Wednesday, September 14, 2016

THE NEW TRAVELER'S JOURNAL OF A CERTAIN SORCERER: PART 2

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Catatan: Post ini juga diterbitkan di website Saudagar Waifu
Previously on The New Traveler's Journal of A Certain Sorcerer
“We’re going to Comiket”
“Gentlemen, I’m afraid we’re no longer having a place to stay”
“NANI? The ATM is under maintenance? SONNA BANANA”

Shin To Aru Mahoutsukai no Tabi Nikki: Part 2

DAY 1

Haneda Airport - International Terminal Station, Ota, Tokyo
Menjelang jam keberangkatan kereta pertama, rolling door dibuka. Rasanya seperti di permulaan stage Time Crisis. Tujuan pertama party saya adalah Higashi Nakano, tempat dimana teman R-san, kita sebut saja P-san, tinggal. Kami akan menggunakan tempat tersebut untuk transit sambil menunggu jam check in Glass House tiba.
Karena sebelumnya sudah pernah menginjakkan kaki di tanah suci vvibu, membaca peta  rute kereta api yang cukup membuat puyeng dulu waktu pertama kali datang sudah bukan hal yang menyeramkan lagi. Untuk pergi ke Higashi Nakano dari Haneda, rute yang paling efektif adalah dengan menggunakan JR. But there are two things. First, saya adalah fanboy Tokyo Metro (JR dan Tokyo Metro adalah 2 line kereta utama di Tokyo). Keduanya punya kelebihan dan kekurangan sendiri. Monitor di dalam kereta JR lebih informatif dan english friendly, jika anda punya pass, harganya juga akan jadi lebih murah dan praktid. Tapi saya lebih senang Metro karena petanya lebih user friendly, visual aid di stasiun nya seperti nomer dan nama stasiunnya juga lebih enak. Plus, Tokyo Metro punya app yang tidak membutuhkan internet untuk mengaksesnya. By the way, Tokyo Metro punya page FB berbahasa Indonesia lho (ini bukan iklan tapi emang preferensi pribadi sih). Alasan kedua, saya ingin mengadakan eksperimen untuk memuaskan rasa penasaran, yaitu berapakah yen selisih, kalau ada, antara membeli tiket dengan sistem normal, yaitu dari stasiun A ke D dengan transit/ganti line di stasiun B dan C langsung seharga yang tertera di papan informasi, dengan membeli kereta dari stasiun A ke B, lalu B ke C, dan C ke D. Cukup koplak memang, karena itu berarti anda harus melakukan keluar masuk gate untuk membeli tiket. Ngomong-ngomong soal kereta, ternyata meskipun sudah pernah ke Jepang sebelumnya dan melakukan banyak blunder seputar naik kereta dan subway (anda bisa membacanya di postingan blog 3 tahun yang lalu), tetap saja kali ini juga ada blundernya. Yang pertama, kereta berhenti di stasiun A, dan semua penumpang turun. I was, like, is this supposed to be the final stop? Padahal di google map tulisannya “continue with the same train”. Akhirnya kami ikut turun dan bertanya pada penjaga stasiun. Ternyata rute dan keretanya memang benar, tapi kereta yang kami naiki hanya sampai stasiun itu. Mungkin bukan kereta express, atau malah sebaliknya, entahlah. Tunggu saja kereta selanjutnya, katanya. Tidak lama kemudian, kereta berikutnya datang. Tapi di papan lcd tulisan yang muncul adalah train in service (or something like that). Karena belum pernah mengalami yang seperti itu, tanpa rasa bersalah kamipun naik ke kereta dan *PET* lampu kereta langsung padam begitu kaki menginjakkan lantai kereta. Tidak perlu selevel sherlock untuk menyimpulkan jika kereta yang ini sedang dalam perjalanan ke tempat servis. Yang membuat kami (atau mungkin cuma saya) kagum, passenger detector nya itu. Karena di dalam kereta itu memang tidak ada orang lain lagi. Bayangkan kalo tidak ada itu, mungkin kami dengan naifnya ikut naik di dalam kereta sendirian sampai entah kemana.
Kereta berikutnya, untungnya, tidak membuat insiden yang aneh-aneh, jadi setelah perjalanan yang cukup panjang, akhirnya kamipun tiba di Higashi Nakano. Setelah menunggu agak lama, P-san, teman R-san datang untuk menjemput dan kamipun jalan kaki sampai ke tempat tinggalnya. Bagaimana dengan hasil experiment saya? Cukup mengesankan. Ternyata memang ada bedanya dan jumlahnya sebesar 200yen. So here were are, Nakano. BGM pls.
Sesampainya di tempat kediaman P-san, kami langsung zzZZZ Well, not really. Tapi untuk sebuah tempat transit bisa dibilang tempat P-san cukup membantu. Setidaknya ada kamar mandi (fuck yeah hot water -sorry for being lebay, but hot water is banned in my house except when you’re ill), tempat tidur yang cukup untuk lebih dari satu orang (I didn’t say three) and of course, electricity. Tapi yang paling penting, kami bisa menaruh tas sampai menjelang waktu check in ke Glass House. Setelah merasa energy lumayan ter recover, saya ingin langsung menuju ke objective pertama, Nakano Broadway, tapi disarankan untuk berangkat lebih siang lagi, mengingat toko-toko di sana baru buka siang.
Sekitar jam 10, rombongan saya akhirnya berangkat ke Nakano Broadway, dengan menyempatkan diri mampir ke hyakuen shop untuk beli batere buat kamera (most ngirit batere ever, 100 yen dapet 5 -belum termasuk pajak 8%-). Karena lokasi tempat transit di Higashi Nakano yang letaknya relatif dekat dengan Nakano, maka saya cukup jalan kaki saja untuk mencapai tempat tersebut. Kompleks pertokoan yang terkenal ini, lantai dasarnya memiliki deretan toko-toko yang menjual barang-barang layaknya di shopping arcade, tetapi the real deal ada di lantai 2 hingga 4, dimana toko barang-barang kebutuhan vvibu yang populer dengan slogannya, Ruler of Time, Mandarake, berpusat. Mandarake memiliki cabang yang tersebar hingga Osaka bahkan Sapporo tapi kompleks toko utama mereka ada di sini. Tidak tanggung-tanggung, di Nakano Broadway, Mandarake memiliki 26 toko yang tersebar di 4 lantai. That’s right, TWENTY FUCKING SIX store, dimana beberapa toko bisa dibrowsing hanya dengan sekali lewat, tapi beberapa toko lainnya is PRACTICALLY IMPOSSIBRU untuk dibrowsing isinya karena terlalu banyak. Ini adalah tempat yang wajib dikunjungi kedua oleh otaku setelah Akihabara. Tiga tahun yang lalu, saya belum tau soal eksistensi tempat ini.
But here’s the bad news. Toko-toko di Broadway umumnya jam 11 sudah mulai buka, tapi untuk Mandarake, ternyata bukanya baru JAM 12. Padahal jam 2 saya dan S-san harus berangkat ke Glass House, sementara perjalanan dari Broadway ke tempat P-san, dan packing-packing lalu berangkat ke Higashi Nakano sendiri memakan waktu yang tidak lama. Setelah berpikir cukup lama, akhirnya kami memutuskan untuk cari makan sambil menunggu. Di sini party terbagi 2, S-san tidak ingin makan di tempat yang tidak jelas status halalnya, sementara saya pretty much don’t give a damn. Akhirnya S-san dan R-san pergi ke convenience store terdekat, saya juga ikut sebentar untuk membeli onigiri untuk nyetok potion (setiap kali saya ketemu konbini rasanya kaya main rpg dan nemu item shop di kota. Saatnya beli onigiri [recover 15% HP] 3 atau 4 buah untuk persediaan di jalan). Setelah itu saya dan P-san pergi ke Matsuya untuk full HP recovery. Sebenarnya alasan saya ke Matsuya selain itu karena melihat gambar yang terpasang di pintu masuknya, ada MENU YANG SERING MUNCUL DI ANIMU-ANIMU, terutama gara-gara Amaama to Inazuma yang membuat saya jadi tambah penasaran pengen nyoba. So yeah, you may have heard the story about me tasting beer but actually before that, I ate this meal.

