Fuez reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Reflecting on my Otaku Origins
I took my first steps onto the road of the otaku in 1992, when I watched the poorly dubbed (all dubs were godawful back then) Record of Lodoss War Volume 1 OVA VCR tape. Now, I was already a heavy fantasy addict, having been introduced to the Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance in 1990, and my obsession was at its peak at the time. When I watched Record of Lodoss War, I saw the typical 'elven maiden with human hero' romance in a new way (incidentally, this is a pretty typical romantic theme in those days, less so nowadays). I also saw oddities that stood out as odd to me precisely because of the oddly black and white point of view enforced on one by the various D&D universes.
Of course, I was a chuunibyou brat by that time, already, so it should surprise no one that I got obsessed. It got ten times worse, however, when I encountered Chrono Trigger as it was played on my cousin's SNES. Chrono Trigger is still, to this day, one of the single best rpgs ever made. Looking back, considering all that has been done since then, it is almost TERRIFYING that someone was able to do what was done with Chrono Trigger with the limitations placed by using the SNES system. The story, the world, and the various layers of time were put together into such a subtly complex experience that, to this day, I've yet to see any other rpg manage it. Chrono Cross would manage to imitate some elements of this with its parallel world jumping, but Chrono Trigger's jumping around in time gave you impetus to explore how every aspect of the world could change based on how and when you did certain things. Rumors constantly abounded that there were secret endings (such as the infamous 'vampire Chrono' or 'Save Schala' fake rumors, which some believe led to the way the Chrono Cross storyline was handled), and people - such as me - would play the game repeatedly, using all the meager saves allowed by the cartridge limitations of the time, in hopes that they might trigger those endings or find a way to discover something new.
In all honesty, Chrono Trigger being the game that got me into jrpgs probably ruined me for life. It set my standards to a ridiculously high level on a subconscious plane, resulting in me comparing every single jrpg experience since then to it. Aesthetically, musically, and structurally, it was a true jrpg kamige. It was also the game that turned jrpgs into my second otaku obsession.
During the SNES-PS2 eras, I literally bought and played EVERY jrpg that came out. I still own them, in fact. I played most of the PS1 and SNES era games multiple times.
However, it was also in the PS2 era (often called the 'dawn of the mainstream jrpg') that jrpg quality began to fall off drastically. The kind of genius and artistic flair using minimal resources you saw in previous eras was lost entirely within a few years of the release of FFX (FFX being a good game that also turned VO from a curiosity to a mainstream 'thing'). Musical direction, a role differing from composition, where someone was assigned to decide the timing of using a musical score and which ones fit which dungeons, which story scenes, disappeared in the middle of the PS2 era, as VO was used to fill the gaps of emotionality. However, this also meant that the subtlety of previous eras was lost with a swiftness that left me bewildered at the time.
By the time the PS3 era came around, jrpgs were slowing down, due to what I now call 'flashy kusoge fatigue'. Oh, a few sub-genres, such as the Atelier series' alchemy obsessed SOL titles and the more action-based titles continued to be prolific, but what were called 'console-style rpgs' started to vanish. MMO elements were introduced into normal jrpgs, making progression and gameplay less interesting as a result (mostly because it seemed to have been done primarily to draw the WoW crowds into solo rpgs). Storytelling was dying a surprisingly swift death, as tedious gameplay elements (for loot and level-obsessed completionists) began to devour higher and higher proportions of each game's overall playtime.
There is a very good reason why people go back and play so-called 'retro' jrpgs so much. There simply aren't that many more recent jrpgs that have that kind of flair and subtle genius. I know for a fact that one of the best ways to get people addicted to jrpgs is still just to let them play Chrono Trigger.
Ironically, it was VNs that saved my soul. This was back in 2008, four years before I joined Fuwa. I was introduced to Tsukihime by a fellow anime fansubber, and, for the first time in over three years, I had something interesting enough (story-wise) that I was given a perspective on the nature of my growing irritation and fatigue with jrpgs in general. At the time, the JVN industry was still as vital and full of genius as the jrpg industry was in the PS1 era. Tsukihime and a few other major classics put out near the turn of the century had created the potential for a market of story-focused VNs that had allowed more and more creative people to get into the medium. Masada was releasing his latest version of Dies Irae, and there were literally hundreds of potentially interesting VNs for me to try.
