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The State of VNs


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3 minutes ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

I know that pain, I know it so well... :tears:

;_;

But enough of derail.

Srsly, I'm a person that appreciate simplicity (this is way I like Doki Doki or something like Undertale), no reason to make every story complex, no reason to make every VN like a book.

EDIT: Also Plz don't compare Sakura Spirit to Doki Doki, they are two different entities.

Edited by Guest
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4 minutes ago, Ranzo said:

I do think that people who are talented writers should look into making Visual Novels, not because it's a guaranteed success or anything (nothing is) but that is just another avenue for displaying your creativity. Visual Novels are a unique story driven, interactive vehicle that has a massive amount of untapped potential. The fact that the western side of vn making is largely filled with rubbish should be seen as a great opportunity to carve out your own space and find a audience. Not the other way around. Look at something like Major/Minor, now it is a failure in almost every conceivable level but it was highly successful. Why? It was highly successful because it found it's audience which just so happened to be furries. The same thing goes with all the Sakura games, they were able to find a audience of people who wanted trashy, fan service filled nonsense and that's what they got. There are always going to be people out there who clamor for unique stories with quality writing as well it's just a matter of actually creating something and marketing it.

 

I don't think most things done in the West are "rubbish". I enjoy Ebi-hime VNs and find some really indie games, such as those posted in Renai.us, really charming. And the flagship, Katawa Shoujo, made many of us stay in this hobby.

Major/Minor... huh, the furry visual novel (there are other examples). I think that the furry community is a really closed off space where things are instantly liked just because they are furry, not by other merits. Well, let them be.

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3 minutes ago, Dreamysyu said:

And yeah, I'm always for a bigger variety in VN types, and I really wouldn't mind if a new genre of VNs suddenly becomes much more similar to regular books. Actually, I will love that. I just hate when some people imply that there is a correct way to enjoy media, no matter what it is.

That. Instead of worrying about what you should be liking, just enjoy what you happen to like, for whatever reason. That's the smart thing to do.

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I've always accepted that the best VN writers, such as Fujisaki, Shumon Yuu, and Masada, will probably never receive full recognition for their skills, accept amongst bibliophile VN readers and people who like the type of thing they write.  I hate it... but I also hated it whenever I passed the romance novel section in my book store and saw it was three times as big as the fantasy/sci-fi section.  After more than twenty-five years of such experiences, all I can do is struggle in my own way to come to terms with the fact that I'm always going to be a minority, in terms of preferences... though it took me fifteen of those years to accept it (I'm stubborn).

The very proof of my statement is the fact that Light and Nitroplus inevitably have to sell large amounts of goods related to their games to make up for their costs every time they release a big one.  It is the price of making their VNs virtually unreadable for the uninitiated, lol. 

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6 minutes ago, Okarin said:

I don't think most things done in the West are "rubbish". I enjoy Ebi-hime VNs and find some really indie games, such as those posted in Renai.us, really charming. And the flagship, Katawa Shoujo, made many of us stay in this hobby.

Major/Minor... huh, the furry visual novel (there are other examples). I think that the furry community is a really closed off space where things are instantly liked just because they are furry, not by other merits. Well, let them be.

Yeah, I suppose that was a little unfair of me to say though I was exaggerating a great deal about the market. There are some real gems to be sure, and the potential to make more.  That's not to say that the market isn't swamped with copycats and drivel however, I think that's true of most things.

The furry community is a untapped market specifically because of that, think of the success a furry vn could have if it had a quality story, art, and writing. It could not only reach the community that would automatically support it but branch out and reach people who might not be so inclined to play something furry related, especially if it wasn't marketed as being such.

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4 minutes ago, Ranzo said:

 

The furry community is a untapped market specifically because of that, think of the success a furry vn could have if it had a quality story, art, and writing. It could not only reach the community that would automatically support it but branch out and reach people who might not be so inclined to play something furry related, especially if it wasn't marketed as being such.

