Posts Tagged ‘visual novel’
This is going to be a quick one: JAST USA has announced via their blog that their newest localized eroge visual novel Cat Girl Alliance has arrived at the warehouse and is now shipping out to customers (presumably without any Scottish music) via J-List and Right Stuf. The high school romance follows a futanari (hermaphrodite) theme and features new transfer student Eiji Tachibana (that would be you) discovering the secret of his class president: She’s actually a ‘he’. After finding himself trapped (pun intended) he ends up joining his class president and another student in training a third student to be a sex slave.
I have to admit that this isn’t one I have any real intention of reviewing as the futanari theme just doesn’t call out to me. If anyone out there is planning to play this one and wants to submit a guest review, email me and let’s work something out!
To know me or read this site is to know that I am a big fan of the Higurashi (When They Cry) series. I’ve seen all of the animation released for the series but I’ve yet to play the visual novels created by Ryukishi07 they were originally based off. With no translations ever being made available, I honestly thought that I would never get to play them until Manga Gamer announced their license of the games earlier this year. Since then, the localization group has been fairly quiet about their progress with the series while fans continued to wait patiently.
Finally all that waiting has paid off as Manga Gamer has announced their tentative release date for the first four parts: December 15th. Also mentioned in the post were plans for chapters 5-8 which are now tenatively scheduled for release in February 2010. No other information was made available at the time including the pricing plan but as soon as I get more information I’ll have it up for everyone.
At their AX panel today, MangaGamer.com revealed that they have licensed all eight parts of the Higurashi – When They Cry visual novel series from 07th Expansion. The hugely popular horror series was originally released from 2002 to 2006 and has since spawned three anime series, two live action films and a number of different manga titles. The first part of the visual novel series will be released by MangaGamer.com in October with the second set to be released just a couple of months later.
On the surface this would appear to be great news for fans of the franchise. However, since their debut the site has developed a reputation for poor or incomplete translations in previous releases. If the site expects to win over fans with a subpar English release of Higurashi, I foresee a bad result from this venture.
Do you remember a month or so ago when I reported on the new visual novel from Key titled ‘Angel Beats’? You might remember this game more clearly if I remind you of the Haruhi look alike pictured to the left. Well, it’s being reported that the title is actually going to be an Aniplex produced anime. The announcement will be made official in the latest Dengeki G’s Magazine but no word on when fans should be expecting to see this one hit screens.
Update: A translation of the interview has revealed new information regarding the new anime series. In the new series, the main characters are all people who died after leading “unreasonable lives”. But instead of going to their designated places, they decided to rebel against god and start a war. So far around 30 characters have been designed (which includes minor characters) by character designer Na-Ga. Still no word on when the series will be released but we do now know the animation is going to be produced A-1 Pictures whom you may remember from such moe hits like Kannagi and Valkyria Chronicles.
Updated: Added story information, corrected visual novel references
Visual novel creator Key (Kanon, Air) has announced their next release will be titled ‘Angel Beats!’ and as per usual, that’s about all they’ve announced for it so far. Sankaku Complex reports that the June issue of G’s Magazine will have an eight page feature on the project but until then fans can be comforted with some artwork from character designer Na-Ga which may or may not look a little familiar to anime fans:
In the final installment of the TV portion to this series, Air TV moves in some interesting new directions.
In the final four episodes, the volume will begin with the conclusion of the Kanna story arc. Kanna and her attendants have found her mother but the legend will end soon after leaving Ryuya and Uraha on an endless quest to find the winged girl in the sky once again.
Shifting back to the present though, the story of the final three episodes will focus entirely on Misuzu and her illness. After the audience gets completely caught up on the story through a retelling by a crowd named Sky, Haruko has finally decided to break the barrier and adopt Misuzu as her actual daughter. But soon Yukito’s predictions start to come true and Haruko is in a race against time to create all the happy memories with her daughter that she always wanted.
