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Kagura Douchuuki, censorship, and apathy towards the English market

sanahtlig

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I wrote this response to a thoughtful commenter on Reddit.

 

I would not support a non-adult only English release of Kagura Douchuuki, with a purchase or otherwise. I would also encourage other eroge fans not to support whitewashing of titles where sexual content was an integral part of the original concept (i.e., this title and MoeNovel's If My Heart Had Wings).

 

Just because a story can be told without sex doesn't mean it should. Just because it's easier to promote a game without sexual content doesn't mean that sexual content should be removed for the sake of convenience. This isn't merely a matter of supply and demand. It's about faithfulness to the original concept of the work. As a developer, it's lazy and disingenuous to cut content just to maximize sales in a given territory, while leaving fans with no option to restore the content and enjoy the original experience. It's callous to turn one's back on fans who have been supporting the market all along so companies like Debonosu could have the opportunity to release games like Kagura Douchuuki on Steam.

 

I wrote my Kaguara Douchuuki article to notify fans of the path Debonosu has embarked on, and hopefully to persuade Debonosu to change their minds. According to dovac (CEO of Sekai Project) our earnest pleas will fall on deaf ears (in his words, "They don't care"). But at least we'll have tried.

 

Should we support developers that "don't care"? I would say that, no, we shouldn't. And if Debonosu truly "doesn't care", then I would argue they don't deserve the support of you, me, or anyone else. And when a company truly doesn't care, that'll likely manifest in more than just needless content cuts; you'll see it in the slipshod way the localization is handled. Notice how the Greenlight campaign was started without any English description (which Sekai Project rushed to donate because they didn't want the black eye of a campaign for a prominent VN failing). Notice how Debonosu's single English comment was in broken English. Does that indicate to you that Debonosu is invested in making this release a success? Does that give you confidence that the final product will be professional quality?

 

I think if Debonosu doesn't start caring more pretty quick, this release will likely be a trainwreck that will cause gameplay VN fans to cringe for years to come (not unlike what's happened with MoeNovel's release of If My Heart Had Wings).

 

[Feature image: Thomas the trainwreck]



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I just read your article on the lewdgamer website. I completely agree that censoring a nukige is stupid and does not deserve to be rewarded with a purchase. That's just as dumb as buying a porno where all the sex scenes were cut out. Which in my view is just as dumb as watching an ecchi anime (you might as well go with full blown hentai). But I think Steam's censorship polices can be good for VNs in the long term. Thanks to the censorship policies story based VNs are starting to sell better than nukige focused ones (I think that's what you alluded to in the article). 

 

With Steam as a tool to expand the market, we can reasonably hope to see more story based VNs get localized. And hopefully even see higher quality OELVNs get developed. 

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But I think Steam's censorship polices can be good for VNs in the long term. Thanks to the censorship policies story based VNs are starting to sell better than nukige focused ones (I think that's what you alluded to in the article). 

 

With Steam as a tool to expand the market, we can reasonably hope to see more story based VNs get localized.

The issue is that gameplay eroge are going to be especially attractive on Steam.  If all such titles end up censored because Steam is simply a superior platform for selling these titles on (and JAST gives up on releasing them because they're too much work), then all my efforts to promote these titles in the West will have been in vain.  If VNs take off and don't take eroge along for the ride, then nothing will have been gained as far as I'm concerned.

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What the... I'm pretty sure this will make gameplay VN fans cringe either way; at least they could've picked to localize an actually good game. ><

Though it would be really ridiculous if actually good companies, like Eushully or AliceSoft, decided to follow suit and ruin their games. So, yeah, stop those loonies while you still can, everyone. :D

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What the... I'm pretty sure this will make gameplay VN fans cringe either way; at least they could've picked to localize an actually good game. ><

Who's this "they"?  You mean Debonosu?  You speak like Debonosu has a standout title which is much better than this.  I regret to inform you that you're probably mistaken.  But well, more attention on gameplay titles can't hurt.  It just needs to be the right kind of attention that won't sabotage the future of the genre.

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The issue is that gameplay eroge are going to be especially attractive on Steam.  If all such titles end up censored because Steam is simply a superior platform for selling these titles on (and JAST gives up on releasing them because they're too much work), then all my efforts to promote these titles in the West will have been in vain.  If VNs take off and don't take eroge along for the ride, then nothing will have been gained as far as I'm concerned.

Hmm, yea, I think the H-scenes play a larger role in the identity of a gameplay eroge (even one with a good story) compared to a similar non-gameplay VN. I can see why you are fighting for that point.

 

For the average VN (moege or story heavy), I think removing just the H-scenes is an acceptable form of censorship, the reason being is that the H-scenes aren't an important part of those game's identities, and from examination, meaningful character bonding doesn't often occur. If anything, the implied presence of (using a fade to black) those scenes is enough to align the reader to when the characters appear closer or act different afterwards.

 

(Basically for those VN's I could replace each h-scene with a fade to black and recommend that to a friend while being able to say, you aren't missing anything story-wise).

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