Anonymous asks: Why do you love pantyhose so much?

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This was a surprisingly difficult question for me to answer directly. The following is the most comprehensive answer I can provide at the moment, and I will expand on it in the future for those interested.

It is an augment for a natural attraction to female legs. The skin-tight fabric that constitutes tights and pantyhose changes the appearance of the lower body significantly. The complete coverage waist to toe makes for a kind of perfection–a completion–that is not intended with stockings. While much has been discussed about the zettai ryouiki phenomenon, it is directly at odds with my own preferences. Stockings and thigh-high socks leave the thighs exposed, whereas tights cover the thighs and allow them to enjoy the same benefits as the rest of the leg. In the rare occasion that the waist and hips are exposed as well, the effect is even greater, as the border between the waistband and the exposed upper body can create an effect I would venture is similar to the zettai ryouiki. I am averse to patterns, fishnets, and damage to the fabric, as the perfection is lost with even the smallest aberration in the fabric.

To repeat some information from the two “Apparel For The Petals” posts on Cray’s Notes (part 1, part 2), the color and denier (thread density) can create a wide range of effects that other garments cannot, all of which heighten the femininity of the curves of the legs–in particular, the color gradient (preferably not skin tone), reflectivity, and the ability of the tights to cover imperfections in the skin. Examples include white tights creating an image of purity, opaque black tights showing the wearer as proper and formal, and other colors having all manner of other effects depending on color warmth, none of which are possible to the same extent with bare legs or partial coverings. In addition, I use the term “tights” as it specifically refers to opaque fabrics and deliberate colros, while “pantyhose” most often refers to sheer fabrics close to skin tone. However, black and brown pantyhose that results in dark colors dissimilar from the natural color of the legs are equivalent to tights for the above purposes.

All of this being said, it is the feet that are affected greatest by the wearing of tights and pantyhose. While the foot fetish is the most common worldwide, I have a particular fondness for feet in tights, pantyhose, and similar coverings, and do not care for bare feet except in allegorical contexts. All of the above applies doubly for the feet. It is uncommon to see characters wear tights or pantyhose without shoes, but these cases are the most ideal in showcasing the above points. Depending on the position and prominence of the feet in the image, they can have highly contrasting imagery. When visible and not the focus of the image, tights-covered feet can imply innocence, but when they are presented forward with the sole, they paint the subject as aggressive or seductive. While bare feet do the same, the covering from tights largely eliminates sanitary concerns.

In addition, it is becoming increasingly common for animated works to feature ensembles with at least one character in tights. In animated works, skin-tight coverings of different material can appear to be the same depending on their opacity and how they are depicted to reflect light. However, if it is clear that the material is not nylon or anything similar to real world materials used in the manufacturer of tights and pantyhose, the effect is greatly lessened.

Anzu Hana Live Broadcast 22 December 2014 (Updated 31 December 2014)

Update 31 December 2014: A recording of the broadcast has been uploaded. Please see this post on Petals’ Garden for the response.

At 8:00 P.M. Japan time (6:00 A.M. Eastern Standard Time) on 22 December 2014, Anzu Hana hosted a live broadcast on Niconico via St. Michael Girls’ School’s account. Although it was announced several days in advance by Anzu Hana on Twitter, I heard about it only hours before it was to take place, and the only information I had learned about it was that listener messages would be accepted to a special e-mail address to potentially be read on the show. I had not even gathered what the schedule was for that show. Before I slept that night, I wrote this letter to inform other listeners about the international following for A Kiss For The Petals and to thank Anzu Hana for the CDs she had autographed for me. It was translated by Kuma Ichigo.

ごきげんよう、杏花さん! クレイグ・ドンソンです。
あなたがこれを読む頃、私は眠っているでしょう。

世界中のあなたのファンを代表して、聖ミカエル女学園の発足と全ての新しいカップルやストーリーに、おめでとうございます!

ご存じのように、私は世界中の情熱的な翻訳者の助けを借りて、ファンにその花のニュースを一生懸命広めています。玲緒王国は確実に惑星を巻き込んで広がっていて、私、あなたの忠実なしもべは、地球の果てまでそれを見ています。どうか、国際的なファンの情熱を過小評価しないでください。

私はまた、Girls Love Festivalに参加した私の友人を通じてあなたにサインしていただいたCDについて、感謝したいと思います。CDが手許に届くのを待ちきれません。

ええと。生放送についてこれ以上いうことを思いつきません: がんばれください!(原文ママ)

署名
クレイグ・ドンソン

—-

Hello, Anzu Hana-san! It’s Craig Donson, here to say that I am asleep as you are reading this.

