Visual Novel Book Club // Next: 徒花異譚

Life has been a lot lately and I haven’t been able to follow along with 999 on top of BU$TAFELLOWS which makes me sad since I’d already bought it and everything. I may still try to catch up but it’s looking more and more difficult…

In any case with this talk of unrestricted VNs I’ll probably need to draft a nomination soon

9 Likes

アカイイト

Developer: Success
VNDB Play Time: 33hr 45m
VNDB Link: Akai Ito | vndb
Character count: 528000 - 627000 based off of vndb play time
Number of weeks to finish: 22 weeks based off of the estimate - may have to increase pace near the end if it ends up being closer to 627k than 528k.

Summary

The English translation for this game doesn’t look good so I’m including multiple summaries + the jp one, hopefully these will be enough to get the gist :sweat_smile:

Japanese steam summary

この夏に唯一の肉親だった母親を亡くし、遺産の整理をしていた桂は、父親が経観塚(へみづか)という聞き慣れぬ土地に、歴史のある日本屋敷を持っていたことを知る。
桂は処分するかどうかを決めるために、現物を見に経観塚を訪れることに。その道中の列車の中で、天を貫くほどの巨大な木と、蝶の群れを従えた少女・ユメイが現れる不思議な夢を見る……
経観塚に伝わる山神と人柱の伝承とは?
失われた桂の記憶の真実は?
桂の生まれ故郷でもある経観塚。舞台に役者が揃うとき、運命の輪が静かに廻り出す……

VNDB summary

To arrange the inheritance because of the loss of her mother, Hatou Kei heads for her fathers house in Hemizuka. In the train on the way there, Kei has a mysterious dream of a huge tree and a woman who seems to be lost in sadness. In the land of Hemizuka, Kei learns the secret concealed in her own blood through various meeting with an Oni Slayer, a friend of her late mother, a young girl accompanied by a white fox, and even the mysterious girl from her dreams.

English steam summary

After the death of her only living relative – her mother, this past summer Kei was sorting through her inheritance and learned that her father, who had already passed away, owned an old Japanese mansion in a little-known place called “Hemizuka″.
Kei decides to investigate in order to determine the prospects of this forgotten homestead.
On the way there, Kei has a strange dream in which a huge tree pierces the sky and a girl named Yumei appears with a flock of butterflies.
What is the legend of the mountain god and human sacrifice in Hemizumika?
What is the truth of Kei‘s lost memory?
Hemizuka is Kei’s birthplace. When the characters come across each other, the wheels of destiny quietly begin to turn…

Availability

Steam
Nintendo

Personal Opinion

This is a VN that I have been looking forward to reading for well over a decade now. It was previously a ps2 exclusive and many fan translators picked it up but disappeared throughout the years but it is finally on PC (and switch) for us to all enjoy.
It is highly acclaimed as one of the all-time classic yuri titles and currently has an 8.44 average rating on VNDB. While it is a yuri title, romance is not the focus. Success describes it as a “Traditional Japanese Horror Adventure” but horror may not be correct either since the game isn’t scary to my knowledge. From what I know, it focuses heavily on Japanese folklore & mythology and would probably fall in closer to the mystery category of things rather than horror.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Given the genre, there should be a lot to talk about
  • Legendary composer MANYO did the soundtrack for the game
  • Can texthook on PC
  • Flowchart in the game could make it easy to plan out choices.
  • Glossary in game to give additional explanations on terms - similar to what is found in the sci;adv series
  • Fully voice acted, including the MC

Cons

  • The game features kanji puns and lots of wordplay around 赤い糸 & with the folklore themes, it could make it a difficult read
  • The game has 32 endings with 15 of them being bad endings, 12 normal and 5 “true” endings. The flowchart should make this less of a pain in theory but lots of bad endings can be annoying
  • The glossary items might be a lot more difficult than the actual story text. I wasn’t able to texthook it either.

