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Visual Novels - Old or new, let's talk about them

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So many options nowadays I remember when babies first visual novel was Yume Miru Kusuri
Damn, guilty as charged! You must have been into VNs for quite a while, since I still remember Katawa Shoujo dropping and a bunch of people (relatively speaking) getting into VNs after that. Technically YMK wasn't my first VN, but it was the first one to truly hook me on the medium. I really related to the MC at that point in my life, and in general it's fairly well written by VN standards. First discovered it because of this old ass video review:

View: https://youtu.be/IcuX5UgE-ew
 
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Chen

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Damn, guilty as charged! You must have been into VNs for quite a while, since I still remember Katawa Shoujo dropping and a bunch of people (relatively speaking) getting into VNs after that. Technically YMK wasn't my first VN, but it was the first one to truly hook me on the medium. I really related to the MC at that point in my life, and in general it's fairly well written by VN standards. First discovered it because of this old ass video review:

View: https://youtu.be/IcuX5UgE-ew
On and off but yeah. I just remembered it was the most popular game on 4chan for a while. After that there was a list of like five to ten games that everyone had to read. I remember reading after that Saya no Uta, Ever17, Fate, Kana Little Sister, Planeterian, Narcissu and also Sengoku Rance. In no particular order since it's been a loooong time ago lol

I haven't read any visual novels in a long time but I was always fond of them.
 
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shinobu

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I'm really glad you went through the effort to play the original YU-NO. As far as I'm concerned, the remake doesn't exist.
I wasn't aware of the remake's reputation. I just wanted that sweet PC-98 feel. But i've checked it out and it certainly doesn't hold up to the original. I'm not saying it was badly made, and I haven't played it, but it looks like a PS2 visual novel
The true remake should have been an exact pixel by pixel port (with the voice lines as an option) of the PC-98 version to windows/linux :melsd:
 
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It's crazy, but sometimes I feel VN openings can tell better stories than the VNs themselves. Recently I've been obsessively rewatching/relistening to this opening because I think it tells such a powerful story of getting back in touch with the Eternal Feminine.

View: https://youtu.be/15y13X34GW4
 
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SomaSpice

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It's crazy, but sometimes I feel VN openings can tell better stories than the VNs themselves. Recently I've been obsessively rewatching/relistening to this opening because I think it tells such a powerful story of getting back in touch with the Eternal Feminine.

View: https://youtu.be/15y13X34GW4
Gotta love those early 2000's synths. Would you recommend I give the novel a read? I'm intermediate level in japanese so translation is not that big of an issue.
 
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Gotta love those early 2000's synths. Would you recommend I give the novel a read? I'm intermediate level in japanese so translation is not that big of an issue.
The VN in the video I linked is an OG translated VN, and tbh I haven't read it. From what it looks like and what I read about it, it seems like a fairly generic Bishoujo game (do your best to get the waifu kind of VN). However, if you're intermediate in Japanese that opens way more doors than you might think.

With a text hooker (I recommend Textractor) and dictionary software, you can conveniently extract the text in a VN and look up the words by just hovering your mouse over them. For example, when I was reading For Elise, this is what it looked like for me:

p8 screenshot3.png


Any word that I didn't know the meaning of, I could just hover over with my mouse and it would instantly provide me with dictionary definitions. I run Textractor in the background to extract the text, and I have it displayed with Translation Aggregator. Here is a tutorial on installing Textractor, and here is a tutorial on getting Translation Aggregator setup with Dictionaries (Only do Tasks 1, 2, and 3, you don't need ITH since Textrator does that same function but better): link

With Intermediate Japanese and the Textractor + Translation Aggregator combo, the world of untranslated VNs is basically yours. Of course, you'll be reading them at a slow pace until your vocabulary and grammatical knowledge builds up. But you can definitely read them. If you're willing to give it a try, I suggest reading Sayonara wo Oshiete. In fact, that was one of the earlier VNs I read in Japanese. I progressed at a snails pace, but it was 100% worth it. Here's a blog post I wrote about it at the time.

In fact, if you do decide to try Sayonara wo Oshiete, hit me up if you have any questions. I really want more people to read that one.
 
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SomaSpice

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The VN in the video I linked is an OG translated VN, and tbh I haven't read it. From what it looks like and what I read about it, it seems like a fairly generic Bishoujo game (do your best to get the waifu kind of VN). However, if you're intermediate in Japanese that opens way more doors than you might think.

