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Clephas' VN of the month


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Fucking yes, I agree with you. Kisaki was my favourite. She commit suicide twice -_-'... It was depressing. I wanted to smash my screen lol. Chrysoberyl die at the end if we pick Kanata end. Why didn't they kill Yoruko instead of Kisaki :'(. I didn't like the Mc in this game. I found him pretty useless. (+ he commit suicide too hahahaha). They is always someone to rescue him or help him...  Anyway, I admit that the writing was good. But I'm still not fond of Utsuge (Or close one here)

Yeah, undeniably Kisaki's death is by far the biggest downside to the game. I thought it was ironic that the protagonist is actually a better person overall after he commits suicide... definitely rofl-worthy. Also, this undeniably handles the side-heroine issues a lot better than in G-Senjou or Eustia. Sure, their endings are bad endings, but they actually

make sense, which was great. My biggest complaint with the G-Senjou plot structure is that it frequently blows even the smallest inconsistencies out of proportion, if you are an in-detail reader. Eustia was ten times worse than G-Senjou that way (G-Senjou was tolerable on this issue... Eustia was a nightmare).  Also, if Yoruko had been the one to die, yes I would have been delighted.  Oh, I would have pitied her and wept, but it wouldn't have hurt nearly as much as Kisaki dying.  I mean... she is the best incest-imouto ever.

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Kami no Ue no Mahoutsukai

 

This is a mystery/tragedy VN I began playing a few days ago, that utilizes a story structure almost identical to that used in G-Senjou and Eustia... but with realistic (if horribly tragic) side-endings for the various heroines other than the main.  This is a huge difference... especially since none of the side-endings of the other VNs made any sense, considering the greater context.

 

This VN manages to make that structure make sense.  The writer of this VN, despite how it appears at first, in the actual side-endings, does not leave any serious loose ends in the story.  If anything, those side-paths are really just really long bad endings, lol. 

 

Anyway... this is a mystery and a tragedy focused around the denizens of the 'Phantom Library', a library that exists solely for the sake of Yoruko, an albino girl who loves nothing more than reading.  This VN is not kind in any way, shape, or form to its characters.  Even if it seems like good things are happening, something horrid awaits around the corner.

There is seriously a lot of despair to this story... and some of the developments that come later on are outright scary in an existential fashion.   I honestly found myself feeling for all the characters, and I admired several of them from the bottom of my heart (Kisaki is perhaps the most admirable of the characters, though she definitely has her flaws). 

 

However, this game can be fairly shocking, and there is a huge atmosphere change about one eighth of the way through the game that is a bit hard on the reader.  This isn't a true utsuge (the existence of a main ending that is bittersweet but not bad makes that impossible), but it comes quite close.  Also, I think most readers will eventually come to hate Yoruko.  She is fragile, weak-willed, and easily misled due to her misanthropy and phobia of people in general. 

 

Overall, this VN is definitely a VN of the Month candidate... but it definitely will pick its readers.  tbh, I think this one is even more niche than chuuni.   It is definitely excellently written, and to a person with certain tastes, I think it will be irresistible.  However, because it doesn't fit into any genre comfortably, and the general atmosphere is so full of sadness and emotional suffering, I doubt it will become hugely popular, unless translated.

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Tsuki ni Yorisou, Otome no Sahou 2

 

 

Common Route

The common route of this game is first-rate.  I’ll say this flat-out.  The protagonist is hilarious (not for being stupid, but being overly capable and excessively sure of himself) in both his interactions and his internal narration.  I spent most of the common route smiling, much like the first two VNs in this series.  I will say that they took a significantly different path with the characters this time around… to be blunt, every last one of the main characters is weird.  The protagonist is a weird mix of Yuusei and Luna, Est is an aristocrat who happens to talk like a mafia bitch when speaking any language other than Japanese,  Sakuri is a bisexual pervert who is obsessed with white hair, Haruko is a weak-spirited motor-mouth genius, and Rumine’s hobby is pronouncing sentences (criminal) on people.  In addition, you have the insane genius from France; the protagonist’s little sister Atre, who acts perfectly normal around her bigger brother but goes yuri around ‘Asahi onee-sama’; and the do-M maid who falls in love with the protagonist.  Needless to say, the cast is hilarious, if anything moreso than that of the first game… but in exchange, it feels a lot lighter than the first two games and the characters lack a lot of the depth that made those games first-rate.  Nonetheless, you won’t find many common routes of this quality out there.