Pictures

Screenshots











Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this VN?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Moderate effort
  • Significant effort
  • So much effort my head might explode
  • I don’t know

0 voters

11 Likes

:melting_face: banned from the club.

Nah I want to read this haha; it’s probably getting one of my votes. I think the glossary looks easier than the Paranormasight one in those screenshots, too.

7 Likes

Ugh, I really wanted to nominate Collar x Malice since it’s a murder/mystery kind of game and the otome game with the highest rating in vndb but after some calculations we’d have to read close to 40k a week to manage it in 5 months so… I guess I’ll wait till we are the super advanced VN club or something

14 Likes

Vote will start Friday this week (June 2nd), so please get your nominations in pronto! We’re only at 12/20 so have plenty of room for more nominations!

9 Likes

バディミッション BOND

Developer: Koei Tecmo
VNDB Play Time: 45h
VNDB Link: Buddy Mission Bond | vndb
Character count: estimated 720,000 - 855,000 from VNDB time
Number of weeks to finish: 22 weeks
:bangbang: will need to be read at an elevated ~33k-39k per week pace! :bangbang:

Summary
English translation (from vndb)

Close in on the truth with your partner.

Luke, a police officer aiming to become a hero like his late foster father had dreamed, and Aaron, the “Phantom Thief Beast” whose total damages are said to amount to several hundred billion. A strange encounter will greatly change their fate… This is the story of teamwork—and at times disparity—between dependable partners, the mystery of Luke’s father’s death, and a fiery friendship that confronts an earthshaking conspiracy.

The story is set on Mikagura Island, the metropolis for international show business. To fight against the criminal syndicate “DISCARD” operating in the shadows, four people each with their own intentions come together to form an undercover investigation team. That team’s name is “BOND.” It consists of the police officer Luke (voiced by Ryouhei Kimura), Phantom Thief Beast Aaron (voiced by Takashi Kondo), vivacious ninja of many loves Mokuma (voiced by Toshiyuki Morikawa), and cool-headed swindler Chesley (voiced by Daisuke Namikawa). Will you be able to uncover the truth on this island swelled with light and darkness?

The game’s key feature is forming a team of two buddies to investigate and infiltrate. Choose two out of the four team BOND members and switch up partners often while solving the problems that block your path forward. Verifying the traits of each BOND member, and being able to properly investigate with the appropriate members is the key to obtaining information. Depending on the information you obtain, the route when you infiltrate the enemy’s hideout will change. It is important to think about and choose the optimal buddy for the job.

Character designs are handled by Yusuke Murata, who is known for Eyeshield 21, One-Punch Man, and more. The game incorporates comic-like presentations during story and dialogue developments, allowing players to enjoy a digital comic-style story.

真実に迫れ、相棒と共に。

亡き養父の夢を継ぎ、ヒーローを目指す警察官ルークと被害総額・数百億ともいわれる「怪盗ビースト」こと、アーロン。数奇な出会いが2人の運命を大きく変えていく……。頼れる相棒として助け合い、時にはぶつかり合いながら、ルークの父の死の謎、そして世界を揺るがす大きな陰謀に立ち向かう熱き友情の物語。

舞台は世界的なショービジネスの中心地「ミカグラ島」。そこで暗躍する姿なき犯罪組織「DISCARD」に対抗すべく、それぞれの思惑をかかえたワケありの4人が極秘の潜入捜査チームを結成。その名はチーム「BOND」。警察官のルーク、大怪盗ビーストことアーロン、陽気な恋多き忍者のモクマ、冷徹な詐欺師のチェズレイは、光と闇がうごめくこの島で真実を突き止めることができるのか?

