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One Golden Afternoon: Hoshizora Meteor's "Forest":
So Liarsoft's classic visual novel Forest was just translated about a week ago by Ixrec and co. over at Amaterasu Translations. It's a many-layered construction of magic and sex and fairy tales, dueling narrators and past identities, and some of the cleverest use of metafiction in any story you'll encounter. It might be my new favorite visual novel, bar none. Cross Channel is probably better overall, and Muv Luv Alternative a more traditionally fulfilling story. But Forest is different. It's not so much a visual novel as it is a puzzling anomaly. Games like it really shouldn't exist. Thinking of Planescape Torment and Nier here. Obviously not quite the same as either of them, but whatever. It's odd enough to join their company, I think. Pretty much half of it went over my head the first time around, so I'm playing it through again. Hard to figure out what's going on behind the scenes since so few people have played it over here. Anyone else playing this thing? Any theories, thoughts, ideas about the plot? I have my own theories but I'll save those for when I finish my second playthrough. For those who still aren't sold by this thing, know that this game includes: -trains that transform into dinosaurs -references to everything from Watership Down to Narnia to Five Children and It, of all things -unreliable narrators -awesome Irish folk music re-purposed from what must be the public domain The best thing? The writer of Forest is in charge of that Girls' Work project for Type-Moon. Which is also, coincidentally, about crazy metaphysical shit going down in Shinjuku. Spiritual sequel, maybe? Really, really excited.
奇跡の魔女"Hoshizora Meteor" is the most badass-sounding Japanese pen-name I have ever seen. This sounds interesting. It caught my eye on the general talk thread. I enjoyed Liarsoft's Shikkoku No Sharnoth (is that by the same author?), too, so it sounds pretty cool.
Shikkoku no Sharnoth's part of the What a Beautiful series, which is written by Hikaru Sakurai. Her stuff shares a couple of similarities to Forest just by how different it is from the norm (also both authors toy with repetition) but I'd say that of the two Hoshizora Meteor's probably superior. Note that I say this having written overbearingly positive reviews for both Sekien no Inganock and Shikkoku no Sharnoth on this very site. Think of it this way: if pretty much every enemy encounter in Shikkoku no Sharnoth is (deliberately) similar, every riddle in "Forest" is uniquely crazy and brilliant in its own right. Both have their own strengths, but consensus is that Forest is Liarsoft's best game, and I'd have to agree (considering how good their stuff tends to be, that is saying a LOT)
edited 19th Jan '12 9:28:00 PM by wescotta
奇跡の魔女Hmm, this has definitely caught my eye. Being a huge fan of the When They Cry series, the riddle aspect sounds like something that I'll enjoy.
Imagine how how impossible the plot of Umineko would be without the red text ... That's what Forest is, more or less. That being said, I really liked it Wait, What?!? The guy that made this is in charge of Girl's Work?? I wondered who Type-Moon would trust to write one of their works.
edited 19th Jan '12 10:39:39 PM by encrypted12345
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Heard that Kinoko Nasu and Hoshizora Meteor have a past history, actually. Supposedly they both collaborated on a fanbook for Kusarihime Euthanasia, Meteor's OTHER famous work (not yet translated, sadly.) So were Gen Urobuchi and Romeo Tanaka. So you could say that Cross Channel, Saya no Uta and supposedly the Heaven's Feel route from Fate/Stay Night were all inspired to some degree by that one game. Not 100% sure if true (information on Liarsoft and co. is really difficult to find in English!) but it would certainly explain the connection between Nasu and Meteor if it is. Also it would be pretty nifty.
just a medicine seller^^Umineko without the red? What the fuck is this I don't even- ... .....*goes to track this VN down*
奇跡の魔女I also know Hoshizora Meteor as one of the Servant designers for Fate/Apocrypha. Didn't know that he's responsible for Girl's Work though.
Conceptually FrameworkedOkay this has interested me enough to look into. I'm not sure what the story framing device is used for yet. Are you technically playing the person telling the story in this VN? What bits do you think it will be most important to pay attention to?
"Nullius addictus iurare in verba magistri, quo me cumque rapit tempestas, deferor hospes."
I dunno, Forest is one of those games that you want to play more than once. Just take it easy the first time through, and try to keep as much straight in your head as possible. Bits of it might be puzzling, but keep with it. Once you finish it, wait a couple of days and then try playing it through again. I guarantee you that there is a LOT of foreshadowing and stuff in the beginning that you miss if you only play through it once. It's a bit like FLCL in that regard—short and to the point, but also convoluted and really, really dense with meaning. As for the narration...I'll leave that for you to find out. It becomes clear a couple hours in, I promise!
I started reading this one while taking a break from Katawa Shoujo. To be honest, I didn't much care for it. I think I got to The Game and finished that arc, but then I was too bored to continue any farther.
I can see why. It's more artsy (for lack of a better term) than anything else. It's a real Base Breaker if I've ever seen one.
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Well, the artsy attitude seemed to come at expense of the story and characters. I didn't really like anyone apart from Kariya and maybe Amamori, and her only because I like her VA. The sex scenes were also rather gratuitous and, in the case of at least one, kind of repulsive. The Alice one.
Yeah, agreed that the sex scenes are a little excessive. Actually read somewhere on a forum or something that one of the reasons why the writer of Forest left Liarsoft for Type-Moon was that he was really sick of having to write sex scenes for his visual novels. To be fair, most of the sex in Forest plays a role in the plot—especially the spoilered bit above, that turns out to be REALLY important—but you pay close attention you can still see the author checking the boxes for each kind of demographic as he goes along. As for the characters, found them confusing and interchangable for a couple of hours in, until suddenly I got them straight in my head (maybe around The Game arc?) and they became one of my favorite casts in any visual novel I've read. None of them really fit into stereotypes, all of them turn out to be a lot deeper than they appear, and without spoiling anything most of them evolve drastically by the end. Some of the character development (i.e. Nagatsuki's) is buried in the system for the clever reader to extract through replays, but it's all there. Then again, Forest is a really, really weird game, so I can see how it can be polarizing. Still thinks it needs more attention, though, since it's so different from everything else out there that for it to be ignored would be a shame.
奇跡の魔女Started reading this since Sekien no Inganock's patch refuses to run on my computer (fuck, just when I'm in the mood for a steampunk story). Damn, the narration style's pretty... unique. Holy wow, this is really... Hmm. I really don't have a word that can aptly describe it. Weird? Interesting? Awesome? Probably all of the above. It's really intriguing so far. I love the narration style, though I don't think I've gotten that far yet. I want to see what the riddles will be like already.
edited 24th Mar '12 8:18:20 AM by LiberatedLiberater
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