31 Japanese doujin visual novels were translated into English and contributed to three translation festivals – al|together – which took place in 2005, 2006, and 2008. After writing full reviews of 29 of the 31 novels, I decided to rank all of the novels from 31 to 1. This is the second part of my ranking project and will cover novels 20-11 on my ranking.

Before reading this article, please see the following articles to catch up:

You can learn more about my al|together project by reading my project introduction article. That article includes a running list of our completed al|together reviews. I have a dedicated collection post with links to all of our al|together articles, including reviews, essays, and short posts.

Having listed the 31st through 21st ranked novels in my first article, this article will cover novels ranked 20 through 11. Below, you will find a list of all of the al|together novels. The ones that were ranked 31-21 in the first leg of my ranking are marked with strike-throughs and links to their sections in the 31-21 ranking article. The 20 novels that remain on the board are in bold.

10 of the remaining 20 novels will come off the ranking board below. Without further ado, let us cut to the chase.

al|together Novel Ranking: 20-11

Note that for each novel in the ranking, I will include its ranking for its al|together year and its length-tier ranking. The length tier ranking shows how the novel in question compares against al|together novels of similar lengths. I explained the length tiers in the introduction. In general, the very short tier is for novels that take less than 20 minutes, the medium-short tier is for novels in the 20-50 minute range, medium short covers novels from 50 minutes to 2 hours, and long covers novels that generally take more than 2 hours.

20. Plain Song Christmas Special

A scene in Plain Song Christmas Special with an apartment backdrop where the protagonist says he has to do something in order for the story to proceed.

What happens when Eno Yamamoto Ten, the creator of emotional al|together entries The Poor Little Bird and Plain Song, creates a slapstick parody of his own work and of certain trends in visual novels of the day generally?

  • al|together 2005 rank: 7/9
  • Very Short rank: 4/8

The answer to the above question is Plain Song Christmas Special…

Novel Info


Plain Song Christmas Special was one of the more difficult novels for me to rank. In order for this sort of joke game parody to be good, it has to actually be funny and hit at a key point of what it is making light of. Plain Song Christmas Special scores on both metrics. It is actually funny and its jokes should hit home not only for people familiar with the serious piece it is related to, Plain Song, but also with trends in visual novels that aim to make the reader cry (looking at Key…).

I expected little from Plain Song Christmas Special – but I ended up enjoying it. Its humor references fellow al|together 2005 piece Plain Song, but its jokes will hit home for anyone familiar with the affection that certain visual novels have for tragedy. It features many choices that ultimately change nothing, but it is self-aware enough to fold the concept of meaningless choices into its jokes. I liked Christmas Special enough to consider putting it a bit higher, but a couple of issues curbed my ranking enthusiasm. Firstly, while many of the jokes in Christmas Special are intelligible on their own, it demands readers read Plain Song to fully appreciate them. While Plain Song is a solid piece (evinced by the fact it has not appeared in my ranking quite yet), I have to account for the fact that Christmas Special is essentially a humorous spin-off game. Secondly, while it is funny, it is a joke game that largely reuses assets from Plain Song. It comes with my high recommendation for everyone who reads Plain Song first.

19. I, Too, Saw Dreams Through Air

The opening scene of The Caged Vagrant visual novel. A man with an empty bird cage for a head asks the player if he has been waiting.
This screenshot is from The Caged Vagrant, the first of the two novels which make up I, Too, Saw Dreams Through Air.

Circle 17’s second visual novel is actually two short novels in one. First is The Caged Vagrant, in which an unnamed, amnesiac view point character converses with a gentleman whose head is an empty bird cage and who says he is searching for something. The second novel, Plumerai, defies an easy description.

  • al|together 2005 rank: 6/9
  • Medium-Short rank: 4/8

I had to make a judgment call on how to evaluate two separate and distinct novels in one package in light of the fact that I like The Caged Vagrant whereas I do not much care for Plumerai. In the end, because they are a package (freeware) deal, I decided to evaluate them as one.

Novel Info

  • The Caged Vagrant Summary: An unnamed, amnesiac protagonist spends some time talking to a well-dressed (man?) with an empty bird cage for a head.
  • Plumerai Summary: Riding birds and fighting clouds, probably.
  • Festival Page: al|together 2005
  • Translator: Irene Ying and Seung Park
  • Japanese Novel: Yume Goshi no Sora (2005)
  • Original Developer: 17
  • Engine: NScripter (JP); ONScripter (EN)
  • VNDB Page
  • My I, Too, Saw Dreams Through Air Review


The theme of the two novels in I, Too, Saw Dreams Through Air is turning the dreams of their respective authors into short novels.