Needless to say, I lost my mind almost as badly as when I first played Chrono Trigger. I must have blown four grand of my meager savings on VNs within the first year, and I didn't regret a penny of it. Yes, roughly two-thirds of what I bought was pure crap. However, the gems I discovered gave me a taste of the potential of the medium in a way that was horribly addictive. Moreover, after a few years of being starved of any decent new stories, even the worst VNs had something that I could find I liked about them.
In retrospect, I have an addictive personality. I get addicted to things easily, especially when they scratch my story bug. People have said to me, when it came to my jrpg obsession 'if you want a good story, why don't you read a book?', to which I usually gave them a blank stare and said 'I'm already reading good books. I just want stories in my games too.'
Interestingly enough, there were a few bursts of true creativity in jrpgs in the years since, like Tales of Berseria and Nier: Automata, but they partially stand out due to the sheer bleakness of the genre landscape. People praise Octopath Traveler and Dragon Quest XI with intensity, and they practically worship Bravely Default. However, I have been shocked at how low-quality the presentation of these stories has been. It's like an entire generation has gotten used to ineptness in presentation to the point where they can be charmed by backhanded efforts at retro-nostalgia. Octopath has all the grind of the old SaGa Frontier games with none of the charm, the best part of each of the paths being at the beginning. Dragon Quest XI retains the horribly grindy nature of Dragon Quest games without improving on the formula in any real way. Moreover, locking so much content into the post-game annoys the hell out of me (I prefer new game +, obviously).
JVNs have suffered their own decline, which is ironically due to the same demographics that inflated the medium in the first place (the dominance of the moe/charage lovers). VNs were always destined to be a niche medium, but the over-specialization of the industry has led to an inability to adapt to changing spending habits and demographics. Even if they wanted to regear for a new generation of consumers, most companies no longer have the access to the necessary talent to do so.
I'm fairly sure that jrpgs suffer from a similar lack. Yes, there are some excellent composers and graphic designers in the jrpg industry, as well as access to the solid voice-acting industry of Japan and the growing one here in the US. However, there is a severe lack of writers capable of bringing a story to life, and there is no point in a top-tier OST that has no one to properly coordinate its use. The very fact that something like Undertale could bury so much of the commercial rpg industry, in the eyes of rpg fans, says everything about how far the industry has fallen.
So what am I getting at? Not really anything, in truth. I just needed to blow off some steam. Thank you for reading.
Fuez reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Getting back into VNs after time away
For most people who play VNs, taking a break is a normal thing. Even taking a hiatus of a few months or a year seems to be standard for many in our little community.
For ten years, for me, it wasn't.
My new addiction to litrpgs succeeded in breaking me of my compulsive VN-reading for the first time in a decade. While some might consider this a bad thing (and have told me so), others have said that it was a good one. Personally, as I've started playing Purple Soft's latest game, Seishun Fragile, I'm leaning more towards good than bad. Many things that had ceased to be joyful in recent years have regained their luster, such as cheap manzai humor, obvious moe, and general donkan harem protagonist antics.
I won't say I love that last part (ha, like that would happen), but I can say that my viewpoint on it is less... bitter and jaded than it was before. I've had a refresh, and
I don't regret it, despite how much it built up my backlog with those few games I bought anyway despite not starting any. One thing I find interesting is that I find it easier to find good stopping points than before, instead of just forging on ahead for a straight twelve hours and then flopping into bed. I no longer stare at the screen for entire days while downing endless snacks and bottled water.
I also didn't want to get rusty on my Japanese, which is why I started up a new VN today. It was then that I realized that I no longer felt the pressure that still remained, even after I tossed aside VN of the Month. To me, this was an amazing sensation, harking back to my third year playing VNs, when my love of the medium was at its most fanatical.
I've advised many people to take a step back and rest from VNs when they have started to lose their way, but this was the first time I took my own advice... and it worked (even if it was by accident).
