ルーパーズ infinity Chapter 17 - END (Visual Novel Book Club)

Current chapter start date: November 11, 2022
Home thread: ルーパーズ ♾ (Visual Novel Book Club) // Currently Reading!

Loopers

Previous part: Week 16

We’re reading ルーパーズ as part of the Visual Novel Book Club!

As of the time of posting this, reading is scheduled for 1 chapter per week. But feel free to jump in and ask questions or give your thoughts later! There are always people watching these threads :eyes:

Pace

There’s no chapter end image because this is the end!

Discussion Guidelines

  • Please use spoiler tags for major events in the current chapter(s) and any content in future chapters.
  • When asking for help, do your best to provide context. Pasted text, screenshots, descriptions, etc. Unlike book clubs we can’t flip to relevant pages, so we may need a little help identifying exactly what is being discussed.
  • Feel totally at ease to ask questions or give your thoughts, any time! Clubs live and die by participation, and asking whatever question you have, no matter how silly it may seem, helps others who are reading it and even the answerer themselves.
  • Have fun, and do your best to interpret anything said with as much good faith as possible :slightly_smiling_face:

Participants

  • I’m reading along
  • I have finished this part
  • I’m still reading but haven’t reached this part yet
  • I’m no longer reading

0 voters

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I’ll probably take another day or two, just wanted to take a brief moment to appreciate that 秋めく is a word. First time coming across it. Verbs for seasonal changes like that are neat!

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I finished this one yesterday. A little heads up to those that haven’t yet, there is a forced auto-section near the end of the game so be prepared to test your reading speed :sweat_smile:
Also my total game character count ended up being 129,145 characters while jpdb has it at 132,314. I can’t think of any lines that my game didn’t pick up on so not sure where the discrepancy comes from (maybe jpdb counts the credits? That’s the only thing I can think of that my texthook didn’t grab).

Spoilers / Overall thoughts on the game

So the game ended up having your typical Key-type ending like a few of us thought it would in previous chapters. I’d say its easily one of the strongest chapters in the game. The CG with タイラ and ミア hugging each other was beautiful. The insert song playing during the scene was good too, very vintage Key stuff.

When ミア faded away and it hit the credits scene, I figured there would be that small epilogue after the credits where ミア is actually okay. If I read that section right, didn’t ミア pick up her smartphone and call タイラ? I only emphasis that it was ミア’s phone because when タイラ picked up he just gave a casual 『もしもし?』. I figured he would have gone crazy as soon as he saw who was calling him, but I guess he got hyped after ミア’s line immediately after.

I saw some people suggest that the final CG could imply that ミア is actually still in her coma and the epilogue there was just ミア dreaming about the future. I don’t really buy into that theory and wouldn’t have thought about it if I didn’t see someone else mention it but thought it might be worth bringing up if anyone has thoughts on it :thinking:

As for my overall thoughts on the game, I thought it was just okay. I’d have to say its definitely one of the weaker Key games right there with Rewrite (funny enough my two least favorite Key games features Ryuukishi07 as a writer). I thought the visuals were the best part in the game and the majority of the soundtrack was good. I want to say the voice acting itself was good too but even by the end, the audio levels still annoyed me from time to time. Not sure how such a big studio messed that part up.

I don’t think length was a problem in the game because I’ve read a lot of VNs that are the same length or tens of thousands characters shorter that were able to develop their characters better. I think they just didn’t use the time they had to their best ability. A lot of the characters felt too one-dimensional or that they were just filling out an archetype. タイラ and ミア were definitely the strongest characters (makes sense since they are the main characters) but I think the game could have been served well by cutting out some of the lesser side characters to focus on those two even more.

I don’t really have strong feelings on the plot itself since for Key games I typically go into them with the mindset that they are character driven rather than story driven. I did keep thinking that things would go bad while in the loop throughout the game though, so it was kind of uneventful in that aspect since not much happened until the very end but the last chapters were great, I think they saved the best for last.

Overall though I had a lot of fun reading it with everyone and that part made it a lot more enjoyable! I hope for the people that don’t normally read VNs that this was a fun experience and will get them interested in more stuff from the medium :partying_face:

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Oh nevermind, I read it all today heh. Well there it is! Another visual novel down for me. These things are big, even this one is a significant project to take on. Anyone who makes it this far should feel good about that :slightly_smiling_face:

About 9500 characters this time.

Spoiler stuff

Yeah I’m sitting there like “this is the most Key thing I’ve ever seen,” haha. It was good! I agree with everything you said, though I think playing Summer Pockets a little too recently hurt my impressions of this ending since it’s basically this vibe but much more elaborate (and more emotional in my opinion).

