Visual Novels and Hitagi Crab 004

theultimatepose

It’s been a long time. And there is so much to talk about.

First off, what’ve I been up to? I think the following image will pretty much explain everything.

This is my current backlog:

backlog

Knowing Japanese is kinda like retarded (haha) ejaculation. It doesn’t sound like a real problem to most people and pretty much every weeaboo from NYC to the remote village of Yangbo of Sichuan province, China wants it (knowing the language, not retarded ejaculation). But once you’ve struggled and crawled your way up to the point where you know Moon well enough to read most things—you’re just overwhelmed. There is just so much stuff out there! But here’s the catch—you don’t want any of it. Why? Because of Sturgeon’s Law: 99% of everything is shit, and you don’t want shit do you? In spite of that, though, you’re not stopping. Much like a Wall Street banker desperately wanting more cocaine after his first hit to give more excitement to his life of fucking over the life savings of retired grandmas, after playing through the truly exceptional VNs, the ones that make you stop and go wow! what a truly exceptional VN, you’re desperately trying to find that kind of experience again. You plow through VN after VN, but you don’t, because of little ol’ Sturgeon. It’s an awful place to be in.

Speaking of truly exceptional VNs, here’s the ones that I’d say you must AT LEAST TRY just off the top of my head (this list is of course limited to the ones that I’ve played myself).

the Baldr Sky duology

I think I circlejerked about this game enough already, but it’s probably the most well-rounded VN in this list. It’s well-paced, the story is interesting, the heroines are great, and the game play is fun. I don’t think it’s the absolute best on any of the fronts, but it’s very good on all fronts. I didn’t think it was particularly hard to read or anything and the prose was pretty straight forward and not all that important so I have no idea why the game’s current translator keeps going back to revise his scripts.

Muramasa

This game has a reputation of being very hard to read, and I have to agree with that. It uses a lot of big-boy words and throws esoteric concepts out of the wazoo at you (like extremely detailed fake sword fighting theory). That being said, if you manage to make it past the first chapter and you get used to the writing style, reading should become much smoother.

If Baldr Sky is a constant 9, Muramasa fluctuates between 7 and 10. There were times that made me think I was reading the best written VN ever made, and there were times that just made me go WTF was the writer thinking? The setting is very well thought up, the characters interesting, and the conflicts convincing. It’s also, to my surprise, one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. The game has the surprising ability to make you cry from laughter one second and then make you cry manly tears the next. The main problem is that the author had a lot trouble tying everything together. For example, like how the heroines barely show up in Rewrite’s Terra, the two main heroines Ichijou and Kanae have absolutely no role in the true route. I feel like the game would’ve done much better as maybe 3 separate games where the author had the chance to flesh things out more.

The prose is utterly fantastic though. This is probably the only game that I’ve read where I thought that I was reading “real” literature. Now, whether this says something about the game’s writing itself or the shallowness of my experience in literature, I’ll let you decide. I’m not aware of any active VN/light novel translator who can even come close to doing the writing any amount of justice, myself included, so if you want to read the thing within the next 2 decades, start learning Japanese.

Muv-Luv trilogy

The translation isn’t fantastic, but definitely readable so go play it already. I started writing a review of Alternative several years ago, but got writers block and stopped.

White Album 2

On the surface, this looks like a game about an innocent, but bittersweet love triangle between 3 high school friends. Deeper down, it’s about the dysfunctional relationship between a psychotic lying asshole, a manipulative bitch, and a bad-tempered and selfish child. While this sounds terrible and more fit for a Beverly Hills, 90210 plot, the game is one of the best written ones I’ve read with a very tight script and no extraneous bullshit that plagues VN writing, features a very endearing cast of heroines despite their flaws, and has a emphatic first person narrative that flows and drives the game forward seamlessly. It also features one of the most interesting and confounding VN heroines I’ve seen (Setsuna). This game as a well-deserved score of 95 on EGS.

Oh yeah, and if there’s any reason to stop reading that shitty eroge blog written by those two retards, this is it. Look at this shit:

“WHITE ALBUM2 ~closing chapter~ and Gin no Toki no Corona highlight a lackluster month that is mostly full of remakes, sequels and fandisks.”

