Ask Me Anything (anonymously)

AMA

Since sites like askfm and curiouscat constantly turn out to be operated by evil overlords that either infect you with viruses or collect your information to enslave you and your family, I figured that instead of migrating from one place to another, I might as well set this question shtick on my blog where I and wordpress are the only ones who can use it for world domination where it’s safe.

If there’s anything you wish to ask me, leave a comment on this page and I will reply in the usual askfm/curiouscat fashion. You may be asked for your name and e-mail, but you can leave those fields blank.

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124 thoughts on “Ask Me Anything (anonymously)

  1. Review requestion: Lamunation! The translation announcement has been making the rounds today, and hear it’s something quite special. Wondering what your thoughts were on this visual novel.

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  2. Hey Conjueror,

    First off I wanted to say that I recently stumbled across this blog and I love it. I’ll be following your posts for a long time to come! I’m pretty new to VNs and plan to read my first 18+ (i.e. with ero content) title soon, and I’m interested to hear what you have to say about how the inclusion of erotic content in the medium affects its perceived credibility/worth in the grand scheme of fiction.

    I saw in one of your reviews (Muramasa?) that you think eventually VNs will become more widely accepted as the medium barrier breaks down. Do you think that ero content (more visceral than in, say, a novel, in that it has both graphic visuals and audio to go with graphic text) will hold VNs back in that regard?

    I’ve only ever read trashy nukige or non-h VNs, and I’m going to bite the bullet and dive into my first 18+ title after having read your subahibi review (very excited) but I’m still a bit apprehensive about how well erotic content (and I mean content which is expressly meant to titillate the audience) can be integrated into the game without standing out. Obviously this is just my preconception from having no experience with well-written 18+ VNs and I fully expect my understanding to change: but this “fear” is something that I think most people who are unfamiliar with the medium share. Some of that comes from being unable to consume this particular kind of media in public, and the more general social stigma around even non-h VNs vs. “conventional” storytelling media which I think is more likely to erode gradually.

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    1. It depends. I find that sex can work in narrative just like in real life. I always preferred 18+ romance visual novels as it makes it a lot easier for me to buy the relationship when people actually fuck. Some visual novels do it better, some do it worse. Gunjou no Sora which is JP only does an amazing job with ero scenes as part of the story, but Subahibi is pretty cool too, though most of its scenes are used for shock value. I never personally felt that 18+ content made anything worse for me; at worst, it simply didn’t do anything, at best, it got me more invested.

      As for if it’s in the way of the medium becoming more popular, then yes, mainly because pornographic content had a huge and baseless stigma attached to it since ancient times just because some are not comfortable with their sexuality. I think people are becoming more open about it in this age, but it’ll probably take a while until it’s wide accepted. >_<

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  3. Have you ever taken a speed-reading test to see how fast you read? Reading as a career and as a serious hobby must mean that your reading speed must be really high.

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  4. Would you ever consider reading Higanbana no Saku Yoru ni and/or the new upcoming Ryukushi07 vn coming soon (perhaps a few years from now)?

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  5. It is some time that I have in mind to ask you this,how many translation projects do you currently have? And what is the first VN that you translate as an official translator?

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    1. My first translation project was Himawari, though Tokyo Babel ended up being released first. I currently have 2 unreleased projects (Damekoi, Rewrite+), 3 unannounced projects, and 3 potential future projects I’m in talks about.

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  6. Hi, I am a big fan of your translation work, especially for Dies Irae (which IMO is one of the hardest works to translate). Hopefully Rewrite Plus which u are translating will come out soon!

    Anyway what are your thoughts on the recent news that Sekai Project has laid off some staff, and what impact do you think this will have on the VN localizing industry, since SP is one of the bigger companies out there.

