Learning Japanese With: Amnesia

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Developer Idea Factory
Genre Visual novel
Platform PlayStation Portable
Released
  • JP: August 11, 2011

When I learned this game had the following criteria:
1) Protagonist has no inner monologue nor thoughts
2) It’s fully voiced

I decided to play it. Except it only took off the second time, this December 2015, when I started after I’d tried it a year ago.
A year ago I was learning Japanese and then I stopped. I returned to it in December 2015, because I learned Memrise had an android app. I’ve always had a soft spot for Memrise and always hated Anki design/looks with a passion.

It’s not logical, Anki might be better programmed, but I despise its whole being. Memrise has plants, colors and pins and prettiness, and if I’ve learned something it’s that I’m weak to pretty (⌒▽⌒)

Harmed with that I started doing JLPT kanji from English to Kanji. Did it until N3, got bored, jumped to Joyo Kanji where I was learning English to Kanji, got bored again; jumped to English to Kana to Kanji and I stuck around. I like knowing the readings, I don’t like just the English keywords because I feel, personally, that I’m not learning anything.

Armed with that and my previous knowledge and experiences (years of watching Anime subtitled) I started the game dreading its existence.
I remembered hating the game because I could not understand anything, really.

Pleasant surprise: my ears are very good and I knew a lot of spoken, informal Japanese.

I didn’t understand everything as I chose Toma for my first route, because I expected to dislike the dude, but I was understanding things through context. It was a good thing I started with this one: it’s the easiest route. She sleeps, she wakes, she eats, she sleeps more, she wakes some more. It was light, fluffy and the things that did happen I understood from context/checking on dictionary.

Then I died laughing because a dog cage was introduced and it became so ridiculous I guffawed at everything Toma said. He’s an yandere, he’s also pretty blind because he only noticed things like her being pretty, her hair and fingers, after being in a cage. Make of that what you will.

I didn’t feel it was hard and I was feeling real good until I chose Ikki next, because I knew I’d dislike him since he’s a playboy type. If Toma was a 1 out of 5, Ikki was a 3 out of 5 in difficulty. More of a jump than I expected. I got very angry at Ikki, to the point I had to stop gaming because I was fearing for my PSP life. People on Twitter said my lack of Japanese was making me misunderstand him. Peeved at that, I took upon myself to finish N5 and return to the game. For 2 weeks I studied like crazy just so I could see if I was understanding his story well.

I hated him even more after I restarted his route and understood more. Ikki acts cold and cruel to her in front of his fuck girls, but all mellow and nice in private. I could never forgive his callous treatment of her in public. It was such a shitty move he became lower than Toma in my opinion.

His storyline was also much more evolving than Toma and harder. Funny thing: I hated him so much, I did my choices so right, I skipped any plot the first time playing and side stepped everything into an ending I was supposed to have triggered other things like her reason for leaving/them breaking up. Phew. I laughed a lot, it was a testament of my ability to dodge and say no to him (⌒▽⌒)

His story was ridiculous with his magical eyes that make girls all ラブラブ over him. Sure, Orion may be a spirit (I thought he was a space alien www) and the protagonist may have amnesia because of him being inside her, but outside that the game was so normal any such magic felt very intrusive to be honest.

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Next I decided to go with Shin, my favorite after Orion (shotas win all for me), and the reason I did not go last with him was I read he was a bit disappointing.
Shin route was a 2 out of 5 in difficulty but what bummed me was it started full of ラブラブ and then Shin disappears for a very large portion of the story, returns and the story becomes a mystery solving instead of more cuteness with him.

Where things got tricky was: Kent.
Kent is a 5 out of 5 in difficulty. Maybe a 6 out of 5. He speaks logically and very intelligently, which means I did not understand most of his normal speeches but I sure did the love scenes, which are the ones that count!
/bricked
For Kent I grinded again but still wasn’t any good, so I shrugged and continued till I finished.

One thing: Waka speeches in Shin route were 99% incomprehensible to me, but since he wasn’t the focus (not a romance option) I didn’t feel I was losing much. I understood it was funny the parts I could, but that’s as far as I got (like him saying the customers are the enemies and to defeat them o(^▽^)o ).

Ukyo was… So surprisingly easy I was WTF. I was expecting to grind more, but the magical explanations were pretty understandable for my ears. Again I relied 80% on my ears for the game, picked up a bunch of readings, and by the end of the game I could semi read the heroines few monologues that appeared. I didn’t do the side stories because of them being fully monologue from her side.

