Visual Novel Book Club // Now reading: ISLAND

Yeah I’m not totally ruling it out because I have relatively good access to platforms, but up to now I’ve basically exclusively read things that I could get immediate word lookups on one way or another (largely Yomichan, also a Kindle), outside of getting started in manga and a few easier videogames. I guess it would really depend on how I find the difficulty of the particular VN to be. I’m not actually good at Japanese; I just have tools!

7 Likes

It’s more or less the same for me. I’ve tried to play some jp mobile games with no texthook and its okay if the scenarios are shorter or its really simple slice of life stuff but I’ve definitely been spoiled by yomichan + texthooking. My Japanese would need to be a lot better to want to read a full VN with no texthook since the time difference of having to do manual lookups is very significant

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Same here. It’s to the point that I don’t think it’s a good use of my time to read something without that kind of easy lookup method, however… another option I think is a good middle ground is if we happen to find anything with furigana. I’ve never seen a VN targeted at the younger age group which is why I probably never see furigana, but I think there’s something to be said about never having to guess a reading on a new word.

All of the stuff on my actual wish list is either huge or part of a series, so I’d never actually nominate them for this club. This kind of turned my stance with this club into “I’ll try anything they do that will support text hooks”.


On a slightly more humorous note I was glancing through jpdb’s vn list sorted by character count ascending. At a whopping 5024 characters was “Onegai Shimasu. Pantsu wo Misete Kudasai”. It even had the “No Sexual Content” tag, so I was really tempted to make a joke nomination.

Edit: Sorry for the reply. I goofed

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In my limited experience reading jp VNs, I think furigana is only used when the author throws in some really obscure kanji, introducing someone’s name for the first time or when the author uses a different reading than what matches the kanji (I can’t remember if there’s a name for that technique? I’ve seen it in VNs a few times but more commonly in manga). I also checked VNDB and apparently their “furigana support” tag was removed since it had never been used before so I’m not sure if any VN we find will have continuous furigana like we’d find in manga, unfortunately.

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Figures. The only other uses I’ve seen where the the sort of inner voice readings, where the kanji and the furigana were clearly expressing different things. I was hoping the surge of Switch popularity might have shifted the trend a bit, but such is life :-/

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alright I flaked out of loopers but I’m still putting this up

D.M.L.C.-デスマッチラブコメ-

Developer: Kemco Corporation
VNDB Play Time: 27h (but only based on 1 vote)
VNDB Link: D.M.L.C -Death Match Love Comedy- | vndb

Summary

Death Match Love Comedy, does the exact opposite of usual visual novel, as having a girl fall in love with you could mean your death.

Basically, the premise of the game is that the player is a guy that just got transferred to a new school, and if a girl confesses her love to him, he explodes… and dies. To make matters worse, he falls into some sort of love triangle with two beautiful girls, leaving his fate up in the air.

Unlike other dating simulations, where your goal is to get girls to fall in love with you, in Death Match Love Comedy, you’ll be doing everything you can to avoid just that, as you try to figure out the reason behind the love-fueled explosions.

Additionally, there will be other mysterious phenomenon, such as angels, a friend who has some sort of prediction, weird dreams and whispers, and a strange pink cat-like creature.

While you’ll be doing your best to avoid an explosive death, there will be many other events that could result in the death of the protagonist. Witnessing just how the poor high school boy dies will be one of the game’s attractions, according to the developer.

^ That’s just the summary from VNDB. I’ll note that Raging Loop is basically a loosely-related prequel, if anyone has seen/played that.

Availability

Steam
PS4
Switch

Personal Opinion

I’ve read Raging Loop by the same writer, and that made me interested in this. It looks like a pretty silly light-hearted game (although I assume there are Plot Moments). I think it’s structured similarly to Raging Loop: there are a few main routes that must be played in order, and within each route are choices that either continue the route or lead to an immediate bad end. So even though there are choices it’s still mainly a linear story. …And even if that’s not how it’s structured I’m pretty sure there’s a flowchart, which will make coordination/navigation simple. Since it takes place at a school, hopefully it also has relatively grounded vocabulary.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Neat balance of genres (romance, SOL, action, comedy, mystery?)
  • I think text-hookable (Raging Loop was)
  • Has choices but not a mess of branching paths

Cons

  • Choices will still need to be coordinated
  • Not voice-acted
  • $30 ($20 on sale)
  • Might be kinda long for the club’s pace

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

9 Likes

W-w-w-what?! A VN that my preferred platform for is probably the best platform to read it on? :open_mouth: (I don’t think a 30h VN would be nice to read on a phone, but maybe that is just me, and I guess it would probably include tablets, which would be fine.)