To begin, The Caged Vagrant is a fine piece. One might think that a novel wherein the player takes on the role of an amnesiac protagonist who is suddenly chatted up by a man with an empty bird cage for a head would be creepy, but it is not. The twist regarding Mr. Caged Vagrant is not much of a twist, but it is a nice little story that is easy enough to follow despite its dreamy setting. It also includes several ultimately inconsequential choices that nevertheless give the reader slightly different dialogues. Two things come together to make The Caged Vagrant a notable piece in the al|together set. Firstly, the storybook-style backgrounds are quite pretty and some of the best in al|together. Secondly, several post game options in the form of minor Easter eggs appear after reading through the novel once and require some (reasonable) interactivity to unwrap the whole story.

While I liked The Caged Vagrant, I did not like Plumerai. Here, we have a mysterious setting and people and/or birds fighting a cloud – dreams within dreams. It uses a different art style than Caged Vagrant which is attractive, albeit less impressive. There is nothing offensive about Plumerai, but if we were to break Dreams Through Air into two, I would put it below Adagio – which came in at 28th place on my ranking – in a list of 17’s projects.

I could talk myself into putting The Caged Vagrant alone a couple of spots higher on this list. But it did explicitly come as a package deal, so I counted Plumerai as well despite the fact that the two stories are entirely unrelated. After considering the strengths and weaknesses – 19 seems fair.

18. A Dream of Summer

A text box overlays a CG scene of Mizuna leaning against the railing on the school roof in A Dream of Summer.

A Dream of Summer is one of the more polished al|together pieces in terms of production values as well as one of the longest novels of the set, but as you may infer from my ranking, I had some issues with its script.

  • al|together 2006 rank: 8/16
  • Long rank: 6/7

I will note that it is the only piece other than My Black Cat to give a cat a meaningful role (albeit here we have a white cat and the white cat is not the protagonist). Speaking of cats, this is the second of two visual novels by developer Milkcat to have been submitted to al|together. The first of Milkcat’s two novels has not yet had its turn in the ranking.

Novel Info

  • Short Summary: A “realist” boy (read: disaffected high school senior) prepares for his last cultural festival with friends, and in the preparation process, meets a certain girl from the class below his on the school rooftop.
  • Festival Page: al|together 2006
  • Translator: DejaVu
  • Japanese Novel: Hitonatsu no Yume (2005)
  • Original Developer: Milkcat
  • Engine: NScripter (JP); ONScripter (EN)
  • VNDB Page
  • My A Dream of Summer Review


A Dream of Summer is an impressive piece of work when we account for its length, user interface, and overall slick production values. That, combined with its solid translation (in terms of English readability), caused me to have some difficulty in deciding what to do with it in the ranking. This is arguably a top-five al|together piece depending on what one is looking for. However, my emphasis on story and narrative dragged A Dream of Summer down to the middle-tier of my ranking.

A Dream of Summer’s story suffers from a number of issues that irritated me over the course of about three hours. It is split into two routes, but the choices which lead to the split are un-intuitive. Like some other multi-route al|together novels, the routes are not of equal quality: One is weak while the one featuring the novel’s proverbial mascot character is decent, if not remarkable.

Another non-unique issue for A Dream of Summer is its abrasive male protagonist. Other al|together pieces suffer from this affliction – including a few that will appear in this second leg of the ranking, but the protagonist in A Dream of Summer is particularly annoying at times. His teasing of a girl he had just met for no apparent reason at all is jarring and it had an unpleasant edge. Far from being a minor issue, the protagonist’s behavior ultimately undercuts the novel’s true ending since said girl is the subject of the main route. In a more unique issue, A Dream of Summer introduces some potentially interesting ideas – particularly with respect to the main heroine – but it ultimately declines to fully follow through on them, occupying its time with less important matters.

A Dream of Summer is decent on the whole. But given its better moments, moments of inspiration, and strong production values, I will give it the distinction of being the biggest under-achiever of al|together.

17. Plain Song

A scene in Plain Song where the protagonist self-depricatingly notes that a "tone-deaf" girl has appeared at all of his street concerts.

Eno Yamamoto Ten’s first visual novel was Plain Song, and it comes out with the best rank of the three of his pieces submitted to al|together.