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    1. I’m just a contractor, so I’m not privy to the inner workings of companies, but nothing seems to have changed as far as my current projects or potential future projects are concerned, so I don’t think this restructuring will have that huge of an impact if what you’re interested is visual novel localizations (I might be wrong, but I think the people that were let go mainly worked with evns and advertising? Don’t take my word for it though).

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  7. Hey, Conjueror, Is doing technical translation significantly more profitable (money-wise) than other types of translation work?

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    1. It pays more per character, but it’s usually a slower and much more boring process than game translation. I think professional game translation and technical translation kind of even out, but then we don’t get paid as much for visual novels as game translators.

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    1. Figuring out whether we can adapt the translation to the e-mote version is basically what’s delaying it, but I think it’s finally starting to move along. I don’t think it should be long now, and I hope we can use the e-mote version too.

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    1. My desktop: i7-4790k, 16gb ram, gtx970 (bought in 2015 after my old pc literally caught fire when playing Witcher 3)
      My laptop: Alienware R4, i7-7700HQ, 16gb ram, gtx1070 (bought this year)

      Average Japanese tends to prefer consoles, especially handhelds, so I don’t think PC culture is as strong there, as can be seen from the fact they release a lot more console than PC games and their ports tend to suck.

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    1. I usually wait for reviews before trying anything and I have such a big backlog, I usually don’t even notice games until they are released. In case of a few exceptions like Island, I just waited for the full release as it seems pointless to play trial of something I’m sure I’ll want to read in its entirety anyway.

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  8. I have decided to pick up a book from Tolstoy as his books synopsis sounds the most interesting. I’m thinking of checking out War and Peace first, but would there be another book that you’d recommend me of his before I read it?

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    1. I’ve only read War & Peace, but I’ve heard Anna Karenina is better. That said, I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to pick up something that huge as your first book in a while. It is pretty good, but it’ll take a really long time to get through it. I’d personally try to start off with something shorter, like Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons or even Dostoyevski’s Crime & Punishment if you’re curious about Russian literature.

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    1. That’s quite an obscure pick, but yeah, I’ve read Solaris, and… I think Harumade Kururu is probably closest to that. It’s not exactly the kind of story you see in VNs a lot, lol.

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  9. I was thinking of getting into books and I noticed you had a huge selection of books that you have read. Would there be 5 books that you’d recommend for someone who could read the internet but hasn’t picked up a book in 10-12 years.

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    1. It depends on what kind of genre you’re interested in. I’d recommend Catch-22 in general, but especially if you want to get into more literary books (it’s a satire that’s both extremely funny and deep, and can bridge you to more serious works). Other good choices for literary books would be classical Russian authors (Dostoyevsky, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Bulgakov), and I also really like relatively accessible E.L. Doctorow, John Steinbeck, and Albert Camus.

      For Sci-Fi, I’d recommend Blindsight, it mixes hard sci-fi, though-provoking concepts, and horror in a really nice adventure. 1984 is another one of my favorites that’s in-between sci-fi and literary fiction. And if you’re into less hard and more character driven sci-fi, then you simply can’t go wrong with The Stars My Destination. …Actually, this one might be the best choice if you’re completely new.

      For Fantasy I’d recommend Heroes Die and The Lies of Locke Lamora. They’re just exciting stories through and through that thankfully don’t read like a d&d campaign (which most fantasy novels these days do). My favorite is Gormenghast, but you probably don’t want to touch it before you learn to appreciate extremely flowery language (the prose is like Dies irae on steroids written by an absolute genius).

      If you want horror, I’d recommend Lovecraft’s short stories. You can find a lot of them read on youtube. Otherwise, John Dies at the End and I Am Legend are pretty awesome reads.

      If you’re into history, especially Roman history, then “I, Claudius” is a nice read.

      I think that pretty much all books rated 4/5 and above on my blog are must reads, but those I’ve mentioned are basically what I’d recommend for someone trying to get into reading. I was personally hooked by Orson Card’s Speaker of the Dead, and Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, but I come from a scientific background and was extremely into hard sci-fi back then, so those might not click with you as much.

