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Zero Novel Readalong

Zero Novel Fatal Frame Project Zero Mafuyu Hinasaki Miku Hinasaki Translation

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#1 OFFLINE   midwinter


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Posted 06 June 2013 - 11:56 PM

If you're a regular here or at the wiki, you'll probably have heard of Zero Novel, the Fatal Frame tie-in novel. However, you might not be aware that the entire thing has been translated by Chelsea, and I think that's a terrible shame.


So in order to start off a bit of discussion that has nothing to do with Mayu, and bring everyone's attention to a true masterpiece of our time, I thought it might be fun to do a forum read-along of Zero Novel. I'd also like to re-read it myself, and it'd be great to have some company on my journey.


How it'll work

  • Each week, everyone will read an agreed-upon segment of the novel (and no skipping ahead on pain of having your name in pink for a week  :angry: ). I think four sections a week is probably a decent pace to keep discussion fresh without leaving anyone behind, but I'm open to suggestions!
  • At the end of the week we can share our impressions and maybe discuss some set topics or questions, if I can think of any. People will also be welcome to post live reactions as they go along - using spoiler tags, of course!

Where I am it's the very beginning of Friday, so I'll give it a day for people to see this, offer suggestions and generally prepare themselves for an unforgettable experience. Then from Saturday, anyone who wants to can start reading along with us.


Who's in? :D

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#2 OFFLINE   Hex


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Posted 07 June 2013 - 12:03 AM

Count me in.  o/  


It would be a re-read for me but one I'm more than happy to experience with everyone else here!  Strap yo' selfs in, folks, we're in for a bumpy ride.

#3 OFFLINE   AnimalLover47999


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Posted 07 June 2013 - 12:04 AM

I don't know if I can force myself to only read one section a week if it's as bad as you say it is. XD


I'll try though.  When do we start reading the first section?

#4 OFFLINE   midwinter


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Posted 07 June 2013 - 12:16 AM

I was actually thinking more like four sections a week, not just one. And like I said, I'm hoping to start on Saturday.

#5 OFFLINE   suprimeking


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Posted 07 June 2013 - 10:19 PM


you brought this upon yourself mortal now you learn the way of darkness 

#6 OFFLINE   Teen Bulma

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 05:42 AM

Count me in, seems interesting :o


#7 OFFLINE   midwinter


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Posted 08 June 2013 - 04:30 PM

Okay, cool! Let us begin, then. And just to be clear, there's no sign-up or deadline, so if anyone sees this later and wants to join in, or make a one-off post or whatever, go right ahead!


Here's the link to the Zero Novel main page on Chelsea's website:




We'll be reading parts 1-1 to 1-4 this week. Enjoy!

#8 OFFLINE   ナガクラ


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Posted 09 June 2013 - 01:55 AM

I'd love to read the novel again but...
the memories.... *writes on the walls with blood*
Have fun you guys ;)

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#9 OFFLINE   Emi



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Posted 14 June 2013 - 11:29 AM

Oh sweet I am in! Great idea!

#10 OFFLINE   midwinter


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Posted 15 June 2013 - 08:36 PM

It’s Saturday again, and don't think I've forgotten! Have you all finished reading this week's sections?

Here’s my liveblog-log. First thought, I'm really glad I'm re-reading, cause I've forgotten so much.


In the first section, this quote really stood out:

"Thinking like that will only hold you back," Mr. Takamine said in a stern tone. "Sometimes, taking something from another form of media that's already been created and turning it into something original is even more difficult. It's an old example, but take Mario Puzo's "The Godfather". With the talents of Coppola it was made into an even more amazing film. There are examples like that all over the place."

Sounds a little to me like the author addressing the audience here. :P

Apart from the fact that it’s a complete anachronism, I’m kind of charmed by the idea of Miku with a PS2. I don’t know why, it’s just funny to think of her taking a break from being the perfect housewife-in-training to veg out and play a little Grand Theft Auto or Metal Gear Solid. Or perhaps she’d be more of a Final Fantasy type of girl.

It’s such a weird and slightly awkward thing for the author to have included “Mr. Shibaguchi and Mr. Kitaike” as characters, but I have to admit that after reading lots of interviews and things by Makoto Shibata and Keisuke Kikuchi, I really enjoyed having them in the story and recognising bits of their personalities from real life.

