9-nine- 9️⃣ (Visual Novel Book Club + offshoots)

Listen to your evil side and play it in Japanese :eyes: . I’ll get it for sure at some point and plan to replay BotW in Japanese and then that, but I most likely won’t get it on release sadly.


By the way I forgot to add about the pace, I would personally get rid of the range and would go for a concrete amount and leave it at that, then either cut it short or go a little over it if the scenes require it as we’ve done until now. I’m saying cause it’s much easier to organise if I aim for one amount and not try to fit it in a 2.5k range. In essence it’s the same, but it’s also redundant. Besides if there’s a range there will be people who would want to read until the lower end and people who do until the upper end (which is my case), and having everyone share the same framework helps things a bit, not just for 9-nine- but for the VN club as a whole. Not expressing the goal as 22.5k - 25k but just as 25k or whatever, the regular amount we try to aim for every week. Just an idea. It’s also handy when thinking about how much you’re actually trying to read each week, in a very clear number.

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I think the ranges mostly started as something of a compromise since there was a bit of a split of opinion on the pace initially. We don’t really have that problem now so it’s probably even better to just keep it simple. That range also doesn’t have much wiggle room which probably won’t be all that practical moving forward.

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It just got on sale again btw until 15 May.

Ep.1, 2, 3 and 4

New Ep.

The lowest recorded price for this doesn’t make sense cause the price was increased in January.


I might wait for the summer sale just to get 50% on Ep.4 and hopefully 40% on the new episode or something, it’s only 51 days away and we’ll be finishing Ep.3 around that time anyway.

Also something caught my eye, I’m pretty curious about this future sale :eyes:

image

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I’d be fine with increasing it to 30k or keeping our current pace. Sometimes I start reading on Thursday so although I post my thoughts a day or two after the thread is open, I’d say I take on average 3 days to finish the weekly reading, sometimes 4 on busier weeks. Usually I only read one other thing on the side along with the VN club so I definitely have room in my “schedule” to increase the pace if everyone else wants to. I’m not sure what weekly number would be ideal to make longer VNs a realistic thing for us, but I am fine with gradually increasing it like this to see how we all handle it.

I’m fine with getting rid of the ranges as well and just shooting for a concrete amount. I think the range was a compromise in the main vn club like ccookf said due to the poll being split between those two options? Maybe its worth discussing it in that thread too but I’m fine with getting rid of them for our offshoot club.

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In my case the reason I post on Saturdays / Sundays is because I dedicate all the weekend and Friday nights to book club reading (I participate in a lot of book clubs of varying difficulty, the VN one is the hardest one by far - last week’s reading took me close to 6 hours to complete. The second hardest bookclub only takes me 1.5 hours per week). Other days I read something on my own, but my spare time is a lot more limited due to work.

So I do have some leeway but 30k would be getting close to my limit - I also have the issue that I feel I’ve hit some sort of intermediate-level plateau where I don’t feel like I’m improving as much as I’d wish - I don’t have the impression that I am reading faster in ep2 than I did in ep 1, sadly.

In summary, I’m fine with going to 30k for ep3, but if we want to go even faster in the future I might need to do some shuffling on my end to get some more extra time to read.

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Since it has been discussed here, let me explain the two reasons I went for a span in the main club. One as a few of you have mentioned was because the poll was actually tied for first (or close enough, I can’t quite remember).

The second reason, the to me bigger reason, is that I looked at those numbers and thought we’d just shoot the VN club firmly into advanced territory by the amount we had set as the weekly.

And just now I remembered that NicoleIsEnough gave us a number for the number of characters per bunkobon book page, which is 400. And as mentioned in the post, this would be pages with no white space. 25k / 400 = 62.5 pages. If you then consider that there will be dialog and such with blank space, the number of pages would be higher. So say between 70-80 (I have no idea, but it gets us a number).

The advanced book club seems to go for 30-50 pages, depending on the difficulty (I assume). So something set modern day would be more like 50 pages per week, while fantasy would be more like 30.

So I was wrong actually, the VN weekly amount have shoot way past the advanced book club in terms of pages. It could however be said that dialog on average is easier than narrative, and VNs tend to rely much more heavily on dialog.