 

Est

As a main heroine, Est is as close to the protag as you’d expect… but the pacing at the last part of her path is so terrible I had to sigh and roll my eyes.   I found it a bit amazing they could make such a great common path and trip so obviously on the main heroine’s path.  To be honest, I couldn’t help but hate the way the writer treated their relationship, and while I do like Est, I thought that the entire mess at the end of her path just lacked the sheer emotional impact I’d come to expect from the Tsuriotsu series.  It is like they tried to meld Luna’s path with some weird abomination of a half-assed emotional bond…   in other words, I was left feeling absolutely nothing for the events at the end of the path.  I’ll be straight.  The master-servant relationship thing only worked because this ‘Asahi’ was so do-S that ‘her’ master went submissive.  It bored me immensely when they decided to go the other way at the end… well, at least partially.  Their previous interactions were a lot more interesting than them once they’d admitted they loved each other, which is sad, considering the quality of the previous two games.  In some ways, I would have been happier with the protagonist as a heroine and if they’d just started a new protagonist from scratch.  Navel’s bad habit is over-milking its series, and that bad habit’s side-effect really comes out in this path.    

 

The sad part is that if they just hadn’t gone too far in imitating some of the flow of Luna’s route, this could have been a truly excellent story.  For one thing, Est is nowhere near the level of depth that Luna had as a character and for another, the depth of the bond there is also nowhere near the Asahi/Luna bond, so it doesn’t touch the heart in the same way.  I can almost guarantee that people who loved Luna will hate this path.  The worst part is that the epilogue fails to redeem the path, mostly because it was so utterly and pathetically predictable, even for a Navel game.

 

Haruko

Here is our 'normal-born girl' of this game.  She is sweet, easygoing, and hates conflict.  So, of course, I should probably hate her.  Fortunately, she is funny enough, with the help of Maru-Q (her friend and manager) that it is impossible to hate her.  Her path is far more pleasing than Est's, despite still lacking a lot of the depth I would have expected from a Tsuriotsu sequel.  Nonetheless, she and her path manage to escape being another 'Minato' (people who played the original will know what I mean).  A lot of the reason I liked this path was that, despite everything, I thought the protagonist was a lot more 'himself' in this one than he was in Est's, despite the odd decisions he made in the course of the path.  Not to mention their interactions are laugh-worthy.  This isn't a supremely high-quality path... but it also isn't a horrible one.  It is definitely more pleasing than Est's, at least from a Tsuriotsu fan's point of view.

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Sakuri

Sakuri is perhaps the most obviously weird of all the heroines.  From her first introduction to the protagonist, to the very last, she is the most perverted non-nukige heroine I've ever run across.  The fact that they managed to balance this aspect of her character with a really cute side she shows once you get to the lovey-dovey part of her path made her a much deeper character than Est or Haruko.  Her actual path is of higher quality than either Est's or Haruko's, with much better pacing and scenario design than Est's, and a generally better atmosphere than Haruko's. 

 

Rumine

This is by far the best path in this VN.  To be honest, I wasn't expecting this path to be so good... The reasons are fairly simple.  First, similar to Sakuri's path, the protagonist's personality wasn't dampened like it was in Haruko's or Est's paths toward the end.  In addition, there are a lot of layers of emotion and past to Rumine's and Saika's relationship that gave it a depth and flavor that lent it an emotional impact all of the other paths lacked, for the most part (there was one scene near the end of Est's path that was fairly good, but it was so out of character for Saika that I couldn't get into it).

