Category Archives: Visual Novel

Cross Medium Recommendations (1)

Hi, been a while since I last posted on this blog. I’ve been planning this post for a while, and hopefully it will be interesting. Today, I will bring you guys several recommendation across ACGL (anime, comics, galgame, and light novels) spectrum.

It is usually easy to seek recommendation in the same medium. For example, for anime rec, you can just pop into myanimelist’s recommendation forum and ask for rec according to your criteria. The same goes for manga, light novel, or visual novel; you just have to ask in the relevant forum. However, one thing that I’ve rarely seen is recommendation from one medium to the other. To give an example, if I liked Code Geass, can I find similar stories in VN or light novel…?

I am going to tell you, yes, absolutely.

Moreover, all recommendation that I am going to enumerate here are considered classics in their own respective fields. Even if you have never experienced a particular medium before (probably visual novel/galgame or light novel), this is a good place to start.

1. Gintama & Futurama

Gintama (anime/manga)

Futurama (cartoon)

So despite what I said, I decided to start off my first recommendation with a Japanese anime and an American cartoon. Well, anything goes, right?

Gintama started as a manga in 2003, and was since adapted into anime in several seasons starting from 2006. Futurama debuted on TV way back in 1999, and came to an temporary halt in 2001 after just 4 seasons. The series is revived on TV, however, in 2007, and aired 3 more seasons until its finale in 2013. At first sight, one can immediately observe that both shows have 2 main male characters, with 1 main female character, in their posters. Of course, the similarity doesn’t just stop there. Both are episodic comedy parody series that follow one principal and one principal only: anything goes.

The setup allows for such flexibility in story-telling. In Futurama, the protagonist, Fry, is a 20th century man who was frozen and essentially time-traveled into the 31st century. He had no choice but to work in a universal delivery company, exploring the most dangerous part of universe on an everyday basis. In Gintama, the protagonist, Gin, is an Edo Samurai whose entire country has been invaded and occupied by Amanto, or space aliens. As he has lost his job as samurai, he opened a yorozoya house, where he and his team do all kind of odd jobs upon request. Already, both shows have such broad and crazy setup. Literally anything can happen, so you’d never know what to expect, ranging from popularity contest, space conquering, holiday gathering, to sudden, emotional flashbacks. Normally, I don’t like to watch episodic series in that they lack a coherent main story line, but pure comedy parody series with such crazy setup are an exception.

Parallels in how characters are presented also draws affinity between the two series. The protagonists, at first, seem to possess all kinds of negative qualities that a human being could have, spending their days lazing around the neighborhood. Unlike the deluge of Mary-Sue protagonist that seem to encompass all positive qualities in shows nowadays, Fry and Gin are usually lazy, sometimes dumb, indulging in bizarre habits, occasionally revels in others’ misery, and always draw the short end of the stick in life. However, this is only on the surface. As the shows progress, audience will discover that, actually, there are a lot of good points about the protagonists and their entourage. This stark contrast is always done in powerful ways, making the characters real humans instead of characters endowed with many good attributes.

Finally, both series share the element of trying to make fun of everything that is waiting to be ridiculed, from our everyday habits, customs, culture, to just ways of how humans interact with each other, in a non-aggressive, fun way. Of course, Futurama mostly makes fun of American culture, while Gintama do Japanese, so it is sometimes hard to catch the humor if you are not familiar with the particular culture. Still, the key point is that there is so much comedy in both that you’d at least be able to catch some, and it would still be very funny. Ultimately, through their ridiculing of human nature, we could perhaps learn something about ourselves, and change for the better. I am very serious when I say this.

2. Code Geass & G-senjou no Maou

Code Geass (anime)

G-senjou no Maou, or Devil on the G-string (visual novel)

If you are an anime fan who is still active in recent years, you’d probably already watched an original anime called Code Geass, or at the very least, heard about it somewhere. Now, if you really absolutely loved Code Geass, right after you finished the anime you’d probably feel a big void in your heart. Where else can one finds such an entertaining and gripping tale of revenge, fraught with tension and theatrics? Some would, rightly so, suggest the anime Death Note. Of course, it doesn’t take a detective to see the similarities between them. Still others would recommend the anime Guilty Crown, written by the same script writer. In this case, one would disappointingly find that the similarities remain limited, if not only on the surface, with setup such as the king’s power, big robots action, blah blah blah. Today, I am going to take you guys on a different path. If you broaden your horizon, you will find that there is this one popular visual novel called G-senjou no Maou (Devil on the G-string) that will definitely satisfy your thirst for Code Geass.

