In this section you can find more information about my personal reading experience of VNs I finished or tried. It is my opinion on the difficulty of a novel while reading with tools like ITH and jparser. More info on my view on difficulty can be found here. At the bottom I made a list of VNs I will read when I gained enough knowledge to do so. I will be adding to this list whenever I find something interesting to read. When I’ve already tried or read the VN there will be a difficulty behind the title. This list is only what I came up with now, if you have any additions or if you have a different opinion about what knowledge I need to be able to read it, please leave a comment.
Easy ( readers with only the bare fundamentals)
40日40夜の雨 ~finished~ This is a <2 hour story with really easy and mostly short sentences. I think it’s a great VN to start with or to just test your understanding of basic grammar. It took me 3 hours to finish this and I was everything but fast.
Hanahira! ~3 hours in~ If you’re familiar with cutesy speech in Japanese, this would be really easy to read. It helps to get used to the language. Hanahira! doesn’t really have a topic, it’s just small girls living their school life talking about… everything and nothing.
Ryuusei☆Kiseki -Shooting Probe ~3 hours in ~ So far sentences are mostly short and a lot of words normally written in kanji are written in kana. Subjects are mostly about school or about astronomy topics (with a lot of terms written in katakana). Astronomy is the main character’s big hobby and also the club he attends at school. A good try with only ‘raw’ grammar knowledge.
Motivational Medium (readers with some experience in Japanese)
Eden* They Were Only Two, On The Planet ~finished~ A kinetic novel of roughly 10 hours long. There are some longer sentences with sub- sentences, but generally the vocabulary is simple. This means you’d have to be a bit more comfortable with the grammar essentials (either reading experience or practise). Not a great novel to pick with only the bare fundamentals.
Himawari (Blank Note) ~20 hours in~ It starts really easy with daily life conversations mixed with some astronomy topics. Later on the topics become gradually harder and might ask for a bit more experience with the language. Besides a slight increase in difficulty the game is quite long if read with just the bare fundamentals. With enough motivation it’s not an impossible pick as first Japanese novel.
Kimi to Kanojo to Kanojo no Koi. ~finished~ Only commenting on the reading part; this novel has one small spoken part where no additional text is present. I wouldn’t worry too much about it, as you are probably able to grasp the meaning. With the use of somewhat longer sentences with sub-sentences from time to time it doesn’t fit in the easy category anymore. The wording is quite easy and the lenght is probably about 15 hours worth of reading. Besides that, there is one character that has a habit of ‘speaking’ in kana. You need some reading experience before picking this up, but with enough motivation I wouldn’t call it an impossible first read.
Saya no Uta ~finished~ This story is roughly 10 hours long. I was a beginner in getting more experienced with the essentials when I read this and noticed I certainly lacked some knowledge. Had I not read this before in English, I would have misinterpreted some sentences because of my lacking experience with the grammar. So all I can say about this is that if you already read this in English, it might function as a good practice material since you already know what the sentences are supposed to mean. You can confrontate yourself with your lack of knowledge, which is a good thing when you’re still learning.
Medium (average reader)
Gekkou no Carnevale ~finished~ It has a long play-through. Knowing some really common kanji makes you read through it faster but it’s not unreadable if you don’t know any. I know this because I didn’t know any kanji at all when I started this, and barely vocabulary. This did result in me taking a really long time to finish, but it was doable. The sentences were mostly short, this makes it easier to read grammar wise. Grammar shouldn’t be an issue anymore by now, especially in shorter sentences. I’d say you really need some common vocabulary. You probably already have to look up a lot of uncommon words (it’s about werewolves, mechanical dolls and alchemy and it is set in an Italian city with a lot of references), if you go in without any vocabulary knowledge you won’t get through without reading 1 sentence/min.
Maboroshi no Dystopia ~6 hours in~ Topic, wording and sentences of average difficulty. A typical novel of medium difficulty where you just need a good understanding of grammer and some experience with common speech and sayings. It’s supposed to be pretty short.
SINCLIENT ~2 hours in~ So far a lot of unvoiced sentences and a lot of describing narrative. Wording and sentences are of average difficulty and wouldn’t be comfortably read by an inexperienced reader. It strikes me as a medium difficulty novel on the easier side.