Fuez reacted to Zalor for a blog entry, The Other 4chan VN
Lesser known than its more popular sister, The Dandelion Girl is another VN that at least started its development by anonymous users on 4chan. And like Katawa Shoujo it's quite good, although very different. And in fact, I think it contrasts quite nicely with Katawa Shoujo.
Katawa Shoujo very intentionally strove to conform to the standard visual novel formula. Hence why it takes place in Japan, in a high school, has branching routes with various heroines, and even included H-scenes. I think the goal of Katawa Shoujo was to make a solid entry in the visual novel landscape within the standards commonly set by the High School romance genre it chose.
The Dandelion Girl on the other hand is not an original story, being an adaptation of a short-story of the same name by Robert F. Young. To me this was a breath of fresh air, as I always welcome VNs that see themselves more as digital books then as games. The early to mid 2000's doujin scene seemed to embrace this mentality a bit with works like Narcissu and True Remembrance, and accordingly the art style of The Dandelion Girl somewhat reminds me of True Remembrance.
In fact as a whole the Kinetic Novel genre/medium seems to be a weird bastard child of VNs that probably would see more success with print novel readers rather than with it's current target demographic of VN readers. Which is probably at least among the reasons that The Dandelion Girl seems to be languishing in relative obscurity. But it is a solid adaptation which really places the reader in the world of the original short story.
Its opening scene where the screen fades into a view of a blue sky with a melancholic piano piece playing in the background creates a strong ambiance which contextualizes the writing quite nicely. Overall the music and visuals do a good job supporting the writing. Never interfering with it by being overly flashy, nor contradicting the mood of the prose. It serves its purpose by distracting your eyes and ears, and allowing your mind to effortlessly focus on the story. And before you know it, you'll be finished with the heart warming tale and left with a cozy feeling inside.
If Katawa Shoujo is nice meal, than The Dandelion Girl is a nice evening snack to accompany your tea.
Fuez reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Silverio Ragnarok
The final game in the Silverio series enters with a whimper and exits with a bang.
First, this game absolutely requires that you have played the previous two to appreciate. Too much of what is going on requires understanding of concepts that aren't reintroduced but constantly referenced throughout the game. This game is based only a few years after Trinity in Canterbury, the theocratic state ruled by a Japanophilic religion based on seeing old Japan as a sort of El Dorado.
I should note that the brief summary of the concept I am about to give WILL spoil parts of Trinity and Vendetta, so I am going to ask that anyone who wants to avoid these skip down past the next paragraph.. I also recommend that anyone who has played the previous two games that wants to start Ragnarok avoid the official website and store pages' descriptions and character profiles at all costs. While most of the information there is revealed within the first hour or two of play, it does hurt the experience that so much is revealed just by reading up on the game in advance.
Ragnarok starts as a revenge story, wherein the protagonist - Ragna - and his childhood friend - Misaki - set out to take revenge on the four immortal gods who founded and have ruled Canterbury for the past thousand years. They are accompanied by Cecile, the current head of the Liberati family of Antalya and they are allied with Angelica, an Inquisitor of the Church.
Now, I should note that a recurring theme throughout the story is that the four immortals are not, as is standard to most stories, full of weak points that can be easily used against them. They are immortals who have long-since left behind the weaknesses of their youth. They have such an immensity of experience behind them that they have literally seen (in a general sense) every variation on rebellion, love, hate, betrayal, etc that humans have to offer. In addition, their brains are still young, so they are constantly learning, and they instantly process everything around them based on preexisting experience. I feel the need to make the distinction partly because it is constantly emphasized at every point of the story and in part because my own assumptions were sort of left in the dust by this approach to immortality.
I'll be blunt, while the first scene is dramatic and awesome, the pacing of the early part of the game is pretty abrupt. I think this is worth noting because it is out of character for Light, which tends to produce games that start out at a pretty deliberate pace before accelerating rapidly as you approach path splits. This led to an uncharacteristic disconnect with the characters for me during much of the common route, which is perhaps the most negative part of this game. In addition, there are a lot of aspects of this game that are more... intimately gut-wrenching and visceral than either of the previous two games. In particular, any major scene that involves Izana threatens to give me nightmares, because she seems like someone you would normally see in a Clock Up game. I also felt a constant sense of pity for all the people used by the antagonists. To be honest, the degree to which the antagonists quite naturally manipulate people without it seeming like manipulation makes Gilbert from Trinity look open and honest.
