Kenka Banchou Otome

You’re excited to start at an all-girls high school, but then you crash into a boy who looks exactly like you. In fact, he’s your twin brother Onigashima Hikaru. “Put out of commission,” he and his companion convince you to step in for him at his school’s mandatory entrance ceremony…and it’s a hotbed of delinquents where they dream of beating up everyone else to be the banchou of the school. It’s a family tradition Hikaru doesn’t like but is forced to uphold, so that’s where you conveniently come in.

Together, crossdressing hijinks and fistfuls of (b)romance!

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Variable Barricade

“–you think I’m falling for any of you?”

She’s heiress apparent to the Toujou conglomerate. Candidate A is an attempted marriage swindler who only speaks in flirts; Candidate B is a gigolo to the bone; Candidate C is a walking debt accumulator; and Candidate D is a gambling addict. Together, they make an otome game where you are the route of each trashbundo!

I know, you’re like, “Why would I play this to pursue any of these guys???” Well, that’s part of the novelty, right? There’s eye candy from Usuba Kagerou to distract you for a while and the fully-voiced, full-personality Toujou heiress without being a straight tsundere import from a galge.

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[Release] The Excellent Death of the Boy Shijimi

  • Freeware visual novel for Windows
  • Translated & Partially Recoded by zcatcracker (i.e. yours truly)
  • Previously released in 2009 by Nightmare Syndrome
  • 4-6 hours depending on completion and reading speed
  • Trigger Warnings: death, suicide, violence

A classmate killed himself less than two months ago, kicking off an inexplicable chain reaction of suicides that gradually decimates your class, including the teacher. Several days later, the school announces that class of remaining students will be temporarily suspended, kept at home where they might be safer than on campus.

“Then today’s the day to die,”

Pronounces your childhood friend. In school, on a violently rainy day, in a remote village of past days inching along in its modernization.

Game & Patch Download (15.8 MB)

Feel free to report any typos or bugs you find! Above all, thanks for checking out my first visual novel translation project.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • To play with the original Japanese text, change your non-Unicode locale to “Japanese (Japan)” and then disable the patch by renaming it anything other than “patch.xp3”. Save files are seamless between patched and unpatched states.
  • If you want to play in English while keeping the non-Unicode locale to Japanese, name the extra patch “patch2.xp3” to pick up the correct default fonts.
  • Sometimes if you close the game and immediately relaunch it, it will throw a warning saying the game’s already running. Go to Task Manager, find “TVP(KIRIKIRI)…”, then End Process. Relaunch.

Psychedelica Theme Song Lyrics

Per request from Reddit, I translated the OP and ED for both Psychedelica games, Black Butterfly (Kokuchou) and Ashen Hawk (Haitaka). They contain references best appreciated after completing one full route in each game. (And if you’ve seen too many Japanese pop media narratives you could probably guess the game from them.)

Current blog layout not able to accommodate fascimile format (i.e. romaji next to translation), so only displaying English translation. If you use, please credit/link back.

Page 1: Black Butterfly OP & ED
Page 2: Ashen Hawk OP & ED

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Digital Manga Habits

I don’t remember how I first stumbled upon BookLive but for four and a half years as of last month, the Japanese e-book store has done a commendable job of maintaining me as a loyal customer. Since discovering digital manga finally became a legal and reasonably growing business in Japan, I never turned back as my bookshelf counter cranked up over the years…but it only started registering my curiosity when it hit 2000. Even then, it had to break 2500 volumes before I dared translate the itch: “What the hell does my eManga library look like?”


Blessed as it is, BookLive doesn’t have enough analytic tools to adequately summarize my insane hauls. I can search through my bookshelf and filter on category (male- or female-oriented manga, light novels, fiction, etc.), genre (shojo manga, shonen manga, sci-fi novels, etc.), author, publisher, and magazine imprint, but the top-level counters can only tell me so much. For example:


So I have 37% more female-oriented manga than male-oriented manga. Great. Problem is, it doesn’t feel like that: my prioritized reads are what I purchase, and I don’t buy more shojo/josei manga compared to other genres. Certainly not 862. (In writing this post, I learn that’s 862 series, not individual volumes.)

You see, that 862 count of female-oriented manga includes all the previews that BookLive provides by the sackload 24/7. On any given day, there’s a significant selection of free or trial-period manga that you can sample by whole volumes. I call it its “rotating library,” as the trial period is typically 2-3 weeks. With over 10,000 volumes to try, there’s always something to check out. (Will there be trash? you ask. Is water wet?)

Anyway, can BookLive separate expired trial reads from free permanent acquisitions from purchases? The answer is the same soft chuckle from a sushi chef in the middle of Texas, when asked where to find good ramen: “You make it yourself.” Data exercise plus eManga bookstore pimping is a-go.