On the behalf of your fans throughout the world, congratulations on the launch of St. Michael Girls’ School and all the new couples and stories! As you know, I have been hard at work spreading the news to fans with the help of passionate translators from all over the world. The Kingdom of Reo will surely engulf the planet, and I, your humble servant, will personally see it through to the ends of the earth. Do not underestimate the passion of international fans!

I would also like to thank you for the CDs you signed for me through my friend who attended Girls Love Festival. He is currently flying back to America. I cannot wait to have the CDs in my hands at last.

Um. I can’t think of anything more to say for the show, so: がんばれください!

Signed,
Craig Donson

I sent this message immediately before going to sleep, and the morning after, I had realized that in my haste to prepare this letter, I had entirely neglected to inform any of my readers about the opportunity to write to the show and to take measures to record the show to hear the response. I learned that my letter was read, but the response to it was not recorded. I had wrongly assumed that all Niconico live streams are archived for later viewing. This was not the case with this particular showing. The reply to my letter is now lost to me.

I apologize to my readers who would have liked to write in, and I will make a greater effort to follow through on correspondence for future live shows.

Anonymous asks: What have you been playing recently?

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The most recent games I’ve played are Geometry Wars 3 and Nuclear Throne, two arena shooter games that have similar controls but contrasting design. Both games are similar in that they are very challenging to the point that the average length of single gameplay sessions are about the same. I feel that where they differ most is in their progression.

Geometry Wars challenges the player by constantly changing the playfield with enemy waves of variable density and speed. Although there is some degree of randomness, the player’s abilities change very slowly and the layout of the levels are static. The player can set for themselves a helper drone and a limited super ability before the level begins, and the only upgrades available for firepower change the firing rate and direction. As a result, the player is encouraged to constantly shoot at everything without fear of depleting ammunition or self-destructing and focus on positioning against and dodging enemies with erratic movement patterns that generally do not fire back. There are a number of gameplay formats that engage the player’s limited options in a variety of ways (some of which restrict them), which present in order in the Adventure mode and in the Classic modes at the player’s demand.

By contrast, Nuclear Throne‘s procedural generation systems instead have the player character constantly change with many different types of weapons and upgrades, and the challenge comes partly from improvisation with the randomly selected options given to the player in each session. As of this writing, there are 12 characters with unique special abilities, rather than a single ship that depends on combinations of modules to enhance its odds of survival. The levels are linear and have randomly generated layouts and enemy placement. With limited ammo available to the player and enemies with more sophisticated AI, the focus shifts from careful movement to careful planning of attacks. Because most enemies do not have to be near the player to become a threat to them, dodging incoming enemy fire now shares importance with dodging the enemies themselves. As a counterpart to Geometry Wars, there is only a single gameplay mode with the ultimate goal of reaching the ending rather than the high score.

Apparel For The Petals, Part 2

Notice: This post is solely the opinion of the author and includes images that are not safe for work.

When I shared a set of explicit scenes of A Kiss For The Petals recolored to appear that the girls were wearing tights, I was unsure of the reaction it would get. I tailored them to appeal to my preferences, which I doubted any of my readers shared. To my surprise, it not only got feedback both on and off the site, but it was all positive. This was a fortunate turn of events for me, knowing that the popularity of tights has been increasing in recent years, most notably in anime series with ensembles that include at least one female character in tights. I expressed hope in my previous post that this will extend to later installments of A Kiss For The Petals, and with the introduction of The New Generation, Manami and Rina reintroduces them to the cast. I now hope, somewhat unrealistically, that this will also extend to the new love scenes as well. As seen in the image from Beloved Photograph above, even images with a small area to recolor can be affected significantly.

Before I continue, I feel that I should clarify exactly what I mean by “tights” for the purpose of these posts. I refer only to waist-to-toe unbroken nylon legwear of a single color, not fishnets or otherwise patterned. The sheer colors referred to as pantyhose also qualify, but I use the term “tights” to specifically refer to more opaque legwear and to also include colors other than brown, white, and black. The more of the leg is shown, the greater the appeal. Other skin-tight clothing, such as latex bodysuits and spandex, do not necessarily qualify, as they are often footless. Tights affect the feet the greatest, so it’s natural that feet are seldom seen in tights. Any damage to the tights negates all effects they have.

With these images, I’ve expanded the range to experiment with more colors and thread densities (denier). The below links are not safe for work.

Continue reading

Anonymous asks: Why do you keep your site worksafe when it’s all about a hentai?

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The reasons include hosting regulations and a desire to widen my audience as much as possible.

My previous web hosts restricted explicit content. Although the translation patcher programs contained data for explicit images, they were not obvious or accessible until they were installed. I was able to link to websites with non-safe graphics as long as they were clearly marked, and I was able to promote Fuguriya’s work without using any such images myself for several years. Earlier this year, I transferred to a company that offers unmanaged VPS hosting, where restrictions on adult content are much more lax. I am now able to feature explicit material freely, and in fact I do have non-worksafe content on my personal blog here.

