[VN] Kara to Shoujo

殻ノ少女

Kara no Shoujo is a disturbing mystery visual novel that while hardly mind-blowing is quite fun if you’re into detective stories and horror.

Release: 2008 (Innocent Grey)
Writers: Suzuka Miya
Japanese difficulty: Easy
English: MangaGamer
Ratings: VNDB (8.09)

Visual Novel

I’d been pretty hyped up for Kara no Shoujo for a long while since I’m a huge fan of disturbing stories and I’ve heard lots about it, not to mention the high ratings, but… I’m not sure if it quite lived up to its reputation.

I certainly enjoyed the dark atmosphere and most of the characters were likable, but the plot, while engrossing at first, began running out of fuel at around the mid-way point, especially when the killers were revealed and turned out to be a bit of a disappointment.

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I had the feeling that while she had a good idea and definitely nailed the disturbing details, Suzuka Miya simply wasn’t an experienced enough writer to craft a satisfying story.

The way the Showa Period is conveyed, for example, definitely pales in comparison to Cartagra, which really made you feel like you were reading historical fiction. And the relationship of Toko and the protagonist just didn’t feel as personal and genuine as that of the two leads in the prequel.

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All in all, Kara no Shoujo turned out to be an entertaining read, but it definitely didn’t blow my mind.

I even assumed I’d gotten an incomplete normal ending when I’d actually stumbled into the true one. It just felt like it was missing a few more twists to become something truly memorable. It definitely wasn’t Umineko.

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Oh yeah, and contrary to what the game might make you think, it’s a linear story with barely any variation between which heroines you pursue (you only get a different ending CG at best, and a bad ending at worst), so that was kind of a bummer. It’s best if you play the game with a walkthrough and pursue Toko from the start while collecting some of the bad ends on the way, or you might muddle the experience for yourself… which kind of happened to me.

The ending heroine CGs and their ero scenes are hardly worth it going through the game multiple times (might as well download save data and check them in the library).

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Positive:
Negative:
Beautiful artwork
The story is not as memorable as it could’ve been
Pleasant, catchy soundtrack
The questions the plot raises are more interesting than the answers it offers
Disturbing, dark atmosphere
The identity of the killers is not shocking at all
Interesting, likable characters
Character routes consist of unlocking a single CG
Engrossing plot, at least in the first half
Offers little unique except for the disturbing details
Interesting, historical setting
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[Novel] The Last Kingdom (Bernard Cornwell)

The Last Kingdom

Book

It reads almost like a fantasy novel at times, but The Last Kingdom is a very interesting depiction of the conflicts between English and the Danes in 9th century AD.

You can grab an audiobook or kindle on amazon.

Positive:
Negative:
Interesting, likable characters
Feels a bit more like a fantasy adventure than a historical novel
Relatively interesting plot
Doesn’t offer anything particularly memorable
Enlightening on 9th century England and Denmark

 

[Game] Call of Duty: WWII

Call of Duty - WWII

Game

Call of Duty: WWII delivers the same Call of Duty experience that pretty much all the other games in the series did. You’ll enjoy it as long as you’re not looking for something new.

You can get it on steam or amazon.

Positive:
Negative:
Beautiful visuals
Does little to separate itself from other games in the series
Polished, satisfying shooter game-play
Underwhelming final mission, especially compared to World at War
Lets you participate in historical battles
Reintroduction of archaic and tedious health pack mechanic

[Novel] Apocalypse of the Dead (Joe McKinney)

Apocalypse of the Dead

Book

I don’t know if it’s me having consumed too much zombie media in the recent years, but everything in Apocalypse of the Dead felt so generic I almost felt I was watching a new season of Walking Dead.

It’s a competent book, but I feel we’ve squeezed all the potential there was out of zombies a long time ago already, and all stories pertaining to them are starting to feel the same.

Positive:
Negative:
Okay characters
Feels extremely uninspired at this point
Written by a policeman, the scenes related to that kind of work feel authentic
The plot is not that interesting

[Game] Thimbleweed Park

Thimbleweed Park

Game

An old-school adventure game in the same vein as Monkey Island that kind of shoots itself in the foot with an overly meta ending.

Positive:
Negative:
Genuinely funny humor
An awful cop-out ending
Interesting, likable characters
Lots of tedious puzzles
Engrossing plot
Easy to get lost in
Old-school adventure game-play

[Novel] Diary of A Madman and Other Stories (Nikolai Gogol)

Diary of a Madman

Book

While not exactly on par with Anton Chekhov, Nikolai Gogol is too one of the masters of Russian short story that satirically conveys the timeless woes of man.

You can grab an audiobook from audible or even listen to some of the stories on youtube.

Positive:
Negative:
Profound, interesting characters
Relatively enthralling plot
Thought-provoking on life
Enlightening on 19th century Russian society

[Game] Little Nightmares

Little Nightmares

Game

An atmospheric platformer through a surreal, creepy world that, despite a curious narrative, can sometimes be more tedious than fun to play.

Positive:
Negative:
Dark, creepy atmosphere
Simplistic puzzles and platforming sometimes feel more like busywork
Interesting, surreal narrative