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Clephas List: VNs with a Unique/Capable protagonist

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Perhaps the most universal complaint of those who read Japanese VNs, regardless of their tastes, is the bland, non-people, average protagonists that make up better than 90% of all VN protagonists.  This trend began with the first moege, as a technique to allow people to self-insert more easily, but the tradition has worked against VNs more than it has worked for them, with protagonists with unique quirks turning out to be almost as important to a VN's lasting popularity as heroine quality. 

Unfortunately for those new to VNs, it is impossible to tell at a glance whether a protagonist will be interesting or not based on the cover, since most protagonists don't have a tachie, voice-acting, or a character description on the official site, lol. 

So, as a service to my fellow Fuwans, I decided to go ahead and make this list.  The greater majority of these games will be untranslated, but I will go ahead and list ones that are translated that I know of.  Feel free to help me add to the list, though this one is for Japanese-origin games, not EVNs. 

The baseline for these protagonists will be that they are either unique, unusual, or capable (intelligent, talented, and/or skilled at something and have something approaching a personality) without deliberate nerfing of their qualities to make heroines stand out more.  Harem protagonists who are merely kind to everyone will not count for the purpose of this list, and characters whose personality/capabilities/talents/skills get toned down in the heroine routes will also not qualify.

Translated

Tokyo Babel

Ayakashibito

Hello, Lady (soon)

Hapymaher

Noble Works (yes, he does make the baseline)

Dracu-riot (assuming the official release comes out)

Nanairo Reincarnation (soon)

Tsukihime

FSN

Comyu (yes, I include this... because even if you hate Akihito's man-whore qualities, he is definitely not a cardboard cut-out character)

Rance games (I hate the Rance games, personally, but you can't say he isn't unique)

Majikoi

Tsujidou-san no Jun'ai Road (Dai only seems sheeple on the surface... he has enough depth as a character to qualify) 

Eien no Aselia (while his personality is standard for a jrpg protagonist, it has enough twists and unique qualities to make the list)

Seinarukana (similar to above)

Fata Morgana no Yakata (I wavered because of the way the game is structured, but I chose to list it anyway)

Grisaia series

Kikokugai

Demonbane

11eyes

Rewrite (I hate this protagonist, but he stands out, even if he is a dumbass)

Animamundi

Baldr SkyDive (whenever it comes out)

ChuSinGura (I honestly wavered on this one, both because the protagonist is a moron and because I don't consider this to have been truly translated)

Cross Channel

Daiteikoku

Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai

Dies Irae

I/O

Yumina

Kyonyuu Fantasy (yes, I'm serious even as I'm laughing)

Planetarian

Rose Guns Days

Sekien no Inganock

Gakthun

Sharin no Kuni

Shikkoku no Sharnoth

Shin Koihime Musou (apparently tl is at 100%, so I'm including it)

Sorcery Jokers (Senri!!!)

Tears to Tiara

Tokeijikake no Leyline series

Venus Blood Frontier (whenever it comes out)

Wanko to Kurasou

Eden*

Untranslated

Akeiro Kaikitan

Ikusa Megami series

Soukoku no Arterial

Fuukan no Grasesta

Madou Koukaku

Silverio series

Tiny Dungeon series

Zero Infinity

Electro-Arms

Soranica Ele

Kikan Bakumatsu Ibun Last Cavalier

Komorebi no Nostalgica

Devils Devel Concept

Karenai Sekai to Owaru Hana

Evolimit

Bullet Butlers

Tokyo Necro

Soukou Akki Muramasa

Ou no Mimi ni wa Todokanai

Shugo no Tate series

Amatsutsumi

Floral Flowlove

Aoi Tori

Mirai Nostalgia

Bradyon Veda

Draculius

Gensou  no Avatar

Abyss Homicide Club

Hyper→Highspeed→Genius

Inochi no Spare

Hatsuru Koto Naki Mirai

Kitto, Sumiwataru Asairo yori mo

Konata yori Kanata Made

Kanojo wa Tenshi de Imouto de

Jingai Makyou

"Hello, World"

