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Standard Japanese Fantasy Setting

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A variant of the Standard Fantasy Setting found in Japanese works.

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
Prime32 on Aug 9th 2018 at 4:46:50 PM
Last Edited By:
Prime32 on Oct 22nd 2018 at 8:11:02 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

When the Standard Fantasy Setting spread to Japan, it picked up a few quirks and lost some others along the way. Japanese fantasy writers tend to draw less on Western fantasy Literature, and more on Video Games and Tabletop RPGs (particularly Replays). While still influenced by Dungeons & Dragons, it tends to take more cues from the original writings of Gary Gygax and less from those of later designers, combined with elements of RuneQuest and the Ultima and Wizardry games.

The first Trope Codifier of Japanese Medieval European Fantasy comes from 1986, when the videogame/manga/videogame manga magazine Comptiq began publishing "Replays" - transcripts of a Dungeons & Dragons/RuneQuest/Tunnels & Trolls campaign titled Record of Lodoss War. Lodoss became popular enough to receive paperback compilations and even be edited into a novel series, which would become some of Japan's first domestic High Fantasy literature. Pressure from lawyers at TSR would force Lodoss to switch from D&D to a homebrew system, which would eventually become the basis of Sword World RPG (aka 2d6 System), produced by Group SNE (translators for many Western TTRPGs at the time).

This year also marked the launch of the Dragon Quest series, the first three entries of which would have enormous cultural impact and become the Trope Makers for the Eastern RPG.

Similar settings can also be found in Chinese and Korean fantasy, albeit with a heavier injection of Wuxia themes.

Common elements include:

The inhabitants:

Other common tropes:

Tropes more common in Light Novels:

Feedback: 15 replies

Aug 9th 2018 at 5:03:15 PM

This is spun off from Anura's suggestion in the Demon King TLP proposal. Feedback greatly appreciated - there might be some things I missed or which I'm giving too much attention.

Japanese terms are used for concepts that have a consistent name in Japanese but not in translation (genjuu have been called a dozen different things in Final Fantasy alone), or where a translated name would obscure the underlying patterns.

Other potential new tropes that could come out of this:

Aug 9th 2018 at 9:18:34 PM

This is definitely helpful.

Aug 10th 2018 at 10:59:11 AM

There's a TLP concerning the standard Final Boss in this kind of setting, the Demon King.

Aug 23rd 2018 at 12:31:52 AM

  • The Vision Of Escaflowne is set in a world that, at first glance, seems like Medieval European Fantasy, but is actually much closer to this trope, between humans as a dominant species (complete with katana-wielding knights), mystical and obscure elf-lookalikes, numerous beastfolk species, the Atlanteans as precursors, and nature spirit-like dragons. Oh, and there are, of course, Humongous Mecha, which are powered by the Mana Crystals formed from dragon hearts.

Aug 24th 2018 at 3:23:25 PM

The Vision Of Escaflowne is set in a world that, at first glance, seems like Medieval European Fantasy, but is actually much closer to this trope
Whoa, hold up. "Humans as a dominant species" doesn't make things less like medieval Europe, and it used to be the default assumption in fantasy (never mind legend). Nor did Japan invent elves being mysterious. As for the existence of Atlantis and precursor races in general, those are things that used to be widely believed.

Medieval European Fantasy isn't even the direct counterpart to this, Standard Fantasy Setting is. Even the page on Standard Fantasy Setting says that Europe isn't strictly required as long as it has all the major elements like elves and dwarves and magic.

As for the katana-wielding knights, their weapons have crossguards so they look like they were supposed to be szabla or something, but got drawn with a katana-style wave pattern.

Aug 25th 2018 at 3:51:10 AM

^ Please tell me that crystal-powered, sword-fighting mechs are a part of the Standard Fantasy Setting, too. :-)

Aug 25th 2018 at 11:52:29 AM

^ Please tell me that crystal-powered, sword-fighting mechs are a part of the Standard Fantasy Setting, too. :-)
I will not, because they are not.

You said "they're not part of Medieval European Fantasy", I said that should instead be "they're not part of the Standard Fantasy Setting", because those aren't the same thing.

Meanwhile, Medieval European Fantasy + Instant Awesome Just Add Mecha = not a standard combination, but also not an impossible one - their presence doesn't stop you from having castles and knights and taverns and all the other elements that make it recognisable as Medieval Europe (after all, elements with far more societal impact like "humans aren't the only sapient race", "Christianity doesn't exist" and "people can communicate long distances with magic" are popular and accommodated without difficulty).note 

Aug 25th 2018 at 3:47:13 PM

I could've sworn this already launched.

Aug 28th 2018 at 4:58:10 AM

It was rogue launched by a new user who thinks that the TLP was an easy pick for new tropes.

Aug 28th 2018 at 12:54:40 PM

Will this have work examples or just be a definition page?

Aug 31st 2018 at 7:02:17 AM

The existing Standard Fantasy Setting page has examples, so I don’t see why this one shouldn’t. It might actually be worth digging through the old page for examples that would better fit here.

Oct 21st 2018 at 10:32:07 AM

^^That sounds like it might be a good idea.

Oct 22nd 2018 at 8:11:02 AM

I agree with that too. Prime 32 is still online or was he banned from make/modify drafts?? (I read about that time ago, but I'm not sure about it) Maybe this can be taken Up For Grabs just to add examples and then launch this