I actually did think the final image was a bit of an odd choice, kind of implied something like that to me? Not sure why you show her sleeping specifically and not a more unambiguously pleasant image of her out of the hospital if not to at least add a little ambiguity there, hmm.

I’ve pretty much already laid out my thoughts on everything quality-wise but I agree with you. Had a good time but I’ve definitely read better. Haven’t read Rewrite, personally.

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Spoilers

True, the image does leave some ambiguity there. But since she had more or less just woken up, I took it at face value and assumed she was resting up as she was still recovering. I guess they could have made it clear if it was all real or not by keeping the same CG but with her eyes open instead of sleeping. My experience from other Key games is they love to add ambiguity to their endings, but my take based on the events is that the final sequence was actually real.

It’s a bit of a weird game and hardly like any of their other titles. The plot is all over the place (doesn’t help they had multiple writers working on the game). Some people like it, but it was too chuuni and action focused for me (one of the routes is basically DBZ in it haha).

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It might also be more intelligent parsing. I noticed the web page I was using with clipboard inserter would ignore lines repeated, for example:

Tyler: […なに?]
Mia: […なに?]

Would only get parsed as a single and add 2 characters to the total. Afaik, JPDB doesn’t exactly publish details on its methodology for tokenizing and parsing stuff for vocab words and so on which leaves me with some questions. Like, if loopers has about 6k unique works at an average of about 2.5 characters per word, does that include particles?

Also, thanks for the heads up on the auto section!

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I vaguely remember reading somewhere where that stuff was explained but I can’t find it so it might have just been on a random discord server but if I’m remembering correctly, jpdb doesn’t count punctuation so in the example above only the なに would be counted but not the “…” or “?”. My texthook doesn’t count punctuation as well. From other VNs I’ve read, my character count is always a couple thousand off from what jpdb says. Not sure why but at least its close enough where its still useful.

I think the particles are included in their unique word count since if you check the vocabulary list on any VN, you will see them listed.

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Yey, my second VN read completely in japanese! :cat2:

Final thoughts on the game

Ironically, Key’s reputation kinda ruined the ending a bit for me. When タイラ and ミア reunite “in spirit” through the finding of the dinosaur eraser, something in the back of my mind just refused to be moved by that scene as much as it normally would, just because I kept thinking “hey, it’s Key… she’s going to wake up anyway”. This happened to me before in a previous Key work too - I think the ending would have been incredibly touching if things just ended there instead of the happy ending of the epilogue.

It’s been said a lot already, but I feel this VN could have been a lot better by cutting on side characters and developing fewer ones better. I think the fact that this side characters were all kinda quirky didn’t help - that just made them look even more like stereotypes rather than people.

One element that I enjoyed quite a bit was the brief but interesting intersection with horror during the first encounter with the 探し女 and some of the encounters with the mirage レオナ that was losing it. I wish those kind of elements had been used more here.

Discussing the mysteries with everyone contributed greatly to my enjoyment of Loopers. If I had read it on my own I don’t think I’d have enjoyed it as much. However, despite it’s flaws, I still liked reading loopers quite a bit ^.^

The idea of that possibility never occured to me while reading the ending. I feel there would have been many better ways to insert ambiguity if that was the idea. Also, I feel it’s weird to think she saw the epilogue in a dream, since the actual heart that タイラ found is lying next to her. Unless rather than a “dream”, it’s her experiencing life within タイラ’s heart (which is what they promised during their final meeting I guess). Still that would make little sense since she experienced the phone call and everything?

My understanding was that it was ミア’s mom that actually makes the phone call. My understanding was that mom would often call タイラ and was used to calling him (I guess they became friends since タイラ would visit all the time). So タイラ wouldn’t be surprised or suspect anything just from seeing a call from ミア’s mom, only after hearing ミア’s voice.

Big thanks to @Daisoujou for running this club and to everyone who participated. It was a blast reading this with you all.

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Spoilers

Ah yeah, I just re-read the section and that looks to be right. Her mom makes the call and then puts it by ミア’s bedside, that makes a lot more sense.

I had the same thoughts basically. Key does insert some small fantasy elements (if you could consider it that?) so maybe ミア could have just had a very vivid dream during her coma to experience it all. I’ve seen less plausible things happen in their stories before. But I do agree that I think the ending was real.