 

Overall

This VN is nowhere near the quality of the original or even Otome Riron.  However, it does rise above the average for charage, and for fans of the series, if you avoid Est's and Haruko's routes, this is actually fairly satisfying (not to mention the canon after after story added for Luna that includes elements of Otome Riron's story into it).  The protagonist is a big draw, but Navel made its usual mistake of deliberately dimming the protagonist's personality in some of the paths to make an otherwise somewhat bland heroine stand out more.  This is the aspect of this company's style that I hate the most, to be honest.  One huge downside to this game is that it pretty much requires that you have played the original and the direct sequel to enjoy it fully.  At the same time, having played those two, you will inevitably come across things you won't be able to bring yourself to forgive.  All in all, I have to take this out of the running for VN of the Month, but it is an good extra for those who like the series... again, as long as you are willing to avoid Est's and Haruko's paths.

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Hello, Lady New Division

 

This is the fandisc of Hello, Lady, containing two routes focused on Mitori and Hishiya. 

 

Hishiya is the smart-mouthed but devoted maid (most likely of Middle Eastern descent) of Narita Shinri, the protagonist.  In some ways, she is the joke maid of some comedy VNs maid into a reality... you know, the type that has uzis, machine-guns, and rocket-launchers under her skirts?  Not to mention that one of her favorite pastimes is insulting her beloved master and putting him down in the middle of one of his grandiose speeches.  Her path is suitably cool and is based on a variation of Saku's path (most of it is told from her perspective) where Shinri loves her instead.  It happens to reveal a lot of the things that were happening in the background, and also explores the origin of their relationship.  On the whole, it was a satisfying path, with a nicely dramatic conclusion (great fight).

 

Mitori's path is both a personal exploration for her and Shinri, as well as an exploration of Onslaught Disorder, a 'disease' that effects some HMIs (I won't go into detail, as you aren't supposed to know them until you've finished one of the paths of the original).  She is a character that got very little attention in the first game, outside of being a catalyst for a lot of the events that occurred in the latter half of the VN.  Her back-story isn't as detailed (or dramatic) as Hishiya's, but it is interesting enough.  Also, this story touches upon the origin of HMIs (well, a theoretical origin, anyway) and is nice for filling in background and trivia.  In addition... this has a really good last battle (though Hishiya's was better in a lot of ways) and an ending that is somewhat bittersweet. 

 

Overall, this VN is a nice addition to the original that makes me wonder why they didn't just wait and release all six paths in a single VN... since these two would have fit in nicely with the others, given a few minor alterations.  Nonetheless, it manages to relieve some of the doubts and points I was curious about from the original, as well as giving me a path with the lovely Hishiya, so I am more than satisfied.

 

Edit:  I will be playing just two more VNs for December's releases before choosing a VN of the Month.  These two will be Holy Breaker and Nekopara.  Nekopara I will be reading because the community is staring at it with drool hanging out of their mouths, and Holy Breaker because it is so blatantly tempting me with its chuuni-ish concept.

 

Edit2:  Current Candidates for VN of the Year 2014

Nanairo Reincarnation

Houkago no Futekikakusha

AstralAir no Shiroki Towa

Semiramis no Tenbin

Hello, Lady (both combined)

Hikoukigumo no Mukougawa

Sekai to Sekai no Mannaka de

Bradyon Veda

 

This is a total list of candidates.  Several of them have very little chance of being chosen (AstralAir, Hikoukigumo, Hello Lady ) because of major flaws in the premise, the execution, or the pacing.  Hikoukigumo suffers from having one truly godly path and two only average ones.  AstralAir suffers from unsatisfying epilogues for several of is heroines as well as Favorite 'resting on its laurels' in many ways for the structure and ideas of the story (I mean... the main heroine is basically what would happen if you bred Mare and Shinku together, which is probably why the Favorite-adoring lolicons love her).  Hello, Lady is too reliant on Shinri to make the game interesting. 

