like 0% chance for me to bother with RB.

I think I'm gonna check out Himawari: The Sunflower. It's another Frontwing thingy with the same scenario writer who did ISLAND, and we got the same amnesiac protagonist, multiple route mystery, science fiction tags... Err, I hope it's not TOO similar l0l.

Sidenote: jfc Naruto just had to grow up and and have a daughter named Himawari and so she litters the search results page -.-

Well, I have read the original and after the ending you will definitely appreciate the definite edition. Trust me

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@adam good to hear. Umi is already high up in my first impression best girls. Which, jeez, ever since Hoshimemo's Chinami I thought I would never like the younger relative heroine type but lately it looks like thats becoming one of my forbidden yum yums. I still want that character route, as unneeded as it may be, and in general I ended up deciding to wait for Reflection Blue more 'cuz I know I'm gonna feel really ehhhhhhh going through the entirety of vanilla Summer Pockets solely due to Osborne Effect

@storm Hoh... I looked at the VNDB tags of Summer Pockets. And Nakige is apparently one of them ;-;

~~
I finished "Episode One" of Himawari; apparently the VN is broken into multiple episodes, dunno how many.

First, I get to nitpick the scenario writer who did Himawari and Island. Even though technically these two VNs are almost a decade apart, old habits die hard I guess and they do the same destiny-like "yo this girl looks so damn familiar, just who is she?!" meeting l0l

q2XifRi.png

Oh god please don't let her end up being what Rinne ended up being LOL

We have amnesiac high school male protagonist with a passion for space Youichi meet fellow amnesiac Aries after she crash landed into the area via UFO, prompting Youichi and his bromate Ginga, president of the school Space Club (complete with S;G Okabe chuuni personality), to start pondering about all sorts of wild theories as to her origin and purpose. Is she an alien? Are MIBs going to show up eventually to cover things up? For the meantime, Youichi decides to shelter Aries.


Aries turns out to be surprisingly normal and not alien- she's innocent, naive, childlike. The days go by peacefully...

wvJ6rJ6.png

Y'know, sometimes I laugh at how in the VN realms, characters spend only like a few days or like a week together and all of a sudden that's enough for them to act like they've known each other for entire lifetimes >.>


And then, an actual MIB- or should I say, WIB, appears! Just who is Aries, really?

jze3va1.png

Aqua's hawt. Even better? She's voiced by the same VA as ISLAND's Rinne- Yukari, who has been my flavor of the month guilty pleasure nowadays. Even better? In Episode Two of Himawari she-

Spoiler

is the protagonist. POG



Space (and sunflowers) is the highlight topic of choice in this VN, and Youichi's dream is to make it to the moon. There was an unfortunate rocket launch accident that happened in the town 2 years ago, and this incident is treated as the crux of all issues- it's the source of Youichi's amnesia, which will probably lead into more GOTCHA! revelations regarding Youichi, Aries, and the town's past.

Btw, I'm getting a nasty case of the "it's a small world", cuz like I just went through CLANNAD recently, and Aries is flippin' voiced by the same VA as FUKO ISOGAIIIII. GODDAMIT. CAN'T TAKE HER SERIOUSLY NOW. Guess that VA is the go to for childlike heroines.

And another jab at creator's stagnating creativity: Aqua and Karin are clones
 46524.jpg48885.jpg (256×300)

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Time for another chapter! This time, I reread the third chapter, Tatarigoroshi :watame:

I was expecting it already, but this was very confusing... tho I did realize more things than the first time I read it! :mare:

Chapter 1:

Spoiler

BtpiOmH.png
dang, my heart hurts already...

mGszJAW.png
but was he?

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excuse me while I cry myself to sleep over this

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Damn, Rika...

Chapter 3:

Spoiler

UUGHHH I HATE BASEBALL SO MUCH, WHY, JAPAN-

7ucs4RR.png
the fact that she is an orphan-

qZKJyp4.png
cries :kosame:

Chapter 4:

Spoiler

j2oAE1r.png
I just realized he might be the infamous かんとく(the "manager") from chap 1 :gasp: I mean, it would make sense! Rena called a doctor and he IS a doctor - he is also a coach (which has the same reading as "manager") and that's exactly how everyone calls him, so it'd make sense Mion called him that back in chap 1. Yeah, chapter 1 was mostly Keiichi freaking out huh (not that I can blame him)... I can't believe he killed both Mion and Rena due to his paranoia :notlikemiya:

WSHCLbW.png
dang... I'm gonna cry

Chapter 5:

Spoiler

W78AJMf.png
Is... Is he remembering past chapters?? :nokia:

Damn, I was fine with Ooishi in the previous chapters because I kinda knew how he'd behave but wow, I definitely hate him in this one lol

RLUi6kJ.png
wait a minute, a baseball bat?? This thing is more involved in the story than I initially thought...

Chapter 6:

Spoiler

Oooh, so the spoken message at the beginning of each second act is Rena speaking but Keiichi's thoughts? Interesting. I couldn't tell for the two first chapters but in this one it was pretty obvious, knowing what happens later on... Poor Satoko.

Current mood: crying in the club for Satoko

jrWh7vE.png
me lol

Chapter 7:

Spoiler

JG0LiiK.png
this is so fucking depressing...

Chapter 8:

Spoiler

C1GYzxr.png
Knowing later on his wishes come true and before that this happens... could it be... he is possessed by Oyashiro-sama?

3xp70Eh.png
yeah, he totally is possessed by Oyashiro-sama... those eyes...

Chapter 9:

Spoiler

tvSuiLm.png
YESSSS I KNEW IT!! I was suspicious ever since they mentioned the murderer used a baseball bat

Chapter 10:

Spoiler

xu5zhrc.png
this is eerily beautiful

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yo that kinda scared me ngl

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she totally killed him; either that, or Keiichi is crazier than I thought and I am too immersed lmao

Chapter 11:

Spoiler

UUShT0s.png
knowing what happens later on in this chapter... there's a reason you shouldn't wish vague things, just saying-

Wait a minute... We already established Dr. Irie is the "manager" guy from Onikakushi, which means the white van must have been the helpers, in case Keiichi became violent - because, as we all know, he had a burst of violence with the baseball bat against those two villagers (back in Onikakushi). That would explain things, especially my theory that he was mostly delusional, at least in the first chapter. Man, these theories and this mystery... So good!!

hzESIwe.png
people DON'T die when they are killed, huh

Ydwu9GU.png
Oho? Just like Onikakushi

Chapter 12:

Spoiler

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"I'm not crazy, trust me bro"

sSWVFAp.png
Does Satoko remember the previous chapters or is she talking about her Uncle? Mion? Rena? I'm so confused

qWg7Mmi.png
Even tho those are common things said when you're traumatized (speaking from experience), it could also be what Satoko meant when she was having that trauma reaction when Keiichi pet her head back in chapter 8

Chapter 13:

Spoiler

jagO9qZ.png
Oh yeah, that IS true... I wonder what this is all about

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Finally!! This was something I would see everywhere on the internet, but I didn't remember it and thought I was being spoiled lol -- well, kinda?

