50 books (+) I want to read by 10 June 2019 – EDIT: 100(+) books i want to read by 13 Sept 2020

  1. The Oxford Book of Japanese short stories – edited by Theodore W. Goossen
  2. The Great Old Ones – H.P. Lovecraft
  3. Kokoro – Natsume Souseki
  4. I am a Cat – Natsume Souseki
  5. River Mist and other Stories – Doppo Kunikida
  6. Decay of Angel – Yukio Mishima DONE 11 August
  7. Flawless – Oda Sakunosuke
  8. Rashoumon – Akutagawa Ryuunosuke
  9. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
  10. Six White Venus – Oda Sakunosuke (Actually Osaka Life)
  11. East Of Eden – John Steinbeck
  12. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  13. Naomi – Tanizaki Jun’ichiro DONE 14 AUgust 2018
  14. The Moon Over the Mountain: Stories – Nakajima Atsushi
  15. 20000 Leagues Under the Sea – Jules Verne [REREAD] Done 15 June 2018
  16. And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
  17. Cain – Jose’ Saramago
  18. Alan Turing, The Enigma – Andrew Hodges
  19. The Dancing Girl – Ougai Mori Done 17 July 2018
  20. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Conan Doyle (read another one of the series)
  21. Macbeth – William Shakespear
  22. Do Androids dream of electronic sheep? – Philip K. Dick
  23. The Quilt – Katai Tayama
  24. Midnight Plus One – Gavin Lyall
  25. In Search of Lost Time – Marcel Proust
  26. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison – Michel Foucault
  27. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
  28. Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger
  29. Pensées (“Thoughts”) – Blaise Pascal
  30. Sartor Resartus: The Life and Opinions of Herr Teufelsdröckh – Thomas Carlyle
  31. The Truth about Markets – John Kay [REREAD]
  32. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson Finished 1 July 2018
  33. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
  34. Strait is the Gate – André Paul Guillaume Gide
  35. Autumn Leaves – André Paul Guillaume Gide
  36. A History of God – Karen Armstrong
  37. Selected Poems – William Wordsworth
  38. Profiling Hackers: The Science of Criminal Profiling as Applied to the World of Hacking – Raoul Chiesa, Stefania Ducci, Silvio Ciappi
  39. 1Q48 – Haruki Murakami
  40. Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami Finished 20 June 2018
  41. Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka
  42. Runaway Horses – Yukio Mishima
  43. War and Peace – Lev Tolstoy
  44. The Decameron – Giovanni Boccaccio
  45. The Metropolis – Sinclair, Upton  DONE 11 August
  46. Moby Dick – Herman Melville
  47. The Makioka sisters (Sasame Yuki) –  Tanizaki Jun’ichirou
  48. The Republic – Plato
  49. Anne of Green Gables – Lucy Maud Montgomery
  50. The Scarlet Letter – Hawthorne Nathaniel

Honorable mentions (or the next list of 50, actually i ended up reading outside of the “original” list and then add on to the honorable mention list *facepalm* oh wells since my goal is reach 50 it is still okay i guess-ish)

  1. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  2. The Great Gatsby – Francis Scott Fitzgerald Done 30 July 2018
  3. To kill a mockingbird – Harper Lee
  4. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
  5. Never let me go – Kazuo Ishiguro
  6. Spring Snow – Yukio Mishima DONE 24 July 2018
  7. The Temple of Dawn – Yukio Mishima
  8. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
  9. The Recently Deflowered Girl – Edward Gorey Done 10 July 2018. WAIT WHAT THE FUCK DID I JUST READ….
  10. Tales of Mystery and Imagination – Edgar Allen Poe
  11. Superfreakonomics – Steven D. Levitt && Stephen J. Dubner
  12. The woman in the dunes – Kobo Abe
  13. An Outcast of the islands – Joseph Conrad
  14. Hamlet – William Shakespear
  15. Thirty Years in Tokyo – Katai Tayama
  16. Freakonomics – Steven D. Levitt && Stephen J. Dubner
  17. Julius Caesar – William Shakespear
  18. Midaregami – Yosano Akiko
  19. Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
  20. The Pearl – John Steinbeck DONE 13 August 2018
  21. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
  22. Frankeinstein
  23. Animal Farm – George Orwell
  24. A Revolution Sabotaged Before it Began (あらかじめ裏切られた革命) – Iwakami Yasumi
  25. Kafka On The Shore
  26. No bad Kids – Discipline without Shame
  27. Infrastructure as Code
  28. The Men who stared at goats
  29. The Psychopath Test
  30. CSS Grids
  31. Infrastructure as Code
  32. Vita Sexualis
  33. Confession of a mask – Yukio Mishima
  34. Anne Frank’s Diary
  35. Lost Connections (Johann Hari) – DONE 12 May 2019
  36. CSS3 for dummies
  37. To have and have not: Hemingway
  38. Carrie – Stephen King
  39. Classic Japanese Fairy Tales Volume 1 – Mimei Ogawa
  40. First Japanese Reader
  41. Sadako’s a thousand cranes and the Children Peace Statue
  42. Attached – Amit Levine
  43. Codependent relationships
  44. The Alchemist
  45. The secret lives of colors
  46. The Bluest Eye- Toni Morrison
  47. Moonwalking with Einstein – Joshua Foer
  48. Faking It, The Lies Women Tell about Sex, and the Truth They Reveal – Lux Alptraum
  49. No place to hide – Glenn Greenwald
  50. The tale of Genji – Murasaki Shikibu
  51. Reinforcement Learning, an Introduction – Richard S. Sutton and Andrew A. Barto
  52. Hunger – Roxanne Gay
  53. The Invisible Orientation
  54. The courage to be disliked