Entah hamburgnya pake daging apa yang penting FUCK YEAH SAYA UDAH NYOBA MAKANAN YANG SERING MUNCUL DI ANIMU DRAMA. MFW
*terdengar suara ambulan di kejauhan vvibuu vvibuu vvibuu*
Setelah kenyang, waktu belum juga menunjukkan jam 12. Jadi saya menyempatkan diri untuk muter-muter di Don Quixote, yang ternyata isinya ya biasa-biasa saja (ya iyalah, FYI Don Quixote itu nama department store yg populer di sana, padanannya kalo di sini mungkin kaya Carrefour atau Hypermart?). Section pet nya lumayan menarik sih, saya sempat tergoda buat beli oleh-oleh buat kucing di rumah (how come yg kepikiran pertama buat oleh-oleh malah kucing instead of orang rumah). Keluar dari situ, jam sudah menunjukkan pukul 12 lebih.
IT’S TIME!!
Pertama kali masuk sini, bisa dipastikan bakal kerasa OVERWHELMED dengan atmosfer dan power levelnya (sasuga Ruler Of Time). Saking banyaknya toko dan barang yang ada sampai saya jadi  bingung sendiri (ini di mana? Saya siapa? Kenapa aku tiba-tiba tidak bisa mengingat masa laluku? #halah). But yeah, SO MANY STUFF. Ini karena Mandarake adalah toko yang specialty nya menjual barang-barang second hand, jadi relic-relic dari jaman sebelum terjadi ledakan populasi vvibu lokal juga banyak dijumpai. Di sini saya menemukan figure Rohan Kishibe yang lumayan murah, 2000 yen dipaket sama Shingeki (almarhum). Untuk ukuran price figure harga tersebut masih wajar, apalagi practically that’s a price for two walaupun saya ragu apa ada yang mau beli figurenya Shigechi (kalau punya stand nya sih pasti pada mau), tapi karena saya merasa ‘hari pertama mending jangan belanja dulu’, jadi saya urungkan niat untuk membelinya. Sebenarnya saya hendak berlama-lama di situ terutama karena belum puas membrowsing bagian H manga yang rasanya seperti di dalam perpustakaan daerah tapi isinya H manga. Tapi mau bagaimana lagi, saya harus ke Glass House sebelum jam 3 untuk check in. Dengan berat hati sayapun melangkahkan kaki meninggalkan tempat itu, diiringi lagu enka Kyu Sakamoto (bohong ding).
200 yen poster dengan desain yang moe tapi tidak terlalu cringe inducing, agak salty juga kenapa saya akhirnya nggak beli. Tapi jangan khawatir, nanti masih ada yang sualty buanget yang berhubungan dengan Nakano Broadway, jauh lebih salty daripada poster ini. By the way, disini banyak toko yang memasang pengumuman dilarang memotret, tapi saya baru nyadar beberapa saat kemudian waktu sudah mengambil foto beberapa kali (orz I shall commit sudoku). Gara-gara ini saya jadi paranoid dan akhirnya tidak pernah mengambil foto lagi kalau pas di dalam toko (padahal 3 tahun lalu tiap kali nemu barang unik pasti langsung difoto).
Kembali ke travel log. Ternyata prediksi estimasi waktu saya tetap saja meleset. Setelah balik ke tempat P-san dan memulai perjalanan ke Glass House, di tengah-tengah perjalanan saya merasa kalau tidak mungkin bakal sampai tepat waktu. Akhirnya saya menghubungi Y-san, host airbnb kami kalau tidak bisa datang tepat waktu, yang dibalas dengan tidak masalah, nanti kuncinya tinggal ambil di dalam mailbox, dan beberapa hal teknikal lainnya.
Pukul 15:40 saya dan S-san sampai di stasiun Minami Senju. Jika anda membaca dari awal post bagian ini, so far event yang terjadi masih lancar dan happy-happy saja kan? Itu karena bagian yang paling screwed up dan bikin emosi belum terjadi. And it happened JUST RIGHT AWAY after we arrived in this station.
Begitu kami tiba di stasiun, kami langsung mencari alamat Glass House. Awalnya ketika masih di jalan raya, mencari jalan yang harus ditempuh cukup jelas, tapi ketika sudah mulai masuk daerah residential area, tiba-tiba rasanya seperti berada di tengah-tengah perumahan. Oh wait, bukan rasanya lagi ding, tapi memang itulah yang terjadi. Karena tempat yang hendak dipakai untuk menginap itu memang sebuah rumah biasa, yang kamarnya disewakan. Jadi bisa dibayangkan bagaimana frustatingnya mencari alamat di sebuah kawasan perumahan, yang sistem pengurutan bloknya tidak familiar. Ditambah saat itu kami membawa barang bawaan yang cukup banyak, plus harus mondar-mandir mencari jalan, ditambah penampilan kami  seperti orang asing (bukan seperti lagi, tapi memang literally), sementara di daerah itu meskipun relatif sepi tapi ada beberapa orang yang keluar jalan-jalan atau mengobrol di depan rumah. Karena panic plus nervous plus under pressure, tiba-tiba skill membaca google map dropped by 60%. Dan yang paling frustating, for some reason yang bahkan hingga sekarangpun saya tidak paham bagaimana mungkin, nomer tempat yang ada di document dan printout yang saya bikin bisa BERBEDA dengan alamat di airbnb. Padahal (seinget saya) saya meng copy-paste bukan menulis ulang. Gara-gara ini kami sempat NYASAR MASUK RUMAH ORANG, untungnya rumahnya sepi (atau jangan-jangan yg punya rumah ada di dalam tapi diam saja). Sampai saya curiga karena fotonya beda dan tidak ada tulisan Glass Housenya, dan setelah dicek lagi ternyata nomernya memang beda. Setelah muter-muter yang rasanya seperti di dalam dungeon game-game rpg nya Atlus, akhirnya ketemu juga alamatnya, yang ternyata penyebabnya salah belok di salah satu perempatan diantara blok-blok rumah, harusnya ke kanan, tapi kami ke kiri.
Begitu ketemu tempatnya, kami langsung masuk dan merasa isinya sepi banget. Ntah memang tamu yang lain sedang pada keluar atau di dalam kamar. Its almost feel like we’re owning the place, yang malah bikin tambah nervous. Pemilik tempatnya memang tinggal di rumah lain (so he basically own two houses, which is really imba, considering it’s Japan. Moreover, Tokyo) tapi kami berharap setidaknya ada yang menyambut kedatangan or something. Ditambah for some reason saya tidak bisa menemukan converter colokan listrik padahal saya yakin sudah memasukkannya ke dalam koper. Tanpa converter itu S-san tidak bisa memakai laptopnya. But still, so many trouble aside, the room is big (its suppose to accomodate three people afterall) and comfy. Tapi yang paling mantap (buat ukuran traveler poorfag macam saya) adalah fasilitasnya.Sure the room has AC, tapi saya tidak begitu suka AC, but it has WI-FI(!), dan speednya IMBA SUGIRU. Tentu saja kami tidak memakainya untuk melakukan hal-hal ilegal, tapi setidaknya dengan adanya wi-fi, kuota modem dari HIS jadi bisa dihemat DRASTICALLY. The bathroom, of course, has hot water (fuck yeah hot water). Kamar saya terletak persis di depan dapur, yang menyediakan kompor, oven dan pemanas air yang membuat bikin minuman hangat jadi sangat easy moodo. Tentu saja, tanpa direbus pun air kerannya aman untuk diminum. Selain itu ada mesin cuci juga, jadi tidak perlu bawa pakaian banyak sejak awal (tempat jemuran ada di lantai 2).
Setelah things start to calm down, satu persatu polemik yang bertumpuk mulai terselesaikan. Ternyata saya memang masih membawa converternya, hanya terselip diantara tumpukan barang-barang di dalam kopek. Saya mengontak Y-san, host kami, dan beliau menjawab kalau nanti malam pasti bakal bisa ketemu, soalnya dia memang tiap malam pasti datang ke tempat itu untuk mengecek berbagai hal. Jadi akhirnya kami memutuskan untuk just take a break for today, mengingat terlalu banyak event chaotic yang terjadi dalam waktu singkat. Malamnya, Y-san benar-benar datang dan kamipun akhirnya bisa bertemu dengan host airbnb yang orangnya ternyata sangat baik dan komunikatif. Untunglah. Beliau bahkan mengabarinya kalau sudah ada di dalam rumah via email :v… (hello, do you have time? I’m in kitchen) padahal tinggal diketok aja pintu kamarnya pasti bakal keluar. Untung email saya set real time notification, coba kalo nggak. In the end, all’s well that ends well. Setelah mendapat briefing sebentar dari host soal macem-macem, termasuk tempat-tempat menarik di sekitar rumah, the best one is a BIG supermarket yang letaknya TEPAT DI BELAKANG RUMAH, this will turn out useful later, sayapun memutuskan untuk mengakhiri hari dan tidur.
Saving to memory card slot 1…..
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Save completed.
Extra:
Later I found this on Minami Senju Station wikipedia page
During the period between 1650 and 1873, the area was the location of the Kotsukappara execution grounds. Between 100,000 and 200,000 people died here during the Tokugawa era. Near the south exit of the Tokyo Metro station, a small temple and burial ground commemorates this. Part of the burial grounds currently lie beneath the Hibiya Line tracks.[citation needed]
Jadi kejadian chaos ketika datang di tempat ini tadi.. masaka?
TO BE CONTINUED
LOOT ACQUIRED:
(none)
KHILAF LEVEL:
N/A
NEXT:
It's Comiket day 1! So WE'RE GOING TO.. mesjid untuk jumatan. Let's get AESTHETIC, and many more
Read more...

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

THE NEW TRAVELER'S JOURNAL OF A CERTAIN SORCERER: PART 1 (PROLOGUE)

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Catatan:
Post ini juga diterbitkan di website Saudagar Waifu, toko online official blog ini. Anda bisa coba mampir jika tertarik dengan benda-benda ori low budget yang diimpor langsung dari Jepang. Post dari series ini akan dipublish 1 post lebih lambat daripada post di Saudagar Waifu (jadi saat ini di sana sudah sampai part2).

Shin To Aru Mahoutsukai no Tabi Nikki/The New Traveler's Journal of A Certain Sorcerer
Chapter 1: Prologue, And All The Mess That Comes Along
Post ini adalah bagian dari series of posts yang akan menceritakan pengalaman saya selama di Jepang dalam rangka Summer Comiket 2016 (C90).

