Tag Archives: visual novel

Getting a ‘bad end’ and trial and error in visual novels

The release of Fate/Apocrypha has put me in a very Fate mood recently. As a result, I was inspired, over the weekend, to go back to the Fate/Stay Night visual novel. I’d got hold of it this time last year, but at the time I didn’t get far passed the prologue. This time, I got a little further, and discovered a new facet of the gameplay: the ‘bad end’.

All things said and done, I can think of five visual novels that I’ve had experience with. Out of those, one didn’t have any decisions, three are largely linear (though there might be some deviation if I keep playing, though I’m fairly sure there isn’t) and then Fate/Stay Night.

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The workings of the Fate VN will need no introduction to most familiar with the series so I’ll keep this section brief. The VN is split into three routes: Fate, Unlimited Blade Works and Heaven’s Feel. On the face of it, these three routes fit in largely with the three heroines of the tale: Saber, Rin and Sakura, though in truth there is a lot more to it than that. The game doesn’t allow you to play the routes out of the order above and as such the game gets progressively darker as you play each route. But I digress.

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If My Heart Had Wings: Kotori’s Route

When I was originally playing through the common route of If My Heart Had Wings, I was quickly put off going for Kotori’s route. For the most part in this section she wasn’t a likeable character at all – this decision however, was a poor one.

If you take nothing else from this post, remember that you if you decide to play If My Heart Had Wings, play Kotori’s route first. So far I have only played Kotori and Ageha’s routes and while I didn’t not enjoy Ageha’s story, I found I got so much more out of Kotori’s.

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Habane Kotori is the poster girl and main heroine of If My Heart Had Wings. She is the first person Aoi encounters on his return to Kazegaura and is generally the reference point for the entire cast, regardless of which route you play. Generally, the story follows Kotori as she develops from a cold, insular girl ready to give up and quit school through to a character who desperately wants to achieve her dream.

I really, really enjoyed playing her route. It took me a fair while longer than it did for me to completely Ageha’s (roughly 15 hours to 10) and the story really benefitted as a result. The story focuses on Kotori’s battle caused by her disability towards flying a glider through the legendary ‘Morning Glory’ cloud. This only really scratches the surface; so much happens in order to get to this final destination.

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If My Heart Had Wings: Ageha’s Route

It’s been a while since my last post on the visual novel If My Heart Had Wings, and with a big announcement for March coming tomorrow (I’m really excited!), I thought now was the perfect time for the next.

As with any visual novel, If My Heart Had Wings is based on several different routes. In IMHHW’s case, there are five routes in total but you probably wouldn’t guess it when you start the game. In fact, when I started playing, it seemed that there would be two, maybe three routes. The two that seem obvious in the early stages are that of the game’s poster girl, Kotori, and childhood friend, Ageha.

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No one is going to argue with me when I say that to begin with Kotori is thoroughly dislikable. Of course, she can justify this and later on things become clear, but you can forgive me for first going with Aoi’s childhood best friend, Ageha.

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Anime Challenge #7 Your anime crush: Rin Toosaka

I have discovered a problem. By making a list of my favourite anime girls, I’ve already written about my ‘anime crush’. That said, I suppose you’re just going to have to read a bit more about Rin.

Rin Toosaka needs little introduction on this blog, but I’ll give you one anyway. Master in the fifth holy grail war of Fate/Stay Night and summoner of the servant Archer. She is one of three main female characters in the franchise and is the main female in the Unlimited Blade Works route of the visual novel.

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Without doubt, there are a lot of things to like about Rin. Many people will tell you that she is the archetype of the tsundere character type and to some extent they are right, particularly if you watch the first incarnation of the anime (depicting the Fate route of the visual novel). However, watch the Unlimited Blade Works anime and you will see other sides to Rin.

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If My Heart Had Wings : an introduction

I’ve played visual novels on and off for a while now – in fact I’ve even completed one (yes, just one). At Christmas I was given If My Heart Had Wings, a story about mechanical gliders and the people that make them.

More about the story below, but first what I’m going to do over the course over a few articles. So far I’ve completed the common route and am half way through the first heroine routes and as I play through each I’ll offer my opinions on each, give indicators on the few decisions you get to make. I’ll also let you know my opinion on the restoration patch, add-on ‘Sweet Love’ and anything else that doesn’t fall under the main routes.

In If My Heart Had Wings you play as male protagonist, Aoi as he returns to his hometown and joins the Soaring Club. The story goes into a lot of depth on it’s central theme of flying, but also focuses on overcoming ones limitations.

Anime Challenge #3 Favourite Male Character: Rintarou Okabe

When I came to start thinking about writing this article I sort of wished that I was able to write about some really niche character from an equally niche anime that is under valued by the community. Obviously that hasn’t happened – but can you blame me?

If you read my previous challenge post on Guilty Crown you’ll remember me saying I differentiate between the ‘best’ anime and my favourite. In my opinion Steins;Gate is far and away the best anime I’ve seen (come on Steins;Gate 0!) and it owes no small thanks to it’s main character for that.

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Rintarou Okabe, Okarin, or Hououin Kyouma is a nerdy university student with two identities, a largely pointless ‘laboratory’ and a distinct case of chunibyou syndrome. If that wasn’t interesting enough he is the inventor and subject of a time machine that changes his life, causing all manner of problems for those around him.