Yeah, the Furry community receives a lot shit already. Also this VN+Dating Sim Hybrid called Amorous have high production values, and even animated sex scenes, Dunno 'bout the story though. xoD

Though that is besides the point. I was just trying to give a example of what you were proposing... (Though I guess the target audience is obvious in that one)

Really, I agree that experimentation of an untouched could generate some nice stuff, and maybe even stimulate people to give VNs a try with a open mind. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, EastCoastDrifter said:

This is basically the difference between western writing and Japanese writing. Western writing is more concise and to-the-point, while Japanese writing thrives on inconsistency because there's some artistic merit to it.  Simply put, most western readers are either baffled by or don't like Japanese writing because it doesn't follow a consistent story path that they expect them to follow.  Since the majority of VNs are from Japan, naturally, they follow the Japanese writing formula.  A lot of OELVNs I've seen are created as a counter-response to this in order to make them more like western literature, simply because it's what westerners are used to.

Modern western writing is built a lot on conflict, and writers are constantly told to add conflict into novels. Act 2 of the 3 act structure many writers use is literally called confrontation. In comparison the Asian 4 act story structure of Kishotenketsu is built without conflict. That isn't to say there's no conflict in these stories, but it's not built into the actual structure for one. It's a very different style:

Act 1 - introduction
Act 2 - development
Act 3 - twist (might be poorly translated)
Act 4 - conclusion

I'll quote from an external source here:

The basics of the story–characters, setting, etc.–are established in the first act and developed in the second. No major changes occur until the third act, in which a new, often surprising element is introduced. The third act is the core of the plot, and it may be thought of as a kind of structural non sequitur. The fourth act draws a conclusion from the contrast between the first two “straight” acts and the disconnected third, thereby reconciling them into a coherent whole. Kishōtenketsu is probably best known to Westerners as the structure of Japanese yonkoma (four-panel) manga; and, with this in mind, our artist has kindly provided a simple comic to illustrate the concept.

33thvyv.jpg
Each panel represents one of the four acts. The resulting plot–and it is a plot–contains no conflict. No problem impedes the protagonist; nothing is pitted against anything else. Despite this, the twist in panel three imparts a dynamism–a chaos, perhaps–that keeps the comic from depicting merely a series of events. Panel four reinstates order by showing us how the first two panels connect to the third, which allows for a satisfactory ending without the need for a quasi-gladiatorial victory. It could be said that the last panel unifies the first three. The Western structure, on the other hand, is a face-off–involving character, theme, setting–in which one element must prevail over another. Our artist refitted the above comic into the three-act structure to show this difference.

o0cbwh.jpg
The first panel gives the reader a “default position” with which to compare later events; and the second panel depicts a conflict-generating problem with the vending machine. The third panel represents the climax of the story: the dramatic high point in which the heroine's second attempt "defeats" the machine and allows the can to drop. The story concludes by depicting the aftermath, wherein we find that something from the first act has changed as a result of the climax. In this case, our heroine sansbeverage has become a heroine avec beverage.

http://stilleatingoranges.tumblr.com/post/25153960313/the-significance-of-plot-without-conflict

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Vn's and lns are different then western media, but after reading a bunch I still don't yet see how Kishotenketsu describes them. I do think that any description/depiction of a world, character and events can constitute a story, even without plot or conflict.

Western shows usually can't pull their characters away from western culture, or western media tropes. LN's/VN's have their own tropes, but I actually like some of them.

Edited by Chronopolis
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14 hours ago, Mr Poltroon said:

I am afraid I have no solace to offer you. I am one such person that is entirely comfortable with things as they are for the moment.

The usual recommendation is that one should pursue that which one likes. If VNs as they are now do not suit your fancy, I would sadly recommend you look somewhere else that would better satisfy you, instead of... lamenting, I guess.

