Temporary Closure

Hey there, your friendly HDN Webmaster reporting in. We’ve been a bit busy the past few days so the amount of content we usually put out has been reduced. We’re very sorry for that! But once we get things sorted out, you can be assured things will be back in working order. 🙂

Because of this, the store is also temporarily shutting down. We should reopen shortly after Anime Expo though, so look forward to it!

[Doujin Game] ∀kashicverse -Malicious Wake-

Calling all bullet hell fanatics. ∀kashicverse is a very flashy, and very frantic bullet hell game from the circle Endless Shirafu who, as far as I can tell, primarily did visual novels before this. The circle seems to have been around since 2009, with ∀kashicverse an ongoing project since the beginning of 2011 (Okay 12/29/2010 but that’s so 2011). I can’t say I’ve been following this one for that long, but if it took them this long to perfect the game to this point then good on them. Circles taking their time on games is not something I’m unfamiliar with (I’m looking at you, RebRank). So with that info dump out of the way, let’s get to discussing the game itself.

My playing would be terrible, so here’s lte7’s replays. The guy has a lot of other bullet hell and doujin game videos up, so go and subscribe to him.

∀kashicverse at first glance gives off a very techno-electronic feel much similar to a cross between RebRank’s RefRain -prism memories- and Ruminant’s Whimper’s Hellsinker, both very worthwhile games in their own right. The game sticks to this theme and everything about it, the effects, graphics, and music stay very true to it. All in all this makes for a very polished product and a fun shmup with interesting mechanics.

The basic idea of the mechanics is that through grazing bullets you gain meter, up to a maximum of 8. You can then shift into an input mode and use super attacks (Called Method in this game) that do a variety of things, from decoys to the traditional screen-clearing bomb to shot slowing/trajectory plotting to TURNING INTO A GIANT ROBOT. This makes for a game where you not only have to worry about being shot up, but also need to figure what the best tool in your disposal is best for any situation. On top of this, there’s also two modes for your shield, which is what affects your meter gain. The first mode keeps the shield around you, allowing you to even take a couple of hits and having a small radius for your graze. The second mode, a pair of extended wings, allows you to easily collect meter from grazing, however if you get hit once you’re dead. Since the game is generous with your super meter, some diehards may find ∀kashicverse a bit on the gimmicky side, but I find that it adds enough of a twist to the game to keep it interesting and allows for multiple solutions to otherwise tricky situations. I am particularly fond of “Menace Rejector”, a continuous shot that pushes back enemy bullets, and “Eliminator” which turns you into a boss and lets you ruin everything.

The music is a style I’m not extremely fond of, but it fits the overall theme of the game and they manage to do some neat tricks with it, like on a particular boss fight the speed of the bullets slow when the song does. That kind of integration between what you hear, what you see, and how you need to react is a pretty awesome experience. Likewise, when a boss fight is hectic, you can be sure the music is right on cue with it. This, I feel is one of ∀kashicverse’s strongest points, and if they keep it up for the other stages they’re planning then they’re definitely on the right track to making something awesome.

So all in all, go give ∀kashicverse a try. There’s currently a three stage web trial out at Endless Shirafu’s website. There’s also a variant version that gives you a slightly different stage layout and a different set of Methods to play with, so that’s pretty cool. You can find more information on lte7’s channel, but for simplicity’s sake, here’s a Alternative Arguments no-miss clear video with link to the demo in question.

[Doujin Game] Cherry Tree High Comedy Club

I know I’m definitely late on the review train for this game, but I did buy it and play it through so now I get to do what any person with blog hosting gets to do, call it terrible and hope everyone reading agrees with my mostly unfounded opinion while they get the self-satisfaction of knowing someone who *really* gets it.

Wait, no that’d be rude. Let’s not do that.

Cherry Tree High Comedy Club, Japanese title “Manken!” (An abbreviation for the Japanese word for Comedy Club. Similar to the title Genshiken), released June 6th, 2010 by circle “atelier 773” (Nanami). Surprisingly, the game wasn’t released around a Comic Market, but with how crowded Comiket is, that’s hardly surprising. I’ll admit, Nanami’s work went totally under my radar insofar as doujin games go, and thanks to the guys at Nyu Media, it’s now put into the light where people can take notice of it.

Pictured: What I wasn’t doing on the last article I tried to write.

CTHCC is, all told, not the most complicated game, but an extremely enjoyable one. Players of Persona 3 and 4 especially will be very familiar with the concept for the game. You, Miley Verisse, are on a mission to do homework and recruit club members within a time limit. However, to be at least somewhat interesting to said club members, you have to figure out what they like and gain proficiency in the skills necessary to share interests with them. All of this is done with a very bright and cheerful atmosphere and music that is, in my opinion, catchy but not annoying. Aside from minor gripes (Game didn’t let me recruit the shrine maiden, could’ve used a minigame to switch things up a bit) I found that while CTHCC is very mono-focused in its goal, the execution of such is done very well and keeps you engaged with characters that leave you wanting to figure out what makes them tick. The fact that your skills carry over to a new game is nice too, and allows for a bit of variation on your ending, which is nice. The graphics compliment the style of the game very well, and the fact that it was all done in RPG Maker XP nearly blows my mind.

I am of the firm belief that more games require dainty top hats.

The translation is accurate to the tone, with heavy localization here and there to keep things more grounded for a western audience. Now, personally I’m not the biggest fan of this practice, but it’s not like I hate it. The problem with localization over literal translation is an argument that’s been around since the early days, the most prominent discussion points of which being Working Design’s Lunar series for the PSX, or even better in Vanguard Bandits. Changing the tropes or cultural notes of a scene is fine so long as it doesn’t destroy context, I feel. On the other hand, I prefer literal translations, but they require either a history or culture lesson (TL Note: Keikaku means plan) to explain to the common audience what exactly is going on. That being said, I feel that Nyu Media did very well on their translation, moreso when they went the extra mile to explain where and why they made the changes they did on their website.