With a text hooker (I recommend Textractor) and dictionary software, you can conveniently extract the text in a VN and look up the words by just hovering your mouse over them. For example, when I was reading For Elise, this is what it looked like for me:

View attachment 26145

Any word that I didn't know the meaning of, I could just hover over with my mouse and it would instantly provide me with dictionary definitions. I run Textractor in the background to extract the text, and I have it displayed with Translation Aggregator. Here is a tutorial on installing Textractor, and here is a tutorial on getting Translation Aggregator setup with Dictionaries (Only do Tasks 1, 2, and 3, you don't need ITH since Textrator does that same function but better): link

With Intermediate Japanese and the Textractor + Translation Aggregator combo, the world of untranslated VNs is basically yours. Of course, you'll be reading them at a slow pace until your vocabulary and grammatical knowledge builds up. But you can definitely read them. If you're willing to give it a try, I suggest reading Sayonara wo Oshiete. In fact, that was one of the earlier VNs I read in Japanese. I progressed at a snails pace, but it was 100% worth it. Here's a blog post I wrote about it at the time.

In fact, if you do decide to try Sayonara wo Oshiete, hit me up if you have any questions. I really want more people to read that one.

Wish I could love react to this ten times. You see, I'm at the point in my learning of the language where I'm looking to immerse myself hard. Recently I've been wataching anime with japanese subtitles on animelon, and I'm able to comprehend without aid around 60 to 80% of the material, depending on topic.

My main goal when I began studying was to read both visual and traditional novels in their native format, but I always stood clear of doing so out of fear of missing important context and of growing to dislike the activity, as I feared reading would become practice instead of something naturally enjoyable. That's also why my 'want to read' list hasn't budged an inch since 2-3 years ago. Everything I want to read I'd rather read on the original Japanese, but I don't read what I want to because I feel my Jap still sucks. But if by that time you were intermediate you could dive onto the media that interests you and come out not hating yourself, that means it might be time I do so too. It could also be what I need to accelerate my learning.

Just so you have a better metric to measure where I stand right now, my SRS tool tells me I can read around 1400 kanji, and I'm currently halfway through 'Joukyuu he no Tobira', which should put me around N3 grammar wise.

Sayooshi is definitely on my list. When I get to it I'll contact you and we'll have a nice chat. Also, thanks for hooking me up with a text hooker! :agpepsi:
 
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Wish I could love react to this ten times. You see, I'm at the point in my learning of the language where I'm looking to immerse myself hard. Recently I've been wataching anime with japanese subtitles on animelon, and I'm able to comprehend without aid around 60 to 80% of the material, depending on topic.

My main goal when I began studying was to read both visual and traditional novels in their native format, but I always stood clear of doing so out of fear of missing important context and of growing to dislike the activity, as I feared reading would become practice instead of something naturally enjoyable. That's also why my 'want to read' list hasn't budged an inch since 2-3 years ago. Everything I want to read I'd rather read on the original Japanese, but I don't read what I want to because I feel my Jap still sucks. But if by that time you were intermediate you could dive onto the media that interests you and come out not hating yourself, that means it might be time I do so too. It could also be what I need to accelerate my learning.

Just so you have a better metric to measure where I stand right now, my SRS tool tells me I can read around 1400 kanji, and I'm currently halfway through 'Joukyuu he no Tobira', which should put me around N3 grammar wise.

Sayooshi is definitely on my list. When I get to it I'll contact you and we'll have a nice chat. Also, thanks for hooking me up with a text hooker! :agpepsi:

Over coming the fear of not feeling ready to read the stuff you really want to is almost a form of initiation in a weird way. Because you won't ever get started until you overcome it, but it can be quite paralyzing. Thankfully the solution really is this easy: Read what interests you and don't worry about understanding everything.

That's what somebody told me, and I doubted them for months. I read at least 2 or 3 VNs that bored me to tears because I thought they were "at my level". I never finished them, and it had me dreading studying Japanese. At the time I was a relative beginner (I read through 3/4ths of Tae Kim's grammar guide, and was enrolled in a Japanese 101 class). Still I couldn't take the boredom of stuff "at my level". So one day I just decided to start reading Sayooshi, despite the fact that it's certainty at a higher level then the average VN. While it took something like 4 months to complete, it ended up being the first untld VN I finished.

I was of course worried about whether or not I would be able to sufficiently understand the work. After all, there were LOTs of new words, and worse still, lots of new grammar I would have to look up as it came up. But what's nice about VNs is that they give you so much external context! The music and visuals really help out in this regard. Sometimes you might not have really understand most of the text in a given scene. However, just the knowledge of "Okay, these several words kept popping up, and the scene involved two characters. Ominous music played, and one of them looked really upset", is all you really need to get. If something really important is said in a scene that you didn't catch, it will always surface up later. However, usually the collective context of words, visuals, and audio will make it really clear what is important the first time anyway.