Now for the main characters. One thing I liked about this game is that the main characters had actual reasons for being so deadly beyond mere 'fate' or natural talent. Ragna and Misaki are mercenaries (with Ragna having been an unwilling comrade of Dainslief at one point), Cecile was raised from birth to her role, and Angelica both has unmatched talent and has worked to polish it. One problem that constantly hurts many chuunige is the obsessive tendency many games have to give massive power to someone who has no training, no knowledge, and no skills to use it. It might make newbies find it easier to empathize with them, but for someone a bit more jaded it can be highly irritating.
The music in this game utilizes a mix of music from previous games in the series, as well as new tracks. In this case, it works to the game's advantage, because it provides a distinct sense of continuity between the three entries in the series. This is especially the case for the few SOL scenes and the less climactic battle scenes, where a new track would be unlikely to help.
For people who hate Izana as much as I do, Angelica's path can be seriously depressing at times. Of the three paths, it pushes the plotting aspects of the four immortals into the forefront the most bluntly and in the most distasteful of ways. There is no sense of the glorious (a common experience in Trinity and Vendetta) in the battles, save for one midway through, and there is a lot of devastation left in the wake of the story's progression (even by Light standards).
Angelica is an Inquisitor, as well as being the one in control of the foreign pleasure district, and she has a good brain to match. This is a girl who has survived by hiding her rebelliousness and utter hatred for the four immortals for the entirety of her young life, always acting the obedient servant of the gods. As such, she is as twisted up inside as some of the series' antagonists, and she makes Chitose from Vendetta seem simple and straightforward. That said, she is an Amatsu, so she is predictably extreme in her loves and hates.
This path's most excellent moments mostly concentrate near the end, with there being a lot of plotting and losing battles (which can get frustrating) in the middle. That said, without the buildup of all those tragic and frustrating moments, this path wouldn't have turned out nearly as good.
Cecile is the head of the Liberati, one of the Ten Families of Antalya, an oligarchic nation ruled by laissez-faire capitalism at its worst. As such, she has a definite dark side... but with Ragna and Misaki she is easygoing and loving. In fact, with Ragna she aggressively shows her loving side... while showing her bloodlust in private whenever they speak of the antagonists. Other than Ragna and Misaki, she has the most intense hatred for the game's antagonists, and the impression of her as a blood-hungry avenger is only enhanced, rather than weakened, by her friendship with the other two avengers.
Her path is more straightforward than Angelica's, but it still has a ton of plotting by the path's two primary antagonists. What would be a perfect plan to the antagonist of a normal chuunige antagonist is only the first of many layers for the antagonists of this game, and this path shows the sheer cold-blooded nature of that plotting without the more grotesque aspects you see in Angelica's path. I'd say that the battles in this path are slightly improved from that of Angelica's.
... it is fairly obvious that this is the true path from the beginning, but even without that, the fact that this path is literally 2.5 times longer than the other two heroine paths would tell you that in any case. Misaki is Ragna's childhood friend, partner, almost-lover, and best friend all wrapped into one silver-haired package. Normally, she is a cheerful, easygoing country girl with a slight tendency toward eccentricity. However, in the worst kind of battles, she can show a cold harshness that is at odds with her normal persona.
This path has so many turn and turn about moments that I won't bother to explain them here. Just let it be said that this path was a fitting... a more than fitting end to the series that I wished would never end. There are so many points where you think things are over and suddenly the apparently losing side turns the tables that after a while, I just felt like I was going to drop from sheer emotional exhaustion.
This is, by far, the most complex of the three games. As such, it is also the most challenging for the reader to keep everything that is going on straight. Considering that both Vendetta and Trinity were fairly complex, even as chuunige go, that is definitely saying something. I will say that, while the pacing can be choppy toward the beginning, once things really get going in the heroine paths, that clears itself up pretty quickly. This game, like most Light chuunige, has great battles, great characters, great writing, and a great story... and it probably will never get translated, lol.