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Nekopara OVA Kickstarter passes $400,000!

The Kickstarter for a Nekopara anime has passed $425,000 in it’s first six days.

On 28th December a Kickstarter began for an OVA episode of the popular visual novel Nekopara. The initial target of $100,000 for a 20 minute episode was reached very quickly, with the figure at the end of the day reaching almost $300,000.

The Kickstarter, which is being managed on behalf of NekoWorks by Sekai Project, states that for every extra $100,000 raised up to $500,000, ten minutes will be added to the anime.

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The current figure, which stands at over $425,000, guarantees a 50 minute episode. Given how quickly this total has been reached however, it seems unlikely the project won’t go onto to reach it’s final stretch goal of $500,000 before it closes on the 11th February.

The episode is reported to focus on the story line of volume 1 of the visual novel with original aspects added for the anime.

An initial staff list has been announced though it is still unclear if the OVA will be passed out to an animation studio or kept in house at NekoWorks.

Nekopara is an adult visual with two volumes and a fandisc (all of which are available as an all ages version on Steam) with a third volume slated for release on the 28th April.

Nekopara OVA Kickstarter page.

The Fate franchise past, present and future – a guide

Yesterday, we got yet another addition to the Fate universe in the form of the feature length Fate Grand Order: First Order. The Fate franchise has been constantly expanding since it’s inception with the 2004 visual novel Fate/Stay Night (the most well known and popular part of the world), but that has possibly never been as true as what we are being promised looking forward to 2017. Before we look at these new adaptations, I’ll run through the previous anime appearances.

Fate/Stay Night (2006)

The very first anime adapted the Fate route of the original visual novel. It follows the now familiar story line of Shirou and Saber in the Holy Grail war against six other pairs of mages and heroic spirits fighting it out in a battle royale format for the Holy Grail. It’s full of well fleshed out main characters with interesting motivations which set a reasonable benchmark for future instalments, but it suffered from bad pacing and a questionable selection of sections from the visual novel (when you see the bit I mean, you’ll know exactly what I mean). My full review is here.

Saber is the main female character of the first incarnation of Fate/Stay Night
Saber is the main female character of the first incarnation of Fate/Stay Night

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works Movie (2010)

After a four year break, Fate/Stay Night returned in movie form adapting the second visual novel route, Unlimited Blade Works. I will admit I’ve chosen not to watch this particular adaptation because of some of the reviews I’ve read about it. The movie takes one of three main routes of the 50 hour long visual novel and tells it’s story in 90 minutes – I suppose that tells you all you need to know.

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Review: Amnesia

Often when you decide to watch a show that you haven’t heard of before or has mixed reviews, things work out really well. In my case, I’m not particularly hard to please so I find most shows like that pretty enjoyable. Every so often though, things don’t quite go the way you hope they will and you come across a bit of a mess. That, unfortunately, is the case with Amnesia.

Background

Amnesia is a show that has a good premise. Based on a visual novel, a nameless girl has lost her memories before August 1st. The story is told through her relieving the days following August 1st in relationships with 4 of her male friends (plus 1 other guy, but he doesn’t really count).

Toma seems to be the most normal of the guys, or that's what I thought to start with anyway.
Toma seems to be the most normal of the guys, or that’s what I thought to start with anyway.

Plot

The problem arises when we actually look past the premise and actually at what each episode does to further the plot and character development. The answer to that for the first 10 episodes? Not all that much. Each of the arcs for the four love interests have their quirks (*cough* locked in a cage *cough*), but on the whole they ultimately fail to move the story forward towards any kind of end. It wasn’t until episode 11 when the fifth man arrives that I could actually begin to guess what was causing the travelling back in time and loss of memories, and even then, within 10 minutes of having that opportunity, the cat was let out of the bag anyway.

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Review: Shuffle!

Not so long ago I watched the two seasons of Infinity Stratos. Needless to say if you’ve seen any of my posts, I really didn’t enjoy the show. It was trying to be an action show when in fact it would have done much better as a full harem show with some mechas. In terms of the harem genre though it was my first experience; you might wonder why I’d come back so soon to a genre that didn’t really sit well with me, but I did. So, Shuffle!, a harem show that doesn’t try to be something it isn’t, and before we start let me tell you, that it is definite plus point. For this review I’m going to ignore the plot and give you a run through of each of the girls finishing up with our end result.

Background

Shuffle! is set in a world where the gateway to the realm of the Gods and the realm of the Demons has been opened and the three races (that would include humans), live together in peace. Rin, a human, is your typical high school guy, going about his life as you might expect such a person would. His one quirk, if that’s what we’re going to call it, is that both of his parents tragically died in a car crash so he lives with his childhood friend Kaede and her father, who is often on long business trips. As a result, Kaede behaves essentially as Rin’s slave for almost (no not that) everything. Rin’s relatively normal life gets turned upside down upon on arriving at school one day two new girls arrive claiming that they are both going to vying for his love and hand in marriage. Oh and did I mention that they are the daughter’s of the King of God’s and King of Demon’s respectively. This is all stems from the fact that once they met him in the past and he played with them for a day to keep them happy. Anyway, lets just get onto what they’re all about.

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