Ranking of difficulty of game overall: 5 out of 5
Ranked from lowest to highest difficulty: Toma> Ukyo> Shin >Ikki >Kent.
Rank of the guys: Orion >Kent >>Shin>>>Toma (he had a shota self so that earned him extra points) >Ikki >Ikki’s whole fanclub/Rikka

Recommended to: Beginners with lots of Vocab but weak kanji.

I’d say this game is good for beginners that don’t know how to read JP but can understand spoken. I do consider myself one, this is as far as I’ve gotten on my studies, since before I’d only done English to Kanji and learnt Hiragana and Katakana.

This felt good to get of my chest so hopefully I’ll do more once I play more games because this is my very first played and finished game in Japanese. What a victory it was for me.
I’m doing this because maybe it’ll help others. It’ll also be good for me. I tweeted a bunch while I was playing but tweets disappear with time, so this is a good way to get my opinions down pat.

If your opinion is different from my mine, I’d love to hear it! Though if it’s about the guys, or how I didn’t like one of your waifus/husbandus then don’t even bother. It’ll be delete at first sight.

Happy gaming and learning!
じゃ、また!

Have you heard about this game before? Have you played it? If so, I’d love to know what you think of it!

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27 thoughts on “Learning Japanese With: Amnesia

    • Don’t I wish! (☆^O^☆) I’m looking forward to play the sequel because of him and Orion, and possible shota flashbacks o((*^▽^*))o
      (though first I have to play Starry Sky in Spring to improve on my reading haha ORZ)

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      • I’ve heard it’s a good starter I’ve totally forgotten about that. I hope it’s better than translating DLMB. I had to look up half the stuff Reiji was talking about.
        *cries*

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        • Oh! It’s why I’m staying away from fantasy or hard subjects. If I could I’d play more games like Amnesia, sadly they’re not common. Kiniro no Corda is one, but I heard it’s hard because of musical terms, and Arcana Famiglia has fantasy elements integrated with the stories ಥ_ಥ
          (Zodiac Boyfriends/Starry Sky has astronomy terms but it’s a slice of life, I’m banking on it being easier ORZ)
          Are you translating for yourself/blog or for a patch? That sounds tough (◎_◎;)

          Liked by 1 person

          • Just for myself since not all games are in English. I have yet to consistently read a full sentence in kana and not be forced to look up at least one word. But I am getting better everyday. ^_^ when I get more confident I would love to help translate games.

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            • Onomatopoeia are the worst, they just don’t stay in my brain even though I look them up a lot. Don’t know what type of sorcery they’re, but damn ಠ_ಠ Somehow only kana is worse than with kanji, specially when there are multiple words with the same reading ಥ_ಥ
              I’m doing Memrise every day too, a lesson a day, because I really need to start N3 and play harder gamss O(≧∇≦)O

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  1. “I hated him even more after I restarted his route and understood more.” RIGHT?!
    If I learned anything, it’s that fans of Diawifebeaters and Amnesia have strange kinks or smt and love the abusive assholes. The sweet ones who treat the girl right is boring and a piece of shit. Like wtf? Girl no. That’s not how it works. *facepalm*
    Anyways, as usual, I love reading your adventures with learning Japanese and playing imports. If you can maybe put in screenshots to point out difficulty in the language or easier examples? Idk, that’s just something I’d really like to see. That way it shows more of the difficulty and what you had to go through.
    How long did this game take you to finish?
    And I would like to get an import copy and I might be unfair in my judgement since I only played Shin’s route and I detest Toma/Ikki, but I’m not sure I’d want to play this game again in Japanese lol. Do you have any other recs? I’m considering Starry Sky for Vita when it comes out (but there’s no release date). I know it’s way above my capability, but I’m really interested in Taisho x Alice.

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    • Oh, definitely. Funny you commented on that because I posted like an hour ago a rant piece about Ikki in my Tumblr xDD
      I’ve heard so many wild things about wifebeaters, I’m intrigued to try it but at the same time I’m horrified ^^”’
      Nooo, did they say that about Kent??? Kent was the nicest, whaaaat DD:

      Thanks!
      Unfortunately, I play in portables and so screenshots aren’t available for me without jumping through hoops ^^’
      Man, the difficulty in this one depended in the characters, because of what they talked about and how. I honestly just either skipped or stared a lot and browsed through dictionaries to try to understand, it’s partially my fault for going with this one as my first game. I believe this game probably needs N2 to fully understand some characters, but I still enjoyed it and nothing stops me in the future to replay it. Or get the English version, which I still haven’t /shakes fist at bank problems ^^’
      This game took me…around 2-3 weeks to finish. I did a stop to study for Ikki for a week or so. I started it day 1 of December and finished 31 of December, a few hours before the new year entering. If I hasn’t had a break, or heavily dictionary browsed, I’d have finished in maybe less time.

