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Zalor

When does Dies Irae get good?

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I have a weird history with Dies Irae. Its a VN I've know about for some 5 years now. It was always lauded as "the best VN you will never read", and the aura in which it got talked about reeked with pretension. Much like Suba Hibi, it was one of those untranslated VNs that couldn't be criticized since only those with Japanese literacy could read it. And for whatever odd reason, the minority of Western VN fans who could read untld VNs seemed to all ubiquitously love it. A couple years ago after having studied Japanese for a bit, I finally cracked Suba Hibi (this was when the translation was in this odd purgatory status), and despite all the skepticism I approached it with, it became one of my favorite VNs. Certainly in my top 3.

I went into Dies Irae with with the optimism I came out of Suba Hibi with. And indeed, the Prologue of Dies Irae alone impressed me very much. I always heard the VN praised for its writing, and the prose was quite gorgeous. Furthermore, the characters it introduced and the conflict all caught my attention. Then we get to the first scene where Shirou and Ren start brawling it out. Upon first appearance I loved Shirou. He had all the chaotic and interesting elements I wanted in a protagonist. But instead we get stuck with Ren. 

I'm a couple of chapters in, and admittedly my biggest issue with the VN is Ren and his school friends (especially Kasumi!). Compared to the Villains the protagonists lack any interesting qualities. The fight scenes I have seen so far have all been very engaging, but they contrast night and day with the dullness of the school scenes. Furthermore, its kind of disorienting reading highly stylized prose for the fights, and then the most generic VN dialogues once we get back to Ren and his school life. My last annoyance with the VN is the adolescent tier philosophizing that goes around. I heard the VN praised for the various philosophies the characters encapsulate, but much of it so far doesn't seem impressive. Although I might just be annoyed because Ren's constant internal monologues and dialogues lamenting the loss of his "regular mundane life" is simply just boring, and repetitive. I'd much rather see more Shirou spouting on about his desire for chaos.

Would you recommend I continue Dies Irae? I do find certain parts of it very fun and engaging (the villains and the fight scenes), but Ren as a protagonist is dragging down the experience so much for me. 

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38 minutes ago, Kiriririri said:

It gets good when you finish it and start KKK :chaika:

How important is it to finish Dies Irae before reading Kajiri Kamui Kagura? Everything from the art, setting, characters and writing seems to have all the strengths of Dies Irae while lacking the tedious aspects.

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I an assure you, the story will turn better with every chapter. Specially when you start picking up all the little details that were mentioned in the first part. 

Also, the recommended route order (Kasumi, Kei, Marie, Rea) is not just for bluff. The story will keep turning better every time untill you'll want play the extras (in case you're reading amantes amentes, which i recommend due to the 2nd Rea's route) untill you have the full picture of what happened there.

Advice: keep on with it :maple:

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Basically what Virgin said. The VN's core routes are Marie and Rea. Everything before it is just an introduction.

That being said, I had fun with Kei's route too (until the very end when it turns into a sort of disappointment).

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I'm kinda with you on the SoL scenes. It's not that I didn't expect them at all, but due to months of anticipation and elevated expectations from its opening scenes, I felt extremely drained after that initial shift.

But you know, that's kinda my fault for letting my expectations get the better of me; and now that I think about it, I was being way too harsh with my standards. And now that I know what to expect going in, I think I'll be able to put in a little more effort into reading further.

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5 hours ago, Zalor said:

I have a weird history with Dies Irae. Its a VN I've know about for some 5 years now. It was always lauded as "the best VN you will never read", and the aura in which it got talked about reeked with pretension. Much like Suba Hibi, it was one of those untranslated VNs that couldn't be criticized since only those with Japanese literacy could read it. And for whatever odd reason, the minority of Western VN fans who could read untld VNs seemed to all ubiquitously love it. A couple years ago after having studied Japanese for a bit, I finally cracked Suba Hibi (this was when the translation was in this odd purgatory status), and despite all the skepticism I approached it with, it became one of my favorite VNs. Certainly in my top 3.

I went into Dies Irae with with the optimism I came out of Suba Hibi with. And indeed, the Prologue of Dies Irae alone impressed me very much. I always heard the VN praised for its writing, and the prose was quite gorgeous. Furthermore, the characters it introduced and the conflict all caught my attention. Then we get to the first scene where Shirou and Ren start brawling it out. Upon first appearance I loved Shirou. He had all the chaotic and interesting elements I wanted in a protagonist. But instead we get stuck with Ren. 

I'm a couple of chapters in, and admittedly my biggest issue with the VN is Ren and his school friends (especially Kasumi!). Compared to the Villains the protagonists lack any interesting qualities. The fight scenes I have seen so far have all been very engaging, but they contrast night and day with the dullness of the school scenes. Furthermore, its kind of disorienting reading highly stylized prose for the fights, and then the most generic VN dialogues once we get back to Ren and his school life. My last annoyance with the VN is the adolescent tier philosophizing that goes around. I heard the VN praised for the various philosophies the characters encapsulate, but much of it so far doesn't seem impressive. Although I might just be annoyed because Ren's constant internal monologues and dialogues lamenting the loss of his "regular mundane life" is simply just boring, and repetitive. I'd much rather see more Shirou spouting on about his desire for chaos.

