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Plk_Lesiak

Most disappointing VNs of 2019?

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So, as we're still in the time of yearly recollections and were talking recently about VNs we liked the most, what are the titles that crushed your hopes and dreams? Which ones were not plain bad, but rather fell short of your's and everyone else's expectations, to the point of turning your hearts into an emotionless void?

For me, the answer is pretty simple: Crystalline and (sorry @ds-sans :() Chemically Bonded. Both games were really well-produced visually and had good sound designs, but absolutely fell apart when it goes to telling a story. The main difference between them is that while Crystalline was absolutely devoid of meaningful plot and tension, Chemically Bonded made a few bizarre missteps with its writing and structure of the story, breaking the flow of the romance, particularly in the tsundere heroine's route. Neither were anywhere close to being among worst EVNs of the year, but definitely had most wasted potential.

So, what are your guys' greatest regrets of 2019 in VN form? :3

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If I'm to list VNs that were actually released in 2019, I have two candidates off the top of my head:

1. Majo Koi Nikki
It's mostly due to the fact that I found the male protagonist utterly unlikeable, but it also felt kinda unfocused due to all the jumping back and forth between different stories. There's also the fact that the way to reach the true end was so ridiculously obscure, I imagine many people could outright miss it without even realizing it. I actually had to write a forum post and ask what to do, because I wasn't able to figure it out for myself and even the guides didn't mention it for some reason. It's a good example of bad game design, considering that ending contains one of the most important puzzle pieces of the story.

2. How To Date A Magical Girl
I honestly had fun with this, but it was all ruined because of an immensely cliché and unsatisfying ending. If it wasn't for that, this would have been one of my better experiences of the year.

As for VNs that were released earlier but I read in 2019, I think Rewrite takes the cake. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a good VN; just not as good as I was hoping it would be. My expectations were rather high, and when the actual experience fell short, it ended up as a disappointment for me in the end.

Edited by Seraphim88

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48 minutes ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

I thought it completely failed at delivering romance between the protagonists for a single route story, but I otherwise enjoyed it a lot. It was a fun adventure, and the side romance was great!

 

Disappointments on my part... I usually don't properly start something unless I like it, so I don't remember those that disappointed me off the bat. That leaves those that disappointed me in the ending, but I'd need to actually finish something to be disappointed by its ending, so... Uh...

One Night Stand, maybe? I don't know why I played it or what I was expecting, but it delivered on its namesake and disappointed me as a result. Not sure why I really did this.

One that could be considered a disappointment, maybe, is HoshiOri. It delivers on all my dreams in terms of the scenario it depicts! It just has an itty-bitty misstep...
I don't like the comedy in it. This really, genuinely hurts. This ticks all the boxes in terms of what I should like, but them half the reason I enjoy VNs just isn't working for me. Bollocks. I even remember liking the comedy in the previous game by the same studio, so what went wrong for me...?

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4 minutes ago, Mr Poltroon said:

I thought it completely failed at delivering romance between the protagonists for a single route story, but I otherwise enjoyed it a lot. It was a fun adventure, and the side romance was great!

Well, I liked the side romance too, but the adventure part... Maybe it's just not what I want from a VN, but the PG-rated fantasy action felt way too sanitized and by-the-numbers. In like one short moment it created any feeling of danger and never showed anything cool when it goes to the fights or challenges. The popcultural referenced had a subtlety of a sledgehammer, and still are one of the few things I remembered from the whole VN, through the virtue of being obnoxious. It was quite frankly the most narratively-empty VN I've ever read outside of the "very short" category, although I can see someone enjoying it for the chill climate and the aesthetic. :P

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Just now, Plk_Lesiak said:

Well, I liked the side romance too, but the adventure part... Maybe it's just not what I want from a VN, but the PG-rated fantasy action felt way too sanitized and by-the-numbers. In like one short moment it created any feeling of danger and never showed anything cool when it goes to the fights or challenges. The popcultural referenced had a subtlety of a sledgehammer, and still are one of the few things I remembered from the whole VN, through the virtue of being obnoxious. It was quite frankly the most narratively-empty VN I've ever read outside of the "very short" category, although I can see someone enjoying it for the chill climate and the aesthetic. :P

Indeed, I just found it fun. In fact, I'm actively interested in stories of light adventure.
This reminds me of the anime Inuyasha, wherein the episodes I most liked were the filler ones (minus the lack of progression in character/relationships).