 

Update: 28 feb 2019: 26 read. D.A.N.M

Updated 9 May 2019: 38 read.

Updates 25 May 2019: 40 read.

Update 10 June 2019: 43 read.

Update 11 July 2019: 46 read.

Update 14 Aug 2019: 47 read.

Update 1 Sep 2019: 48 read

Update 10 Sept 2019: 49 read

Update 13 Sept 2019: 50 READ!!!

Next milestone: the next 50

Update 1 Nov: 2 read — shit i am behind schedule

Update 25 Nov: 3 read — NOOOOO

Summary of key 2017 memories

Hello World,

Here comes the clinche’ end of year summary (a few days overdue).

  1. Jan -May: I was on a roller coaster ride with CS3217, an iOS development module. There was so much I wish I could have achieved without sabotaging my own mental, psychological and physical health. I drank more energy drinks than I remember to have ever drunk in my whole life (I only started drinking red bull for energy boost in maybe year 2 of uni). Ended up with bouts of nausea once in a while. I have never taken another can of energy drink since then. I don’t know if it was because of the stress induced by CS3217, but I started to miss a lot of appointments due to oversleeping – i missed one of my midterms and the appointed re-midterm, luckily i was still allowed to re-take it on another day ;_; i was worried like hell. Started to seek help from UHC Counselling for what i suspected to be a combination of anxiety and clinical depression. They never gave me any diagnosis, but nevertheless i was glad i could let out lots of negative feelings bottled up inside.
  2. May-August: Even though surviving CS3217 was so tough, i was lucky enough to have been accepted for an internship with SEA Ltd. Learnt so much in 14 weeks, and got to know my funny and damn good mentor Minh. He turned out to be the boyfriend of my friend’s friend in NTU o_O. We met once before but apparently none of us recognized each other when we met in SEA. I kept a list of what technical stuffs i learnt almost everyday there, and shall compile the list *some* day.
  3. June – August: volunteering with Upstars became unintentionally one of the most important decisions i have made in uni. I learnt about other programming stuffs besides just my mainstream software developing, got to make new friends and i came to be more certain that maybe one of my passions really lay in sharing knowledge. I also became a TA again eventually in August, for the first time conducting CS1020 lab sessions while doubling up as a lab TA and tutor for CS3241. I enjoyed teaching the “kids” and some of them did express appreciation to me, which filled me up with joy. I realized that after all these activities were halted to give ways to my exam preparation, my motivation plunged. I also started volunteering with Project X, and got to know some ladies frequenting the bars. They lead lives so different from mine. I learnt a lot during my interactions with them. Eventually when we forget all the judgement and social stigma, people from various backgrounds can become so comfortable talking about their different lives as friends. There is suddenly a feeling of being liberated when we let go of the discrimination and assumption, and open our minds to receive new people, new knowledge, to learn and unlearn, to look at every piece of information with open minds.
  4. August-December: i seem to hit the jackpot as SEA decided to offer me a full time position on my last day of the internship. I am so grateful for my mentors for their guidance and feedback. With the offer, i could afford to spend more time on other things like teaching, volunteering, instead of preparing for technical interviews. My CAP did go up despite the packed schedule. I have by now (not fully but significantly) recovered from the constant fatigue i experienced while struggling for CS3217 – i felt like a ghost in the beginning of the year as there was an urge to sleep anywhere every single second i was awake. I still experience a kind of tiredness once in a while but i did not always take a nap whenever there was a break anymore. I signed up for a few other volunteer groups – Homeless Hearts of Singapore, Transient Workers Count Too, The T Project, and presented a proposal to SDI Academy on Programming lessons for Migrant workers from Bangladesh in Singapore. Also took my vocal lessons during this period. Hope to be able to perform in some events next year!
  5. December: said goodbye to 2017 at a gay bar in Chinatown, with my first tequila shot and a beautiful drag queen touring in and out, spreading glamour everywhere she went. I had never before been in a room with so many topless muscular males with glitter spread on their bare shoulders. What wonders it could give to break down all walls, just treat people different from us like any other person in our lives – because in the end how can i feel they are different from me when they look, speak, breath, eat, drink, smile, behave just like any other “straight” human beings? I find it funny when a friend whom i met that morning and invited to the countdown party curiously asked if gay people do “weird” stuff when they are together, and that if it was a “normal” bar she would gladly come with me. I brushed it off with a laugh and said i didn’t take it personally (i made it known to her i was straight) because people just did not have interactions with these “different” groups of men and women. I told her of a gay friend of mine who was in Malaysia and thus unable to come with me, and who told me that when he kept long hair and entered a male toilet, he would be prepared to get stared at, and even told he went to wrong toilet 😦 i think we could manage to be a bit more kind, don’t you think?