      If you’ve played it, you can learn a lot with it. I know some people read Harry Potter novels because they’ve read it before and so know what’s gong on without getting too lost.
      Plus there’s always summaries. If there’s a game in specific you are interested in, as long as it isn’t historical (it uses harder kanji/older, so beware! :’D ), you can probably learn things from it.
      If you only played Shin, I’ll tell you Kent is really worth it!
      Starry Sky is definitely a good one, because it’s lack of intricate plot and slice of life basis makes it for a good beginner game. As long as you’re okay that it has monologues, but tbh, you won’t lose much if you can’t read them.
      The reason I got SS for PSP was because the Vita verion is still missing in action. You’ll do well in waiting for Vita, it’ll have higher resolution, so the kanji will look better 😀

      If you decide to go for a hard game/a game you’re interested in, I’ll tell you to read summaries, see what theme it has and then try to study to target those. It doesn’t have to be intensitive, just so you don’t flounder a lot. Also look up screenshots to gauge how you’re fairing. It was looking up screenshots that I saved my ass with some vertical written otome games. To me vertical is harder to read, so I fled like a bit out of hell ^^’

      Toma and Ikki were the worst of the bunch, I can’t believe Toma was the best liked/most voted in Japan ಠ_ಠ

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lol yep…if you do play Wifebeaters goodluck. It’s honestly revolting and I can’t understand why ppl support it. But to each their own.
        OOO that’s interesting. I’ll try that then. I should be able to have more flexibility with my studies this summer so I can finally go about learning Japanese properly.
        Hm yea, I think I will then!
        And yep…like Kent was bae. Wtf is wrong with them lol

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        • I don’t have intentions of playing Wifebeaters currently. Maybe later on, when I’m drunk or I’m in dire need of a horror game xDD;
          You should always optimise learning the way you do it best. I’m following the Memrise JLPT courses because it feels less daunting than 8k+ words to learn in a go. It gives me a sense of completion and of progress like I am doing it, though I’ve really slowed down. I should’ve already be finishing N3 but I’ve been lazing about and haven’t done much at all ^^’
          Kent was voted the worst, right? They said he was boring or something of the sort, while Shin is too rude/abrupt….but then Ikki and Toma are seen as so good ಠ_ಠ ಠ_ಠ
          To think I started this with Amnesia because I wanted to play the fandisk for the Orion route, but I haven’t played it yet :”’)

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Amnesia is on a 85% offer on Steam right now (holy hell that’s cheap), so I was wondering if I you recommend it? I know it’s one of the most popular otome games around, but I’ve seen bad reviews on it so I don’t know if it’s worth.

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    • The reason it’s so popular is because it’s more mature plus one of the few console games that got localised but if you wanna know my opinion…

      I hope this helps.

      /deep breath

      I’ll walk you through it, and you’ll tell me if you are interested.
      The art is really good, the CG were nice, the backgrounds are bare bones but not bad. It’s fully VA’ed, the MC isn’t a teenager, she’s in college. Orion voices all her thoughts, so she doesn’t speak except for near the end of routes.

      This game touches subjects like bullying, and some that are more specific and I put down below in case you don’t want to get spoiled about it, and so is mature.

      I’ll say the game is worth it for Shin, Orion and Kent, but if you do the other routes might feel it isn’t. If it’s really cheap, then I’ll say just play Shin and Kent, and if you do want to do the others, approach with maximum caution because:

      I’m telling you some spoilers because if you aren’t sure about it/can get triggered, and so I’m not saying who it is, just that there are some content. If you don’t want to get spoiled/content, don’t read the rest of this.

      Is it’s like this: there’s 2 good dudes, and 2 dudes who are nope, and 1 that is so-so.
      The nope guys involve emotional manipulation, cages, drugs, and if this game was R18 it’d be the rape routes.
      The good dudes are a cute tsundere, and a cute nerd, and I really like them. Plus there’s an extra shota.
      There’s a lot of bad endings, where she gets killed, but the game isn’t graphic about it.