Three years ago, Suzumiya Haruhi created a space and time dimensional rift, which altered the reality of universe, in which-- wait, wrong series, maksud saya, tiga tahun yang lalu, saya bersama senpai saya pergi ke negara suci para vvibu, Jepang, untuk pertama kalinya. Kisah petualangan saya tiga tahun lalu bisa anda baca dengan mengklik tab Japan Trip Summer 2013 di bagian atas blog ini.

Post ini bisa dibilang official sequel dari serial The Traveler's Journal of A Certain Sorcerer yang saya tulis 3 tahun lalu, yang bahkan tidak pernah terpikirkan bakal ada, karena setelah melakukan trip yang pertama dan menyadari betapa menguras dompetnya semua persiapan dan aktivitas yang dilakukan (anda bisa membaca lebih lanjut di part 8 di link di atas soal ini) kemungkinannya kecil bagi saya untuk menghambur-hamburkan uang demi pergi ke negara sejuta dewa untuk yang kedua kalinya. Namun sebagai seorang vviboe sedjati, rasanya memang belum afdol kalau belum pernah ke comiket sama sekali. Jadi sayapun menaruhnya ke dalam daftar budget list meskipun untuk jangka yang belum pasti entah kapan, yang jelas tidak dalam waktu dekat. Saya mengestimasi tahun 2017. Tapi takdir berkata lain (sebenarnya kalimat ini hanya dipasang supaya terkesan lebay saja :v), menjelang akhir 2015, ada seorang teman yang mengajak untuk pergi ke comiket (bagaimanapun saya masih tidak sreg untuk menggunakan joke comiket sama dengan naik haji, meskipun harus diakui kalau ada banyak kesamaan diantara keduanya) bersama-sama. Setelah mempertimbangkan beberapa faktor, terutama lagu Muse yang liriknya our time is ruuuunnningg ouuut, our time is ruuunnning ooouut, huu uu uuu uu, akhirnya saya setuju untuk berangkat berdua bersama teman saya, kita sebut saja R-san. Maka dimulailah persiapan untuk menuju ke medan perang suci. But just like in any anime with good plot, things will never go as smooth as you planned.

Faktor kedua yang juga cukup penting dalam “the second journey” ini adalah sebuah pressure tersendiri yang tidak ada ketika traveling untuk yang pertama kalinya. Bagaimanapun juga, “membuat sebuah sequel” secara otomatis sudah menciptakan rintangan dimana hasil akhirnya harus mampu melampaui atau setidaknya menyamai kesuksesan dari yang sudah dicapai sebelumnya. Hal yang sama juga berlaku untuk penulisan travel log dari perjalanan yang kedua. Baik perjalanan maupun post tentang perjalanan pertama yang saya lakukan bisa dibilang sukses dan memuaskan. Jika saya memutuskan untuk melakukan perjalanan kedua, tidak bisa tidak, dengan pengalaman yang sudah diperoleh dari perjalanan sebelumnya, hasilnya harus bisa menyamai, atau lebih baik lagi, melampaui yang sebelumnya. The next should have been better than the previous, that’s the kind of principle I always have in mind. Even though I understand well the implication, and the bitterness that comes if it turned into failure would be more severe, but the taste of triumph (bukan merek beha) will also feel sooo goood, because obviously it will taste superior than the previous success. It’s like playing game with one difficulty level above normal mode.

But back to topic, sekarang setelah rencananya sudah fix, which is WE’RE GOING TO C90, berarti saatnya membackup main plan dengan rencana-rencana yang lebih detail. First thing first, belajar dari kegagalan ke comiket three years ago, hal yang pertama kali harus dilakukan adalah memastikan tanggal berapa comiket musim panas berlangsung. Tiga tahun lalu, ketika senpai saya mengajak saya traveling ke Jepang, detail tanggal summer comiket masih belum keluar, sementara senpai saya butuh tanggal secepatnya karena sedang promo. Akhirnya saya gambling dengan memilih minggu ketiga Agustus, tapi ternyata comiket jatuh pada minggu kedua *insert meme so close freddy mercury here*. Untungnya sekarang Comiket punya halaman Facebook internasional dengan staff yang ramah dan siap membalas PM yang anda kirim dalam bahasa Inggris.


The conversation that starts it all

Bisa anda lihat, saya menanyakan perihal natsucomi jauh-jauh hari, lebih dari setengah tahun sebelum event tersebut dimulai (27 Dec 2015). Setelah tanggal fix, yang harus diurus selanjutnya tentu saja adalah tiket. Karena saya bukan sultan, jadi flight yang saya pakai diusahakan yang semurah mungkin. Apalagi kalau bukan AirAsia. Mungkin karena membelinya jauh hari sebelumnya, atau sedang promo, atau luck saya lagi bagus, atau gabungan dari semuanya, saya berhasil mendapat tiket PP yang lumayan murah, sekitar 4.5 juta. Dengan mempertimbangkan hasil jarahan (baca: belanja) yang bakal cukup banyak, saya menambahkan opsi baggage 25kg ke dalam payment sehingga totalnya sekitar 5 juta, masih masuk dalam rencana anggaran tiket. Note: bagasi yang saya beli hanya untuk perjalanan pulang, untungnya teman saya membeli bagasi masing-masing 20kg pulang pergi jadi untuk perjalanan berangkat saya bisa menumpang bagasi teman saya (limit bagasi hanya dihitung dari total berat barang, jumlah tas tidak berpengaruh).

Setelah tiket terbeli, basically nothing much you can do except waiting. Info soal Comiket masih belum banyak yang baru, tapi anda bisa mulai mencari-cari tempat atau event yg ingin dikunjungi atau interest lain seperti barang inceran atau makanan. Oh dan tentu saja ada hal lain yang bisa anda lakukan selama masa penantian ini. Yaitu cari duit sebanyak mungkin buat uang saku :v (atau cari pinjeman kalo punya nyali. Dan ada yang mau minjemin uang ke anda).

Sekitar pertengahan atau akhir Mei, baru ada kelanjutan dari rencana yang sudah disusun. Ditambah update ada seorang teman yang ingin join party, sebut saja namanya S-san sehingga rombongan sekarang berjumlah 3 orang. Step selanjutnya adalah mengurus visa. Soal ini untungnya ada teman yang baru saja melakukan perjalanan ke Jepang bulan April (dulu rencananya masuk party member yang akan berangkat bareng, tapi karena lebih prefer sakura dan musim semi dibanding comiket dan musim panas, jadi akhirnya berangkat terpisah). Dari teman itu saya mendapat info tentang HIS, travel agent yang direkomendasikan oleh teman saya jika hendak mengadakan perjalanan ke Jepang. Dilihat dari kantornya dan fasilitas lain yang disediakan seperti rental wifi yang bisa dipakai di Jepang dan menjual tiket kereta dan Disneyland/Disneysea, sepertinya HIS memang berfokus untuk trip ke Jepang. Jika anda berada di Jogja, HIS Jogja berada di jalan solo dekat sapphire square. Tetapi sesampainya di sana, HIS justru menyarankan supaya jangan terlalu jauh hari jika mengurus visa, karena visa hanya berlaku sampai tiga bulan dari saat visa keluar. Jadi kami baru akan mengurus visa pertengahan atau akhir Juni. Selain informasi di atas, kami juga mendapat beberapa informasi berharga lainnya seperti mengajukan visa untuk rombongan lebih dari 2 orang ternyata lebih susah karena banyak rombongan dari Indonesia yang tidak pulang ke tanah air dan menjadi imigran gelap. Dari segi internal sendiri, komposisi rombongan saya, kalau boleh pinjem istilah tv tropes, is a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits. Satu orang pelajar, satu orang kerja di tempat yang jelas tapi saldo rekeningnya harus pakai rekening ortu, dan satu orang saldo rekening pribadinya cukup tapi kerjaannya gak jelas lmao. Tapi ini baru disturbance level 1, belum seberapa. Kami juga disarankan untuk tidak memakai alamat teman sebagai tempat menginap, tetapi membooking tempat yang nantinya bisa dicancel. Menjelang akhir Juni, visa sudah diurus, tinggal menunggu datang (jika lolos). Akhirnya satu lagi requirement clear, bisa bernafas lega.

Or so I thought. Because another plot twist happens. Di awal Juli, ketika saya sedang casually chat dengan teman yang akan jadi tempat nginep saat di Jepang nanti, dia tiba-tiba menulis kalau liburan musim panas tahun ini instead of going to comiket, dia ingin pulang kampung. This happen in 4th July.

Uh-oh.

First rule: don’t panic.