Tokeijikake no Ley Line -Tasogaredoki no Kyoukaisen- ~finished~ This VN isn’t that long and the wording is normal. It does have a wide variety of speech patterns (from casual patterns to honorific speech), if you can’t read somewhat comfortably through average sentences, you will have a hard time understanding more topic related sentences and explainations. In this case the topics are often magic related. When a few of these magical terms are used in a normal sentence, your jparser and mecab will often fail to give you a complete hit on all words. You should at least be able to read sentences in, for example, this way: “She was able to retrieve [some word] from [some place] to defeat [some things] while the others were looking for the keys.”. You will be able to easily fill in the [vocabulary] after you looked them up, or maybe even guess them from the context if you know what kind of things they were referring to. So, especially recognizing the function of grammar applied to vocabulary is a must.
Hard (fluent reader)
Devils Devel Concept ~1.5 hours in~ Mostly the topic and the fact that the protagonist seems to have a lot of inner monologues makes this quite difficult. Difficulty swings up and down with every scene, but the narrative can become quite hard to follow sometimes. Need some experience with common speech and sayings. Also a decent knowledge of vocabulary would be nice.
Schwarzesmarken ~8 hours in~ The topic, general speech and frequent use of kanji makes this a tricky novel to read. Although I’m pretty sure you’ll manage if you’re familiar with the general terminology used in Muv-Luv Alternative and can read medium difficulty novels without any problems.
Sorcery Jokers ~2 hours in~ The topic, sometimes general wording and the lenght of this novel calls for some more knowledge and experience. Sentences are mostly long where exceptional uses of vocabulary in regard to grammar are used casually. Also quite a bit is unvoiced. You can read this comfortably without extensive knowledge of kanji. The long words made up out of kanji where your jparser might screw up have furigana above them in-game. Occasionally a route map pops up, here you can choose the route you want to go on with (multiple character perspectives). This text can’t be hooked.
Hardcore (fluent and knowledgable reader)
Planning to read in the near future
1. Futagoza no Paradox – Expecting Medium
2. Ludesia Spidering with Scraping – Expecting Easy
3. Boku wa Kimi dake wo Mitsumeru ~I Gaze at Only You~ – Expecting Medium
4. Gothic Delusion – Expecting Easy
5. Sakuya – Expecting Easy
6. Subarashiki Hibi ~Furenzoku Sonzai~ – Expecting Medium
7. Root Double -Before Crime * After Days- – Expecting Medium
8. Hana no No ni Saku Utakata no – Expecting Motivational Medium
9. Ore-tachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai ~Prelude~ – Expecting Motivational Medium
10. Tiny Dungeon ~Black and White~ – Expecting Medium
11. Draculius – Expecting Motivational Medium
Planning to read eventually
1. Hikari no Valusia ~What a Beautiful Hopes~ – Expecting Medium
2. Soukou Akki Muramasa – Expecting Hard
3. Baldr Sky Dive1 “Lost Memory” – Expecting Hard
4. “Hello, world.” – Expecting Hard
5. Ikusa Megami Zero – Expecting Hard
6. J.Q.V Jinrui Kyuusai-bu ~With Love From Isotope~ – Expecting Hard
7. Jingai Makyou – Expecting Hard
8. Bradyon Veda – Expecting Hard
9. Fake Azure Arcology – Expecting Medium
10. Ken ga Kimi – Expecting Medium
11. Boku no Hitori Sensou – Expecting Medium
12. Sorcery Jokers – Hard
13. Hatsuru Koto Naki Mirai Yori – Expecting Hard
Planning to read but depending on difficulty: so far difficulty unknown
1. Hatsuyuki Sakura
2. Souten No Celenaria ~What a Beautiful World~
3. Shiei no Sona-Nyl -What a beautiful memories-
4. Ourai no Gahkthun: Shining Night
5. Vampirdzhija Vjedogonia
6. Irotoridori no Sekai
7. Baldr Bullet
8. Gensou no Avatar
9. Sukimazakura to Uso no Machi