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Danganronpa Translation Critique: Prologue

Justified translation nitpicking, yess

Danganronpa TL Critique

Hi, I’m professional translator and shut-in Arunaru. On most days, I’m either playing video games, watching other people play video games, translating video games, or some combination of the three. Recently I played this cool hip new game called Danganronpa in Japanese, and subsequently watched streams of the game in English by one Joseph Anderson. Around the time of Sayaka’s infamous crane story event, and the question therein that the translation rendered impossible to know the answer to, I started to notice something was amiss. Maybe NIS America didn’t put their best effort into the translation of this game that’s comprised mostly of text.
But when I looked around to see if there was much mention of the translation quality anywhere, I didn’t find a whole lot. Some arguments about how specific terms and titles differed from fan translations, such as Ultimate vs Super (Duper) High School (Level), but…

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Winter Insect, Cursed Grass

Title: 冬蟲禍草 (Touchuu Kasou)
Author: Ameshikou
Genre: Otome (?) Game About (?) Hosting A Parasite
Playtime: 3 hours

We’ll be hosts for a parasite.

Far from the rapid modernization of the city lies a village strongly rooted in a prior age. It is lush, but people say–

That it’s cursed by the mountain gods.

The flowers, vines, and moss one would expect to feel underfoot instead herald every spring from the villagers’ bodies. They slowly die as if rejoining the mountain, and the curse, nicknamed “Kasou” (cursed grass), inflicts them indiscriminately.

But for one.

(Translated for the vndb entry, as well.)

This was mired in dev hell since 2011…but it finally crawled out after seven years. How I pined for this, though! And solely on the fascinatingly dark premise of a Japanese village overtaken by a parasite that causes plants to sprout out of you. Imagine my joy of UOOOOO! A game I was waiting for years on, released at last!

And then imagine when I read “Created in TyranoScript.”

(ノ ゚Д゚)ノ ======= ┻━━┻

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sweet pool

Official summary (from Steam page):

After yet another long stay in the hospital, Sakiyama Youji hoped that things would finally get back to normal. But shortly after returning to school, his world begins to change — and no one seems to notice.

Bizarre symptoms plague his body, and vivid hallucinations of blood and flesh stalk his every waking moment. At the same time, two fellow students — the stoic Tetsuo and the notorious troublemaker Zenya — begin to take an intense and inexplicable interest in him.

What are Tetsuo and Zenya after? Are his hallucinations really nothing more? Everyone seems to know more than they’re letting on — but by trying to put the pieces together, Youji may be sowing the seeds of his doom.


Hello, My First Commercial BL Game. After it and the rest of the Nitro+Chiral catalogue was announced for localization at Anime Expo, months passed before an official release date (Dec 19, 2018, i.e. sweet pool’s 10th birthday), which is the only surefire way to get me to dive into my backlog, dust off the digital download I bought a couple of years back, and read it for good. Plus, it was October, so there’s no better time to play it.

Except probably earlier in my life.

The hype gave me huge expectations that sweet pool mostly did not meet. On the one hand, I felt underwhelmed, and on the other, maybe it’s the ten years since its release and the wealth of entertainment I consumed during that interval, raising my bar above what would have been noteworthy back in late 2008. I could still recommend it on some level, but if you’ve read too many things, this won’t stand out as hypeworthy. To me, it’s more a stepping stone of history than a timeless classic.

And then THREE DAYS after I finished it in Japanese, the English demo hit Steam, so maybe it was the perfect time to finish the original version after all. After clearing it, I wish I only ever experienced that version because of the technical overhaul and the superb translation. Quite likely I would have liked sweet pool more if I read it in that English.

More under the cut. Spoilers are whited out and the review is SFW.

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Delusion Halloween

Title: 迷妄ハロウィン (Meimou Halloween)
Author: Ankrache
Genre: …Halloween
Playtime: 3 hours

Plot: You just finished carving a pumpkin when suddenly, it starts talking to you. It even claims it’s the devil incarnate. Hahaha, that’s funny, you tell it–until it greets you with Trick or Treat. With thirty minutes left in the day, it’s time to look for a treat before he plays a trick on you: death.


I sang praise to the doujin maker/circle Ankrache in my intro post for how she makes good use of the KiriKiri visual novel engine and this title is always the one I think of. Originally released mid-November 2012, it got a bit of an expansion the following January. The circle is currently inactive and all but one of her works are no longer available, but that’s not going to stop me, because this one’s about Halloween and I’m going to make it known. I replayed it to try and remember what effective horror and suspense should begin to feel like. Not for the faint-of-heart; elements that might be of concern to some players can be highlighted in the next line:

Minor Presence [ Incest < Stylized Blood < Stylized Gore < Yandere ] Major Presence

(To note: I don’t normally go for the above elements either, but I make exceptions for great execution.) (I’ll probably need to go make the vndb page for this.)

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Freeware Doujin Visual Novels: An Introduction

Unpacked Title: visual novels with original stories developed and self-published by Japanese amateurs that don’t cost a penny

If the English space knows this at all, it’s largely thanks to the al|together community festivals–the pool of translations pretty much lived and died by them. al|together is where I went after exhausting (and being exhausted by) eroge/galge. Once I exhausted those, I jumped to the Japanese side to look for more, and have never left.


I wrote long posts about it 2-3 times on Reddit so it’s time I wrote out a more polished point of reference. Also, I’ve never sat down and banged out a full digest of my familiarity with the most niche hobby I’ll ever have, so win-win.

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