Good and the Bad
It’s been months since I last watched a volume of this series but the characters wasted absolutely no time in reminding me about what I loved in the first place. Despite this lapse in time, scene after scene in these episodes continued to break my heart. Air TV has always had one thing going for it and that would be its ability to draw in their viewers with a strong emotional connection to the characters. In this case, Kanna and Misuzu prove to be excellent lead characters for the audience to become attached to.
In these final episodes of the TV series, Air takes some very interesting liberties with their story telling. The introduction of the Kanna legend seems to serve its purpose well as a bridge. With the hero of the series, Yukito, making his exit last volume the staff needed something to fill time until they were ready to tell the final story. The legend is placed well within the series when nothing big is happening so its purpose is well served.
The stories in these episodes aren’t perfect however. In the end of the Kanna legend, some of the dialogue really comes across as weak. When Ryuya and Uraha are sitting together and come up with their plan for the future, it has to be one of the most chivalrous sex buddy agreements ever uttered. The series does a great job later of covering its tracks by making sure the audience knows that they really do love each other but in the beginning it’s really pretty hard to distinguish between the two.
In episode eleven, there is also a pivotal event involving Misuzu. While I won’t go into details on what exactly that event is, the timing of it really comes across as an obvious ploy to evoke more sympathy from the audience. Many audience members will be able to see the bait hanging and when the finale shows that it was just a set up, the event becomes even more irrelevant.
The other issue that Air runs into with these final episodes is the exclusion of nearly the entire cast. While most of the other girls introduced throughout the series will get small cameos as they meet Sky, none of them will get more than a few seconds of screen time. Again, this makes them feel completely irrelevant and any time the audience spent getting to know them as just a way to kill time. Some of these characters told some very interesting stories throughout the series and to not get to see any real resolution for them is troubling.
In the end though, none of these factors took away from my enjoyment of these episodes. Misuzu has been a strong and absolutely adorable character since the start of the series. Her illness has provided the audience a strong story hook to get maximum sympathy for the character. To watch this volume and not be moved simply cannot be possible for anyone who has felt even the slightest bit of affection for her.
The music for Air has been a strong selling point for the series since the start and these episodes do not disappoint. The string and piano score that make up the majority of this series’ music is wonderfully crafted and inserted into these final episodes. Some of the slower arrangements that are played throughout the final episode are enough to seal any lingering emotional doubts about what you’re seeing. Also included in the final episode is an insert song titled ‘Aozora’ by Lia. The song is a beautiful soft ballad that plays great with the scenes between Misuzu and Haruko.
Dub vs. Sub
In both the English and Japanese casts there are some very powerful performances. On the English side, Monica Rial as Misuzu and Luci Christian as Haruko were as heartbreaking of performances as these two actors have delivered in the voice booth. The performances must have left the throats of these talented actors raw but the tears felt and sounded real with every single word. This applies just as much to Aya Hisakawa and Tomoko Kawakami as Haruko and Misuzu in the Japanese cast respectively.
Besides the clean animations, the only extra included on this volume is a preview titled ‘Memories: Misuzu’s Story’. The 30 second trailer shows a scene with Misuzu and Yukito talking about the sky while along the beach.
While there are certainly things that I would have liked to see inserted as an audience member (such as some inclusion of the supporting cast) I can’t complain about the presentation here. The characters have told a remarkably rich story from the beginning and the emotional impact that these characters and story are capable of delivering make this series a must see for audiences. Not everyone is going to get into the soft melodrama of the series but there’s a great chance that this series could catch the eye of more than a few people who wouldn’t normally watch a series like this. Very highly recommended.
Final Grade: A-
Released By: Hirameki Intl.
If only this game were an anime series…
In this DVD game, you are playing the role of Haruki Tojo. Haruki is a high school senior with a bad reputation for being a very mean spirited fighter, he’s really not. He just has that reputation. One day while in the park a girl comes up to him and professes her crush on him but gets very upset when she realized that he doesn’t remember her at all. Oddly enough, a strange new male transfer student enters the school soon after that Haruki doesn’t get along with, to make it worse it turns out that the two of them are going to sharing the same dorm room. The twist comes soon after when it is revealed in secret that the new transfer student is actually the girl that loves him in disguise seeking revenge for the slight that he gave her.