Do these two even realize how excited people were for WA2? Taking a gander at any of those blogs that post highlights of 2ch eroge threads would’ve told them that.

“Did not play the first game, will not play the second. This series is about as interesting as it would be were it a game about the life of britney spears.

That game would be full of plot twists and appeal to those who like watching trainwrecks.

And end with a bunch of random kids from different fathers. Although at least unlike other southerners they wouldn’t be from her brothers, so that is a plus is suppose.

‘Oops, I did it again’ indeed.

*Cough*…. convincing you are not.”

Britney Spears? Plot twists??! Dear God, what is this I don’t even. Yeah, I’m way too mad about this. Hypothesis: these two fucks don’t even play eroge and/or don’t know Japanese. Probably both. Either that, or they Google translate all their games.

Why doesn’t this game have a translation? Hmm. I’m not sure, because it wouldn’t be THAT hard to do. The game’s just really long. Someone needs to get on it.

Ever17

I think everyone and their grandma has played this game by now, but if you haven’t, stop reading this shitty blog and go play it! A lot of the game is boring, but the ending is well worth it. It’s a game that defines the VN medium as in the story could only work as a VN. A book just wouldn’t work right.

the Grisaia trilogy

Kajitsu (the first one) is probably THE funniest thing I’ve read within the past decade, be it book, comics, or VN, but the humor (which can sometimes surprisingly be quite American) isn’t for everyone. The game also has the quirkiest cast of heroines ever. The great thing here is that you don’t seem them solely interacting with the protagonist (I found that a lot of eroge have this problem) but with each other as well and the way their various personalities play off each other had me grinning and laughing to tears. One problem is that there’s nothing really to tie it all together. There’s no main goal to speak of to string the reader along and it ultimately it doesn’t feel like one unified game.

There’s a translation for this one due out soon, and from what I’ve seen, while it’s not great, it’s readable enough that you can enjoy most of the game.

Meikyuu (the second one) solves this problem by introducing the Grand Route that somehow makes all the heroine routes canon and introduces the main conflict. I kind of wish that they made the Grand the entire game itself (after stories for the individual heroine routes in Kajitsu take up the majority of the game) as the story could’ve used a lot of fleshing out in parts.

Eden, the last game, is due out next month and it’s gonna either break or make this series. Lots of people are excited for it since it has a real possibility of being GOTY given that the series actually has a story now. I’m hopeful that this will be the next shot of crack that eroge fans are always looking for.

Also, if Yumiko looks like Hitagi to you, it’s because the guy who did the anime designs for Monogatari also did the designs for these games. Unfortunately though, Yumiko isn’t even half as witty and acerbic as Hitagi is.

Sharin no Kuni

Has a pretty good translation. Go play it.

Here’s some thoughts about other VNs I’ve played.

Yu-No

If this was 1996, I can see how this would probably be one of the best gaming experiences ever. But since it’s 2013, I can’t really say that. The point and click system is old and a pain in the ass. A lot of the times, even if you’re in the right area, you won’t know what the hell to click to continue on so you start click spamming. I never had this problem in the Phoenix Wright games. Also, the Jewel system sucks. If you mess up, you have to go all the way back to the beginning if you forget to set a Jewel. Which is terribly demotivating.

On the story front, I felt like the heroines needed more screen time to make me give a damn about them, and the mystery and narrative wasn’t really all that engaging until the epilogue. (Since this is a bit spoilerish, I’ll refer to you-know-what as only “the epilogue.”) The epilogue is probably the most interesting thing about the game, but it’s way too under developed. Personally, I would’ve had about half the game be about the town, and then have a genre switching moment where the epilogue comes to play and you need knowledge and things from both the town and the epilogue to reach the true ending (kind of like the past and the future in Ocarina of Time). Also, if this game were to be played by anyone not into otaku culture, the fact that you ultimately went on this huge ass journey to end up fucking you-know-who would detract way too much from the rest of the game.

