30 Visual Novel Questions
I saw this making the rounds on twitter a while ago, and while I thought of participating, I figured I might as well post it on my blog instead since the content seems blog-worthy enough. …Just imagine I took 30 days to answer each of these questions then publish all of them in one go.
1. What is your #1 favorite VN?
If you’ve seen some of the lists in my blog, you will know I rarely make consecutive lists, so this question /is/ a little tricky to answer. I can say with absolute confidence though that from all the VNs I’ve played so far, it’s a tie between G-Senjou no Maou and Muv-luv, with Fate/Stay Night perhaps a runner-up.
2. Favorite heroine route
Again, tough to answer, and while I’m thinking about the routes in some of the visual novels I’ve played, I find the deuteragonist heroine (is that a correct term? Lol, secondly most important heroine, basically) a particularly fascinating trope. In their routes, people would always recommend to play them second-last, in fact, you might even be forced to play them in second-last order in some visual novels with an enforced order. For examples, in Symphonic Rain and Aokana, both the second and last routes differ greatly in that the former is glum but bittersweet; both the heroine and the protagonist in the end find some hope in their lives despite the darkness in their hearts. The latter however became all sun and rainbows, with light and happiness that make the gloominess of the previous routes seem like a lie. That’s not to say I enjoy the “deuteragonist heroine” routes, but it’s the contrast between them and the tones in the main heroines’ routes that make me more emotionally attached to the titles as a whole. I enjoy both these routes together as a whole, in short.
Doesn’t really answer the question, huh? Well I just really like Symphonic Rain and Aokana’s last two routes, I guess.
3. Favorite character archetype (tsundere, little sister, etc)
Tsundere, although I find it’s opposite extreme — the yandere, seems to shine more in visual novel format. As a whole, I still enjoy tsundere the most though.
4. Do you play with 18+ content enabled?
Let me tell you an interesting story. One day, I stumbled upon this anime with this redhead and this cute anime girl in armor and this black-haired twintail and I just had to watch it. Indeed, it is the one and only Fate/Stay Night. And by the time I reached the climax of the anime, oh man, I got so hot and bothered, so wet was my Excalibur (#wet) as I jerked off furiously while watching the dragon and dolphin sex scenes.
Actually, no. So yeah, I play visual novels with 18+ content enabled.
5. How long have you been playing visual novels?
Late 2009/early 2010 if I recall, and my main motivation was researching these so-called “FSN hentai scenes” some commenters were talking about on some forums. Went for the sex, stayed for the story, basically. So yeah, it’s been a decade! Though I’m ashamed to admit that my list of completed visual novels doesn’t correctly reflect the time I’ve spent on them, as there’s always huge intervals in between the times I picked up on new titles.
6. Do you ever skip routes for characters you don’t initially like?
I did this a lot when I just started and often played just routes of characters I liked. It was a mistake, I admit, and I really regret it. Though I think doing this is still fine if you’re just playing some simple charage.
7. If you had to pick one untranslated VN to be localized, which one would it be?
Oh man, more denpa please. Kizuato seems great.
8. Do you like gameplay in VNs?
I don’t mind them if they’re legit fun to play. I had a lot of fun with Kamidori Alchemy Meister, for instance.
9. Do you prefer a lot of choices, or a more linear game?
I don’t mind either, both are great in their own ways.
10. Least favorite VN, and why?
11. Do you buy VN/eroge merchandise? If so post photos!
Nope, at least not recently. I do have a shit ton of Saber figures though. Probably doesn’t seem a lot for some, but for a lowly commoner like me, I /do/ consider that a lot.
I was once also almost tempted into buying Sora (of Yosuga no Sora) figures, but I miraculously controlled myself.
12. Favorite soundtrack
Again, tough question (lol). Think my pick’s Symphonic Rain though, mostly because of their ingenious way of implementing music in the game.
13. Favorite art style
Ef legit looks extremely good, and holds up pretty well even by modern standards. I also enjoy the more distinctive art styles like those seen in Fata morgana no Yakata and Steins;Gate.
On the other hand, Aokana is filled to the brim with like the cutest girls in visual novels ever, so I’m stumped by whether or not I prefer distinctive styles, or just simple but very pretty designs. Tough call.
14. Top 5 favorite characters
Mukou Aoi: Yeah, Aoi’s probably not my smartest picks by far as she’s done some fairly scummy things, though you can apply that statement to all Totono’s main characters anyway. Visual novels like these are hard for me to say anything since their values rely heavily on playing it without being spoiled. I think it’s safe to say this at least — I don’t like Aoi because of her personality or character or anything, I like her because she is simply the origin and embodiment of all VN heroines.
Komine Sachi: In a massive 3-part series that in my opinion could only be described as “so-so”, Sachi has always been the bright spot especially in parts that tend to drag on endlessly. She is a maid, can do anything and at one point fight while wearing a maid costume and a gas mask. Perfection. Grisaia is surprisingly meme-y as well and Sachi even has like the best meme ever. I’m definitely #wet, if nothing else.