Dengan perubahan rencana yang mendadak dari teman saya, otomatis saya dan rombongan jadi tidak punya tempat menginap. Ada beberapa opsi. Yang pertama, technically saya sudah membooking tempat menginap sebagai prasyarat pengajuan visa. But it’s too expensive. Saya mencoba cari opsi lain dari situs yang sama but no luck. Agustus adalah bulan liburan musim panas, so most all of the cheap hotel are full. Next. Bagaimana dengan tempat nginep yang dulu saya pakai (khaosan)? Saya coba cek websitenya. Masih ada. Tapi cabang paling murah yang dulu digunakan tidak ada. Lewat quick googling akhirnya ketemu info jika cabang yang itu sudah ditutup, yang masih buka adalah yang relatively expensive. Oh shi- Next, saya inget dulu banget pas awal-awal kerja pernah bikin akun di Couchsurfing saat mau ke Malaysia. Ok, let’s try that. ..dame da. CS bukan pilihan yang cocok jika traveling dalam grup. Selain itu requirement nya cukup ribet jika anda bukan tipe orang yang extrovert. Couchsurfing memang basically free, tapi sebagai gantinya host mungkin akan meminta anda untuk melakukan sesuatu seperti memasak makanan tradisional atau yang khas dari tempat anda berasal, atau do some performance, intinya give and take. Akhirnya last resort saya jatuh pada tempat yang dipakai oleh rombongan teman saya yang level sultan yang juga hendak berangkat ke Comiket, yaitu Airbnb. Jika anda belum pernah dengar soal Airbnb, konsepnya ada di tengah-tengah antara hostel dan couchsurfing. Basically, anda bisa menawarkan tempat atau kamar yang anda punya untuk disewa. Dari segi harga jelas opsi ini lebih murah dari penginapan pada umumnya. Namun praktek Airbnb bisa dibilang masih berada di zona abu-abu dari segi legalitasnya dan menurut rumor cukup beresiko untuk membuat anda dianggap tidak ada tempat menginap, bahkan sampai dipulangkan, tapi sekali lagi, ini rumor. But there seems like there are no other option, so be it. Awalnya saya mencoba mencari tempat yang lokasinya dekat dengan Big Sight untuk menghemat biaya transport, tapi hal yang sama juga terjadi di sini, bulan Agustus adalah bulan liburan musim panas, sehingga banyak tempat yang sudah dibooking. Setelah menemukan tempat yang masih kosongpun, belum tentu host yang punya tempat menyetujui request anda (tidak seperti hotel yang jelas-jelas pasti bakal menerima pemesan). Terlebih lagi host Jepang beberapa tidak bisa berbahasa inggris atau mungkin tidak berminat menerima tamu yang bukan dari Jepang, yang jelas dua request saya yang pertama direject dengan pesan yang isinya tampak seperti template bahasa Inggris untuk menolak. But Rule of Three finally works dan di request ketiga saya, hostnya setuju untuk menerima rombongan saya sebagai tamu.


Thank God, biarpun engrish tapi yang penting it works! Seperti yang bisa anda lihat, urusan nginep-menginep ini baru beres tanggal 12, atau satu bulan sebelum keberangkatan. Untungnya 2 hari kemudian HIS memberitahukan jika visa sudah bisa diambil jadi masalah-masalah yang crucial akhirnya bisa dibilang clear, sehingga saya punya waktu untuk fokus pada plan yang lain, seperti membeli equipment yang dibutuhkan (converter colokan listrik, botol air minum, tas, dll), membelikan titipan teman yang di Jepang sana, membuat plan Comiket (ngecek posisi booth yang mau dikunjungi, bikin list target), membuat plan non Comiket (tempat dan event lain yang mau didatangi, termasuk berjumpa dengan suhu tentacle Toshio Maeda), dan jangan lupa juga, website ini, Saudagar Waifu, sudah saya rencanakan untuk dilaunching tepat di tanggal ultah saya, 30 Juli. You can imagine how hectic I am at that time. Tapi untunglah saya chooneebyo, sehingga ketika harus mengurusi begitu banyak rencana, yang perlu dilakukan hanyalah memutar lagu ini sambil membayangkan batalion dan armada beserta suplai dan amunisi yang tersedia untuk perang besar the great holy grail war yang sebentar lagi dimulai. Bahkan hingga jam-jam terakhir menjelang keberangkatanpun, plot twist masih saja berdatangan. Tanggal 9, ketika sore jam setengah 3 saya harus berangkat ke Jakarta dengan kereta api yang bertolak dari Lempuyangan, karena kesibukan, paginya saya baru sempat untuk menukar rupiah dengan yen. Jadi berangkatlah saya bersama S-san ke money changer yang direkomendasikan teman saya, Mulia Bumi Arta yang terletak di Inna Garuda Hotel Malioboro. Karena kata teman saya di deket sana ada atm, jadi sayapun tidak membawa cash. Sesampainya di sana, S-san langsung menukar rupiahnya karena dia membawa cash, sementara saya mencari atm di dekat sana.. yang ternyata tidak ada atm BCA. Oh shi- Setelah tanya-tanya, akhirnya saya tau kalo atm BCA terdekat ada di dalam Malioboro mall. Karena jalan Malioboro satu arah sementara saya harus balik lagi, jadi lebih efisien jalan kaki. Sesampainya di mall, untuk menghemat waktu saya tanya ke satpam dan mendapat info kalau atmnya berada di lantai 2 (terasa seperti JRPG ya? Press X to talk to satpam dst). Sesampainya di lantai 2, maka press X in front of the atm mach--- wait a second, kenapa ada orang berseragam di depan mesin dan ada satpam lagi di dekatnya. Press X to talk to satpam dan dia akan berkata jika atmnya sedang di servis. Tekan X lagi dan dia akan berkata jika servisnya baru selesai paling cepet satu jam lagi. Oh shi- Akhirnya saya balik ke money changer lagi dan bilang ke S-san kalau nanti bakal balik ke sini lagi sendirian, jadi sekarang balik ke rumah masing-masing dan nanti langsung ketemu di stasiun Lempuyangan. Padahal waktu itu motor yang dipakai cuma satu karena motor saya ditinggal di rumah S-san untuk efisiensi. Jadi setelah balik ke rumah S-san, saya mengambil motor saya lalu ke atm bca di dekat mirota kampus untuk transfer lalu kembali lagi ke money changer, baru balik ke rumah dengan mengantongi yen yang membuat saldo bank saya seperti dikuras. Untungnya waktu masih tersisa cukup banyak untuk makan siang dan some final adjustment and minor preparation. Pukul 14:15 sayapun berangkat, sampai stasiun jam menunjukkan pukul 14:35, masih ada waktu kurang lebih 1 jam sampai kereta berangkat jam 15:30. JUST. AS. KEIKAKU.

The journey begin
Perjalanan dari jogja ke jakarta dengan kereta ekonomi sudah bukan hal yang istimewa lagi karena cukup sering dilakukan, so there’s nothing special to write about. Saya memang sengaja memakai opsi ini karena murah, hanya memakan budget sekitar 75rb dengan konsekuensi siap-siap bored to death sepanjang perjalanan selama 8 jam diiringi BGM tangisan anak-anak. Untungnya di kereta ada colokan listrik jadi anda tidak akan kehabisan batere, dan anda masih bisa mengantisipasi dengan mendengarkan musik atau membaca ebook (jika bingung mau baca apa, anda bisa memakai project gutenberg sebagai salah satu opsi), atau internetan kalau hp anda konek internet dan ada quota (hp saya wifi dependant, tapi untungnya S-san berbaik hati mau tethering dengan koneksinya -wifi dari HIS hanya bisa dipakai jika berada di Jepang-).
Pukul 11 malam, satu jam lebih cepat dari yang dijadwalkan (imba juga), kereta saya tiba di Pasar Senen. Untungnya (mungkin anda sekarang sadar di post ini kata untungnya juga sering disebut sebagaimana shit happen juga sering muncul. That’s how life works bruh, shit and luck balances each other) R-san yang sudah tiba di Jakarta duluan menyewa kamar di J Hotel (for some reason di konteks ini nama hotelnya terdengar sangat vvibu) sehingga saya dan S-san tidak perlu menunggu di bandara terlalu lama. Setelah tawar menawar yang cukup lama dan muter-muter dengan google map, akhirnya taksi yang saya tumpangi sampai juga di J Hotel. Sampai di sana masih ada waktu untuk beristirahat sebentar, mampir ke minimarket untuk mengisi HP, dan bahkan mandi pakai air hangat (fuck yeah hot water). Yang lebih menyenangkan lagi, ternyata hotel ini juga memiliki shuttle bus ke bandara sehingga kami tidak perlu memikirkan soal perjalanan ke bandara. Pesawat yang akan kami tumpangi berangkat jam 08:35 dari terminal 3, tapi tentu saja kami tidak mau membuang-buang waktu menunggu di hotel, jadi kamipun berangkat dengan shuttle bus sepagi mungkin.

The journey begin: leaving the country
Tentang perjalanan ke bandara dan bagaimana kami menunggu hingga keberangkatan pesawat dan tiba di bandara transit KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) kurang lebih sama dengan three years ago, so, again, there’s nothing much to write. Di KLIA anda bisa menemukan money changer dan wifi gratis (lumayan jika hp anda wifi dependant seperti punya saya). There’s also drinkable water (lumayan untuk me recover a little bit of HP with no cost). Anda mungkin membutuhkan ringgit untuk membeli makanan di pesawat at the next journey, yang lebih lama. Atau jika anda ingin mengisi HP di bandara, though the price is of course expensive. Personally kalau saya selama di dalam perjalanan I went to hermit mode and just try to sleep and read without consuming anything. Saya membawa roti yang dimasukkan di tas yang ikut dibawa ke kabin dan tidak ada masalah, selama tidak dimakan saat di pesawat. Sepertinya minuman juga begitu, tapi dibatasi hanya satu botol (then again you can just drink tap water when you reach KLIA) bandara. Jadi di sini saya hanya menghabiskan roti (by roti I mean a whole lot of roti, like setengah bungkus roti semir isi 8 pcs) di ruang tunggu sambil menanti pesawat ke Haneda datang.
The plane depart at 14:30 local time, atau sekitar 24 jam setelah keberangkatan saya dari Jogja. And after yet another long hours inside the flying machine, we finally arrived. IN TOKYOOOOO.