Boku no Kanjo wa Gatenkei

If you like NTR, you will like this game. (Actually, it’s probably the only good NTR game I’ve played.) If you don’t like NTR, playing this game might actually kill you.

Root-Double

This game can be summed up as: flashbacks, the game. Also, the main character who’s voiced sounds like a constipated squirrel. Did the people who played rated this game on VNDB even play this game? Part I is the best thing about this thing where the mystery is still fresh and also where there are no goddamned flashbacks. The final “twist” at the end… wasn’t much of a twist.

Sinsemilla of the Dusk

This game has the best imouto character ever. If you like imoutos and the Japanese countryside’s atmosphere, play this game.

Monobeno

This game has lolis but that’s not the point. Ever face palm because the author decided to put a sex scene in at the worst moment possible? This game fixes this problem by having non-canon h-scenes that you unlock as you progress through the game. Basically, you get to a scene that could potentially lead to a face-palm worthy pr0n scene (like a heroine comes to wake MC up), but instead doesn’t in the main game, but in the game’s gallery viewer it unlocks a scene where it DID lead to a face-palm worthy pr0n scene. This way, the pr0n doesn’t interrupt the flow of the game but you still get it. You get your cake and eat it too. More eroge need to implement this.

Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete

This game is pretty much only playable when you’re horny. And even then, you’re going to be staring at the sprites and clicking through bullshit as fast as possible. Misaki Kurehito (NSFW) really needs to pair up with Maruto Fumiaki (WA2’s writer)… oh, wait, they did. But it’s a light novel, not a VN ;_;

Okay, so for much VNs.

Here’s a list of changes I made for this release of Hitagi 004:

  • Instead of having neon colored boxes encircling them, clickable links are now colored. Red is a link within the pdf itself, magenta is a URL link.
  • I’m now using Adobe Garamond Pro for the main serif font. I’ve tried several different fonts and they all gave me tons of overfill errors. LaTeX’s native Computer Modern font included. Also why I’m only releasing in 10pt from now on.
  • I’m now compiling using XeLaTeX instead of LaTeX since it has a package that natively supports East Asian Language characters. (Thanks to Nakulas for explaining it to me.)
  • The crab, snail, monkey picture is now transparent instead of having a white background. Meaning that if you decide to change the white background of the pdf to a color that doesn’t simulate directly burning your eyeballs with sunlight while reading, it won’t stand out like a Harlem Globetrotter at a Ku Klux Klan meeting.
  • Translator’s Corner now have links that link back to the original line in the translation. Also, I bolded the quotations for easier reading.
  • Ever notice how 001 was one level above the rest of the chapters in the table of contents of your pdf reader? That was due to a sectioning discrepancy in LaTeX on my part where I went from basically level 1 to level 3 and skipped level 2. Thus, the LaTeX compiler was confused. That’s been fixed now and consequently, chapters now start on a new page due to the default styling of the “book” document class in LaTeX that I’m too lazy to figure out how to change. Given you’re reading on your fancy computer/kindle/nook/iPad/that Android tablet whose name I can’t remember, we’re only killing digital trees so it’s okay.
  • I added in initials/drop caps/lettrines/whatever you want to call them so it looks more like a book now. I can’t seem to find a complete set of typography rules surrounding them so I might’ve done it wrong.
  • Here’s a big one: I went back and edited about everything I wrote initially that I didn’t like in some way or another. The whole translation should read a lot smoother now.
  • I used the word “leer” wrong. That’s now been fixed.
  • Added in A Word in Advance into Translator’s Corner explaining what Translator’s Corner is about.
  • I’m now using my full name instead of my shortened penname because the more I looked at it, just having Baptiste there made me sound like I was a Calvinist preacher. Just call me JB for short.

Download.

Torrent.

As always, if you see a mistake or have any suggestions relating to making the pdf look prettier or make wording better in the prose, or see a translation mistake (I’ve made some big ones, though I think I’ve managed to catch all of them before release) feel free to email me at jean.baptiste.tell at google’s email service. If you’d rather complain without offering anything helpful, as always, I’m willing to give a full refund. Just shoot me an email with your full name, address, SSN (or equivalent of your country), and credit card number (with that CVV thing) and I’ll get right on it.