That’s why I kept the lower amount in. 2500 might not seem like much to some of you who knock that out in 5-15 mins, but for example for me that is 30-45 mins of reading. And it corresponds to 6,25 (no white space) pages or say up to 10 more pages (with white space). It isn’t an insignificant amount for anyone who has to challenge themselves to follow the VN schedule.

In fact, if I went by my current pace in Loopers, where it took me about 1.5 hours to read 5500 characters (of the shortest chapter) and this is towards the end of the VN. 25k is almost a 7 hour commitment. I have usually 1-2 hours to read on good days, less on an average day. I probably won’t even lay a vote in the next poll because I just can’t commit to that at the speed I’m currently read.

So yeah, I didn’t say all of that initially because the majority was clear. I would have wished more people voted in that poll though, but unless someone is familiar with reading VNs and preferably VNs with texthooking, then they probably have 0 idea of how much they read in character counts.

I’m in awe of you guys that are so much faster at read and/or able/willing to commit so much time each week.

That was why I tried to hold on to a lower amount, so more people like me could get the benefit of discovering VNs through this club. I was lower intermediate when I joined with Loopers last year, and then I was spending more than 1.5 hours for 5 500 characters. But I also understand that the club should adjust to the regulars, and that Looper’s pace was more about testing the waters for a VN club in general.

So I don’t begrudge the change. If there were more interest, it probably would be good to have two clubs, but I don’t think there is enough people interested (and able to commit the time). (Plus it is hard to find short enough VNs that are really good.)

This was an FYI. I’m not saying anything should change, just kinda presenting the reasons I did things the way I did.

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I think the latter point is true, but that feels kinda good to hear all the same haha. I didn’t intend to make one of the hardest clubs on these forums! :sweat_smile:

It is really the nature of VNs that it moves somewhat in this direction though for the exact reasons you pointed out. Splitting the club doesn’t seem totally impossible considering we’re basically in 3 groups right now, but I do think it might be contributing to the current main pick club being a bit quiet. Our group here is tiny but we’ve got a nice little core group that makes posts about every week so it feels nice to me all the same.

I guess what it comes to is that we do have to be careful spreading thin, and more than anything, I’m unsure if difficulty is actually the line that more people want to divide down. I don’t have a certain read if it’s specifically otome or just the nature of the exact picks, but we initially divided more for content, and the vibe I got from people here not joining 999 was either that they already read it or simply didn’t have the time to take on another. If people are going to show up for it, I think the club is super valuable for introducing the medium to others – both because I enjoy VNs and because I think they are extremely good learning material. Most people I hear about who spend time reading them make so much progress in a relatively short time. Easy/short constrains the choices a lot but I think it could be sustained for a while. I think the primary challenge is just that it’s still long form book-like reading and a pretty big commitment so it still walls out a lot of people, then a big chunk of the people who aren’t going to be locked out by that are advanced enough that could hang with our newer pace.

Ultimately we run with such relatively small groups I feel like all we can do is keep people as informed as they can be when picking what we read, and tailor the speed that we do it to those who are confidently committing to that VN. If there is a group of people that want to take shorter VNs slower to work their way in I think that’s really great! We just need to find those people and make it happen. I don’t in any way intend to be exclusionary but I do think it’s inevitable for the medium that some group of us accelerate in the direction we have? We don’t necessarily need to keep picking up the pace substantially any time soon, but like you pointed out, we already read quite a bit per week… but doing so has pretty much across the board led to more satisfaction in the pacing and total number of weeks for this VN, as far as I can tell.

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Inserting the message on a summary box cause wowee I like to type today apparently :joy: .

Meow

Thanks for all the feedback <3 . I never take anything said online badly unless it’s clearly hostile so do feel free always to state your opinions raw as they are, constructive discussion always helps the club IMO.