Yes, I would like there to be be more VNs written in a way that suits my tastes. Everyone wants more stuff they like. I'm more salty at the fact that while moe-fans have plenty of VNs to consume, Edgelords have lots of material, and people that just want porn are drowning in titles. I just want a few more VNs that are in a more literary style. I'll take 1 a year if I can get that. (Hell there probably is at least 1 a year, I'm just having a really hard time finding them)

11 hours ago, EastCoastDrifter said:

With that being said, since the post you quoted is from 4chan, it's best to take it with a grain of :salt:.

:salt::salt::salt::makina::salt::salt::salt:

 

9 hours ago, Clephas said:

I've always accepted that the best VN writers, such as Fujisaki, Shumon Yuu, and Masada, will probably never receive full recognition for their skills, accept amongst bibliophile VN readers and people who like the type of thing they write.  I hate it... but I also hated it whenever I passed the romance novel section in my book store and saw it was three times as big as the fantasy/sci-fi section.  After more than twenty-five years of such experiences, all I can do is struggle in my own way to come to terms with the fact that I'm always going to be a minority, in terms of preferences... though it took me fifteen of those years to accept it (I'm stubborn).

The very proof of my statement is the fact that Light and Nitroplus inevitably have to sell large amounts of goods related to their games to make up for their costs every time they release a big one.  It is the price of making their VNs virtually unreadable for the uninitiated, lol. 

Clephas, I don't know how you do it. But I admire you a lot for it. It always sucks being in a minority. Hell, as the responses on this thread have proven. I am apparently in a minority of a minority. Western Otaku that are actually into VNs are rare enough, but being a western Otaku that likes VNs and prefers a western style narrative. It seems I'm an outcast among outcasts. And yeah, I feel the same disdain towards romance novels as you. I really feel your pain there.

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51 minutes ago, Zalor said:

Western Otaku that are actually into VNs are rare enough, but being a western Otaku that likes VNs and prefers a western style narrative.

You're looking for small fish in a very big pond.  I doubt there's a Japanese-made VN out there that tackles a more western narrative, and even if there are, they're extremely rare indeed.

Honestly, if you're looking for a western narrative in VNs, then your best bet would be OELVNs, since they're made by westerners with a more western narrative in mind.  Of course, if you see OELVNs as a "cardinal sin" to VNs as a whole, well...  What else can I say.  You're out of luck.  Sorry.

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1 hour ago, Zalor said:

Western Otaku that are actually into VNs are rare enough, but being a western Otaku that likes VNs and prefers a western style narrative. It seems I'm an outcast among outcasts.

If that was your point, I think you've simply chosen a very poor way of presenting that. Your post didn't really make me feel you simply ask for "different" VN writing, but rather suggesting that VN writing, apart from a few hidden gems, is absolute shit, and you want much-higher quality, and more serious stories. Considering how big and varied the VN market is, even if we just look at the OELVN scene, it's a position that for me feels somewhat hard to defend - unless you have a very, very specific taste that Japanese media simply don't fit into.

But then, why VNs in the first place? I'm not asking this out of spite, I just wonder why would you bother with a genre you generally don't enjoy?

Edited by Plk_Lesiak
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3 minutes ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

If that was your point, I think you've simply chosen a very poor way of presenting that. Your post didn't really make me feel you simply ask for "different" VN writing, but rather suggesting that VN writing, apart from a few hidden gems, is absolute shit, and you want much-higher quality, and more serious stories. Considering how big and varied the VN market is, even if we just look at the OELVN scene, it's a position that for me feels somewhat hard to defend - unless you have a very, very specific taste that Japanese media simply don't fit into.

But then, why VNs in the first place? I'm not asking it spite, I just wonder why would you bother with a genre you generally don't enjoy?

I'm out of likes, but this.

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1 hour ago, Zalor said:

Clephas, I don't know how you do it. But I admire you a lot for it. It always sucks being in a minority. Hell, as the responses on this thread have proven. I am apparently in a minority of a minority. Western Otaku that are actually into VNs are rare enough, but being a western Otaku that likes VNs and prefers a western style narrative. It seems I'm an outcast among outcasts. And yeah, I feel the same disdain towards romance novels as you. I really feel your pain there.