From everything you said, you're definitely more than ready. Just get comfortable being in a place where you don't understand things 100% of the time, and you'll be surprised how much you learn. I've also noticed, that any given VN has it's own language so to speak. As in, certain words will get repeated A LOT. To the point that by the last quarter of the VN you'll notice that you aren't looking up words nearly as much as you were in the beginning. Your vocabulary will just naturally expand through osmosis.

If you want a good VN for dipping your toes, try For Elise. It's short, you already know the story, and you could try reading the other route I didn't cover. Also, imo the vocabulary/grammar isn't that hard. Some difficult words come up occasionally in the scenes at work, but as you probably remember he doesn't spend a whole lot of time at work ;P
 
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瑠璃の鳥

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Over coming the fear of not feeling ready to read the stuff you really want to is almost a form of initiation in a weird way. Because you won't ever get started until you overcome it, but it can be quite paralyzing. Thankfully the solution really is this easy: Read what interests you and don't worry about understanding everything.
This fear is what I like to call 'the flipside of Dunning-Kruger', since it's essentially just being aware of your own lack of skill. It can happen with pretty much everything, but when you're learning language it's deadly.
If you're already into reading, especially when it comes to VNs, you realize that your first reading of something is always an experience that you likely want to have in the purest form possible. Understand everything, characters, plot, themes, other things you can find in the intertext. Well, this is not really limited to the literary arts of course, but we find it the first experience to be most important for stories.
Everyone who starts learning Japanese to read untranslated Visual Novels and to engage with other Japanese media has some kind of works that are praised to death for their excellence ("kamige" in nerd-tounge) on their plan-to-read list already, and once your studies reach the point where you find branching out to read to be something you think you can manage, you either dive head-in first or start with the easiest but also most boring shit imaginable. And the second you only do because you think you're not "at that level yet", because, yeah, obviously you would need to pull up your texthooker and dictionaries when reading something plot-heavy, but the way you progress only slowly and need to look up everything feels like you're not even progressing and burns you out.
But this is so incredibly important for your learning process. You need to actively challenge yourself with new and harder texts. Moegeshit will cause a burn-out way faster than any Sayooshi ever will. Reading the same things you keep seeing in your anki reps anyway will not help you, it stagnates your brain and understanding of the language, and kills your drive to learn. The fact that you're reading in a new language, plus the different symbols from your usual alphabet, is already a hard task requiring a lot of patience and endurance. That resistance to read is something you need to conquer, not see as a sign of incapability. And that resistance is your greatest enemy. First, it was just getting started, then it became keeping studying everyday, and now it's to actually use it for something useful for once. There's no escaping it. You need to fight it everytime.
The way I've somewhat gotten over my fear was remembering how I, an ESL, learned English via the internet. Most of us here did it that way.
When you're a kid, your bullshit-resistance abilities allow you to read so much more in different languages, likely because of what cognitivism is telling us. In no way I advocate for that theory over all the other language acquisiton theories out there, I have too little knowledge on that topic to have anything to say about it, but my initial point is that your brain is pretty much a sponge sucking up all kinds of information on language, and even if you don't understand everything, you manage to learn more and understand more. The more you read, the more you let your brain consume, the better you got. Now, as someone far, far older, you have a sense of value when it comes to time. That's why reading is not only harder, but you feel like you're spending too much time on it, you're conscious of time and have a direct comparison to your native tongue. But this is something you can use in your favor: Do you really want to waste time finding that one 'perfect moment' to read? Of course you should come prepared, but you shouldn't rack your brains out about not being able to understand this masterpiece you always wanted to read. You won't. Simply because you won't read it. Learning a new language requires lots and lots of repetition. You'll eventually reread, find something new in the work, wonder how you missed this, be amazed at how far you've gotten and how much better you've become. Read. Read. Read. And you should read what you find interesting, because if you don't, it'll be a bigger pain in the ass in the end.


I just wanted to get this out of my head since it's important to me. I hope someone reading this will take something away from this. It wasn't as concise as I wished for this to be, but as I'm only reinforcing the point [email protected] made anyway, it should be fine keeping it like this. Thank you, and don't give in easily, lads, learning is failing, you can't seperate those two things. Cheers.
 

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Speaking of VNs Anyone has a legit and safe download link for Kanon?
 
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