Rin Plays: Doki Doki Literature Club

As much as I want to play Mystic Messenger’s newest route, the better part of my mind is annoyingly making a pretty convincing argument for not completely trashing my sleep schedule for the time being. So, I’m left getting my visual novel fix from other sources. Luckily, I stumbled upon one before the urge became unbearable.

Despite sounding like something I would name a fake game as a joke, Team Salvato’s Doki Doki Literature Club takes the typical slice of life school romance plots and uses its medium to make something truly memorable. While every dating sim and visual novel can be interpreted as a small, in-depth exploration of human (or human-like) nature, Doki Doki Literature Club uses its story to explore the extents of kindness and humanity, and if it can or should cross the boundaries of the narrative fourth wall, leaving players evaluating and re-evaluating their first impressions of the main characters. Before you continue on, reader, I highly suggest you experience everything DDLC has to offer before I spoil it for you. Team Salvato is offering the game for a “name your price” cost on the game’s itch.io page, as well as for free download from Steam. The first run will more than likely take around four hours to complete, but in my opinion it’s entirely worth it. One more thing: please, please heed the content warnings on the game’s page–they aren’t fucking around.

Doki Doki Literature Club Yuri

Screenshot taken by me

Massive spoilers below! Trigger warning for depression and self-harm. Continue reading

Fanfiction Fridays: Misconceptions and Truths About Vampires by glassteacup

“I believe what Yuuri is trying to convey is ‘Excuse me, Viktor. Did you say you’re a vampire?’” Phichit translates with grim cheer.

Yuuri’s squawk of distress confirms Phichit’s interpretation.

Viktor wrinkles his forehead, mystified. “Well, yes,” he says slowly.

Phichit hops up from the armchair to perch on the sofa’s arm, pulling Yuuri in protectively to his side. Yuuri tucks himself in and turns to gape at Viktor again.

It’s Viktor’s turn to boggle. “Wait. You mean you didn’t know, Yuuri?”

“No,” Yuuri snaps, eyes glittering and chin stuck out in the air.

Viktor’s jaw drops. Even the youngest newborn should be able to recognize their own kind. Has the state of turned vampires gotten to be so dreadful? Well, no. That can’t be it either. Phichit sensed him from at least three blocks away when they were stopped at the red light. “When were you turned?” he inquires. “If you don’t mind me asking,” he adds hastily for avoidance of risking any additional misunderstandings on this point.

Phichit points to himself. “1950s,” he says and then ruffles Yuuri’s hair, “And this one was around the 1900s.”

“Amazing,” Viktor murmurs. “How are you still alive?”

Now that October is properly upon us, my spooky loving heart is constantly begging for every vampire, ghost, magic, and every seasonal etcetera that I can get my eye globes on. I’d almost lost hope at finding a suitable fic for my Fanfiction Fridays post this month, but thankfully the Yuri!!! On Ice fandom was there for me, and among its multitudes of AUs I knew I could find the good vampire content I crave. glassteacup’s Misconceptions and Truths About Vampires wasn’t exactly what I was expecting–in only good ways–but what glassteacup is missing in perhaps more aesthetically vampiric characterization, they more than make up for with modern vampires just trying to get by and intriguing snippets of much deeper lore. Continue reading

Trailer Tuesdays: Citrus

I’m not very well versed in the world of yuri anime and manga; due in no small part to the fact that yaoi is simply more popular and often overshadows yuri works. Though, if I’m being honest, I never really made a major effort to widen that specific horizon. I think one part of me wants to believe that yuri somehow manages to avoid the annoying, and sometimes disgusting and damaging tropes that yaoi tends to fall into while the other part of me knows that can’t possibly be the case. Then I saw the trailer for an anime adaptation of Saburouta’s 2012 yuri manga Citrus on Twitter—I couldn’t ignore its bright colors. While fans of the series share an excitement for the animation of the manga they enjoyed so much, I couldn’t exactly share in the sentiment.

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Those Awaiting A Star Knew What I Was Waiting For Before I Did

It’s now officially Fall! …Or that’s what the calendar tells me, but the unwelcome persistence of 80 degree weather (that’s 27~ degrees Celsius to you Celsius-using folk) is weaving a different tale. In an effort to prove that temperature doesn’t rule my life–even when I’m dying and making offerings for those crisp fall days to come the fuck on already–I’ve started to dive into that good seasonal content. Of course, that means witches and magic!