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Nekopara

Nekopara, as those of us that have been paying attention for the last few months know, is a VN that just got a simultaneous release here and in Japan.  It is voiced in Japanese, and on the H-version, at least, you can choose which language you want to play in.  Of course, being me, I played it in Japanese.  This will be the first VN I've written about here that all members of the community can play, so I'll be as honest as I can be, without filtering this through the usual rainbow filter that yall get over your eyes when you play translated VNs.

 

First, visually this is an extremely beautiful VN.  The CGs are high-quality, the detailed animation during everyday scenes (which is reminiscent of Witch's Garden) is done well, with eye-styles that remind me of one of my favorites, Yurikago yori Tenshi made. 

 

Musically, this isn't anything to write home about.  The tracks are good but you aren't going to find any godly music here... They serve the purpose of creating the atmosphere and not much else beyond that.  The voices are good... but again you won't find any truly godly performances here.

 

Story-wise... this is a pure moege (reminiscent of the pre-charage era, when VNs were split into pure moege, nukige, and everything else).  Don't expect some kind of stellar story that will blow you out of the water.  Instead, expect a heart-warming, gentle story with two adorable cat-girl heroines who love their master.  To be honest, it is obvious they gained at least some inspiration from other similarly themed VNs (Sakura Iro Quartet and Otomimi Infinity come to mind) while deliberately choosing to focus on warming the heart over creating a strong story.

 

Overall?  This is a good choice if you just want something heart-warming to help you get over an utsuge, and it is pretty to look at.  However, don't expect to want to worship the ground its writers walk on.

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People are bashing this surprisingly often... but I didn't go into this VN expecting a masterpiece (good god, what kind of expectations do people have for a doujin-game anyway?), unlike some people.  I knew from the first scene that this was a moege, nothing more, nothing less.  Moreover, it was a straight-up 'pure' moege, meaning there is no depth of characters, no exploration of society or people, just cuteness, archetypical enjoyment, and eye-candy.  People really need to learn to take a step back and go 'so what can I really expect in a given situation?'  Seriously.  There is a very good reason why I bash pure moege like crazy.  Pure moege have nothing resembling depth, and the lack the dubious 'virtue' of being pure fap material that a nukige possesses.  Charage took the best aspects (though that too is a dubious concept) of moege and added on in-depth character development and character dynamics, in order to increase emotional attachment to the cast.  This is the type of moege we are most familiar with... and the 'purest' one that sells nowadays. 

 

Why am I raving?  Because people are divided into 'I love the cuteness' and 'it is so stupid' camps. Am I the only person who can take a step back, look at this VN objectively, and both bash and praise it as it deserves?  Because it does deserve both.  This happens every single, freaking time a new translated VN comes out.  The two sides get polarized and no one is willing to admit when they are wrong.  Worse, this VN is only four hours long in Japanese, so there really isn't that much to argue about in the first place.  So why am I getting complaints because I didn't side with either group?  Subjectively, this is a soothing VN, but that is about all I can say for it.  Objectively, it is pretty visually and impressive for a doujin effort, but it lacks a story and fails utterly to make effective use of the setting it introduces.   There, now you have both sides of my thoughts.  That pretty much covers everything there is to say about Nekopara in two sentences.

 

Edit: Now the Fuwans know why I object to any and all attempts to translate 'pure' moege.  There are some things people are just better off not experiencing.

 

Edit2:  At the same time, I strive for objectivity because I see that as the duty of being one of the very few people who have the capabilities and patience to pound their way through VN after VN in Japanese.  My views here are only ever meant to be a point of reference, save in a few cases where I seriously warn off any who might attempt to read a particular VN.   If I chose to review purely based on my subjective point of view, there are a lot of VNs in this thread that would have resulted in a lot more poison from me. 

 

Edit3:  Oh, and I'm adding Unionism Quartet to my list of December VNs because this one turned out to be so short (managed to play this in the background while working).  That means that that and Holy Breaker will be the last two.  Look forward to those, since Holy Breaker is, interestingly enough, made by a single person... meaning he basically did what he wanted to it without restrictions (hehe).  Unionism... looks like it could be a charage or a nukige. 