BONUS CHAPTER:

Spoiler

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I did think of that! Interesting...

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this did not age so well lol

I'm so tired of creating my own theories tho, hau... I'll just upload these thoughts and read the next chapter!!

:thumbsup: 

Overall, this chapter did not disappoint; again, it wasn't as impactful as the first read, but I did learn some things I wouldn't be able to know the first time I read this. I'll give it an 8/10 :niocry:

Next chapter, Himatsubushi!

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15 hours ago, Eclipsed said:

@adam good to hear. Umi is already high up in my first impression best girls. Which, jeez, ever since Hoshimemo's Chinami I thought I would never like the younger relative heroine type but lately it looks like thats becoming one of my forbidden yum yums. I still want that character route, as unneeded as it may be, and in general I ended up deciding to wait for Reflection Blue more 'cuz I know I'm gonna feel really ehhhhhhh going through the entirety of vanilla Summer Pockets solely due to Osborne Effect

@storm Hoh... I looked at the VNDB tags of Summer Pockets. And Nakige is apparently one of them ;-;

~~
I finished "Episode One" of Himawari; apparently the VN is broken into multiple episodes, dunno how many.

First, I get to nitpick the scenario writer who did Himawari and Island. Even though technically these two VNs are almost a decade apart, old habits die hard I guess and they do the same destiny-like "yo this girl looks so damn familiar, just who is she?!" meeting l0l

q2XifRi.png

Oh god please don't let her end up being what Rinne ended up being LOL

We have amnesiac high school male protagonist with a passion for space Youichi meet fellow amnesiac Aries after she crash landed into the area via UFO, prompting Youichi and his bromate Ginga, president of the school Space Club (complete with S;G Okabe chuuni personality), to start pondering about all sorts of wild theories as to her origin and purpose. Is she an alien? Are MIBs going to show up eventually to cover things up? For the meantime, Youichi decides to shelter Aries.


Aries turns out to be surprisingly normal and not alien- she's innocent, naive, childlike. The days go by peacefully...

wvJ6rJ6.png

Y'know, sometimes I laugh at how in the VN realms, characters spend only like a few days or like a week together and all of a sudden that's enough for them to act like they've known each other for entire lifetimes >.>


And then, an actual MIB- or should I say, WIB, appears! Just who is Aries, really?

jze3va1.png

Aqua's hawt. Even better? She's voiced by the same VA as ISLAND's Rinne- Yukari, who has been my flavor of the month guilty pleasure nowadays. Even better? In Episode Two of Himawari she-

  Reveal hidden contents

is the protagonist. POG



Space (and sunflowers) is the highlight topic of choice in this VN, and Youichi's dream is to make it to the moon. There was an unfortunate rocket launch accident that happened in the town 2 years ago, and this incident is treated as the crux of all issues- it's the source of Youichi's amnesia, which will probably lead into more GOTCHA! revelations regarding Youichi, Aries, and the town's past.

Btw, I'm getting a nasty case of the "it's a small world", cuz like I just went through CLANNAD recently, and Aries is flippin' voiced by the same VA as FUKO ISOGAIIIII. GODDAMIT. CAN'T TAKE HER SERIOUSLY NOW. Guess that VA is the go to for childlike heroines.

And another jab at creator's stagnating creativity: Aqua and Karin are clones
 46524.jpg48885.jpg (256×300)

It's Key so nakige is expected.

Spoiler

But it's not that, it's more of the VN ending on a everything has been reset, MC doesnt build relationships with the girls anymore and meets the main heroine quite late. It's a different spin from Rewrite i'd say. Also there is the thing about their daughter which has been a very big character throughout the story,  who gets left out as the story concludes.

The end. so what was the point of it all and what happens now? read reflection blue to find out i guess because the original couldnt have ended on a more open note, which is kind of a staple of Key lately with their stories. To be open, yet not entirely open anyway. You know what the endings mean, yet they end them a tiny bit earlier than they should so they feel unsatisfying. 

 

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Posted (edited)

Anybody played and find Ikusa Megami Zero very hard? I keep having to grind just to defeat early game bosses and each stage is sapping my energy to continue further. I've seen rave reviews about it online but I can't summon the motivation to play any more dungeon crawling.

Edited by LAsuka
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@Asuka I don't play too many gameplay/rpg VNs, last one I played was like Yumina the Ethereal years ago which had some dungeon crawling bits that I loathed (I just hate dungeon crawlers in general and can't fathom how people find them enjoyable). I guess if you just want the story try looking for a super easy/story mode setting, if not then go look for handholding walkthrough, and lastly screw everything or ggez just gitgud

@Vernon hehe, the best thing about Kyou route is how many times you get to hear her classic frustrated "AHH mou!!!"

~~
Finished Episode Two of Himawari

...

I feel slightly jipped.

They done Aqua dirty here. The entirety of Episode One you are disillusioned into thinking Aqua'd be this enigmatic, cold hardcore badass, which she still is technically, but she was totally someone's private evil fantasy and the amount of times she's put into awkward, vulnerable, outright provocative positions and sheds her tough exterior for the whole lovesick stuttering mess of a damsel in distress routine was downright disappointing. I get it, it's to fulfill whole "cold on the outside, warm on the inside" trope but forgive me if I just wanted a full 100% awesome this time around.

Here, I'll do her some justice and hype up what her story should've focused on more of.

First, here's a somber space theme:

^It was apparently only 20 sec so I extended it, which holy hell I didn't even notice that during the VN, but apparently most of the BGMs on Blank Note's side were about this length. They're an amateur group, so kudos to them for making a bunch of catchy short themes for this VN.
 

This is Aqua:

a2sHhSv.png

Naturally, a character of her stature would have the following goodies:

UlQYjCi.png

 

rQZOYew.png

 

See? Pretty interesting sounding stuff right? The times her story focuses on subjects like this, it gets pretty good.

BUT WHAT DO WE MOSTLY GET?

Spoiler

x0lJuCC.png

Her being a lovestruck fodder eye candy mess with a random obnoxiously perverted guy over 3x her age.