Now it is already January 2018. I hope to be able to travel more, complete my list of things to do by 25, and learn more things in my own time. It has not been an easy year but nevertheless a memorable one, one when i could see myself grow as a person, have more self-confidence, better communication with people of other genders. My list of things to do in 2018 includes travelling alone to Sweden to see the Northern Lights, and complete a full marathon. I hope i find my own little piece of happiness soon too. But there is no need to rush 🙂 Good luck to me…

Until then, Goodbye World.

Diary Entry 20 Nov 2019

i want to be free from myself. in order to do that i need to keep reminding myself when it is not “my task”. “it is not my task to concern with other people’s opinions when those differ from mine”. “it is not my task to go try “correct” someone or try to change someone’s opinion”. “it is not my task to expect someone to have the same opinions as me”. but it is in my power to join those who have the same opinion as mine to share our thoughts, that is fine as long as i don’t attempt to shoot down other opinions.

My obsession with DMMD Clear’s characterisation

So far, DMMD’s Clear is the third character who has made me so miserably obsessed over that i have to write an essay of: the 1st being Kunikida Doppo from Bungou Stray Dogs, and the 2nd Sousuke Yamazaki from Free!Eternal Summer.

Clear is quite a surprising one: first, this is my first experience with a BL game, and secondly, i have never liked such a character with such a “bubbly” image. But Clear happened. And i am hooked. That’s why i am here. Because even though i hate it, i need to get over my obsession with Clear.

Clear’s character is simple at first glance but the further you go the more questions you have. Of course we will wonder about the gas mask, but he is such a puppy that it makes people go “Oh, it must be quite a trivial reason then”. But then, he makes you think about all those questions he throws at Aoba. Do jellyfish dream when they sleep? Why do people live? How do they know they are living the best way? What makes one human? How can you say if somebody has a heart?

Clear’s insecurity about never becoming a literal “human”, is eternal. Ask any Clear’s fan and they’ll tell you it tears them apart just like how it does Aoba whenever they are reminded of that fact. But it makes the struggle in their romance so appealing because with every piece of content the fans are anticipating “What could be their next decision? How would they live together as a human and a machine? What would they do when one of them dies? Will Clear break again just as he did? What is Aoba’s answer if Clear is fixed and comes back to him again? Will he live on with Clear or will he break them apart?” Not to mention the first time they make love is a bittersweet decision because no matter how much both of them want to touch the other, it will have a serious implication for both of them: Clear will have to endure more pain, and Aoba will be mentally scarred. But they did it anyway. Call it being pressured if you want to, i can’t blame you. But put ourselves in that situation and maybe, maybe we would also choose to spend the little time we have with our loved one than wait for the end without embracing each other till the last moment. This is the gist of their love story – there is no true “end” for Clear’s route, whichever it is we choose to go down, we are left with a cliffhanger, because their difficulties never end.

Clear’s questioning his own heart and whether he can behave as a human being, makes one think about oneself. This hits home worst in his bad end: Clear is cynical of everything he has: even his emotions, his sexual desire for Aoba, his blood, his body, everything even though one thing he never questions is his love for Aoba. But, how do you define “fake” emotions? As humans, don’t we fake emotions as well? How do you define “fake” feelings like being sad, being aroused, when all these emotions are nothing but electrical signals? But to Clear who has no one to tell him he is human in the bad end, everything about himself is fake. Because in this bad end Aoba did not have the chance to tell him that he is more “human” than anyone.

