Jump to content

MayoeruHitori

Members
  • Content count

    39
  • Joined

  • Last visited

About MayoeruHitori

  • Rank
    Fuwa Regular

Recent Profile Visitors

1,797 profile views
  1. (8/1 update) Results of the honorifics survey

    @HonorificsSurvey Oh, wow. Thanks for the chart. Looks like I underestimated the amount of localizations that keep honorifics. The last localization I personally tried was Dies irae, and the last localizations I paid any attention to were Sorcery Jokers and Leyline which came out about half a year ago, plus I always seem to hear translators criticize honorifics... Speaking of SJ, you have it listed as Kept, but I'm not sure that's correct, at least, judging from the VNDB screenshot which has "Mr. Senri" instead of Senri-san.
  2. (8/1 update) Results of the honorifics survey

    All right, at this point all I can do at throw up my hands at how much you guys love to talk about statistics...
  3. (8/1 update) Results of the honorifics survey

    All the comments about the the imperfections of polling are quite interesting, and it's nice of @Toranth to provide rational input. On the topic of honorifics, what @HonorificsSurvey said about how newcomers tend to be least opposed to honorifics surprised me. I always had the impression that since the number of official localizations exploded a few years ago, and official localizations tend to avoid honorifics, newbies wouldn't be as used to honorifics as older fans. Looks like that's not the case. Now that I think about it, there are potentially multiple reasons that VNs fans tend to care more about honorifics. VNs focus relatively more on interpersonal relationships and school life, where honorifics are more meaningful (compared to, say, a slapstick action story). VNs let you replay voiced lines if you didn't hear them properly, and click at your own pace to hear them properly, so it's easier for players to pick up on the honorifics. Unlike manga which isn't voiced and anime which people are often introduced to via television dubs, VNs as a medium emphasize voiced lines, which contain honorifics for Japanese VNs. Also, as was said earlier and @TheCrimsonFucker echoed, the more a person becomes acquainted with Japanese, the more it tend to feel odd when they read a non-literal translation. They pick up on the nuance attached to specific names & words that aren't particles which can be recognized audibly. And as @HonorificsSurvey said, people who play VNs often have experience with voiced anime (and manga which sometimes notes honorifics, esp. scanlations). So yeah, I'm starting to see a lot of reasons why many VN fans' desire to welcome honorifics won't change easily, even if they're absent from many localizations and many translators swear off them. People like @AdventSign talk about a war over honorifics, but as far as I can tell, everything has completely settled down: For the above reasons and probably others, most VN fans tend to prefer honorifics. I don't think you can change their minds if they already know what honorifics are and attached importance to them. You'd essentially have to convince them that Japanese culture isn't important. Or change the demographics of fans of Japanese VNs through marketing (didn't turn out well for MoeNovel). On the other hand, the localization side is firmly opposed to honorifics. There are big ego wars over perceived translation quality on Twitter, and translators know that it's frowned upon to include honorifics instead of trying to finding various ways of conveying them differently (or not at all) which is the traditional in the prideful professional translation industry. In addition, localization companies probably think that they can market their products to a broader audience when VN translations are non-idiosyncratic and remove honorifics. I don't think you can change their minds either, since they're doing what they think is right. Although @sanahtlig pointed out already that it would've been a little interesting to survey whether people would refuse to play a VN with or without honorifics, I'm personally glad that this survey asked what people think, instead of just asking what they're willing to tolerate in their purchases. Questions along the lines of the latter are something we already get enough of from localization companies' surveys. And I think it's probably not necessary either, because like I said earlier, my impression is that most localizations these days don't have honorifics, and people just tolerate it. (Or does anyone disagree with this?) So honestly, the bottom line is that fans might be a little happier if more localizations included honorifics, but since it's not a do-or-die issue for them, many translators will continue to shy away from honorifics.
  4. (8/1 update) Results of the honorifics survey

    @HonorificsSurvey I agree with a lot of the sentiment of your post there. I just want to chime in to say that I think it's a mistake to suddenly start talking about markets. IMO, this survey has meaning because it deals with the views of VN fans. It doesn't try to account for anyone who has ever or could ever buy a VN. Once you selectively focus on people who are into one particular VN for whatever reason (like Ace Attorney fans, or Umineko fans) rather than people who like various VNs, I think you've stopped talking about what VN fans generally care about, and are at best instead conducting market research on how to expand the VN fanbase by finding different ways of appealing to people. The survey questions about honorifics are only relevant to people who play a variety of JP->EN translated VNs.
  5. (8/1 update) Results of the honorifics survey

    @Toranth Nice post! Now that you mention it, I've heard about sample bias and selection bias before. It's just that there are always limitations to polls. After all, you mentioned "these communities do not represent the entirety of the population" but the only way to do that perfectly is to literally ask everyone, otherwise your only choice is to do your best to sample as many diverse parts of the population as possible. So you're right that it isn't representative. In retrospect, what I probably really wanted to ask was closer to, "Is there a reason to believe the results aren't what the overall community believes?" Though it might be unfair to shift the burden of proof like that. The bottom line is that I found the survey results fascinating, and plan to tentatively accept them as fact about public opinion in the VN community, unless I learn that there's been some major oversight in the way the survey was conducted which would have clearly led to a different result if fixed. @Decay Hmm. It's true that many fans don't participate in fan communities. VNDB is proof enough of that, since it has over 100,000 users who largely lurk. I had assumed that the existing VN communities would be representative of such people.
  6. (8/1 update) Results of the honorifics survey