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Since we're talking about disappointment and not downright dumb nukige we knew it would be bad :nokia:

How to Take Off your Mask: I kinda like the artwork at first glance so I decided to pick it but I don't know. While it's by no means bad, nothing about it clicked with me.

EoSD for Busy People Extra Stage: a Touhou fan game that works like a fandisc of sorts to the previous game. I laughed a lot with the zaniness of the prequel, but this one was more of a drag.

The few 2019 releases I read were fine, but if I had to count something I'll pick this VN that released last year in English but I actually read it in Japanese the previous year (and that adds to the disappointment): I walk among zombies 2. This is the one and only novel that failed to make me feel anything at all, the moment I closed the window, I simply forgot all about it, couldn't even feel anger or salty. Volume 1 wasn't great either, but I was curious about one plot point and decided to check 2... And said plot point wasn't even used fml.

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My most disappointing and frustrating read from last year was Amatarasu Riddle Star, but I don't think it had high expectations. I thought it would be good at best and decent at worst, but it was terrible for me. No interesting plotlines, every route just threw stuff at random, hoping something sticks, not my kind of writing style.

Releases from earlier, that I've read last year and left me disappointed were Edelweiss, for having no likeable characters, very jumpy pacing and weak resolutions and Sanoba Witch for lack of in-universe logic and boring routes.

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Chaos;Child sits quite high on vndb and got quite a few glowing reviews, so I didn't really expect it to be an experience bordering on so-bad-it's good. It's incredibly entertaining, but at least in the second half for all the wrong reasons. Its setup was promising enough, but at some point the story just took the worst and most convoluted turn imaginable every time. It felt like the creators had five different clashing ideas about where they wanted to take the story and what themes they wanted to explore and just decided to do them all at the same time anyway.  I finished the VN about 11 months ago and still catch myself thinking about how stupid it was, so at least I can't say it didn't leave an impression on me. 

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The worst VNs I read in 2019 in no particular order were: Trick and Treat, Kokonoe Kokoro, and any installment of Grisaia Phantom Trigger (excluding volume 5.5).  The VNs that fell furthest shy of my expectations (and therefore the most disappointing) in order were: World End Syndrome and Aokana.  As an honorable mention, Muv Luv Extra + Unlimited also fell far shy of my expectations going in, but I gave up on those expectations before the OP in Extra so I don't find them as disappointing as the other two.

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Most dissapointing ones I read this year 

Plastic Memories first part of it just covers the events of the anime, so basically just the first part of the anime without the animation (appart from a few scenes where they just took a clip from the anime because it was an emotional moment they were unable to do without just using the anime) and with most of the CGs being taken from anime (basically the anime without the animation and phasing, other point of view scenes were also removed so you just see things from Tsukasa's side). As for the original content most of it is slice of life scenes of the main characters which tends to range from decent to boring. There are also some routes added and while I found them enjoyable they were way too short pretty much ending as I felt things were begining to happen by just rushing to the end.

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san Meijou Shigatai Game no You na Mono has 1 good joke at the start where it uses the VN media in a good way and from that point onwards it is only a dissapointment. First part covers the first season of the anime and does it lazily using art from the anime for most things rather than original CGs. The 2nd part is on the weaker side with a rather uninteresting plot and no inventiveness with the comedy which just makes the comedy stale. Then there is the fact that you need to go through it 8 times from start to finish with like 40 choices to reach the different ending and 6 of these 8 times you need to read a large part twice because there is a normal and a good ending, with the endings pretty much just being like 2-3 min long and skipping through the VN takes 1 hour if you know every choice to take and you are constantly stopped because of the insane amount of choices. It is quite bad when skipping through the VN with a guide to reach all endings take longer than reading the VN once.