  • al|together 2005 rank: 5/9
  • Medium-Long rank: 6/8

Plain Song is a good introduction piece for people interested in the al|together translations since it is from the first festival and serves as an example of many concepts and themes that permeate the other novels. Reading it also sets up the humorous Plain Song Christmas Special, which I discussed above at position 20.

Novel Info

  • Short Summary: A struggling musician builds a relationship with the sweet, painfully shy young lady who always watches him play.
  • Festival Page: al|together 2005
  • Translator: Seung Park and Misu-Net (Insani)
  • Japanese Novel: ~Uta~ (2001)
  • Original Developer: Eno Yamamoto Ten
  • Engine: NScripter (JP); ONScripter (EN)
  • VNDB Entry
  • My Plain Song Review


Plain Song is a simple love story with a dash of tragedy on the side. Unlike some other al|together romances (see A Dream of Summer above), both parties to the main relationship are sweet, likable characters. Plain Song starts off strong – its first three quarters feature some of the better dialogue writing in al|together, more on par with the top of my ranking than this second leg. I found myself charmed by the goofy, kind protagonist and the shy heroine.

Plain Song’s journey for a high ranking came apart in the its final third. While I thought Plain Song’s use of tragedy in the first half took away from its stronger story, that tragedy led to the novel’s emotional climax which transpires just a bit after its half-way point. The emotional climax was well done. The final stretch was not. The end of Plain Song felt rushed, but rushing can be forgiven. What was more damaging was the novel’s undercutting of its own message. Plain Song has three choices, two of which are “survive and advance” for reaching the true ending. The final choice requires the player to choose which of two things is more important. It is not a difficult choice for anyone paying attention to the novel and its message, but the way the aftermath of both choices unfolds – both the correct choice and the wrong choice – go against the novel’s emphasis on communication and opening up to one another. I also thought there were some points at the end – especially in the epilogue – where the script was clunky after having read very smoothly for most of the novel.

Plain Song’s script flaws at the end are compounded by the fact it has nothing to fall back on other than its story. While it has an above-average freeware music-powered soundtrack, its art – which features only hazy modified photograph backgrounds – is among the most minimal of al|together.

I recommend Plain Song for being one of the best-written al|together pieces for most of its run – but it is a shame that the wheels came off toward the end.

16. At Summer’s End

CG scene wherein the protagonist of At Summer's End, Ayaka, pokes the view-point character in a playful way.

When I saw the initial screenshots and descriptions of Milkcat’s At Summer’s End and his second, more polished novel, A Dream of Summer, I assumed that it was all but a foregone conclusion that A Dream of Summer would be the best Milkcat novel in al|together. However, in light of the fact that A Dream of Summer already posted an 18th place finish in my ranking, my expectations were subverted.

  • al|together 2006 rank: 7/16
  • Medium-Short rank: 3/8

Having credited My Black Cat back at position 21 in the ranking for its realistic character portraits, I must note that At Summer’s End took a different, nose-less approach with its heroine, Ayaka.

Novel Info

  • Short Summary: Two childhood friends, now in middle school, sense that their feelings for one another are changing on a certain day close to summer’s end.
  • Festival Page: al|together 2006
  • Translator: Chris St. Louis
  • Japanese Novel: Natsu no Owari ni (2003)
  • Original Developer: Milkcat
  • Engine: NScripter (JP); ONScripter (EN)
  • VNDB Entry
  • My At Summer’s End Review


At Summer’s End’s strength and weakness are one and the same: It is one of the least ambitious novels in al|together.

The entire novel covers a day in the life of two childhood friends who are now middle school classmates, and the realization of the male protagonist that his feelings for his childhood friend, Ayaka, are changing from friendship to something else. The character writing and banter foreshadowed (for better and for worse) what we see in Milkcat’s second piece, A Dream of Summer, but At Summer’s End fares better because the main characters have a better rapport than any pair of characters in A Dream of Summer. The immaturity of the characters is also less jarring in the context of the two middle school students than it is in A Dream of Summer, where the characters are on the cusp of college or joining the workforce. At Summer’s End also employs a silly trick for its conclusion that any mildly discerning reader will see coming from a mile away and that the dense middle school protagonist also should have anticipated. But this is forgivable in light of the fact that it leads to a good conclusion for the story.

At Summer’s End has interesting production values and clearly served as a testing ground for A Dream of Summer. It has a very impressively stylized UI, but what readers will most likely notice first is the distinctive character design of the heroine. Now is Ayaka’s design good? No (albeit it is better than the original art for the iconic When They Cry novels). But I must concede that it grew on me.

