Jump to content

What is a Visual Novel for you?


Recommended Posts

I've been thinking about this after I've finished watching OriginalRen's last podcast.

 

Making VNs popular in the places they aren't is great, but what exactly does it mean to make them popular? Making what popular? Visual Novels can be considered either as a purely Japanese thing, telling the story while portraying Japanese culture, traditions and jokes using Japanese art. Or they can be viewed as any kind of art combined with a hopefully voiced text and BGM.

 

In the first case, "making VNs popular in the west" as a concept would be similar to "making takoyaki popular in the west". Both are things that originated from Japan, both are already known in Japan at a level decent enough for commercial companies to make profit from them, advertising and spreading them amongst the population.

 

In the second case, it'd mean to concentrate on the combination itself - without paying heed to the actual art used. Any would do and Marvel, Disney, Pixar Studios would all be able to produce their own Visual Novels, using their own art.

 

So what is a VN for you? Is the Japanese art or culture essential in it or not?

 

TL;DR - would you like to read a Visual Novel made by Disney?

 

309pijn.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been thinking about this after I've finished watching OriginalRen's last podcast.

 

Making VNs popular in the places they aren't is great, but what exactly does it mean to make them popular? Making what popular? Visual Novels can be considered either as a purely Japanese thing, telling the story while portraying Japanese culture, traditions and jokes using Japanese art. Or they can be viewed as any kind of art combined with a hopefully voiced text and BGM.

 

In the first case, "making VNs popular in the west" as a concept would be similar to "making takoyaki popular in the west". Both are things that originated from Japan, both are already known in Japan at a level decent enough for commercial companies to make profit from them, advertising and spreading them amongst the population.

 

309pijn.jpg

 

 

Visual novels should never be viewed as an exclusively Japanese thing. Its a medium of artistic expression, by the same notion western countries should be the only countries creating movies because we first invented the technology. Akira Kurosawa took this western medium of art and masterfully used it to tell Japanese stories. We should have every right to do the same with visual novels. That said, I don't think major entertainment companies would use this medium properly. So while I believe western artists have every right to use this medium, I wouldn't want to read a VN by Pixar or Disney. But I would love to read an interesting VN made by an independent artist if it appeals to my tastes.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

A visual novel for me is simply a type of story telling vehicle. The format and how it delivers its content is what's most appealing, not where it originates. There are some fine OELVNs, though few and far between, but I think that's where we'll someday see something maybe less formulaic than what we currently think of when we hear the term visual novel. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Visual Novels are comparable to manga, lights novel, books, cinema, painting, etc.

 

The way I see it is as a book with music and illustrations. The choices do not matter, since I am likely to play through the entire game anyway.

 

It has its own qualities.

The music creates an atmosphere and can increase the emotionnal impact some scenes can have on the reader.

The illustrations : sprites, backgrounds, computer graphics give the reader a good representation of what the author wants him to understand, as opposed to books where words are vague enough to let the audience imagine the scenery. The role of sprites is in my opinion to make the game feel more interactive and lively. As for computer graphics, I haven't read a Visual Novel which had CG's I liked.

 

Let's say it's in between books and anime.

It's not a book, since it does not give you such imaginative liberty and has no music, and it's not an anime because it's simply not animated and can go at your own pace.

 

In the end : It's easier to write than a book, It's easier to draw than a manga, It's easier to make than an anime.

But it's just as hard to made a good VN than anything else of the same quality.

Great visual novels could be made, I haven't read that many unfortunately. 80% are mere hentai games.

 

A Visual Novel is just a different kind of product, aimed at a different kind of audience and which offers a different reading experience than other means of expression. I think it's highly underrated and completely missused as a genre, that's why it's interesting.

 

I didn't mention Japan once. Adult content aside (which we see less often in OELVNs), I don't really know why people love to separate English and Japanese visual novels. They both have sprites, music, and backgrounds : It's the same stuff.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For now when I think of VNs I think of them as "a Japanese thing"  :nervous: though I completely understand that in all technicalities the term shouldn't be Japanese-exclusive.