The old lady who used to look after the doubly-fictional “Himuro Mansion” house is the latest in a long line of ridiculously minor characters to intrigue me. She did it all by herself? Really??

It’s kind of interesting that in this retelling, the author decided to have Miku be the one who disappears first. Maybe it’s some idea that the main character has to be the one who ‘rescues’ somebody? Even though FF1 turns out to be more about Mafuyu than Miku in some ways, since he’s the one with the connection to Kirie, and in the end she frees him so that he can complete his destiny and help prevent the Calamity, rather than so she can get her brother back. Not meaning to get too deep into my FF1 meta thoughts, though; I just thought the reversal was interesting.

One thing I do like is the slight digression about Mafuyu’s feelings regarding his mother’s suicide. That’s something that never appears in the game, and I thought it was a nice touch. The way he talks about Miku also kind of sounds like the author speaking with the canon ending in mind, trying to reconcile the close, co-dependent relationship they're supposed to have had with the fact that Mafuyu decided to stay with Kirie and leave her to live alone.

In part 4 comes the revelation that Mr. Ioka, he who recorded his daughter’s anime over Mafuyu’s precious VHS, is Koji Ogata. I just felt I had to highlight that. :D

The image of Mafuyu and Miku giving each other meaningful looks through the TV while he sits there fresh from his first ghost battle with a PS2 controller in his hands is making me laugh. I should probably feel bad about that, but I don’t.


And along comes Ogata Ioka with an invitation. Aww yeah, let's go on a field trip!



So what did you guys think? I’m especially interested to hear from people who haven’t read it before, about how it differed from your expectations.

Our next section is Chapter 2 Parts 1-4, so please keep seatbelts on and tray tables in the upright position, because we’re off to Himuro Mansion. Dun dun dunnnnn~ What will happen next?

#11 OFFLINE   AnimalLover47999


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Posted 17 June 2013 - 04:34 AM

I'll be reading it tomorrow I promise.

#12 OFFLINE   Hex


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Posted 17 June 2013 - 05:25 PM

I'm so sorry this is late, it's been a weird and wonderful past few days.  On with the show.  : >
I forgot how anxious Mafuyu was in this.  You know, if they'd focused more on this side of him, how his gifts make him feel insecure and a bit detached from people/Miku, I'd probably sympathize with him a lot more (and it would've been an interesting bonus to explore the sixth sense in general).  Och weil.
"A popular game was being turned into a novel in the hope of letting its many fans experience the world outside of the game."
This clearly is set in an alternate universe.
Miku's here!  I actually really like how she's portrayed in this, her sections of the novel are pretty good and definitely the most in-line with the game.  I just... wish she could be the protagonist now.  I'm not a fan of the upcoming insanity.
"Maybe I should've said even a word or two of reassurance, but... Nothing came to mind."
>: x
These tiny parts where Mafuyu encounters the supernatural/explains his sixth sense are quite interesting.  I really wish they spoke more about these things in the games.
"Because of that, I had more passion than I had for other classes, and devoted myself to attending his lessons... Then he asked me if I would help him out with work, if I wanted to."
alert alert senpai has noticed you this is not a drill
"His words touched me so deeply that as soon as I was done with school I became his assistant, and went along on the trip with him."
just marry him already god
"I felt like crying. At the same time, my heart rose with enthusiasm. To have such an amazing person to look up to and study under."
Yes, it was rather amazing how writing his book caused the deaths of 4 people including your own.
Is Mafuyu trying to be bitchy here?  God forbid someone tapes over your video, it's not like he left his younger sibling to fend for herself and succumb to a curse to achieve his own destiny or anything.
Oh Jesus, here we go.  There's no use hiding behind fake names, I see you two.
This part is so weird, I have a hard time saying anything about it.  I'm still not sure how to feel about the direction the author went with this.  Wouldn't it have been much easier, and less taxing on the brain, to just... novelize the game?
"Even now, the sad expression on Miku's tearful face as we listened to our mother's stories is seared into my eyes."
I really wish we got to hear more about Miyuki, she's a fascinating character.
Oh my god, he's actually putting more time and thought into Takamine's disappearance than Miku's!!  Get out of that bloody bookcase!!
"For the first time, I felt as though I could feel Miku's loneliness."
So, roughly, how many herbal medicines d'you think Mafuyu wasted fighting Bound Man. 
I... what.  Miku get out of there.  
"At that moment, a large teardrop spilled from her eye."
The capabilities of the PS2 are amazing.
so we're off to heemuro manshin >:3

Eee, that was fun.  Like my first read, Chapter 1 didn't quite draw me in like I'd expected but if any first time readers feel the same, don't worry!  The Zero Novel has a lot more tricks up it's sleeves yet.  