Kurashina Asuka: In a lighthearted but surprisingly fervent sport VN, Asuka has the perfect personality to complement her position as the main heroine of the series. Speaks politely, but straightforward with a passion that matches the most intense athlete. She strikes my heart with both her cuteness and zeal.
Natsume Rin: Natsume Rin is kind of a rare exception among VN heroines where even if you go for her route, I feel her relationship with the protagonist feels more platonic than romantic — and that can be a good thing too. Refreshing, even, especially in a medium where it feels like the romance genre is a shoehorned necessity rather than just a component of a story. Indeed, not everyone seeks for that ultimate romance, sometimes, a very good friend or partner who would help you in times of need too, can be counted as another form of “love”.
Beatrice Waltrud von Kircheisen: In a surprise of the century, my Best Girl pick of Dies Irae ended up being Beatrice. Yeah, I don’t wish to be stepped on by Rulsaka but instead, wish for the pride, nobility and benevolence of Beatrice’s Atziluth. Shocking, I know. Jokes aside, Beatrice is an excellent character with her morality, especially with how she belonged in a group of bloodthirsty maniacs and broken individuals. Her in-story lover is also literally called Kai. Heh, what can I say, it’s fate.
15. Do you prefer dark/sad stories, or more light-hearted ones?
Depending on my mood.
16. Favorite Key/Visual Arts VN
Of all the Key works, I still have a soft spot for Little Busters even to this day.
17. Favorite SciADV VN
18. Least favorite character route
Chinami’s route, perhaps? She was my least favorite character in Hoshimemo, and I remember her route being longer and draggy than is necessary, on top of being a pretty standard familial drama story.
19. Recommend a VN to your followers, and explain why you think people should play it!
But if they’re truly completely new to visual novels, I would just get them started on games like Danganronpa and Zero Escape series first. And if they really like them, then work things out from there. Good thrillers can hook people in regardless if they are new or veterans to the media, and the good thing about visual novels is that genres like those aren’t hard to come by.
20. Favorite anime adaption
Steins;Gate’s anime is much better than I thought, still can’t beat the visual novel though. The Unlimited Blade Works anime also has some nice original/fluff at the end that adds an extremely nice touch to the story overall.
21. Favorite side character
I think I like the support character who’s the closest to the main cast, helping the protagonist ranging from his mecha world war main plot or his romantic endeavors; yet not overstepping his boundary. In most visual novels, this is mostly the protagonist’s best friend.
I can’t say I have a specific favorite though since most of them are pretty good in their roles. But yeah, as far as side characters are concerned, I like this character archetype the most.
22. Favorite protagonist
Shirou. Yes, the one from Fate/Stay Night. No, wait. Hear me out.
I looked through my list of completed visual novels and thought back to all of their protagonists. No one still struck me as interesting as Shirou, however (although I have some odd fussy “filters” where I don’t consider VNs with multiple perspectives protagonists). Fate/Stay Night being literally the first VN I played, I felt the way it breaks down it’s characters made it one of the most innovative stories I have ever seen. Obviously I don’t hold Fate/Stay Night in such a high regard anymore, but it’s still a very good story in my opinion. But yeah, in particular, Shirou’s romanticization of the ideal hero really spoke to me at the time. I do admit that Shirou doesn’t necessarily only possesses the most agreeable traits, he’s a flawed hero, but that’s what makes him interesting.
23. Favorite antagonist
“Maou” in G-Senjou no Maou.
His mysterious identity and secretive nature is one of the main intrigue of the visual novel and when his identity is revealed, the pace of the plot explosively turns up to eleven. Enigmatic in secrecy, but charismatic in presence, Maou is a multi-layered villain that in my opinion, even single-handedly carried the visual novel at times.
24. Favorite character song
Does a villain song work? Because Schreiber’s song is a fucking BANGER
25. Has a VN ever made you cry? If so, which ones?
There’s certainly been quite a few titles that made me cry in my heart, with varying extremes of emotions, I might add. Muv-luv, SubaHibi and Fata morgana for instance, have a few scenes that certainly made me want to cry out in pain and confusion. Little Busters was just plain emotional during the last arc of the story. And aforementioned, visual novels like Symphonic Rain are good at just being bittersweet, making me cry and smile throughout the game.
26. A character with a similar personality to you
You can fit me into any dull charage protagonist with how dull I’m IRL. Sadly no harem though.
27. Have you ever cosplayed a character from a VN?
28. Do you have a lot of backlog?
29. Would you ever want to work on VNs (translation, editing, etc.)?
No. I’m of the opinion that actually working on them is just going to dampen my enjoyment of the medium itself, and I would rather enjoy them without the stress. Not like I would ever have the skills to succeed here anyway.
30. Post pictures and talk about your all-time favorite character!!
Tohsaka Rin. Twintails. Smugface.