I'm sad to see this series end, and I am even more sad not to know the future of Light's staff or even the Light name (I'm still hoping that Akabei will keep the team together). However, if it had to end, it does end on a bang.
Fuez reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, VN of the Month, March and April 2018
Now that I have confirmation from Dergonu that the game he was playing is not VN of the Month quality (he has stalled on it), I will move on to finally announcing VN of the Month for March and April.
March was a decent month, since it had three potential candidates for VN of the Month. Those candidates are:
Unjou no Fairy Tale
Now, despite my rating of it, I'm going to go ahead and disqualify AI Love. Why? Because it is essentially a borderline nukige. It made its way onto my Chicken Soup for the Soul list, but, as I've stated in the past, that isn't necessarily an indication of kamige status. Rather, it is an indication of how good the game is at soothing and relieving non-violent stress.
So, this comes down to Unjou no Fairy Tale versus Butterfly Seeker. Based purely on my personal tastes, I'd probably go for Unjou no Fairy Tale, since I'm an admitted fantasy addict... but in the end, I had to (reluctantly) admit that Butterfly Seeker was the better VN. The depth of the story, the characters, and even just the details of the important events was such that I couldn't honestly give Unjou no Fairy Tale the victory for VN of the Month, March 2018.
My reasons for excluding Etatoto from the final running are... that fun2novel's own review and private comments didn't leave me with the impression of VN of the Month quality. Worth reading for a certain portion of the community? Yes. Worthy of being recommended on a larger scale... no.
Having dropped Taiju for the moment (SofthouseChara's newest SLG), I was left with only one viable candidate for April... Yuusha to Maou, to Majo no Cafe. This is perhaps the weakest VN of the Month candidate I've put up in quite some time, but it still easily won over Kari Gurashi Ren'ai, which is the only other game that hit my baseline standard. Naming it as VN of the Month, April 2018 actually troubles me a bit... given a choice, I wish that Unjou or AI Love had been released in April so I'd have a better candidate. I almost decided not to name one for this month, but I reluctantly decided that it meets standards.
Fuez reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Kin'iro Loveriche
This is the latest release by Saga Planets, the makers of Hatsuyuki Sakura and Natsuyume Nagisa. This, like many of the games by this company, is an emotional game that sort of edges around being a straight-out charage, though it can't really be called a story-focused or a true nakige. This kind of genre ambiguity is common to this company's better works, so in that sense, it probably wasn't a bad choice, overall.
First, I should say I skipped Akane's path. I played the first three heroine paths and enjoyed them, but Akane's path was so... cliched that I had to skip it after the midpoint. I was also impatient to get to Ria's path, lol.
Anyway, this game begins with Ichimatsu Ouro, the protagonist, encountering the princess of a fictional north-European superpower, and her dragging him to a school for elites as a result. I'll be straight with you about this... disregard the getchu page info entirely. Even the best of the info there is misleading, probably deliberately.
Anyway, Ouro, who was looking to get away from his life anyway, takes advantage of entering the new school, getting along with Sylvia, Elle (Sylvia's bodyguard), Rena (a friendly fashionista who is also Sylvia's friend), and Ria (a smoker and delinquent girl he meets on the rooftop) while managing to gradually make his own niche at a school mostly full of rich people.
Now, it needs to be said... there should have been an Ayaka path in this game. Ayaka is a snarky little ass at the beginning, but she would have made a great heroine. Moreover, it was rather obvious that the writer wanted her to be one (there are lots of elements that could turn her deredere at a moment's notice), so I'm expecting an FD with an Ayaka route, later, lol.
Getting back to the rest of the game (I'm writing this at nine in the morning, after not sleeping to finish it), Sylvia's path is easily the strongest of the three heroines that are available from the beginning. Part of this is because of her generally affectionate nature, part of it is because of her position in life (Princess with insanely loyal followers), and part of it is because she is just that great of a character in general. Her path actually has two different endings, depending on whether you've seen Ria's ending or not. The second ending is basically an additional epilogue based several years after the end of the story, and it is obvious to see why you needed to see it only after seeing Ria's ending.