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  10. Same anon here, I’ve just realized that the new SubaHibi route might defeat the whole point of the rest of the story.
    Tbvat ol gur cvpgherf va gur jrofvgr, vg ybbxf yvxr vg zvtug or pbagrag frg nsgre gur Wnoorejbpxl VV raqvatf. Gur ceboyrz vf gung va FhonUvov rirelguvat vf yrsg hc gb vagrecergngvba qryvorengryl, naq fbzr bs gur ulcbgurfrf ol Nlnan naq gur barf ernqref pna pbzr hc jvgu ner ershgrq ol nqqvat nal pbagrag frg nsgre gur rkvfgrag bar. Nyfb, FhonUvov vf nyernql fgehpgherq fb gung rnpu puncgre gryyf lbh fbzrguvat nobhg gur fnzr fgbel, naq gur yratgu bs vaqvivqhny puncgref naq gur ragver fgbel jnf gnxra vagb nppbhag jura jevgvat gurz. Rkgen pbagrag pbhyq rnfvyl qrsrng guvf naq gur snpg gung Raq Fxl VV srryf yvxr gur raqvat gung nyy gur cerivbhf puncgref yrnq hc nf n jubyr, jvgu gur svany raqvatf orvat whfg gur evtug pbapyhfvbaf guvf fgbel arrqf. Gurfr raqvatf ner gur pbapyhfvbaf gb nyy gur riragf hc hagvy gung cbvag, naq pbagrag nsgre nal bs gubfr jbhyq srry yvxr rkgraqvat gurz sbe ab erny ernfba, yvxr lbh unir nyernql ernpurq gur raqvat rkprcg gurer’f zber rira gubhtu gur fgbel jnf pyrneyl zrnag gb raq orsber naq unf nyernql ernpurq vgf pyvznk.
    I really hope SCA-DI knows what he’s doing, and for as much as I believe in him, I just can’t shake off my head how difficult it is to include any new content so that it feels like just any other chapter. And considering it’s such a complex work and it’s been 8 years since its release, I’m afraid SCA-DI might have lost sight of his own original views.

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    1. I trust SCA-DI, but if the additional scenario will suck, then I’ll just treat it as non-canon (kind of like constant Cross†Channel bloating by guest authors). It’s not like the original release will disappear once this thing is released.

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  11. is there any phrase with the same general message as”thought provoking about x” that you could use as an alternative? it gets a bit stale imo seeing the same wording used in the positives section in the majority of your reviews

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    1. I have OCD, so I actually even go to my old impressions sometimes and fix the phrasing so everything would match. I like consistency so changing up the expression terrifies me to the very core. I wish I could express everything with numbers, but if I’ve got to use words, I’ll stick to consistent phrasing. If something advertently or inadvertently made me think about something, then that’s the expression I’m going to use.

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  12. How important do you think the classical Japanese quotes in Sakura no Uta are? I’m not that well-versed in Japanese, but I’ve wanted to read it for a long time now, and I fear that not understanding said quotes will lead to missing some foreshadowing or ideas SCA-DI would like to convey. I don’t expect them to be too relevant, nor to be everywhere, but I’m unsure since I have never really looked into the matter.

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    1. SCA-DI does a good job at conveying his complicated concepts in simple words. I think there’s barely anyone who could decipher Chuuya’s poetry and those quotes are few and far inbetween anyway, so it’s definitely not a dealbreaker if you don’t get them. Knowing the context might enhance the experience, but it’s definitely not a prerequisite to enjoy the story.

      Though make sure your JP is good enough to understand the actual game text first.

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  13. Do you prefer to consume one piece of media (e.g. game, anime, VN, Book, etc.) at a time or multiple pieces of media at a time?

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  14. Why do you always complain about Nintendo games having no plot and characters when their philosophy is fun gameplay first before everything else?