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Unionism Quartet

This is a VN that sort of resembles a cross between a chuuni-battle type and a seishun-sports type VN.  The sport in this VN is a type of duel carried out with weapons and armor that automatically repel one another (preventing most bodily harm).  The protagonist is a supposedly talented individual that gets recruited by Yurina (the Princess of Albion) for her Union (basically a group of would-be Knights that fight as a unit) to participate in an upcoming tournament. 

 

This is where it combines the chuuni and seishun-sports elements.  Basically, the protagonist is the type that gets stronger everytime he fights, whether he loses or not (sound familiar? *coughs* DBZ *coughs*) and rapidly goes from a nobody to what amounts to a superman.  Like most VNs using this particular type of convention, it is a bit exhilarating... but it is also so well-known and easy to follow that it has moments where it doesn't quite please me. 

 

There are no heroine 'routes' per-se.  Rather, depending on which heroine you are favoring by the time of the battle with Silveria, you get different sets of scenes in between main-story events, as well as a wildly different end and epilogue.

 

There are a total of eight heroines in this VN.  There are four main heroines, one secondary heroine, and three sub-heroines.

 

Main Heroines: Yurina, Milly, Remilia, and Amane.

Secondary: Silveria

Sub-Heroines: Juubei, Yuno, and Mariel.

 

The main heroines' endings are the longest, with the most involved after-stories, whereas choosing Silveria alters the ending battle and adds on a much 'denser' set of scenes when you are training with her.  The three sub-heroines basically have a few extra short scenes and a very short epilogue with H. 

 

Overall, the base quality of this VN is very high.  It is what I like to call a 'refined product', where the VN literally has no big problems that drag it down within the limits of the methodology it has chosen.  That there are no distinctive heroine routes is understandable, considering the focus of the story and the sheer density of events after the 'heroine flag'.  To be honest, I think it was a good move, considering how hard it would be to create different events of the same density for even just four paths, much less eight.

 

Who would this satisfy...?  It's a bit hard to say.  The battles are interesting and the training is classic 'nekketsu' fare... but the character dynamic is also reasonably funny and it is hard to stop yourself from smiling at some of the 'out-there' characters, such as Juubei or Mariel.  I do think that if you play this, you should probably just select one or two of the main heroines you want to follow and maybe Silveria... and just read their endings.  This would be VN of the Month material if this month didn't already have such a plethora of VNs of identical quality, but at this moment I honestly can't make a decision between the ones I've read for December.

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Holy Breaker

To be honest, I wasn't expecting this VN to be so short I could finish it under four hours... but I did.  Holy Breaker is, to put it bluntly, an old-style chuunige of the type you could find in dozens right after Tsukihime's release.  Destiny, destiny, destiny... gotta love being destined to fight, right?  lol

 

Anyway, I will say that the basic concept is sound and it felt like Itaru (the writer and artist) had something really good going there... unfortunately, it also looks like there are going to be multiple episodes (this being the first), and it deliberately strives for ambiguity in the telling of the story. 

 

The actual battles in this VN are relatively simplistic for something that really is a straight-on chuunige.  It reminds me of the ones from ExE, which were good, but not of the level of quality you'd see in kamige like Dies Irae or Muramasa. 

 

Story-wise, this was a very straightforward 'romance under stress plus magical combat' kinetic novel.  There are no attempts to include a large cast, and the plot is straightforward to the point of being blindingly obvious from beginning to end, simply because it ends so shortly after the beginning.  On the other hand, since the writer didn't attempt the complexity that characterizes most of the genre, he/she/it made it possible for it decent, despite being short.

 

Unfortunately, the fact that the VN ends without giving you an actual end to the story is going to leave readers feeling like they wasted their time.  Just when you think things are just beginning, the story ends.  Wow, that was... short.

 

Needless to say, I'm reserving judgment on this VN and I don't recommend anyone plays it unless Itaru puts out a complete version or a sequel.