Maybe when Disney starts making VNs en masse I'll drop the habit.

~~~
An analogy being pizza originating from Italy (? wikipedia) so pizza at the time would be considered "an Italian thing," but now pizza is available worldwide/alot of places thanks to corporations like Pizza Hut/Dominos so now pizza's just... pizza and not Italiian-exclusive.
:shrug:

Link to post
Share on other sites
An analogy being pizza originating from Italy (? wikipedia) so pizza at the time would be considered "an Italian thing," but now pizza is available worldwide/alot of places thanks to corporations like Pizza Hut/Dominos so now pizza's just... pizza and not Italiian-exclusive.

Interesting analogy there, b/c the way I feel about pizza from pizza hut is very similar to the way I feel about OELVNs B)

Link to post
Share on other sites

An interesting question. I see it as a part of Japanese culture because it is. I can't see myself reading a Disney VN. It is literary wrong in every damn aspect and a few more.

 

I am enjoying the Japanese language. I think it is pretty and give a special feeling to the visual novel that the English language cannot. That and the art is the number one factor. I can't see a visual novel in the English language do a breakthrough on either fronts. 

 

I can't see the western scene ever enjoying it too. They are way to influenced by other things to sit back and relax. I see them rather watch a movie/TV series instead of reading a novel. I think most of the population in the west doesn't got enough time to enjoy it.

 

Marvel make comics. Key make Visual Novels.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a stage for characters -- or just a slice of life thingy w/e common route into drama formula bleh.

It's a medium where you go around doing stuff (through the eyes of the protagonist, ofc), as opposed to watching characters do stuff.

With proper art, sound and text, there can be some chokingly immersive world settings (e.g Eustia).

It's home to the multiple route mystery, or the simultaneous existence of multiple possibilities.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Although it cannot be denied that Visual Novels are a good way to give the rest of the world a peek into the Japanese culture, for me it's much more than that. There are several other things that got me hooked to VN's besides the Japanese culture.

 

The characters' appeal is defenitely something important to me. From their personalities to their tastes and their looks, you can always find so many different stories, endings and paths. 

I like the idea of being the one in control of my character and make the choices for him based on my personal feelings.

Another thing is that you can also make a mental picture of character's personalities and tastes and predict how they will react to the things I do to them.

 

 

Being a dating culture nerd, it's also especially interesting to see the Japanese dating culture, how they act on dates, what they like as gifts, the traditions they have and the whole concept of "relationship". 

 

The idea of having a Disney Visual Novel does not appeal to me at all. It's too much of a change from what we're used to. That would mean no super kawaii 2D anime girls on my computer screen (I'm joking about this one but deep down maybe I really mean it) and there's won't be the challenge of trying to on dates on the Japanese way,

Link to post
Share on other sites

Being a dating culture nerd, it's also especially interesting to see the Japanese dating culture, how they act on dates, what they like as gifts, the traditions they have and the whole concept of "relationship". 

 

The idea of having a Disney Visual Novel does not appeal to me at all. It's too much of a change from what we're used to. That would mean no super kawaii 2D anime girls on my computer screen (I'm joking about this one but deep down maybe I really mean it) and there's won't be the challenge of trying to on dates on the Japanese way,

 

You could always play a dating sim dealing with western women (5:11 is really funny). Disney wouldn't create something like this either... 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well from a cultural aspect visual novels are intricately connected to the 2D-subculture often associated with Japan. Without this 2D sub-culture we wouldn't have the same type of visual novels but the basic premise behind them would have still existed in the form of interactive storytelling. The idea of interactive storytelling is that they are immersive, participatory, and often are nonlinear. The type of games that get classification as a visual novel is varied but already we have different types of visual novels appearing. In many ways this is similar to the RPG phenomena in which we have JRPGs and WRPGs both taking the same concept but being completely different. In japanese role-playing games you have an emphasis on story and character interactions. In a western role-playing game there is a an emphasis on immersion and expression. I believe visual novels have already begun the distinct split and what's to stop it from splitting even further?

 