~~
Ultimately tbh Episode One and Two were kinda sloggy to go through, I'd say they're both 80% mundane SoL and 20% intriguing backstory/revelations. Episode One gives you the Muv Luv Extra treatment, only there to establish the characters and very sparsely carrot dangle some bigger picture plot shenanigans. Episode Two covers the backstory of said bigger picture shenanigans but through a different perspective and leaves more to be desired as it focused on more... erotic matters.

Looks like I don't get instant access to Muv Luv Alternate / Episode Three though: look at this Scene Select; Episode 1 & 2 only cover the first 3 Tabs! Jeez I'm slacking, and there are 8 Tabs wtf.

9sHEkqr.png

I'm guessing Tabs 4-6 will be heroine specific, cuz I'm currently on Aqua's, and then finally 7-8 will be the finale. I dig it. Feels like a good length. Can always appreciate a VN storywise that does the whole Part 1 - SoL Part 2 - Backstory Part 3 - Finale to get you invested.

P.S. Aqua's helpless damsel in distress girliness in Episode Two is forgiven for pre-Episode Three's:

jKF1Kjt.png

That's how you do it. Just make her pure moe as FUH if she's not going to be badass

 

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Himawari really is a VN that can only be appreciated as a whole, not by the sum of its parts. For some reason it really took me some time (Had to finish both Ep 1 + 2; a week) to get into the "honeymoon" VN reading phase where I spend my days itching to get home so I can read some more.

Episode One was (enjoyment factor) a 5/10, a SoL sloggy grind with one of the most meh poster heroines ever via FUKO ISOGAIII Aries, with Ginga's discount S;G Okabe personality running the show not really helping either. Episode Two was a 6/10, intriguing, liked the setting/narrative change, but overall experience ruined by LOLOL YOU THOUGHT AQUA WOULD BE 100% GRISAIA YUUJI COOLIO??!! NAWWOPE!!! Watch her flail around like a headless chicken and get trolololol'd by one sided upside-down-spade shenanigans. Exaggerating, but yeah. Don't fall for the get overhype :)!!!! -> get disappoint :(!!! trap.

These two episodes combined however finally set the stage for Aqua's route, and at the end of the day I now appreciate Episode Two because it was what sowed the seeds that ultimately culminated into the rather heartfelt (and delicious!) romance between Youichi and Aqua. 9/10 enjoyment factor. 

WASw0Yq.png


I enjoyed Aqua x Youichi so much, I actually don't want to read the next heroine route (it's an enforced play order). Considering everything that happens in Himawari up to this point, these two MUST be the canonical pairing, right...? The story HAS to be made for them. So why wasn't Aqua's route meant to be played last...? Guess I'll find out.

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So, I finished two more VN's...

3886.jpg

Gekkou no Carnevale is the first one. It's a bit of a mixed bag and therefore it took me quite a while to finish it. That said, I only finished Rebecca's route. I also wanted to play Lunaria's route, but it was blocked by Noel's and and Anna's routes and I didn't really have any motivation to go through these. Noel was too loli and Anna... not exactly the brightest light to phrase it carefully. And with the massive technical issues this title came with, like using the mouse interface freezing the game, skipping not working correctly, etc. I just had no motivation for a skipping session just to get to Lunaria's route.

Nevertheless, let's start with the good things. The protagonist is actually a really cool guy. Not your typical teenage brat, but a fully grown-up adult. Furthermore, the voice acting of the protagonist and also most of the other male characters is top-notch, which is a pretty rare thing, at least for non-otome VN's. It's one of the very rare VN's where I didn't switch off the protagonist voice.

Plot-wise it has a fairly interesting scenario with a mix-up of werewolves, living dolls and the Italian mafia. The werewolves are a mafia clan called Oruma Rossa and their arch enemies are a hunter-force called Luparia consisting mainly of several particular powerful and ancient silver dolls. Romeo, also a werewolf and once part of Oruma Rossa, is now a simple taxi driver living now together with Anna, a living doll. He left them in turmoil because his true love was killed and is now hunted by both Oruma Rossa and Luparia.

The VN is rather chuuni focused, with lots of fighting scenes. The writing is decent for the most part, but the pacing of the story left a lot to be desired. For example, there were too many fights without a clear resolution or consequences. A good fight isn't just about showcasing an entertaining action scene, but also about it's 'impact' on the story. Carmelo was actually a fun antagonist, but if you have to fight him for the god knows how often time, then it gets quite annoying after a while. I also didn't really get that much werewolve vibes from the story. Overall it felt more like super mafiosi vs. power dolls. The story parts I liked most were the beginning and the puppet master arc around Lunaria and Davide. Those had a fairly good pacing and interesting twists and characters.

The weaker story parts of the VN were certainly the slow pacing, rather limited plot development and some questionable antagonists. Luparia in particular felt like a bunch of lunatics led by a chuuni edge lord. Perla was almost the only character that didn't suck from them. Ourma Rossa was better, especially Valentino and Gugliemo, while Silvio was also more on the annoying side. He had some good moments towards the end though. The VN also had a tendency to throw in random H-scenes with questionable context, which was quite annoying.

Obvious technical issues aside, I didn't like that they used photographs as backgrounds. Some of the heavy edited night locations looked quite decent, but the daylight scenes looked far too pale and didn't fit at all to the colorful character sprites. At least they didn't blur the images down. Sprites and CG's were pretty decent for the age of the VN though. Music wasn't bad, but got very repetitive after a while.

Heroine ranking: Lunaria > Rebecca > Noel > Anna

Overall rating: 6.5/10 (I would have given a 7, but the technical issues were simply too annoying to ignore) 

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Next one is Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai - one of the August classics. I want to keep this one short since there's actually not much to say about it.

It's a fairly decently written (club) slice of life VN with likable characters, but a rather thin plot even for a moege. Although there was some 'Shepherd' plot teased, it pretty much went nowhere. At least in the heroine routes I read and that covers the main heroine. It's possible there's an after-story though, which goes a bit deeper into that. Didn't have any motivation to go through all character routes just for that though. Routes itself weren't too long and didn't offer much, but at least didn't overstay its welcome. I played the ones of Tamamo, Maho and Tsugumi. Senri and Kana were too loli and I didn't like Nagi enough to play her route.

Character art feels a bit old-fashioned nowadays, but interface and backgrounds were pretty good. Music was okay for what it was. Overall, I expected a bit more from the title considering it was a fairly popular VN in Japan, but it was still on the okayish side.