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It isn't as abstruse as your usual chuunige, but it still hovers in the 5-7 range.  There are also some unusual kanji usages, such as for 'kaguya' (the name for the night with two moons).  However, those generally are accompanied by katakana pronunciations, so it isn't as much of a problem as you might think.

 

Edit:  Incidentally, for those who care, I honestly don't give a flying crap about who writes a given VN, as long as it is good.  One of the reasons I don't pay attention to writers is the degree to which producers exert control over their teams.  Good companies combined with good writers produce good VNs.  Bad companies with good writers produce bad VNs.  Good companies with bad writers produce bad VNs.  Thus, most VNs end up mediocre at best.  On the rare occasions when a company has the good sense to sit back and let a good writer do what he wants, the results can be an exception that proves the rule, though.

 

Edit2: Probably the biggest common point between Western and Eastern gaming industry producers is that neither have any understanding of what makes a good game or a good story, so the statement above about producers shouldn't surprise anyone.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Natsu no Iro no Nostalgia

I chose this as my first VN for this month mostly because I didn't want to start Tokeijikake yet and 1/7 no Mahoutsukai hasn't been uploaded yet...  but I was pleasantly surprised by the result.

 

First, I'll say that this isn't a kamige, by any stretch of the imagination.  Nonetheless, it is a good read (if you don't go in expecting a moege/slice-of-life).  This VN is a 'sort-of mystery' (not quite a mystery but has elements of one) that resembles a few others of the type, like Koko Yori, Haruka (superficially).   Unlike most of Moonstone's games, this escapes moege or nukige status by the simple fact that there is way too much tension between the characters for that to work.  There is always something dark or strange in the background, working against simple answers or simple results.  The characters are all 'trapped' in the Labyrinth or 'welcomed into Eden', as some of them choose to think, and this defines the primary conflict and source of tension for the first part of the common route. 

 

The drama in this VN is a bit too dark for a moege (which is the reason I refused to call this one), and this VN is full of psychologically broken girls who all have really deep issues.  The first three heroines, Misaki, Ayane, and Miyu, all have problems that are more or less straightforward, though deeply rooted and painful for everyone involved.  Resolving the issues in these paths makes it easy to become attached enough to the heroines to rejoice in their endings (which are actually decent, which makes a change from most other Moonstone games).  However, with the true path (Shouko's), you are forced to confront the protagonist's own issues as well as those of the heroine (which are pretty screwy as well). 

 

Overall, this is a VN that would be a good choice for someone wanting to get deeper into the characters and their personal issues than is normal in most VNs, though I think someone looking for something light (a reasonable expectation based on the outward appearance) would be deeply shocked the more they went into the story.  The themes in this game are shocking enough that your average moe-gamer would probably become physically ill, though there is no serious guro (other than a few scenes in Ayane's path). 

 

Edit:  Twincest route was a bit disappointing... Miu is a bit too annoying as a twin imouto.

 

Edit2: Personally, I thought some parts of the way they did the common route felt a little too contrived... but the actual heroine routes are mostly good and interesting.  I did feel that they moved too fast at some points, and this is a relatively short game, considering how in-depth they chose to be with the heroines' issues.

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Tokeijikake no Ley Line -Asagiri ni Chiru Hana-

 

A few things, before I begin.  Since this is the third in a series of three VNs that only really make a whole when stuck together, this is not a candidate for VN of the Month.  This VN is literally incapable of standing on its own due to the fact that it starts right from after the events of the second game.  Most importantly to keep in mind when playing this series is that this isn't a chuunige... it is ultimately a fantasy-mystery, and it should be taken as such.

 

First, I will say that the conclusion to this series isn't disappointing in any way.  It retains a lot of what made the previous two games interesting, while lacking some of that which made them frustrating (the incompleteness).  Unlike the previous two VNs, no time is spent on the slice-of-life aspects, and they are attacking the meat of the background and the main story from the very beginning.  As such, taken apart from the other two, it is a somewhat different story.