    I don't understand, why isn't this poll representative? Where are the VN fans if not in the communities that the pollster here surveyed?
  7. Summer Pockets Review

    Summer Pockets Review Before I begin, I'd like to point out that the Frontline Japan review is excellent. The only part I didn't like is that they indirectly reference one of the most important hidden elements of the story (but it's possible some people won't notice or think too hard about it) and that they say it's too short. Edit - Just to re-emphasize, this is an atypical style of VN review. If you want a more normal review, check out the Frontline one. This is intended to be a spoiler-free review. I never reveal anything concrete about the story itself or its themes, that isn't clearly evident from the first hour, or assumed if you know anything about Key (like the fact their games are nakige). Key's Creative Intent If you didn't know, Summer Pockets is the next major Key title (not a short VN like Harmonia) that came out recently. In Key's promotional interview back in December of last year (translation), the director and writer Kai revealed that Key staff tried to have a "fresh approach" and come up with ideas for the next Key title internally, but didn't like any of the proposals. Then Maeda Jun spoke up and said, "Uh, I have this one idea..." And they said, "This is Maeda Jun!" and went with it. That's the core of Summer Pockets. Maeda was unable to write for Summer Pockets due to medical problems. Key had already hired Niijima Yuu by then, and Kai worked with Niijima to flesh out the story. Hasama and Imashina Rio also wrote part of the scenario. How Summer Pockets Actually Turned Out, Overall Summer Pockets is easily the most Key-like game since Clannad. It's not an unconventional title like Rewrite. Niijima's influence definitely stands out; he was responsible for many of the most important parts of the scenario, and from what I've seen, fans have praised those parts most. However, Kai's role shouldn't be understated, since he was the director and worked closely with Niijima. Despite some people's fears, Summer Pockets was not turned into a distinctly "Niijima" work like Majo Koi Nikki or Koikake. That was only to be expected, since Niijima didn't come up with the concept behind Summer Pockets, and he wasn't the sole planner either. Although Niijima is no Maeda, IMO he's the best Maeda they could possibly find, because their overall styles are similar. There was no sense of discord with Niijima as the lead writer. The parts not written by Niijima weren't problematic in any way, either. At the worst, you could say they were typical Key routes. To me, each route felt very unique, and each heroine had her own charm and appeal, so even if the prose didn't wow me, I always had fun. The production quality of the rest of Summer Pockets was also extremely solid. They seriously didn't skimp on the CGs this time. Since Angel Beats! -1st beat-, Key's art has been (in my personal opinion as a non-Itaru fan) much more beautiful and expressive. The seiyuu are top-notch too. But it's too bad that the male lead Hairi wasn't voiced. Key always has nice music, too; I've spent hours with the jukebox in the extras menu. Orito's tracks are typically my favorites, and I also like Maeda's "Sea,You Next" and "Pocket o Fukuramasete". Normally I'm a major Mizutsuki Ryou fan, so the fact she's overshadowed by two people just makes me think, "Yep, that's Key for you." My favorite track from her in Summer Pockets is "Yoru wa Mijikaku, Sora wa Tookute". What It Feels Like to Play Summer Pockets From here on out, this review will be "less spoiler-free" simply because I'll talk about stuff like... the extent to which the heroines interact with one another in the common route, or the common route's structure. Don't worry, I never reveal anything concrete about the story itself or its themes, that isn't clearly evident from the first hour. At the story's start, the male lead Hairi arrives on a small island that's located off the coast of his home city. He's ostensibly there to help his aunt dispose of his recently departed grandmother's possessions, but she tells him, "I'm still sorting through everything, and don't need your help yet. Go out and have fun!" So he has no choice but to wander around the island every day. A major part of the charm of Summer Pockets rests in the island and its inhabitants. As Hairi wanders around, he becomes friends with the handful of locals who are his own age. They already know each other well and have their various humorous character dynamics, so it's wonderful how they accept Hairi into their circle despite the fact he's not from around there. To quote someone on EGS, it's "an island atmosphere filled with kindness and consideration." Many people love this aspect of Summer Pockets. It probably appeals to players even more than the nakige aspect does (judging from the EGS tags). The fixed part of the common route is very short, and from then on you have to repeatedly choose who you want to spend time with in order to select a route. It's very typical. In the heroine routes, you'll learn about the hidden sides of the heroines and come into contact with various mysteries. Unless you've never heard of Key before and want zero expectations (don't confuse "intended to be spoiler-free" with "completely blind"!), I don't think it is a spoiler to say that you should expect to deal with drama that arises from supernatural plot devices. The average reading time of Summer Pockets on EGS is 30 hours. That's the same length as Air, and longer than Kanon. Of course, it's much shorter than Little Busters EX, Rewrite, or Clannad. The Bottom Line: How Good Summer Pockets Is Just look at the numbers. Summer Pockets has an extremely robust score on EGS, a median of 89 with 200+ votes. For comparison, the only clearly better-received VNs in the past 5 years are Sakura no Uta, Rance 10, and ChuSinGura 46+1. It's similarly well-rated on VNDB. What appeals to people most is, as you'd expect, that this VN successfully nails the Key formula: comedy, lovable characters, and of course, tears. As one person put it, "Key isn't dead. I've been convinced." And like I said earlier, the production values are excellent. Key's VNs used to be known to skimp on art (of course, the music was always solid) but they've broken away from that limitation. There are so many nice CGs in Summer Pockets, as well as sprites. It seriously improves the experience. Summer Pockets is truly a modern VN. There were other improvements over previous Key VNs, too. Kai probably deserves credit for them. He mentioned in the December interview that for Summer Pockets, they tried to make the heroines interact with each other more, and they also added handsome male side characters. Key pulled this off well; while the level of inter-heroine interaction still wasn't at the level I hoped for (I know I'm crazy to want harem love comedy situations in a Key VN...) it was still solid. The two boys, Tenzen and Ryouichi, resembled Kengo and Masato (from Little Busters) respectively. Although they clowned around a lot, and rarely seemed as reliable as the Little Busters boys. Not that they didn't have their cool sides. But if you're Kyousuke-sexual, you probably won't find what you want in Summer Pockets. If anyone, perhaps Ao was the "Kyousuke" of Summer Pockets, socially. Despite being a heroine, she's a friendly person who's easy to talk to and well-connected on the island, so there were plenty of roles for her to play in every route of Summer Pockets. I would say that Summer Pockets has 2 notable "flaws". The first is that some routes are better (worse) than others. Frankly, this should surprise no one who has read Key VNs--or VNs at all. Not all writers are equal, and Key often has multiple writers work on the same VN. But as I said before, none of the routes are especially bad in any way. I personally enjoyed every one of them. Only 1 of