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    1. Because their game-play is almost never good enough to distract me from other flaws and I would’ve enjoyed their games more if their narrative wasn’t constantly insulting my intelligence, especially when they usually just rehash the same three things over and over again.

      My taste is usually pretty mainstream, but Nintendo is the only developer whose popularity completely stupefies me; maybe it’s because I owned Sega Genesis and only got into gaming seriously with Playstation when I was a kid. They probably have some sort hypnosis algorithm coded into their games that takes over your mind for life if you play them at a too impressionable age.

      Now that I think about it, I feel the exact same way about Disney and Pixar.

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  15. How much do you know about scholarships in Japan? I’m thinking about studying there for multiple reasons, but I’m not sure what websites are the best to look at for scholarships. Any extra information and advice that you can give about them is extremely welcome.

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  16. I am currently reading Dies Irae “18+ patch” and noticed there are choices in Gare’s guide that are not present in this version. Is the guide for AA still usable for the 18+ “patch” version, or is there a different guide required for it?

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    1. As far as I know, the 18+ version is based on Acta est Fabula, which probably means that the routes are properly locked and the game is not even giving you choices you shouldn’t make. You can still use Gare’s guide, but I don’t think it’s even that necessary for you if that’s the case.

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  17. Since I’m majoring in math soon and aim to be able to read Japanese with (relative) ease in the near future, I wonder if translating mathematical, or stem texts in general, from Japanese might be an option in the far future. What do you think?

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    1. Why would you major in math if you want to be a translator? I think it’s an option, but even in the field of manual translation, it’s usually engineering/medicine related stuff that people want you to translate, at least in my experience. That said, I imagine you can get by comfortably IF you manage to find clients for such a niche field.

      I think it works as a Plan B if your main aim is to become a mathematician, but there are better fields to study if all you want to do is translate. In retrospect, I rather would’ve studied creative writing / literature than biology, to be honest (but engineering / medicine is probably the most useful for manuals if you don’t mind to be bored to death).

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  18. Do you think VisualArt’s will ever release/license out games from their non-Key brands? Also, do you think they’re missing an opportunity by not doing so?

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  19. sorry, what i actually mean is, how did you find the equivalent terms in english, as in translating it, not just understanding it

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    1. There’s a fairly good dictionary for technical terms that was recommended to me back when I was studying in the university: https://eow.alc.co.jp/search?q=%e9%8e%ae%e5%ba%a7%e5%9c%a8

      Most of the time you can trust J-E dictionary translations for technical terms as they are usually used in very limited context and have little variation. Otherwise, I’d try googling the technical documents where’d I expect to see these terms used in English and hope to recognize them. Normally, you don’t really get to translate technical stuff that you’re not already familiar though unless it’s like some random trivia in a game.

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  20. Can you remember the first visual novel you played? Or if you can’t, what was the first VN that made you think this was a medium worth reading?

    (Though you can answer both questions if you want)

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    1. The first visual novel I’ve read was JAST’s X-Change 2, that got me into nukige.

      Later I discovered Tsukihime, and that got me into serious visual novels.

      I’ve been feeling burned out by VNs some time later after reading Fate Stay Night and almost quit VNs, but then I’ve read Himawari, Saya no Uta, and Sharin no Kuni, and they got me back into the medium.

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  21. is it worth going to the original himawari at all? i think i heard there’s a BGM patch for the new one? the H scene plot was integrated? but are the original ones worthwhile?

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    1. I don’t think so. I actually prefer the old sprites, but I’m probably just nostalgic, so if you can apply the BGM patch, you should probably stick with the updated version as it has pretty much the same scenes just with less explicit CGs.

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    1. The logistics for that would probably be relatively easy, but the problem is that they’d require an immense effort to translate, and probably wouldn’t sell anyway. If you can find enough people interested in these games, I can convince MG to pick them up. 😛

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    1. To be honest, I’m nowhere near as big a fan of the side episodes as I am on the main game. They came a long time after I read the original and, as you said, have completely different tone, so I always thought of them as more or less completely different stories. They’re okay, but I’m not too crazy about them.

