Wot I Think: Muv-Luv

The notes I took while playing Muv-Luv [official site], a 2003 adult visual novel that’s just been released in English, tell a story. They start out bemused. Despite knowing a chunk about the game beforehand, it’s clear I’m not entirely sure what I’m getting into, and the notes continue in that vein for a while as the story unfolds. For a while it’s clear that I’m being carried along, in a sense, by what’s happening. And then, bullet point by bullet point, they start getting shorter, sharper. Reading back through them, there is a very specific note at which everything goes downhill, and it just reads “ugghhhhhhh”.

Muv-Luv is gigantic. It’s sprawling. It’s full of surprises. It’s not very good at all.

Muv-Luv is a game told in two parts, with a third, standalone part set to be released later this year. The first, EXTRA, tells the story of Takeru, a student at Hakuryo high school in his final year. Set across the winter term, it is ostensibly a sort of high school romance as he gets to know, and falls in love with, the various members of his class. There’s the bossy Chizuru Sakaki; his childhood friend Sumika Kagami; the quiet and vaguely terrifying Kei Ayamine; cat-like Miki Tamase, and Yoroi Mikoto who is constantly being dragged on misguided and disastrous holidays by his adventurer father. And then there’s Meiya Mitsurugi, a transfer student who takes one look at the traditional structure and conventions of a high school romance and throws every possible spanner into every possible work. Meiya’s presence transforms Muv-Luv into something deeply and inexplicably weird, and, at first, interesting.

Let’s start with her arrival. Takeru wakes up one morning, near the beginning of term, to find Meiya lying next to him in bed. No immediate explanation is given for her arrival, and after the initial shock wears off, nobody is tremendously concerned about what’s taken place. It transpires that Meiya is the heir to a vast family business capable of almost anything, and over the course of EXTRA, she wields that power in a variety of increasingly bizarre ways. One of my notes says “a helicopter full of chefs just arrived”. Another says “Meiya’s car is 60 metres long and nobody can work out how it turns corners”.

In contrast to the sheer implausibility of her actions, though, Meiya is remarkably cool-headed. These things are merely day-to-day for her, and it’s the far more mundane actions of the “commoners” that give her pause. For a long time, I hoped that the game would give me a compelling reason for Meiya’s near-magical abilities other than her vast wealth, but as it progressed it became clear that I wouldn’t be receiving one. As far as Muv-Luv is concerned, helicopters filled with chefs are simply meant to be received and not questioned.

And to an extent, that’s fine! The game has a rich streak of absurdity, and so often absurdity works best unquestioned. Nobody stands up midway through a Monty Python sketch and asks “but why did they hit that man with a fish”, just as nobody is tremendously interested in the exact physics of James Bond’s jetpack. At the same time, however, the game positions Meiya’s nature and appearance as a mystery to be solved, and, set in the midst of an otherwise ordinary school term, I found it impossible not to ask questions. When the game decides to answer a few, of course, it does so perfunctorily; events resolve themselves predictably and without any of the flair of their initial setup. Without exception, each of Muv-Luv’s punchlines fall flat, each falling flatter than the last, until by the end, all of the bizarreness and high-flying antics have been reduced to nothing at all.

I said Muv-Luv was two games and it’s probably time to talk about the second one (spoilers for the concept, though not the plot specific, follow). I’ve been putting it off, because to begin to talk about it requires me to engage again with what could have been Muv-Luv’s standout moment. It is entirely squandered. Where EXTRA was a high school romance, UNLIMITED tells the story of a parallel universe in which Earth has been almost entirely destroyed by alien attackers. In this world, Hakuryo isn’t a high school, it’s a vast military base used to train “surface pilots”: highly specialised units capable of piloting gigantic “TSF” mechs. The twist, of course, and the point at which Muv-Luv could have made something really special, is that the entire cast is carried over; Sakaki is no longer the Class Rep but the Squad Leader, Tamase is a crack sniper, and screwball physics teacher Yuuko runs the base with an iron fist. Takeru, however, is still Takeru, transported mysteriously into this parallel world and suddenly forced to fend for himself.

In theory, it’s brilliant. Spend the entire first part of the game getting players used to the characters and their relationships, and then push it to new, powerful heights in the second part. I’d known this was going to happen before starting the game, and I looked forward to it as I played through EXTRA. Events would take place, and I’d wonder how UNLIMITED would reference them, and offhand comments were transformed in my mind into ominous foreshadowing for what I knew was to come.

Ultimately, however, this was not the case. There are thematic, (and at times, direct) links between the parts, but it rarely moves beyond Takeru bemoaning his place in this new world, or outright commenting that “things are different here”. All of the potential of a setup/punchline structure is wasted. There is a chance that ALTERNATIVE, the third part, will wrap all these things up, but that’s not the game I’m reviewing here. As it stands, the parallel universe framing is mostly used to retell the same events I’ve already seen. I spent a substantial amount of time in EXTRA defusing the tense relationship between Sakaki and Ayamine, and then I spent a substantial amount of time defusing the tense relationship again in UNLIMITED. Nothing substantial is different. I can use no knowledge I’ve already gained, other than “boy, Sakaki and Ayamine are at each other’s throats everywhere, huh”.

A note about the form. Muv-Luv is a classic visual novel, in the sense that the majority of the game is spent reading. There are thousands upon thousands of lines of dialogue, and frequently scenes will play for twenty or thirty minutes without player intervention. The moments in which you’re given a choice as to how to proceed are designed mostly to push players towards certain endings; you’ll be given a choice as to whether you want to go talk to Meiya or Sumika, for instance, and then off you go towards the inevitable conclusion. I want to be clear that my problems with this game are not as a result of it being a visual novel; I’m perfectly content with long periods without choices, with lines upon lines of dialogue. The issue here, then, is not with Muv-Luv being a visual novel. It is with it being a bad visual novel.

Whenever it tries to be funny, it falls flat. There is no lightness to the dialogue. In 21 hours of play, I laughed aloud twice. I wrote both times down in my notes. I felt they needed to be marked somehow. Whenever it tries to be tense, it lacks urgency. There is no speed, there are no palpable stakes. Events that are supposed to be surprising, or produce tension, are so flatly predictable that I was able to conclude their storylines in my head hours before I saw the game play them out. Characters become likeable purely through exposure, the overall impression being one of having been stuck in a lift with these people for days; upon release from the lift, a sort of camaraderie is formed, but no more than that.

I closed my eyes and wished for the game to surprise me. I opened them and it gave me a 20 minute lecture on the importance of staying together as a squad that I had already seen twice.

The game is powered by the incessant, coughing engine that is the male gaze. Physics teachers don’t wear shirts. Of course they don’t! Why would they! Takeru takes every opportunity to feel up his friends. In UNLIMITED, while Takeru’s flight suit is “not too skimpy”, all the female characters’ are, uh — look, here’s a picture.

This is an adult game. I’m fully aware of that. But there are two things to be addressed here. Firstly, the game as it stands is not the 18+ version – that patch is coming later. As such, anything that is meant to be titillating feels weirdly defanged; it is as if a teenager who’s definitely heard of sex has been asked to write a 20 hour game about it and has, panicked, spent most of it describing a lacrosse tournament instead.

The second thing, far more importantly, is that it is entirely possible to have a game about sex that doesn’t take almost every opportunity to denigrate its female characters. The argument that this is simply how the genre works is not good enough. We can ask for better. We can ask for sexy games that treat their characters as people, rather than as one-note figures in impossibly flimsy shirts. It is possible. We can ask for games that paint pictures of actual relationships between the protagonist and their characters, rather than a whiny, puerile boy who just happens to attract the interests of literally every female character he ever meets. We can ask for games in which our protagonist doesn’t oscillate between being infuriatingly paternalistic and eye-rollingly gross. We can ask for games that don’t sexualise their characters in moments of distress or panic. At several points, UNLIMITED leans hard into transphobia, and it’s there that the tone of my notes changed. For a long time, I wanted to like Muv-Luv despite itself, but at that point I’d had enough.

Games are capable of ridiculous, absurdist stories. This is not one of them. Games are capable of intense, character driven dramas. This is not one of them. They are capable of being sexy, which this isn’t. They are capable of being funny and respectful and human. Muv-Luv is none of these things. It is flat, and it is tedious, and it is often gross as hell.

It does have an extended sequence about a lacrosse tournament, though, and that was alright for the first couple of hours.

Muv-Luv is available now, for Windows.

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148 Comments

  1. Eight Rooks says:

    I liked it a bit more than you, I think (I thought the Initial D parody with the limousine was hysterical, for example), but… yes, yes, yes to pretty much all this. I thought it had some amazing bits in it and that the story would make a couple of really, really good movies (much, much better than most of what Japan’s been adapting to live action) but there was so much padding it was unreal, and if you felt the censored version was gross (not disagreeing, the suits alone are beyond pathetic), you’d really hate the 18+ cut (I’ve played the original fan-translated version to completion). The “adult” stuff is dull and crushingly tedious, and one scene is both vile and utterly pointless (the game even admits as much). Overall it’s just not that great. Even the good bits, while they are certainly good, are nothing close to a masterpiece, and certainly not worth playing through the whole thing to experience (you really, really don’t need to play the first two games to properly appreciate the third). The acclaim it gets is absolute madness – the blurb on the Steam page is borderline delusional. There’s far, far, far better visual novels much more deserving of an official English release.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      EDIT: To clarify, one thing that would ensure it made a pair of really good movies would be if you removed pretty much all of the naughty bits. I could defend the idea of the harem setup, I think (though I don’t blame anyone for disliking it), and I’d argue some visual novels do work the 18+ content into the narrative, but it’s completely superfluous here.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      Double EDIT: To clarify, I’m referring to all three games. The really grim stuff (some good, but mostly very, very bad) is in Alternative. It almost delivers on the premise, but there’s just too much fluff and distasteful content on top of everything in Muv-Luv and Extra to make it worth the acclaim.

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      alms says:

      I was expecting a third edit with a final #Katawa Shoujos out of #Everlasting Summers rating.

  2. theblackw0lf says:

    That’s a shame. I know Alternative is held as one of the greatest visual novels of all time, but I don’t know if I have the patience to wade through the first two parts to get to it.

    Maybe I’ll just watch the Anime.

    • wcq says:

      Actually, in my opinion Alternative carries on many of the same problems.

      The thing about these games is that they’re LONG. Long, and very fond of repeating themselves, especially if you want to see more than one “route”. While Alternative is somewhat more interesting and (melo)dramatic than Extra/Unlimited, it is also terribly drawn-out and padded. And the ending is absolute arse.

      • Eight Rooks says:

        Oh, God, that ending. I can’t think of a way to go into any kind of detail without spoiling it for anyone who cares, but I’m pretty sure based on this WiT that Jack would be foaming at the mouth over the way Alternative winds up. There was a point I was starting to feel that maybe the praise wasn’t complete lunacy…? but then when that final sequence started, stuff happened, kept on happening, and on, and on, and on… I was all “Oh, God, no – I was right first time, this is terrible”.

    • GloatingSwine says:

      I watched Total Eclipse so you don’t have to. It’s rubbish don’t bother.

      Opening theme is fun though, just listen to that and forget the show.

  3. theblackw0lf says:

    Also if people want great Visual Novels on Steam, check out Steins Gate, Higurashi, and Umineko

    • Shazbut says:

      I don’t think Steins Gate is on Steam, but I agree with your recommendation.

      • Mokinokaro says:

        You can buy S;G directly from JAST USA but one of the companies involved in its development doesn’t trust Steam over their own drm (which iirc is pretty non-obtrusive)

    • Eight Rooks says:

      Going by the anime, Steins;Gate is hugely over-rated as well, though not to this extent (I don’t think it’s very good, but I can sort of understand people enjoying it, whereas I simply don’t see any creditable reason for anyone to praise Muv-Luv as much as they do). Played the first two episodes of Higurashi so far (I own the third as well, but haven’t got round to it) and while neither was a masterpiece they were both certainly much, much better than this, overall.

      • Assirra says:

        First of all, never judge a VN by an anime. Anime are usually cropped for time sake and they miss a lot of character interaction. There is a reason people say Umineko and Tsukihime anime do not exist.

        Second, i found the most fun of Steins Gate being the characters interacting with each other. Especially Okarin and Christina conversation always made me laugh due the way they play into each other. This does however require you like the characters in the first place. Sure there is an overal crazy story but i always found that having the backseat.

        • Eight Rooks says:

          I’m aware of that school of thought, and while it’s not without merit I don’t agree you can’t judge. Okarin is a godawful main character who’s only slightly more teeth-grindingly irritating than his idiot friends (and who really ought to be receiving counselling for mental illness, not turned loose like a pantomime clown), the central narrative arc is the same ridiculous “Let’s take a dumb urban legend and turn it into a plot” nonsense that the Zero Escape games love so much, and what S;G does with it isn’t half as smart or complex as people say it is. I can get all that from the anime quite easily.

          • Kitsunin says:

            I’d say that overrated is a terrible term to use for Stein’s Gate as, while anime fans are raving, it hasn’t received the same mainstream acclaim as shows which IMO deserve it far less (to be far, those are mostly pure Shonen…).

            I totally appreciate you not liking it, but I have to stand by the general opinion that Stein’s Gate (the anime absolutely lives up to the VN) is fantastic. No, it’s not super smart or anything, it does some moderately unique things with the standard time-travel formula, and doesn’t uh, screw it up like so many do, that’s all. But damn, it’s well-directed, and amazingly paced in the second half.

            But hey, loadsa people, including me, also think Zero Escape is the best thing since sliced bread.

          • Eight Rooks says:

            Kitsunin: Admittedly I watched S;G quite some time ago, I don’t pirate TV any more, and it’s not available on any (legal) free streaming sites I know of. So I can’t argue that one at length.

            I’m replaying 999 on iOS right now, though, and I could easily write a novella on how objectively terrible I think it is. It’s not actively offensive in the same way as Muv-Luv’s weaker moments and it doesn’t drag on for anything like as long but in many respects, for all Muv-Luv’s ugly, ugly flaws, I’d seriously call 999 significantly worse overall. I wouldn’t recommend either as a piece of storytelling, but at least Muv-Luv has high points that reach out of the muck, and the fan translation was solidly written from a technical point of view. 999’s narrative had none, and the writing was about as shaky as it gets.

      • Skeletor68 says:

        I know nothing about anime and randomly watched it on Netflix. I really enjoyed it! Maybe if you’ve watched other stuff it shows up more faults but I have to say I really enjoyed it.

  4. jasta85 says:

    keep in mind that VN’s tend to fall into games that revolve around sex and have some story thrown in to fill out the rest of the time, and games that revolve around story and then have some sex thrown in to satisfy the target fan base who expect there to be sex. target audience and all that. The fact that this series actually had enough story to warrant selling with the sex scenes cut out show that it at least had more effort than the average VN.

    And I did watch the anime and barely finished it, kind of hard to care about characters when they keep killing them off. At least it prepared me for games of thrones heh

    • Zankman says:

      Yeah, from what I have found out, the former type of VN you are referring to is “Nukige” and the latter is “Eroge”.

      That is, apparently, a classification back from the early 2000s, back when VNs were exclusively just niche otaku games on PC.

      Nowadays, with the modern Western (International) market and with VNs coming to home and handheld consoles, apparently, this is changing – Nukige (aka porn) VNs naturally still exist, but, Eroge ones are disappearing and, instead, becoming VNs that still have good and serious stories but, this time around, no more shoehorned-in pornographic content.

      A positive development, if it is indeed like that.

    • Assirra says:

      Can we please stop this myth? Yes a lot of them are dating sims but also a lot of them is not naked person in sight, let alone sex. Where is the sex in Umineko? Ever17? Stein’s Gate? Higurashi?

      • Zankman says:

        Well, aren’t those relatively newer?

        Also: Be frank, are those just exceptions?

        • BTA says:

          Ever17 is from 2002, Steins;Gate is 2009, Higurashi is 2002-2006, and Umineko is 2007-2010.