Unlike other main character, there is just no way for Aoba to use Scrap to “help” Clear. Rather, for Clear, just Aoba being Aoba, is enough. His voice brings him to Aoba, and that is as much as Clear needs. In no situation did Aoba need to use any power for Clear, and that i think is such a brilliant point because just by being there and giving Clear pieces of his mind, Aoba made an irreversible impact on Clear, so much that the later develops such a strong will which could even be compared to, say, Scrap’s power to command Mink to live. For a show of supernatural powers, we are being shown that, even without those power, you can impact someone greatly. This is why Clear’s story stood out from the game so much in my opinion.

In Clear’s route, the two of them, Aoba and Clear, are intertwined like a curse in a never-ending spiral.

First, both of their voices have strong impact on the other. It is obvious in the good route: Clear found Aoba through his voice, and Aoba relaxes whenever he listens to Clear. But even in the bad end, all Clear wanted was for Aoba to call his name. Aoba, too, after all that happened to him, the only sense he had left is Clear’s voice, and according to Aoba, that makes his whole world. Even consider what he said in Re:Connect, Aoba knows that Clear is not the same Clear he knows anymore, but, the thing that came to his mind that retains a fragment of the Clear he used to know, is Clear’s voice. Just that alone makes Aoba retain some attachment to this Clear that he knows has changed.

Second, their love story is both their blessing and their curse. This actually fits them very well because the idea of “fate”, “reason to live” keeps repeating in their main story, their ending songs, and their CD drama. In the good end, they learn to love every moment they spend together because they never know who will come to eternal rest first, and to me this is the best version of a love story we can ever have. Clear continues to try hard to live as a human life as possible so that he can support Aoba, and Aoba, aware of Clear’s efforts, also continues to try to find ways to fix Clear’s body which was apparently not completely fixed at the point of the end of the first game.

But in their bad end, the same deep passion coils them around a whirlpool of darkness. In this end, it is precisely because Clear tried so hard to protect Aoba, that Aoba tries to live on as whatever Clear wishes, this Clear that he barely knows anymore. For Aoba, this same Clear became a curse. Aoba should not have to see Clear the same way anymore, but he did anyway, bound by the past Clear’s memory (it was very sad actually, when you watch the part from Aoba’s POV when he mentioned that every time he thought of dying, Clear’s face came to mind – the Clear that he used to know. The Clear that was gently kissing him. Aoba remembers all the expressions he had, from his happy face, to his sad face, and his embarrassed face. I felt like crying when i read those thoughts.). This is where it broke me apart because unlike the other bad routes where Aoba either is left with pure fear or guilt for failing with Scrap, in this bad end Aoba is still filled with love for Clear.

Because of this, Clear’s routes always end up having those two entangled in a thread of fate that keeps them spiral further. And if we squint enough, their feelings are very much mutual and similar in every way. If you read Aoba’s thought in the good end, he became as obsessed over fixing Clear as Clear being obsessed over moulding Aoba in the bad end: Aoba wanted to fix Clear by himself, because to him, it is “his” Clear.

画像の貼り付け先_ 2019-11-19 21-35.png

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This and the fact that both of them long for the other to call their names.

Clear’s Bad end

画像の貼り付け先_ 2019-11-19 21-51.png

And Aoba in the Good end

画像の貼り付け先_ 2019-11-19 21-54.png

I mentioned before i have a weak spot for characters who do their very best. In Clear’s route, not only is Clear always working his ass off, but Aoba also becomes much more meditative and motivated. He is desperate, he is obsessed, he thinks about selfish things like fixing Clear by himself (if you read the Drama CD, this point will be reinforced), or making love with Clear because he wants to help Clear with whatever he has, even if it means he will be haunted by that memory later on. Not only is Clear my favourite, but Aoba is Clear’s route is also my favourite version of Aoba. And their romance my favourite version of romance because, i think that, holding each and every moment with one another dear and feeling that it is better to hurt having loving one another is better than not loving at all out of fear of being hurt, is the most mature way to fall in love.