最大の特徴は、2人組のバディを組んで捜査・潜入を行うこと。チーム「BOND」の4人の中から2人を選び、何度も相棒を入れ替えながら、行く手を阻む問題の解決に臨む。
捜査では、BONDメンバーの特徴を見極め、適切なメンバーで聞き込みできるかが情報入手の鍵となる。
そして入手した情報に応じて、敵アジトへ潜入時に忍び込むルートに変化が発生。どのキャラクターが捜査や潜入にふさわしいか考えながら、最適なバディを選ぶことが重要になる。

キャラクターデザインは漫画『アイシールド21』『ワンパンマン』などの作画で知られる村田雄介氏が担当。
ゲーム内ではストーリーや会話の展開時にコミック調の表現を取り入れており、デジタルコミックのスタイルでストーリーを楽しむことができます。

Availability

Nintendo Switch (JP Store)

Personal Opinion

Buddy Mission BOND is my favorite thing I’ve read in Japanese; I really can’t endorse it enough. I think it has something for everyone: over-arching mystery plot with lots to speculate about where it always goes just a step further than you expect, lots of interesting characters with various dynamics and fun interactions, cool comic book art style (with character designs by Murata Yuusuke who did the One Punch Man manga apparently? didn’t even know that but makes sense :joy:), great music and overall production value, various adventure gameplay segments, etc. etc.

It’s long for us, there’s no denying that; however, there’s some flexibility built into the structure of it. The main story is separated into chapters, and as you progress through those you unlock side chapters that are all very fun and interesting, but they aren’t required for the story (at least most of them). So if the pacing did end up being a struggle, people would be able to hold off on or skip reading some of those if they wanted. That said, the side chapters are a very nice aspect of the game that gives you a closer look into character dynamics and other things that just make the main story even more effective, so there are various things to consider.

Anyway TL;DR: Buddy Mission BOND is a fantastic game and I highly recommend it to anyone it sounds even remotely interesting to! It definitely has a few difficulties for our club here so I would understand if turned out to be better suited to being handled elsewhere, but I wanted to present it and see if there’s any interest anyway.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Most dialogue voiced
  • Over-arching plot ripe for discussion (with what I feel is the perfect balance between being able to put things together and still having unexpected plot twists)
  • Great art in a fun comic book style, high production value all around
  • Clearly organized linear story for scheduling
  • Lots of interesting language
  • No English translation so you get to experience something you wouldn’t be able to if you hadn’t started studying Japanese!
  • Demo available if you want to try it out beforehand

Cons

  • Only available for Nintendo Switch (and JP store only)
  • Ambitious pick - definitely pushing the length limits (though there’s some flexibility with the side stories) and does a lot of interesting language things which can be challenging
  • On the more gameplay heavy side if that’s not your thing, somewhat comparable to 999 in the amount I think
  • Expensive for a VN, this is a Video Game :laughing:
  • No English translation if you want that to compare to
  • Not fully voiced during gameplay sections

Pictures

Screenshots

Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this VN?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Moderate effort
  • Significant effort
  • So much effort my head might explode
  • I don’t know

0 voters

10 Likes

Is someone else able to get the poll up sometime? Sorry, I’m a mess right now – the early days of managing the blood clot are not fun.

3 Likes

Vote time!

It is that time again! Time to vote for the next VN. Remember to check out the info on each nomination. Some VNs are one platform only. Others might be pushing up against our new maximum time limit of 5 months, and some even require a higher reading pace than the club expected one of 22.5k-25k characters per week.

Voting ends (automatically!) on June 9th. 4 votes per person. Check out the links in the poll for information on the nominations!

Pick our next VN read!

