My Thoughts on VNDB’s Top 10 Visual Novels

VNDB’s Top 10 Visual Novels

One day I was kinda bored, and sorted through VNDB’s visual novels through rating — technically VNDB’s top visual novels (picture above), so to speak. The result was interesting and I was about to tweet my findings, and then realized I might as well just do it here since it’s actually kinda long.

Daru has good taste.

In my own list, you can see visual novels like G-Senjou no Maou, Fate/Stay Night and Muv-Luv on the top part of the list, though the list isn’t in a consecutive order; in fact none of my lists are. That, and ranking visual novels consecutively is hard. Despite that, G-Senjou no Maou is one of my absolute favorites ever, and it’s pretty damn close to the discussion if we are talking that #1 visual novel.

Well, surprise — it doesn’t even crack VNDB’s top 10. “Is VNDB’s standard that damn high?” I asked myself.

Unfortunately, the visual novels I played in VNDB’s top 10 list can’t even be counted with one hand. I have been playing visual novels for years, but seems like I’m only just barely scratching the surface. In any case, VNDB had Muv-Luv Alternative at the #1 spot, followed by Steins;Gate at #2 — both these titles I can definitely attest to myself, as both are incredibly excellent titles.

Baldr Sky is a name I constantly see brought up in visual novel discussions. Unfortunately, it’s one series I know next to nothing about (please, put your pitchforks away) but seeing as how Baldr Sky 2 is at the #3 spot, I’m sure it is a phenomenal title. I want to bring everyone’s attention to White Album 2 though. I didn’t play the visual novel, but the adaption is one of my favorite romance anime ever. Disappointingly however, the ending feels like something is amiss. That’s because the visual novel is actually divided into two parts — the ~Introductory Chapter~ and the ~Closing Chapter~, and the anime only managed to cover the ~Introductory Chapter~ so far. White Album 2 ~Closing Chapter~ is ranked at #4 in VNDB, so the conclusive arc has to be absolutely amazing. The most infuriating thing about this is that I will probably never be able to experience the story in any shape or form — an anime adaption of ~Closing Chapter~ seems highly unlikely, much less a translation.

I have seen some Umineko screenshots before, and I have no idea what’s happening.

“Umineko no Naku Koro ni has a lot of potential to begin with. I really loved a lot of what it had to offer, so much that I would almost recommend reading the first 4 episodes and then looking up fan theories online. Heck, i’m genuinely angry at Umineko because i’m so glad I started reading it and yet can’t actually recommend it to anyone. The final 4 episodes? Well, let’s just say I want 50 hours of my life back.”
~by Silvachief of TheGeekClinic

Umineko is also something I have been wanting to check out for awhile, but not sure if it’s something I can commit to as it seems even more time-consuming than the entire Muv-luv trilogy, if that’s even possible. Similarly to White Album 2, Umineko is also divided into 2 parts, each part containing 4 episodes. From opinions I have randomly stumbled upon, the last 4 episodes seems to be very bad, though I don’t know — it’s at the #10 spot in VNDB’s list. Though the consensus seems to be that the first 4 episodes is by far superior in every aspect, and it does seems to reflect in VNDB’s ranking, as Umineko is ranked at #5 as opposed to Umineko Chiru’s #10

An important thing to note is that like Tsukihime, Umineko’s anime also “doesn’t exist”. Hmm, that means I probably can’t do the “aw shit it’s too long, might as well watch the anime”-thing like what I did in Higurashi.

Subarashiki Hibi is ranked at #6, and is the one visual novel I’m dying to play the most. If you never really follow the untranslated visual novels scene, let’s say that alongside Dies Irae, both these visual novels were perhaps the most popular titles that have never been translated. Fortunately that changes now as an official translation of SubaHibi is in the works (together with Dies Irae too I might add! Despite the rocky start). Finally it took until the #7 spot to reach some titles mainstream visual novel players would recognize — Clannad at #7 and Fate/Stay Night at #8. At #9 we have Muramasa, another oft-hyped title in the untranslated visual novel scene.