Just like with movies, anime, manga, music, tv shows etcetc.. the people who dont want utter trash is always a minority as the masses wants simple and easy to consume entertainment. This wont change at any point. I dont mind reading some moe or such once in a while, but true story driven vns with a great cast (preferably with no shitty self insert protag and the typical cast of heroine archetypes) is my favourite.

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4 hours ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

If that was your point, I think you've simply chosen a very poor way of presenting that. Your post didn't really make me feel you simply ask for "different" VN writing, but rather suggesting that VN writing, apart from a few hidden gems, is absolute shit, and you want much-higher quality, and more serious stories. Considering how big and varied the VN market is, even if we just look at the OELVN scene, it's a position that for me feels somewhat hard to defend - unless you have a very, very specific taste that Japanese media simply don't fit into.

But then, why VNs in the first place? I'm not asking this out of spite, I just wonder why would you bother with a genre you generally don't enjoy?

Fair question, and honestly, a question that I've been asking myself a lot recently. I've been reading VNs since I was 13 (am 20 almost 21 now), so they have been a part of my life for a long time. And even though I go long stretches of time without touching a VN, I always find myself coming back. I have a strong emotional attachment to this medium. When I first started reading VNs, I hated reading. Books were the last thing I wanted to spend my time on. But due to having visuals and audio, the format of VNs appealed to me a lot. Then some time in High School thanks to a few great Literature teachers I had, I was introduced to the joys of books after avoiding (and even hating) them for so long. As I began reading literature more my tastes started to change. And this isn't because of any differences between East vs West when it comes to story telling. I've read a decent amount of 20th century Chinese and Japanese literature (as well as a lot of pre-modern and early modern Japanese literature). It's just that I became accustomed to "good writing", at least what academics call "good writing". I identify a lot with the "elitist" tastes of academics. But at the same time, if I ever bring up VNs in conversation with serious literature fans, they laugh me off the street. And understandably why, I really don't think most VNs are up to the same standard in writing quality. But here is the thing... 

When I read VNs, sometimes I find some that are written with the genius I find in literature. And I find them even more impactful than regular books because of their ability to immerse the reader through good use of music and visuals. Hell, that's why I occasionally post analysis blogs on VNs. Since sometimes they impress me so much, I can't stop thinking about the themes and composition of the VN for days or weeks. I get honest to god obsessive, in a way that I don't with any other creative medium. I love that feeling. I appreciate the beauty in life for weeks after reading a VN that really captured and impressed me. I think Clephas once said that reading a good VN for him is better than sex, and I agree with this sentiment. There is a real euphoric joy I find in VNs. But unfortunately, due to my standards for writing (call me pretentious, I really don't care as I am quite self-aware of that fact), I can only find this precise kind of joy around once to 3 times a year.

Now, while I honestly do think that most VNs are poorly written when compared to literature. I also think that lots of books are poorly written as well. Its just that with books, there are enough great ones that keep me distracted from complaining. But with VNs there is a real scarcity for someone with my peculiar taste. 

And while admittedly I speak rather harshly and perhaps offensively, I am admittedly jealous of people that can enjoy most modern and typical VNs. They can find the joys that VNs have to offer much easier than I can. Though once again going with the sex comparison. There is nothing quite like toiling and exhausting yourself in the pursuit for orgasim and then achieving it. Meaning that maybe I get this euphoric, almost orgasmic joy from a handful VNs precisely because I do have to struggle to find them...

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I think enjoyment and fascination is a state of the mind. While it's rare that you're going to come across exactly the vn you felt like reading, if you try reading a bunch of stories, you might get into a few of them, and that will be just as good.

The more stuff you enjoy, the more comparisons you can draw, which might help you enjoy other works.