Heroine ranking: Tamamo > Maho > Senri > Tsugumi > Kana > Nagi

Overall rating: 6.5/10

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Aaand I feel jipped again LOL 

I finished Himawari.

Asuka's route for me was like

An anthill

Compared to the Mount Everest that was Aqua.

See, there's this enforced playorder thing

So the writers know that you know all about the plot shenanigans that Episode One and Two foreshadowed, with Aqua's route being the route of choice to conclude them, so there's no need to regurgitate all that jazz again.

So what does that leave for Asuka? 

Absolutely NOTHING!

It's like they ran out of gas. Here I thought there would be one last curveball, an Episode Three, a true end, grand finale, idk, something! But Asuka's route ended up being as standard of a heroine route as one could imagine.

Asuka herself is a decent heroine though, I'll honestly just take anyone over Aries, so she was a solid 7/10 enjoyment.

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Yeah, sure Asuka.
What's truly frightening, I'd say, is getting all hyped up after finishing Aqua's route and wondering just what the writers could cook up next, but then you appear with all your mediocrity and make me depressed.

 

~~
Even Aqua becomes strangely philosophical during Asuka's route:

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WTH, WDYM AQUA?? YOU AND YOUICHI HAD LIKE THE BEST ROMANCE EVER.


~~
Neglected to do a misc. thoughts/spoilers so I'll do one now. It'll only cover Aqua though LOL

Here, have some Techno '48. Though, it should really be renamed into Night of Aquarius or something :makina:. This BGM was totally made for her.

SUNFLOWER SPOILS

Spoiler

From Episode One we learn that Aqua is sly, mysterious, and combat capable. She's also a lightweight when it comes to drinking and outright vomits on Youichi as he was lap pillow resting on her (Jfc, that was both hawt and disgusting, way to create the perfect fan (dis)service scene, writers). 

She turned out not to be a Woman in Black in the classic conspiracy sense, but rather she hailed from the influential and powerful space pioneers the Saionji Group, and was sent to Earth to recover the escaped and now amnesiac Aries. Upon tracking Aries down however, Aqua ended up delaying her reports to the higher ups in order to join Youichi and friends' Space Club funtime shenanigans- That is, until Aries recovered her memories after a botched rocket launch experiment programmed by Aries herself resurfaced her inner guilt:

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What was Aries at fault for?

She was the one who programmed the software for the Spaceplane's trial flight to space two years ago on August 23rd, 2048 that ended in disaster. A bug in the software cost the lives of 518 passengers, Youichi's family included, with Youichi being the sole amnesiac survivor ever since.

Play time was over. It was time for Aries to return back to where she belonged- back to the space station Sunflower. Youichi promises to plant as many sunflower seeds as he could and awaits for the the day he would get to see Aries again.

Aqua's parting words:

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Cue generic dimwitted protagonist replying with "Oh? Who else found salvation?" :sachi:


There's just one particular unanswered question by the end of all this that's bugging the hell out of Youichi though.

While Aries restored his memories of his sister: personality, appearance and whatnot, there's one teeny itty bitty thing he still doesn't remember:

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Her name.


~~
Cue Episode Two!

Spoiler

I really appreciate Himawari devs for going this route with their narrative. It's not too often you get to have a heroine's backstory explored in such a way. I swear I wish VNDB didn't outright state that Aqua is a protagonist in their character tab; I would've gotten 1000% more hyped by this transition. I'm easy to hype up. And please.

Episode Two takes place in August 2048- a few weeks before the Spaceplane Incident. Aqua and Aries were born and raised on the space station built by the Saionji Group: Sunflower (Good look getting an Earthpassport). Their lives are routine and mundane- help out occasionally with Professor Souichirou's research and whatever else the Saionji Group requests of them, but other than that they are relatively free to do as they please in their respective rooms. Peaceful, but boring. And lonely.

Curiosity finally getting the better of them, Aries and Aqua eventually hijack an escape pod and set course for Miyaura, the town where 'she' lived. Before they are able to make much progress though, they are intercepted and recovered by a Spaceplane heading to Sunflower boarded by none other than 'she' herself.

The sister whose name Youichi spent the entirety of Episode One tormented by with his amnesiac curse? Treated as common knowledge here in Episode Two and instantly 'spoiled' through Aqua's perspective. 

'Her' name is:

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Aoi.
And she shrekts poor Aqua at video games, at cooking (I LOVED that cheap crumbling food SFX whenever Aqua presented her cooking btw, absolutely hilarious), at pleasantries, at genetics, chest size, the list just goes on and on...

Aqua is labeled a 'failure' compared to Aries and Aoi: her cell manipulation powers are not as potent, she is reliant on a daily injection dose of a certain red liquid medicine to be in good health, and she is the most rebellious of the trio. But hey, if there's one thing I think Aqua beats the two at hands down, is basic hotness. Aqua's hawt. Dangerously so. 

I kind of wished there would be more scenes involving the AAA Club, but sadly the video game scene and Aoi x Youichi first kiss gossiping scene are all we really get. 

We also didn't get to see any routine military training Aqua was exposed to. It's not like you can get that level of proficiency hanging out in your room all day, and Aqua grew up with Aries who definitely didn't display any combat expertise so I would've just liked to see how she got to be so capable and badass.

Instead, the majority of Episode Two is spent with the single most glaring flaw in all of Himawari: Amamiya Daigo. Mamamiya, this guy is so obnoxious and pervy in a such a bad way he makes Naruto's Jiraiya look tame in comparison.

Seriously, I thought it would be a one off thing for him to pin Aqua to her own bed like a thirsty perv, but he does it basically every day. Then he starts doing her daily medicine injections for her, and the writers even managed to make that process awkward and fetishy af. And then Aqua just goes along with all of his antics, constantly complaining about how annoying he is and how she wants things to go back to normal and basically justifying her inaction the writers' ineptness for creating a more plausible scenario. Downright disappointing.

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Heh, I wonder if Youichie classified as Aqua's ideal. He's definitely the nice guy type, so 'gentle' is checked. As for 'mature'... well, he definitely didn't act immature at least I guess?
 

The Akira Daigo Akari flashbacks were good. I always like me some predecessor storylines and seeing how they affect the current generation. Very fascinating to see how Akira was a rather normal, ambitious guy back in the day before he became the cold, tyrannical smug ruler of the Saionji Group that he is today. Liked Akari's supposed acceptance of her dying fate, only for her finally crack and scrawl the walls in a sea of "I don't want to die" blood messages. That was some sweet, sweet tragics. Enjoyed the red herring carrot danglings as to the possibility of Aqua being Akari's (or even Daigo's) child, and the resulting Aqua = Akari identity crisis via Lunar Virus and inheriting memories jargon.