However, because I have managed to build an audience for an adult-oriented series without using its main draw for this long, I hesitate to change this unless my audience expressly approves of it. A sudden change in this policy can have unexpected reactions and would limit my ability to rank on search engines. Approval from my readers would have to justify the impact of the latter, as I am making a concerted effort to rank for the de facto English name “A Kiss For The Petals” as a search term.

Anonymous asks: Is Anzu Hana really her actual name?

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Ok, I know it’s mentioned before, but is Anzu Hana really her actual name? What else does she play as? I heard that she plays Squid Girl, but I could be wrong. What’s your opinion on her?

Performers in adult-oriented media almost always use aliases. It is unlikely that Anzu Hana is her legal name. Her website and her Japanese Wikipedia entry have more information about her work.

The Squid Girl is voiced by Kanemoto Hisako, who is not the same person.

I am impressed at the amount of dedication she has shown to A Kiss For The Petals since she became a part of it in 2007’s Joined in Love with You. She has performed many of its theme songs, played two characters, hosted Reo-ppoi Radio for over three years, released four CDs under her name through Fuguriya, and held her own fan event at Girls Love Festival on 2 March 2014. That said, I have not yet worked out a means to establish regular correspondence with her over the radio, as she has not responded to any of my letters on the show since October 2013.

Anonymous asks: How did you end up being an Editor for the English Translations of Sono Hanabira?

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In March 2010, I discovered an English translation for My Dear Prince by Kamyu Aaru and shijima that was approximately half completed. At the time, the translation had stalled, but at the same time, I had come across tools dedicated to editing the visual novels created by Proger_XP. Inspired by the success of Count Pacula’s prior translation of the first A Kiss For The Petals visual novel in February 2010, I took it upon myself to finish their work with my own abilities in text and image editing and contacted the translators to complete the script. I offered to proofread their work and edit the graphics in order to minimize their workload. I learned NSIS scripting for the express purpose of automating the file patching process and released the first version of the translation on 9 January 2011.

The success of that release attracted other translators for the following visual novels, some of whom came directly to me to begin new translations. For those groups that began their own projects independently, I came to them and offered my support for all editing tasks so that they can focus solely on the translation, and as of August 2014, eight visual novel translations had been released with my support. I now supervise all translation projects for this series at Yuri Project, where in January 2012, the four translation projects I was working on at the time — Whisper With A Kiss, Dyed With An Angel’s Petals, Sweet Grown-up Kisses, and Lily Platinum — were migrated and made open for everyone to contribute, whereas my past projects were kept closed out of misguided concerns that doing so will attract undue pressure from the translations’ audience.

Apparel for the Petals

Notice: This post is solely the opinion of the author and includes images that are not safe for work.

When the character profiles for A Kiss For The Petals – Snow White’s Knight were released, a trend became immediately apparent to me in the lack of variety in the legwear among the primary cast. More than half of the characters wear black socks. Rikka’s white socks stand out, even though white socks are very common in other settings. While the visual novels proper seldom show the characters below the knees, the effort taken to render the characters’ legs in the full-body profiles for the website reveals conscious character design decisions that were repeated many times over. The casual attires show more variety, but it’s the school uniforms that get the most exposure.

One can read different impressions of a single character when they wear multiple different garments on their legs, be it socks, thigh-high stockings, tights, nothing, or anything in between. There is some variety in A Kiss For The Petals, but only in length — those who don’t wear ankle-high socks instead wear thigh-high socks, all in black, with few exceptions: Yuuna, who until Snow White’s Knight wore tights, Nanami, who wore off-white thigh-highs until she switched to black in Snow White’s Knight, Takako, who alternates arbitrarily between tights and socks, Rena, who wore tights in her unfortunately short teaching stint at St. Michael’s, and Rikka, as noted above who wears plain white socks. I believe that attention to the types of legwear the characters wear can help to express different degrees of femininity, and yet many characters here use the same choices. To use Rikka as an example, her character profile paints her as protective, and her white socks adds an extra sense of purity and youthfulness to that which suggests she is not as formal as her new peers. As school uniforms are constant above the waist, the dearth of legwear types throughout the main cast needlessly limits the possibilities for varied expression.

I was unsatisfied with this pattern, and out of curiosity, I set out to see how different lengths and colors would compare using Photoshop. Before long, it turned into something different. To put it simply, I got carried away. EV13

Continue reading

Unread Letter to Reo-ppoi Radio

On 20 November 2013, I submitted this letter to Reo-ppoi Radio in response to a query from Anzu Hana regarding yuri couples in American media. Episode 75 was released on 7 March 2014, and my letter has not yet been read four months after submission, so I have concluded that they have decided not to feature it on the show. Should this change, this letter will be posted to Petals’ Garden. The letter has been translated to Japanese by Kuma Ichigoh.