Lastly, some people have asked if I still need an editor. After translating this chapter, I’ve realized something. There’s two pun jokes in 004 and they both took me an embarrassingly large amount of time to make up. And they aren’t that good either. So I don’t really need an editor, I need a pun/joke maker. If you’re up to the task, as a test, email me at jean.baptiste.tell at google’s email service with your own made up puns of the two found in 004 (look in Translator’s Corner for the original Japanese).

Edit:

Some things I forgot to mention. Another Monogatari season announced and yet no Kizumono movie in sight. C’mon Shaft, get it together.

Also, Mahoyo. Commie is doing a translation. Hmm… I’m not really sure what to expect. But since I got another chapter of Bakemono out of the way, I think I should go back and finish the trial.

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5 Comments to “Visual Novels and Hitagi Crab 004”

  1. I have enough trouble reading every translated visual novel that I am interested in. Having the option of untranslated VNs as well seems almost scary.

    Thanks for the continued progress of Hitagi Crab. There is a world of difference reading your work when compared to some of the other light novel projects that pass as ‘translations’. Keep up the good work.

  2. This is a test comment.

  3. Dammit, you got me excited there for a minute. All of the porn games you suggested I’ve either already read or are just not translated yet. I also don’t like reading reviews of VNs I haven’t played, so… there goes my reading material for the night.

    On the plus side, now I have something to read on my mobile. Cheers!

    By the way, have you read any Liar Soft games? I really love how they write their characters, and after reading you brag about your backlog, I realized that learning the language myself might just be the only realistic way for me to play their next game in line…

  4. Got linked this on IRC. Gonna have to respectfully disagree on Sharin’s translation being decent – TNA and I aren’t really very happy with it nowadays and we’ve both improved our Japanese a ton since taking that project on. We hope to redo it at some point and would caution against taking it as representative of the tone of the original script.

    And while I’m here…

    Funnily enough, your description of your ideal vision for YU-NO is more or less what the creator, Kanno, actually envisioned; they ran out of time during development and had to heavily cut the epilogue. It really would have been as long as the rest of the game up to that point and featured adventure gameplay like the rest. Kanno actually considered the game a failure immediately after its release because of this.

    Baldr Sky’s translator is busy translating bad anime for Commie, unfortunately. Also, I think an element of the game that kind of gets overlooked is how many different sci-fi concepts Hiei managed to cram in and (mostly) actually make relevant in the process. I think it gives the game some more depth, personally.

    lol @ those guys commenting on WA2. I personally really disliked the game’s approach and especially hated Setsuna, but I can’t deny that it’s very well-written and emotionally effective. There’s actually a translation project up for it on Baka-Tsuki, but the quality is about what you would expect from that site – check it out at your own risk.

    I pretty much agree with you about Grisaia. I think it would be neat if the upcoming Kajitsu anime did the unseen “grand” route that forms the basis for Meikyuu/Rakuen, but it would probably have to not suck to do that. Also the translation is pretty good from what I’ve seen of it; I doubt anyone would be willing/capable of doing a better job, anyway.

    As for your backlog: Muvluv Chronicles is really only worth it for The Day After, but damn it’s good, ditch the other two August games and play Eustia (if you haven’t already), Himawari is awesome but make sure you play the fandisc and the bonus stories from the PSP/PS2 edition or the story is nowhere near complete, I wouldn’t recommend reading JQV unless you’ve read Cross+Channel/Saihate no Ima/Jinrui ha Suitaishimashita first since it’s a pretty big homage to Romeo’s works, and this sentence is a giant run-on. (Also, if you ask me, Innocent Gray’s games are poorly written schlock, but YMMV)

    Now allow me to vanish into the mists once more.

  5. Wow, your English prose is really excellent (in general, and especially by comparison to the dreck that passes for “translations” on Baka-Tsuki/etc). Keep it up!

    By the way – any chance you could send me your Latex source files for Hitagi Crab?

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