them felt fairly predictable. To offer you an idea of what my tastes are like, I was decently entertained by every route of Little Busters aside from the ones Tonokawa did (Komari and Kurugaya). So if you're someone who would say that every route but Refrain and maybe [some other route] was terrible, then maybe you actually will think that ~2 of the routes in Summer Pockets are terrible... Tastes vary. The second "flaw" is that it's fairly derivative of other Key VNs. Maybe now you see why at the start of this post, I related the little anecdote from the interview. It shows how Key attempted to innovative, but in the end, they went the safe route with a very Maeda-esque story. Since I read this interview before I played Summer Pockets, I didn't expect a revolution... Anyway, I personally don't think it makes Summer Pockets any less excellent, except to the extent that it doesn't blow anyone's mind because they've played VNs like this before. A lot of people realize that Clannad copied from a certain other classic VN, but that doesn't make Clannad any less of a masterpiece which achieved success beyond that classic. Even if Maeda recycled some themes or plot devices when he came up with Summer Pockets, the fact of the matter is that Summer Pockets delivers them in an unpredictable way, with plenty of red herrings. You can tell from the impressions people left on EGS that few people care about the parts that are derivative. And for the record, it's not completely derivative thematically. For example, the themes about summer and summer vacation are potent and unique to Summer Pockets. The final title drop especially wowed me. Niijima VS Maeda I want to talk about Niijima's style. A lot of people assumed that a Key VN wouldn't feel like a Key VN without Maeda Jun, with comparisons to Rewrite. But a Key miracle happened. Summer Pockets has been just as successful (I mean, when you adjust for the fact that the industry is smaller than it used to be) as many of Key's past titles, like Air. Credit where credit due: Niijima Yuu, the same person who wrote the hit Hatsuyuki Sakura (#1 VN of the year 2012, as voted by 2ch), who has been praised by many writers in the industry, did for Key what I presume someone hoped he would when they hired him: he utilized his Maeda-like style to capture the sort of atmosphere that they'd previously relied on Maeda to deliver. For the record, I'm not denying that there are still many people (even those who loved Summer Pockets) who, after they played it, still think, "I miss Maeda." Niijima and Maeda are not exactly the same. I personally love them both. From an objective standpoint, Maeda is probably better. However, Niijima has his own strengths. Both Niijima and Maeda like to write comedy that involves eccentric side characters, with male leads who tends to wander around like a loner. They both write scenarios that make the player cry at climactic moments. They both lean toward narratives with unlockable routes and true ends. They both tend to incorporate the supernatural into their plots, yet at the same time don't completely rely on it, or employ it as a kind of metaphor. A major part of what I feel is Maeda's charm is that there is a deep sense of intimacy, or camaraderie, between his characters. The characters don't subconsciously keep each other at a distance--they form a unique bond almost immediately which deepens as they come to know each other, in a way that every reader loves to see, especially more socially isolated Japanese readers. Niijima's flaw is that he can't quite do this--it wasn't until some of the scenes toward the latter part of Summer Pockets (perhaps not written by Niijima) that I really felt I could sense a heartfelt connection between Hairi and the side characters. There were many parts of Summer Pockets where a character would have some sort of comic reaction, where they became really upset or passionate, but then 2 sentences later when another character switched the subject to move on with the conversation, that upset character suddenly was calm and matched the pace of the conversation, as if they'd instantly quelled their emotions with zero explanation, or as if their previous reaction had been totally fake. I'm sure that Maeda would have depicted more smooth conversational transitions. Niijima's humor has its own brilliance, but often it feels like the characters just relate to one other with humorously eccentric behavior at a superficial level, without the sense of closeness of Maeda's character dynamics. On the other hand, Niijima's text appeals to me a lot more as a fan of eroge. His humor may not be quite as... hmm, "creative" and "unprecedented" as the weird situations Maeda comes up with, but it feels less childish too. One very Niijima-esque technique is to have a set of ~3 side characters who talk back and forth to each other about the male lead in the male lead's presence for comic effect. In other words, he pokes fun at misinformed attitudes and social expectations. Compared to Maeda, Niijima's humor is a bit more, hmm... "mean-spirited"? It feels like the humor often revolves around one character who teases another based on a misconception. Connected to that, it often feels like there's more of a flirty atmosphere. Well, honestly, Summer Pockets was still a lot less lewd than I expected from Niijima. The lewdest parts of the VN weren't even written by him. So the overall more "eroge-like" atmosphere of Summer Pockets may owe itself to the director Kai more than Niijima. But I think that Niijima's style is what enabled this. Anyway, this is the first Key VN I've read where I actually really wished it had ero. Still, as a Niijima fan, I wished I'd seen a little more of his style in the fabric of Summer Pockets. While it's true that the text definitely felt Niijima-like, and one of the routes that Niijima wrote deeply resembled a route he wrote in a certain other VN... Part of what I had really hoped to see Niijima introduce to Summer Pockets are elements of action. It's not like I expected the amount of combat to match Hatsusaku, but at least once or twice, I would've liked to see a few short battles. The nature of the way Niijima writes such clashes, as half-metaphors which emphasize differences in perspective, leaves the story's atmosphere intact, so it wouldn't have hurt. But I'm afraid that Kai may have wanted to avoid any Rewrite-like action, as Key attempted to return to their foundation with Summer Pockets. In any case, without this, Summer Pockets suffered from a deficiency of 盛り上がる要素 (excitement/tension). Despite the fact that in many ways Summer Pockets felt like a modernization of Key's style, it still lacked one of the most prominent elements of modern console ADVs--action. Kai may have perhaps clamped down on Niijima a little too much, but I'm still very happy with Niijima's role in Summer Pockets. The "summer vacation" that's at the core of the story (adjacent to the parts that Maeda came up with) as it's developed is 100% Niijima thematically, and is also the most memorable part of the story to me, besides just how fond I am of the characters. Key, After Summer Pockets Actually, I'd rather ask you, theoretical reader of this post. Do YOU know what Key plans next? Has anyone at Key said how they feel about the positive reception to Summer Pockets? I haven't heard any information yet, but then, Summer Pockets only came out recently. All I want to say is that Key's future is on my mind. I'm hopeful they will make a fandisk, because they've made a fandisk for every other major Key VN besides their first 2. If so, they will probably keep Niijima around for a little while more. I want Maeda back, but I think Key is an excellent fit for Niijima, and maybe Key can allow him a tiny bit more creative freedom next time to repay him for Summer Pockets. I wouldn't mind if they let him direct a smaller-scale project like Harmonia. That's all from me. Have a nice day.
  8. The Heart of Chuuni