Clear is a united mass of all his contradictions: Clear’s everything, including his bad end, his good end, his puppy self, his serious self, are one and the same. Clear is usually bubbly, but he also has things he deeply hates (like the thought of having to use the body of an Alpha, in the Drama CD) and when he is in that mode, you can hear the change in his voice drastically (thank God you are here Nakazawa Masatomo). In this game, of course you can say that the good ends are the “canon” end, but to appreciate a character we need to see them as a whole package from the worst to the best. This is why, for Clear, i do not want to paste one word to describe him as a character, like “pure”, “puppy”, “angel”, “perfect”. No, nobody is perfect, not even Clear who is supposed to be a superior machine. Clear is one whole being who makes me wonder one thing after another and come to love his character as a result, both the pure Clear of the first game, the greedy and selfish Clear of Re:Connect, and the cynical Clear of the bad end. His existence is so volatile owing partly to the fact that he is man-made and can be configured. But my point is, you can’t put a label on a character in this game – all main characters don’t have one word that can describe them. The other character who i would consider having opposing sides existing together is, maybe obvious enough, Mink. Even if you say you love Mink, i think, you have to take him as the Mink who was hurting others to achieve his goal, together with the Mink who is loving and caring. You don’t simply say “The DMMD Mink is not the real Mink”. I don’t think that’s how it works. To love a character is embracing their best AND their worst. We can’t simply say “The Mink in this route is not the real Mink because he was driven by revenge”. Mink picked those decisions by himself, not like when, say, Koujaku is taken over by the tattoo, or, if Clear is totally reprogrammed, so the point is that he knows it and regrets it and goes back to being gentle, but no one can erase what Mink did, ever. His being is the collective of he who hurt and he who now loves. Similarly, Clear is a collective of Clear who loves and who works hard and Clear who is also cynical and obsessive over Aoba, and if not told the right words by the right person, will confuse between feelings of sadness and happiness, and possessiveness and love. That is to say, Clear is not an “angel”, nor is he a “pervert” – yes i am talking the mirror scene. A character, at least, in DMMD, cannot be defined by one single action. They are the collection of all their actions, good or bad.

But, to be much more literal, the reason why i say Clear is one and the same with his good and bad:

Clear’s bad end lyrics:

“Always, it’s been you. Always, don’t be scared.

Clear’s drama CD ending:

“Together we will go, no need to be afraid.

Clear’s drama CD ending:

“The sadness in your eyes, i’ll make it fade away.”

Clear’s bad end: Cuts off Aoba’s eyes.

This is why i say he is the same… his emotions of wanting to protect Aoba, it never changes, no matter what form it takes…

Last but not least: his symbols animal, the jellyfish, is fucking genius. The only species considered “immortal” at the moment is a jellyfish called Turritopsis dohrnii. Just like Clear, they can “reset” to a younger state when they aged. This is fucking genius considering how they use this animal with the transparent image of an animal whose sting hurts as much as they are cute and innocent looking.  Also, thanks to someone, i knew that his brothers, Alpha, means the beginning. What does that make Clear then? He is older than them, so does that make him before the beginning? What is there before the beginning? Maybe it is a parallel to the jellyfish being a much older species on Earth than even dinosaurs, which are usually the image that comes to mind when we think about ancient life on Earth.

So yep, i am late. But better late than never huh? Thank you Clear for being born. And thanks Nitro+Chiral for this bomb of a game that is already 7 years old but still makes me write an essay over. Bravo. Bravo.

 

BONUS: Always…. Is this their tagline or something???? 

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Diary Entry 9 Nov 2019

The reason why i love Clear so especially much compared to the rest of the cast members in Dramatical Murder is that i so relate with him when he tries so hard to shake off the chains bound to him by his origin and what other people forces on him. Especially at the scene where his creator told him that he knows well who he was born to and therefore cannot change his fate of being a man made human controlling machine.

i saw my own frustration in Clear as he fought back with his own free will against his creator. True, he cannot change the fact that he is not human, but he did not choose to be born a machine either. Therefore it is not his fault that he was intended to be a killing machine, and it is his right to decide what he wants to become. i relate to him in this part soooo badly i couldn’t take my eyes off him.

We cannot change where and when we are born and who give birth to us, but it is in our own free choice to choose where we end up at and who we want to be and who we want to be with. No one has the right to shoot us down for having a will to go against our destined life. You go Clear.

Diary Entry 8 Nov 2019: My love-hate relationship with DRAMAtical Murder

Today’s diary entry is special: i just finally finished reading the plot line for the last main route left in DMMD: Mink’s route. Now time to wrap up what i think about each of the routes.

Disclaimer 1: might contain spoilers if you have not watched the anime or played the game. Although, i’d recommend it.

Disclaimer 2: i don’t hate any of the main characters.

Some background info: i watched the anime first, and then came to watch some of the walkthrough videos (i skipped the main route videos and only watched one route in its entirety, i will tell you which one it is soon).