Elle... is the classic straight-laced heroine that goes insanely deredere once she falls in love. I honestly enjoyed her path immensely, even as I felt they were stretching credulity a bit with some of the twists and turns (based on Elle's personality, I honestly couldn't see her making some of the choices she did, even with Sylvia's encouragement). Nonetheless, if you want to see a seemingly hard-edged woman go all soft and mushy, this is a great path.
Rena... is the classic 'close friends suddenly become lovers' path. The beginning of their romantic relationship is hilarious and the lead up into the ending is excellent, with a perfect epilogue, given the path they chose in life. I will say that this is the only path where the protagonist stands up to his recent past in its entirety, so in that sense, it is perhaps the most complete of the paths up to this point.
Ria's path... is the game's main path. Ria herself is not much of a delinquent... for all that she is foul-mouthed and a smoker, she is at the same time kind-hearted and very much at ease with the protagonist after a few initial bumps. However, for her path... this is the path that threatens to define this game as a nakige... with good reason. If you paid attention to the extensive foreshadowing in the other heroine paths, you will probably be able to figure out what the core crisis of this path is, but this is also the path where Ouro shows himself at his best, right to the very end.
Now, I need to go into Ouro, which I normally would have done first. Ouro is mostly your average guy... save for the fact that he is insanely thoughtful and good in a crisis. However, what is stronger about him is that he generally knows when he is at his limit and finds someone to lean on at the right times, without going all dependent and whiny. That said, I really, really, really wish they hadn't made him of average-level intelligence and lazy when it comes to studying. That particular trope is one I wish they'd chop up then wash down the drain in pieces, forever.
Overall, this is an enjoyable game... the foreshadowing for Ria's path is a bit excessive, Akane's path was unnecessary, and this game needed an Ayaka path... However, this was still a fun game to play. I left this game behind with a feeling of satisfaction, and, if I still keep going back to wanting an Ayaka path (yes, I do), I'm sure Saga Planets will eventually oblige, lol.
Edit: I should also mention that the reason Akane's path is not enjoyable is primarily because it doesn't 'fit'. It doesn't fulfill a need the others don't, and Akane herself pales compared to the other heroines. Worse, she is the only girl with a sprite who doesn't fit into that close 'circle' they have going, so there is almost no development of her character outside her own path.
In addition to Ayaka, this game could have also used a Mina path, if only because Mina (Sylvia's little sister) is so obviously on the edge of falling for the protagonist anyway in several of the paths... in the sense that a woman who loves 'reforming' men falls in love with one of her projects, lol.
Fuez reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Random VN: Tojita Sekai no Tori Colony
This VN is an odd duck on my long list of recommended VNs. While its existence as a time loop story is a trope, the way the game's story handles it is pretty interesting.
I went ahead and revealed this as a loop story because you find it out so early on that hiding it as a spoiler is meaningless. The game's story begins with the protagonist meeting (and helping out) Nodoka, one of the four heroines, and her confessing her love to him on the next day when she transfers into the class. While he is at first somewhat bothered by this, he eventually falls for her, loves her... and then suddenly wakes up on the second day of the month, the day after he first met her.
Now, you will go through a lot of route loops before the game is over (you have to see all four heroine loops, plus a bunch of side loops, to get access to the endings), and a lot of these have seriously crazy outcomes. The protagonist, being a young idiot, goes off and tests everything he can find (often to hilarious results), and his 'morality' tends to be rather fragile when it comes to having fun (in one loop he ends up gambling so hard he gets sold to an organ broker, lol). To be honest, the journey through the non-heroine loops is probably the most attractive part of this VN. The music is slightly below the average quality of the industry, as is the art (though that is comparison to the present day), but the game as a whole has a lot of laughs and good moments.
The protagonist, Minato, is essentially your average (slightly baka but not totally stupid) harem protagonist who is kind to everyone and as dense as the lead plating protecting a fission reactor's core. Minato has solid reasons for being dense about the three heroines other than Nodoka (Nodoka being very open), based in his past relationships with the others (Inori being his abusive childhood friend, Korone being his little sister, and Yuuki being so friendly to everyone it is difficult for a harem protagonist to see it in her, lol). That said, that is perhaps the most annoying part of his character, though it gets relieved over time.