 

 

 

Edited by Chronopolis
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6 hours ago, Zalor said:

Fair question, and honestly, a question that I've been asking myself a lot recently. I've been reading VNs since I was 13 (am 20 almost 21 now), so they have been a part of my life for a long time. And even though I go long stretches of time without touching a VN, I always find myself coming back. I have a strong emotional attachment to this medium. When I first started reading VNs, I hated reading. Books were the last thing I wanted to spend my time on. But due to having visuals and audio, the format of VNs appealed to me a lot. Then some time in High School thanks to a few great Literature teachers I had, I was introduced to the joys of books after avoiding (and even hating) them for so long. As I began reading literature more my tastes started to change. And this isn't because of any differences between East vs West when it comes to story telling. I've read a decent amount of 20th century Chinese and Japanese literature (as well as a lot of pre-modern and early modern Japanese literature). It's just that I became accustomed to "good writing", at least what academics call "good writing". I identify a lot with the "elitist" tastes of academics. But at the same time, if I ever bring up VNs in conversation with serious literature fans, they laugh me off the street. And understandably why, I really don't think most VNs are up to the same standard in writing quality. But here is the thing... 

When I read VNs, sometimes I find some that are written with the genius I find in literature. And I find them even more impactful than regular books because of their ability to immerse the reader through good use of music and visuals. Hell, that's why I occasionally post analysis blogs on VNs. Since sometimes they impress me so much, I can't stop thinking about the themes and composition of the VN for days or weeks. I get honest to god obsessive, in a way that I don't with any other creative medium. I love that feeling. I appreciate the beauty in life for weeks after reading a VN that really captured and impressed me. I think Clephas once said that reading a good VN for him is better than sex, and I agree with this sentiment. There is a real euphoric joy I find in VNs. But unfortunately, due to my standards for writing (call me pretentious, I really don't care as I am quite self-aware of that fact), I can only find this precise kind of joy around once to 3 times a year.

Now, while I honestly do think that most VNs are poorly written when compared to literature. I also think that lots of books are poorly written as well. Its just that with books, there are enough great ones that keep me distracted from complaining. But with VNs there is a real scarcity for someone with my peculiar taste. 

And while admittedly I speak rather harshly and perhaps offensively, I am admittedly jealous of people that can enjoy most modern and typical VNs. They can find the joys that VNs have to offer much easier than I can. Though once again going with the sex comparison. There is nothing quite like toiling and exhausting yourself in the pursuit for orgasim and then achieving it. Meaning that maybe I get this euphoric, almost orgasmic joy from a handful VNs precisely because I do have to struggle to find them...

Now this is a better summary than the one you just presented at the start of the thread.  Rather than quote a post from 4chan (which let's be honest here, isn't the best site to quote sources from), and be cryptic with your explanation, you could've been straight forward with your approach like the one here.  Because honestly, your earlier summary left me confused as to what you're trying to get at.  I fully respect your opinion, and I wish you the best of luck to find that sweet spot in VNs you've been looking for.

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6 hours ago, Zalor said:

I can only find this precise kind of joy around once to 3 times a year.

Wait, isn't this actually quite a lot? ;) I think, it's practically impossible to enjoy some form of media very often. Even if you only read very good VNs, if there are too many of them, you will start finding faults in them. That's exactly why I don't try to read too many good VNs in a row, I'll eventually just burn out (happened to me a few times in the past).

As for quality of writing, I think that books simply have more titles in general than story-focused VNs, so it's quite natural that the standards are higher. Plus, as I said earlier, the standards for writing are pretty relative to what time you live in and what media you are talking about. Most light novels, for example, are pretty badly written if we compare them to "serious" literature, but it doesn't change the fact that some of them have pretty good world-building or interesting characters. To me this matters more than mostly technical stuff like the quality of writing, so, I guess, I'm lucky.

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Don't you think is ultimately unfair to compare the writing of a classical novel to that of a VN? Of course the first will have more extense and detailed narrative, as that's precisely its means of immersion, while the latter will rely more on dialogue and internal monologue while delegating the task of building the atmosphere and landscape to the visuals and soundtrack. 