Natsu no Owari no Nirvana

Otome ga Tsumugu Koi no Canvas

Rui wa Tomo o Yobu

Ryuukishi Bloody Saga

Vermilion Bind of Blood

Satsukoi

Sinclient

Tenshi no Hane o Fumanaide

Suisei Ginka

Yurikago yori Tenshi Made

Izuna Zanshinken

Tasogare no Sinsemilla

Valkyrie Runabout

Sekai o Sukuu dake no Kantan na Oshigoto

Haru to Yuki

Semiramis no Tenbin

Tsukiakari Lunch

Tsuisou no Augment

Kamikaze Explorer

Prism Recollection

Houkago no Futekikakusha

Izayoi no Fortuna

Natsuzora no Perseus

Minamijuujisei Renka

Ojou-sama no Hanbun wa Ren'ai de Dekiteimasu

Yami to Hikari no Sanctuary

Sakura no Mori Dreamers

AstralAir no Shiroki Towa

Irotoridori no Sekai

Senren Banka

Reminiscence

Akagoei series

Soshite Hatsukoi ga Imouto ni Naru

Harumade Kururu

Haruru Minamo ni

Kin'iro Loveriche

Love Rec.

Natsuiro Recipe

Shuumatsu Shoujo Gensou Alicematic

Sakura Nikagetsu

Iroha ~Aki no Yuuhi ni Kagefumi o~

Campus's Uso series

World Election (seriously push this one for fantasy charage lovers)

Curio Dealer

Kami no Ue no Mahoutsukai

Lamunation

Sora no Tsukurikata

Hikoukigumo no Mukougawa

Sakura, Sakimashita

Amairo Islenauts

Blade x Bullet

Gouen no Soleil

Dekinai Watashi ga, Kurikaesu

Doushite, Sonna ni Kurokami ga Suki na no?! (more charage with some plot)

Boku ga Tenshi ni Natta Wake

Butterfly Seeker

Fake Azure Arcology

Re:Birth Colony

Gekkou no Carnevale

Hatsuyuki Sakura

Gurenka

Hikari no Umi no Apeiria (this guy's personality is so out there you wouldn't even be able to tell if anything effected him, lol)

Hotel. (this is also a joke from me that I can share only with those few who have read it, lol)

Kamigakari Cross Heart

Kimi to Boku to no Kishi no Hibi

Witch's Garden

Kono Sekai no Mukou de

Kouyoku no Soleil

Lovesick Puppies (more food for charagamers)

Toppara Zashiki Warashi no Hanashi

Naka no Hito Nado Inai

Natsuiro no Nostalgia

Ojou-sama wa Gokigen Naname

Onigokko

Otomimi Infinity

Para-Sol

Prima Stella

Paradise Lost

Kajiri Kamui Kagura

Sanzen Sekai Yuugi (only Otomege I know of that fulfills the prime condition)

Primal x Hearts

Tayutama  (original only)

Shinigami no Testament

Shogun-sama wa Otoshigoro

Stellula Eques Codex Tasogare no Himekishi (seriously, the protagonist is subject to some interesting stuff, like akuochi and/or corruption of characters)

Toki o Tsumugu Yakusoku

Unjou no Fairy Tale

Yuganda Uso no Koi to Letter

Yoru Meguru, Bokura no Maigo Kyoushitsu

Tsuki ni Yorisou, Otome no Sahou

Request includes

G-Senjou no Maou

Aiyoku no Eustia

Watashi no Real wa Juujitsu Shisugiteiru

Shirogane no Soleil

Root Double

Edit:  A lot of these characters stand out due to personality traits or quirks, as much as anything else.  The key point is that the protagonist is a 'person' instead of a cipher or catalyst.  For those who wonder why I didn't include Tsuki ni Yorisou, Otome no Sahou 2, the reason is pretty simple... in every path, the protagonist's individuality vanishes and he becomes enslaved to the heroine's character needs. 