Aqua finally standing up to and almost killing Akira was a poggers "You go girl!" moment. It was the moment of badassery I was waiting for, complete with classic corporate overlords engineering their own demise trope. Too bad Daigo stole the show and it turned into a mere fist fight. We at least get to hear the reason Akira lost his way for our troubles:

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A simple, yet surprisingly human reason. Coupled with his nice guy actions in Aqua + Asuka routes later on, this guy truly was just a misunderstood guy who just came off as a villain based on his very crude way of interacting with people (along with reader assumption that there just has to be a bad character somewhere, and he naturally fits the bill). I guess it should've been obvious- he never really did outright evil things- in fact early on in Episode Two, Aqua and Aries tell Aoi that he shaved their eye brows as a punishment one time. Shaving eyebrows! Whatta ruthless dictator!
 

Did NOT like the whole Daigo being trapped in the past, unable to move on from Akari, and ESPECIALLY did not like the unforgivably sin of him seeing Aqua as Akari. It was the final nail in the coffin that writers had prepared, their last 'fk you' trump card, to kick all pro Just-Let-Aqua-Be-A-Badass fans while they were down. Aqua just couldn't catch a break in Episode Two...
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Yo dw Aqua, like I said in a previous post, ultimately I appreciated Episode Two despite how utterly screwed you got, both literally and figuratively, because it really did make your eventual romance with Youichi THAT much more potent...

 

The climax of Episode Two was great. One of the better "it was all in vain" tragedies I've had the pleasure of reading. See, you go into this knowing it'll obviously end with the SAN-DA079 Incident, but I was still caught off guard with how exactly it went down. "Hoh, maybe Daigo intentionally crash landed onto the moon again out of some twisted romantic desire to be with Akari. Huh? It wasn't intentional this time around...? You sure? Wait- Aries was the one who programmed their escape pod...? Wait- what day is it today? August 22... twenty four hours before Doomsday? O SHI-"

Daigo, having been entrusted with Aoi by Akari, opts to make the grand 20+ hr trip to make it to the Earth-facing side of the moon so they could send an emergency warning. The price? It was a guaranteed one way suicide mission due to their limited oxygen reserves. He tells Aqua to stay put, wishing for her to live on, but after a few hours her helpless lovesick self commits her cardinal sin: "screw everybody, I just want to be with Daigo!" and she chases after her desired prince- despite completely knowing it would only serve to slow him down and seal the fate of those 518 souls. 

Eventually, after what seemed like an eternity and all hope being lost, the two being on their last breaths, they finally catch a glimpse of the glorious Azure Planet. Could it be? They actually made it?! Quick, check the time!

...

...

1 minute.

It was only a mere minute past midnight, a single minute past the scheduled launch. But that was one minute too late. Daigo, the fabled hero who abandoned his first love Akari, now he couldn't even make good on his promise to protect Aoi. He failed. His story was now over, and it ends in pure tragedy. He was man who was tormented by his past and utterly consumed by it. On his dying breath, he manages to bring up the subject of names. Thinking Daigo finally remembered her for who she was, Aqua eagerly awaits his words. That's all she really wanted- to have her name called one more time by the man she loved.

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OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOF. Can I just give Aqua a hug now? Even on his deathbed, the oaf she loved couldn't even acknowledge her existence. That's just so tragic. NOTHING went right for Aqua. I'm surprised she didn't just give up on life or heroic BSOD right then and there.

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SS grade tragedy. *Mwah*

 


~~
And there we have it. Armed with the extensive knowledge obtained from Episode One and Two, we are finally able to dive into Aqua's route in all of its righteous glory.

Spoiler

 

There's just something really, really fun about being able to go through a heroine's route after going through her backstory with her as a flippin' protagonist. Pretty much all of Aqua's interactions and mannerisms during her route are able to be traced back to what she experienced during Episode Two. The 'reader omniscience' was done extremely well here, and really served to augment my enjoyment levels of this route to all time highs.

Montage

Spoiler

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LOL says the girl who 'willingly'd' let her personal space get usurped and casually went along with all the secka harra by some random dude over 3x her age!!!


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^ was in response to when Aqua called Aoi one time but pre-amnesiac Youichi picked up:PqIrN3n.png

Aoi describing Aqua as being the grumpy one is actually pretty interesting, because Aqua was only really was sassy with Youichi (in which Aoi wouldn't be around for any of that), Akira and Daigo. Her interactions with Aoi and Aries however should've been more on the relaxed and pleasant side.
 

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Mmmm, idk, Daigo sucked big time. Though tbh, Aoi wasn't really anything special herself either. Man, Aqua Youichi, you two had terrible first loves! Just get together already!
 

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Hm. Y'know at first, I was kind of like, "Wait, I never really saw Aqua not being a morning person during Episode Two.."
You know why? There were no day/night cycles on the Sunflower. Being able to sleep peacefully on Earth was a luxury Aqua never got to experience. So it's just outright adorable to see her finally get to have such a lifestyle.


If there's one thing that I'll unfortunately have to thank Daigo for however, it's for all of his perversion antics finally rubbing off on Aqua, making her quite the flirtatious seductress herself. Paired with Youichi's closet pervertedness, the two really made for a stellar and hilarious romance. 

Spoiler

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Nothing, Youichi. You're a growing, healthy boy.

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Man, being around Aqua you're bound to be aroused 24/7

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In front of the other heroines too? How bold!

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Youichi's closet perversion was infinitely more entertaining than that oaf Daigo. This was how it should've been done.

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^WTF LOL! Yo, I usually don't do H-scenes, but I think I'd make an exception for Aqua. Just sayin'.

But we gotta stick to all ages, so I'll settle for the H-scene replacement V-scene:

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I'd let Aqua suck my blood all day err day. But first, brb gotta go to the moon to get infected.


Simply delicious. That's all I really wanted from Aqua. A smokin' hawt romance. Writers are 100% forgiven for the atrocities they made Aqua go through.


There was a particular bad end midway through the route that legit made me drop everything and stop reading for like a day just so I could mourn properly.

Spoiler

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This ending speaks for itself. It's just so utterly tragic I bawled my eyes out like no tomorrow. I questioned earlier why Aqua didn't just instagib herself on the moon the moment Daigo died. And this was why- she *did* die that day. It just took her two years to realize that.

Brb time to go cry some more.


Ok!

But luckily, we have nice guy Youichi here to save the day!

