Visual Novel Book Club // Now reading: ISLAND

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:

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.







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


  • 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


  • 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



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


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.


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


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:


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


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:


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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:


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.


Excited to join you all for Fatal Twelve! I found Wanikani and these forums just a couple months ago, but have been spending the past few years going deep down a visual novel rabbit hole and playing more and more visual novels in Japanese. (currently reading through ひぐらしのなく頃に奉)

Looking forward to being able to play along with others and have people to talk about the games with! :smiley: I’d not heard of Fatal Twelve, but it sounds right up my alley.


Yeah I guess whoever does it will just have to read ahead and find those stopping points. I know little to nothing about the VN, how the choices work and all, so gonna have to find guides. I’m willing to do it if you want, though if you truly don’t mind it might be better with you. Even now progress on improving my arm blood clot is… back and forth at best. And since it tied for second I’m hoping we do Fata Morgana soon after, which I’ll be running if we do :sweat_smile:

Happy to have you! How are you liking Higurashi so far? It’s one of my favorites! Once you finish it I can rope you into my pipedream of getting people to read Umineko with me :wink:


I can take the reins from the start. I’ll do some digging over the next couple of days to find a guide and get textractor (thanks @ccookf) going for this one so that I can give that count and start getting some ideas on how we should format this one. I’ll also try and get the thread up soon so that it starts drumming up traffic (and keeps the specific stuff in the right thread) as well. Plus the sooner it’s up the better anyway, so that I don’t end up putting it up last minute while dealing with my move. :joy:


Theres a fuwanovel guide thats identical to the steam guide. At a glance it looks like its the same as 9-nine where theres multiple endings, but more complex. However it also looks like itll probably be a similar case of skip read text where most choices dont matter for any specific ending. It also looks like the endings modify each other a bit.

If everyone is ok systematically clearing all of the endings usin skip read its probably not as hard as it looks… But if not well probably have to vote on an official ending and offshoot the rest for completionists.


Does that mean the order you play the endings matter?