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Zou

Reading visual novels in Japanese - Is the Ley Line series a good starting point for a beginner?

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Hello! Name's Zou. I've been studying Japanese seriously for a couple of months and I really want to try the eroge learning method after my level is good enough, probably around January of 2020 if I keep going like this. That's why I've been thinking of picking a good visual novel to start with. There seems to be a dilemma among the community regarding this subject. Some say that it is better to start with something you really are anxious to play even if you won't enjoy as much as if you had a native level, while others seem to prefer starting off with a dumb slice of life moege just to get around the language and grow used to it. I prefer a middle ground, and that's why I've thought that the Ley Line series may be a good idea. I also got other games ready like Ao no Kanata, Grimoire no Sisho and Clover Days. What do you guys think.

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Ley Line is pretty easy, but it has a good plot and you wouldn't like to miss things, so just in case start with Clover Days, which is a charage, to see how you hold out, then read Ley Line.

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2 hours ago, Riku said:

Ley Line is pretty easy, but it has a good plot and you wouldn't like to miss things, so just in case start with Clover Days, which is a charage, to see how you hold out, then read Ley Line.

Right, I thought about that aswell and I wouldn't like missing important key plotpoints, so I'll refrain from playing it for now.

I also saw the Clephas list and while it was very useful the moeges it offered didn't catch my attention very much, so I tought that my own selection may prove to be OK at least.

Edited by Zou

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I kind of found it interesting that the choices you did make were so... eclectic.  Aokana is just an outright mediocre game, Grimoire no Shisho is a borderline nukige (really a nukige, pretty much), and Clover Days is about as vanilla as it gets for moege. 

Leyline isn't really a good choice for a first game, unless you are going to go the Spartan route by deliberately choosing medium to high reading difficulty VNs from the beginning. 

I haven't updated that list in a long time, but I essentially chose those based on a combination of reading difficulty (4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 10) with decent characters and/or story.  There are even a few kamige in the second tier (second tier tend to vary between five and six on the difficulty scale).  I'd give Leyline a 6 baseline and a 7.5 upper limit on reading difficulty, though it goes up if you aren't familiar with some of the terminology. 

Generally speaking, anything with a difficulty below 4 is a nukige, so unless you want to start with nukige, it isn't going to get any easier than the midline.

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53 minutes ago, Clephas said:

I kind of found it interesting that the choices you did make were so... eclectic.  Aokana is just an outright mediocre game, Grimoire no Shisho is a borderline nukige (really a nukige, pretty much), and Clover Days is about as vanilla as it gets for moege. 

Leyline isn't really a good choice for a first game, unless you are going to go the Spartan route by deliberately choosing medium to high reading difficulty VNs from the beginning. 

I haven't updated that list in a long time, but I essentially chose those based on a combination of reading difficulty (4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 10) with decent characters and/or story.  There are even a few kamige in the second tier (second tier tend to vary between five and six on the difficulty scale).  I'd give Leyline a 6 baseline and a 7.5 upper limit on reading difficulty, though it goes up if you aren't familiar with some of the terminology. 

Generally speaking, anything with a difficulty below 4 is a nukige, so unless you want to start with nukige, it isn't going to get any easier than the midline.

Yeah, my choices were very weird now that I go throught them again. Your answer made me rethink what I said, so I decided to check your unstralated VN beginner's list and I found some pretty decent and interesting looking games. The ones who picked most of my attention are Akabanzu, Chuuning Lover, Ryuusei Kiseki, Shiawase Kazoku-bu, Minamijuujisei Renka and Primal Hearts, but especially Primal Hearts because the art is soothing and beautiful. Among those which one do you think is the easiest or most enjoyable? And to wrap things up, is Aokana a good beginner's choice despite being a bit of a letdown?

 

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Just now, Zou said:

Yeah, my choices were very weird now that I go throught them again. Your answer made me rethink what I said, so I decided to check your unstralated VN beginner's list and I found some pretty decent and interesting looking games. The ones who picked most of my attention are Akabanzu, Chuuning Lover, Ryuusei Kiseki, Shiawase Kazoku-bu, Minamijuujisei Renka and Primal Hearts, but especially Primal Hearts because the art is soothing and beautiful. Among those which one do you think is the easiest or most enjoyable? And to wrap things up, is Aokana a good beginner's choice despite being a bit of a letdown?

 

If you think Aokana looks interesting, go ahead and play Walkure Romanze instead... similar scenario, much better execution.  As for Clover Days...  as an alternative, I'd suggest something like Otome ga Tsumugu Koi no Canvas or Ren'ai Karichaimashita (if you can't stand trap protags).   For Grimoire no Shisho... as an alternative (if you aren't just looking for a borderline nukige) I'd suggest Ou no Mimi ni wa Todokanai (if you want the fantasy setting) or Erect (if you want fantasy-ish girls in a borderline nukige).  Both are several levels above Grimoire no Shisho in quality. 

If you just want to go the Spartan route I mentioned above, I'd suggest playing Yurikago yori Tenshi Made instead of Leyline because 1) Leyline is essentially one game cut into three and 2)  Leyline uses the ladder-style story progression, which can be irritating.

Edit: Aokana is primarily a letdown because the protagonist is an irritating hetare who has an inferiority complex that drove me crazy throughout the entire VN.  The heroines all have their own issues, but that is a matter of taste...

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5 minutes ago, Clephas said:

If you think Aokana looks interesting, go ahead and play Walkure Romanze instead... similar scenario, much better execution.  As for Clover Days...  as an alternative, I'd suggest something like Otome ga Tsumugu Koi no Canvas or Ren'ai Karichaimashita (if you can't stand trap protags).   For Grimoire no Shisho... as an alternative (if you aren't just looking for a borderline nukige) I'd suggest Ou no Mimi ni wa Todokanai (if you want the fantasy setting) or Erect (if you want fantasy-ish girls in a borderline nukige).  Both are several levels above Grimoire no Shisho in quality. 

If you just want to go the Spartan route I mentioned above, I'd suggest playing Yurikago yori Tenshi Made instead of Leyline because 1) Leyline is essentially one game cut into three and 2)  Leyline uses the ladder-style story progression, which can be irritating.

Thank you so much for taking the time of answering and providing me with new recommendations. I brought Aokana and Clover Days since they usually pop up in community made VN beginners lists around the internet. As for the games, I've wanted to play Walkure Romance for quite some time because I like the concept of knights in a highly soffisticated aristocracy only school. The alternatives to Grimoire no Shisho look interesting enough, altough I don't know if I should play a fantasy themed VN for the first time. I wanna go over more complicated stuff such as the lvl 2 VN's you recommended on your list, but I think I'll play a couple of easier games first just to get better.

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6 hours ago, VirginSmasher said:

Honestly, just read whatever interests you. Even if you end up missing stuff (you always do on your first few reads), you can always just go back to it later on and give it a reread.

This... my first untranslated VN was Jingai Makyou, and you can bet I didn't get everything on the first playthrough.  If anything, replaying good VNs later after you've gotten better at Japanese can allow you to reaffirm that you have gotten better, and the flavor deepens the more you chew in some cases.  I played Dies Irae and Devils Devel Concept pretty soon after Jingai, and when I went back later, I got so much more out of them.

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There's another choice here, namely that you can read bilingual VN in that it have both of Japanese and English language. The examples are Karakara, Nine, and Sanoba Witch. I would recommend Sanoba here seeing that it's quite good and moreimportantly a complete one. If you already read that (And you probably already finished with it), I guess you can read something like Hoshiori and Ginharu (Of course without using the translation patch). Good luck on your Japanese study there.

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