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Before anything, indeed, thanks a lot to everyone for organising this and for participating :heart: . What can I say, it’s the first VN I’ve ever read and the experience has been a blast, not only because I could do it in its native language (which by default makes it a significantly more attractive experience for me, I don’t think I can go with translations anymore if its a language I know) but also because these threads made it a lot more fun. Completing a chapter and coming back to comment and theorise was a great experience. It was an awesome introduction to the medium I’d say, and a few years back if you told me I’d be reading VNs in the future I would’ve been surprised; now I really think this is a medium that I enjoy and would love to continue (I’m already slowly researching new things to play :joy: ), both with the club and on my own.

Chapter spoilers and wrap-up thoughts about the game

Same! I actually loved the horror vibes and mystery, it’s probably a genre I’d enjoy quite a bit. It would’ve been cool if they kept that vibe for a bit throughout the game.

About the ending of the epilogue, I adhere to the side of “she’s alive and well in the present, everything is alright”, I don’t really think she’s in a coma, she just seems to be sleeping. I guess now that I think of it they might have added that for ambiguity but naaah I don’t buy it :joy: . In any case, both options could be true, which is nice.

So about the game as a whole, honestly I really liked it. It wasn’t something super groundbreaking or super memorable, but I still enjoyed it for what it is: a cute little story, nothing less nothing more. The art and the music were nice. Initially I really liked ヒルダ and thought she would remain as my favourite character until the end, but she ended up giving me side-character vibes sadly. It’s kinda sad in a way that everything is set up so that タイラ and ミア shine, and I guess they are for whom the story is made after all, but still ;-; . In the end I think サイモン ended up being my favourite character: super supportive, clever and smart but in a way that isn’t arrogant, didn’t hesitate to change his ways and adapt to the truth even if he was a bit sceptical at times, didn’t particularly stand out significantly like タイラ did but his role was still super important for the plot. I liked him at the start and I like him at the end, I think the game treated him very fairly. Plus I really like the way he speaks and formulates sentences, vocabulary choices, etc. Pretty polite but still close and warm, that scene of the phone call and when タイラ was completely defeated was nice.

The side characters ended up growing a tiny, tiny, very tiny bit on me. Still they were pretty plain, but since they were around relatively frequently, in the end I liked them more than I did at the beginning, so that’s a win. クロ and カイ though, I really didn’t fit them into the story at all after all. They ended up being used conveniently one time for the plot and that’s it. When they talked with a couple sentences before the end I was like… ughhh no, shut up, let’s not ruin the mystery :joy: . Remain in the unknown and let’s imagine you guys were amazing and super close to the main cast :eyes: .

What else… I wish they didn’t make タイラ a god on Earth, I said it before. I guess because of time restraints, he ended up solving every issue that came up with barely any struggle at all. I wish they let other characters excel a bit more, like ヒルダ or レオナ, it would’ve made タイラ a bit more human and the others a bit more capable. I would’ve loved more struggle overall, more mystery, more puzzles… I think the game would’ve been much better if it had been longer. At one point earlier, サイモン said he spoke with the American loopers, right? I don’t know, imagine if they come out of the time vortex without ミア and then they contact them to solve it, and they send one or two people over to ultimately help come up with the idea of the treasure spell, while sharing similarities or experiences from their time in the loop. I’m just imagining whatever :joy: , but yeah I guess the main issue for me is that everything felt super easy and it was pretty much all solved by one person who suddenly appears and puts a smile and energy on everyone.

Despite that thought, with its flaws, I still think it was alright. I really liked opening the game every week for the new chapter, I haven’t dreaded it a single moment nor wish a chapter was hopefully over soon. I thought the slice of life-y chapters were a bit long, but probably not because they were but because the weekly schedule of the club forced them to be like a month of slice of life, and I wanted so bad for the plot to advance at that point. VNDB has it rated with a 6.7 and I think it’s fair, nothing amazing but still something enjoyable.

Language wise I think the level was really good for where I’m at: nothing hard but still just right to get new vocabulary comfortably, though occasionally I did have significant trouble with some sentences here and there. I could get a lot of new vocabulary and that’s awesome. I don’t know exactly how many cards I had in my Anki deck prior to Loopers, because I started using Anki when I was playing FF7 a few months back, but I think it’s about 600 new words (though I did skip some words here and there, I don’t really add everything) (Edit: Actually nevermind, it might be less than that because I do have other words from other games, but I think it’s fair to say that I got at least 400 from Loopers). I also added unknown kanji to a Loopers collection in Kanji Study and it marks 53 new kanji so there’s that.