Other book clubs have been brought up in discussion before and it’s natural since they are also reading clubs, but I also feel like it’s very difficult to make a 1:1 comparison with this one out of the very big differences in medium between the two. In my very limited experience I’ve noticed VNs tend to have a lot more language repetition and same word usage/constructions much more frequently than I noticed it in books (which is only the amazing quantity of 3 books so take my opinion with a tiny pinch of salt). The improvement in my skill level also accounts for that of course, I don’t read books since a long time ago, but I think this in particular still stands. In VNs so far we’ve had situations where characters are constantly in the same places, describing the same actions, using the same words constantly, and so on. A lot of the reading seems much more like filler sometimes, honestly, bringing nothing new, which truth be told it’s a great thing because there are more chances to drill vocabulary/grammar into your knowledge. I’m inclined to guess the average book doesn’t have that much freedom for repetition simply because it’s limited by its number of pages, they have to keep moving forward consistently if they want to tell something in 200-300 pages or whatever its amount, unless it’s a series of books. It’s not a medium you often have 100 pages of relatively little activity, whereas in VNs I don’t feel like it’s that rare, and much of that uses the same language constantly so the pace is naturally faster. Again, pinch of salt, since my experience is very limited here.

Another serious disadvantage is not having access to textractor/yomichan, if I’m being completely honest. That’s such a tremendous help that pretty much solves the hassle of looking up hundreds of words and not burning out in the process, every lookup adds up a lot over time. I think it’s fair to say objectively that there is going to be a big gap between people who have access to it and people who don’t, unfortunately, if the reader hasn’t acquired a very big vocabulary pool yet and barely needs to look anything up (which is not my case at least), and that is probably going to accentuate the difference in pace among members.

Voice acting does make things easier as well, I read much faster if it’s voiced than if it isn’t, obviously, mainly because it’s being read for me and I don’t need to read it in my head, it forces me to catch up with its pace even if I’m reading at the same time. Sometimes I trip mid sentence and I have to re-read but many times it’s not an issue.

Another thing is that people participating in the advanced club often read much more than just the advanced club picks, I very often see regulars reading a lot more on their own and/or other book club picks + Natively’s mystery club and whatnot. In the Zero Escape thread, Rodan expressed they flew through the weekly assignment, and omk3 said much the same, that they were finding it a very smooth experience so far language-wise. I suppose they were expecting the experience to be something like some of the difficult stuff they’ve read but have realised otherwise. Some of the weeks were close to 20k characters not counting the puzzle rooms, and I read Zero Escape slower (6500 c/h) than I do 9-nine- (7700 c/h), so that means they read much faster than that. Of course, both of them are senpais to look forward to and not the default, but some other people expressed interest in increasing the pace as well.

In my opinion it’s all about the pace people can read at. I’m inclined to think that judging the nature of both mediums, VNs and books, the advanced book club probably has on average a slower pace than the VN club does, not because people are more proficient here but because books are probably harder to traverse by default. If you threw me into the advanced club my pace would suddenly plummet, for sure, because personally I think reading your average VN is probably easier than reading your average literature book, but this is just a guess and my very limited book reading experience from a while ago.

In terms of plot development, unfortunately unless you do read a significant amount, VNs so far can have weeks where nothing happens and that kinda sucks for the whole flow and interest of the group. It allows situations like in Loopers where you suddenly have 4 whole weeks of literally nothing going on but some slice of life, and while it was kinda fun, it’s also not fun that the plot stalls for a full month. Reading at a higher pace solves this issue and it also allows for some more discussion because more can happen.

While the opinion of the regulars is somewhat important (though not really more important or valuable than anyone else’s if you ask me tbh, unless we want to be a clique) I don’t think it should adjust to us, we are a club after all and having new readers would be awesome and more than welcome. It’s just that finding a balance between what this medium drifts towards (reading longer chunks) and making it accessible for everyone is really hard. There must be a compromise, and the entry point by default probably requires a certain language skill (the advanced book club comparison can be handy here). The issue is where you put that entry level to keep things interesting to read and discuss in a medium that not much can happen in tens of thousands of characters, and that is also fast to read if the difficulty is not super high. Of course I guess there are crazy hard VNs out there for sure. It might be the case that shorter VNs have less issues of pacing and a lot more can happen in 10k of an 80k VN than 10k of a 1M one.