In the end, At Summer’s End is not a special novel – but it never tries to be. It makes good use of a short script to take a snap shot of the day in the life of two kids whose feelings for one another are close to an inflection point. It is the perfect piece to land squarely in the middle of this ranking.

15. Moonshine

The protagonist describes Mai as an angel in Moonshine.

Moonshine is unique in its subject matter among the al|together set – with one of the two main characters having gender identity issues. That unique point aside, Moonshine is the story of two characters struggling to find a place in modern, mid-2000s Japan, who meet while working at a hostess club on the margins of society.

  • al|together 2008 rank: 5/6
  • Medium-Long rank: 5/8

Mr. Seung Park of Insani, who coordinated the al|together 2008 festival, described Moonshine as the “crown jewel” of the final al|together. While my ranking evinces that I do not agree with that assessment – it still lands in the top half of my overall al|together ranking.

Novel Info

  • Short Summary: Two people who lack a place to call “home” meet and develop a bond at the margins of contemporary Japanese society.
  • Festival Page: al|together 2008
  • Translator: AstCd2
  • Japanese Novel: Tsuki no Terasu (2007)
  • Original Developer: Sakura Mint
  • Engine: NScripter (JP); ONScripter (EN)
  • VNDB Entry
  • My Moonshine Review


Moonshine has some of the better production values of al|together, only showing some cracks in its CG scenes. Its slow first half takes its time in developing the two main characters – an unnamed viewpoint protagonist and Mai – and building their relationship with one another. This first half, or perhaps more accurately, first 60% of the novel, features some of the best writing of any of the al|together pieces – which is brought to life by the very readable translation of AstCd2.

One issue I ultimately had with Moonshine – similar to Plain Song above – is that it hits its emotional climax close to the middle of the novel and then loses its direction in the second half. The first half of Moonshine is slow and deliberate, but the pacing is greatly accelerated in the second half. The conclusion does not undercut the novel’s message in the same way Plain Song’s does – I concur with translator AstCd2 that it was consistent with the story before it – but it is inelegant and I thought it felt a bit forced.

Despite my issues with Moonshine’s second half, it stands as a good example of strong writing in the freeware doujin visual novel sphere, and it is one of the better-reading al|together translations. That, combined with its strong production values and its standing out as an interesting time capsule piece describing a slice of Japanese society in the late 2000s earns it a placement in the top half of my ranking.

14. From the Bottom of the Heart

A scene from the From the Bottom of the Heart visual novel. Shirou, the player character, is on the left. A mysterious girl is on the right. Shirou is overlaid by text. The background is a merry-go-round.

From the Bottom of My Heart is one of the shortest al|together novels, clocking in at about 10 minutes of reading. Unlike some of the other shorter pieces, there is no interactive elements or Easter eggs. This is a short story – or should I say the epilogue to an untold story.

  • al|together 2008 rank: 4/6
  • Very Short rank: 3/8

Despite From the Bottom of the Hear taking less than 10 minutes to read, it offered enough food for thought to inspire me to write an analysis article that is much longer than the novel itself.

  • Short Summary: A young man who has a mostly normal life after having been hospitalized with a serious blood disorder is haunted by the guilt he feels for not having visited the girl who loved him at that same hospital before she died.
  • Festival Page: al|together 2008
  • Translator: Chris St. Louis
  • Japanese Novel: Negaeba Kitto… (2006)
  • Original Developer: Persian Blue
  • Engine: NScripter (JP); ONScripter (EN)
  • VNDB Entry
  • My From the Bottom of the Heart Review


From the Bottom of the Heart is a unique novel in the al|together set because it is essentially the epilogue to a longer, untold story, that it only briefly touches on. We have a protagonist who spent several years a teenager hospitalized with a serious illness, who fell in love with a terminally ill girl in the hospital. On account of his own cowardice, he did not visit her after he was discharged and before she died. The protagonist, moving forward in his life while still struggling with his regrets, is whisked away on a date by a whimsical girl he does not know – but who gives signs that she knows him. While this short story references a bigger story, we receive enough hints about the bigger story in just a few minutes to understand the motivations of the characters.

From the Bottom of the Heart has a very simple visual presentation that is nevertheless unique – with one side of the screen being devoted to a static character portrait and text and the other to a photographic background establishing where the characters are. Its similarly simple soundtrack gets the job done.

