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So what's up with Western VN developers going for Japanese settings


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It's something that bothered me for a long time now. Like is it really necessary? The most heard answer I get was because Japanese technology is rad and they felt Japan is the perfect setting. Is that really enough reason to make all characters have Japanese names and try act Japanese? Recently I sent an email asking why they made it so and got:

- Story wise, we felt that we needed an environment with advanced technology, and thus Japan felt like a natural candidate for that.
- Character design is very similar to what you can find in anime and manga, and our artist is not used / able to draw westernized characters.
- Overall we're kinda more comfortable with japanese setting and universe.

 

 

So you're saying all anime and manga drawn characters are Japanese? You're saying you're not familiar with your own setting, background and culture so you pick Japan? Rack off with that

What do you guys think?

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They might as well do it if they're targeting their games toward weaboos- which western VN developers often do.  

Otherwise, it could just be them interested in the setting. I'm Brazilian- am I not allowed to write a story that happens in Europe? 

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 Character design is very similar to what you can find in anime and manga, and our artist is not used / able to draw westernized characters.

 

 

Nonsense, there's plenty of mangas and anime placed in foreign countries, some with a completely foreign cast like Versailles no bara or gunslinger girl.

 

If I'd ever write a VN (I most probably won't...), I'll place it in my country, like most japanese author do.

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This is often the result of people watching a couple anime and then trying to imitate the typical settings you see in them.

Sadly it backfires most of the time because they don't really know what they're doing and the only goal is to target an audience and see what they can do to appeal to that audience rather than to write the story one wants to write.

They also fail to realize a lot of the appeal comes from Japanese voice acting which is something lacking in almost every one of these types of games.

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The game I'm making is a fully western setting with western characters in an anime style. A number of other similar projects are also in the works, even just in the forum here.

 

That said, I agree that it seems like a lot of "western" VN projects are going the Japanese setting route. I don't disapprove by any means, but we already have a truckload of Japanese games with Japanese settings. I'd like to see more western games exploit the unique elements that exist outside Japan, of which there are plenty.

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VNs are too new a medium, with a too small and niche audience. Right now, every quality VN production is from Japan. Can you name any English VN producer whose games can rival the quality of what Japan produces? I certainly can't. All we have is translated and imported works. As such, the whole audience for this genre reads almost entirely Japanese-styled products as that's all that's really available, so for them to even be interested in the medium to begin with they need to like that style.

 

All we have for English VN makers come in the form of amateur works, through places like Lemmasoft and maybe even Fuwa now that it has the original VN section, and sometimes through a small kickstarter or patreon. But the people who go and do that are already part of the VN "scene" to be wanting to make one and target this audience, and so very likely already like the Japanese drawing style, and therefore it makes sense that most of them want to keep going on those lines. The amount of people left, ones who are willing to make VNs in English, and then ones who are willing to not attempt a Japanese style and go against what their audience really expects, is soooo few. Really you're incredibly unlikely to find any worthwhile content there. It'll be amateur, it won't have voice acting, and if it does it won't be very good as again it's from amateurs vs people who have actually gone through school and uni studying to be a voice actor and in worlds better technical setups etc, art and writing will be pretty sub-par too from amateurs. That's not to bash them, but there's a bit of a big leap for them to compete with all the quality works from Japan.

 

So yeah, it's really just a virtue of the size of the market being so niche, and to be in the market you already like the Japanese style. Unless the amount of VN players expands in the west beyond "otaku" and people who just like the Japanese style, and we get some real non-JP professional VNs coming out which do experiment and people like, we won't see very much change. With some publishers now targeting a bigger audience in the form of Steam, maybe it can start to happen. Nekopara seemed to make some waves with people who never played VNs before, but I'm not sure what the retention rate would look like...

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You would need to be very confident in your writing to try to introduce the elements of the local culture in a VN. If you pick a Japanese setting then it is just saying "It's In Japan" and most buyers know the culture etc. to some extent already so you don't have to introduce new or different cultural elements with, you know, writing and literary prowess.

I would like to play a VN with a Buddhist character cast for example, it would be interesting. The thing is, VNs have not opened up enough from Japan in terms of production (the bulk of VN production is still in Japan) and I think it is starting to prove detrimental to teh genre in terms of variety and diversity at this point.

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VNs are too new a medium, with a too small and niche audience. Right now, every quality VN production is from Japan. Can you name any English VN producer whose games can rival the quality of what Japan produces? I certainly can't. All we have is translated and imported works. As such, the whole audience for this genre reads almost entirely Japanese-styled products as that's all that's really available, so for them to even be interested in the medium to begin with they need to like that style.

 

All we have for English VN makers come in the form of amateur works, through places like Lennasoft and maybe even Fuwa now that it has the original VN section, and sometimes through a small kickstarter or patreon. But the people who go and do that are already part of the VN "scene" to be wanting to make one and target this audience, and so very likely already like the Japanese drawing style, and therefore it makes sense that most of them want to keep going on those lines. The amount of people left, ones who are willing to make VNs in English, and then ones who are willing to not attempt a Japanese style and go against what their audience really expects, is soooo few. Really you're incredibly unlikely to find any worthwhile content there. it'll be amateur, it won't have voice acting, and if it does it won't be very good as again it's from amateurs vs people who have actually gone through school and uni studying to be a voice actor and in worlds better technical setups etc.

 

So yeah, it's really just a virtue of the size of the market being so niche, and to be in the market you already like the Japanese style. Unless the amount of VN players expands in the west beyond "otaku" and people who just like the Japanese style, and we get some real non-JP professional VNs coming out which do experiment and people like, we won't see very much change.