Life becomes very strange over the next few days with problems rising with the school’s queen of drama (and younger sister of his best friend) Isami having problems with her club and a young waitress named Nanaka that thinks you’re a pervert.
The artwork in this game is very well done. Lots of bright colors are used which is a big plus and the character design is wonderful. Every character in this game looks absolutely gorgeous and quite cute. None of them are a pain to look at though some of them are designed to look quite young. Nanaka in particular looks like she’s only 12 and yet she’s in the same class as you. That took a little getting used to.
The H-factor in this game is non existent. This is not truly a hentai game but more in the romance theme. The entire time I played through this game I didn’t see a single bit of nudity. There was some fan service with Maho in the shower and the large breasted nurse Ms. Ayano but no actual nudity. There were no sex scenes that I saw and not even a single dirty word was uttered. If you’re looking for something sex and perverted, this is not the title for you.
For the most part the translation was very well done in this game. The only issues that I ever saw when it came to the translation were a couple of early typos and missed spaces. Every so often you’re going to see two words put together when they shouldn’t be but other than that there’s no issue with translation at all. It’s always very easy to tell who is saying what.
There were a few flaws that I felt needed to be called to attention though. The first thing that really struck me was that some of the voice acting is pretty terrible such as the actress who did the voice for the old dorm manager, Kinu. This was just not something that I cared for as the voice in this case sounded so incredibly forced. I was glad to see that she played such a minor role all the times that I played through this game.
Unfortunately I also found that this game moved so incredibly slowly. The first time I played through this game I had to go a full 45 minutes of game time before I got to make my first decision and then it was another 30 minutes after that before I got to make another one. In total, I made less than a half dozen decisions throughout the game and the very first ending I got wasn’t really decided upon (at least as far as I can tell) until the very end. It really didn’t make me want to go back and try to get other endings, especially since the first one that I got felt so anti-climatic. I kept waiting for the next screen to pop up and tell me what happened next but nothing ever came and so there I was, just left with nothing to do.
I wasn’t even really sure that there were alternate endings until I go the end and really realized that there were still characters that I hadn’t met.
The programming of the DVD was slightly annoying as well. Be sure to pay attention when you’re playing along on this DVD because trying to rewind a scene or start a scene over again is only going to cause you to miss even more. If you want to see something again you’re gonna have to load up from your last decision and that’s an easy 30 minutes or more that you’ll have to make up, especially since you can’t really skip forward at all either.
How much you want to replay this game is really going to depend on how much you love these characters and how much patience you have to spend 30-45 minutes replaying the game from the first decision until you can make it to the next one. There is some strong curiosity to me to try to meet some of the characters that I didn’t meet the first couple of times around but I don’t think it’s so strong that I’m going to make it a priority to do so. It’s possible that I’ll it up at some point in the future and see if I can ever mend the canyon between Haruki and Maho but sadly I think that it’s going to be a long while before these two lovers will ever be reunited in my home.
There are still plenty of good things to like about this game as I pointed out. The music is very well done, the characters are very sweet and the story itself isn’t bad. The issue here is that since it has no animation and is only still frames, it takes a lot of focus to really stick with it and keep up with what is going on. And with very seldom checkpoints, it’s not as though you can just stop and take a break anytime you like. Once you start, you’re committed for at least an hour lest you decide that you want to just stop and start all over again (or hit pause and risk burning your DVD while you take a walk).
If this were an anime series, I could totally see myself getting into it and really enjoying myself but as a game, this is not something that I would go out of my way to seek. I really wish that I could rate this one higher as it had just so much potential to begin with but sadly, potential only takes you halfway.
Final Grade: 71% – C