In 2020 I fell down the VTuber rabbit hole. Or, more accurately, it was closer to a certain dog-shaped hole. The rabbit would come later. Having watched a fair bit of Kizuna Ai back when she went viral in 2017, I had an idea of what a Virtual YouTuber was, but I had no idea that there were others out there, much less large companies with multiple generations of talent. But a combination of factors in early 2020 pushed them much more mainstream, followed not long after by a massive explosion of interest courtesy of a native English speaking branch of one of the largest companies, Hololive.
Around the same time, Vocaloid producer Kanaria dropped what would become a viral hit in its own right, a catchy number using the GUMI voice pack named “KING”.
Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight is a 2018 anime series directed by Tomohiro Furukawa and animated by Kinema Citrus, based on a 2017 stage play and mixed-media franchise. It follows a cast of nine girls at an elite performing arts school as they compete on stage and in underground musical battles for the title of Top Star. In particular, the focus is on Karen Aijo, whose dwindling passion is rekindled by the reappearance of old friend Hikari Kagura and the promise they shared to one day defy tradition and become Top Stars together.
Romance visual novels (often conflated with dating sims) tend to have a particular structure. In it, a white bread definitely-18 year-old boy is whisked away to a new setting because of some unusual circumstance; usually a high school of some description. Once there, he meets a harem of pretty girls—each emblematic of some archetypal trope—one or more of whom falls in love with him. He usually has few personality traits to maximise the reader’s ability to self-insert—although he is often sarcastic and prone to longwinded introspection. He is also bafflingly averse to the idea of a relationship (as if to say “we’re not just doing this so you can fuck the girls, we swear”) while invariably reducing the girls to their physical assets and the puzzle the reader must solve to get at them (as if to say “just kidding, we are”). Missing Stars is no different.
I can’t hear them, see them, or smell them, but I know.
It happens every year, on the same day. The skies grow thick with clouds, blotting out the sun before it even has the chance to rise. Darkness hangs over the city all day, and we go about our preparations in the eerie twilight of a dawn that never comes. Then, when sunset would normally approach, a blood moon rises instead. Its crimson glow pierces the cloud cover despite the depth of the roiling mass. Bathed in that bloody light, they come.
The birds outside are chirping as usual. Their song is familiar. One of the neighbours is already mowing their lawn. Possibly number fifteen. The sun is bright enough to illuminate my bedroom, despite the closed curtains. My stomach gurgles. There will be no more sleep to be had this morning.
I was ten years old when I first saw it. Or, rather, didn’t see it. It never really made itself visible. That is not to say it was invisible by any means; no, it always seemed like it was perfectly able to be seen but placed just out of my range of sight. Out of eye-shot, if you will.
Fate/Stay Night is the title of a 2004 visual novel developed by Type-Moon. In the years since it has released, it has spawned a plethora of adaptations, spin-offs, and expansions. In this essay, I will discuss the aspects of the franchise that appeal to me. It should be noted that the aspects I will cover are those that exist regardless of the entry or medium therein; therefore, things such as animation or writing (on a technical level) will not be considered. In discussing these points, I will stress that they are inherently subjective points and therefore will not necessarily apply to anyone but myself. Furthermore, as an explanation of my personal opinion, it is not my intent to posit an argument as to why others should agree with my point of view; rather, this essay serves solely to illuminate one possible way of seeing the franchise.
I loved my wife. She was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. Her eyes twinkled blue like the sky, her cheeks were rosy pink like a cherry blossom, and her hair glowed red like a roaring fire. Everything about her was perfect. And she was mine.
This is the master post for my story, Fate/Cross. You can find shortcuts to each chapter here as well as a brief summary of the story. A spoiler-y summary can be found below the break for those who are more interested in the mechanism than the mystery.
This is a Holy Grail War that shouldn’t be able to exist. Fuyuki City is no stranger to this mysterious ritual or the peculiarities associated with it. But something has been changed. The rules have been rewritten. For this war’s Masters and Servants, the greatest danger lies in the one who knows the truth about them and their impossible circumstances.