This is a ranking of my not-so-favourite to Most loved main good end routes (meaning including only Noiz, Clear, Koujaku, Mink, Ren. i don’t care enough to watch Mizuki’s or Vitri, sorry not sorry). I also don’t feel like ranking the bad ends because to me they are equally bad.

 

#5. Noiz

Image result for noiz

Okay, i surprised even myself here. From the anime, Noiz’ route episode was the first one to leave a strong impact on me. He became one of my favourite in the anime.

Don’t get me wrong, i do think his character and backgrounds are good. And i am aware that Noiz is probably the most popular DMMD character.

What happened was i read his plot line in the game and the more i read the more i feel like his route takes away some of the impressions he left on me earlier.

Noiz is talented, and your favourite cold-mannered cool young hacker that we all love. He is perfect save for the fact that he doesn’t feel pain, which understandably leaves him unable to empathise with others. His route gives a meaningful message that pain is both a curse and a privilege – someone who does not feel pain usually will be portrayed as strong and that would be an advantage. But through Noiz, we know that it is a necessary evil and honestly that is a meaningful thing to take away with.

But here is what the slippery slope of Noiz’ route starts. His strength lies too much in his backstory, intelligence, cool demeanour and handsome face. Which all have been taken away by the end of his route. He got cured by Scrap and starts to feel pain; he reconciled with his family and becomes an assistant which i think is such a waste of his talent, he removed his piercings that were such a trademark to him and which i think signifies his deviance and i love deviant characters oh come on.

And then there is his romance with Aoba – seriously i do not like stories in which guys suck each other off even before they confess and then realise they have feelings for each other afterwards. i was hoping Noiz’ love story is something not constrained by that trope to be honest. i did not get impressed by how he became a prince and treats Aoba like a princess either, i mean it is all sweet and all but am i too old for this or is this too much of a fairy tale that is too mild a climax after all those two have learnt along the way?

So yes, a let down of an ending to such a good buildup of a character. i wish Noiz was given more independence at the end and their love story was more mature.

All in all, Noiz’s history was very well written. And that is the extent to which i like his route.

#4. Koujaku

Image result for koujaku dmmd

Koujaku is damn sweet, seriously. i actually like his flower motifs a lot and i think his design is very pretty.

i don’t have much to complain about his route since it is your safe and healthy best friends romance which is really cute.

The only letdown part: Koujaku is too tied down by his past to the point he becomes too passive about it, and then Aoba just flicks a finger and bam! Everything is solved.

First of all, Koujaku’s design is contradictory to me: he says he is haunted by his past but then he does not hide all of his tattoos, so uhm i don’t know which is which. Even though Koujaku is drowned in self pity after such a long time, Aoba can just conveniently save him like that which is anti-climatic in my opinion.

But, having that said, i love when Koujaku cuts Aoba’s hair. It is a symbolic scene that signifies the two of them both moving forward from their past. This is my favourite part of his route.

Overall, it is your fluffy sweet and toxic-free friendship-to-love story and i think having such a route in an eros game is really refreshing. i actually couldn’t decide whether i like Koujaku’s or Noiz’ route more, but oh wells this order is fine too.

#3. Mink

Related image

This is where i surprised myself a second time. In the anime, Mink’s relationship with Aoba is even less explored that his relationship with Toue, but i saw comments scattered here and there about his game route and i start to hesitate reading his.

i delayed it for so long because after looking at the comments on videos about his route, i was so sure i was going to feel disturbed.

I particularly dislike the tropes along the lines of a relationship that involves one party raping another, or “i love you but i want you to hate me because i love you so i will hurt you”, or “i hurt you but then the more i hurt you the more you love me”, basically the romanticisation of abuse. i. hate. that. a lot. really, a lot.

And Mink’s route just happens to have ALL of it, yes ALL of the above messages that so fill the current romance literature media. Yes. Be forceful, and the partner likes it. They know they like it. They WILL like it. Especially if you are totally sexy , nobody can refuse you even if you force yourself on them.

That is why i did not want to start reading his story. But i did eventually just to complete the picture. Or maybe because i trusted Nitro:Chiral.

To my surprise, i wanted to hate Mink, but i can’t. i don’t really know if i even like his character or not (one thing for sure i don’t react sexually strongly to his attractiveness), but i just can’t hate him, because i just understand what he thinks.

The reason is simple but compelling enough to stop me from completely hating him: Mink’s route has an upper hand above all the disturbing tropes that i listed above, and that is because he did have one logical reason to hurt Aoba: he wanted to drag out the other personality so that he can make use of it, and he is smart enough to realise that violence is the way to do it. Which none of the other main characters were in a position to realise.

