So a little while ago I saw this post on the visual novels subreddit posing the question: “Are there any big “kamige” left to look forward to?” For those unaware, the term “kamige” literally means “god game” in Japan, but it’s probably better translated as “god-tier game”. The term is reserved for the highest of quality visual novels, the VNs that almost everyone holds in high regard and usually backed up by some solid sales and a high average score on sites like VNDB.
Anyways, the Reddit post goes on to name a few examples that have been translated into English: Muv-Luv, Dies Irae, SubaHibi, Rance, and Muramasa. Outside this specific post, other common ones include Fate/stay Night, Steins;Gate, Umineko, Clannad, and The House in Fata Morgana. These are all massive visual novels that we’ve had translated over the years – all but Fate/stay Night in the examples provided were released officially in English. That said – the Reddit post poses a good question: With all of these bigger titles translated – some of which we never thought would receive a translation (Dies Irae and Muramasa for example), what other kamige are there left?
On one hand, I understand the sentiment here. VNs have grown considerably in popularity and we’ve been getting a TON of them lately – most recently Muramasa which kinda dropped out of nowhere. On the other hand though, this is but the tip of the iceberg. In this article I am going to name some kamige that have yet to receive an English release in ANY form. Some of these I may have talked about before – but I imagine some will be new to you all.
Sakura no Uta & Sakura no Toki
Okay so this is probably the biggest one – although I may be biased since it’s also #1 on my list of VNs I would like to see translated. Anyways, both Sakura no Uta (released in 2016) and its sequel, Sakura no Toki (supposedly releasing before the end of this year) are slice of life dramas written by SCA-Ji, the same guy that brought us the excellent SubaHibi (or Wonderful Everyday in English).
The games follow protagonist Kusanagi Naoya, whos father – a world renowned artist – has just passed away. This left him with no living relatives, so he ends up being placed in the care of a close friend’s family. Starting a new school semester, the childhood friend that had transferred away years ago has suddenly reappeared before him and thus begins a 60+ hour branching plot full of drama, romance, and of course – given the writer – philosophy.
The game is described as a “Nakige” by many, another VN term that translates as “crying game”. Because yes, this is a very emotional story that aims to have such an impact, crying just comes along with it. I love the visuals that we’ve seen thus far for the game and although no English translation has been announced, it’s one I hope that we will get eventually. I mean, we got SubaHibi, so surely this one may follow.
White Album 2
This is probably the one that you might have heard of before – either because of its successful anime adaptation or the fact that the English fan translation is nearing completion. Either way – it’s another kamige that has yet to be released in English despite having come out all the way back in 2011.
Released in two parts (Introductory and Closing Chapter), White Album 2 is actually not a sequel to 1998’s White Album. It may have the 2 in the name, but it merely takes place in the same universe, the story itself is entirely separate. It’s a music-based VN with a dramatic love triangle at its center and a winter theme surrounding it. Just like Sakura no Uta, it is a slice of life drama with a school setting, at least for the first part. The Introductory Chapter takes just 15 hours to complete and sets the stage for the Closing Chapter, which takes place three years later and features the characters as adults. It also takes a whopping 65 hours to clear and evolves from a simple school love triangle to a full-on nakige with a larger cast and all.
It may not have an official release on the horizon, but the long-awaited English fan translation is expected to release before the end of the year – so that is 100% something to look forward to. Especially so if its release coincides with the holiday season – given that’s a central theme to the game and all.
Kajiri Kamui Kagura (K3)
A bit of a change of pace over the last two, K3 is an action multiple route mystery visual novel from studio light and the same writer behind the popular Dies irae – VNDB even lists it as belonging to the same series (apparently it has some deeper connection). Regardless, the style is completely different – K3 has a more “manga” or “painted” aesthetic, with thick black lines and an overall darker aesthetic.
It takes place in Ashihara no Nakatsukuni, which is a mythological term to refer to Japan – but specifically as the “land between heaven and hell”. In this ancient land, generals are fighting to gain the favor of the emperor by invading the uncharted eastern lands – an area inhabited by demons that are much stronger than humans. The story has roots in Japanese mythology, featuring major characters that take up roles like fighter, onmyouji (specialists in magic and divination), and onna bugeisha (or female weaponmaster).
And just like Dies irae, K3 is a super long VN – clocking in at around 64 hours. While no translation is currently in progress (at least, one that is announced), I imagine this is one that we’ll see eventually given that the supposedly impossible to translate Dies irae got one that seems to be well received for the most part.
I will admit, I do not know a whole lot about this one despite being familiar with its studio – Navel (who brought us the excellent Shuffle!). It released in 2009, has a prequel chapter and sequel already, and is another beefy boy at 60+ hours long (perhaps that is why these take so long to come out). Regardless, it is another slice of life drama, but with some very different themes. For one, the highest-rated tag for the game on VNDB is “existential crisis” and it may sound weird, but that is totally my type of story.
It also contains themes of friendship, bullying, and school life all wrapped up in – you guessed it – an overall nakige package. It also comes with unlockable routes, multiple protagonists, and – one of my favorite VN setups – one true ending. The synopsis is a bit vague, but given the high reception for this one amongst Japanese readers and these tags – it’s definitely one I would like to see in English as well. I guess I just like to cry reading a good VN, but doesn’t everyone?
Aiyoku no Eustia
What better way to close this list off than with a life or death drama, one with a multiple route mystery done in a ladder structure. This means that the common route is not this super defined thing, but rather a continuous stream during which you may branch out of at certain points depending on your decisions – as opposed to only branching out at the end of the common route. And I don’t even know how to begin describing the synopsis.
It takes place in a world where the surface is no longer and a floating city survives by the grace of the Holy Maiden. However, an interrupted prayer led to the lower part of the city splitting into two and becoming the habitat of all of the city’s lowlifes – effectively becoming a prison of sorts. That’s not all though – suddenly a disease begins spreading through this city causing its inhabitants to grow wings and a special unit is formed to hunt down these individuals.
There’s a lot going on there and the story contains stuff like assassins, religion, psychological trauma, and mystery – all wrapped up in this medieval fantasy theme. An English fan translation has been in the works for a while and – at the time of writing – is already 100% translated and edited, so we might not even have to wait that long for its release. Even if we do though, considering its average VNDB score of 8.52 – it’ll probably be worth the wait anyways.
And that’s all I got for this list. Just goes to show how many cool visual novels there are still out there that we just don’t know about or have been unable to experience as English speakers. We’ll probably see a couple of the ones I talked about here soon, but it might be a while before we see them all released in English – if ever, at that.