 

These 2 VNs did not at all live up to their much more enjoyable anime.

 

Edited by bakauchuujin

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1 hour ago, bakauchuujin said:

Most dissapointing ones I read this year 

Plastic Memories first part of it just covers the events of the anime, so basically just the first part of the anime without the animation (appart from a few scenes where they just took a clip from the anime because it was an emotional moment they were unable to do without just using the anime) and with most of the CGs being taken from anime (basically the anime without the animation and phasing, other point of view scenes were also removed so you just see things from Tsukasa's side). As for the original content most of it is slice of life scenes of the main characters which tends to range from decent to boring. There are also some routes added and while I found them enjoyable they were way too short pretty much ending as I felt things were begining to happen by just rushing to the end.

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san Meijou Shigatai Game no You na Mono has 1 good joke at the start where it uses the VN media in a good way and from that point onwards it is only a dissapointment. First part covers the first season of the anime and does it lazily using art from the anime for most things rather than original CGs. The 2nd part is on the weaker side with a rather uninteresting plot and no inventiveness with the comedy which just makes the comedy stale. Then there is the fact that you need to go through it 8 times from start to finish with like 40 choices to reach the different ending and 6 of these 8 times you need to read a large part twice because there is a normal and a good ending, with the endings pretty much just being like 2-3 min long and skipping through the VN takes 1 hour if you know every choice to take and you are constantly stopped because of the insane amount of choices. It is quite bad when skipping through the VN with a guide to reach all endings take longer than reading the VN once.

 

These 2 VNs did not at all live up to their much more enjoyable anime.

 

Did you try the oreigaru games?

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58 minutes ago, Kirashi said:

Did you try the oreigaru games?

Not yet but I do own the physical PS4 copy so I will read it someday, though since I have a huge backlog it will probably take quite some time before I get to it.

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That's easy... Raillore no Ryakudatsusha.  It managed to piss me off inside the prologue, despite being a chuunige.  The game starts out all right, until you hit the events immediately before the protagonist switch, then the pacing goes all to hell.

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Hmmm, since I technically finished it in 2019 I'd say Tokyo Babel. It had some good characters and some genuinely interesting ideas and themes but I felt it really fell short of putting forth a cohesive and likable narrative. To me I think that one of the major issues lies with just how bland and utterly boring the protag is. Everything about him was just vacuous and empty and it made the awkward and clumsy attempts at romance(or what little their was) even worse because I could never see how anyone could have a connection with him. Like I know that he's supposed to be stoic and all but that's no excuse for giving him the personality of a chunk of concrete. I wished they had kept Sorami as the protag instead of relegating her as just a major character. I really feel like this was a missed opportunity to make this vn an otome considering there were a lot of interesting male characters on display. Also, while the setting and lore of the story was pretty interesting I think it again fell short. Making it a school setting was a bizarre and frankly stupid choice because of just how little they actually addressed that. Like, I get that in Japanese media literally everything has to be set in a high school or else Japan will sink into the sea, but I hoped for something a little different. I also guess that it kind of makes sense that purgatory would be set in a high school. Something that I also was detrimental to Babel was just the shear amount of fucking info dumps this story has. The story reads like some dude failed to finish his thesis on Jewish and Christian mythology and just decided to cram all that information into the plot of this vn instead. Like, holy shit there are just a constant torrent of names and places that the vn just assumes that we are supposed to be familiar with. Even with my relative grasp on mythology and such I still had to google plenty of these damn names. It made me wonder how the Japanese audience made due with this since most of this shit had to be completely foreign to them. It's like Fate Stay Night on the most aggressive steroids. Still another thing that held the vn back was the fights themselves. They started off interesting but they soon wore off their welcome in that they never seemed to fucking know when to end. They went on forever. Every fight had to be as drawn out and laborious as possible. Oh and let's not forget about all that constant fucking screaming that went on during the battles.