Perhaps it's that I haven't read enough good books in my life, but I don't think that in terms of story telling the average quality found in VNs is inferior. 

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4 minutes ago, Thyndd said:

Don't you think is ultimately unfair to compare the writing of a classical novel to that of a VN? Of course the first will have more extense and detailed narrative, as that's precisely its means of immersion, while the latter will rely more on dialogue and internal monologue while delegating the task of building the atmosphere and landscape to the visuals and soundtrack. 

By the way, would most classical novels even work if we adapted them into the VN format, simply adding sprites and fitting music? I'm personally not so sure about it.

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2 hours ago, Dreamysyu said:

By the way, would most classical novels even work if we adapted them into the VN format, simply adding sprites and fitting music? I'm personally not so sure about it.

I think so.  As someone who has read Les Miserables and Anne of Green Gables, VN adaptations of these novels would probably work the same way as modern kinetic VNs would.  It's important to note that most classic novels were written from either the late 19th Century or early 20th Century, where there's a much greater focus on character development from start to finish.  So in theory, they could work.

Edited by EastCoastDrifter
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38 minutes ago, EastCoastDrifter said:

I think so.  As someone who has read Les Miserables and Anne of Green Gables, VN adaptations of these novels would probably work the same way as modern kinetic VNs would.  It's important to note that most classic novels are written from either the late 19th Century to early 20th Century, where there's a much greater focus on character development from start to finish.  So in theory, they could work.

Well, I guess. But at the same time, I don't know about you, but I wouldn't read Les Miserables as a VN if I can simply read a book. At the same time, it's definitely not the only way to make a VN work. For example, something like Mug Luv Alternative doesn't even need stellar writing, considering how much it relies on its visuals.

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1 hour ago, Dreamysyu said:

By the way, would most classical novels even work if we adapted them into the VN format, simply adding sprites and fitting music? I'm personally not so sure about it.

Some might be adaptabl-ish, I guess. I can see theatre plays working better in VN format than say modernist literature, which relies heavily on the form. 

The same may be true the other way around. There are VNs that I could not conceive a way to adapt it into a novel, and not only due to having multiple routes, but because it's mainly a audiovisual experience. 

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2 hours ago, Thyndd said:

Don't you think is ultimately unfair to compare the writing of a classical novel to that of a VN? Of course the first will have more extense and detailed narrative, as that's precisely its means of immersion, while the latter will rely more on dialogue and internal monologue while delegating the task of building the atmosphere and landscape to the visuals and soundtrack

Yeah, I totally agree that dialogue and internal monologues are the skeletal structure of VN writing. I have nothing wrong with this (in fact, I think it allows for a very immersive narrative). But there is a standard to writing that I think applies to both mediums. And it is basically this, (I'm paraphrasing) "Every line should have a purpose". Too often VNs are bloated with way more text and even entire scenes or routes that are unnecessary. And this definitely distracts from the core of the work. Even one of my favorite VNs has this significant problem, Subarashiki Hibi. Don't get me wrong, its a great VN, but it did drag out a lot on certain parts.

 

And we really didn't need that bicycle pissing scene.

But then there are VNs (Saya no uta, Narcissu, Swan Song, etc to give a few example) that I think do follow that rule of having every line being relevant. Either by building the situation, the setting, perspective, characterization/character development, philosophy and advancement of the plot. In this way I think you can compare books and VNs. Also, its bonus points if the prose and style of writing is pretty. But I think that's a little too subjective. And in VNs I think stylistic prose intrinsically matters less because art and music is there, but it can always be a nice touch imo.

@EastCoastDrifter: In retrospect I think I did start this thread a little oddly and I do apologize for that. But to be honest, I didn't really know exactly what it was that I wanted to say until I discussed it out a bit here. I had these feeling I really wanted to express, but I didn't know how to accurately express them in words until I talked them out a bit. Eventually as you read, I managed to figure it out. Glad I managed to clear things up a bit. 

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