          So some are recent but others are relatively old. With regards to being the exception: no, but it’s more complicated than that. It’s hard to get a handle on VNs when we get the tiniest fraction of what’s actually released translated and released in English. With some of the biggest VN publishers (JAST and MangaGamer) starting out as pretty much only releasing outright porn games along with some games that just have sex scenes, that’s still the majority of what they put out. That’s still a market they need to keep happy, for better or worse, and I imagine that some of that stuff is still most of what pays the bills. It’s only the past few years when we’ve really started to see a lot more games without any sex scenes at all start getting released (there were some before now but not quite as much), and seen more VNs hit consoles/handhelds too. There’s more publishers who are interested in VNs too, which is great.

          So… I can agree that there’s a lot of sex-focused and/or sex-including VNs on the market. I’m going to guess that this might be the majority even in Japan. I get why people have the image of VNs that they do- it’s not totally undeserved! But we are finally starting to get games like the listed ones, and that’s a really nice sign, and I hope that starts to shift the public perception of VNs a little.

          • BTA says:

            Aaaaand only after writing this did I realize you addressed it in your other comment, nice, nice.

          • Zankman says:

            (Well, yeah, I kinda already addressed it… In one of my many comments :D)

            But, yeah, that is pretty much it; it is great that the medium is becoming more popular in the West and in more “mainstream gaming” circles in Japan, albeit I reckon the doujin/indie and semi-professional VNs on PC will still be made: that is where the medium started and developed in, that is where the sexually repressed recluse otakus “play” on. :P

            I do agree and hope, just like you, that we get more good and tasteful VNs as well as that the public perception improves over time.

            I’ll only say that you shouldn’t call them “sex-focused” or “featuring sex scenes”; it’s porn and featuring porn scenes, since sex scene != porn scene.

            People have been listing Kindred Spirits as a game that contains sex but not in a porn way, so, that would be a game that contains sex scenes/mature themes.

    • LionsPhil says:

      …more effort than the average VN.

      Comparing to the worst case is a terrible thing. It’s not Custer’s Revenge either.

  5. int says:

    That purple haired girl has interesting and seemingly impossible polygonal shaped hair.

  6. MrFinnishDude says:

    A relic of a stranger time.

  7. Zankman says:

    I didn’t do much research myself, but, a friend of mine on Steam assured me that… Pretty much all of what you are saying is not the case.

    He told me that the story is great, amazing, must-play and all that (we can chalk some of that to tastes and opinions, tho).

    As far as the sexual stuff goes, he only told me that the R18 version and sex scene stuff is “shoehorned in for the sake of the demographic”.

    Basically, he likened it to the Fate series, saying how it only originally had sexual content to satisfy the (odd and shitty) “extreme otaku PC VN” playerbase and how it otherwise is not at all a sexual game and whatnot.

    So, what you’re saying here, especially about the visual designs and presentation of the females (outfits and situations they are put in) in combination with what you can do as the main character is, well, quite at odds with that.

    He painted a completely different picture for me than the one you are here… He basically assured me that it had no “anime/otaku bullshit” in the non-adult version.

    Hell, he *assured* me that it is NOT an adult/hentai VN – hell, not even an eroge VN.

    I’ll re-read this review of yours as well as send it to him… I am quite confused.

    Cuz, you know, he built it up as an anime VN masterpiece with some unfortunate “otaku bullshit” sprinkled in… You’re just describing it as utter trash (which, to be fair, a game called “Muv-Luv” with schoolgirls and the like definitely sounds like).

    • Eight Rooks says:

      Seriously, Jack really isn’t exaggerating that much, if at all. Muv-Luv itself is straight up “otaku bullshit” or whatever you want to call it from start to finish; I’d disagree with the WiT in that I found some of it fairly funny (I laughed out loud several times) but I’d readily concede it’s pretty standard stuff and I wouldn’t blame anyone for rolling their eyes at it. The 18+ content is also fairly deeply worked into the plot, in a bad way – even if you took out the actual sex scenes it still doesn’t do anything remotely inspired with the harem setup and indeed, as Jack points out, frequently positions the protagonist as a horny teenager mansplaining things to a bunch of ladies who’d fall apart without his stabilizing presence. Alternative doubles down on this, too – there’s one critical plot point in that game which directly refers to the sex in the previous titles in a manner which is jaw-droppingly dumb. Like caveman sub-Reddit dumb.

      I’ve seen worse – there are ostensibly serious visual novels that treat sex in a far colder, more mercenary, much more troubling manner – but while some of Muv-Luv is mature, the vast majority of it is anything but.

      • Zankman says:

        Hm, man, I dunno… That just sounds quite disappointing.

        From what little I read about it on Steam and conversed with that friend of mine, I had gotten a completely different impression – that the bullshit was kept at a minimum and barely present.

        Your implication that it is a textbook example of pandering to socially and sexually degenerate/repressed otakus is… Troubling; I kinda don’t want that to be true, it was built up as some legendary VN masterpiece…

        Like, mind you – I don’t mind porn/hentai VNs or erotic/ecchi VNs (both, I think, can officially be sorted in the “nukige” genre); they have a simple and straightforward purpose (“if you know what I’m saying”) and there is nothing wrong with that.

        But the fact that, historically, the only *other* genre is Eroge – which are serious games that also contain porn scenes (no, not sex scenes)… Which is just asinine and moronic to me. That Muv-Luv is apparently not only that, but a *bad* case of that is… Again, troubling.

        I’ve been told that VNs have been becoming more mainstream nowadays (especially since they are featured on consoles, home or handheld) and that as a result of that they are becoming less erotic/pornographic and on average more tastefully designed, so, at least that is cool.

        But, likewise, I was told that Muv-Luv is a great story with little “otaku bullshit”…

        I’ll have to confront said friend of mine, see what he has to say about this review.

        Kinda disappointing if all of this is true, it basically completely saps any desire of mine to play it.

        What other VNs are you hinting at when talking about problematic depictions and/or usage of sex?

        From my PoV, the thing with anime/manga/VNs is that they seemingly don’t *ever* cover Adult Themes in any tasteful or thought-provoking manner… Instead, they tend to be merely be filled with “Adult Content” – pornographic/erotic content basically, gratuitous, fetishized, explicit, blunt and perverted, meant only to illicit arousal.

        • Eight Rooks says:

          I tried Hoshizora no Memoria but couldn’t make it through more than a couple of routes because every single one was – girl stands around complaining waiting for protagonist to save her: protagonist says nah, it’s easy, you just need to do X, Y and Z and your life should be turned around in no time, I can’t believe you didn’t think of this before, now let’s have sex. It was just so utterly detached and formulaic it made me feel ill, and it didn’t help that most of the dialogue in the actual sex scenes was disturbingly like something an aggressive frat-bro might say to get his target for the night into bed. Then I reminded myself one of the prospective girls was his little sister and another was drawn as looking about eight years old, and I just thought no, I can’t take this any more. Muv-Luv’s 18+ content had no redeeming factors but at least the writers seemed to have put some sort of effort in, even if it failed to amount to anything, and other than one godawful scene in Alternative it didn’t make me hate myself for having watched it.

          Akai Ito does sexuality and eroticism much, much better – still fanservice (lesbian vampires!), still kind of daft (everybody wants the protagonist’s blood!), still potentially problematic (young teenage heroine, older or still younger partners), but it understands restraint. There’s nothing beyond suggestive bloodsucking and very partial nudity, the game mocks itself without resorting to blatant “otaku bullshit”, the relationships range from physical attraction to something much more platonic, they happen for believable dramatic reasons and they have actual character arcs rather than just “You’ve solved all my problems, now here’s your *wink wink* reward”.

          • Zankman says:

            >Hoshizora no Memoria

            Well that just sounds horrible, top to bottom, especially what you say about the sex/porn scenes; that is why I never really played any hentai games – how can I get into it when every protagonist is an asshole and/or misogynist and/or rapist?

            Further, in these games the female characters are neither character-less sexual objects *nor* are they actual, well-written and well-developed characters (both extremes are fine for the purpose of pornography aka eliciting arousal, if you ask me) – instead, they are some messy and often cringe-worthy middle, meant to appeal to some… Deplorable folk.

            I love me some sexy anime babes in hentai/ecchi but boy oh boy do the plots and context make it difficult to enjoy.

            >Akai Ito

            I mean, it doesn’t really sound in any way “truly” better to me, I still wouldn’t care to experience it.

            Sure, it is more tasteful and better written, but, yeah, it’s still just fanservice…

            Or, maybe…

            Now, I don’t like Romance, Romantic Comedies, Sex Comedies and Sexploitation (all legitimate genres/arts), so that is principally why I wouldn’t care for it.

            So, on second thought, sure, it does sound better and the way you describe it, I would respect it and hold it in a higher regard than the other VN.

            It’s just not for me – on one hand, for me, “erotica” = softcore porn, so, in terms of what I expect/want from that genre/tool vs what Akai Ito offers, it ain’t good enough (aka not something I’d “use”); on the other, as I said, I don’t like Rom/Rom-Com/Sex-Com/Sexploitation, so, Akai Ito isn’t for me in that sense either (aka not something I’d read as a legitimate story/experience).

            The way you describe Akai Ito, it sounds like a cheeky sex comedy with some self-awareness involved; again, certainly immeasurably better than some perverted, tasteless and malice-emanating porn that makes you feel bad/ill just for experiencing it…

            Just not for me, is all.

            Thanks for the examples, either way!

            There is another VN on Steam, I think it is some Detective/Murder VN, something something “G Note” or like that; it sounded promising and then I found out that it had a *RAPE* scene sexualized/fetishized and presented as a porn scene.

            “Nope”

          • Eight Rooks says:

            Zankman: Akai Ito certainly wouldn’t be for everyone, but I think I’m giving you the wrong idea. It’s a J-horror story with vampires where the protagonist and nearly all the supporting cast are female and she may or may not fall for a particular one of them – where “fall for” can simply mean “end up very close friends with” and nothing else (one of the supporting cast is maybe ten or eleven, for example, but there’s no fanservice involving her and the protagonist plainly isn’t even considering getting intimate with her).

            I wouldn’t blame anyone for being put off by the fanservice – it is fanservice, I admit, and some of it is pretty much superfluous (a hot spring scene, a character with a top that’s practically painted on etc.) – but it’s very, very mild, there’s context for most scenes, and the *nudge nudge* aspect of it is not the focus. I could understand the anime touches might well annoy some people, but seriously, it’s not a rom-com, a sex comedy or any such thing. Not even close. Just some moderately spooky horror and a dash of action with some quality storytelling, where the heroine tends to end up taking lingering glances at her gal pals and feeling her heart beat faster, and where what little “adult” material follows on from that is far, far closer to cinema or TV or whatever than straight-up pornography.

            It isn’t remotely like Muv-Luv, where I almost fell asleep clicking through one of the “normal”, non-grim sex scenes because it was so. God. Damned. Pointless and went on forever, and there was far more genuine emotion to even the eye-rolling moments in Akai Ito than in everything I played of Hoshizora. You might still not click with it, if you’ve got a very low tolerance for anime excess, but I’d argue ’til I was blue in the face it’s genuinely good, even great writing, nonetheless.

            On the other hand, I think you’re referring to Devil on G-String – while I haven’t played that specific VN I did try Sharin no Kuni, an earlier title from the same developers, which I’d read people raving about. It was awful. The 18+ content was the least of its problems, but it was still really, really bad. I said on another comment I was happy to see the Kickstarter trying to get that one an official localisation tanked. I doubt you’re missing out with anything else written by those same people.

          • Zankman says:

            @Eight Rooks

            Well, thanks for clarifying.

            It doesn’t effectively change much, though… If anything it kinda makes it worse. xD

            First, I dislike horror.

            Second, if it isn’t sex com/sexploitation – but has that fanservice – then it is, again, kinda worse for it; why would a horror/action story feature such gratuitous fanservice, even if in small amounts, even if it makes sense within context?

            Surely conveying that a character has sex appeal or that a character is attracted to/feels emotions about another one can be done without fanservice, right?

            If it is just kinda there and not really in significant (in terms of intensity and volume) then, sure, it is not a big deal, but, still… It’s there. Just kinda annoying, you know? Makes me go “ugh, whyyyy”.

            Like, I can’t imagine playing The Walking Dead from Telltale with there randomly being a sexy scene with hot springs or bodypaint instead of clothes.

            Likewise, there being romance if it is not a rom/rom-com is also a bit odd, but, if it adds to the character depth (it is equivalent to a book after all) I guess it is O.K.

            Anywho – fair enough, you clarified it and I still reckon it is just not for me.

            I’m sure you’ve realized by now that I am fine with the sexual content only in two (very juxtaposed) cases: on one hand when it is very tasteful and present for a good reason and on the other when it is literal erotica/pornography.

            The fanservice and any kind of random gratuitous sexual content, nah, I just don’t like that, never have, never will; On one hand, “Sex sells” doesn’t work on me and on the other, “sexy” (as opposed to things like “cool”/”badass”/”cute”/”edgy”/etc.) is not a type of appeal I care for.

            I wouldn’t say, thus, that I am explicitly intolerant to “anime tropes” specifically; it’s just that anime tropes are often of a variety that coincides with what I just explained annoys me/doesn’t appeal to me.

            Still, as I said, I won’t at all argue that these elements negate a well-written story – so, I’m glad you’re so passionate about it and glad you enjoyed it.

            Yeah, Devil on G-String…

            Well, you may be too harsh in the sense of preemptively judging one game due to a previous unrelated one, but… Yeah, I get what you’re saying.

            It’s a shame, really; so many of these VNs get hyped up and, then… Yeah…

            When viewed from a more average, Western POV (and mind you I am very well aware of anime culture), those same VNs are… Trash.

            Any VNs that you could recommend me?

            So: Not Nukige (porn VNs), true Eroge (VNs with porn in them, cuz reasons), ecchi VNs (erotic at the least, sex comedies at the most) or VNs with fanservice.

            Any “fully” clean ones? Don’t mind if they feature mature themes, again, as long as they are handled tastefully and there is no fanservice.

    • GWOP says:

      “He basically assured me that it had no “anime/otaku bullshit” in the non-adult version.”

      *Looks at screenshot of flight suit*

      Uh-huh. Sure.

      • Zankman says:

        Yeah, well… The name of the game made me go “Sure…” and then the screenshots on Steam made me go “Hm… Doesn’t look horrible but also doesn’t necessarily guarantee that there isn’t any otaku bullshit content”.

        He told me that only one game of the Muv-Luv trilogy has sex scenes and that they are just shoehorned-in and really not relevant/good in any way.

        Otherwise, things like those flight suits… He didn’t mention that.

        Like you, though, I do see that as problematic.

        • JarinArenos says:

          Honestly, from everything you’re saying here, I think it implies more about the friend in question than it does about the game… <.<

          • Zankman says:

            I met him via Steam recently and, by all accounts and purposes, he seems like a great guy.

            That is why I even called him a friend in the first place (well, besides literally technically being that in Steam terms).

            So, I dunno. Maybe he just has different sensibilities and thus kinda sees it differently, maybe he didn’t deny the accusations here but just didn’t bring them up either…

            Will see, I’ll talk to him when I get the chance.

      • Eight Rooks says:

        The bit where they try and hand-wave them away a la Starship Troopers is especially cringe-worthy.

      • thetruegentleman says:

        It seems that way, but the suits are a major part of the games heavy dissonance: they seem like a part of the other world’s perverseness…and then a pretty girl wearing one losses an arm and bleeds out.

        In one world, those suits would be nice to see a pretty girl in; in another world, seeing the same girl is nerve-wrecking, because it means she’s going to be brushing up against death. They’re a lot less attractive once you see someone die while wearing it.

    • Ashabel says:

      Fate is a very bad comparison.

      Fate/stay night was a video game made by a doujinshi group that already had a standing reputation as a company who favors plot-heavy games, which added sex scenes because the publisher demanded them. They then used the success of the game to launch a “proper” franchise and phase out the gross bits as they went.