I’m probably missing something but anyways, was a fun VN! Can’t wait for the next one :partying_face: .

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Yeah thank you all for joining! I’m glad it went so well. You’ve all been great. Sorry I’ve been a bit brief, computer use hurts right now, came on around the time we did this chapter. Nonetheless, big thanks especially to @AzusaChan , I forget how it went but they either suggested the idea of doing this club in the first place or heavily supported it. Had been in my mind but I wasn’t sure there’d be any other interest until seeing someone else talk about it.

Compared to most other things this was my relaxed read, even if it had its moments, so it was always comforting to be back to club time :heart:

Quick spoilers

I think I should amend / clarify my point that I don’t even think I believe they INTEND for it to really say ミア is still sleeping… but I just think the image is a bad idea that might suggest it haha. Might say more about how my brain works though since you all didn’t seem to really have the thought yourselves. I was just like… this entire VN is about making sure she doesn’t stay asleep; why are we ending on a sleeping image?

That aside, I actually had the same thought as @2OC3aOdKgwSGlxfz , kinda brushed it off but I really do go into Key VNs thinking to some degree consequences aren’t real. I mean they are, sometimes, but knowing things are probably going to be good in the end just hamper my buy-in a bit.

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Finally finished! Technically, I’m still finishing on time which is honestly a lot better than I was expecting at the start of this. It also feels super weird. It’s the first time I’ve actually finished reading something of this scale in Japanese which is both a massive accomplishment and a bitter disappointment now that my excuses to shirk proper study time have gone out the window.

Thank you to @Daisoujou for getting everything up and running and thank you to everyone else who participated. It ended up being a bit of a small niche crowd, but I can’t imagine picking a better starter VN at this point and ya’ll made it a lot more fun than I probably would have had on my own.

For a bit of a mini-review I’ll give this a B-. Passable, but not great and a little disappointing for what’s supposed to be a major name in the industry. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by lucking into games for the few VNs I’ve read in English, but I felt this title was a bit bare bones. Side characters were largely missed opportunities. As much as I liked the visuals, they really seemed to go with the bare minimum of drawings. There was little variety in the environment art with a lot of it getting reused, plus the overall cg count was pretty low. What I ended up liking the best was the soundtrack which was consistently pleasant to listen to, although Tyler’s theme was probably a bit overused… >.> The writing was not the best, but far from the worst I’ve experienced and honestly I think it was above average for an “anime” title. The narrative was largely cohesive and the overall pacing felt even, although I’d say it’s a game that could have been either trimmed down to cut out the fat or expanded to enhance the side characters. IIRC I think I paid like $15 and it didn’t feel like a bad purchase at all.

spoilers

Now that I’ve said the nice things… it’s time to whine a bit.

I said a few chapters back that they couldn’t make the side characters totally faceless mobs… so they made Kuro and Kai disembodied voices. And really, their addition to the climax just felt like padding. If anything it felt super weird having them show up and not be part of the big mural of whole team despite the authors kind of shoving the whole Loopers solidarity shtick. It’s a bit of a shame since I think even giving them just an illustration in the hospital and one joint image for the finale would have been enough for the entire game. On top of that there was already enough up and down without having throw in the “don’t give up, we’re here with reinforcements!” moment and the extras brought on really didn’t do anything for me. It was kind of cute seeing that Tyler’s earnest treasure hunting was respected by the community, but really the whole bit just felt like a reminder that side characters had lives that never get elaborated on.

Speaking of Kai, the “yes loli no touch!” moment with Simon, while a silly trope I normally don’t mind, just felt kind of gross. You’re seriously going to use the handful of lines this character has in the entire game to establish that he’s a faceless lolicon? Seriously? Authors, wtf. Maybe I read too far into that, but it seemed too close to how I’m used to those things being represented elsewhere.

<Insert clever segue into an unintentional flat chest joke> Yeaaaah, I was really dumb when trying to parse that… but hey, thank you for the laugh yomichan.

As funny as that was, holy crap there was a lot of blank screens in the ending. The few CGs we got at the end were really good, but I’m disappointed at how much time was spent staring at nothing (or the same background scenery with a blue filter… or a rain particle…). The last few chapters seemingly doubled the length of the soundtrack, but I was really expecting a bit more in the visual art department. I thought it was particularly disappointing how they’d describe Tyler struggling in the rain and mud and yet we never saw him reaching out to the tin or anything. I rather like that the medium can indulge with code in a sort of middle ground between say a Telltale game and a novel, but Loopers felt more like an light novel with a soundtrack to me.


