Seconded on all points. I admit I’m a bit biased for certain ones, since I already own them, lol. But we’ll have to see which are easier to get than others.
The only ones that really fit that criteria are Hanahira, Planetarian, Angel Beats! ~1st beat!~, and possibly Himawari (not on the list, but suggested elsewhere). Also, Little Busters! Ecstasy is on DMM (exclusive!). With the exception of the added H-scenes, it’d be a good choice.
if we open it up to optional 18+, it grows to a lot of games on the list. Lots of them seem to have some kind of Downloadable version, though it may not be DMM.
I doubt I’d join, but I’ll throw in my 2 cents as someone who’s been reading Japanese VNs as study tools.
Reading something you’re already familiar with is a HUGE help in speed and ease of reading comprehension. Once you have a grasp of the situation, it is easy to not know many of the words but still understand the gist of the lines. This is something to consider in regards to reading something new vs. reading for the sake of learning. Angel beats in particular might be a great choice because it has enough new content to keep good interest but the world and setting/characters are already understood if you’ve watched the anime.
My first Japanese VN was Mahoutsukai no Yoru. It was/is a TERRIBLE choice because unknown to me at the time, it’s actually a really hard read. But while I struggled a lot, and certainly missed a lot of explanations of the magic and whatnot, I still managed to understand all the major plot points and character motivations and that sort of thing. More importantly, it’s pretty short and if I wasn’t so terrible at Japanese at the time (like bad enough that I shouldn’t have been reading any novel), it wouldn’t have been such a timesink. That said, I enjoyed it a ton and it’s roughly tied as my favorite VN with Rewrite. Arguably I’m just advertising Mahoyo, and I kind of am, but my point is that if you’re having fun, a harder read isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Choose something you all think you will enjoy and even if you won’t understand parts, it’ll be a great experience. Failing is part of the learning experience after all.
Voices help so much. Assuming you’ve watched more anime than you’ve studied kanji, voices will be a godsend. Right now I’m finishing up Eustia and the protagonist is voiced, which is an uncommon thing, and it has made the read even easier than usual. Basically, since chances are your listening comprehension is better than your reading, this point should be kind of obvious. You may want to consider VNs which have a voiced protagonist. (Sidenote: Mahoyo is completely unvoiced, which obviously just made it even worse for me lol)
Skipping is fine. Lines I mean. It is very, very, very rare for a single line to be a huge plot twist. Even if you miss the line revealing x plot twist, subsequent lines will go into details. If you are stuck, just skip and future lines may help to fill in the gaps. Don’t feel like you have to figure out every single line. Sometimes a VN will throw a monster sentence at you that is very unreasonable to the beginner. Well, if you can read the other 99%, then you really don’t need to understand that one line. Certainly, give it a try, but don’t get hung up over it.
Don’t give up. If you are reading, you will be learning. Maybe not at an ideal or great pace. Maybe not at a noticeable rate, but by immersing yourself in Japanese, you will be making progress. I said Mahoyo was a terrible first choice, and it is, but I learned so much by the end of it. Would I have learned more in the same time period if I chose something else? Almost definitely. But it wasn’t wasted time, and I stuck with it and got something worthwhile out of it. It doesn’t matter how much you feel like are failing, you are making progress as long as you keep reading. So go forth, and read your hentai! I mean Japanese novels.
I do need to choose my next Japanese VN though. I’m tempted to do Baldry Sky but it’s so insanely long, I don’t know if I want to commit to it.
I’ve literally only heard good things about it, so that could be good. Or AB!, if you haven’t yet. Because AB! is the bestest ever.
That’s partly why I’m considering Little Busters! or planetarian. Planetarian especially already has the Japanese right there in the Steam game, and I’m super familiar with it. And was the MC voiced? I don’t recall, but I feel like his spoken lines were.
Anyway, we’ll see what other interest there is and what suggestions people have. Maybe a poll later? Then we can get started!