 

Japanese style have nothing to do with japanese setting, you can draw in japanese style and place your work anywhere else in the world..

 

For example, the italian setting is very common in japanese style comics written by italian authors, maybe even more common then in actual italian stile comics, usually placed in the US.

 

http://www.amazon.it/Butterfly-Effect-parte-prima-Mangasenpai-ebook/dp/B00MF133Z6/ref=pd_cp_351_0

 

http://www.amazon.it/AEON-WAKE-Tomo-ADVENTURE-MANGASENPAI-ebook/dp/B00DU04RSS/ref=pd_sim_351_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0DJ39XYNG1J65B1P5C9P

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More or less, this is one of the reasons I can't bring myself to get serious about OELVNs...  For some reason, there is a tendency toward excessive mimicry of the Japanese style - both written and drawn.  Drawn isn't such a problem, if the artist can handle it.  However, there are cultural elements to the Japanese style of writing a story that most western cultures just can't reproduce (we don't have the cultural background for it).

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Japanese style have nothing to do with japanese setting, you can draw in japanese style and place your work anywhere else in the world..

 

For example, the italian setting is very common in japanese style comics written by italian authors, maybe even more common then in actual italian stile comics, usually placed in the US.

 

That's a fair point, I was focusing more on the drawing style rather than setting, but I still think it has to do with imitation. With the same style just naturally follows the same setting and same characters. I mean look how character archetypes are copy/pasted over as well, I've some English VN projects even listing characters as "Tsundere" in their character biographies etc. JP VNs really stick rigidly (way too much so in my opinion, lot of chars are boring as fuck because of it) to specific archetypes of character personalities, and they're ones that just don't exist in the west. English VN creators bring those over as well, which doesn't make sense in our culture, as well as the styling, so copying the setting as well isn't very far-fetched.

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Those are not realistic archetypes, so they can be applied pretty much everywhere in the world.

 

There are also japanese VN with japanese character archetypes placed outside japan, like Sakura Taisen III and V:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWj1WRyRh64

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpRleOldM6g

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There are very good western VNs with a western settings: Life is Strange, The Walking Dead, Heavy Rain, Until Dawn, etc.

 

These are closer to Narrative-heavy western games than OELVNs.  While the argument of what counts as a VN is too over-done for the moment for now we'll discard the ones on the fringe.

 

More likely than not it could be a comfort thing - since most VN writers have usually obtained some form of influence from the VN market in Japan, thus there instincts will head in that direction, regardless of general writer ability (except, perhaps, if the writer is a very strong setting-person or if the plot involves some form of a political hook more easily done in, say, the US.)

Aside from that, there's also the otaku/anime demographic - an anime art style set in Japan says different things than an anime art style set in America, and if thought through as an intentional aspect can signal the type of story coming across in advance.

 

I'd say it's generally a 'default choice' at this point, and perhaps we don't have any OELVN writers with setting as their strong point yet.  I'm a character-focus person myself, at least.

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I agree it's a matter of comfort. I mean, everything "i've" read and watched (that is anime or VN based), is all based on japanese settings. So it feels natural for the medium to possess the traits.

 

I  fully realize it doesn't need to be restricted to it - but it just somehow feel more familiar, if for no other reason then because it matches my previous experiences. That and I've come to like aspects of their culture - I woulden't go so far as to call myself a weeb, but I do find it more interesting then my boring country/customs. I mean, who really wants to read/watch something that is set in the society they spend most of their daily life? I do this to escape reality, not hammer it home. But maybe i'm weird like that. :P

 

Personally, I don't see the big problem people have with western titles matching a japanese setting, if one doesn't like it then they don't have bother with it (or even  better, go make their own works)- there are those that will like it regardless~ It seems like a non-issue to me. do you lke big tits or small? Neither is right or wrong, its just a difference of opinion.

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I just laugh at all the comments in this thread saying they know more about Japanese culture when they've never lived here or been a part of the culture itself. While I believe it to some extent, your ideas about how Japan acts is probably way off from being true. People assume Japan is very xenophobic and stick to their customs a lot, when in reality they act just as westernized as any other country in the world. Sure there are exceptions to this, but for the most part Japan doesn't act they way you think (especially in Tokyo).

 

Take for example the stigma behind having tattoos. Interestingly enough, people here have a lot of tattoos, and I have never had anyone tell me that mine were offensive. In fact, like every other country people come up to me and compliment them - workers stop doing what they are doing with customers to compliment them. Far from "traditional" Japanese. In addition, I think people confuse "Japanese culture" with "otaku culture." These writers understand the otaku culture, but they probably don't understand Japanese culture as well.

 

Also:

 

"Story wise, we felt that we needed an environment with advanced technology, and thus Japan felt like a natural candidate for that."

 

Says a country who can't even switch over from Blu-ray sales and finally realize that subscription based anime sites/TV programs will earn them billions and mask the fact people complain that 3 episodes of anime cost over $70 in a 24 episode series. Keep at it Japan!

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Thanks for posting your opinions all. It could be I'm just over reacting to this all, but I really wanted to get this topic off my chest and hear everyone's thoughts on this. I still think having Japanese settings for no good reason is a turn off since I won't be able to take the game seriously.

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a vn is a choice base question or a story. just because it looks different, the gameplay is different and new stuff which has never been done. it doesn't mean it should not count has a vn, we have like many rpg that are vn ( http://winterwolves.com/lorenamazonprincess.htm ,  http://www.hanakogames.com/science.shtml   ,   Yggdra U nion - We'll Never Fight Alone   ) these are counsider vn becouse of the strong forces on story.

 

games that not count as vn are, COD (call of duty #anything#) super meat boy, flappy bird, mario series, and more.

 

Not all VNs have choices.

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