The VVizard arrives

It was 22:30 local time, 10 August 2016. Unlike my previous trip three years ago, the sky were clear though the stores already closed even when we arrived before midnight. So there’s nothing to do except rest while waiting for the first train to arrive. Or visiting the nostalgic Lawson airport on the first floor to buy some JAPANESE FOOD (by japanese food I mean onigiri and mineral water/tea in pet bottle). Tentu saja karena sudah di Jepang maka wifi dari HIS pun aktif dan bisa dipakai. Sebenarnya karena masih belum tengah malam, kereta terakhir ke Tokyo dari Haneda masih ada, tapi tidak ada gunanya juga mengambil opsi itu karena memangnya mau ngapain sesampainya di kota pagi-pagi buta.

While recharging my stamina, R-san came to discuss something. Kalau ini adalah sebuah JRPG game, bisa dibilang ini adalah major branch pertama yang akan menentukan rute dan endingnya. I won’t write the long details tapi intinya dia mau misah dari party dan nginep di tempat temannya. Well this is quite perplexing and sudden, tapi anda belum jadi vvizard kalo belum sering mengalami hal-hal yang di luar prediksi seperti ini (the world is out of join, o cursed spite.. dst). S-san sendiri waktu itu masih tertidur and I don’t want to wake him just to suddenly shove the matter straight to his face.
>Let R-san have his way with his plan
 Convince him to stay with the rest of party member
Saya memilih opsi pertama. No special consideration in mind. Mungkin karena waktu itu memang lagi exhausted jadi gak mau overthinking juga. Dan ternyata memang setelah percabangan ini sampai akhir journey party saya tidak sempat ketemu lagi sama dia. Tapi setidaknya sampai pertengahan hari pertama, party masih bertiga, karena saya membutuhkan tempat untuk menunggu sampai jam 3 sore, waktu check in di Glass House (nama tempat nginep, later I learn that the name should be Glasses House or THE HOUSE OF MEGANE FUCKYEAH but I don’t want to object the owner’s decision), jadi tidak ada salahnya ikut temen saya ke tempat temannya di Higashi Nakano. Rencana awalnya saya menunggu sampai jam 3 di Akiba dengan memanfaatkan fasilitas coin locker, but no prob. Dengan perubahan itinerary dari Akiba ke Nakano, saya mengatur ulang plan saya dan memindahkan Nakano Broadway ke place to go day 1. Kereta pertama dari Haneda berangkat sekitar jam 5:20 I forgot the exact time, jadi menjelang jam 5 semua party member back on the trip mode dan jam 5an kami ke tempat platform yang ternyata memang masih tutupan rolling doornya, tapi sudah ada beberapa orang yang menunggu di dekatnya termasuk oneesan yang sepertinya habis dari traveling dengan outfit so chic oh god why do girls in Tokyo always have such a classy fashion style.

<=== TO BE CONTINUED
NEXT: FIRST DAY; The Broadway and Yet Even More Chaos Follow
UPDATE:
- Sapphire square sekarang sudah berganti nama jadi Lippo Mall.
- ATM BNI yang ada di dekat money changer ternyata bisa dipakai untuk transfer antar bank :v... oh well.
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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sarusuberi Miss Hokusai: a Review

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This is supposed to be a Facebook post but I think I end up wrote too many words and this blog has been neglected for so long and need a new content, so.. yeah. Anyway, onto the topic. I've heard about this movie since last year and it got me interested, but just on the 'quite interested' level. I saw the art and thought, oh its good, probably the kind of dorama feel slice of life rather than girls-do-cute-thing slice of life. With that level of interest, when the raw finally came out, I still didn't feel the kind of ZOMGTHERAWISOUTIMUSTWATCHITNOW interest. The kind of thing I usually feel when a movie that I hype is finally out. Even when the subs is out, looking at the file size, I just went oh look at that size, I think I'll just request one of my friend to download it, although with my current internet connection I'll be able to download it in half a day. And even then, after my friend downloaded the film, it still took a few weeks till I manage to copy and watch it, because I didn't put it into my top priority and gets slip down by other stuff.



But then I watch it.


And HOLY ZEN, THIS MOVIE IS AMAZING. I didnt expect anything when I watched but even if I did I dare say that this movie would still surpassed my expectation. Turn out it was adapted from a 1983 manga by a mangaka turn Edo expert, Sugiura Hinako (she died in 2005). This explains all the lively details and atmosphere in the movie. 

Now onto the short review. I tried to keep the spoiler to minimum but if you want to really enjoy the movie, perhaps its better if you dont read this and just go watch the movie. All you need to know is just like what I only know before watching the movie; that this movie is about the daughter of a great artist in Edo period, period (oh the pun).


But if you want a little bit more of the substance, I'd say that this movie is about life. Okay, maybe that's not just 'a little bit'. Sure, the choice that this movie choose to depict the life of an artist makes it more interesting but the core of living itself should be an interesting story no matter what the person's occupation is (this is the base of that infamous Miyazaki's line 'animu was a misteeekk"). There are a lot of heartwarming just as much as heart breaking moments in this movie. It has a lot of koplak moments just as much as it has its profound moments that's enough to make you contemplate. But it manages to not getting too carried away from using its status of 'movie about artist' that it becomes too artsy or 3DEEP5U. And I came to realization that perhaps this is because the art that the artists in this movie creates contribute to something that the society need (ha, take that you smug artisan).


But does that make this movie is family friendly? naaah. And that is all the more reason I love this movie. It also got its own vulgar and sensual sides, albeit not too explicit. And the amazing thing? it also has its own spirituality just a much as it has its sensuality. It doesn't shy away from telling you about taboo and it doesn't afraid from telling you about God and the afterlife. Of course whether you will see some of the events in this movie are just a mere coincidence or a divine intervention is up to your belief, after all, that's also what applies to things related with the religion. Oh, but the movie doesn't take a side nor it force you to pick a side, it just bare it all for you to see and to give you some food for thought. Heck it doesn't even try to explain. And it was for the best, because there are some things in life that is best left unexplained.

Maybe for the vvibu, this 


would works better than this?


But if the base of the belief is different would it still considered valid? another food for thought has been presented just like what you will find in this movie. 

Now speaking about the visuals, of course a movie about artist would be ironic if it doesn't have artistic presentation. Scenes flows aesthetically pleasing and HOLY SHIT IS THAT A BUNCH OF SYMBOLISM THROWN IN EVERYWHERE? The OST also has its own charm. According to ANN, this movie has won several awards, with the most recent is Mainichi Film Award, which previously has been awarded to titles like Giovanni's Island, Princess Kaguya, Wolf Children, Hotarubi no Mori e, Colorful, Summer Wars and The Sky Crawlers. If you're familiar with those titles, you can expect the similar breath also exist in this movie.


And one more thing that make the movie got a solid 10/10 for me, is that it doesn't have a beginning or an ending. Sure, for some people, many of these ambiguous, unexplained, incomplete elements in this movie would feel like an annoyance, but for me this is the best way to portray what is life suppose to be. A fleeting moment, a transience and impermanence thing that is short but blazing with colorful passions. 
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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Closed GAME: A Quick and Dirty Review of the latest game by the creator of Bible Black

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初めまして、ブランド「エンプレス」です。
Perkenalkan, kami Empress.

Empress の名前はタロットカードの「女帝」に由来します。
Nama Empress berasal dari kartu tarot The Empress.

「女帝」カードの意味は、正位置で「幸福・安定・美・豊か・母性・実り・愛情」。
Dalam posisi normal kartu empress berarti: kebahagiaan, kestabilan, keindahan, kemakmuran, keibuan, panen, asmara.

反して逆位置の意味として「どん欲・嫉妬・独占欲・束縛・我が侭・欲張り」という相反する意味を同時に併せ持ちます。
Tetapi dalam posisi terbalik artinya menjadi: nafsu, kecemburuan, posesif, belenggu, egois, ketamakan.

その有様は、まさしく女性の持つ魅力ないか・・・と、私たちは考えたわけです。
Menurut kami kedua sisi itu menggambarkan pesona dari mahluk yang bernama wanita.

愛らしいけど子悪魔。険しいけれどどこか儚げ・・・。
Menawan, tetapi juga menyesatkan. Terjal, tetapi juga fana.

そんな、背反するふたつの要素を併せ持つ、女性という存在を魅力的に描ければ・・・というのがエンプレスブランドのコンセプトです。
Dua sisi pesona wanita yang saling bertolak belakang itulah yang menggambarkan konsep dari brand kami.

エロスとフェチズム、そしてストーリー性の高い作品作りを目指してがんばりますので、応援よろしくお願いします。
Tujuan kami ialah membuat karya dengan eros dan fetishism, dan juga cerita yang berkualitas. 
Terimakasih atas dukungannya.

Diambil dari bagian "about" situs Empress.

OBVIOUS WARNING:  This post contains NSFW/adult material.