I should have expected that, but definitely thought the credits were the end at first. I think I would have been happy even without the epilogue. Rather some of Tyler’s conviction seems wasted with Mia waking up shortly thereafter (at least, I’m assuming shortly given they were all still visiting).

Ambiguity breeds engagement fan discussion moment right here. It mostly comes off as a cheap way to seem “deep” or whatever if that’s actually intentional. Personally, I feel like they leaned hard enough into the awakening segments that it would be weird to play it off as a dream. At least in that final shot she’s got a bit of a smile going on compared to her usual face, so I’m treating it as a sort of everything’s ok she can finally rest easy moment.

On a dumb note, I might have missed in the other chapters, but I didn’t realize that was what she was wearing in the hospital. Whenever the 探し女 showed up it gave me the impression of an older Mia so I appreciate them actually showing her dressed up like this with her hair down in the epilogue.

That’s what I read as well, but also I think Mia’s phone was actually at her family home. Her routine seemed to be to sneak out of the hospital to go there and get dressed and then she would have her phone. They also mentioned the contents of the fridge being simple due to her family situation, which I’m assuming is where some of her weird cooking habits come through. Sad that those bits of characterization didn’t come through until the end, but that’s how they also forced the whole “plot twist” and roller coaster of emotion at the end :-/

Simon was mostly cool. I think I got a bit agitated when he was used as exposition-chan after entering the loop, but for the most part I like how they kept his interactions littered with bits of personality. He had something of a nice line between serious/polite mode and friend mode that made him feel very human compared to the rest of the cast with his bro moment picking up Tyler in the park being an absolute gem. It’s very hard for me not to like him looking back on things.

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Spoilers

You know this bit stood out in my mind because it reminded me a lot of some moments in another work by the same author of very large scale community cooperation. The other was a lot more earned, but similar vibes. I get the impression he’s really into portraying that sort of largely sefless group solidarity. Which in the abstract I respect a lot. It definitely went “things are bad…wait no they’re not!” way too quickly and didn’t really have a proper impact, though. Bit cheesy in how it played out.

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minor spoilers from prior chapters

I went to look back at a few things and noticed on the chapter select screen that Mia’s first appearance after the prologue uses the same style of environment art as collapse of the otherworld in the later chapters.

image
image

It’s a small, but nice touch especially with how they’re both scenes involving Tyler changing relationship with the loop worlds.

spoilers

Just as quickly as they introduced reinforcements they did a “however, time is a bitch” skip followed by “everyone gave up”. As cheesy as it is I probably would have been happier with the reinforcements directly leading to them finding the treasure, but doing things like that felt so inconsequential I just don’t think it feels appropriate for the story.

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I just stumbled onto this tweet earlier and found it pretty clever and certainly relevant, haha.

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Finally finished… about a week behind everyone else. I wanted to keep up but honestly wasn’t too much into this one, didn’t help much that it didn’t break out of the established Key game formula at all. Was kinda expecting more since I really liked Higurashi by the same writer. Characters were ok I guess, can’t give it much praise beyond that. Hopefully I’ll be able to actually read along with everyone when the 9-nine playthrough comes along.

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Finally finished! This one took 1h.

I was expecting things to end well so I didn’t take the drama too seriously but then I saw the credits and thought that was the end-end and panicked a bit. I didn’t know there could be post-credit scenes so the ending had a bigger effect on me.

I’ve played several VNs in Japanese but this is the first one I finish! I guess the length helped but mostly it was fun to read along the group and check the comments after reading each chapter. Definitely looking forward to the next one.

And now some quick stats!

Summary
Week Approx Character Count Time (mins) Chars/min
1 2800 40 70,0
2 7200 60 120,0
3 6600 70 94,3
4 4500 40 112,5
5 8600 90 95,6
6 5000 50 100,0
7 10000 80 125,0
8 7000 55 127,3
9 11000 90 122,2
10 7500 60 125,0
11 13000 100 130,0
12 7500 60 125,0
13 6000 35 171,4
14 5500 35 157,1
15 8500 60 141,7
16 9000 50 180,0
17 9500 60 158,3

image

The data isnt’ super exact or anything (Week 2 specially is probably wrong but I had no exact data for that week) but I wanted to quickly see if there’s been a noticeable increase in speed. I did feel like I was going faster towards the end but seeing it with data is always fun! Progress isn’t linear but there’s definitely a trend upward (excuse the terrible excel graph but this was the fastest way).

It also seems I took about x3 the average time the VN is supposed to last according to vndb.

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