    You bring up a good point. Although I personally emphasized a certain perception of "society" and "the masses", that's just the way I chose to verbalize the inspiration behind chuuni. In fact, many people who are immersed in chuuni tend to forget about other people's perceptions and simply enjoy themselves. Being a cynic, when I described chuuni people's sentiments from my viewpoint, I just couldn't help but highlight that they're implicitly devaluing conventional truths and those who subscribe to them. Especially since I've been considering everything from a historical perspective.
  9. The Heart of Chuuni

    The Heart of Chuuni My previous blog posts were about analyzing common definitions and attitudes toward the word "chuuni" and the chuuni genre. I was establishing a baseline. But now it's time to delve into the essence. Background Most VN fans have heard an "explanation" of the chuuni genre before. "It's stuff like Dies irae" "It's hotblooded and over-the-top action" "It's about detailed settings with cool characters" "It's edgy shit" "It's a story with characters who act chuunibyou, except nobody tsukkomi's them" "It's people with heterochromia or special powers and victim complexes" "It's shounen for adults" Whatever you may have heard, there's one thing I'm sure about: it's vague. Most people zero in on a specific element of chuuni that holds their attention or that they like about it, and say, "This is chuuni!" In truth, though, chuuni is a broad genre that encompasses many literary mediums, many sources of appeal, many tropes, and many cases where the trope is hard to describe. People are expected to experience a lot of chuuni works, and experience a lot of references to "chuuni" within other Japanese works, and thus by cultural osmosis, form an abstract concept of what is "chuuni". But do we really have to settle for that? Can't we precisely say what exactly is and isn't "chuuni", at least in spirit? I believe we can. Let's throw out popular perceptions and attitudes, along with all the baggage associated with the word "chuunibyou" that formed the basis of the word chuuni. Let's move beyond the cultural background that has been established in my previous post, discard all preconceptions, and finally... approach the true heart of chuuni. . The Path to Chuuni What follow are largely my own informed inferences. They lack evidence, because there's no easy way to prove a cultural trend. If anyone has an alternative theory, they're free to present it in the comments or their own blog post. Early manga was expected to conform to the "common sense" of society. Or rather, there was little market for contrarian works. Works that targeted the youth often centered around "heroes" who were expected to help maintain the peace of society, living according virtues such as kindness and mercy, and achieved success and peer recognition as a result. Works that targeted adults, on the other hand, might be more cynical, but they still revolved around adult protagonists who had conformed to society. For a parallel outside Japan, look to Western comic book heroes like Superman, who stood tall amid the Comics Code Authority regulations. In fact, the style of early manga was significantly inspired by its Western counterpart. But society doesn't stay the same forever. Decades passed, and people's sensibilities changed along with their attitudes. ...No one can possibly trace chuuni to its origin point, because there is no such thing. Throughout history, there have always been isolated elements within works of literature that speak to our chuuni hearts. Like, for a fairly "recent" example, everything about the style of Hiei from Yuu Yuu Hakusho. If there is an origin of chuuni as a genre, it occurred when those elements fused together. But what degree of fusion is necessary to birth a "genre"? The only point by which it's absolutely certain a "genre" had come into existence was the advent of Fate/stay night. What We Desired So, what is chuuni? Chuuni is completely pointless from a practical standpoint; it just sounds cool. Chuuni-style nicknames, throwing in random German, or donning a scarf or a cape. Chuuni doesn't serve to create a conflict, or add necessary depth in ways typical of fantasy stories. Rather, it serves to emphasize the special coolness of the lead character. Having a "unique infection", wrestling with madness, experiencing an "awakening", or possessing memories of a past life. Chuuni depicts the "alternate truths" that contradict what others think and feel. A morality that is not subordinated. Killing to survive, references to the food chain, massacre as self-expression, or a rebellion against the natural order of a hypocritical "God". Chuuni reveals the "hidden truths" about society that have scarred the people within it. Conspiracies, cover-ups, or human experimentation. At the heart, chuuni is a celebration of the virtue of "chuuni" characters--and the chuuni fans who recognize them--as the true heroes of this world, in touch with a reality the masses can't conceive of, capable of facing harsh truths and shouldering emotional burdens that typical, mundane people would be overwhelmed by--because those people lack character, lack mental strength, and are emotionally weak, capable only of clinging to the foolish perceptions, beliefs, and morals espoused by society. I believe that everything that chuuni has become started from that. Young people in society often experience alienation, or some kind of frustration with their inability to perfectly conform. Such people are often tempted by a certain wild idea, and think like this: "I feel like shit because no one sees the world the same way as me. But even after I've let myself stew in this rotten emotion, I still can't make myself be just like everyone else... What if everyone else is actually deluded, and I'm correct? In that case, my perception is superior to others, and I'm aware of truths they aren't, AND I had the boldness to stick with my beliefs instead of delude myself and conform like the rest of them. Aren't I quite awesome?" People who feel like this, even if it's just a slight inclination rather than full-blown chuunibyou, tend to admire and seek out characters and stories with a chuuni spirit. When Fate/stay night came out, it was like a bomb went off. Fate hit just the right note with its moral complexity, the mystique of the rich world it depicted, a lawless secret world of the supernatural, ordinary people depicted as clueless sacrificial sheep, a male lead whose evolution is a condemnation of traditional moralistic leads, and so on. People with an inclination toward chuuni tropes flocked to it in droves, plus everyone else, because Fate/stay night was just that good. That said, in the present day, what we (especially VN fans) call "chuuni" often refers more to famous tropes from chuuni works, and what those tropes have evolved into, and doesn't necessarily seek as its audience the sort of person I just described. But it's worth keeping in mind the origin of this genre. More Human than Humans I'll close with this wonderful piece of prose that truly captures the essence of chuuni. They, who wandered and pursued that formless “humanness,” who couldn’t see any significance in their existence outside of battle, who, because of their hearts becoming akin to blades, didn’t know how to grasp any hands extended to them, who never had anyone understand their beauty, and had no choice but to seclude themselves among each other, who had no choice but to estrange themselves with fake smiles when with other people so they could maintain themselves, who couldn’t pride themselves in anything but destruction, who therefore were particularly cynical and were born with inhumane powers, and therefore were continuously called monsters, were, more than anyone and anything else, human. -- Excerpt from "Psyren: Another Call 2" by Iwashiro Toshiaki, translated by himetsuri I'm not entirely satisfied with this post, so I may revise it later.
  10. Hiya fuwanovel community

    Nice to see a fellow Psyren fan in 2018.
  11. How do you honestly feel about President Trump?