#13 OFFLINE   AnimalLover47999


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Posted 18 June 2013 - 12:23 AM

Okay I just read 1-1 and I like it so far.  Mafuyu's admiration of Mr. Takamine is shown more clearly here and it explains why he is indebted to him.  I don't know how the rest will be but so far so good.

#14 OFFLINE   AnimalLover47999


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Posted 22 June 2013 - 07:18 PM

Okay chapter 1-2......I don't know how to feel about it.  On one hand I kind of like the idea that Miku, Takamine, Hirasaka, and Ogata are real people who got "spirited away" into the world of Fatal Frame and now Mafuyu (real person) has to find a way to save them.  But on the other hand that kind of breaks the immersion of the characters actually having tragic pasts and having terrible things happen to them thus making them sympathetic since that means that in canon the world of zero is still just a game universe.


Also while I like that Mafuyu is getting more characterization in this then he does in the actual game I don't like the characterization much.


Chapter 1-3.  Mafuyu is still gripping with the fact that his sister and two people he admires have gone missing.  He also seems to have more of a snarky personality in this novel then what he does in the game.  It also shows him showing concern for his sister.  I'm sure he did love his sister and did care about her well-being but in the game he stays with Kirie so it kind of puts a sour taste in your mouth about him (even though in the end that choice was technically a better choice from a moral standpoint) which I like that about the novel.  My only issue with Mafuyu is that he isn't given enough screen time with Miku for us to see how he feels about her or for him to feel like a fleshed out character.

#15 OFFLINE   midwinter


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Posted 23 June 2013 - 12:52 AM

Saturday again! (In some time zones...) Here's my liveblog of 2-1 to 2-4.




For those who didn't play the game, the author is helpful enough to insert game notes for reference. Bit of an odd choice, but then, what other kind of choice does he make?



The ride on the Tohoku shinkansen from Ueno station took about two hours. From there we changed over to a branch line, and after roughly a further hour we disembarked at a station called "M-gawa". Then there was another hour on a swaying bus. We arrived in a mountain village. It was the village where the mansion we were to research was located.


Hinasaki travelogue!



During that time, Mr. Shibaguchi spoke about strange phenomena that had occurred during the game's creation.


:'D Even his fictionalised self cannot be stopped.


After all those paragraphs of intense descriptions of bloody sunsets, the manor's threatening atmosphere and Shibaguchi being under a supernatural influence, Ioka's line about the mountain birds broke the tension, to say the least. I actually liked the bit about the creaking sounds and the laughter, though. That seems quite in-keeping with the auditory scares that FF1 did so well.





It looked like something weird was beginning to happen in this mansion, something strange enough for even someone without a sixth sense to notice it.


Come on, Mafuyu, Shibaguchi just the foetal position and started shaking all over. Ioka would have to be extraordinarily oblivious not to notice something was going on.



We chose the steps that exited onto the sakura tree courtyard as our rest spot.


Don't be silly, you can't get into the cherry atrium this early in the game.


And from here on, things get really, really weird. On my first readthrough, I think the moment I realised this was not going to be anything approximating a proper novelisation of the game was when Shibaguchi turned into Takamine, and Mafuyu started turning into Miku.




This author's interpretation of Miku and Mafuyu's relationship is just really sad to me. The idea that all they had was each other, but even with everything they shared Mafuyu still didn't really know how to talk or relate to her is really depressing. I don't really know what to make of that whole bit about the sixth sense being like a demon side, either. I will say the author does a decent job of portraying a sixth sense as a curse, not a superpower to be envied, and whether it was intentional or not, I quite liked the blurring of the lines between the regular children who bullied Miku for being different, and the ghosts crowding around her in the mansion, all tied together by the Demon Tag/Kagome motif.