 

杏花さん、ぽいちゃ! またクレイグ・ドンソンです。
数か月前に、理想的なアメリカの百合カップルがどのようなものだろうかに関して尋ねられましたね。
私の意見を書きます。

「百合」は「日本製品」です。したがって、それを模倣するどんな国も日本のカップルが模範になるでしょう。アメリカのファンは、日本の百合の好きなところを取り入れます。したがって、アメリカの百合カップルは日本のものに非常に似ているでしょう。

私は、理想的なアメリカの百合カップルがどのように見えるか知りません。友達とこの問題について議論してみました。私たちは、それが恐らく麻衣と玲緒に似ているだろうと結論を下しました。麻衣は強く、独立して、有能で、自信を持っています。それらはすべてアメリカで重視される特質です。玲緒の、社会的地位または礼儀に関して、アメリカ人は日本の人ほどには考慮しません。これら二人の性格の間の緊張はアメリカのファンを非常に楽しませています。したがって、理想的なカップルは同様の差異を持つでしょう。

これがあなたの質問の答えになっていることを望みます。私は、玲緒王国を海外へ拡張することに、ずっと熱心に取り組んでいます。また、杏花さんが応援し続けてくださることを高く評価します。

最後に、未瑛さんの英語が非常に優れているのを聞いて、私はたいへんに驚きました! 私は、その花のキャストの誰かが英語を話せればいいなあと思っていました。ですが、それが雫 (外国語がダメダメという設定で知られる) とは思いもよりませんでした……。

署名
クレイグ・ドンソン


 

Anzu Hana-san, ぽいちゃ! It’s Craig Donson again.

A few months ago, you asked about what the ideal American yuri couple would be like. This is what I found.

Yuri is a Japanese product, so any country that would imitate it would be inspired by Japanese couples. American fans adopt parts of Japanese yuri that they like, so American yuri couples would be very similar to Japanese ones.

I don’t know what the ideal American yuri couple would look like, but I discussed your question with a friend and we concluded that it would probably be similar to Mai and Reo. Mai is strong, independent, capable, and confident, which are all qualities prized in America. Reo doesn’t give as much consideration to social status or politeness as most Japanese people, which Americans also find relatable. The tension between these qualities is very entertaining to American audiences, so an ideal couple would have a similar contrast.

I hope this answers your question. I’m still working hard on expanding your kingdom overseas, and I appreciate your continued support.

Lastly, I was very surprised to hear that Mi Ei-san is very good at English! I had hoped that someone in the Sonohana cast would be able to speak English, but I didn’t guess it would be Shizuku, who is known to be very bad at foreign languages…

Signed,
Craig Donson

Regarding Personal Opinions

In the extended period that Cray’s Notes and Petals’ Garden was offline, I considered the purpose of this site and its relative disuse compared to the latter. I opened this blog as a personal site initially for me to share personal posts, but I also intended to use it to share my opinions of A Kiss For The Petals outside of Petals’ Garden, which I aim to keep a portal for news, and to that end, mostly free of my opinions on the series itself. To date, I’ve yet to actually do this.

As the sole writer for Petals’ Garden and an editor on most of the English translations, I am aware that I have an elevated position in the A Kiss For The Petals fanbase. Because of this, I’ve kept my opinions to myself, such as which couple is my favorite, in the interest of neutrality. While I have posted speculation and commentary on product announcements and comments directed to me on Reo-ppoi Radio, I have hesitated on making any statements that could be taken as endorsement or disapproval of any particular character, product, or individual, for fear that I would be influencing the fanbase in a way I would like to avoid. I do have my preferences, as all fans do, but I don’t want readers to take away any kind of bias from my posts on Petals’ Garden, as I believe all parts of the franchise deserve equal representation insofar as Fuguriya and Yurin Yurin give it themselves.

However, I feel that it is already clear that Petals’ Garden is fully independent on Cray’s Notes, even though the reverse is not true and both are written by me. In the near future, I will begin to share my own commentary on A Kiss For The Petals here without regard for bias. I may also begin writing supplementary posts for those posted to Petals’ Garden with my own comments. These posts will be even more subjective in nature than, for example, the character analysis I posted in January 2012, and some of these posts will include non-worksafe images, but they will be hidden under well-labeled links. Petals’ Garden will remain work-safe for all viewers as always, but as this is a personal blog (and a self-hosted one), I feel that the same restriction needs not apply here. Having worked on translations for this franchise for more than three years, I have formed what I feel are some radical opinions on it, and I look forward to the response to them on this safe haven.