    I feel like I'm the only person in the universe who finds Trump amusing in many ways, while not supporting him. It's like everyone else is either a crazy Trump supporter who talks in memes and worships the man, or they hate Trump with a fervor and distrust anyone for whom revulsion isn't their primary attitude toward Trump. Also, lately I've been fixated on the idea of a moe version of Trump, like "My Girlfriend is the President" except more directly based on actual personality traits. Because there's such an insane number of weird stuff Trump does and says. Think about it. "covfefe" would be the equivalent of "uguu". His stupid nicknames for everyone. His smug obsessions with walls and deals. So much of this stuff is appalling to see in a grown man, but I honestly think it could be endearing in a moe character. Basically some combination of Suzumiya Haruhi (charismatic, unreasonable, rampaging) and Aqua from Konosuba (irresponsible, vain, obsessed with her own personal philosophy and deeply fond of her worshipers). Am I broken?
  12. Popular Views on What Defines the Chuuni Genre In my last post, I talked about the most abstract way to understand chuuni (the term as it's used in the "coolness" sense). But at the end, I noted that most people narrow it down further. They say that certain works constitute a "genre". And so, I intend to now gather my thoughts and talk about the major tropes and commonalities between works that people tend to identify, which have given rise to several different conceptions of the chuuni genre. Most of these conceptions, although they approach things from subtly different directions, end up specifying the same works. So maybe to most of you guys, it's not that useful to carefully examine them. I find it interesting, so I'm doing it. Chuuni As Language-Oriented This is the most common way for non-chuuni fans, and some youthful fans of hotblooded works, to look at chuuni. Simply put, this is the view that the heart of chuuni is in its over-the-top lines. Chuuni fans usually view the people who say these lines as extremely cool. And yet simultaneously, it's easy for non-chuuni fans to look at these lines and say, "That's so cheesy!" This duality, this contradiction, is what makes it so easy to point and say, "Prose is the heart of chuuni." Language can be utilized in infinite ways, but in my view, the two major types here are "soliloquies/speeches" and "cultural allusion/deepness". To start, what do you think of this quote from To Aru Majutsu no Index's Kamijou Touma? "I was never fighting because I wanted to. It’s just that I always saw someone holding back tears in some horribly painful situation. Even if they cried and cried, no one would have complained, but they put up with it anyway. ...And I couldn’t allow it to go on. I clenched my fist like an idiot, charged in, and somehow resolved the incident. I didn’t do it to be thanked. I didn’t do it because I wanted anything in return. But overcoming those things increased the number of people around me. I began to think those connections with people had some kind of meaning!! And this is where it got me. I had everything taken from me." Even if you're haven't read Index, it's not hard to form an impression of the situation from these words. Saving people is cool. Especially if they're someone who doesn't dare to hope to be saved--when there's zero social obligation to do so, the action is all the more meaningful. But it's not like what's driving you is some inner urge to save others, either--you have a free spirited attitude and don't have to give a shit about what anyone wants you to do. And as a result of saving people repeatedly, you became super popular, completely not of your own will of course. But wait, someone took that all away from you, and you became a tragic hero! See what I mean? It's cool, but it's also cheesy, depending on how you look at it. That's an example of what I'll call, for convenience, a chuuni soliloquy. Of course, it's not a literal soliloquy in that people DO respond to it (or rather, they can) but it's also a bit of a soliloquy in that... it doesn't matter if they do, does it? Touma's speech stands on its own. Single sentences or lines can also have this same sort of quality, but I think it's easier to make a distinction about it when the length is at the level of a mini-speech. After all, cheesy lines appear in countless shounen manga, but very few people would put all those manga on the same level as Jojo or Hellsing. Next, what do you think of this quote? If you haven't heard it before, you've been living in a cave. "I am the Bone of my Sword Steel is my Body and Fire is my Blood. I have created over a Thousand Blades, Unknown to Death, Nor known to Life. Have withstood Pain to create many Weapons Yet those Hands will never hold Anything. So, as I Pray-- Unlimited Blade Works" The way to sum up this kind of language is that it's DEEP. It references life and death, pain (you know that suffering is cool, right?), the angst of not being able to hold anything (angst is a type of suffering), evokes the image of fire in one's blood, and so on. It doesn't clearly state any ideas. It's poetic, or maybe literally poetry. It involves references to themes that are deep (like death, eternity, justice, and so on), cultural elements that are consider deep (like Alice in Wonderland, the Cthulhu mythos, Norse mythology