15 tahun berlalu sejak eroge fenomenal karya Sei Shoujo yang mengguncang jagad perhentaian (istilah apa ini lmao) dengan judul "Bible Black" dirilis. Hingga saat ini, bagi saya Bible Black masih memegang peringkat tertinggi untuk eroge dengan sensasi yang menyeluruh. Baik dari sisi cerita dengan unsur horror, thriller, mistik, tragedy dan survivalnya, maupun dari sisi erotika dengan segala euforia, fetish dan kebejatan moralnya. Ini mungkin sebuah opini yang sangat bias, mengingat Bible Black adalah eroge dengan cerita gelap pertama yang saya mainkan, setelah saya muak memainkan eroge love sims karena merasa dibodohi dengan kisah-kisah yang sama sekali berbeda dengan realita romantika dunia nyata. Fuck you, vanila galge.

Setelah Bible Black, Sei berpartisipasi dalam karya-karya lain yang, meskipun bisa dibilang memuaskan namun tidak ada yang sampai menyamai level BB. Tetapi itu mungkin karena beliau tidak menghandle bagian ceritanya. Nama Sei Shoujo tertera pada bagian skenario hanya di game Starless (ini menjelaskan banyak hal, terutama kenapa saya bisa mendapat sensasi merinding yang sama saat main Starless dibanding judul-judul yang lain, dan juga pemilihan nama judulnya yang jika digabung menjadi judul lagu King Crimson; Starless and Bible Black) sementara di judul-judul lain seperti Cleavage, Lewdness, DominancE dan P/A, nama Sei Shoujo ditulis pada bagian art saja, jadi saya menyimpulkan Sei hanya membuat cerita untuk Starless and Bible Black. Dan satu judul lagi, yaitu Discipline, yang seperti bisa kalian tebak, diambil dari judul album King Crimson.

Meskipun begitu, eroge-eroge karya Empress mempunyai aroma yang sama, ditulis oleh Sei ataupun tidak. Seperti yang bisa anda baca di awal post ini, konsep dan tema yang diangkat biasanya berkisar pada dua sisi pesona wanita dan godaan yang menyertainya. Dan guilty pleasure yang anda dapat jika menerima godaan tersebut. Its always about the guilty pleasure. Dipadu dengan atmosfer yang glamor, sex, and drugs, and death (well that escalates quickly doesnt it), if I have to describe Sei's game in one line, it would be "A deadly yet glamorous game of pleasure and power".

And with all of that as prologue, lets get down to the meat of this post; review of the latest Empress' game: Closed GAME.


In the future, earth has lost most of its resource, turning its environment into deserts and ruins of cityscape. People are divided into two, those who live in the abandoned, dying earth and those who live up above the ground, in "Caelum Urbs", a floating land protected by sphere (Caelum: chisel, Urbs: walled city). Those who lives in Caelum Urbs comes into possession of everything. Their civilization is so advanced that people said that they have found a way to stop aging. The land people called them "the heavenly people". 

You play as Tougo Magnaaten, your typical seishoujo protagonist (by typical seishoujo protagonist I mean an average guy with no sexual experience but high libido and high potential, from nearly unlimited stamina to totally unrealistic amount of cum :v) Since Sei's game is about power play, this trademark trait is one of the best story's element that I always find it enjoyable, where you always starts from rookie and gradually make your way to be expert and eventually outstrenght the villain in their own game. The thrill you get on the early part is electrfying and the satisfaction you get on the later part is fantastic. Anyway, having interest and skill in so called old technology (cant get any more hipster than this), you choose not to give much damn with the wilderness outside, while your childhood friend, the spunky hot headed Celicia "Double Full The Trigger" Lockhart, is hype for her career as bounty hunter.


Biarpun tampilan anda kayak om-om botak gendut di doujin-doujin, tapi di gamenya Empress, anda bisa jadi bishounen berkacamata!

It's all started on one lazy day when you were having lunch in a bar with Celicia and another best friend of yours, George Mitchell, the current sheriff, when suddenly the bar exploded. Yep. The building got destroyed while you're still inside (kinda remind me to the opening scene in DominancE where the story begin with your starship crushed).

You find yourself awake in a spotless white room wearing nothing. A woman who introduce herself as Michiko Verxina appear via holographic monitor, telling you to wear the clothes prepared in the room (classy scifi suit) and gather at the hall. There, you meet Celicia and George, along with 3 other women. A holographic projection pops up again, this time showing a blonde, twin drill oujosama, who introduce herself as Celine, much to Celicia surprised because she used to have little sister with the same name but is currently missing. Celine call Celicia with onee-sama and tell her that she's now belong to Verxina family, which quickly objected by Celicia because the Celine she knew is not that slutty *cough*I mean, arrogant. But Celine quickly swipe that discussion away with a briefing that you are currently in Caelum Urbs and that the 6 of you are lucky because you will be given a chance to become a denizen of the celestial city and having one wish granted, but only if you survive the Closed GAME.

 And that's the gist of this eroge. So, what is Closed GAME? basically a survival game that span for 4 days. Each day, you will be deployed to a random stage where you have to find a spot called Safety Zone that will teleport you back to the main base (the one with white rooms) before the time limit reach zero. To help the task, each person will be given bangle or bracelet (Starless, everyone?) with 3 led light on it; when the blue light blinks, that means there's a friend/team member nearby, red light means enemy and green light mean safety zone. Each time the led blink, a loud sound will come out, you can tell how near the enemy/friend/safety zone is based on the volume of the sound. So yeah, the bangle is somekind like a radar. And speaking about enemy, of course there's also enemy in each zone, they ranged from meat doll (human in rubber suit and gask mask, yes there's also a female version but knowing seishoujo you can already guess what kind of female they are), pig-men, slime monster, giant bee, somekind of I dont know what is that thing that looks like a giant worm, and lizard men. I'm actually not too fond of fantasy creatures (ugh) but oh well. By now, you must be able to deduce the story by yourself. Yes, you and your team deployed to a place, got attacked, survived, found the safety zone, went to the next day, repeat until the last day, ending. But of course, there are twists. But I'll save that for the spoiler section, now lets meet the girls of your team that one of them will eventually have affection for you as you crawl out of hell that is Closed GAME as survivor. No, this game does not have harem ending.

Celicia Lockhart


Your rough and reckless, tomboy osananajimi. If you're familiar with Sei/Empress, having this girl-next-door kind of character as your main heroine is not that unusual, like Imari in Bible Black or Otokawa in Discipline. But Closed GAME is taking this one level beyond by having a super brash girl as the main heroine. At first, I cant stand her character at all. She's constantly speaking, loud mouthed brat with no brake and feminine charm, not to mention she loves to use violence as the first resort and the way she speaks make her more fitting to be casted in Crows Zero rather than an Empress' game. 

But, when I played her route and spent the time in the survival game together, I have to take back what I said and find that she actually has soft side too (not THAT SOFT SIDE). From all the heroine of this game, I find her dialogue is the most natural and enjoyable to listen to. Its like talking with an old pal, then I realize why does the conversation runs smooth, its because the main character (Tougo) sees Celicia as her little sister so they both never have an awkward moment when converse. Its only at the later part that Tougo will feel romantic attraction to her, if you play her route, but at that time, when that happen.. (continue to spoiler part)

Cocona Stemper


The most moeh moeh kyooooooonnn of all the heroine of this game, or perhaps, of all the sei shoujo game in history. Cocona always use her name when she refer to herself; "umm.. cocona doesnt know, she never think about that" <- something like this. She's also the most naive and air headed of the team (shooo kyooootttt HHNNNGGGHHHHH KOKONAAAAA). She said that she sells lemonade for living because thats the only thing she can do (cocona can't do difficult thing UwU) when suddenly white light came upon her and she find herself in Caelum Urbs. She seems like has no interest with the game and just want to return to home.
Cocona is easily my most favorite heroine in this game. Have you ever heard a saying "face like angel with body like devil"? that perfect combination combined with her Latifa Fleuranza trait made her becomes the most adorable yet sexiest character ever. UNTIL I realize that I'm so stupid for believing everything she said because.. (continue to spoiler part)

Funny trivia: since she has the smallest figure compared to the other woman in this game, the other girls treat her like a child. When you take her route, Celine will even call you a lolicon and I was like, wtf? sure, in sei's world she might be considered small but put her in any other series especially those moe loli show and Cocona will be an oneesan character there.

Marielle Clemens


Marielle is a girl with a gloomy looks and permanent unamused expression that I dont have any interest in, EVEN WITH HER WEARING GLASSES. She's the weakest among the team and basically can do nothing except sobbing and cowering in fear and is afraid to be left alone.

But of course my judgement toward her changes when I play her route. Turn out she suffers a sickness so chronic that she only have one year to live. Her almost permanent :( expression came from her tired emotion and hopelessness of having to deal with her condition. She came to Caelum Urbs willingly to join the Game as her last gamble, that if she won she'd wish for her health to recover by using Caelum Urbs' technology. But turned out the game is too hard for her level to handle and, knowing that she might lose she wouldn't mind to die here than waiting for a year. "Its not like there's anyone that still care for me anyway". *cue sad music from Shigatsu BGM*

So, yeah, this is what happen when Empress suddenly make a tear jerker story that sounds like Narcissu or one of those korean movie. But hey, it works! I feel bad for Marielle and her sex scene is the sweetest in this game, with cheesy line here and there and healing the emotional wound and I was like oh woow am I playing nukige or otome game?. So, does this make Marielle's story does not have any twist? lolnope, there's still a twist in the ending, but I saved it for (the spoiler part).