The only reason I bring this up periodically is to check first of all how everyone is feeling in terms of pace, and second to gauge interest if eventually some would like to read longer VNs together. It’s also not like we have to force the club for this, we can read on our own and push those goals individually, but it’s also fun when you can do it with others if they express the same interest while still trying to make it relatively accessible for new high intermediate/advanced members willing/able to commit. I guess WaniKani is just probably not the place overall for that after all, maybe, where the general reading culture of regulars leans more towards reading a little of a ton of things, instead of the opposite. Nothing wrong with that at all either, in the end it’s the same amount of reading just structured differently (if you bundle other clubs together, would the VN club’s weekly amount still be crazy?). Now there seems to be a group that prefers the latter, while at the same time if this group makes their own group the regular club might possibly end up disappearing unless someone takes over and there’s a sudden increase in interest and willingness to read slowly, which IMO hurts the VN medium because again, you might have to spend potential months until something major happens and trying to keep interest up in that case might be really hard.

Would be nice if more people came to the club’s main thread and expressed their interest in reading VNs but so far that hasn’t been the case, sadly. I’m not sure if it’s because they’re put off by the pace or just that people are simply not interested at all. I’m inclined to think the latter, I haven’t seen many people reading VNs in the read every day challenges and whatnot, it’s pretty much books, manga and video games, and most of the ones reading VNs are already in the club.

This might be our best option, yeah. At the same time, it might be challenging at that point to keep the interest of those who have been regularly reading at a higher pace to suddenly cut it in half or more than half, because at that point they’re used to the plot moving much faster. I guess there simply isn’t an easy solution, unfortunately.

In any case, the 30k I suggested for Ep. 3 (which again we don’t have to do it necessarily, as always it’s just a suggestion) is only for the group reading 9-nine- and not for the main VC club picks, though I guess there is overlap eventually.

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My thinking in regards to that is that it’s a good problem to have because by all signs so far, those of us managing a pretty solid pace here plan to continue as long as we can get VNs we’re interested in reading. So it’s going to require enough of an influx of new / occasional members for there to be demand for said slower/easier stuff. Just need to do our best to let them be heard if they’re out there. We want to be careful splitting excessively, because this is indeed a niche medium, but that sort of gives us our opportunity already to serve them what they want but, people can always have the other thing they want too. And if one pick is being run specifically slowly, it makes it easier than ever for people to consider doing double. I mean on top of all of it, this works great as a hub and I want to maintain space for this club to live, but much like how book clubs pop up, we don’t have a monopoly on the whole medium. Got 2 people who want to read Marco or something at a slow pace? They should. Got 2 people (me and who? :sweat_smile:) who want to read 10,000 characters per day of Umineko and still take 7 months? Also good

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Honestly I would join both groups :joy: I did buy Marco cause I thought it was super cool, was one of the picks I would’ve loved to read and haven’t yet. I don’t have Umineko, I don’t even know what it’s about, but I’m also down just out of its reputation.

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In general I find VNs more approachable than other mediums. I’ve had some kind folk here point out ways to get going with yomichan for other things, but it inevitably involves extra hoops to get a legal digital copy, strip the DRM if needed, and run them through another assort of tools/browser extensions. So far I think all of the reading for the VNs has been available on Steam or other platforms that allow for easy purchasing (eg. DLSite) to the point I genuinely think it’s a PITA to read anything other VNs now.

There have been some ways I’ve simplified the process, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t involve flying the jolly roger.


Regarding the pace, after a point I think it’s very easy to increase that because the VN picks have been largely ‘easy’. When the average is already in the upper thousands per session adding an extra 20% really doesn’t feel bad or take much time. People who are already time constrained will probably be upset, though.

If we need a break we could all play the Umineko fighting game while we’re at it :smiley:

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Ok also both for me haha, Marco was my suggestion originally and I’d still like to read it. The style looks really nice. If it wasn’t for how I probably do need to give ALL of my reading time to it, I’d genuinely get on that Umineko thing. As much as it feels like a joke for being the long VN I’d love to read it with people – I got a little ways into episode 5 (of 8) in English then got way too distracted and am on hiatus. Can already tell it’s incredible, and it has SO many things to discuss and wonder about.

Higurashi, same creator and loosely same “series,” is one of the most affecting things I’ve ever read, genuinely creepy and tense and thrilling with layers and layers of (solvable, while constantly inviting the audience to participate) mystery. On top of just having such a warm humanity at its core. Can’t gush enough. Umineko when it’s all done is supposed to be even better. Even at this point so many characters in it are just some of the most memorable in fiction in general to me.

I just gotta keep working on getting a bit faster.