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      • hmm…this is pretty informative thank you so much for that! Shin, Kent and Toma looks like characters I would like and is Ukyo one of the routes? Would you consider $4.49USD for it cheap?
        The mature theme is fine with me, though I can’t say I like it so that will likely put me off.
        I don’t want spoilers about the endings but, are the good endings really nice?

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        • I tried to tell you things without spoiling who does what, so I’m glad it helped :’D
          Ukyo is indeed one of the routes, a hidden one. You need to do all the guys to unlock him.
          I guess? I know the game was cheaper last time, at like 2-3$, but even if you only play 2 dudes, it’ll still be like 2$ per dude. Which is cheap when compared to Voltage and other mobile games. Plus the game/routes are long, they have good value.
          The good endings are nice. Pity the fandisk wasn’t localised, or the other 3-4 games, since relationships continue from this one to those :/
          This game is self-contained, so you don’t have to worry about cliffhangers or anything (^v^)

          Liked by 1 person

          • yeah that’s cool. also I just found out that Toma was the darkest route…he looked like a nice guy but I guess his surface isn’t everything. But seriously though, wasn’t he the childhood friend or something? (-.-`)
            You mean it’s been $2-3 on steam before? If so you reckon it’ll happen again, maybe during the Summer sale later this year?

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            • Yes, Toma has the darkest route ^^’
              He is indeed one of the childhood friends…
              It was on the beginning, when they were trying to push people to buy Amnesia and they saw it wasn’t selling as much as they hoped. I’m not sure if it’ll be at that price again. Sales and the like I have no idea about, so can’t help you there :’D

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              • ah that’s ok. I would definitely go and buy amnesia if I knew it wouldn’t be cheaper than this, but because there’s a Summer sale in about 7 weeks (estimation online), I’m worried it’ll be cheaper than because that’s when it’ll get the cheapest it can get. So I don’t know to wait or what. I know it’s only a $2 difference, but I could buy another game with that $2. =P (like blazblue also on offer – if you use steam, do you know about the anime weekend sale?)

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                • I don’t know if Amnesia will be on sale in the Summer sale though, considering it is right now. The game hasn’t been on sale for a while now, so it might not get again so soon. But I wouldn’t know how companies work/think haha
                  Yeah, there’s a huge anime weekend sale on Steam! I don’t really like Steam because it’s proprietary, and I prefer DRM free sites like GoG and itch.io, or buying on PSN for my PSP and Vita ^^
                  Maybe ask around or see if you can find when it was last on sale and what price?
                  Blazblue is good! It’s definitely a fun game ヽ(*⌒∇⌒*)ノ

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                  • I wish I had a PSP or Vita. I plan on getting them once I start working but I don’t think I can wait that long (especially since you can’t find amnesia that cheap on PSN, can you?)
                    VN should be fine played on the computer right? I hope I won’t miss anything.
                    That’s a good idea, I’ll go check it out and stuff.
                    Ooh which console did you play Blazblue on? It’s on sale on steam, but I might prefer to play it on PS3 because of the controller…but maybe I should try calamity trigger on the computer first?

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                    • Nah, Amnesia/games on PSN usually become 10$ on sales, only old PS1 games get at 2-5$ ^^’
                      Vita is really good, everything the PSP should’ve been from the start, and there’s s buttload of games for it (^_-)
                      VN are more than fine played on the computer. Just today Ozmafia came out for PC by MangaGamer, a new otome game O(≧∇≦)O
                      I played Blazblue on PSP, before it got ported for PC, and I’ll say you’ll probably want/need that controller. You could always buy it got PC and use an USB controller, unless you don’t have one?
                      Plus the PC version does get cheaper than the console versions (●´∀`●)

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • heyy Cat I was thinking about buying Blazblue on PC right, so I’d though I’d ask you if you think I should buy calamity trigger or just go with CS Extend.

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                    • If you device to go with CS Extend, I’d advise you to read a wiki, because the games have story between the fighting that is continuous and develops from one game to the other. I’m not sure the differences between both games, I’d advise you to check a wiki out or Google something to see if there’s some forums, or fans that can explain it ^^
                      Good luck! (⌒▽⌒)

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                    • ok cool. I read that CS Extend summarizes CT’s storyline. I’ll figure out whether I will miss some great stuff if I don’t play CT. thanks ^^

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                    • Sorry I couldn’t help better, my knowledge in fighting games is sorely lacking >_<
                      Hope you figure it out and have fun! (≧∇≦)/

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