Lacey Mallet


The diva (because idol is too mainstream). Lacey is a famous singer that Tougo like to hear her songs back in the earth. Because Tougo sees himself as a fan, there are awkward scenes at the beginning and she seems distant. But if you play her route, she will gradually open up (guess what else is opened up, huehuehue). Eventually she will tell you the reason why she joined the game, she came to Caelum Urbs in order to look for her missing mother, Cindy Mallet, a legendary singer that once visit Caelum Urbs and never be heard again.
If the sex scene with Marielle is the sweetest, then the one with Lacey is the hottest. Of course this is to be expected since there is a lot of delusion fuel involved. Imagine you make love with your favorite idol/actress/singer/cosplayer/whatever (for me that'd be, lets see, Minhee from Stellar maybe? huehue) not as a fan but as a person that she has affection for. Because you both know each other and help each other during hard times. And she will finally take off her professional mask when she no longer see you as a fan or stranger. And then you cant help but feel that even a famous person that you idolize is actually a human too, that they can experience various emotion, from angry to sad to fear and joy. D'aaawww. Empress sure know where they have to present delusion and when to give a nice touch of reality so it doesnt taste too much of a bullshit. So yeah, Lacey is my most favorite heroine in this game (I'm sorry Cocona for being ladoer). I didn't intend to play her route as the last but I'm so glad I did. Maybe because it has a vibe of having something that seems unreachable, or maybe because when she drops her mask and be honest, she becomes much more down to earth and you can trust her completely (this game has a lot of female trolls). Oh, and she has her own ending song which sounds sooooo goooooooood it gives you eargasm while orgasm (lmao the pun).

The Villain
For when you want to go asshole to the girls in your team and choose to play the antagonist route instead because hey, live is about making choices rite.

Michiko Verxina


The Marie (Starless) or Kimiko (DominancE) of Closed GAME. Just like any other empress in Empress game, she's a lawful evil at its finest. She and her step daughter run the Closed Game for enjoyment. But she also stick to her rules and never betray her promises (though you have to listen to her wording VERY carefully). In the true ending, she also accepts her lose in a dignified manner and showing that she really cares for Celine despite her being a step daughter.

Celine Verxina


Your typical Empress' snotty princess. You can say she's the Leona (Discipline) or Marisa (Starless) of Closed GAME. Celicia's little sister who has become Michiko's step daughter, making him a legit citizen of Caelum Urbs. Despite being the cruelest character in this game, you have to admit that most of her sex scenes are top notch (Hey, you can still do it again, right? I'm still not satisfied~~) beware of the stray bullets though, since she has a hobby of shooting gun when orgasm (did I just hear you say 'what the fuck?').

And there you have it, my review and impression toward the game and its characters. Before I move to the spoiler (ending) part, I'll conclude the review by writing what is good and bad from Closed GAME compared to other Sei Shoujo games:

(+) Plot is waaay better and more complex than expected. I thought that its just a quick and dirty survival game story. Turn out each heroine has her own agenda.
(+) So many twist and surprises I lost count how many times I said 'what the fuck'.
(+) The thrill of Sei Shoujo/Empress' game is there. And with the many twist above, you will be on your guard everytime. The good old, ohshiiiiiit-- and unease sensation you get when you feel like something is not right is going to happen, when earlier everything seems fine, is there.
(+) You died a lot. Which is good. And most of the times unexpectedly. And why is that? because..
(+) ..some choice are unpredictable. I mean its not always an obvious questions like 'with whom you want to go? (choose 1 girl from your team)' but more like 'what are you going to do? (keep move forward/back to earlier place)' or 'what strategy will you use to search the safety zone? (search as one group/divide team into smaller groups), and sometimes BOTH ANSWER are corrects, making you more confused when aiming for good end.
(+) Interesting concept to get good ending in regard of the choice above, I'll explain this in the spoiler part.
(+) Crazy chicks everywhere. Even the most serious girl (Marielle) unintentionally did crazy thing (gives you viagra when you tell her that you feel tired after defeating enemy, because she thought it will recover your stamina).
(+) Cocona you crazy bitch lmaoooo
(+) Dem cool meganes
(+) Hot twintail blonde oujo-sama as your villain. Its like Discipline. With gun.
(+) Chillin' jazz BGM as you can expect from Sei's game.
(+) Badass Guilty Gear-ish rock BGM.
(+) Other BGM are also good. Srsly this game has a lot of good track from country to blues to persona-ish music, and the cheesy 90's love sims BGM.
(+) Damn awesome Lacey's ending song, slow jazz with correct English lyric and correct English pronunciation (I wonder where did they get the vocalist).
(+) Stand gallery (no, it has no relation with Jojo) is back just like in P/A. Basically its a mode where you can make screenshot using various character sprite and background. Quite cool. You can use it to create wallpaper like the one I put on this post despite there's no such scene in the game.
(+) Celicia's "Love and Penis" tattoo because "Love and Peace" is too mainstream.

(-) Plot took waaaay to long to get the juicy part (no, not that juicy part). Compared to Starless that got intense after few introductory scenes and escalates, I almost fell asleep when reading the early part of this game.
(-) The entire game is too short. I mean, come on, Starless got two weeks worth of story while this one only has four days. 
(-) Because of that shortness, the heroine doesnt get a lot of exposure and development. Sure, the 'heroine actually has their own plan and not just being there to get screwed' part is great, but it actually happen in day 2 and with 2 days worth of scenes (day 4 is for conclusion scene) it feels not enough.
(-) Even the sex scene is too short :v mostly just one shot (literally lmao) and has no post-scene if you know what I mean. Whats wrong, Empress? where's the epic line of "mada tarinaii~~" "manzoku dekinaii" and something along that.
(-) Overall the entire game feels too short and rushed. I wonder if they can't meet the deadline.
(-) No ending archive mode. Sure you can see the ending scenes from the scene mode but it doesnt give a feeling of satisfaction each time you get a good ending, as well as telling you the info of just how many ending in this game and how many you get by now.
(-) Menu and interface is still ugly. I wonder why after Starless every Sei's game menu visual quality dropped significantly. Seriously even I can make something like that.
(-) This is probably on purpose (so that people would buy the ost cd) but the music box mode dont have repeat button so you have no choice except to listen one track after another. You could record it manually on your own if you're dedicated enough though.

Oh and of course

(+/- depend on your fetish) scat

Final thought:

As this game isn't written by Sei Shoujo, I didn't expect for the plot to be at the interstellar level, or at least on par with DominancE, but turn out its slightly above my expectation. So, yeah, Closed GAME is good. It just that it could be longer. I'm definitely looking forward to the next E\\\dmpress' game, hopefully Sei could back as the scenario writer.

And now, for the spoiler section for you guys out there who doesnt have any plan to play this game but curious to know how the endings are.


SPOILER SECTION



First thing first, CLosed GAME has a clever methods to screw your logic when you aim for good ending, that is you can't apply THE EXACT FORMULA to every heroine. This means that, for example, if the correct choice for Marielle's good ending is "A - B - B - Go with Marielle - B - A - Go with Marielle again - and so on", don't expect that if you choose "A - B - B - Go with Cocona - B - A - Go with Cocona again - and so on" you will get Cocona's good ending. I was trolled hard by this one. Since A - B - B made good result (survived) I thought I have to choose the same answer when I replayed the game. turns out choosing something that made you dead in heroine A's route can result in you survive if you choose it in other heroine's route. I finally gave up figuring out the combination since there's no right and wrong answer so you have to go trial and error, and went with the walkthrough instead. But if you like some extra frustration then I suggest you to just play and try the combination one by one.

Second spoiler, remember your old pal, George Mitchell the sheriff? that guy is dead on day 1, killed by monster. This seems like just an ass pull to make a reason so you can have a harem party as your survival team, but turn out it will play a big role in the true end route. Before you get to the true end, it would seems that Mitchell is just an unimportant side character.

And speaking about true end, which is actually Celicia's good end, you can not access true end route if you haven't get all the other ending. So yeah, you CAN NOT ESCAPE from getting Celicia's bad end on the first playtru, which involved tragedy and NTRRRRRR.

Now for the ending. As I write before, in this game you can die a lot and the game will ended abruptly. Obviously I wont list that, I will write the ending of each female character. Lets starts from the villains first.

Michiko Verxina

Michiko's route is quite easy, because it is also literally the easiest way to win the Closed GAME. You get into her route if you choose to go alone rather than with another girl in your team EVERYTIME you have to venture the stage. Michiko will appear to you in person (rather than via holographic projection) and ask you for an offer; she will guarantee everyone's survival till the end of the game and sent them back to earth IF you agree to become her sex slave. To which you accept. 

So in the end of the game, everyone survived and returned to earth, including Celicia, after a dramatic parting, and you begin your life as the mistress' plaything. That is, until she grow bored of you and send you to be transformed into meat doll (men with gask mask and rubber suit that you encountered during the game as enemy). Welp, at least the bondage scene was hot.

Celine Verxina

Celine's route has a connection with Celicia's, obviously, since both of them are sisters. Celine being the younger sister. So I will also write about Celicia here. Tougo, Celicia and Celine were close friends back then in the orphanage. The three of them grew up together. Celicia, being the older sister and a tomboy, always played a prank to her little sister. Those pranks actually weren't serious one but Celine, being a shy and quiet girl, actually can't take that, but she can't say it to her big sister and Celicia being Celicia, completely oblivious with that (must be suck being Celine at that time). But the secret is not only that, back then Celine actually like Tougo, but again, she can't say it because Celicia also like Tougo and they look compatible (though actually its just because Celicia is more outgoing and behave like boys and Tougo see her as little BROTHER). Thats why when Michiko came to her and asked if she want to leave the orphanage and live with her to Caelum Urbs as her step daughter, she quickly agreed. 