 

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Not saying Dies Irae is a bad VN, but the protag certainly doesn't strike out as unique/capable (aside from the chunni-ness way into the routes). The game stands out because of everyone but the protag IMO (similar to MLA)

I know you hate Aiyoku no Eustia, but surely Caim gets a mention at least?

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13 hours ago, Clephas said:

Eien no Aselia (while his personality is standard for a jrpg protagonist, it has enough twists and unique qualities to make the list)

Could you comment a bit in depth on what exactly makes him unique? I generally don't play jrpgs and don't know what other protagonists are like, but I'm interested.

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Wouldn't G-Senjou's prota count ??

Spoiler

As Gonzo's adoptive son he does show capability as a business man within the mob. As in the first chapter, he helps Tsubaki only to gain profit from her. It is pretty much unique to me. Altough his brother is way more capable than him.

 

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Do you mind if you edit your list to make it in alphabetical order? It's interseting and I don't want someone to miss something.

 

I ran your list through https://alphabetizer.flap.tv/

Translated

Quote

11eyes
Animamundi
Ayakashibito
Baldr SkyDive (whenever it comes out)
ChuSinGura (I honestly wavered on this one, both because the protagonist is a moron and because I don't consider this to have been truly translated)
Comyu (yes, I include this... because even if you hate Akihito's man-whore qualities, he is definitely not a cardboard cut-out character)
Cross Channel
Daiteikoku
Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai
Demonbane
Dies Irae
Dracu-riot (assuming the official release comes out)
Eden*
Eien no Aselia (while his personality is standard for a jrpg protagonist, it has enough twists and unique qualities to make the list)
FSN
Fata Morgana no Yakata (I wavered because of the way the game is structured, but I chose to list it anyway)
Gakthun
Grisaia series
Hapymaher
Hello, Lady (soon)
I/O
Kikokugai
Kyonyuu Fantasy (yes, I'm serious even as I'm laughing)
Majikoi
Nanairo Reincarnation (soon)
Noble Works (yes, he does make the baseline)
Planetarian
Rance games (I hate the Rance games, personally, but you can't say he isn't unique)
Rewrite (I hate this protagonist, but he stands out, even if he is a dumbass)
Rose Guns Days
Seinarukana (similar to above)
Sekien no Inganock
Sharin no Kuni
Shikkoku no Sharnoth
Shin Koihime Musou (apparently tl is at 100%, so I'm including it)
Sorcery Jokers (Senri!!!)
Tears to Tiara
Tokeijikake no Leyline series
Tokyo Babel
Tsujidou-san no Jun'ai Road (Dai only seems sheeple on the surface... he has enough depth as a character to qualify)
Tsukihime
Venus Blood Frontier (whenever it comes out)
Wanko to Kurasou
Yumina