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I'm such a romantic sap. I just love Aqua's story- she was a lab rat who was born and raised in isolated space, labelled a failure, lived her entire life in loneliness without any purpose, had her heart toyed with and broken by some failure of a hero who ultimately died without even acknowledging her existence... Then she meets your everyday high school nice guy and she is finally able to find salvation and meaning in living. The power of love truly is astronomical.


...And who dares to meddle with such a fantastic romance? It's none other than:

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FUKO ISOGAIII!!!!!!! Jfc Aries, you were already on my negative points list, and after this stunt I think you just cemented yourself in my worst heroine hall of fame!


I get Aries though. Look what Aqua said at the end of Episode Two: that those precious few moments with Daigo were worth more to Aqua than the lives of hundreds. That's the reason she sealed the fates of those 518 passengers on the SAN-DA079. Her love for Daigo was just that strong.

Then now all of a sudden she's able to forget all that that ggez style after finding a new man?

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Apparently yes. I don't blame her though. The girl's been through alot. Let her be selfish once in a while.

 I swear, Go, the scenario writer for both Himawari and Island, must've had an interesting first love experience since they're core components to the romance in both stories. Daigo couldn't get over his first love Akari and dies in vain as a result. Aqua was on track to follow a similar fate, but found salvation in meeting Youichi.

Youichi could hilariously at this point though just say trololol thanks for the sexy times Aqua, but now I'm gonna go back to my first love Aoi via Aries-Lunar-Virus-memory-inherit shenanigans.

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Fairly eerie ending. Souichirou did say that if the Lunar Virus made it to Earth that the consequences would be apocalyptic. Could it be? That the crimson sunflowers are symbolic for every human life taken by the virus...?


I kind of wish the Aries/Aoi thing was explored more in like separate or finale route. Having it shoehorned into lategame Aqua just felt like unnecessary last minute drama and the implications were not fully as fleshed out as they could be in a more dedicated route.

Akira turning out to be a fake villain / actual nice guy after all was hilarious. I absolutely hate asshole villains who are evil just for the sake of being evil, so it was very pleasant to see that this guy was just horrifically misunderstood all this time:

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It's even elaborated on during Asuka's route, where Akira is absolutely shocked that Asuka found him unbearably intimidating when he never intended to be so, and even Aqua starts lamenting that maybe, just maybe, she was just being stubborn about his evilness. Also, I wonder if it was one of Akira's private evil pleasures to finally claim Aqua as his daughter. Aqua Saionji... l0l.


Souichirou's plan to 'save the world' via orchestrating the SAN-DA079 crash by having Aries compile the bugged code as well as the list of all virus infectees to be the sacrificial passengers was a dark reminder that Souichirou really was a man who was dedicated to his research and "the end justifies the means" mindset. Overall I really liked the writers' use of the SAN-DA079 Incident. It served to give this cast of characters one hell of a narrative to give to us. And I can't believe they really went for "The incident was an accident -> Aries was the cause of the accident with her bugged code -> Souichirou premeditated the whole thing". Each revelation had pretty big implications during the narrative they were revealed in.

There was one glaring problem with Souichirou's drastic actions though. Just a small one, really. I swear.

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Aries made an antivirus. Literally within three months. RIP 


Time stopped for so many people as a result of this tragedy. And it all could've been avoided.

Hmm. Perhaps that was why I was so hopeful that there would be an Episode Three. A grand finale route. A True End. 

Or maybe I just read too much Key lately l0l.

But I mean, there's a lot of narrative lamenting about the 'what could have been' throughout the entire story, and how many tragedies were a result of a seemingly insignificant blip: 

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Considering the setting involving space as well, I totally thought writers would be gearing up for like an eventual space time multidimensional parallel universe narrative shift or something, where the cast would be able to prevent the SAN-DA079 Incident entirely, Youichi x Aoi would become a thing, and Akira Daigo Akari would get the neverending childhood they so desired.

 

But thinking about it now, I'm glad they didn't opt for that. What's done is done. Everything that happened in Himawari served to kick this cast down and keep them down. They could either remain shackled and succumb to the past, or persevere and try to strive for the future. Episode One-Two-Aqua is my headcanon. With the dual protagonist narrative and the first love shackling past plot elements, everything really does seem geared to set up these two for their stellar success of a romance.

I'm actually a bit sad, because I don't think I'll read about another heroine as in depth as Aqua for quite some time. Like, what other heroine would get a backstory where she's a protagonist, before you even get to do her actual route? Reading Asuka's route after Aqua's was relatively painful- it was so standard, so average. It just paled in comparison to Aqua's

Aqua best girl.

Just uh, don't lap pillow her when she's drunk LOL

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Yup, Aqua really has been one hell of a girl from start to finish...

 

 



~~
Whew, my fingers are tired. 

I've been wondering just wtf I could read next, as is the norm when I finish a VN. I kind of want the standard high school romance setting with a pretty cast and SOME plot going on to keep me entertained.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Ah!

Yuzusoft.

Haven't checked them out since the Noble Works and Dracu Riot! days :makina:

It's a tossup between Riddle Joker's high school supernatural powers and Senren * Banka's countryside fantasy. I'll end up reading both anyways, Yuzusoft is always yummy, but for now I'll preview both and see which one I wanna read first

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I recently read 'Kotonoha Amrilato'.

 

Kotonoha Amrilato | vglist

The premise is as simple as it is intriguing: Rin, a regular japanese high-schooler, suddenly finds herself in a bizarre version of her own world after buying taiyaki at a stall on the street. This world is, for the most part, almost identical to her world, but a couple of remarkable aspects stand out: the sky appears to have a pink hue no matter the time of the day (yes, even at night), and all the signs and posters on the street are written in a weird language, whose writing system sort of resembles the roman alphabet albeit with noticeable differences as well.

As you would expect, Rin starts to panic after failing to establish proper communication when trying to ask people on the street for help. Eventually she runs into this young girl, Ruka, who for some reason can speak a smattering of broken Japanese. Ruka then decides to help her out and offers Rin her apartment to stay the night.

First of all, the main focus of this VN is on the struggle to communicate between Rin and Ruka. Most of the text, aside from Rin's inner monologue which is obviously in Japanese/English, is actually in Juliamo, the language of this world... which is actually proper and completely grammatical Esperanto (as a matter of fact they had the help of the JEI, or Japanese Esperanto Institute, to develop this VN), and a translation won't be provided at least on your first playthrough. The reader is expected to feel as lost as Rin does, and to slowly learn the language along with her. A big chunk of your gameplay time will be spent on an in-game Duolingo of sorts. Now, you technically don't need to do well in your tests to procede with the story, and you could theoretically ignore all the language learning stuff. However, the payoff when you are able to understand Rin and Ruka's conversations in Juliamo is huge. It's akin to the very satisfying feeling you get when you are learning a new language and it starts to click, condensed in a ~15h VN.