Spoiler

Uriel

was so fucking annoying dude whenever he showed up on screen.

Anyway, I didn't like it all that much and basically it's only saving grace was how great a character Lilith was. Without her, I wouldn't've finished playing it.

 

Chaos;Head was also pretty disappointing overall thanks to how utterly loathsome I found the protag to be, like I get that's part of how he's designed but it still kept me from giving a shit about him.

I also found the mystery to be not all that interesting and I don't really remember most of it anyway. I was supposed to have played this game since 2013 or so but could never get it to run. It wasn't really worth that wait.

 

Edited by Ranzo

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My biggest disappointment recently was definitely Lamunation(TL released in 2019), even though I read it this year.

From the titles I read in 2019, the most disappointing one was Sisters ~Natsu no Saigo no Hi~

I think I finally never got to write my impressions in "What are you playing" thread, so might write here as well ;)  It has pretty good production values, being almost fully animated. Also, the story had the potential for being nice nakige, but developers decided that the best use for all those animations would be to turn that "na" into "nu" :( So the story got overwhelmed with numerous long h-scenes. Overally game isn't bad, I enjoyed it (and it's pretty short), but it screams "wasted potential!" - after some of the story reveals my expectations were much higher, thus disappointment.

On the more positive note - except for few lines when we hear news from TV, it's easy enough that I could read it without the text hooking :D

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Well, it's the only 2019 release where I played more than a single route is the otome game Steam Prison, but if it isn't a disappointment than I don't know what is. Though, I guess I'm in the minority here, looks like the most people from Fuwa who played it actually liked it.

Well, I've already talked about this VN a lot in the past, but here's the basic rundown of I what I thought about it. First of all, I've only finished the bodyguard routes. I tried going into the the prisoner routes too, but after none of the problems I had with the game were resolved, so I decided to just drop it. I don't know, maybe it actually gets amazing in the other routes or something, but it's not like I feel like reading through something that I simply don't enjoy anymore waiting for it to get good if I don't know if it even does.

When I just started the game, I actually liked it a lot! Well, the very first part made me a bit suspicious about the general quality of writing, but then, after things start happening, it gets pretty interesting. In fact, there are a lot of things that this VN does right. The route system is basically the best that I've seen in any VN so far. There are several major decisions that affect in which direction the story start developing, and each direction later divides into individual character routes. Each route has a massive amount of ending, but what ending you enter mostly depends on how many affection points you get with the character you're pursuing, and the number of points is actually shown in the game so I guess you don't even really need to use a walkthrough (though I used it anyway). Another good point is that the setting is pretty unique and interesting. I'd like to see a bit more details about how the society in Liberaritas is functioning, but overall I'm more or less satisfied with what it does. And finally, the art in this game is absolutely stunning, and that's the main reason why I even became interested in that VN in the first place.

The problems started when I entered the character routes... and well, the main problem is that I heavily dislike every major character in this game. The love interests are just very bland and so cliche so even without much experience in otome I know how cliched they are. We have a flirty guy, a tsundere, a yandere, a shota and so on. As for the heroine, the problem is that she's just an extremely annoying musclehead. I mean I find it kind of funny how the story tries so hard to present her as a "strong" female protagonist while in reality she is really the weakest otome protagonist I've seen so far, both physically and especially personality-wise. I specifically looked through the endings I reached to see how many times she actually made any real decision that affected the story in a meaningful way, and the result was exactly once, in the best ending of one of the characters. More often than not all the problems are just solved by the heroes, and whenever she's showing some initiative she just does something extremely reckless and makes things worse. When it comes to her physical abilities, she is extremely talented with a sword... in a world dominated by guns, lol. And her talent for guns is zero. Basically, if the story needs to show how big of a badass she is, it just throws her in a swordfight. But then suddenly a man with a gun appears and she's is just instantly reduced to a damsel in distress, or is just insta-dead if you happen to be aiming for a bad end. It's such a convenient plot point if you ask me.