For someone who's supposedly desperate to save Miku, and is basically sharing her mind and body right now, Mafuyu seems very detached from everything.


I was wondering why Miku had to get rescued by Little Kirie ex machina, but I was forgetting there's no camera yet. :|a





Beneath the waterwheel, there should have been a stream... how was Mr. Shibaguchi standing there? Thinking it strange I looked at his feet, but the moonlight was hazy, and I couldn't be sure.


So Mafuyu doesn't really have to worry about a thing, cause he's there with Jesus!


Oh, and now the lack of a camera gets lampshaded, okay. I'm just glad it's not like the FF2 novelisation, where the camera just vanishes completely from the proceedings.


I don't really know what to say about the next section. Mafuyu, stop being so weird and obscure. All this reality-bending stuff seems out of place for FF1; time warp aside, the sequence of events in FF1 is actually pretty clear. I guess the author considered that a bug rather than a feature!


Huh, the novel places Himuro Mansion in the Tōhoku region, I don't think I noticed that before. Was that actually made clear in the Japanese version of the game, then? Cause I know locations never got mentioned in English translations till FF3.


No, Mafuyu, I don't care how genre-savvy you are, you don't get to cheat by reading the plot summary, GOD. >:[


So I think the main question this time round is, are you all as confused as I am? I'm used to thinking of FF1 as the most straightforward game in the series, but good grief.


This week should be 2-5 to 2-8! Is everyone still cool with that, or are we moving too fast?

#16 OFFLINE   AnimalLover47999


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Posted 17 July 2013 - 01:22 AM

Okay so 1-4.  ┌(┌^。^)┐ starts playing Zero and notices that it's him on the inside of the game.  It seems that his psychic connection allowed him to feel the pain his character felt when he was attacked by Bound Man.  Afterwards he is somehow able to contact Miku and she is able to talk to him through the game and it seems that Miku and the editing team were thrust into the world of Zero by a dimensional rift which Miyuki warned ┌(┌^。^)┐ to never go near if he felt that sort of energy (why she didn't warn Miku I don't know).


┌(┌^。^)┐ reaches out his hand for Miku but the screen goes black.  When he removes his hand the screen goes back to normal however Miku is no longer acting of free will and is like she is when actually playing the game.  ┌(┌^。^)┐ emails Mr. Ioka (Don't know why he wasn't just named Koji Ogata since he is the spitting image of him) and requests he take him to the ruins of the mansion that Himuro Mansion was based on.


2-1.  Mafuy u (since the site is glitched up or something....), Mr. Shibaguchi, and Mr. Ioka all trek to the village near Himuro Mansion and Mafuy u insists on heading to the mansion instead of staying for the night at an inn or something.  On their way there Mafuyu's sixth sense lets him feel an eerie and dark air around Mr. Shibaguchi and it seems Mr. Shibaguchi is being possessed by spirits and being lead to the mansion.  Once arriving at the mansion Mafuy u senses that the mansion is an area that can spirit people away just like near the train station and tries to warn away Mr. Ioka because he doesn't have a sixth sense and can't defend himself against spirits.  It however fails and Mafuy u notices that Mr. Shibaguchi has lots of white hands grabbing onto him and leading him inside the mansion.  Mafuy u, Mr. Ioka, and Mr. Shibaguchi head inside to look for Miku.

#17 OFFLINE   midwinter


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Posted 23 July 2013 - 12:45 PM

pk, not that I'm not delighted someone's still reading, but that's more like a summary of what happens than a reaction post. Did you not have any opinions or feelings about any of this stuff when you were reading it?

#18 OFFLINE   AnimalLover47999


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Posted 23 July 2013 - 10:54 PM

Ah sorry.  I'll edit them for my opinions on them in a bit.

#19 OFFLINE   Nephthys13


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Posted 08 August 2013 - 10:00 PM

Is this readalong still running? 'Cause I read the Zero Novel and would like to post my opinion, but I don't want to spoil those who haven't finished yet. So is this still running?

#20 OFFLINE   Homuranagi



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Posted 08 August 2013 - 10:27 PM

People can go ahead and post their opinion on it whenever. You might want to use the [spoiler] tag to hide it, though.


Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Zero Novel, Fatal Frame, Project Zero, Mafuyu Hinasaki, Miku Hinasaki, Translation

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