I had several issues with From the Bottom of the Heart. Firstly, the English text is clunky at points – and I noted, accuracy aside – that some of the editor’s suggestions in the novel’s 0.txt file read better than the final translation (note I cannot speak for fidelity to the Japanese and it is entirely possible my issues with the text derive entirely from the original). Secondly, while I think it is a smart novel that puts an interesting twist on common visual novel themes of the era – the script left a little bit more ambiguity in a couple of places than it should have. My analysis piece describes these points in detail.

From the Bottom of the Heart is the best kinetic very short novel of al|together. Despite being centered on common themes, its epilogue-only approach to story-telling is refreshing and well done. Its visual presentation, simple as it is, made for an interesting change of pace from the NScripter norm. Flaws and all, From the Bottom of the Heart is one of the easiest novels to recommend for general audiences from the collection.

13. A Winter’s Tale

Kaede asks Jun if he has forgotten in "A Winter's Tale."

A high school boy wastes time with his classmate and childhood friend, who is a girl. Their feelings for one another are beginning to change.

  • al|together 2005 rank: 4/9
  • Medium-Long rank: 4/8

As I will discuss below, A Winter’s Tale’s pedestrian story (not to mention familiar if you have been reading this in order) is backed by a sublime (by al|together standards) production.

Novel Info

  • Short Summary: Two childhood friends, now in high school, bicker while struggling to study as their feelings for one another slowly change.
  • Festival Page: al|together 2005
  • Translator: AstCd2
  • Japanese Novel: Aru Fuy no Monogatari (2003)
  • Original Developer: Kenji Endou
  • Engine: NScripter (JP); ONScripter (EN)
  • VNDB Entry
  • My A Winter’s Tale Review


A Winter’s Tale is almost the same story as 16th ranked At Summer’s End – albeit trading the middle school couple of the former for a high school pair. Not only is the theme of the evolving feelings of two childhood friends the center piece of both novels, but A Winter’s Tale uses a variation of the same twist that bothered me in At Summer’s End – and I think it is even more irritating with the older protagonists featured in A Winter’s Tale.

So why is A Winter’s Tale three spots higher in my final ranking?

To begin, A Winter’s Tale is one of the finest overall productions of al|together – from its solid backgrounds and character sprites to its use of letterboxing and other UI flourishes. Everything comes together to create a very cohesive final product. Moreover, while I have made clear that this is not and cannot be a translation review, AstCd2’s English text for A Winter’s Tale reads outstandingly – so much so that I will rank the finished English product as the best-reading English novel of the 31 al|together translations. There is a particular scene around a certain holiday where one can imagine the deft touch that was needed to present it to English readers.

A Winter’s Tale is held back by its simple tale. The story is very similar to At Summer’s End, which was also an above average production and nevertheless landed a few spots lower on my ranking. I would describe it as a generic, workmanlike piece. Save for the ill-founded twist at the end, A Winter’s Tale is well-paced and focused. It makes for decent enough reading despite the sometimes unpleasant view-point protagonist, but there is nothing notable about it – like Dream of Summer, this is not an ambitious work of writing. A Winter’s Tale ranks highly because it takes a simple premise and story and uses the visual novel medium to execute it exceptionally well.

12. Crimsoness

Bakumi smashing down a door in Crimsoness. Sound effects, "POW" and "CRACK," are drawn into the scene.

Drawn entirely in angry red, the player, a small school high school girl, must navigate the novel’s “rage meter” to destroy the planet within 3 minutes (or more if you can destroy time before destroying the planet).

  • al|together 2008 rank: 3/6
  • Very Short rank: 2/8

Why would you want to destroy the planet? Well, imagine how angry you would be if your answers were all off by one on a multiple choice test.

Novel Info

  • Short Summary: A school girl, angry about messing up her test, sets out to destroy the entire planet (within a 3 minute time limit).
  • Festival Page: al|together 2008
  • Translator: Edward Keyes and Seung Park
  • Japanese Novel: Shakunetsu Hime (2007)
  • Original Developer: Porn
  • Engine: Delphi Script
  • VNDB Entry
  • My Crimsoness Review


Crimsoness is the most unique al|together novel, requiring the player, taking the role of a schoolgirl protagonist, to navigate many creative mechanics in order to destroy the planet within the novel’s 3-minute time limit. Why is she bent on destruction? Because all of her answers on a multi-choice test were off by one. (Naturally.) All of the visuals in Crimsoness give off the effect been drawn with a red pen tool in Microsoft Paint (fitting in light of the roots of Bakumi’s wrath). It is also notable for being the only translation of a Japanese game that was not originally written in NScripter or KiriKiri.