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  22. Holy fuck SubaHibi is receiving a full-voiced released. https://twitter.com/keromakurastaff/status/987292881030340609
    MAJOR SUBAHIBI SPOILERS: Ohg V’z abg fher vs V yvxr guvf. Gbzbfnar jnfa’g ibvprq juvyr Gnxhwv jnf. Guvf znqr lbh ernyvmr qhevat gur erirny bs “Gbzbfnar” orvat “Gnxhwv” gung uvf ynpx bs ibvpr npgvat jnf ba checbfr. Gbzbfnar qbrfa’g guvax gung ur vf “Gnxhwv”, ohg uvf ibvpr fubhyq or uvf. Ba gur tbbq fvqr… V fhccbfr gung “Gbzbfnar” jvyy unir gur erny Gnxhwv’f ibvpr, juvpu jvyy pbzcrafngr n ovg V thrff? V’z fgvyy urfvgnag ba jurgure “Gbzbfnar” orvat ibvprq vf tbbq be onq. Ohg V’z fgvyy tynq gung gurl jvyy or znxvat n shyy-ibvprq eryrnfr.

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  23. How many chapters (beside the prologue) are in SeaBed? I’m just starting Chapter 5 now and are curious when I’ll be able to finish it.

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  24. I’m now on Otherstory 3 of Dies Irae, and I’ve seemed to have stumbled upon Kai’s beriah chant. Since the Sakurai clan seem to use ancient Japanese literature to invoke their beriahs. What is Kai quoting?

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    1. I’m pretty sure it’s something from Kojiki, but I don’t remember which part exactly. I didn’t work on that part of the game, so I’m not as familiar with it as the others.

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    1. I think it did okay for western standards, but I remember SCA-DI expressing disappointment that it wasn’t as much as he’d expected, so the future of Sakura no Uta is pretty unclear.

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    1. Well, as far as VNs are concerned, I hope I could handle more or less anything as long as I work with Gare and a talented QA team. There are few things that can possibly top Dies. Though I’m not sure about Mareni, as I haven’t read any of his main works yet.

      I definitely couldn’t translate Japanese poetry, and most of their classical literature though. At least in a shape that would do the works justice.

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  25. After seeing how Dies Irae, DameKoi, and Baldr Sky have been licensed by companies in the West, how much of an effect do you believe your tournament in 2016 had on how licenses have played out in the West?

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  26. what happened to the english versions of dies irae in english? i wanted to wait for the best version with H and all but i heard they didn’t combine everything or something?

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  27. What are 5 VNs you would like to translate if you were given a realistic opportunity to do so? (Aka stuff like Muramasa wouldn’t be realistic because JAST has the license)

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    1. It’s a bit hard to judge what’s realistic or not. I feel there’s little chance for Aiyoku no Eustia at this point, since no one who’s tried managed to get through to August. Eushully is not interested in the English market either, so there’s little hope for Ikusa Megami 0 as well. White Album 2 would be cool, but I’m not sure what’s its situation being under Aquaplus copyright. Pretty much the same applies to Oretsuba. I’d be interested in retranslating C†C for the fourth time, but I’m not really seeing that happening, lol. Then no one wants to license Harukani Aogi Uruwashi no because it’s too old. 😦

      I guess KKK and Sakura no Uta would be the most realistic, but I’ve no idea what’s happening with either. At this point I’m just happy to translate stuff that’s fun and pays my bills. Oh yeah, maybe I’ll eventually convince MG to do Evolimit. That’d be cool.

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    1. It’s out, but I hear it’s a bit complicated to apply. I’d recommend buying the MG version if you haven’t bought steam’s already. Otherwise, I’m sure a bit of googling will tell you exactly what to do.