Back in March of last year I talked about how excited I was for the upcoming anime adaptation of the manga The Ancient Magus’ Bride, and just recently the three part OVA, Those Awaiting A Star, finished airing in Japan. Despite being unaware that an OVA was even happening, I eagerly dove into the three 25 minute episodes. It was advertised as a prequel story, so I was a bit hesitant that the OVA would be focusing mostly on the situation that brought heroine Chise to her living arrangements with her fiance, the titular ancient magus; doing so would almost certainly mean focusing on the neglect and abuse Chise suffered, and three episodes of that sounds kind of like the worst thing ever. It’s impossible to avoid that completely, as the episodes focus on Chise’s childhood, but if you share my concerns, I’m here to tell you that the OVAs didn’t turn into the Chise torture hour. More importantly, Those Awaiting A Star subtly shows off the environment Chise comes to thrive in as well as her relationship to Elias (the magus) in a way that quells the worries I, as someone who hasn’t read the manga, had about that too!

Those Awaiting A Star Breakfast

They’re so cute and good, you guys. (Screenshot taken by me)

Spoilers below. Continue reading

Magical Mondays: A Journey Inside the Mind with Madoka Magica and Flip Flappers

Have you ever wondered exactly what’s going on inside your friends’ heads? Of course you have. Have you ever wanted to take a surreal and frightening journey inside the physical manifestation of your friends’ thoughts, feelings, and worries? Maybe? No? Well, in these two series, you can!

Fiction provides us with a unique opportunity to see into the minds of others, in that we get to live out other people’s stories and lives and see the world through their point of view for a time. Fantasy and sci-fi elements that allow us to literally see into and interact with the minds of characters, such as the dream-diving in Paprika and Inception, take this a step further. Through literally venturing into a physical manifestation of another character’s mind, you can learn a lot about them that they may not show you on the surface, such as hidden insecurities and secret memories. And sure, as a writer you could get the same information across in a dream sequence that lets the audience see inside that character’s mind for a scene, but the act of physically entering someone else’s mental landscape is what I want to talk about today. It lets the other characters, rather than solely the audience, learn what’s going on in the subject character’s head, and does so in a way that also moves the plot forward and provides a physical adventure at the same time.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Flip Flappers are two series that, via magic, give their characters the opportunity to explore their co-cast members’ inner worlds, sending them all down a proverbial rabbit hole into surreal, symbolism-heavy, and often frightening landscapes that teach them (and the audience) something about their peers that they couldn’t have known before. The two series use a lot of the same tools, artistically speaking, but the consequences and emotional outcome of their heroes’ journeys into each other’s mindscapes is very different in each case. Heavy spoilers for both shows beyond the jump!

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Kotoura-san Offers Friendship and Healing, But At What Cost

You’d think that by now I’d realize that Facebook is dangerous. No, I wasn’t drawn into a debate with relatives who don’t seem to understand that being an awful, ignorant person on all facets should not be a viable political platform. I was drawn, instead, to watching an anime. Usually those ripped video clips stuck between two white bars that say something to the effect of “When you break up with a girl in anime😂😂” don’t grab me, but this video did. Here, let me show you. (Content warning for child abuse and bullying.)

These are the first nine minutes of the 2013 anime Kotoura-san, and immediately after watching this I knew I had to look up the summary to see if it was worth investing any more time in. I had no interest in watching a series devoted to the further torturing of its protagonist; however, the summary wasted no time in saying that this series was a romantic comedy (what?) that focused on the titular Kotoura-san making friends and healing from her childhood trauma. What followed was, yes, that in generous helpings. But Kotoura-san was also filled with, in equal parts, a bunch of uncomfortable sexual harassment and an unsatisfying narrative resolution to parental negligence which only served to undermine the actual good things going on.

Spoilers below the cut. All the previous warnings still apply, with an additional one for incest. Continue reading

The Garden of Words: A Masterpiece, But Did It Have to Be a Love Story?

garden of words

(via Nopybot)

The Garden of Words came out in 2013, and for four straight years my Tumblr dash has been scattered with gifs celebrating the beautiful scenery and animation in the film. But apart from how pretty it was, I didn’t actually know anything about the plot of this iconic movie, so when I saw it on AnimeLab, I decided to dive in and investigate. Sure enough, it’s an absolutely gorgeous film that should 100% be celebrated as an achievement in animation, atmosphere, and visual storytelling about the way human lives connect. It was kind of spoiled for me by an unexpected case of compulsory heterosexuality, but hey, you can’t have everything…

Spoilers for the whole movie beyond!

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