But all because of this logical thinking, i am pulled back one step away from dismissing anything good Mink does and regarding him as a douchebag and a heartless twisted rapist and the whole relationship with Aoba a bag of rough sex and abuse. But no, because i understand why Mink did what he did, i can’t hate him. D.A.M.N.

My reservation about Mink’s route is only this: this is a fictional story, so we can have a character who can go back to being his real self so seamlessly after a period of pure hunger for revenge and forgetting how to live. However, in real life, i believe it is not so easy. Someone capable of such violence in the first place makes me doubt if he will really turn violent-free in such a short time, and that is why i still have some mixed feelings about Mink’s route. Plus, Aoba’s turning submissive and turned on because of the abuse did not amuse me. As much as Mink is loved and as much as he loves Aoba, i still am slightly disturbed by the romanticisation of violent sex in this particular scene. i don’t think Aoba’s turned twisted, but he is a bit too meek around Mink even after the end of the game and in Re:Connect. He is a bit like how Clear is to him at the beginning – very considerate, sometimes even overly considerate – which makes quite a lot of sense because Mink and Clear are usually regarded as polar opposites.

The other part that gives me mixed feelings about their romance is that it is based on sexual tension – this is the pair with the most sexual tension among all the love interests. But i kinda got cool with it after a while because that is a type of romance too. i basically had to remind myself that i am only feeling that unconvinced because i am asexual and i need to think in terms of the general population’s love tendencies.

i won’t comment on Mink’s sex appeal because you can find it everywhere. Even though, had Mink continued to be violent after Re:Connect, my impression of him would be just bad. bad, bad forever no matter how hot he is or how golden his eye colour is or how sweet his cinnamon smell is. But because he becomes totally gentle afterwards (well it is a fiction after all), i just can’t bring myself to hate him.

Mink and Aoba’s connection is slightly different from the rest of the love interests: while the rest are romance-oriented, you could say Mink and Aoba have some form of spiritual connection. Mink is religious and his reckless acts lead him to be totally shaken by the other personality inside Aoba, something he did not expect. So their relationship is not as straightforward. Rather, it is a mix of fear, admiration, sexual attraction and infatuation all in one. Wow, it is so hard to put one label to their relationship, although to me it is mostly attraction + infatuation, it is still a valid form of romance so yeah there you have it, your sexy daddy who can make you feel frustrated one second and totally captivated the next.

Overall, i can’t put my head around what i feel about Mink’s route, but i think the story writers did a fantastic job because i can’t define what i feel about a character and that is totally a different level altogether. So yeah, even if i am still frustrated, i am impressed with how much attention they give to his story and therefore it ranks quite high for me.

#2. Ren

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Ren is frigging cute like come on have you seen him trotting in the game opening? And the very moment he came up in the anime i squealed like an idiot that i was because that pink tongue is just too much. And then he spoke. And then we see him in his Allmate form. And then his human form without the cape. Basically one heart throb after another.

i personally love Ren. i would wish i had such a friend in my real life and if i were to adopt a dog i most likely want to get one like him. He is such a badass sweet friend that is always Aoba’s emotional support and as we know at the end of the story, he was Aoba’s true mental checker all along. i really really like mature characters and Ren hits the spot. He is composed, cool, strong, mentally mature, and loyal. He is everything my ideal type of friend is.

i did not have to re-read his plot that much because i got the gist of it in the anime and i am content with that much. Ren is so simple as a character but his insecure side rings a familiar note in me and i can’t help but think of it as sweet, especially when he kept it all inside of himself and even when i felt jealous of other Allmates, Ren never acts up and keeps on protecting Aoba.

i don’t comment on what kind of *cest that makes his sexual relationship with Aoba – call it incest/self-cest or beast sex or whatever, i don’t care about that. He is an individual with a human body by the end of his good end, and that is all that matters to me. Whether he used to be a part of Aoba does not change the fact that he is an individual now.

i think Ren is really beautiful. i kinda want to draw his face with a gentle smile, because i think he smiles very rarely in both the anime and the original game, most likely because he appears as a dog much more frequently than as a human.

Ren’s route is very creative and emotional because it deals with a part that we all share as humans: we are scared of being left behind, no matter how much we are close to the one we care about. And i think that it is simply well put out by the studio.