The steam version of planetarian has the MC voiced
As much as it would be beneficial to read something we already know about… I feel a significantly lower amount of motivation to read something I have already read before >.< My goal with this bookclub isn’t more to learn but really more to read something I wouldn’t be able to read otherwise :x
Oh that’s a huge idea, I think I’ll participate (unless Something happened).
But I’m going back to my country at the end of the month till the end of March so this will be a great thing to spend my time on.
Also I want to suggest G-Senjou no Maou. The Japanese used in this game is easy and the voice acting is so good for practicing your listening. but the way the VN goes is so complicated that’s why I feel it’ll be challenging yet fun.
And with the game being released officially on steam, you can check the English version for any part you didn’t get.
I’m replaying rewrite on my PSV and I find it really fun, REALLY FUN (NAZE DAAAA?)
Not sure if this is the right place or not but, I found a game called lifeline on App store, it’s has to voice acting but you can check your reading and vocabulary in Japanese after beating the game in English (the game is about a guy stranded on the moon and you communicate with him and guide him) it was a fun experience for me.
I’m inclined to suggest 時計仕掛けのレイライン. It’s probably of a similar difficulty level to Flyable Heart, judging by the little I’ve played of both, but also has the advantage of being actually alright and not making me want to kill myself. Although I’d be happy with Angel Beats or…something, just not Flyable Heart, please god no, it was awful.
I think something SOL-based is probably a better bet, for two reasons. Firstly, they aren’t going to introduce large amounts of extremely situational vocab, which really strings the game out (context: trying to read Baldr right now, it does this a lot). And secondly, because those kind of games don’t require you to be following the story too closely, you can get away with a small amount of error in a way you’d struggle to with a plotge. For exactly that reason I think it would be best to avoid things like G-Senjou.
Finally I’d suggest something relatively short (10 - 30 hour bracket max). Reading as a beginner takes a lot of time, something that’s long already (like Himawari) is just going to be frustrating.
So when we choose a visual novel are we going to break down the discussion into parts i.e common route, route 1, route 2, ect, or do we have to read it all the way through then talk about it? VNs have a lot of content to discuss.
Hey guys! This sounds like an awesome little initiative! I’m just gonna move it to the Events category since that would be where it belongs I’d say. I can’t read any Japanese do I dunno if I could commit to it, but I wish you all the best!
Just a request. Do you think you could call it something other than a ‘Bookclub’? The word Bookclub already has a pretty defined meaning on Kazamatsuri as our big signature event, so I feel like something like this should try to use a different word to describe itself than Bookclub.
It’d be as we go along, section by section; that’s most of the point, since our first Japanese VN will be pretty difficult for most of us who haven’t read one before. As for what a “section” is, that’ll probably depend on the reading pace we want to set. We could do it any number of ways, but this was my initial idea:
We’d settle on a VN and begin reading it. People are free to read at whatever pace they want and ask questions if they don’t understand a phrase, but for the sake of organization and pacing, we can have one person post a summary of what happened over the reading for the past week, after which everyone who’s read it can discuss it (those who have yet to read it could avoid any posts past it, for fear of spoilers. Or we could mark them all? But that’d be marking pretty much everything we say…). Similar to the official bookclubs, we could have discussions on portions of the novel as we read, though people are free to go ahead or lag behind. (Though they’d want to avoid spoilers, naturally.) The only differences would be that they’re all in the same event thread instead of new ones for each route.
Naturally, we can discuss this more and change it if need be; the event’s still a ways away.
Sure. I had the intent of making it similar to the official bookclubs, but we can name it something else, if that’s best. For now, let’s change it to “Reading Japanese Visual Novels!”
If you would like to propose an official Kazamatsuri Bookclub, then feel free to contact me with your proposal and we’ll see what we can do. There’s already quite a few Bookclubs on the table though, and it would be pretty disastrous to have more than one Bookclub running simultaneously, so more Bookclubs will require active preparation to avoid any clashes.