Untranslated

Quote

"Hello, World"
Abyss Homicide Club
Akagoei series
Akeiro Kaikitan
Amairo Islenauts
Amatsutsumi
Aoi Tori
AstralAir no Shiroki Towa
Blade x Bullet
Boku ga Tenshi ni Natta Wake
Bradyon Veda
Bullet Butlers
Butterfly Seeker
Campus's Uso series
Curio Dealer
Dekinai Watashi ga, Kurikaesu
Devils Devel Concept
Doushite, Sonna ni Kurokami ga Suki na no?! (more charage with some plot)
Draculius
Electro-Arms
Evolimit
Fake Azure Arcology
Floral Flowlove
Fuukan no Grasesta
Gekkou no Carnevale
Gensou  no Avatar
Gouen no Soleil
Gurenka
Haru to Yuki
Harumade Kururu
Haruru Minamo ni
Hatsuru Koto Naki Mirai
Hatsuyuki Sakura
Hikari no Umi no Apeiria (this guy's personality is so out there you wouldn't even be able to tell if anything effected him, lol)
Hikoukigumo no Mukougawa
Hotel. (this is also a joke from me that I can share only with those few who have read it, lol)
Houkago no Futekikakusha
Hyper→Highspeed→Genius
Ikusa Megami series
Inochi no Spare
Iroha ~Aki no Yuuhi ni Kagefumi o~
Irotoridori no Sekai
Izayoi no Fortuna
Izuna Zanshinken
Jingai Makyou
Kajiri Kamui Kagura
Kami no Ue no Mahoutsukai
Kamigakari Cross Heart
Kamikaze Explorer
Kanojo wa Tenshi de Imouto de
Karenai Sekai to Owaru Hana
Kikan Bakumatsu Ibun Last Cavalier
Kimi to Boku to no Kishi no Hibi
Kin'iro Loveriche
Kitto, Sumiwataru Asairo yori mo
Komorebi no Nostalgica
Konata yori Kanata Made
Kono Sekai no Mukou de
Kouyoku no Soleil
Lamunation
Love Rec.
Lovesick Puppies (more food for charagamers)
Madou Koukaku
Minamijuujisei Renka
Mirai Nostalgia
Naka no Hito Nado Inai
Natsu no Owari no Nirvana
Natsuiro Recipe
Natsuiro no Nostalgia
Natsuzora no Perseus
Ojou-sama no Hanbun wa Ren'ai de Dekiteimasu
Ojou-sama wa Gokigen Naname
Onigokko
Otome ga Tsumugu Koi no Canvas
Otomimi Infinity
Ou no Mimi ni wa Todokanai
Para-Sol
Paradise Lost
Prima Stella
Primal x Hearts
Prism Recollection
Re:Birth Colony
Reminiscence
Rui wa Tomo o Yobu
Ryuukishi Bloody Saga
Sakura Nikagetsu
Sakura no Mori Dreamers
Sakura, Sakimashita
Sanzen Sekai Yuugi (only Otomege I know of that fulfills the prime condition)
Satsukoi
Sekai o Sukuu dake no Kantan na Oshigoto
Semiramis no Tenbin
Senren Banka
Shinigami no Testament
Shogun-sama wa Otoshigoro
Shugo no Tate series
Shuumatsu Shoujo Gensou Alicematic
Silverio series
Sinclient
Sora no Tsukurikata
Soranica Ele
Soshite Hatsukoi ga Imouto ni Naru
Soukoku no Arterial
Soukou Akki Muramasa
Stellula Eques Codex Tasogare no Himekishi (seriously, the protagonist is subject to some interesting stuff, like akuochi and/or corruption of characters)
Suisei Ginka
Tasogare no Sinsemilla
Tayutama  (original only)
Tenshi no Hane o Fumanaide
Tiny Dungeon series
Toki o Tsumugu Yakusoku
Tokyo Necro
Toppara Zashiki Warashi no Hanashi
Tsuisou no Augment
Tsuki ni Yorisou, Otome no Sahou
Tsukiakari Lunch
Unjou no Fairy Tale
Valkyrie Runabout
Vermilion Bind of Blood
Witch's Garden
World Election (seriously push this one for fantasy charage lovers)
Yami to Hikari no Sanctuary
Yoru Meguru, Bokura no Maigo Kyoushitsu
Yuganda Uso no Koi to Letter
Yurikago yori Tenshi Made
Zero Infinity

 

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1 minute ago, adamstan said:

thank you for the information. I looked up to their website and the update stopped two years ago

 

69128/69128 (100%) lines translated
69128/69128 (100%) lines edited

There are still a load of images, some engine tweaking, and a long QC phase to go through, so don’t expect a release anytime soon - at the very least, not likely by this year."

 

sad

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I tend to disagree with Ayakashibito's MC, he is your plain, average, simple minded, kind hearted protagonist... He was intesting only in Touko route, and that was not even him in control... 

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Another otome vn with a personality-bestowed protagonist is Watashi no Real wa Juujutsu Shisugiteiru, where the protagonist is somewhat narcissistic, ill-humored on the inside but pretending to be the perfect girl in the outside, and also a closet otaku. You can make a good argument for Get☆Dumped as well.

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I’d say Ryuuhei from Shirogane no Soleil, and Roy from Ryuu Kishi Bloody Saga fit well. Both are capable protags with unique personalities. (And they are both voiced, which isn’t really relevant, but I think it adds a little more to their characters, personally.) 

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