      Muv-Luv is a porn game developed by a company who specializes in porn games. They made a porn game that aped Neon Genesis Evangelion as much as possible because that was the popular thing at the time, then tried their best to spin the series out into an all-ages thing after the game turned out to be a surprise success.

      • Zankman says:

        About Fate:

        Yes, that is exactly what I read about and (also) what he told me.

        He even told me that when they re-released the original game it was without any porn scenes, confirming that they never wanted those in it.

        (Finding all of that out honestly made me very happy, props to the authors of that series)

        About Muv-Luv:

        Well, damn, man… He just mentioned that one game had “totally unimportant and shoehorned-in sex scenes” and that that was that.

        So, I assumed that, just like Fate, it was a normal game that had porn scenes added “because Otakus”; not that it was a Porn game (aka Nukige) to begin with.

        But seeing so many of you say otherwise… As well as seeing the screenshots of the female characters as well as some of the things our reviewer here said…

        Yeah, no way is it not a porn game – or, at least, a series that has all the hallmark features of the tasteless and fetishized porn VNs.

        Sad stuff. :/

        • Ashabel says:

          I don’t know where he got that only one game had sex scenes. Both Muv-Luv and Alternative were originally eroge, it’s just that their later releases consistently had the sex scenes removed because of the series’ booming popularity with regular anime otaku (and because a lot of porn in Alternative dives way into the “wait what” range of fetishes). The subsequent anime adaptations and light novels do lack outright sex, but that’s because they were already aimed at a different audience.

          That said, the games were originally eroge and all the lore in them was originally written under assumption that porn would be heavily involved. Yes, the writers did their best to alter smarmier points in later adaptations, but it’s still a series that was originally designed for porn by a company who did nothing but eroge until then.

          In contrast, Type-Moon (the developers behind Fate/Stay Night) were established around a writer who already had a successful career as a novelist with intent of writing story-based games. Their only true eroge is Tsukihime, and even that has sex scenes that are largely character-driven.

          If you want visual novels that prioritize plot over porn, I would suggest Liar-soft (Gahkthun of the Golden Lightning, Kindred Spirits on the Roof) and OVERDRIVE (Cho Dengeki Stryker, DEARDROPS, Kira Kira). The chief writer of Gahkthun is currently working on the Fate franchise (she is responsible for most main scenarios in Fate/Prototype novels and the Grand Order mobile game), so you’ll know what to expect.

          Among individual titles, the House in Fata Morgana, World End Economica, Umineko and fault are the ones I played that are pretty good.

          Note that OVERDRIVE and Liar-soft games are eroge, it’s just that their sex scenes are largely of the not-gross and story-driven variety.

          • Eight Rooks says:

            Yeah, I agree with you on some of these (seriously). Not fault – bought both chapters so far and found the first so boring I couldn’t finish it – and I hated what I watched of Fate/Zero (it had exactly the typical pathetic VN attitude to T&A, just applied to horror instead)… but while I’ve not played Liarsoft’s Steam games Sekien no Inganock was great. World End Economica gave a horribly unlikable protagonist an actual convincing, emotive character arc and used a gimmick (stock market on the moon!) as something deeper than that. Kira Kira has some problematic moments but it’s a solid, affecting, often very funny coming of age story which actually gets being in a band when you’re young much more than you might expect. There’s so much better than Muv-Luv out there, which is why it’s so frustrating the hardcore fans still treat it as the be-all and end-all (lest we forget, the Kickstarter pulled in $1.25 million).

            Oh, well, at least the Kickstarter for the Sharin no Kuni localisation failed. God, that makes me happy, knowing people don’t go nuts for everything “mature” with big-eyed anime girls doing naughty things.

          • Ashabel says:

            To be honest, I actually don’t much like Fate/Zero either. It makes for an interesting topic in discussions, but it’s overall dreadfully depressing and hard to watch with the exception of scenes dedicated to several specific characters.

            On the other hand, I’m not sure why it’s mentioned here. It’s not written by the same author as Fate/stay night or Gahkthun. Those would be Kinoko Nasu and Hikaru Sakurai, whereas Zero is by Gen Urobuchi (the author behind Song of Saya, Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Psycho-Pass). I generally don’t recommend Gen Urobuchi to anyone – he is an interesting writer, but there is something about his writing that I personally find off-putting.

            For Kira Kira, what I appreciate about OVERDRIVE’s works is that they’re generally genuine stories that just happen to have smut in them, they’re sincere and they don’t try excessively hard to be taken seriously the way Muv-Luv does. I wouldn’t call them anything special, but they’re a pleasant enough diversion for a couple evenings.

            I don’t hate Muv-Luv, mind you. I just think it’s best to think of it as a curious relic from that very unfortunate age when everyone thought they could make it big by simply copying NGE, not a narrative masterpiece so many people seem to think it is.

          • Eight Rooks says:

            I mentioned Fate/Zero simply because I haven’t played the game (or games) yet and the premise seemed to be largely the same, going by the opening. Various bloggers who raved about the games were raving about the anime and it was (and still is) easily available on legal streaming sites, so I thought why not give it a shot? I know who Gen Urobuchi is. Not a fan, for the most part, though he wrote Madoka, so he can’t be all bad.

          • Zankman says:

            Thanks for the input. Sad to hear that Muv-Luv is just a porn/Nukige series that kinda evolved into Eroge… Which is still kinda bad due to not being able to shake away its origins.

            >If you want visual novels that prioritize plot over porn, I would suggest…

            Well, that is the thing: I want VNs that don’t have any porn, period.

            Sex scenes, tasteful and with some actual purpose in the story (aka storytelling elements/tools like any other), are fine.

            So: When it comes to the “good” VNs you suggested, the ones you said are quality but still actually Eroge – are the sex scenes in them, well, sex scenes or are they porn scenes?

            The difference is obvious, if you ask me, as well as incredibly important – principally in the presentation and purpose of said scenes (both directly in terms of said sex scenes and indirectly in terms of character presentation, design and behavior).

            If a sex scene looks like a sex scene from a movie, then it is a sex scene; I don’t mind those, obviously – they are tastefully done and serve a purpose (to tell a story, to represent things like love, lust, passion, desire…).

            If it looks like it would fit right into a porno, it is a porn scene; I do mind those, since they are, you know, just porn.

            I ask because I categorically do not want to play “serious” games with porn scenes in them (nor porn games with some story in them), *EVEN* if said porn was removed (yes, merely the fact that it originally had contained it is enough).

            Like, I know about Cho Dengeki Stryker; I don’t care if the sex scenes in it are vanilla in terms of what fetishes they cover or not, I just want to know how they are presented and why they are there…

            Even if the game has an amazing story and is largely devoid of classic otaku-pandering oversexualized females and fetishistic content… If the sex scenes in it are porn scenes, I don’t want to play it.

          • Ashabel says:

            @Eight Rooks:
            The problem with going into Fate/Zero first is that… well, you’re simply not supposed to. Zero is a prequel novel based around an event that is heavily discussed in F/SN during multiple scenes, and reading/watching it first actually spoils you on multiple critical plot turns from F/SN. Part of the reason why they hired Urobuchi is because the event was already known from the main game to be horrible; the novel merely details exactly how horrible it was.

            Reading or watching it on its own is like reading Berserk’s Golden Age chapters without the Black Swordsman chapters that preclude them, and then not going further past the Eclipse. It’s possible to do, but it’s overall not recommended and will make the story flow poorly.

            @Zankman:
            Gahkthun has so few sex scenes and all of them are so mild and story-driven that they managed to push it onto Steam without cutting a single thing. I would actually call it cleaner than, say, Game of Thrones or the Witcher games.

            To my memory, it’s about five sex scenes across a 10-chapter game where the last chapter is a multi-parter. The writer is a woman and her smut leans more toward josei manga than eroge in terms of style.

            The smut in OVERDRIVE scenes is completely tacked on and disconnected from the plot, and in the case of Dengeki Stryker is outright contradictory to its canon (everyone is a heavily modified cyborg and yet somehow all of them magically become squeaky-clean and technology-lacking the moment naked times roll in). You can buy the All-Ages version from Steam and not miss anything at all.

          • Zankman says:

            @Ashabel

            Well Gahkthun sounds completely fine then (and I wouldn’t call it smut, then).

            As for Dengeki Stryker and Overdrive games… I mean, that sounds O.K., I guess; the fact that those scenes were there in the first place, even if I am playing the All Ages version without them, is kinda annoying; I can’t really explain it and it is kinda petty, but, it just is.

            But if it is like Fate where those scenes are there just to meet the expectations of the Otakus and publishers, I guess I can look over it.

            Thanks.

      • Reejun says:

        “which added sex scenes because the publisher demanded them”

        Type-Moon were their own publisher for their eroge.

    • Premium User Badge

      Oakreef says:

      Breaking news: Different people sometimes have different opinions on things. RPS commenter shocked.

      • Zankman says:

        Why do you have to be like that?

        The dude I mentioned a) assured me of a few things and b) really “clicked” with me (when talking about similar topics), to the point where I thought such large discrepancies in opinion/PoV would not be possible.

        Yeah, people have different opinions/tastes/PoVs, no shit; just didn’t expect it in this case.

    • robotization says:

      I’m kind of amazed at the sort of responses you’re getting (as well as this review’s negative tone in general). To be perfectly clear, the story of Muv-Luv does NOT have sexual situations that impact the story in a tasteless way. Fate/stay night, in comparison, had more numerous and tasteless sex scenes (I’m a big fan of both Muv-Luv and Type-Moon games, but I think we can all laugh at how silly “mana transfer” is). In Muv-Luv, each there’s basically a sex scene at the end of every route which indicates a consummation of the characters’ relationship. In the 18+ version, things dragged on and got a bit tasteless, but in the all-ages version, they’re clearly much more romantic and heartfelt than titillating.

      Extra and Unlimited are essentially romantic comedies with interpersonal drama. The tone is generally lighthearted. The protagonist is immature, but not a “horny teenager.” He doesn’t make sexual innuendos, and when he thinks about one of the girls in an erotic way, he immediately feels guilty about it.

      But Muv-Luv is a genre-shift. The lighthearted nature of the first two games sets up the third, which (to simplify things) a really awesome version of Japanese Starship Troopers.

      I really don’t understand some of these criticisms. Yes, there are skintight pilot suits. But after the first scene where they’re introduced, they do not register as sexual at all in the protagonist’s mind. He sees his comrades as people rather than sexualized bodies… which is clearly supposed to be the case for the reader as well.

      As for “mainsplaining,” that’s patently ridiculous to anyone who has played the trilogy. The protagonist is much more often on the receiving end of lectures.

      And Muv-Luv isn’t remotely a clone of Evangelion. It takes much more inspiration from series like Gunbuster, Martian Successor Nadesico, and Blue Gender.

      • Zankman says:

        Thanks for the input…

        Sigh, I’ll really have to try it myself and, once and for all, find out how bad or not it is… But if they are just Romantic Comedies I don’t see myself having a reason to play them.

        Tho I dunno… You yourself say that there ARE tasteless scenes – the fact that they aren’t in the All Ages version changes nothing.

        Oh and the suits are still there, someone still designed them that way and decided that they should be part of the experience. You can’t ignore it, regardless of how the characters react to them.

        I know little about the Fate series, so I dunno about anything of that.

      • Ashabel says:

        “Muv-Luv isn’t a clone of Evangelion, it instead takes inspirations from a series that is well-known for aping Evangelion, another series that is well-known to be a satire of Evangelion, as well as a series that propelled the creator of Evangelion to fame in the first place.”

        Well sure, we can roll with that if you prefer it that way.

        Not that there was anything strange about aping Evangelion in the early 2000’s. Most mecha of that era aped Evangelion. Hell, major networks often refused to sponsor your work if you weren’t aping Evangelion back in the day, and RahXephon’s creator even ranted in interviews about how sponsors would reject his studio’s works under the premise of “Not similar enough to Evangelion”. It wasn’t an unusual thing to do back in the day, it was the primary means of survival.

        On that note, the fact that the costumes do not register as sexual in the protagonist’s mind after a while doesn’t change at all that they were explicitly designed for titillating the audience, or that the 18+ version had to digitally alter those images because you could see nipples through the material.

        And since you’re telling us that the “mana transfer” scene is sillier and impacts the narrative in a more tasteless way than all the smut in Muv-Luv, please do explain to me the philosophical importance and narrative tastefulness of the scene in Alternative where Sumika gets her nipples fucked by tentacles until her tongue is lolling out and breast milk is shooting everywhere like out of geysers. I always found that scene to be one of the trashiest moments in the history of eroge, period, but your post seems to imply there is something rich and world-defining to it.

        • robotization says:

          Nice spoilers, first of all. I understand you have no respect for the series, but you could at least respect the right for others to enjoy it unmolested.

          As for Evangelion, yes, of course it had an influence on Muv-Luv. I’m not disputing that. I’m just saying it wasn’t a direct clone of Eva in the way that something like Soukyuu no Fafner was. Maybe I misinterpreted the original point, or maybe my definition of “clone” is too narrow. It’s not a big deal, regardless.

          What makes Sumika’s scene different from mana transfer? The fact that it isn’t meant to be titillating in the slightest. It’s obviously meant to be ungodly horrifying to the audience (as it is to the protagonist). The point is its emotional effect within the context of the plot, and it couldn’t be radically altered without that effect being mitigated. Fate’s mana transfer scenes were easily censored without losing anything of importance.

          Someone else mentioned Gravity’s Rainbow. Is that book trashy for including a detailed scene in which a woman shits into a man’s mouth? You tell me, but it’s one of the most well-respected books in English literature.

          We obviously don’t see eye-to-eye here, but I can see how Muv-Luv’s content is alienating (though honestly, Sakura’s worms is a pretty similar situation). What I’m trying to say is that Muv-Luv isn’t stupid/puerile in its depiction of sexuality. Even the flesh-colored flight suits serve to form a connection between the reader and Takeru’s perspective — as he grows accustomed to them, so does the reader.

          Contrast with… say, Demonbane. I liked that game, but it was filled with stupid, godawful sex scenes that I hated.

          • Zankman says:

            Are you fucking insane, man?

            IDC about the “who aped who” talk – I am not familiar with any of the aforementioned series, their economic success, their chronological order…

            But…

            Mind the fact that you’re still trying to rationalize and make excuses for the suits, even going so far as to imply that they serve some higher purpose in the narrative and have some artistic merit…

            Saying, implying, that the scene that Ashabel described is supposed to be “horrific”, supposed to be scarring and traumatizing for the reader (and protagonist) is… Asinine!

            Completely, utterly asinine – you’re either delusional or in utter denial by saying that!

            What he describes is a textbook example of a (albeit on the more extreme end of the spectrum, but just slightly so mind you) hentai scene… Just browsing the Internet I’ve seen loads of shit like that.

            I’m fucking vanilla as they come and I DO find shit like that very uncomfortable to witness, very disgusting and disturbing, to the point where they “haunt” me for a while – when it comes to such scenes (in VNs, games, anime or manga) even without context, plot and prior character development, I simply feel bad for the character at the receiving end of such things – but even *I* realize that those scenes are meant and solely designed to be titillating and arousing…

            Come on, man…

            If scenes like that are in the game, man, there is no debate anymore, it’s a trashy and extreme hentai VN (again, extreme only for your average sensibilities, pretty par the course for hentai).

          • Ashabel says:

            First of all, trying to claim that scene is important enough to be protected by spoilers is bloody insane. People in the Fate fandom have developed a habit of warning people about the extremely grimdark content of both the Zero prequel and the Heaven’s Feel route, and Heaven’s Feel keeps all of its grotesque content to unsettling descriptions without a single CGI in sight. The Sumika scene I mentioned is lengthy and explicit, it features at least five separate CGIs and detailed descriptions of the act.

            People who go into Muv-Luv must be warned about it regardless of how good you think the rest of the VN is, period. It’s not something people should be “surprised” with.

            Second, while the mana transfer scene is meant to be titillating, it boils down to perfectly consensual sex between two adults where the most questionable aspect is that Artoria is old enough to be Shiro’s mother. It would be perfectly comfortable in about 90% of urban fantasy out there.