What makes Code Geass so endearing is definitely not the mecha action. It is the drama, the theatrics, the high amount of tension, how characters pull ridiculously impossible yet brilliant moves against their opponents, and of course, Lelouch. Unfortunately, Lelouch is not in this visual novel, but we get the next best thing: a charismatic, mysterious criminal mastermind, self-styled Maou, or Devil, whose identity is shrouded in mystery even from the audience.

Instead of royal offspring acting as commanders trying to outwit one another in the battlefield as in Code Geass, we dig deep into the world of terrorist and yakuza in G-senjou. As the adopted son of a mafia boss, the protagonist, Kyousuke, obey his father’s every bidding. His peaceful day as an yakuza-in-training is disrupted when two individuals suddenly showed up in the city, a beautiful girl named Haru and an internationally powerful mafia known only as “Maou”. And so, along with Haru, Kyousuke begins an deadly cat-and-mouse game with maou, in an epic game of wits.

Without going into more details, I am going to assure you that the two stories are most similar in that they have the same “feels”. The suspense is there. A lot of mystery needed to be uncovered. Characters engage in deadly games of wits against each other, with high stakes. They pull off huge stunts when one least expect it. Some comic relief here and there, and then bang, plot twist again. Although the story is prone to some minor plot holes with careful inspection, just like Code Geass, the story overall is very well written and executed in a good pace. The conclusion ends in the most dramatic fashion possible.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that the voice actor for both Lelouch and Maou is Furukawa Jun?

For more info, refer to this post https://bunny1ov3r.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/first-experience-with-visual-novel-an-attempt-at-g-senjou-no-maou-review/

PS: I really meant to include a couple more recommendation in this post, but I got really lazy and still wanted to publish it today. I’ll call this post part I. Hopefully the next part will come soon with more interesting recommendation across mediums. 


WHITE ALBUM 2 ~closing chapter~

When WA2 gets translated in English, I hope everyone enjoy it as much as I did in the past week.

the end of eternity


I’ll be with you…
Even if it means abandoning everything that matters to me.

WHITE ALBUM 2
~closing chapter~

A crappy guitarist, a talented vocalist, and a prodigious pianist: three melodies once distant came together and formed something harmonious. But as it swelled to a crescendo, it became too much for them. Something had to give, and none of their own melodies reached… Neither did their love.

Three years later, the harmony is no more. With Kazusa having long since left for Vienna, both Haruki and Setsuna are left to pick up the pieces of their fractured relationship. Held captive by their destructive memories and overtaken by a mutual guilt, it’s all Haruki can do to avoid Setsuna as he throws himself into work despite her evident hopefulness. As they’re being strangled by the string of fate it’s a wonder if he can continue avoiding her. Three distractions come in…

View original post 7,229 more words


First experience with Visual Novel, an attempt at G-senjou no Maou review

It’s been quite a while since I last posted in this blog, a bit more than half a year in fact. It’s not like I was so busy that I couldn’t find time to write blogs about ACG related contents, but rather that I couldn’t think of anything of importance to write about, so I spent my time elsewhere on the site with respect to ACG (anime, comics, and games) related stuff, ie. myanimelist, etc.

I have invested a lot of time in ACG related stuff since advent of high school (and even before that), and have dabbled in manga, anime, and light novels extensively. Anime and manga are definitely the more common mediums, while light novels tend to be a niche interest among ACG lovers. What’s an even more niche interest in English-speaking community is visual novels, and most people probably don’t know much about it. NSFW, 18+, dating sims, or anything of that ilk come to mind when one thinks of visual novels, or galgame. I more or less held that opinion until a few days ago, when I tried my first visual novel because I realized that a lot of great VN with great stories are never adapted into anime, manga, or light novel.

2013-02-01_00003

A typical visual novel

So, what exactly is a visual novel, let me tell you about my experience so far.