I had no idea. I assumed it was available for PC, because why wouldn’t it be? O_O

I guess I won’t be nominating that. Because we’d lose too many people. :slight_smile:

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Bustafellows is definitely an otome. Though the romance is takes place after the main story, so In theory you can play the story first and not play the romance part. You do still have to pick and play a route though.

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I had heard a lot of good things about Bu$tafellows as well, shame it doesn’t seem accessible on PC. I’m not familiar with the other but it does seem to be pretty good too. 30 hours concerns me a little but I’m open to reading it so maybe it’ll catch other people’s eyes enough to make up for it? Who knows. If nothing else, we’re always getting better, and a round or two from now… :muscle:

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If the VN is accessible on phones/tablets, there are programs, such as Bluestacks, that let you run the phone apps on your PC. I’m not sure how it would play along with texthookers, though, to be fair.

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I’ve tried to use a texthook with a few games on Bluestacks but it has never worked for me. I’ve tried using a switch emulator as well but no luck there either. Although I’ve read if you are able to extract the script files from the game you can do something so the texthook will work while you’re reading (people did that for the newest Fate VN) but that is way over my head to try such a thing

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My personal opinion is that it should be fine to throw in as long as it’s clear during nominations/voting that there’s no PC version. If that’s a dealbreaker let it show in the votes.

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I’m fine with versions for consoles that have emulators for PC (like Switch or PlayStation up to Vita) :wink: But phone versions are no go for me.

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Emulated Switch versions are hit and miss when it comes to text hooking. If memory serves (using ryujinx emulator) I was able to set up hooking for Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai (I haven’t read it yet, and I’m definitely not nominating it - it’s waaaay too long :stuck_out_tongue: ) but that seems to be the only lucky hit so far - with other games I cannot even find readable text in game’s memory with Cheat Engine, so it’s impossible to even start to look for hook. I guess lot of those games must use some custom text encoding internally? Or there’s some emulation issue?

I had much more luck with Vita - if a game works at all (the emulator is still at very early stage) it’s usually hookable. And what’s more - I have found out that many of the Vita VNs that I have, store their scripts in plain text files :open_mouth:

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I debated a few other things, almost considered even skipping this round because I like a lot of the choices already up, but ehh, let’s go with 9-nine. I recall @AzusaChan and maybe someone else already expressing some amount of interest? I wanted to go for something with a bit less of the standard VN vibe (so like, unusual settings/adult protagonists/less “anime” artstyles/not looking like it might dip into fanservicey stuff/etc) but my ideas for that were very lengthy reads or otherwise not a good fit for various reasons.


9-nine-ここのつここのかここのいろ

Developer: Palette
VNDB Play Time: 8 hours
VNDB Link: 9-nine- Kokonotsu Kokonoka Kokonoiro | vndb

Summary

9-nine- Episode 1 is the first volume in a series of supernatural mystery games, with Episode 1 telling a story centered around Miyako Kujo. The entries in the the 9-nine- series share the same setting and world, but each entry focuses on a different heroine. 9-nine- is a tale of the town of Shiromitsugawa, host to mysterious Artifacts and the superpowers they bestow on their Users. A tale of growing trust and budding romance between the protagonist and the heroine, and also a murder mystery where they hunt down the culprit behind a series of supernatural murders. Each game has an independent story that can be enjoyed on its own.

Availability

Steam, PC
Switch (unfortunately only available, as far as I can tell, as a somewhat pricey bundle of all 4 episodes)
PS4 (unfortunately only available, as far as I can tell, as a somewhat pricey bundle of all 4 episodes)
DLSite (also PC but, if you prefer, the larger all-in-one version)

PS4 seems to have a demo, but I don’t see it on other platforms.

All of these are all-ages versions with sexual content removed. Said content does exist elsewhere for the PC version if that’s your thing.

Personal Opinion

I’ve been meaning to read this myself, so it’s not at all a pick just for club suitability, but I think it has that too. Seems to hit a good balance of most things the club needs, with just a few drawbacks. I find the art very eye-catching, nice colors, and it’s fairly well rated everywhere (though ratings get higher for later episodes, not sure if the story improves as it develops or if that’s a case of the people who didn’t like it dropping out).