and Ragnarok, Shinto, and so on), or kanji and foreign lingo that are associated with deepness (like English furigana, 眼/絶/紅蓮, random German, rondo/requiem, and so on). It may exist as an aspect of the writer's narrative prose, or within incantations. Chuuni as Trope-Oriented In a way, people who view chuuni as a matter of language just have to worry about the quantity. The question is whether a work has "enough" chuuni-ish lines to be chuuni. There's no answer to that question, of course. In contrast, if you think of chuuni as about its trope, then the question is quality. That is, is the trope itself chuuni enough? Is there a single trope that makes something chuuni, or is it a combination of tropes? Or perhaps some abstract aspect of the way the tropes are presented that makes them chuuni? When it comes to chuuni, this is where opinions are most diverse. I'm going to go over two major approaches that I'll call the ability battle view and the Fate primacy view. By the way, both of these views are connected more to "jakigan-kei" chuuni (which basically refers to admiring special powers) than other types like "DQN-kei" (which basically refers to admiring yankees). In other words, they're narrower in scope than language-oriented views of the chuuni genre. The Ability Battle View Like "chuuni as language", this is a view of chuuni that people cynical of it often hold. They view chuuni as merely a subset of the ability battle genre ("inou battle mono"). To clarify, what's translated as "ability" (inou) specifically refers to superhuman abilities. The ability battle genre has existed long before the word chuuni was used to refer to works of fiction. Furthermore, most examples of chuuni works could also be considered to be about ability battles. Which is no surprise, because powerful characters who are viewed as cool or admirable tend to have supernatural powers that facilitate hotblooded action scenes. So as a result, people tend to say, "Isn't chuuni just about ability battles?" It's true that a large part of the appeal of many prominent chuuni works centers around ability battles. Similarly, there's no easily specified element of such chuuni works that makes it necessary to call them chuuni works instead of ability battle works. And so, this view exists. The Fate Primacy View I'm extremely far from an expert on Fate/stay night, but I can't avoid talking about it in the context of chuuni. Fate/stay night is a lengthy and complicated work with a multitude of tropes and themes, and it's impossible to say exactly what all its charm points are. However, no one can deny its massive mainstream appeal, as by far the most successful visual novel of all time, which led the way for the Nasuverse to completely dominate otaku culture, dwarfing even Index. I'm not sure exactly how to describe what I call the Fate primacy view, because I could approach it from many different angles. You could say that Fate is so popular that it has simply permeated itself into the public consciousness and rewritten what it means to be chuuni. You could say that it redefined chuuni by virtue of its influence on other writers which has spanned for more than a decade. You could say that it's simply so GOOD that it must have nailed what it means to be chuuni. The bottom line is that one could easily hold the view that a work is chuuni to the extent it copies Fate/stay night. Of course, this is a very narrow view. It marginalizes relatively bright and happy stories like Bleach and Kyou Kare Ore Wa. However, in exchange for that narrowing, you could say that the remaining few stories are "higher quality" on average, in that they're very obviously chuuni. On a side note, some people might have more of a Dies irae primacy view. Dies irae has become very loved (at least, among its fans--its mainstream appeal can never match Fate's, though it perhaps comes closest) and many people perhaps view it as more definitively "chuuni" than its primary influence. In any case, this view reveres tropes and story elements from Fate/stay night which have proven popular like battle royales, human sacrifice and massacres, ability battles conducted in secret, justice and morality, tragic childhoods, magical rituals, magical contracts, the Catholic church, and serial killers. Unlike the ability battle view where people will just outright say it ("Isn't chuuni just about ability battles?"), people who hold a so-called Fate primacy view rarely ever verbalize, "I want my chuuni to be exactly like Fate/stay night!" They may not have even ever experienced Fate/stay night. That's why I said you can approach this from different angles. It's not really a "view" so much as a near-inevitability in our Fate-dominated otaku culture. Also, note that when it comes to jakigan-kei chuunibyou as depicted in otaku media, its associated delusions are easier to formulate when they're closer to reality, such as isekai situations or urban fantasy. Fate/stay night, as an urban fantasy that depicts an ordinary student discovering a hidden world that covertly affects the public, is the sort of scenario that exemplifies such delusions. Whew, I covered it all. After taking care of the basic definitions, I wanted to outline other people's views before talking about my own feelings, which are what I actually care about 'cause I'm the center of the universe FYI.
  13. The Chuuni and Chuunibyou FAQ (自称)

