Despite it being five days after the start of 2017, I decided I wanted to do a more personal post talking about last year and how I felt about it. Pretty much every post on this blog so far has just been a review and it’s getting a bit to formal for my taste so I wanted to change it up a little.
Despite knowing that 2016 was not the greatest year we’ve had, for me at least there was some good in this year as I’ve started this blog and my new past time of reviewing visual novels so I dedicate this post to looking back at this year in review.
I talk about it as my year of reviewing games but to be honest it’s only actually 3 months on this site. Despite this my plans for this site and my reviews have been in the works pretty much all year and even before then. I had originally planned for my first review to actually be a video, but in the end I never found the time to do it and I also spent forever rewriting that Grisaia review.
Looking back on it, there was at least 5 revisions of it where I’ve tried different formats for video and written reviews. I also kept some recordings of me for my video review which come to about ~20 minutes. I could never find a balance between the right amount of detail, length of the video and how much I could actually spoil to make a point. Eventually I think I got it right although it hard for me to say for myself whether it was the best I could do but I like it none-the-less.
Easily the hardest part about starting reviewing visual novels was definitely just putting out my first one. It seems really silly in retrospect but it honestly is and I’m reminded about it every time I go to write an introduction for a new review as that first impression seems so important as it’s usually the decider of whether a person will actually read it or not and you don’t want to mess it up.
It reminds me of when my friends who were musicians would talk about how the most difficult part of a performance was the beginning and how it sets the tone of the rest of the piece. The rest of the performance seems trivial in comparison as it all comes down to muscle memory as you’ve played it 1000 times but the pressure of setting a good first impression as you start to play can really affect the rest of your performance depending on how well you open. I find this to be somewhat applicable to anything you do in life but the analogy is quite relevant in this context.
But honestly once you put out that first review it becomes so much easier to do, and you stress less over getting it perfect and manage to get across what you want to. it also helps seeing that people took the time to actually read your review, it is definitely the best reward for all the work you put in. Despite this I need to not get complacent and work on improving my reviews to get the best I can out of them, for myself and whoever is reading them.
Talking less of myself and more about the industry in general. It seems with every passing year the amount of officially translated releases are increasing which makes me hopeful for this medium and shows a huge improvement in popularity and is beginning to show Japanese developers that there is a market for visual novels in the west despite it niche appeal.
This has definitely been evident in some of the releases we saw in the past year with Harmonia and Steins;Gate 0 being simultaneously released with their Japanese counterpart. It has also been made evident with the announcement of a few Japanese developers like Key funding their own translations of games which have previously only had fan translations such as Little busters, Rewrite Harvest Fiesta and Angel Beats first beat.
Looking back at this year though I’ve been pretty bad at keeping up with this years releases mostly due to my backlog which consists of quite a few long games – Like Tsukihime which I am still yet to complete.
The only two game I managed to keep up with from this year was Grisaia no Meikyuu which I completed somewhat recently which I really liked. The Girls side story’s were mostly an extension of their routes in the last game so there wouldn’t be many surprises in that department but Yuuji’s reveal was so strong, giving lots of perspective on how he became the man he is in Grisaia no Kajitsu and it is such a roller coaster of emotions. The short stories were also super funny and we’re pretty much more of the silliness that you got from the common route.
The other game I played was Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, I’ve only the question arc because the rest isn’t out on steam yet. Although the first two parts came out in 2015, I’m still counting it because it was only completed this year. I’ve always been quite a fan of Ryuukishi07 although I haven’t read much of his work, he is easily one of this mediums best writers for murder mysteries and thriller visual novels.
I certainly enjoyed the question arc for Higurashi, it had such a strong atmosphere and I was constantly questioning each revelation in the story arcs and trying to piece them together to get the overall picture. I’m definitely excited to read the rest and find out what is really happening.
Despite my inability to keep up with the latest release there definitely were some I have my eye on and look forward to playing in the future. To list a few there is the aforementioned Steins;Gate 0 and Harmonia, Flowers Le Volume sur Printemps by Innocent grey who are mostly known for their gruesome murder mysteries and not games about Yuri but I’m interested in to see what its like, Himawari which is a popular doujin sci-fi visual novel and both Majikoi A-1 and A-2 which is the continuation of Minatosoft’s school romantic comedy about martial arts.
To list the games I’m looking forward to being hopefully released is Grisaia no Rakuen and Phantom Trigger, Little busters and Sharin no Kuni which are some of my favourite visual novels, Rewrite harvest Fiesta!, Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm, Boku ga Tenshi ni Natta, Amagami, Baldyr Sky and Dies Irae.
This year has also been pretty good for anime, The anime that stood out most for me was probably Jojo part 4 because Jojo’s bizarre adventure is awesome and Yoshikage Kira is probably one of my favourite villains from the series and the Girls und Panzer movie (I’m counting it cause the Blu-ray came out this year so that’s when I saw it!) which was really fun but also upped the ante with larger scale battles and Tanks. It also brought back all our favourite characters from the series and some new characters.
Some other show that stood out for me were and Love live Sunshine although there is still some stuff I want to go back and watch like Boku no hero Academia, Flip Flappers and Shuumatsu mo Izetta.
Next year should be a pretty good year for Fate fans with all the Fate projects that got announced – Rest in peace Tsukihime remake – but I’m looking forward to Fate/Apocrypha which should be pretty good from what I’ve read from the novels and also Heavens feel.
Apart from that we had some cool fighting games come out like Guilty gear Xrd Revelator, Blazblue Central Fiction and the not so great Street fighter V which I enjoyed a lot (and at a later date want to stream which would be cool).
There was also a few anime idol concerts this year, most notably µ’s Final LoveLive! which was between March 31st and April 1st which was pretty sad after being a fan for 6+ years which was pretty much from the beginning.
It was kind of nostalgic looking back at how far they had come that many years, I can still remember when they first released Bokura no LIVE Kimi to no LIFE and it was pretty much on repeat for days. I don’t think I was ever a fan of the CG dancing though but there was something about their song and characters that I latched onto and got me hooked for years to come.
I would also stay up to ridiculous times in the morning just to listen to the PV’s as they came out then have them on repeat for an hour afterwards and be dead the next morning. I’m pretty sure @phantomlord324 can attest to this as I remember staying up until like 4 in the morning waiting to watch the ova for their 6th single Music S.T.A.R.T!! and he spent half the night telling me to “go to fucking bed!” I’ve gone a bit off topic but what I’m trying to say is that µ’s final live and disbandment was sad and I used to be serious idol trash.
There was also The Idolm@ster 3rd live “The power of smile” – which is A title that I laugh at every time I hear it – which came out last year on Blu-ray and Tokyo 7th sisters 2nd live which comes out on the 11th January which I’m looking forward too.
To finish off this post as it’s getting a bit long I want to talk about resolutions for this year. Although I don’t usually make them as usually see them as something do in the spur of the moment and for the sake of doing it but this year for some reason I felt like doing them.
I’m doing this not because I feel like doing something new or quitting something like most people use this as a pretext for but to resolve myself to keep doing what I’m doing currently. My first one is I want to continue to do skate which was a hobby I picked back up recently and been enjoying it a lot so I want to make sure I practice as much as possible. my second one is to try to have a much larger social media presence and be more proactive which will help promote said blog.
My final one is to continue to improve on this blog to make it as good as it can possibly be and start to release video reviews of visual novels and I’m going to do my best to make sure I see this one through to the end.
So this was my year in review and I hope that you enjoyed it. If you enjoyed it make sure that you check out my reviews on this blog and to follow me on social media. I hope you have a happy new year and I’ll see you on the next VN Completionist.