Would you recommend I continue Dies Irae? I do find certain parts of it very fun and engaging (the villains and the fight scenes), but Ren as a protagonist is dragging down the experience so much for me. 

One thing with Dies Irae - and indeed a significant proportion of chuunige in general - is that the antagonists can have a tendency to overwhelm the protagonist's qualities.  Ren has a few good points, but when it comes down to it, he is essentially the ultimate version of the type that 'just wants to return to normal life' and Kasumi is Victim A.  For this reason, I skipped Kasumi's route entirely the first time I played Dies Irae and only reluctantly played it the second time. 

Reinhardt, on the other hand, is a grand character who, for all that he is very obviously evil, is also glorious in his own way.  Mercurius, for all his evil, obviously loves Marie, even if he shows it in a really screwy way.  The fact is, you have to see Kasumi as a symbol rather than a character, when it comes down to it, since her character is a fairly standard osananajimi type. 

Masada generally lavishes his full skills on descriptions of his villains/antagonists' internal qualities, their motivations, their pasts, etc.  He actually seems to prefer the villainous characters over the 'good guys', as is shown in Paradise Lost, where everyone is evil to one degree or another, with the possible exception of Riliel (though this is only in the sense that she isn't malicious, not that she doesn't kill people).  Lyle, the protagonist of Paradise Lost, is about as evil as they get, and most of the characters of Kajiri Kamui are also amoral or have a very strong dark side. 

This can also be seen in Senshinkan, where the protagonist and his closest friends were so much more boring than the antagonists and side-characters (with the possible exception of the main heroine, who has a really wonderfully twisted personality). 

Honestly, I just recommend you play the game through, then think on whether you liked the characters or not, since almost nobody is going to like Ren based on the events of Kasumi's path or the common route (he spends way too much time escaping from reality). 

Edit: Honestly, I've never met anyone who loved Dies Irae based on Ren or Kasumi.  Most people just liked the antagonists and other heroines... or the writing and plot.  I personally am fond of Ren, but, except for his weird hangups (the biggest of which is the one that defines his power), his desires are fairly standard for an early-era chuunige protagonist. 

The main reason you'll almost never see the untranslated readers criticize Dies Irae is because only chuunige-lovers ever play Dies Irae in Japanese.  The game is as well-written as it gets, and the presentation is first-class, with great opposition characters.  I can guarantee you that most of them think of the antagonists and the heroines first when they look back at the game, and Ren is probably an afterthought (except for the coupling with Rusalka, of course, since that was hugely popular).  The sheer difficulty level of Dies Irae in Japanese meant that only people with the level of Japanese knowledge to be able to enjoy the first-class writing ever played the game in the first place, and generally only chuunige readers had that level of understanding.

I have declined to comment on the recent discussions on whether Dies Irae is 'good' or not because, regardless of what I say in that matter, it will end up being disregarded because I am a chuunige-addict and a player of untranslated games. 

One thing that I should probably mention about my initial experience with Dies Irae was that, until I got through Marie's path, I experienced a great deal of frustration with the game and Ren and Kasumi.  I have mentioned this in some of my blog posts, but I personally believe that Victim A type heroines should never be present in chuunige, meaning that, even though I understand her role in the game as a symbol of everyday life/what Ren wants from life, I still loathed Kasumi's presence in the game.  For this reason, I've actually advocated in the past for skipping Kasumi's route entirely, since it doesn't add a whole lot to the story in comparison to Kei's route, which is actually a better intro in a lot of ways (Kei being a better heroine in general).  I had to actually finish Marie's path before I was ready to like Ren as a character, and I liked him even more after Rea's path. 

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2 hours ago, Clephas said:

*Snip*

Thanks for the very thoughtful reply. I do like the VN and I recognize the great potential that awaits me to continue, but the frustrating aspects I mentioned in the opening post were getting me to falter. Kasumi in particular I find insufferable and I literally just mash the enter button every time she shows up on screen. I heard some people say that you had to read Kasumi's route first. But honestly, I am liking your idea of just entirely skipping her route in favor of Kei's. Kei I like so far, and her dynamic with Ren is actually interesting to read. 

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1 hour ago, Zalor said:

Thanks for the very thoughtful reply. I do like the VN and I recognize the great potential that awaits me to continue, but the frustrating aspects I mentioned in the opening post were getting me to falter. Kasumi in particular I find insufferable and I literally just mash the enter button every time she shows up on screen. I heard some people say that you had to read Kasumi's route first. But honestly, I am liking your idea of just entirely skipping her route in favor of Kei's. Kei I like so far, and her dynamic with Ren is actually interesting to read. 

tbh, Kasumi is just unlikable from a chuunige-reader's point of view. 

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Yes, I recommend you to keep on going.

Anyway, as soon as you hear "the best VN ever", you shouldn't be convinced. It's hard to live to those expectations. Let it be you who discovers if it's really the best or not.

Only thing I can tell you, I'm reading Subahibi and I'm enjoying it. I see the game's charm. The best ever? Well, probably not, but close enough. Subahibi has its own merit. Maybe Dies Irae has it too.

Hell, even I myself was skeptical towards Steins;Gate when I was reading through Dr. Nakabachi's conference. It seemed like otaku pandering, and the first contact with Okabe wasn't that smooth. Anyway in S;G you only have to push on a little and when the mysteries keep piling up, the thrill never lets up until the end.

Edited by Okarin

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