This list really puts into perspective just how much hidden gems are out there. A lot of visual novels in my own favorite list doesn’t even make it in VNDB’s top 10. Ever 17 is at #12, Little Busters is at #15 while G-Senjou no Maou, my personal masterpiece is as far back as #17, with Grisaia no Kajitsu just two spots behind it at #19 (man, what). Despite that, the English translation scene in visual novels have really come a long way, evidenced with the official English releases of both SubaHibi and Dies Irae on the horizon — something I’m eternally grateful for.

Will we actually get to play White Album 2 or Muramasa soon!? …Hmmmmmmmm

This entry was posted by Kai.

9 thoughts on “My Thoughts on VNDB’s Top 10 Visual Novels

  1. Agreed with your assessment. MLA and Steins;Gate deserve the spots that they’re in. Some of my favorite VNs don’t make top 10 either, so it’s important for people to look past the top XX lists imo.

    Have you read Steins;gate 0 yet?

    • And I think it’s also more the case that there are just /that/ much more legit masterpieces out there, just as much as there are shitty titles, lol. A lot of these are titles that no one was interested in translating so we never had a chance to read them. Makes me that much more hyped for SubaHibi.

      No, not yet. I do plan to soon.

  2. calling untranslated games as “hidden gems” is one of the most retarded things i’ve seen ever. There are plenty of people even in the west who have played it which is why its even in the top 10 in the first place. whatever even is in the top 10 on VNDB has little meaning considering the userbase consists of an extremely large EOP group and a small JOP group resulting in a score distribution that can’t be really taken in at face value.

    this isnt even a post on thoughts on vndbs top 10 vns, but thoughts on shit thats translated and untranslated shit i want to play in vndbstop10

  3. My favourite game ever made is Yu-No: The Girl who Chants at the Edge of the World, and it nearly comes close to the top 10 VN from VNDB. It’s always worth looking beyond the top ones, for sure, as it includes all genres and all kinds that attracts any kind of demographic.

    • Yeah, Yu-No is another one I have been wanting to check out for awhile. The opportunity doesn’t really present itself though as I keep having other priorities, lol. One of these days, I suppose.

  4. I knew there was controversy about umineko, but its surprising to see how much the consensus has changed in such a short amount of time, seeing as how chiru is #4 on the list right now, right behind the first half at #3. I wonder what provoked the change? I’d like to give my two cents on 5-8 though.

    I think there are two main reasons why a lot of people disliked the second half (or more specifically), episodes 7 and 8,) but they both have to deal with the reader feeling betrayed. I can’t say too much without spoiling things, but I’d just like to say that even if the narrative style changed focus, the message and theme has always been planned from the beginning, and I think its a beautiful one.

    That being said, I definitely feel like the execution in the visual novel wasn’t great. But, as someone who’s currently reading muv-luv and is a little bit dissapointed, allow me to use something similar to what people say about that series. Much like how alternative supposedly adds more context to and retroactively makes extra better, I think reading the manga for umineko (chiru specifically) adds a lot of light and a sense of conclusion for the series. The answers in the manga are canon and feel very fulfilling and less of a slap to the face, and inspired me to look back on chiru in a different light after learning what the answers really were. It really let them look back at things and think “yeah, wow, I can totally see how this message could have been implied here!”

    Anyways, just a humble defense from a fan. Don’t let the controversy turn you away. If you’re looking for a mystery, and nothing but a mystery, and you prioritize the “how” and “whodunnit” over the “whydunnit,” or the integrity of a story for the sake of a puzzle, then you might be dissapointed with the direction it takes. However, if the heart of the story is what’s important to you, then I wholeheartedly recomend checking it out as I do think its a beautiful tale.

    • Hey man, I glimpsed through your review since I don’t want to be spoiled before I start playing Umineko. I know you already have that in mind and tried not to spoil as much as possible when you wrote that, but I still want to experience Umineko blind; or at least as blind as possible, lol.

      Just want to say I really appreciate your review and regardless of opinions, both parts of Umineko are still something I want to start soon… just need time, lol.

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