            To claim that the Sumika scene was meant to be “obviously horrifying” is insane. There were a thousand ways to depict that scene in a horrifying way that wouldn’t involve porn at all, all they needed is a layout where Sumika is violated in order to traumatize Takeru. Instead the scene features multiple images, close-ups of unrealistic penetration in a series that tries to pretend it’s hard sci-fi, over-the-top lactation geysers and very explicit text that covers all of the gross process.

            It’s freaking porn. Porn for people who enjoy tentacle rape and NTR instead of the usual vanilla sex from original Muv-Luv, but it’s still as porn as it could possibly be.

            Also, they aren’t “flesh-colored flight suits”. You could clearly see nipples through the transparent cellophane in the original game, before they were edited out for the All-Ages release. It was during the first anime adaptation that they were finally redesigned to be bi-colored latex.

            I won’t argue that a lot of content in Fate’s Heaven’s Feel scenario is terrifying, but again, the game never capitalizes on it sexually. Every single explicit scene featuring Sakura is consensual, while the scenes depicting sexual assault and other horrors are generally kept to vague and horrifying descriptions accompanied by unsettling music. Muv-Luv doesn’t do that. It shoves the tentacle rape scene in your face, one CGI after another.

            And no, I do not “hate Muv-Luv with a passion”. I just find it incredibly silly how the fandom keeps trying to paint it as a literary masterpiece that had only pure intentions in mind from the very beginning. It’s an eroge that got popular because it has a surprisingly decent setting behind all the gross bits. Admitting as much won’t kill you.

        • robotization says:

          Actually, I just went back and re-read your other comments. To characterize Muv-Luv as a “porn game made by a porn company” is pretty reductive. Muv-Luv was made on the coattails of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, which was a heavy drama game that happened to be a breakout success.

          Muv-Luv is the creator’s magnum opus. He didn’t make compromises regarding its quality, and it’s a stand-out work in many respects. It was highly anticipated by fans who loved KimiNozo. To characterize it as a cheap, cynical Eva clone is simply wrong, whatever you might think of it.

          You clearly know your stuff… which is why I’m bothering to respond at all. I guess I’m just surprised that someone who is so familiar with eroge hates Muv-Luv with such a passion (and not for the pacing issues that most people cite).

          Anyway, that’s my two cents in response. Take care.

        • Zankman says:

          You’ve laid to rest any doubts that I had about the series, thanks to describing that one scene…

          It’s settled, it is a trashy and obscene hentai VN.

          • Ashabel says:

            To be fair, you absolutely can use disturbing context in order to set up an amazing story. Gahkthun does that, Bokurano is practically built around that, and there are plenty of other cases.

            That said, it’s a matter of context and execution. When the scene in question is executed as an explicit NTR tentacle porn, chances are that it’s just there to be NTR tentacle porn.

          • Zankman says:

            @Ashabel

            Well, of course you can – like in Berserk, no? Loads of dark and horrifying stuff, some of it sexual in terms of what is happening – but all of it is meant and presented to be, well, dark, horrifying, traumatizing…

            (Well, from what I know and have seen)

            But, yeah, it seems that that is not the case at all in Muv-Luv and it it is lame to pretend that it is.

            I gotta say, since you and Robotization mentioned it, that whole “mana transfer” nonsense from Fate does sound pretty bad as well; it may not be obscene and gross but it sounds like tasteless and pandering erotic/pornographic content none the less – which is lame, to say the least.

            That is: if it is indeed presented that way, like shoehorned-in fanservice.

            Is that the case?

          • Ashabel says:

            “Mana tranfer” is an idea that one’s magical energy begins to flow more strongly during sex, therefore it’s possible for even an inexperienced Master to somewhat recharge the mana reserves of their Servant by having sex with them. It’s used to explain away the very first sex scene that pops up in the original Fate/stay night novel, and is brought up for laughs otherwise.

            Most people who have actually seen the scene, remember it less for the sex and more for Rin’s antics where she suggests the ritual in the first place, but then spends half of the scene bickering with Shiro about the logistics of it. The actual smut is as vanilla as it comes.

            I personally struggle to be offended by it – ritual sex is a super-common trope in urban fantasy and literature for young adults, and this particular series almost never uses it. Besides, “have sex with your perfectly human-looking familiar to recharge their MP” is one of the milder things in a genre inhabited by the likes of Laurell K. Hamilton.

          • Zankman says:

            @Ashabel

            First time I hear of that “ritual sex” trope or of it being common… And I like browsing tropes.tv.

            Oh and it really doesn’t matter whether it is vanilla or not; yeah, great, it isn’t rape or pedophilia…

            The issue would lie in a) how often it is used and b) how it is presented in the first place.

            If it is long, explicit, gratuitous, fetishized and “detailed” on one hand and feels somewhat shoehorned and contrived on the other – then, really, it is not a sex scene, it is a porn scene; thus, it is no different than any of those scenes in Muv-Luv that I took issue with – it is no better, rather.

            In that sense, we have a problem – not “offended” by it, more like “roll my eyes at the trashiness of it”, given that it would be a blight on a (supposedly) great series (and, really, as I said way, way earlier – the entire concept of Eroge being “normal stories with literal porn scenes in them for some reason” is just god-damn infuriatingly trashy).

            Now…

            If it is tasteful, short and artistic on one hand and meant to signify and express the relationship between characters (love/passion/lust/closeness/etc.) on the other – then, obviously, it is completely fine (albeit the “Mana Transfer” mechanic is then kind of a silly vehicle for it).

            But, I’ll say it right away – from how you explain it, it already sounds contrived, like a dumb excuse to include “saucy” (and potentially pornographic) content… You know, just like the suits in Muv-Luv that we criticized?

            Like: Why the need to even introduce that mechanic? To explain a scene that was apparently never intended to exist?

            You also call it “smut”, so… Yeah.

            Completely coincidentally (sent by a friend), I also saw a gif from (one of?) the show and it was a blatantly near-pornographic (well, except for not going all the way) scene of “Mana Transfer” between two girls…

            Not shaping up well. :X

            Took a quick look at that author, Hamilton, on Wikipedia.

            Sounds like masqueraded pornography to me (they call it “erotica”, as if)… “hurr durr great power but has to have sex for it… Multiple times per day… Sometimes with groups of people”.

            Sounds like the synopsis of your typical porn comic/hentai that you can come across on the Internet.

            Finally, sounds like you can really only imagine a sexually repressed and ultimately perverted person to write 14 fucking books about that kind of stuff…

            Sooooo yeaaaah… I wouldn’t bring up such “works of fiction” to excuse trashy and lame content in other fiction.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Jiskra says:

    While i must agree in many points with you i still liked Muv-Luv Extra a lot. (yes Unlimited is weird)
    What you forgot to mention in your review is amazing work with sprites. The choreography is just breathtaking for visual novel and i haven seen anything like it yet.
    + Sumika’s antennae must be the most kawaii thing ever :P

  9. Premium User Badge

    X_kot says:

    “The Castle of Aaargh.”
    “What is that?”
    “He must have died while carving it.”

  10. thetruegentleman says:

    All the points are valid, sadly, but the game is really hampered by not being able to see how the rest of the story plays out in the other game(s).

    Anyway, the protagonist (Takeru) *can’t* use the knowledge he gained from the peaceful world: relationships are a bit easier to manage when humanity isn’t on the brink of extinction, everyone is in the military, and the people you’re helping don’t even know who the hell you are, except as dead weight.

    But that’s the point: these people are similar to the ones you know, but they *aren’t* the same, only Takeru is in the same position as the player now: he kind of knows these people, but he also really doesn’t, so he gets trapped in an emotional whirlpool he can’t escape from. On the bright side, his innocence *does* make everyone a bit happier; on the down side…there isn’t a happy ending. There *can’t* be.

    Unfortunately, the game here is entirely setup: the payoff is almost entirely in the next game, and it’s fucking brutal. The first game needs to be played to feel the impact of the second, but the first game also has so much to do as setup that it’s hard to find the time to actually make the game fun to read from the start. It has to be fixed, but knowing the whole story, it’s hard to find how.

    It’s a weird problem, and I’m not really sure it can be solved without breaking the rest of the series.

    If it helps though, Takeru is one of my favorite characters of *any* media: the way he changes from “goofball hentai protagonist” to “genuine hero” is really unmatched.

  11. Monggerel says:

    Well I never played a VN (Venereal Novel?) before but I’m a bit more than halfway through Gravity’s Rainbow and so far I’ve had a reaction of “holy shit, i *literally* cannot believe that I am actually reading this passage about *REDACTED FOR DECENCY*” several times. It’s… uh… well it’s a rollercoaster of horror and absurd humour, of sorts. Not often that a book manages to turn my stomach, but holy fuck. This goddamn thing.

    • robotization says:

      Complaining about sex or the use of the harem genre in Muv-Luv is honestly akin to criticizing Gravity’s Rainbow for being scatophilic pornography.

  12. noirnionoiag says:

    This is good review of Extra and Unlimited in an Alternative-less vacuum, but no one in their right mind would read only Extra and Unlimited. The fact that Muv-Luv is two executables does not make it two stories. You’re reviewing an experience that no one who reads Muv-Luv will actually have.

    This is like writing a review of the first two pages of a book and then saying that “there is a chance that the third page will wrap all these things up, but that’s not the page I’m reviewing here.” It’s not exactly *wrong,* but it is useless to people who might want to read the book.

    • Rescrabs says:

      I agree. Alternative is not officially out on steam but there are ways to get it outside of steam. There is no value on a review of someone who watched the first 15 minutes of a movie.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      “No-one”? Seriously? Pretty sure there’s plenty of people who’ll happily buy the first release on Steam, play it and wait patiently for the second release/third game. And as several commenters have already noted I’m pretty sure most people who agreed with this WiT would not feel vastly differently about Alternative. I know I didn’t. The idea it’s some critical part of the trilogy that changes everything, omg omg omg, etc., is daft. It has some really, really good moments (everything that follows after the notorious shock scene easily outdoes most of the “serious” sequences in any MGS, IMO) but it still suffers from the exact same flaws as the previous two games and in many respects is actively worse.

      • noirnionoiag says:

        “And as several commenters have already noted I’m pretty sure most people who agreed with this WiT would not feel vastly differently about Alternative.”

        EVERYONE agrees with this WiT. Even the most die-hard fanboys admit that Extra/Unlimited are kid of a chore.

        Your thoughts on Extra/Unlimited say very little about how much you’ll enjoy Alternative.

    • malkav11 says:

      With respect, we’re not talking two pages of a book here. We’re talking two quite lengthy visual novels. It may be that Alternative is absolutely mind-blowing and ties everything up in a way that retrospectively makes the previous two VNs completely worthwhile, but if the 60+ hours of VN leading up to it aren’t worthwhile experiences in and of themselves (and, having not read them, I couldn’t possibly say if they are but clearly the reviewer doesn’t think so), that’s a pretty intense commitment just for the possibility that one might feel differently about the third installment.

      • Zankman says:

        Yeah, I agree with you… When even the biggest fans of the series are saying that one should “just hold out until Alternative” because “Extra is poor and Ultimate is w/e”, then you know that the first two don’t have that much quality…

        … And if such long VNs are required to enjoy Alternative, yeah…

        Random sidenote: The names of these three installments are horrible.

      • noirnionoiag says:

        60+ hours is an overstatement. The reviewer took 21 hours to finish it. You should expect to finish it in ~30 hours, or less if you don’t do all the routes.

        That is NOT long in VN-land, but if you haven’t read many VNs you’ll probably find it slow.

        I’m not claiming that the fact that Extra and Alternative are bad isn’t a problem. It definitely is. The pacing is probably Muv-Luv’s biggest problem.

        However, this review does not give an accurate impression of the whole. The review does not say that Muv-Luv is a serious story with pacing problems. It says that it’s worthless smut that exists only to pander to otakus. There’s a big difference between the two.

        • Eight Rooks says:

          No, I’m pretty sure that at most it says “This game frequently tries to be serious, but ultimately too much of it is worthless smut/otaku-bait for any of the serious stuff to mean very much”. Which, having played it, I can readily agree with even if I wouldn’t be quite that harsh. (Almost, but not quite.) And again,

          Your thoughts on Extra/Unlimited say very little about how much you’ll enjoy Alternative

          having played Alternative, I can categorically state this is nonsense. Like I already said, Alternative suffers from many of the exact same flaws as the previous game(s) and in many respects is much, much worse. I can think of at least two major scenes I’m fairly certain would have Jack here doing a spit-take. It is a perfectly valid review, and I’m pretty sure one that’ll serve as a reliable buying guide for a good section of the RPS audience.

        • malkav11 says:

          I was taking a wild guess, not having read them. Still, 20-30 hours is an awful lot of time to invest on the off chance you’ll like the third part better, and it is perfectly legitimate to review a product that is, after all, sold without said third part.

    • LionsPhil says:

      If they’re selling an incomplete product, isn’t “this incomplete product isn’t worth it, maybe it’d be better if it were complete” useful consumer advice?

  13. JarinArenos says:

    ” it is entirely possible to have a game about sex that doesn’t take almost every opportunity to denigrate its female characters”
    I really want to believe this, but haven’t stumbled across any examples. Anyone got a suggestion or three?

    • Rince says:

      Well, I not sure if counts, but Kindred Spirits has sex scenes. Is not about sex, it’s more about romance. And certainly don’t denigrates their female characters.
      Of course, helps not having any lecherous useless male main character.

    • Zankman says:

      Yeah I kinda had similar thoughts…

      Seems that every anime/manga/VN that deals with “mature themes” is *actually* just a case of them containing Adult Content (aka erotica or, more often, pornography); such content is not aimed at exploring or conveying things like romance, love, lust, passion, desire, relationships (and so on) but instead only at giving the viewer/reader/player masturbation material – given that all of the Adult Content is fetishized, gratuitous, perverted…

      Surely there are some exceptions but they are few and far between… Simply, few people make those types of stories because the already very niche Otaku viewer/reader/playerbase is so small and, well, they “like what they like”… And tasteful stories is not one of them.

      The sad thing is that the “weaboos” (Western Otakus) just do the same thing…

      One can hope that as VNs become more popular in the West and in general, we get better stories, including ones that deal with mature themes in a tasteful manner.

      • OnlyAnAlligator says:

        Um, I can’t speak for VNs, but there’s plenty manga and anime out there that deals with “mature themes” (I’m not exactly sure what you mean by “mature theme,” though, it’s a bit… euphemistic) thoughtfully. From the New World, Gankutsuou, Afterschool Nightmare, pretty much all of Satoshi Kon’s film and television work. I’m not really sure where you’re getting your idea of anime and manga from. The two are massive industry’s in Japan, that produce stuff for a wide range of people. There’s plenty of sexploitation stuff, sure, but I would hardly declare stuff like the above films and manga the exception to the rule.

        • Zankman says:

          What? No, the anime/manga cultures are tiny, they are not “massive industries”.

          Oh and naturally that they DO exist (I don’t get what is confusing to you about “mature themes”, pretty self-explanatory) – it’s just that they are drowned out by either generic stuff (like shonen genres) or by pandering, tasteless stuff (at the best case it would be sexploitation, at the lowest and more common it is just “fanservice” and sex-sells BS).

          Like, I have never heard of any of those things you’ve listed… But everyone at this point has heard of Highschool of the Dead and Monster Musume.

          • OnlyAnAlligator says:

            I’m sorry, but you’re just wrong. Here’s a market study from 2002: link to accu.or.jp.

            Manga and manga magazines make up a third of all publication sales in Japan. And while you personally may not have heard of the anime or manga I mentioned, please do not make the conclusion that your knowledge-base represents the whole of the media.

          • Zankman says:

            Pretty sure it is like 0.1 or 0.01 of the population or something and is generally viewed as a niche interest.

            And it is not about MY knowledge base, it is about the average knowledge base, what is popular, what is known/familiar to the average viewer/reader *and* outsider as well as what is pushed and sought.