 

To those who have played the first two VNs, it should be obvious by now that Ushio is the only real heroine in these games, as the other heroine paths basically exist for h-scenes and don't make sense within the context of the mains story.  This is reflected even more obviously in this game, since there are literally no branches off of the main story this time.  This follows the cast of characters as they resolve the mystery of the school and bring an end to the dark plot that has been going on the background from the beginning. 

 

For those wondering whether they would like these games, the answer is a set of questions:  Do you like fantasy and mysteries?  The second is, do you like Ushio?  To put it bluntly, it would be hard to truly love the Tokeijikake series if you couldn't bring yourself to like Ushio.  She is the series' resident tsundere, and she is one in the classic sense... which means she is adorable when she goes dere, but she is all thorny most of the time, lol.  Thankfully, the protagonist seems to think of her as a particularly amusing toy most of the time, so it is a more balanced setting than it might sound at first.

 

Altogether, the three VNs in the series are about as long as Bradyon Veda and shorter than Dies Irae, for those who want a mark of just how long they are. 

 

My final thoughts... to be honest, I deliberately avoided 'reviewing' this VN straight-out because it couldn't be done without me replaying the previous two VNs first, and that would be just a little too frustrating now that I know all the mysteries behind everything that is going on.  The series as a whole is something that is worth paying attention to, and each of the three VNs is well-written and interesting.  However, I can't say that I'd put this series at the top of my list of VNs to play, even if they'd had the common sense to make it into a single long kinetic novel.

 

There are a few extras after you've completed the game, the most important of which are Ushio's after-stories and a special 'alternate world' story for Lito, who is a side-character vital to the story as a whole.

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Been playing Semiramis no Tenbin.

 

Ahahaha Ami and Reiji's relationship is so twisted. I only really felt that during one of the (around chapter 4) mellow sections. It's not twisted in that it's repulsive per se. Just that it's an unusual relationship that is hard to imagine and makes you a bit uncomfortable and not know what to think. Well, a fair amount of the "twistedness" to the relationship comes from Ami herself.

 

I thought the novel would be very edgy to start with, but it isn't. That's probably a good thing, as there are a of things the story couldn't show to the reader if they were paying attention to all these high-tension events going on. Later on I think it might be more cruel than edgy, but w/e. The discussions with Eru are probably the most interesting part so far. Eru herself is quite a pleasant character. Like someone you aren't attracted to but admire, and is pleasant. I think Ami is done well. She's subtly terrifying. The pace seems a teeny bit sluggish at times, but I've seen worse.

The novel isn't for everyone, the focus and direction of the "slice of life" and "exposition" is quite different from most VN's. It's been like 4 chapters and only like 3 characters have been developed further. Instead, a lot of ideas have been thrown around, main characters developed, and ground-work set. There's been no-payoff at all yet, not the most interesting opening section, but there have been interesting ideas and the two main heroines seem like no ordinary characters. It's pretty important for this VN to be aware and acknowledge what the story is introducing and what axis it's moving on. Otherwise it could be a pretty disappointing/boring novel.

 

I wonder if the game will have supernatural elements. I suppose, with the occasional voice in Reiji's head, it ought to be... (no spoil please :))

 

edit: http://puu.sh/fQWCN/94b17662db.jpg

makes so much sense

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1/7 no Mahoutsukai

To be honest, this VN hasn't impressed me so far, despite having completed one route already.  So, don't expect me to be naming this as a VN of the Month candidate unless the true heroine's route is godly.

 

Common Route

 

Interestingly, the common route is actually fairly good, if you ignore how pathetic most of the characters are (which is kind of hard to do) except the protagonist, who is a combination of kindness, intelligence, and inspiration (creative).  The three heroines available from the start - Misuzu, Yuno, and Manaka - are fairly drab and uninteresting.  You have the formerly outstanding osananajimi (Yuno), the lazy but incredibly talented bookworm (Misuzu), and the idiotic/stupid/moronic/hopelessly clumsy Manaka who also happens to have an artistic talent when it comes to casting magic.  Needless to say, with the true heroine playing almost no role except a few small appearances here and there where she acts like a total witch or is 'amazing', this is a fantastically boring lineup of heroines.  The reason the common route is redeemed is because the protagonist actually gets to show off how potentially awesome he is at its end.