#1. Clear

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O Clear, Clear, Clear. Clear is my favourite, over and over. i just don’t know why he gave me such a lasting impression because i am generally more inclined towards mature ones (like Ren) but i do love Clear’s pure intentions even though he might come off as childish. i was amused by him in the anime and enjoyed him as a cutie much like Free!’s Nagisa, but oh boy he is not just a child. He asks questions you have never thought of. After all, who the hell would have thought of what jellyfish dream of when they swim? Or that the stars might fall down any moment. Or that people might die in their sleep and that is scary. Or whether robots can become human. Oh, he can fight too, and will do when necessary. In this aspect again he is an opposite of Mink: Clear does not like unnecessary violence.

Another way Clear is the opposite of Mink is: while Mink has lost everything, he is someone who did not have anything to begin with. The only person he knew in his life prior to finding Aoba is his grandpa who left him behind. But because this boy has so little in the first place, the sense of gain and loss have not been ingrained that badly in him, and he only just started to know what love is.

Even though i did say that i am generally drawn to more mature characters than childish ones, there is another type of character that captivates me: ones that always do their best. Clear is the epitome of doing whatever he can, even if it means betraying fate.

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Oh God this scene is awesome.

i love how Clear thinks about everything differently. How he does his own thing in his own time regardless of what people think of him. Like putting up an umbrella when it is neither rain nor shine. Or like wearing a mask even if people call him weird and then eat and drink with the mask like nothing is weird about it. i just love all of those little things that make him so individualistic and open minded. That is when i realise “Ah, so even when i am human, i am not less isolated from the rest of the people than a robot is.”

O and that confession and the shy kiss, i can never say enough how nice it is to have a route with such a proper sequence to things when it comes to romance… it is really refreshing… like i am always wondering why can’t we have a good healthy and properly paced romance that is not boring, and then Clear happened.

If there is anything that saddens me in his route, then it will be this: Aoba can cure Noiz’s condition, break Koujaku’s entangling with his past, help Mink get over his thirst for revenge and wish for death, but Aoba can never ever turn Clear into blood and flesh. And that will never change. Pain can heal with time, but the fact that Clear is man made is there for eternity as long as his body still moves.

Not even the privilege of experience pain, Clear does not have the privilege of experiencing eternal death. He could be started up by someone else some time, he could have his memory modified. Such a creature that Clear is does not happen in this real time (yet), but it does pose a question regarding what is it that divides life from death, and what does it mean to be living. Clear is the one love interest that Aoba will not be able to connect with Scrap, because it is designed to change a human’s brain. i think that is why there is no good end in the choices that Aoba can make with Scrap.

But oh even so, if Aoba cannot do it with supernatural means, he will do it with his own two hands. Like holding Clear just as a human. Like willing to make Clear’s face wrinkled when his does so they will look like grandpas together. This is the Aoba that i love the most among all the routes. Clear’s route does not just bring out the best of Clear, it also brings out the best of Aoba.

Clear’s symbols are so nicely tied to his character and the theme that he represents. Attraction to pure things, things that glitter and are transparent. i have been used to seeing “innocent” characters turning out to be naive people put in for the sake of a drastic character development, but Clear shoved all of that boring stereotypes away. Instead of a “character development”, Clear shows how a character can have  both sides of the coin at the same time: pure intentions, cluelessness about social standards, while yet being really reflective of what has happened in his life, determination and bravery and great sense of responsibility. Clear is naive only to the social standards (which is fine), not to the complications of the real world as seen commonly among characters portrayed as naive. And the moment those characters get more reflective and “seasoned”, they lose the cheery pure characteristics. But Clear stays as Clear. And that i think is wonderful.

So now you have it – Clear’s is the only one whose route i watched in its entirety.

Simple yet gently poking into what we all take for granted about living and the everyday’s little things, this concludes my last thought on DMMD and the baby boy i hold dear – Clear.

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じゃな!

 

Diary Entry 01 November 2019

i gave back your birthday present to me, and bought myself one.

i have become worried of getting too emotionally attached to a character (actually, to a person too, but somehow i have managed to master the art of avoiding it), but i guess this time i was so affected that i really couldn’t turn my eyes from it (eh why am i talking like Aoba now)

Diary Entry 26 Oct 2019

Seeing the light show today was the happiest i have been in a while. maybe for the past few months. it scared me. it reminded me that if i felt this way again because someone else brought me there, one day when i would be hurt by them again i would be reminded that i owed that someone a favour and that i might be driven to do something for them out of guilt again and be scared to take something from them again

Diary Entry 24 Oct 2019

It’s cold. I am not good with the cold. It makes the body feel vulnerable and alone, as if it is saying “Somebody hugs me”. That’s why i don’t like it.

People who says “As an adult, you will realise that nobody loves you as much as you parents do” or something along that line needs to realise that they have the privilege of a healthy and support family.