          • OnlyAnAlligator says:

            About them being “tiny, tiny industries” I mean. I still don’t know where you’re getting that idea. There has been a TON of writings and market studies devoted to the widespread popularity of manga and anime in Japan.

          • OnlyAnAlligator says:

            I think, looking at your past posts, you’re conflating Otaku culture with “everyone in Japan that reads manga and watches anime” because it reflects (partially) the demographics of who consumes comics in America and the UK (and even then, both nations support pretty robust alternative scenes). But while Otaku culture DOES make up a “tiny, tiny” part of Japanese culture, they only represent a fraction of the population of Japan that consumes these media, not the entire audience.

          • OnlyAnAlligator says:

            Anime is less popular certainly, and is generally mostly consumed by adults casually rather than “as fans”, but you REALLY need to check your numbers about Manga. I have NEVER heard people estimate the number of manga readers in Japan as that low, and I’d really question that number unless you had some sort of iron-clad source backing it up.

  14. BTA says:

    Was kinda shocked to see a review of this here and even more shocked (pleasantly, though) to see the byline.

    It’s always been a series I’ve seen hyped up a lot with that caveat that the first two games are a slog and… yeah, I don’t think I can put myself through this ever. There’s so many other wonderful VNs (I’m almost done The House in Fata Morgana and it’s been fantastic, and has handled certain topics better than any other game I can think of) that spending so many tens of hours on something like this just doesn’t seem worth it.

  15. whatSauce says:

    Muv-Luv’s got a lot more to it than meets the eye at a first glance, or in this case, in it’s first part. Though it’s no wonder that it gets lots of hate here in the west. It seems to be like what happens with some anime, making people go full anti-Japanese stuff just because it’s different.

    Thing is this VN is full of GENRE-SHIFTING, it’s kind of an inevitable spoiler that even the official trailer makes because of it’s importance. Muv-luv changes as much as it’s protagonist matures during his journey, it’s a literal roller-coaster that goes from absurdly goofy parodies and VN tropes to sci-fi info-dumping to life-and-death drama to the blackest holes and mind-fucks possible and then back.

    The biggest issue with it is it’s pacing(aside from cultural issues, which are a lot):
    Admitedly, Extra is your regular-otaku-pandering VN. It’s obviously meant to lure that demographic into playing.
    Then Unlimited slaps the genre-shift, being primarily just setup for the multiverse, characters and world-building, then very slowly and gradually transitioning to the serious stuff.
    Problem is, both can be a drag with almost no payoff to keep readers engaged until the last part, if they even have said part (it’s not on steam yet).

    Then comes Alternative, which is genuinely good and uses all this world building in a very long and detailed way to make all the characters develop from useless kids to heroes who change history. This one is still a drag for some because its 50+ HRS LONG and it starts the same way that unlimited starts. In all that time it only has 1 sex scene like any freaking movie has the main guy getting the girl before the final battle, plus another very dark scene that was there purely for shock value and that one will undoubtedly be removed in the localization.

    I think Muv-Luv really should’ve been delayed until Alternative was translated, but that would be too long of a wait for the kickstarter backers…so it wasn’t(btw they forked over 1.2m for the translation).

    To finish I’d like to add that what makes this VN so acclaimed in japan is that there is some holistic shit going on between the dark tone and heavy character development plus the generic anime protagonist serving as an avatar for some readers. It has helped guys get over their own problems(NEETs, for example) because hell if even freaking Takeru can become a hero, ¿How can you not get your shit together, ffs?

    TL:DR
    1)Muv-Luv is NOT NUKIGE (nukige is like 99% p0rn).
    2)Muv-Luv Extra is a mediocre eroge.
    3)Being released in the west, the localization won’t have any superfluous sex scenea.
    4)Unlimited is a prologue and setup to Alternative.
    5)Alternative is a great recommendation for people who like anime and have enough free time.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      I guess if someone gets emotional inspiration from something to turn their life around, good for them, never mind what that something might be…? But jeez, Muv-Luv (as a trilogy) really isn’t a very good example of the Hero’s Journey. Just saying “You won’t believe this one weird trick I used to turn myself into a muscular Adonis and learn the value of self-sacrifice” doesn’t mean your story should be applauded for speaking to every marginalized shut-in out there. (It reminds me of all those PS2-era JRPGs that suddenly discovered a social conscience, and the fans all went wild, as if merely mentioning racism automatically equaled a serious critique of bigotry.) And I’m not saying this just because oh, Japan or anything – Kamisama no Memochou/God’s Memo Pad is a far, far better example of a story largely for anime fans that still seriously “gets” what it’s like to be in your late teens/early twenties, directionless and scared you’ll never amount to anything. With nary an alien invasion, mansplaining monologue or awkward sex scene in sight, too. Muv-Luv isn’t a good recommendation for anyone.

    • Zankman says:

      Dunno man, the more I read about it and the more screens I see the more it seems like a Nukige that got lucky and turned into a shitty Eroge… While never really escaping the (negative) tropes and cliches that make Nukige Nukige and Eroge, well, Eroge… While never really stopping to pander to otakus.

      Also: People like to say “cultural differences” and whatnot, but, the more I learn about Japan the more I find out that that is just an excuse from Western Anime fans (be they full-blown weaboos or not) – there is no cultural difference, a lot of anime (and VNs) is pandered to/created for recluse shut-ins that are sexually and socially repressed and regressed…

      • spillerrec says:

        I really want to stress this, Muv-Luv is not a nukige and have never been anything remotely close to it.
        To clarify the difference between nukige and eroge, in nukige the story is there to facilitate the porn. The story is just there to provide a setting and connect each sex scene. If Muv-Luv had been a nukige it could have had a description like this (real synopsis from a currently airing anime):
        “His older sister calls him to transfer to a strategic defense school, where many of the students (many of which are large-breasted girls) use their HHG abilities to fight invaders from another world while wearing extremely skimpy pilot outfits. … —apparently having erotic experiences with Kizuna will allow the girls to replenish their energy or power-up.”

        In eroge it is the reverse, the story is in focus and there is some erotic content as fanservice and to help a bit on sales (varies a lot, but usually about 5% I guesstimate). It is usually centred around romance (comedy or drama) with ~5 girls to choose/routes and you often don’t get to see any porn until the end of the game. This is a simplification of course, but they are not games played solely because of the porn, as who would read for 20 hours to get a 5-10 minute sex scene (especially since there are a lot of nukige you could get instead if that is what you are going after).

        MuvLuv Extra is pretty much your standard eroge with a sex scene at the end of each route (I haven’t tried them all and I haven’t played MuvLuv Unlimited). MuvLuv Alternative turns more into a kinetic novel (only one route) and contain little to no porn (one rape scene and a 2 second flashback as far as I remember). The MuvLuv Alternative spin-offs are completely free from porn and rated 15+.

        I threw $300 at the kickstarter. I can’t say I like MuvLuv or Alternative very much, I wouldn’t go as far as this review, but there are much better VNs out there if you ask me. So why? Because I think the VN medium has great potential, and while I’m not too fascinated by the story, it really manages to bring out the potential of a written story with added audio and visuals like no other VN out there, especially in the mech scenes. Even though it is nearly 15 years old, its game engine is still superior to most modern VNs. (And I have quite enjoyed the spin-offs and hope to see more of them translated, fan translation or not.)

        What saddens me however is how one-sided the comments here have been, as they only talk about the bad sides of MuvLuv. From the part of the fandom I have seen, nobody seems to have picked up MuvLuv because of its 18+ rating, nor to speak much about those parts (while the comments here have been all about that pretty much). No waifu wars either as you usually see when people care about the romance. Fans instead usually praise how much care was put into the mech and alien designs, and how well it describes being in military service and something about its handling of PTSD.
        So instead of giving people a good idea of what to expect of the game, it seems to have increased peoples bias against the game and VNs in general.

        I personally wouldn’t recommend MuvLuv Alternative unless you want action and like military stuff and science-fiction (there is a lot of technobabble in alternative…). But while it was said otherwise by someone in the comments, it is commonly accepted that especially Muv-Luv Extra is a chore that you just need to get through it to play Alternative. Even the translator (fan-patch) said the following in the MuvLuv translation readme:
        “Enjoy the worst game we have ever translated (so far). It’s filled with moe but no mecha. If you desire plot or action or some other form of awesome, please look forward to our Muv-Luv Alternative translation sometime next year.”

        You said you wanted some suggestions of completely pure VNs:
        Ever17 (mystery), Steins;Gate (sci-fi thriller), Umineko (mystery)
        Only Umineko is on steam, because steam have a terrible selection of VNs. Clannad (drama/romance) is very popular and on steam, though I don’t like it myself. It is very similar to a standard eroge but without erotic content. (It have been that way from the start, and have stayed like that.) If you find that game okay, you shouldn’t have any issues with playing eroge’s which have been made worksafe. (And if you don’t want to just because it was originally 18+, whatever floats you boat, I don’t get you.)

        Please forget about MuvLuv, it is likely not worth your time. I fear all you will notice is the sexuality, which even fans agree is horrible, and not notice the parts people actually appreciates this VN for. And even if you do not get distracted by it, there is no garanti you will like it, as one persons masterpiece is another ones trash.

        • Zankman says:

          Replying as I read.

          >nukige vs eroge

          I know that distinction, the impression this thread was giving me is that Muv-Luv IS a nukige.

          >example of airing anime

          How can an airing anime be nukige? Wouldn’t that make it hentai and thus not air on TV?

          >eroge

          What’s the difference? You STILL get girls to choose from (“routes”) and you STILL get a sex scene in the end…

          And, again, I stress the difference, it is (most of the time, from what I have seen and read) NOT a sex scene – it is long, gratuitous, explicit and fetishized, focusing on those elements instead of on conveying love/passion/emotions/lust/etc.; thus, it is a porn scene (there is a worlds of difference between the two).

          But, either way: if it is still a game/VN experience about choosing, dating and ultimately “getting” girls… Yeah.

          If it isn’t, that element is strongly present; why in god’s name is that?

          >”why would you play them for masturbation instead of nukige?”

          I have no clue, I don’t get why that is a thing either.

          I’ve been told that it is because the eroge ones are better written so the female characters feel more real and thus it is a more satisfying experience.

          Now, I’m sure you’ll reply:

          >”but seriously though: it is not used for that, it is a 20+ hour story, the ~~sex~~ porn scene is not the focus!”

          Then why the fuck is it there, then?

          The “increased sales” explanation is just depressing.

          >Muv-Luv Extra

          So, yeah, just a dumb eroge. The entire notion of this genre and its staple features are infuriatingly tasteless.

          BTW, Wikipedia lists Muv-Luv as an “adult game”.

          >haven’t played Muv-Luv Unlimited

          Well that is odd on your part all things considered.

          >Muv-Luv Alternative

          >”just a little porn”

          What?

          Having any more than “0” is the problem, as well as having anything close to so gratuitously explicit content…

          For context, if it had “0 porn” but had scenes like from Sakura Spirits – same shit (and I don’t mind Sakura Spirits, that is blatantly a softcore porn game, it doesn’t hide its purpose).

          >rape scene

          Yeah that counts as a porn scene, given how it was described to me; sounds like the classic type of shit you find in any hentai (mild for hentai tastes, fml).

          I thus have a hard time believing that it was intended as a shocking, graphic and traumatizing rape scene – instead, I assume that it was a porn scene that contained rape, cuz, you know, that is normalized in hentai and Japanese pornography.

          >Alternative Spin-offs are porn-less

          Cool, I guess… Earned enough notoriety I guess to not have to use it.

          >Your Kickstarter contribution

          First off, completely outside the context of this discussion: I wish I had 300$ to throw willy-nilly at a Kickstarter for something I don’t even like, lol; I don’t want to be envious, so, I am glad at least someone is well-off financially!

          Second off, I agree, VNs do have potential as a medium – books, often with quite the amount of written content *but* with a Visual and Audio engine backing them (cool of you to support it)!

          That is why I hope we wrangle the medium away from the Otakus, Weaboos and those that pander to them as soon as possible; after that, we just need to put in a lot of work to, you know, wash off the stain of a reputation the medium has thanks to the aforementioned parties.

          (I am sorry if that sounded edgy, but, it is how I feel)

          >one-sided comments

          Plenty of people have been defending it… Unfortunately, even to the point of making up shitty excuses, turning a blind-eye to the blatant sexualized and pornographic content and trying to rationalize what should not be rationalized.

          >bad sides of Muv-Luv taking attention away from the good ones

          Good; that is what happens when you add shit to your game. Don’t add shit in that would make any reasonable person roll their eyes at the least and make them sick at the most.

          >original fanbase

          Was released as an “adult game”, soooo… I dunno about that.

          >no waifu wars

          Too old for that (the series)

          >hurts the reputation of VNs

          Covered this already, but, yeah, duh.

          >Alternative is for those that like action, sci-fi, technobabble

          I do like those things, but, I sure as hell won’t be playing it now thanks to the knowledge of it containing porn, iffy female characters and things like those suit designs.

          >Extra is a chore, everyone knows that

          It’s distasteful too!

          But, yeah, I don’t think anyone would have read Return of the King had Fellowship of the Ring been *soooooooo* shit.

          Regardless of all this talk of sexual/pornographic content, I think people skipping out on the entire series due to the obligatory (as all seem to claim) first part being so bad/boring is a completely fair argument/choice.

          >VN suggestions

          Thanks, appreciated.

          Steins;Gate has been suggested over and over, as has the anime (my intro-anime friend like it, so, that is a good sign).

          >Clannad being like eroge but without the porn

          First, it was described to me as a “emotional comfort” game, as a unique thing relevant to the Japanese population.

          Second, if it doesn’t have porn… It isn’t eroge.

          >”You [I] should then find worksafe eroges fine to play, I [you] don’t get my stance on that”

          It’s a matter of principle; the fact that it was/had distasteful content in it originally is enough to put me off of it.

          Besides: If it is originally like that, that is how it was intended to be experienced.

          >forget Muv-Luv

          This whole thing has just frustrated me, you know; but it is not worth getting frustrated over.

          Don’t get it twisted, tho – my harsh words on the series and the medium of VNs as a whole (rather, as implied, not the medium but the surrounding and associated culture) is not done out of spite, pettiness or malice; so I don’t mean to “shit on” the series you or others like “just for the sake of shitting on it”.

          And:

          >one man’s masterpiece is another man’s trash

          Is something I don’t usually mind, like, at all; I like my stuff, I don’t tell others that their taste is “wrong”. This discussion, I think, is the same way – but it was us sharing what we think about it, frankly and bluntly.

          >I fear all you will notice is the sexuality

          Well, given how important of a topic that is (for me and I feel in general) and how it permeates the experience of the series, I don’t think you can fault me for that.

          I maintain that it is a legitimate flaw of the series; in other words, not something you can just “ignore”.

          Analogy: it is NOT like watching a poorly recorded copy of a great movie and saying “ignore it”, it IS like watching a horribly directed movie and saying “ignore it”.

          >even the fans agree that [those elements] are horrible

          I mean… Yeah.

          :/

          • spillerrec says:

            > I know that distinction, the impression this thread was giving me is that Muv-Luv IS a nukige.

            MuvLuv is set to contain “Low sexual content (2.3 of 3)” on VNDB. This is the tag explanation btw:
            “This is the exact opposite of Nukige. These games have only a couple of hentai scenes per route just for the novelties sake. They are all about (relatively) great stories and should be avoided by people who are looking for an erotic experience.”
            So if you got the impression that it was a nukige, it just shows how biased the review and comments here are. It is nowhere near as bad as many of the other VNs on steam in that regard.

            > How can an airing anime be nukige? Wouldn’t that make it hentai and thus not air on TV?

            There is no actual penetration, so it is just considered borderline safe after heavy censorship. So for about 3 minutes of each episode there is a big box with moaning voices coming from behind, implicitly saying “BUY THE BLUE-RAY”. Japan, yeah…

            To ask you the same question, why would a nukige be on steam? There is what appears to be a thriving market for that outside of steam, so why remove most of the content to market it?