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Seems to be an easy read (4/10 on JPDB, low average sentence length)
  • Short
  • Mysteries are fun to speculate about
  • Voice acted
  • Texthookable
  • Decent availability, though console players are forced to commit to large purchases of the whole series so it’s kinda good and bad.
  • I think there’s like 1 bad end? It’s not totally linear but it’s easy to work around.
  • adamstan seal of approval

Cons

  • (Thanks to adamstan for helping me more clearly understand this --) The devs say each of the 4 VNs (plus an epilogue) can be enjoyed on their own, though it functions much more like separate routes of 1 story. While I think there’s some value in the main club being able to move on for those who don’t care enough to continue, each part ends on a cliffhanger, and those who are sufficiently invested are probably actually signing up for ~40 hours of offshoot club.
  • One of the Steam pictures looks fanservice-y enough it made me consider not nominating this despite not being explicit (and I mean it is a game with sexual content chopped from some versions), and there seems to be a “guy surrounded by girls” thing, so I hope it doesn’t feel offputtingly made for teenage boys. Certainly a risk of the medium despite plenty of VNs not like that. The plot itself is supposed to be enjoyable but there may be a lot or a little of that stuff, I don’t know.
  • I’m not certain about the presence of chapters for scheduling, but jpdb doesn’t list them while it sometimes does (to be fair, it doesn’t seem to for Loopers 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

8 Likes

I actually finished reading Caucasus the other day and decided to start reading 9-nine as my new VN last night funny enough :sweat_smile: I only read a couple thousand characters so far so not sure if I should pause it in case it wins but I can at least verify you can texthook it on Steam.

6 Likes

Oops! This either makes it a very good or very bad choice from me, haha. Well thanks for the info, will update the post :sweat_smile:

(Did you like Caucasus by the way?)

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I definitely have interest so I’d say its a good choice haha. I was deciding between a few different VNs to start reading yesterday, so I might just put 9-nine on hold until our voting is over and read something else in the meantime since it seems like it’d be a fun VN to read in the club.

Caucasus thoughts

I’d say mostly yes. The detective stuff and solving the mystery was really fun, there were some parts I was able to solve by myself before they explained it in game and other stuff where I was like how did I miss that!. I’ve read a few mystery VNs where the ending felt very unsatisfying but they delivered in this. The end was my favorite part by far.
The VN ended up being surprisingly easy to read too after getting used to some of the characters heavy 敬語. The lack of slang made a lot of the reading pretty straightforward. I thought the setting would make it be a harder read but I don’t think its harder than something like Loopers (although the speech styles are definitely different between those two games).

My main complaint with the game is the pacing in the middle due to the heavy amount of h-scenes they put in it. I know older VNs tend to have more fan-servicey stuff like that but I was not prepared for this (literally 5 out of the 8 CG pages are all h stuff). I ended up skipping most those scenes but it was very annoying having to deal with them in between all of the murder and mystery stuff. I don’t mind 18+ stuff but I think this game would have benefited a lot from not having those scenes

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I already read 9-nine - it was great, I wholeheartedly recommend it :heart:

Be aware though, that indeed it isn’t series of four VNs, but four chapters of one VN released separately. I actually bought all-ages Japanese physical edition, where all episodes (plus the “New Episode”, being the additional epilogue) were all made into single game, as it should have been from the start :wink:

Here’s the official page for this edition:

(Personally I bought it on amazon.jp)

This all-ages complete edition is also available as a download from DLSite:

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Caucasus

Nice! Yeah I know what you mean, a lot of them just go absolutely wild at the end. Sometimes I love the freedom being a niche medium grants to kinda do whatever they want in the writing… sometimes you get the end of Raging Loop (fantastic VN til then though) :wink: .

I’ll probably keep it in mind to give a shot one day! I’m not fundamentally opposed to h-scenes or anything adjacent either, it is what it is. I don’t read VNs specifically for them but I can live with them. I know what you mean about pace breaking though; you can often tell when they were just kinda shoved in the middle of a story.

Love to hear it. I’ll add the DLSite link as another option, thanks!

Despite it being a piece of a whole, I don’t think the proposed method of just doing 1 in the club is too bad? It’s essentially how the manga clubs (and any other series-based club reading) happens and I’d be fine with doing an offshoot if the demand is there, which could probably be taken pretty leisurely to not interfere too hard with the main one.

5 Likes