    You make some awesome points! "Transcending the mundane" is a nice way to put it. Simple words like "cool" and "admirable" just don't quite strike at the heart of the appeal of chuuni story elements, because they don't contain any nuance of individualistic-ness or deep-ness. For this FAQ, I personally elected to very broadly define chuunibyou and chuuni, because I wanted to make sure that no one more intimate with Japanese culture could come and say, "You're being naive about the range of interpretations of this word!" Your reply highlights the fact that there really is a lot more to be said, especially about different cultures. It was just easier for me to feel like I was being "objective" about what it means when I contextualized it within Japanese culture, where the word came from. But I do want to think more about chuuni from a cross-cultural perspective in the future--I made this blog for the sake of doing things like that. And I was hesitating on whether to bother publishing my next blog post which delves more into the nuance of chuuni, but I think I'll go ahead and do so later tonight (comments and criticisms welcome always). On a side note, I'm curious, are there really many people who are so into Star Trek and Star Wars that they literally lose themselves in it? I never knew many trekkies, but I remember that when I saw the movie Galaxy Quest which is supposed to parody the Star Trek fandom, there was a fan in it who said, "I knew it was all real!" At that time, I thought, "Hmm, could it be that there are so many trekkies with chuunibyou that the fandom is self-aware of it!?" And I tried to Google to find more info, but I didn't find anything. I expect it can be harder to tell in Western cultures if someone in a fandom is chuunibyou about it, because people are so expressive and joke around so much, and cosplay is so common.
  14. Dir Lifyna

    Whenever I think about Eushully, I feel like I'm staring at the box containing Schrodinger's cat. Are they secretly in preproduction for an Ikusa Megami 2 remake, or are they just going to continue to work on mobage or lighthearted games and never release another Battle Goddess series title? Enough years have passed since Ikusa Megami Memoria that I've started to despair a little, combined with the break in their release schedule this year. Dir Lifyna is a wonderful setting, but I find that I don't care about it in most of Eushully's games, as it's only utilized to provide plot devices on demand.
  15. The Chuuni and Chuunibyou FAQ (自称)

