12 Moments of Anime #9: A Brass Concerto for Visual Novel Fandom

by eternal on December 17, 2009

Brass Restoration (5)

Brass Restoration is what I would call a hidden gem. It’s a game that flew right under the radar, despite being translated by TakaJun of Mirror Moon and Kara no Kyoukai fame. I spent about half a post talking about the game when I first finished it, but I never did talk about the themes or story since it’s fairly self-explanatory.

I think Brass Restoration‘s most distinctive trait is the fact that it’s self-conscious. That might sound like a bad thing, but for a doujin visual novel targeting fans who have already played their Key and Type-Moon and Circus, sometimes it’s more important to be different than good.

Luckily, this one is both of the above. Despite its typical slice-of-life galge appearance, there’s a painful story lurking at its core. Like Fate/stay night, the protagonist’s development is arguably more important than the heroines’ development, and ultimately, love takes a back seat to the psychological crisis that the player must overcome. While the game isn’t meant to be dark, its bitter setting is enough to slowly ease the happy-go-lucky antics of the “trunk” portion into the heavier, more intense and thematically relevant branches. In reality, each of the routes explores the protagonist’s dilemma from a slightly different angle, and they tie together the theme of the value of having a dream. Brass Restoration is no F/SN, but you’d be wrong to dismiss it on account of its traditional appearance. It’s a worthy memory of 2009 because it makes use of its doujin status to tell a surprisingly moving story to even a seasoned audience.

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On a similar note, the visual novel editor and owner of TLWIki, Moogy, has done a few good things for the VN community this year. Well, I suppose he’s been doing good things for the community for a while now, but as far as I know, his editing and translation guides are a new idea.

I’m going out on a limb here, but I assume that most fans of visual novels and anime have some respect for the people who bring them to an English-speaking audience, and many of the community’s more active members take part in the process at some point in their “careers.”

From that perspective, Moogy’s guides are a spectacular help. True, experience is the best way to learn these things, but it’s always helpful to do some background reading in advance. If you want to write a book, you can probably find a million semi-helpful guides online or in bookstores, but how many people write about something as obscure as the VN translation process? Though it might be common sense to the active translators, many VN players have a limited knowledge of the process, and guides like these can be a great stepping stone to help aspiring translators hit the ground running. I’m not sure when I’ll venture into the community myself, but whenever I do, I can only hope that there will be more things like this to ease the learning process.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Yi December 18, 2009 at 8:07 am

Brass Restoration was pretty good. For me though, it is kind of lacking that extra something to make it just fantastic. Thus, I found it hard to finish all the routes.

Good review. It is definitely one that deserves a little more attention.


omo December 18, 2009 at 8:11 am

there were a ton of games released under those Altogether things and they kinda crowd each other out. i guess i’ll have to give this a shot since i tend to like these short VNs


ETERNAL December 18, 2009 at 11:39 pm

Actually, it’s about 20 hours long, which is pretty big for a doujin. It’s in that awkward middle ground where it lacks the budget to be a commercial game yet it’s too big to benefit from the amateur short-but-sweet appeal. Of course, I still recommend it!


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