The easiest way to imagine VN is try thinking of a hybrid between an anime and a novel. It is not an” anime in that the scenes aren’t animated. The narratives rely on prose to convey the plot to the readers. While facial expressions change from time to time, the art in VN is more like illustrations to a novel rather than an animated sequence. It does come with BGM and character voice, though. It is not exactly a novel either, in that 1) players have some power to influence what happens in the story (game-like”), and 2) there is way too much conversations for it to cut strictly as a novel.

I’ve heard that visual novel is extremely versatile in its mechanism. Contrary to my previous belief, each character route (heroines that you choose depending on your choices during the game) usually do not spoil other routes. Basically, you can finish routes in any order and still find something new each time without repeating or being spoiled from previous results (at least in this case). It’s kind of interesting because it allows for a story with many conclusions instead of just one, and players are more likely to find a satisfying ending among those.

Anyways, my first experience with VN is rather great. I holed up in my dorm (well I did go to classes) for a week and completed my first VN, without any regret in the end.

REVIEW of G-senjou no Maou (no spoilers)

g-senjou-no-maou-the-devil-on-g-string-810x456

Now available on steam, with English translation: http://store.steampowered.com/app/377670/

Strangely enough, G-senjou is in certain aspects eerily similar to Code Geass, beside the fact that the main antagonist’s voice actor is Furukawa Jun, the VC for Lelouch in Code Geass. How so? The whole story is a strange combination of school life, suspense, battles of wit, people trying to lie and cheat each other, and characters that can not be clearly defined as just “good” or “evil”. There is one clear distinction though. As a galgame, G-senjou places much more focus on the romance aspect, and by romance I don’t just mean the H-scenes. In fact, without spoiling the story, I’d claim that G-senjou is a pure love story more than anything else.

Story: 8/10

To be honest, looking at the story as a whole, while it is very entertaining, there are also a lot of places that could have done better. This game have 4 heroine routes in total, and these routes can be reached by choosing its corresponding choice in chapter 2, 3, and 4. In chapter 2, 3, and 4, you either go into an alternate heroine route, or progress through with the story toward the true end (chapter 5). Outcomes vary differently in true end and other heroines’ good end. Different things happen in different routes.

Beside from the fact that the game could be slightly boring in certain scenes, I found that there are two major weaknesses in terms of plot. One, the creators all but sacrificed all other routes for the dramatic showdown in the true conclusion. It’s not that the other routes weren’t emotional or dramatic (in fact, chapter 2’s good end had me crying), but rather that it has little to do with the central mystery of the story, in which the male lead rests in the center of the conflict, mainly because the true end could do without the stories of the three other heroines and still be brilliant. Two, the series of code geass-ish battle of wits in this game can bring players out of focus at certain points, simply because each incident is quite dragged out and certain developments may seem a bit forced. To be fair, though, everything is revealed in the end, providing a satisfactory resolution to loose threads or what previously seemed like bad writing.

Still, I can’t emphasize enough, the true ending is amazing; melodramatic, bitter-sweet, plenty of adrenaline, while still giving players one of the most epic endings ever.

Character: 9.5/10

The biggest accomplishment in the character department is how great they are portrayed. None is portrayed in black and white lens. All characters have bad and redeeming points to them, right down to the protagonist’s sidekick. Villains aren’t always villainous, and good people don’t necessarily always remain pure. The first and second route are great in terms of exploring the heroine’s characters and showing their realistic development. The same thing can’t be said for the third route, a route that may get you wondering why the heroine likes the protagonist in the first place. The fourth and true route is the best, as it is the “intended” story from prior development. Main characters in this route undergoes a metamorphosis, releasing all the previously pent up emotions and reaching into a beautiful catharsis.

Music, Visuals, Language: 8.5/10

I rather liked the art in this game, perhaps the style just click with me.

The most memorable song by far is “Close Your Eyes”, inserted toward the end of the game. It’s nothing short of glorious. BGM and sound effect throughout the VN seemed appropriate as well.

I read the fuwanovel’s English translation. For the most part it is very smooth and readable. Don’t expect any fancy language, though.

In conclusion, I think G-senjou is at least worth 8.5/10. I read played this game because it was strongly recommended in various best VN recommendation blogs. I have to say that I am not disappointed, and will definitely probably pick up more VN in the future immediately afterward.


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