            > And, again, I stress the difference, it is (most of the time, from what I have seen and read) NOT a sex scene – it is long, gratuitous, explicit and fetishized, focusing on those elements instead of on conveying love/passion/emotions/lust/etc.; thus, it is a porn scene (there is a worlds of difference between the two).
            I just use sex to describe the action, not to decide if some random person on the internet find it acceptable or not, as how would I know.
            I would say most eroges probably ends up somewhere in the middle, they are definitely there to create arousal, but they also convey a lot of emotions of the characters. That is why there usually isn’t any until the end of the game, after the relationship and feelings have been build up between them. It is definitely not just mindless sex as what you see normally in pornography.
            I do get where you are coming from, I got seriously pissed at the sex scenes in Kara no Shoujo, because they were just thrown into the game without consideration for the time, place, or characters. But in most eroges I think it flows well and fit with the story and characters. Sometimes it can get a bit too much, but I also think this scene from the anime adaptation of White Album 2 was done really well:
            link to youtube.com
            It is likely more explicit in the eroge, but there is no translation so I haven’t been able to try it.

            > >”but seriously though: it is not used for that, it is a 20+ hour story, the ~~sex~~ porn scene is not the focus!”
            >
            > Then why the fuck is it there, then?
            >
            > The “increased sales” explanation is just depressing.
            That is just the sad truth which you need to accept and it is nothing unique to VNs. Just look at Games of Thrones, it is the exact same thing, and there is a lot of other movies which do the same. I watched Star Trek the movie the other day on TV, and it had a 5 second scene just so you could ogle on one of the females characters underwear. Its always been there, it have just gotten more explicit lately. James Bond was known to push the boundaries back in the days, but most people think nothing about it today.

            > BTW, Wikipedia lists Muv-Luv as an “adult game”.
            All VNs which have a 18+ rating are listed as such. Games like The Fruit of Grisaia (also on steam) are much worse in regards to porn.

            > >haven’t played Muv-Luv Unlimited
            >
            > Well that is odd on your part all things considered.
            I went on a 2 months vacation at my parents place after finishing Extra and forgot the disc, so moved on to Alternative. And really didn’t feel like trying Unlimited after finishing Alternative… From that 2 second flashback I think it might have more pointless sex scenes, so I want to make it clear that I have no idea how the erotic content was handled in Unlimited.

            > >rape scene
            >
            > Yeah that counts as a porn scene, given how it was described to me; sounds like the classic type of shit you find in any hentai (mild for hentai tastes, fml).
            I don’t remember it too well, but my impression was that while it was fetish-ish, it was also intended to be a horrid scene, explaining why she is as messed up as she have become. It is an important scene, and actually a major spoiler if the name of the character was mentioned, so I hope it wasn’t in the comments.
            This scene has been of quite the concern of how they would handle the censorship, as it is an important scene and shouldn’t just be cut of like the others can. But they did rewrite the sex scenes to cut out the explicit content in Extra instead of just removing it, so I hope they will do the same here and rewrite it in a good way, because it really was way over the top in the original and I just ended up laughing at it instead.

            > >”just a little porn”
            >
            > What?
            >
            > Having any more than “0” is the problem, as well as having anything close to so gratuitously explicit content…

            We are still talking about perhaps 15 minutes of erotic content in total of a 50+ hour novel. (and that’s perhaps exaggerated.) If you don’t like erotic content, fine, stay clear. I’m just trying to give you real expectations.

            However I don’t think it is fair to blame “gross otakus” because Alternative have one short scene which actually serves a purpose, when western movies have no issues doing the same just for the sake of sales. (Sure, the content is a bit more extreme, I concur.) I’m currently reading Kafka on the Shore which has received the World Fantasy Award, and that has quite a bit of what you consider “porn” as well. Why rant on a niche game, instead of an international recognized author?

            > But, yeah, I don’t think anyone would have read Return of the King had Fellowship of the Ring been *soooooooo* shit.

            People are of course exaggerating, which is what you should expect from the anime scene in general.

            > … I think people skipping out on the entire series due to the obligatory (as all seem to claim) first part being so bad/boring is a completely fair argument/choice.

            Isn’t that exactly why people are being warned about it from the get-go? It is not fair complaining about loose ends

            > >Clannad being like eroge but without the porn
            >
            > First, it was described to me as a “emotional comfort” game, as a unique thing relevant to the Japanese population.
            >
            > Second, if it doesn’t have porn… It isn’t eroge.
            There is nothing special about Clannad, it is your standard highschool romance drama where you can pick a girl. It is exactly the same as MuvLuv Extra, just without the porn at the end. It is just better executed, that’s all. Just because there is a bit of porn at the end doesn’t mean that the rest can’t be an emotional rollercoaster ride.
            “Key” which created Clannad started making eroge, and Clannd follows exactly the same pattern as the eroge they made.

            I’m actually a bit curious of what you would think of Little Busters! then, also by Key. It is not an eroge, but they released Little Busters! Ecstasy a year later, adding porn so it turned into eroge. It is the exact same game, just with a bit of extra content. (I don’t know what was the reason behind it.) Would you consider playing it? Would you be against the steam version, which is the Ecstasy version were they removed the explicit content? (I only tried the original all-ages version btw.)

          • Zankman says:

            @Spillerec

            BTW, I really appreciate your politeness and focus on details and facts.

            I hope I behaved similarly, even if a bit heated at times.

            If you want to continue this discussion, maybe it is better if you add me on Steam (same name), this comment section is such a bore.

            >2.3 out of 3 at VNDB

            Off-topic, bu: O.K., lol, what scales goes from 1 (or 0) to 3 but then still uses 0.1s, haha? Why not just 1-10 then?

            >opposite of nukige

            I mean, in a sense, yes… Story with porn as opposed to porn with story, sure, makes sense, but…

            >”only a couple of hentai scenes”

            >”per route”

            … Yeah.

            THEY ARE STILL THERE! [Number of porn scenes] > 0 = too many.

            With that said, three things:

            1) “novelty’s sake”? Really?

            2) I am sure many play them for the sake of “erotic” experiences, even if that was not their first intention.

            3) None of this takes into account that the VN can STILL a) have sexualized female designs/outfits and b) erotic but not pornographic CGs; the former seems to be very common.

            >impression is thanks to bias

            Well, my impression is based on the impression of others and those impressions might be based on first impressions – and those matter.

            Besides that, plenty of those here that were negative claim to have played it in its entirety, so… Maybe they are lying/biased, maybe they are just sharing their thoughts without any other goal in mind.

            >nowhere near as bad as many other VNs on Steam

            Which ones, out of curiosity?

            Oh and, yeah, “not as bad” is never a good thing to say.

            >that censored anime on TV

            That’s retarded, fml.

            I do know that Blu-Ray sales matter, so, I get that part, but still…

            >”why would nukige be on steam (without the actual primary content from them)?”

            For the sake of easy marketing.

            The system works in their favor: porn is not allowed on Steam – so, Devs/Publishers of Nukige games just need to release a censored version, attach a blatant “THIS MAKES IT PORN” patch to Steam and that is it…

            So, basically, you can literally buy porn on Steam; disgraceful.

            But it is more than just easy marketing: users are much more likely to buy stuff on Steam than off of it, especially not on “shady” (seeming, that is) websites.

            So, Devs/Publishers get to market their game to a completely new/otherwise unaware demographic and ensure that they get more purchases since the costumers are more comfortable on that platform.

            Steam allows this because money.

            >”I just use sex to describe the action, not to decide if some random person on the internet find it acceptable or not, as how would I know.”

            Lmao… It is not about whether it is acceptable or not, it is about what it is or isn’t!

            First, you have used “sex”, “porn” and “hentai” scene interchangeably…

            Second, more importantly, SURELY you are not implying that there is some “subjectivity” in terms of the “interpretation”? That you and I could watch the same scene in a VN and have a different conclusion as to whether it was a sex scene or porn?

            Hope not…

            Or are you going to tell me that you, I and Joe McPerson could watch a Brazzers scene and come out with a different interpretation as to “what it is”?

            A literal description of pornography exists, lol.

            >sexual content in eroge

            I haven’t played many and I have definitely been looking from the outside-in, but, they almost often seem to be how I described them: pornographic.

            Thus, by that nature, it is difficult for them to retain those other elements of conveying emotions, being tasteful and artistic and so on… If it is pornographic it cancels the other elements out.

            So, I think you misunderstand… The discussion is not whether the sex scene makes sense within the context of the story or not, it is about whether it is or isn’t needlessly explicit, gratuitous and fetishized – THAT (the latter) is what makes it pornographic!

            Now, if it doesn’t make sense within the context of the story in the first place – yeah, there is no debate at all as to what it is, lol.

            Think about it, though… Try to apply a porn scene that doesn’t make sense at all to [insert popular serious TV show] – it would be horrible.

            However, now try to turn an existing sex scene (even just implied ones) into actual porn scenes in that same [insert popular serious TV show] – it would STILL be horrible; random, off-putting, jarring… Ruining for the entire experience.

            It doesn’t matter if Eroge are the latter, it is still bad!

            It applies to your examples:

            >Kara no Shoujo

            Yeah, that does sound bad.

            >in most eroges it flows well and fits in with the story and characters.

            Doesn’t matter – still a porn scene.

            Now: Is it not a porn scene but a sex scene? Then it is completely fine; some movies and TV shows will show a kiss and a fade to black, some a bit more… Either way, it is never pornographic – thus, it is fine.

            >White Album 2 anime ending

            See, that is what I am talking about, that is completely fine!

            (Well I am not a fan of the shadow thing, but, that is my artistic taste speaking, irrelevant of this discussion)

            And to be clear: even if it showed just a bit more (nipples are common in movies), it wouldn’t matter; it is tasteful and meant to signify emotions of the story.

            >the VN is likely more explicit

            See, that is also what I am talking about – why the fuck is that the case (assuming that it is)? What is wrong with this one?

            No reason to be anything (substantially) more explicit than this version aka NO reason to be pornographic.

            >sexploitation, sex-sells and such

            All of that is true and unfortunate (Why does it even work? I’m a horny young man and I’ve never been affected by sex sells, lol) – but it doesn’t compare to, you know, literal porn scenes!

            GoT is spotty in terms of how it uses sex scenes, but, for the most part, it is fine.

            Besides: sex/sexuality/sexiness as a type of appeal and as a theme is one thing – AGAIN, literal porn scenes in something that pertains isn’t pornography is another.

            >Wikipedia listing it as an adult game

            Well, it doesn’t list the Witcher 3 or GoT as PRIMARILY adult content, so, yeah: all of what I’ve been saying so far.

            >The Fruit of Grisaia

            It came out in the short period of time where I managed to restrain myself from getting into these discussions (again and again), so, I dunno much about it.

            A french user on Steam was very passionate about it and defended it, citing that it isn’t pornographic, but, I didn’t pursue the discussion due to fear that it would frustrate us both due to his weak Englsih.

            But yeah I know there are worse games on Steam; didn’t think that that was one of them, though!

            It seemed tamer on paper than Muv-Luv…

            >Unlimited

            Probably as much as Extra.

            >rape scene

            It was fully spoiled, then, since a name was mentioned. No harm done for me personally.

            In fact, it only did good – I was tempted to sit down, play through the series myself and “settle it all once and for all”… After reading that, NOPE.

            Anyway, despite its apparent importance to the plot and “intended role of being and conveying traumatic horror”…

            Well, you yourself admit the fetishistic nature of it… Then we keep in mind all of this “Japan ffs” stuff, how it relates to otaku trends, tropes and culture…

            Then we keep in mind how, apparently, as this thread reveals to me, “rape is one of the most common if not THE most common fetishes”…

            Yeah.

            Two ways of viewing it:

            1) the author did not intend it to be sexual – then they have some serious issues in terms of perception, because they DID make it fucked up BUT they also made it sexual.

            2) the author did intend it to be sexual – the author found a way to add a porn scene to their game; worst case scenario the scene was completely shoehorned-in and otherwise unneeded, best case scenario it was a “two birds with one stone” type of thing.

            I think that 2) is much, much more likely… Then it doesn’t matter which of the sub-scenarios it was, it is a “REALLY?!?”-levels of horrible decision either way.

            There have been some… Graphic rape scenes in movies but, mind you, graphic in the sense that they were meant to be quite horrifying, not sexual.

            If you tried to compare them to rape/rapey scenes in pornography, although they could also illicit horror in some viewers (like myself), ultimately, they would be quite, quite different.

            As far as Muv-Luv goes and that scene is concerned: If I hadn’t said so much already I’d say “no comment”!

            >said scene in the forthcoming all-ages English version

            Now that does make me curious, lol.

            >”and I just ended up laughing at it instead.”

            Bro

            Myself I am really not tolerant of, well, graphic violence and shit, so, even if it is drawn/2D, I’d still be very uncomfortable with it…

            Like, my mom watches horror movies that visually horrify and traumatize me, she just laughs at how “fake” and “over the top” it is…

            That is a weakness, I envy you.

            You know, speaking of all of this – it is actually quite, quite ironic, all of this…

            When browsing the Internet, inevitably I come across all kinds of stuff, including the rape (and otherwise horrifying) types of hentai images and manga…

            They always make me uncomfortable; doesn’t matter that it is 2D and fictional, doesn’t matter if it is a one-off image of a no-name character – it still makes me uncomfortable, plagues my mind (for days, even, tho, just at moments at a time) and makes me feel so sad/bad, sympathetic for that random, non-real person.

            “Why, oh god?!? Poor girl…” I think, things like that.

            SO: If I DID play Muv-Luv, in full, without spoilers, if I was into the story, connected to the characters… I’d likely be affected by that rape scene in the EXACT way one is supposed to react to it – I’d he mortified, I’d be sad and, with context for the character, it would hit me hard, I’d emphatically feel that same trauma… And I wouldn’t be aroused, needless to say.

            So, in a way, maybe it is a shame that it was spoiled. Eh.

            >amount of content

            Well I appreciate you clarifying and actually being factual about it, I was just stating that any amount is too much if said content is pornographic.

            (But we already covered this)

            >blaming it on gross otakus

            Because it has been confirmed to me as being a real thing, by people that like the medium and are familiar with the culture?

            The otakus seek and make that kind of content mandatory, to the point where Publishers abide and force Devs to adapt to that!

            >in the West

            As I said earlier, it is almost always less extreme, blatant and pornographic.

            >Kafka on the Shore

            I know nothing about that, except that it is from a Japanese author as Wiki tells me (tho that might as well be just coincidence to this whole thing).

            As far as shitty usage of dubious themes/content, all I know of is 50 Shades of Grey (and some vampire-themed series someone else shared in the comments, which is EXACTLY like eroge).

            >exaggerating in the anime scene

            What do you mean by this?

            Literally everyone (positive reviews on Steam) said this about Extra and Unlimited (“boring and chores, but, worth it for the sake of Alternative”).

            >Isn’t that exactly why people are being warned about it from the get-go? It is not fair complaining about loose ends

            I don’t get what you’re saying here.

            Are you saying that if people skipped it they would complain about confusing loose ends and other holes in the plot?

            Well, then they should read the prequels… Which everyone says that they should, but, which everyone highlights are pretty bad/boring.

            Thus, any potential reader has “must read all 3” ingrained into them – which in on itself might turn many away, but, which it definitely does given that Parts 1 and 2 are described as bad/boring.

            >Clannad

            Well, then, yeah, w/e. Doesn’t fall under my interest either way, but, it for sure is better because it lacks porn.

            >Just because there is a bit of porn at the end doesn’t mean that the rest can’t be an emotional rollercoaster ride.

            Wonder if you would say that if every cinematic classic ended in a 20-minute porn scene, lol.

            But, anyway, for my personal taste: it does mean that everything before it is naught. The random and distasteful porn scene completely nullifies the entire thing.

            >Key

            It seems that everyone started by making Eroge…

            Except for Western indies and brand-new studios in Japan thanks to the medium becoming more mainstream.