The idea of the 2D and anime image has long made people think of one of two things due to misinformation/ignorance and the ideas that 1. Cartoons are for kids and 2. Anime is Porn. It at least seems this way in the U.S. where some people are well known for being hypersensitive towards anything connected to nudity (thanks CNN). I believe what it means for visual novels to be slowly (very slowly) growing in acceptance in the west, means that people are beginning to realize that these two ideas are not completely accurate. Or at least one of them isn't and time will tell if the other is realized or not. Children do not read 50 hour long visual novels that might deal with some mature themes. The idea that the 2D subculture is not just for kids is beginning to be accepted. The stigma caused by american cartoons is beginning to disappear. Now we just have to deal with the 2D Anime = Porn issue...which visual novels don't really help the case against considering the percentage of visual novels which are porn games. I think visual novels like clannad and Grisaia will just help this...unfortunately things like little witch romanesque and eden might cause a new misconception to appear if they are not handled correctly. 

 

The idea of interactive storytelling is already a world-wide thing and it's just a matter of breaking the misconceptions people have about anime and visual novels which is preventing it from becoming received better. If Disney were to release a visual novel say set in the star wars universe I might actually give it a shot. Visual novels are yet another of the many means to tell a story that we already have and as such they don't have to be limited to Japan. 

 

edit: 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Since my first VN was "Katawa Shoujo", I've never had any bias towards JVNs. That said, I personally would be inclined to view a VN not in a manga art-style as something intrinsically different from the norm. 

 

As for "making VNs popular in the west", I always imagined a plan like this:

 

1. Popularise Japanese VNs by encouraging TL projects, supporting official releases, etc.

 

2. Encourage the creation of OELVNs.

 

3. ???

 

4. PROFIT!

Link to post
Share on other sites

You could always play a dating sim dealing with western women (5:11 is really funny). Disney wouldn't create something like this either... 

Am I the only one who thinks the voice acting sounds a little bit... forced? bland?

 

 

The idea of the 2D and anime image has long made people think of one of two things due to misinformation 1. Cartoons are for kids and 2. Anime is Porn. 

 

The idea of interactive storytelling is already a world-wide thing and it's just a matter of breaking the misconceptions people have about anime and visual novels which is preventing it from becoming received better. If Disney were to release a visual novel say set in the star wars universe I might actually give it a shot. Visual novels are yet another of the many means to tell a story that we already have and as such they don't have to be limited to Japan. 

 

I have to disagree with you there. At least that wasn't the case when I lived in Portugal. I knew many people in their high school and university years that knew exactly what anime is about. AND most of them could tell what "hentai" was (in a basic way. they would just say "it's porn anime"). I think about half of them watched at least some anime series. Cartoons being for kids is another thing I disagree with. I mean, look at Family Guy and South Park. People know that there are cartoons for kids and cartoons... aimed at other age groups. They are not that naive.

 

In my opinion, the problem was the lack on information general people had about not anime, not cartoons but about Visual Novels themselves. There is a very limited number of that kind of games in Europe (and I guess in the west in general) and not many people are aware that genre even exists.

 

Here in China, VN's are a big thing, you can see them for sale in any electronics shops, sometimes even street sellers have them. In fact, eroge is so big here that the amount of pirated games is insane.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, to me. Visual Novel is a life mentor. Those experiences and moral values have indeed cause a great impact in my life. I have friends that despise me for reading Visual Novel and judge me as a weirdo or someone out of ordinary. I do not blame this to them as they do not understand what I had gone through. I started to view things in different and many aspect with maturity point of view, thinking on others' standpoint before making any judgement. I'm aware of not everyone can accept the H element in VNs but you have to view the best part from it. I remember how I got called a "siscon" just because I played Yosuga no Sora. But they don't even know the true meaning beneath itself. The emotional conflict and morality conflict, ways to deal with it and the consequences. No one ever understand that. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