Crimsoness is a joke – a meme in (very) short visual novel form. I agree entirely with Mr. Seung Park’s essay on the novel arguing that anyone who tries to derive any greater meaning from it is engaged in a foolish endeavor. This is a novel that someone made because he could.

In order to be good, Crimsoness has to be funny and engaging. Mileage may vary on the first point since some of the humor is in somewhat poor taste – but I personally found most of it amusing, which distinguishes it from the al|together novel I have seen it most often compared to, 2006’s OMGWTFOTL. Its interactive elements – unique among al|together – are also well-conceived and well-done. Completing the game within its 3-minute time limit (the time limit can be broken using the game’s own mechanics) requires managing the heroine’s (so to speak…) “rage meter” and applying just the correct amount of rage to advance through different areas. It requires a bit of trial and error, but I doubt that most people will need more than a couple tries to reach the conclusion.

Crimsoness is certainly one of the more memorable experiences to come out of al|together – it stayed with me after I first played in in 2011 or so. It is a project with a clear objective that fulfills its objective. That it it makes our top-12 despite each play-through having a 3-minute time limit is a testament to how well crafted it is.

11. Until We Meet Again

A scene on a train in Until We Meet Again, a visual novel, wherein the protagonist looks at a pretty woman sitting across from him and describes himself as being transfixed.

The novel brings a quasi-film noir aesthetic to an almost empty train car where there is no one but the amnesiac protagonist, an attractive woman, and a school girl who seems to know the protagonist.

  • al|together 2005 rank: 3/9
  • Medium-Short rank: 2/8

Now for a look at the most cinematic al|together novel.

Novel Info

  • Short Summary: A young man wakes up in a train car, unsure why he is there, and encounters a beautiful woman followed by a young lady in the otherwise empty cabin.
  • Festival Page: al|together 2005
  • Translator: Seung Park
  • Japanese Novel: Sore Jaa, Mata ne. (2005)
  • Original Developer: Luna Bless
  • Engine: KiriKiri 2 / KAG 3
  • VNDB Entry
  • My Until We Meet Again Review


Until We Meet Again the most aesthetic al|together novel, blending drawn 2D characters with black and white photographic backgrounds of a train car. However, instead of setting the characters apart from the background, Until We Meet Again makes them a part of it. While it is not perfect – there are instances where one or more of the three characters look a little bit off-model (usually when they are sitting), it is very impressive for a mid-2000s freeware effort and overall more impressive than the vast majority of commercial novels. While the visuals are the main attraction – it also makes very good use of freeware music tracks to complete the haunting, melancholy feel that the novel is going for.

I put some thought into how to balance Until We Meet Again’s equities. Its story is solid – I would describe it as a competent version of what my third-to-last ranked novel, Wanderers in the Sky, tried to do – but it is neither remarkable or special. I credit it for telling a complete story from beginning to end and being just about the right length to do what it needs to do, but at the same time this is another example of a situation where we do not know the characters quite well enough for the final twist to leave a big impression. If Until We Meet Again had its exact same story with what I would describe as replacement-level visuals by the standards of mid-2000s freeware Japanese novels, it would be closer to spot 20 than the top 10.

However, while I tend to weigh the novel more heavily than the visual in evaluating visual novels on the high end, this is still a visual novel ranking. Until We Meet Again’s story is elevated by its genuinely creative and striking visuals, which just happen to present the story perfectly and give the entire novel a cinematic aesthetic. The visuals, solid script, and strong translation come together to carry Until We Meet Again to the top spot in the middle section of our al|together ranking.

Final Thoughts on Review Part 2

After the bottom leg was dominated by al|together 2006 (8 out of the 11 novels), the middle leg saw half of al|together 2005 come off the board (5 novels) and 3 novels from al|together 2008.

The middle part of the ranking has good variety, with novels from every ranking tier and the second-best novels in the two shortest ranking tiers at spots 11 and 12.

After writing my summaries, I noticed that the top of tier two, spots 11-14, as well as 16th ranked At Summer’s End, is occupied by novels that largely fulfilled their potential. In novels 15, 17-18, we have examples of pieces that had the potential to earn tier one rankings but ended up in tier two due to internal deficiencies.

I have a generally favorable view of all the middle-tier novels (notwithstanding my many complaints about A Dream of Summer), and they all come as recommended if you happen to be interested in the subject matter. With the middle tier behind us, all that is left to do is to list the top-10 novels of al|together in the final leg of our review series.

Continue the Series

Continue reading with my ranking of al|together novels 10-1.