            >Little Busters!

            Two parts of the coin here.

            The first: If it was turned into an Eroge, I assume that it had “potential to be Eroge all along”: dating/”You try to win a/the girl!” elements, sexy anime babes (cuz god forbid they wear modest outfits and are’t tits on sticks) and a general eroge-friendly setting (high-school romance, for example)… So if that was the case, I’d say “no”.

            Even without dating elements and with sensible character design, I wouldn’t be interested if it was high-school romance/drama or anything like that; just not my thing, like, at all – like how some don’t like sci-fi or fantasy, I don’t like romance or rom-com stories.

            The other: In terms of pure principle, assuming I *was* interested in the game in on itself, I would play it; the author made it a nice, normal sensible story without any porn, mature themes or not.

            It was the Publisher and the Otakus that, apparently, caused that pornified re-release to happen…

            But, hell, even if the author was 100% on board with that, I wouldn’t mind; their bad decisions in the present would not negate the original.

            >”I don’t know what was the reason behind it.”

            Well, we covered that, pandering to the main demographic.

            >”Would you play the censored Ecstasy version?”

            That sounds so funny: “It was non-porn, then it was made into porn, now the Steam version is a censored version of the porn one”.

            As I already said, I wouldn’t mind playing the original.

            If the censored version of the re-release has worthwhile content additions, I’d give in and make the exception and play it; if not, I’d stick to the original because fuck the porn nonsense.

  16. baskins says:

    I’ll be honest, I’m quite a bit blown away by the attempts at rationalizing and downplaying the blatant misogynistic and apparent sub-par quality of this game. I haven’t played it, but the screenshots and videos I’ve seen have made me cringe and nearly gag.

    I mean, are you guys seeing what I’m seeing? This game is nothing more than rehashed generic anime bullshit(even for 2003), catering specifically to horny men of varying ages who want to delve into masturbatory fantasy.
    I don’t want to come off too judgemental, people are entitled to their fantasies and escapism, but lets not pretend that this VN is representative of quality, meaningful storytelling. This is nothing more than censored hentai(till the patch) with a plot shoehorned in as a vehicle to indulge male-centrist fantasy. I mean, how many dudes are playing this game and not jerking off? I’d be hard pressed to believe those who aren’t are not in the stark minority.

    This steam review alone had me groan:

    “A few minutes in and I’ve already hit my girlfriend three times and cheated on her.”

    • Zankman says:

      Jesus, I’ll end up playing this VN just to put my mind to rest…

      You’re calling it horrible misogynistic hentai, others are calling it glorified nukige, some are calling it a mediocre eroge that somehow got popular and others still are calling it a VN masterpiece…

      Personally I don’t mind if it is hentai/nukige, in on itself – it’s just porn, w/e… Has its purpose.

      But if it really IS just that, then, it doesn’t deserve all of this praise and attention; so, in that sense, you’d be right to condemn it.

      I wouldn’t go so far as you did to call it misogyny, though; if it is what I think it is, it is a game aimed at otaku “NEETs” or whatever they are called, sexually and socially repressed and regressive geeks of the worst variety…

      Not so much misogyny then as it is “don’t know any better” and “too detached from real life”.

      • baskins says:

        I understand what your saying, but “doesn’t know any better” doesn’t justify apologizing for a game that centers on a male character that treats women like sexual objects. I mean, people act like shit and do horrible things all the time because they “didn’t know any better.” We can look at the circumstances for why someone may do something,or behave a certain way, but ignorance isn’t justification for these things. I think its absolutely worthy of critique, and certainly might fuel misogynistic mindsets in these poor poor repressed angry nerds.Its okay to call it porn, its okay to call it what it is, but to try and defend it as something else is farfetched.

        • Mouseboy says:

          You clearly do not know what you are talking about if you think this game is misogynistic. Why do people write these walls of text without having playing the game? The protagonist goes from a Japanese teenager to a soldier who respects each and every one of his female teammates. In unlimited, he recognizes that he is the weakest member of the team and works hard to gain their approval and respect. He also doesn’t treat them like sexual objects. Maybe if you actually played the game instead of making stuff up then you would see that.

          • EternalMonolith says:

            You saw a picture of what appears to be scantily-clad women and assumed they’re treated as sex objects. Posts like this make you seem blinded by the misogynistic boogeyman. While misogyny is a real problem, this series is not an example of that. Yes, the suits are pure fan-service (stuff like that is unfortunately shoehorned in due to pandering) and there’s a single, tactful sex scene and the end depending on the girl you’ve spent FORTY+ game hours spending time with. (That’s months in-world time)

            You just couldn’t get past that, though. You’ve disgregarded a 50+ hour story based on character appearances and cherry-picked screenshots and quotes from the reviewer. The original part, Muv-Luv Extra, is admittedly just a mediocre eroge though with some decent characterization. Most don’t understand that was mostly the point! See the above post on genre-shift.
            The previous poster, Mouseboy, is 100% right.
            Every one of the female characters is a strong, nuanced personality with their own detailed past, ideals, and goals. They’re repeatedly depicted as more competent and intelligent than the protagonist, and the blatant lie that he treats them as sex objects is completely unfounded… the protagonist spends endless hours getting to know and understand them. He’s not a deviant trying to get in their pants, nor is his life view sexist. This is a group of flawed people struggling through a difficult life – this adversity brings them together, and lets friendship and romance develop.
            Notice how there’s been zero evidence to back up this claim of blatant sexism on the mind of the protagonist.

            Other readers, please don’t disregard such a wonderful story because some people can’t get past superficial, surface-level tropes that have no impact on the game as a whole.

          • Zankman says:

            Probably because the reviewer and others are saying the exact opposite of what you’re saying?

            Others that have played the game have here in the comments scoffed at the notion that the story of the protagonist is anything positive, to look up too or anything close to a good story.

          • Zankman says:

            @EternalMonolith

            Why would we believe you and not a) the reviewer and b) other commenters that have played all three games and agree with him? What makes your words different and your statement more trustworthy?

            Where are your quotes and proof of your claims, since you accuse others of not having them?

            Finally: Why the hell would people ignore these “superficial, surface-level” tropes? If they don’t like them, if they see them as a sign of a story done in poor taste, why would they tolerate them?

            All of that assuming what you’re saying is true – and that they ARE just surface-level tropes, shoehorned-in to the game to pander to the otakus…

            Meanwhile, others say that this is not the case, that tropes and designs like that permeate throughout the series and that it is indeed just a porn VN that was made safe due to the random success it had…

          • EternalMonolith says:

            By that logic, don’t believe me, believe the massive quantity of other reviews that lawd it as a masterpiece.
            It’s the highest rated visual novel series of all time not just on VNDB, but its consistently rated 9s and 10s on other independent review sites. All these people must be sexist pigs who only want lewd anime girls, right?
            Same with the 90%+ positive reviews on Steam.

            Predictably, you failed to address any of my points about the games qualities, instead opting to point out that because other commentators said it, it must be right. There won’t be any changing of your mind clearly, but other readers will clearly see how empty your argument is.

          • EternalMonolith says:

            Why should others believe me over random posters in the comment section?
            I’d encourage them to read a few other reviews that focus on more important elements of the game rather than the tropes most have come to expect from visual novels. They’re certainly not absent, but it’s outrageous judge a whole series based on that.
            I too wish these stories could be told without such tropes, but they don’t deserve to be disregarded because of them.
            Here’s a Kotaku article which addresses the concerns of this article while also considering the merits.

            link to tay.kinja.com

          • Zankman says:

            @EternalMonolith

            Great stuff mate, love it when it takes people a whole two posts to get into “insult” and “I’m better than you territory”.

            ANYWAY: The masses of people that like this don’t have to be sexist pigs, they just have to be biased and desensitized to the negative anime/VN tropes and conventions…

            Given that this is a series from the early 2000s and that, besides otakus themselves, loner geeks would be the ones to play this via fan-translations back in the day… Hm…

            Yeah, I’ll go with “bias and desensitization”.

            How can I talk about the game’s qualities and your claims about it when I had not played it?

            Why else do you think I talk about “your word vs word of others”? The only reason I am here is to find out about the game…

            Likewise, you didn’t address why I should believe you over the others, so…

            FINALLY: If the game does have some actual quality in writing and characters, IMO, it can only be brought down by the porn-derived tropes and elements, creating a jarring environment and atmosphere.

            So, really, if it IS good… It’s, like, kind of wasted.

          • Zankman says:

            @EternalMonolith Part 2 (Kotaku Article)

            Well:

            A) There are others that have played it in its entirety and still call it trash.

            B) Those same people say that the tropes and conventions stemming from the porn origins of the series are NOT easily overlooked, saying that they DO influence the overall atmosphere of the game.

            C) Why would people NOT disregard the series due to those tropes and issues? If it bothers them, it is a legitimate flaw; people have skipped out on games/stories/movies/etc. for far less.

            D) “It’s just VN content, it is common, it is expected” is not an excuse; especially nowadays when the medium is moving away from its shitty beginnings.

            E) I’ll read the Kotaku article but I doubt it will help; I recall reading one article there about the Skyrim/Fallout porn mods… It tried to argue that those mods “totally weren’t about the porn and rampant sexualization” to a very laughable degree.

            Definitely a bad taste in my mouth.

            (MB if it was not Kotaku but some other website instead)

        • Zankman says:

          Yeah, but, if it is a porn game – not a game about sex or mature themes, but a porn game – the female characters being treated like sexual objects is, you know… Expected.

          In that context, it is the appropriate way to go about things… Maybe you, like me, prefer them to be treated like actual people with qualities (sex appeal among them) as opposed to “hot sluts”, but, again, given that it is *porn*, it is not exactly an issue.

          From that PoV, it is just a sexual fantasy, very shallow, not much to it; not really misogyny then.

          • baskins says:

            Yeah I feel ya, and I’m willing to admit I read into things too quickly from a surface level. I still do think this game sexualizes women, particularly very young women, in a way that I believe is symptomatic of a continent crossing culture of men viewing women as sexual objects. This game may very well not do that to the extent that I may have presumed, and I certainly have presumed, but what I’ve seen of other VNs has aided in fueling my bias. The women in this game(and others,not just VNs)may be portrayed as strong and independent, but not without also being “super hot bro”. I think this element of the game is still fair to criticize even if it is at surface level.Cant they tell the same “great” story without everyone wearing skimpy costumes and having anatomy defying breasts and frames? Sure they don’t have to, but i think its stifling to not ask these questions. That being said, I apologize for coming on particularly strong and I don’t want to fuel an argument.

          • Zankman says:

            @baskins

            No problem mate.

            My point is that when it comes to porn (especially fully fictional one, you know, drawn/written stuff), it being kinda misogynistic like that and women being treated as sexual objects for the male viewer/reader – is kinda “O.K.” and expected; not my thing and too much of it becomes rape-y, but, I reckon most of those that consume it aren’t misogynists or anything like that – it is just a simple sexual fantasy separated quite well from real life and real people.

            (Well, I hope so, at least).

            As for this game, I agree with you – *WHY* do they have to look like that?

            Can a character be pretty, sexy and sexual? Sure, why not; can they also have other qualities? Of course, preferably even…

            But if every/most females are treated just as “boner fodder” in terms of how they are designed, presented and treated – then it does become questionable.

            The fact that they, if you are to believe some of the commenters, are “strong, independent characters with their own strengths and flaws” just makes it WORSE – it just makes the silly rampant porn-derived sexualization stand out even worse; it makes it more jarring.

            If you believe what most people here in the comments say, this VN series started as porn: somewhere between nukige (porn with story) and eroge (story with porn, for some reason); then it got successful and kinda curtailed those elements as it tried to get serious.

            However, like you and others, I do feel like the elements, factors and tropes of its origins still permeate even in the final version of the game – by which I mean Alternative *and* the All Ages versions of all three.

            What do you mean by:

            >I still do think this game sexualizes women, particularly very young women, in a way that I believe is symptomatic of a continent crossing culture of men viewing women as sexual objects.

            ?

            Also: Yes, you are seemingly a bit biased against this game due to other VNs – but, as other VN fans themselves have said, that is actually completely reasonable and deserved.

          • baskins says:

            What I meant was simply that in most, if not all cultures, women are treated very often(an understatement if you ask me)as sexual objects. I find it particularly disturbing when the women in question are meant to be of high school age or younger.

          • Zankman says:

            @Baskins

            Well, not only is that “accusation” very heavy, it is also a bit too much of a serious and off-topic discussion to have here.

            I kinda get what you’re saying, tho, I am not sure if I agree.

          • baskins says:

            I could go on and on about how said “accusation” is a reality, but for the sake of keeping things game related I won’t. No hostility intended, you’ve been very mature and tempered in your discourse(more so than I) and I agree that its probably better to let this horse rest.

          • Zankman says:

            @baskins

            I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on that, actually.

            Elsewhere, of course; you’ve got any contact?

        • EternalMonolith says:

          I’m sorry you feel that way, my posts were not meant to be choleric though they were a bit aggressive. Tropes are certainly usually a valid reason to disregard a series – I’m posting here merely in effort to encourage people to seek out the myriad of other opinions (that don’t agree about the sexual tropes being pervasive and detrimental to the atmosphere/story) before making a judgement because I feel this article was somewhat superficial in its treatment of the deeper themes. Even the romantic aspects of the final game is well-written, spanning large swathes of character interaction and many a tragedy. I don’t think it’s fair to call the games eroge/nukige (especially the latter two). The sexual scenes are short and decently appropriate, not degrading or the like. It’s not the type of VN one would read to get off, it feels more like the culmination of a long relationship. They are totally unnecessary though.
          You’re right in that many of the positive reviews are desensitized to the tropes mentioned earlier – but I think that allowed them to get past what many wouldn’t be able to (the suits, etc.) and experience something greater. That said, I still feel those tropes are detrimental and their phasing out is essential for the medium to grow.

          Also… Yeah… I believe I read that Skyrim mod article… Jeez.

          • EternalMonolith says:

            Wahh, my bad. Posted in the wrong thread. Oh well.

          • Zankman says:

            Re Skyrim article: What do you mean “Jeez”? Do you not believe that they make those mods, incredibly detailed vaginas and buttholes included, *totally* because the female models are not as good as the male ones?

            :^)

            Well, first off: yes, getting multiple opinions is helpful and healthy for trying to come with your conclusion with an open-mind.

            Some comments, mostly from Eight Rooks, have made me feel quite negatively about the series, I must admit (in addition to the review itself).

            Speaking of which: a lot of what he said directly opposes what you have said/said in this latest post of yours.

            I still dunno, really… Hadn’t had the chance to converse with that buddy of mine nor read the article you linked yet.

            The biggest issue is that just “seeing it for myself” is not really a “quick” option…

            Second: I would not say that getting used to/desensitized to the tropes is a good thing – it just makes you turn a blind eye to flaws that are still present.

            I don’t think it is a matter of “getting past them” as you imply – those tropes are still there, the elements of the design and story are still there… Those are ultimately still flaws of the game from my PoV.

            If it is as bad as some of the other commenters imply, then, sorry, I’ll say that it is certainly not something I could ever just “get past”.

            Mind you: in this case we are not just talking about tropes – we are also talking about the game having (or not) those porn-derived elements and factors, including how the female characters are designed, presented and used, as well as how the character dynamics work.

            Finally: we can certainly agree that the medium of VNs becoming more popular and more common with Western audiences is a great thing.

            As you implied, hopefully this leads to less VNs with porn in them (again, nothing wrong with them having mature themes and/or sex, just like TV shows, movies and books – just that it isn’t porn) as well as less glorified porn VNs.

    • Mordaedil says:

      Sumika is not your girlfriend at the start, she’s your childhood friend and you don’t “hit” her as much as flick her forehead.

      Also everybody hampers on about the suits, but what exactly is so revealing about them? They just look like orange/blue suits, the girls all have distinct skin colors that do not show on the suits nor are there are indications of nipples on display. So, is it the belly-buttons?