VN's for me are a medium of storytelling (just like some guy above me said). I read light novels, watch animes, and read graphic novels, manga, as well, so vn's are just another(successful, entertaining) way of telling the entire story, which has potential to be a major player in countries that don't know about vn's.

i don't feel that vn's are a "japanese" thing. English companies have successfully made english vn's(that are also available in japanese..), and people from english speaking countries have successfully taken to them. 

 

Well, to me. Visual Novel is a life mentor.

i have the same feelings. Isn't that the reason we are here? get a few friends that do understand you, like i have, and this view goes away. Listen, there are many kinds of people in this world, you should not dismiss them with words like "no one will understand that". Just like no one will understand you, you will understand no one, that is the rule of this world.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe anything can be transcended into art if the author are perfecting his/herself in the processes. Sadly, I think most of them are merely commercial-oriented for superficial amusement and simple pleasure.

I do think it is life mentor nonetheless; some serious stories really stroke the innermost chord with me.

They are multi-media novel essentially, messages and emotions are coming from voices, words, graphics, and effects. These kind of presentation, of course, coming from Japan, but it's like entertained by a storytellor with illustration or watching a drama with close interaction.

It is a wonderful art form full of potential...

I do hope people outside Japan can find out ita beauty...

It's not necessary to be an only-for-otaku thing...

Yet, I am pessimistic about its future because less and less seriously written VNs and the production cycle of most producers is too short resulted in mass production of repetitive and skin-deep moege, netage, charage.

And let's not forget it's originally a masturbation-aid production with little content.

Link to post
Share on other sites

i have the same feelings. Isn't that the reason we are here? get a few friends that do understand you, like i have, and this view goes away. Listen, there are many kinds of people in this world, you should not dismiss them with words like "no one will understand that". Just like no one will understand you, you will understand no one, that is the rule of this world.

Thank you for your advice, I do have a few friends that understand me, they gave me a lot support too. So I'm glad to have them. Nevertheless I did not regretting playing any single VNs. And seeing someone like you understand me makes me more happier.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yet, I am pessimistic about its future because less and less seriously written VNs and the production cycle of most producers is too short resulted in mass production of repetitive and skin-deep moege, netage, charage.

 

I agree with you, I'm having the feeling that the whole VNs production is going down the slope. The beauty and value no longer can be seen from nowadays VN. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't read others posts, but here are my quick thoughts

 

So what is a VN for you? Is the Japanese art or culture essential in it or not?

 

A VN doesn't necessarily have to have Japanese art or culture.. it's more like a medium to me.  A game that has story and characters told in a story text-based format almost like a storybook.  Because of this, it tends to be focused more on story-telling and character development more.. and then there are other options like "choices" or other game mechanics sometimes included.  So yeah.. pretty much what it's called, a Visual Novel.

 

Trying to make Visual Novels popular in the west... to me just means, to help make that game style, those types of games more popular and accepted in mainstream.  So we can get more games like 999, Danganronpa, etc.

 

I do think of "Japanese" Visual Novels more though, because I play more of those kinds and enjoy them and tend to like the anime-art style. 

 

I Almost even consider The Walking Dead, Beyond Two Souls, etc. as VNs for some similarity.. just because they are story-driven and have interactive choice-making... but they probably don't fit with what most people consider to be VN.  There are some games that have VN gameplay elements in it, but aren't exactly considered VN either...  so it's a bit hard to say exactly.  I do enjoy VNs though, either just parts of it or the whole thing in a game.

 

TL;DR - would you like to read a Visual Novel made by Disney?

 

309pijn.jpg

 

lol... no. Maybe when I was 10, but now that I'm older I'd like to read something more serious or complicated.  Not saying Disney isn't good, but their stories tend to be childish and predictable, for me at least.  I'd watch it, but I'd rather Read something else.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...