And I'd be totally okay with all that if the story was honest about it, and she actually accepted her weakness and used it to grow as a character. The problem is just that she never does. She just continues to get into trouble for the sake of "justice" without even making sure that she actually can do anything, only to be later saved by one of the heroes. This gets extremely annoying after a while.

And honorable mention goes to how I'm expected to like the romance where the guy quite literally takes his girlfriend on a suicide mission without even explaining things to her first and asking for her opinion first.

I don't know. I understand that my problems with this title are pretty much exactly that many people have with otome games in general, so maybe otome games just aren't for me. The truth is, it's the fourth otome game I've tried (though it's only the second Japanese one, so maybe that explains it) but I never really had these problems with any other title before excluding one route in The Second Reproduction. And, to be real, I'd rather read a novel with a doormat personality female protagonist rather than an incompetent musclehead who pretends to be a badass.

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7 minutes ago, Dreamysyu said:

Well, it's the only 2019 release where I played more than a single route is the otome game Steam Prison, but if it isn't a disappointment than I don't know what is. Though, I guess I'm in the minority here, looks like the most people from Fuwa who played it actually liked it.

Well, I've already talked about this VN a lot in the past, but here's the basic rundown of I what I thought about it. First of all, I've only finished the bodyguard routes. I tried going into the the prisoner routes too, but after none of the problems I had with the game were resolved, so I decided to just drop it. I don't know, maybe it actually gets amazing in the other routes or something, but it's not like I feel like reading through something that I simply don't enjoy anymore waiting for it to get good if I don't know if it even does.

When I just started the game, I actually liked it a lot! Well, the very first part made me a bit suspicious about the general quality of writing, but then, after things start happening, it gets pretty interesting. In fact, there are a lot of things that this VN does right. The route system is basically the best that I've seen in any VN so far. There are several major decisions that affect in which direction the story start developing, and each direction later divides into individual character routes. Each route has a massive amount of ending, but what ending you enter mostly depends on how many affection points you get with the character you're pursuing, and the number of points is actually shown in the game so I guess you don't even really need to use a walkthrough (though I used it anyway). Another good point is that the setting is pretty unique and interesting. I'd like to see a bit more details about how the society in Liberaritas is functioning, but overall I'm more or less satisfied with what it does. And finally, the art in this game is absolutely stunning, and that's the main reason why I even became interested in that VN in the first place.

The problems started when I entered the character routes... and well, the main problem is that I heavily dislike every major character in this game. The love interests are just very bland and so cliche so even without much experience in otome I know how cliched they are. We have a flirty guy, a tsundere, a yandere, a shota and so on. As for the heroine, the problem is that she's just an extremely annoying musclehead. I mean I find it kind of funny how the story tries so hard to present her as a "strong" female protagonist while in reality she is really the weakest otome protagonist I've seen so far, both physically and especially personality-wise. I specifically looked through the endings I reached to see how many times she actually made any real decision that affected the story in a meaningful way, and the result was exactly once, in the best ending of one of the characters. More often than not all the problems are just solved by the heroes, and whenever she's showing some initiative she just does something extremely reckless and makes things worse. When it comes to her physical abilities, she is extremely talented with a sword... in a world dominated by guns, lol. And her talent for guns is zero. Basically, if the story needs to show how big of a badass she is, it just throws her in a swordfight. But then suddenly a man with a gun appears and she's is just instantly reduced to a damsel in distress, or is just insta-dead if you happen to be aiming for a bad end. It's such a convenient plot point if you ask me.

And I'd be totally okay with all that if the story was honest about it, and she actually accepted her weakness and used it to grow as a character. The problem is just that she never does. She just continues to get into trouble for the sake of "justice" without even making sure that she actually can do anything, only to be later saved by one of the heroes. This gets extremely annoying after a while.

And honorable mention goes to how I'm expected to like the romance where the guy quite literally takes his girlfriend on a suicide mission without even explaining things to her first and asking for her opinion first.