Explaining the heroines to this game is counterproductive. I'm not being mean, but if I were to start explaining the heroines, I would probably ruin the experience for you. I really advise you not to read the character profiles (both because they are deliberately inaccurate and because forming your own impressions of the heroines is important to getting into this VN.
There are five endings to this game. One for each of the heroines and the true (harem, no H) ending. The heroine endings are mostly kind of bittersweet, because there are solid reasons why things aren't going to end perfectly, but the true/harem ending is pretty hilarious. Other than the true ending, I liked Korone's ending the best, both because I liked the outcome and because it was the happiest one other than the true one.
Edit: Incidentally, Inori is probably the only case I've ever heard of where they handled the tsundere osananajimi realistically (rather than just using the sides as a contrast).
Fuez reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Changing views of localization
Yay, Clephas is contributing to a controversial topic in his blog! *listens for the hisses and boos of his loving public*
More seriously, I'm not out to bash fantranslators, localization companies, or anyone else involved with the process. I've been on both sides (consumer and producer) and I can honestly say that I can see all four sides of the argument (the producer side, the negative consumer side, the neutral consumer side, and the positive consumer side).
The Positive Consumer
Based on my personal experience (beginning with jrpgs in the nineties), most people begin in this stage. Honestly, I didn't know enough to figure out when things were badly translated, and as long as the lines weren't too out there (spoony bard, lol), it never really got to me. There are plenty of people out here who remain in this stage forever, never taking interest one way or the other in the translation aspects of things... and that is perfectly natural. Most Americans (if not people from other countries) are essentially linguistic bigots, and as a result, they won't care if things are wrong as long as they can't tell just by playing a game, reading a book, or enjoying an anime or film.
The Negative Consumer
Most people with at least some knowledge of Japanese end up in this stage at some point. The reasons are manifold, but the biggest one is the 'literalist disease'. Almost everyone who gets involved with translation or knows enough Japanese to nitpick is under a peculiar delusion... that 'Literal Japanese to English translation isn't an oxymoron'. Unfortunately for their delusions, my personal experience and the experience of many others does not bear this particular one out.
Literalist translation is a delusion born of a misapprehension of the Rosetta Stone concept... basically because we can generally match up most words with their equivalents in our own languages given a decent reference point, that perfect translations are both possible and should be provided without hesitation by mechanical translators (often literally). However, this ignores two major issues... the cultural basis for the formation of modern language's concepts and the difference in how the language is structured (grammar in other words).
This isn't the only reason for ending up in this stage... some people are in it because it makes them feel superior or they like trolling 'lesser beings' (I'm sure you know what I'm talking about). Others simply disagree with the way the translation is handled or the usage of censorship. There are innumerable reasons for ending up in this stage, and that is the reason why it is the single largest one in the 'experienced' community.
The Neutral Consumer
This is the smallest grouping... mostly because it pretty much demands that you have resolved to stop caring one way or the other about localization quality. The most common reason to end up here is because you can play VNs, watch anime, and read manga/LNs without a localization, so the concept becomes irrelevant (or at least of less interest) to you. Another is that you get tired of being trolled (or trolling yourself) and decide to shut off your emotions about it. Last of all are the people who just want to 'spread the word' and don't really care about quality issues (people who are just happy VNs are getting localized). Since a lot of this group don't even buy localizations except to 'support the cause', this group has a lot less invested in the arguments, overall.
... need I mention that being on this side sucks? No matter how good a job you do, you get bashed by someone, and inevitably someone is going to decide to nitpick every one of your word choices. Literalists will hate you for not doing exactly what they want, generalists will hate you for picking obscure/dead words from actual literary English (as opposed to spoken English) because the concepts involved are dead in modern English, and everyone else will hate you for censorship or because you are too slow.
While you get combative people or apologetic people from this side every once in a while, most just stop paying attention to the noise, for the sake of their mental health.