0 voters

5 Likes

Could a regular change the title to:

[Voting] Visual Novel Book Club // Reading: 極限脱出 9時間9人9の扉 (Zero Escape: 999)


Thanks for reminding me! I meant to take care of it. Been so many other club duties that I forgot about this one. ^^

I hope it gets better soon. :green_heart:

7 Likes

For those of you who play VNs on Steam, I was looking for when the summer sale will be and it turns out not only have they actually announced the dates this year, but they’ve also announced there will be a Visual Novel sale later this summer! It’s still pretty far down the line, and it’s after the next club will start, but I thought this club would like to know about it :slight_smile:

  • Summer sale: June 29 - July 13 (perfect timing for the start of the next club, assuming it starts right after 999 ends)
  • VN sale: August 7 - August 14

I’m not really participating in this club other than 999, but I saw this and thought of the club

12 Likes

Thanks! So far I’ve only played VNs from Steam so this is relevant for me :slight_smile:
(I don’t have yet the level to play them in Japanese, so I’ve played so far only those that didn’t have the option of putting the text in JP, only the audio.)
Another nice feature that I like from Steam, is that when I see a title that I think I will play in the future, I can put it in my wishlist, and whenever it’s on sale, they send me an email about it. Looking forward to play all those Japanese VNs that I got at a good price :grin:

10 Likes

Remember to vote! The poll closes in three days (June 9th). I set the automatic closing time to just before midnight central European time (because I’m assuming it is used my timezone to determine the time), GMT+2.

7 Likes

Assuming no sudden rush of votes for the upset in the final couple minutes, looks like we’re reading Fatal Twelve next! Death game type scenarios can be fun; barring something unforeseen I expect to be there. I take it based on what we’ve heard from them, @ccookf would likely prefer not to have to run this one, which is fine. I can’t shake the concern that I can’t seem to go a few months without something significant happening that makes me a lot less reliable, but I’m willing to try to manage it if needed.

9 Likes

If something does come up, I’m cool with running it.

7 Likes

I probably cant. Currently stuck in my monthly neutropenic fever stay at the hospital. Thankfully, I only have about two and a half months of treatment left so I should be fine to help after that. Also, huge thanks to @MrGeneric for stepping up already.

I think someone posted the sale dates already, but the next summer sale is at the end of the month for steam users.

6 Likes

Fatal Twelve should start July 21st. Giving a one week break between VNs.

How do you @Daisoujou and @MrGeneric feel? Should Daisoujou start and MrGeneric take over if necessary or do we give the reins to MrGeneric from the beginning? Whatever you two decide. :slight_smile:

I hope this VN will be easier to organize than any we’ve had so far. Maybe one day we will have one as easy as a book/manga. A woman can dream right? :joy:

EDIT: I edited the OP with the poll result, etc.

7 Likes

Congrats on Fatal Twelve winning!
I actually already have it, so I might join you guys and see if I can manage the pace. Since you wrote that Textractor works, there is hope!
& good luck with the rest of your treatment.

8 Likes

Too bad I realized we have a VN club after 999 was already read. I think I got to the last door before I kind of forgot it due to other things :smile:. Should finish it at some point.

AI: Somnium Files is definitely my all time favorite VN (and one of favorite games). Currently playing through the sequel, but it’s not as engaging as the first one without Date :/.

Anyone on a mac trying to play Fatal Twelve; it actually works fine even though it says it shouldn’t. Steam is often incorrect about that. I also have played a few hours of it, so I think I’ll jump in at some point hopefully. It had a bit too much of yuri elements to my liking, but the story seemed interesting and worth finishing.

8 Likes

I am good with either way. I’ve got a pretty big move going on at the start of July, but I should be settled and ready to go by the end of July. I’ll have to actually muck about with a text hook to do character counts and such, since I have definitely not bothered with that yet, so I might ask for some advice on that at some point. :joy:

6 Likes

If I recall correctly, it is really easy for fatal twelve. At least with the demo I didn’t do anything. I just ran textractor normally and got it on the first try. I’ve been meaning to make some guides for each of the games that we’re doing so maybe I’ll do that when I get out of this hospital trip.

That said, I only went as far as making sure basic hooks worked. I don’t remember how it handled selection dialogues which ties into the multiple endings and also if there were any unique types of scenes that would break the hook. So there’s still some like kind of iffy stuff, but for the vast majority of reading it should just work out of the box with textractor.

8 Likes