I love that that exists haha, just been a little hands off with it for inadvertent spoilers.

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Funny that you mention that! I think I found this number online somewhere, but recently I came across a bunkobon with a tiny font, so I took the opportunity to actually count the characters, and it had around 770 per page :exploding_head: This prompted me to count other books, and the ones that I picked had like 550 to 660 (with the lower number being quite the exception). So I now think it’s probably fair to assume ~600 characters per page.

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Well that threw off all my maths. :joy:

I guess I’ll redo it quickly.

25k/600 ≈ 42.7 pages with no white space. (22.5k/600 = 37.5, so I’d guess probably still about a 10 page difference with included white space)

So 50-60 pages or something with white space.

Meaning: maybe the current assignment of the VN club isn’t that much above the advanced book club, but upper end to above.

And yes, I am aware we can’t do a direct comparison. VNs ≠ books. But it is a rough comparison of character count, and is helpful in showing the time commitment and/or skill commitment and/or experience/stamina commitment necessary for the VN club. Which is the whole reason I mentioned it.

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I always read books digitally and it shows the character count for where I’m at in the story and for the total book etc. I checked a few out and something like コンビニ人間 is 63,903 characters long. Natively says its 168 pages long, so that’d be about 380 characters per page. やがて君になる 佐伯沙弥香について is 77,266 characters long at 228 pages, so around 339 characters per page. 僕が愛したすべての君へ is 89,908 characters at 253 pages, around 355 characters page. Small sample size here but based on what Nicole said, it sounds like the character count per page has a pretty wide range for books. Figured I’d mention it since I had the character counts on hand.

Having the comparison is good though since I doubt many people are counting their characters when reading books. As some other people said, I do think VN’s are a lot easier. I’d definitely put the advanced book club above us just because the difficulty of the books they’re reading is a lot harder than the stuff we’ve read in the VN club so far. Although I mainly read VNs so that probably helps make them easier for me, but I know I would struggle a lot more/take more time in the advanced club vs the VN club :sweat_smile:

I think this is a great idea too. There’s some VNs in our polls that don’t perform that well that I would definitely read together with a small group of people :joy:

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9-nine- Episode 2, Week 8 [END] thread:

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If you at some point want to make this happen, I want a little advance notice to clear out things I’m doing on the side, but considering how I finish both clubs by like Sunday, I might be willing to read something else! Besides unpopular nominations, it’d be a good way to potentially read things that aren’t good fits for nominating to the club for any reason.

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Maybe it’d be a good opportunity to read VNs that have 18+ content in them. I’m guessing they were banned in the main club so we wouldn’t be excluding a lot of people from joining, but there are a lot of interesting VNs that I’d love to read together but they throw in 18+ content so I never nominate them. I started reading the Cartagra remake the other week and its such an interesting murder mystery that would be great for discussing theories etc but it has random 18+ content in it. Wish VNs had an option to turn them off :joy:

There’s also some longer stuff like Chaos;Head Noah that would be fun and it seems like people said they would be interested in reading S;G so that one would be really helpful to read first. I think in the last round of voting in the main club we had a limit at 550k characters but I can’t remember if we were keeping that for a while or if we would allow nominations for higher stuff in the next round. Maybe better to talk about that in the main club thread than this one but yeah, a lot of stuff I would be interested in reading that doesn’t necessarily fit into the main club right now haha

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That was part of my thought, yep. I brought up banning them in the first place to make it accessible for people and for… the general optics of a new club? Haha. But that stuff does pop up a lot and at least personally, they’re certainly not a dealbreaker, cause they just pop up in so many good stories.

What you’ve mentioned is definitely stuff I’d like to get around to. We could start talking about length and the like in the main club thread sometime – I’m feeling pretty energized to do whatever and I think we have a lot of options with the sort of pace we’re pushing in this offshoot, though the main club is currently moving a bit slower through 999 so we’ll see what people can / want to do next.

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I think it was a good choice. I don’t mind that kind of content, but anime also has the stupid problem of being obsessed with high school kids which makes a lot of r18 titles sketchy. The “all ages version” and the option of an adult patch is honestly pretty stupid compared to just having a toggle, but my country also has a pretty sticky situation with possession of that kind of content so I actually think it’s the safest route overall.

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