Years after living in the floating city, the high class life style has changed little Celine from the shy and quiet village girl into a crazy badass urban nympho who wouldnt hesitate to pull the trigger of Witch Hammer, her gun's name, to people she despises. So this is more or less like Surti and Tedjo but in reverse lmao. But deep in her heart, she still couldn't forget her first love, Tougo Magnaaten. That's why when Michiko held Closed GAME, she quickly took the Master of Ceremony role and pick Tougo and Celicia as the contestant. Its time for her to make them pay and she made sure she'd put Tougo in more than enough shitty situation to deal with (quite literally).

Both Celine and Celicia's route has the same final scene, a duel between those two. In Celine's route, she succesfully shot Celicia. Celine says that it wasnt a fatal shot and that Celicia will be taken to recovery place (though knowing the chaotic nature of her, there's a chance that Celicia will be transformed into meat doll too). You spend your life waiting for Celicia to return (which probably will never happen) as Celine's sex slave. Just like in Michiko's route, only luckier, because Celine is in love with you so there's no way she will dump you and transform you into niku ningyou. Time passed and finally there come a chance for you to avenge for what she did (the infamous drug back the villain moment in Empress' game) but after all those revenge sex has been done, as you look at Celine's messy condition, you realize that after all this time, you might now grow fond of that sexy little devil's ass and decide to let go of Celicia.

Celicia Verxina (bad end)

At the duel scene, maybe realizing that she is no match for Celicia's bounty hunter skill, Celine decides to shot Tougo instead. Celicia snaps, but before she shots again, Michiko tells Celicia that Tougo still can be saved if she wished for that as the winner of Closed GAME. Celicia agrees. Michiko then summons the meat dolls to take Tougo to the recovery place. 

Time passed, Celine tells Celicia that Tougo is finally recovered and she can met him today.. only to find a meat doll in the room. Celine says that because the wound is too fatal, the only way to save Tougo is by transforming him into niku ningyou. As Celicia having sex with the silent doll (meat doll can't speak) with tears of joy, Celine leaves the room and laughing loudly, knowing that the real Tougo Magnaaten is being held captive in Michiko's place as Michiko's sex slave.

Marielle Clemens

You survived the game but at a heavy cost. You use your wish to save the other contestant but the system only capable of saving only one girl. So you choose the byoujoku meganekko, Marielle Clemens. That means the others wouldn't make it and died. But its alright, because you decided that Marielle is the girl that you love and she loves you back. Crying with tears of joy, Marielle use her wish to ask for a treatment for her sickness. The system grants it.

Its been some time since you both living together as citizen of Caelum Urbs. Marielle has completely recover. Life is good. No, its way too good. Now that Marielle Clemens is no longer sick and having her body enhanced by nano machines (lmaoooo finally we have nano machines in sei shoujo game! NANOMACHINES, SON!) she shows her true potential. Welp, you might already able to guess it. Yes, turns out she's actually a closet pervert and now that she doesn't need to hold back, the caterpillar evolves to full fledged nympho. And not only that, because she's been living surrounded by medicine, she decided to study medicine using you as guinnea pig. Oh well, at least now you can fuck her brain out without worrying of breaking her fragile body or weak stamina. NYMPHO MEGANE BANZAI.

Cocona Stemper

"Cocona lies", Cocona said, "all of the thing she said to you is actually made up, tee-hee"

LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOOO WTF IS THIS EKSDE EKSDE EKSDE Yes, this is the most hilarious route in Closed GAME. Cocona is actually a pro spy of earth resistance group or something, sent to Caelum Urbs to get a crucial data about its technology that will benefit for the civilization of low earth. Of course this scene only revealed when you go into her route. If you didnt play her route at all, you'll probably see Cocona as an innocent lemonade selling girl till the end. In Cocona's route, you will be helping her to accomplished her mission, using your knowledge and skill in old technology. Anyway her spy mode is completely different it made me laugh for a good few second while posing /:v\ what the fuuuu lmaooo. And it's only when you go with Cocona's route that you begin to notice she likes to curse in foul word when thing happen not the way she liked, which is very contrast with her cute image.

Cocona: ah, shit
Tougou: ?, Did you said something?
Cocona: oh no, its nothing ^_^

Cocona also does a lot of wtf trolling, like killing the monster (she's actually skillful in battle) and pretending to get sting, and telling lies that to heal the sting, you have to do something involves with spraying ammonia (get it? lmao wtf girl). When asked what happen with the monster, of course she would play dumb and act as if she didnt know anything.

Anyway, Cocona's route involves you helping her mission which is stealing data from Caelum Urbs. This made the game that suppose to be thrilling and intense story becomes funny since basically when you decide to join Cocona's secret mission you become so OP and know many things, including what's going to happen, how to act when you become the winner, planning how to borrow time when making a wish so Cocona can prepare her final act of her mission and so on. Finally, after everything went success, everyone returned to earth, everything back to the way it was, happy end. Plus, you and Cocona are now a legit couple. So when you're not busy with your work and Cocona with her organisation's activity, you two meet in secret. TO FUCK. Until one day, Cocona said that she's pregnant. But you two keep fucking anyway. But one night, after a hot sex with Cocona (fresh milk on the house aww yeaah) you heard a familiar step approaching. Why does this remind me to that one in Bible Black? The one with Imari went to Minase's home when he's with Rika? Huh, is that Celicia? what's your problem girl? uh-oh, wait, is that a gun? hey hey, lets-

BANG!

Yea, Cecilia shots you and you died. Unfortunately, the ending for this route is just as hilarious as the story. I don't know how to react, its just seems so surreal, I mean is this for real? I hope this is a joke. Oh well, time to replay that pregnant sex scene again from the replay mode.

Lacey Mallet (bad end)

Despite not being main heroine, Lacey has two endings, though one of the ending is bad end. The main branch of her ending is when you gives her your opinion that she should a) Continue searching for what happened of her mom, or b) Gave up and choose to live as what she is in the present. Choosing (a) will gives you bad ending, stuck as the verxina's family sex slaves, for that is what Lacey's mother become. This is the most guilty pleasure ending because you get to fuck Lacey everyday in various fetish play, but at the sacrifice of her dream to become a singer. She has become a bird locked in the golden cage, along with your bird (huehue).

Lacey Mallet (good end)

Having to let go of her motive, Lacey decides to come back to her stage and finally become not just a popular singer in earth but also in Caelum Urbs. Of course this also mean that you return to just a fan of her. The gap between her world and your feels so far apart. The days of times when you and her fighting together in crazy survival game seems just like a distant memories. 

One day, a small packet arrived at your place. Its content are two tickets, those are tickets for Lacey's concert in Caelum Urbs. But there's more to that. Inside the packet, there's a small letter from Lacey contains information of the time and place you can meet  her after concert. And a free pass to backstage. Luckily for you, Celicia doesn't have any interest with such concert, so you ended up going alone. The concert was of course amazing. But what happen after that is even more amazing.

After knocking the door with a combination knocks that described clearly in the letter, you hear a familiar voice that you haven't hear in a long time from behind the door. You entered the room and there she is. Lacey Mallet, still in her concert costume, with make up and sweats and everything. Thing happens so fast, without plan, without thought, only mutual desire. Knowing that this is probably the last time you can hold her, and she probably think so too, you made love to her as if the world would end tomorrow. This is, without a doubt, the sweetest yet saddest ending in Closed Game. THE FEELING SO STRONK WERE LASTING FOR SOO LOOOOONG. By: Michael Learns To Rock.

But hey, who knows, its maybe possible after she retired from the entertainment spotlight she will return to you, though by that time, you two would already becomes old. Or you're both would have already married anyway. This is also the only ending that has a special ending song, a slow jazz with english lyric titled "The Path", which quite possibly is suppose to be Lacey's song, sung by herself (in concert?). ITS.DAMN.GOOOD. Do me a favor and listen to it (sorry for the low quality audio, I records it in game with my half ass recording skill).


DEM FEELS

Celicia Verxina (good end)

The main heroine's good end, which, for me, is pale in comparison to Lacey's good ending. In this ending, when the game is almost over, suddenly it's interrupted by a call from someone with the higher rank in Caelum Urbs, concerning a person that's killed during the game (George). Turn out that act was deemed illegal (I forgot whether it was the game, or the killing or both that considered illegal) and eventough Michiko tried to act innocent but there was the video as proof. As a result both Michiko and Celine were kicked out from Caelum Urbs and have to live down to earth (pun intended). But that's seems not quite a big deal, since both of them still keepin it fine with enjoying orgies on earth and the likes. 

An interesting trivia, Celine's gun name, Witch's Hammer seems originating from this.

And that's all I can write about this game. Last time I checked Empress' site, there still no news about their upcoming game, which is to be expected since its usually come in january, maybe so they can boost sales of Closed Game in winter comiket(?). But there's another interesting news, apparently Sei draws a character for merchandise (tapestry and dakimakura), a high school metal girl.


As expected from Sei, she's got a wild and dangerous feel combined with the innocent charm of teenage high school girl. I wonder is she listens to King Crimson. You can check the website for more information, including the price.

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