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  28. Since Dies irae was translated, what’s the chances of other light VNs, like KKK, to be translated as well? Btw, you have some plans about it?

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    1. It was brought up a couple of times right after Dies got released, but looking at how the reward fulfillment situation is going on, I’m not sure if light still wants to participate in another kickstarter. And to be honest, I’m not sure I’d have the energy for it at this point unless I’m properly recompensed and that WOULD require a very successful kickstarter. -_-

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Cool website redesign, and I didn’t think of the possibility to use a WordPress site for anonymous questions.

    By the way, in the case that Frontwing licenses Sakura no Uta, how much research do you think is needed? I’ve heard that Sakura no Uta isn’t quite as intense in philosophy as Subarashiki Hibi, much less in topics that you would need to do research about.

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    1. SCA-DI does a good job at explaining his subjects without that much need for external research, to be honest. At least, I don’t think being an expert on the subject matter would affect the actual translation that much. I think the only parts that would need some extra work would be the classical Japanese poetry quotes that had never been officially rendered into English (and are pretty much unintelligible to me without extensive studying).

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    1. I don’t remember the exact names, but Frontwing has assembled a fairly talented team of translators since back when and I feel the people put on Island can probably be trusted, so my outlook is fairly optimistic.

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  30. After translating for so long and accumulating so many kamige plots in your head, have you thought of writing your own fiction?

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    1. Yes, there are actually a couple of stories I keep entertaining in my head, but I never get too far into writing them down since there are just so many things I want to do and I never have time for everything. I also always feel that I’m still not good enough to convey them in a way that actually satisfies me. I even have some materials for a personal visual novel project.

      Actually, my long-term plan as I got into VN translating was to break into writing. I even originally started translating Himawari and parts of Dies irae, because I wanted to study the writing styles in these kind of visual novels. Anyway, I really hope that one day when I feel more confident I’ll find the time to put my stories into proper shape, as I do have some pretty interesting ideas (I think). 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Ok, so… Muramasa, Himawari, Subahibi and Dies Irae are special works… Which kind of people would you reommend these VN to? If you have enough time, I’d like to an specific answer for every novel, pls.

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    1. Himawari is something that should hit you particularly hard if you don’t know what to do with your life, or have just become disillusioned with dreams you used to have. I think it’s most impactful if you’re in your last years of an university or high school. Bonus points if you’re interested in space. It also has the best girl in VNs and insane feels.

      You read Subahibi if you want to have your worldviews and the very perception of reality shattered. If you’re into intelligent fiction and theoretical philosophy you’re gonna worship this till the end of days.

      Muramasa… well, the thing pretty much has no flaws whatsoever so you’d have to have some special aversion to historical settings and realism to even dislike it, but if you’ve got a problem with the superficial (and hypocritical) concept of heroism and justice sold by anime media, then it’s specially made for you.

      Dies irae is a dream of anyone with delusions of grandeur. The more chuuni blood runs in you, the more you will worship this. You simply can’t top Dies on chuuni.

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  32. Conjueror man, you seem to be living the VN dream but.. Don’t you ever want something more from life? You know, a higher reason?

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    1. 1. Subarashiki Hibi
      2. Himawari
      3. Muramasa
      4. Tsukihime
      5. Umineko
      6. Fate/Stay Night
      7. Aiyoku no Eustia
      8. Harukani Aogi Uruwashi no
      9. Ore-tachi ni Tsubasa ha nai
      10. Dies irae11. Baldr Force
      12. Island
      13. ef – a fairy tale of the two
      14. YU-NO
      15. Muv-Luv Alternative
      16. Ever17
      17. G-Senjou no Maou
      18. Sakura no Uta
      19. Utawarerumono
      20. Steins;Gate
      21. Swan Song
      22. Sharin no Kuni
      23. Sekai de Ichiban Dame na Koi
      24. Saya no Uta
      25. Ayakashibito

      Like

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