I don't know. I understand that my problems with this title are pretty much exactly that many people have with otome games in general, so maybe otome games just aren't for me. The truth is, it's the fourth otome game I've tried (though it's only the second Japanese one, so maybe that explains it) but I never really had these problems with any other title before excluding one route in The Second Reproduction. And, to be real, I'd rather read a novel with a doormat personality female protagonist rather than an incompetent musclehead who pretends to be a badass.

I'm trying to think about paths where she successfully gets to be as strong as she thinks she is...
The setting utterly buggers her up, throwing her into a world where her utmost talent is useless. From what I understand your problem is not this, but the fact that she doesn't learn that she's not capable under these circumstances. And, well, that's her character. And you don't like it.

In terms of routes, I recall two moments where she actually pulls off what she's trying, but one of those is in the final true route, and I'm not sure where the other one is (because there are many diverging paths).

But when you put it that way, it is true she can't do much of anything herself (which is, again, the point of the setting, but her personality doesn't allow her to change her incompatible values and desires).

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1 hour ago, Mr Poltroon said:

From what I understand your problem is not this, but the fact that she doesn't learn that she's not capable under these circumstances. And, well, that's her character. And you don't like it.

That sums it up well, yeah.

Well, the way you put it, I guess it's more of a problem with my personal preferences than anything else. Which, I suppose, was pretty obvious considering that most people who played it liked it. Like I said, I personally find her type of personality extremely annoying. It could all still work if the other characters were good, but, like I said, I just found them bland.

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34 minutes ago, Dreamysyu said:

That sums it up well, yeah.

Well, the way you put it, I guess it's more of a problem with my personal preferences than anything else. Which, I suppose, was pretty obvious considering that most people who played it liked it. Like I said, I personally find her type of personality extremely annoying. It could all still work if the other characters were good, but, like I said, I just found them bland.

Right, right. It actually makes me wonder why I liked it, when my main issue with shounen is precisely the problem described above of recklessness and senselessness and making it through on protagonist BS power alone or through the sacrifices of someone else.

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I didn't mention my disappointments of last year yet, so I'm doing that now. Although there were several VN's last year I dropped early, they weren't necessarily the biggest disappointments. For a real disappointment you have to stick a while to a VN so you can really 'feal the rage' so to speak. ^_^

From the VN's that didn't live up to my expectations, two stood out as particular disappointing. The first is Chaos;Child, not because it would have been just bad, but because it actually had a rather strong first half that made hope for a real hit and then completely collapsed in the second half under one of the biggest piles of nonesensical bullshit I have ever seen. The whole thing was almost like a daoist Yin and Yang symbol with a glowing white and pitch black half.
The second major disappointment was a Japanese VN - Guildmaster from Astronauts Sirius. While their gameplay titles always tend to be a bit on the weaker side (at least plot-wise), this was definitely their weakest title by far. Part of the problem was certainly that they switched to the Unity engine and the whole title was pretty much a technical disaster with crashes galore and weird gameplay bugs even after several patches. And if that wouldn't be enough already, I had the strong impression that simply less effort went into all aspects of the title. Less overall CG's, over-simplified gameplay and an even weaker plot than usual. And that's not even the end of the story. They then rushed Chaos - Dominas, another gameplay title, in the same year which was at least okay from a technical point of view, but otherwise barely an improvement. And now they want to release yet another title just 4 months after that with Zettai Jotei Toshi. I'm slowly getting a bit worried about that studio - that's not the path that leads to quality.

Other titles that were rather underwhelming were Midori no Umi, Sakura Sakura, Damekoi and Majokoi. There was also Yu-No, but that one was more because of the annoying adventure game system and less because of the story - I don't really consider it a VN anymore. Judging by the anime, the story seems to be not that bad, at least until the epilogue hits home where they apparently tried to squish in 'yet another' genre. Not sure how it was done in the VN, but at least in the anime that part was just rubbish and I'm pretty sure it was the main reason for its not exactly glowing rating.

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