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LG

Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

The Devotion of Suspect X
Keigo Higashino, David Pittu
Progress: 365/542 minutes
Game Slaves
Gard Skinner
Progress: 66/320 pages
The Red Book of Primrose House: A Potting Shed Mystery
Marty Wingate
Princess Prince
Tomoko Taniguchi
Progress: 310/336 pages
FREE: Locke & Key
Tatiana Maslany, Audible Studios, Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodríguez, Kate Mulgrew, Haley Joel Osment, Full Cast
Progress: 91/806 minutes

Partial reading slump, and a visual novel

I haven't been very interested in sitting down and reading lately, although luckily it doesn't seem to have affected my desire to listen to audiobooks. I'm still doing a good deal of that. I made the mistake of putting multiple audiobooks on hold and, since they all came in at once, I now have an excessive amount to listen to.

 

I've also drifted back to visual novels (sort of like choose-your-own-adventure style computer games). I'm currently working my way through 428 Shibuya Scramble, one of the few non-romance visual novels in my collection. Judging by reviews, it usually takes people about 40 hours to get through the whole thing, and I just started my 5th hour.

 

The controls are occasionally a bit annoying (you can't change the text speed or use a mouse, ugh), but the story has one of the most interesting structures I've ever experienced in a visual novel. It starts off focused on a kidnapping: the twin sister of one of the characters has been kidnapped, and the first POV you follow is that of one of the cops watching as she waits to hand off a suitcase of ransom money.

 

Right from the start, you get one of the bad endings. In order for the story to progress, you must follow hints and switch between various POVs. One character's decision to talk to another (or exterminate or flee from an insect) could determine whether someone else's story continues or not. There are five POVs: Kano, the young cop with fiancee problems; Achi, a street smart young man obsessed with recycling; Osawa, a virologist and the father of the kidnapped girl; Minorikawa, a freelance journalist trying to help out a colleague; and Tama, a girl stuck in a cat mascot suit who is attempting to sell a questionable diet drink. A timeline helps you track each POV and switch between them at various points - all of their stories are going on simultaneously, so it's helpful to know that, say, Achi is doing X at 12:20 PM while Tama is doing Y.

 

The screenshots made it look like a pain to read, but it's actually been going better than I thought it would. I'm not sure that the basic story would have been that appealing, but it has a lot of energy and great humor.

 

A couple screenshots from Tama's storyline:

 

This is somewhat less creepy in context.

 

The game is riddled with often amusing explanatory notes.