 

Misuzu

 

Unfortunately, Misuzu's route basically repeats all the mistakes that Euphonie made with Koiken Otome.  It builds up interest in an upcoming conflict, only to suddenly replace it with something far more mundane, leading to a mundane ending.  The fact that the protagonist and heroine do get to show off their potential awesomeness again about midway from the end of the common route only outlines how horribly mundane and boring the rest of the path is.  I couldn't believe some of the crap they were doing leading up to the reasonably cool battle scene midway through Misuzu's route, either (considering how the writers were so busy outlining how harsh the conditions were in the school, it kind of baffled me that the characters were so pathetically lacking in a recognition of this fact at that point).  One thing you don't do with this kind of setting is end things quietly and peacefully (if you want people to find the VN as a whole interesting)... and that's exactly what they did.

 

A few more words before I go back to it

A few things that need to be said.  I am putting all my hopes on Ema's route (the true route), but those hopes have already faded a great deal with how disappointing Misuzu's route managed to be.  I will finish this VN... but I almost wish I wouldn't.

 

Edit:  Ah, now that I'm on my second route, I can tell you that the game has committed the cardinal sin when trying and failing to create an interesting game... combining the first parts of the heroine routes (including large amounts of repeated text, events, and basic event flows).  Seriously, I have to feel exasperated at this, as it has been proven again and again that people prefer to have their heroine routes at least reasonably distinct from the beginning and to avoid excessive repeated text....

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1/7 no Mahoutsukai (Part 2)

 

Yuno

I will say that Yuno's path is significantly better than Misuzu's in every way... except the actual heroine.  She is, sadly, just too whiny at all the wrong times for me to like her.  Making it worse is that she is so much of a 'normal girl', which wouldn't have been a problem if they'd established the VN's setting a bit differently.  Unfortunately, just like Manaka, she seems just out of place in general.  On the bright side, the actual plot and action in her story is significantly better, even if I frequently wanted to kick her repeatedly in the back of the skull by the end. 

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Manaka

 

Manaka's route was about what I expected it to be, since she is very much an 'intuitive' genius who happens to be an idiot at the same time (think Intelligence 14 Wisdom 0).  I hate airhead heroines... but her path was still slightly more satisfying than Misuzu's, and it is probably the ideal one to finish before going into Ema's route.

 

Ema

 

Fortunately, Ema's route does manage to redeem this game to an extent.  This definitely feels like a true ending, with everything from the other routes culminating in this one.  It is more interesting, the mysteries are revealed to an extent (albeit without the flair I'm used to from better companies).  The setting is used properly (finally) and the protagonist gets to show off his badass moves (yay!). 

 

Overall

 

That said, my final conclusion is that this VN still never escaped being a charage with fantasy-action elements.  Sadly, it isn't something I can recommend to someone who wanted serious action, though it is ironically a setting that could have easily produced such.  It amazes me how well they managed to establish the setting... and it makes me feel kind of sad they wasted it on a charage with some fantasy-action tacked on instead of a straight out fantasy-action game with a more involved narrative and story.

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I totally agree with you on those point. I wanted to have something big and serious. All I got was some charage with a bit of action. The setting was good. But the story didn't keep up, I was WTF on the middle of Misuzu route. "Where is my final battle with those monsters ? and my story ?" lol.... crap another disappointment. The true route felt to short for me and the final battle aswell. It was not bad overall but very average. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

It is Light, so it will probably be up to a certain level of quality (even their worst efforts reach a certain level of quality that is above most other companies).  Of all of Light's works that I've played (main company, not Sweet Light) they were all in the upper ranks for their genre and them in quality... even the ones I was least interested in.  The only downside is that Light tends to aim too high with theme complexity and confuses people not used to actual literature, rather than brainless romance-novel type stories (aka. pure moege and pure love nukige).

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