That said, is CTHCC a blockbuster game that everyone should buy? Obviously not, however if you want an easy to play, enjoyable story-driven game with a lot of personality, I recommend CTHCC wholeheartedly. On DLSite, a Japanese digital distributor, the game retails for about ¥1300, so by comparison it’s $7.99 pricetag is a steal.

According to Nanami’s website (and before I saw the information in plain English on Nyu Media’s website), there’s a spin-off for CTHCC that I personally hope is translated someday, as well as a Wild West themed visual novel with a female protagonist that I think looks pretty cool (But I’m also a sucker for Wild Arms) so I very much hope that Nyu Media releases the rest of their games in the future. And the way that’s best guaranteed is with financial support, so go out and buy a copy!

CTHCC’s Offical Website

(PS: Hey Nyu Media where’s my Ether Vapor Remaster)

[Doujinshi] Circle Ririadoll

What, did you think this was going to be written by a guest author?

Too bad! It’s just Re-oh wait nope it’s a guest author again since Regris is going to be busy this week.

Anyway, last time I wrote about the awesome yuri-doujin/manga making group called Energia. This time I’ll be writing about the awesome yuri-doujin/manga making group called RIRIADOLL. At least, that’s what I would say if I hadn’t done some research on what sort of doujins they’ve released recently and HOLY SHIT did I find out that they have a ton of yaoi doujins too. Made me sad. It’s hard looking through their release list, expecting a lot of awesome yuri, and instead seeing all these TIGER & BUNNY things instead. Hurts straight in the heart.

Back to the point, they’ve released quite a lot of doujins through the years on a variety of sources. Tiger & Bunny, El Shaddai (seriously?), Puella Magi Madoka Magica (the reason I know about them in the first place), Katekyo Hitman Reborn, and Heartcatch Pretty Cure. And before you go “Well hey, guest author, there’s some yuri in there and it isn’t an avalanche of yaoi”, YOU WOULD BE SO DAMN WRONG. There’s only one PMMM doujin so far and four Heartcatch Pretty Cures. On the other hand, they’ve made 22 Hitman Reborn doujins ALONE.

This article is making me angrier with every word I type because I was deceived by the utter goofiness and delicious yuri of their PMMM doujin. I only saw the delicious girl love frosting on top of the horrible boys love cake. Also apparently they have some genderbend in there too. I didn’t take a really good look. Oh, they also have some het stuff too. It’s lost within all the COCKS BANGING TOGETHER but yeah, it’s there.

Now, earlier, I did mention that they write manga as well. Not only do they have releases on an ero magazine that I spotted on their main site, they also write a rather fantastic yuri manga called Creo the Crimson Crises. I personally have been reading it and it’s quite nice and RIRIADOLL’s unique style really shines through in their work. Once again, I’m not good at describing it, but it’s very…uh…look, really, just look at this image right here and that’ll tell you all you need to know.

Anyway, that’ll be it from me. I’m sure their yaoi stuff is awesome but I sure as hell am not going to read it or look for it (there’s plenty on their pixiv so if you want some hot Tiger & Bunny loving, just click on the link below). If you’re a yuri fan like me, all you need to do is find their PMMM doujin (which is scanlated on the internets). Then you can read it and pretend that’s all they ever did because besides Precure and Creo the Crimson Crises, THERE WILL BE SO MANY DICKS.

God dammit.

Pixiv Link
Circle Homepage

[Doujinshi] Circle Energia

What, did you think this was going to be written by Regris?

Too bad! It’s just a guest author again!

Anyway, today I’ll be talking about a doujin circle named Energia that I found out about thanks to the amazing Puella Magi Madoka Magica doujins they released in recent Comikets. They didn’t actually start with releasing PMMM doujins. In fact, their first release was a doujin of a comedy, slice-of-life manga called Hyakko. The group mostly focuses on happy, lovey-dovey style yuri doujin, although there are exceptions. For their Hyakko doujins, their main focus is on Torako so if you’ve read the manga and like the character, then it’s your job to hunt them out. I’m sure some of the Torako x Touma doujins have already been scanlated (because I’ve seen them) so you’re certain to find them if you bother looking.

When PMMM came out, however, Energia decided to simply devote all their time to PMMM doujins, although to be fair, that was only the last two comikets. Their two releases are actually related to each other and feature an absolutely adorable Sayaka x Kyouko dynamic which, as an unabashed yuri fan, makes me so giddy inside. Of course, the setting itself was modded a little bit to make sure that those two can enjoy life together (unlike in the anime).

Energia’s artist, Pikachi, has a very soft, rounded art style that’s well suited for the fluffy comedy that they release. You shouldn’t expect hardcore action scenes (or hardcore H for that matter), but Pikachi doesn’t skip on the porn scenes in the doujins. I wish I could say more about how much I like the art or stuff, but really there aren’t any words I have to describe how much everything just fits together. The art, the storylines, and the dynamics are just way too good. If you ever get your hands on these doujins and are a yuri fan, there’s no doubt that you’ll enjoy them.

By the way, this isn’t completely unrelated, but I swear to god, this guy on Pixiv named Momochika is part of the group. Or at least does some of the art. Or is the same person but has two names, like he’s an evil twin except he also draws KyoSaya and isn’t evil.

I mean, I know it says on the cover that it’s a different circle but COME ON. LOOK AT IT.

I don’t care if it’s unrelated, the world can always use more KyoSaya.

Pikachi’s pixiv.

Momochika’s pixiv.