    The Chuuni and Chuunibyou FAQ (自称) Because I wanted to settle the basics first. Q. What is chuunibyou? A. "Chuunibyou" (中二病) is a Japanese word that literally means middle [school] second [year] syndrome. But it's not an actual medical syndrome. It refers to certain behavior. So what exactly does it mean? That depends on who you ask. The person to coin it, radio host Ijuuin Hikaru, defined it more or less as the foolish behavior of second year middle school students, in the context of school life. But the term quickly spread and took on a life of its own. Pixiv's wiki has one popular definition: "a colloquial term intended to poke fun at the behavioral tendencies of pubescent kids stemming from their self-absorption and psychological complexes". ...Personally, I don't like Pixiv's definition. It's too condescending, focusing on psychoanalyzing behavior rather than accurately cataloging what it consists of. I realize that it's hard to pin down what exactly chuunibyou is, so it's tempting to take a step back, vaguely reference a few psychological terms, and declare that sufficient. But that's NOT sufficient, and here's why. This term has long since passed the point when it was just a casual way to talk about how silly kids can be. It's been fully embraced by otaku culture. In other words, "chuunibyou" behavior--in terms of what it stems from, how it's expressed, how others should react to it, what its appeals are, what tropes it connects to, and so on--has been deconstructed and re-evaluated a thousand times over. Here's my personal definition, that I believe to be more modern: chuunibyou is a personality trait that refers to behavior supposedly commonly seen in many second year middle school students. That behavior consists of a person acting or speaking so as to emulate what they consider the cool or admirable demeanor of characters within stories. Furthermore, that behavior is starkly mismatched with what a layman would perceive to be a rational behavioral foundation for that person, resulting in others viewing their behavior as peculiar. The person in question either doesn't notice or doesn't care about the mismatch. Let's run through a couple of quick examples and break them down in terms of character, emulated demeanor, and perception of mismatch. Person considers a character in a light novel who speaks mysteriously to be cool. Adopts mysterious phrasings, even when talking about mundane things. This is viewed as pointless by others, because there is no benefit to speaking cryptically about mundane things. Person considers a character in a manga who has a dragon sealed in his right arm to be cool. Inks a dragon tattoo onto their arm, and covertly shows it off to others, as an approximation of that character's demeanor. This is viewed as silly by others, because the ink on their arm does not actually materially benefit them or affect their life in any way. Person considers a character in an anime who possesses a cursed katana that unleashes it power when an incantation is recited to be cool. Buys a katana prop, occasionally carrying it around, and muttering a personally written incantation occasionally, as a way to mimic the feeling of being that character. This is viewed as silly by others, because the katana prop has no supernatural properties that would respond to an incantation. Person considers a super-strong delinquent or a heroic vigilante in a story to be cool. Begins to dress like and use the slang of a delinquent, act like a tough fighter despite have no real knowledge of martial arts beyond a few tidbits, and occasionally spout rhetoric about justice or strength, out of a desire to emulate those characters. This is viewed as silly or awkward by others, mostly because the person in question can't actually fight and because the lines they spoke about justice and strength just came off as pretentious. Note that I narrowed my definition of chuunibyou in order to make it better match otaku culture. The broader and popular definition of chuunibyou includes people who aren't inspired by stories, such as hipsters. Lastly, I'll note that chuunibyou can be shortened to just chuuni. Q. Aren't people like Hiei from Yuu Yuu Hakusho and Gilgamesh from Fate/stay night also called "chuunibyou"? But they're not delusional middle school students--they actually have special powers. A. Yes, and no. This ties back to what I said about how the term chuunibyou has expanded. You can call them chuunibyou if you want, but for clarity, it may be better to call them "chuuni". I'll explain why in the next section. Q. What is chuuni? A. Remember how I said that otaku culture has changed the term chuunibyou? I already went over the fact that Ijuuin Hikaru's initial meaning was essentially abandoned, and gave my personal definition for chuunibyou in the context of otaku culture. Well, to put it simply, the word chuunibyou ended up having ANOTHER meaning, on top of the more traditional one that describes a behavior. Also, in order to make that other type of chuunibyou distinct from the traditional one, people ended up typically shortening it to just "chuuni". The heart of "chuunibyou" is its source, the "coolness" that makes people behave in a chuunibyou way. And as discerning otaku, people quickly wanted a way to refer to that "coolness". THAT is "chuuni". The "byou" (syndrome) part is cut off the end, so the shortened version of the word fits this meaning well. Stated more formally, the broadest possible definition of chuuni is any story or story element (whether a character or trope) that inspires, or could inspire, a person to behave in a chuunibyou way. In other words, it's whatever a second year middle school student would view as cool or enviable. HOWEVER, people haven't been content with such a broad definition of chuuni. There are many informal, narrower trope-oriented definitions. I say "informal" because few people try to provide any exact list of what tropes are "sufficiently" chuuni. But you can be sure that different people have different perceptions of the word chuuni. More on that in later posts, potentially. Finally, I'll note that as I said earlier, the traditional definition of chuunibyou is also occasionally shortened to chuuni. As a matter of fact, neither "chuuni" nor "chuunibyou" is exclusive to any specific meaning, which can admittedly make things confusing. That's all the questions I can think to pose to myself currently. Maybe I'll come up with more later and add them.
×