Some anime are adapted from Visual Novels, so what are they?

Visual Novels are interactive games, they mostly involve reading (which is obvious by its name), but they are different compared to a normal novel as it’s accompanied by pictures, speaking and multiple endings.

Throughout the VN, you may be prompted to make decisions, in Clannad it’s obvious whereas it’s not so obvious in Steins;Gate. The choices can be selected from a menu, or it can be as simple as ignoring or answering a phone call. These can drastically change the outcome of the game, as well as what path the story goes down.

In a Visual Novel like Clannad, there may be two parts. In order to obtain the second part, you need to have collected a certain amount of something or done something correctly. For example, in Clannad you need to obtain balls of light from helping people, once you’ve collected the amount required, you’re able to advance onto the second part of the VN.

Visual Novels may also take hours to complete, and even longer if you wish to get every ending possible. I spent around 11 hours on Steins;Gate 0 before I got to one end. I’ve spent even longer on Clannad and I still haven’t gotten very far.

There are Visual Novel and RPG hybrids, which is pretty self-explanatory.

The protagonist is usually left unvoiced, compared to the other characters being fully-voiced. This is mainly due to the protagonist having the most lines, as well as the player will be able to relate more to the character. This isn’t the case in Steins;Gate and Steins;Gate 0, as the main playable character is voiced for their spoken dialogue.

Visual Novels are more commonly getting Western releases, but it’s mainly the popular ones. I know that it’s now possible to buy Clannad from Steam, which has two versions: one that’s the normal one and then an updated one. When I first discovered Visual Novels, it wasn’t possible to buy Clannad unless you got a Japanese import, which would obviously be in Japanese unless you got a patch online or luckily knew Japanese.

There are several genres of visual novel, but the most common are romance or family. There is also science fiction, horror and fantasy.

Eroge is a type of visual novel, however these are sexually explicit. Sometimes these VNs are re-released without the explicit scenes to appeal to a younger audience as well. There’s also a Clannad spin off which falls into this genre.

There are also Doujinshi VNs (fanmade), and sometimes these are dating sims, or fanfictions of already existing work.

What are your thoughts on visual novels? Leave a comment below!

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