Language things aside, Kotonoha Amrilato, as the name implies (Amrilato is an Esperanto compound word made up of the root 'am-', related to love, and 'rilato', which means relationship, so literally, 'love relationship') is a romance between these two girls who can barely even talk to each other. Their clumsy efforts are endearing and are sure to warm your heart. The world is also very cleverly constructed and, even though due to its short length it can't spare the time to go tackle the small details, it always feels consistent and believable. It won't be a huge burden on your suspension of disbelief, is what I'm trying to say, barring the fundamental isekai premise, that is. Speaking of which... yeah! this is technically a yuri isekai! Now, I can't claim to have read an insane amount of VNs or having watched a crazy number of anime, but I have the feeling that this combination of genres is not particularly common.

Anyway, the bottom line is, this is one of the most unique VNs I've read. Would I recommend it to everyone? Definitely not. This is only for people who are interested in communication and language (not necessarily Esperanto, as that is just an easy vehicle the VN picked to tell its story: don't expect Esperantist culture) and don't mind to put in the effort just the same way our protagonist does. I would say that if you are big into yuri you should still enjoy it nonetheless, but really, you can only get the whole magical experience this little gem has to offer with some active hard work on your part.

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Oh god I think I'm gonna become hella spoiled by Yuzusoft

I forgot that they actually put in the effort to change character sprites to go in tandem with what whatever the characters are currently saying. Bless whoever they hired that has enough OCD to take the time to do all of that.

It actually makes me want to listen to the entire dialogue rather than doing my whole min/maxing sweetspot reading because it really does amplify the reading experience significantly.

~~
Anyways I ended up going for Riddle Joker, cuz I need me some high school superpowers

Friggen' Himawari, bless its the-whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts-cough-Aqua-Best-Girl took a whopping the entirety of Episode One+Two for me to finally settle down and really start enjoying the narrative for what it was, but Riddle Joker was instant hook line and sinker for me and I'm enjoying everything right off the bat.

Protagonist is (first) Satoru Arihara, a combat-capable-but-slacking-in-studies realist high school boy and he's part of a secret organization of "Astrals" who seek to use their powers for the greater good, vigilante style.

His latest mission: to infiltrate the nation's first prominent Astral education/research facility.

He has a younger sister, too. Foster sister. Nanami Arihara. And man, every VN I'm reading lately is making me realize I'm simply the siscon type, godhelpme, Nanami is fantastic. She's the well meaning younger-than-protagonist-but-responsible/mature-enough-that-she-essentially-takes-care-of-him-like-an-older-sister-type, but she's very, very shy/introverted around others and will have her vulnerable moments where she'll call "Satoru-kun" the coveted "Onii-chan" instead. She's also Satoru's partner in crime in the secret organization they're in, so they have that dynamic going on for them as well. Jeez, what more can you ask for in a brother/sister relationship?

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I'd go straight back to sleep all day errday, just so I could get awakened again and again and again by such a kawaii sister lel.

 

But step aside Nanami, first impression best girl hands down goes to:

Ayase Mitsukasa.

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Anyone who knows me, knows pink is an automatic win, no questions asked. Pink, responsible role model, student council president...all this is about as common and standard as it gets but I shall never tire of it heh.

Now, I would've been fine with Ayase as is because I'm ez, but hoh boy this oughta be fun(SLIGHT SPOILERS):

Spoiler

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SHE'S A FAKE GOODY TWO SHOES LOLOLOL WELL PLAYED, YUZUSOFT!!!!!!!!!! WELL! PLAYED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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This last week, I finished reading Higurashi: Himatsubushi:mare: It didn't feel as amazing as the previous ones, but it was good enough!

I'll admit, the first bit of it was kinda boring because of all the infodump and the lack of action and, overall, it was kinda slow.

I played the mod version with the choices, but I was expecting the bad ending to be, idk, longer? It was very underwhelming lol

Now, for the spoilers...

Spoiler

Rika mentions how she is going to die in the future and I mean, she does die in both Watanagashi and Tatarigoroshi; she probably dies in Onikakushi as well, we're just not aware because of our POV. At least, that's my theory. Since the disaster occurs in this chapter as well, it's only logical it would happen in ALL chapters, the only difference is that Keiichi would die first.

Damn, this one didn't have any screenshots worth sharing :gasp:  Welp, I'll give this one a 7/10

Anywaaaaaays, I'm reading Higurashi: Meakashi already (just finished chapter 1) and it's so cool aaaa!!! :yuzuXD:

Edited by Fujoneko
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Yesterday I finished Konneko. It took me 62 hours, but they got stretched over almost 4 months ;) I played all-ages PS2 version.

As for the premise - you play as Yuu Katase, who lost his parents when being few years old. Currently he lives with Kawahara sisters - his two cousins - Touka, who is about the same age as him, and her older sister Mizuha, who works as a teacher at the school they both attend, and acts as the head of the family, since the sisters are also orphans.

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Touka suffers from some misterious condition, which makes her memory "reset" from time to time. This "curse" makes central background for the game, and affects each route in one way or another. The game begins when Touka gets released from the hospital after one of such "resets". Then there's Yuu's classmate, Mana Sakurai - smart but a bit strange girl, who loves to tease Yuu, but somehow they get along, and Nako Yuuki - a bit tsundere-ish girl from neighbor class, who seems to know Yuu even though he doesn't remember her.

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And finally there's Nanami - bratty blonde ojousama who moves into neighbor house, and calls Yuu her "oniichan".

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And finally there are two notable side characters - Kazune Tachihara (Yuu's homeroom teacher) and Miki Kirihara - Nako's best friend:

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How to sum it up...

It features quite likeable cast of characters, and I found comedic parts (which there are a lot) pretty funny. Routes get a bit more serious, going into light nakige realm - I liked it. Whole VN is based on the variations of childhood friends trope - meaning that each of the five main heroines (Touka, Mana, Nako, Mizuha and Nanami) has some past connection to the MC. That's what caught my attention, since I seem to like this trope. I'd say it's executed pretty well, and there's nice variety between routes, despite all being based on this trope. PS2 version adds two side-routes for Kazune and Miki - they branch off of the Mana's and Nako's routes. While Kazune's route was rather underwhelming (and I often found her character a bit annoying, especially due to her speaking style - she was often speaking veeeeeeryyyyy sloooooowlyyyy and in a childish way), Miki's was really good, and it also featured some nice character development for Nako.