      Seriously, how puritan are people here?

      • Zankman says:

        Lmao, what are you on about?

        You can’t call people puritan when we can see the pictures right in this very article.

        I think you are a victim of a bit too much desensitization to the tropes of the medium…

        Those are definitely not “just suits” and calling people “too puritan” is just a cheap cop-out to write-off opinions you don’t agree with.

      • Eight Rooks says:

        “Puritan”, huh? Jeez, it’s the fuss over The Witcher 2 all over again. I have no objection to sexual content, but even if it’s largely for titillation there’s no excuse for dumb justification or terrible writing. Again, I’ve played all three games, and I thought the suits were ridiculous – if you don’t think they’re basically a cheap excuse to have all the women who’re sexually available to the protagonist permanently naked, I envy your pure, unsullied little mind. Notice how no other female character in the game has a suit that same flesh colour, and no man has anything remotely as revealing? Seriously? Not to mention that supposedly it’s actual armor/impact protection and yet the protagonist has no trouble in tearing it off with his bare hands when, well, you know.

        Not to mention, as I’ve said elsewhere, Jesus, the sex scenes were so god damned boring. Nothing but an anatomy lesson spun out over what felt like nearly half an hour of clicking (and I started tapping through it as fast as I could at one point, just to have it over and done with). No depth to them at all, no drama, nothing to get excited about in any sense. I… probably shouldn’t take this particular tangent too much further, but seriously, other writers in the genre have done far better, in any way you want to interpret that.

        • Zankman says:

          Yeah just because we:

          A) Don’t buy into lame and lazy sexualization

          B) Don’t buy into cheap, poorly-written excuses for such designs/armor

          Doesn’t mean that we are puritan or sex-negative.

          Lmao @ the sex scenes being boring/bad in “every sense/from any PoV”.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      Just to chime in on this; you seem to be judging it a bit harshly, but I wouldn’t say your concerns are unfounded. Muv-Luv (all three games) doesn’t treat the female protagonists like sex objects in the way some, more porn-oriented (or outright porn) VNs do, but the people who think the story flatout doesn’t do any such thing… I’ve read any number of supposedly serious reviews that gloss over this stuff and sorry, they’re kidding themselves. Apologies if that crosses a line, any mods reading, but I really don’t know how to put it any more civilly than that. The protagonist is clearly, blatantly portrayed as the center of every female character’s world, without whom their very existence would fall apart – literally, even, given he repeatedly talks about how he’s the only one who can save this entire reality. They exist only to provide emotional gratification to him/the player – yes, their individual stories are more detailed and more nuanced than many other VNs but they’re still very much women who can’t solve their own problems before a big strong man comes along. They jump into the sack with him at the drop of a hat – not on the “first date” or whatever, no, but as soon as he’s ready, they’re ready. Roll sex scene. I wish this comment system had spoilers, but again, the worst moment in Alternative is pure, unfettered jerk-off material and nothing more, a woman suffering for the reader’s entertainment: it’s completely pointless to such an extent the game all but admits it, and yet when it’s actually happening it has the gall to pretend this nonsense has nuance or emotional weight. That could be censored or cut out entirely, to be fair – but it also has one jaw-droppingly dumb 18+ moment which is directly, intrinsically tied into the storyline – you could censor it, but you could not take it out entirely or one plot beat would make no sense at all – something certain chest-beating sub-Reddits would find absolutely hilarious. And as has been mentioned elsewhere, the ending is ridiculous – one particular emotional moment that’s so wearily offensive it’s beyond a joke (more women getting the short end of the stick) gets repeated multiple times, and the final confrontation (again, draws supposed gravitas from the same thing) drags on, and on, and on, and on far longer than it should have.

      It’s hardly terrible – as I said earlier there’s some really, really good bits, even brilliant bits in there – but overall it really isn’t the masterpiece it’s portrayed as, simple as that. There’s far, far better stories of pretty much every sort available in the genre. People just seized on it because it was the first high-profile, big-budget game to really treat this stuff as Serious Business, despite all the tits (seriously, it still holds up fairly well next to many VNs released today), and since no-one ever made a concerted argument to explain why this was ridiculous the fans just went right on taking it at face value.

      • Zankman says:

        Thanks for another good comment, Eight Rooks.

        Honestly, those good/”brilliant even” bits have to be REALLY good, because, the way you are describing it, I’d honestly say that you’re being too lenient… It sounds horrible.

      • Zankman says:

        Especially the way you describe the protagonist-female character dynamics, how they are just set-up for the protagonist/reader… Sounds horrible.

    • malkav11 says:

      I think you’re making some insanely sweeping and unwarranted generalizations and judgments about something you yourself admit you haven’t played/read and the people who like it. I haven’t read Muv Luv either, so I don’t have an opinion on its quality or lack thereof, but good lord would I not go around arguing with people who have on the basis of having read this review and seen a few screenshots, much less deciding for other people their motives for enjoying it.

      • Zankman says:

        Well, from his PoV, he suddenly encountered a “gross and perverted porn game”, from a medium that is infamous for certain… Things.

        Combine that with his (elsewhere implied) strong opinion on the problematic state of (young) women in today’s world and you get the impression that he got: “Surely this is just some porn game, a disgusting one at that, entirely made and designed for perverts to masturbate to”.

        • malkav11 says:

          Like I say, sweeping and unwarranted generalizations based on little to no personal experience. I’ll admit that I’ve made assumptions based on a variety of factors other than direct experience before, and no doubt will again, and insofar as that drives my personal actions and decisions that’s not the end of the world. But I try not to present those assumptions as factual, since they’re not, or conclude anything about people other than myself on that basis. I particularly try not to do so in a public space to all and sundry, and I sure as heck wouldn’t argue with people who do have that direct experience.

          • Zankman says:

            Yeah said person likely got a little to heated and thus made the mistake of doing that.

  17. Chillicothe says:

    This thing sucking completely deep-sixes that Rance localization, don’t it?

    • Zankman says:

      What do you mean by that?

      (Both with the term “deep-sixes” and Rance)

      • Skandranon says:

        Deep-six means bury/kill/get rid of, basically he’s saying it’s not happening.

        Also, Rance is a historical fantasy strategy game that’s also straight up pornographic and fairly rapey. You probably wouldn’t like it.

        • Zankman says:

          I see.

          See, combining those two things… How fucked up can you get, seriously?

          Also: I wouldn’t like it? Who would?

          • Skandranon says:

            A lot of people? Rape isn’t exactly a rare fetish. At the very least, the guy above me.
            I tried the latest one awhile back. It was kinda boring.

          • Skandranon says:

            And to be fair, it isn’t all rape. Just a lot of sex in general, some of which is rape.

            Still, I imagine some people would take offense.

          • Zankman says:

            @Skandranon

            Rape is a common fetish?

            Yeah, no, I think it is pretty rare; the Internet just overexposes fetishes and allows for catering to extreme fetishes.

            That is, at least, what I hope; “fetishes are fetishes” is one thing, but, come on, we can’t really say that when rape is involved…

            I don’t think some people would “take offense”, I assume MOST would…

            Not only is the entire concept of rape sickening and disturbing in on itself – the notion that you’re supposed to derive ENJOYMENT and AROUSAL from witnessing a person being physically, mentally, psychologically and emotionally abused in the form of rape is just… Ugh; really, the implication that it was made to get someone to beat off is just an awful thought.

            Worst part: I’ve seen plenty of hentai and western pornography – the rape(y) stuff is not only “just” about the taboo factor or the power trip of the assailant, oh no: it is often ACTIVELY about the torture of the victim, their degradation and dehumanization – including themes like turning them into slaves and/or sex-crazed nymphos, taking away their worth and strength and the “classic” forced impregnation.

            Fun fact: A rape-focused hentai doujin game just got released a few days ago on Steam.

            But you have to get a patch (provided by the dev on the forums…) to get the “good content” so, like, it is totally O.K.

          • Skandranon says:

            Sorry you’re apparently just now finding out, but rape is one of the most common (if not THE most common) fetishes in the world, with something like 50% of all people having rape fantasies. Of both genders.

            link to en.wikipedia.org

            The studies mentioned in there are almost all pre-Internet. This is a regular thing. I’m not saying you, personally, have to like it; but you do have to understand that an incredibly large portion of nice, normal people do. World-wide.

            Hell, 50 Shades of Grey is a thing, and if you’ve ever read it you’d know how incredibly rapey it is, with plenty of things happening without the main character’s consent, and she (along with, apparently, millions of other people) actively gets off on degradation, dehumanization, and having her worth and strength taken away. And this is mainstream stuff at this point.

          • Zankman says:

            @Skandranon

            In the past I’ve said “Yeah it is just a fantasy and I know that” but I’ll admit to it now – I actually DON’T believe it, straight up.

            I just don’t; “normal, nice and well-adjusted” people do not have fantasies of raping someone else; the act is simply too fucking vile.

            As the article implies, maybe, MAYBE there is some logic to wanting to be raped in relation to some weird socio-cultural-gender-related reasons…

            But even then, no one is imagining ACTUAL rape, instead, some fantasized and non-consequential variant of it.

            And, yeah, I know about 50 Shades of Grey – it IS trash, it IS disturbing and it IS a crime that that book has come to represent BDSM.

            The fact that the book itself is not about “rape roleplay” – whatever that is – and is instead about ACTUAL rape taking place… Ugh.

            Mind you, from what I know (there is a word for it, can’t recall it ATM), “preparing” someone for rape is also rape; you know, gradually breaking them down into submission – which, if I am not mistaken, is exactly what happens in 50 Shades of Grey.

          • Skandranon says:

            Nice, normal, everyday people watch slasher flicks. Jason, Freddy, Final Destination. Movies dedicated to nothing but murdering relatively innocent (usually) teenagers in increasingly horrifying ways, and people eat it up. Heck, they take their kids to see it because violent murder, as long as too much gore isn’t shown, is only PG-13.

            Normal people have power fantasies. Power fantasies of murdering people they don’t like, taking things they want, and in general, doing things that IRL would have dire consequences, and which outside of said fantasies would be considered disgusting.

            And yeah, how rapey the fantasies are probably vary. A lot of them are probably more “sexy Zorroesque man swishes into your home and ravishes you on a bed of roses theoretically against your will”, but a huge, huge huge amount of people are into the hardcore stuff SPECIFICALLY because of it being perceived as something “nice, normal people” don’t indulge themselves in. Taboo acts are a pretty strong draw for, again, a LOT of people. Sex fantasies about mother/daughter pairs or twins, for instance.

            Regardless, going back to my original point – you wondered “who would like such a game?” and the fact is, a LOT of people. I mean, not everyone plays overtly sexual video games in the first place, but a significant portion of the ones that do. Rance is fairly well-liked from what I’ve seen.

            It’s still a crappy game, though.

        • Zankman says:

          re: your latest reply

          I dunno how to respond to that…

          I just don’t buy that claim that those with these types of thoughts are indeed “nice, normal, every-day people”… I just can’t.

          It sounds dumb to say, but, what else can I say – I AM that type of person and I for sure don’t have such thoughts, even if escapist and completely fantastical…

          Even then – having random dark thoughts cross your mind != indulging in them on a deep level (playing games about it, reading about it).

          I also don’t get how the “slasher movies” have anything to do with aforementioned indulgence.

          So, no, it is not “power fantasies”…

          Oh and how the hell can it be a case of “fantasies that IRL would be disgusting”?

          They are disgusting even in those fantasies! How could they not be, especially if the appeal itself is related to said “disgust”?

          And “taboo”? Yeah, no…

          Deriving pleasure from thoughts of harming innocents (or even bad people) is fucking insane, especially when tied to sexual pleasure, not “just a fantasy”…

          Oh and yeah: on second thought, whatever, role-playing between couples is fine.

          But indulging in stories where [insert horrible act] is presented as real?

          Hell no.

          • Skandranon says:

            I brought up the slasher movies because its the same thing.

            Murder is wrong, yeah? Gross, disgusting, unacceptable?
            Yet every day, normal people go and watch Jason, Saw, blah blah blah. Movies where people are brutally murdered, torn apart, tortured, brutalized and massacred. For entertainment. We enjoy it. We, as human beings, enjoy seeing horrible disgusting bad things happening – as long as they are fictional.

            And the “deriving pleasure from imagining harm to people” …we’re on a videogame site. I would think you couldn’t AVOID seeing people deriving pleasure from bringing harm to innocents. Hell, have you ever played through something like Fallout, or Mass Effect, or any of those choice based games that are out there, and seen the evil options? You can tear apart families, sell kids into slavery, murder and pillage innocents everywhere. Blow up cities. Destroy lives on both a grand and a small, personal scale. These options are there because people – again, normal people – DO enjoy them. Because they’re are fictional acts tied to fictional people. And applying this concept to sex and or sexual violence isn’t really any different than applying it to regular ol’ murdery violence.

            Look, I’m not trying to change your mind about how you, personally feel about such things, that’s up to you. But you gotta understand – the ability to enjoy such a thing is completely divorced from how “nice and normal” a person is. It’s just the way we, as people, function.

        • Zankman says:

          Re: latest reply, again (this comment system is horrible)

          The only thing I agree on is that there is no real difference between the “regular” versions of murder, violence and evil and the sexual ones; the latter are just somehow more of a “awkward” topic.

          The rest… No.

          I just can’t accept it.

          I guess most people are not, in fact, “nice and normal”; I have always known that a large amount of people on this planet are fucked up, but, if what you’re implying is “true”, then, I guess, MOST are fucked up.

          Either way, “nice and normal” they are not, if they enjoy such things, if their mind goes to such places; it is not “completely divorced”, it is impossible for a “nice and normal” person to enjoy such things – it categorically implies that they have serious issues if depictions of utter malice and malevolent acts can elicit positive responses from them, be it happiness, enjoyment, arousal…

          The fact that it is fiction absolutely changes nothing…

          All fiction is based on eliciting emotional responses and the “realer” it gets, the more significant the implication is…

          It doesn’t matter that it is a fiction you/other character doing fictional acts to fictional people/recipients – you still see what happens, how it happens and what are the implications and consequences of it.

          It, in that sense, IS real and is not disconnected from reality.

  18. bill says:

    Oh Japan… sigh.

  19. Sly-Lupin says:

    This “review” demonstrates fairly handily why I don’t believe in parody or satire: it never works. People who get the joke, got the joke before they read the first word… and those who don’t get the joke will never get it no matter how many times they see it.

    MuvLuv is a *parody*. And, frankly, while it’s far from a great game, it certainly manages to be amusing more often than not. The goal of the game is to make you laugh–and if it doesn’t, that’s fine. But to lambaste the game for “transphobia” or denigrating women is absolutely and wholly absurd. If you want to point and laugh at games filled with “otaku garbage,” there are plenty of examples on Steam of otaku-pandering games that actually ARE garbage.

    • Zankman says:

      Is “it’s parody/satire!” seriously the go-to excuse for so many otaku anime/manga/games/VN?

      Come on…

      First, no fans of the series have ever mentioned in it that light (even the fans here defending it…).

      Second, people have only talked about it in anything close to that sense by saying how it blatantly aped popular/trendy series at the time and added porn… Yeah, not really satire/parody.

      Third, even if it IS satire/parody, people can still criticize it just the same, for the same reasons.

      Fourth, whether their criticism is serious and thought-through or just more heartfelt and shallow (“wtf are those suits and female characters?”) – both are a legitimate way to feel about something.

      The “you just don’t get it/it went over your head” argument is so, so childish and quite the excuse.

      Way to write-off dissenting opinions with little effort.

  20. Premium User Badge

    alms says:

    Frankly I would think the comments for this post, on both sides, have reached a stage where locking should be considered as an option.

  21. santouryuu says:

    pretty surprised(and somewhat disappointed) that this gets a review but Clannad didn’t. Ironically,this just the reinforces “sex sells”,which the review is primarily complaining about.
    and yeah,about muv-luv i don’t really know all that about it,but i have heard that you should play only to play alternative,which is apparently pretty good(not my opinion,just what i’ve heard)

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