In the console version, Nanami's route is locked until you complete all other routes. I wouldn't say it's True Route, but it explains more about the "curse" I mentioned in the beginning. It's also worth mentioning, that in the PC version Nanami's ending is borderline utsuge, since credits start rolling at a rather sad point in the story, and it clashes completely with the mood of the whole game. Console version fixes that, adding pretty long-winded post-credits epilogue for Nanami.

So, we have good parts covered, now for the drawbacks.

My first gripe is about scenario - all routes except Mizuha's and Nanami's lack epilogues - they end a bit too early for my taste. Yeah, the endings are optimistic, but I'd like to see some timeskip epilogue or sth like that.

The other ones are more about technical side and production values. First - when there's music change, the previous track gets cut abruptly, with no fade out. I found it very jarring, and it made the story feel a bit "disconnected", since the scene transitions weren't as smooth as they should. Next - this VN would definitely benefit from a bit more backgrounds, since too many scenes were played over generic street background (or even black screen). And finally - only the abovementioned characters have sprites and voices. Everyone else is invisible and silent.

Considering all of the above, it's 7.5/10 - lots of good parts and lots of drawbacks, but enjoyable.

*******************************************************

Also, as usual, I skimmed through +18 PC version. And again it was huge letdown. H-scenes felt very tacked-on, and often out of character. Right after love confession in the moonlit classroom, I feel like a kiss (PS2) is much more appropriate than going straight for a blowjob (PC). Really, those scenes were just like flipping through standard hentai catalogue. Meh...

And then there's lack of proper ending for Nanami, which seals the deal.

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EDIT: I was wrong about Nanami's true ending in PC version - it just got relegated to the "Omake" menu.

********************************************************

For my next read, I think I'm going to choose another Maruto's work - Parfait.

Edited by adamstan
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And, as planned, two days ago I started reading Parfait ~Chocolat Second Brew~ Standard Edition

First impressions...

One of the main features of Maruto's writing - great interactions and dynamics between characters - is there right from the start, just like in his two previous games I've read (Kono Aozora ni Yakusoku o and Folklore Jam).

Backgrounds look very good, character sprites need some getting used to, but aren't bad ;)

Game engine has lots of nice features, like quick save/load bar on the right, or color-coded text for different characters. The only thing that I'd prefer not to have is map movement system, which sort-of forces you to build your own common route.

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6 hours ago, rax said:

Finaly finished Digital Seclusion.It was a very good Visual Novel i liked.i got the bad end.Is there other endings or routes? I'm in doubt about it.

I'm not familiar with this game, but usually VNs have more than one ending (except the so-called "kinetic novels"). If you're in doubt, it's best to search for a walkthrough/guide.

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So, I finally finished reading the fifth chapter of Higurashi (aka Meakashi) and man, does it feel amazing to read it for the first time! The previous ones were all rereads so I kinda knew what to expect (although I didn't remember a lot) but this one, even tho it's related to the Watanagashi chapter, it had a completely different feeling~

Spoiler

I wouldn't call Shion your typical yandere, but I see the "dere" types as a spectrum (especially when it comes to tsundere and yanderes, who are usually the more complicated ones), and Shion would definitely be in it.

My comments (spoilers, obviously)

Spoiler

Chapter 2

Seeing Shion and Mion getting along so well is kinda weird ngl

Noooo, poor Satoko! I hate that sprite of hers, it breaks my heart :(( also, Satoshi's POV?? Woah

Chapter 3

So Shion can just cry at command, huh... Interesting, interesting. That means she was probably faking it in the telephone, if it was actually Shion and not Mion.

Chapter 4

Ryuukishi mentioned in the review session that she was trying to get sympathy from the reader but wow, she sucked at that huh. I mean, I never liked her much but knowing the shit she did to Satoko when she was just a child made me really fucking angry. As someone who spent their entire childhood afraid of being at home because of my entire family and terrified of everything because of it, it's not something you can just "grow up and deal with"! :kohascold: And besides! Satoshi shouldn't be the ideal teen Shion thinks he is. He is supposed to be immature and childish but, just like Coach said, he was forced to grow up and be mature, that's what trauma does to you. That's what happened to me but now that I'm in a better place my brain has finally started to develop again (because yeah, if your brain is in "survival mode", it kinda freezes emotionally until you are safe again) it has caused all sorts of issues because I'm 20 and I have the emotional intelligence and stability of a 14 y/o. Satoshi isn't mature, it's just a fucking way to cope, ugh. I find Satoshi cute and all, but Shion just idolizes him way too much; that ain't healthy, gurl. Anyways, a child is supposed to cry and let it all out to be healthy, that much amount of stress and repression is literally killing them inside (like, cortisol isn't supposed to be so high for that amount of time because it becomes TOXIC to the body) and what does Shion do? FUCKING BEAT THAT CHILD EVEN MORE :disgust: Shion is a teen and is in love, I get it. Still no excuse to beat a fucking child younger than her. I just can't sympathize, sorry lmao

Oh, and also: so, Shion is the one Satoshi talked to before Watanagashi, about taking Satoko with her... Does that mean the one Keiichi talked to in chapter 3 was also Shion or was it Mion? I mean, Shion could have told her later on, since she can't go to the festival herself. But... there's no way Mion would know every exact thing Satoshi told Shion, just like Keiichi did, hmmm... I'm still not sure.

Chapter 11

I was already kinda expecting them to switch places, but I wasn't expecting them to have had switched names when they were little kids, woah; now that's a mindfuck.

Chapter 13/bad ending

The bad ending was depressing af, c'mon. I find Keiichi and Mion really cute together, even if Keiichi is a dense mf :yuzusad:

So far, this is my rank:

#1 Tatarigoroshi
#2 Watanagashi
#3 Onikakushi
#4 Meakashi
#5 Himatsubushi

Anyways, I'll give this one a 7,8/10! Next will be Tsumihoroboshi (chapter 6)! :nyanpasu:
I can't wait to be with my boi Keiichi again~

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Currently enjoying Kinkoi, but the following dialogue went completely over my head. Does anyone have any idea what it's a reference to?

rkoFIY.jpg

In any case, it's one of the better VNs I've read lately, although there's a weird (and somewhat creepy) bug that causes face sprites to show up separated from the heads, but it doesn't happen too often. Here's an example:

(I might've added some additional text. *cough*)

WoHkj8.jpg

Edited by Seraphim
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